Thursday, November 20, 2014

Susan B Wonderful

A shout-out to my friend Susan B. Anderson who spread the word about my work on her charming video podcast today. I'm sure most of you if you are knitters know Susan but if you don't, check out her blog. Susan is one of the most prolific knitters and designers I know. Her handknit sock drawer is one to be envious of. 

Pop on over to her blog and sign up for the giveaway. There's two balls of my Regia Colorations Sock Yarn and a copy of my just re-released Colorful Stitchery to be won. 

Susan and I met at a TNNA show several years ago when we both had books coming out. Susan has been with Artisan Publishing for years and has had great success with her many books - the Itty Bitty 3 book series, Spud and Chloe at the Farm, and Topsy Turvy Inside Out Toys. You probably own some of them - I know I do. I think the year was 2007 when my Kristin Knits was being published by Storey Publishing. Workman Publishing owns both Artisan and Storey and so we had the good fortune to sit next to each other at a dinner we were invited to. We have been friends ever since. Mostly we keep in contact via email but once in a while we meet up and have a meal together. Or if I am having a particularly bad "knitting author day", I might talk with her for some moral support!

Here's a sweet little one minute book trailer made when her Topsy Turvy Inside Out Toys came out. I think this book is my favorite of hers. So clever and such fun projects to knit.


If you have a chance to take a class with Susan, do. She is doing more traveling and teaching than she used to and I know her classes are awesome. She also teaches a class on Craftsy called Wee Ones which teaches toy knitting. Check it out here.  She also sells lots of patterns on her Ravelry store here

Thanks so much Susan! If you are here because you heard about me via Susan - WELCOME!

Cranberry Ketchup - A Seasonal Recipe

Yes, you read that correctly - cranberry ketchup. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I hadn't until I received a jar from our friends Kay and Michael who are excellent cooks, former chefs, and bakers. It's nice to have friends like that!



A couple weeks ago I picked up some cranberries and decided to give the recipe a go too. I'm planning to give it as favors to our Thanksgiving Day guests. I found this recipe in an old book (1963) called Freezing and Canning Cookbook - Prized Recipes from the Farms of America compiled by Nell Nichols, Field Food Editor. Don't you love that title? I don't think it would get through a publisher's committee meeting these days. I'm a sucker for old cookbooks - I love to read through the different recipes and think about times gone past. Sometimes you find some real gems in these old cookbooks even if the methods are a little different than current methods.  

What is Cranberry Ketchup? It is a spread made of cranberries, sugar, vinegar and some really nice autumn hued spices. What can you do with Cranberry Ketchup? I'm going to use it on a turkey sandwich the day after the holiday. It would also be nice with cheese and crackers. And I must admit - I have even had it with a regular burger and it was delish. Sometimes I spread it on bread and have it on a grilled panini. Here's how you make it..... and did I tell you? - it is much easier to make than jam or jelly.

Cranberry Ketchup 

Makes 4 to 5 pints - I used the very small 4 ounce canning jars that are perfect for small gifts. I got 10 small jars from this recipe.
 
24 ounces cranberries (two 12 ounce bags)
1 large onion (3/8 lb.)
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice 
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Chop the onions. In a medium saucepan, cook cranberries and onions in the water until tender and the cranberries pop - about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring so that it does not stick. Let cool and puree in a food processor.

Sterilize the jars and lids. Reheat the Cranberry Ketchup. Pack in jars leaving 1/2" headroom. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and complete seals if necessary. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bits and Bobs + A New Moroccan Lamb Stew Recipe

Thanks for all the entries into last week's contest. A winner has been contacted. If you haven't had a chance, read the comments if you enjoy knitting books - lots of great recommendations. 

Mollie of Wild Olive has just reviewed my Craftsy Stitch It with Wool Class. Check it out - she also has a discount code to buy the class (which you keep forever) for $14.99. 

Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps has a great podcast up with Alicia Paulson and Arianne Foulkes. If you are navigating the waters of an on-line business, this sure is worth a listen. 

Looking for a stocking stuffer or small gift for a yarn-y friend, check out these Tattly temporary tattoes featuring a cat with a ball of yarn. So cute. You can listen to a podcast with Tattly founder Tina Roth Eisenberg here on the Good Life Project.  

