October 2007 Archives

Note #3 from Stephen - "Sew" Where is Fabric.com Today?

October 31, 2007

Hi and thanks for taking the time to read my recent blogs. A lot of you liked the funny stories about how our business started and the unexpected things that happened. I have had several people write to ask "how the story ends?" People want to know a little about where we are today as a company. Allow me to take a few moments and share that with you.

As of October 22, 2007, we have grown to 41 employees and we are in the process of adding at least 2 more in the coming weeks. We occupy a 25,000 square foot warehouse in Marietta, Ga., that we no longer fit into. We are actively looking to lease or purchase something in the 50,000-70,000 square foot range.

Probably the most exciting thing is the numbers of people that we are able to help with their sewing and crafting needs. Since we started, we have been fortunate to assist over 500,000 customers, of who about 50% currently are regular active customers. While 95% of our customers live in the United States, we are honored to serve customers throughout the world, including Canada, most of the European countries, numerous East Asian countries and several Middle Eastern Countries. I never cease to be amazed that fabrics we import in bulk from countries such as Japan and South Korea, get shipped back to individual consumers in those same nations.

Most people say we sell more fabric on the Internet than any other company. While I don't know if that is true, I do know that we are deeply grateful for the incredible support we get from our customers, whom we consider to be our friends. Growth on the Internet continues to amaze. We add about 200 new customers every single day, and that number continues to increase.

While growth is great, and we have big dreams about the future, we are committed to maintaining the same warm, family-oriented feeling that we built our business around. We never want to lose touch with who we are and who helped us achieve our success.

So what does the future hold for us and for fabric sales on the Internet? As most of you know, there is a fair amount of uncertainty about the direction that several of the national chains are going to take. Hancock Fabrics still sits in bankruptcy and has drastically reduced the number of stores that it operates. Wal-Mart appears to be closing a significant number of its fabric departments, although I don't think anyone outside that company knows their long-term intentions. Other players continue to look for a successful strategy. There is no question that Internet based sales are by far the fastest growing segment of the fabric industry. My personal belief is that, as long as we continue to provide our customers with a great product, at a terrific price, and never lose site of the basic values that got us here, the rest will take care of itself, regardless of what happens on the competitive landscape.

In the very near future, I will be announcing a new partnership that we have formed with one of the largest on-line companies in the world. They want to meet their customers' fabric needs and have asked us to help them accomplish that. It is very exciting!

I hope this note answers most of the questions that I have received. Allow me to end this note as I do most, by thanking you for the support and friendship you have shown us over the years. Without you, none of this would have happened. Until next time, Stephen

 

Quick Home Refashion

October 29, 2007

Dewberry lamp1.jpgIf you are like me you are a huge fan of the Nikki Shell's Wardrobe Refashion. I have to check it out at least a few times a week and am always getting new ideas sparked by the creative pictures hosted there. It is a great place to find wardrobe and decorating ideas. It has helped me see quite a few sewing patterns in a new light. All of these new prespectives were quicked followed up with said pattern purchases. On the home front though, I wanted to share with you a quick home refashion I worked on last week. I have been moving furniture all around my house in hopes of finding its perfect spot. Some pieces are easy while some need help creating that spark. One such problem piece was a lamp, purchase on clearance about a year ago. I love the modern edge it had and in my old house, the white lamp shade was no problem. However, I haven't had the budget to paint my new place to my colorful satisfation and knew the white wouldn't cut it. I have had this fabric, by Joel Dewberry, in the back of my mind every since it hit my desk and looking at the lamp made me remember it afresh. I grabbed it, my spray glue and 5 min later, I was much happier with my lamp. It really fits in with the style of my house and brightens up what was formerly "the brown corner". You should give it a try. This is a great project for fat quarters, or if you are feeling funky, charm packs or try sewing some scrapes together until your piece is big enough and go to town. I used 3M77 spray glue to affix my fabric on to the shade. Don't forget to embellish. I am toying with the idea of buttons along the bottom but I am still feeling is out. Try sequins, ribbon, or even some hole punching. Don't forget about us when you are done. Send us your pictures or post them here, in our Sew & Tell Gallery. I can't wait, I have plenty more lamps and need some ideas!

