Buy Handmade

One day while driving down Main Street in the city where my kids attend school, I noticed a new shop’s sign on a long-empty storefront. An artists’ market. I was so excited, it took everything I had to not pull over and peer through the window. Of course, it was 6:30 a.m. and nothing was open, and I really needed to get home so my husband could get to work. I made a mental note to check back later.

It was about two weeks before I could stick my head in the door and scope things out at Leasa: Life’s Work. And what I saw made me a bit giddy. Cool handmade goods. Some other neat gift-y things. A cool workspace for classes. Best of all was Leasa, the owner, who’s been making and selling handmade cards forever. I loved hearing about her work and her vision for her new shop. I think it’s a great thing for our area and I can’t wait to support it and the craftsmen who are selling their wares there.

I’m also excited to be offering some of my things there. I’ve already taken three Miss Madeline dresses adn a couple of wristlet bags.

Miss L watched me take the dresses into the shop and was so sad to see them go. Of course, they’re all too small for her and it’s not like I can’t sew her others. (In fact, I’ve already made her a different dress with the Heather Bailey and Dena Designs fabrics, so I’m not sure what the deal is.) And I always love sewing with Paula’s Flights of Fancy. It always makes me smile!

The wristlets are my own design and feature embroidery from Urban Threads of two lovebirds. I thought it added some interest to the little bags and I especially love the repetition of the Park Slope fabric with all those cute little birds.

Art+Quilts

It’s a three-day weekend and I’m gearing up for the annual Decatur Arts Festival. We discovered this festival when we first moved to Atlanta nearly nine years ago and I think we’ve only missed one in all this time. Lots of great crafts, art, food and more, in one of my favorite downtowns.

This year is even cooler because — for the first time ever — there is a quilt show being held in conjunction with the Festival. My friend Sarah has really done an amazing job getting everything going for this quilt show, along with folks from Intown Quilters quilt shop, Phoenix Quilt Guild, The Fearless Friday Guild (my guild!) and the Brown Sugar Stitchers. More than 50 quilts will be exhibited, ranging from traditionally pieced quilts to very funky art quilts. And maybe even one from yours truly.

Attendees can cast their vote for their three favorite quilt and voters will be registered for door prizes donated by local Decatur businesses including Squash Blossom Boutique, Brick Store Pub, Leon’s Full Service, Little Shop of Stories and Intown Quilters, just to name a few.

The Decatur Arts Festival is Saturday and Sunday on the courthouse square in scenic downtown Decatur. The inaugural Decatur Quilt Show is noon-5 p.m. Sunday inside the Old Decatur Courthouse. Be sure to say “hi” if you see me running around over there!

Shopping Time

As much fun as it is to hang out with my friends at Market, I’m really there with Sarah to work. And that means picking out fabrics and patterns for the shop. It sounds pretty simple but it’s not. There’s a lot that goes into it and it can be really pretty exhausting. But it’s a fun, too, and being at Market is kind of the ground zero of seeing anything and everything available for retailers.

Genevieve and Bari had a corner at the Windham booth to show off their new fabric lines and some wares made with it. Gen makes jewelry and used some of her designs on necklaces, which I thought was a really cool way to show some alternatives for working with it. She also modeled that awesome apron on Friday. Bari mixed her fabric with corduroy for the cutest little baby top. And I hate that I didn’t get a better picture of her quilt but hopefully someone else did because it’s not to be missed.

The Lizzie B booth was just amazing, an absolute visual delight and I could have spent forever there exploring all the goodies whipped up for Market.

I really have got to get better about taking pics because I’m home and now realize the only pic from the Michael Miller Fabrics booth that I have is of Laura Gunn and her new line, Lantern Bloom. It’s an absolutely lovely line, very organic and earthy in feel. Laura showcased some of the fabric on the most beautiful clothing, which was included on some promotional postcards for Poppy Patterns. The site is not yet up but keep an eye out for it because the patterns are going to be available soon. Laura says there may even be some freebie pattern downloads! Woot!

Paula and Patty have been showing little sneak peeks of their new lines on their respective blogs and I have to tell you, the pictures just don’t do them justice. *swoon* (And Sarah told me she ordered both in full before we left for Market, so you can be darned sure I’ll be playing with Mezzanine and Summer Soiree as soon as it hits the shop.)

Oh and one of the coolest surprises at the Michael Miller booths was the fabric used for the tablecloths: red and aqua stripes and polka dots! I’ll take a bolt of each, please.

Over at the Freespirit/Westminster row, I drooled over Erin McMorris’s new line, Wildwood. Holy cow, is it pretty! I actually interviewed Erin for my blog last fall and she was working on the line then. And she told me at Market that it really had changed from when we spoke then, which I found interesting.

Jenean Morrison showed off a purse made with her fabric, Picnic Parade, at Thursday night’s Faux 2.0, and I just could not stop complimenting it. Tiny prints in orange, pink, brown and turquoise. They’re going to be lots of fun to play with, for sure. Maybe like a modern calico, even.

One of the high points of this trip to Market was meeting Jennifer Paganelli. Her fabrics are always so lovely and she’s such a sweet bloggy friend. Plus, I sewed for her and she had my jacket in her booth and the kind words she had to say about it totally made my day! There’s something so fun and feminine about her fabric and I came home with two fat quarters of her newest line to play with. And I told her she needs to come down here to visit her sister so we can hang out. ‘Cuz we’re likethis, you know. LOL!

Of course, there’s a lot more than fabric at Market and I had a blast checking out new and upcoming books and patterns. First up is Kaffe Fasset (and Brandon Mabley), whose next book is so amazing that I’m truly at a loss for words. You can see one of the quilts in it behind them (Hi, Sarah!). Like I said, I’m not smart enough to get good booth pictures. Next time!

