The New Life Bag project is one that is very dear to me for many reasons. Being a mother has been the most rewarding experience. There is no greater love than the love for your children. Although it is a true blessing and honor it is also one of the most difficult and challenging jobs that there is with no vacation time. This project started because I wanted to give all of my newborn mothers a special gift. A gift that had nothing to do with photography.  Expecting mothers give their body's to their babies for 9 months and many even longer. Although it is the greatest gift a women could receive to carry, deliver and nurse a child, it is no easy task and I feel they deserve a little something special for it.  Adoptive moms are just as special. The adoption process can be very long taking sometimes up to 4 years or longer and requires a great deal of preparation.  When you are adopting a child you do not have 9 months to prepare. You must be ready to open your heart and dive into parenthood within a couple of days notice. There is so much uncertainty and it can be emotionally draining, but when you finally wrap your baby in your arms for the first time everything else just disappears. Dads don't think that you are not just as important during the pregnancy or adoption process!  The love and support you give is absolutely invaluable and I know it would make you very happy to see the mother of your child receive a little something special! 

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I believe that a mom can never have too many bags. I love that a lot of stores have switched from plastic to reusable bags. Not only does it keep plastic out of landfills they come in very handy, I use them for everything!  They can be lunch bags, grocery bags (when I remember to bring them), emergency diaper bags for the car (I can't tell you how many times Scott and I walked out of the house without one) kid's over night bags, gym bags, or laptop bags. Although the bags are useful they are not always the most stylish.  I got the idea after falling in love with a friend's all purpose tote bag. Her sewing teacher made it for her from scraps of left over fabric. It was beautifully unique and seeing as I am such a fan of up-cycling I had to have one of these bags! The problem was the designer of the bag lived in Indiana and didn't have a website to purchase from. Because I don't have enough on my plate, I decided that I would make my own up-cycled bag. The only problem was I didn't know how to sew, so I registered for a class at the Quilter's Corner to learn how to make a tote bag! My mom took the class with me and before it started I began thinking what a cool gift this bag would make for my newborn moms! If it turned out and I liked the bag I could make them all out of up-cycled material! Long story short I took the class, loved the bag, but the 5 + plus hours it took me, and eventually having to hand it over to my mom to finish, was not going to get me a whole lot of bags. That's when a good friend introduced me to a very talented seamstress Mia Johnson. We met and worked out a deal where I would design and provide all of the material for the bags and she would sew them in less than half the time it would take me.  Mia is extremely talented. She is the mother of 3 (one set of twins) and makes a lot of special clothes for her children. Every time I'm at Mia's her little girl gives me a fashion show beaming while she twirls around in the dress her mama made just for her! 

The bag project was in the works and I was loving the entire process, but I couldn't keep calling it "The Bag Project" it needed a proper name. I reached out to my facebook community for help naming the bags. I had many great suggestions, but ultimately it was my mom's that won my heart. She came up with "The New Life Bag". These bags are for mother's who give or receive new life and they are made from material that became old and tiresome to others and given a new purpose (or life). I thought it was perfect! 

So, where do I get the material to make the bags you are wondering? Some of the material I had right in my closet (shirts and scarves that I no longer wear) others came from donations from family and friends, thrifting (of course), yard sales, and antique shops. The bags are made with 95% up-cycled material (the other 5% is the thread and batting which kind of has to be new). I use curtains, table clothes, cloth napkins, lace, doilies, bed sheets, pillow cases, vintage fabric, blankets, basically anything that can be sewn.  Don't worry everything is thoroughly washed before the bags are made! 

I absolutely love designing these bags! When I first began my college career I started off in Kent State University's Fashion Merchandising program. I always wanted to be a designer, but I can't sketch or sew to save my life. I decided that selecting the fashion that others made was the next best thing. Although I discovered that the program wasn't right for me and eventually graduated with a degree in Special Education (big leap I know) I never lost my desire to design. The New Life Bag allows me to create and incorporate design into my life. This bag project is so special to me and knowing that they are going to my newborn mothers makes me so very happy!

top and pocket made from curtains. The base is fabric I found while thrifting.

top and pocket made from curtains. The base is fabric I found while thrifting.

the base of the bag is made from curtains and the top and pocket from a scarf.

the base of the bag is made from curtains and the top and pocket from a scarf.

made from a table cloth and curtains. 

made from a table cloth and curtains. 

Read more about the New Life Bag project