Monday, December 9, 2013

Giveaway: a bundle of craft books!

Hello friends!

Today is Giveaway Day on Sew Mama Sew, kicking off a week of fabulous giveaways all around blogland. And here on Stumbles & Stitches, we're offering up a bundle of 5 craft books -- your choice from the pile pictured and listed below! (Read on to find out the details.)

If you're visiting from Sew Mama Sew, WELCOME! Stumbles & Stitches is a conversation between 2 friends, Jenny and Angel. For the past 4 years, we've been sharing our craft projects (successes and failures both), as well as tutorials, spotlights on favorite artists, giveaways and book reviews.

Things have slowed down a bit over the past year, since Angel helped launch Kaleidoscope in Nashville and Jenny has been busy in Seattle with her Etsy shop and writing projects for upcoming sewing books. We still come by the blog, here and there, to share the latest, and we have a ton of great archives, so please stick around and browse a bit.

Back to the Giveaway: a bundle of craft books!

The winner of this giveaway will get to choose 5 books from a bunch of recent publications by Lark Crafts, photographed and listed below. ($75 estimated value. U.S. residents only, apologies to our international friends!) Lark Crafts graciously and regularly sends us books to review, and we're excited to share!

Available books:

Stitched Blooms: 300 Floral, Leaf & Border Motifs to Embroider by Carina Envoldsen-Harris
Print Collective: Screenprinting Techniques and Projects by Jenny Doh
Doodle Stitching: Embroidery and Beyond by Aimee Ray
Paper Blooms: 25 Extraordinary Flowers to Make for Weddings, Celebrations & More by Jeffery Rudell
Stamp It! DIY Printing With Handmade Stamps by Jenny Doh
Book Play: Creative Adventures in Handmade Books by Margaret Cogswell
Adventures in Pompom Land by Myko Diann Bocek
Sweet and Simple Jewelry by Aimee Ray
Wee Felt Worlds by Amanda Carestio
Paper Pups by Hiroshi Hayakawa
Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips From Top Artists by Jenny Doh
Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction by Abigail Glassenberg
Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go by Laura Wilson
Printing on Fabric: Techniques With Screens, Stencils, Inks & Dyes by Jen Swearington
Journal Your Way: Designing and Using Handmade Books by Gwen Diehn

** How to enter the giveaway **

  • Please leave a comment on this blog post. (One entry per person, please.) If you'd like, tell us which titles on this list look most appealing to you.
  • Make sure to include an email address if it's not included in your Blogger profile.
  • This giveaway is open until December 13 at 5 p.m. PST, at which point we will choose a random winner and will contact them by email.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, apologies to our international friends.
  • Void where prohibited.

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered! Congratulations to our winner, wobblybobbin!

Thanks for visiting Stumbles & Stitches! You can also find us on Facebook.

And before you leave, I'd like to plug a brand new book that will be released in February 2014. Shameless promotion! I am excited to have 2 projects featured in this book, including one on the cover! It's called Never Been Stitched: 45 No-Sew & Low-Sew Projects, edited by the lovely and talented Amanda Carestio for Lark Crafts. And you can pre-order it now!

Don't forget to swing by Sew Mama Sew to check out all the amazing giveaways happening this week!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween Costumes: King Cobra and Fireman!

Hello there!

I hope you all had a fabulous Halloween, with enough candy left over to get you through the dreaded and brutal time change...

Henry's costume was easy this year: he wanted to be a fireman, and we had the perfect costume ready to go in the dress-up basket. It was made by my mom a few years ago for my niece and it is awesome. We even had rain boots to match the jacket and helmet.

On the other hand, I had quite the Halloween sewing challenge this year, with Ben wanting to be a King Cobra snake. How do you make a person, with legs, look like a snake? I went into it a bit haphazardly, but I'm so happy with how his costume turned out, despite the legs!

Here are the boys on the way to school on Halloween morning:

I touched on inspiration for the costume in my previous Halloween post, and showed the "sketch" that Ben made me with his vision. Here are a few photos of the progress and construction, including my own sketch.

The main part of the costume is a simple fitted "poncho", or shell. There is Velcro on one of the shoulders, so Ben could take it on and off. The hood is attached to this shell. The hood is lined with a medium weight interfacing so it "flares" out on the sides like a proper Cobra head.

It took most of my Sunday to complete the shell with hood. At that point, I still had to make, stuff and attach the tail which took a few tries to get right (about an hour altogether). The last part of the construction was to tinker with both the hood and the tail to fit them properly on Ben's body. There was some hand-sewing involved, but minimal.

