Friday, September 12, 2014

Chrysanthemum-Sew Many Books!

There is no doubt that one of my favorite things on earth (in a close tie with fabric and chocolate, of course) is books.  I have always loved books and can remember reading non-stop as a child.  While I was growing up as an army brat in Germany, I travelled all over Europe in the back of my parents van.  I missed a great deal of it while engrossed in my own adventure, book in hand and nose pointed downward missing all of the scenery.

I am doing my best to raise little bibliophiles as well, as evident by the two full bookcases in their play room.  One of our favorite activities is to go to the bookstore and browse the offerings; me drinking a chai from the coffee shop inside, my girls often scamming me into more than one book per visit (my daughter tells me "mom, it's a book, and you can't say no to books!") In fact, my little one knows the surest way to get my attention is to bring me a book and ask me to read it to her.  Not that I am not always attentive to her every needs, of course I am (wink, wink) but we all know that sometimes life gets in the way of dressing that doll or untangling that ribbon.  But when she brings me a book and asks to read, I make every attempt possible to sit down and snuggle her while we read.

Needless to say, a blog tour called "sew many books" was right up my alley.  But how to decide on just one? I scoured the bookshelves in the playroom for that perfect book but couldn't make up my mind.  I also consulted the amightygirl website (if you haven't ever checked them out, you should!) because I love their mission and they have an awesome listing of books that are both empowering and inspirational for girls.  I wanted a book that honors that spirit, one that I seek to bring out in my girls, and I thought I might find something intriguing there.  As I browsed their list, I happened upon one of my girls favorite books and knew it was THE ONE.

If you are not familiar with the book "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes, it is about a little mouse named Chrysanthemum who is going to school for the first time.  She is a loved and confident and finds joy in her perfect name.  Unfortunately, she finds that not everyone thinks her name is so perfect when she gets to school and the other little mice make fun of her name.

One thing I found particularly relatable about this story is that she draws strength from her little dresses, wearing the ones that make her feel confident and strong.  I can relate to that in a lot of ways and I see that in my girls as well.  When they are wearing something I have made for them, they are so proud and joyful about it.  They often tell anyone who will listen that their mommy made their dress, even when the dress is not the topic of conversation.  I am pretty sure some people think I coach them (I don't, but if they didn't cough if up willingly, I might...)

Chrysanthemum has a bit of eclectic style in her outfits, as my girls do as well.  I tried to draw on that in choosing my pieces inspired by the book.  I made my "sunniest dress" inspired outfit using Quatrefoil in Yellow fabric (all fabric used in this post was generously provided by Riley Blake designs).   It is the perfect shade of sunny yellow and I added a few touches of red to bring out the red from her dress.  I paired it with leggings made from Riley Blake Purple and Navy Striped knit fabric.  My daughter absolutely loved it.  

For my other outfit, I was inspired by Chrysanthemums "Outfit with seven pockets".  

My daughter is more into ruffles than pockets, so I substituted those and used the Riley Blake Home Plaid Floral in Blue with the coordinating plaid in pink for the ruffles.  I paired that tunic with a pair of leggings using the hot pink and white stripe knit.  

The outfits turned out so cute and they loved the resemblance to one of their favorite books. I used the Amelie Clothing Boho Dress and Lilly Ruffle Blouse patterns paired with the Greenstyle Creations (affiliate link) Lucy Legging to create my looks.

And in case you are wondering about little Chrysanthemum and her outcome...

Spoiler alert!

Well, it turns out that the "indescribable wonder" of a music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle, has an unusual name too.  And she loves the name Chrysanthemum, enough so that she names her little baby girl that because she thinks it's absolutely perfect too.  That turns the whole thing around for little Chrysanthemum and all of the sudden, the other little mice are making up their own flowery names.  Funny how one inspirational teacher can change the entire mindset of a group of little mice (which is another thing I love about this book).  

If you have a book that you love and would like to sew up an outfit inspired by it, you should join the sew many books sew-along here.

A special thanks to Riley Blake Designs for providing the fabric for this project; there are few things more exciting than getting a package full of gorgeous Riley Blake fabric! Thanks as well to Nap-Time Creations for allowing me to participate in the tour; what an honor! 

There is also a terrific giveaway that you can enter through rafflecopter.  Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway