June Round-Up


Hello, my friends! We just survived an epic, record-breaking Pacific Northwest heatwave (108 degrees on Monday) and I’ve never been more thankful for our scary-and-fit-for-a-horror-movie basement that remained at least 15 degrees cooler throughout the onslaught of scorching temps. For some reason, I always associate heatwaves with that bit in The Great Gatsby when the characters are all resting on tasteful settees or davenports with white curtains billowing about. My own situation was decidedly the exact opposite of that — we sweated up a storm in a dark, airless, bunker-esque room.

Katara, our cat, was flopped on her side the entire time. She refused to go down to the basement and stubbornly stayed in the sweltering upstairs levels, If she could speak human, she would have said, “I’m done. Stick a fork in me.”

Heatwave notwithstanding, I had a decent output in terms of illustrating and sewing. I’ve now posted on Instagram every week for six solid months, and my friends, it’s time for a break. I’ve decided to delete Instagram for the month of July to fully unplug. I wanted see if I could consistently produce illustrations and sewing projects without making any excuses and the answer is clearly yes. This was meant to be a personal experiment just for me because I’d always been a procrastinator and excuse-maker and I didn’t want to be those things anymore. I’m glad I’m creating this new level of trust with myself.

Next week we’re heading out to visit family in Michigan and we’ll be celebrating M’s and K’s birthdays later in July. We have camping trips and outings planned and really, I just want to enjoy a few weeks without the constant pull to produce, produce, produce, which is probably both my strength and downfall. I do have a few deadlines, but compared to the sewing book deadlines, the current projects on my docket are easy-peasy.

So here are the illustrations and sewing projects from June:

SEWING PROJECTS

I quickly made the reversible ironing board cover for the sewing book photoshoot, and I’m so glad I did! It’s not that I minded ironing before, but now it feels inexplicably special to be pressing fabrics and sewn items on a custom cover. There’s a quick tutorial on how to make it here.

The flutter-sleeve tops are self-drafted based on an old Anthropologie top, and I’ve been wearing them a lot. I started sewing a lot more for K these last few weeks and she’s been requesting cropped, puff-sleeve tops as teenagers are wont to do (I’m told). The first top was a flop. I drafted it but it didn’t fit well, so I tried out the Tudor Blouse pattern by Stitch Witch Patterns, which was recommended to me via IG — social media can be wonderful at times. K loves both her button-down and wrap Tudor tops!

ILLUSTRATIONS
I used Spoonflower to test a couple of my repeat patterns (the bunny and birds), which was fun. I originally had the idea of getting fabric printed regularly but didn’t realize that shipping would take so long…I may just add my designs to Spoonflower and see how the mock-ups look — how amazing that the mock-ups are instantly created on the Spoonflower site! In general, I’m having a blast practicing seamless patterns and I’m really loving my morning routine of painting simple watercolor illustrations.

More details on my Instagram feed here.

I hope you all had a lovely June! As I mentioned before, I turned fifty this month and after much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that my fifth decade is simply about being unapologetically myself. Aging is marvelous and I wish I’d had more examples of people expressing that. No matter, I’ll be that example. Aging is awesome, y’all. It really is.

Alright, I’ll be back at the end of July with a quick update, and my weekly Instagram postings will resume in August. I’m looking forward to taking this break and to come back refreshed and raring to go! I also have exciting updates later this summer! xoxo

May Round-Up

Hello, my friends! Happy Memorial Day! How’s it going? May was such an exciting month for me. For the last couple of years, I’ve been giving tons of attention to my next sewing book, which has been postponed time and time again. The publication date has been pushed out once more to August of 2022 (most recently it was slated for Spring of 2022), but I’m gleeful because we completed the big photoshoot last week! I have a smaller photoshoot this upcoming week, and I’m avidly preparing for that right now, but the amount of mental space that’s cleared up since completing the photoshoot last week is staggering.

