I'm crazy kinds of thrilled to be part of Diane Gilleland's Blog Tour for her new book, Kanzashi in Bloom. Kanzashi in Bloom is beautiful, inspiring and very easy to understand, and will introduce you to the ancient-yet-still-pertinent art of folding flower petals from fabric.
Diane is one of the most prolific, professional crafters around, and her level of expertise and attention to detail make Kanzashi in Bloom one of the best, easy-to-follow, most complete craft books I've read in ages. Diane has a gift for breaking projects in to simple steps that are accompanied by crystal clear photography. Reading the book is just about as close to sitting down with Diane to learn as you can get, and because the instructions and photographs are so clear, the learning is fun - not frustrating.
After teaching the basics of petal folding, Diane walks readers through almost two dozen projects using these beautiful flowers. True to Diane's form, she's included all kinds of extra information. In the basic instruction section of the book, she's included extra pictures to step out things like tying a surgeon's knot and specific sub-steps, as well as an entire section on "fixes" for common mistakes. She's covered every base possible, and follows with a range of beautiful projects that are very modern takes on this age-old craft. Kanzashi in Bloom is a dreamy craft book that won't disappoint.
So ... what's with all the thumbs?
You see, when I first started reading Diane's blog three years ago, I noticed (and appreciated) how nice and clear her tutorial photographs were. As I followed Diane's prolific projects, I got to know her ... by her thumbs. As I scrolled through hundreds of blog posts in my Reader, I could always tell when I hit one of Diane's. Her thumbs became a signature for me, and there were countless times when I'd see a blog - or even an article in a magazine - and know that it was one of Diane's projects not by reading the by-line, but by recognizing her thumbs! I've even noticed that Diane has inherited her good-thumb-genes from her mom, Pam, of Gingerbread Snowflakes! (By the way, Pam is a gifted photographer who happened to take all the pictures for Kanzashi in Bloom. How fantastic is that!? A mother/daughter team working together!)
This has been an on-going joke between me and Diane. I worried that, perhaps, Diane might think I was getting a little thumb-stalkerish or was just plain goofy. That was until she sent me an email with a picture of her thumbs with smiley faces on them and a sweet "Get Well" message when I was knock-down-drag-out sick at the end of last year. At that point, I knew that she not only *got* my weird thumb obsession, but was willing to play along. ;)
When I got my copy of Kanzashi in Bloom in the mail, my first message to Diane was, "It's beautiful!" Followed by, "It's like Thumb Porn for me!" Fortunately, she took that as a compliment (as it was, of course, intended).
I think it's time you get to know Diane's thumbs as well as I do! Please enjoy this interview between me (AJC) and Diane's Thumbs! (DT) And be sure to pick up, thumb through (har!) and purchase a copy of Kanzashi in Bloom as soon as you finish reading this post.
AJC: As Diane's thumbs, you get quite the crafty workout on just about a daily basis. How do you keep up?
DT: We really try to stay in shape with plenty of deep bends and stretches. And we thumb-wrestle several times a week for extra cardio.
AJC: What's the toughest part of folding Kanzashi for you?
DT: The folding comes pretty easily, actually - the only challenge we find in the process is in assembling the flower. There's a part where you have to tie a knot in the string of petals and then tighten it - well, let's just say it's a darn good thing we're opposable.
AJC: What are your favorite fabrics with which to work?
DT: We love quilting cottons, because we can pinch an excellent crease in them. We were a little pooped after making that vinyl Kanzashi belt buckle, though. And, covered with super glue.
AJC: How do you get along with the other digits?
DT: Well, they're all like, "We have two joints, and we're tall, so we get to make the rules."
Heh - yeah, well, let's see you operate a pair of scissors without us, pretty boys.
AJC: When you're not crafting, what other kinds of activities do you like to do?
DT: Sometimes we like to get a little jam session going, table-top drumming. We also make a mean batch of BBQ meatballs.
AJC: What was your craziest/messiest crafting experience?
DT: Oh, that would totally be when Diane decided to make about 300 magazine reeds. You have to roll magazines around a thin bamboo skewer - total grunt-work for thumbs, by the way. By the end, we were sticky with glue stick and covered with magazine ink. Being a thumb is not a glamor job.