Stitch Craft

One more new design. I plan to play with the colors and layout on this one a lot more. But this is the first version. I was aiming for a design that I could do in a lot of colorways…I doodled these little icons.  I figure I can do just sewing, just embroidery and just knitting or combos, with and without the background circles, etc. And, of course I need to add a crochet hook, since I don’t even knit. Anyway, pretty versatile!

Stitch Craft by Moxywares

They’re actually really small – more like polka dots. Here’s the Spoonflower 8×8 swatch:

Stitch Craft

Field Trip!

wedding wheel quilt by jen hoverson
wedding wheel quilt by jen hoverson

I love PurlSoho. I dream of taking a class there. I am a frequent reader of their blog, the purl bee, and often find inspiration there in the beautifully photographed and carefully described projects. So, I’m reading this blog post where Purl owner Jennifer Hoverson has taken her lovely hand-sewn wedding napkins and turned them into a wedding quilt. The whole thing is a fab idea…the backing fabric for the quilt is the personalized cake table cloth they had ordered from spoonflower.com. I LOVE these ideas.

Anyway, so I’m drinking in the pictures, and I see that the wedding (which was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings!) happened at Dana Point, which is not far from here. And I’m thinking, “why would a New York city fabric shop owner have a wedding in Southern California?” Well, turns out, the warehouse for Purl is in Costa Mesa…also not far from here. Warehouse. That’s not that exciting, right? WRONG! You can shop there!

After a little googling, I found out that you can shop there from Tue-Fri from 9-4. So, you can figure out what you want by looking around the website, and then go buy direct at the warehouse!!! I can’t tell you how exciting this is.

Now, if they’d just offer a west coast Heather Ross workshop every now and then, I’d be in heaven.

Look at these!

I’ve pre-ordered Heather’s book and the new Indigo Girls cd already…I can’t wait for their arrival!

This weekend is my quilting retreat! I thought it was Thursday for a few minutes this morning and I got so excited that my retreat was tomorrow. Then I realized it’s only Wednesday :( Crushing sadness. But then, I thought, it’s already Wednesday! Only one more day to go! How’s that for glass-half-full?

Speaking of retreat, I need to go purchase my wine contribution today!

Craft Book Reviews

(For my book count, these books are #59-#63. I wasn’t sure whether I should count them in my goal towards 100 books for the year, but since I’ve read them cover to cover more than once, I figured they should count.)

I love pattern books.The easier the pattern, the better the book! So here are a few of my favorites, if you’re interested in sewing and quilting, check them out.

Bending the Rules on AmazonThis first book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew
by Amy Karol, is awesome for the beginning seamstress. I’ve already made two of the purses in here. The directions are really easy to follow, the patterns are easy to cut out. There’s lots of room for personal interpretation, but Amy also provides everything you need if you want to create exactly what she’s made. Fun project, great gift ideas – I really really recommend this book. The author has a super cool blog called Angry Chicken, and she’s also set up a fun flickr group where people post the projects they’ve made from the book. These photos are great for inspiration, color options, ect. [rating:5]

Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted GiftsNext is Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts
by Joelle Hoverson (Author), Anna Williams (Photographer). Again, I seriously love this book. I’ve already made a bunch of those sweet birds on the cover filled with bells and catnip. I’ve also made the coasters and I’m working on a pin cushion. Super easy instructions, great patterns, GORGEOUS projects and photos. I love love love this book. The author also has a great blog called the PurlBee and an online shop called PurlSoho. Definitely check them out. I actually found this book through another blog, Wee Wonderfuls – written by the designer of the sweet little elephant, Wee Peanut, in the book. [rating:5]

In StichesNext is Amy Butler’s In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
by Amy Butler (Author), Colin McGuire (Photographer). I won’t lie, I haven’t made anything from this book yet. Her patterns, instructions, and materials lists are more involved than the first two books. I feel like I’m not quite to this level. HOWEVER, I love the projects – the book is gorgeous, and I look forward to the day that I master the patterns. If you’re a seasoned quilter or sewer and you’re looking for some cool projects for your home, I highly recommend this book. I wouldn’t recommend it for brand new sewers – although I’m sure smarter people than me could handle the challenges just fine. [rating:4]

Denyse Schmidt QuiltsNext is Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects
by Denyse Schmidt (Author), Bethany Lyttle (Author). Again, I love love love this book. I’ve made one of the quilts (top left, orange and white pattern), and it was very simple. I even changed the pattern to fit a little better to the fabric I had on hand and it was no problem. I’ve seen a few of her quilts for sale in other places like Anthropologie and in the Sundance catalog and they were ridiculously expensive. I was excited because I already had the patterns, and I can make them myself! The projects really range from super-beginner to a little more seasoned, so I think this is a book for every level. Highly recommended! [rating:5]

amy butler's midwest modernFinally, Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern: A Fresh Design Spirit for the Modern Lifestyle
by Amy Butler (Author), David Butler (Photographer).

This one is really more of a coffee table book, although it does have one pattern in it. Still, it’s gorgeous. Her sense of style and her fabric designs are awesome. I was a little disappointed that the book only has one pattern, but it was nice to get a peek into her life, design mentality and creative process. It’s amazing how many talented, inspired people there are out there – and she’s definitely one of them. [rating:4]

Hope you found those reviews helpful – now stop reading and get sewing!

