Book :: Quilt it with love

by Admin on 10/06/2013

in Books

Reviewed by: Liz Hoyland loves scrap quilts in saturated colours and is a self-confessed fabricholic. She’s not brave enough to count how many quilts she’s working on right now, but she’s joined a fantastic movement on Instagram encouraging quilters to actually finish their projects in 2013, called #finishit2013. Her website is Scrappy quilts.

Project linus

Quilt It with Love: The Project Linus Story: 20+ Quilt Patterns & Stories to Warm Your Heart by Mary Balagna and Carol Babbitt, Published by Lark Crafts, 2012.

The authors, Mary and Carol, are two amazing women who took the idea of giving quilts to sick and traumatised kids and made it a United States-wide movement with about 60,000 volunteers. The charity movement that they created is called Project Linus, named after the little boy in the Peanuts cartoons who always had to carry his blankie.

Project linus

Their generosity has now gone one step further with this book of tried and true quilts that have proven to be winners with kids. The quilts all have that something special. One features pockets for hiding treasures or storing essentials. Another is a good example of a signature quilts, I can imagine a whole class signing the quilt to send their best wishes to a sick child. Another one, for younger children, has windows and door flaps for hiding surprises.

It’s such a heart-warming book. It really shows the power of quilts. I loved reading about the children who received the quilts. They all thought their quilts were so special. Some of the stories were sad, all of them were inspiring. As well as these wonderful stories, the quilt designs are perfect for people new to quilting with a few with more advanced techniques for quilters wanting a challenge, and quilting groups wanting to collaborate.


During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle


Davina was quite literally one of my earliest inspirations, and I can’t wait for you to read her advice. I introduced myself to Davina by email a little over four years ago asking for advice with my blog that hadn’t yet launched.  She sent me over 1000 words of sound advice without even knowing who I was.  It’s hard to find people like that these days.  What I love most about Davina is her passion for the family unit, her words always remind me what’s truly important and why I got into this creative business to begin with.  Enjoy!

About Davina and Her Creative Business

Davina Fear is a familyness adventurer. By day she helps moms rediscover that all they want, they already have. By night she builds forts the size of elephants, discovers her superpowers, lives a non-balanced life, and gives her husband 15 minutes every night. Her familyness photo workshop is changing mom’s lives, not just while they are behind the camera, but also in the everyday chaos of mom-hood. She blogs from her yellow house at


Best Advice I Have For Those In A Creative Business

The Day I Walked Out Of Cracker Barrel.

Over twelve years ago I went to a support group for parents of twins. When I arrived at the meeting the women were so warm and inviting. I appreciated their willingness to welcome me into their group.

Seated at the Cracker Barrel, surrounded by waffles and french toast, bacon and eggs, I was ready to hear all of the ways to manage having 2 babies in a couple of months. What followed was a steady stream of how difficult the next two years would be… I was going to detest the next two years. It was going to be so hard that I was going to wish for things I had never considered. Life was going to be hard. It wasn’t going to get easier until these two little monsters went to school.

Part way through breakfast I felt defeated before I had even had these babies. By the time the last bit of syrup and bacon had been consumed, I was mad.

I made a decision as I walked determinedly (is that a word?) out to the car: I was going to enjoy having these babies. I was going to make sure I didn’t see it as a torture session someone was putting me through. I was going to love every second. If someone asked me about what is was like having twins, I was going to be helpful, realistic, and hopeful.


Obviously, every second wasn’t bliss and I had hard days. There were times I would sit in my chair with two babies attached to me feeling worn out, and I would remember that day I walked out of Cracker Barrel. It would make me look at my babies longer, hold them closer, and remind myself that these days would pass too quickly. I would never again get to hold a baby that was only 5 pounds and a baby that was only 6 pounds, at the same time, ever again. I would think to myself, “This is my moment. Don’t miss it.”

Even though this experience doesn’t sound like advice — it changed my life as a mom and as a business person. I realized then that it’s up to me to make choices about how I am going to see my circumstances and what my responsibility is in my own situation. I can make my working experience and business joyful or miserable. I can make my family life full and beautiful or annoying and hard to get through on a daily basis.

The last couple of years have been rough. I’ve moved across the country, started up a new business, had a difficult time getting it off the ground, transitioned to building familyness, and discovered so much more in the process.

The reality is: it’s been a difficult road. The help I offer you: that everything happens in a way that puts you right where you need to be. The hope is: you are destined for something amazing. You’ll see it if you let yourself look past the yuck that you’re in and see the beauty. Everyday isn’t easy but I’m willing to bet that the good days outnumber the bad ones.

Now, years later, I still say that same thing to myself, “This is my moment. Don’t miss it.”

