Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sew the Library Monthly Link-up: Coming in January!

It seems that I'm not the only one with a shelf of neglected sewing books. Several of you mentioned that you were also hoping to sew through your own libraries in 2015, and a few of you even asked me to start a monthly link-up to keep us all gently accountable. As a result, we're officially launching a Sew the Library Monthly Link-up in January!

From the 20th until the last day of each month, you can link up any project you've made from a sewing book or magazine during that same month. We'll make an exception in January and let you include anything from December too, since I'm hoping you'll get some Christmas goodies that you can use for this! In your post, be sure to mention the book you used and feel free to include a photo or a link to where it can be purchased so that others can easily find it too. The January link-up will be here at Fabric Mutt. In February, we'll be linking up at Martha's blog Weekend Doings, and in March, you'll be linking up with Jodi at Tickle & Hide. I'm so grateful to these sweet, talented friends of mine for giving me the push I needed to get all this started!

We're going to give this a trial run for three months, and if we can get a group sewing along, we'll keep it going through the rest of the year. This is not only a great opportunity to sew through our own libraries, but it's also a great way to get exposure to new books we might have missed along the way. If you have any questions, just send me an email at or leave a comment below. I'm pretty excited to get started!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sew the Library: Quilt-opedia

One of my goals this year is to Sew the Library. I have so many fabulous books on the shelf in my sewing room that aren't getting the attention they deserve, and that just shouldn't be. My plan is to make a project from one of my sewing books at least once a month, hopefully twice. This month I made a quick laptop sleeve from Laura Jane Taylor's lovely book, Quilt-opedia.

Quilt-opedia is a book that I've had my eye on for a long time. I really love Laura's talent for mixing colors and prints to produce a look that's sort of vintage modern. This is a nice book for beginners, since it goes into great detail on quilting techniques and finishing, but I also think it works well as a quick reference for gift projects during the holidays. There are tons of photos and illustrations, as well as a useful quilt block directory in the back of the book. I desperately want to make the Obsession Quilt featured on the cover!

My dear friend Becca snagged some new Cotton + Steel for me at Fall Quilt Market, and I've been torn between wanting to sew with it and being afraid to touch it. Last night I finally decided it was now or never, so I pulled out my favorite linen pieces from Playful and Mesa. This fabric...what else is there to say that hasn't been said by everyone else? It's so beautiful, so fun... I kind of want to upholster my entire sewing room in prints by Melody Miller, but for now I'm contenting myself with making a sleeve for my laptop. I followed Laura's great directions which gave me the perfect fit for my machine -- a victory that has sometimes eluded me with previous tech projects!

The pouch is lined in one of my favorite text prints, a dictionary design by Tim Holtz. I added a pink and white striped hair fastener (love that touch of whimsy!) and a vintage style leather button to make an easy closure so that I can keep the laptop secure when in transit. All the top stitching is done using gold Aurifil thread.

It always amazes me how truly painful it can be to sew with a treasured piece of fabric. The pressure is huge. Holding that finished project, though, and knowing that I'll be able to see this fabric every day on my desk...well, it feels pretty great.

Sew with a print from your special stash today, even if you just use a tiny piece of it. You'll be so glad you did.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Introducing...My Book

Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples for C&T Publishing

Oh, you guys...I can't believe the day has finally come when I can write this post! I've been working on this project officially since summer 2013, but it's been on my mental radar since the end of 2012. It's an absolute joy to present you with my book: Sew Organized for the Busy Girl, due out in March of next year. It's already available for pre-order on Amazon and C&T Publishing (where you can see some project pictures too!)..and yes, I'll admit that I check those sites once in a while to remind myself that this is all actually happening!

I've always tried to be real with you here, and I want to keep it that way. I wouldn't have written this book if I didn't hope that someone would read it, so I'll be sharing some projects and ideas from it in the coming year. However, I am not going to beat you over the head with my book from morning till night. It's really important to me that I keep this a place where I chat with you about what I'm sewing and how it all fits into daily life...and honestly, Sew Organized is just an extension of that. I wrote it for all of you out there who, like me, are struggling to fit sewing time into your busy schedule. If there's anything special you'd like to know about it or would like to see in a book tour, feel free to let me know in the comments below, and I'll do my best to work it in. I really want this to be actually helpful to you!

