Happy Friday + SVE Wrap-up

 

2017sve-wrapup6

Happy Friday! This is but a small sampling of the 800+ posts when you search the #2017sve hashtag on Instagram.

!!!!!!

Friends, this year’s Secret Valentine Exchange exceeded our expectations on every level. The creative energy, the kindness, the patience (we know that quite a few of you are still waiting…we’re doing our best to help loose ends get tied up, so keep us posted at secret.valentine.exchange@gmail.com). Ute and I are experiencing a lot of jaw-hanging and tear-wiping. We’ve especially been tickled by serendipitous pairings of people living near each other and we’ve been incredibly touched by gifts that arrived during trying and much-needed moments. And so much variety! DIY make-up! Bags of all shapes, sizes, colors! Dolls! Pet bibs! Knitted loveliness! Paintings! Jewelry! Hand-stamping / hand-dying / hand-spinning! And much, much, more. It’s been magic.

2017sve-wrapup4As for me, I received a lovingly crocheted bag in my favorite hues and the effort and care that went into it is abundantly clear. Thank you, Sally Mae! The shape makes me think of the word “pochette” for some reason — Google is telling me that it’s supposed to mean “wallet” in French, but in the Japanese culture little purses are often referred to as pochettes. My pochette was stuffed to the max with chocolate and candy, which made everyone in my family very happy. K immediately claimed the Fun Dips for herself. The sweetest part? My SVE partner included a little Pen Pal survey for me to fill out. I used to love pen pal letters when I was a kid! I promptly completed it and sent it to Sally Mae — so fun!

2017sve-wrapup3

 

In terms of my own gift-making, I took quite some time to come up with an idea for my Secret Valentine, Melanie of All by Hand. Her color and fabric preferences were very similar to mine, which was handy. I dug around my stash and pulled out a bunch of linens, then I noticed that her logo was a sweet blossoming tree branch which reminded me of this silky fabric I purchased eons ago. Risking some copyright infringement, I hand-painted her logo and made little notecards that I hoped might be useful for her to include with her shop items. Speaking of her shop, Melanie makes gorgeous rope bowls and assorted sewn items. I thought of hunting down some Japanese ropes to include as part of the gift, but when I did an online search for “Japanese ropes,” I wasn’t quite prepared for the intense bondage imagery that popped up. Red-faced and scandalized, I decided to table that idea.

2017sve-wrapup2

The silky fabric turned into an infinity scarf (which I realized isn’t totally seasonally appropriate for Australia, but oh well; it’s almost fall there, right?), and because I wanted to keep the gift compact, I decided to create little embroidered sachets. My stitches are never totally even, but I thoroughly enjoyed spending several meditative evenings letting the stitches come up with their own designs. I’m sort of in love with their wonkiness. I filled them with lavender and called it good. In fact, I loved making these so much, I’ve been caught up in a full-blown sachet-making obsession!

2017sve-wrapup1

Ute and I are so grateful to the 426 women who joined in spreading handmade cheer around the globe!!! As with any venture with hundreds of participants, there have been a few hiccups here and there and we’re taking them in stride, knowing that each challenge and learning how to deal with it will make the exchange even better next year. Overall, we’re quite amazed at how smoothly everything has gone — we even got a little more technically savvy this year with mail merge (thank goodness for YouTube)!

2017sve-1000px

And no SVE wrap-up is complete without me gushing about Ute. You’ve probably all figured out by now that she’s the one running the show, keeping the excitement thrumming, and saving the day left and right. My IG and general online presence can be, shall we say, hit-or-miss, but Ute has been commenting like a boss on massive numbers of SVE IG posts (how does she do that?????), which is no small feat. It’s just one of many ways that shows how awesome she is. Behind the scenes, she does even more and is truly a wonder. Not that I’m slacking off, but she’s so on top of things, it’s magnificent. Working on this project with Ute is hands down my favorite part of SVE.

I’m filled with anticipation for the 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange!! I hope you are too!

Aaaaaaand, that’s a wrap!

…except, once again, if you still haven’t received a gift, please let us know at secret.valentine.exchange@gmail.com. We’ll do everything we can to help out! xoxo

 

 

 

My next book! Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet

chibi-cover

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

 

Dopp Kit with Lining – Tutorial by Ute

ute-doppkit1

Hello my friends! Today, I’m excited to share a tutorial that my dear friend Ute created. When she posted her beautifully made dopp kit as part of the Sewing Happiness Winter Tour, I noticed that she added a lining (the pattern in my book is sans lining to make it extra easy for beginners). I loved that and casually asked her if she’d want to do a little tutorial. She agreed and as usual, she went above and beyond and whipped one up in a jiffy, complete with gorgeous photos (that fabric!!).

Take it away Ute!

*************************************************

I am so excited to share a tutorial with you on how to line the dopp kit from “Sewing Happiness” – or any other boxy pouch. Thank you so much for inviting me, Sanae!

One of the things I made for the Sewing Happiness Winter Tour was the dopp kit as a Christmas present for my father. Since it was intended as a toiletry bag I lined it with coated fabric that it could easily be cleaned and wiped.

At least for me this process was not very intuitive and maybe a little tutorial can help you too!

