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By the Book: Freelance editor, writer, and media consultant Tina Anson Mine’s reading highlights

April 15, 2015


All my favourite bits in one post! Tina Anson Mine is an author, a knitter, a quilter, and all around talented editor and media consultant. She’s truly a gem :)

Originally posted on BoldFace:

 Tina Anson MineInterview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

Have you ever wondered what fellow editors like to read? We have, too. In our interview series “By the Book,” we get the inside scoop on editors’ all-time favourite books, their top style guides, and what their alternate-universe careers would be.

Tell us about your current job as a freelancer, Tina, plus a little-known quirky fact about you.

I primarily edit books these days, though the first phase of my editing career was in magazines. For the last year, I’ve focused mainly on the substantive editing of cookbooks and health-and-nutrition books. I’ve also worked on a couple of health-oriented recipe books that have an element of crafting to them, such as a handmade soap book and a homemade herbal remedies book. The latter two combined some of my favourite skills, because I adore both words and crafts.

It’s probably not a little-known fact…

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

March 8, 2015


I am working on the full size Professional Tote. I love playing with my Singer 1948 treadle sewing machine. She’s amazing!

I am dedicating these stitches to women everywhere and to those who passed their knowledge into today’s stitchers.

How are you honouring the inspirational women in your life?

What’s on your hook, needles, or machine?

PATTERN REVIEW: The Bionic Gear Bag (BGB) by Sally Thompson

March 5, 2015

1948 Singer treadle sewing machineEvery so often a pattern is created that I cannot refuse:

  • It impresses me.
  • It teaches me new techniques.
  • It is written well.
  • It helps me create a useful item.
  • It is too tempting to resist.

16524808816_218865f97a_oI found such a pattern: The Bionic Gear Bag (otherwise known as the BGB) by Sally Thompson (aka: RipStitcher across the web and social channels). 

Sally chose the perfect name for this bag. It carries everything you need. It is just as useful to sewers as it is to knitters as it is to those who carry electronics and even those who tote around a lot of other accessories. This bag works hard to bring organization to your life. It is an amazing accessory that will help you keep you organized in your sewing room, your mobile office, and even in your bathroom!

Sewing the BGB helps you reduce your stash. You likely have everything you need to create one right now. Go ahead and find that perfect bit of fabric and some matching zippers and turn them into your very own BGB. The BGB is easily sewn in a weekend. 


Once you make one, you will make more…many more! Immediately upon completion, you’ll notice little changes and additions that you’ll add to your next BGB and you’ll begin rummaging through your stash to find more fabrics and zippers. Before you know it, friends and family will want one. You’ll show it off to your stitcherly friends and, after the ohs and ahs, you’ll be discussing how to customise a bag unique to them. You will not be able to stop at one! You have been warned.

What is a BGB?

The Bionic Gear BagThe Bionic Gear Bag is the brainchild of Sally Thompson. She is a long-time sewer with years of experience teaching and sewing. She created the BGB with sewers in mind.

The BGB features:

  • A place for everything you need.

  • A flat bed “box” that allows easy access to the essentials.

  • Larger slots that keep bigger items handy, but out of the way.

  • Zippered pockets that keep your small bits and bobs accessible and secure.

  • Side panels that keep everything from sliding out of the bag when it is fully closed or completely open

Who should buy this pattern? 

The Bionic Gear BagAnyone interested in bringing a little organization and a lot of stitcherly fun into their lives ought to begin stitching their very own BGB right now! You will need a basic knowledge of sewing techniques, especially sewing secure zippers (lots of them!).

The pattern includes a comprehensive list of supplies, technique instructions, and detailed photos that will guide you through the entire process of constructing the BGB. The pattern also includes instructions for the dumpling fabric dish accessory.

What if I need help with sewing my own BGB?

Sally has created a number of video tutorials that are available on her website. She has created a helpful and supportive community that begins on her website, but other crafty creators are more than willing to help you out. 

  • Sally’s websiteJoin Sally’s email list to stay up-to-date on the BGB and other patterns, check out pattern errata, access video tutorials, and find out what other sewers think of the BGB.
  • Birdcage and Thread: Michelle Wootton has put her excellent sewing talents on display. Visit her website to access video tutorials that show you exactly what to do when constructing your own BGG and dumpling fabric dish.
  • Sew Much Nicer (Facebook group): Whether you are in need of inspiration, encouragement, or just want to show off your BGB, this is the group for you. Over 1000 people from around the world share their experience and tips about BGB construction. 
  • The Collapsible Thread CatcherThis video tutorial will teach you how to use up your scraps and create a fantastic addition to the BGB. It folds down to allow for the bag to close. You won’t be able to stop at just one!

I’m sold! How do I buy the BGB pattern?

The BGB, and other Sally Thompson patterns, are available on Craftsy.

The sewing machine… the sewing machine!

February 25, 2015

1948 Singer treadle sewing machineCheck out this video on YouTube video that stars your friend and mine…the sewing machine! I love the musical movies from the 1940s. Betty Hutton was beautiful and funny in this one “The Perils of Pauline” (1947) is wonderful. I love my vintage 1948 Singer treadle machine (check her out on the left!). She shines in this era and it is nice to think her cousins are featured in this feature film clip!

I dare you to keep your toes from tapping or your feet from treadling to the beat of this catchy tune!