Studio Set-up

October 26, 2007

amy6-thumb.jpgI recently read an article ablout Amy Butler's new Studio on Quilters Buzz (best seen in Mozilla Firefox) and it really got me excited. How awesome would it be to have a studio as sweet as Amy's! Greek Revival sounds so romantic. I don't know about all of you, but not only am I bouncing around my office, popping my head out any time I hear someone near and screaming "Amy's new patterns are coming out at the end of THIS MONTH and... that includes her Lotus Dress! I am so making that". I continue to bounce as they slowly walk away, with their hands up in the air, making soothing noises before they turn and run.
Sewing room 1.jpgOne can only imagine the ideas a new studio such as Amy's would inspire. My own new space has already helped me to create many new ideas. And while I do not have time to work on them, I have a notebook full. It is infinitly easier, creatively speaking, to see all of my yarn and most (Man, do I have alot) of my fabric out, so when an idea pops in, I can see it in color or sometimes just looking at prints or colors together creates ideas. I already feel as if the Muses have moved in with a nice comfy recliner, chilled beverage and the latest Martha Stewart Living, tossing ideas at me as they flip pages and I am not nearly 1/2 done moving into the room or decorating. My sewing machine is downstairs in the dining room till further table purchases. But I want to share what I have so far, to inspire you and also in hope of gaining ideas for my room from yours. Send me your pictures or post them in our Sew & Tell Gallery. sewing room 7 crop.jpgYou know you spend most of your time there and would love to show it off and I have no scruples when it comes to stealing sewing room design ideas( and I refuse to feel ashamed. I am well past shame!) Pretty is pretty, so let me see 'em. I will post more pictures as it comes along and maybe, just maybe you will be able to see a little of yourself in my room and be able to tell your friend, "Hey, that blog chick from Fabric.com totally stole my sewing room idea!"

Sincerely,
Tara


P.s. If you are jonesing for some pre-pattern release Amy fabric purchasing look here, or if you need a Retro & Mod fix but not exculsively Amy, check out our great section here!

Accidental Cat Lady?

October 24, 2007

max.jpgI have always loved animals and I grew up with lots of pets, but this is crazy!  About 2 years ago, I was living happily with my two older cats Mitzi and Mac until one fateful day when strange noises started coming from the garage.  At least 2 days passed before we identified what the funny squeaking noise was...A two week old black and white kitten, his eyes still shut just barley hanging on to life.  We rushed to the vet and were told not to get our hopes up but that we could try and nurse the kitten to health. Nurse the kitten we did. Every 2 hours (yes middle of the night too) we heated special kitten milk and fed this tiny thing. He went along to tennis matches, friends houses, even on our  vacation so he wouldn't miss a feeding.My husband named him Max and we gave him lots of love. We do not max2.jpghave children of our own and this little kitty became our child substitute and still is.  Max is now a fat cat who runs our house! In the meantime Max's mom took up residency in our backyard and had three more litters of kittens. In our basement, under the deck...it was kitty city.  We worked with a kitten rescue group and were able to provide veterinary attention (spayed & shots) as well as find homes for most of her kittens.  Mom is now spayed, vaccinated and living with us.  The cats "r" us dust has settled and now my husband I have a total of 6 cats!  Max, of course, is the boss.

 

  cat-pillow-details.jpgSo why the story?  If you have read any of my earlier blogs then you know my home decor is inspired by my life passions. When I first saw the Alexander Henry Elizakitten  fabric of Victorian costumed cats I  knew I had come across a unique print. It screamed "NANCY'S HOUSE".  The cats on this print resemble Max, Sunny, Lari, Mac, Momma and NB (New Buddy) looking donned and regal.  Within seconds I knew I was going to make decorative throw pillows.  I wanted these to be nice so I consulted my sewing mentor and Max's babysitter Vicki.  Not only is Vicki a very talented seamstress she is also very creative and she had some ideas of her own.  She suggested that we cut the frames out, center Max and assemble the rest of the court in the corners. Brilliant! She thought of exactly what I wanted.  We selected brown soft suede, gold gimp and down pillow forms. Vicki wanted to share her quilting experience with me and offered to help during lunch time hours. Well we stay on the go around here and this lunchtime project just wasn't happening.  Finally I asked her to please sew them and send me a bill. Thankfully she agreed!

cat-pillow.jpg I ask you...are they not FABULOUS?

 

Where we get our inspiration from is different for everyone.  If you are crazy about your pets or love animals check out our animal print section and see what inspires you. 


The creative lot here is constantly coming up with new ideas and projects. We enjoy sharing them with each other and hope that you are enjoying them too!

Happy Sewing!

Ciao for now!

Nancy

 

 

Amy Butler Introduces New Patterns For Fall!

