Thursday, January 22, 2015

Boo in Stitches - Giveaway!!

You guys, when I went to Sewing Summit a couple of years ago, I met the MOST darling gal on the fabric shop hop.  She was sitting just in front of my friend Elena and I and she was so freaking adorable and sweet that I couldn't help but fall in love with her.  Her name is Shannon and she's got excellent taste.
Shannon (left) and Colleen (right)

Fast forward to now and Shannon and her sister Colleen have decided to join forces to start a new company that combines their skills of sewing and graphic design.  Enter: Boo in Stitches.  You guys are going to love what they have to offer.

These prints are just the CUTEST!  And FUNNY!  I showed my husband and he started laughing...and we all know that getting a guy to laugh about sewing humor is pretty rare. ;)  I think they've got a great thing going on here and I'm already excited to see what they put out next.

These prints have such a fresh and fun appeal.  I love when people don't take themselves so seriously.  And the colors are great.  I have a couple of them in person and I think that the prints are a great saturation level and quality.  And did I say fun?!  

And seriously.  How cute are they?  I love when cute people turn out to be really truly nice AND talented.  Shannon has sent me cards that her sister designed prior to this because she's in my birthday club and I already loved her sister's style long before I saw these prints.


So.  The Nitty Gritty.  I know that you will want a chance to win some of these prints for yourself.  One lucky winner will win one 8 x 10 copy of the print of your choice.  (The five are shown above).

To enter to win, simply leave a comment below.  I'm sure they would love to read what you have to say about the prints and which are your favorites.  Or heck, even suggestions for other ideas.  Should they sell tshirts?  (I'm expanding their business for it? lol)  Just let me know below.

And in case you want to follow along, there will be opportunities at all of the following blogs for a chance to win.  Just follow the schedule and learn more about Shannon and Colleen and how they started their company.  (Some of these giveaways might be on IG)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Flash back Tee - Sewing with Knits!!

I haven't been doing much sewing around here.  Between Christmas, Birthdays and Health, let's just say that getting to the sewing machine has been lower on the priority list than normal.  However, I did have a LOVELY sewing day my friend Emily who was in town to visit her parents for Christmas.

Sewing with knits!!

We had been planning this day for quite a while and I was especially excited because Emily has done a lot of sewing with knits and that is something that I really want to tackle this year.  And I'm so happy to say that I made my very first knit tshirt...the Flashback Tee from Rae.

Sewing with knits!!

My little model was especially silly on this day when I snatched a few photos of her, so just enjoy that. :p  

I started with my Heather Ross knit fabric because it was the one I purchased the longest ago and I wanted to use up what I've had for the longest.  It turned out to be a perfect choice for this little 5 year old!

Sewing with knits!!

I know I shouldn't be scared to sew with knits and I did fine, but I was so happy to have Emily there to sew with me and walk me through a step if I had a question.  It really was very direct but I was not nervous with her there and just celebrated each step along the way.  I must say that it was especially helpful to own a serger.  I sewed the whole shirt with it!

Sewing with knits!!

I made the shirt with matching cuffs and neckline rather than a separate knit fabric fabric.  And it turned out super cute.  I'll admit that I never have ended up hemming this shirt.  I thought that the perfectionist in me wouldn't be able to let that step go.  But I must be getting more laid back because I'm JUST FINE with it being unhemmed.  The beauty of knit fabric is that you don't need to hem.  It becomes a design decision (I'm calling it that rather than laziness) to choose to hem or not.  Without a formal hem, you get a slight roll on the knit that looks darling too.

Sewing with knits!!

I made this in a 4T for my pipsqueak daughter who just turned 5.  It fits her perfectly.  And this mama is super happy because this shirt has been in constant wardrobe rotation since I made it.  Nothing like seeing the things you've made actually be used and worn!  And again, I think that is the beauty of knits...we really WANT to wear comfy clothes around here. And knits fit that task perfectly.  I'm eager to make more for her!  And for myself. ;)

Sewing with knits!!

We had the best time with Emily and Caitlyn wanted her to stay and be her mommy too.  She said she could have two mommies.  lol  That's totally okay Emily.  You get to put her to bed and get her to eat at mealtimes, Deal? ;)

Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 - A Year in Review

I didn't think I was going to do a review post this year.  For some reason, I thought "no, I didn't do much...I don't know where I'm going...what's the point of reviewing it?"

And that of course is the very reason that I NEEDED to review this past year.  Because believe it or not I forget.  I forget how many crazy, amazing, hard, fantastic things happened this year.  My 35th year.  It was kind of big actually.  And by not reviewing it for myself at least, I was not honoring all of the work I did.  The ways that I stretched myself personally, both mentally and physically.  And I forget how many amazing people I met this year alone.  Finally.  In person.

In my own little solitary corner of the world where I don't get to interact in person with other quilters or sewers except on trips, it is easy to think that you've done nothing worth mentioning.  Because you literally have NOT mentioned them to anyone.  lol  I didn't talk, with my actual voice, to many people about the quilts I was making or the opportunities I had.  My poor husband gets the brunt of a lot of things. "Look honey! Look how well these points match up!!" ;)

But actually, there are definitely some things worth mentioning.

