Posts Written On February 2019

Curl up and embroider the winter away with two great needlework books!

Hand Sewing Magic

Essential Know-How for Hand Stitching

By Lynn Krawczyk

Hand Sewing Magic is an essential reference to all things stitching, featuring how-tos for dozens of stitches, from the basics for sewing and mending to stunning embroidered embellishment.

Hand Sewing Magic is a modern, all-in-one guide for hand stitchers of all levels of skill and experience, and for all applications. In this unique guide book you will:

  • Get an in-depth overview of essential tools and materials, including thread, needles, fabric, and other key supplies.
  • Explore a comprehensive visual dictionary of 35 stitches plus dozens of variations, from basic mending to stylish decorative embellishment to unique art stitching.
  • Discover key techniques, from starting and ending threads to the right way to use an embroidery hoop, from stitching curved shapes to color shading, and more.
  • Learn essential tips and tricks from influential and innovative stitchers, including Joanne Sharpe, Allison Aller, and Catherine Redford.
  • 10 simple and stunning projects show unique ways to use stitches and techniques.

With Hand Sewing Magic, you’ll make the most of your hand stitching and give all your projects a beautiful handmade look.

Paperback | 144 pages | ISBN: 9781589239685 | $24.99 US, $32.99 CAN | Published December 4, 2018

About the author:

Lynn Krawczyk is a mixed-media surface design artist who focuses on pattern and color. Her work features painting, drawing, and hand stitching on both fabric and paper. Lynn has written nearly 50 magazine articles for such publications as Quilting Arts Magazine, Cloth Paper Scissors, Uppercase, Fiber Art Now, and Sew Somerset, and is the author of The Hand-Stitched Surface (CPi, 2017) and Intentional Printing: Simple Techniques for Inspired Fabric Art (Interweave, 2014).She also has a collection of floss with thread manufacturer Aurifil, Inked by Lynn Krawczyk, as well as three instructional DVD workshops with Quilting Arts/F&W Media: Print, Design, Compose; Color Theory Made Easy; andThermofax Screen Printing Essentials. Lynn teaches surface design workshops at various venues throughout the United States. She lives in Plymouth, Michigan.

I Love My Dog Embroidery

380 Stitch Motifs for Dog Moms and Dads

By MakikoArt

I Love My Dog Embroidery is a collection of 380 adorable dog-themed stitch motifs for pooch parents and their beloved fur babies, with project ideas, how-tos, and templates.

Created by embroidery artist MakikoArt and six other amazing embroidery artists, this “dog fanciful” collection of stitch motifs celebrates all things canine. With this lovely embroidery guide, you can create all manner of pups, including:

  • The sweet Labrador retriever, fluffy poodle, noble German shepherd, and many others
  • Dogs doing what they do best—classic poses, postures, and tricks—like “roll over,” “give me your paw,” and the ever-popular “rub my tummy”
  • Pooches disguised as people—the farmer, the artist, the businessman—and who can resist the sneaky but lovable mailman?
  • Mutts in different styles and shapes, including borders, frames, and alphabets

You’ll also find guidance on how to customize a motif to fit your favorite Fido, plus a gallery of project ideas for showcasing your stitches. So grab a needle and floss and take everything in your home and wardrobe from drab to double-dog fabulous!

Paperback | 120 Pages | ISBN: 9781631596131 | $19.99 US, $25.99 CAN | Published: December 11, 2018

About the author:

Oksana Kokovkina — better known to her fans as MakikoArt—is a textile artist and jewelry designer noted for her naive and whimsical animal embroidery motifs, especially her hand-stitched custom pet portrait brooches. Born in St. Petersburg, she currently lives in Vienna, Austria.


Did Bridesmaid’s Role Change During Time?

Someone you care deeply for is getting married. They reach out to you and ask you to be their bridesmaid. This is a great honor. But, before you accept, there are some things you need to know.

When you accept the honor of being a bridesmaid, you are agreeing to dedicate much of your time over the next months to help pull together a wedding. You are promising to be there when you are needed and to participate in all the events and activities that go along with a wedding. You are agreeing to buy a dress which chosen for you by the bride. Liking the dress is not a requirement, but paying for it, and wearing the dress is. If the wedding is a destination wedding, you are required to travel at your expense unless the bride and groom are feeling generous. These are just a few of the responsibilities presented to you before the wedding. Your services will be required before, during, and immediately after the wedding.

How did we get here?

The position of bridesmaids and groomsmen date back to the ancient Romans. In Roman law, there had to be 10 witnesses to a wedding. At the time, there were rituals that had to do with protection from evil spirits. These two traditions came together this way. The bride and groom would each choose 10 people to stand with them at their wedding. Each woman was dressed exactly like the bride and each groomsman was dressed exactly like the groom. This was to fool the spirit that would try to take over the young couple. Over the years as things began to change.