It's cooking season here in the northern hemisphere. I made this super delicious Moroccan Stew with Raisins, Apricots, and Almonds. I tweaked the recipe from David Lebovitz' new cookbook A Paris Kitchen. If you are a cookbook person, check this one out. It is a gem. Perfect for bedtime reading. This cookbook is jammed with fun info about Paris and more. David is a great storyteller.  Beautiful recipes too. I borrowed it from our local library and have it on my Christmas wishlist!

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Raisins, Apricots, and Almonds


This is an easy to make Moroccan style stew adapted from *David Lebovitz' My Paris Kitchen. Moroccan stews are usually called tagines and are traditionally cooked in a special ceramic vessel. I have Americanized this recipe by using a dutch oven. You can also use a slow cooker. 

I like to make this stew on Sunday mornings so that the house is filled with the lovely aromas all day long. This recipe in particular smells so good - cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, saffron and ginger combined with the aroma of lamb will make you feel warm inside. It will taste better the second, third and fourth days as the spices have a chance to meld. Omit the cayenne if you are serving children. The saffron is a bit of a splurge but you only need a pinch to add the lovely flavor.

Moroccan Lamb Stew is a great supper for the middle of the week - cook up a little basmati rice, warm up the stew and you are ready to eat!

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
kosher salt
2 pounds lamb shoulder chops or shoulder roast or lamb shanks
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
dash of cayenne pepper if you like things spicy (I omit)
pinch of saffron threads 
1 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 cups water
1 pound carrots
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds

To serve - cooked basmati rice (as shown), couscous, or small pasta

1. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Heat olive oil in dutch oven. Cook the onion and garlic until the onions are translucent. 
2. Rub the lamb with salt. Brown the meat on all sides in the pan with the cooked onions. Remove the lamb and set aside.
3. Mix the ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, cinnamon, black pepper, ground ginger, ground turmeric, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Add it to the cooked onions in the dutch oven. Cook for a couple minutes until the spices start to smell good. 
4. Add the water, the saffron, and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir so it is all mixed nicely. 
5. Add the browned lamb to the dutch oven and cover with a lid. Add some more water if necessary - the lamb should be half submerged. Place in a 250 oven and cook for 4 hours. Half way through, flip the lamb over.
6. Chop the apricots into pieces about 1/2". Remove stew from oven. Add the apricots and raisins to the stew.
7. Peel the carrots and chop into 1/4" slices. Add to the stew.
8. Return the dutch oven to the oven for another hour or so until the carrots are cooked through and the lamb pulls easily off the bones. Alternately, finish it on top of the stove by simmering. The apricots will dissolve and become part of the sauce.
9. Let the stew cool and place in refrigerator overnite. In the morning, skim the fat that is on the surface. Remove the bones from the shoulders (they should pull out easily). 
10. To serve, cook some basmati rice, couscous or small pasta shape. Toast the almonds in a frying pan, taking care not to burn. Heat the stew on top of the stove and serve over the grain. Top with the toasted almonds.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Meet Elvira Woodruff - Author/Knitter, Her New Book To Knit or Not To Knit + A Giveaway

Once in a while I find something relatively undiscovered and I get to share it with you all. I love that because it seems with the internet - books, yarns, patterns and trends go around so quickly that things become old news before they are even printed! I really hate that about the internet because so many good things get overlooked and die before their star has even risen.

Today meet Elvira Woodruff. Don't you just love that name? Elvira Woodruff is an award-winning children’s book author of twenty-four books for young readers, including picture books and middle grade historical fiction. Elvira is also a passionate knitter and she has written her first knitting book called To Knit or Not to Knit: Helpful and Humorous Hints for the Passionate Knitter (published by Skyhorse Publishing, Hardcover and eBook). 


I love this book! It is cleverly written in the voice of Mrs. Wicks who is like a Dear Abby for knitters. The format is that a knitter sends Mrs. Wicks a question. Mrs. Wicks aka Elvira answers the question with humour, honesty, and the wisdom of a long-time knitter. 

So how did I find out about this book? A while back, I got an email from Elvira who evidently was familiar with my work. She asked if she might include one of my photographs in the book she was writing. I agreed and we started a bit of a back and forth conversation. I told her that Julia was interested in writing and Elvira sent Julia a fabulous note of encouragement. I sent off the digital file and a few months ago, I received a signed copy of To Knit or Not To Knit.  