Books #46 through #58

Well, clearly, I’m WAY behind on my book reviews. So this will be the short and sweet version.

Books #46 – #51: Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Series

I have really enjoyed these books. So far, there are six books out. The seventh book comes out next month. Debbie’s characters are very sincere, easily relateable, and fun to read about. Each book in the series is named after a the address of a home in Cedar Cove, where the occupants of that home are the central figures of that particular book. Sort of. Actually, all six books could easily be one long book, because while things get resolved in each book, there are ongoing stories that last for several books. New storylines crop up, and get resolved a few books later. I think it’s excellent. I only wish that I had waited until all the books came out to start it, because I hate waiting for the next installment. These are not deep books – this is definitely light, pleasant reading. I highly recommend these books if you’re a fan of romance that’s not trashy with good characters.[rating:5]

Books #52 – #54, Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street series

I blew through these books in a weekend. I liked the characters even better than the Cedar Cove series. The main character (and again, she’s got tons of characters that step into the spotlight all through the books) opens a yarn store in the first book, and each character is introduced through her (and sometimes his) relationship with the yarn store or a knitting class. I loved the theme of knitting running throughout, because I too am a big believer in keeping your hands useful to calm your mind. There are great characters forming believable (and enviable) friendships – it made me want to go and sign up for a class somewhere. Again – light, pleasant reading. Crafters will especially like this series. [rating:5]

Book #55 – The Nanny Diaries by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Loved it. I wanted to read it before the movie came out – but now that I’ve read it, I just watched a trailer, and I can see that it’s totally different. I’m kind of glad because the ending made me cry and I was hoping for some different outcomes. I don’t want to spoil it, so that’s all I’ll say. But if you’re a fan of witty banter, quick dialog, and smart chick lit writing, you’ll love this. I instantly thought of Jennifer Weiner and Kristen Gore when I was reading it. I’m also happy to say I have Citizen Girl on my bookshelf that someone left here, so I can read their next book :)[rating:5]

Book #56: The Wedding Planner’s Daughter by Coleen Murtagh Paratore and Barbara McGregor

Loved it. Fans of YA – this one is for us! Willafred Havisham is a 12-13 year old daughter of a super uptight, rule crazy, broken hearted mom who happens to be a world famous wedding planner. This book chronicles Willa’s adventures on Cape and her struggles with her mom, other kids, boys, etc. Super cute, and I’m excited to find that there are two more Willa books out there, so the adventure continues![rating:5]

Book #57: Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

As always, the Stephanie Plum books are great. However, this was the first one where I DIDN’T laugh out loud, so I was a little disappointed. It seemed to be kind of a place holder – like half of the story could have been in #12, and half could have been saved until #14 because nothing really happened. I mean, Stephanie got involved in some harrowing mystery – but the love triangle of Joe and Ranger didn’t budge, no good Grandma adventures (besides the exploding beaver). I thought it was just okay. Still, I read it in an afternoon. Looking forward to the next one. [rating:3]

Book #58: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

This one was a book on tape, and I liked it, but didn’t love it. I really liked the main character’s family, but the story seemed to drag on. I think I would have liked it better if I read it. There’s something annoying about accents going in and out – less believable. It would have been better if I had given the characters voices in my mind because the audiobook was a little inconsistent. Anyway, cute YA story about a high school senior that ends up helping her best friend save the prom. She’s an unlikely hero, which I like. Again, I think the regular book would have been much better. [rating:3]

Whew. That’s it. What are you reading?

Book #23 Family Tree

Family Tree by Barbara DelinskyBook #23: Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky. This was an interesting story. A white couple has a baby with African American traits – namely, she’s not white. Although the use of “African American” is kind of cumbersome throughout the book – like I was tripping over the politically-correctness of it – I really liked this book. Also, this is only the second book I’ve read by Barbara Delinsky, and I think she’s known as a romance writer, but I would categorize this more as a family drama. I guess the basic elements of a romance were there, but they were hardly the focus.

The family goes through a lot of turmoil figuring out how the two white parents could have a light-skinned, but clearly not white baby. The mom doesn’t really care – she just loves the baby. The dad cares about appearances, and is torn between loving his new baby, and coming to terms with her race. It’s kind of a mystery throughout the book where the baby gets the genes from, so I won’t ruin that part.

Also throughout the book is the theme of knitting, so knitters will like this book :)

My husband is half Dominican. I always wondered what color our baby would be. My mother-in-law, full Dominican, has beautiful olive skin. She looks kind of Mediterranean. But the people of the Dominican Republic really run the full spectrum of available skin colors, so I was interested to see what traits would show up in our kids. Needless to say, my son will be surprising people with his fluent Spanish, just like his dad does now. There’s a reason all of his friends call him Gringo. I’m lucky to have a family that would accept any color baby without questions. Grandchildren are universally loved in our clan.

Back to the book though, I was a little disappointed with the lack of resolution (or vague resolution) to a side story line about a client the husband was representing – a mother who’s child was in an accident, and she was trying to get money for medical expenses from the biological father. I wish there would have been more to this story, and to it’s conclusion.

Overall, I liked it and read it quickly. Recommended.