Freelance Adventures

Occasionally, I have the opportunity to work on projects outside of my University job and my quilt pattern design business, that utilize my editorial skills or some other skill in my toolbox. In Fall 2013, I edited quilt patterns for a magazine publication, and the patterns for Mary Fons upcoming book. In the publishing world, one works on projects so far in advance, that it’s a fun reminder to see them again when they become reality! Her book will finally be released in May…

Make + Love Quilts By Mary Fons

(Click on the book cover to go to Amazon and have a look see inside!)

Working with Mary was a treat; we corresponded mostly via email, once or twice by phone I think. She’s full of joy and enthusiasm and it’s nearly impossible for some of that to not rub off on you. Here’s the video she shared about promoting her new book in NYC:

Mary Fons Book Promotional Video No. 1 from Mary Fons on Vimeo.

So proud of her finishing this book and I’m looking forward to holding it in my hands. Congratulations, Mary!

I also made a quilt recently for another freelance project, my sweetie said it might be his favorite of all the quilts I’ve made (not sure what appealed to him, but he does like vintage and this is made from 30s prints and Moda shirtings) I never did get a great photo of it, but this gives you an idea of the project…


Maybe one day I’ll be able to make a living with the pattern design and freelance work. I’d be thrilled to work from home. However, giving up those full-time benefits would not be easy. Until then, I’ll continue to be grateful for my job and the great people I get to work with.

Happy sewing,



Classic Quilt Inspiration

We all like a good deal, right?! I know I’m a sucker for a sale and free shipping is hard to beat these days. My friend Andie, whom I “met” through a virtual Bee, co-wrote a book last year. A GREAT book. I know, because I was lucky enough to win a copy during the Bloggy Release Party:

Modern Designs for Classic Quilts
That cover quilt is on my list of quilts to make.  And there is a New York Beauty inspired 2-color quilt that I seriously covet.  She even included a piecing tip/tool tip she learned from yours truly.

For the rest of June, you can purchase an autographed copy of this book
from her shop and receive free shipping in the U.S. !

Don’t wait, July will be here before you know it!  Go order one, now!

Really Random: Quilters Rock!

Anyone with quilt-y friends knows, quilters are typically a kind a generous lot.  Over the past few months, I’ve been the recipient of some of that fun generosity.  My business partner, Trina gave me this Jack-o-Lantern flash drive (in May, because we are both big fans of Halloween!), and her husband had the serial quilter decals made for us:

Cindy showed you my decal on my Beetle, which travelled to Gruber’s in Minnesota with me this year.  

But I sold my Beetle in August and bought my little Yellow Mini Cooper shortly thereafter.  Thankfully, they had one more Serial Quilter decal for me, so the Mini Cooper is properly decced out.

And the Jack-o-Lantern flash drive, he’s darned cute.  Trina hunted him down on the internet and had him shipped all the way from Japan, so I could have a fun drive, too.  (Her’s is a monkey)

I was lucky enough to win a few bloggy giveaways this Spring and Summer, including this one from Carolyn Friedlander, including her Sessoms pattern (LOVE!) and a hand-picked jelly roll:

I have a nearly finished table runner made from this pattern (just need to quilt it so I can show it to you!).  And one day, I plan to make an entire quilt fro this pattern–it’s lovely!

Stephanie is one of my Gruber’s friends, (and a fellow Iowa native) I met her for the first time in July 2011, and saw her again at Spring Quilt Market in May 2012 and this July… She became one of those fast friends, an immediate connection that felt like we had been friends forever. Little messages pop up from her at The. Most. Opportune times.  I don’t how she does it, but she can sense when I need a little pick me up.  She sent me this “happy” earlier this year at a time when she knew I needed a hug:

She knows I love Kate Spain, and I had admired these journal/calendars on her blog… and it came with the sweetest note.  It holds all kinds of notes related to the pattern business these days, and every time I look at it, it gives me warm fuzzy thoughts of a treasured friend.

Much of our time lately has been spent house hunting (read: scouring at least once a day for new listings; obsessing over properties we are interested in; mentally moving ourselves and our stuff into the space)… you get the picture.  We put an offer on a house that we still refer to as “the Dream House” and we lost out on it not once, but twice.  I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed.  But we keep looking and my thoughts are about 78% focused on houses and architecture these days.

As a diversion, I’ve been trying to catch up on some reading, including a large pile of magazine on my nightstand, and this pile of books from our library:

What’s occupying your thoughts these days?

Have you been the recipient of a quilter’s generosity lately?

Simple Home–Book Review

Sweetwater’s Simple Home is one of the two books I picked up last weekend at Quilts and Other Notions in Creston, Iowa.  Released in September 2011, it features 35 simple and practical sewing and quilting projects by Sweetwater Design; a mother daughter team, fabric and pattern designers for Moda, and all around creative powerhouse.

The layout and images are lovely, but my favorite feature of this book is that projects are grouped by different living areas of the home.  Also included in the book are simple techniques and tips for decorating with appliqué, stenciling, stamping, and embroidery.  I’m excited to try many of the ideas in this book, besides just gawking at it because it’s so pretty to look at. 

