Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Review: Mollie Makes "Weddings"

Wanna know what happened on March 11, 2008? Here's a hint:

Yep. We got married. On a Tuesday evening in downtown Seattle in March and it was the best day of my life (you know, until our daughter was born the following year.) I knew even before he got down on one knee (and never really asked the question) that our wedding was going to be unique. We didn't want any of our guests to feel like they were attending yet another same ol' wedding/different couple kind of shindig, so we set out to make lots of personalized touches and unusual choices. I wish I had photos to show you, but I'm limited to what I've got here (remember that our belongings are still I storage in Seattle and we're in Atlanta). 

{this is the groomscake that my sister made! Isn't it the coolest?}

Anyway, since then, I've discovered Etsy and have noticed that more and more couples who are getting married have also chosen the stand out route. No more homogenized weddings! 

Mollie Makes has come up with a very useful, totally adorable book on exactly that: making your wedding as stylish and creative as you are whether you are good at paper crafts, sewing, stitching or stamping. 

Inside, you will find 95 pages of inspiration and good ideas separated into four categories.

 Handmade Invites (which is something we did):
{stitched paper save-the-day garland}

 Bouquets and Flowers (holy cow-instructions on how to make a button stem bridal bouquet):
{painted glass flower display}

Wedding Favors:
{felt appliqué ring pillow}

 and Table Decorations:
{felt cutwork lantern wraps}

Even if you're not getting married or you're long past the I-Do's and honeymoon, I think this book is essential for any crafters library. Just because it says "Weddings" doesn't mean you can't adapt it to any other life event. How about those felt cutwork lanterns? Perfect for a birthday party or Independence Day BBQ, right? 

I kinda wish this book was out on March 18, 2007 (you know, the day after we got engaged/the day I started planning our wedding haha). Hey-maybe you know a crafty bride-to-be? I bet she'd love to receive a copy of this book!

And now, one last picture of our wedding day 'cause I'm feeling all nostalgic...

Happy crafting!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Our community: Upcycle Ethiopia

Instagram user/friend Karri (@karriofberries) wrote me a very sweet and polite email the other day and asked if I could help spread the word about an organization that she is a part of. When she told me what the group was all about, there was no hesitation. I am amazed every day at the generosity and endless love that our community has. I always say that if quilters/sewists ran the world, there would be no war, no starvation, no hurt. We'd all be wrapped up in warm hugs (quilts). You can't have hugs AND war, right?? 

I would like to thank Karri for introducing me to Upcycle Ethiopia. And now, it is my turn to introduce all of you to it, as written by Karri herself:

n 2012 our Upcycle Ethiopia organizer, Meghan, was visiting her daughter in South Africa. She saw a beautiful bag at a local art shop made by “Wren” from an upcycled cement bag. Meghan got to thinking about the potential of asking her network of friends to create upcycled products to benefit non-profit organizations in Ethiopia, the home of her two small sons and the country where her own small non-profit, Roots Ethiopia, is located.

Meghan, not a seamstress herself, began networking with her friends, suggesting a theme of repurposed coffee bags as a strong and vibrant connection to Ethiopia, the land where coffee originates.

Upcycle Ethiopia was invented – with over 20 women sewing and creating with inspiration and purpose. “Sewing for Good” resonated with the women. A Facebook page was created to share, strategize, lament (burlap is a tough fabric to work with), and joke about hoarding coffee bags with beautiful graphics.  Each and every item made by our amazing team is donated; all time, all fabric, all notions, all the love and creativity. It’s a true giving event.

This is our third year --- each year we have represented a different non profit working in Ethiopia. This year we will benefit Roots Ethiopia, the non-profit Meghan founded. It’s a moment of symmetry for Meghan to bring together two great loves!

The official Statement of Upcycle Ethiopia:

A community of women has gathered together from across the U.S. (from New Hampshire to Oregon) to sew on behalf of women in Ethiopia. This is our 3rd year creating unique items to benefit organizations that promote sustainability for women and families in Ethiopia.

This year Upcycle Ethiopia has chosen Roots Ethiopia ( for their strong work with women and families in southern Ethiopia. Our ‘Upcycle for Ethiopia’ team is repurposing burlap coffee bags and other items to support hardworking mothers in Ethiopia who will receive small business grants funded by the generosity of your purchase! Mothers are ready to work and your purchase provides the needed financial resources to get started on the path to economic independence.  Our craftsmanship and your purchase makes a difference!

Anchoring our original work with upcycling coffee bags makes perfect sense to us; coffee originates from the beautiful country of Ethiopia. Our coffee bags come from all over, but resonate with the essence of Ethiopia. We’ve added more repurposed products this year, all sticking with our upcycle theme. Our hope is that ‘Upcycle for Ethiopia’ sells YOU an awesome product, and delivers economic opportunities for mothers and families in need. Thank you!


{I Spy Charm Pack example}

Karri has offered one of my readers a charm pack, 56 squares (a full yard's worth) of "I spy" charms. Please visit and have a look around. Come back and leave me a comment about what you read, saw or liked the most. One winner will be chosen from a drawing on Saturday, October 11, 2014.

Good luck!


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Book Review: Mollie Makes Embroidery

By the Editors of Mollie Makes

Interweave/F+W; $19.99}

I do love a good craft book. One that I can keep going back to flip through the pages and see something new every time, no matter how many times I've looked. This book is definitely one of those. And it's only $20, which is a small price to pay for such inspiration! I LOVE Mollie Makes!

{How cute is that cloud/kitty pillow? I want to make it for my daughter; maybe for Christmas?}

Mollie Makes Embroidery has sixteen (!!) projects and twelve different techniques. This is definitely a well-rounded book. Each project is organized, beautifully photographed, inspiring to look at and features the artist/designer's bio. I especially love that. I'm always interested in who is behind the scenes. (Maybe that's why I love Instagram so much?) 

For this book review, I decided to try out a project. I chose the Bargello Cuff Bracelet on page 80. I'm a sucker for a bracelet, and the colors in this one drew me in. Of course, that didn't stop me from making my own color choices, right?

{cute little pouch by Instagram user @sewfairyface, isn't it divine?}

I thought I would stitch in the evenings, when I'm usually too tired to be at my machine. I found myself stitching at night, in the morning, in my car, at Starbucks...just about anywhere!

{I made a mistake right where the needle is. Oops!}

I haven't finished it yet because I made a second, MUCH bigger mistake and I haven't the energy or the heart to fix it. So, I'm letting it be for now. I'll probably finish it, let the mistake take over as a design. For now, it's happily living in the pouch with the book and floss.

This is what the pattern should look like:
{can you see the difference?}

{Every project has helpful, easy-to-read diagrams and instructions.}

I'm pretty excited about this book. If you're interested in hand sewing, embroidery, cross stitch...anything with a hand needle and thread, this book is for you. From basic embroidery stitches to the more complicated, plus crewelwork, silk ribbon embroidery, counted cross stitch, canvaswork, Bargello and free-motion machine embroidery, I think it's safe to say that there's something for everyone and a project for just about any occasion.

That's the end! No really, that ^ is the end of the book. Just as cute as the rest of the book! Teehee. 

Next Wednesday I'll be reviewing another Mollie Makes book, the second review in a month long series. I hope you come back because at the end of the series, I'll have a drawing for a copy of today's book. Hooray!

Happy crafting!