October 23, 2007

amy pic.jpg

Now I know we are not the first to annouce this nor are we probably the first place you read this exciting news but it is important for us to add that we are very excited about Amy Butler's New Patterns and it is the talk of the office. There are several discussions involving these patterns and future plans and even some employee pre-ordering of fabrics that we want to use in conjuctions with these patterns. I, for one, plan on making the Lotus Dress as pictured, but I really want to make the Anna Tunic in a print from Erin Michael's Loft 1800. Goody!
We are like runners at the beginning of a race just waiting for the gun shot. As soon as these patterns hit our receiving door, we are going to run around like chickens with our head cut off to get them online ASAP (by the by most of the running will be from excitement and not from disorganization). There is a great Blog post by Amy Butler over at Quilters Buzz or if you want to pre-plan check out Amy's Pattern page.

Stay Tuned We will be sure to tell you as soon as Amy's New Patterns are instock!! (I can hardly wait!)

New Fabric Designer in Town

October 22, 2007

gingerblossom4_2.jpgOne of my duties is to stay on top of the trends and up to date on the latest fabric lines and it is a my favorite responsibility. While performing the usually hunting techniques last week, I discovered a very happy finding! The host of One of my favorite blogs and children's clothing designer, Sandi Henderson of Portabellopixie, has announced her first cotton print fabric line produced with Michael Miller Fabrics, Ginger Blossom. You really need to check out this new cotton line; it is fresh, bright, happy and everything you want a quilt, skirt, dress or top to be. Here is just a little bit of what Sandi says on her blog about her new line: "I am a huge lover of textiles-I have literally every genre presiding happily in my stash.  Retro, vintage, modern, shabby chic.  I enjoy it all, and eventually I found a style that was all me-a little bit of everything.  Eclectic and Happy". You can read more here. I am so excited about the great shapes and hues that Sandi has so artfully combined in some wonderful prints. This is definitely the look I envisioned for my new sewing room. I can't wait for December!
P.S. Be sure to check out Sandi's whole blog. She has some really great photos!

Active Fashion!

October 19, 2007

FASHION TRENDS TRANSCEND TO THE GYM

AND

ACTIVE/FITNESS INDUSTRY
By Karen Howard

 

There was a time, without revealing my age let's just say around 20 years ago,  when dressing to stay in shape, maintain your health or step up one's active lifestyle  was all about oversized cotton or poly/cotton tees, sweatshirts, jackets, pants and shorts.   Colors were drab and silhouettes were loose and unflattering.

 

Well, in the last 7 or so years things have REALLY changed .... Fashionable styles, silhouettes and fabric trends have invaded the active/gym wear industry.  With the huge surge of everyone, from 5 - 100 years, looking to maintain their health and fitness .... Top designers and active wear brands have transformed the industry attire to include more fashion forward fabrics like washable silk lycra blends, cotton lycra spandex, quilted broadcloth, quilted nylon, decorated/printed fleece, stretch fleece, lycra knits, poly lycra knits, nylon lycra swimwear, stretch velvet, cotton flannels as lining and stretch velour.

 

Silhouettes are following the current fashion trends ranging from tastefully fitted and revealing to loose, very fashionable less revealing looks, empire waist tops and leotards, short and long shorts, various pant lengths from extremely long yoga pants to extremely short running shorts.    

 

Famous sports, movie and designer personalities are launching their own high-fashion active wear lines ....  adding even more fashion flair and trends to the once drab apparel industry ...thus taking active wear apparel beyond the limits to carve out its own place in the fashion industry.

 

Now is the season for marathon training and running.  Die-hard fitness enthusiasts never let the cold or the approaching holiday season keep them from accomplishing their fitness goals.  Now they look forward to touting their physiques in fashionably layered, cold weather active attire highlighted in with layered, lined or accented as trim with quilted faux suede, faux fur / minky accents, spa minky and various unique trims. 

 

Athletes and wannabe athletes are not only now inspired by the motivation to get and stay fit, but by the fashion inspired attire that now allow them to personalize and individualize their active persona.

 

Editor's Note: Check out our Jalie Patterns for your active fashion needs. I love the jogging suit! JP-2676.jpg 

 

 

Its Free!

October 17, 2007

1007pursea.jpgSew News is offering a free purse pattern that I think is the cutest! This is perfect for the stock of fun new cotton prints we have in stock. Dick & Jane, Look & Learn & Fresh Air by Moda.

Sew News also features an offer for a free McCall's Pattern. Don't miss out on the free embroidery pattern by Heather Bailey!

