Queen Anne Book Company: A bibliophile’s haven

Hello, my friends! If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that Queen Anne Book Company has a very special nook in my heart. In March, the store will be celebrating its 10th year since becoming QABC under the purview of the current owners (the bookstore itself has been around for about two decades in the same location). My very first book deal (Little Kunoichi!) came about because of this wonderful store — I wrote about it here (I go on and on about my thoughts on criticisms for a while, but the summary of the book deal inception is towards the end)

To commemorate this momentous 10-year-anniversary, the lovely staff printed up limited edition posters and postcards and guess who painted that illustration? Yep, yours truly, and I’m so honored! A former QABC bookseller commissioned me to paint the illustration back in 2016. The bookseller was retiring and wanted to gift the bookshop something unique. At the time I was still rather new at the whole watercoloring thing, and I was so nervous to take on the project! They also printed personalized notepads and Blackwing pencils for the occasion. I love Blackwing pencils. Naturally, the generous folks at Queen Anne Book Company gave me my own set of a poster, postcards, notepad and pencil.

The display at Queen Anne Book Company

So awesome. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by this delightful haven for bibliophiles. The booksellers are warm and knowledgeable and always at the ready with spot-on recommendations. For me, it has always been and continues to be a magical place. My Hogwarts, if you will. And here’s a fun fact: my friend Wendee — one of the amazing booksellers — modeled for my book Sewing Love. Isn’t she beautiful? She’s also brilliant and fun and super stylish and I aspire to be like her one day.

Photos of Wendee by Manuela Insixiengmay | Styling by Rachel Grunig | Hair and Makeup by Kaija Towner

Cheers to many more decades of Queen Anne Book Company goodness!

Valentine Origami Papers for YOU

Hello, hello! If you’re looking for some last minute, why-did-I-wait-till-now Valentine’s Day craftiness, you’re in the right place. I designed some origami paper for you and had fun folding them into different shapes. The heart above is iconic, of course.

Envelopes are fun – you can write a secret or lovey-dovey message on the back of the origami paper and fold it up.

I am particularly smitten with the origami box. It’s surprisingly easy to fold and is a perfect container for little sweets!

There are several designs included in the PDF that you can click on the image below or download here.

I referenced a bunch of different origami tutorials online and meant to create my own illustrated tutorial, but well, I’m one of those why-did-I-wait-till-now people. If you search on “origami heart” or “origami envelope” or “origami box with lid,” there’s a wealth of video and step-by-step instructions on the interwebs. 

Alright, just wanted to quickly pop in to share this. Have a lovely week whether you celebrate this day or not, my friends!

And check out my Valentine’s Round-Up for more printable goodies:

 

 

New Creativebug Classes + Get two months free!

Hello, hello! January has been a full month. I’m working on my next book and a scad of other exciting projects, I’ve been dealing with health issues (luckily I’m getting better), and I’m reorganizing/streamlining so many areas of my life. I lift the curtain and share the details of these types of things with my lovely Patreon group, and I like to mention bits and bobs here on the old blog too.

The online world has much to say about how this is around the time that New Year’s resolutions sputter and die. Has that been the case for you? I don’t really make resolutions anymore — my focus is to create habits that I want to keep for the long haul…preferably for as long as I’m breathing. When I think in those terms, I’m far less militant and punishing with my goals. “I’ve got time, and a little something is better than a whole lotta nothing,” I repeat to myself over and over and over.

Anyway. Creativebug classes. I’ve taught a bunch of them in the last couple of years (and more in the works!), and I’m thrilled to announce that quite a few classes were released this month. Most are based on sloper-making and projects from my latest sewing book, Sewing Love. Perhaps you prefer video-based instructions? Or maybe you like to learn from different modalities to solidify your skills (I do)? If that’s the case, check out the Creativebug classes. I even have a special code for you to get 2 months free and 50% off for life HERE. There are so many wonderful classes on this platform, it’s definitely worth signing up!

Click HERE for a little video promo. I still get twitchy about seeing myself in photos and videos, but hey, promotion is a good thing when I deeply believe that learning how to create clothes for ourselves to fit our own unique, beautiful bodies is powerful and enriching.

