Call for Pattern Testers for My Next Book! [CLOSED]

Update: There’s been an overwhelming response, and I have lots of fabulous testers signed up. THANK YOU!

Hello, hello! I’ve been diligently working away behind-the-scenes and my next book is starting to come together in a lovely way. It’s SO exciting. This is my favorite part: when the structure of the book is mostly done but there’s still enough wriggle room for changes. I can practically feel the elation of bursting through the finish line, but it’s also continuously and thrillingly uncertain.

So. Do you love sewing? Are you interested in getting a sneak peek into my new book? Are you a stickler for details? Then perhaps you’d like to be a pattern tester? That would be so tremendously awesome!!! This new book is a slightly different flavor from Sewing Happiness. It’s been pure fun and the projects are very beginner friendly and kid-friendly. All of the projects can be whipped up in an afternoon or less. If you’d like to be a tester, please fill out the Google Form below and I’ll send you a PDF with the pattern to test by February 8th. You’ll have a couple of weeks to work on the pattern and in order to meet my deadline, I would need all feedback by February 22nd. Because I’m so grateful for any and all help, I’ll be popping a little treat in the mail for you so please make sure to fill out the address fields. 🙂

I’m looking forward to being able to share it in full next year, my friends!! Sometimes I wish the book process didn’t take its sweet old time but then again, that’s what makes it all the more rewarding. Patience is a virtue and all that.

OK! Here’s the form (if you can’t see it, please click on this link):

P.S. The photo is actually an outtake from Sewing Happiness styled by my wonderful friend Allegra Hsiao, shot by me.

Happy 2019 + Secret Valentine Exchange Hiatus

Happy New Year!!! I hope 2019 has started off in a good way for you, my friends! K and a friend baked these lovely macarons a few days ago, and they’re so delicious — a perfect way to begin the year. She tells me that they used this video and it must be a darn excellent tutorial because the macarons came out very profesh.

So I’ve been mulling over how to make this announcement. Typically, my first post of the year is all about the Secret Valentine Exchange and I was keeping my fingers crossed that 2019 would be no different. However, when the numbers reached over 500 last year, we were astounded and delighted but also overwhelmed by the amount of communication and follow-up such a large number of people required. We have loved loved LOVED hosting the exchange for the past five years. It’s one of the most beautiful and meaningful projects I’ve ever been part of, made extra special because it was a collaboration with Ute, who is one of my favorite humans on earth. But if you’ve been following either or both of us, you’ve probably noticed that our online presence has dramatically declined because a lot has been going on in real life. I tried to figure out a way to keep SVE rolling while working on two books and other projects that I don’t often talk about here, but I had to admit I would be setting myself up for a very stressful start of 2019. Ditto for Ute. A hiatus made a lot of sense for this year.

Somewhat related, “macaron” — according to Chowhound — shares a root meaning with the oft-confused and different cookie named “macaroons.” Both names are derived from the Italian word ammaccare, which means “to crush”. It’s crushing (in a not-so-great way) to put SVE on hold, but if we want to crush it (in a great way) in 2019, the extra time will be used productively and with a different kind of love.

From the bottom of our hearts, we are so very grateful for all the past participants. It’s called a “hiatus” because I truly hope that we’ll be back next year or the year after. On the upside, one of the things we discovered last year was that there is a veritable explosion of similar gift exchanges these days. Perhaps if you’d be so inclined, you could leave a comment with some of your faves as alternative options?

And for those of you that might be eager to do some sewing and want to get a sneak peek into my next book, I’ll be putting out a call for pattern testers in a few weeks. Stay tuned!!!!

Holiday Tags + Wrapping Paper Designs Round-Up

Hello, hello! In an unprecedented display of organization, I’ve managed to get all of my holiday preparations done well in advance of the big Christmas day. This feat required some hustling on my part, and I paid the price by getting a teensy weensy bit sick. I’m almost 100% but I was pretty sniffly there for a few days. I have big book deadlines coming up so I worked extra hard to clear my calendar — I want to focus on work while my mom is visiting and having loads of fun with K during winter break, but now I’m lounging about sipping ginger tea and getting some much-needed snoozes so I can get all healthy. It’s always an excellent idea to listen to my body.