Quilt Magazine offers over a dozen free web patterns, including small projects like pillowcases, fabric stash blocks and quilt patterns. See the small projects here.

McCall's Quilting is also offering lots of free quilting patterns such as: Golden Quilts, Holiday, Patriotic and Blocks. Check them out here

   
whipupbanner_aug.jpgDon't forget to check out Whipup.net. I love this site. It is full of full pictures and lots of tutorials. One of which was the inspiration of Melanie's Pumpkin.
 

Designers and where to find them

October 15, 2007

I don't think it is a stretch to say we all love fabric. That is why you read this blog, check out our e-mails and shop our store. But one of the best aspects of Fabric.com is our love and our knowledge of your love for the designers. When I say Amy Karol, Michael Miller, Heather Bailey or Anna Maria Horner around here, folks previously out of earshot join in the conversation. But as much as we take an interest in the fabric, quilting patterns, and projects that these smarty-pants produce, we can't keep our-speed of business-e-mail instant-cell in our ear-minds from wandering what's next . Welcome blogs and websites. Most of today's top designers have great, well-produced and informative blogs. And while these designers may not be able to layout their next fabric line in production out on the table for your approval 5 months before launch, they do not disappoint. You are sure to find fun, free projects, a peek into their studios or excitement producing hints and teasers that are sure to keep your interest and their ideas at the front of your mind so you will not to forget them while they work 27 hour days, locked in their studios to bring us what we love. And we love them for it. Check out some of my favorite designer blogs. Aside from our vendors, this is how we, at Fabric.com, keep our ear to the beat and make sure you have what you want AS SOON AS it is available.

  • Heather Bailey: Hello My Name is Heather. This blog is full of yummy pictures, projects and recipes. You are sure to find something or many things to get your hands itching.
  • Amy Karol: Angry Chicken. Amy's first book hit bookstores in June and is a huge hit. Her blog is dedicated to all things crafty. We are eagerly awaiting her first fabric line that we know she has been dreaming of!
  • Michael Miller: Making it Fun. This blog just launched but already is the talk of the craft blog world. With insight into the world of Michael Miller, projects and fun photos, you have to add this one to your blog feeds.
  • Anna Maria Horner. Being a fabric designer is just one claim to fame (not to mention 5 kids! Yowza!) If the a tiny piece of the 1960's or 70's never left you or sometimes you think you were born way too late; pop over to Anna Maria's blog for just the fix you need.

These are just starting points. Google your favorite designer and see what you discover. Or check out some of the links to others on these crafty ladies' sites. My list of blog feeds easily tops 100 just from clicking links on these designer's sidebars and loving what I find. It is a great way to easily break the crafter's equivalent to writer's block, too.

 

Happy Crafting,

Tara Miller

 

 

Fall is coming

October 12, 2007

Bon Appetite.jpg

Fall is my favorite time of the year, cool weather, and the wind blowing the leaves, football on television. Well, that's what fall is supposed to be like. Here in the south we are in a drought and the temperature is still in the high eighties. I am sitting here looking out the windows of my office (Yes, ladies. I have not just one window but four! Lucky me) wondering if there will be any change of seasons this year. Halloween being only 3 weeks away makes me long for the smells and colors that I associate with fall. As a merchandising assistant here at Fabric.com I help with picking out the projects that we place on the website for sale. This is the best part of the job as I get to see all the newest collections and the projects that are offered for our customers. What was delivered to the warehouse this past week is just what I needed. "Bon Appetit" by South Sea's Imports, includes the colors and prints of late summer, tuscan vistas.jpgsunflowers and apples, golds, browns and oranges. The quilting project is a table runner 63 inches long. This will grace any tabletop or counter top for the fall. I can close my eyes and see Gramma Long placing homemade pumpkin and apple pies on these rich vibrant colors. Another project that would gracefully decorate any room for the fall is Tuscan Vistas. This is a wall hanging with colors to remind you a Tuscan valley, you can see grape vines heavy with fruit waiting for the picking. Both of these projects can be finished in a weekend and look great on your wall or table or that if a family member or friend. Happy Quilting
Kathy

Note: We, at Fabric.com, know how excited you are to start this projects. They are not yet in our store but we will be sure to let you know as soon as they are. We will update this blog post with all the neccesary links. be sure to check back or watch you feeders. Meanwhile be sure to check out these projects on their manufacturers pages: Bon Appetit and Tuscan Vista (pdf file)

THEY ARE NOW IN STOCK!!!

