Thursday, August 9, 2012

Celebrating Three Years! Happy Blogoversary + GIVEAWAY

Wow -- three years! Serendipity Handmade is three today!

I can hardly believe that I am still blogging after three years (it seems like a long time!) and that so many people have come to visit and have appreciated the things I have had to share over the past few years.

And Serendipity Vintage is three years old today too.  I am so glad that I am still able to connect sewists and collectors around the world with those hard-to-find vintage patterns when so many of the friends I first met on Etsy and or in crafter's forums have had to close their shops. 

Before I get too sappy, I'll just say that I don't know exactly what the future holds, but I do know that I hope that both Serendipity Vintage and Serendipity Handmade will continue to grow.  I'd like to keep blogging and sharing my collections and creative pursuits with all of you.

Thanks for reading.  It means a lot to me.


As always, I have a birthday present for YOU!  

I've teamed up with my friend Becky Stancill, who not only has a delightfully wacky sense of humor and is a dedicated Serendipity Handmade reader, but happens to be the owner of Sew In Stitches on Etsy:

She is pictured with one of her fabulous 1940s style Gathering Apron, which is perfect for picking fruits and veggies in the garden, picking up after the kids, or as a handy catch-all as you go about your busy day:

Becky has a true love of vintage, and because we are Facebook friends I get to see how she incorporates vintage silhouettes and style into her wardrobe without looking like she is wearing a costume.  I decided to ask Becky a few questions so you could get to know her a little better!

Collette:  What is your favorite fashion era? 

Becky:  Ah, I love the classic lines of 50s and 60s clothing: simple styling, comfort. Think of June Cleaver's dresses, Laura Petrie's cute tops and pants, or Ava Gardner's safari wear in one of my favorite movies, "Mogambo."

Collette:  I agree -- I love Laura Petrie's (Mary Tyler Moore) clothes in the Dick Van Dyke show. So tell us about your personal style! 

Becky:  Most days you'll find me at home in super-comfy jammies, t-shirts, and shorts. But when I go out and about I like to think I pull together a classic look -- no flashy jewelry or super vivid prints for me. Classic cardigans, Peter Pan collars on cotton blouses, a-line skirts, boot cut jeans, and shirt dresses. I wear natural fibers as much as possible, like cotton and wool.

Collette:  What types of vintage goodies do you collect? 

I am what is politely referred to as a "pack rat." Lucky for me, six years ago I married Bill, who also has the same affliction!

I collect and actually use vintage embroidery and sewing patterns and sewing books. I'm currently on a mission to find all of Mary Brooks Picken's books and the 1952 Vogue New Book for Better Sewing. I have a respectable stash of vintage linens, some vintage dresses I love to wear and some fab vintage pins. A couple of my pins are from the mid-60's when my Daddy had a neat little gift shop.

Then of course there are my aprons! I do not know how many I have. I don't want to know! I inherited a whole bunch from my Great-Grandparent's home place and I have also made many aprons. I wear them too. Some of the old ones need repair as they have care worn holes. I just can't bring myself to put a needle to them yet.

Collette:  How was Sew In Stitches born?

My grandmother, who I called "Mama," was a big influence on me as I grew up. She lived next door. Mama always believed I could do anything, even when I doubted. I wanted to learn to sew and embroider and knit and do all sorts of crafty things. She helped me learn. Before I could even think about using a sewing machine I made things by hand. Back then fabric companies printed Barbie clothes that could be cut out and sewn:
My poor Barbies and their wardrobe malfunctions! I still have a couple of the dresses to remind me of Mama and her loving guidance. 

I tackled Vogue patterns early on and boy -- that was quite a baptism by fire. I loved the freedom of making my own clothes and accessories. I sewed for my kids, and while I was raising them, I also sewed for others. I worked for a couple of fabulous decorators making cushion covers, window treatments, bed skirts and duvet covers. I also altered clothes -- which I really don't enjoy -- but I met some great folks and it helped pay the bills.

