Thursday, December 28, 2017

After Christmas

I'm one of those people who likes to take the Christmas stuff down on December 26th. It seems heartless, I know, yet I've always felt that when it's over, it's over. We spent all of Tuesday morning packing everything away for next year, and as sad as it was, I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to have all the clutter gone. Even my daughters noticed how clean and neat everything looks again in our house.

It was time for a refresh on my blog too. For years now I've been wanting to add an illustrated header to Fabric Mutt, featuring Naomi the dachshund, who was my official mascot way back in 2012. I haven't had the chance or the technology to do things the way I wanted to before now, but I'm hoping that this will be a fun addition to the blog that will change with the seasons. Spending this last year designing fabric collections for Riley Blake has reminded me how much I love doing illustration, and it's something I want to share in this space more often.

The past three years have been filled with enormous challenges and adventures for me and my family. I wrote a book, moved from California to Texas, walked through some family health issues, started designing fabric, and intensified my work as a homeschooling teacher for my three daughters, who are all growing up so fast that I can hardly stand it. Looking back, it feels as if the blog has been in survival mode for a while now. What was once a relaxed place to drop in often for a chat with all of you about what was going on in my life, both creatively and personally, has become more like an occasional business meeting to inform you about assigned projects. I regret that.

It only takes a few minutes of reading online about blog trends for 2018 to see that the bar is being raised higher and higher. Blogs are now expected to have the staffing, content, and appearance that was once expected only of magazines, and the competition is stiffer than ever before. The hamster wheel of Make! Publish! Sell! Repeat! gets overwhelming pretty fast, and I've seen more than a few bloggers sharing their keen desire to find a way back to authenticity again.

Heading toward her 40th birthday and the start of a new decade in life makes a girl -- ahem, a woman -- think...a lot. As I've been counting down the days until Saturday with both anticipation and a bit of melancholy over the last few weeks, I've decided that I've reached an age where I need to believe in what I'm doing, to find the fun in it, to be myself. So this year I'll be walking into the future by way of the past, mixing the lessons I've learned over the past 6 years (Yes, Fabric Mutt celebrates it's 6th birthday this week!) with a return to the joy that got me here in the first place, that love of sewing that captured my heart from the start. I'll be stopping by this space more often, probably with shorter posts and fewer photos, but with more of the day-to-day details that go into my personal creative journey. I hope that you'll feel free to share back with me about your own goings on in the comments so that we can truly make this a place to chat about what we're making and doing and why.

Starting over has never felt so right. See you again soon, dear friends...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Cabin Pillow (with Utility-Style Quilts Book Giveaway!)

Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living by Sharon Holland

My dear friend Sharon Holland has published a book, and I'm so happy to share it with all of you today!

Photo courtesy of Sharon Holland

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living is full of simple, lovely patterns that are somehow both modern and timeless. I particularly love Sharon's emphasis on enjoying the process without getting stuck on perfectionism. She really wants to inspire us to make quilts that will be used and loved.

Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living by Sharon Holland

I shrank the Cabin quilt pattern, which is featured on the front of the book, down to make an 18" pillow cover. As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of the log cabin block. It's easy to sew, wonderfully forgiving, and always looks fabulous. Using prints instead of solids and reversing the order of colored and low volume stripes, I made a patchwork cover that fits my style perfectly.

Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living by Sharon Holland

The pillow is backed in a cheery Lotta Jansdotter print dotted with yellow flowers. It looks great on our family room couch, and my girls love the cupcakes featured in the center of the pillow!

Photo courtesy of Sharon Holland

Along with the book, Sharon has a free pattern available for the Roman Stripe Quilt. It's a beauty, and you can download it right here.

Photo courtesy of Sharon Holland

She's also giving me a copy of her book to give away to one of my readers. Just leave a comment below, and you'll be entered into the drawing. This one is only available to U.S. residents due to shipping costs. (Sorry international readers -- you know we love you!) I'll choose a random winner on Wednesday night.

***Edited to add: Giveaway now closed. Congratulations Jodi/usairdoll!***

Sharon has put together a fantastic book tour. You'll definitely want to visit Amy tomorrow. She is such an amazing quilter! Here's the full schedule:

Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples - Fabric Mutt
Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend - During Quiet Time
Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell - Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson - Gigi's Thimble
Friday 12/8  Karen O'Connor - Lady K Quilts Designs
Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart - Olive Grace Studios
Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters - A Stranger View
Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell - Designs by Sarah J
Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift - Jessica Swift
Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble - Love to Color My World
Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens - Live a Colorfullife
Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian - Sew and Tell Project
Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder - Anjeanette K
Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron - Modern Sewciety
Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson - The Tattooed Quilter
Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted - Hopewood Home

Have a beautiful week, friends!
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