My friend Elea and I have never actually met in person, but it feels like we have. We've talked back and forth so many times through online messages that it seems like we've been friends forever. I've been sewing with every one of her collections all the way back to her Milk, Sugar, and Flower fabric, the last scraps of which I'm still hoarding in a drawer. The cuteness of Elea's designs is perfectly matched by the sweetness of her spirit which comes through in everything she does. I've been so blessed to get to know her from a distance, and it feels like a fitting end to my professional sewing career to finish with a post about her beautiful new fabric line: Milk & Honey.
Everything about this collection says "spring" to me, so I thought it would be the perfect choice for sewing up my own version of an Easter basket. After a lot of thought, I decided to use the pattern for the Beachcomber Bag from my book Patchwork USA, which I enlarged by doubling all my measurements. This, by the way, is something I do by subtracting the half inch seam allowance from each measurement, doubling the leftover number, and then adding the half inch back on. So a piece that was originally 4 1/2'' x 2 1/2'' would, when doubled in size, be 8 1/2'' x 4 1/2". You can do the same thing to shrink a project, just by halving the numbers instead of doubling them. It's a very handy thing when you want to size a pattern up or down, and I do it a lot!
I used Elea's prints for the patchwork portion of the bag, alternating colored fabrics with low volume ones. A few Riley Blake basics found their way in there too, as I'm a huge fan of their tiny dot prints which look adorable with just about anything. Black and white RBD gingham is such a lovely contrast to the pastel colors in the center, and the light gray floral print from the collection made a beautiful lining. A bunny twill tape tag on one side and soft, cream colored cord for the drawstrings were the finishing touches.
Now that my girls are all in their tween years, with Bunny plunging headlong into the teens when she turns 13 tomorrow (sob!), I try to think a bit outside the typical Easter basket contents of candy, plastic eggs, and stuffed animals. I'm a big fan of gifts with a theme to them. In fact, if you've seen my book Patchwork USA, you know that I added a chapter at the end called Share the Journey which lists dozens of ideas for gifting the projects in my book, including themed ideas for sharing handmade presents with everyone from a new mom to a new neighbor. So if you're looking for goodies that would work well in an Easter bag or basket for an older child, here are a just a handful of ideas:
- Art pack: sketchpad, colored pencils, watercolor set, sharpener, eraser, ruler, drawing books
- Fun & games: travel games, sidewalk chalk, jump rope, Rubik's cube, deck of cards
- Spa set: lip balm, lotion, hair accessories, brush, spa goodies, nail polish
We actually celebrated Bunny's birthday with a party on Saturday so that the whole family could enjoy it together. She wanted a retro Palm Springs Spa themed birthday party this year, so that last gift idea came in handy for me this week. I have no doubt, though, that my girls would be perfectly happy to get a repeat of their spa favor bags for Easter once April rolls around.
So congratulations to my sweet friend Elea on another adorable fabric collection. And all of my thanks to the wonderful people at Riley Blake Designs who have been so incredibly lovely to work with over the years. There's no doubt that I love beautiful fabric, but it's really the people that I love the most.