All in all, it was pretty much a one-day project. Not too bad! It is by far the best quality costume I've ever made. And it was quite the learning experience to sew with pleather (gold and light snake-skin) and stretchy denim (black snake-skin). I used 100% wool felt for the fangs and tongue, which made them very durable and unlikely to rip or tear.

And here's some Halloween cuteness, just because:

How was your Halloween? Did you have some costume-making successes? I'd love hear all about it. Please share links if you have them.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween Prep 2013!

Are you ready for Halloween? We have a firefighter and a king cobra in the family this year. How about you?

Henry's costume is easy: it's a hand-me-down from the cousins' dress-up box, made by my mom years ago. Henry has been trying it out regularly. He's so excited! He did bring up being a ballerina instead this morning, so I hope he doesn't change his mind at the last minute.

Ben's costume, as usual, is not so easy. He knew he wanted to be an animal again, or maybe something from Star Wars. He went down the list of his favorite animals -- including Secretarybird, Mongoose and Krill, I kid you not -- and finally decided on King Cobra.

Image borrowed from

My 6-year-old knows exactly what he wants and it is very specific. He wants a costume that looks like a real snake, made with fabric that looks like real snake skin. With a hood that creates a flare on either side of the head. And fangs.

Here's his vision of it, with views from the front and from the side:

I went to Joann's the other day, looking for "snake" fabric. I lucked out in the fashion textile departments with snake prints in black/gold and gold/brown. I also grabbed some pleather in gold and black.

I am still hashing out construction. I found this King Cobra Ninja costume online and like how the costume part fits like a poncho/shell over the black clothing. That might work well for our purposes. I shall report back soon...

Ben keeps asking "So, are you ever going to make my costume?". Gotta love the sassy First Grade attitude, oy! But I realized today that, well, he's got a point. How is it already October 17?!!! I'd better get sewing.

What costumes are you guys working on? Any cuckoo requests from your kiddos? Share links if you've got them!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hugo's Quilt

Hi Angel!

Oh. Em. Gee. It has been forever since we last posted! And, far too long since you and I last Skyped, ahem! I know Kaleidoscope is keeping you very busy. You'll need to give us a virtual tour here on the blog soon. I'm dying to find out more about this Community Center for the Arts you're growing in Nashville.

Fall is in full swing in Seattle. School is back in session and with it, playdates, soccer practice, swimming lessons and routine (hallelujah!). Before that, I have to admit we had a super summer -- intensely busy but wonderful. We went camping 5 times, heading out for 3-day weekends in various corners of Washington State. Family time, beautiful places, open-ended outdoor time, delicious local foods, hikes galor -- it filled my heart in the best of ways.

In August, we also paid a visit to my large immediate family in Austin and San Marcos, Texas. I have a brand new little nephew named Hugo and we got to meet him for the first time! In the weeks before our trip, as time allowed between camping, beach dates with friends and playground outings, I put together a baby quilt for Hugo. Here he is on it! My brother sent me this photo a few days ago -- it's nuts how much he's grown already!

Hugo's Quilt

And here's the full quilt (thank you, dear husband, for holding it and letting me boss you around while I took photos!):

Hugo's Quilt

Since I did take a good amount of photos of the quilt in progress, I thought I would provide a little info about the process.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Painting Triangles

Hi Angel,

I feel like I haven't posted in ages! I've had so much happening on the business side of my life, with lots of custom orders and my first experience with consignment in a brick-and-mortar shop. I also have been trying to stock my Etsy shop with new items.

But, "real" life goes on just the same. For example, the boys have been sick with the awful norovirus this past week. I've never done so much laundry, blech! On a funner note, our Spring Break occurred mid-April and my mom came to visit for a week! It was so wonderful to spend some quality time with her. The kids loved hanging out with Yaya and we sat down for some craft projects.

I had been wanting to paint some square wood panels to decorate our bathroom for a while. I took the opportunity of some rainy day crafting with my mom to get the paints out. Our bathroom walls are a nice shade of turquoise, while the floors are tiled in black in white. I thought some modern triangles featuring those colors along with others might be fun.

Jenny: Painting Triangles

Jenny: Painting Triangles

Jenny: Painting Triangles

I first tried out some large triangles with my watercolors. I love how vibrant the colors turned out, but despite a couple of layers, you can see every brush stroke -- not sure I like that.

Jenny: Painting Triangles

Jenny: Painting Triangles

Before I went any further, I tried smaller triangles and gouache paint on my other wood panel.

Jenny: Painting Triangles

What do you think?

Jenny: Painting triangles

I don't know whether to keep going, maybe add some additional colors -- a pop of red or fuchsia perhaps? -- or just paint over it all with a coat of white and start from scratch.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Catching up (and more burp cloths!)

