Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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A Wool Coat For Fall (and new Merchant & Mills tools!)

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I had the treat of receiving an email recently from a man named Yves, who is new to sewing.  Seeing as Matt and I began Thread Theory with the hope that we would encourage more men to sew, the, fact that Yves is male and a sewist is a thrill in itself.  Even more thrilling though was the fact that he included photos of his recent project using the Goldstream Peacoat pattern!

He did some simple modifications to the pattern and, in doing so, created a very different coat than the original design.  I just love the minimalism of this single breasted jacket!

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Yves was kind enough to do a bit of a write up for me so that I could share his modifications and styling choices on the blog.  Here is what he writes about his thought process while creating this coat:


“The fabric is a medium weight woollen with a houndstooth pattern.  For the lining I decided to go with paisley.

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Being a fall coat I tried to choose earthy tones that start to make their appearance this time of year.

I found the coat’s tones pair well with darker accessories, as you can see with the chocolate brown scarf. When I feel too brown I can switch it up with a deep burgundy scarf.

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The buttons are wooden buttons I salvaged from an old jacket. I had a nice selection to choose from at the store, but in the end wooden buttons seemed appropriate for the woodsy earthy theme that was was starting to come out through the coat.

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I love the style of the Goldstream Peacoat and already owned a few of them.  So I tried my hand at a couple modifications to try to get a different look.

  1. I shortened the bottom length so that is sits just around the crotch. This seems to give it a modern “sporty” look.
  2. I shortened the width of the front sides and brought them in 3″ each (on the Small pattern).
  3. I moved the buttons so they are centre aligned down the front of the coat.
  4. I trimmed the collar height 1/2″ off the top edge.  I like wearing the collar up and found this was a better length.  As well, since I shortened the width of the lapels, things seemed out of proportion when the collar was down (really wide collar and really thin lapels). So this change made things look a bit more proportional.

I also added 1/4″ top stitching along the center back, side seams and sleeve seams.”

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Thank you, Yves, for sharing your modifications and for taking the time to photograph your gorgeous finished project!  I hope this jacket receives many years of wear and even more compliments!  Good luck with your upcoming button-up shirt class.

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Two things get me excited to sew – viewing the amazing results of other people’s sewing efforts (as above) and testing out some new tools.

We just received a fresh shipment from the UK (the Merchant and Mills workshop in Rye to be specific) so there are plenty of new tools to show you today.

You’ll be glad to know that high demand items such as Tailor’s Beeswax, the Workbook, Toilet Pins, and Tailor’s Shears are now back in stock.

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In addition to this we have added a rugged oilskin tool roll (complete with the tools to match each fitted pocket):

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Another kit you will find in the shop is a comprehensive kit featuring Merchant & Mill’s most loved notions:

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The last kit I added to the shop is a selection of fine pins.  I’ve included thorough descriptions of each pin and its uses in the product description, so you might like to check that out to find out why entomology pins are an invaluable addition to the sewing tool box!

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Last, but not least, I selected two new scissors to add to our line up.  First, something for you left handed sewists:  Left Hand Tailor’s Shears!

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And secondly, some everyday scissors that strike me as the perfect balance between comfort and utility.  They are sturdy with their all steel construction but are just small enough to be very light.  The Merchant & Mills team suggests that you can use these scissors for fabric or paper (but don’t switch between both, of course).  I think they would be a nice choice for light quilting cottons or dress fabrics but I wouldn’t choose them for heavier fabrics.  I plan to use these as my household paper scissors – they will be great for cutting out patterns!

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I hope this post has been a nice dose of inspiration to prepare you for some weekend sewing projects.  Judging by how much fabric I have mailed out in the last week (the majority of the Dintex colors are either sold out or very close to sold out), there are some great sewing plans in the works!

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Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference

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This Sunday Matt and I will have a Thread Theory booth set up at the Westin Wall Center in Richmond (near Vancouver, B.C.) for the annual Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference.  The vendor area will be open noon until 6pm and the public is welcome (even if you aren’t attending the conference).  Will any of you be able to stop by to say hi in person?

