Get Inspired

inspired to sew

I’m honored to kick off Bari J.‘s Inspired to Sew blog tour today. Her new book is a beautiful work filled with her signature style and projects I can’t wait to make (and I think you’ll want to sew them, too). Bari’s asked each blog tour host to share what inspires us to sew. Here’s my story:

My mother and daughter share a dimpled chin, a love of crafting and a huge part of my heart — and credit for inspiring me to sew. They have never met — can never meet — but I like to think my sewing brings them a little closer together.

I remember growing up and thinking my mom could make anything. Time and again she’d prove it by turning piles of fabric into my favorite outfits. I’ve combed through family photos again and again, trying to find ones that showed the skirts, the tees, the dresses, the Halloween costumes she made but it seems my memories are really all I have.

After I became a mom, my mother turned her talents to sewing for her grandsons, happily creating blankets and costumes for the boys who stole her heart. She satisfied her desire for a granddaughter by sewing for my much-younger female cousins, whipping up doll clothes and dresses.

And then she was gone.

Which led to me convincing Honey our family might not be complete after all. And three years later we brought home the sweetest, silliest, most amazing baby girl, who fills our home and our lives with so much joy. How could I not give her the same kind of love my own mother showed me? I bought a new sewing machine and began to sew for the first time in years — and the first time ever that I could not call my mom and have her talk me through a problem.

I’ve sewn countless yards of fabric in the past six years, enough clothes to fill a closet (or three) and even written a book — all inspired by my mother and daughter. I sew with love, the way my mother taught me, and the way I hope to teach my daughter, too.

Are you Inspired to Sew? I hope so — and I hope you’ll comment on this post so you can win your very own copy of Bari’s book. Tell me why you’re inspired to sew between now and noon Thursday, Feb. 3. I’ll draw a winner from the comments and announce it here on the blog and probably over on my Twitter, too. And be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour, too:

Feb 1, Jennifer Paganelli: Sis Boom!

Feb 2, Jona Giammalava: Stop Staring and Start Sewing

Feb 3, Rashida Coleman Hale: I Heart Linen

Feb 4, Sarah Fielke: The Last Piece

Feb 5, Jenny Doh: Crescendoh

Feb 6, Cara Wilson: Cara Quilts

Feb 7, Deborah Moebes: Whipstitch Fabrics

Feb 8, Monica Solorio-Snow: The Happy Zombie

Feb 9, Susanne Woods: Stash Books (giving away a stack of Bari’s Full Bloom fabric!)

P.S. That cool I’m Inspired to Sew blog badge is available on Bari’s blog. Go get one for yourself!

The Big Giveaway Winner

Well, of course I think *all* of you are winners. All 504 of you. Holy cow! I am so overwhelmed by the number of comments on this giveaway. Seriously. And so many of you had such kind things to say about the book and the giveaway…it really warmed my heart. You have no idea. Thank you. <3

But enough of that mush — y’all want to know who is getting all these goodies!

Congratulations, Madeline!

Little Girls, Big Style: The Giveaway

I have been working on this giveaway forever. Like, since I started working on Little Girls, Big Style. I have always loved hosting giveaways and this one is even more special to me for rather obvious reasons. And I’m especially excited to be taking part in Sew, Mama, Sew’s annual Giveaway Day (be sure to check out the link and see all the amazing blogs/shops taking part).

Here’s what you’ll be winning from me:

• An autographed copy of Little Girls, Big Style.

• Two yards of Pellon Easy Pattern for tracing the patterns in the book.

• Some fun trims from my stash for using with some of the projects.

• A Clover Chaco Liner chalk marking pen.

• Three one-yard cuts of fabric (fun multicolored owls on white 21-wale cord by Robert Kaufman, Euro-style mermaids from JoAnn and the prize from my stash: Little Elfi from Germany).

• ModKid Little Chef pattern, which I tested for the lovely Patty Young.

• Indygo Junction Petal Blossom Bag designed by Violet Craft, which is the most recent thing I’ve sewn.

• A Starbucks Frappuccino cup and gift card. Starbucks was my office-away-from-home while I was working on the book and I spent many an hour there, writing without the distractions of home (or the Internet).

• An autographed copy of Jenn Cristy‘s Hotel Confessions. Not only was this the soundtrack of my book-writing days but I actually did the photography, CD packaging design and merch design while I was writing the book. You say “crazy;” I say “multitasking.”