My first book was published.  
    What?!? Me? A book? It's out there for everyone to see and critique and love or hate.  I promoted and carried it with me, accepted wildly in some places and rejected completely in others.  It's a huge step for me to put that part of my out into the world for others.

I attended my first AND second quilt markets.
     Did I mention that I am literally sewing by myself all of the time? So then take that person and drop her in a room of hundreds (thousands?) of people who are all participating in the same world of fabric and sewing.  Now tell her to promote herself, her book, herself, her contacts, herself... get the picture?  It was a very big deal for me.  I met sooo many people that I have only known through the internet.  I've had real meaningful conversations and delightful late night bar singing moments.  And everything in between.  It's taken me to two different cities I had never been to and forced me to push my ability and comfort with traveling.

I filmed a DVD and segments for the Quillting Arts Show on PBS.
      Uhm.  Yeah.   I don't think that was even ON my bucket list.  lol  And yet somehow THAT happened.  In fact the DVD is just coming out and I need to check for when the showings are because they will be airing soon too. I worked like a mad woman to create everything I needed for those and then took the beginning of what would essentially become my first solo road trip across multiple states over the course of a week.

I spent a fantastic weekend with friends and new friends and, oh yeah, Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross.
     Is it weird if I think that was the biggest part of my year?  With all the other things that were personal accomplishments, it was ultimately the people in my life who made such a difference. I finally managed to attend an event where I was just there to have fun.  Nothing else.  And I didn't know how much I needed that.  People kept telling me how relaxed I looked.  That's what I look like when I have no deadlines and no preconceived notion of what the weekend should be.

I personally had two surgeries and my husband had one.
     Among all of the trips and quilts I was making for magazines and filming and books, I took care of some health issues.  So that meant a surgery for me in July, a surgery for my husband in October, and another surgery for me in November.  My husband was supposed to have another in December but it got delayed...I think that's a good thing.  We need a little break from surgery. ;)

My miracle daughter turned 5!
     I officially no longer have a baby or a toddler.  I have a little girl.  A strong feisty one who will impact the world in a meaningful way with her spirit...and my husband and I are along for the ride to help guide this little lady to be the beautiful woman I know she will become.  As independent as ever, she is already ready to sew her own clothes (so she thinks) and tells me often what a good sewer she is and what a good pinner she is.  I won't argue with that. ;)

My family took a trip to New Orleans for Mardis Gras and to the Smokey Mountains for vacation.
       More traveling! More visiting with friends who are like family.  Our first trip back to New Orleans since we moved back to South Bend over 3 years ago.  It was emotional and just easy all at the same time.  The peaceful beauty of the Smokey Mountains was a perfect vacation with a four year old and many friends with other little ones.

There's more...more quilts, more projects, more planning and blog hops.  But that is all something.  Something worth remembering and something worth acknowledging.  So, if I'm a little tired right now from the past year, there might be a reason (other than the bronchitis I currently have).

The next year looks uncertain and full already.  I'm following where my path leads and that's a little scary.  I often wonder why I can't be a person who is content to sit and let the grass grow under my feet for a while.  But I love to learn and my curiosity takes me to new things and new people.

And because we can't have a post without pictures, I hope you enjoy this slide show of my year that says in pictures what I wrote in words. Just this would probably have been enough.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sew Mama Sew List of Favorite Books!

I was quite tickled today to find out that my book is on a short list of favorite quilting and sewing books from the past year over at Sew Mama Sew.

Voting is currently open to cast your vote for up to five of your favorites! It is definitely a list of amazing books and I'm honored to be included.  Truly.  

So head on over and check out all the books and vote for 1 or 5 or whatever.  You don't have to vote for me. I promise I'll still love you all either way. ;)

Teacher Gifts

I wanted to get this post up earlier to perhaps be of help to some people, but time and technology were against me.  So today I am sharing with you what I did this year for Christmas gifts for my daughter's teachers...and perhaps it will help you for end of the year gifts. ;)

Teacher gifts

Caitlyn has three teachers, so everything you see is this times three.  I needed gift ideas that were handmade without being sewing.  I just couldn't do sewing this year. Actually, I think I'm finally admitting to myself that I don't really care for sewing in December because I want to make all kinds of crafts for Christmas.  I'm in craft mode!  So a craftin' I went!

Teacher gifts

I once again employed the numerous ideas of both Instagram input and Pinterest.  Between the two sources I found enough inspiration for this year.  Through Instagram, because I had asked about gift ideas, someone prompted me to the oh so cute idea that Vanessa Christenson of V and Co. came up with this year for her children's teachers.  The tote bags that are hand painted and lettered. I happily clicked her link to amazon to order a convenient pack of three tote bags (just the number I needed!) and used some paint pens I already had plus a sharpie and an old acrylic ruler to mark out these bags in about a half hour.  Super cute idea and VERY doable.  Dashed lines and calligraphy? That I can do.

