A rather big announcement…

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It was a jubilant and triumphant weekend. After months and months of preparing, hoping, sketching, querying, refining and negotiating, I received a confirmation: I will be publishing two more books with Sasquatch Books!!!

In fact, behind the scenes, I’ve already been working on book #3 (those pesky deadlines), but until the countersigned contracts and advance check were in my nervous, sweaty palms, it felt like make-believe and not at all truly true. And this past Saturday, I had a very happy mail day indeed. Of course I’d told my most trusted circle of friends and family members a while ago when discussions started, but I seem to have a hard time convincing myself that these things will actually materialize.

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This image above is a little segment of the proposal I assembled for the 2-book deal. We’re making Little Kunoichi into a series of sorts, and the next one will be released Fall of 2017. Followed by another book in the Fall of 2018. I’m beyond grateful, especially for my editor who champions the ideas that I toss out willy nilly like errant spaghetti noodles, crossing my fingers that something will stick. And I’m thankful for you! Without this blog space, and without the AMAZING Furoku membership (the most awesome of awesomest groups ever) which gives me the mental and financial buffer that powers me through…well, I shudder to think what I would be doing. Most likely flipping burgers. No shame in that, sure, but oh, the grease stains!

“It’s not luck anymore, is it?” a good friend asked me when I told her the joyous book news. I don’t know — I still think lady luck and timing have significant parts to play, but I do hope that I’ve become a little more assertive and persistent compared to my past self.

I started this blog on July 16, 2012, almost exactly four years ago. As I published that first post, I told myself that I would do everything that felt right and would stay open-minded. Sometimes, the things I did troubled and puzzled the people around me, particularly those closest to me. Sometimes, I felt alone and very lost and a bit coo coo for cocoa puffs. Sometimes, I couldn’t believe I got to live this remarkable life. And that last part…those moments are increasing slowly, slowly, slowly.

Whew. It’s been an eventful year already! I hope you’ll be patient with me as I figure out how to juggle the multiple projects I have going on in the background, and I am yearning for some extended sewing time, but I’m doing little bits when I can. I look forward to sharing some sewing with you eventually.

The purple bouquet at the very top was actually a gift from a friend at the Sewing Happiness launch party, but it made me think of the cover of Little Kunoichi — I was looking at the various meanings ascribed to the purple hue, and the ones that jumped out at me were: creativity, mystery and magic. Yep. It all feels like mysterious creative magic to me.

Launch Party Crafts Recap

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When the hacking debacle happened, most of my Sewing Happiness pre-launch blog plans had to be scrapped. I was hoping to build excitement with some behind-the-scenes posts culminating in a grand giveaway and I guess I could still do that, but it feels anticlimactic now that the book’s been out for almost a month.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the pre-launch process was preparing for the party that was held at Drygoods Design on April 19th, the actual day of the book release. I shared a little bit on Instagram, but I wanted to document the various elements, because I was ridiculously excited about the “Make-It-And-Take-It” aspect of the soiree. I sewed and sewed and sewed innumerable little heating pads/sachets (a nod toward one of the projects in the book) that people would be able to fill with various options like rice or lavender and hand stitch closed. Keli and her team at Drygoods made the crafting experience even more effortless by having needles at the ready, threaded and knotted. It was a hit! I also prepped faux leather circles and trimmed Swedish tracing paper so people could make customized fortune cookies (another project from the book).

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Additionally, I covered a great many pieces of paper with watercolor paint and created bookmarks that could be painted, stamped and punched with fancy designs. The ones you see above were made by K. So sweet! Oh, and I even printed up temporary tattoos, but forgot to get photos of those.

endnotes

My piece de resistance was managing to get fabric printed with the endnotes design from the book, and I stitched up quite a few heating pads/sachets with the fabric. I used My Fabric Designs for the custom fabric, and though shipping took a little longer than I’d hoped, the package came just in time. And because I’m out of control, I printed up popcorn holders on my inkjet printer using the same endnotes design.

I love doing stuff like this. It’s funny, I usually avoid making the same things over and over unless it’s for a party. Then I’m all over it. Why is that? As you can imagine, I was one of those moms when K was a toddler, throwing themed birthday parties that left people questioning my sanity.

At any rate, I had a fantastic time at the party and I hope other people did too! Maybe I should think about starting a side business as a kids’ party planner?

Book Events!

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One of my new goals is to do more book events. Not only do the events help promote the books to which I dedicated mega effort, they’re great fun, and I’m challenging myself to get better at public speaking. I’m not a shy person, but my college speech class permanently scarred me, and I’ve avoided piping up in front of groups larger than two people whenever possible. I may have mentioned this before, but confronted with an audience, my physiology betrays me: sweaty palms and forehead, shaky voice, two glow-in-the-dark red spots on each cheek (on the face, I should clarify).

My first official “reading” was at Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island last week, and I had a blast (thank you, Victoria!). The women who gathered were sweet and enthusiastic about crafts — a few women even sewed projects from the book prior to the event and brought them to the event. They were all wonderful, but I was blown away by Joan, who created an origami pillow out of a repurposed men’s button down shirt, using the front placket as the pillow closure. I wish I’d gotten a photo, but alas, my phone ran out of juice that evening. Although I wasn’t able to document it, it was the best possible way to start off the mini, very local Sewing Happiness tour! Oh, and here’s that adorable book trailer that Sasquatch Books made:

And guess what? Little Kunoichi turns ONE tomorrow!!!!! A whole year. Can you believe it? I certainly can’t — that was the fastest year in the history of time, as far as I’m concerned. What an amazing, amazing 12 months.