Quick Book Reviews

October 9, 2007

The holidays are swiftly approaching, which means a lot of us are on the hunt for presents.  As I sat in my sewing room this past weekend making my (overwhelming) "gifts to make" list, I glanced over at my bookshelf and had an idea.  Not only are craft books a great source of handmade-gift inspiration, but they can also be great gifts themselves!  I know some of my favorite gifts have been books, and I thought I would share a few of them here. 

generation T.jpgGeneration T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt by Megan Nicolay (Workman Publishing) 
When I found out there were entire books dedicated to T-shirt makeovers, well, my little creativity-cup not only overflowed - it nearly erupted.  Although definitely aimed at a younger audience, this one is my favorite of the few t-shirt books I have seen.  Using primarily T-shirts as your materials, projects range from simple top renovations to skirts to swim suits - even a complete wedding dress!  There are even a couple projects for men's shirts, and t-shirt trivia throughout the projects is a fun distraction.  This book is perfect for any crafter whose style has a bit of edge to it. 






Sew what skirts.jpgSew What! Skirts: 16 Simple Styles You Can Make With Fabulous Fabrics by Francesca Denhartog & 
Carole Ann Camp (Storey Publishing)
This book has just about everything you need to know about making a skirt without a pattern, and then some.  It starts with a pretty thorough guide to the basic techniques needed when starting a project.  The writing was detailed enough for a beginner to understand, but still informative enough to give an experienced sewer a refresher without boring them.  Once you take a few measurements (the book shows you which ones) you can begin whipping out adorable skirts that are tailored to your taste, without the hassle of confusing patterns or aggravating tissue paper.





vintage bags.jpgMaking Vintage Bags: 20 Original Sewing Patterns for Vintage Bags and Purses by Emma Brennan (Guild of Master Craftsman Publications) 

This book is perfect for the handbag enthusiast.  Using clear instructions and photographs, this book shows you how to make handbags fashioned after trends from the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's.  Many of the bags have smaller matching purses, all of which you can find the pattern for in the back of the book.  Even if you aren't making of the bags featured in the book, the instructions and photographs make it a great reference for techniques and styles that can be used in your own creations.






 
in_stitches.jpgAmy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects by Amy Butler (Chronicle Books) 
Ever a Fabric.com staff favorite, Amy Butler's book appeals to a wide audience with its varied projects.  There are projects for just about every room in the house, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is a strictly home d├ęcor book.  The "Bedroom Projects" section has instructions for an absolutely beautiful duvet cover, as well as some for comfy and stylish wide-leg lounge pants.  This book works well as an inspiration for gift making, but would also be a welcome gift in and of its self.   You can even see a couple of the projects on her site.  I personally cannot wait to find the time to make the patchwork handbag on page 162 - too cute!  But, hey, it's Amy Butler; how can you go wrong?


Happy Stitching!
Melanie


P.s. Don't forget to check out our Amy Butler Fabric right here!

Baby Brain

October 8, 2007

This past weekend, I went to a chili cook off in my neighborhood and had a blast. There I was mingling and chatting, when I noticed something strange. As I went silent to ponder my observation, I heard a snippet of conversation to my right: "Must be in the water, that is why I am sticking to soda. I certainly don't want to catch baby! I only just had my youngest." That was it! I realized what the strangeness was which I had noticed but could not quite put my finger on. Everywhere I looked, someone was pregnant, holding a baby or desperately chasing a youngster down the alley between houses. "Wow!" I thought as I gazed at the glass of water in my hand, "I hope they are wrong about that part at least." To confirm my suspicions, I turned to my friend and asked her opinion of the water/baby virus situation. As she was gazing over neighbors' heads to keep an eye on her young son, she did not give me her full attention. "I don't know", she shrugged, "I did hear that they might kick you out if you don't have a baby in two years, though". She then laughed and I breathed a sigh of relief. While my residence in my new neighborhood is safe, my brain is not. I love babies and want to have one or two someday, right now I am more distracted by all the fabulous items I can make for baby, even though I am not yet ready. I often browse our Sew & Tell gallery to see what is new, but since my baby encounter this weekend I have noticed how many cute baby goods our customers have created. Here are some of my favorites.


Monkey Crib set.jpgThis crib set made from Funky Monkey by Moda. It includes bumpers, bottom pad and a little pillow. All are perfect matched. I love how fun Funky Monkey is and it is really just perfect for a crib set. I give it 5 stars! 
 


Felt baby booties.jpg



These booties, made by one of our customers, are made of felt and embellished with the sweetest details. I love the subtle pink with the mint green and the tiny rosettes. I can just imagine how cute they look with little feet in them!


