On-our-shelves Sunday: Book Review

This week, I have the privilege of reviewing this book:


The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction

by Christine Haynes

This book is a fantastic resource for all levels of sewists! With really clear photographs (which my visual mind needs) and a well-written narrative, it walks you through everything from installing zippers to sewing pintucks and darts.

The book is broken up into different sections: Tools of the trade, Working with patterns, Construction, Shaping a garment, and Finishing touches. Each section is chock-full of information pertaining to the title.

I am thrilled to have this in my sewing library. I know it will be referenced a lot!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review. As always, all opinions are mine mine mine.

Teach the One 2 Sew: Pillowcase

Over at Simple Simon &Co, they are hosting a series dedicated to teaching people to sew.


It began with the thought “What if everyone in the whole online sewing community taught just one person to sew?“.

What a beautiful thought.

I have had friends come up to me in past years and ask if I ever gave lessons. Why not? I guess I have always felt like I didn’t know enough, or I wasn’t qualified. Which now that I look back on it, was silly. Someone always knows more than you, but someone also always knows less. I could teach what I know, and that could be enough to help someone on their way to sewing.

So I decided to ask one of my friends if she wanted to have a lesson with me, with nothing expected in return (except for me to be able to photograph her and her project:). She was excited to learn!

She came over with a pillow that she has wanted to make a case for. It had been sitting there for quite a few months because she didn’t know where to start. I could totally help with that!


This is my friend Julie. She hasn’t touched a sewing machine since she was 16 in Home Ec class. She made this cover with an envelope closure for her pillow. She rocks!


We had such a good time. I am ecstatic to light a passion for sewing in someone else. Imagine the possibilities if everyone did this.

Who have you taught today?

Look to your inboxes

Make sure you check your inboxes today for the newsletter (if you signed up).


If you would like to sign up, but haven’t yet, never fear! Look over to the right side of your computer screen. You should see “Subscribe to the Falafel and the Bee newsletter” with a space for your email. Just enter your email and you will get them! It’s really like magic.

*The photo of the caterpillar is just a photo of a caterpillar*

Happy Friday everyone! Wait. It is Friday, right?

The loss of a pet

For Falafel’s 8th birthday 2 years ago, we adopted two pet rats. Maple and Marigold. Yesterday, Maple died.


Oh our girl loved that rat. It is so hard to know how to navigate loss. She has already experienced a large loss of her grandfather last year. This is slightly different, but hurts all the same. It was important to our Falafel that she was able to hold Maple one last time, and carry her to be buried. My husband dug a hole in the garden area since Maple always liked to eat the kale we grew. Our girl laid her pet in there with notes she wrote and little rocks and acorns and then shoveled the dirt herself. There were lots of tears.


I think the ritual helps even though loss is hard no matter how big or small. Maple will be missed.


Improving photography skills

If you subscribe to my newsletter, then you know this already. I have a confession to make.

I photograph on “Auto”!

Always have. I don’t actually know how to shoot manually. Not that it is terrible, but it is limiting. My sister-in-law bought me a book. I have looked at tutorials online. I even printed out a cheat sheet. Nope. It doesn’t completely make sense to me, and what’s more… I am scared to do it. Terrified!

Or at least I was.

Kelly from Handmade Boy has been giving me advice behind the scenes (you know she is made completely of awesome to take me on). She is really not only an amazing sewist (seamstress, sewer, stitcher, whathaveyou) but an excellent photographer.


*photo taken with permission. This is Kelly’s youngest modeling some of the clothes she made him for the year!*

You can find her also on FB in her group PDF pattern photography posse where lots of us troubleshoot and post about triumphs and  things we are working on. It is a great group to be in.


Remember the recent Senior photos I did? Well, I love the shots, but wasn’t completely satisfied with the quality. I had the opportunity to retake them and try out some of the things I have learned.


Plus, my model was such a beauty that it was really a pleasure to photograph her again.


Same location. Same time of day.  To quote Olaf from Frozen “I love it even more“.


I don’t think I will ever stop learning in any area of my life. No matter how much you know, there is always more. Always.

I fully embrace that and even enjoy it.

Thank you, Kelly, for giving me tips and sharing your wisdom with me in a really palatable way. You took the scary out of manual photography, which is a huge feat.

What have YOU learned today?

Costume round-up

It is that time again to start thinking, and planning, and sewing Halloween costumes!

I thought I would do a round-up of all the costumes I have blogged about these last 7 years (the age of my blog) to give you some inspiration for your own.

First, I started with some oldies, but goodies. Look at how little they were!!


Fire,  The artist and the Butterfly Princess Popeye and familyKing

And some fun accessories…


Fish bag for cat costume,  R2D2 Bag


 If you would like to see any of the tutorials or original posts, click on the highlighted links.

Hobbit Feet tutorial,

Merida from Brave

Harry Potter (or just magic) wands

Donkey Head


Little Red Riding Hood

Grey Wizard Hat/ Witch hat


Rosie the Riveter

Vintage Vet

Have you started on costumes yet? I think the kids both have decided, finally, on what they want to be this year.

What are your kids going as?

On-Our-Shelves Sunday

This is one of my girl’s favorite comics:


Johnny Boo

Zooms to the Moon

by James Kochalka

When there is a new-to-us book in a series that we already love, well, it is like Christmas! My Falafel let out a little squeal when she saw a new Johnny Boo on the library book shelves.

I have to say…I love that.

What new-to-you book is on YOUR shelves?

Top Stitchers: Where I Interview My Opponent

Hey everyone! Remember when I told you I am going to be on Top Stitchers again? Well, today you get to meet the lovely lady that I am up against…and what is even better is I GET TO INTERVIEW HER! Oh the power!

Becca allowed us to choose our own questions, which may or may not be a good thing. I will let you decide. I did restrain myself from asking her what kind of bird she would be if she could be a bird. So there’s that.

Firstly, here is a photo of this talented gal, Jonie Brooks.


Jonie blogs over at Knot Sew Normal where she will be interviewing me today!

Ahem. Let’s get to it. Here are my questions and her answers:

                How long have you been sewing?                                    

  I have been sewing off and on since I was a teen. However when I took home ec in high school I picked a skirt because it was the easiest project. I started sewing seriously after my daughter was born in 2008. 

What is the most unique material you have ever sewn with?

Hmmmmmm… I don’t know that I have ever sewn with anything too out there. I have sewn craft foam as part of a costume mock-up. 

Besides sewing, what other hobbies/skills/ interests do you have? 

I love photography, graphic design and drawing. I also love to garden. 

Who are some of your sewing gurus or role models? 

That is a hard one. I have several in different sewing areas. Of course first off is Amy Macdonald! She is amazing in every way. For the business side I love Virginia Lindsey of Ginger Cakes and Abbey Glassenberg of While She Naps. I love the tween and teen stuff you sew, there isn’t much out there for tweens and teens and you are always sewing up something beautiful.

What is one of your favorite post apocalyptic movies? And why?

I have a ton that I love, but probably my favorite is Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome. It is one of those movies I saw as a child and it just stuck with me. Plus it has Tina Turner in it! I also love The Postman and Waterworld with Kevin Costner. They didn’t get the best ratings, but I just love them. 

Thank you for being here today, Jonie (and for saying such nice things about me)! I look forward to seeing what you  create for the competition!

Head over to Knot So Normal to check out MY interview, too.