Today (just now actually, before I did the dishes and the laundry and vacuumed, yay productivity) I completed the "first draft" of my sister's Christmas tote bag. It turned out really well! It's a very simple design - a 20 x 13 rectangle made of black duck canvas with purple cotton webbing straps and a purple paisley lining. My sister requested a big bag, so I did what I thought was a good, large size without being too unwieldy. The bag has a purple recessed zipper (which I was super afraid of doing!). I used this tutorial by Projects by Jane to help me figure out how to do a recessed zipper, which was pretty helpful, although I of course used my own measurements and did a different bottom (found here in a tutorial by Crafty Mariko). There is a slip pocket in the inside.
Isn't it cute? It's not as stiff as I would like, so maybe next time I'll use interfacing (another thing I'm afraid of!). I thought the canvas would be stiffer on it's own, but it's pretty soft and floppy. Overall though, I'm really pleased with how well it turned out! And someone will be receiving it for some holiday/birthday in the future!