Happy Friday + Sewing Happiness Anniversary

Happy Friday! Somehow I totally missed that this Wednesday was the one year anniversary of Sewing Happiness. A whole year! Yesterday, I attended a marketing meeting for Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet coming out in August and I’m currently working on the illustrations for the book that is slated to be released in 2018, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied…

It’s interesting because I think Sewing Happiness is doing just as well as Little Kunoichi in terms of sales, which I hadn’t expected. I was gently warned that because the book topic is so niche, it was a gamble. A crapshoot, if you will. Then again, every book is a gamble and nothing is ever guaranteed. All I know is that I love making books. Absolutely love it. I want to keep creating books and I want to keep improving my skills. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do this, especially with Sasquatch Books/Little Bigfoot.

I received many wonderful responses for Little K, but maybe it’s because the content was so personal — the emails and feedback I’ve received from people who read Sewing Happiness have been so heartfelt and candid in astonishing and humbling ways. I’ve always been prone to tears, but it’s been a year of consistently wiping at tear-stained cheeks. Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out!

I often get asked, “What’s your favorite project from the book?” I have origami pillows and fabric buckets scattered all over my little abode, and the eco bags and knit dresses often come in handy, but the most used and loved item I sewed is the cross-back apron. Hands down. I made about ten of them for the book, and I wear one every day (I have them hanging on a hook in the kitchen and will grab one that strikes my fancy — I can even wear some of the kid’s versions because I made the straps adjustable).

A little behind the scenes: this image was cropped in for the final, and the bamboo stick was tied to a nail above the kitchen doorway on one end and a curtain rod on the other end…

I listen to a lot of audio books and podcasts, and the pocket that’s part of my many aprons is perfect for my phone. I wear it when I cook, do dishes, paint and sew. There’s something comforting about donning a long apron and puttering about the house. If you have the book, have you tried any of the projects?

See how the fabric was taped to the wall? This image didn’t make the cut, but I liked it.
I actually preferred my hair down, but the powers-that-be thought my messy bun was better so that’s the version that ended up in the book. K is holding extra sprinkles in her scooped left hand there.

I need to dive back into illustrating now, but I plan to do a round-up of projects I’ve seen from Sewing Happiness around the web and on Instagram. They’re so awesome!!

Have a delightful weekend, all!

A year goes by fast
Book babies are so lovely
J’adore my lit kids

P.S. The images are outtakes from the photoshoots. Styled by the incomparable Rachel and shot by the always fun George.

My next book! Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet

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Hello, my friends! I know that updates here have been sporadic and unpredictable these days, but I have a pretty good reason. I’ve been deeply involved in book-making fun and my hours are spent dreaming up stories and images for the printed page. When I startle back into “real life”, I’m amazed to realize that days and weeks have passed.

I’m SUPER excited to share the next book in what is now the Little Kunoichi series!!!!!!! Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet is already available for preorder but will be officially released on August 8, 2017. I’m totally, utterly and unabashedly head-over-heels in love with this book. The message I tried to include is one of my core guiding tenets and I had a spectacular time painting the illustrations.

Danielle of the lovely blog This Picture Book Life did a sweet cover reveal post about the book, and I hope you’ll hop on over to read more about it. I share a bit about my illustration process and the thought sequence that led to the cover.

You know, sometimes I can’t believe this is my life. I’m currently working on the next book in the series, and it’s magical. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It all started with this little blog, and I give this space a virtual hug of appreciation every day even if I don’t update it as regularly as I used to. For now, I’m heading back into dreamland, but I will be back with an SVE wrap-up later this week! xo

 

Happy Friday + Winter Tour Week 2 Wrap-up

1000stoffgiftvoucher1Happy Friday! What a fun, fun, fun week it’s been! Sewing Happiness continued to wind its way around the world for the Winter Tour and I’m enamored with everything. I love how each participant put her own spin on the projects and the individual personalities shine through.

Before I go into the eye candy supplied by this week’s tour participants, I wanted to feature the gift voucher that 8 lucky recipients will win from 1000 Stoff. That beauteous origami dress up there? Handmade by Lara (and maybe Ute too?? I should have asked). I can hear you gasping. At least, I did when I opened the package from her. She created 8 custom gift vouchers for her shop and they’re so pretty I’m hesitant to let them go.

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I’ll be sending a signed copy of Sewing Happiness along with one of these gorgeous vouchers for each winner, and I can’t wait to see who wins! Thank you so much for your handiwork, Lara – I want to learn how to make these origami dresses myself!

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OK! Let’s move onto Annika, Olu, Emi and Eva. I just noticed that all four ladies have names that begin with a vowel, which doesn’t mean anything really, but I take note of these things.

