Monthly Archives: September 2012

Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook + Giveaway!

Today’s guest is none other than Anna Maria Horner, designer extraordinaire and author of the new book Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook (Wiley). The gorgeous hand-stitching book (I’ve seen it myself, and it is not to be missed!) releases mid-October, but you can pre-order now from Anna Maria or Amazon.

We’re excited to learn a little more about Anna Maria’s new book and her creative business! There’s also a giveaway at the end of this post.

Anna Maria Horner

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

Congrats on your third book release! Where did you find your inspiration for this project, and what do you love about hand stitching?

Thank you so much! I have been making embroidery and needlepoint since I was a little girl. The inspiration to collect projects for a book came about as I was just trying to figure out how I would want these disciplines presented to me as a reader/maker. It was important to me to make a book that could be just as inspiring for the novice as it is for the experienced needlecrafter. And doing that meant making sure there was lots of inspiration for the final usage of a worked piece, whether that be in a frame, a bag or a some fashionable application.

I love hand work. I love the slower pace and the connection that it has to drawing and painting. Simply said I know, but there are many crafts that I like, and only a few I love. Embroidery and other related needle crafts just happen to fall into the love category for me.

Is writing a book similar to designing a new fabric line?

Yes and not really. They are similar in the devotion I develop to each through out the process, but the language is all together different. The language of a fabric collection is almost entirely visual apart from the narrative style I attach to it with the collection name, then print and color names, and so on. I try to propel the story of the collection through those names. I think of a book as a literal conversation between myself and the reader, and in my category of sewing and how-to, it is of course also educational. The book as well has a visual element, which is in part the projects that I develop, but also the photography, how the pages feel, what the fonts look like, and all these things are speaking to the reader as well through the subconscious. So it’s important to me to get them right, so I am making my “story” unique and inspiring the reader.

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

Your designs and your career are inspiring to so many creative people. What lessons have you learned in your career that might help us?

I think having support is a huge bonus. If you have the luxury of not having to be the main bread winner in your house, then it might lighten your stress to take a few risks, or just spend a good amount of time developing your ideas. Then again, I have always found having to win a bit of bread can be pretty inspiring, too. We all work differently, so sometimes your productivity and creativity formulas are more or less a direct product of your environment. If you can, get to know what kind of conditions put you at your best and try to get there as often as possible. You might travel down a path the dries up after a while, but simply continuing to work on something will eventually bring you to what you were meant for, if you’re paying attention.

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

From reading your blog, it seems that you stay busy with family, design projects and teaching opportunities. Do you have any secrets to keeping a work/life balance?

It is not an easy balance, and I do get it wrong sometimes. The hardest thing for me to do is take time to take care of myself. Over this past summer though, I have demanded taking off on a run 3 to 4 times a week, which has left me feeling better than ever. Running has helped me keep my energy where it needs to be for work and for my family, even though it takes time out from both. But the payoff is much bigger than a couple of hours a week. I also find that saving slower-paced projects for evenings when I can work on them in the midst of my husband and kids is not only more enjoyable, but it lightens that daytime load.

Photos: Anna Maria Horner

Those are wise words! What’s next for you?

I always have a new fabric collection (or two) in the works as well as new sewing patterns. After the launch of the book, I will be introducing Field Study Rayons, Voiles and Velveteens, the Escape Artist bag pattern, the Flight Map quilt pattern and also some palettes of tapestry wool to continue growing my needleworks product. And there’s loads to look forward to next year, including some reprints of older fabric favorites and also linens!

Thanks for the sneak peek, Anna Maria! We can’t wait to make projects from your new book!


Wiley Craft is generously giving away a copy of Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below telling us one thing you’ve learned from our Q&A with Anna Maria. We’ll choose a random winner on 10/4/12.

Congrats to commenter #179, Lori!

Author Talk: Fat Quarter Shop + Giveaway!

Today we are thrilled to have the team at It’s Sew Emma Patterns and Fat Quarter Shop here to talk about their new book!

The book begins shipping today, and is called “Simply Fat Quarters.” With 10 quilt patterns that can each be made in four different sizes. Read on to learn more about the team’s self-published book and don’t forget to leave a comment at the end for your chance to win one of three copies!

It's Sew Emma (clockwise from top): Kim, Jocelyn, Sarah and Debbie

So many people have the bucket list dream to write a book, but not many realize what is involved in the process. Can you tell us a little bit about the book and your patterns business?

Here’s a little background about It’s Sew Emma! We are a dynamic team of four (Kimberly, Debbie, Jocelyn and Sarah) that design and publish patterns together. We each have different talents, tastes and specialties, which works really well. We have been publishing It’s Sew Emma patterns since 2011, which started out from one conversation in the back of a van during Quilt Market some years ago. Writing a book had always been on our minds, but it had to be the right time.

Is there a theme for the quilts/projects included in this book?

Simply Fat Quarters is geared towards using fat quarters to create quilts of all different styles and sizes. It seemed fitting to have our first book focus on fat quarters since our store is Fat Quarter Shop. There are 10 projects, and each can be made in four different sizes: crib, lap, twin and king. All are suitable for a confident beginner. Of course we think they appeal to all!

Did you work with a traditional publisher, or go the self-publishing route? What have you learned through the process?

We chose to self-publish mainly because we wanted to work on our own timeline and have complete creative control. Every step was a learning process. We researched copyrights, binding options, writing styles, distribution methods, you name it.

