Sunday, November 01, 2015

Sweet Nothing

Sweet Nothing...

What do you mean by that, Kristi?  Well, it's the title to my friend Jamie's new book, actually, and I've come by to tell you about it. 

{Sweet Nothing available now; click here to purchase}

So, let's start at the beginning, shall we?  I have this friend who is pretty amazing.  I mean amazing at, like, pretty much everything.  She's a genuine friend, a great mom, really good at making AND KEEPING promises.  She's really good at turning leftover rice into breakfast, she's laid back, smart, confident, savvy, ballsy, polite and dammit if she's not flipping gorgeous, too.  Ok, let's face it, she's Barbie.  She's got it all, she wears all the hats and has all the cool toys and I adore her.  Wanna know how we met?  Well, of course you do!  It's our favorite story to tell!

We met in Ireland!  I was on my honeymoon and she was traveling around Ireland, Spain and Greece with her friend.  It was St. Patrick's Day 2008.  My new husband and I were scoping out the best spot to watch the parade.  We were in the shadow of the Spire of Dublin, aka "The Stiffy by the Liffey", when two women about our age asked us if we could take their picture.  I opened my American mouth and said "Sure!  Where do you want to stand?" she exclaimed "Oh thank God, you're American!"  That was all the exchange we needed to start up a friendship.  We ended up standing shoulder to shoulder for the next four hours at the front of the crowd to watch the parade.  Four hours is a long time to chat, which is exactly what we did.  We told her about our recent wedding, she told us how much she missed her kids, especially reading to her littlest at bedtime.  I remember telling her that she should come to our hotel to use my computer that evening.  We had free wi-fi and my little laptop had video capability.  (Remember, we're talking 2008 here, the Apple iTouch had just come out.)

{St. Patrick's Day Parade March 17, 2008}

I didn't think she'd really take me up on the offer, so when my husband and I decided to go out for dinner that evening, I was only a little concerned about missing her call. When we got back, we checked at the front desk to see if anyone had called for us and they said no.  We chalked it up to my original thought, that my offer was a little strange, and she decided not to take me up on it.  No big deal.  Except that we had really hit it off, instant friendship kind of stuff, and I was kinda bummed that we didn't get another chance to hang out.  I remembered her last name and that she was from Oklahoma (because, really, who is from Oklahoma??  No one that I knew.) So, I looked her up on MySpace.  Yeah, MySpace, remember that?? Well, what do do you know?  There she was!  

{oh, Tom.  Good ol' MySpace}

Now, seven and a half years later, we're still very good friends.  Remember what I said about her being so darn awesome and keeping her promises?  She came out to visit me in Seattle three times.  The first time was for my baby shower. (One of the things we had talked about during the parade was how my husband and I wanted to start a family immediately.  She said then and there that she would come to my baby shower when it was time.)  The second visit was to check out Forks, WA and the third was as part of her book tour for Beautiful Disaster.  I told her she needed to get Seattle on her list, so she did.  That was a fun visit, we had sushi at Pike's Market then went off to the U-District in a limo so she could host a meet and greet and book-signing at the University Bookstore.

{Forks, WA}

My daughter and I flew out to Oklahoma twice to visit her, and we've seen each other once since my family and I have moved to Georgia.  We are both very busy, but we have Facebook and text messaging and when we have time, we call each other up.  Now, she's a successful New York Times Bestselling Author with a whole bunch of books under her belt.  She started writing her first book, Providence, around the time of my baby shower.  She was working on it while staying with us, and I still remember peeking my head around the corner at 2am and seeing her there in the glow of the laptop.  I had the privilege of "editing" the first few hundred pages of that book, and I even make a cameo in the book!  How cool is that? 

Add caption

So, now here we are on my blog, reminiscing about one of the greatest people I have the unbelievable honor of calling my friend.  I was so touched that she asked me to help promote her newest book.  I devoured this story in about two evenings and now that it's done, I can't stop thinking about it!  I want it to be a movie, I want there to be a sequel.  I want to call Jamie up and have her make up the rest of the story on the spot, just to placate my ever-wandering mind.  I need to know more about Josh and Avery and HOLY CRAP, how did she (and co-author Teresa Mummert) come up with this story???  