As early as the 1920s and 1930s, bridesmaids were at the beacon call of the bride. They dressed her and undressed her. They stayed with her for a period of time before the wedding to ensure she needed for nothing. One of their jobs was to go over every inch of the bridal gown to ensure there were no sewing pins left in the material. A pin left in the dress was bad luck.

A bride that opted to wear white on her wedding day, was wearing a very delicate and much-loved dress. It had nothing to with purity. In the days before washing machines and detergent, a white dress was a luxury. They were difficult to wash. Bridesmaids went to great lengths to protect the dress.

The maid of honor stayed by the bride’s side for up to two weeks before the wedding. She took care of the bride, leaving her little to do. Any wish she had, the MOH would handle.


Brides and their wedding party no longer have to select a dress to be made for them. Industry leaders like Azazie keep their inventory ready with the latest trends and accessories. Bridesmaids are given a bit of room to help the bride select the styles and colors of the bridesmaids’ attire. The bride has the final word. The MOH still must do the running of errands, follow-ups and helping the bride, but the bridesmaids are not used as much. Bridesmaids show up, dressed correctly, smile, pose for photos, attend the parties, and throw a shower.

At the end of the day, it is an honor to be included in someone’s wedding. Before you accept, you need to find out how much time, money, and work you will be expected to contribute. If it is more than you can handle at this point and time, respectfully decline the offer. It is important that the right people are in that position as it is a major responsibility and it is kind of you, to be honest with the bride before she begins to count on you.

The wedding of your friend or family member is important. So are the people who stand with them. If you accept an invitation to be part of this, give it all you’ve got. Hold yourself to the highest standards and everything will turn out beautifully.


Peppa Pig at Calgary Zoo

Calgary in the winter is not for the faint of heart. I heard on the radio that this is the coldest snap we have had since 1998. However, we’ve got Peppa Pig coming to town.  So today with a -17C but feels like -28C with windchill forecast we headed out to the Calgary Zoo.

When we arrived it’s clear that it’s going to be an easy day. The parking lots were virtually empty amidst the billowing snow. There were no lines at the front gates so we basically walked right in. However as we crossed the bridge towards the pavilion, more and more  little people gathered, chanting “Peppa Peppa  Peppa”.

When we got there we were met with a timed ticket for our slot for photos. Any parent who has done this for Santa photos knows what a blessing it is. It cuts the actual wait time down to 10 minutes or less.

While we wait for a chance to meet with Peppa and George we watch Peppa Pig’s “Chinese new year” episode on a continuous loop on a giant TV, with the kids doing crafts at the same time.

My oldest made a Chinese paper lantern while the younger ones cut and coloured Peppa pictures.

There was a Games Station with giant connect 4’s, tic-tac-toe and Jenga set up on the other side in the beautiful garden.

At last it was the long awaited moment. It was our turn to meet Peppa. My boys declined being in the photo as they felt like they have done their brotherly duty escorting their sister to the front of the line. My daughter  confidently walked up after declaring she was “doing this by myself”. She gave Peppa a big hug then turned around and smiled for pictures with Peppa and George. This is as good as it gets for a three year old.

After pictures we headed out to see the pandas is well. We then made the trek back to the car. By then the wind had died down so it wasn’t quite so treacherous. A wonderful morning and a well attended event despite the cold. It’s no wonder that kids are starting to speak in a British accent.  Peppa and George is a wonderful draw. Thanks for a great morning Calgary Zoo! 



MAPPLETHORPE evokes tangible time and place in its every frame. A phenomenal performance from lead Matt Smith and arresting historical deference. Mapplethorpe was a complicated person, and the film admirably leans into that complexity.”

Lena Wilson, SLATE

“Timoner’s gutsiness is shared (and then some) by her star Matt Smith. Nothing holds Smith back from making Mapplethorpe come alive again, in every sense.”

Dan Callahan, THE WRAP

“A superb performance by Matt Smith. A bold and brilliant performance, an act of possession, really.”


Robert Mapplethorpe is arguably one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Mapplethorpe discovered himself both sexually and artistically in New York City throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

The film depicts Mapplethorpe’s life from moments before he and Patti Smith moved into the famed Chelsea hotel, home to a world of bohemian chic. Here, he begins photographing its inhabitants and his new found circle of friends including artists and musicians, socialites, film stars, and members of the S&M underground.  Mapplethorpe’s work displayed eroticism in a way that had never been examined nor displayed before to the public. Exploring the intersection of his art, his sexuality and his struggle for mainstream recognition, MAPPLETHORPE offers a nuanced portrait of an artist at the height of his craft and of the self-destructive impulses that threaten to undermine it all.

Directed by: Ondi Timoner

Written by: Ondi Timoner, Mikko Alanne

Cast: Matt Smith, Marianne Rendón, John Benjamin Hickey, Mark Moses, Carolyn McCormick, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kerry Butler

Release Date:  March 1st, 2019

Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films

TRT:  102 min.