You may have heard of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals if you read Threads Magazine.  It is an North American organisation with a mission “to support individuals engaged in sewing and design related businesses, in both commercial and home-based settings.” (I pulled that right from their website – you can read all about it here.)  Every year Threads Magazine presents the approximately 400 members with a sewing related challenge and displays the winners in their magazine…this was my first introduction to the talented professionals that are part of this organisation.  Members include recognisable names such as Susan Khalje (couture specialist) and Connie Crawford (pattern designer).  I look forward to meeting many of these talented people in person at the vendor market!

Also, no less thrilling, I will be vending alongside some other very inspiring companies (Blackbird Fabrics!  Clotho! Farthingales! Fit for Art Patterns!).

Even though I enjoy working from home with the world at my fingertips online, it can be extremely refreshing to get out and engage with the sewing industry in person.  It has been just about a year since Matt and I did our last vendor market so it is high time to pack up the car, jump on the ferry, and set up our little booth.  I look forward to a weekend of sewing talk, putting faces to names, and spreading the word about Thread Theory!  Plus…we will be doing a detour to visit Science World like the couple of geeky kids that we are. 😛


Aside from letting you know about the chance to meet face to face, I have two things to share with you today!

  1. You still have a 3 days left to email me with proof that your purchased the PDF Fairfield Button-up before the tissue pattern was released.  I will give you an $11 discount on the tissue pattern to thank you for supporting Thread Theory while you waited for us to send the design to print!  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca
  2. Speaking of the Fairfield, check out this amazing rendition!  Robynne sewed it for her husband (and also sewed her own shirt) for their anniversary photos.  Plus…their dogs are very cute in matching bandannas 🙂

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Waterproof Anorak Sewing Project

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I have a whopper of a sewing project to show you today!  I sewed Matt a waterproof, windproof and breathable anorak jacket and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

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I used the Hot Patterns Hemmingway Windcheater pattern that we stock in our shop and modified it to be unlined as per Matt’s request.  He really wanted a light shell with lots of room for bulky sweaters underneath.  He chose the Pumpkin Dintex waterproof/windproof/breathable fabric from our shop because he wanted a jacket that would be very visible while hiking and hunting in the forest (safety first!).  Plus…he looks awesome in orange :D.  This fabric is comprised of three layers – a soft shell exterior, a waterproof film, and a mesh interior.

I was so thrilled with how easy the Dintex material was to work with.  I just used a regular old needle (probably quite dull) and I even did a bunch of stitch ripping with no bad results.  I just rubbed my finger over the needle holes and they disappeared completely.  The fabric is quite thin and very stable so it was basically like sewing quilting cotton…no stretching or slipping while I sewed.  It doesn’t fray at all so I could have left all of the seams unfinished if I had wanted to without the need for a serger or even pinking shears.

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Matt went out into a rainstorm last night for the sole purpose of testing out the waterproof nature of this fabric.  We haven’t sprayed it with any waterproofing spray and I didn’t wash it before I sewed the jacket.  He stood in torrential rain for several minutes and then shook vigorously before coming back inside.  The majority of the raindrops shook right off of him leaving him with a few drops on his shoulders and the rest of the coat completely dry.  We noticed that the drops left on his shoulders slowly started to sink into the outer layer of fabric but they did not penetrate the middle layer (which is supposed to be the main waterproof layer within this material anyways).  I think a quick spray with something like Kiwi Protect-All would fully waterproof the outer soft-shell layer of fabric.

Based on my experience with the fabric after this project (and how pro the results look…if I do say so myself!), I plan to stock a few more colors when we order our winter collection of fabrics.  There is a gorgeous teal color called Ocean and a great muted blue called Storm that are high on my list.  I’ve received a request for the color Plum.  Do you have any specific colors in mind?

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I have been steadily working on this jacket for a few weeks now with Matt eagerly awaiting it!  He has been drenched in several Fall rainstorms so far with no waterproof jacket in his closet.  He spends lots of time outdoors rain or shine while hiking with Luki, foraging for mushrooms or hunting so this garment is really an essential item for him.

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Apparently, I’m not the only one who things sewing an anorak is a great idea this Fall!  Heather Lou from Closet Case Files just launched her spectacular Kelly Anorak on October 5th.  She basically read my mind with this pattern – it is unlined with all sorts of beautiful seam finishes.  Like I said before, I didn’t use the lining pattern pieces for Matt’s anorak and instead drafted facings and improvised seam finishes.  Now that the Kelly pattern is available it would be easy to sew a menswear anorak using the Hot Pattern pieces/menswear sizes and the instructions from the Kelly!  Maybe I’ll sew a matching Kelly for myself using our Navy Dintex now that I have all the details worked out.

