Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Confessions of a Kindle Convert

Patchwork Kindle Sleeve by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I always seem to be the last one to jump on a new trend. It's not that I have anything against progress, mind you. Most of the time my reasons are either financial or motivational -- a nice way of saying that I can be a cheap stick-in-the-mud unless we're talking about something near and dear to my heart like fabric. So when the first e-readers hit the market a few years back, I wasn't interested. Nothing could tempt me to choose that little screen over holding a real book in my hands.

Patchwork Kindle Sleeve by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

It's taken me a while, but after letting my husband talk me into getting one for my last birthday, I've found that there's room in my life for a Kindle. I've only bought a few e-books so far, but I must admit that it's incredible to be able to click that purchase button and instantly have them ready to read. It also works wonderfully for big books which are just plain exhausting to lug around with you everywhere. I'm finally getting past the first hundred pages in Shelby Foote's massive Civil War trilogy -- which I've started and given up on at least half a dozen times over the years -- and it's just as fascinating as I knew it would be.

Patchwork Kindle Sleeve by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Of course, a new electronic device means a new case, and I had so much fun sewing a little sleeve for my Kindle. I went with a patchwork log cabin design, using prints from some of my very favorite designers. This time I decided to hand quilt instead of using my machine, even adding two french knots at the center of those flowers on Ayumi's adorable teapot. The case is backed in brown linen and lined with a Paris map print. I finished it off with a leather button and hair elastic for the closure. It's simple and sweet...just the way I like it.

So for those of you who've been holding out like I was, give in. Get yourself an e-reader. You don't have to use it for everything, but it's pretty great for a lot of things.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to 1861...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Busy Girl Sews: Craft Buds & A Quilter's Table

Sleepy-Time Friend Kit from Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples

Today I'm so excited to bring you Busy Girl Sews posts from two of the most gracious women in the online quilting community.

I first discovered Lindsay of Craft Buds through the Craft Book Month blog hop, an annual celebration of books for makers everywhere. Lindsay has always been such a champion for community, inspiring people to sew and share together. I love her sweet spirit and creative projects, and her Modern Bee book has been an undeniable hit. Just wait till you see what she did with the Sleepy-Time Friend Kit!

Chevron Table Set from Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples

From the moment I met Debbie of A Quilter's Table online, I was so touched by the way she was constantly cheering on everyone around her. She must leave hundreds of comments on sewing blogs each month, spreading encouragement around the globe. Debbie is an enormously talented modern quilter, and I never ceased to be amazed by her projects, my favorite so far being her stunning Unlocked quilt. Since she's also an avid foodie, Debbie chose to sew my Chevron Table Set for this tour -- such a perfect choice!

Enjoy, my friends!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Busy Girl Sews: Cut to Pieces & Tales of Cloth

Today I have two lovely stops for you to make on the Busy Girl Sews Tour!

I'm pretty sure that my first introduction to Angela of Cut to Pieces was her legendary Where Bluebirds Fly mini quilt. Angela has so much talent. Not only does she sew gorgeous projects of all kinds, but she's written A Quilter's Mixology, a fabulous book on sewing curves, and even done a little filming on the same topic. This is not a quilter to miss, people! Angela will be sharing her version of the Dotty Hexagon Pillow.

Long before she wrote Tales of Cloth, I met Jodi through her former blog name, Tickle & Hide. Jodi is a truly gifted quilter and an equally brilliant writer. I absolutely love reading her blog posts about family, faith, and sewing in the Australian countryside. Her friendship has been such a blessing to me over the years, and I'm so thrilled to have her as a part of this tour. Jodi is sharing a stunning version of the Starlet Mini Quilt.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Folk Song Notebook Cover

Folk Song Notebook Cover by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

If I had to pick a favorite collection from 2015 so far, it might very well be Folk Song by Anna Maria Horner. Her beautiful designs and stunning range of colors absolutely make my heart sing, and I knew that I wanted to use these prints to make the cover of my new sewing notebook.

