Blog Tour | Acorn Valley by Patty Young

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Well hello!!!  Its mid week and I know that means its time for a pick me up, how about you??  I know pretty fabrics always work for me… want a peek at something new??   This Acorn Valley line from Patty Young is sure to make you swoon, I promise!

This gorgeous new line designed for Riley Blake should be hitting your fabric store shelves soon.  With 5 beautiful prints in 3 different colorways, available in both knit and flannel, there is sure to be something (or like me lots of somethings) that you’ll need.

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After deciding to sew up the Melanie Dress from Modkid I chose the Main print in green, the Leafy Chevron in teal and the Bloom Dot in red.

These fabrics (as with any of the Riley Blake knits) were a dream to work with.  They wash up nice and soft and retain their shape when sewn and worn.

I’m ashamed to admit this is our first sew of the Melanie dress.  Holy cow I love it!!  So did my daughter, so I see a few more of these as we work on our fall school wardrobe.  With 3 sleeve lengths, its perfect for every season.

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I did make a few adjustments, because i’m down an iron right now (yes I know, a seamstress with no iron… blasphemy!! haha!)   Instead of the binding on the pockets I just added a simple band at the top, same with the neckline.  I was able to manage the hem without one so, yay!!!  Cause I might have been running out of ideas!

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This girl was so silly, she just would not stand still… we were definitely working out some sillies from our day.  Even better when a friend walked by and was making her laugh harder.

 

Needless to say we had a good time… and that’s what’s important!!    Now… don’t stop reading just yet, honestly the most important stuff is still coming and you will not want to miss what I have to share!!

First…. a giveaway, we all love those right???

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Are you just loving the Acorn Valley line??  Want to win some flannels??  Patty has graciously offered to give away a box of one yard cuts!!  You can ENTER HERE!!!

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Also be sure to follow along on the rest of the tour, we are just getting started!!  There will be tons of inspiration for the Acorn Valley line as well as Modkid patterns.

Monday 7/11: Riley Blake & Modkid

Friday 7/15: Coral & Co. & Pearberry Lane

Monday 7/18: Sweet KM & 2 Little Hooligans

Thursday 7/21: Flamingo Toes & Quilting Gallery

Friday 7/22: Ameroonie Designs

 

Saving the best for last…. a DISCOUNT!!   Ready to make your own Melanie dress????

You can use the code AcornValley2016 to get 25% off your entire purchase in the Modkid Etsy Store!!  Coupon is valid the full length of our tour, so until July 22nd at midnight EST.

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Tuesdays are for Teaching – Kids Sewing Series Day 3

Hey all!!  I’m so sorry we missed everyone last week!  We had some family things come up out of town and were out for a few days.   Hope you don’t mind catching up today.

I left this week’s lesson up to Ryleigh.  She said she really wanted to learn how to sew curves better so that she can make some different shaped pillows so that is what we focused on.


I can’t remember if I mentioned before but i’m not a huge fan of stitching on paper.  It has a different feel going through the feed dogs and I think that learning and practicing on fabric is just a better use of her time.  So that being said, here’s how we practice.  I bought super inexpensive muslin ($1.99/yard plus 40% off)  and cut it into blocks.  Then with a permanent marker I draw lines or shapes.   This is a super easy way to incorporate lots of the techniques she’s learning.  She knows to back-stitch at the  beginning of each activity, clip her threads and I always add in some pivoting.


She thinks’s its fun to do the same shapes and test herself to see if she improves from one to the other and I love that its something she can do independently.   I’m going to start keeping a small stack of ready to use sheets with her stuff so that when she spends time at the studio with me she can practice anytime.

We also talked about threading her bobbin.  The Sparrow has a drop in bobbin so it’s pretty simple. And they have an amazing threading guide with arrows that makes it even easier to get it right each time.  A few times through and she had it down!

I do admit, I love when she can work independently, which is becoming more and more as she builds her confidence and skill on the machine.  It gives me time to work on some pattern testing among a few other projects (aka cleaning up my space lol)

While she worked on curves, I got to sew up these cute shorts that we were testing from Lil Luxe Collection.  The Papillon Shorties have an adorable scalloped yoke with optional piping and an elastic back and come in both a low and high rise waist.  I’ll share a few more pictures of these tomorrow!