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Now, let’s talk a bit more about the Hemmingway Windcheater pattern.  I sewed the size Medium for Matt even though he usually wears a Small.  We chose to move up a size to ensure there was room for lots of layering.  I made a very quick and dirty mock up of the pattern to make sure that the shoulders were not too oversized (they weren’t) and, when I tried it on him, we decided to taper the side seams since Matt’s hips are very narrow and he is used to a slim fit.  I made no other fit adjustments.  Usually I would lengthen sleeves about 1-2″ when sewing for Matt but this was unnecessary because we went up a size.

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I had fun working out all the details for this jacket.  The instructions are quite brief and I didn’t follow them very often because I was not constructing the lining.  This left me with lots of creative room to add cozy jersey facings:

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…tonnes of flat felled seams and a facing on the hood:

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…as well as a waistband casing:

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I struggled finding hardware that I liked because Matt tends to like rustic or even old fashioned fastenings.  We also wanted everything to be heavy duty and hard wearing.  I bought brass snaps from Prym which I was very pleased with.  They come with a tool set that includes a plastic holder into which you place the hole punch and various applicators.

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This was very nice to work with because it kept my fingers away from the hammer and lined the top and bottom applicators up for me.  Usually I feel as though I am all thumbs when working with the tiny tools that come with snaps…but not this time!

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I like that these snaps are smaller in diameter than the ones that I usually see in fabric stores.  These little guys are 12mm in diameter.  I think this makes the jacket look more professional.

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I’m considering stocking these sets in the shop.  Would you be interested in using them for your outerwear projects?

I did not find toggles or draw string stops that I liked…but these will be easy to find when I make an anorak for myself!  Closet Case Files released a kit yesterday that includes all of the (high quality) hardware that you need to sew an anorak.  Everything would be suited to menswear except for the draw string stops (which are a beautiful scalloped design).

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For Matt’s drawstring toggles, I created circular leather disks from an old belt.  I traced a circle, cut it out, and then smoothed the edges with rough sand paper.  I used the punch from my snap kit to create two holes in the disk and then threaded the cord through them.  Hot Patterns suggested this as a solution for toggles and I love the vintage look!  They slide along the cord nicely too.  To finish the cord ends until I find a better solution, I just knotted the cord and melted the ends.

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One of the things I really like about the design of this garment is the internal drawstring along the waist.  I think this results in a more masculine and streamline look than the usual drawstring that exits near center front through an exterior grommet.

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I also find the pockets with box pleats to be very practical.  Matt can fit Luki’s leash in one of them no problem and they are more than large enough to keep his hands warm.  I lined Matt’s pockets with leftover ripstop fabric for a pop of hidden color.

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I also really love the cuff design!  It includes a tab that cinches over a sleeve gusset.  The pattern suggests to apply two snaps so that the cuff can be cinched tight against the wind.

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You can’t see the gusset well in these photos unfortunately but there is a handy close up illustration on the front of the pattern envelope.  The illustration really helped to make things clear while I sewed.  It’s basically a diamond shaped wedge of fabric that gets folded in half and sewn to the cuff and sleeve to create a flared sleeve.  The tab then cinches the cuff tight so that the sleeve, when done up, is no longer flared.  The flare will allow Matt to put on his jacket while wearing a sweater with bulky sleeves and even while he is wearing gloves.

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The hem length is perfect.  There is nice coverage over the bum!

 

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And the tall neckline is super cozy without being excessive.  Matt doesn’t have to push fabric away from his face but, if he wants to hide from the wind, he can sink behind the collar a bit like a turtle lol.

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The shape of the neckline where the hood meets the yoke is very unique:

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It provides an interesting seamline to decorate with all sorts of topstitching.  I fell a bit short here as, while I was constructing the jacket I thought this seam would usually be hidden by the hood and collar – it turns out Matt mostly wears the jacket zipped to the top leaving my one area of iffy topstitching fully exposed!  Woops!