Dear Angel,

Every time we connect for a speedy, interrupted chat on Skype, I end up missing you even more than before! It is so great to "see" you and hear your voice and all the exciting things brewing in your life. Can't wait to see how things develop!

Here in Seattle, Spring is here. Which means equal parts daffodils and tulips popping up everywhere and RAIN. Rain rain rain. You'll probably roll your eyes and say well, it's Seattle. But the well-kept secret of the Pacific Northwest is that it doesn't rain all that much. It is often cloudy and you do get quite a bit of sporadic drizzle. But real rain that soaks even your best rain jacket? That is reserved for Spring. The kids keep crying and whining because I repeatedly say "no" to the playground or riding bikes. And I want to whine too, especially since it's the time of year when every one of my friends on Facebook is bragging about enjoying sunshine and warm weather. Blah.

Anyway. On a positive note: I am reading a ton lately, and writing too. I have been doing yoga every weekday morning for THREE weeks now (with children and cat climbing all over me, but I see it as helping my zen). And I feel good and like I'm finally rediscovering my pre-baby body (aside from that damn belly pooch that ain't going nowhere... Where's my flat tummy, whah!!). I have been sewing a lot, mostly for custom orders and for my shop. And it feels good to be productive in a very tangible way. I have also been asked to put items on consignment in TWO local shops opening soon. I am going to be busy building that stock! And finally, Ben is on Spring Break next week and my Mom is coming to visit, whee!!! So, there is a lot of good stuff going on!!

Aside from sewing for work, I have made several baby gifts lately. Everyone is having babies around us. As you know, my favorite go-to gift is a set of embellished burp cloths tucked into a gift bag with favorite baby books, toys and/or accessories. Here are a couple of recent sets I made.

I LOVE the Bella fabric for this, it's possibly my favorite trio of burp cloths ever.

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts

For this other set, I also included a little Swaddle Softie.

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Well, I'm off to make some lunch. Henry has been asking for food for the past 30 minutes! I hope you have a lovely day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sponsor Focus: Felt on the Fly (and a giveaway!)

felt on the fly

Oh y'all, I am so excited to tell you a tiny bit more about Felt On The Fly today. As Jenny mentioned a few weeks ago, we (quite regularly) frequent our sponsors' shops, and Felt on the Fly is no different. I plan to have her gather up a new custom order for me soon, and Jenny just got some in the mail........we may have a problem, both of us. HA! (Stick around until the end of the post for a giveaway, you know you want to!)

Felt on the Fly has become my go-to shop for felt, and I'll tell you why: Janet knows felt! It's her focus and passion, it only takes asking her a few questions to unearth a wealth of knowledge. There is a reason that after over 8000 (that's right, eight THOUSAND) sales on Etsy, she has a 100% satisfaction rating. Last time I asked for a custom listing, she wrote back "Of course, you can have anything your little heart desires." I LIKE IT!

I know that for some folks, the cost of wool felt can seem like too much of an investment, especially that first time purchase (before you can feel for yourself how awesome it is.) I asked Janet what she would say the main difference is between her felt and other types that might be slightly less costly. Here's what she had to say:

One of the biggest differences between Felt On The Fly wool felt and other felts is that my wool felt was specifically created for handwork, sewing and crafting.  Many other felts (including the most popular wool-blend felt) were originally created for commercial purposes like industrial linings, sound proofing and padding in shipping crates.  The craft market for that type of felt was secondary and the manufacturing processes stayed the same. 

And, doesn't this make sense? Janet shares on her Felt on the Fly about page:

My motivation was to share this valuable resource with other like-minded artists and crafters who appreciate the best materials and understand that when you commit your time and talent to a project, it makes sense to invest in quality.

I cannot agree with this more! I purchased a custom listing of 20 pieces of felt right before the holidays, Janet brilliantly chose the colors for me, and I was so pleased by what she chose. I think she mentioned something about realizing I probably would not want a bunch of neon colors in our Etsy convo. Ha! That pack of felt served me VERY well during that last minute gift rush. (That plus an Anna Maria Horner fat quarter pack I ordered at the same time from Alewives!)

I think I showed you this before, through a scanned image, but I'll show it again to illustrate my point. I made about a dozen of these embroidered, felt and fabric "catchalls" for gifts, they were filled with rice and dried lavender I'd saved from my garden. They mostly went to family members, a few went to very good friends. I filled their little indentations with Lindt truffles and/or Babybearshop lip balms, depending on the recipient. They were so quick to make, and the amazing quality of the felt combined with the beautiful prints of the Anna Maria Horner fabric were such a pleasure to work with and give.