Establishing the pattern company while still running a fabric store did not leave much room for exploring the book idea, but we finally set a deadline for ourselves. It was a very fun and challenging process, and we like to do things fast. From idea to self-publishing, it all came together within nine months! After we decided to go the self-publishing route (very nerve-wracking to say the least), our concept, then we each submitted lots of designs to consider. After selecting our designs, we picked the fabrics for our samples, wrote instructions, did the photography, edited, tested, and edited some more. We have just finished the process, so it still feels like we’re in that dream!

Where do you find inspiration for writing new patterns? Do you have any ways to overcome the writer’s block that comes with creating designs from scratch?

Usually the inspiration for new patterns comes from fabric, a classic “chicken and the egg” situation! Sometimes you see one print that you know will be the starting point for a new quilt design, and then you take the seeds of design inspiration you’ve had sitting in your mind to do the rest. Some of us start with pencil and paper (or mouse and computer), and some start at the cutting table.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a craft book or design and sell patterns?

Research how the business works and invest in beautiful photos. A great book or pattern cover is paramount. Get together a team of great testers. Most importantly, set a deadline. You will mull over your options designs forever unless you stick to a date!


Hot off the presses, Simply Fat Quarters has arrived in stock at Fat Quarter Shop, and they are generously giving away 3 copies of the new book!

Simply Fat Quarters

Leave a comment telling us something you’ve learned from this Q&A for your chance to win. We’ll choose 3 random winners on October 3, 2012. Good luck!

Congrats to our three winners, #19 Libby G., Diane and #90 Linda S.!

Author Talk: “Improv Sewing” + Giveaway!

Today, we are thrilled to have special guests Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut, authors of Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques! Read on for an informative Q&A on what it takes to write a craft book, and leave a comment to win a copy of their book.

Can you tell me how you met and started blogging together?

We met at Family Fun Magazine where Debra is an editor and I am a freelance crafter and stylist. We collaborated on many features and knew we worked well together. Our blog came about after we started writing Improv Sewing – an idea initiated by Debra who likes to tell how she would often see me coming in with boxes of crafts wearing something I had stitched. Debra thought she might not be the only one who would want to learn how to make clothes for themselves so asked if I would like to pitch a sewing book with her. Well, yes ma’am, I did. Improv Diary is our shared space for talking about creativity and making lovely things, as well as a few other random ideas.

With a background in creative publishing, it seems a natural fit that you would work together to write a book. How did you go about the process of pitching the book proposal to a publisher (or did it work the other way around)? Can you describe that process?

Yes, you are right, it was a natural fit. After we agreed that we wanted to pitch a sewing book, I stitched up a dozen or so things, Debra wrote a fantastic introduction and then laid out the photographed projects in such a nice way, it appeared we already had a book completed. After one false start with a publisher in New York we pitched the book to Storey Publishing. They are small but have had some great success in sewing books so we knew they would understand what we were trying to achieve. Furthermore, they are all about creative self-reliance and our concept fit right in with that. We were so fortunate to have a very quick response from them – waiting can be a killer – and they wanted it! They wanted it but wondered if we would be interested in increasing the size and breadth of the book from 30 clothing projects to 101 sewing projects that would span garment making to quick gifts. Despite that large number, we didn’t really hesitate – more projects definitely meant more work, but it also meant more fun.

Once the book deal was official, how did you divvy up the work of writing the book? With 101 projects, this surely took a great deal of time. What do you recall about those days of making the actual book projects?

Divvying up the work was a natural process – something that was obvious as we entered into the project’s first stages. We brainstormed a big list to get started with – obviously my clothing designs and other fun things I had designed over the years – and then we went to our respective corners for a while. I went to my studio where I designed, developed, stitched, and photographed and Debra started writing the core message of the book and introductions to the individual projects. As I finished developing things, I would send notes and images to Debra so she could write the instructions. In the early days, Debra was just learning to sew, which was perfect. I had to be thoughtful about the steps and process and if I was unclear or something didn’t make sense, she would catch it right away and ask all the right clarifying questions. Sometimes I had to re-develop something and sometimes I just need to explain the steps more clearly. As our deadline creeped closer, we began to meet more regularly to go over the directions, sew together, and draw up rough art to give to our illustrator. Those days feel like a while ago and I mostly remember sewing for very long stretches of time. I can safely say that Debra most likely remembers many late nights writing. Of course we wanted to projects to stand out and inspire people, but we also wanted the book to be a good read – I think we were successful.

Fast forward to the day you received a copy of the finished book in your hands. Can you describe your reaction, and any reflections on the process?

I will never forget the day that the guy delivered my ONE copy of the book (we’d have to wait a whole month before we’d see any more). It was wrapped in brown paper with a lovely piece of natural paper twine and a very kind note from our fantastic editor. My family gathered around and we looked at it and I had so many emotions and thoughts I couldn’t pin any one down. It had taken so much work and time to get to that place and then the book was in my hand – and it looked so beautiful to me!

What’s next for you both?

We have some ideas for another book that we have been tossing around, but for now, we have a lot of work to do to get the word out about this book and think we should dedicate our free time to doing just that.

Improv Sewing book cover

Free Projects

Storey Publishing was gracious to share two free projects from the book, including the:

Reverse applique t-shirt

Reverse applique ottoman cover



Storey is giving away a copy of Improv Sewing to one lucky Craft Buds reader. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post about something you’ve learned from this Q&A. Giveaway limited to North America. We’ll choose one random winner a week from today’s post!

Congrats to commenter #30, Samantha!