Tutorial – Envelope Pouch

As promised, I wanted to share this quick tutorial with you all from Ryleigh’s lesson yesterday in Day 2 of our Kids Sewing Series.

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The dimensions you use can vary to give you a variety of sizes, making this super versatile.  We’ve used them for gift giving, books or gift cards are perfect in them!  They can store small toys and treasures or you can get fancy and use a laminated fabric to make re-usable sandwich/snack bags.  Really the possibilities are endless!

For this one I started with 2 rectangles cut 7″x 10.5″.
Fold one piece in half so the long sides match.
Using a ruler, lined up with the folded corner, measure down 3″ and cut.
Repeat with the second piece.


Starting at the bottom, sew around all edges, leaving a 3″ gap to turn it right side out.
Turn right side out, clip all corners (being careful not to go through your stitching) and then press.


Now, for a way to close our pouch.  You could do a button here if you’d like, or snaps, but for this one we are using velcro.  The best way i’ve found to be sure the closures line up is to fold it up as if it was finished.  Take a pen or something similar and press down in the location you want your closure.  As long as you press hard enough, you will see the indentions on both sides and can easily mark the spots.

Lastly, stitch across the shortest straight edge and then fold the bottom up as shown and top stitch from one corner all the way around to the other.


I’d love to hear your ideas on what else these could be used for!  And if you’ve made any please link up in the comments, I love seeing your projects!!

Here is another one Ry made, this one is storing Shopkins:)

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Tuesdays are for Teaching – Kids Sewing Series Day 2

Welcome back!!  We are taking on a few new skills today while teaching my 8 yr old how to navigate a sewing machine.  I know last week I promised a tutorial and that Ry would have something to add but it is after all summer vacation and highly unpredictable so I apologize that those things are running a tad behind but you won’t have to wait long, I have on good authority that you’ll see a tutorial tomorrow.

On day 2 of our instruction we worked on a small pouch.  Knowing how she learns best, I know that having something she can walk away with will keep her attention more than anything so we picked a small project that would incorporate several of the things I wanted to go over today –

  • sewing to connect 2 pieces of fabric and how to keep them together while sewing
  • pivoting at corners and points
  • turning a project
  • ironing
  • edge stitching /top stitching
  • zig zag stitch

So lets get started… kids and pins.  Not the best combination but there are other options to keep your fabric in place vs pinning.  My personal preference is Wonder Clips* by Clover.  These aren’t just awesome for kids but are also great for holding pieces together that might be too thick for pins, or with materials such as vinyl or leather that pins will leave holes in.

You can also use Wonder Tape*.  We are going to use it later in this lesson when we add the velcro to our pouch but Jenn over at A Jennuine Life talks about using it in place of pins during her Tiny Sewists Series.   This is a great follow along series, especially for younger kids.

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The pouch we are making today is a great way to learn pivoting since it has a few different points to address.  There are right angles at the corners but also, the point at the top of the flap, and the also the wider point at the bottom of the flap.  To help Ryleigh learn where to stop stitching and pivot I added some dots using an erasable pen.   They will be on the inside, so not visible, but its nice to know it can removed if needed.  We also mark where to start/stop to leave the opening for turning.

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I think the most difficult thing we tackled here is remembering to keep the needle down before lifting the presser foot but once she started remembering that, things went pretty smooth.

We clipped the corners and discussed that we clip those to help reduce the bulk when its turned.  Then using a knitting needle, the pouch was turned and she worked the corners out, being careful not to push too hard to avoid going through the fabric.

 

Ironing…this part made me a little nervous but its something that she needs to know.  I kept the steam off for now until she is a little more comfortable and i think that helped her from being afraid of it.  She learned to smooth out the fabric first and then iron with slow motions keeping her other hand out of the way.  She did an amazing job!

Using the overlock foot that came with the machine, she top stitched the bottom edge that we had left open to turn the pouch.  While it may not be the fully intended purpose, it works great for helping line up stitches along the edge of a fabric, and i think really helps instill a little extra confidence.

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For the closure we went with velcro, this was a great way to introduce the zig zag stitch. Since a straight stitch and zig zag will really work for almost all sewing projects, I’m only focusing on those with her right now.  It will be a lot of fun to play with the over 200 decorative stitches on the Sparrow but first we master the basics.  This machine is super easy for her to make changes to the stitches.  It’s making my job pretty easy:)

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Using the same overlock foot, she carefully went around the velcro like she’s been doing it for years.  Definitely impressed me!