I can relate with this so much, as anyone in the thick of a creative business can I am sure. Thanks so much Davina for sharing! — Destri


During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

I am super excited to introduce you to Lindsay of The Cottage Mama today.  She not only embodies the example of “getting things done” — she makes things happen. I love that, and I am trying to learn from it. She’s so gracious to others in her industry, and is always ready to offer insight where she can. Since she has found great success in the industry I am branching into, I was really keen to hear her advice. It’s perfect for any creative business, enjoy!

About Lindsay and The Cottage Mama


My name is Lindsay Wilkes and I am the designer behind, The Cottage Mama, a boutique children’s clothing and sewing pattern company, the writer behind the Sewing and DIY blog, The Cottage Home.

When I started my business three years ago, in early 2010, I wasn’t given a whole lot of advice, but I sure have learned a lot along the way. I’m hopeful that some of these tidbits I’ve learned will help you along the way as well.


The Best Advice I Can Give You

1. Be naïve, it’s ok. I started my business originally selling children’s clothing and as a sewing / DIY blogger. When I started on the scene no one knew who I was. Who was I to think that I could go from nothing to something in three years? In retrospect, I’ve decided you need to be a little naïve to succeed as a creative entrepreneur.

To be honest, no one had ever heard of me, my blog or my business and a normal, rational thinking person might have thought that there was no way I was going to make a splash on the scene without having connections or already being out there. But luckily I am a dreamer and a believer and I have always believed anything is possible. And you should too because it is. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

2. Set small incremental goals and celebrate each success. Success is not going to happen overnight. It’s important to set small, manageable, doable goals to keep you motivated and excited about your business.

When I first started blogging, I had one follower/reader, my mom. I can remember very clearly when I reached 25 readers, 100 readers, 1000 readers, 5000 readers and now 10,000 readers. I celebrated each and every one of those successes because they were a big deal to me. And the same type of things goes for my pattern sales. Don’t sell yourself short by trying to achieve something right off the bat that a person in the same business has already been working on for many years. As cliché as it sounds, just take one step at a time and be proud of each and every milestone you achieve.

3. Define your own personal style. There are many different designers that I admire and look up to for inspiration, but I feel it’s very important to find your own signature style that is uniquely you. You may not know what that style is right off the bat, but the more you create, the more you will discover what you like and don’t like and will ultimately start to define what makes you, uniquely you.


4. Find a mentor. When I first made the decision to transition my business from ready-made clothing into my current paper sewing pattern business, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. Luckily I came across someone who had already established their pattern business and was happy to help me get the connections I needed to start me off on the right foot. If you find a mentor that helps you along the way, make sure you pay it forward and do the same for others that are trying to enter your same field of business. You will achieve more success in your business if you help support fellow colleagues rather than viewing them as competition.

5. Don’t compare yourself to others. As hard as it may be, try to stay focused on your goals and don’t let comparison squash your dreams. It is very easy to get caught up in watching someone else’s success and it make you feel like yours will never be possible. Don’t let yourself do that. What makes your business unique is you and that is something very special.

6. And finally, I do not believe success is luck driven. Creative individuals who are successful make it because they work very hard. Yes, the timing can be right for certain opportunities that help things fall into place, but first and foremost, you must be prepared to work. Once success begins to happen for you (and how you measure that is completely up to you), you will see a snowball effect start to happen that will lead to new and greater opportunities!

Thanks so much to Lindsay for taking the time to share her advice with us today. She has a few big things in the works right now, so be sure to keep an eye out on her blog and shop.


During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

Tools For The Creative Business

If there is one list I would have loved to have when starting my creative business, it would have been a list of all the available tools for growing and sustaining it.

I have a few favorites I will share today, but really I can’t wait to hear yours. It seems every time I am talking with fellow creative business owners, they mention a tool I have never heard of.

Some of these you may have heard of, but I am hoping a few make you say “where have you been all my life?” like they did for me when I discovered them.

Tools I Use For My Creative Business – I include this because it seems that is the most common question I get… Blogger or WordPress? You (or your developer) can literally do anything you need on the platform, you have much more freedom, and from what I understand SEO capabilities are much stronger on WordPress.

WP Engine – This is the company I use for hosting, and I couldn’t recommend them more. I was with Bluehost to start and liked their service as well, but TMH outgrew their servers and we had to find a new home :). WP Engine has all sorts of great features, but here are my favorite – one click backup and restore, they update your site with new wordpress releases, they guarantee you won’t get hacked, and will fix it for free if you do, speed-speed-speedy, always ready to help.

Madmimi – I use this for the TMH newsletter, and love them. You can easily make a beautiful template that is custom to your brand, simple opt-in integration, and great support. I have not experimented with other email platforms, so I would love to hear your input on your favorite.

Kind Over Matter Printables Kit – this is a great ebook with templates for making printables you can use for giving to readers or making for sale.

The Ink Nest – Beautiful graphics you can use for free or for sale printables — just read the terms of service for details.