Sometimes I agree to things and then wince when I see what happens to my work. It is difficult to let my work go and and then not have any control over what happens with it. (I have learned to be careful!) Not so here. My photo is in the good company of a painting by Vincent Van Gogh. 


It took me a while to have the time to sit down with To Knit or Not to Knit (it was gardening season and there is always so much to do!) A few weeks ago, I sat down to see what Elvira had produced. Once I started reading, I started laughing and smiling and just plain enjoying this little book. There are many knitter/bloggers who have become published authors. Sometimes I just shake my head and wonder WHY? HOW? In Elvira, we have an honest to goodness author who has come out as a knitter. How cool. (Elvira's novel George Washington’s Socks has sold over a million copies and is used in school curricula throughout the country.) 

 
I especially enjoy all the comparisons to literature that are included. Here's a short list of some of the famous writers that Elvira quotes from - Emily Dickinson, Queen Victoria, Napoleon, Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, and many more.


Throughout the book, there is art sprinkled that features knitters and stitchers. I love these connections that Elvira has found. She uses history, literature, art, and photography to craft a book about knitting and being a knitter that is really funny to read.


To Knit or Not to Knit is full of helpful advice for the new knitter or the advanced knitter. Elvira also includes many of her go-to patterns which she makes for gifts including a baby hat, simple sweater, thrummed mittens, cat toy, tea cosy and more. 

So check out To Knit or Not to Knit. And welcome Elvira to the world of knitting authors! Hint, hint - To Knit would make a nice Christmas gift for any knitting friends of yours. 

Would you like to win an autographed copy of To Knit Or Not To Knit? Elvira has donated one copy to one of my lucky readers. Here's how to enter.......

Answer the following question in the comments sections:
Share your favorite knitting book and tell us why if you have the time and energy! 

Contest ends Monday, November 17th. I'll pull a number by random # generator shortly thereafter.
U.S. Residents only PLEASE. 
As always leave an easy way to get a hold of you - blogger id, email address or Ravelry ID (only if you check in there please!) 

Contest is over - winner has been notified. Thanks everyone for entering. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thankful for My Colorful Home

I can't believe how fast 2014 has gone. The holidays are fast approaching. We will be hosting Thanksgiving once again so I've got to get into cleaning action. Ugh. Most of the year, our dining room is used as a shipping room, inventory room, and general catchall. It is always a chore to move everything out to get ready for the big meal. Here's the general look of it today!


In about a month, I should be receiving a first copy of my upcoming book Crafting a Colorful Home: A Room by Room Guide to Personalizing Your Home with Color


I am really anticipating holding it in my hands, looking at the colorful images, feeling the pages. Seeing our home in print in a book is going to be a serious thrill. I hope it is well-received but that is out of my hands. I have written several books but thus far, CACH is the most personal. The book shares many of the different crafts I enjoy and teaches a whole bunch of techniques that most people do not know I do. 


Here's a little preview for a super simple project called Hanging Embroidery Hoop Lanterns over on the Roost blog. Isn't the photo gorgeous? All the photos were taken by the super talented Rikki Snyder (who BTW has been doing a lot of food photos for the NY Times - go Rikki!) These lanterns are made from wooden embroidery hoops. The shades are sewn of remnants of block printed fabrics. They are very easy to make (no sewing machine necessary) and they add a bit of a festive atmosphere to any space. To make them into lanterns, run some holiday lights down through them. See the Roost blog for a PDF of how to make them. 

I'll be selling signed copies of Crafting a Colorful Home on my website. I'll let you know when I have the page live. Of course I would love to sell you one and sign it for you. Retailing my books used to be a helpful chunk of extra money which I rely on. Unfortunately those sales seem to have almost disappeared since many people are now used to buying via Amazon and other third market vendors.

I found a very interesting blog post written by Dianne of The Crafty Pod entitled Is It Worth It to Write a Craft Book?. Diane has spelled it out perfectly - about the money involved, the time needed, the amount of effort and therefore lack of ability to keep other parts of your business going because you are so engrossed in THE BOOK. This post has come at a time when I am thinking again about the possibility of doing another book, researching ideas, etc. Reading the post has made me really think about whether I should even think about doing another book. Thank you Diane.

