Sunday, June 28, 2015

Busy Girl Sews: Sew Can She

If you're looking for a sewing tutorial, look no further than Sew Can She, Caroline's brilliant website which has links to just about every free tutorial under the sun. Caroline is a talented pattern writer herself and is the co-author of Just for You, a wonderful book full of clothing and accessory projects. I have loved following her blog over the years and am delighted to have her on the Busy Girl Sews Tour this week. She's sharing her own organizational progress report as well as the adorable caterpillar pillow you see above. Stop by her blog to read more!

Next week I'll be wrapping up the book tour with a look at my new sewing room here in Texas and how I'm working to get myself organized again after our move. It's all in progress now, and I can't wait to share the (hopefully!) finished product with you next Monday!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Busy Girl Sews: Quilty Habit

AMH Mini Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Back in 2012, I was partnered up with Jess of Quilty Habit for the Modernista Swap, and it was the start of a beautiful friendship. She was (and still is) crazy about all things Anna Maria Horner, so I made her the mini quilt and basket you see above, featuring AMH prints and a block from Elizabeth Hartman's Modern Patchwork book. It was hard to let go of my Perspective quilt, but thankfully Jess lets me get a peek at it on Instagram once in a while when she shares a shot of all the cute mini quilts on her sewing room wall! She is such a talented quilter, and her enthusiasm is always an inspiration to me. Today you must head over to her blog to see the Flutter quilt she made, which was inspired by a beautiful Design Seeds color board. I love this little butterfly baby quilt, and Jess's version couldn't be sweeter. Go take a look!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Busy Girl Sews: Plum & June

While I am spending my first night in our new home in Texas, my dear friend Beth from Plum & June is carrying on the Busy Girl Sews book tour this week. Beth and I have known each other since we both started blogging, and I was so happy to have her be a part of my book. She created the Advice for New Bloggers Blog Hop, which has helped so many new sewing bloggers over the past few years including me. She also recently co-wrote The Modern Medallion Workbook with Janice Zeller Ryan, an inspiring book full of beautiful medallion quilt patterns. Stop by her blog to see Beth's start on a Dotty Hexagon Pillow using stunning little scraps of Liberty fabric!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Long Goodbye

It was almost five years ago that our family first started talking about the idea of moving out of California to somewhere a bit less expensive and crowded. We weren't quite sure where exactly -- perhaps Texas -- but it wasn't really much more than talk back then. There were so many factors that made it impossible to consider a move at the time, and while we enjoyed dreaming about the possibilities, there wasn't anything we could do about it.

Maybe that's why I can hardly believe that this Saturday morning, we'll be piling everyone into two cars and heading down the 10 freeway toward San Antonio and our new home.

I know people who have moved three, four, even a dozen times in their lives, but for me this is all brand new. The truth is that I never thought I would leave California. When we moved from the little town of Sierra Madre to purchase a home with my parents in Rancho Cucamonga seven years ago, I thought that would be the one big move of our lives. I'd only been married for two years and my oldest daughter was barely walking. I had no idea what kind of lessons were coming my way in the years to come.

We've been slowly packing up this house for the past six months, and it feels like an eternity, the longest goodbye I've ever said. Over the last month we've checked off all the things we wanted to do before leaving: a last trip to the beach, visits to our favorite ice cream shop, dinner at the Japanese restaurant that my husband adores. James even took me back to my home town so that I could walk one more time past the house where I grew up in which five generations of my mother's family lived. On the way, I got to say farewell to old friends like the owner of the grocery store where I got my first job at 17 and the family who owns the Mexican restaurant where my parents used to take us for dinner every Friday night back when I was in junior high. It's amazing how important a part such people can play in the story of our lives.

There have been other partings, harder ones, with dear friends and family who have touched my heart with love and encouragement when I needed it desperately. You can't replace these kinds of people. It's just a matter of leaving little pieces of your heart with them as you go.

Tonight I sit on the floor in the empty upstairs loft while my family is sleeping, and I'm flooded with memories. This is the room where I was up all night for a good three years, feeding babies and watching Jane Austen movies on my computer at 3 in the morning. It's the room where my mom taught me how to use a sewing machine and where the guys talked and laughed in the evenings before bed. It's where Mom and I met in the middle of the night when we couldn't sleep, and I can't tell you how many times we wept and prayed together over sick children, my grandmother's dementia, our fears that we wouldn't be able to keep up with the mortgage payments. Somehow sharing the burdens made them easier to carry, and I always went back to bed thankful that I wasn't facing these things alone.

Looking back now, I realize that this is the house where I really grew up. I've learned so much within these walls about life and perseverance and yes, even myself. I'm so thankful for these experiences -- even the hard ones -- that made me who I am today and taught me to remember what's most important.

And maybe that's why, even though I'm excited about this new adventure our family is taking, it's a little hard to let go of these rooms that are now empty of things but still filled with so many precious memories...

Monday, June 8, 2015

Busy Girl Sews: Bryan House Quilts

Envelope Clutch from Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples

For today's stop on the Busy Girl Sews Tour, head over to Bryan House Quilts where Becca will show you her sweet summer version of the Envelope Clutch Art Pack. Becca and I have been friends since I first started blogging, and she's a constant source of encouragement and inspiration for me. She sells her own quilt patterns, has written the gorgeous book Modern Rainbow, and is a new project designer for Sizzix -- this girl does it all! She has some great organization tips on her blog today too, so be sure to check it out!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Busy Girl Sews: Maureen Cracknell Handmade

Summer Tourist Blocks from Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples

I had dinner with one of my best friends tonight, an aspiring novelist. We enjoy getting together to talk about our personal lives, but we also love to discuss writing -- an interesting topic for us when we approach it from such different genres. Writing, like sewing, is an art form, and my friend and I agree that those who do it have to find their own balance between creativity and structure.

It's one of the things that I was most passionate about as I was writing Sew Organized for the Busy Girl. I wanted to give my readers a framework for discovering what works best for them as they look for that same balance in their sewing rooms. There's no magic bullet, no one perfect method that works for everybody. You have to know yourself and your situation well enough to create systems and habits that will be useful in the busy corner of the world that you're living in right now. Nothing has made me happier than to have people email me or tag me on Instagram to say that they're working through my book, that they're getting more organized, and that it's really helping them find time to sew. I am so thrilled to hear it, my friends!

This week's stop on the Busy Girl Sews Tour is Maureen Cracknell Handmade. I started following Maureen's blog before I even learned how to use a sewing machine, and I continue to be just as much in awe of her now as I was then. Maureen is both wonderfully sweet and artistically gifted. She has a never ending supply of gorgeous quilting designs -- all of which are showcased through her stunningly beautiful photography. You can purchase her darling felt creations (my daughters each have one of her personalized floral crowns) on Etsy, as well as buy her beautiful Wild & Free collection for Art Gallery Fabrics from any designer fabric shop. I could not admire her more and am so thrilled to have her on the tour as well as featured in my book. Be sure to stop by her blog for a peek!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Busy Girl Sews: Charm About You

Dotty Hexagon Pillow from Sew Organized for the Busy Girl by Heidi Staples

I am absolutely giddy about Lucy's take on the Dotty Hexagon Pillow over at Charm About You this week! Instead of solids, she went with a mixture of unbelivably adorable prints, and if she lived any closer to me, I would be stopping by her house every week just to stare at it. Lucy was kind enough to share a few tips with us too about how she stays organized at her place, even in the midst of making the gorgeous patchwork projects that she sews each month. Is it any wonder why I love this girl? Be sure to stop by her blog today for a peek!
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