A Leather Travel Tote Giveaway

November 27, 2017
Exciting news today friends, from our sponsor, Up a Tree Cup a Tea Co! Today, Jo is giving away to one of you lucky winners a Leather Travel Tote of your choice up to a $220 value from her shop.  All of Jo’s bags feature vintage and repurposed materials – everything from 1960s pennant flags to Civil War Era textiles. All bags are one of a kind, just like the people who wear them everyday!  I am in love with the leather travel tote Jo sent me and I was thrilled to take a moment to sit down with her and learn more about Jo and her small business.

Tell me a little bit about yourself
My name is Johanna Parker, but most people call me Jo. I live with my husband and all our pets in a small town in rural Eastern North Carolina. I started my business in 2010 in my college dorm and have honed my craft over the years. There’s not much more I love than waking up in the morning with a cup of coffee and diving into a pile of sewing projects.

Leather Travel Tote

How did you get into making these gorgeous leather travel totes?
I’ve sewn since elementary school and have always been a fan of repurposing and making things new again. I learned to sew on a vintage Singer and still almost exclusively use vintage industrial sewing machines. One of my first bags was made using a nail apron that I found in my parents garage. My dad told me later that I wore it around as a kid helping outside. I love taking things that have sentimental and historical value and giving them a renewed purpose.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Vintage fabrics and textiles really inspire me. I find fabrics and textiles everywhere from the rafters of barns to the inside of old steamer trunks. Since we live in rural North Carolina, I make my rounds to auctions and estate sales in search of materials that inspire me. Lately, I’m loving vintage rugs and created a few totes using sections of a Turkish Kilim rug that was woven around 1910.

How long have you kept chickens?
We’ve had chickens for almost 3 years. My parents have chickens and that’s what got me started. I could taste the difference in their eggs vs. store bought eggs and decided to start a backyard flock. We started with two girls and now have five.

What is your favorite thing about your flock?
I love that each chicken has a different personality. One of our hens, Pickle, is a Red Star and is very protective of the yard. No one comes in our yard without Pickle letting us know!  All of our hens have food names (Peach, Pickle, Porkchop, Quiche, and Berry) and our dogs have animal names (Fox and Moose). We like our themes at the Parker House!

Do you have a favorite chicken, if so what is their name and why?
Peach, our oldest hen, is definitely my favorite. She will jump up in my lap and sit with me. She’s mad at me right now because we’re introducing three new little girls into the flock and she’s not so sure about them. She’s very mothering though and I know she’ll warm up to them eventually.

What bag do you think everyone should have and why?
I think everyone should have an everyday bag that is durable, classic, and functional. An added bonus is having a bag that has a story. I love creating handbags for clients and giving their family heirlooms, old college totes, and military uniforms new life.

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53 thoughts on “A Leather Travel Tote Giveaway”

  1. one of my favorites is the Mauve Striped South American Woven Textile Dark Cocoa Leather Travel Tote. I could carry a lot in this.

  2. Such beautiful bags! I would be happy with any of them, but the ones from the vintage rugs are especially striking. Thank you for the drawing!

  3. All of the bags are beautiful, but I think I would pick the 1900s Shiraz Kilim Rug Sienna and Cognac Leather Travel Tote. This would be a perfect work purse to go with my camel colored overcoat.

  4. Melissa and Jo, these totes are absolutely stunning! I love that each bag has such a unique story! I’m a huge fan of the Indigo Overshot totes, both the dark cocoa and the sienna brown. The civil war is a very fascinating topic to me, also, such lovely color combinations!

  5. I like the 1900s Shiraz Kilim Rug Sienna and Cognac tote, I also like the Port Angeles Washington State Vintage Pennant Cognac Leather Standard Travel Tote on the website.

  6. Tough question! I love the blue and white patterned one in the artical, but the tan and brown on the one from the rug is more practical.

  7. Hi, Melissa, I just did a video book review on “A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens”. It’s on my YouTube channel “Berlin Studios”. you are the reason I have chickens!! Thank you so much!! Keep up the great work! Cheers, Lily

  8. Wow, these are beautiful. I’d honestly be thrilled with any of them. I really love the top one, the blue white pattern…. then I saw the woven guatamalan one and that’s beautiful too…. and saw the green one and being the wife of an USMC officer who served 24.5 years before he was medically retired, as well as uncles, granddads, etc who served, that one holds a special significance to me…. just have to say, these are incredibly unique and beautiful bags and I’d be absolutely thrilled to have one! Thank you for the chance and happy holidays.
    Ps. I’m in eastern NC too!

  9. I love the blue and white textile, but then I’m partial to blue and white anything! I discovered your bags through Instagram recently and hope to own one someday. They are beautiful!


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.