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The last design element that really makes this anorak seem like a high end store bought coat from Patagonia or Arc’teryx is the flap that snaps over the zipper to protect the wearer fully from the wind.  This was an essential design feature for us because I couldn’t source any of those fancy waterproof and windproof zippers that I see on expensive waterproof activewear (such as this).

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Well, there you have it!  Matt’s Hemmingway Windcheater that will have him ready for anything this wet West Coast winter!


Before I sign off for today, I have a couple more things to add to this already super long post!

  • Have you seen the awesomely colorful Strath that Duncan Carter (a contestant on last season’s The Great British Sewing Bee) shared on the Minerva Crafts blog?
  • The tissue version of the Fairfield Button-up launches next Monday, Oct. 17th!  Make sure you are signed up for our newsletter because I will be sending out a special discount for newsletter recipients on Monday morning.

Have a lovely weekend!


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A smattering of inspiration…

As we near 5000 followers on Instagram (wow!) I have been noticing a plethora of your inspiring makes popping up on various hashtags.  Let me share some with you!

But first, if you use Instagram but don’t follow my posts, you might like to: You can find us at ThreadTheoryDesigns (we used to be Thread_Theory but I recently spruced up our profile with a new name consistent with our Facebook username).

And here is where you can find some wonderful Thread Theory and DIY menswear inspiration:

If you are unable to view the photos below, it is likely you are viewing the post in your email program.  Click through to the blog to view the full post!

#threadtheory

View this post on Instagram

Mother's Day gift just delivered to the door #threadtheory

A post shared by Julie (@holydehmolee) on

#threadtheorydesigns

#makemenswear

#camasblouse

 

Are you daydreaming about fabric choices for one of our patterns?  Try searching for the #[insert name of the pattern here] in Instagram or on Facebook.  Or check out our Pinterest boards!


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Spring Sewjo – Sew ALL the projects!

You guys have been sewing up a storm lately!  Here are a few of my favorite projects that you have sent me via email or I have come across on blogs this late Winter/early Spring.

Dopp Kit dIY

Krista emailed me with these wintery photos of her very classy canvas and leather Dopp Kit with silver Chicago Screw fasteners.  She made this kit using the tutorial that I created to go along with our Bag Making Supplies Kit.

Goldstream Peacoat in Grey Wool

I came across this elegant charcoal grey wool Goldstream Peacoat on the blog Tiny Needles.  Amelie sewed this coat for her dad for Christmas.  I love the look of the popped collar!

Goldstream with plaid

This Goldstream Peacoat, blogged at Louna le Chat, features the hood that we included in Variation 2.  It looks very capable of warding off the chilly seaside breeze.  The plaid lining is a really nice touch (I wish I could find such a nice plaid at my local fabric shop!).

Jutland Shorts with custom pockets

There have been a few Jutland Pants popping up lately – such as these ones which have been so wonderfully customized by Ben!  He emailed me with photos and explained some of the customizing: Obviously, he made them in to shorts, but less obviously, he created all manner of pockets to suit his preferences.  Check out the amazing welt pockets just above the cargo pockets!  The cargo pockets themselves have been redrafted as accordion pockets (I believe) and have been added to the shorts on an angle.

Strathcona and Jutland

Lisa, of Pattern and Branch, has been on a menswear kick of late – here is her cozy Strathcona Henley and the source of her sewing pride: These perfect Jutlands!  Check out her very detailed blog post on these trousers if you would like to feel inspired by the joy that sewing can add to someone’s life!Camas Blouse and Moss Skirt

I meant to share Helena’s Camas Blouse with your during our Camas Sew-Along but I don’t think I ever did!  I really love the sporty aesthetic of this outfit – I think the Camas pairs wonderfully with the Grainline Studio Moss Skirt!

Camas Blouse Floral

Lastly, this beautiful Camas Blouse featuring a Liberty print yoke was recently blogged about on Autant en emporte l’automne.  It really has me wishing for a Camas in white since I can see this blouse going with absolutely everything.  She has photographed the blouse worn two different ways; I really like how it looks tucked in to high-waisted trousers.


 

Thank you for sharing your Thread Theory projects with me!  As always, please send along photos of your finished makes to info@threadtheory.ca  – they really make my day 🙂

 

 


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The Parade – some of your finished garments!