 

1st year quilt.jpg Last but not least, This quilt is made of blocks that each house a different item from baby's first year. The items are not cut up to make the actual quilt but are sewn on top of the block. It looks similar to an applique. I just think it is a clever idea and super cute to boot. Get it? To boot...baby booties! nevermind.

Keep up the good work!
Tara Miller

 

Moniqa's Burnished Leaves Holiday Table Runner

October 5, 2007

table-top.jpgAnother fun and creative project by our graphic artist, Moniqa. I love her projects because they look so stylish and rich but usually take no time, with scraps of fabric you have hanging around from your apparel or quilting projects. This month Moniqa has been bitten by the autumn bug and is getting ready for an influx of family visits for the holidays. She is focusing on the center of the holiday festivites, the family table. Bring in the warmth and color of leaf_shape.JPGfall for your table with this super simple Burnished Leaves Table Runner. All you need are a leaf pattern (provided by us or nature), fabric marker, and fabric scrapes in fall colors or spring (depending on when you can finally fit this project into your busy schedule). Moniqa used Dupioni silk; this is prefect for our Dupioni Check Swatch set or just 2 or 3 1/2 yard Dupioni colors. You can also use quilting cotton, wool or felt. Don't forget to embellish with some fancy embroidery stitches; check out these embroidery tutorials by Crafty Daisies if you need ideas or tips!  

  1. Determine the shape of the leaves you desire. Any basic leaf shape will do but here aresome to get you started. Moniqa's leaves are 7 inches long and 3 inches wide. Trace your free hand leaf shape onto some posterboard or cardboard (you can use that cereal box full of crumbs that someone stuck back in Measure Leaf.jpgthe pantry), and cut it out. This is your pattern.
  2. Determine the length of runner you desire. Lay your Leaf pattern at an angle and in that postion measure from top to bottom. Divide this measurement by your total desired length (Example Your desired length is 50'' and you leaf measure ment is 5'', You will make 10 pairs of leaves). The difference will be the number of pairs of leaves you will need (Rounding up or down is up to you). Moniqa's leaves are 4 inches on the diagonal and the Runner is 48 inches long. That is 12 leaf pairs!
  3. Cut! Using your pattern cut out 24 leaves in various colors for the top side (lays face up on the table) and 24 leaves for the underside.
  4. Pin! Pin your topside leaves to your underside leaves, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER. Stitch together with 1/4 inch seam leaving an opening to turn out. repeat until all leaves are complete
  5. Press! Turn out all your leaves and press flat. You can slip stitch the openings closed but they will not show if you leave them open. If you do leave them open, you can leave secret holiday messages or candies in there for the little ones! table-top-1.jpg
  6. Hand stitch your leaves together. Take 2 leaves and lay them end to end angling up. Hand stitch the end together. Repeat for all leaves.
  7. Stitch pairs together. Fit a pair of leaves above the first and stitch together wherethe leaves meet. Repeat this step until all pairs are united
  8. Give yourself a pat on the back and listen to the "Oohs and Aaws" from your appreciative family as they delight in your festive holiday table.

Don't be afraid to change it up or embellish. You can bedazzle this runner, add buttons, or beads! Moniqa did not pair up her top 2 leaves but stitched one on top of the other to make the top 2 tiers singular. This reminds me of a vine and really catches the eye.


table-top21.jpgI am amazed every day with Moniqa's creativity and am so glad to share it with you. Enjoy and don't forget to show us your take on this project in our Sew & Tell Gallery. We really look forward to seeing everyone's projects and love to get together and check them out!

Tara Miller for Moniqa

Autumn is here, Take a deep breath and enjoy

October 3, 2007

This weekend I felt the first crisp, cool breeze of Autumn. Autumn has arrived ushering in visions of falling leaves, apples and pumpkins, sweaters, football games, walking through drifts of gold and rust colored leaves. Not to mention great food! Halloween is coming, then Thanksgiving. This is my most favorite time of the year.  I know there are people out there who have already completed their Christmas shopping. I do not intend to rush this season to get Christmas done.  I am doing some planning for Christmas, but I will fully enjoy the moment. To help you, I have provided some easy projects to help you celebrate this season. 

My first project is a no sew project, involve the children also.  I call this my "Potato Chip Project" because you cannot do just one.  This is a wacky leaf project.  This is also suitable for charm packs ( I used Acorn Hollow which has 39 fabrics in the pack) To add some spice I used some fabric from the Harvest Spice collection.