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Handpainted Mural as Wallpaper


Did you know that the mural I painted in our dining room is available as removable wallpaper? The fine ladies at Casart Wallpaper contacted me after they saw my work on the Houzz.com website. I did 3 custom panels featuring the flora and fauna that I see here at the farm. Available in 10 background colors, 4 of the autumn hued choices are on sale for 20% off this month. Check it out here. Below are the three different panels shown on a white background so that you can see all the design motifs. 


Here are 3 of the 4 colors that are now 20% off. 

The women at Casart are so helpful. Prices range from $218 to $347 per panel depending on the width and height of the panel and the weight of the paper. Samples are $9. The wallpaper is very easy to hang - check out my friend Lori's entryway here. It is removable and can be moved to your next home. I am pretty sure if you ordered quickly you could have the panels before Thanksgiving dinner.

Friday, November 07, 2014

A Little Walk in the Orchard

Took Winston, Kate and Ness on a little walk to find some color yesterday on a very gray day in early November. Although the colors have changed, there is always something I can find to look at and give me a little bit of warmth. Here are some photos from our walk. The colors are really going dark and eerie, aren't they?









 





Someone asked me a few weeks ago how Winston was doing. Glad to report that our lamb losses have been much fewer than when he wasn't around. He is three now and seems to know his job and responsibility. Some nights he barks all night long - good thing we don't have close neighbors. I wake up and listen to him, trying to figure out where he is - sometimes far away, sometimes pretty close. I can always tell when he has had a busy night - he won't even wake up when I go outside in the morning. He is one big guy that is for sure. He still is very timid around anyone he doesn't know. 

Most of the sheep in the photos are last winter's lambs. You can see the size variance which depends a lot on the breed. Two rams are also amongst this flock of lambs as we removed them from the older ewe flock. See if you can pick them out - a Polypay ram and a Cheviot ram.   

A couple of interesting things to share this week.......
•If you have always thought about having your own fabric line, you might want to read this eye-opening article by Abby Glassenberg about the amount of money fabric designers make. 
•If you are an artist thinking you might want to license your work, I highly recommend listening to this podcast over on Smart Creative Women.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Colorful Greg Irvine - Kindred Spirit

Popping in today on this gray November day to to say hi to brighten your day with this fabulous video by Paris Thompson I found via The Design Files (an Australian design blog). If you can't get the player to watch, here is the Vimeo link.  (I have read via my friend Louise of Lines of Beauty that sometimes videos embedded on blogs do not play on tablets and phones - if anyone has any idea how to fix this I would love to know! Want to keep all of you happy.)


I could move into this place. It is the home of artist Greg Irvine who has been collecting since the 1960's. And collect he has. The colors and the combinations are so stimulating. Those sketchbooks. Gorgeous. Read the article on The Design Files here. You can sign up for a daily email from The Design Files which I quite enjoy. Here is one of Greg's paintings. You can probably guess why I am very taken with this one.


Greg has a show opening at The Hawthorne Gallery November 8th. I would love to see it. Too bad I live on the wrong continent. Click here for more information and lots of photos of his colorful work. Awesome! Thank you TDF.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Tutorial - How to Sew a Removable Pillow Cover

As far as I am concerned, you can never have enough throw pillows. I have made many over the years - from my embroidered crewelwork to recycled antique fabrics, even handknit. My favorite way to back a precious fabric is with a flapped back - thus making the pillowcase easy to remove and launder (or dry clean if need be). 

Here's how I make a flap back removable pillow cover. It is a super simple method and can be made in a little over an hour. It is shown on my Circles Sampler Pillow Project. The front was worked in Crewel Embroidery. You can purchase the PDF pattern here. A kit is also available here. I use a sewing machine but if you don't own one, the method can be used for hand-sewing too.

Step 1: You will need a piece of quilting weight cotton as long as your embroidered pillow front. I usually purchase a couple of inches extra. For an 18" pillow, purchase 5/8 yard of a colorful fabric that picks up the colors you used in your embroidery. Remnants are a great choice for backing pillows.


Step 2: Iron both embroidered pillow piece and backing fabric. Lay the pillow front on top of the backing fabric. Cut evenly around 3 sides. On the 4th side, add 4" in width. Draw a straight line and cut along that line. Your cut backing fabric will look like this when the pillow front is laid on top of it. 