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Photos by Annika

When I first thought about doing the tour, Annika‘s bright and happy style immediately popped into my mind and I knew I had to reach out to her. With panache, she presented a bright and happy butterfly tooth fairy pillow which would make any child in the world want to gleefully stuff their newly loosened tooth in it. Annika’s life sounds dreamy: her family built a Swedish-style home in Southern Germany where she and her husband are raising two adorable children. She clothes them in über fashionable handmade garments and conjures up delightful patterns for her shop. Although folks from all walks of life with varied careers and interests discover the joys of sewing, I have been meeting more and more scientists absolutely smitten with the craft lately. Makes me think of how so many Buddhist monks used to be physicists. Anyway, Annika is a geologist and I get the sense that she’s got precision down to, well, a science. Look at her folds and stitches on that butterfly! The many version I created never looked that good. I was also incredibly touched that she mentioned Furoku in her blog post — the rather mysterious and undefined monthly membership that I offer. A few days ago, I was telling a friend that I never know how to describe it and don’t feel comfortable promoting it, but it is something that I pour my heart into every month with all the creative energy that I can shore up. It’s so wonderful you’re a member, Annika! To read about the sweet tooth fairy pillow and more, check out her blog here.

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Photos by Olu

I was so excited when Olu of Needle and Ted agreed to take part in the tour. I encourage you to read this little segment about the talented Olu with a British accent, since she’s based in the UK. She has this effervescence, an energy that seems to recharge itself endlessly. She is, if you don’t already know, one-half of the supremely chic pattern company MadeIt Patterns (the other half is Anna) that easily puts high street to shame. I wear my Drop Tops constantly and have definite plans for sewing up the Groove dress. If you sneak a peek at Olu’s IG account and blog, it’s a sea of glorious, glorious neutrals (with the occasional zing of color) and you know how I feel about neutrals. She went above and beyond by featuring so many items in a bag-a-palooza of holiday crafting with her daughters and sister, I had difficulty choosing three images. My favorite is the red pouch that her daughter Scout made for herself. How adorable is that? I also can’t get over the ipad case — such a great way to modify the zip pouch pattern with that added pocket! To see the many, many, many items sewn up by Olu + Co. see her post here.

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Photos by Emi

If you are at all associated with sewing, you have probably received a kind word or encouraging comment from Emi of Just Add Fabric. She is thoroughly plugged into the crafting community and her prolific sewing prowess is second to none. Emi is so super humble, she would never ever let on that she’s a brilliant scholar, but she is. And of course you know that she contributes to Petit a Petit and Family. Though she grew up in the US, she now calls Tokyo home and shares it with her Japanese husband and two darling girls who get a lot of air time on IG and her blog (the daughters, not the husband). The girls have an abundant wardrobe that equals K’s and Emi is a true sewing and pattern-testing Jedi master. When I reached out to her, I was extra thrilled because I also got to tell her that I’m going to Japan!! K and I will be jetting out to Tokyo this summer — well, “jetting” in the coach section of Delta, but still. It’s so rare to have face-to-face interaction with virtual sewing friends and the few I have been able to spend time with have become wonderful real-life friends so I have no doubt that Emi and I will have a grand old time together! I was so busy extolling Emi’s awesomeness, I forgot to mention that she made a Dopp Kit and an infinity scarf from the book and the best part is that she made a “muslin” for the Dopp Kit. How can you not love that? Prepare to be entertained by her blog post here!

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Photos by Eva

The grand finale of the Winter Tour was beautifully delivered by Eva of With Love – by Eva. Originally, I meant to have a week-long tour with 5 bloggers, one for each weekday if they all said yes. I compiled my list and initially sent emails to 5 women, crossing my fingers that they would all be on board. Then I got a very clear intuitive pull — something that I’ve been working on paying more and more attention to these days. I knew I was supposed to contact Eva. A little voice whispered firmly, “With love by Eva”. Her blog name alone reveals her sweet nature. Once I reached out, she responded quickly. As a university student in Belgium, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to participate due to her exam schedule. No problem, I told her, just keep me posted. As it turned out, all 5 said yes, and then Eva’s exam schedule cleared up just in time for the tour. After a little readjusting and after listening to more intuitive recommendations, I came up with a plan for 9 participants. My intuition is turning out to be mighty trustworthy.

I hadn’t known that Eva had been battling a chronic health condition for the past two years, and I had no idea that my own struggle with health would connect us on a deeper level. I read her post here and I cried – happy tears for her lovely descriptions about Sewing Happiness and her gorgeous pouches and camera strap and for the way she’s patiently working through her illness, but also tears of knowing how hard it is to feel enervated and listless, to feel cut off from things that once brought so much enjoyment or comfort. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a sewing expert — I’m not an expert in anything actually. Most days I bumble around, fairly confused and half worried that someone will tell me to knock it off, stop making books, stop writing, stop trying to create things. Reading Eva’s words (and Ute’s and Lara’s and An’s and Trine’s and Shelley’s and Annika’s and Olu’s and Emi’s) generated a feeling I don’t even know how to describe. Gratitude is probably the closest I can get. I’ve been over the moon seeing all the projects made with such care and like Eva’s blog name, with love. Thank you all so so much, my heart is full. xoxoxo

Wasn’t that awesome?