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Back to a little more top stitching and pivoting to finish up the pouch and she’s done!

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She’s so proud of  her work, which is honestly the best part of our lessons!!

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UPDATE- tutorial now listed here!

*Affiliate links.  I am careful to only share links to items we actually love and use.  I enjoy sharing my favorites with you all and appreciate your support by clicking on them.

Tuesdays are for Teaching – Kids Sewing Series Day One

Well, here we are a new week.  Everyone surviving in the insane heat?  One thing I’ll never get used to in the midwest is the humidity, BUT we can always make the most of it and find some great indoor activities right?  Bet you can’t guess what I’m about to suggest?? Yep, you got it!   Sewing!

My 8 year old has been asking to learn for awhile now, and a few months ago, we started some very basic instruction to get her going but skipped a lot of the fundamentals.  We are going back to basics and starting fresh.  I’m going to be sharing along the way, so be sure to check on Tuesdays over the next few months.

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While I know not everyone can start with a new machine, Ry was SO excited when this box arrived for her.  I’d been in contact with the wonderful people at EverSewn and Brewer Sewing Supplies and they generously sent one of the new Sparrow 25 machines for her to work with.  We are going to talk all about the features this machine has to offer as she learns them, but if you just can’t wait, you can check out the details here.  I took some time to play with the machine a bit before we started and I have to say this machine has a lot to offer for a great price point.  I think she might have more features than the machine I sew on, haha!  I’ll come back to some of my thoughts another day, but for now lets get back to setting this bad boy up.

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EverSewn Sparrow 25
One of the most important things to start with is positioning.  We originally started setting up on one of my counters and it was just too high for her to reach properly.  By the time we lowered the chair to reach the pedal, the machine was at her shoulders.  We went out and found this little gem of a table at a local surplus store so right now it isn’t beautiful but its just the right height without being too small.  (we’ll be refinishing it but thats for another day too, haha)

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I think she’s set- feet touch the floor, she is high enough to see the machine easily and has enough room to feed fabric through the back.  Let’s move on to learning how to thread the machine.

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This is a necessity.  I really want her to come and hang out in the studio with me but its also important that she can be working independently.  While i’m happy to help I need to know that she can change thread to move through projects on her own.  Even that aside, it is something that she needs to be able to do.

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We practiced a few times and with the help of the guide arrows on the machine, she is flawlessly threading a new spool completely on her own.  Right down to using the automatic threader.   We also walked through how to load the bobbin.  With the drop in bobbin, she picked that up pretty quickly so I think we are ready to start moving to some fabric.

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Keeping our fingers out of the way! 
While she has done some sewing before I wanted to make sure she understood this machine and where things are since it’s a little different the one she worked on before.  We kept things simple this time:

  • Adjusting the speed to a place that is comfortable to her
  • Starting and stopping using the pedal (there is a start/stop button too but we will come back to that)
  • Backstitching
  • Hand positioning

 

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Raising and lowering the presser foot

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We only turn the dial TOWARDS us! 
Using some scraps we practiced just a straight line, backstitching at the beginning and end and pulling our fabric out.  She loves that it has a thread cutter on the side and insists on using that, even when there are scissors everywhere you turn!

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The thread cutter – its the little things in life, haha! 
We are going to work on a little pouch later this week with the skills from this lesson so check back to see how it turns out!  I will also be letting Ry take over my blog on Friday to share some of her thoughts about how things are going, I promise you won’t want to miss that!

 

Pattern Review | The Best of the Class Dress

Woo! We made it through another week!   I was thinking a good way to round this week out was a pattern review.  I usually get to do this over on the Pattern Revolution blog so i’m excited to be doing this one here.

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This pattern is still a relatively new pattern, releasing just a few months ago.  It’s the first pattern for Wei, also owner at One Red Blossom Fabrics.

The Best in the Class pattern is currently available in the One Red Blossom Craftsy Shop at the remarkable price of only $4.99!  This includes sizes 2T – 12, in regular and slim versions.

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One of the things I have to say that I appreciate about this pattern is the minimal amount of pages to print.  I don’t mind measuring to cut rectangles but i’m not a fan of taping huge pieces together when I can just measure.  I know this is a personal preference as some people don’t want to measure, or maybe still cut patterns with scissors but as someone who uses a rotary, its both a time and paper saver.

