mommyhood is reading


Handmade Winter eBook || A Creative Mamas Collaboration
I'm so excited to tell you all about Handmade Winter - a very special project that I was so lucky to be involved in!

Handmade Winter: A Season to Gather, Make & Share eBook by the Creative Mamas Collaboration is here! I've been drooling over my copy ever since I got to see it! Such an amazing and wonderful collaboration of talented ladies and I feel so honored to be included! This gorgeous eBook just shines with the love and passion for home, family, handmade and inspiration. Every page just begs you to turn to the next one. The cover alone makes me want to curl up on the couch with my fave quilt with the fireplace on and a cup of tea in hand, to sit and reflect and read this special eBook.

Handmade Winter eBook || A Creative Mamas Collaboration

The talented women who worked to bring Handmade Winter to all of you are some of the most inspiring, loving and generous women I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with. It was so fun to see what everyone brought to the table and what ideas sparked from all of our conversations. The end result was above and beyond what I could have imagined and I'm just blown away by the sheer awesomeness of these gals! The words gather, make & share truly resonate with all of us creative mamas on a daily basis and we're so excited to share this book filled with recipes, crafts, sewing, jewelry, essays, poetry and more with all of you!!!!

Would you like to see more of the inside of Handmade Winter? Yay! Keep reading to see some sneak peeks of the eBook below!

Handmade Winter eBook || A Creative Mamas Collaboration
The eBook is easily broken down into 3 sections.

Under Gather you can find...

This was one of my favorite sections of the book! I seriously am trying every one of these bevvies! Each one is more delicious than the last! I think I squealed with delight when I saw these. I'm always on the lookout for a new "adult" bevvie during the holidays.
From soup, salad, veggies, chicken & more you cannot go wrong with any of these recipes!
Cookies, masala chai, and did I say cookies? LOL! This section is just delish!
Learn how to host a favorite things party as well as a winter cookie exchange.

Handmade Winter eBook || A Creative Mamas Collaboration
 Handmade Winter eBook || A Creative Mamas Collaboration

Then we come to MAKE...

There are so many fun crafts and goodies to make. Walnut fairies, leather jewelry, chalkboard blocks whimsical winter decorations and more!

And under SHARE...

You've got my super fun quilted coasters (4 different patterns), cushions, felted tablet cover, child's maxi skirt...and the list goes on!
Handmade Winter eBook || A Creative Mamas Collaboration
That's not it though! In between the projects and recipes there is gorgeous photography, essays, and poetry. It truly is a gorgeous eBook.
For just $15.00 you can get the Handmade Winter eBook filled with 50+ patterns, tutorials, recipes, crafts and more!!! So much good stuff to keep you making all through the winter season. To see the entire Handmade Winter Table of Contents for all projects included, click here. 

21 talented and creative women came together to form Handmade Winter (including myself)...

Simply leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite thing to make/bake/cook during the winter season.

|| RULES ||
You must leave a valid email address in your comment or you will be disqualified. Giveaway is open until Sunday, December 15th, 2013, midnight PST.

I hope you all enjoy a Handmade Winter as much as we did putting it together. It's such a special collaboration and I'm so excited for you all to see it!!! Find out more details and purchase your own copy of Handmade Winter here for just $15! Enjoy!!!

You can always keep track and join in with us and the other creative mamas on social media using hashtag #creativemamas and #handmadewinter on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook & more!

Handmade Winter eBook || A Creative Mamas Collaboration


Fabric Basket Pattern from Simple Sewing ||

Don't you just love a good sewing book? One that you can't decide what to make first when you open it?

I do and today I'm so excited to be part of the Simple Sewing Blog Tour for Katie Lewis of the blog The Red Kitchen for her new book "Simple Sewing: 30 Fast and Easy Projects for Beginners". Now don't be swayed by the word beginner. Yes, the patterns aren't difficult, so yes, they are suited to beginners but you definitely do not need to be a beginner sewer to LOVE this book. The projects are quick, fun and such great sews. There are so many to choose from it honestly took me a good few weeks to decide. I won't deny I love that.

Fabric Basket Pattern from Simple Sewing ||

In the end I went with the pattern for the fabric basket. I have been procrastinating on making one for eons and thought to myself it's time. I'm going to give some of that clutter on my sewing desk a new purdy home. I love how it turned out and in fact, after making it, decided it may even get a home for a while on our coffee table :) I used some of the new line "Minimilista" from Art Gallery Fabrics. I combined Script Turquoise and Darts Turquoise and they make me so happy together. They look so great with the same color turquoise walls in my sewing area.

Fabric Basket Pattern from Simple Sewing ||
Fabric Basket Pattern from Simple Sewing ||
Fabric Basket Pattern from Simple Sewing ||

Want to see some more of Simple Sewing? Yay! I can't wait to show you! 

Simple Sewing Book Review & Giveaway ||

Simple Sewing is bright, cheerful and easy to follow. Featuring clear instructions, full color photographs, and a helpful beginning section on sewing supplies, fabric, stitches, and terms & techniques that will aid a new sewer to conquer any of the projects in this book. Simple Sewing is organized in the following fun chapters - Accessories, Home, Celebrations, Baby, School Days and Toys! Each chapter has 5 awesome patterns! I love that the book also represents Katie's style and aesthetic as well. It would make a great gift or addition to any sewers book collection.
Simple Sewing Book Review & Giveaway ||
You can purchase your own copy of Simple Sewing: 30 Fast and Easy Projects for Beginners by Katie Lewis at the following:
HOW TO ENTER: Simply fill out the rafflecopter entry form below.
PRIZE: 1 winner will win a copy of Simple Sewing by Katie Lewis
RULES: Open to US Residents ONLY. Giveaway will end on Dec. 9th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for having me on the tour Katie!!! Congratulations on the new book!

Make sure you guys also stop by the fabulously talented April Rhodes blog to check out what she made!


Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson

this is the hardest post i have ever written on this blog of mine. one that has found me, of all people, at a loss for words. how do you write about someone who inspired you, encouraged you, awoke your creative spirit, nurtured it, challenged you, was kind to you, was a friend to you, and one who helped you find your path, that is now gone?

this post is about someone who means so much to not only me but to our whole creative community both online and offline - kathreen ricketson (author and blogger of she needs no introduction from me. she was and still is part of the very roots of creativity as we know it now. she was a trailblazer and a true artist. she embraced the true meaning of making and in teaching our children to also embrace and to grow this very important message. she believed in family.

Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson

i am so very honored to have been included by stash books for the legacy tour for kathreen's newest book "brave new quilts" along with an amazing line up of women who i am regularly inspired by and look up to. it means so much to me.

so many times i have sat down to write this post. thinking back to the 4 1/2 years i have been blogging and how kathreen played a role in every single one of them. how she took chances on me, answered my emails even when i was a newbie looking for advice and encouraged me to keep creating. her blog was a daily read and a fixture in my life. i can truly say she helped to shape my path to where i am today.

her books are on my shelf. her calendar (that inspired me) from years ago still in my desk. her action pack magazines still read in our home....and then i realized it - she is still here. she always will be. the most evident proof of this is "brave new quilts". this book is truly kathreen. she was so excited and passionate about this book when she was working on it and i can feel her energy just bouncing off the pages even now. i can still see kathreen.

Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson

so while struggling to write this without being a bawling mess i placed her book near me, poured a cup of tea and took some time to just fully reflect, to miss kathreen and to tell her how much i truly love this book and how much she meant as a person and as a woman to me and all the others lives she touched.

to say that brave new quilts is a great book would be a lie. it's not just great, it's on a whole other level than other quilting books out there. as someone who has a passion for books & art and who is obsessed with lines, patterns and textures this book feeds my soul. it truly, in every sense of the word inspired me. i keep reading and re-reading it finding new things, new ideas, new trigger points for projects, but mostly i feel like i'm sitting with kathreen. i feel like she showed a side of herself and her creativity she hadn't yet revealed.

brave new quilts includes 12 new projects inspired by 20th century art. from art nouveau to punk & pop. it's so crazy good. the best part is kathreen not only gives you the 12 project patterns but also teaches you how to take the basics and create & personalize your own using 4 aesthetic elements: line, color, motif and text. yay! seriously i find this so exciting!

Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson

and as always, my favorite parts of books are usually the parts that aren't the projects. i loved pouring over the hidden jewels in this book. the design, layout and instructive elements in this book are clean, expressive and exciting. her husband did the illustrations and was her technical long arm assistant, her children modeled, her friends helped sew and photograph. the color, the lines and the overall design of the book made me hungry to create. kathreen would have loved that....... i had to force myself to keep reading after the first chapter because i immediately wanted to grab my sketch pad and draw and sew. that's what kathreen has always brought out in me. the need to just sit and nurture the creative self and feel 100% ok with that. the laundry can wait.

 the book also features sections on the following:

//design principles //
- space, proportion, pattern & texture, line and shape, balance & symmetry, color

// use of line //
- russian constructivism
- bauhaus
- art deco/cubist

// use of color //
- abstract experssionism
- bauhaus

// use of motif //
- art deco
- art nouveau
- midcentury modern

// use of text //
- dada
- punk
- pop art

as well as sections on your toolbox, finishing quilts, calculating yardage, metric conversions and more. this truly is a book that is a must have for any quilter who has a passion for modern quilting.

Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson
Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson
Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson
Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson
Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson

kathreen, wherever you are, i miss you & love you. thank you for everything you have taught me, inspired me to create and for your kind friendship. you will be remembered always.

thank you to stash books for releasing brave new quilts and for allowing us to have this special part of kathreen to cherish always. you can read the other touching and special posts in the legacy tour below and by following the hashtag #LegacyTour on social media accounts such as twitter, facebook, and instagram.

To follow the legacy tour:

Tuesday, Oct 1 Heather Jones               Tuesday, Oct 8 Ellen Luckett Baker
Wednesday, Oct 2 Kristin Link               Wednesday, Oct 9 Andrea Jenkins
Thursday, Oct 3 Maya Donenfeld           Thursday, Oct 10 Shannon Cook
Friday, Oct 4 Alexandra Smith                Friday, Oct 11 Mimi Kirchner
Monday, Oct 7 Sonya Philip                   Monday, Oct 14 Cheryl Arkison


Stitched Blooms Book Review & Giveaway

today's book review is for the new release "stitched blooms: 300 floral, leaf & border motifs to embroider" by author carina envoldsen-harris of the awesome blog "carina's craftblog". this lovely gem of a book is a great addition to any embroidery lovers collection.

i love to sew and knit but i also love to do embroidery! i don't get to do it as much as i'd like to but when i do i really enjoy it! if you're looking for a new embroidery book that is classic and has a good amount of technique and patterns in it this book is for you. from tea towels & luminaries to pincushions and sewing kits there is a project for everyone in it.
Stitched Blooms Book Review & Giveaway
my favorite thing about stitched blooms is the beginning. i adored carina's section on color. i think a lot of people get intimidated by color palettes, how to choose them & why and i thought this was a wonderful part of the book. she addresses the following in the beginning of the book:

- basics of color theory, color schemes, and even color exploration exercises! 
- fabrics & thread (caring for your pieces, types of thread, how to use floss etc)
- embroidery tools (love the bit on pattern transfer pieces)
- working with motifs
- embroidery techniques
- great stitch glossary (so cute!) 

i learned a lot and will use this book as a refresher whenever i get some lovely time to pick up my needles and thread. what about you? would you like to win a copy of  "stitched blooms"?

Stitched Blooms Book Review & Giveaway image by lark crafts
img courtesy of lark crafts
- one lucky winner will win a copy of "stitched blooms" and a set (7-8) of the author's favorite floss color combos!

- simply leave me a comment telling me why you love embroidery.

- you must leave a valid email address in your comment or you will be disqualified.
- giveaway is open until 10/02/2013, midnight, pst.

you can also see the rest of the pretty stitched blooms blog book tour below! there are lots of great posts and chances to win! thanks for having me carina!

 Sept. 16th – Amanda Carestio -
Sept. 17th - Lynne -
Sept. 17th - Sara Lawson -
Sept. 18th - Alicia Rosello -
Sept. 19th - Jessica Crapo -
Sept. 19th - Diane Gilleland -
Sept. 20th - Mollie Johanson -
Sept. 21st - Aina Crescimbeni -
Sept. 21st  - Beth Wilson -
Sept. 22nd  - APL Creations -
Sept. 23rd  - Jo Stafferton & Floresita -
Sept. 23rd - Rachel Hobson -
Sept. 24th - John Adams -
Sept. 24th - Aimee Ray -
Sept. 25th - Jenny Doh -
Sept. 26th - Hanna Andersson -
Sept. 26th - Abby Glassenberg -
Sept. 27th – Susie Stubbs -
Sept. 27th - Lynne -

*i am an amazon affiliate. all opinions are my own. thank you for your support.


it's all good book review
it's all good: delicious, easy recipes that will make you look good & feel great by gwyneth paltrow & julia turshen
so you may have guessed by the image of gwyneth paltrow above that this post is not about sewing. it's not about knitting either. but it is about me and also about something very important to me.  getting healthy - finally.  since this was the year i made a pact to do some selfish sewing, selfish knitting & take some time to shift my priorities for work/home etc i figured i should also take some time to actually find the elusive time to take better care of myself and finally make it a priority.  something that i haven't done since my first daughter was born.  you all know the story...when you become a mother everything changes. there is a shifting in your soul, in the core of your being and suddenly everything "you" becomes the last thing on your list.

it's all good book review

i spent last year trying to find the balance that would allow me time to nurture my creative self.  i discovered that to be a happier person i need a certain amount of time each day to mentally be creative and allow myself that and be ok with indulging in that need.  but what i seem to have forgotten was that in order to be able to have the energy, desire and sense of self to do this, work more hours than i care to admit, be a damn good mother and wife and then have some left over to physically care for myself has seem to gotten me lost.  i think part of my puzzle has been the caring for my "physical self" alongside my "mental self".  they go hand in hand. duh  i was so focused on my creative self and exploring it and writing about it that i have not had one drop left to focus on my physical self.

the physical self that has horrid back issues that make it hard for me to exercise, the self that suffers from very bad endometriosis, has had many surgeries, that is anemic, and that deals daily with many other ailments that i won't bore you with but that are very much a part of my life that i don't share on here because...well it's mostly a happy place and who the heck wants to hear me moan and groan everyday right? not  i'd rather chat with you all about fun stuff :)  it makes my day.

it's all good book review

but back to the reason of this post. i've finally reached a point of just not being happy with myself.  not my personality but my physical self.  i am tired of not having answers for issues and health concerns.  so between myself, my naturopathic physcician, and my family doctor i'm on a mission to take back control. something i find very important when dealing with my endometriosis especially. it can take control of your life and i find that any way i can find to take hold of the steering wheel of my own body it helps me to deal better with the side effects.

one of them is being on a stricter diet.  while i have always abided by an anti-inflammatory diet and watching what i eat it's just not working for me anymore.  i don't feel good.  so in my journey towards finding out some causes of my issues i've decided to dig deeper.  along with not eating wheat, i'm also eating dairy free and trying to avoid sugar.  i'm trying to rid my body of processed foods and eating whole. i'm not on paleo or any "diet plan", but am rather trying to eat for my body. these are all foods that cause my body issues and that i am sensitive to.  so for the last month i've rid these of my body and i feel so many changes already.  my mind feels clearer for one and my body is starting to feel better. some of the things that have been bothering me have started to go away.  the wheat/gluten is a big deal for me so it seems still so i'm in the process of getting tested for celiac disease as well.

this was phase one of my plan.  i'm back on a treatment plan that my naturopathic doc and i have done before that helps and are trying new things that are working.  but like anyone else who works closely with a naturopathic doctor and who suffers from a chronic illness, you know it's not easy work.  it takes time and commitment but the pay off is huge.  just look at my daughters.  other doctors told me that there was no other treatment left for me but pain meds. i tried everything let me tell you. they also told me i most likely would never have children. it was the darkest time of my life. one where i contemplated a hysterectomy to rid myself of the torment but realized there was one thing left i had not tried yet - a naturopath.  soon after meeting mine my life changed. i looked like a new person and felt like one. i met my now husband and got pregnant right away.  my endocrinologist could not believe the change in my body and i couldn't believe it myself.  it was crazy how much 6 months of hard work with her changed my whole life - body and spirit. truth be told i almost lost both of my girls. each time i got pregnant the doctors gave me the "you are most likely having a miscarriage speech & said there was nothing to be done and each time my naturopath balanced my wacky hormones, put me on bed rest and saved both of my girls. i don't care what anyone else says she gave me my babies and for that i owe her so very much.  she gave me hope and strength.