Let´s go!

ute-doppkit2MATERIALS

  • Two rectangular pieces of fabric for the exterior (I used 15 inches by 10 inches of cotton – linen canvas of Nani Iro “beautiful life”)
  • Two pieces of the same size for the lining (I used water repellent/coated fabric)
  • A zip at least as wide as your fabric or longer (I used a 17-inch zip)
  • coordinating thread

Optional:

  • Interfacing for the exterior
  • Twill tape or other fabric/leather for zipper tabs or handles

CONSTRUCTION STEPS

The first steps are the same as assembling a simple, lined zippered pouch.

ute_doppkit3

Make a “sandwich” by laying one piece of exterior fabric right side up, put the zipper with the teeth down and the pull to the left and layer the lining – wrong side up- on top of it.

Align zipper tape edge and fabric edges. You can let your zip hang over the edge if it is longer.

On top of the lining mark your seam allowance at ½ inch away from the edge at both sides.

ute-doppkit4

Use your zipper foot and sew with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Start and stop where you marked your fabric.

Now flip the fabric so that the wrong sides are facing each other and press away from the zipper.

Take the second piece of exterior fabric, right side up, place the zipper with the teeth down and the pull to the right side and layer the lining – wrong side up – on top of it. Attach zipper like above.

Again, flip the fabrics so that the wrong sides are facing each other and press away from the zipper.

ute-doppkit5

Topstitch along each side of the zipper.

ute-doppkit6

Place exterior and lining right sides together and close the bottom of the pouch.

Leave an opening in the lining or exterior for turning the pouch right side out. I left an opening in the exterior because hand-stitching the coated lining would not have given me nice results.

Center your seams on top of the zipper and put your tab(s)/handles in place, sandwiching them between the exterior layers on one side or both. Pin exterior pieces and lining pieces together.

ute-doppkit7

Starting at the side without the zipper pull, fold back the lining and close the seam, sewing over the zip. I like to use my zipper foot for that.

Repeat for the lining.

For the other side open the zip at least half way and proceed in the same manner.

ute-doppkit8

Trim seam allowances and zip.

Box all eight corners by pinching them so that the seam is in the middle, sew perpendicular to the seam, 2 inches from the tip of the triangle.

Trim seam allowances of all corners. You will now have something looking like this:

ute-doppkit9

Turn pouch to the right side through the opening! You are almost finished!

ute-doppkit10

Now close the opening with a few hand stitches and your pouch is ready to be filled and used!

ute-doppkit11 ute-doppkit12

I hope this was helpful!

*************************************************

Thanks so much, Ute! I gave the tutorial a whirl myself and it was so fun to add a lining, I made three! These are all going to be gifts and I think they’ll be well-received.

ute-doppkit13

As you can see, I played around with the sizing.

ute-doppkit14

I used Nani Iro Water Window in canvas for this one with a softer fusible interfacing meant for quilting, I think. It ended up a little squishy, and for some reason looks longer than Ute’s version even though I used 15″ x 10″ rectangular pieces. A word on adding the handle: I cut a 8-inch piece of webbing and measured 3/4″ from the center of the zip on each side for placement. The handle felt a little too long proportionally for me, so I shortened the next version to 7 inches.

ute-doppkit15

I used most of the last bit of my very favorite Nani Iro cotton for a more petite version. I used this lovely textile for the baby pinafore pattern that I sell in my etsy shop here. I can’t remember exactly how big my fabric pieces were since I was squeezing as much as I could out of the little bit I had available. It was about 10 x 11, I think, so almost a perfect square. It’s adorable!! This is the version with the 7-inch handle. I also used decor weight interfacing for this one, so it has pretty good structure.

ute-doppkit16

For this last version that will be a birthday gift for a friend, I switched up the handle style and simply attached the handle from the outside, as you would a belt loop on jeans. Alright, I admit it, it’s because I forgot to attach the handle beforehand…

This one is slightly smaller than the first one I made (13″ x 10″) and has decor weight interfacing as well. For some reason, K liked this navy graphic fabric a lot and I had some extra, so I made her a dopp kit too, so I guess I sewed 4 in total! I just happened to have the handle strap already sewn because I was going to make a camera strap (also from my book) out of it, but I never got around to it.

All three are lined with dark grey water-repellant fabric used for rain gear, which will make wiping up a breeze. Yay!

I love love love the fabric that Ute used and need to get my hands on it somehow. Anyway, that’s it for the dopp kit tutorial!! Thanks again, Ute!

P.S. Many of you should have received a Secret Valentine Exchange gift by now, but again, please be patient if you’re still waiting for yours. Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day!! I’ll do a full wrap-up next week!

 

 

 

 

#2017sve

2017-sveupdate

Hello, hello! Just a quick update today. If you’ve been following the #2017sve hashtag on Instagram, the Secret Valentine Exchange is hoppin’! There are so many fun sneak peeks and quite a few people have already received gifts (I was particularly shocked that my gift to Australia got there in a blink of an eye because I was not, um, totally on the ball). Amazing!

I’ll do another SVE update next week, but Ute and I wanted to send out a reminder that because we ended up with over 400 people in 30 countries, the parcels are traveling far and wide. This means that it’s likely that some gifts will be a few days late due to unpredictable delivery systems. If you think your gifts will be extremely late (more than 2 weeks, say), do let us know at secret.valentine.exchange@gmail.com and we’re happy to contact your partner. We appreciate everyone’s patience in advance!

Have a wonderful rest of the week! I was attempting a post for tomorrow but due to some deadlines that cropped up, it looks like I’ll do a Monday post instead. Today’s theme is flexibility!

So many presents
To spread handmade love worldwide
It’s soul-nourishing

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.

1000stoffgiftvoucher2

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!

1000stoffgiftvoucher3

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.

shwintertour-weektwo1
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.

shwintertour-weektwo2
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.

shwintertour-weektwo3
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!

shwintertour-weektwo4
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!