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The fit of the dress was spot on.  I made this for a neighbor and it could not have fit better.  with the 2 rows of elastic casing across the back and the adjustable ties, it can be tailored perfectly for any child.

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I also learned something new.  For as long as i’ve made ties, I can admit i’ve never done them this way and I actually am so glad to have learned the method that Wei shares to get the points nice and even.  I have always stitched right sides together and turned them but I think you will like the bias directions she uses.

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I would say it this is an ideal pattern from beginners to more seasoned sewists who can add their own style or flair to it.  The pieces all fit together nicely with no altering or changes needed.

 

I will make one suggestion, really more of a tip.  When I added the ruffle, I used 2 strips of Wondertape, one for each side of the strap before sandwiching the ruffle piece in.  This kept the ruffle from shifting while I sewed and attached the straps.  Wondertape is one of my favorite helpful notions and is something I always keep handy for jobs where its a littl harder to use pins or where you need to keep something extra secure while your stitching.

 

Lastly, I have to give a huge shout out to a few friends that always help accessories my outfits when I need them!!  Lisa from BellaLuPretties has been supplying us with bows for a few years now, they are always perfect and add just the right touch.  And Julie from Chestnut Street Duds makes the most gorgeous necklaces that are amazing for kids without being too juvenile, my daughter always loves them!

 

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** Please note, there are affiliate links used in this post.
I was given the pattern free of charge to try and provide an impartial review.  I was not compensated in any other way by any of the products/companies used in this review.

Blog Tour | Desert Bloom by Amanda Herring for Riley Blake

Imagine my excitement when an email popped up from designer Amanda Herring of The Quilted Fish, inviting me to join in on this amazing blog tour of her newest fabric collection, Desert Bloom.

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It’s gorgeous, so of course I jumped at the chance.  Knits are really my favorite to sew with, so I was even more excited to see that of the 27 prints in this collection, six of them came in knit!   Knits from Riley Blake have always washed up so soft and have such beautiful colors, and these definitely did not disappoint.

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I chose the Main in Gray and the Stripe in Red.  I had initially thought about doing palazzo pants and a tank (since my model has such grown up tastes these days) but when the fabric arrived I knew it would make a gorgeous dress that would be casual enough for her to wear everyday, but sweet enough to work for nicer occasions as well.

One of the patterns that hasn’t left my cutting table lately is the Summer Surprise from Sofilantjes.  I decided to slim the bodice of the top a little and take inspiration from the Solis dress skirt.

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I just love the back bow from this pattern!

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I did adjust to make a 3/4 circle skirt instead of a full circle just to work with the amount of fabric I had.  Still nice and twirly though!!

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I had such a hard time narrowing down the photos for this shoot, so I apologize for the picture overload!  I just can’t resist sharing sometimes, she has such an awesome personality, I just love this girl❤

How about a few outtakes? haha!

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I want to thank Amanda again for inviting me to join in.  And for the for the amazing gift she sent before we got started.  Isn’t this just the cutest box of all things Utah?  That taffy… omg so good!!  I can’t promise it lasted more than a few days haha😉

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Want to follow along with more Desert Bloom inspiration?  Check out the other stops on our tour!
Blog Tour Schedule

 

Happy 2nd Anniversary Sofilantjes!!

I’m thrilled to be helping celebrate Sofilantjes’ 2nd Anniversary!  Anne is an amazing designer and her patterns are so well loved in our house.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be on her testing team for several patterns and I’m always in awe of her unique ideas.


It’s always a huge plus for me when I can use the same patterns for both kids.  I have a horrible  wonderful pattern buying habit and I suppose being able to reduce a few here or there is probably helpful, haha!  Even better, is when you can (with a little experience) throw a few patterns together to get something completely new!


The Summer Surprise Top has been on my list to try for awhile now.  It has a sweet back bow and little pleat in the front that takes just a simple tee/tank and bumps it up a notch.

The Domi Sweats are in my tried and true stack of bottom patterns.  We love the rounded pockets (although Miss Thang said she didn’t want pockets this time) and since they come in shorts or pants they are perfect year round.

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To combine the two I started with the Skinny Top version and lowered the bow by about an inch in the back.  I wanted to make sure it was easy enough to slide up and down over the shoulders, but not too easy.  Then I added a few rows of shirring along the bottom of the top.


