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Ok, I gotta be honest.  I’ve been trying to think how I could spin this post about Lauren Wright’s debut book, Pretty Handmades, to make myself look good, or at the very least, save a bit of face, but there are some moments when you just gotta stand and face the music.

I mean, I could complain about how my brain isn’t functioning at full capacity of late, and blame newborn sleep patterns.  Or I could whinge about how newborns (this one, in particular) and children in general are a time blackhole, sucking in every second of the day so that you’re left, quite often, wondering how on earth it’s 9pm already and you’ve only just finished tidying the kitchen.  Or I could whine about how the simplest sewing activities take me ten times as long as they take the average Jo, because I have to get up about ten million times to feed/water the children…………………………………

Yeah, I could try to shift the blame as much as I want, but that doesn’t change the cold, hard, irrefutable fact.

And that fact is… I’m a terrible hand-stitcher.

Exhibit A: What Lauren’s ‘Lovely Leaf Scissor Keeper’ looks like.  Photograph taken from Pretty Handmades.  Neat little back stitches, with even lengths…  Blanket stitch is evenly spaced…

Lovely Leaf Scissor Keeper

Exhibit B: What MY ‘Lovely Leaf Scissor Keeper’ looks like…

Aaaah!  It’s hurting my eyes!!!!  Let’s stop looking at it!

It’s bad, hey…  I know, you don’t need to say it.  I can hear you nodding.

When Lauren’s book, Pretty Handmades, came in the mail, my first response was ‘Ooooooh, pretty!’, because it is!  It is a perfect Molly and Mama creative manifesto.  My second response was ‘Aaaaaaaaah, it feels so smooth!’ because, oh my goodness, it’s printed on matte paper and it feels like velvet!  My third response was ‘Awwww, so sweet!’ because the projects that fill the pages of this book are just that.

And then I thought, smugly, ‘I’m gonna knock this out of the ball park.’  Because, well, how could you not, with perfectly written patterns, and illustrations and instructions, right?  I mean, it wasn’t like I attempted to run a marathon after training for a week.  I even set myself a pretty low bar with a small project that I knew I wouldn’t have to spend weeks working on.  Because, seriously people, that’s how long everything takes me at the moment.  And it’s not like I’m new at this thing called ‘sewing’, after all!

But in true Xanthe style, I decided I’d ‘make do’ instead of buying the wool felt that the pattern tells me I need.   Sewing:101, folks.  Follow the instructions.  Don’t think you know better.  Just do what you’re told, for goodness’ sake.

And, just in case anyone was wondering, it turns out wool blankets are not a like for like substitute for wool felt.

No, they are not.  I had to reinforce it with heavy duty iron-on interfacing, and at that point I should have stopped, got in my car and driven to the closest stockist of wool felt.  But did I?  Noooooooooo, I did not.  And as a result I had to redo the stitching twice because wool blankets are so thick and chunky and the first time, the thread wasn’t showing up – it was too thin, and my stitches were too small.  The second time they were too big, it was…. even messier than what you see above…..

And you know what else?  I was so horrified by how bad a job I was doing at what is actually a straight-forward and attractively simple project…….. that I finished the stitching on my sewing machine.  I wish I could insert one of those screamy face emojis right here.

Lovely Leaf Scissor Keeper

I’m hanging my head in shame, people.  Lock me up and throw away the key!  Or at least, lock my sewing room door and throw away the key!  (No, actually, don’t do that, please?).

But you know what is really shocking?  Like really, unbelievably shocking??  Regardless of my incompetency, the Wife-made version, above, of the Molly and Mama ‘Lovely Leaf Scissor Keeper’ actually turned out pretty darn cute.  Crappy hand-stitching and all.  Now that is shocking!  And, I have to say, speaks to the strength of all the designs found in Pretty Handmades, rather than any sense of me redeeming myself…

So let this be a lesson learned.  Let me make your mistakes for you!  Or at least let me think that I’m not the only person to make these kinds of mistakes!  (If you have made mistakes like this before, you know, the kind where you’re shamed on a public platform, then please, feel free to leave a comment.  The worse the story, the better.)

Luckily for Lauren, there are actually people, many in fact, who CAN hand-stitch.  And not ‘just scrapes through’ kinda hand-stitching, I’m talking about ‘knocking it out of the ball park’ kinda stitching.  And, if you’ve been following along you’ll know that a number of those people are in this here Pretty Handmades blog tour.  Just not me… Sorry Lauren.

Also, check out the giveaway that will be happening at the end of the blog tour on Lauren’s blog, Molly & Mama and on her Instagram feed, @mollyandmama – you do not want to miss it!

Pretty Handmades Book Showcase

1 Sept 2017- Lauren Wright @mollyandmama
2 Sept 2017- Jemima Flendt @tiedwitharibbon
3 Sept 2017- Sharon Burgess @lilabellelane
4 Sept 2017- Lauren Nash @transientart
5 Sept 2017- Sarah Edgar
6 Sept 2017- Ange Hamilton
7 Sept 2017- Elea Lutz @elealutz
8 Sept 2017- Sarah Scott @piccolostudio_sarah
9 Sept 2017- Martina Bahre @ava_and_neve
10 Sept 2017- Heather Andrus @quiltstory
11 Sept 2017- Faith Essenburg
12 Sept 2017- Alisha Orlando @ministryoffabric
13 Sept 2017- Bev McCullough @flamingotoes
14 Sept 2017- Stacy Olson @stacyolsondesign
15 Sept 2017- Ali Phillips @arabesquescissors
16 Sept 2017- Mollie Johanson @molliejohanson
17 Sept 2017- Kristyne Czepuryk @prettybyhand
18 Sept 2017- Xanthe Grundy @wifemade
19 Sept 2017- Anne Oliver @lolliandgrace
20 Sept 2017- Larisa Shurupov @stitchingnotes
21 Sept 2017- Sedef Imer @downgrapevinelane
22 Sept 2017- Wynn Tan @zakkaArt
23 Sept 2017- Veronica AM @vividfelicity
24 Sept 2017- Minki Kim @zeriano
25 Sept 2017- Elise Baek @eliseandemelie
26 Sept 2017- Megan Price @dollyhenryau
27 Sept 2017- Nadra Ridgeway @ellisandhiggs
28 Sept 2017- Ayda Algin @cafenohut
29 Sept 2017- Jodi Godfrey @talesofcloth
30 Sept 2017- Lauren Wright @mollyandmama