Please feel free to check it out for yourself, and then come back here and tell me what you thought.  I can't wait to re-read it in a  couple weeks when I am flying to Michigan.  Do you do that, too?  Read a book, then read it again within a few weeks just to pick up all the things you missed?  Some people love reading the same story over and over and some people never do.

Anyway, before I go, here is the official Release Synopsis just for you.  Enjoy!

Happy Reading!

PS Click here to read one of my most treasured memories with Jamie.

When you think you know what's happening, you're only half way there.

It is enough to break any man: watching what could have been my future slip away before it was ever in my grasp. The possibility of losing someone I loved before she was even mine is something I never would have imagined—certainly nothing I'd ever wish on anyone. I went to her every day and waited. Waited for the impossible, for a sign, for her to look at me ... hoping sinners are granted miracles, too.

Just one glimpse of him was all it took. In the next lane, at a stop light, was the man I would fall in love with and marry. People talk about love that takes time—the kind you fall in to. We were more like a crash and burn. When our lives intertwined, I knew I would never be the same. He was the man I would cherish the rest of my life, who would father my children. In an instant our life together began, and in an instant it would end. The late nights; the excuses; the lies. And in the blink of an eye, it was like we never were.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Oh you know, projects and stuff

It's been awhile since I've posted anything "personal" so I thought I'd come by and show you all what I've been doing lately. I know I've been quieter than usual over on Instagram, but I have been busy working on lots of little things or just spending time with The Roo. Time well wasted, either way, right?

I don't even remember where I was when I took this picture, I just remember that I thought it was hilarious how they all seem to be running for the nearest bathroom to change that baby. I mean, look at the stick figure dad, that baby STINKS! Ha!

We rescued Nelson the Wonderhound from the Charleston Animal Society in July.

I went to Cincinnati to teach a class on my Betsy Travel Bag.

I got to hug my friend Kara in person while I was there.

I started retreading the Outlander series for the fifth time. Man, I love those books!

Made blueberry jam...
Candied jalapeƱos...
And a loaf of Cinnamon Brown Sugar Banana Bread all on the same day.

Took this girl to get her back-to-school haircut done.

Sent her back-to-school (first grade!) looking like the sweet princess that she is.

I celebrated by making a new dress for her:

I made a block for my friend Kristin's Love Wins quilt project (and lost a few Facebook friends and/or IG followers by participating in the celebration of equality. But I'm fine with that!)

Then I whooped and hollered when
79 year old Vince showed off his first quilt top and sewing machine tote bag that he made completely by himself. He's seriously very, very cool. He wanted to learn how to sew, so he started taking private lessons...just look at that proud face!

I made a bunny block from Elizabeth Hartman's new quilt pattern using my most favorite Liberty of London print.

I showed Roo how to sketch...

I tested a new bag pattern, the Hexy Bottom Bag. I had enough for two, so I sent one to my friend in England and kept one for myself.

We said goodbye to one of our pets...
That's always a hard thing to understand, even if it was just a little frog. (Ignore the oogies of the bathroom, please.)

I stitched up a Lumberjack quilt top for the fabric shop where I work:

I designed, then made, a heart block to sew for my friend Penny, whose husband unexpectedly passed away recently.

I made an apron (tutorial coming soon):

I made some shelves:

We started our Friday afternoon cooking class:

The next day I pieced together this Strip N Flip quilt top:

And a few days later, I started a very simple Halloween quilt:

I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail at Fox Theater. (It was the first time I've seen it.)

And that's pretty much it. I have a huge to do list: dolls, a few quilts, Sew Caroline's Out and About Dress, and more. Maybe it's good that my little one is back in school, either way I will miss her all day!

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Giveaway and Review: Artfully Embroidered - Motifs and Patterns forBags and More

It's been awhile since I've posted a book review, hasn't it? Well, today I have one to review AND give away!

By Naoko Shimoda
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

This is an unusual book in that it's not your typical, cutesy, whimsy-filled book on embroidery. Rather, this book focuses on quite the opposite: elegant, unusual, artistic and specific. 