Folk Song Notebook Cover by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

While I designed this particular cover myself, I was heavily influenced by Jennie's adorable Scrappy Little Planner Tutorial which you absolutely must see. Mine is far more simplistic, but it works for what I needed. I added a small amount of quilting to the log cabin design on the front, leaving the fussy cut bouquet on the back to shine all by itself. Every time I look at this cover, my breath catches again at those incredibly saturated colors.

Folk Song Notebook Cover by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I added an elastic pen holder to the inside of the cover and bound the whole thing in yarn dyed Essex linen in leather. This mini notebook from Target is my latest idea for keeping all my ideas in one spot. Now I have a beautiful place to store my notes on project designs, blogging topics, and sewing classes. If you look closely, you can see that I too am enjoying Creativebug's brilliant series on How to Design Fabric. I'm hoping to sneak in another class tonight along with a cup of tea and a chocolate chip cookie. It's become my favorite way to end the day.

Happy Easter, friends!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Busy Girl Sews Tour

Busy Girl Sews Tour for Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples

Today is the first day of the Busy Girl Sews Tour, a chance for some of my friends to share their version of projects from my book. Rather than pack a lot into a short amount of time, I decided to make this a weekly tour. Every Monday you'll get a little dose of inspiration and maybe even a few organizing tips from some wonderfully talented sewing bloggers. We're kicking it off today at Lily's Quilts with the only giveaway of our tour. Lynne has three copies of the book to share with you, so be sure to leave a comment on her post!

I wouldn't be where I am today without Lynne. Her monthly Fresh Sewing Day blog link-up was the first one I ever joined back when Fabric Mutt was just over a month old, and that involvement changed the life of my blog and my entire sewing experience by introducing me to the encouragement of the online quilting community for the first time. She also gave me the chance to make a few projects for the Fat Quarterly e-magazine when I was very new to pattern writing, and I'm so grateful for those experiences now which trained me for later projects. On top of everything else, Lynne is an incredibly brilliant pattern designer, prolific author, and just plain lovely human being. If you haven't visited her blog before, you must stop by for a visit!

The tour schedule for the next few months is:

March 30 - Lynne of Lily's Quilts (Today's Tour Kickoff & Book Giveaway!)
April 6 - Jodi of Tales of Cloth & Angela of Cut to Pieces
April 13 - Lindsay of Craft Buds & Debbie of A Quilter's Table
April 20 - Leanne of She Can Quilt
April 27 - Fat Quarter Shop
May 4 - Erin of Why Not Sew?
May 11 - Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts
May 18 - Svetlana of SOTAK Handmade
May 25 - Lucy of Charm About You
June 1 - Maureen of Maureen Cracknell Handmade
June 8 - Becca of Bryan House Quilts
June 15 - Beth of Plum & June
June 22 - Jessica of Quilty Habit
June 29 - Caroline of Sew Can She
July 6 - Heidi of Fabric Mutt (Tour Wrap!)

Thank you so much for coming along on this tour with us!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Modern Rainbow Tour & Giveaway: Rainbow Remix


I am so excited to be a stop on the Modern Rainbow blog tour today. Becca and I have known each other since way back in the beginning of my blogging career, and I absolutely treasure her friendship. I am so proud of the work she's done on this stunning new book!

As someone who loves a good color spectrum, this book is right up my alley. After providing you with some quilting basics, Becca splits her projects into three groups: modern traditional, modern, and improvisational and liberated quilts. I love that there are plenty of options here for quilters with different styles and skill levels.

I was immediately drawn to the Rainbow Remix quilt. It's so different from what I usually sew, and I loved the idea of working with solids and trying improvisational piecing for a change. Rather than make an entire quilt, I decided to test the waters with a small pillow made from a Kona charm pack curated by Elizabeth Hartman.