DSCN0029.JPGYou will only need 2 different fabrics, freezer paper, Misty Fuse, scissors and an iron.  For very young children- you can use comstruction paper.  Draw a free form leaf patterm onto the non-glossy side of freezer paper.  You can free hand as I did,  use cookie cutter shapes, an actual leaf, a stencil,  or a  color book.  You might also find some shapes online or in a magazine.  Prepare a fabric sandwich.  ( 1 top fabric with the right side facing out, misty fuse and the bottom fabric with right side facing out)  Using your iron, apply heat to the sandwich.  Allow the sandwich to cool. Your fabric will be bonded together. This the first time I have used Misty Fuse and I was impressed with the weight.  It is not a paper backed fusing agent, so it is a one step operation. Iron your freezer paper onto the fabric (shiny side down).  You can reuse your freezer paper several times.

You can use these leaf shapes any where.  You can sprinkle them like confetti across a table. Paste them to a lampshade or a mirror.  Tuck them into a wreath.  Create a place card by pasting a small piece of cardstock onto the leaf and writing  your guests name on it.  I am hanging mine with fall colored ribbon and hang from a chandelier.

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My next project is a simple tablerunner ( I have made it in the Butternut Farms collection and Harvest Spice) ,  This can be done in 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. No patterns required.  Determine how wide and how long you would like to make it. For example ,14 inches wide x  54 inches inches long.  Cut 2 strips of fabric 14.5 inches wide by 54.5 inches long and a piece of batting such as Warm and Natural. This is also cut to the same dimenions.  This is also great to use left over battng  Create a fabric sandwich by layering the 2 fabrics right sides together and placing the batting on the top. Pin in place.  Stitch around all edges 1/4  inch to 1/2 inch. Leave an opening wide enough to turn - about 3 inches.  Turn inside out and using a pencil - gently push the corners to make a square end.  The cotton batting should be in the
DSCN0027.JPG middle. Slip stitch the closing shut. The same basic table runner will look different depending on the fabric you.  The Butternut Farms fabric collection is a rich, traditional fabric with accents of gold.  This is a classic fabric.  It is so beautiful, you hate to cut it.  Very good in a formal setting. If you are not afraid of color- Harvest Spice is for you.  These sun-drenched colors are so rich that you can almost feel that if you wring it out, the colors will drip like droplets of colored rain.  I call this "Whimsical Tuscany". You cannot be sad around these colors.




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Additional projects:

Reversible napkins (I used the Harvest Spice-- sew easy project, just cut 2 squares of contrasting fabrics the size you would like your napkins to be. Layer the fabrics right sides together- sew around the edges leaving an opening wide enough to turn. Turn, using your pencil to poke the corners out.  Press.  Slipstitch the open edges together:

 

 

I also created a hot pad for my casserole using the Harvest Spice Stripe.  Cut 2 pieces of fabric the dimensions you would like your finished hot pad to be plus a 1/2 inch for seams.  Cut 2 pieces of batting and Insul-Bright.  Create a fabric sandwich by placing the top and bottom fabrics right sides together.  Create a layer of batting, insul bright and batting. Place the Insul-Bright sandwich on top of the fabric and pin.  Stitch around all sides 1/4 to 1/2 inch leaving an opening for turning. Turn inside out . Use a pencil to square up the corners.  Slipstitch the closing.

DSCN0031.JPGI hope these easy ideas will enhance your joy in the new season.
Vickie 

Next month: Get your Moda runnin, Christmas is comin

My Great-Grandma's Pumpkin Cookies (with my own spin)

October 1, 2007

cookies3.jpgI've been looking at all sorts of websites and magazines about Halloween the last couple weeks.  Among the pages of kids' costumes and pumpkin carving techniques, it's hard to miss the tempting images of Autumn inspired baked indulgences.

One of my favorite fall recipes is my great grandmother's pumpkin cookies.  I'm not a huge sweet fan, so I love how these lovely, little, bite-sized morsels have such wonderful flavor without putting me into sugar overload.  I particularly like them topped with a dark or semi-sweet chocolate ganache (which I have included here), but I also found a pretty good cream cheese frosting recipe that compliment's them well (Laurie's idea).

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My Great-Grandma's Pumpkin Cookies
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Mix dry ingredients and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Next, add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix well.  Slowly add dry ingredients until fully mixed.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop cookie dough in blobs about 2 inches apart.  Grandma's recipe called for "teaspoon-sized dollops" but I am impatient so mine were more like "Tablespoon-and-a-half-sized dollops."  If you use Granny's way, bake them for 14-16 minutes; 18-20 minutes my way. They should be firm and slightly golden (don't over bake them or they will become dry).