There are 17 projects in this book, mostly bags, totes or purses, but that doesn't mean you have to be limited to that specifically. These designs would be beautiful on a handbag or an evening gown. You could even add them to a table runner and choose a few elements from the pattern to a set of dinner napkins for a sophisticated dinner at home. I love the goldfish in particular:
{isn't that beautiful?}

I love that the artist/author has stayed consistent with her style throughout the book. 

All the projects have a clean, simple look to them. What I mean by that is, she hasn't overdone anything. The bags start off with the basics, they're not terribly fussy:

The instructions to assemble the bag are quite clear. It's only when you add the embroidery do they look like they're complicated.

Thankfully, she also makes the embroidery process easy to follow with clearly illustrated and written instructions.
{suggested tools and supplied info}

Embroidery is an art form to me, and one that I especially enjoy doing. I have loved looking through this book and seeing a completely different way of practicing this art. 

I'm giving away my copy of the book. Please leave a comment below, telling me who inspires you the most. I will choose a winner on September 16, 2015. Check back on September 17 to see if I drew your name! 

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

303 Shades of Color (And I chose 12)

Kona Blogger Bundle - Kristi @ Schnitzel & Boo

Peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, Robert Kaufman and Stash Fabrics, socks with sandals...wait, maybe not that last one...  Know what they all have in common?  When paired perfectly, they're spectacular!  (Yeah, definitely NOT that last one!)  Robert Kaufman has 303 colors of their Kona Cotton, and Stash Fabrics now stocks every single last color in their gorgeous little shop.  Isn't that great?  

I was graciously allowed to choose a handful or two from her new stock and participate in this blog hop.  I think picking the colors was fast and easy for me, I already had a color scheme dancing around in my head that was taunting me along side a block that I sketched out months ago.

When my bundle arrived, tidily folded and wrapped in a plastic bag, I oohed and aahed at the vibrant colors and crisp feel of the fabrics.  Kona Cotton is so nice to work with, hey-kinda like Beth at Stash Fabrics!  (They really are peas and carrots.) I stacked them all up neatly, then got out my sketch book so I could start filling in the colors.  Problem is, my daughter had swiped my colored pencils, so I had to borrow a set from a friend.  Oh well, I got the job done regardless.

I made one or two changes to my original block design and then set to work cutting the fabric.  Being fairly new to quilting, I made one or two mistakes, but eventually churned out this block:

That's pretty cool, right?  I didn't have enough fabric to make a whole quilt, but if I did, this is what it would look like:

 Don't mind the wonky pink X's, I used an iPhone app to mash up my one picture into a borderless collage for my mock quilt.  I really like it and I think it would be pretty stunning in shades of black, grey and white.  Or shoot, any of the 303 colors!  Or heck, maybe I'll just order my own bundle a few times and make a king sized quilt for my bed!

You can purchase my bundle by clicking here.  Better be fast or I might beat you to it!  

All of the blogger bundles are available here.  
Take a peek at their part of the blog hop for giveaways, tutorials and even more inspiration.

Stash Fabrics Kona Blog Hop Schedule
July 17 – Darcy @ Modern Cozy
July 23 – Jacey  @ Jacey Craft
July 27 - Kelly @ Kelby Sews
July 30 – Nancy @ Owen’s Olivia
August 6th – Jodi @ Tales of Cloth
August 10th – Megan @ City Stitches
August 12th – Rita @ Red Pepper Quilts
August 17th – Elizabeth @ Andpins Handmade
August 19th – Tara @ Rad and Happy
August 21st – Sharon @ Color Girl Quilts
August 24th – Allison @ Allison Sews
August 27th – Kristi @ Schnitzel and Boo
August 31st - Jessee @ Art School Dropout

Happy Sewing!

Oh hey!  Before I go, here's a little coupon code to use while you're shopping!  You can get 10% off your entire purchase now through September 6th by entering “WOW303” at checkout. 
(The code does not apply to pre-orders or clubs.)
Free shipping on orders of $50 or more DOES apply, though hooray!

PS A great big thank you to Beth/Stash Fabrics and Robert Kaufman for graciously hosting this fun blog swap and providing all of the participants with a bundle to work with.