For the first few years of my career in fabric design, I was lucky enough to have my dear friend Allison help me with some of the more business-minded aspects of my work. A natural-born writer, she would handle communications while I focused on planning and just making my designs. We always talked about writing a book together; she loves to write and I love to make stuff, so it seemed like a perfect combination.
Fast forward to the holidays of 2010. I had been thinking for several months about a gift wrap concept for a book, and then I saw the Green Grocery Bag Challenge on sew,mama,sew!. The idea is to wrap your holiday gifts in handmade, reusable grocery bags to cut down on the millions of tons of wrapping paper and plastic bag waste that end up in landfills every year.
Suddenly, I was inspired! I could write an entire book about handmade reusable gift packaging. I thought grocery bags were a fantastic starting point, and I wanted to explore packaging options for gifts of all different shapes and sizes. Allison found this statistic from the Sierra Club: if every American family wrapped just three gifts this year in something that could be reused, we would save enough paper to fill 45,000 football fields. That seemed like all the incentive we needed to start our book.
So in order to include a wide variety of packages, we decided to organize the book by the type of gift you're giving. Is it squishy? Fragile? Thin and flat? Bulky? We've got you covered. For each gift type, I've created several packaging projects for you to choose from. Will you always have time to do this? Of course not! But remember, just three of these a year can make a huge difference.
Now, on to my favorite part. While Allison wrote and I designed projects, we had the additional job of planning the photography and design for the book. I'm lucky to be married to an incredible photographer, Greg, who happily volunteered to shoot the book. Allison's ridiculously-talented husband, Blake, took on the art direction. When the four of us got together to plan the photo shoot, we decided our dream location would be Elsie Larson's Red Velvet Shop that we had all drooled over online the previous year. It was in a dreamy old downtown building full of architectural details and packed with gorgeous vintage objects and huge windows with natural light. We didn't even know which part of the country she was in, but we decided we would do whatever it took to get there. Luckily, Elsie agreed to let us shoot in her space, so last August, the four of us plus an assistant were off to Springfield, MO for our big photo shoot!
By that point, we had asked Kristin Link from sew,mama,sew! to write our foreword. She generously agreed. It seemed like the details were coming together beautifully when we had our final coup. Blake, with his phenomenal talent, offered to do the layout and design for the entire book. I couldn't believe our good luck. We weren't sure if our publisher, Roost Books, would agree, but they gave it a little thought, and said they would be happy to give it a shot. Blake went straight to work and the work was... magical.
I'm so pleased with this book, and hope you will be too. This fall, at Quilt Market, I'll be devoting my booth to my new fall line for Kokka as well as this book. Stop by and take a look! And if you want an early copy, order now. It ships this month! The general release will be the end of October.