But the details will keep for now. I'm off to celebrate with a little happy time at the sewing table...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mochi Pot Holders

I had piles of dishes and laundry to finish on Wednesday, definitely two things at the top of my "no, thank you" list. For some reason, even the prospect of a fresh, clean house just wasn't motivating me this time, so I decided to set up a little rewards system for myself: clean for twenty minutes, play with new Cotton + Steel fabric for ten minutes. Wow, did I get motivated pretty quickly after that...

I've been meaning to make some more pot holders, and Rashida Coleman-Hale's adorable new Mochi line has just the right colors for brightening up my kitchen. I kept things as minimal as possible -- no piecing and very simple quilting. Pink and white twill tape made perfect loops for hanging, and I bound them in a grey canvas print from the collection. These finish at about 7" square. Now everybody's happy: my kitchen, my pot holders, and definitely me.

It's been a ridiculously long time since I've linked up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, so I'm joining in on the fun today. Time to head over and see what everyone else is making...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ever After Quilt

It feels like the Revenge of the Machines at my house today. My Singer has been fighting with me for a few weeks now, skipping stitches for no apparent reason. I finally had to admit defeat and take it in for a tune-up this morning, getting the sad news that I won't see it again for three weeks due to the holiday rush. Thankfully my sister still has the original Brother machine which first enticed me into the world of quilting three years ago. She brought it over this morning, and I felt downright nostalgic to be sewing with my Old Faithful again. I was able to finish binding the Ever After Quilt which I've been working on all week for my niece as a belated birthday gift. I grabbed my camera to take a few pictures before sending the quilt off with my sister, but of course, the battery was dead since someone (yes, me) had forgotten to turn the camera off the last time it was used. So we'll have to make do with cell phone photos today...

It struck me several weeks ago that Dreamin' Vintage by Jeni Baker and Far, Far Away by Heather Ross have unbelievably similar color schemes. In fact, they look absolutely darling together. The colored patchwork in the middle of this quilt is surrounded by tiny pink La Creme dots by Riley Blake. It's backed in one of Jeni's florals, and I bound it with a great aqua and cream star print from Unicorns and Rainbows by Doohikey Designs.

It all works perfectly together for a little girl's bed, and I was so happy to give this to my niece at last. Since I have two nieces, there will be another one of these in the works as soon as I finish up a few other projects on my list.

A few weeks back I shared Mouse's new seat cushion with you as a part of Riley Blake's Flannel Showcase Blog Tour. If you'd like a chance to play with some flannel yourself, they're giving away some fat quarter bundles here on their Facebook page. You can catch up with the rest of the fabulous blog hop projects at the links below in case you missed them the first time around. My girls are still asking for pajama pants from my leftover Sidewalks flannel. I guess I'd better add those to my list...

9/5 Riley Blake Designs - Flannel Play Dress
11/4 Riley Blake Designs Final Post + Giveaway

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Here and There

You'll find me here and there on this glorious first day of November, my favorite month of the year. I have a project in Issue 2 of fabulous new Make Modern magazine: the Tagalong Pouch which you see above. It's a quick project and one of my favorites. Some of you may remember seeing an early version of this on the blog last year when I made one to hold an electronic Leapfrog toy for Bear's birthday. These pouches are perfect for carrying everything from tablets to library books. Mostly, though, I love picking out the squares for the patchwork on the the front.

Image courtesy of Two Peas & Their Pod

 Today I'm also thrilled to be kicking off Sew Mama Sew's annual Handmade Holidays series with Gifts for the Glamour Girl. There are some really fun ideas in here that will work for your daughter, your best friend, or even yourself, if you should need some spoiling this month. I've also included my favorite recipe for Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel frosting which is to die for. Every time I say that now, I can hear Marty Crane on Frasier saying, "Your country's to die for -- food is to eat." But seriously, these are almost that good...
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