so i know gwyneth causes a love/hate reaction in most.  i happen to like her. i admit it. i think she's charming and you have to admit - she looks fabulous.  but besides from that her newest book "it's all good" spoke to me.  luckily my girls gave it to me for mother's day (thank you honey!) and within the first few chapters i resonated with what she wrote about.  it couldn't have come at a better time for me and where i am in my life. even though i'm eating better it doesn't miraculously make me enjoy yes, i don't enjoy cooking that much. it's no shocker. i am  learning to realize it's importance but that doesn't mean i'll ever choose it over sewing or if i've got a spare hour i sure as hell ain't using it in the kitchen but hey, that's just my opinion.

but this book makes me WANT to cook better when i do cook. the food is accessible. realistic. achievable. beautiful and most importantly healthy and family friendly.  i cannot say how much i am a sucker for beautiful books.  don't get me wrong - cook books are on the most part lovely but this book - this book sang to my aesthetic.  it's clean. there's white space - no clutter. the images take you away and i can't stop looking at it for inspiration and just for fun.  it's stunning and a wonderful addition to my cookbook library. only prob is i love it to much to stick in the dark pantry where my other cookbooks live. right now it lives on my coffee table where i can remind myself that it's not as hard as i think it is to make the change. the hardest few weeks are over and my body is beginning to adjust and find it's happy place. it's now time for the fun - the experimenting with new foods and recipes. new things to try not just for myself but also for my family.

it's all good book review
it's all good book review
it's all good book review

over the last 4 weeks i have also become a die hard green smoothie addict. i swear these smoothies and juices are like coffee to my body. and you all know how much i love my coffee. now instead of coffee with my lunch and the inevitable 3pm mood crash i have a green smoothie for lunch and feel great!  i've always had a hard time eating enough fruit and vegetables and now it's easy. one meal and done - yum!  the kids even LOVE them. my youngest asks for a green smoothie for lunch almost everyday now too.  it's great!

next up on my journey is exercise.  i enjoy exercise and don't do enough of it.  hardly any actually. with my hubbies hours, my insane work, the kids, extracurricular activities and life my workouts get lost at the end. i know there others out there who can more than relate. so to make it easier for myself i've decided to break up all my new changes into phases.  creative self, physical self (diet) and then physical self (exercise).  it's now time to add in the exercise.  this is the hardest one. with my back issues i'm limited but i need to start somewhere right?  new shoes was my start.  got myself fitted for some brand spankin' new runners and this week i'm starting fresh. no pressure.  no punishment - baby steps. i know myself well enough to know it has to be because i WANT to do it not because i HAVE to do it and i have to ENJOY what i'm doing to do. no goal weights, no workout plans just me getting back to being healthy. one. baby. step. at. a. time.
it's all good book review
it's all good: delicious, easy recipes that will make you look good & feel great by gwyneth paltrow & julia turshen
so gwyneth - thank you. thank you for being inspirational, for being brave and taking control of your health and for making it easier for me to take control of mine.  my body thanks you.  and thank you to all of you for being part of my journey. for being here alongside me with friendship and open arms during the last 5 years of my life.  i hope the journey only gets better from here. i love you guys <3

so...who's with me? anyone else on a health mission? any green smoothie recipes you love and recommend? other cookbooks?  stories to share? i'd love to hear so i don't feel like the only gal who bared my soul on the good ol' a little baring of the soul is good for everyone...right?

*disclosure: i am an amazon associate but this book was not given to me for review.


sew pretty tshirt dresses
sew pretty t-shirt dresses by sweet seams
are you getting ready to through your closets now that the nicer weather is starting? does anyone else get bit by that bug right before summer starts? i always feel the need to purge/clean and re-organize all the clothes in our house before a new season rolls in.  so when i got a chance to review the book "sew pretty t-shirt dresses: more than 25 easy, pattern-free designs for little girls" i was so in.  perfect thing to do with the hubs old tshirts, or ones that have gotten too short or stained for the girls and so on.  it's been a while since i repurposed anything and this book got my wheels turning again.

sew pretty t-shirt dresses has a pattern for every taste level.  from simple and fun to way girly girl.  the book is filled with bright, fun and colorful photos, clear instructions and a section i think we would all appreciate entitled "t-shirt dresses 101" with tips, techniques and more on sewing t-shirt dresses.  the ladies behind sweet seams did a great job putting together 28 patterns!!!  wowsa!

i really enjoyed the layout and found the book concise and easy to follow.  the book is suitable for every sewing level and features projects that would be easily customizable for a more advanced sewer. i think a beginner could jump in using their how to sections at the front of the book and have some fun with these patterns. all the patterns look fast and all begin with 1 t-shirt.  i think it's a great way to create a unique garment for that special girl in your life!

would you like to win one?  find out how to enter below!
sew pretty tshirt dresses
Images from Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses by Sweet Seams Studiopublished by Sixth&Spring Books. Photography by Dan Howell and dress design and instructions copyright © 2013 by Sixth&Spring Books/Soho Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

sew pretty tshirt dresses
sew pretty tshirt dresses

 ||  THE PRIZE ||
- one lucky winner will win a copy of "sew pretty t-shirt dresses"! get your t-shirts and sewing machines ready!

- simply leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite creative thing to do with old tshirts is.  that's it! yay for easy!

- you must leave a valid email address in your comment or you will be disqualified.  
- giveaway is open until 05/19/13, midnight, PST.

good luck and happy sewing!  thank you to sixth & spring books for the fun giveaway!

Nouveau Stitch  |  Just Pure Lovely  |  The Crafty Princess Diaries
Crafting A Green World  |  Stitched by Crystal
Prudent Baby | House of 34
Smashed Peas and Carrots  |  Simply Modern Mom
Marsha’s Spot  |  Sew Spoiled
Dollar Store Crafts  |  Only From Scratch
Wild Olive  |  Positively Splendid
On the Laundry Line  |  Elegance and Elephants
luvinthemommyhood  |  My Little Gems


knit to flatter book review on
Knit to Flatter: The Only Instructions You'll Ever Need to Knit Sweaters that make You Look Good and Feel Great!
a lot of chit chat has been going on for the tops, tanks and tees knit along on fit. if you're like me and you have some curves and you love knitting sweaters you most likely are always trying to find ways to modify existing patterns to fit your shape.  i recently purchased a copy of the new book by amy herzog called knit to flatter and let me tell you - this is a must have book.  the information in here is priceless.  whether you lack curves, have a bit more in some places than others and so on amy has tips and patterns in here to suit every body shape.  she also shows you how to measure, figure out your shape and dress your body type as well.  it's a great resource.  in particular i really found the sections on adding bust darts to cardigans and sweaters very helpful.

knit to flatter book review on
knit to flatter book review on
 knit to flatter book review on

knit to flatteris also gosh darn cute.  the pink polka dot binding, the layout and graphic design of the book, the models...(i could go on & on), the book is just gosh darn welcoming, friendly, and like a great friend who always tells you the truth.  it makes you feel awesome to see REAL women's bodies in here. not waifs, not just size 2's,  not airbrushed fakes and definitely not only 32" busts.  there are beautiful, gorgeous REAL women in this book and i loved it.  i felt great after reading it.  i felt a slight empowerment in knowing i could knit and dress my body properly and look just as great in my new handiwork as the size 2 model could.  in fact the book breaks it down really easily after amy walks you through finding out your body type.  i strongly feel like more books on both sewing and knitting should be showing images like these. ones of real women, no matter what their shape (skinny or curvy) or size looking gorgeous in handmade items.

knit to flatter book review on
knit to flatter book review on
knit to flatter book review on
knit to flatter book review on
knit to flatter book review on

so thank you amy herzog!  can i just say you and knit to flatterrock!  true to stc craft | melanie falick style this book is lovely and a must have asset to any knitters book collection.  i highly recommend it and you know what...mother's day is right around the corner.  you deserve  heck i pre-ordered mine i wanted it so

knit to flatter book review on

since there has been chatting about mods and fit in the ravelry group i recommend knit to flatter a great resource to have on this subject.  i also recommend a great guest post by jane richmond on "understanding fit" that is also a good reference on ease and more. i hope to use some of this info on my current project tops, tanks & tees project - levenwick. wanna see how far i am?  i was motoring but have slowed down since i have been so sick the last week or so.  you know you don't feel well when you don't knit too much.  i'm just in the thick of the waist decreases so i'm hopeful that i can get it done in time for the deadline :) can i just say again how much i love the collar on this?  that paired with the reverse stockinette is just making me so happy.  it's so rustic looking.  i heart it.

levenwick on
levenwick on
levenwick on

what about you? how's your project coming along?  what project did you end up going with?  did you blog about your project this week?  share! chat!  join in! it's never too late to grab those needles and jump in! happy knitting!

- sign up for the knit along by clicking "here".
- get inspired by checking out our kal pinterest board & our pattern roundup post
- take part in all the fun conversation & make new friends in our ravelry group
- find out more and find all the posts and info "here" on our kal homepage.


* is a participant in the, Inc. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


doodle stitching book review & giveaway on
doodle stitching: embroidery & beyond by aimee ray
who's in the mood to get stitchin'?  i sure am! i was excited to get a chance to review the newest book by aimee ray - doodle stitching: embroidery & beyond: crewel, cross stitch, sashiko & more!  this cute book is filled with bright colors, adorable projects and helpful how to's! covering everything from cross stitch, redwork, crewel , sashiko, stumpwork & more - aimee's got you covered!

doodle stitching book review & giveaway on
doodle stitching book review & giveaway on
doodle stitching book review & giveaway on
i really enjoy how aimee brings an element of hand drawn art to embroidery & it's techniques in her newest book. being someone who loves to draw i get very excited at the idea of recreating a sketch of mine using fabric and thread.  it's so exciting!  this book gave me a great starting point to learn how to execute those ideas and transfer them into the right stitch and technique to use it in.  the book also features pretty projects ranging from a baby quilt, project bag, to storybook panels & my fave - the cuckoo clock! there's something for everyone in this lovely book from lark crafts.  the layout is clean, bright and easy to follow and the book feels fresh and cheerful! a happy addition to my book collection.

doodle stitching book review & giveaway on

would you like to win a copy? yay!  read how to enter below!

||  THE PRIZE  ||
- one lucky winner will win a copy of doodle stitching: embroidery & beyond as well as one of aimee's lovely cutwork felt bookmarks (see above)! gorgeous!!! thanks for the awesome prize lark crafts!

||  HOW TO ENTER  ||
- simply leave me a comment below letting me know what your favorite thing about embroidery is.

||  THE RULES  ||
- you must leave a valid email address in your comment or you will be disqualified. 
- giveaway is open until wednesday, april 17th, 2013, midnight PST.

doodle stitching book review & giveaway on
doodle stitching book review & giveaway on

happy stitching & good luck everyone!  and a big thank you to lark crafts for the giveaway! 


eye candy alert! eye candy alert!  it's been a while since i did a book review and boy am i happy to have the awesomely talented alana dakos's new book "botanical knits" on the blog today!  i'm a big fan of alana's work and her podcast (never not knitting) and her new publication botanical knits does not disappoint!  filled with stunning photography, gorgeous illustrations & fresh graphic design this book just makes you want to curl up at home and knit till you can't knit anymore.

botanical knits is inspired by alana's love of leaves and she has incorporated it into a stunning collection of hand knits that fits so perfectly with her beautiful aesthetic.  true to her style and signature look botanical knits is filled with 12 patterns ranging from sweaters & cardigans, to shawls, socks and mitts.  and let's not forget the hats! some of my fave projects alana designs are her hats.  this collection features 3 hat patterns all of which are awesome!  i have already cast on for my fave - forest floor and i'm loving it!

alana's patterns are well written, clear and easy to follow and the layout of the book is truly inspiring.  i really enjoyed the special touches that the graphic designer - Mary Joy Gumayagay, added to the book.  in particular her table of contents and yarn pages just made me clap with excitement (shown above). they are fresh, unique and fit the vibe of the book perfectly.  i also enjoyed how she tied in the "botanical" aspect of the theme and really reflected the vibe of specimens.  i thoroughly enjoyed it!  alongside Neesha Hudson's soft and endearing illustrations and the breathtaking photography by Carlee Tatum this book is sure to be a new fave for anyone's collection.  i can't wait to make more of the projects!

what do you think? are you ready to go on a wee walk through the woods?  let's go get inspired by the leaves shall we?  and maybe at the end of it you might win a copy of botanical knits of your own??? below to read more, drool over pics with me and to enter the giveaway!

rainshine & learning processes

it's friday! phew! it's been a long one this week.  i don't know about you guys but i'm dying for some sunshine. of course living on vancouver island we're basking in the rainshine instead of the sunshine. you know that grey that is so bright yet dreary at the same time you have to put sunglasses on?  it's cold, windy and pouring buckets out today so harper and i are curling up with a quilt, a new movie, my knitting, her barbie and some fresh coffee.  i thought i would pop in and say hello to all of you. wanna chat? yay!

i'm so excited to let you guys know i've been working away busily behind the scenes here on the blog.  i've got some news to share hopefully in the next week or so that i can't wait to show you all!  i'm also super excited to let you lovelies know that i finally started working on some new sewing patterns!  yahoo! about time right?  lol..i know. it's been a while. i'm hoping for an early summer release for 3 patterns (i hope)!  after the craziness of the fall it will be fun to start sewing up some of my designs that have been waiting patiently for me to bring them to life. the sketchbooks and journals are on fire over here.


i've also got 2 new knitting patterns coming out soon!!!  1 for sale and 1 freebie!  i loooove them and they are my newest go to knits.  i hope you will all crush on them as bad as i have been :)  i swear every time i put out a new pattern it's like having a little wee baby.  they are all special too me in different ways and because i've been loving designing knitting patterns so much i'm jumping in with both feet.  i've busy been beefing up my resource library with some classic knitting books.  i couldn't resist picking up a copy of "the knitter's handy book of top down sweaters" and "the knitter's handy book of sweater patterns" both by anne budd.  i also have in my collection "knitwear design workshop" and a few more on the way - "principles of knitting" and "knitting from the top".  i don't know about you guys but i'm a visual learner and do really well learning by books. i'm also a book whore (sorry for the language but it's so the more of my faves i can splurge on for my collection the better :)  i watch for sales and scoop when i can get huge discounts and free shipping. fyi- knitpicks has 40% off sales for books and when they do i advise taking advantage! happy early bday to me!  oh it's hard being a book lover

ok so now i want to know what you've been making this week? i ask this question a lot on facebook and get tons of responses. it's fun!  but i would rather chat with you all about it over here especially since it's tricky to even get my facebook statuses to show up to all of you on a regular basis. so fill me in.  have you been knitting, sewing, crocheting?  what project? got pics or a blog post to share? link them up in the comments. i love to see what crafty goodness you've all been up to.

do you have a fave knitting resource book that you use for technical things?  what do you find yourself reaching for when you learn a new technique?  i'd love to hear your thoughts on your process as well.  do you take online classes or search for videos on youtube? c'mon..spill the beans! 

wishing you all a new technique, crafty, coffee &  sunshine filled kinda weekend! xoxoxo  

p.s. i was so thrilled to find out that i was chosen as one of babble's top 50 mom craft bloggers for 2013!!!!!!!!!!! wahoo!! i'm doing cartwheels over here people!!! it's my 3rd year and i swear every year get's more and more exciting! thank you to all the peeps over at babble and to all of you awesome readers!  thank you, thank you, thank you!  this means a lot to me and my lil'ol blog :)

Book Reviews || For the Knitters

i've been lucky enough to receive some lovely knitting books over the last few weeks and i thought it would be fun to compile some of them into a post for some gifts for the knitters in your life.  i know as a knitter we are always longing for the people in our lives to feed into our obsession and buy us more knitty goodness of anything.  yarn, books, notions, bags...whatever it may be we love it!

one of my biggest passions in life are books.  i have worked in book stores for many years (in and behind the scenes), run bookclub matching services (fun idea i had!) & hosting, author events & signings, ordering, and more.  it was a lot of fun and some days i miss being surrounded by the smell of books a lot. i miss pouring over advance copies and reading through catalogues to order stock and all the fun that goes along with being in that environment with people who love to read as much as you do.  the librarians still think i'm a bit bonkers to this day i takes so many books out at one time.  thankfully now with having an ipad i can hide my addiction a little bit by taking e-books out from the library instead :)  i'm also proud to say my kids are just like me if not worse.  we can never have enough books in our house.  so i'm slowly building up my collection of sewing/knitting/crafting books to go alongside my jane austens :)

so why not indulge someone in your life this xmas with a little knitty book love?  i'm sure they'd love it!


tiny treads is a book filled with yummy sock patterns for kids! i love this idea!  filled with fun and colorful projects just perfect to keep those little toes you love warm and cozy!


boys' knits is a great book filled with knits just for boys! just like in the sewing community this is much needed for knitters as well.  there always seems to never be enough lovelies to knit up for the little boys in our lives.  from accessories to sweater this book has tons of classic and wearable patterns you and the little men in your life will love.


knitting hats and mittens from around the world was such an interesting read for me.  while i love modern and fun knits i am also very interested in the technical and historical side of knitting.  the patterns, colors and techniques in this book make it a great addition to my collection.  there are so many techniques and colorwork in this book you're sure to learn something interesting and knit something fun and out of the ordinary.


fairy tale knits: 20 enchanting characters to make is adorable.  there's lots of little goodies to make to surprise your wee ones with!  includes whimsical scenes and all your fave fairy tale characters!

who could resist knitting up the whole song of the twelve days before christmas?  a creative collection of adorable little patterns "the twelve knits of christmas" is sure to be a great fun to set up and play with each christmas.

happy reading and knitting my friends!

have you knit from any of these books?  do you have a knitter in your life who would love these?  what book are you hoping santa brings you this xmas?  have a wonderful weekend and i'll see you on monday!

