We are so happy to be a stop on Tina's blog tour to announce her new book. We are giving away to one lucky reader a great gift that includes the book, 4 yards of fabric, 2 boxes of stationery, and 2 extra sewing patterns! The book is 144 pages and includes a gorgeous set of full size patterns. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment at the end of this post Good luck, everyone!
|This is what the patterns look like from the pull-out section.|
Where did you grow-up, where did you go to school, where do you live now? Tell us about your family.
I grew up in a far far away world... in Zimbabwe, Africa. It seems like a whole life time ago and practically is. I was born there and left when I was 17 years old. Life there was slow and very beautiful with a sort of tropical current in weather and palm trees even though we were not on the coast. I grew up within a large extended family made up of many cultures and creative personalities. The women ran the family on the Greek side who were eccentric, ambitious and outspoken. I inherited a little of that!
At 17 we immigrated to Canada where I went to college and experienced a culture change so drastic that my sister and I held on to each other for dear life. We spoke differently, we dressed differently and we nurtured ourselves into the fast paced Toronto big city life but quick! I fell into a corporate world after graduating into sales and marketing in high exposure advertising at the down town offices of DDB Needham where accounts including Maybelline, Porsche and Volkswagen. I always thought I'd be on the creative side of the agency but with my degree in economics and business management I was a junior account executive managing budgets schedules and strategic branding.... Life went on and years later found myself on client side as marketing director. Met my American husband in Canada, and we moved around until we settled in Cleveland for sometime, and then where we live now, Raleigh North Carolina.
We have 3 children, Alex who is now in college, Freshman.... and the twins who are 8, girl and a boy who inspire many outrageous characters I paint and projects I sew.
In Africa, many women sewed and my mother and grandmother taught me to sew at an early age. We had a dedicated sewing room and enormous ping pong table I cut out on. Perfect cutting table by the way. The room was under the house with walk out doors and loads of windows into the garden, so it was a spacious and light filled room. I spent many hours in that room. If no one could find me that's where I was... creating my own doll clothes, and moved onto my own clothes. I don't remember ever using sewing patterns. When my mom first taught me we cut from sewing patterns but that's the last I remember. I would have an idea for an outfit, pants, a dress.... and I'd lay the fabric down and cut out the basic shapes. If I made a mistake it became part of the outfit!
I still do this. My sewing studio is now in the house, and I have what I call a 'sewing bar' where my machines are set up and I have the luxury of cutting on an old buffet which is the perfect height for cutting and depth for the folded fabric width. Drawers hold my tools and bits and pieces... I sew a lot... I sew for my kids and myself and of course the house. I love to slip cover things, make drapes and cushions... but I also sew quilts for each fabric collection I do, and create a 'story' around each fabric collection at market. My most recent was Opal Owl in vibrant colors. I created much of what's in the book in Opal fabrics, but also my sewing patterns, new kids patterns and of course slipcovered an ottomon made crazy pillows and applique wall art!
I like to sew my own clothes in linen and unique upholstery fabrics. I love velvet and make loads of scarves and wraps. Yummy... I just made a pair of fall baggy pants to wear with a fitted jacket and oxfords..... oh, and I love making hats!
|Sweet Dreams Canopy|
My strongest advise is to relax and don't take it so seriously. Follow the instructions but if you mess up, find a way to incorporate it. Be creative and have fun with your sewing projects. And always, always use fabrics you love. Sharp pair of scissors, press all seams as you sew, and again enjoy the process and journey of sewing. You'll be constantly learning new techniques, and always be inspired by what you have made!
What makes your patterns unique?
I'm not sure. At first I was disappointed that they were not crisp and clean and perfect like many other designers out there, but then forgave it and grew a little confidence in that the designs are mine and have a signature to them. I embraced that and celebrated that I seem to have my own style. I should be happy about that! And it's still being refined.. we all grow in any capacity of life and mine among many others is as a painter, illustrator, seamstress and fabric designer. I love color, and I enjoy mixing colors to create unusual palettes to bring the unexpected to life. I think my fabric collections each tell a story, from Zazu, Annabella, Chloe's Imagination, Olivia's Holiday, Treetop Fancy and now Opal Owl. I just approved a new floral collection which is called Haven's Edge, and wow it is an eclectic and eccentric group of patterns.... My next collection is inspired by a childhood book, Miss. Z. and I am painting green lions, beautiful unicorns and fanciful fountains with colorful parrots... Maybe simply my imagination is what sets me apart, what do you think?
|Dude Tunic and Shorts|
All the very best,
Thank you Tina and Lark books for sponsoring this generous giveaway! This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Linda Armenti who is the winner!