The words… as performed by Betty Hutton in the film “The Perils Of Pauline”

Ahhh, the sewing machine, the sewing machine
A girl’s best friend
If I didn’t having my sewing machine
I’d a come to no good end
But a bobbin a bobbin and peddle a peddle
And wheel the wheel by day
So by night I feel so weary that I never get out to play

Ohhh, the sewing machine, the sewing machine
A friend in need
If I didn’t having my sewing machine
A wicked life I’d lead
But a bobbin a bobbin and peddle a peddle
And dream about romance
So by night I feel so weary that I never get out to dance

Ohhh, the sewing machine, the sewing machine
Me pride and joy
If I didn’t having me sewing machine
I’d a married James McCoy
But a bobbin a bobbin and peddle a peddle
And that’s the end of Jim
‘Cause by night I get so weary I don’t even look good to him

Ohhh, have I got a boss, he looks like a ho’ss
His name’s Joe Gurt*
I’m willing to bet the wages I get
His face must hurt**
While a bobbin a bobbin and peddle a peddle
He keeps his eyes on me
Oh, I’ve never had a nightmare where I didn’t meet Mister G

I declare the work day over!

February 10, 2015

I declare the work day over & stitching time to begin! What’s on your needles, hook, or machine?

Restarting my relationship with an old friend!

January 31, 2015



I found this in my cross stitch organiser. What a surprise!

I started stitching in 1991. Since then I’ve raised two children, moved to another city, and lived a lot of life!



The caption will read: If all our troubles were hung on a line; You’d take yours and I’ll take mine. ” I’ve always loved that saying.

I am not sure if I will frame it when complete. It may decide to become a cushion or something else.

What do you think I ought to do with it?

Picking up an old project is like meeting an old friend for coffee. Memories come alive with every sip and with each stitch.

Which project from your past will you pick up?

Happy stitching :)

BOOK REVIEW: Craft a Creative Business by Fiona Pullen

January 21, 2015

Craft a Creative Business: Making & marketing a successful creative business
by Fiona Pullen 
Published by Search Press Ltd (2015); 240 pages; paperback

SE052What happens when the complicated concepts of business meet a creative entrepreneur? Learning and fun. Fiona Pullen (@craftabiz on Twitter) shares her extensive experience with creative entrepreneurs in this straightforward, no fluff book.



  • If you are interested in turning what you love into a money making enterprise, then this book is for you.
  • If you are interested in using digital tools to promote yourself and your craft, then this book is for you.
  • If you are already an entrepreneur and interested in taking your business to that next level of success, then this book is for you.

Craft a Creative Business is a much needed primer on not only business tactics, but the importance of putting your best self forward. It is laid out in six easily read sections that take the reader through the steps in creating a business from scratch, using the digital age to your benefit, and selling your products both online and off. Pullen shows the importance of understanding the legalities of owning a business, helps you decide whether self employment is for you, designing the best look for your business, and using the digital age to build your success.

  • Where do I start? This section reviews the realities of self employment, identifying your ideal market and customer, pricing your product competitively while paying yourself a living wage, and walks the reader through the process of setting realistic and reachable goals.
  • Legal Matters: Those working in the United Kingdom will find this section especially useful as much of the information and resources are based upon the United Kingdom experience. Entrepreneurs around the world will find useful tidbits pulled from Pullen’s own experience in setting up her United Kingdom based business – The Sewing Directory, a website dedicated to making it easier to find locally sourced sewing resources. She covers copyright law and conventions and the importance of insuring your business.
  • Presentation: Pullen pays special attention to sharing her experience about the visual side of business. Branding, product photography, and visual marketing impact your customer in lasting ways. Find out how professional photographs of your product may result in increased sales. She shows how the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” ties into many aspects of business – from advertising to social media and web design.
  • Social Media: Using social media is important to any business, whether it is just setting up or looking to expand its customer base. Being social in today’s digital world is not always easy, so Pullen has filled this section with top notch resources, tried and true social selling techniques, how-to advice on the more popular platforms, and dos and don’ts when it comes to the social side of business.
  • Selling Online: The online marketplace provides many benefits to small businesses. This section will introduce you to setting yourself in the online marketplace, the importance of learning the ins and outs of search engine optimisation (SEO), privacy and electronic regulations, choosing the best name for and designing your website, and making your products stand out in an arena full of talented competition.
  • Selling Offline: Craft shows, galleries, or retail outlets are local, community based, and effective venues to sell your quality hand-made products. Offline venues allow you to meet your customers in person and are the perfect compliment to your online activities. Learn how to sell your work in person, set up a stall, plan for that next craft sale,, network in person, and market your events.

Each section is complete with activities that will help you think through the development, maintenance, and promotion of your creative business. Pullen includes snippets of advice from other well-known creative entrepreneurs. She closes each section with a list of further reading and resources that will help you access the tools that helped her reach her own success. Don’t forget to check out the accompanying website,, for updates, downloads, marketing advice, and her blog – where she talks more about what it takes to build and maintain a successful business in today’s digital age.

I recommend this read to anyone who wants to know what it takes to be a success entrepreneur. Although the context is about business in the United Kingdom, the information and concepts are easily transferred to nearly any business type across the world.

Get your copy:

I must note that this book is published in the United Kingdom and that Pullen is a successful business woman working in the United Kingdom (find out more about her on her website). Even though the context is about the way things are done in the United Kingdom, the content is easily transferrable to all professionals, like you, working around the world.
The book is available for order from:

More information:

Pullen provides a lot more information about the concepts she talks about on the Craft a Creative Business website. Explore the book, access downloads, learn about digital marketing techniques, and browse her expert blog where she talks about issues and benefits of running a business.

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