Recently in Tara- Merchandiser/Blog Editor Category

The Holidays are coming....Don't panic...yet

November 6, 2007


Continue not to panic. I will let you know when the official panic line has been crossed and you are welcome to forward that message to family and friends as a Crafter's "Get out of Jail Free" card. I might even be able to whip up something all official looking in photoshop for you to print and hand out either before each freak-out or after; it is your preference. But before you go planning what documents you may or may not need to preserve your sanity or to present to a judge in court, let's sit down and look at some options.

Yes, Christmas is right around the corner. But it is one of those really long corners with the long line around it that is moving so slowly you brought a book to read while you wait. You have some time. But if you are sitting there shaking your head, holding up your mile and 2/3 long list of family and friends who are eagerly anticipating handmade goodness for the holidays, continue not to panic. Go make a cup of coffee (make one for me too, please. I like foam!) and check out what your pals at have for you. We have come up with some great ideas for your loved ones this year. Some of these ideas are found and some we put together ourselves. No matter where they come from, you are sure to find a few things that you can do and will be proud to give.

Some of you might have heard of Lisa Lam. She runs the blog CraftBoom which is a wealth of info for those interested in the craft business. Well, she posted a list of 15 quick & easy Holiday items to sell. It is a great list, but I thought to myself: "Self, why don't you post this for those who are interested in 15 quick projects to GIVE." I instantly agreed with myself and here we are and, more importantly, here is the list:

  1. Garlands (check out Heather's Here)
  2. Mobiles (Here is a great Autumn mobile by Turkey Feathers that can easily be made for winter)
  3. Ornaments/Decorations
  4. Tree Ornaments
  5. Candle Holders
  6. Bags/Purses
  7. Napkin Rings, Placemats, Seating card holders
  8. Scented Candles
  9. Christmas Cards/Wrapping paper (Check out how to wrap your presents in Fabric!)
  10. Christmas Stockings (Here are some really cozy sweater stocking by Posie gets Cozy)
  11. Baby Bibs, soft toys
  12. Doggie Jackets
  13. Scarves, mittens, socks, hats
  14. Hair Decorations (Martha has some great Button Hair Pins)
  15. Brooches (Try this great tutorial by Blair Peter for Fabric Flower Pins)

Lisa gives some great examples and descriptions on her blog so be sure to check out the complete list.


Here are some additional items, we thought of here at Headquarters:

  1. Pincushions (I know how tired it seems, but there are sewers out there with old tomato pincushions who don't even know how cute they can them. Plus you can put them in a bowl for a festive center piece!)
  2. Christmas Tree skirt
  3. Festive Holiday Wreath: Just like Posie Gets Cozy. Totally awesome
  4. Soft Trees (Try Little Birds Pattern. I just love these!)

And if you really run out of time, you can bake some pumpkin bread or cookies (don't forget to sign up for Food Network's 12 days of cookies). Finally, if you have to give a present and you have, seriously, 5 min in which to prepare. Quickly, find a sheet of paper and write down an IOU, with a smiley face and give them the biggest hug ever. Don't forget to give them a quick glace at the one mile and 2/3 long list just so they know that you are as good as your word.

Most important, these are the holidays. Enjoy your friends and family. No one will remember in 5 years that you needed a few extra days (ok, weeks) to finish and make their special gift perfect. They will remember that you did make it just for them and will love it even more.

As always check out our great selection of Holiday & Christmas fabric for your holiday gifts or our Retro & Mod section for the present that lasts throughout the year! 

Happy Holidays and Breath!

P.s. Get your great Gift Certificates Here and check out our Gifter's Gallery for the fabric junkie in your life! 

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 totally stole my sewing room idea!"


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!

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!

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 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, 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



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 booties! nevermind.

Keep up the good work!
Tara Miller


Why do homes have all the fun?

October 1, 2007

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



Fall Fashion Forecast 2007 Vol II

September 28, 2007

ww2_vj_day_kiss.jpg  La Vie des Années Quarante! (The Life of the 1940's)

Silhouettes for fall 2007 are varied, wide ranging and reminiscent of the 1940's. There is truly something for everyone to update their wardrobe with. Lady-like styles including softly tailored jackets and dresses are some of the best updates. You can choose any length of skirt that suits your figure from the mini to an A-line skirt at your lower calf. Pants can be super skinny or the wider leg variety like Lauren Becall would have worn. Add a great new fall color or accessory, and you are up to date! We have a great selection of Fall Fashion fabrics ranging from our Wool Gaberdine & Suiting (check out our great suiting in our Everything's $1.95/yard) for pants to our new Corduroy for jackets.

