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

Happy Friday + 2017 SVE Updates

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Happy Friday, I hope you all had a wonderful week! Ute and I have been working behind the scenes on the 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange pairing of partners and are pleased to report that all emails with SVE partner information have gone out. Please contact us at secret.valentine.exchange[at]gmail.com if you haven’t received an email from us or if you have any updates to the information you provided. The final tally: 426 participants representing nearly 30 countries!! WOW.

Thank you so, so much to everyone who signed up; we are super excited about the enthusiastic response! We can’t wait to see all the sneak peeks (please use #2017sve if you’re on Instagram) and I for one am foraging through my extensive fabric stash to find something lovely for my partner.

Whew, I’m ready for some R & R! Signing off with a little haiku and big wishes for a relaxing weekend for all…

It’s a long weekend
For MLK Jr. Day
Gonna celebrate

P.S. The image above is from my book, Sewing Happiness. The background surface is a little table I use in my kitchen to hold fruit. Love the texture!

Happy New Year + 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange!

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[UPDATE 2: Sign-ups are now closed! We have over 400 participants!!!!!!! Please double-check your confirmation emails to see if you have any missed or incorrect information in your form and let us know so we can update everything before we send out assignment emails (if you could let us know before Wednesday, January 11th, that would be awesome). Thank you, thank you, thank you!]

 

[UPDATE: We are at 300!!! So exciting!!! Please note that we’ll be closing sign-ups at the end of the day today (January 6th)]

Happy 2017, my friends! Can you believe it?? We’re embarking on the 4th annual Secret Valentine Exchange!! Ute and I are co-conspirators as always, and we’re delighted to be hosting this non-traditional Valentine’s handmade event! Based on the Scandinavian Secret Santa tradition called Julklapp, our first SVE brought 40 participants together and last year we had nearly 200 participants! SVE is such a fun way to spread love and cheer through handmade goods and we’ve been blown away by the level of creativity every year. If you’ve taken part before, the following information will be familiar (thank goodness for copy-and-paste), but we’ve added a couple of new points so please read through the post.

SVE is super simple! Sign up using the Google form at the bottom of this post and Ute and I will assign Secret Valentines (we’re part of the gift exchange fun too). We’ll send you the info about the person for whom you’ll be making a gift, but you’ll be in the dark in terms of who’ll be sending you a gift.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

1. Gifts should be made with materials you already have on hand (we encourage recycling and repurposing). This is not meant to be an expensive project for anyone. It probably goes without saying, but please make the gift yourself.

2. You must be willing to ship internationally.

3. The gift should fit into a medium to large envelope to keep shipping costs down. There are no expectations to send more than one gift, but in the past couple of years we’ve noticed that folks love to include multiple small gifts, and that’s wonderful too.

4. Keep it fun and easy! No need to stress about what to make, although I know from personal experience that it could feel a little nerve-wracking to send your handmade creation if it’s not something you do regularly. Trust me, the gift will be received happily as many, many participants will attest. I know that quite a few tears of appreciation have been shed (I’m raising my hand high up here). There’s something magical about opening up a handmade gift, don’t you think?

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Now, things have gone above and beyond expectations over the last three years, but with so many participants in far flung places on the globe, there were some delays with a number of shipments and a few missed packages last year. If you’re sending to a particularly remote place from where you live, it’s a very good idea to build in extra days for shipping and to add tracking if at all possible. Also, we know that life gets busy and stuff comes up. Ute and I are both flexible folks and we understand if gifts may end up a little late or if there are extenuating circumstances. We’ve both been there. However, because we want to ensure that everyone is giving and receiving, please only sign up if you know you can definitely commit to making and shipping a gift.

To get into the spirit of the event and for sneak peeks, use hashtag #2017sve on IG, but remember, it’s not necessary to have any kind of online presence. The idea was borne out of a desire to connect people in a way that no digital medium can accomplish, and we’ve learned that many friendships emerged from the Secret Valentine Exchanges. This makes Ute and me indescribably happy.

The process is as easy as can be:

1. To sign up, fill out the questionnaire below by Friday, January 6th.

2. We’ll take care of assignments and send out the Secret Valentine info to all participants by Saturday, January 14th.

3. Make something fabulous and ship it by February 7 (if you’re shipping internationally, you might want to add an extra week or so). And don’t forget the Instagram hashtag #2017sve

4. Receive your Secret Valentine gift!

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As always, I made some printable tags. Feel free to download them here or click on the image above. I also added a couple without “2017 SVE” on the parcel boat for general purposes if you happen to like the design and want a cute little gift tag with a narwhal-riding mermaid.

We can’t wait to see who signs up!! Are you in? Please feel free to contact me or Ute with any questions here in the comments section or at secret.valentine.exchange[at]gmail.com. We’ll also announce the exchange on instagram and you can find us there too (@ute_ig @sanaeishida). Huzzah!!

Happy Holidays + Freebie Printables

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Happy Friday! I’ve been on a mini-wrapping-paper-making bender, my friends. Just in case you are a champion procrastinator like I am, I wanted to offer up these designs for any last minute packaging needs. You can print them up on regular 8.5 x 11″ paper on your home printer, and voila! Instant wrapping paper for those tiny stocking stuffers.

Feel free to download them below (click on image, and right-click to “save as” to your desktop before printing for best results):

Kitties

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Hedgehogs

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Unicorns

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I also made some accompanying tags (click on image, and right-click to “save as” to your desktop before printing for best results):

2016-holidayprintables5I think they’re pretty cute, and I hope you like them! Printing the tags on card stock will make them even more legit. I can’t tell you how many times these little printables have saved the day for me.

Well, I’m off to go celebrate with my family. My mom is in town, the tree has been trimmed, gifts wrapped and/or distributed, and I’m ready to sip some eggnog and enjoy the remaining days of 2016.

I’ll be taking next week off and will see you back here in 2017!!! Happy holidays, everyone — wishing you all a spectacular end of the year!

What a year it’s been
Hello, twenty-seventeen
What’s in store for us?

P.S. Furoku members! Please keep your eyes peeled for #22 arriving on January 3rd or before.