Fabric Pumpkins Tutorial

Looking for an easy DIY pumpkin? Look no further! Here’s a cute way to make them out of fabric. You could even have an older child make or help make…

Free Pattern Features: Halloween Pillows

Looking for ways to add some Halloween fun to your decor? On Craft Buds we’ve featured Halloween printables, fabric pumpkins, and owl smores. Lots of other crafty sites have been…

Jack-o’-Lantern Shirt Stencils

Looking to add some Halloween fun to your family’s wardrobe? Here’s a shirt idea for either you or your kids to make. It would also be a fun project for…

Book Review: Mixed and Stitched + Giveaway

Jen Osborn’s new book Mixed and Stitched (North Light Books) shows off mixed-media techniques that combine cloth, paper, stitching and printing.

Mixed and Stitched book

Her technique is not polished or precise, but that’s the appeal. The book starts off with “Forget-the-Rule Techniques,” which shows off a process Jen calls stove-top alchemy (dyeing fabrics in the kitchen). She also delves into drawing on fabric graffiti-style and the proper tools for sewing together unusual items, like fabric and cardstock, chipboard, photographs, ticket stubs and more.

Mixed and Stitched bird pillow

In addition to techniques, the book includes 16 projects to get your imagination flowing, including the Feather Your Nest Pillow, made with hand-dyed fabric and designer prints.

Mixed and Stitched Apron

The Art Apron is the stunner of the book, with the main panels salvaged from pants and skirts. The apron gets dressed up with pretty patchwork, pockets and decorative stitching. She also smartly uses the already hemmed edges of pants to create the new bottom “hem” of the apron. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Each project has step-by-step photos to show the tutorial, so the book reads very much like a sewing blog, which is a plus in my book.

Mixed and Stitched bag

The Out-and-About Purse is a stand-out with its stitched fabric leaf and vintage button embellishment. The photography in this book is bright and crisp, and the projects have the appropriate air of whimsy for a mixed-media project book.

The book comes with pattern shapes you can photocopy, but the projects are made mostly from measurements and many do not require any pattern pieces. Jen includes some quirky, almost gothic embroidery designs (i.e. skull minus the cross-bones) in the back as well, which she suggests readers can copy to hand-dyed fabric with transfer paper and then stitch. Some of the designs are cutesy and not as edgy, like the “be a songbird” and “silly bear” designs.

My Project

After digging into Jen’s mind, I decided to try some mixed media art of my own. I enjoy making cards, so I though this would be a good way to break into a mixed media style like Jen’s projects.

Mixed Media cards

For these bird note cards, I roughly cut a rectangle of linen fabric to the size of the card front, and machine stitched to the cardstock. The sentiments were borrowed from the sayings in Jen’s book, and I printed them on regular paper using my computer and printer. The bird images are stickers. Some fabric, buttons and decorative stitching finished off the cards!

Mixed and Stitched book and cards

Overall, I think the projects in this book are awesome, and I’m looking forward to making an apron in the style of the Art Apron. What do you think of mixed media in your crafting?

Don’t forget to leave a comment on Monday’s post for your chance to win a copy of this book! We’ll draw a winner on Friday.

Sponsor Spotlight: Craft Book Month

We couldn’t host Craft Book Month without support from our sponsors! If you love to support the handmade community, these hard-working and inventive shop owners are a great place to start.

Pattern Patti has some super cute e-patterns for sale, which will get you off to a great start sewing handmade gifts for the holiday season. She has some new patterns in her shop including this kindle sleeve and a cute mini tote bag with letter applique.

New Kindle Sleeve pattern

Pattern Patti Sewing Patterns

Shopping for holiday gifts instead of making your own? There’s a cute little Etsy shop I know you’re going to love, called My Little Sunshine Handmade. You can get ready for fall with this wool hobo satchel!

Wool Hobo Satchel

My Little Sunshine Handmade

Goofing Off‘s vintage sewing patterns and notions are perfect for unlocking your inner Betty Draper. Just check out this rare vintage buttonholer from Singer!

Vintage Button Holer

Goofing Off vintage sewing patterns

Reminder: Enter this week’s book giveaway through Friday, September 23! And, you can still enter your craft book project here through September 30 for a chance to win some great prizes.

 

Here are some more Craft Buds and Craft Book Month sponsors  . . . We just can’t get enough of them!

22 Free Patterns - Download Now

Lifestyle Crafts 20% Discount Sis Boom

Does Your Craft Book Proposal Stand Out?

I’m happy to welcome Tonia Davenport to Craft Book Month! Tonia is the acquisitions editor at North Light Books (a division on F+W Media focusing on craft book titles). She is also a mixed-media artist and a jewelry designer.