Book Review || Mabel's Closet by Hannah Fettig

Mabel's Closet is a gorgeous and "precious collection of modern baby girl knits" perfect for that new wee one in your life designed by the talented Hannah Fettig (of Knitbot) and knit up with yarn from one of my favorite yarn companies - Quince and Co. Mabel's Closet is a useful and handy collection that was inspired and written for Hannah's new daughter Mabel featuring the oh so lovely  yarns and colorways from Quince and Co.  With a foreword & art direction by Pam Allen (one of the brilliant designers behind the fab Quince and Co), Hannah has created a lovely release of some wonderful patterns.

Mabel's Closet is priced at $15 and with your purchase you receive a signed, limited edition book in a muslin bag with a button pin designed by Neesha Hudson & an ebook.

||  PATTERNS  ||

Mabel's Closet includes patterns for the following:

- Cradle Cardigan
- Spring Jumper
- Beret
- Autumn Frock
- Stripe Hat
- Simplest Baby Blanket

Mabel's Closet's graphic design and photography was done by the talented Carrie Bostick Hoge (another creator of Quince and Co), whose work is very inspiring to me. She has such a wonderful signature to her aesthetic and I adore everything she does.

Hannah also used Neesha Hudson, the same illustrator from her previous book "Coastal Knits", who adds a special touch to this collection with whimsical illustrations.  The little bunny on the cover is just so adorable and you can find gems all throughout this little book.

I definitely recommend Mabel's Closet and think it's a great staple to any knitter's collection who is looking to make up some gorgeous baby knits.  True to Hannah's classic style this collection doesn't disappoint.  Her color palette and designs combine for a soothing, modern and natural feel allowing you to imagine all the possibilities for your special wee one.

You can watch a video overview of the collection here and find Mabel's Closet on ravelry here.

You can purchase your very own copy of Mabel's Closet here and also check out the lookbook here as well.  Have fun and happy knitting!!!

A big thank you to Hannah Fettig for all the wonderful inspiration  patterns and also for letting me review this lovely collection.  Thanks Hannah! Mabel is gorgeous and so is the book.

You can find all things Hannah Fettig (Knitbot) here:

what do you think?  which one is your fave of the patterns? are you a big fan of hannah's and quince and co?  do you have a go to baby knitting pattern?  coffee's on....come chat!

Book Review || Pacific Knits

1. mukluks 2. campfire
i'm so excited to review one of my fave new knitting books out called "pacific knits" by alexa ludeman and emily wessel of tin can knits.  this wonderful book captures so many lovely snippets of this gorgeous area we live and the 18 patterns in this book are awesome.  with sizes ranging from newborn to 4xl there is sure to be something for everyone.  alexa and emily were "inspired by the landscape, lifestyle and people of canada’s pacific coast".

tofino surfer
the patterns range from hats, cowls and slippers to sweaters and shawls.  there are projects that are suitable for both male and females and again so many size variations! this book is just overwhelming with goodness.  a perfect gift for that special knitter in your life or for whipping something up for someone near and dear.
1. sitka spruce 2. north shore
antler cardigan
pacific knits features patterns that alexa and emily have designed that are sorted by three different handy logos throughout the book - city, mountains and water.  i think this is my favorite part of the book.  i love seeing the inspiration behind it and think it's a very creative way to showcase all the wonderful amenities that our beautiful coast has to offer.

1. lowtide cardigan 2. urban hiker 3. torrent
pacific knits is 92 pages of knitting goodness filled with bright photographs, clear instructions and well written patterns and charts.  the book has sections on techniques and also an in depth section on sweater knitting and sizing that is very handy to have.  there are cables, lace and colorwork, plus designs for all sizes that are rustic and pretty.  having lived in british columbia my whole life, and vancouver for many, many years before relocating to vancouver island it was so fun to see images of my old stomping grounds as well as shots from some of my fave places to visit such as where i got married - tofino, bc. 

i adore the book and the ladies of pacific knits too.  i've been lucky enough to have gotten to meet alexa and also some of the models in the book (whom are their family and friends) and they are all sweet and oh, so lovely people.  so if you're looking to spoil yourself or treat another knitter in your life pick up a copy of pacific knits for the holidays.

i think pacific knits is a wonderful addition to any knitters collection.  you can purchase the print version of pacific knits, the e-collection or purchase any of the 18 patterns as an individual pattern as well here on their website or by visiting their pacific knits ravelry page.

and while you're over at tin can knits make sure you check out their new holiday collection called "great white north".  a lovely e-book filled with scrumptious knits just in time for the holidays!  sweaters, hats, cowls, and even ornaments - it's a great set of 8 patterns perfect for christmas.

thanks so much alexa and emily! you ladies rock!  you can find more tin can knits here:

website  blog  |  ravelry  |  facebook 

the creative habit - do you have one?

the other week i wrote about my search for finding a bit of balance in my daily routine and also about my struggle with the need to be creative and the ability to find time for that everyday so i stay sane.  while writing those posts i've been reading a bit online looking for other sources that people have found that helped them to find a way to put their artistic souls to use daily. i read more than one post recommending the book "the creative habit" by twyla tharp.  i reserved a copy from my local library and finally got my hands on it.  to say i've been enjoying it thus far has been an understatement.  i want to photocopy parts of it and hang them on my walls to keep me on

as a creative and artistic person who struggles daily to find the right time/place for me to flex those muscles this book really hits home for me.  it helps to give me the confidence in the fact that i NEED those few hours each day to let myself be shannon and to focus solely on being creative in whatever way i need to that day.  whether it's writing, sewing, knitting, designing, name it i need to get a bit of it out of me each day.  if i don't i become a very unhappy and let's just say...frustrated momma.  it all jumbles up my mind and makes me feel somewhat i know that sounds a bit off the rockers but that's what it honestly feels like to me.  

the creative habit by twyla tharp
i'll think about it all day...that idea that i had...when can i sketch it out, when can i sew it, when can i photograph it, what it will look like, be styled like, who will wear it or use it..and so on.  it keeps me up at night if i don't let some of it out each day.  it's like those science experiment volcano's...if you just keep filling me up with ideas i will fizzle  the book has cemented to me that it is ok to have a creative routine and it's encouraged.  it's ok to find me time to do this in a part of a day that is not, when my mind is fresh, alert and raring to go instead of a shell of itself that's all confused and jumbled.  in fact it just creates more ideas and i love the adrenaline of that.

when i get rundown and tired and it's 10:00 at night and i've just sat down to finally be creative it's not always a positive outcome.  it's only a small portion of what i could be creating if i actually allowed myself  "guilt free" time during the waking hours to be artistic.  the kids can still be with me, they can participate, they don't have to be babysat by the tv - in fact they sometimes feed off of my creative energy.  i hope that it allows them to bring that into their own lives.  that somewhere down the line they will choose to sew, knit, draw, color, paint, take a photo etc..and incorporate those creative skills into their everyday lives.

the reason why i'm redesigning my sewing
heck i used it when i was hairdresser and i used it when i was an administrative assistant for years.  i was a master at color coding, prettying up files and could make a darn nice looking spreadsheet and presentation.  i used my creativity to solve problems, work more efficiently and think outside of the box when others couldn't in a non-creative environment.  any chance i got to be creative i took it.  i couldn't help myself and not once did i feel guilty.  in fact, i felt empowered by my skill set. so why now, as a mother, when we need to be our most creative, do i feel guilty about it?  is it because i am my own boss?  that i think i should be doing boring chores instead?  why is it so hard for some of us to find the balance?  why can't i let go of all the preconceived notions that i should be this perfect  homemaker?  why does a stay at home mom have to have a stigma attached to it that our homes must be perfect and we basically exist like stepford wives to cater to every ones needs but our own?  i could go on but i think you get the point. 

