Monday, May 12, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Fabric Blooms

Hello! And if you're visiting from Sew Mama Sew, welcome!

Some of you may know me from Stumbles & Stitches, the blog I co-wrote with my friend Angel for years. If you're new to this little blog, please take a look around. I create fiber art with recycled materials, as well as textile goods for the home with a mix of modern fabrics and linen. I do a lot of custom work and, when time allows, stock my Etsy shop with new designs. If you're curious, you can read more on my About Me page or visit me on Facebook.

Today, in honor of Giveaway Day, I'm excited to offer a fabulous book to a lucky winner. Fabric Blooms: 42 Flowers to Make, Wear & Adorn Your Life by Megan Hunt is a new release by Lark Crafts and it is FANTASTIC. Lark Crafts is generously sponsoring this giveaway with a copy of the book.

In Fabric Blooms, author Megan Hunt takes you step-by-step through the process of creating simple flowers, beautiful bouquets and accessories including headbands, hairpins, brooches, and more. The book also includes patterns for decorative items like a pillow, a wreath, and a fun garland. Materials range from wool felt, to silk, burlap, oil cloth, and even an upcycled t-shirt. Fabric Blooms is chock-full of exciting projects and eye candy.

If you know my work or poke around this blog, you will notice that I am fairly obsessed with botanical themes. I include a lot of trees, leaves and flowers in my fiber art. I also love clean lines and a modern aesthetic. I was in my happy place, browsing through this lovely book. The design and layout of Fabric Blooms is crisp and pared down in an original way: each project features one photo, set against a warm wood grain background, that deconstructs the materials, steps and details for that particular flower. Clever!

And of course, the interpretation of the flowers in various fabrics is tasteful and beautifully executed. Megan Hunt is a wedding designer and creator of custom flower bouquets featured in countless bridal magazines and other media. You know she's a master at this craft! I am so glad she decided to share her tricks and tips with the rest of us in this gorgeous book.

I can't wait to start making flowers! What a perfect summer project for those rainy days when the kids might be doing a craft or painting. Now I only need to remember to hit the craft store and pick up some floral wire...


One lucky winner will receive a copy of Fabric Blooms: 42 Flowers to Make, Wear & Adorn Your Life by Megan Hunt, courtesy of Lark Crafts.

** How to enter the giveaway **

  • Please leave a comment on this blog post, and tell me: what is your favorite flower? (One entry per person, please.)
  • Make sure to include an email address if it's not included in your Blogger profile.
  • This giveaway is open until May 16 at 5PM PST, at which point I will choose a random winner and will contact them by email.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Apologies to my international friends.
  • $17.95 value. Void where prohibited

Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated. Our lucky winner is Jenny. Congratulations!

Thank you to Sew Mama Sew for organizing this wonderful online event once again. Go check it out, there are many handmade items offered by bloggers all over the world, as well as crafting and sewing supplies.

Note: Publishers regularly send me books for review, but the choice to review them and opinions are all my own.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bird Apron for Teacher Appreciation

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  Have you thanked and hugged a teacher?

My son Ben is in first grade and I'm class coordinator this year, which is a fancy term for "room mom".  For teacher appreciation, I orchestrated a week-long celebration for our fabulous teacher with the help of many other parents from our class.  It's been so fun, and truly wonderful to see her getting all this love and appreciation.

The first graders helped with a couple of things, including making an apron.  Their teacher loves to cook and loves birds.  Their school follows a project-based curriculum, and their current project for Spring is "Birds".  It worked out beautifully!

The first step in this project was to prep bird templates. I searched for "bird silhouettes" in Google Images and printed a few. I transferred the outlines to recycled cereal boxes and cut them out. I also ironed fusible web to a whole bunch of fabric scraps in a "Spring-y" color scheme.

Next, I sneaked into their art class (with the art teacher's approval!) and had the kiddos take turns at picking their favorite fabric scrap and favorite bird template. They traced their bird on the paper backing of the fabric and wrote their name.

Back at my sewing table, I cut the birds out, making sure to respect the imperfect tracing of each child. It gave each bird some personality.

Using one of my own aprons as a template, I made an apron with green linen. I made binding and ties out of a happy floral cotton print.

I played with the placement of the birds, trying to balance the colors and shapes. When I was happy with the layout, I took a digital photo to have a reference. I also drew a rough "map" in my sketchbook with the name of the kid belonging to each bird.

Time to fuse and stitch each bird onto the apron. I actually brought my iron to the floor to quickly half-fuse the birds before picking the apron up and moving it to my ironing table. It doesn't look like it messed up our horribly scratched hardwood floors any more than they already were! I stitched with a regular straight stitch rather than a zigzag one. The birds may fray a bit with washing, but they should hopefully hold up.


I wrote the name of each child under their bird in fine-point Sharpie and heat-set it with my iron. From my brief research on the internet, I found that this should withstand a few washes.

I am so happy with how it turned out!

To accompany the apron, I embellished a wooden spatula with stripes of colorful paint. This is an OXO spatula and I love how substantial it feels. With the embellishment, I can see it being used to serve salads at summer barbecues or picnics.

The spatula was unfinished wood so I didn't need to prep it before painting. The stripes are painted freehand with several coats of acrylic paint. I finished them with a couple coats of clear water-based varnish.


To round out this cooking lover's gift, we got the teacher the school cookbook.

The kids were so excited to give their teacher this handmade gift. Judging from the tears and hugs, I think she was happy!