Speaking of jackets. One of the best features you could sport for fall is a nipped waist. There are tricks to perform in case your waist isn't already ''nipped.'' Princess seaming in a jacket or blouse will reveal curves that may be just barely there. Add a belt or a sash, and you could be amazed at what you see in the mirror. Wool coatings and wool meltons will make this style of jacket appropriate as outerwear. Another trend in jackets is a ¾ length or bracelet sleeve. For colder climates, these jackets will require a longer glove. They are very 1940's without the giant shoulders. Add a great glove, and you have a great update.    

Pants and trousers this season can seem confusing because the trendiest styles are totally opposite. Skinny is still ''in'' and if you are tall and thin, this is a great trend for you. Add volume on the top to balance out the skinny silhouette with a voluminous top for evening, or a chunky sweater and a scarf for day. The other end of the spectrum is the higher waist and wider leg trousers a la 1940, Check out Erica's wonderful wide leg pants here, note how she works in that great belt to show off her waist! A wool gabardine will add some drape to the trousers and give them some warmth and substance.Or if you are looking for something lighter for the transitional period try our great selection of suitings.


pencil skirt.jpg



Pencil Skirts and A-line skirts pair nicely with lady-like blouses for fall. A-line skirts need a fabric with movement and some flow. Try the pencil skirt to the left with our Wool Blend Tweed Suiting and Simplicity pattern 5259. The Soft Suede is a terrific fall fabric, and would update an A-line skirt pattern you already have. Pencil skirts need structure. Wool gabardine or even a dull satin like Duchess Satin are both great choices.




Don't forget to have fun. Make your A-line out of quilting cotton or a great vintage tablecloth, like Tuesday's. Try our Retro and Mod Section to brighten up your fall wardrobe. Wear the funky prints with a solid color top for work or Polka Dots for a night out! Throw on a Corduroy Blazer and cashmere scarf to finish it out.







ruffle shirt.jpg

The blouses have accents like long thin bows at the neck or ruffles on either side of the placket. To capture the richness of the season, create your blouse in a charmeuse satin. For a crisp alternative, use our Japanese Shirting. Try this Vogue pattern to make your own. We recommend Charmuse Satin in Butterscotch or Sweetheart Satin Antique Gold to bring some warmth and shiny into your closet.  




As always we, here at, look forward to seeing what you create for fall. When we can't find great ideas in our Sew & Tell Gallery, we troll the craft blogs. Either way, we are loving everything you create. Don't be shy drop us a line and tell us your ideas or better yet, show us! Post your pictures in our Gallery. Have a great season!


September 10, 2007

  For us crafty folk Halloween is fast approaching and those flimsy costumes sold by the mega-marts just aren't going to cut it for our loved ones. With the candy filled, costume wearing, pumpkins twinkling day rapidly upon us, you might want a little help. I have scanned the blogs, craft sites and local craft stores to bring you ideas that are fun, easy, and full of Halloween Spirit.

B6630.jpgThis is my costume for this year! My choice is due to my love of Pride and Prejudice (Hello, Mr. Darcy!) and Anne of Green Gables (Thank you Librivox). I needed Puffy Sleeves like I need chocolate. The fabrics called for in this pattern are:



Coat- Velvet or Brocade (I choose our Oriental Brocade in Peony Gold)



Dress A-Satin or Broadcloth (I am going to use our Sweet Heart Satin in Antique Gold




Here is a delightful halloween project by Martha Stewart that can easily be adapted for Tulle, Cotton Gauze or Handkerchief Linen depending on your color choices. All would make great Ghosts! 