sometimes (more often than nought) i choose to sketch or sew over washing the dishes, i'll choose to play with the kids over laundry, i'll knit over dusting - does that make me a bad stay at home mom? no, but sometimes society makes you feel that way.  i've made a conscious decision that i have to let a few things "not be perfect". i'm not a good housekeeper.  my home is not dirty or unsafe, it's still relatively tidy but i have in the last few weeks learned a new skill of pushing my time blocking even further.  instead of just time blocking my creative time for me and the kids, i now time block my dinner making and chore doing time.  so far it's going pretty well.  we use our microwave timer.  i've now figured out which time of day works the best for me to be creative that the kids are happy to play independently or with each other and what times works best for me to feel fulfilled to happily..ok somewhat some chores done and cook dinner.  you all know i don't enjoy cooking or cleaning so having these now be an existent part of each day's schedule has helped me find it not so stressful.

the sketchbooks and notebooks always by my side.
i now know that from 4 - 5:30 it is strictly clean up and cooking time.  the kids help and they hear the timer go off.   the same with my creative time.  some days it could be from 1-2 or 2-3 it all depends on how the kids are doing, what moods we are all in and how much i feel like making that day.  i ask them how they will feel if mommy does this and would they like to join in or do a different task and then we set the timer. when the timer is done i am all theirs to play with and then we set the timer again to let us know when it's time to clean up. 

as a dreamer and someone who gets "lost" in my thoughts and creative happy place at times this has really helped  me to stay on track.  we're aren't perfect at it and it's not successful everyday - i am human, but i am trying to find something that works for my little family and my hubbies busy schedule that still allows me to be someone outside of just a mommy and a wife.  i still want to be me.  i still have dreams and goals aside from loving them with all my heart.  i think it makes me a happier momma and a happier wife.  i hope that it teaches them to work hard for their dreams and to do what makes their soul happy because i know that when i'm not being creative my soul is not fulfilled and i'm not myself.  instead i'm just a shell of who i am and boy does that creative energy torture me at night.  i know you all know that tingling feeling you get in your hands..that need to create and make.  it's amazing but it's also haunting when you aren't able to use it to it's fullest.  i guess it really is like training - you need to flex it, strengthen it, make it grow and feed it and nurture it and once you've done that you don't want to starve it or let it shrink - it hurts your body, your mind and your soul if you do.

that's why we're working on my sewing space as well in my little condo. my space to create in is limited and also a friggin'  i spent a lot of time about a year and a half ago designing my "sewing wall".  to say i have outgrown it is an understatement. i need to do some serious revamping of my poor sewing wall. i've got big plans in progress and i'm saving up every little penny i can to make it happen.  the more organized and cleaner my creative space is the faster and more efficient i am when i do get precious time to work in it.  right now it's not working for me.  it's cluttered and stressful and just a gong  the pics above with all the fabric are of my ironing board monster.  he's overflowing and  but for now, it's all i've got but it is going to get better.  soon...soon, i hope to have it be more functional and a happier space for me, my husband and my kids to all use in our tiny home.

in the meantime i've got a sick wee one here with what we are hoping is not the croup.  she gets it every year since she was a baby at this time of year so we're crossing our fingers it's just a normal cough. poor thing.  so i'm off to take care of her today and hoping that my baby girl doesn't it get it as well.

what are your thoughts?  what do you do to encourage a creative habit in your home?  when do you set aside "me" time for yourself? how do you fit it into your daily schedule?  i'd love to chat about this with you guys, i find it so interesting to hear so many different points of view and how differently we all work and create.  coffee's on...<3

Kids Crafternoon Blog Party - Felting & Beading

i'm so happy to have another book review for you guys today!  i'm excited to be part of the kids crafternoon blog party for two new releases "beading" and "felting" from publisher hardie grant books.  both books contain 25 fun and crafty projects that are perfect for an afternoon filled with creative goodness.  both books are edited by the fabulous kathreen ricketson of one of my fave blogs "whipup".  kathreen is also the author of our recently reviewed "little bits quilting bee" and "mini quilts".


both books are very well laid out and organized.  i adore the template pockets in handy for us moms to have.  the ring binding was also a hit in our house.  i love ring binding for craft books when you need the pages to stay open while big and little hands are crafting away.  the colors, instructions and illustrations used throughout the book were clear, concise and very easy to follow.  even though my daughter is only 4 they held her attention.  they both covered techniques, tools, how to's, safety etc in the start of each book.

we had a great time sitting down together on a rainy, gloomy day and flipping through both of these bright, cheerful and imaginative craft books.  to say that we found a few new projects to make would be a lie.

i think we would happily make just about every project in both books but the one that caught our eye first was the adorable eraser head from "felting".  here's our version:

isn't she cute?  we love her.  mack named her  took no time at all to make and mackenzie got to practice her cutting & measuring skills while learning how momma sews buttons on.  she also decided what color felt, buttons and drew the mouth for me to stitch.  we had a lot of fun making one and i see many more in our household :)  each project in these books gives you a time approximation that it would take to make.  i love that.  sometimes even i think something will be quick and it ends up being way too involved for my wee one to sit through so having a timeline is super helpful for us.  this project took us maybe 15 minutes once we had all our supplies gathered.  it's still being played with as i type this.  here's some of our faves from felting:

and we can't forget about beading!  i found more than a few things momma & daughter wanted out of this one... cute are these projects?

we are die hard mario bros fans in our house and these magnets have to be made :)

i also love the frames and skull bag!  so fun!

love it!!!  these books do not disappoint and true to kathreen's impeccable taste and style she's put together two fabulous books filled with what crafting should always be about - imagination and FUN!   thanks so much to hardie grant and kathreen for inviting me along on the tour!  both books will be well used in our homes and with the rainy/winter season upon us this mom thanks you :)

you can find all the kids crafternoon book series here:

felting  |  beading  |  sewing  |  papercraft

 14-Nov:  Lisa Tilse from The Red Thread
15-Nov:  Suzie Fry from soozs
16-Nov:  Larissa Holland from mmmcrafts
17 Nov:  Pascale Mestdagh from Between the Lines
18 Nov:  Christine Chitnis from Christine Chitnis
19 Nov:  Holly Keller from Chez Beeper Bebe
20 Nov:  Monica Solorio-Snow from Happy Zombie
21 Nov:  Cate Holst from Go Make Me
22 Nov:  Shannon Cook from Luvinthemommyhood
23 Nov:  Jennifer Casa from JCHandmade
24 Nov:  Kate from Picklebums
25 Nov:  Steph Morgan from Modern Parents Messy Kids
26 Nov:  Kara Fleck from Simple Kids
27 Nov:  Maddie from Li’l Magoolie
28 Nov:  Jackie Boucher from Oh Dee Doh
29 Nov:  Bianca from Sadie and Lance
30 Nov:  Tricia Hogbin from Little Eco Footprints
01 Dec:  Lisa Siebert guest posting at Poppytalk 

what are your favorite types of projects to craft with your kids?  do you have a fave you'd like to share?  do you have any of the kids crafternoon books?  what did you love about them?  let's talk crafts ladies!

Coastal Knits Book Review & Giveaway!

*this giveaway is now closed. thank you for all of your entries. good luck!"

 so excited for today's post ladies!  to say i was giddy when i was able to get my hands on a copy of the fabulous book "coastal knits: a collaboration between friends on opposite shores" by alana dakos of "never not knitting" and hannah fettig of "knitbot" is seriously an understatement.  the day they posted some of the projects in the book on ravelry i went nuts and pinned everything and faved everything and emailed hannah & alana begging them to let me join in on the book tour.  i knew i had to share this book with you all and to also give you fellow knitting addicts a chance to win what is now my most favorite knitting book evah!!!!  love it!

"coastal knits" is all about two friends who live on opposite shores sharing patterns that are dear to them that capture their style and aesthetic as well as the essence of the landscapes around them.  the book opens with q & a's with both authors allowing us to get to know them on a more personal level, a section on the yarn choices that they made that are local to their area and then all throughout the book there are pages showing which area where they live inspired the patterns they chose!  how fun is that!  i loved it!   i think a lot of artists are inspired by the regions they live in and it's so interesting to see where they live and what captured their creative eye.

 Rocky Coast Cardigan
and the sweaters....well....let me just say i love them all....and  i've said it here about ten times already and i'm gonna say it again - i am obsessed with the rocky coast cardigan!  LOVE IT! i cannot wait to get going on it. i just need to get my yarn and i'm casting on.  and the rest of the patterns....yummy!  the book doesn't disappoint!  wowsa!  i was drooling as soon as i opened it up.  i ended up in a knitting coma from the high of pattern excitement...haha.  too...much...good...stuff :)

1. Gnarled Oak Caradigan  2. Wildflower Cardigan
there is the soft, femininity with wonderful lines and thoughtful details that alana does so well...