I have some more goodness lined up for next week, and until then have a wonderful weekend, my friends!!

Next week there’s a treat:
Ute-made tutorial
Right here on this blog*

*The ever generous Ute created a tutorial to up-level the Dopp Kit which I’ll share next week!

 

Happy Friday + Winter Tour Week 1 Wrap-up

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Photo by Ute

Happy Friday! Blown. Away. That’s all I have to say for the first week of my li’l virtual international Sewing Happiness tour.

Well, okay, I have a little more to say.

It’s been an exciting week for me. The week kicked off with Ute and Lara showcasing a multitude of goodness from Germany:

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Photos by Ute + Lara

 

Ute, as you know, is my Secret Valentine Exchange collaborator extraordinaire, and has been a bedrock of support and encouragement for many years. She’s one of my most favorite people in the world. Ute introduced me to Lara of 1000 Stoff, a former architect turned fabric shop maven, whose aesthetic I immediately gravitated toward. Look at the details that Ute and Lara added!! Check out full details on the 1000 Stoff blog here (Lara’s post about the aprons is in German, FYI).

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Photos by An

Then on Tuesday, An of StraightGrain wowed with her distinctively stylish look and feel. I love everything An makes – they’re always so sophisticated yet playful and bold too. I can’t even remember how An and I first connected, but I wasn’t surprised to learn that we have a very similar background. Granted, I wasn’t a professor/lecturer like she was nor am I from Belgium, but we both studied Communications and have a deep love of making things. I’ve been cheering her on from the sidelines as her pattern-making business has grown and expanded and one of my favorite anecdotes about her is that she used to cut fabric on the train during her commute to work. It shows such chutzpah, confidence and dedication! I adore her! See her Origami Pillow and Everything Bucket post here.

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Photos by Trine

And then there’s Trine of Groovy Baby and Mama, who swooped in on Wednesday with the most luscious-looking Origami Pillows. Wool! Why didn’t I think of making the pillow out of wool? I’ve heard that Danes are considered to be the happiest people on earth, and this über hip and fashionable Danish Mama certainly seems full of joie de vivre. All I know is that Trine’s creations make me very, very happy. I’ve even made a dress or two for K, totally inspired by her. When I grow up, I hope to be the kind of chic, put-together and joyful woman like Trine! See her Origami Pillow post here.

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Photos by Shelley

The week wrapped up with the always on-point and hilarious Shelley (aka Lightning McStitch) of Bartacks and Singletrack. Her love of all things bicycles is well-documented and you get the sense that her family is superlatively fit from her Instagram feed. I was half expecting a bike-related theme to emerge from her tour stop, but instead I was gobsmacked with an amazingly thorough and wonderful review of Sewing Happiness that made it sound so good that I forgot that it was my own book and was tempted to go purchase it. I am smitten with the floral crown and Eco bag, but the tooth fairy pillows (I still can’t believe that she made all four of them) are hard to beat. Hailing all the way from Australia, it’s not winter there now, but she was a good sport about participating even though she was going to be on vacation. I owe you one big time, Shelley! Get your giggles on with her blog post here.

So that’s it for week one! I didn’t give these lovely bloggers a whole lot to work with…I essentially said, “Do whatever you like, you don’t even need to make anything!” and boy, did they all over-deliver. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ute, Lara, An, Trine and Shelley!

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the project from my book so far, interpreted in various ways. It’s been so fun for me and it’s definitely boosting my sewing mojo. Alright, I better get going. Until next time, have a relaxing weekend!

So looking forward
to next week’s lovely makers
Winter Tour Week Two!

 

Happy Friday + Sewing Happiness Winter Tour (Giveaways!)

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Happy Friday, friends! I’m thrilled to announce a little blog/IG tour of sorts happening over the next couple of weeks. A few of my wonderful international sewing friends have agreed to do a feature of Sewing Happiness, and we’re doing a giveaway that includes a signed book + 45 euro gift certificate from the charming 1000 Stoff shop. I thought it might be a fun way to start off the year!

We’re keeping it loose and casual and I’m in the dark as much as you are in terms of what these amazing ladies will create and/or post. I’m so curious!!

Here’s the awesome line-up:
January 23Ute + Lara

January 24 – An of StraightGrain // Instagram

January 25 – Trine of Groovy Baby and Mama Trine of // Instagram

January 26 – Shelley of Bartacks and Singletrack // Instagram

January 30 – Annika of Näh Connection // Instagram

January 31 – Olu of Needle and Ted // Instagram

February 1 – Emi of Just Add Fabric // Instagram

February 2 – Eva of With Love – by Eva // Instagram

Until next week, have a fabulous weekend everyone!!

Sewing Happiness
brings crafty friends together

Now that’s happiness