This giveaway is open until U.S. residents until Dec. 17 at which time I’ll select a winner using Random.org. (Sorry, international friends! I will do a book-only giveaway just for you after the first of the year.) To enter, all you have to do is comment on this post. Yep, it’s just that easy.

And don’t forget you can still enter the giveaways on the Little Girls, Big Style blog tour (continuing through Dec. 15) to win a copy of the book. Check out these blogs for your chance to win there:

What are you waiting for? Get commenting!

The Hostesses with the Mostesses

Me with Bari and Jona at International Quilt Market, Houston, October 2010

Before I wrote a book, I had no idea what it really entailed. The blood, sweat, tears and lack of sleep? No clue. I also didn’t know it would connect me with some amazing people, some I already knew but others I’ve met along the way. When it was time to pull together this little thing they call a blog book tour, I hoped some of those fun sewing friends would say “yes” — and I’m delighted they did. I think you’ll enjoy these introductions and maybe learn a little more about some of the cool folks who are part of my world.

  • Lisa aka The Domestic Diva is one of my favorite friends. I actually had the good fortune to meet her on her turf a couple of years ago and was delighted to find her just as bold, fun and loving in real life as she has been on the phone and Internet. Her blog is an indispensable sewing resource, covering everything from sewing room organization to tutorials for handmade gifts.
  • When Susan introduced herself to me in Houston, I was tickled to bits. And then I came home and looked at her blog and realized the amazing talent she is. She’s an author, a columnist for Quilting Arts magazine and a ridiculously talented fiber artist. Check out her blog post about Snow Squall and you’ll see what I mean (and then go download the free snowflake design and try your hand at it).
  • I met Jessica in Pittsburgh about 18 months ago where she was shopping around the designs for what would become her first fabric line, Timber. I think I must have been the last person who knew her blog and, boy, was I missing out! That girl does it all and makes it look so easy, too. She even makes camping look appealing!
  • It never ceases to amaze me how small this sewing/crafty world is. My dear friend Sheree (who also happens to be friends with Lisa) introduced me to Penny at Fall Market. Well, any friend of Sheree’s is a friend of mine — and she’s a curly girl, too, so I knew I’d just love her. She’s so sweet and down to earth, and I had no idea she was this super awesome quilty/outdoorsy girl. I can’t wait to try my hand at making some of these wonky star blocks.
  • In the boutique sewing world there’s really one source for what’s hot and that’s Boutique Cafe. Founder/host Daria is a tireless promoter of mompreneurs, mom of five (happy birthday, Lola!) and one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. Go to your iTunes and subscribe to the free Boutique Cafe podcast — you won’t be disappointed.
  • I started stalking Rashida soon after I found out she’s also a C&T author. A C&T author who lives near me. Woooo! It’s like finding a cousin you never knew you had. In the real world, she’s too cool to hang out with the likes of me (she’s an author AND a fabric designer). But she’s still pretty new to the area and doesn’t know any better yet, so I’ll continue to drag her to lunch until she catches on.
  • Back in the day when I was still pretty new to this whole blogging thing, Sew, Mama, Sew gave me the opportunity to review a pattern for Children’s Clothing Month. Less than a year later, I was back and writing about sewing a muslin (a post that was picked up by Craft and made my head swell about 100 times!). When this book was still just an idea, I read Susanne’s interview on Sew, Mama, Sew and finally got up the courage to prepare my proposal for C&T. And, well, I think we all know how that ended.
  • Jona was one of the first folks I met at my first Quilt Market in Houston two years ago and I’m so happy to be able to call her my friend. I am perpetually in awe of all she accomplishes. She’s also a genuine, generous person who shares her time and talents with so many. Check out her great skirt mod tutorial and get a taste of what I’m talking about. Also? She has the stinkin’ cutest chiweenie on the planet and is lucky I don’t live closer because I’d have to take him home with me.
  • If you love fabric you have to be reading True Up. Kim’s site is THE resource for everything fabric related and is one of my must reads. Watching her in action at Market is nothing compared to reading her coverage of the event. She’s also a really fun person to hang out with, even when I’m being a total dork!
  • Bari and I brushed shoulders at my first Market. Both of us did some sewing for the then-wounded Paula Prass and happened to be at Paula’s booth at the same time. I recognized Bari right away but was too intimidated to say anything to her because ZOMGIT’SBARIJ! I finally had the chance to meet her in Pittsburgh (where she debuted her first line of fabric) and was still pretty awed because ZOMGSHE’SBARIJ! And then…we both ended up part of the Stash/C&T family, going through the whole process of writing a book at pretty much the same time. Bari was one of the few people I could talk to about the book and it made the experience even better to have her ear. And her friendship.