It was wonderful not to have worry about matching up seams perfectly with a more liberated approach to piecing, and every time I make something with solids, I wonder why I don't do it more often. These colors and stripes remind me so much of the Bolivian blankets we brought back from Santa Cruz when I was a child.

I quilted the pillow in lines of cream colored thread about a quarter inch apart and backed it in yarn dyed Essex linen in leather.

I had so much fun making this pillow, and I can't wait to try another project from the book! This Flame quilt is completely gorgeous, don't you think?

Here are the rest of the stops on the Modern Rainbow Tour:

March 23rd             C&T/ Stash Books
March 24th             Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt
March 25th             Generation Q Magazine
March 26th             Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane 
March 27th             Sally Keller of Sally’s Angel Works

March 30th            Amy Garro of 13 Spools
March 31st            Angela Walters of Quilting is my Therapy
April 1st                Rebecca over at Craft Buds
April 2nd               Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness
April 3rd               Sarah Craig of Confessions of a Fabric Addict

April 6th                Janice Zeller Ryan of Better Off Thread
April 7th                Beth Vassalo of Plum and June
April 8th                Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
April 9th                Giuseppe Ribaudo @giucy_giuce
April 9th                Shannon Brinkley of Bottle Tree Quilts
April 10th              Rebecca Bryan at Bryan House Quilts

If you'd like to win a copy of Modern Rainbow (hard copy in the U.S., e-copy for international winners), just leave a comment on this post. I'll pick a winner on Friday!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Desktop Medallion Quilt & Other Points of Interest

I was shocked when I checked my Instagram feed tonight and saw that I started working on this quilt almost exactly a year ago. Has it really been that long? I originally intended this Desktop Medallion Quilt to have at least two more rows around it, but life happened, as it so often does. There were other projects and holidays and responsibilities, and these blocks were stuffed in a drawer and forgotten. Several weeks ago I pulled them out and decided that it was time for this little quilt to have a life. I still owed my niece a quilt for her toddler bed, so I added borders to the top and bottom and finished it off. Though a large medallion quilt would have been fun, I haven't one shred of regret for turning this into a gift for my niece as it is. As Angela Walters says, "A finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt top." (For more of her wisdom, by the way, you must check out this wonderful post.)

This quilt uses pencil and envelope blocks from my friend Ayumi's brilliant book Patchwork, Please! which I adjusted slightly for the purpose of the medallion format. It also features an extensive amount of fabric from my precious Heather Ross stash. I backed the quilt in a favorite floral print in warm shades from Jeni Baker's Dreamin' Vintage collection, and I kept the quilting very simple since the top was so busy, just stitching around each row of blocks. The quilt is bound with a green floral print from the A is For... collection. As you can see below, my assistant Miss Bunny was not quite ready to part with it at the end of our photo session.

I'm linking this up with Sew the Library over at Tales of Cloth, where you must read Jodi's beautiful post for this month. It brought tears to my eyes. Remember that you have till the end of the month to link up a project you've made from a book or magazine!

A few other points of interest before I leave you today...

1. My book has just started to ship out from C&T Publishing and Amazon. I've gotten some wonderful messages from a few of you who have read the book, and I can't tell you how much they mean to me. Thank you, my friends! I wrote this book for you, and I really hope that you'll find it helpful. If you have the time or desire, I would love for any of you who have read it to leave a review on Amazon. Reviews always help me decide if a sewing book is right for me, so I know your thoughts would be useful to others!

2. If you would like an autographed bookplate for your copy of Sew Organized for the Busy Girl, send me an email at hjstaples@gmail.com with your full name and mailing address, and I'll be happy to send you one!

3. The winner of the Just for You giveaway is hart44. I've sent you an email!

4. And finally, if you live in the Southern California area, I'll be having a book signing and trunk show at The Quilt Loft in Upland on Wednesday, April 8th from 5 to 7pm. I would absolutely love to see you there!

Happy sewing!
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