When my daughter flew the coop for college I had more time on my hands and started daydreaming about owning a sewing shop. I would love to teach others, especially kids, to sew. In the meantime I decided to make and sell aprons. My daughter and one of her pals and I were out to eat one night. We had a huge case of the giggles. We started batting around name ideas for my shop, which soon became my online Etsy shop. Laughter led us to "Sew In Stitches," because we were "so in stitches." (I know...groan...!).

And I think my motto, "Modern Creations from Vintage Patterns," is pretty self-explanatory.

Becky's Reversible Market Tote
 Collette:  What inspires you?

Oh how I wish I had some lofty or esoteric answer like "I am inspired by the wonders of nature" or the like. Actually I just get ideas from everything! I usually see a fabric I like and it says "Hey, buy a yard of me for an apron." or "Wouldn't I make the cutest dress for you?" Doesn't fabric talk to you too? *wink*

I am persnickety about my stitches. It must look great! "It can be handmade but must not look homemade" is some of the best advice I ever received.

I watch way too much TV too. I'm hooked on the old shows from my youth so I'm always spotting an apron
or a dress on June Cleaver that I want to recreate. And old movies too! Lots and lots of inspiration there as well as online searches.

An online vintage pattern search is what inspired my Gathering Apron pattern. I saw a picture and searched for about two years for the apron pattern. One day I simply decided to give it a whirl and made my own pattern and surprised myself! I am sure Mama would not have been surprised.

Collette:  And neither are we! You are a truly creative woman.


So many thanks to Becky for offering my other Serendipity Handmade readers a delightful surprise on my blogoversary!  So how would you like to have this fabulous, handmade, rockabilly-inspired, full-size  "That's Alright Mama" Apron (in homage to Becky's Mama, and the late Elvis Presley):

And I'm also throwing in a $15 gift certificate to Serendipity Vintage for those of you who love to sew!
Serendipity Vintage
$15 Gift Certificate
All you have to do to enter is be a follower of this blog (new or old!) and enter through the Rafflecopter widget below.  There are a ton of additional entries too.  Won't you show Becky some love by visiting her shop and leaving a little comment???

The winner will be announced on this post on Saturday, August 18th.  Good luck!  And thanks again for being a Serendipity Handmade reader!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Cute apron! I'd love to win it!

  2. Happy anniversary!

  3. I love the guitars apron. Mamas are the best.
    Happy 3rd blogiversary.

  4. I love the Red BBQ Kebobs Apron. So cute!

  5. Happy Blogaversary!!! Love Apron's

  6. Happy Blogaversary, and many the vintage styles.

  7. Happy Blogaversary, I'd love to win the apron. I would give it to my partner, he is mad on guitars, it might give him some good ideas and work in the kitchen sometimes...

  8. Happy Anniversary! I love the purple "gathering" apron.

  9. I'm feelin' so much apron love here! ;-) I adore them and have them displayed like a border, decorating a guest room in my home, all the way around the room, w/ each apron sash tied to its neighbor in a bow. I am smitten with them and all the feminine history that they hold. I'd be so blessed to win this one. Thanks for the giveaway & God bless - Julie H. :-)

  10. Happiest blogaversary, dearest gal! I've been blogging for a little over three years, too, and adore the fact that we've know each other for so much of that time. I'm deeply proud of all you've done with your blog, and wish you many, many more amazing years of blogging to come!

    All of her aprons are absolutely darling, but if I had to pick just one that I like best at the moment, I think it would be the bbq themed one, as we got our first barbrque this year and have grilling up a tasty storm ever since. An apron like that would ensure no tasty morsels landed on my vintage clothes while cooking, so it would definitely get put to good use.

    Big hugs & joyful weekend wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

  11. Dear Collette, big congrats on your blogoversary! Can't believe it's been 3 years for both our blogs! Thank you for being a wonderful bloggy friend, your blog is always a pleasure to visit! :)

    Great giveaway! All Becky's aprons are fabulous! My fave item in her shop is the Vintage Postcard Fabric with Denim Pocket Full Apron.

    Love and hugs, Carla.


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