Tonia is here to tell us some more about how to write a craft book, including putting that proposal together and selling your idea to the right publisher for your work.

Tonia Davenport

Tonia, how did you get into your career in craft book publishing?

I get asked this question a lot. Prior to working as an editor, I had been a professional picture framer for ten years (with a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications [a.k.a., commercial art/graphic design]). I absolutely loved framing because it exercised both halves of my brain as well as let me work with my hands. But after ten years I felt I had pretty much mastered the art and I was ready to grow in a new direction.

I had adored building something to house art and after having seen an employment ad for a craft book editor’s position at North Light, a light bulb went off when I considered the possibility of building something to house craft instruction. I had been a craft book junkie for years and was very excited at the prospect of “building books” which I hadn’t really thought of before. While I had no formal education in English, nor any job experience in editing, I did have a passion for books, making things and writing. In fact, my mom tried to encourage me to take that path in collage, but I chose the art route.

I am a firm believer in the power of intention setting. I got the job—my dream job, really—and it’s been a rewarding, fun and fascinating journey ever since. (I’ve had the job for eight years now.) Believe in what you know you can do.

Take Along Knitting book
How does a book goes from a mere concept to a reality?

It takes a special kind of concept for a book to work well—a concept composed of three key elements.

First, the content must be extensive enough to fill at least 128 pages. Many times people have really great ideas for using a small handful of techniques on a whole lotta projects and the projects all look GREAT. But the process used to make them is the same. So there just isn’t enough to say to keep the book compelling without being repetitive. As my coworkers love to say, these are ideas that would make great magazine articles. It takes not a few great ideas, but many great ideas to fill a book.

Second, the concept must appeal to one of our core audiences. On the F+W Media Craft Team, we have several categories that we publish in, including sewing and quilting, knitting and crochet, jewelry, papercrafts, scrapbooking and, of course, my personal favorite, mixed-media art. Within each of these categories, we have unique audiences with different needs and likes. What works as a papercrafting book for one publisher, may not work for another. As editors, we get to know intimately what our audiences have come to expect from us in terms of project styles and technique levels.

Stitched Whimsy

Third, the bottom line is, your art or work must be attractive and of good quality. I realize this can be subjective, so I will say it has to be attractive to the acquisitions editor. Again, we know our readers and we are seasoned at being able to tell if they would be inspired and excited about a project or not.

So, with those three components in mind, a proposal is developed from a concept and submitted to an acquisitions editor. It is reviewed and if it’s deemed worthy of pitching the concept to the board that approves publication, it’s fine-tuned, presented and  approved.

It takes roughly one year from the time the book is proposed until it hits the bookshelf. The “reality” of the forming of a book involves many people: the author, the acquisitions editor, the production editor, the designer, photographers, stylists, production managers, marketing experts and sales people. Each of these people touch the book as it goes from a concept into a published work.

Twisted Stitches book

What are the basic components of a good book proposal?

  • A short one-to-two sentence summary of what your book is about or aims to do.
  • An outline. Organize what you would like to see go into a book by using an old-fashioned outline. Divide what you want to present into sections (which could go by technique or theme) and include details such as what projects might look like and what techniques will be used for each.
  • Good sample projects! Think of a portfolio. You don’t want the acquisitions editor to have to use her imagination to see that the prototype you whipped up in an afternoon can actually look much better if you were to spend some real time on it. Show your best work. Your BEST. Great first impressions are incredibly valuable.
  • Contact info and platform. Include your full name as you would want it to appear on a book, address, phone number, e-mail and blog/website URL. Also let the acquisitions editor know how you plan to promote the book. Will you sell the book at workshops you teach at? Will you mention various things from the book to your Facebook friends? An impressive platform will set you apart from someone else with a similar proposal.
  • We also offer submission guidelines on our company’s website. Providing the answers to these questions along with your proposal is very helpful. (It also helps you know what we are looking for.)

New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry

How do you see the craft book industry changing with the technology available today? (E-books, e-patterns, blogs, etc.)

Good question! It’s becoming more and more challenging for publishers to compete with content available on the Internet. We are simply having to rethink ways of delivering content apart from just the printed form. This can sometimes make the justification of publishing a book more of a challenge because we have to ask ourselves, “What will this paperback book offer the reader that is exclusive and cannot be easily found for free online?” At F+W Media, meeting the changing needs of enthusiasts is top priority and we are changing daily to keep up with the digital needs of our audience—constantly making improvements and rethinking how we do things. There is a lot of excitement over new possibilities.

Mixed and Stitched book giveaway

Do you have any tips for aspiring craft book authors?

