Wee Wonderfuls was one of the first crafty blogs I discovered, so I have long been a fan of Hillary Lang and her handsewn toys. The folks over at STC Craft, also the publisher of many of the books I design, asked me to be part of the blog tour for Hillary's new book, Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love (you can see the entire schedule here).
Lucky for me I had an eager four year old who happily flipped through the book with me, and declared about eight projects her "very favorite". It's tough to pick just one. Tiny little mermaids, topsy-turvy dolls, sweet little bears and giraffes, there is a ridiculous amount of cute. Bee finally settled on one project, the Tag-a-Long doll, which fits in a little apron you can wear. We'll be starting it immediately.
One of my favorite parts of Hillary's blog has always been her stash of vintage children's books, so I asked her to share a bit about her thrifting habits and share a few of her favorite books.
Where do you find so many beautiful books?
We spend a lot of time at used book sales. We try to hit more remote, less "hip" communities and then go on the last day when the books are dirt cheap, like a dollar a bag, and there are always lots of great vintage books to scoop up.
How did you start collecting?
One of the things my husband and I discovered we had in common when we first met was our love of the second hand. We spent a lot of time at flea markets, book sales, thrift stores before the kids arrived on the scene. And we're both book lovers and suckers for great illustration so we had quite a book collection ready to read to our kids. Funny though, they're not all great reads. I definitely pick a book by its cover, and endpapers and font and illustration, etc. When we started actually reading the stories out loud we discovered we have some real stinkers. Especially some of the crazy bad holiday books. They're hilarious!
Here are some favorites from Hillary's latest haul:
Love the sleeping animals on the endpapers of this copy of Sleeping Beauty (illustrated by Vivienne Blake). How cute would it be to make a series of sleeping stuffed animals, bedtime pals.
I love books that are done in just a few colors. (Ten Big Garms, written and illustrated by Dahlov Ipcar)
And books with every color are good too. Love the technicolor of this one! (Foolish and Wise, editors Nila Banton Smith, Hazel C. Hart, and Clara Belle Baker)
Eloise Wilkin melts my heart every time. Those little faces are burned in my memory from my childhood books. (The Make-Believe Parade, story by Jan Margo pictures by Eloise Wilkin)
I just love these colors. And that poor sad little Betsy, how cute is she. (Betsy's Adventure, story and pictures by Gwyneth Mamlok)
To see more of Hillary's finds, check out her Vintage Books flickr group.
And to enter to win a copy of Wee Wonderfuls, visit STC Craft's website and tell them about your favorite childhood toy.