I made the pants per the pattern, only shortening them a little to an in between shorts/capri length.  Instead of adding the waistband I just attached the pants directly to the top.  Voila!

Can you tell she loved it??  With just a few days left of 2nd grade she says her outfits have to be just right and I was informed this one makes the cut! Go mom!! haha!   (side note… I cannot believe my baby will be in imagesrd grade!!)


As she gets older cutesy fabrics just don’t fly around here for anything but pj’s.  For this one Halla Fabricss sent me this gorgeous blue chevron from Znok, isn’t it amazing?  And the gray Stenzo solid from Mabel Madison was a perfect match!

Want to try mashing up a few on your own? With code CELEBRATE you can take 25% off all Sofilantjes patterns (bundles excl.) through May 29th.

We have some fabulous sponsors with amazing gifts for those of you following along!!  For today, Day 2, we have 11 patterns to give away. Will run untill May 26, 12 AM (GMT+1) (Amsterdam time)
ENTER HERE!!

Want more chances to win? And more gorgeous inspiration? Follow the rest of our tour –


From a Box Paisley RootsPattern Revolution SewSophieLynn
Beri Bee DesignsSprouting Jube JubeCoral and Co.Create 3.5Jennifer for SofilantjesBellevi Vaahtokarkkimonsteri Sew JournersInspinration MoonStar Lucky MieNononsonsmoms Pienkel Tales of a Tester Adventures with Bubba and BugAll things Katy Candice AyalaRebel and MaliceLiesellove

NOTE: this post does contain affiliate links.  I appreciate every purchase made through these links – thank you!!!

One Thimble Issue 11 – The Marty Hoodie Meets Hood Creatures

Note: This post does include affiliate links.  Your clicks and purchases are greatly appreciated, and I promise never to share something I don’t love myself!

What a perfect combination to release in the new issue of One Thimble!  We are such hoodie fans at my house that when I got a preview of Issue 11, I knew exactly what I wanted to sew up and try out.

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The Marty Hoodie from Ainslee Fox is great!  It can be either tunic or dress length and has 2 pocket choices.

I chose the patch pockets but there is a kangaroo pocket as well that you can check out on Rachel’s review on Pattern Revolution.

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These cute little trolls were in a scrap pack I picked up from Dark Matter Fabrics and there was just enough to highlight them with a coordinating french terry.

Since we are just moving into summer here I decided to make it short sleeve.  This isn’t an option on the pattern but is a very easy modification that you can make on your own.

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StitchART released an adorable set of creatures plus a few extras like these glasses that I picked.  I can’t wait to try the others on something for Reid, they are right up his wild-side alley!

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These templates can be added to ANY hoodie, made or store bought.  They only require a few simple things to get started.  Most importantly you will want to be sure you have a free motion or darning foot for your machine, it should look something like this-

This lets the fabric move freely and you can control where the stitches go, rather than being fed through normally.
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A New Friend with a New Fabric Collection …  

Does it get any better???

Not long ago I received an email from an online sewing acquaintance, that instantly made my day.  I knew Audrey from my involvement with Top Stitchers (so ready for season 4 by the way!) and I was very familiar with her blog Skirt Fixation  so imagine my excitement when she mentioned she would be in my area coming up and wanted to know if I wanted to meet up?  Um… hello?!  Of course I said yes!!

She is so incredibly sweet and it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to chat and how quickly an hour goes by when you share a passion for the same things.  Our first get together seemed to fly by and we vowed to get together again soon.

When she reached out to me about helping with some photographs for her current blog tour, I was thrilled.  I got to see a sneak peek at this gorgeous fabric she designed, which was amazing!   I also think we decided on the best setting, it really helped showcase the outfit she made.


Gorgeous right????

I still hesitate to call myself a photographer but I love how these turned out.  Its easy when you have a beautiful subject, seriously her daughter is a pro!


Looking forward to our next get together, hopeful that we can stretch it beyond an hour this time because gosh that just goes by so fast!


In the meantime,  I know i’ll be headed over to pick up some of this gorgeous fabric for an upcoming project so be on the lookout for it soon!

And you don’t want miss her blog tour this week where you can find some more lovely inspiration with the Floral Radiograph line she designed PLUS while you’re there, you can enter her giveaway!!