Notice the 4" extra of backing fabric at the right of the photo.  You will hem both sides of the wider section of the fabric.
Notice that the backing fabric is cut 4" wider than the pillow

Step 3:  At opposite edges of the width of the fabric, turn under 1/4" and press with an iron. Turn under again 3/8". Pin and press the folded edges. These edges will form the overlap of the pillow so they need to be finished. 
Turning edge 1/4" under and pressed
Turning folded edge under 3/8"
Pinning folded edge before sewing
Step 4: Using a sewing machine, sew along the folded edges of the pillow backing. Your stitches should go along the fold, catching the pressed layers with the main section of fabric to create a clean edge. 

This is what the piece looks like now - both edges are hemmed.


Step 5: Fold the fabric so that the hemmed edges are together. Press so there will now be a pressed line at the center of the fabric. 


Using your scissors, cut this piece in two along the fold.

Step 6: You will now pin the backing pieces to the pillow front. Place one of the hemmed pieces with its right side down facing the right side of the pillow front. The hemmed edge should be at the center of the pillow. Pin along the three outside edges.

Pin the remaining backing piece to the pillow front lining up the raw edges of both the backing piece and the pillow front. The hemmed edge will be at the center of the pillow. The two backing pieces should overlap. Pin all around the pillow.



Step 7: Using a sewing machine, with a 1/2" seam allowance, sew all the way around the outside of the pillow, removing pins as you sew. Overlap the beginning and ending stitching points. 

This is the finished pillow after sewing.


Step 8: Trim each of the 4 corners of the pillow as shown below. This will make the corners less bulky and easier to turn. 




Step 10: Turn the pillow inside out. Pull the corners out using a pin so that they are nice and pointy. 

Step 11: Press the seamed edges of the pillow so that it is neat and crisp. 

 

This photo shows the back of the pillow with the overlapping edges. 

This photo shows the overlap.


Now stuff your pillow with a down or polyfil pillow form. I purchase my down pillow inserts here. Your cover is removable and can be washed or drycleaned at any time. That's it! Easy and professional looking.  
 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sewing Thoughts + A New Book Present Perfect by Betz White + Giveaway

I'm not sure how many of you are sewers, sewists, quilters, seamstresses or whatever it is that people who sew are calling themselves these days. Last week, I told you a bit about my early creative journey in this post. Sewing was such a huge part of my teen and twenty years. I went to university for textiles and clothing design and it wasn't until I got my job at CEY that I really got into knitwear design. 

I still sew now, although not as much as I once did or should. I make all my own linen shirts that I wear when I want to look halfway presentable. I grew up on Vogue, Butterick, McCall's and Simplicity patterns. I've made coats, quilts, bags, suitcases, slipcovers, and more. I never write much about my sewing because it never occurred to me to.  It is just something I do when I can find time or really need to!

I was talking with my sister Laurie a few months ago. She and my sister Nancy are big sewers (Nancy works for a bridal shop right now altering and fitting bridal dresses!) I was telling Laurie how there has been this huge boom in sewing and she could not believe it. I haven't delved into too many sewing blogs but I do know that publishers are interested in acquiring sewing books. I hear sewing may be at the point that knitting was 10 years ago - ready to explode into the critical masses. Here is a listing I found of good sewing blogs - I must say, I have only heard of 1 or 2 of them - that is how out of it I am in sewing blogland. It seems that blogland and the internet has taken over where the public schools dropped sewing years ago. The most popular classes on Craftsy are the sewing and quilting classes.

It is pretty sad that most people only have the opportunity to shop at the large chain stores like Joann's. Although I am thankful for chain stores that offer up sewing goods, I miss the stores that used to carry beautiful wools, silks, and other fine fabrics. Sure you can find them on-line but there is nothing like the heady rush of pawing through exquisite fabrics. I'm lucky to have Delectable Mountain in Brattleboro near me.  

What's old is new again? Is that what they say? I guess when you live long enough, you are lucky to see trends a few times in your life! I can't believe the macrame and fringey wallhangings that are now deemed hip and mod and in.

Enough chit chat - onto today's giveaway!
If you are a crafty kind of person who has been learning about things on the internet for any length of time, you are sure to know Betz White. Betz is a sewing blogger, author of 3 books, pattern designer, Etsy shop owner, creative maker and Mom. I have admired her work for years. She teaches on Creativebug (like me) and you can watch a little video about her here. I first learned about Betz as many people did - through her appearance on Martha Stewart Living TV back in 2007. Here's a link for you about her famous cupcake pincushion. And here is a link to her appearance on Martha (video on sidebar).

