I have been remiss on this blog. I have been creating and thinking and changing, but not quite sure what I have been creating, thinking and changing.
One person who has not been remiss is dear Ms. Alex Smith and her creative alter ego, Lola Nova. Simple Sewing with Lola Nova has been released in the U.K., okay? And it is excellent! A smashing debut.
I wrote a book, so I know a little bit about what happens from an author's end of things. What happens is, is that the author thinks and creates and writes her little heart out, trying to get everything juuuust right, the projects looking spectacular, but approachable, the words sounding juuuust right, the instructions clear but not condescending, trying not to forget anything or anyone ... and all in a rather short period of time. Two, three months, really, is what you have to write a book. And then all that straight-from-the-heart work gets handed over to a bunch of strangers, who poke and prod and cut and rearrange and edit and rework and rethink this very personal endeavor. But these strangers are professionals, mind you, and they know what they are doing to make the book a book for a nation-wide or world-wide market. 1+1 does indeed equal 3. However, inevitably, something, some small bit, some tiny thing really, will end up in the published version, where you, as the author, thinks, "Hm, that's not me." "Not me" is probably a good idea, in retrospect, because a published book is not for "me," but for "you" and the pros are much better at knowing what "you" need and want than I do. Am I writing about me? My gosh, this is Alex's moment to shine, but I do want to make a point. I know Alex because I follow her blog and we have exchanged a few emails over the years. I don't know how I ended up following her blog, I think I stumbled over it, because Diana of "Oh My Bag" had... who knows anymore? Anyway, the Internet, as you may have noticed, is a big place. A really big place. And everyday I stumble upon this or that blog and I do indeed admire and am incredibly impressed by the creativity I see. But Alex's blog is "sticky" -- I kept coming back. And I kept coming back, because this is a person, I have this feeling, that if I stood behind her at the grocery store or bumped accidentally into her at a crowded farmer's market or ended up on the same beach one lazy afternoon, I would know her. I would know that we would be friends. That is the nature of her creative sewing and her words. Simple Sewing with Lola Nova, I have this feeling, really is totally Alex. The projects, the text, the book design and the amazing photography, although brought to your bookstore by a team of former strangers and in a foreign land, no less, really are a reflection of the real heart of this creative soul I know and love as Alex Smith. I love what she wrote here:
In my making life, I have never made a mistake and not learned something valuable from it.
Never made a mistake! I love that attitude and if for no other reason, I recommend this book to inspire creative making of any kind.
To begin, the book, tactilly, is a delight. The cover is sturdy and the pages have a pleasant texture. The book, like a great piece of fabric, feels good in the hands. You can see that my copy, but a couple of weeks old, is a bit scratched, because I have been picking it up again and again.
Simple Sewing does not belie it's title. For those of you who sew Fledge and have cursed the day I was born with my 32+ piece sewing patterns, Simple Sewing will be a blessed reprieve. Many readers of this blog will likely not need a lot of instruction on making a square envelop pillow or simple drawstring bag. For you, however, I recommend studying Alex's aesthetic. I find it sublime. She mixes old and new and minimalist and quirky in a way that is fresh and inspiring. Lace paired with geometric print? What anarchy is this? Adorable scrap patches to place on anything anywhere? Such random whimsey and happiness? Who knew? Alex's style works really well for me, because I have quite the eclectic collection of furnishings -- collected, scavenged, Dumpster-dived-for -- which are better than nothing, but certainly none of which really go together (a style I call "uck-lectic"...).
For beginning sewists, I cannot think of a better place to start. Simple ideas, described in easy to follow instructions with lots of photographed illustrations, sublimely executed.
And here's a little Luziapimpinella ;)
25 projects with instructions and templates to decorate, organize, play, gift and -- darn it! -- just do! Just put a chicken on it! It is creative therapy. While it is good for the body to exercise for an hour at least three times a week, I'd argue that creating something for an hour at least three times a week is good for the soul. Many of these ideas can be whipped up quickly. Instead of fighting the traffic and the crowds for some iPhone cover or Chia Pet this holiday shopping season, wouldn't it be great to retreat into your creative corner and come out with several "Pockets full of Posies" or "Hook Books" to give to your favorite people?
Speaking of putting chickens on things...
... it was like this: Some time ago, Alex sent me a beautiful package and included much Lola Nova loveliness -- including this shopper. One time when I handed this bag to the check-out guy, he said, "Put a bird on it!"
I guess you had to be there...
And as far as putting chickens on things...best car ever!
Amazon in the U.S. is currently not listing the book, but there are many sellers, who are listing the book for less than a couple a sawbucks (around $18). So enjoy!
And congratulations, dear Alex, you knocked it out of the park!