Link Up Your Craft Book Project

All month long, we’ve been inspired by craft books. Now it’s your turn to show us what you’ve made!

1. Make It

Find a project from any craft book (sewing, knitting, baking–whatever craft inspires you), and make it. If you’ve completed a craft book project any time in 2012, you are eligible to enter! One entry per person.

2. Blog It

Create a NEW blog post or Flickr photo (dated September 1, 2012 or later) and tell us a little about the book, your project and how you personalized it! Link back to Craft Buds/Craft Book Month in your post or photo description. You can use the button code to the left.

3. Enter to Win

Link up the direct URL to your craft book post in the inlinkz widget below from Sept 23-30, and enter to win prizes. Winners will be announced on Monday, October, 1!


From all entries, we’ll randomly choose 27 winners to take home a prize below, from our fabulous sponsors! International entries welcome.

4 winners! $25 Gift Certificate from Fat Quarter Shop

3 winners! Dual Duty XP Thread Set and Anniversary Tin from Coats & Clark

1 Winner! Anna Maria Pearl Cotton gift box, Anna Maria Embroidery Floss gift box and Anna Maria patterns courtesy of FreeSpirit

1 Winner! 6×12 Frosted Ruler, 45mm Ergonomic Rotary Cutter and a 12×18 Double-Sided Self-Healing Rotary Mat from OLFA

1 Winner!
Prize Pack from Pellon featuring:
1 pkg 70 Peltex® Sew-in
-1 pkg 805R Wonder-Under®
-1 pkg Cheesecloth (36″ x 3 yards)
-1 pkg Perfect Loft™ Cluster Fiber (16 oz.)
-1 pkg Fusible Fleece
-1 pkg Craft-Fuse®
1 Winner! Fat quarter bundle of Sweetwater’s new collection “Noteworthy” from Moda, United Notions

1 Winner! Fat quarter bundle of V&Co.’s new collection “Simply Color”  courtesy of Moda, United Notions

Simply Color fat quarter bundle Moda V&Co

1 winner! Complete collection of 10 sewing patterns from Amanda Murphy Design

1 winner! Scrap Basket Sensations book and fabric Wee Folks jelly roll courtesy of Fabric Seeds

1 Winner! Pieces of Hope fabric bundle from Riley Blake Designs

1 winner! Three patterns of your choice from SUCH Designs

1 winner! $25 Shop credit from Zipit

1  Winner! 100 Moo Mini Cards to advertise your handmade business

1 Winner! Three Modern Quilt Relish patterns of your choice

1 winner! Little Stitches book from Stash Books
1 Winner! Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook from Wiley Craft

1 winner! Pair of Generation T books from Workman Publishing

1 winner! Skip the Borders from Martingale & Co.
1 winner! Sew Merry and Bright from Martingale & Co.

1 Winner! Heart Felt Holidays and Stash Happy Applique books from Lark Crafts

1 Winner! Grow Your Handmade Business book from Storey
1 Winner! “Yarn Bombing” book from Arsenal Pulp Press

yarn bombing book


Sponsors: Amanda Murphy DesignAngela Yosten PatternsCoats & ClarkFabric SeedsFat Quarter ShopFreeSpirit FabricsMartingale & Co.Moda United NotionsOLFAPellonRiley BlakeStash BooksStoreySUCH Designs /  WileyWorkmanZipit


Craft Book Month at Craft Buds


There’s still time! Comment to Win:

A full set of Angela Yosten sewing patterns (ends Sept. 24)

The book “Quilts from the House of Tula Pink” (ends Sept. 26)

FreeSpirit Fabrics (ends Sept. 30)

Craft Book Month: Week Three in Review + Giveaway!

It’s the end of week three on the Craft Book Month blog hop, and we are celebrating with our third and final FreeSpirit Fridays giveaway! Let’s see what our friends have been making this week . . .

Sunday 9/16:

Modern Patchwork block

Megan @ Canoe Ridge Creations

Monday 9/17:

Garden Party Wristlet

Elizabeth @ Inspire Me Grey

Candy Coated quilt

Lee @ Freshly Pieced

Tuesday 9/18:

Lindsay Sews

Lindsay @ Lindsay Sews

The Cute Life

Amy @ The Cute Life

Wednesday 9/19:

Katy @ The Littlest Thistle

Grocery Totes @ Sew Crafty Jess

Jessica @ Sew Crafty Jess

Thursday 9/20:

Urban Stitches

Anna @ Urban Stitches

Improv Sewing Bath Mat

Rachael @ imagine gnats

Friday 9/21:

Sew Bittersweet Designs

Melissa @ Sew Bittersweet Designs + an Intrepid Thread giveaway!

Kaelin @ The Plaid Scottie


FreeSpirit Fridays Giveaway!

Visit this blog hop links this week, then tell us in the form below which of these statements is FALSE.

a) Canoe Ridge Creations has squares in her blog header.
b) Inspire Me Grey has a white and grey blog header.
c) Freshly Pieced has a bird in her blog header.
d) Lindsay Sews has three photos in her blog header.
e) The Cute Life has quilts in her blog header.
f) The Littlest Thistle has a solid blue blog header.
g) Sew Crafty Jess has dandelions in her blog header.
h) Urban Stitches has quilts in her blog header.
i) imagine gnats has a girl in her blog header.
j) Sew Bittersweet Designs has the sun in her blog header.
k) The Plaid Scottie has a dog in her blog header.