Producers: Eliza Dushku, Ondi Timoner, Nate Dushku, Richard J. Bosner

Executive Producer: Peter Palandjian, Sam Maydew

Composer: Marcelo Zavos

Director of Photography: Nancy Schreiber

Editors: Lee Percy, John Allen, Ondi Timoner

Samuel Goldwyn Films will release MAPPLETHORPE on March 1st, 2019


Say “Ciao!” to the Taste of Italy With New Gourmet Italian Products from Tuscanini Foods

From the rolling hills of Italy, Tuscanini Foods is rolling out a new lineup of gourmet food products that bring the taste of Italy to your table for a truly authentic Italian dining experience.

This superior brand of foods is imported from Italy, famously identified for its traditions and age-old recipes. From the mountainous Dolomite region to the idyllic Sardinia Island, products are sourced from artisans that specialize in offering only the best quality ingredients.

The host of products from Tuscanini – from naturally sparkling cold pressed beverages to bronze cut Italian pasta – allow consumers to cook-up original homemade Italian favorites and provide delicious gourmet options for year-round cooking.

Distributed by NJ-based Kayco (, a leader in specialty food products, Tuscanini ( products meet the highest standards of quality, craftsmanship and gourmet cuisine.  All products are produced with natural ingredients, nothing artificial and are certified OU kosher.

The following authentic Italian imports are coming to grocery shelves in 2019:

Balsamic Vinegar (MRP $7.99 / 8.45 oz.)

This Balsamic Vinegar offers of ultimate Italian experience with its complex flavor and beautiful glass bottle and cork closure.

Italian Pastas (MRP $3.99 / 16 oz.)

Dried pasta has been the mainstay of Italian cuisine for centuries. These 100% Durum Semolina pastas are bronze cut to create a porous, home-style texture that showcases the sauce in every bite. The high-end collection includes a variety of shapes: Gigli (ruffle-edged cones), Pennoni (a somewhat more substantial version of Penne), Trottole(“spinning top”), tricolor Conchiglie (seashells), and tricolor Fusilli (corkscrews).

Pasta Sauces (MRP $4.99 / 24.3 oz. jars)

These four authentic toppings evoke warm, sun-kissed Italian summers. Every jar of Tuscanini pasta sauce features 40 fresh tomatoes from the Parma region, harvested at the peak of ripeness. Traditional Pizza Sauce,Naopoletana Pasta SauceClassic Marinara Sauce, and Zesty Marinara Sauce pair perfectly with Tuscanini’s home-style Italian Pastas.

Tomato Paste (MRP $1.99 / 7.05 oz.)

Ripe, luscious tomatoes grown under the Tuscan sun are triple-concentrated for an intense burst of fresh flavor. Convenient, re-sealable tube lets you use only what you need with no waste. All-natural and non-GMO project certified.


Recipe By Gabe Garcia

A simple rustic Italian sauce with the main ingredient being bell peppers will go great with any type of fish but will shine with fried fish.  It can be served hot or cold.

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, smashed

3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons Tuscanini Tomato Paste

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

6 bell peppers, julienned

1 cup Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc or other dry white wine

1 cup water

1/4 cup basil chiffonade

2 tablespoons Tuscanini Balsamic Vinegar

  1. Pour olive oil into a large pot and place it over medium flame.  Once the oil begins to smoke add onion, garlic, and bay leaves.  Cook until the onions are translucent.

  2. Next add tomato paste, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the tomato paste has darkened, about five minutes.  Add the peppers continue cooking until they have softened, about another 10 minutes.

  3. Add wine and water.  Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.  This will give the peppers time to break down further.

  4. Uncover the pot and turn the heat back up and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated.  To finish, take off the heat and remove the bay leaves.  Stir in basil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.


The Sound of High-End Luxury Fashion——Mademe Adassa NYFW

Along with the grand music, Madame Adassa presented its Fall / Winter 2019 collection in NYFW today.

Mademe Adassa is a luxury fashion brand based in Tampa, FL. It offers from classy formal dresses to extraordinary gowns made for the runway, including couture bridal gowns and custom made gowns. Although Mademe Adassa spans a wide range of styles and colors, today’s shows focused more on tradition made gowns.

And most of them are black, blue and gold, with silver and gold stitching. The pattern of the dresses could perfectly strengthen coordination with the style of Prince George Ballroom. As to the form of these collections, they all inspired by a fusion of European and Caribbean designs and a little island flare.

When we talk about Mademe Adassa, we may be kind of familiar, because the brand has been featured in some lifestyle magazines including Vogue Britain. And this brand focuses on high quality.

The designer of Madame Adassa, Marsha Vacirca, was born in Jamacia. Affected by her family, she soon developed a vast knowledge in the world of textile and fabric manipulation. Although She became unwillingly, the director for her mother’s operation in her mother’s atelier, It was there that she learned the art of free cutting and developed a love for the draping technique she most frequently uses today in her designs.

The most impressive part is that I can feel confidence and beauty, as well as natural sensuality that every woman possesses. Maybe that is what the designer wants to tell us.