Grandma's way yields about 5 dozen or so smaller cookies.  My way gets you about 3 dozen (try not to eat too many between batches).

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Chocolate Ganache
(this recipe will make enough to cover all your cookie and then some)
1/2 cup of heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chips work fine, but you can be decadent and use one of those fancy bars, too)
1 tablespoon butter
Put your chocolate and butter in a bowl.  Heat the cream up to boiling and pour it over the chocolate.  Stir until smooth.

(Note: while certainly not the most healthy idea, you can mix a couple spoonfuls of the leftover ganache into some heated milk for an absolutely sinful cup of hot chocolate)

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Cream Cheese Frosting
2 packages of cream cheese (8oz.)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Blend the cream cheese in a mixer until fluffy.  Mix in the powdered sugar, and then add the milk and vanilla.  Mix everything until smooth.  If the frosting is too thick, add more milk a little at a time.

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For the chocolate ganache, the best way to apply it to the cookie is to just dunk the top of the cookie in (giving it a swirl for good measure).  You can do the same with the cream cheese, or you can use a spatula or pipe it on.

Enjoy!

Melanie

Why do homes have all the fun?

I am all moved in to my new house and I am loving it. However, I need a bit of a break from home decorating but can't get it completely out of my mind. With the promise of fall around the corner (in Georgia that means the temperture comes down to only 80 degrees) I am distracted by thoughts of new fall clothing. Being surrounded by home decor fabrics all day but thinking of apparel allowed me to find inspiration in using home decor fabrics to wear, Amy Butler's Nigella not withstanding. Here is what my wandering mind has come up with. See if you don't agree. 

Coat, Trench & Blazer embroidered suede coat.jpg UC-699.jpgI am all about the coats this fall. Heck, I am all about the fall period! I cannot wait for crisp mornings, cooking stew and wearing sweaters and coats.I am cold blooded by nature so according to my family as soon as the temp reaches 69 degrees I reach for outerwear. I figure they are just jealous that I get to wear my awesome coats before them. More for me!  

        UC-646.jpg grey trench.jpgWe have some really great options no what what your coat preferences. However, let's step outside the norm just for fun and look at what home decor fabrics have to offer for coats. I think this embroidered microsuede is so beautiful and different. It would really great with a trench pattern or if you prefer something classic and demure. Try this pattern with our Faux Suede in dark grey that is so popular this season.




   UR-189.jpg polka dot blazer.2jpg.jpgFinally, don't forget about the fuschia this fall. Our Fall Forecast predicts this is one of the hotest colors this fall. And all too rightly! Who says we must bundle up in darker colors the rest of the year. Carry your favroite spring and summer colors with you to brighten the shorter days. Perfect for this task is this combo of Fuschia Polka Dots (Who doesn't love Dots!) with a fun, funky for fresh jacket pattern by Favorite Things. The non-tradional closure and new spin collar coupled with classic dots in a feminine color make this combination a sure thing and a staple.

plaid dress.jpg Dresses uc-602.jpgI have recently been watching reruns of Sex in the City and fell in love with Charlotte's entry, whose walls are covered in a blue plaid. Ever since I have been on a plaid kick. It reminds me of so many things I love, Family, warmth, crisp weather and Scotsmen (wink). It is not tricky to wear and is a must for keeping warm and sheik this season. I love this print with this dress pattern.The modern cut and details make it perfect to take the 'school marm' image out of this plaid. The shorter hem makes it so tempting to wear tights in either a trendy or classic color. This dress is also perfect for either boots, heels or flats, your choice but you can't go wrong with this lovely plaid.



Ultrasoft Sueded Twill Dress.jpgAnother great trend this season are bright colored or patterned tights. This simply shaped retro style dress is perfect to show off your fashionable legs in the best colors or patterns. I used Simplicity's Retro Pattern 3833 with our new Ultrasoft Sueded Twill in Rasberry. I paried it with dark grey tights. It looks so comfy but so sleek. Great for a lunch with friends, shopping or to wake the weekday doldrums.



I can't wait to get started on my Fall Fashions and I hope you will join me. Be sure to post your pictures in our Sew and Tell Gallery so everyone can admire and be jealous! And remember "If you don't look good, we don't look good."

Oh wait, wrong slogan, but still true!

Tara Miller

 

 

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