FreeSpirit Designer Solids

Answer correctly, and you’ll be entered to win the third and final mega fabric bundle from FreeSpirit (1 fat quarter bundle, 1 design roll and 2 charm packs of FreeSpirit Designer solids)! We’ll choose one winner one September 30th.

Congrats to last week’s FreeSpirit Friday’s winner #29, Natalia, with the correct answer “l) LRstitched has an umbrella in her blog header.” Natalia will win a fab bundle of FreeSpirit Fabrics!

Have you been inspired by this month’s blog hop and craft book projects? Now it’s your turn to show us what you’ve made! Link up your project on the blog between September 23-30 to the Craft Book Month party with prizes!

Craft Book Photographer Elizabeth Maxson + Giveaway!

Joining us today is Elizabeth Maxson, a talented lifestyle photographer who photographed the book Quilts from the House of Tula Pink (F+W Media). I know you’ll enjoy getting to know Elizabeth’s creative process, some fun places she has been featured and more about her craft book photo shoot. So let’s dive in!

Elizabeth, I see from your blog that you were featured on the cover of Where Women Create. Congratulations! How did this come about?

Yes, I can.  That issue, was a big honor for me! It was the summer of 2010, but it does seem like yesterday. Actually, I was out of town working for a client and when I returned, an email from the publisher, Jo Packham, was waiting for me, asking if she could shoot my studio. She was going to be in town to shoot Mary Engelbreit’s studio as well as a few others and wanted to include mine as well! I was shocked. She later learned that I was a photographer and so she asked if I could then shoot my own studio, which I did. But I had no idea (nor did it even ever occur to me) that I would ever end up on the cover of Where Women Create. Had I even thought of that, I would have at least styled the shot for a cover! It was a very short deadline, and what you see on the cover (and inside) is really how it looks most of the time. Well, not counting those times I am on a deadline and I just drop things wherever to beat the clock.

Where Women Create cover

As a freelance photographer, you worked as a stylist and photographer for the book Quilts from the House of Tula Pink. You certainly had some stunning subjects to work with! Can you tell me more about this?

This project is something I am very proud of and again, something I just didn’t expect. I was at a book signing in NYC, for Where Women Cook‘s premier issue, and Nancy Soriano, an editorial strategist, just walked up to me, introduced herself, and said she may have a project that I would be perfect for later in the spring. Just like in the movies. One moment I am signing a book, and the next moment, I am talking to the infamous, Nancy Soriano!

Tula Pink Quilt by Elizabeth Maxson

Can you take us back to the day of the Tula Pink photoshoot? I’d love to hear how this works.

I am smiling when you said, “the day,” because there is no such thing as “the” day…but it is a good smile, not a condescending one. Actually, I spent almost three weeks to find the exact location. I had a vision in my head that I just couldn’t let go. I did so many test shots of many, many places around town, and near town, and when I downloaded them on my computer, they just didn’t sit right with me. Sometimes, I would drive all day and never take a single shot because I didn’t see a place I liked. I must get a real “feel” for a location before I shoot for anyone. Finally, I found this abandoned place, above my friend’s store! But unfortunately it was an hour and twenty minute drive, one-way, just to there. But it was exactly my vision, so I didn’t care, I had to have it. And, while I found it in May, and the weather was great then, the shoot got delayed until August. Yup, an August three-week heat wave and tornadoes from hell! I shot for three weeks in triple-digit weather, watching the weather change any moment from blistering sunny skies to black threatening clouds that had me packing up all my equipment, computer, tripod, and 10 quilts, then scrambling down the stairs, down the street, and into my car for a long drive home, watching the clouds overhead, and listening to radio wondering if I was heading in a safe direction or not.

As far as props, setting them up, and styling…well, you are looking at her. I am a photographer and also a photo stylist. Sorta a two-for one! I had trusting friends who let me kidnap some of their treasures, and my husband who helped haul up the furniture up the stairs. But once it was up the stairs, it all sat in boxes and in one room. I basically had to move each piece into place for each set-up. But the funny part? The floor had this perfect dust and dirt on it and I didn’t want to mess that up. So, no dragging of anything…I did not want any drag marks anywhere, so I literally lifted every piece many, many times, even that settee, and set it down carefully, as not to leave any long dragging marks on my perfect dust.  Crazy, right? And then there were Tula’s gorgeous quilts that I got to know personally and I had to take great care of, keeping them clean while I surrounded them with all this “perfect” dust!

Tula Pink Quilts by Elizabeth Maxson

I had boxes and boxes of props, and most of the big furniture is mine. But even the tiniest prop I would borrow from my friends, if I felt I needed it. And there was a great antique mall, Forever Antiques. The owners, who barely knew me, lent me that fabulous bench on the cover, as well as a few other items. No deposit required, they just let me walk out with it! I think they saw how passionate I was about finding just exactly what I wanted.

I work only with natural light. Not even a flash on that shoot. So, I was at the mercy of the clouds and sun. After studying the rooms and the movement of the light, I would begin figuring out in my head, and through test shots, how I wanted to set up and use the rooms. Some days, I would completely change my mind on what I would do, simply because the clouds came in and ruined my set-up, so I would spend that day just prepping for a completely different shoot in a different area, as I waited for the light to shift. And when it did, I would zip over to the other set-up, capture the light, and shoot, until the cloud moved again. And so then I’d got back to prepping the other set-up, with no time wasted.  A typical day could be as long as 12 hours with driving time, loading and unloading my equipment, hauling it up the steps, then unloading carefully, setting it all out, getting it ready, setting out my computer, getting out the quilts. And then finally, just starting with the set-up and then using the light, and then bingo! I can finally click the camera. Then there is the packing up the equipment, computer, tripod,  and 10 quilts and hauling it all down the steps, down the street, loading in the car, driving an hour and twenty minutes and unloading my car and hauling it all into my house again. So the drive, all the steps, and the fact I couldn’t leave the quilts behind or any equipment for fear of the harsh weather really added a good four or five hours to my day.