Outright – I just recently discovered this small business online accounting tool, and I am in heaven. You can link it to paypal, bank accounts, and it keeps track of all the purchases and incoming sales. You can even prepare your quarterly taxes on the site. Like I said, I am new to it, so I am sure there are many other things it can do.

Law For Creatives – Contracts, employment law, insurance, intellectual property, for your specific creative field.

Picmonkey – Oh the things you can do on Picmonkey. I use this platform for all my photo editing — I have photoshop but find it too cumbersome and much prefer the simple and intuitive layout on Picmonkey. Check out their blog for tutorials — love the one for making a transparent background for png files (perfect for logos and watermarks).

Etsy – You can find branding kits to set you apart, graphics for your Facebook page, royalty free graphics, and much more — just do a quick search.

With Etiquette – Royalty free music for videos — I was actually just introduced to this last night!

Alt Classes – Great online classes covering many useful topics. They are always offering different ones, so you just have to check in now and then to see what they have. I have taken tax classes, imovie for bloggers, and many more. What I love is the classes are taught by fellow creatives that know the business, and they’re only $15!

Passionfruit Ads – easiest way I have found to serve private ads, so many great features.

Okay, now it’s your turn! What tools do you use for your creative business? What online platforms make your work easier? Even if you think it is something everyone knows about please share — it may be known in your niche but not in another.

Thanks so much for sharing!



Hand Quilted With Love by Sarah Fielke — Reviewed by: Danielle is a Canberra-based quilter, crafter, knitter and collector of fabric. She blogs infrequently at mespetitselefants but is more likely to be found on Instagram and twitter @petitselefants.



Sarah Fielke will be a name familiar to many in the quilting community, both on- and offline, having authored three previous books including co-authoring the hugely popular Material Obsession One and Material Obsession Two. Hand Quilted With Love is a sumptuous book filled with colour and vibrancy, perfect for an idle afternoon read as you gather inspiration for your next project. A couple of the quilts may be familiar to those who already follow Sarah’s blog, including the Made in Cherry pieced lone star quilt which was the subject of a quilt-along online in 2012.


Inspiration is here in spades – Sarah is well-known for her unique mixing of fabrics and colours and brings them together in sixteen quilts, suitable for a range of skill levels from beginner through to more advanced. Although the title suggests the quilts are all about hand-quilting, this is not the case. Hand-quilting is Sarah’s preferred method of finishing her quilts, but she admits she would not get as many finished if she hand-quilted them all! Hand-quilting does lend an extra-special quality to your quilts, but these patterns would be equally gorgeous if they were quilted by machine (a number of quilts in the book were professionally quilted by a long-arm quilter).


One of the things I love to do most is hand-applique, and I tend to flock straight for the appliqué-based patterns. Millefiori grabbed me straight away and I set about the challenge of assembling a colour scheme against a red linen background. Despite what looks to be quite a complicated quilt, the pattern was simple to follow and put together in a relatively short period. Hand-quilting now awaits me!


Included in the book are plenty of tips and tricks, and a feature that is particularly useful is a guideline for making each of the quilts in a different size. Sarah’s instructional style is friendly and helpful, and I love her tips on building a stash – any excuse to acquire more fabric is surely welcome! Most of all, this book is a visual feast of simply stunning quilts, beautifully photographed, and will give confidence and inspiration to anyone hesitant about mixing bold colours and lots of prints in the one project.

Sarah is currently hosting a blog tour of quilts made from her book. Do go and have a look at all the loveliness.

Liz Hoyland reviews Sarah Fielke’s previous book: Quilting from little things: Liz loves scrap quilts in saturated colours and is a self-confessed fabricholic. She’s not brave enough to count how many quilts she’s working on right now, but she’s joined a fantastic movement on Instagram encouraging quilters to actually finish their projects in 2013, called  #finishit2013. Her website is Scrappy quilts.

Quilting from Little Things by Sarah Fielke, [we participated in the blog tour for this book last year so click on over there to see some yummy images]

I loved the concept of this book, which gives the option of making a doll-sized quilt or a full-sized quilt using each technique. And keeping with the little-big theme, it read delightfully like a big sister taking you by the hand and talking through the journey from beginner to advanced-level quilts. I really welcomed Sarah’s advice about buying fabric. She says to buy fabric if it makes your heart sing, rather than restricting yourself to only buying fabric when you have a specific project in mind. Her thinking – and this makes a lot of sense – is that one day the fabric will be perfect for a project you’re working on.

As luck would have it, one of the women in my quilt circle was working on an applique quilt from a Sarah Fielke pattern last month. She was working with a wonderful range of fabrics inspired by her Sarah Fielke pattern, with colour-dense fabrics appliqued onto gorgeous text fabric. It was a case of love at first sight for me, I couldn’t take my eyes off it! My friend said she had read Quilting from little things and particularly loved a technique, new to both of us, which shows a ‘step down’ way of piecing a quilt, with open and closed seams. Always good to learn something new!