Go to the bookstore! Look in the craft section (as well as on your own shelf) and see what pops out at you. Look through books and, note who the publisher is for books you like. Equally important is to see what’s already out there. Decide what you can do differently. Know not only what your competition is going to be, but who might be best suited to publish your book.

Giveaway!

North Light is generously giving away a copy of Jen Osborn’s new book Mixed and Stitched to one lucky Craft Buds reader! To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post telling us something you’ve learned from this interview or a question you have about craft book publishing. We’ll draw a winner this Friday, 9/23. This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to comment #21, Jil!

Also this week, stay tuned for a review of Mixed and Stitched and some other fun surprises.

Winner! Out of 106 comments, the winner of the Sewing with Oilcloth giveaway is #20, Valerie, who said, “I’ve never done it, but I am interested in trying it for Christmas gifts!” Congrats Valerie!

Your Projects: Craft Book Month

Craft Book Month has been such a blast so far, with some great projects being linked up on the main post. Here are a few things you’ve shared so far!

Jennifer linked up her Dreaming Under Dresdens Quilt, which was inspired by the book Material Obsession. Gorgeous!

Dresden Plate Quilt

Kelly’s handmade skewer book was a project from the book Handmade Decorative Books. What a cool method of book-binding!

Handmade Skewer Book

Sara stitched up the Blossom Bag, which is a free pattern. It’s from the Amy Butler book Style Stitches, and looks fabulous in Echino fabric!

Blossom Bag from Sew Sweetness

Anja whipped up a darling windbreaker from the book Sewing Clothes Kids Love, and it even has a fun media player pocket on the sleeve.

Sewing Clothes Kids Love

Amorette linked up this Quick Change Tabletop Set from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones book. Great fabric choice, and super functional project!

Quick Change Tabletop

And Mary finished up a huge, colorful quilt from a pattern in Passionate Patchwork by Kaffe Fassett. We are super impressed that she’s been working on the Handkerchief Quilt for the last two years, with fabric that she’s had stashed since 2004!

Handkerchief Quilt

If you haven’t yet, you still have a couple weeks to link up your project from a craft book for a chance to win prizes! We’ll announce the random winners from all entries received by September 30.

Free Patterns from Books: Kids’ Toys + Winner

We’re in our third week of free patterns from books after looking at patterns for the home, and patterns for bags. Up this week are kid’s toys and softies!

From Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose Scarves (Lark): Hoppy the Bunny

 

From Sockology (Stash): Be Free, Piggy Softies

 

From Make Stuff Together (Wiley): Appreciation Banner

 

From Girls World (Chronicle): Glitter Badges and Chloe Paper Doll Bag

From Socks Appeal (Stash): Striped Owl Softie

 

As we’ve mentioned before, you can use one of these patterns to participate in the Craft Book Month linky party through the end of September! And, our winner of the book Sewing for Boys by Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage from Wiley is Cat, #30 chosen by random.org, who said, “I am getting ready to have a little boy in 6 weeks . . . would love to get to play with this book! Plus the authors are going to be teaching in Portland soon.  One more reason to move to Portland!” Congratulations Cat on your win and your little guy! I’ve sent you an e-mail.

And don’t forget, you still have until Monday to enter the giveaway for the book Sewing with Oilcloth!

Sewing with Oilcloth Book Giveaway

Sewing with Oilcloth book stack

Kelly McCants (a.k.a. Modern June and Oilcloth Addict on Etsy) has just released her first book, Sewing with Oilcloth.

The book is published by Wiley and incorporates sewing projects with oilcloth, laminated cottons and chalk cloth, a fabric you can actually write on like a chalk board. Fun!

Remember this free pattern we shared last week? This Chalk Cloth Table Runner is from Sewing with Oilcloth!

Here’s a video showing a sneak peek of many projects in the book and the materials used.

 

Giveaway!

One Craft Buds reader will win a copy of this gorgeous book, plus a sampling of oilcloth from Kelly’s shop. To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me about something you’ve sewn with oilcloth or what you like about it. One winner will be announced on Monday, September 19. Update: The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to commenter #20, Valerie!

Thanks Kelly! For more peeks at this book, check out some previous stops on the blog tour:

Thursday, September 1: MADE
Friday, September 2: Craft
Monday, September 5: True Up and Craft Gossip
Tuesday, September 6: Oilcloth International
Wednesday, September 7: Average Jane Craft
Thursday, September 8: Prudent Baby
Friday, September 9: Craft Sanity
Monday, September 12: Crafty Pod
Tuesday, September 13: Sew Mama, Sew
Wednesday, September 14: Apron Memories
Thursday, September 15:  Here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...