Since I’m no stranger to the last-minute wrapping frenzy and because you seemed to like the tags I offered up a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to round up some of the downloadable/printable holiday tags and wrapping paper I’ve designed over the years just in case they’re helpful for you. For even more options, head on over to my brand new Patreon page – there’s a post there with a mega list of downloadables.

I hope you’re having a wonderful season, my friends! 2018 has been a phenomenal year for me, and I can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring. I do most of my detailed updating through my Patreon newsletter now, but I’ll be sure to post here regularly in the new year — at least once or twice a month! That’s the goal.

Wishing you the warmest, coziest, joyful-est holidays, and I’ll see you back here in ’19!

Below are the printable tags and wrapping papers (all can be printed on 8.5 x 11″ or A4 paper). Enjoy!

TAGS

Bleu Tags

Animal Tags

Dala Horses Tags

dala-horses-example

Hedgehog/Unicorn/Cat Tags

WRAPPING PAPER

Cat Wrapping Paper

Hedgehog Wrapping Paper

 

Unicorn Wrapping Paper

unicorn-paper1

2018 Advent Calendar + Free Holiday Tags

Hello, my friends! I’m testing out different blog posting schedules to see what feels right and so far, once or twice a month seems the best fit. I’m all about not overdoing anything nowadays, and methinks it’s the ticket to not getting sick. Both K and M came down with the sniffles in the last few weeks and I’ve been impervious to the germs (knocking furiously on wood as I type this).

Let’s talk about this year’s advent calendar shall we? I’m quite proud of this one.

About five years ago, I spotted a DIY project for paper houses on Pinterest and desperately wanted to make a winter village as an advent calendar. However. To start with, the time commitment was obvious — that’s a lot of cutting and folding and gluing. I don’t have one of those handy dandy Silhouette or Cricut machines and had no interest in owning one. Since I tend to procrastinate, I would come up with a different idea at the last minute every year.

For whatever reason, this year I was on top of things. Not only did I plan out the project three weeks in advance, but I even designed the houses myself. I know. Crazy. I was going to download a bunch of free online templates but when I saw how basic the shapes were, I figured it would be easy for me to customize my own. I spent an afternoon designing and voila, I had 8 templates.

I spent maybe an hour or two a day working on the calendar for a couple of weeks. I printed the houses on my usual inkjet textured paper, of which I seem to have an endless supply. I printed three of each template for a total of 24 houses. Then I sliced out the windows and doors with an Exacto knife but used regular scissors to cut out the houses. For scoring the sections that would be folded, I used a Japanese hera, which is actually a marking tool for sewing. I don’t like to get messy, so I got these mini glue dots, which were perfect.

Now, I typically design the advent calendars in a count-down style. The visual reminder of the number of days left is fun for K, and it makes clean-up a breeze later. But I spent so long on these houses and I love the way they look so much that I wanted the whole village on display for the entire holiday season. After mulling over this situation, I landed on the idea of flameless tea lights that K could place in each house. I considered adding numbers to the houses, but I’m more of a visual minimalist. I’m lovin’ the plain white houses.

Conveniently, there are 24 tea lights in a pack. Since these tea lights only last 3 hours, we decided to light them all on Christmas Eve.

I was making excellent progress, but something was still missing. I wanted a sweet little package that K would be able to open each day and a single tea light left something to be desired, so I painted a bunch of animals. I went to town dressing them up in winter garb and labeling them with numbers, then printed these out on the same inkjet textured paper. Aren’t they cute?

I scrawled the daily activities on the back (every other day, she gets a book so I simply wrote “book” for those days).

I wrapped each tea light with an animal card and placed them in a basket, which served as the count down aspect. On a side note, I found that basket at Trader Joe’s and it’s made out of newspapers. So cool! Oh, and the books are wrapped in this super darling black-and-white paper I found at a local natural foods grocery store.

