Out and About Dresses – #selfishsewing

One of my quests this year has been to find a dress pattern with a good fit that I could make out of comfortable knit fabric. I think I’ve found a winner, the Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline.

Sarah Out and About Dresses-9692
I kept seeing the dress on a dress form at Bernina Sewing Etc. (made by Cindy Hampton) and finally I asked to try it on. After I saw the fit, I decided to buy the pattern and the very same fabric pattern, one of the Art Gallery knits. I also bought a grey print.
I actually made the grey dress first.

Sarah Out and About Dresses-9730
For the next version, I decided to make it sleeveless with a skirt made from a woven cotton print. I modified the neckline, which involved a little math. Sarah Out and About Dresses-9779
So, I’m posting these because it happens to be Selfish Sewing Week (#selfishsewingweek) in the world of Indie sewists and pattern makers. I have loved learning from Indiesew blogs and buying fun patterns like the Out and About Dress. My thanks to Roderick Red of Red Squared Productions for the photographs.

Mississippi Book Festival

What a wonderful day it was on Saturday for the first Mississippi Book Festival! It was amazing to have full rooms (though not so amazing to have people turned away).

I had a tough time getting into any of the other sessions, but the crowd was tremendous, the bookstore(s) fantastic, and I always love seeing colleagues (though, again, I hated missing out on hearing/seeing/greeting some of my favorite people.)

Sarah showing page

One great thing was that since the festival was in my home town Richard got to come along. He took some nice photographs so we can update the website with my “new look” so I won’t surprise people when I show up with longish hair.

Mississippi Book Festival-2

I love this panorama of the room.
Mississippi Book Festival

And, guess who else gets to come when we festival in my home town: my nephew! Another budding Wolfsnail fan, I’m sure.

Mississippi Book Festival-4

Summer Reading at Tisdale Library

I read recently at the Charles Tisdale Library as part of the Summer Reading Program. One challenge of these programs is the wide-range in age of the children who come. Many in this group were two years old, but the range went all the way up to 10- and 11-year-olds. I brought an activity for the older ones to do with the librarian, using Mysterious Patterns. I stayed with the large group of little ones and read a wide range of snail-related books, including Wolfsnail. With about 15 minutes left in my program, I asked the older ones back to talk with the whole group about fractals and other geometric shapes. I appreciate the help of the librarians, Patrick McCarty and Miss Mays.

Sarah Reading at Tisdale-2

Cook Prize Ceremony

cook prize webRecently I was at the Bank Street College of Education to receive a Cook Prize Honor for Mysterious Patterns.

The folks at Bank Street have a video stream of the event on their website.

My portion of the ceremony begins at 57:18.



Summer Reading at Eudora Welty Library

I visited Eudora Welty Library on Monday to launch the 2015 Summer Reading Program. We read Wolfsnail and Growing Patterns and I brought along Private Eye magnifying loupes for everyone to try.

Eudora Welty summer reading

Eudora Welty Summer Reading Program-7345

Tomatoes Ready to Roast

It has become my habit to start Saturday morning with some cooking. Typically, I am prepping for later meals. Today, I needed to roast some tomatoes for a Fennel Compote.

Richard decided to grab the camera when he saw the tomatoes lined up in a row.

tomatoes ready to roast

Wolfsnail Classroom Visits

The lush green days of Spring are here and I’ve been talking about wolfsnails. I visited Spencer Loomis Elementary School in Hawthorne Woods, IL, very near Chicago. Alex D., the daughter of my college roommate, Sarita, goes to Spencer Loomis. We had a great time with private eyes and some garden snails and slugs. Some of the snails were reluctant to move around, but we nudged them with water. The slugs seemed more eager to move; we wondered whether that’s because they have no shells to hid under.
visit to Spencer Loomis
Also, my former neighbor, Shirlene Phillips, found a wolfsnail in her yard so I brought my book to The Redeemer’s School to talk with her students. It was pretty much the same size as the snail I photographed for the book. The 4-year-olds, kindergartners, and first graders had really good questions.

Earlier this month, I spent a few days at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival with Julie Owen. We presented a session titled Photography and Place: Engaging Projects for Libraries. We pulled together materials related to our presentation on Pinterest here.


“Portrait of a Painting” Showing Time

Richard’s Portrait1short film will grace the big screen at Malco Grandview Theater on Saturday, April 11 th, at 11 a.m.

“Portrait” tells the story of a landscape painting created by Jerrod Partridge, a Jackson artist, after a trip to Tuscany, Italy. The painting was commissioned. Richard filmed Jerrod  from start to finish, with some help from our son, Douglas, and from Roderick Red of Red Squared Productions.

The film will be shown along with five other short documentaries selected for the 2015 Crossroads Film Festival.

This image of Jerrod to the left is a screenshot from the film. The image below is an image of the painting itself, also from the film. You can’t get the full effect without the big screen, unfortunately. Jerrod used handmade paper as his canvas.





Richard’s “Portrait” Film Selected by Crossroads Film Festival

XFF Laurel_OFFICIAL_SELECT_White_2015I am very excited to announce that Richard’s short film, “Portrait of a Painting,” was chosen for the 2015 Crossroads Film Festival.

The film chronicles the creation of a landscape painting by Jerrod Partridge, an artist who lives in our neighborhood. It will be shown at Malco Grandview Theatre in Madison, Miss., on April 11.

“Portrait” is Richard’s first film, though he has been creating with moving pictures for about four years. Most of that work has been created to help market our three pictures books and to spread the word about Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union.

Crossroads Film Festival features work by artists from Mississippi and around the world. #XRoadsFF

Filming for “Portrait” stretched over several months. Richard had help from Roderick Red of Red Squared Productions and our youngest son, Douglas Campbell.

Mysterious Patterns Finalist for The Cook Prize

MP cover Such wonderful news came in last week. Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature  was chosen as one of four finalists for The Cook Prize for best STEM picture book.

This prize is given by The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature. It is unique among prizes for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) books in that the winner is chosen by third and fourth grade students. If you are a teacher or librarian and want your students to participate, please click here to register.

The other finalists this year are Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle by Cheryl Bardoe, illus. by Alan Marks (Charlesbridge), Galápagos George by Jean Craighead George, illus. by Wendell Minor (Harper), and Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, illus. by Gilbert Ford (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Cheryl Bardoe, author of Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle, is also a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism’s master’s program. She and I did a fireside together four years ago when I was in Evanston promoting Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Number in Nature. Read about that here.