As a matter of fact, I already made one of the projects, a clothespin bag for my sister-in-law:

I pulled some fabric from the stash, a scrap of matching ric-rac, a wooden hanger from our coat closet and got to work…

The pattern calls for two fabrics, I added a third contrasting fabric for the inside of the bag.  I used a piece from the Farmer’s Market collection by Sandi Henderson (the apple fabric), Sweet Pea by Jackie Shapiro (the green floral) and Farmyard by Sentimental Studios (the gardening print).  Three different designers, three different manufacturers, and they coordinate perfectly.  That is “stash sewing” at it’s best, readers!

The photo above shows the components of the bag “inside-out”, how they are sewn together  to complete the bag.  The instructions in the book are clear and well written, I would prefer a few more diagrams/illustrations myself, but that’s because I’m lazy about reading instructions and would prefer to “read” pictures instead.  I think the entire project took about an hour and a half, start to finish.  Here is the finished product, front and back:

Makes me wish I had a clothesline myself.

Creative Clips-Leap Week

Last weekend I attended a quilt retreat, approximately 80 miles from home.  I went Friday and stayed until noon on Saturday, and I only accomplished one thing: cutting out the rest of the pieces for my Candied Hexagons quilt:

and those pieces look like such a small pile, but it isn’t small at all.  There are at least 18 half blocks, and 30 full hexagon blocks represented in that photo.  Lots of tedious cutting, using Mari Michell Templates (set H) and a Clover 28mm Rotary Cutter.  I spent much of my Grubers retreat weekend last July cutting pieces for this quilt, too.  It’s probably best I didn’t keep track of the hours (cutting or hand-piecing), it is by far my most time consuming quilt to date.

I brought this home, along with a borrowed Go! Cutter, to make another, far less time consuming hexagon quilt!

I bought a few end-of-the-bolt goodies at the shop that hosted the retreat, and she had a buy one-get one free book sale, so….  

You can probably tell by my photos here that I have yet to read that top book (HA!), and I’ve already made a project from the bottom book (blog post coming tomorrow!!).  Both of these had been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, so I couldn’t resist the BOGO special.

What else have I been doing this week?  Getting to know my new acquaintance…

I think we’re going to be great friends.

Busy, Busy World

Tonight is our Des Moines (Iowa) Modern Quilt Guild holiday social–can’t wait!  If you are in the area, stop by at 6:30 for an evening of fun.  We are swapping a holiday item–I whipped mine up last night (nothing like waiting till the last minute!).  More get-together details here

Every year, I make my nephews birthday shirts to boast their age at their birthday party.  These were last year’s (a Diego themed party) and the year before was a Curious George party (wow! They were such babies two years ago!)  This year, the older brother is obsessed with Richard Scarry’s Busytown (remember the Pig Will and Pig Won’t costumes?  Same source, and his idea..), and his little brother, fire trucks.  Originally the party was to be Busytown themed, but their Momma settled on a generic fire truck theme party.  

It just so happened that Quilting Treasures released their new line, Busytown on the Move by Richard Scarry at the beginning of October 2011, just in the knick-of-time for my nephew’s birthdays!

Seriously cute fabric, a BUSY scene with all sorts of activity going on in town, cars everywhere, including the famous pickle car, the mice driving saxophone and Swiss cheese cars, a worm driving an apple car, a rabbit driving a head of lettuce, a hog on a Harley(!), and a fox on a Vespa–


There is a televesion show out now, called Busytown Mysteries, which is how my nephews know about Richard Scarry.  He created Busytown before I was born, and what I love about this new series and the books, they haven’t “modernized” his art or the animation, the characters still look like, and are colored the same way, as I remember them in the 1970s.  Isn’t that cool?  Given the treatment of some other contemporary remakes from my childhood (don’t even get me started on Fisher Price Little People), I find this refreshing-and a nod to Mr. Scarry’s talent and genius.  Illustrations from the book, “What Do People Do All Day” (copyright 1968-still in print today!), check out Stitches the Tailor’s work table:

and Stitches is so wealthy he can hire a new house to be built (check out that bag of money!!!) don’t we all wish sewing was such a profitable profession:

Even the dressmaker works above the bank, presumably so she can deposit her ample earnings at the end of each workday…

Well, okay. Maybe not, but a girl can dream, right?!?

So for the birthday party, I bought them each a Richard Scarry book, and I made them each a shirt (recycled from their Halloween costumes!) with a Busytown fire truck fussy cut into their “number”:

And used the fabric to make them each their own pillowcase, perfect for falling to sleep on and dreaming big 3 and 4 year old dreams on…  Maybe I should make myself a birthday shirt next July to boast my new age, what do you think?  Yeah, maybe not.

Instead of using wrapping paper, I wrapped each book up in the pillowcase with their shirt as a “nametag” for whose gift was whose.

I’d like to imagine that they will be this easy to please when they are 13 and 14… 

Doubtful.  But again, a girl can dream, can’t she?