1. Water's Edge Cardigan 2. Bayside Pullover
and the modern, classic twists that hannah is known for.

Cambrian Cowl
the book is broken down into two sections - sweaters and accessories.  each page another treasure to be found.  another tidbit to be learned about these two friends.  another new illustration, another addicting graphic detail or lovely landmark.  as someone who is a die hard book lover and one who relishes the little details people put into these kinds of books i was absolutely swooning over the job that coastal knits graphic designer - mary joy gumayagay did.  i think i have read this book at least 5-6 times now and i still keep finding details that i missed the time before.  it's truly addicting. 

neesha hudson's illustrations spoke right to me.  so stylish and modern i think they truly brought something special to alana and hannah's book.  i thoroughly enjoyed it along with the photography in the book by both authors as well as the lovely shots taken by carrie bostick hoge (madder made/quince & co. designer).  alana and hannah have truly written a book that i believe has brought something new and fresh to knitting publications.  it's something that i know i will be looking at for years to come.

would you like to have one for yourself?  here ya go ladies!

- one lucky winner will win their very own copy of coastal knits!  thanks alana and hannah!

- simply leave a comment below telling us which pattern you are dying to knit up from this fab book!

- all comments must include a valid email address or you will be disqualified.
- giveaway is open until november 20, 2011 midnight pacific standard time

Panoramic Stole
thank you sooooooooooo much for having me along on the tour ladies!  it was super exciting to be involved and i honestly adore every single page/pattern in this book.  love it! thanks for all the inspiration and a wonderful addition our knitting libraries and wardrobes :)

you can find all things coastal knits here on ravelry and their ravelry group (don't forget to join in there knit alongs!).  you can find more hannah fettig here on knitbot and more alana dakos on never not knitting.

p.s. congratulations to alana and her family on the newest addition to their family!  he's gorgeous alana!  sending lots of good sleep vibes your way :P

follow along with the coastal knits tour...

Saturday, October 15 – Never Not Knitting Podcast hosted by Alana and Hannah
Monday, October 17 – Kate Oates of Tot Toppers
Tuesday, October 18 – Knitmore Girls, podcast revi
Mary Joy Gumayagay, ew
Wednesday, October 19 – Coastal Knits’ wonderful graphic designer
Friday, October 21 – Romi Hill of Designs by Romi

Monday, October 24 – Andrea Sanchez, adventures of a sample knitter
Wednesday, October 26 – Kelbourne Woolens, distributors of The Fibre Company
Friday, October 28 – Allegra Wermuth, of Petite Purls
Monday, October 31 – Susan B. Anderson
Wednesday, November 2 – Carrie Bostick Hoge, of Maddermade and Quince & Co.
Friday, November 4 – Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic

Monday, November 7 – Nicole Dupuis, sample knitter chronicle
Wednesday, November 9 – Ariane Caron – Lacoste of Falling Stitches
Friday, November 11 – Deirdre Kennedy, adventures of a sample knitter

Monday, November 14 - Shannon Cook of luvinthemommyhood

Wednesday, November 16 – Anne Hanson of Knitspot
Friday, November 18 – Julie Crawford of Knitted Bliss

Monday, November 21 – Margaux Hufnagel of tentenknits
Monday, November 28 – Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops
Wednesday, November 30 – Jaala Spiro of Knit Circus
Friday, December 2 – Cecily Glowick MacDonald of Winged Knits

Monday, December 5 – Veronika Jobe of Yarn on the House

little bits quilting bee - book review & giveaway!

this giveaway is now closed. thank you for all of your entries.  good luck :)

what do you get when you take one of your favorite craft bloggers & combine them with one of your favorite publishing houses?  one awesome book!  a modern, fun, fresh and upbeat book filled with eye candy on every page.  "little bits quilting bee" by the oh, so talented kathreen ricketson of the blog "whipup" has written a jewel of a craft book.  any quilter from beginner to intermediate is sure to find inspiration and patterns galore.

"little bits quilting bee: 20 quilts using charm squares, jelly rolls, layercakes & fat quarters" offers a fresh approach to modern quilting.  i love that kathreen offers up quilt designs that are unique and original using those pre-cuts that we all love. 

i think my favorite part of the book is where kathreen draws her inspirations for the patterns from.  i adore that she designed quilts around "small sparks" of ideas like lollipop tress and her children's drawings.  all of the quilts in the books are lovingly designed and quilted and have that fantastic aesthetic of kathreen's that we all enjoy.

from her use of colors to shapes and finally textures she brings the quilts in this book to life. oh, and there isn't just quilts ladies...there's also wall hangings, play mats, crib quilts, couch throws and more.  i likey! 

kathreen also has a great section at the beginning of the book all about community quilting, quilting bees & clubs.  she shares how to get involved and how to start your own.  she also has some great chapters teaching you everything from pre-cut myth busters, what equipment & supplies you'll need as well as the anatomy of a quilt, which covers everything from piecing techniques, batting, backing, quilting, binding & applique!  the patterns in the book all include clear step by step instructions, how to illustrations and pattern pieces stored in a handy pocket at the front of the book. it's fahhhhbbbbbulous!

the book is split up into the type of pre-cut you are working on.  whether it's charm squares, fat quarters, layer cakes or jelly rolls....

there is a quilt for every skill level. little bits quilting bee is filled with a captivating energy.  the quilts just scream to be made and treasured.  they look like so much fun to craft and sew and so easy to express your love and passion with every stitch.  bonus is all the designs are made with pre-cuts which are easy on the wallet and on the rotary cutter.  they each tell a little story in their design and that is one of the things i enjoy the most about kathreen's work.  it's like getting a sneak peek into her creative mind & process. 

would you like one of your own?

- one lucky winner will win their very own copy of "little bits quilting bee"!  yippee! i LOVE book giveaways!  this giveaway is open to US/Canadian residents only.

- simply leave me a comment below letting me know what your favorite kind of pre-cut is to use while quilting.

- all comments must include a valid email address or you will be disqualified.
- giveaway is open until november 16, 2011 at midnight pacific standard time.

i know what i'll be using the goodies i've got below in the next few months!

happy quilting everyone and good luck for the giveaway! big thanks to kathreen and to chronicle books for having me along on this tour!  you can find all things kathreen ricketson here:

and you can also follow the rest of the "little bits quilting bee" tour below where you can find a lot more quilty goodness and more giveaways!

Monday, November 7 – The Long Thread
Tuesday, November 8 – Craft Nectar & Comfort Stitching
Wednesday, November 9 – luvinthemommyhood & Elsie Marley
Thursday, November 10 – True Up
Friday, November 11 – House on Hill Road & CraftyPod

Monday, November 14 – Handmade by Alissa & Hello My Name Is Heather
Tuesday, November 15 – West Coast Crafty & Foxy Art Studio
Wednesday, November 16 – Patch Andi & The Last Piece
Thursday, November 17 – In Color Order & Duo Fiberworks

Monday, November 21 – Quilt Dad
Tuesday, November 22 – Pat Sloan & Pleasant Home

Book review - Micro Crafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share

Micro Crafts: Tiny Treasure to Make and Share by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz and Friends
you all in the mood for some tiny love?  sick of making large scale projects and feeling the need for some teeny weeny crafty goodness?  well this is the book for you!  when quirk press contacted me about doing a review of their awesome new book "microcrafts: tiny treasures to make and share" i was in! it's filled to the brim with mini fabulousness!  compiled by some totally creative women (margaret mcguire, alicia kachmar and katie hatz) and their equally as creative friends this book is sure to have a project to suit anyone.  from bloggers, etsy shop owners, graphic designers to editors this book features a savvy array of inspiring women and their micro crafts of choice :)

this book really does highlight that "small is beautiful".  i have to admit that i am normally not a fan of this type of crafting but this book changed that for me.  it's inspiring to just look at the whimsical, bright and modern photography and it makes me want to whip up at least half of the book.  microcrafts is what i like to call "stylishly addicting".  you just want to jump in and fill your home with tiny objects of beauty.

a fair amount of these projects would also be tons of fun to do with kids too.  in fact my kidlets haven't stopped looking at it...they love it!  even the 17mth old will sit happily for 5 minutes oohing and ahhing over it!

there's a ton of ideas ranging from jewelry, dolls, stuffies, party decor, to miscellaneous fun!
i was super delighted to see holly of chez beeper bebe in here with a monster babies project & adorable mini dogs complete with beds, bones & toys as well!  love her blog!

