The Leibster Award: I'm Thrilled to Be Included!

The Liebster Award. A lovely tradition to welcome new bloggers into the blogging community. A chance to pay it forward from one blogger to another. And an opportunity to learn more about each other. Masha from The Itinerant Seamstress nominated me and I'm thrilled. Heck, I'm still tickled by the idea that someone other than my family may actually be reading this thing!

The Liebster Award: Discover New Blogs | The Inspired Wren

Here's how it works: answer some specific questions asked by the blogger who nominated you, list some random facts about yourself, then pay it forward by nominating other new bloggers. So, here's a little bit more about me...

How much time do you spend on blog photography?

Probably not as much as I should. Let’s see if I can add it up for a typical, non-tutorial, post:
+ 20 minutes, product without model
+ 20 minutes, product on model 
+ 60 minutes, choosing and editing the images
= 1 hour, 40 minutes TOTAL per post

That’s really just a guess though. For example, for Ottobre Tunic: Third Time’s the Charm! I took about 60 images and used eight; I have numerous poses and close-ups, and also variations in camera settings. It took three-ish hours to write and format the post, and that INCLUDED choosing images and editing them. I go back and forth between the writing and the images, so I’m just guessing what percentage of that that was in pic editing. I no longer have access to Photoshop so I edit at For the most part I adjust Levels, rotate the pic slightly to compensate for the fact that I always seem to tilt the camera (I always have my head tilted, too, so that may have something to do with it), I also crop the image, and erase errant, stray threads in close-ups (shhh, don’t tell anyone I cheat that way).

Photography for a sewing blog. Outtakes. | The Inspired Wren
And these are ones that aren't blurred beyond recognition and/or too dark or blown-out white because I failed to correctly adjust the manual settings on the camera. I tried giving directions in each of these and that's what went wrong: pretend you're sad that it doesn't fit, pretend you're sleeping, smile at the camera, just sit still. Ha! My best pics to date are when she gets distracted by something; I wonder if that's how it works with real models?

What is your idea of a perfect vacation?

Europe. With Mr. Wren. Our best vacation EVER was a nine-day Mediterranean cruise. It was the perfect blend of exploration and relaxation. We got to go out into Italy and Turkey and Greece and get energized by the sights and sounds and tastes. Then we got to just sit and read and enjoy each other’s company during days at sea, without feeling guilty about missing this museum or that site. Also we saw so much and yet I got to go back to the same room each night. I thrive on routine. So even on vacation, I seek out a rhythm for my day. Mr. Wren got to touch all the history he wanted and I got to relax on our balcony each night while watching the sun set over the water. My shoulders release tension and go down just thinking of it. Though I love The Peanut dearly, I so want to send her to Camp Grandma and just head for the Mediterranean with Mr. Wren again!

Mr. Wren & Ren Cruising in 2008 | The Inspired Wren
Pompeii! Cruising with the just the clothes on our backs when our luggage got lost. STILL our best vacation ever!

What fabric are you currently drooling over?

Huh. I'm not. I don’t. I am very much a “choose the project then the fabric” creator. For me, form always follows function. It is very rare that I purchase a fabric with no project in mind. The one exception I can think of to this routine, would be the Urban Garden by the De Leon Design Group for Alexander Henry Fabrics, 2012 Collection that I used on the Burrito PJ Cuff Tutorial post. I saw that at a local quilt store and bought it with no definite project in mind. I just had to have it. I had just received Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids [affiliate link] and so I first used the fabric on a tunic. Then I made the PJs. I can’t remember another time before or since when I purchased fabric without a specific project in mind.

Sewing with Urban Garden for Alexander Henry Fabric | The Inspired Wren
Tunic from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids [affiliate link] & Burrito Cuff PJ Pants; a top for day, some pants for night. The same fabric also made a great appliqué on the PJ top.

What is your favorite candy?

It has very recently changed. Who knew that would happen?! Most of my life I would not have hesitated to say Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—preferably bite-size (not minis) over standard-size, but I’d take (and still will) any iteration. But then I tried these amazing Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels from Wegman’s grocery store. Those are hands-down my favorite for over a year now, so I don’t think it’s just a momentary infatuation. However I realize that’s a very specialized candy from a regional store, so as my final answer I’ll say, “PB Cup unless I’m near a Wegman’s.”

What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?

There was one time in my 20s when I was driving alone and it was snowing and I over-corrected a tiny skid in the far left lane and then my car did a 360 across three north-bound lanes of the Thruway in upstate New York and at 180 I was directly facing an on-coming 18-wheeler squarely in his lane before continuing the spin and coming to a stop facing the correct direction on the far right shoulder from where I started! 