Now the million dollar question that I usually get is: Why didn’t I get an assistant to help me load and set up? Well, on this particular shoot, I just could not do that to my several friends who volunteered. One, they would hate me at the end. The building was easily 120 degrees on most days. I brought a cooler filled with ice and dunked a t-shirt rag in it and wrapped it around my head just to keep from passing out some days. Two, it was a filthy environment. Three, I rarely takes breaks. And finally, I couldn’t ask someone to sit for hours on end in those conditions as I painstakingly choose exactly which prop looks best on camera, download the shot, check it on the computer, and then move it over three inches, because the light hits it just a little better turned…and shoot again just to be sure of size, light, everything.

But remember, this shoot was to take place in late May and very early June, not in August. Had I the powers to  forsee its delay, then my common sense would have directed me to a place where I could be fairly certain that my attire would not require an iced-wrapped t-shirt rag around my head!

Quilts from the House of Tula Pink by Elizabeth Maxson

Wow, I’ve never pictured photography as such a grueling business! So, after the craft book photo shoot, what comes next in the process? Who from the book publisher do you work with, and what does this process look like?

After I fulfill the shot sheet, I download the photos and adjust as needed (cropping, cleaning up a photo that has a loose thread, or hint of whatever showing on the edge that wasn’t supposed to be there). I was very, very lucky in that the publisher, F+W Media, gave me complete freedom. That is not common. We discussed the book and its “feel,” but pretty much, how I shot it, what I used and how I used it, was a freedom that I was given and felt honored to be given that trust. I would turn in my photos and just wait and see if they would freak out or if they loved it. And the best email is when you get one that comes back with: “WE LOVE THE PHOTOS.” From there, my job is done. The layout designer and editor work together with the publisher and as a team, along with the author, the book is laid out. Text, graphics, and final approvals are completed. I never saw the book until it was mailed to me.

Quilts from the House of Tula Pink by Elizabeth Maxson

I see you have a strong interest in DIY and home decor, and your kitchen was even featured on the Aparment Therapy blog. Do you have any tips for someone wanting to break into the photography side of the craft publishing world? How can you make connections and effectively launch your business?

Hmmmm…good question. Home decor, custom design, and dealing with antiques is in my blood and was my professional start. I always shot photographs, but it was out of necessity because I couldn’t afford a “professional” to do it for me. I needed a photo for my website back when I had a retail store. Or I needed a photo for an ad. Or a photo that an editor wanted quickly for a little piece in a magazine, so I would just shoot it and send it out and so on. Soon, my shots were getting noticed and my love for photography was always there, but just on the back burner. I really just photographed what I was working on and doing. And at that time, it was my store and my custom design work. I loved what I did so I shot it, shared it, and shot more.

For crafter, I would suggest to photograph what you are working on, as well as, any crafting fairs you are attending. I would look at the publications that you are reading and you enjoy. I would study them and ask yourself why you read them and what is it about them do you like? Look at the photos in those publications and study them. Do those crafting magazines do a lot of “how to” photos? Do they do a lot of “event” photos? Do they do a lot “detail” shots? Submit whatever type of photos that those magazines are using and shoot what you enjoy, but shoot in your own unique style for that magazine. That is just one way to start. But mainly, no matter how you shoot, shoot with a passion and over time, develop your own style of shooting.

Quilts from the House of Tula Pink by Elizabeth Maxson

And by style of shooting, I mean, whether you are shooting a craft item, food, a craft fair, or even just materials needed to make something, shoot it in a way that makes that shot your shot. And that just comes with time and shooting lots and lots of things over and over again.

As far as connections? First, if any crafters have a blog, then that is the best place to make connections and to show off your crafts and your photography. If you are wanting to grow your photography, then I would say at least 90% of every single thing you put on your blog should be a photo you would be willing to send to an editor. Secondly, if you don’t have a blog, then definitely start one. Also, you may write to any publication and ask for their editorial calendar, which basically is a schedule of upcoming articles they hope to publish, or plan to publish. This will help you to determine if  you have any photos or articles that may fit what they are looking for. Finally, connect by simply going to publishing websites, blogs, or even getting the email from of the editors of publications and introduce yourself, include a fantastic photo, a topic of a story you have to offer, and then offer your assistance (and include a link to your blog, of course!).

Thanks Elizabeth! We find you work and your business tips inspiring, and are so glad to have you join us!

Tula Pink Sew Along

Interested in sewing up a quilt from the book or something in Tula Pink fabrics? Check out the Sew Sweetness Tula Pink Sew Along!

Quilts from the House of Tula Pink


F+W Media is giving away a copy of the book Quilts from the House of Tula Pink to one lucky Craft Buds reader! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment about something you learned from our Q&A with Elizabeth. We’ll choose a random winner one week from today’s post!

Congrats to commenter #52, Linda!

Don’t forget to work on your craft book project and link it up the last week of September for our Craft Book Month party with prizes!

Craft Book Author Angela Yosten + Giveaway!