Today I’ve compiled a few of the really outstanding finished (and in progress) garments that have been popping up in the last couple weeks.

I was going to post a parade of finished pants and shorts yesterday as a finale for the sew-along but I thought it might be better to wait until the end of the Kollabora Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along contest as I know there are a quite a few of you still steadily working away on your versions.

Instead, here is a smattering of inspirational projects covering the whole range of our patterns (all three, anyways! I guess that might be too few to properly describe our offerings as ‘a range’…but we have more patterns in the works so it won’t be too long until the selection grows again!).

First off, are Jana’s amazing Jedediah Shorts which she completed as the sew-along came to an end (a miraculous feat since her sewing machine was giving her no end of problems…you would never be able to tell from the beautiful stitching on her end result!).  I love the hand embroidery she placed on one of the back pockets!  After seeing it, Matt is wanting something similar on his next pair.

Jana used a black variegated linen for these with a great pop of yellow as contrast.  She added double top-stitching to the hem as per her boyfriend’s RTW pants and she customized the fit of the pattern by shaving off a bit of the width.  I hope these shorts will get lots of wear ; I bet the black linen will look really nice and comfortable as it ages – I love how linen does that!

Thanks for sharing these pictures Jana!  And thanks for following along and commenting on the sew-along; it was really fun to be working away on our shorts at the same time!

 

Next up is Layla’s Strathcona Henley!  She was one of our test sewer’s for our newest pattern and she wrote a great blog article about her experience over on her blog, The Old Fashioned Way.  Layla miraculously whipped this up on short notice after her email sneakily sorted our response confirming her as a test sewer into junk mail.  I think she is a sewing super-hero for completing this in time to give us her two-bits before the Strathcona Henley and T-shirt pattern launch.  There is nothing I hate more than sewing to a deadline…it’s the only time I ever seem to break needles as I sew!

 

The third gallery of photos on display are of Erin’s rendition of the Newcastle Cardigan.  Her blog post, complete with a funny story explaining how this first menswear project came to be realized, is over on her blog, Seamstress Erin.

We’ve had steady rain for the last week and suddenly I feel more like sewing with cozy wools and sweater knits again rather than linens and light cottons.  Erin’s version of the cardigan has really inspired me to sew up another version of my own (and this time, I actually mean MY own because I’m going to make a women’s version so that I don’t have to steal Matt’s anymore!).  I love the purple and black knit that she used – it’s drape really makes it look soft and cozy.  It pairs really well, I think, with the structured contrast shoulders and cuffs that she cut out of a heavy sweatshirt material.

She took some great photos – I especially like the cell-phone ‘action’ shot!  Thanks for sharing a link to your post on Facebook, Erin!  I am thrilled to have seen your version of the pattern! (And by the way, I love your anatomically correct heart embroidery pattern!  I don’t know how you find time for all your projects while working on your Ph.D. – very impressive!)

 

To finish off this parade, here are a few single shots that I’ve found around the internet.  Below, is an in-progress photo of Sarah’s cowboy pocket lining that she is using for her Jedediah Shorts – she’s uploaded the work in progress over on Kollabora so head on over to ‘heart’ her wonderfully whimsical fabric choice to give her a chance to win the Kollabora Jedediah Sew-Along contest!

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And last, but certainly not least is a Newcastle Cardigan sewn by a man for HIMSELF – this is the first finished version I have seen that has been sewn by a man – something that Matt and I really want to encourage through Thread Theory.  So we’re stoked to have seen this posted on Reddit!  I really love the contrast band that he added, it turns the Newcastle into more of a bomber jacket than a cardigan which, I think, really works well with the silhouette created by the shawl collar.  For someone who claims to not be very skilled at sewing yet, I think his results are SUPERB!

Im not that great at sewing yet, but I finally finished my Newcastle Cardigan. - Imgur

Thanks, everyone, for sharing photos of your projects!  Seeing happy sewists sew up versions of our patterns is the reason I continue to love running my own sewing pattern company – nothing makes me happier than encouraging people to sew!  If you have a photo of your work in progress or finished project made from one of our patterns, email us the photos at info@threadtheory.ca or send us a link to your blog post because we would love to add your photos to one of our blog posts or slide shows!