Holy run-on sentence, but that’s how I always remember it. Yikes! Let’s move on.

Five Random Facts about Me:

  • I’m left handed. But I cut with my right hand. I hand-stitch and crochet with my left. I throw right, but bat left. Or is it the other way around? (Hahaha, you know, on the very rare occasion I even attempt a sport.) Being left-handed in a right-handed world makes one a bit ambidextrous.
  • I was very serious about dancing—tap, ballet, jazz—for the first 20ish years of my life. Twenty-ish years later, I still think of myself as a dancer and get thrown when someone else doesn’t see me that way. I also still prefer a good musical over any other form of entertainment, and it’s the most frequent music I listen to.
  • I have decorating block whenever it comes to my home. I know! A graphic design background! A love of sewing! What the what? My husband agrees with you. I’m paralyzed by taupe walls, by indecision, and by some wishy-washy ideas with a lack of follow-through. Drives Mr. Wren crazy.
  • Right now the only shows I will fully put down the Couch Craft to actually watch with my eyes are Sherlock, Downton, Game of Thrones, Psych (so sad it’s almost over), and the actual dancing portion of So You Think You Can Dance. When listed like that, it looks like a lot, but really those shows are spread throughout the year. It's still rare to find me on the couch at night without a craft in my hands.
  • This post took longer to put together than I expected, but it was a lot of fun! [That’s a total cop-out. Why can’t I think of a fifth random fact? I’m sure if it had been 10 facts I would have gotten stuck at 9 instead of 4. Now I’m over-thinking it. There you go! Fact #5: I over-analyze everything.]

And the nominees are...

So now it's my turn to nominate other new bloggers for the Leibster Award. Google has taught me that the "rules" of the award seem to be constantly shifting. I've answered five questions and listed five random facts, so now I've chosen five women (from four blogs) to nominate, plus one honorable mention. These are women who's work I admire and who I'd like to learn a little bit more about. In no particular order, they are...

Good, Bad & Ugly -- Sew-A-Long by Oak Leaf Amy -- Creative Endeavors
Good, Bad & Ugly -- Sew-A-Long | Oak Leaf Amy -- Creative Endeavors
Oh my! I love the boat fabric on this one! And pairing it with the red-check is darling

Pattern Review: Olive Ann Designs Urban Princess by Handmade Dress Haven
Pattern Review: Olive Ann Designs Urban Princess | Handmade Dress Haven
Look how perfectly the fabric design is placed on the dress. Gorgeous. And then there's that little, matching doll's version. Too precious!
Beachy Boatneck Flip by Friends Stitched Together
Beachy Boatneck Flip | Friends Stitched Together
What a perfect model. He's rockin' those stripes! This has those great details that make boys clothes fabulous.

Alicia at Playground Pixie Designs
Pattern Review: Hattie by Brown Goose reviewed by Playground Pixie Designs
Pattern Review: Hattie by Brown Goose | Playground Pixie Designs
What beautiful fabric choices and attention to details while sewing! A blog of just pattern reviews and tutorials? Brilliant.

And one last Honorable Mention:
Jenifer at Made By Jenifer
Jenifer's a friend of mine and I've seen her fabulous and varied work.
She just set-up her own blog space this week and there's not much there yet, but she's definitely one to watch!

If you love these enough to Pin them (of course you do!) be sure to follow the links to the original blog post and Pin from there. I've highlighted individual images & posts here, but these are just one example from each of these fabulous blogs. Even if you're not Pinning, go check these blogs out!

Alright, nominees. To earn your badge, you must answer these five questions and list five random facts about yourselves, then pass on the Leibster to other bloggers:
  1. How frequently do you post on your blog and do you maintain a posting schedule?
  2. Do you have a favorite dessert?
  3. If you had to choose just one go-to source for fabric, what would it be?
  4. What was/is your favorite creative project of all time (even if it pre-dates your blog)?
  5. What is the proudest moment of your life so far?

I'm excited to pass on the Liebster love and can't wait to learn more about my nominees!

COMING IN APRIL! A new weekly Link Party here on The Inspired Wren!

Inspired Us Thursdays: Sew Needle Stitch Hook -- A new link party on The Inspired Wren

Mark APRIL 3 on your blog schedules & calendars,
and check back next Thursday for more details.

You should really see all that goes into each project!
From my model preferring to wear washi tape on her belly button instead of the clothes I've sewn for her, to the ingenious way that I’ve re-purposed my favorite sewing tool, a chopstick, into a spool pin for double needle sewing on my machine. Daily updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress will give you that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of First Tuesday Tutorials, too.

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