Be sure to visit each blog during the course of the book tour and enter to win a copy of Little Girls, Big Style. They’re an awesome group of women and I’m so thankful each one is taking part in this!

Imagine This

Imagine you enter a Provocraft giveaway on Twitter.

Then Imagine you win.

Today, I went from imagining to creating and enjoying, courtesy of the lovely folks at ProvoCraft. I don’t think I really believed I won their Cricut Imagine giveaway until the box showed up at my door this afternoon. The kids were off from school today, so I had plenty of helping unpacking it and setting it up.  And help was needed — this sucker is HUGE. Like, “it’s going to need it’s own table” huge. For now, though, the dining room table seems to be working. At least until Honey starts grousing.

It took a little while to unwrap everything and then get the update installed, then the machine calibrated, but once it was? We couldn’t wait to play.

My prize came with three Cricut Imagine cartridges, including the Imagine More cartridge, which was the first one I popped in. Oh my, it was so easy to use! I still have so much to learn but I can definitely tell the learning process is going to be quite fun. Honey admired my handiwork and then ooohed and aaaahhed appropriately as I showed the Imagine at work.

Thanks, ProvoCraft! I can see that the Cricut Imagine is going to be right at home here.

Disclosure: I won the Cricut Imagine from ProvoCraft as part of a contest on Twitter. I was not asked to promote or review my prize. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and freely given.

Giveaway Time!

I’ve been wanting to do another giveaway for some time and was so tickled with the folks at You Can Make This offered up some prizes to share with y’all. Two winners will each win four YCMT ebooks:  Personalized Name Pillows, Peasant Tops/Dresses, and Easy Fit Pants including both patterns sized for (6m – 12) and (Teen/Adult). Between all of those, items can be made for boys, girls, men and women.

All you have to do to win is comment on this post between now and 5 p.m. (Eastern time) on Christmas Eve. I’d love to know what you’ve made to give for Christmas this year or a favorite handmade gift you’ve received, but that’s optional. I’ll randomly select two winners (thanks to Random.org) and forward your information to the sweet folks at YCMT, who’ll send you your prizes.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

ETA: Congrats to the winners, commenters #6 (Stephanie) and #30 (Cristie)! I’ll be forwarding your email addresses to YCMT and they’ll send out your prizes soon.

More Blog Fun

Intown Quilters, my friend Sarah’s store and where I teach classes, now has a blog! I’ll be occasionally contributing over there (because I just can’t get enough blogging fun), as will Sarah and a couple of other folks.

One of them — my beautiful friend Taffy — is blogging this week about a fun Dolly Dresses blog project she and some other folks did with Lakehouse Fabrics. I’m eagerly waiting for tomorrow so I can read all about it and see what Taffy and everyone else has been up to.

The shop just got in a bunch of new fabrics and to kick off the new blog, Sarah’s doing a giveaway for some fat quarters, so be sure to check it out and see if you can win some goodies.

Houston Round-Up: Giveaway!

This has to be the most drawn-out process of blogging an event in the history of blogging. But I’m finally done and here are the goodies from Quilt Market that can be heading to your home in just a few days. Up for grabs are:

  • A neat laser cut invisible zipper from Ghee’s;
  • ModKid measuring tape;
  • California Dreamin’ postcards;
  • Little Folks notepad;
  • Timeless Treasures fat quarter stack;
  • Olivia’s Holiday by Tina Givens fat quarter stack;
  • Two Lecien quilt patterns;
  • Mini ruler set;
  • Cool bag made from Bali Pops; and
  • Awesome Japanese fabric wearable button from Bunny’s Designs!

Just comment on this post and you’re all set. You have until 9 p.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 30, to enter. I’ll close comments then and use the random number generator to select a winner. The winner must claim her (or his) prize by 9 p.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 2, or I’ll choose another winner.

Good luck!