Today we are excited to welcome Angela Yosten, author of the new book “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” Read on to learn more about how she got started writing a book, as well as some creative ways she went about promoting the new release. There’s also a great giveaway at the end of this post!

Angela, congrats on the release of your new book, “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” Can you tell me how you began a relationship with C&T Publishing?

I first came in contact with C&T Publishing when I designed a project for Moda Bake Shop’s book, “Fresh Fabric Treats” which was published by Stash Books/C&T Publishing. I had several ideas swimming around in my head for books and decided I would send in a couple of book proposals. “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” was actually my second book proposal submitted to Stash. After that, I contributed two block designs to “Modern Blocks” and I am now working on my second book.

Sewing for boys is often a challenge. Do you have any tips for how to choose colors and fabrics that will appeal to boys of all ages?

I like to stick with the KISS method for boys’ fabrics: Keep It Sew Simple. Geometric prints, dots, stripes, zig zags, plaids are all great options for boys prints. I especially like to find the grunge and raw styled prints for boys, something with texture. Absolutely no florals of any kind. You don’t want them to be embarrassed; it must have that “cool” look to it if it is handmade.

Stop Go Quilt Sew

Do you have a favorite part of the book writing process? How did you handle the long wait from the time you created the projects until the book was released and you could finally talk about it?

I actually love the entire process of writing a book. It is amazing to me how much actually goes into creating a book. If I had to pick one particular part, it would have to be coming up with all the designs. I love sketching out ideas and figuring out how a project will come together. It is that “Ah ha” moment that really gets me going.

The wait from the time all the projects have been created and sent to the publisher to the time you can actually mention the book’s name, what it is about, or even a sneak peek is unbelievably hard. You want to be able to share with everyone what you are working on every night and weekend, and you can’t. I was recruiting my kids and even my husband to critique my work just so I could show someone. As soon as I would finish a project, I would run into the living room late at night, grab my husband, and say, “Come look! Come look! Tell me what you think!”

Once the projects are sent to the publisher, it is a little easier to keep quiet… out of sight, out of mind. That is until the design layout of the book comes, and then it starts all over again. But it is not that long after that you can start talking about it.

Angela Yosten Book release

After a book releases, there is quite a bit of promotion involved, both on the part of the publisher and the author. What kinds of things have you done to help get the word out about your book?

Being that this was my first book, all my own, I wanted to have a big party to celebrate the launch of my book, so I held a Book Launch and Signing Party at a local coffee shop in our town. I also held a blog tour and invited some friends in the industry to review my book. C&T does a lot for their authors as well to help promote the book which has been awesome!

Stop Go Quilt Sew


We have a big giveaway today, courtesy of Angela! The prize is a complete collection of 7 patterns from Angela Yosten Patterns. Leave a comment with something you’ve learned about our Q&A with Angela for your chance to win!

Congrats to winner #29, Tonia J!

International entries welcome, and we’ll choose a winner one week from today!

Don’t forget to work on your craft book project and link it up the last week of September for our Craft Book Month party with prizes!

Craft Book Month: Week 2 in Review + Giveaway!

It’s the end of week two! Let’s see what our friends have been making this week on the Craft Book Month blog hop!

Sunday 9/9:

Bianca @ Sweet Diesel Designs

Kendra @ missknitta’s studio

Monday 9/10:

Tara @ Sew Tara

Jennie @ Clover and Violet

Tuesday 9/11:

Terri @ Sew Fantastic

Amy @ amylouwho

Wednesday 9/12:

Julianna @ Projektownia Jednoiglec

Erin @ Two More Seconds

Thursday 9/13:

Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts

Elizabeth @ Don’t Call Me Betsy

Friday 9/14:

Cindy @ Live a Colorful Life

Lindsey @ LRstitched



FreeSpirit Fridays Giveaway!

Visit this blog hop links this week, then tell us in the form below which of these statements is FALSE.

a) Sweet Diesel Designs has “sassiness” in her blog header.
b) missknitta’s studio has yarn in her blog header.
c) Sew Tara has a sewing machine in her blog header.
d) Clover and Violet has triangles in her blog header.
e) Sew Fantastic has sewing machines in her blog header.
f) amylouwho has a little girl in her blog header.
g) Projektownia Jednoiglec has a sewing machine in her blog header.
h) Two More Seconds has photos in her blog header.
i) Ellison Lane Quilts has the word “modern” in her blog header.
j) Don’t Call Me Betsy has a sewing machine in her blog header.
k) Live a Colorful Life has circles in her blog header.
l) LRstitched has an umbrella in her blog header.

FreeSpirit Designer Solids

Answer correctly, and you’ll be entered to win this mega fabric bundle from FreeSpirit (1 fat quarter bundle, 1 design roll and 2 charm packs of FreeSpirit Designer solids)! We’ll choose one winner a week from today’s post, and you can play again on our third and final FreeSpirit Friday, 9/21.

Congrats to last week’s FreeSpirit Friday’s winner #192, Carmen Nuland with the correct answer “h) Fabric Seeds has triangles in their blog header.” She will win a fab bundle of FreeSpirit Fabrics!

Don’t forget to work on your craft book project and link it up the last week of September for our Craft Book Month party with prizes!

Craft Book Author Emily Neuburger + Giveaway!

Today we are excited to have special guest Emily Neuburger, author of the book Show Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children’s Storytelling. Emily is joining us to talk about her kids craft book as well as the writing process for her book. At the end of this post, you can also enter to win a copy of her book!

