Thursday, June 27, 2013

william & sally

My two in-house models [bribed with candy] are both sporting the handmade gifts I recently purchased for my one year old niece and four year old nephew: a matching headband and bow-tie from William & Sally. So nicely made and packaged! (and now you can see a photo of the actual recipients wearing their finery here!)

They are neatly sewn, crisply finished and the fabric choices are lovely. The headband came with stretchy, soft elastic for a great fit. The bow tie (bow ties are cool) came with a velcro closure in back for easy ons and offs.

Best part? When you support William & Sally with any purchase of their modern handmade accessories and clothes, they donate one hundred percent of their profits to enable loving parents to adopt children. Sarah, designer and creator of William & Sally, is a personal friend of mine. She has such a giving heart. Even though she's busy mothering her first baby, she is making the time to help raise money for adoption, a cause that is close to her heart.

Take a look at their shop and their facebook page if you need some handmade goodness that also does some good.

My two goofballs blessings. Thing 1 gets special thanks (and extra candy) for standing in as the boy, buttoned up in shirt and bow tie on a hot Georgia afternoon. Boys are a bit scarce around our house.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

small parcel

All wrapped up and ready to fly to its new home.
Proof that good things come in small packages.

Do you like that embossed stamp? I love it. It was given to me a few years ago by my big sister Leigh, who knows how I love to victimize people with handmade gifts. It's a nice way to warn them up front not to say anything mean about it when they open it. Ha ha. Which reminds me of these awesome tags.

(It is a Martha Stewart embosser, but they no longer offer it as far as I can tell. However there are other rubber stamp makers that provide custom round embossers like mine, so it might be easy to order a similar substitute.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

my new Benzie Design wool felt color collection and giveaway winners

Image courtesy of Renae Bradley, Benzie Design

I once again have the pleasure of curating a guest collection of delicious wool felt colors at Benzie Design, this time to celebrate the debut of the Flora Needle Book pattern! The wools look so pretty all in a row, don't they? Go here to view the collection in her shop.

This collection is inspired by the colors that I used in the first needle book I made. It's also a versatile starter set to have, which features a modern palette. Here's a recent book I made in the same colors as that first book, only with the new pattern:

Once you try working with wool and wool blend felts, you may never go back to acrylic craft felts. Wool felts come in such a wider array of lovely colors (for instance, Benzie Design offers 80 different wool blend colors) and the texture and durability are exponentially better than acrylic. Not to mention you can actually iron wool felt and it won't melt.

Acrylic felt has its place in crafting, don't get me wrong. I've used it plenty of times for kids crafts or decorations. Can't beat the price. But for small, detailed work, a nice handmade gift, an heirloom doll, or any project that takes an investment of time or materials, you should step up to wool.

Image courtesy of Renae Bradley, Benzie Design

Ooh. A closeup of the collection. Good enough to eat!

And you could certainly mix and match this collection in different ways than I did. I can envision a maroon needle book with orange, blue and pink applique and pink pages. A blue book with maroon, yellow and orange applique and yellow pages. A green book with blue, yellow and soft green applique and yellow pages. All kinds of color combos in there. *eyes getting dreamy far away look*

*snapping back to blog* A great thing about making the needle books is they use relatively small amounts of felt, so you could get several books made out of one bundle of felt. This is why I keep a coke crate filled with tiny wool felt scraps. Even the smallest pieces are potential floral appliques.

OK! On to the needle book and pattern giveaway winners! The Grand Prize Winner (grand prize being the choice of one of four needle books made by me) goes to: (rustling fancy envelope)

Darcy of Modern Cozy! Congratulations, Darcy. I'll get it in the mail to you soon. BTW, loving that orange and blue mini quilt in your cupboard.

And, the winners of the two free Flora Needle Book patterns are... (fumbling envelope and microphone, laughing apologetically at co-announcer Aidan Turner. Wow, he looks dreamy in a tux, doesn't he?)

Nanou! (Bonjour, Nanou, can you contact me with your email address?)


Little Ella Lu! You have some pretty cute puddle jumpers there!

Thank you to everyone for your participation and for all the kind words posted about the pattern and the needle books!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flora Needle Book pattern is in the shop! (And a giveaway to celebrate.)

At last, the Flora Needle Book pattern is finished and available as an instant download from both of my shops: Etsy and Craftsy. I hope you enjoy it!

The twelve-page pattern shows you how to easily make these wool felt needle books which feature:
  • Colorful floral applique
  • Hand embroidery
  • Button/string closure
  • Grosgrain ribbon spine
  • Four felt pages to organize needles and pins
  • Handy hanging loop
  • Light coating of stiffener to give it a more body and durability
My technique combines both hand and machine sewing so the books come together with as little fuss as possible. I'm all about getting it done. I've made a large number of these needle books so I've included all my tips and tricks to make construction uh-oh free. See Etsy or Craftsy for more details and a materials list.

I'd like to thank my lovely and generous pattern testers, Marissa, Nancy and Stephanie for their timely and thorough work. They were a joy to collaborate with! Marissa and Stephanie plan to publish a pattern review soon, so I'll be posting those links for you when they are available. I won't steal their thunder now by showing their beautiful needle books!

There were so many who wanted to purchase a Flora Needle Book over the past few years, but so few hours in the day for me to make them. This pattern was the perfect solution. Plus it meant I got to draw a bunch of awesome diagrams. Y'all know how I love me some diagrams.

And they are so satisfying to make. I really love putting the rich hues of wool felt together, and then adding the contrasting colors of the embroidery, which gives it so much pop. And of course the small scale just adds to the charm. You know how I feel about little things. You can view an inspiration gallery of needle book color combinations I've used in this Flickr set.

Soooo to celebrate properly, I thought I'd give away a handmade needle book. How does that sound? Winner's choice of one of the four final samples I made for the pattern:

 This golden yellow number if you love warm fall hues. I surely do. It makes me feel all cozy.
 Look familiar? This color scheme is from the first needle book I made which has been pinned ever so many times.
 Turquoise and orange always make me feel happy. That button is from the vintage button jar at Stitch Lab in Austin. I miss that button jar. I stayed elbow deep in that thing for about thirty minutes.
This is one of my favorite color combos. I love the way the yellows, greens and blues pop on this charcoal gray felt.

* Thanks for participating! Comments for the giveaway are closed. *

Did you make your choice? If you live in North America, all you need to do for a chance to win is leave a comment on this post and make sure you have some contact information in your profile. I'll pick the winner by random number generator on Tuesday, June 18. My apologies to those who live on other continents! The shipping is just too dear and the reliability can be shaky. (I'm still trying to locate a doll that was lost in France.)

And I'll also choose two winners to receive the Flora Needle Book pattern. Of course, shipping is no issue there so that's open to everyone! Good luck to you.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

printer's tray

There is a constant stream of nature flotsam coming in the house from my two junior explorers. It's nice to have a place to put them for display (which keeps me from finding rocks, twigs and soggy leaves in the washer).

I found this printer's tray for sale on etsy and when it arrived a leaned it against the wall so I could find a good place for it. And there it sits still. I keep meaning to paint it white so the bits and pieces will stand out more. #storyofmylife

You can see a wide variety of these old typographer's drawers being repurposed as jewelry displays and collectors cases on Google or Pinterest. Especially cool is this coffee table by Fred Brandes:

Photo by Fred Brandes