Teacher gifts

Then for another part of the gift, the mug, I found inspiration from pinterest.  I saw soooo many cute hand drawn mug ideas there and had intended to something completely different (the dotted initial style mugs if you are wondering).  But I wasn't happy with how mine were turning out.  Ever the perfectionist, or at least the "I want to not be embarrassed to give these to my daughter's teachers" mother, I found a design that was a little more "me" friendly.  And so I ended up with snowmen and googly letters like I used to make in 7th grade. Perfect for the winter and preschool teachers.

Here is my inspiration picture and I read tons of tutorials online for the best way to make painted mugs.  Personally I ended up using sharpie oil based paint markers, letting them dry for 24 hours and then baking them at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes.

I stuffed the mugs with chocolate, wrapped them in tissue paper, and placed them in personalized tote bags.  I made the cards as well (I blogged about those earlier this month) and had Caitlyn write "Merry Christmas! Love, Caitlyn".  And I wish I had thought to grab a photo of that because her writing is comically and endearingly imperfect.  Let's just say that the concept of spacing her lettering is not one we agree on right now.  She told me that she is doing it "her way".  

As always my always...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Birthday Dress and Birthday Nails

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday Dress

Well I can't believe it but I have a 5 year old.  My baby is 5!!  If you don't know the story, I'll just briefly tell you that my daughter is our miracle.  She took us 7.5 years to get and has been giving us a run for our money ever since.  She's my girly girl (just like mama) and for her very first friend birthday party I wanted to do some special things.  That included making her a new dress and doing some special finger nails.  

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday

Given that I was still recovering from surgery (I'm almost back to normal), I was trying to be smart about sewing a new dress.  So I started with a finished shirt that I could use at the basis for the top.  But my girl knows what she wants (and what she doesn't) and she DID NOT want an opening in the front with the little button.  It was weird, I know...but I couldn't convince her otherwise.  And I've learned by this point that a small concession here was worth the whole project.  She wouldn't have worn it otherwise.  So I did some less than couture work to close up the front and add a new opening in the back of the neckline instead.

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday Dress

She was pleased as punch with the solution and wanted to helped me make the rest of the I put on my best mommy face and sewed this with her.  It's not always the most enjoyable thing for ME to sew with her because she's very independent but needs my helps (a rough combo), but it sooo fun for her.  She keeps telling everyone how good she is at sewing...and that makes this mama's heart so is all worth it.

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday2

We are working a lot on pinning and sewing a straight line.  The basics.  So she help me pin our little circle skirt pattern (for lots of twirling!) onto a fancy fabric and a lining.  Mama took over to cut the pattern out because I'm not ready to hand over the shears.  Then we pinned the two skirt pieces together at the center and serged them together to make them easier to work with.  And pinned the skirt to the top, gathering the sides a bit to fit the circle size as necessary.

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday3

Then it was off to the sewing machine for the two of us.  I control the pedal, but I try to let her do the sewing and pull out the pins.  There is some give and take we really were sewing a large circle, so it's not quite as straight forward as a straight seam.  But she was sooo proud to be making her birthday dress.

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday4

She happily skipped off after that point while mama finished up the double circle skirt hem on less than cooperative fabrics (ugh) and added a sash that is slightly gathered at the front and attached.  For our one afternoon, I'm pretty darn happy with how this dress came out.  These were fabrics I've had for a long time and I was ready to feel accomplished.

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday Nails

But I have to say, for Caitlyn, the dress was just a part of the ensemble.  She is already delving into other forms of beauty...and that meant some special nail polish and art.  I painted her nails a color to match her dress and then applied these stickers (aha! did you think I painted those?! heck no! not yet) VERY carefully on each nail.  I found them at Sally Beauty Supply and like them because they are flat and so she is not tempted to pick at them like a raised sticker.  We found that putting a clear top coat over these was particularly helpful to keeping them on for more than a day.

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday Dress

Come cute is that?! 

And if you have seem some of my collages on IG before, you know that my little gal LOVES to pose.  She's pretty darn good at it.  I sort of want to show you all every out take.  But that might a mother's love gone too far.  lol  But rest assured that every facial expression is deliberate on her part as is her posture.  She cracks me up.

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday Dress

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday Dress

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday Dress

Caitlyn's 5th Birthday Dress

Oh and as I'm sure there are more of you out there interested in nail art and such, Julep nails has shared an exclusive nail tutorial for Decking the Holidays.  I've never tried their nail polish personally but I'm getting more excited to try fun nail ideas now that I have a little gal to practice on who ADORES fun nails.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Quilter's Mixology - Signed Books Now Available!


Hi Everyone!  I finally have my act together and am excited to be able to offer signed copies of my book for sale.  Just in time for Christmas!

Books are $25 shipped in the US.  Please contact me about multiple copies or International shipping.  All payments will be via paypal.  You can leave a comment here or contact me privately via my email:

Feel free to direct husbands my way too ;)  Gift wrap is available upon request!


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