Barb and Mary at Me and My Sister Designs have a new book, Four Patch Folic. Love! Plus, they are an absolute riot and totally complimented me on my cute dress-top, so they can be my friends, too. LOL! I’m going to have to make time to do one of the quilts from their book (I have an autographed copy, even) but I don’t know how I’ll pick one because they all look cool.

I really want to spend the day just watching Kay Whitt of Serendipity Studio working. Her patterns and samples are just beautiful and I had the best time talking to her about sewing with laminate (her Sofia Trench Coat in Paula’s laminated fabric is just gorgeous).

Liesl of Oliver + S was so warm and friendly, and happily chatted with me about my own Liesl’s naming before we got on the subject of sewing with Heather Ross’s Far, Far Away line of fabrics for Kokka. Liesl had some samples of her patterns sewn with them and I’m even more enamored of both than before. BTW, I also chatted with Heather a bit and she is just … I don’t have words. I find a similar problem with describing her newest fabrics. Sarah and I petted them quite a bit and I’ll be keeping busy sewing up samples with it after she placed an order for some for the shop (and I’m not going to admit how much I plan to buy for my own personal use, too).

Favorite Things, one of my fave pattern companies, has two new patterns that I can’t wait to play with: the Uptown Coat, a full-length women’s coat, and The Classic Shirt, a gorgeous button-down shirt. I’m kind of bummed that it’s summer because I probably should wait until cooler weather is closer so I can sew them and then immediately wear them.

Tomorrow: More thoughts on Market and a fabulous giveaway!

I’ve Been Spotted

When this gorgeous flower arrangement arrived yesterday from 1-800-Flowers, I knew the perfect spot for it. The kind folks over there sent it as part of their Spot a Mom promotion and I’m featured on the blog today as one of the DIY Moms. It seemed only appropriate to snap such beauty in the midst of my latest project, another Melly & Me purse.

It’s been slow going on the purse, mostly because it’s spring break and I’m hanging with Miss L while her brothers spend the week with their grandparents. So far we’ve done a movie, the jump place and today we went to the park, since it was actually nice enough to be outdoors (this after snow flurries on Tuesday).

I’m really tickled to be spotlighted by 1-800-Flowers and am definitely enjoying the pretty that’s been added to my home. And I’m already eyeing that cute watering can, thinking about how it’s going to be repurposed once it’s no longer full of blooms. Paint or maybe decoupage or maybe a few different things. The planning is one of my favorite parts. 🙂

You can enter the 1-800-Flowers Spotlight a Mom contest here and they’ve also given me a code (SPOTAMOM) so you can save 15 percent on an order. Thanks, 1-800-Flowers!

Recovery

Expo was a blast! I worked all day Saturday and had so much fun meeting people and helping them pick out patterns and fabric. A big “hi” to blog reader Leslie, who came by to meet me. Loved getting to chat you up and I’m sure we’ll be running into each other again!

I stopped by Friday to take some pics and do a little shopping since I figured (quite right) that I’d be too busy to shop on Saturday. Surprisingly, I practiced rather amazing restraint but I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fabric buying binge I’d been on the previous week. Or that I’m saving myself for Shop Hop at the end of the month.

My feet felt double their normal size by the time I got home that Saturday. Needless to say, Sunday was a big loafing day for me.

More pics on my Flickr, if you want to check ’em out.

Exporific

The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo opens today! I’ve been the past two or three years and really enjoyed it, mostly just checking out all the cool wares for sale on the Expo floor. Last year, I even took a couple of classes and that was great.

There are lots of great deals to be had, especially on machines. I bought my sewing machine at the Expo last year for an amazing price. I’ve yet to see it lower anywhere in the past 12 months and it’s been a great machine (excepting that little ghost sewing incident).

If you’re going, be sure to stop by the Intown Quilters booth (231) and say “hi.” I’ll be working this morning (until about 1) and then again on Saturday.

A Lotta Carlotta

I totally fell for the Mamu Carlotta pattern when Myrinda added it to her shop. Add some funky Euro fabrics (including a pretty babywale cord) and some trimmed elastic and … voila! Three fun shirts! I made the girl and doll ones match, although the shirt is more of a dress on the Bitty Twin (imaginatively named “Bitty Twin” by Miss L LOL! ). Mine is a really soft cord, such a nice hand and I love the color. The pattern was easy enough to follow, although the directions are a little skimpy. If you need step-by-step directions, this is not the pattern for you. If, however, you’re comfortable with more generalized instructions (“sew darts.” “Attach straps.”) then you’ll do just fine with this pattern. I’m quite happy with the fit, especially of the top for me. I used my bust measurement and it was spot on. That makes Mary a happy girl. I did add a couple of inches in length to the bottom of my top because I like a little more coverage there. I also like that top is cut modestly. I’ll definitely make this one again, probably in the dress length for summer.

Shop Crafty

If you’re looking for something fun and crafty to do this weekend, then think about checking out the Sugarloaf  Crafts Festival. It’s going on today through Sunday at the Cobb Galleria Centre and looks like it’ll have lots of great art and crafty things so you can shop and make a dent in your gift-giving list. Or, you know, treat yourself to something special.

There’s also music, live demos and family entertainment — plus food! (I’m looking forward to sampling some handmade candies. Yummmmm!)

Oh, and you can print a coupon to save some money on admission. Just head over here, click and print!

I think I’ll be heading over, probably Sunday (lots going on tomorrow). If you see me, be sure to say hi!

Fine Art by Patricia Dibona