Emily Neuburger

Welcome to Craft Book Month, Emily! Can you tell me what you love about telling stories, and why it’s important?
I love making crafts that facilitate storytelling because it offers children (and adults) the chance to drift into imaginary worlds where anything is possible. I have always been a daydreamer – where twigs and dirt often became mountains and trees – and I am a firm believer in nurturing children’s natural inclination to spend time with their imaginations.  Storytelling is so healthy and good for children – it helps them practice communicating, it expands their emotional awareness, and it is often a way for them to experiment with problem solving.  And, um, it is also super fun!

This is a very unique book concept. How did you go about conveying your concept to a publisher and what did you learn?
I actually submitted a book proposal where storytelling crafts was only one of the chapters in the proposed book. The editor who I was working with suggested that I elaborate on just the storytelling chapter since it was so unique and vibrant.  The process of uncovering the heart and soul of my book served as a reminder to be willing to experiment with shifting the focus of a project.

Creative storytelling crafts - Red Bird Crafts

When it came time to write the book, what did your timeline look like, and how did you interact with the publisher?

The process was definitely lengthy with lots of different, distinct steps along the way. After signing on with Storey Publishing, I was given six months to write my manuscript. I checked in with my editor from time to time, but I mostly just curled up in my cozy chair and wrote. Once the manuscript was turned in, I shifted my focus to craft styling – and more craft styling and more craft styling. Then, there was the photo shoot, copy edits, proof edits, more proof edits, and then four months to wait before I saw my first printed and bound copy. The time frame from the time I wrote my proposal to the release date was approximately 3 years. I found the whole process rewarding and interesting.

And, now, I am excitedly preparing for my book tour! Hooray! In the coming months, I’ll be visiting book shops, craft spaces, and museums to share projects from the book.  I’m really looking forward to connecting with children and adults as they create; it will be fun and beautiful, and I can’t wait.

Scenes from Tell Me a Story

How would you compare the process of blogging about crafts on your blog Red Bird Crafts and actually compiling a book?
Honestly, writing blog posts and book chapters feels extremely satisfying and exciting for me! In the end, the two writing processes felt very similar because I approach my writing as an educator and an artist. I love to inspire people to be creative and to encourage them to have confidence in their art; both forms of writing offer me the chance to do just that.

Thanks for your insights into the book writing process! What’s next for you, Emily?
Thanks for asking! I have lots of exciting new projects and ideas coming together right now.  I’ll still be blogging at Red Bird Crafts, but in a few weeks I’ll also have a new website at The new site will showcase more of what I offer as a teacher – library and school visits, curriculum guides, and my local classes.  I’m very excited for launch day!

Show Me a Story book


Storey Publishing is giving one lucky Craft Buds reader a copy of Emily’s new book, Show Me a Story. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post telling us something you learned from our Q&A with Emily. One random winner will be chosen in a week. Entries limited to North America.

Have you been hopping with us this week?

Sunday 9/9: Sweet Diesel Designsmissknitta’s studio
Monday 9/10: Sew TaraClover and Violet
Tuesday 9/11: Sew Fantasticamylouwho

Craft Book Month Prizes

Show us your craft book project from Sept 23-30 and win prizes!

Craft Book Marketing: Arsenal Pulp Press + Giveaway!

Today we are happy to welcome Cynara Geissler, Marketing Manager for Arsenal Pulp Press! A Canadian-based publisher that’s relatively new to the craft books scene (the first craft title released in 2009), Arsenal Pulp Press is a specialty craft publisher with titles that stand out as edgy or subversive.

Read on for a glimpse at how a marketing team goes about promoting your favorite craft books!

Cynara, welcome to Craft Book Month! Can you tell me a little bit about how you entered the craft publishing business and how Arsenal Pulp Press came to be?

Arsenal was founded in 1971 as Pulp Press and published push-the-envelope literary fiction and irreverent pamphlets. Publisher Brian Lam took over the company in 1992 and broadened the scope to fiction/non-fiction, cookbooks, art books, and visual and cultural studies titles.

The first craft book we acquired at Arsenal Pulp Press was Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain. Leanne Prain (a graphic artist, writer, knitter, and crafter) conceived of the title as part of a book-publishing simulation project in Simon Fraser University’s Master of Publishing Program. Our associate publisher, Robert Ballantyne, attended the book project presentations and was impressed with Leanne and her (then hypothetical) book on knit graffiti.

Because Yarn Bombing has a strong civic/social dimension (the streets serve as the gallery and the art becomes public) and is quite playful in tone and content, it stood out as a good fit for Arsenal. Leanne brought Mandy Moore into the project, who is well-known in the knitting community, and it worked out perfectly. That was our gateway into the glamorous world of craft book publishing.

Wow, so your first craft book author was actually “discovered” while working on a classroom project. Can you tell me more about where you work? What does a typical work day look like for you?

There are five of us in our office, which is open-concept, so it’s easy to communicate with one another. If I were to take a snapshot of my physical work area right now you’d see a two desks (arranged in an L) covered in files and post-it notes. If you were to zoom in on my computer, you’d note that I have an inadvisable amount of tabs open in both Firefox and Chrome. I’ve also got Excel spreadsheets, Google docs and various InDesign files on the go. If my computer were the Enterprise, Montgomery Scott would probably be yelling at me that I’ve “pushed her as far as she can go,” and that we have “a shortage of dilithium crystals!” right about now.

