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

Preparing for a Sashiko Demo

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I’m no expert at Sashiko stitching, so it’s a little laughable that I’ll be teaching the craft this Saturday, but I’m rolling with it. It’s a FREE event, Seattle friends, if you want to drop on by the Kinokuniya Bookstore at 2pm on June 11th. I’ll be joined by my writer/editor/journalist friend Tamiko. Imagine a cooking demo, but with indigo fabric and Sashiko thread and needles instead of food– that’s the concept we’re working with, anyway. We’ll be making coasters and I think it’ll be sweet and casual and fun. I hope. I suppose it could also be weird and awkward and dull, but we’re all optimists here, right?

Copies of Sewing Happiness will be available and I’ll be doing a signing as well. I’m curious to see how it goes!!

As you can tell from my last few posts, I’ve been flitting about like an industrious bird, pecking away at my massive to-do list. But guess what?? After this Saturday, I am going to be so relaxed. I may not even post anything on this here blog for the next month to experience what it feels like to be completely disconnected from the internet and off the grid (we all know that would never happen; I’m too much a creature of habit). Anyhow, my big deadline has been met, I have virtually nothing on my calendar, and I can actually feel my innards decompressing. It’s glorious. Sewing might actually happen!!

Just a little more prep work to do for the Saturday event — be back Friday.

(Image is from the book. Photo by George Barberis)

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.

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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?