Embroidered felt and fabric catchall

Embroidered felt and fabric catchall

Embroidered felt and fabric catchall

Janet has generously offered one of her gorgeous 100% merino wool felt "color stories" to one lucky reader! It's the "water lily" palette, isn't it fabulous? Just head down to the Rafflecopter widget and earn up to three entries. Good luck!

The giveaway closes as midnight EST on Saturday 4/6. Sorry, US entries only. We will choose one random winner and announce the name in this post on Monday. The lucky winner will also be contacted via email. (Total giveaway value: $15. Void where prohibited.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Is it Spring yet?

Happy Easter!

Good morning! I was up with the birds this morning, as usual, and thought I'd write a post before everyone else wakes up and starts NEEDING THINGS. (Well shit, Ian just woke up! I'll crank it out......and I'll be glad it's not a video blog b/c he has terrible gas this morning. BOYS!!!!!)

Speaking of boys, here's a photo of that special moment Ian and Silas shared last week, when Silas had the Spring Break stomach virus:


That picture reminds me to tell you, the Make Do sets you sent us for Christmas have been a HUGE hit! We have made robots, hats, a hideout, and the "safe saw" is Silas's new favorite thing. He begs for cardboard to cut with that thing, and it's really great for his hand/eye coordination too. So, THANK YOU! It filled many hours of yucky weather, inside time.

So, the weather here in Nashville has been..........unusual. I know we're not alone in this, I'm starting to have a better idea what your summer was like last year, Jenny! It is usually 70 degrees during the day here by now, we've been lucky to hit 50 lately. And gray skies almost every afternoon. Hmmmm, it IS starting to sound like Seattle! This has seriously affected my mood, I need warmth! I just feel like I can't get warm lately, and I spend a lot of time in a hot bath. Soon enough it will be 100 degrees in the shade, so I should probably just get over it.....

It's 5:30 a.m., and I have already retrieved two bowls of cereal (the first was rejected) and am now listening to what has to be the loudest, most obnoxious cereal eating, ever. Someone suggested I teach Ian about table manners, if I had a nickel for every time I have asked that kid to close his mouth while he chews I'd have a pretty good monthly income coming in. I literally asked him to close his mouth twenty seconds ago, could this be a mouth breathing issue? He wakes up shortly after I do every morning, and loves to eat cereal first thing. To say his eating ruins my morning is exaggerating, but let's just say if he was my roommate in college instead of my kid, I'd have probably kicked him in the shins already this morning. The next food offered will be something soft and incapable of making noise. Anyway, I digress. Back to things!

Oh Jenny, your family's poor Christmas box! And now, your birthday has passed too. I think I might just throw it out the front door at the mail lady today, that would increase its chances of reaching you greatly. Here's a picture of the box! Yesterday Ian said, "Mom, do you REALIZE how long ago Christmas was? When are you going to send this?"


In other news, we are in remodeling limbo here. Our kitchen is in desperate need of an update, I've been using the broiler at varying temperatures instead of the "bake" function because the stove is on its last leg! But we are going to install a gas cook top, the kind that goes into a cabinet, and then I'll have the oven in the opposite wall. I think! We haven't figured it out yet. It's been such a cold, dreary Spring so far that I desperately need to change things around in the house for my own sanity, but with big changes on the horizon (probably in the Summer) I can't do anything permanent. I decided some new napkins would help, I could only find three of them that were clean but I made about eight? I need to make about eight more! I used some of the fat quarters you gave me from Drygoods, and looked at your napkin post for help.

Angel: Fat Quarter napkins

I also printed off some recent favorite images from the internet, I'm just sticking them up on the wall with washi tape. It's kind of college dorm, but who are we kidding? I'M college dorm most of the time, and living with two small boys and one large boy, it IS like a college dorm around here.





Did I tell you about our Tennessee Aquarium trip? I love Chattanooga so much, it is a great little town and only a few hours away from us. Perfect day trip now that the boys are older, too. We bought a year long pass, with two visits it pays for itself and we'll go back at least once more in twelve months, I am sure. Most of the pictures Lee took are actually videos, I only have a few! This sea turtle one can suffice for now, until I can go through the rest.


My creative self has been struggling, the weather is not helping! I started a piece called "Emerging Spring", I like where it is going so far. It's more of an experiment than anything, I have pulled out many, many stitches and the felt is starting to look a little "holey". I've been watching this embroidery series at Creativebug, I have learned SO much. I really need to use that site more as a subscriber! There are so, so many great classes on there right now, some are even offered for free, to anyone. Here's a preview of what I'm working on, I'll post more pictures later today when I do a Spotlight on Felt on the Fly.

Angel: "Emerging Spring"

OK, I must go. I can't believe how clunky I am at HTML! This has taken me forever. Also, a "second breakfast" is being requested, and the other two are not even awake yet. Hope you have a great day!


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