When I arrive, the first thing I do is read my email (but if I’m being honest, I actually read it all the time: the blessing/curse of smart phone ownership). I respond to media requests for things like book covers, excerpts, interviews and media copies of books. If we have a large review copy mailing going out that day, I try and tackle it early in the day so it’s all ready to go when our mail pick-up arrives.

A typical day in Arsenal’s marketing department involves everything from:

– Editing/creating media lists
– Meetings or phone calls with authors
– Pitching and following up with media about our books
– Speaking with bookstores/venues (to set up events)
– Designing/creating press kits
– Writing event listings and invitations
– Sending out tweets and setting up facebook events
– Posting review copies or awards submissions

(You were all picturing me smoking a cigar, barking orders to interns, and pulling whiskey out of a drawer, before heading off to a booze-soaked book launch followed by a cocktail party on a yacht, right?)

Publicity, as I am sure most publicists will tell you, expands infinitely (like the universe). There is always more that can be done.

“Yarn Boming” book promo, blogged at The New Yorker

That’s quite a list of duties. About how long before a book’s release does a publicist start thinking about creative ways to promote the book?

We think carefully about a book’s audience/community from the acquisition stage, when we’re deciding if the book is right for Arsenal. Our craft books are rich community objects. We’re attracted to books that grow out of craft and artistic communities and speak with and belong to those communities as well. Both Yarn Bombing and Hoopla are books that collect, explore and showcase the work of a vibrant community of artists, creators, crafters and makers: They include patterns and profiles from a wide range of fabric and textile artists from all over the globe.

I usually meet with authors quite early in the publication process (when the book is still in editorial, so months and months before it will be a real, spiney book),  especially if we’re going to be planning a tour. We talk about the book launch and events, tabling/speaking opportunities, who should receive review copies, contest ideas, book-related swag.

I’m a one-woman marketing department on most of our titles, so it’s always the best when I can be a tightly-knit publicity tag team with our authors.

Hoopla book

What are some examples of ways that you might use online or traditional marketing to promote books vs. non-traditional or relationship marketing?

In terms of traditional marketing we send out review copies to media, take out print/digital ads and we also produce print and digital catalogues in fall and spring which get sent out to libraries, bookstores and the media. We have all of our titles available for direct order on our website and we also maintain a blog, YouTube channel, Twitter account, Flickr stream, and Facebook page. We have monthly e-newsletter. It’s always ideal when our authors have a strong web presence as well.

I think of publicity as what Shannon Emerson at Canada Wide Media refers to as “being in all spaces: online, in print and in person.” You want to create as many opportunities for a reader to discover a book as possible.

Those sound like wise words. So, can you explain how that all plays out?

In Person: For Hoopla we did a multi-city author tour. Because the books are visual and the subject is tactile/about creating Leanne’s in-person events included a slideshow and a craft for people to create as part of the event. For Hoopla, Leanne gocco-printed hoops with a design from the book and we did buttons with subversive embroidery sayings like “Crewel Intentions” and “Boss of Floss” for giveaways at events and book fairs as well as buttons for craft bags and jean jackets. Leanne is very active in the craft/art community she leads (and continues to lead) crafting/embroidery workshops; coordinates knit nights and /craft meet-ups (some of which result in certain public structures sporting unsolicited sweaters). She also attends/presents/tables at craft shows like Vancouver’s Mini Maker Faire.

In Print: With craft books you are less likely to receive “traditional” book review coverage, so we pitched the book for trend pieces, profiles, interviews, Q & As and excerpts.

Online: We (myself, Leanne, and the wonderful contributors) spread the word about the book through our websites, Twitter, Facebook and blogs as well as forums like Ravelry. Global and local craft communities were very supportive with letting us post about upcoming events, hosting giveaways and offering pattern downloads to spread the word about Hoopla. When Leanne brought the Yarn Bombing book to us she was already connected, engaged, and involved with the craft community. She built on those connections through the process of writing her books (and interviewing artists) and the websites for Hoopla and Yarn Bombing and also tweets about crafts, graphic design, and art from her twitter account @LeannePrain.

Hoopla author Leanne Prain signing books, blogged at Unanimous Craft

What do you appreciate most about your job and/or working in the craft publishing industry? Can you tell us the most challenging part of the job?

I deeply value my brilliant colleagues, our talented authors and the brave books we publish at Arsenal. We publish books that challenge, incite and provoke, books that take risks and trouble and subvert norms. I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many creative, professional and intelligent people.

It can be tough–and, to be frank–kind of heartbreaking when a book doesn’t catch on. You have all the ingredients for a success: clever and original content, smart and thoughtful design, an intelligent, charming and energetic author. All that and a dedicated publishing house, and for whatever reason (the sheer number of pitches, bookings being published and books already out there in the wild?) people take a pass.

A bestseller or breakaway is about the book being great (which you can control), but also luck: which you can try to harness by bottling lightning, stroking pink rabbit’s feet, or . . . well, ultimately that part is quite out of your control.

Thanks for the vivid glimpse into your career and craft book marketing, Cynara! You can visit the Arsenal Pulp Press blog or check them out on Twitter or Facebook.



Today, Arsenal Pulp Press is giving away a copy of the book Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery to one lucky Craft Buds reader.

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling us something you’ve learned from our Q&A with Cynara. We’ll choose one random winner in a week. (Giveaway limited to North America.)

Congrats to commenter #9, Nicole G!

And remember, you can still enter to win:

Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting (ends 9/12)

FreeSpirit Designer Solids fabric (ends 9/14)

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