Ay-476.jpg S3597.jpgOne of my favorite book series is Harry Potter. I know alot of kids out there who would like nothing better than to be their favorite wizard or witch for Halloween. This is a great Invisibility cloak or dress robe pattern for your kids. My fabric picks for this are our Sparkle Velour (to which I have referred to as Wizard Wear since it hit our warehouse) or Stretch Velvet. Both are machine washable. 

pumpkin pincushion.jpg
Another decorative project I am anxious to start because of great expectations to be so festive is a Pumpkin Garland made from these Pincushions. They would make perfect pumpkins. I plan on draping them around my front door and over my fireplace. I learned a little trick from Heather Bailey's Pear Pincushion stems. She rolls up a piece of felt whip stitches is loosely, tugs the strand to get a good bend and then stitches the stem to the pincushion. This would be a great addition to turn these pincushions into happy pumpkins. My pattern choices are a toss up between Moda Fall Back in Time and Scaredy Cat Fat Quarters. Maybe Both! 


Best Broad Dress.jpg

I am really excited to get started on all of the above projects, but at the moment I am finishing up my dress for my brother's wedding. He is getting married in Savannah, Ga on the 16th of this month! I am his best man AKA Best Broad! The dress is drafted from my own pattern and so far it is turning out better then I could imagine. Here is my inspiration picture. The finished project will have thicker straps and not as low cut but equally as sassy! (please excuse my primative photoshopping). I am using Linen because it will still be warm/hot so far south. I do not want to sweat and the drape from linen is just perfect for this casual wedding. I was originally leaning toward our Cotton Sateen but given the temperature range in Savannah in September, I decided on linen to catch any breeze (fingers crossed on a nice breeze, please!) It would also be great in seersucker for more a casual or any of our Bridal Fabrics for a more formal look. I love this look because it is a fitted up top and has a gathered empire waist, which means....I CAN EAT! So awesome and very important. I will be sure to update later with picture of the finished dress in our gallery
Update on embroidered ottoman cover. The move is on the 17th so whenever I can take a break from packing, I am working on it and my dress. However, so far I have measured and cut. No embroidery to date. Apologies but it looks great in my head! 






August 24, 2007

Hello again, Seeing as this is my second post and I have already introduced myself, I thought I would spread the word on the main reason I am here and doing what I love. Fellow bloggers, brace yourself for the introduction, I can be long winded. About 3 Christmases ago, my mom gave me a Teach Yourself to Crochet book and I tried, I really did. Cut to the chase... (as you previously read) crochet did not work out and I started knitting. Since I am familiar with Google and that you can learn anything on the internet, I started surfing for knitting patterns, tips and mostly videos. One of my first hits was Silvia's knitblog (deceptively named as she sews just as much), and the beginning of my star-crossed love affair with Amy Butler. See, Silvia had posted progress pictures of her Amy Butler Weekender Bag, and it was love at first site. I began to sew again. From there it was a downward spiral from which I have yet to emerge. I was helped along the way, and continue to receive support, from the following blogs that I want to share with you. I hope that others may find inspiration and encouragement to sew and create with fabric.


  • Kris- Monkey Foot Designs: Kris sold me my first Amy Butler pattern and fabric and always answered my sewing questions.
  • Jen- Beebee Mod: Fellow Yankee and makes the cutest kid clothes
  • Erica Bunker- Erica B's DIY Style: If you want to know the latest trend, check here first. She has probably already made it!
  • Tuesday- Done by Tuesday: A big fan of Japanese crafting, I won my first contest on Tuesday's blog!
  • Last but not Least, Stacy- Stacy Sews: If ever there was an understatement, it is the name of Stacy's blog. It should at least have an under title like "Stacy, master of fabric, it jumps to do her bidding while she sits on her fabric throne she made herself and will be more than happy to share with you her tips". But most important she is a Jayhawk!


So these are just a few of my favorite blogs, I will share more as I discover them and hope that they make you just as happy as they make me.


On the fabric front I am super excited about all the new Home Decor fabrics we have in stock: Taffeta in the best colors, P Kaufmann and loads of new Promotional Dupioni Silk . I moving into my new house in a few weeks, so of course I have an eye out for couches, chairs, pillows and curtains. As much as I would love to cover my house in Amy Butler's Nigella, I am married and must reign in the color explosion that I envision. As a compromise I am thinking these fabrics: Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bb-497.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bb-493.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DPSR-009.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DPSR-061.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UR-361.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UR-920.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UR-919.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UC-491.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for WV-253.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UB-820.jpg                  While I can reign it in, I cannot ignore my color compulsion completely. I will be sure to keep you all up to date with house decoration progress right here and with pictures in the gallery. Next up, Muslin Ottoman cover with hand embroidered redwork!

Tara Miller

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