I better get back to my book illustrations. I am having so much fun painting this one, though of course I always love painting book illustrations. I’m being conscientious about dong it at a steady yet leisurely pace. I promised myself not to overwork, which as you know, is my default mode. I definitely overdid it in 2022, and I paid the price with aforementioned health issues. Once I’ve got the illustrations in good shape, I have some sewing projects that I’m super excited about. More on that soon!

Photos and video courtesy of Creativebug

 

2022 Free Printable Holiday Tags and Mini Gift Wraps

Can December 16th still be considered early December? No. It cannot. I erroneously believed and declared that I would have these holiday printables for you many, many days ago, but here we are. Let’s not dwell on excuses or explanations, though. If you need last minute tags and mini gift wrapping paper (ideal for tiny presents — jewelry, perhaps?), I got you.

I’ve designed some fun ones, which I hope will come in handy. Lately I’ve been really, really, really loving the Procreate app and have been playing around to see if I can make my digital watercolors look like the real deal (not that digital painting isn’t real — it’s just a different medium). I’ve sprinkled in some traditional watercolor illustrations amongst the digital ones. Can you tell which is which? I’m actually having trouble differentiating them myself.

For your merry-making and gifting pleasure, simply click on the image to download the PDF file. As always, I recommend printing the tags on card stock or sticker paper or textured inkjet paper like this one. If your printer has a borderless option, please select it; otherwise, you’ll have a 1/4″ border for the wrapping paper, which isn’t too big a deal. I tried to create some designs that could be used all year-round, just because I’m a practical gal and like to have options.

I will one day round up all the tags and wrapping papers I’ve designed and posted on this blog over the years, but if you’re looking for more options, please search on “holiday tags” and a whole slew of them should pop up!

Anyway, here are the 2022 holiday printables (click on the image to download):

TAGS

 

MINI GIFT WRAPS

Alright. That’s it for me in terms of 2022. What a year! I am looking forward to some R&R, and other than a couple of short posts for Patreon, I will log off from the online world to allow for some much needed rejuvenation. I’m going to hang out with my fam, eat some good food, read lots and lots of books and paint up a storm in Procreate! Oh, and I’ll squeeze in some sewing too. Sounds divine.

I am thinking of you all with a heart brimming with appreciation and a sense of wonder. We’ve made it to the end of another year — this alone is cause for celebration! 

Sending you so much love and wishing you the most glorious holiday season and the loveliest start of 2023! I’ll be back at the end of January. Stay cozy, my friends.

 

2022 Advent Calendar

Happy end of November! Did you have a gratitude-filled holiday weekend? Mine was good and hearty and on the quiet side.

It’s my personal tradition to work on K’s advent calendar around this time of year, and I’m almost done. Because I know that K has zero interest in my blog, it’s safe to share some images here. 

As per usual, I wanted to use what I have on hand. Remember my Swedish tracing paper flower advent calendar? This one is a similar concept, though far less complicated. I am in possession of multiple rolls of Pellon 830 interfacing, which is very similar to STP, and it came in handy for these fluttery “ornaments.” I thought about getting some glow-in-the-dark paint, but ended up experimenting with two different gold watercolors instead. One is more bronze-y than the other.

I didn’t bother with templates or anything. I like the organic quality of the wings and each butterfly is different. With a little double-sided tape magic, it was a breeze to assemble these. Oh, the antenna’s are fake flower stamens left over from past craft projects.

The idea is that K can hang each butterfly on the Christmas tree each day (we’ll be getting our tree some time today). Simple. Fuss-free with a tiny touch of bling. I like it!

Another nice aspect was that I only needed 18 days’ worth since there are some travel plans in the works and there’s no need for a count-down the last week before Christmas.

 

Alright, I’m going to go finish the advent calendar!! My aim is to position them on a wall with the loops hidden — like a flurry of winter flutterbies! Originally I wanted to wrap each butterfly in crepe paper. It would have been cool for K to unfurl each “cocoon” like a surprise ball, but my prototypes looked…not charming and evocative of turds, let’s just say. I’m glad I decided to simplify, though I was digging the whole metamorphosis conceptualization.

If you’re curious, here are all the calendars from the last 10 years:

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

I’ve been painting/designing some free printables for you, but I’m not quite done so I’ll be back in early December with the digital goodies. Take good care, my friends!