Friends I’ve been dropping a few hints here and there about some exciting things I’ve been working on this past year and I’ve been dying to share more images and reveal more details. And I’m happy to report that I can do so now! I have a book coming out this fall!!! It’s titled PLAYFUL Toys and Crafts Made by Hand and is being published by gorgeous book maker Melanie Falick of STC Craft. Below is a shot of the tentative title page as well as a handful of teaser images from the book!
Two years ago, at my first ALT Summit, I was introduced to Melanie Falick by my friend Brooke Reynolds of Inchmark. I had the idea for making a kids craft book already buzzing around in my head so when Brooke suggested it as well, and recommended me to Melanie (a long time favorite publisher who makes beautiful books like this one, this, and this) I was more than excited and knew I was headed in the right direction. After working hard to make the best book proposal I could, I submitted it to Melanie and excitedly/anxiously waited to hear back. I can vividly remember the return phone call from Melanie. It was the summer of 2012 and all of my family was loaded in the car after spending the afternoon at Seven Peaks water park. My cellphone rang and I saw it was from NYC. I picked it up and I’m not sure what was said really other than….YOU’VE GOT A BOOK DEAL. When I hung up the phone, I looked over at Jon, paused and then screamed…I HAVE A BOOK DEAL!!!! He had to pull over so we could both scream a few more times. It was so exciting for me.
I love making beautiful things, maybe a bit obsessively so, and it’s been a dream to create my first kids DIY toy and craft book. I had such a specific vision for this book. I knew I wanted it to be first and foremost PLAYFUL, inspiring, beautiful and full of amazing, special projects for parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and more to create with and for the little ones in their life.
To accomplish this, I of course couldn’t do it alone. My specific vision for the book meant that I needed to find just the right photographer, stylists and designer who understood the look and feel of what I was going for. Brooke (former Art Director for Martha Stewart Kids) was already on board from the get-go as a designer (lucky lucky me!! It was her idea to have this fun confetti around the title page and I love it!) and I had a few ideas in mind for a photographer and stylist. After some back and forth I knew Nicole Gerulat was the perfect photographer for this book. She has an incredible eye, a way with children and can capture the most magical moments (and she happens to live just about 20 min away from me). In 2013 I met with her over lunch, oh just a few months before she was to give birth to her second child, to see if there was anyway she could fit in a book shoot that hot summer before, you know, having a baby and all. SOOO happy she said YES! (So lucky the shoot was local or it wouldn’t have happened…and I would have cried like a baby for months ;)). And you probably already know how much I love working with my dear friend Meta from One More Mushroom (one of the first times we met we talked for hours and hours – in fact we still have a hard time cutting off the chatting when we get together, making it hard go home and get on with things – our husbands just looove it, I’m sure). It’s no secret she has incredible taste and a killer eye for styling so naturally I wanted her to style to shoots. Our styles are different but complimentary and she understands what I gravitate to. Nicole suggested bringing Brittany Watson Jepsen, from The House that Lars Built, on board as well for wardrobe (as she had just moved to area). I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the idea. I’d been a fan of her blog and impeccable taste for quite some time as well. When I first met her I was so excited for this book and the possibly of having her on board, I was a bumbling fool, overwhelmed with my hyper enthusiasm. Lucky for me she was game….and it’s been a magical collaboration ever since.
All four of us met for lunch to launch this collaboration. My favorite part was when Meta and Brittany walked in, having never met before this point (in fact this was when I met Brittany as well) and both blondies were dressed in cute scandi/peasant dresses, swedish sandals, their hair in crown braids and practically matching leather totes. Nicole and I looked at each other and just nodded our heads as if to say “oh yeah, we picked the right combo for this job”. And boy did we ever. After meeting, sharing mood boards, ideas and more, we all got to work (and let me tell you these girls do what it takes to make things impeccable…making all my wildest dreams for this book come true and then some!). When I’d show up to the sets to help everything come together, I couldn’t have been more blown away. The things Meta would have put together were breathtaking…and the clothing Brittany had found fit the crafts and the styling so well. And then when nicole started snapping away, I was literally gasping with glee (is that possible?). I was beyond thrilled to see what she was able to capture. Seriously you guys, these ladies took this book to an entirely new level of Uh-mazing.
And on that note I’m thrilled to share a sneak peek of one of my favorite crafts/shoots from the book. My favorite little trapeze doll! I couldn’t get this idea out of my head (which actually came to life after a phone call with my sister when I made a doll with legs that were too long and I had to figure out where to go with her). Once discovering that she was always meant to be a big-top flyer the ideas started spinning. I had the idea of having a couple of dolls hanging form a trapeze in a little girls room. Would have been cute for sure, but then Meta came back with the brilliant idea of doing an overhead shot similar to her super hero photo booth that I collaborated with her on. I loved it immediately. Originally she envisioned a circus scene with the girls flying above it but decided to simplify to a simple circus tent opening to keep focus on the doll. I painted the tent, Brittany put together the darling Woven Play ensemble and had me paint some tights (cutest idea ever!), while Nicole climbed a tall ladder (at 8 months pregnant!) with all of us spotting her so she could take this phenomenal photo. The result = nothing short of playful magic.
And the rest of the book is just as amazing! It’s so hard to keep it all under wraps as I’m dying to share it all. This fall can’t come soon enough! But stayed tuned as I’ll be sharing as many little updates as I can. Yippee!