Category Archives: Book Reports

Online Party: A Spoonflower Handbook Giveaway

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 12.45.16 PMI know that not all of you live in the Twin Cities area and you can’t all make it to our book event here, so I am going to have an online party as well and I am going to give away a copy of the book as a door prize.  (That’s my way of saying thank you to all of you out there in my online community too.)

To enter yourself for my doorprize drawing, you just have to give me a shout out and I will put your name in the hat.  It’s that simple.  Between now and October 16…

  • make a comment on this post
  • hop over to my Facebook page and say hi
  • tweet me something @beckarahn
  • send me a hello message through my Spoonflower shop
  • sign yourself up for my e-newsletter (there’s a form right over in the sidebar)

Any of those things will put your name in for the drawing.  If you already have a copy of the book or have seen it, I would love to hear what you like best.  (I love the Pen tutorial on page 203.)

The fine print.

  • If you already have a copy of the book (YAY!) and you win, I will send your prize as a gift to a friend.  You tell me where it should go.
  • Make sure I can get in touch with you.  ie. If you leave a comment without your email address entered in the comment form, I won’t be able to track you down.
  • Any comments, tweets, posts etc I receive before 11 pm (CDT) on October 16 will count.

The honor of your presence is requested…

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Don’t forget: The party is this Thursday.

I would love to see you there.


You are invited: Spoonflower Handbook Book Party


We are throwing a party and we want you to come.  I would like to personally invite all of you to join us at a book party for the release of the Spoonflower Handbook.  I wanted to do a little event here in Minneapolis because this community has been so fantastic.  So many of you have taken a class or asked me about a project or taught me something about design, that I thought it was only right to do something fun to say thank you for all of your help and encouragement and inspiration.  So, Stephen is coming and we will talk about the book.  He’s bringing all of the projects from the book (and some more really fun bonus projects).  We will have door prizes to give away.  Textile Center will have books to sell.  We will even sign your books if you want us too.  (I can’t believe I actually have a book to sign!  How cool is that??)

The party will be held at Textile Center on Thursday October 1 at 6pm.  (Go to for parking & directions.)


Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters, mystery writer and creator of the indomitable Amelia Peabody, has passed away.  I have read every one of the books in that series several times, as well as a number of titles under her other pseudonyms. A description from the Washington Post of her 85th birthday party last year makes me certain that she was as much of a character as the ones she wrote about.  I am sad that I won’t have any more of her books to look forward to.

Embroidery, &Stitches and more

The latest issue of &Stitches zine is available and I am a contributor! This issue is all about books: embroidery books themselves, book themed patterns, fun contributors (like Aimee Ray and Cate Anevski) and a couple of tutorials for some really neat stitches (Turkey stitch).  It’s a fantastic issue once again.

My project & article is all about teaching embroidery to kids.  I picked one of my favorite projects, “Poetry Pockets” that we have done with several groups of 1st and 2nd graders at the Textile Center and gave some tips for ways to teach embroidery to kids, like picking the right needle and thread.

Threading needles is always the biggest hurdle in teaching kids (or adults) to embroider, so I have a bonus tip for you, which I always show in my beginning embroidery classes: Making your Own Needle Threader.

You can get “needle threaders”, which look like a little bit of metal with a wire loop on the end.  You pass the loop through the eye of the needle, put the thread through the wire loop and them pull it back so the thread goes through the eye.  Great idea, but I can tell you from experience that if you put one of these in the hands of an 8 year old boy it will last about 13.5 seconds before it is completely mangled.

However, you can make your own needle threader for large-eyed needles (embroidery or chenille) out of a tiny slip of paper.  Just cut a piece of scrap paper about 2 inches by 3/16 inches.  Fold it in half.  Lay your thread end in the fold.  Now push the fold of the paper through the eye of the needle.  Easy! (And you can make more when they get mangled.)

Book Review: Write, Publish & Sell Your Crafty Ebook

A while back, I took a class about writing crafty e-books from the lovely Diane Gilleland at  She decided to take all of the information (and more) from the class and turn it into a book.  So, it’s literally an e-book about writing crafty e-books.

What’s an e-book, you say?  In this case it is a .pdf file that makes an 84 page book, with photos and links and more.  Since I had taken the class and chatted with Diane a few times about other geeky things, she asked if I would review the book.  Absolutely!


So, I really liked the e-book publishing class, but I think the book, Write, Publish & Sell Your Crafty E-Book, is even better. The book format appeals more to me because it is so self directed.  I can read, highlight and make notes on the .pdf and have Google open in another window to check things out. I can print it out if I want to.  I can skip ahead or back when I feel like it.  It was also great to see concepts in practice – for example, I could see right away what she was talking about with clickable chapter links or the copyright on the bottom of the page because I had an e-book right in front of me with those very features.


Diane has divided the book up into 4 chapters, which are roughly: Things to Think about, How To Make It, How to Get it to Customers, How to Market it.  You get a sense of Diane’s personality throughout –  friendly with a little humor but professional at the same time – which makes it a really easy read.  I also appreciate that she shares a lot of “things she has figured out the hard way”, real examples to illustrate topics she is talking about and why she makes certain recommendations.


Chapter One has a lot of really great tips to get you thinking about your own e-book project and making a plan.  She encourages you to think in very specific ways about the audience for your book throughout the process.  As crafty people/artists I think it is easy for us to get caught up in the “fun of creating” and forget about everyone else.

Chapter Two is probably my favorite section of the book.  This is the “how to make it” part and is a really thorough list of not only all the parts of your book you should think about, but some basics of design as well.  The beautiful part of this section is that a lot of the design suggestions and concepts could really be applied to all kinds of things you might self publish – single patterns, artist statements, exhibition postcards, class handouts.  Making a really appealing and professional looking publication is a great skill to learn.

Chapter Three and Four are the technical “delivering it to customers” section and marketing.  This is in some ways the most intimidating part of the publishing your own book process, but I think these two chapters are a good foundation with plenty of examples to help you “get it”.  They are also packed with resources (e-books can have live weblinks!) to other places (articles, podcasts) where she has covered a certain concept or topic in more depth.


I am teaching a mini-class on publishing .pdf patterns for a group of the International Old Lace Society in August and I plan to have Diane’s book on my Recommended Reading list.  (I am going to read it myself a couple more times before then.)