So many wonderful people have been involved with the book and I will do a proper and effusive acknowledgement of them all when it’s closer to publication date. It takes a veritable bustling town to get a book production chugging along! What you see above is a quick mock-up that I submitted for my book cover, but this idea didn’t make the cut.

I’m super proud of myself that I kept up my weekly sewing and illustrating amid the overflow of behind-the-scenes photoshoot goings-on. Sure, there was one week that I was sewing only for the photoshoot, but I figure that totally counts as weekly sewing.

I still have a little more to go to get ready for the upcoming photoshoot, so I’m going to sign off with a round up of May’s illos and sewing projects, but I will be back next month with some musings on turning 50-years-old. My birthday is in a couple of weeks and I have HUGE thoughts and feelings about it.

As always, I’ve included more info about each project in my Instagram feed.

ILLUSTRATIONS + SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNS:

 

 

 

WEEKLY SEWING:

This month was all about self-drafting patterns. I have a rather big goal for the rest of the year that I will share next time…

Wishing you all a lovely June! xo

April Round-Up

Hi, hi, hi! How are you, my friends?

April has been a packed month, and the countdown to the photoshoot for my next book has begun. I have 3 weeks to get all the prep work done, which involves a lot of sewing and figuring out props and coordinating schedules. I’m getting more and more excited!

As you can imagine, my days are full and will continue to be extra full for at least another two months as I wrap up all the details of book #8 (yes, #8!!!! I’ve published 3 kids’ books, 2 sewing books, and have 2 more kids’ books that are whirring through the printing press as I type this). So I’m keeping this blog post short, and let’s dive in!

I dipped my toes into sewing a little bit out of my comfort zone for the month of April:

Clockwise from top left:

Butterick 6024 in off-white handkerchief linen – Pintucks still intimidate me, but I’m getting better at ’em!

Tank top from Pattern Magic in pink batiste – I botched this one, but tried my best to salvage it

Lodo Dress by True Bias in a double-knit from JoAnn – Such a comfortable dress! I’ve worn it a few times already.

New Look 6556 in a bamboo/Spandex knit from Drygoods Design – A simple tee with a twist: asymmetrical hem and draped side. It reminds me of something that I’d seen at Anthropologie many moons ago.

Wattlebird Jumpsuit by Common Stitch Studio in a light weight reddish/brown twill – I’m not much a jumpsuit gal, but something about this design really appealed to me. It’s not teenager-approved (K thought it looked weird and hazmat-suit-esque), but I like it!

As always, you can see more details on my Instagram feed.

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Since the pandemic started, I’ve firmly established a daily art journaling habit and I’m noticing that I’m getting faster and faster at painting. Paradoxically, when I notice how rapidly I’m slapping watercolors onto paper, I try to deliberately slow down. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m turning 50 this year, and I just don’t have any desire to speed through life. I want to savor everything, you know?

Anyway, I had fun painting these:

 

I was lucky enough to contribute to DAWN, the newest edition of Making Magazine. I made cute little house shoes and here’s a quick snap of one of the many samples that I shipped to the good folks at Making:

These are so easy and quick to make, and the DAWN issue of MAKING is absolutely lovely.

Alright my friend, that’s a wrap for April and I hope to have some updates about the photoshoot or at the very least more sewing and watercolors to share next time! Have a wonderful month!!

 

 

March Round-up

Hello, my friends! March zigged and zagged at a furious pace, and here we are. I’m juggling quite a few projects, making the passage of time extra speedy — at the moment, my baby board books are at the press (coming out this fall! more on that soon!), and I’m finalizing my next sewing book which will launch in spring of 2022. The photoshoot is coming up in May and in preparation, I’m sewing like I’m on fire and have also enlisted the expertise of Karen, who is wonderful. In fact, my whole team and everyone involved are phenomenal, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the sewing book elements all come together. I’m also starting on my next books…you know, I sometimes just stand stock still and marvel that this is my life.