i mean could you go wrong with speech bubbles for your food,  party hats for your snacks, spool dolls, handmade cards and awesome covered button earrings?

the best part of this book is that it's designed to use up all those odds and crafty ends you have kicking around the house.  little treasures to make that are all no larger than a spool of thread. microcrafts features easy to follow step-by-step instructions & bright cheery photos.  i swear you can make more than a few projects from this book with just some fabric scraps, recyclables and yarn. hello?!  sounds good to me :)  microcrafts is a great place to dive right into the wondrous world of microsewing, microcrocheting & even microgardening...yes i said microgardening!! it's amazing...there's even a project to make a potted plant in a macrame holder!!!  seriously so cool!

so jump in to the world of microcrafting with "microcrafts: tiny treasures to make and share". the world of all things crafty & small is super fun!

you can find all the fabulous ladies who contributed to this book here:
margaret mcquire - editor at quirk books   |   alicia kachmar - eternalsunshine
claudia cormier -   |   elizabeth duke -
sarah goldschadt -   |   larissa holland -
melissa jacobsen -   |   len & melanie kachmar 
holly keller - chez beeper bebe   |   colleen lemons -
mei pak -   |   mel sparkles -
jessica trail -   |   hope watthanaphand -
nadia marks wojcik - ready go paper studio & oh, hello there

are you into microcrafting?  what's your fave tiny craft to make?  leave a comment and let's chat all things teeny!

Book Review - Little Things to Sew

sunshine, sunshine, come our way!  we've got our hats on & we're ready to play!  sorry...couldn't help myself!  i recently got my hands on a copy of the FABULOUS book "little things to sew: 20 classic accessories and toys for children" by oliver + s designer liesl gibson and it just makes me happy!!!  that sunshine and skipping kind of happy.  so excited and so in love with this book!  it's gorgeous!  the photography is stunning, the patterns are fun and scream liesl with the finishing and attention to tiny details.  you won't be disappointed.

there are projects in the book for every level of sewer and for every season of the year.  from mitts and hats to vests, tutus and smocks!  there's even a puppet theatre and bento box!  hello!!!!!!! so fun!!!!

i think mackenzie looked at the book just as much as i did.  she loved it and chose the reversible bucket hat as our first project. 

the instructions were clear, concise and easy to follow.  the hat turned out great and i think she looks pretty darn cute in it!  you always know when something is good when it passes the "kid test".  sometimes i love things and she doesn't and she loves this hat.  she happily modeled it for me even picking out a bright yellow outfit (skirt and shirt) to match!  don't you just love a 4 year olds fashion fun!  they have no fear.

perfect for sunny days, beaches, parks and outdoor fun!  i love that it's reversible!  i've got a problem choosing fabric for projects because i love so many so having reversible projects are always my fave!  the best of both worlds!  a little peek here, a little peek there.  i even smacked my label on the brim of one side too :)

i can't wait to make more of liesl's patterns!  check these out!

this bag even comes in adult size!  oh my, mackenzie and i could have matching bags!!!!! count me in!!!!!!!

you know i love me a simple and modern quilt.  so fresh!

heck even the appendix is gorgeous in this book!  i love the style and vibe of the book as well.  it's fresh and feels new and modern.  the appendix has helpful information and is easy to understand for even a beginner sewer.  the pattern pieces weren't overwhelming and i didn't hyperventilate when seeing them.  yes, i freak out when things look wayyyyyyy too complicated.  i'm still learning here folks!  i'm always happy to find a book that is accessible and filled with projects that challenge me in a positive way, not in a way that makes me want to quit the project and cry.

if you're looking for some year long inspiration and a beautiful handy and resourceful sewing book to add to your collection make sure to check out "little things to sew" by liesl gibson.  beware may end up with a child that looks like the pic above :P  happy sewing!

you can find lots more info on "little things to sew" here at oliver + s, a fun youtube video here, and all things liesl gibson - liesl & co. and oliver + s here:

watch for liesl's fabric line "modern workshop" out now as well! and if you haven't seen her line of women's sewing patterns - lisette, go check them out now. so pretty!

are you a fan of liesl's work?  what is your fave oliver + s pattern?  fave project in the book? 

P.s. fabric was from on our my fab sponsors - Crafty Girls Workshop.  Check them out! 

puppet play made our day!

we love puppets in our house. i've been known to rock a pretty mean paper bag puppet as well as some finger puppets in my time so when i heard about the new book "puppet play: 20 projects made with recycled mittens, towels, socks and more" by diana schoenbrun i got excited! when you put repurposing and crafting your own puppets together in one book you've got a happy momma, happy kidlets and a fun day of crafty excitement in our house.

puppet play is filled with imaginative ways to repurpose items and objects in your house into adorable puppets. as you can see by my daughters reactions we're pretty happy with this book. we've been having quite the time trying to actually narrow down which one we are going to start with. she thinks (for the moment) that we should start with the cat puppet and i think i agree. the book is filled with easy to follow instructions, bright, colorful photos, illustrations and even a chapter on how to present your own puppet show!

how cute is that cat puppet?

i love that diana infuses the green movement into her teachings to children (and families) throughout her career and in her book. she uses puppets as a way to inform them about repurposing and recycling items by using their imaginations. i'm always trying to show mackenzie how to see things as having more than one purpose and this book takes it one step further by helping her to envision fun critters in her mind and then learn how to make them from an old glove or sock.

diana is a published illustrator, author and crafter. she also teaches puppet and playwriting classes to kiddos as well as works at a unique puppet design studio - puppet heap. how's that for a fun career hey?! the author of "beasties" and "puppet play" is one creative lady! i couldn't even imagine how exciting it would be to design and make puppets all day so i couldn't resist getting a chance to ask her a few questions mommyhood style :)

When did you first develop a love for puppetry and all things puppet? When you aren't making puppets & other fun creatures what is your craft of choice?

As a child I enjoyed watching shows that included puppets such as Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Sesame Street, The Muppets, and Dinosaurs. I was captivated by the imaginary world that is created using puppets. The tactile quality and animated characters always intrigued me.

When I’m not crafting or sewing puppets or 3-D characters I enjoy drawing and painting. This is usually the starting point for many of my ideas. I enjoy creating art through collage. I even have a paper collection that I organize by color.

If you could be a puppet which puppet would you be?

I would be a marionette artist puppet. My hands would be paintbrushes and my legs would be pencils. This is a puppet that I have been wanting to make for a while. When the puppet dances the feet draw and when the puppet swings its arms it paints beautiful images with its hands.

You also teach puppet making to children. Do you find this a successful way to incorporate more knowledge to the younger generation on how to reuse & repurpose in a fun and imaginative way?

Yes, I think teaching new ways of making puppets is just one way to show children how to repurpose something. Children can learn how to reinvent their toys or create new ones with resources they already have. Repurposing materials pushes children to experiment more. Art projects such as making masks, sewn dolls, and using found objects can add new life to the toy box. Learning how to reuse and recycle will help children in other areas.

Tell us a little bit about the design process you have & where you draw inspiration from when it comes to puppet making. What tips do you have for moms looking to craft puppets at home with their kids?

Sometimes I may start with a particular idea in mind or character, while sometimes an object may inspire me. I often like to sketch out an idea. Sometimes a puppet will evolve as I work on it. For example, I was quite lazy one week and I let my recycling pile up which was actually a good thing. I used the cans to make the robot puppet called Bean-Bot. While the Five Little Pigs puppet was made from a glove that I had lost the mate to during winter. I thought it was perfect to go with the children’s nursery rhyme.

Parents should look no further than their homes. Search the recycling and trash cans(if its not too stinky). Try to use whatever you have at home such as string, rubber bands, cardboard, holey socks, old board game pieces, or even a pet’s toy. Parents and kids can be inventive together and have fun making their own puppets and coming up with new ideas. This is a great hands-on opportunity that gets kids and parents involved with a DIY project that is rewarding.

One of my dreams since I was a little girl was to have my own craft book one day. What advice do you have to other women looking to successfully develop a career in the creative field & in publishing?

I think publishing is a very rewarding and competitive career. There are many different aspects that go into the publishing process. It’s important to develop and strengthen your skills by taking classes or workshops in art or writing. Receiving feedback and criticism about your writing is important in publishing. I suggest doing extensive research for your book ideas to make sure your book stands out from others. Be bold and original!

thanks for letting us kick off your book blog tour diana!!! we love it!!!

you can find more about diana schoenbrun and puppet play on the following...

here's a fun trailer for puppet play: 20 projects made with recycled mittens, towels, socks and more and...

don't forget to join in on the rest of her blog book tour at these other fantabulous sites!