Bags by Jo Travels

Self Portrait

This past week and a half, I spent my days touring the Northeast United States with UTA Christians on Campus, the club that I work with. We make a trip every May to different parts of the U.S. to visit churches and see historical sights. I had a great time meeting new people in the places we visited and also getting a taste for the culture of the Northeast United States.

I also enjoyed the change of scenery. Whenever I get the chance to get out of my daily routine, I always get an automatic refresh. It’s a chance to re-evaluate some aspects of my life and also to be thankful for what I have. With that said, I got so much inspiration from the places I went, as well as helpful advice about different aspects of Bags by Jo from friends along the way.

For the trip, I turned my over-sized envelope clutch into a cross body purse for the sake of convenience and brought that as well as one of my handmade card holders along for the ride. I loved having the envelope purse with me for accessibility and I kept my business cards and other necessities in the card holder.

New Crossbody Purse
The envelope cross body purse hanging against a brick wall in Old City Philadelphia
Metro Card in Card Holder
A NYC metro card inside my handmade card carrier.

We visited Philadelphia first, with its wealth of history and many artistic gems. I had little expectation for what Philadelphia would be like, and I was pleasantly surprised by the creative vibe in many areas of the city. I loved finding little pieces of art, like this adorable paper craft, hidden here and there in downtown Philadelphia.

Paper design in window
A paper craft hanging in the window of a home in Elfreth’s Alley

I especially enjoyed the Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia, not only for its amazing cuisine but also for the sense of community and creativity you get when you step inside the bustling rows of vendors.

Reading Terminal Market
Bread shop in Reading Terminal Market

My personal favorite was Beiler’s Donuts whose delicious fresh donuts are to die for. I’m wishing right now that there was a location in the DFW area.

Look at all that glaze icing!
Look at all that glaze icing!

I also got to experience a little bit of the art scene in Philadelphia by participating in Art in the Open. We were passing artist Nancy Agati and we asked what she was working on. She told us about her art project and then invited us to join. I had to sign a waiver and wear safety glasses and she showed me the technique that she uses.  She uses a chisel to carve thin layers out of a pane of wood to form a pattern that mimics the flow of water in the nearby Shuylkill River. It was a wonderful experience getting to participate in a new art medium!

Art Project
Participating in Nancy Agati’s artwork in Philadelphia’s “Art in the Open.”

Next we went on to see New York City. As anyone who has visited knows, NYC is at once exciting and exhausting. The constant flow of people, the *interesting* smells, the never ending rows of skyscrapers. It’s all a lot to take in. But it’s also unique and beautiful in it’s own way.

Manhattan on the  Water
View of Manhattan from the Staten Island ferry

While I was there I got to connect with Sarah Cooley, the business owner and artist behind Simply Curated.  It was great to hear from someone with a similar path as mine and hear how she has taken her business to the next level. If I had thought to snap a quick photo with her I would post that, but since I am photo-less here is a gorgeous photo of her from her blog as well as a photo of some of her products.

Sarah, the designer of Simply Curated
Original vintage glass candles

After New York it was off to Connecticut to visit Newington and Storrs and then Massachusetts to see Boston and the surrounding cities. I loved all of the New England architecture, with its affinity for red brick and regal gates. I also saw many lovely doorways and vine-covered buildings.

Boston Vine
Lovely vine
Iron Gate
Details on an iron gate at Yale
Old Brick
Rustic building in Newington, CT

Overall it was a great trip. I would love to go back to the Northeast some time in the near future to further explore the areas we visited. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things now that I’m in my studio in Arlington again. I’ll get started with some exciting projects I have in the queue and go from there.

It’s great to be back!




Joanna Jenkinson