I feel like it all started 30 years ago when I began a daily journal habit. I wrote and doodled diligently every single day. Sometimes I only had 10 minutes to spare, sometimes I had hours. I didn’t know where it would lead me, but I decided to believe that if I showed up consistently like I was a writer and illustrator, one day “reality” might catch up. I did the same thing with sewing. I wanted to become someone who could make clothes from scratch, and though my stitches were wonky and embarrassing for a very long time, I kept at it. I don’t take any of my current situation for granted and I do everything that I can to fuel my creative energy.

Some of you have been reading this little blog since the early days when I secretly dreamt of creating books, and I can’t thank you enough for your constant companionship during some very lonely and discouraging periods. I’m convinced that if you don’t give up, even seemingly far-fetched dreams will come true. I think we each have particular desires and dreams because we’re meant to actualize them. I mean, I’ve never wanted to become a professional athlete or an avant-garde performance artist or a politician. My focus inexorably veered towards books and clothes and illustrations.

Moving on! I would be the first to admit that I don’t know how I’m sewing for myself on a weekly basis on top of the other commitments I have going on behind-the-scenes. I have noticed that I’ve become decent at managing my schedule so I don’t ever feel rushed, but even I’m baffled by the amount of stuff coming out of my sewing machine. Granted, I’m not making anything complicated and perhaps that’s the key.

Above are my March makes (clockwise):
Esme Top from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (size L) in cotton
StyleArc Shirley Shrug (size 10) in corduroy knit
Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen Top (size 8) in black with white polka dots rayon/cotton and white windowpane checks linen
Skirt from this Japanese book (one size) – it’s the one on the cover and it can convert to sarouel pants in striped seersucker

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I keep falling more and more in love with watercolors. Here are some of my practice pattern designs from this month (the off-white flowers were originally painted with watercolors, then I digitized them in Adobe Illustrator):

That last image of the moon with a four-leaf clover garland is actually a gif. That was fun to make. I’ve included more info about the patterns and other tidbits on Instagram, if you’d like to check that out (did you know that you don’t actually need the app to view the content on Instagram?).

I didn’t think it could be possible, but April is going to be even more robust schedule-wise. Can I keep up my weekly sewing? We shall see! I’m amazed that I’ve been going strong for three full months. Last week, I recognized that little “click” that I feel when something has become a habit, when it’s harder not to do it than to carve out time to get it done. Weekly sewing has definitely become a habit!

Alright my friends, I’ll catch up with you at the end of April. Until then, have a lovely, lovely month!

 

 

February Round-Up

Hello, my friends! Brief snow storms and budding allergies (ah-choo!) and book deadlines sum up this month for me. I’m in the midst of wrapping up a very big deadline for the next sewing book, so I’m doing a rapid-fire, bare-bones update today. Fingers crossed that there are no late nights ahead of me!

Here are the things I created for this sweet, short month (you can see more images on Instagram here):

WEEKLY SEWING

A gingham cross-over button-down shirt from Simply Sewn: Clothes for Every Season by Michiyo Ito:

The Cali Faye Gardenia Dress pattern in tunic length (wow, I’m looking tired):

Self-drafted snow pants for K – an emergency sewing project when the snow storm hit a couple of weekends ago:

Waxed canvas sun hats from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing book. The first one I made was way too big for me, so I shortened the crown by 1.25″ and I really like it!

SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNS

As always, lots of cuteness and animals…

I Photoshopped faux patterns onto the covers of the Quiet Adventure Books from my latest book, ANIMAL FRIENDS TO SEW:

Some vintage-inspired potholder designs:

Silly and adorable totes:

Floral gift tags/cards that I made into free printables here:

I hope the tags come in handy!

That’s it for this month! So, so amazed that I’ve managed to sew and design stuff for two months in a row! I hope to update you in a more leisurely fashion next time…