This advent calendar has been THE BEST. K absolutely adores it and I feel so happy whenever I look at the winter village displayed on top of our old upright piano. At first I put it on our credenza (photo below) but quickly realized that Katara, our cat, will think they’re her toys and scatter them willy nilly.

Can you tell that I had a blast making this calendar? I’m going to display it every year for the holidays, you betcha.

I chose a few of my favorite animals that I painted (I removed the numbers so they’re not advent specific) and made them into a free downloadable for you as a little gift from me. Just print them out on cardstock (or the inkjet textured paper that I use), cut around the shape and make sure to leave a little extra at the top to punch a hole. These make lovely gift tags!

Click on the image to download (you may need to right-click and save onto your desktop to enable printing). Please let me know if you have any issues with the download.

Well, it’s time to wrap this up and tend to other to-dos. I’m almost done with Christmas shopping and making and I have some book stuff to finish. If you’re interested, here are the other Advent Calendars from years past:

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

I hope to check in again in a couple of weeks or so! For now, I’m signing off with a “Happy Holidays!!!” from my two beloved Ks:

P.S. Katara hated the Santa hat.

Black Wool Dolman Top + Some Forgotten Sewing Projects

Happy Friday! If you’re in the U.S., I hope you had a Thanksgiving feast shared with loved ones! We went to watch Ralph Breaks the Internet (M and K made fun of me because I cried. I cry at every movie, regardless of genre) and capped our quiet, low key T-day at a bustling Taiwanese restaurant and it was awesome. I’m a big fan of stress-free holidays – they’re pretty rare, wouldn’t you agree?

So I finally got photos of the dolman sleeve top that I made out of the remaining fabric from the Linden top post, and this also happened to be what I wore to Thanksgiving dinner. As I move forward with my fabric destashing, my mug and awkward poses will be showing up here on the regular.

Some handy info for my future self:

Fabric: Black wool (I think), origin unknown though most likely Drygoods Design circa 2016-ish

Pattern: The “Dolman Cut-Sew” from a Japanese sewing book that no longer seems available online. According to the back cover, it’s ISBN978-4-539-05451-5, but my search hasn’t yielded anything. I posted a photo of the book on IG here.

Size: L

Modifications: Added a couple of inches to the length

The Good: I love the fabric/pattern combo. This lighter weight wool jersey (I’m guessing) is comfy to wear and cozy for this increasingly chilly weather. I usually fold the neckband and armbands/cuffs in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and then use my serger to attach. Depending on how I feel, I might topstitch to keep the seam allowance from flipping up. I learned a new method from this book that reduced the bulk a bit because the bands were attached more like a bias binding but with a serged edge instead of folding the raw edge under, and sewing from the right side. The hem was finished with a facing sewn in a similar manner.

The Not-So-Good: Although I’m glad I added the 2 inches to the length, I think it threw the shape off a little due to the curved hems. The fit is a little weird. And I’m not sure I’m digging how the neckline is shaped. But I wore it to dinner and as with all my tops, it handily passed the all-you-can-eat buffet test.

Sometimes it takes me a few times of trying out a garment before I fall in love with it, and this might be one of those cases.

The real gem of this outfit is the lower half. I can’t tell you enough how much I love these elastic-waisted linen pants. It’s not uncommon for me to forget that I’m wearing them – they’re that comfortable. I made them this past summer when I sewed up an entire vacation wardrobe, which I never shared on the blog:

Clockwise: Fen dress in khaki linen from Fancy Tiger Crafts, Kiomi dress (from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style) in grey knit, Myla Tank by Sew Liberated in black cotton lawn, Kiomi top in Indian cotton with brown print, New Look 6403 top in charcoal knit, Salt Marsh skirt from Merchant and Mills Workbook in striped brushed cotton, Newlook 6403 pants in the same khaki linen as the Fen dress.

They’ve all been worn and are lovely, but my linen pants have been a workhorse. I have got to make more.

Katara, our cat, wasn’t so sure about my enthusiasm…look at her face!

Anyway, have a fabulous weekend, all!

P.S. K cut my hair, didn’t she do a great job?