Anyway, in the hopes of conquering the public speaking jitters, I’ve got some events coming up! There are a few more getting finalized, and if I ever figure it out, I’ll add updated info to the sidebar.

SEWING HAPPINESS

Thursday, May 5th 5:30pm-ish // Drygoods Design // Art Walk (technically, this isn’t a book event but I created watercolors that tie in with the book. The show will be up for the rest of the month, but I’ll be at Drygoods tomorrow evening!

Sunday, May 8th 3-5pm // Queen Anne Book Co. // Mother’s Day Event with custom illustrations (by me) + crafts + refreshments!

Saturday, June 25th Noon // Urban Craft Uprising // Book signing

 

LITTLE KUNOICHI

Saturday, May 7th 11am //Seattle Public Central Library// Family Story Time + Origami-making

Monday, May 30th (time tbd) // Seattle Japanese Garden // Reading + Presentation

 

If you’re in the Seattle area, hope to see you at one (or more) of these events!

STILL Hacked

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It doesn’t look like much is happening with the ole blog these past few weeks, but under the hood, it’s getting outfitted with some impressive security measures and tensile armor. Or something. I don’t know, when the husband starts to emit sounds that include words like “sql” and “SSH keys” my ear flaps involuntarily close up.

Unfortunately, the tinkering that’s going on means that even though I’ve tried to add new posts, the blog keeps reverting back to the Happy Friday/going to Vancouver one. It’s very likely that this will happen again, so I’m keeping this short and just letting you know that the issue is getting addressed. He says he’s almost got it all cleaned up. Who knows? Maybe at some point I’ll be able to go on at length about the lovely launch party for Sewing Happiness (check out the cute book trailer that Sasquatch Books made) at Drygoods and the myriad of upcoming events: Bainbridge Island! Queen Anne! Seattle Japanese Garden! Central Public Library!

Stay tuned.

Sewing Happiness Pre-launch Thoughts

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Look what came in the mail! My advance copies of Sewing Happiness!! As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, that indigo you see on the spine is the fabric that my friend Rachel hand-dyed for the book (Rachel styled most of the book and did a spectacular job).

The countdown has begun. Sewing Happiness launches on April 19th, and in the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing tidbits about the book process (Furoku members got the full-on behind the scenes a couple months back, one of the fun parts of the membership).

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My editor gave me an unbound proof copy of the book a couple of weeks ago (from what I understand, this is the copy sent by the printer to the publisher to make sure the colors are right and that there aren’t any printing mistakes). There’s something raw and magical and gratifying to see my book in its many stages from handwritten notes/sketches to final product.

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The book is starting to get a little bit of press and the Q & A in the April issue of Seattle Magazine is thrilling to see. As exciting as the feature is, what I loved about it is that the editorial assistant of the magazine contacted me personally to tell me that reading the book inspired her to start sewing again after a long hiatus. That made my week!

You know how marketing and promotions have historically been my Achilles’ heel? I’ve stopped using that as an excuse and am exploring ways to do them better in a way that’s not blood-curdling. I’m so very proud of my book and want it to fly out into the world, to the homes of as many sewing-loving (or future-sewing-loving) people as possible. I do hope you’ll buy a copy from your indie bookstores when it’s released because that’s my favorite type of venue for book-buying and I will forever support independent bookstores. Not everyone has access to a charming neighborhood bookseller, however, and Amazon is the giant in the industry as we all know. And I found out from my publisher that a key factor of helping sales is to get pre-orders on Amazon. It would be wonderful if I could get as many pre-orders as possible and I’m thoroughly open to non-icky suggestions on how to go about doing that!

In addition to press, if you go to Amazon, you’ll see that the book has already gotten some reviews. Horror seized my body when I saw that I’d gotten a very negative one — okay, that’s pretty dramatic but my reaction was intense. I quickly averted my eyes after glimpsing The Very Bad rating and refused to read the review itself. I figured, what good will that do? It would simply make me sad and worried and I’m no use to anyone when I’m sad and worried. I know that you will probably go read it (I would totally read it, if it weren’t my book). It’s a shame because even a single negative review can have such an impact on future reviews and how people experience the book. As much as I would hope that folks will suspend their judgement until they’ve read it themselves, I know that I get influenced by reviews all the time. Every person is, of course, entitled to his or her own opinion.

When Little Kunoichi came out last year, my dentist told me to avoid reading my Amazon reviews at all cost. Yes, my dentist. I really like my dentist; he’s an upstanding guy and runs a tight teeth-cleaning ship. I didn’t follow his sage advice and was upset every time a less-than-flattering review was posted about Little K (thank goodness there weren’t many and the beautiful emails I received from people from around the world more than made up for it), but over this last year I do think I’ve developed a slightly thicker skin. Or at least more willpower not to read the reviews. I clumsily and earnestly poured heart and soul into Sewing Happiness, I feel good about what I’ve done, I’ll give it my all to spread the word and the rest is none of my business. I’m content, with no regrets. I mean, I got to publish two books in two years in two totally different genres! How mind-boggling is that?

The release date is so so soon, my friends! I’ve been working with the publisher to brew up some awesome offerings and have a slew of events in the works, so stay tuned!!!!!