Luckily for all of us, Betz has continued to design and grow her repertoire of products. She really is a woman to watch. Her current work now involves developing a line of sewing patterns - mostly very useful, well made bags but also some cute felted ornaments and softies. She has also had a fabric line. She is an mega-talented woman and mother. Check out her Etsy shop here.

Today I would like to share with you Betz' new book - Present Perfect, out just in time for "present making season." 

Published by Interweave, who seem to be expanding in the burgeoning sewing field, this paperback book includes 25 sewing projects. In the back of the book, full size patterns are included. OMG - what a tremendous value considering the cost of one single pattern these days. $26.99 is an incredibly reasonable price for 25 projects and patterns, wouldn't you agree?  

I've had this book sitting on my desk for a few weeks now and have been hemming and hawing about what projects to feature. I have most likely gone a bit overboard with the photos. What you need to know is that there is a great variety of projects included. The projects are broken into 3 chapters and I am highlighting my favorites from each one. 

Memorable Milestones includes projects for women, men and teens. New and Little features 8 projects for little ones. Happy Home features 9 projects for you guessed it - the home. The Greta Cloche is a hat made of jersey and decorated with wool felt flowers. 

 

Here is the "Eye Candy Glasses Case" which I think would be perfect for a phone too. I love that Betz includes sewing products in the materials listing which help to raise a handsewn project onto a higher more sophisticated level. For instance, this eyeglass case uses a magnetic snap and an interlining to make a durable case. (If you were to make this project for a phone, the magnetic closure would not be a good idea.)  



When the book first arrived, I went crazy for the Wool Courier Bag! Here's a project that you can make that would cost hundreds of dollars. Find the perfect wool plaid, mix it with a nice tweed and you will be all set to carry your laptop anywhere this winter. Again, lots of great components listed to create a really quality bag.  Betz has included so many lovely finishing details on this bag.


Here is a detail shot of the interior with its pockets. 


I love this little change purse shaped like a cup of coffee. It has a snap top closure. And look carefully......




There is a quarter treated to the embroidery technique called Shisha embroidery! How cute. 


Do you have a man to sew for? Or are you a man who sews? What guy wouldn't love a handmade toiletry bag?


For babies, Betz has included 8 great projects which would make awesome shower and baby gifts. Here are my favorites...... I am a sucker for a cute Teddy Bear. Betz used cotton terrycloth to make her ultra squishy bears with lots of hand embroidered details.


Any new mom would love this bunny set including a bib, rattle and burp cloths. So glad those days are over! but these would be a great help to any new mom. 


For more experienced stitchers, Betz includes a lovely baby quilt with teddy bear motifs. I guess Betz loves Teddies too!


I love these little finger puppets that are housed in a felt tree stump. Hours of creative playtime for little ones. These include quite a bit of hand sewing but so worth it. 


Lastly, here are two of the projects from the home chapter. This casserole carrier brings me back to the days of attending our Methodist Church Fair. These type of items were always available. Sewn by the ladies in the church and so useful, I can remember so many people toting in their hot foods for the "Family Night Church Suppers." Definitely an item that is due for a revival. Betz' version is so pretty and so well made and insulated. 




Lastly, I'll close with this special project - the Dream Home Quilt. I love the modern typographic style of this quilt and the bright and happy colors it is shown in. Betz machine quilted it with the words Dream...... but you could do whatever you like. 



So there you have some 11 project previews to Betz White's newest book Present Perfect: 25 Gifts to Sew and Bestow. There are 14 other great projects and patterns included that I didn't have space for. Betz' publisher Interweave has kindly offered a copy of Present Perfect to one of my lucky readers. Here is how you enter......

Enter the answer to the following question in the comments section of this post..... Please tell us what you plan to sew this fall or leave a listing of your favorite sewing/quilting/embroidery blog(s) to share with other readers. 
Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 3rd. U.S. Residents only please. 

As always, leave an easy way to get a hold of you. Blogger id, email address, or Ravelry id. Leave an address you actually check!

Contest is over! The winner was Susan - gentledulcimer on Ravelry.