monday mornings inspiration {the blue ladybug}

What inspires you?  To create and craft and sew.  

I’d love for you link up on Monday Morning for some inspiration.  I am not one of those that hates Mondays.  I love Mondays.  I’m ready to get my work done for the week and anxious to jump in.  What a great way to start the week, sharing what each of us finds inspiration in and in turn, inspiring each other.

Todays Monday Morning Inspiration is my friend Mary Beth...

Hello Everyone! I’m Mary Beth, from The Blue Ladybug Blog and Shop. I’m so honored that Trish asked me to guest post for Monday Morning Inspiration! I think Trish and Two Peas in a Pod are so inspiring- I particularly love the bright colors in her fabrics and photos, and the fun projects she creates. Here’s a little about me and what I’m currently inspired by…

 I’m a mom first to Titus who just turned 2, and our baby girl that we’re expecting Christmas week! I’m involved in our local Mothers Of Preschoolers (MOPS)group, and in our church and youth group where my husband is a pastor. I started sewing when my son was born and then started The Blue Ladybug :: Children’s Boutique with my friend, offering matching brother sister clothing sets, which has grown to many other clothing and accessory items in the past year and half that we’ve been in business!

My sewing career began with a desire to make boy crafts and practical items! That’s been my whole angle with business and sewing… I’ve made clothing and belts, ties and bowties. Wet bags, pacifier clips, burp cloths etc… And most of my fabric stash is boyish.

Then I found out I was having a girl… Sure, I was excited, but I was also overwhelmed with all the options for girls out there! Honestly, I always liked that I didn’t have to think about the endless ideas for girls in the craft world, but here I was about to have one of my own… So I took a deep breath and took the plunge! The day after finding out I was having a girl, I walked down to our local quilt shop and picked out some cute fabrics all in PINK! :) Forget being practical, I started dreaming off all the bows and ruffles and every impractical item I could make for her!

I’ve been having a more difficult time with my pregnancy this time around. Once the third trimester hit, I’ve been in seemingly constant pain! I even ended up in the hospital with the flu and dehydration. And I’ve been having trouble doing as much as I was before, plus taking care of a toddler. And because I’ve been so much busier this pregnancy, I realized that I was NOT ready for this girl to be here! Sure I have most of what I need, but I hadn’t done anything in real preparation to help myself feel mentally ready to have her. You know what I mean? So I went to my Pinterest boards (follow me) and made a list of girly projects I wanted to get done before she comes…I realized that I needed to stop looking for inspiration and start actually doing the things I was inspired by!

Here is my Monday Morning Inspiration- my baby girl! I'm so excited to share my creations with you today!

We kept our guest room, but added her crib to one wall (which will eventually be gray- please use your imagination :) ) The wall art is fabric stretched over embroidery hoops, and her name (painted on wood letters) will go in the center (we didn't put it up yet because it’s a secret hehe).

This ribbon mobile was what I was most excited about making! :) We have yet to put it up, and aren't entirely sure where to put it because of the wicked slant in the ceiling and the wall was shorter than I thought :/ But I love it and I'll find a spot for it! :)

I’ve also made some receiving blankets, crib sheets, booties, and flower clips on headbands.

The paci clips and burp cloths were stuff from my shop that I had on hand!

I even made some adorable little Christmas PJ pants! (yes, I’m counting on her being early like her brother!)

I have a couple projects still to go… Hoping I get them mostly done in the next month!

-A Diaper bag tote, wristlet and wallet

-And a Quilt using the incredible Heirloom in Ruby Fabrics from Joel Dewberry. (yes, I gotta get cracking on that project!)

I can say that completing these adorable projects and getting her room (mostly) done, have helped me become more ready for my baby girl to get here! It feels so good to actually do the things that I’ve been inspired by! And doing all these projects, even though I’ve been busy and very uncomfortable, has helped the waiting go by quicker! 

Thanks for reading my inspiration! I’m excited to see how having a little girl will inspire me for years to come!

Now it's your up your latest inspirations!  Be sure to link back here {}

{monday mornings inspiration - comfort food}

Our weather here in Ohio over this last week has certainly turned Fall like.  Cooler winds, cold evenings, and the leaves are just about gone from the trees.  We have had friends over almost everyday for lunch or dinner and that is just the way I like it.  I love having dinner ready to go so friends can pop in and sit with us and visit.

The other night I was thinking about what I had to get done over the weekend and I thought, you know what?  I don't HAVE to do anything.  I can choose to do nothing all day but cooking and visiting with family and friends and the world will not stop spinning because of it.  It's hard when you run a business especially from home to not to do "something" everyday with the business.  It's not healthy I can tell you that.  But it can be really hard to just let it sit...especially this time of year.  Everybody is prepping for Quilt Market and although we are not going, I do have new products that I need to get into distributors hands to share with shopkeepers who attend Market.

But I have to remind myself, again, all the time, that this will all be in God's time.  I can't worry about "keeping up with the Jones'" and who has what coming out, etc.  I just need to do my own thing, enjoy it.

And in thinking about adhering to some real work hours and REAL time off and spending time with friends, I've been cooking up my famous soups lately.  My friends will tell you - they love my soups.  Yes, I am totally bragging on myself but it's the truth.  I am seriously good at making soup.  They make requests all the time - it's kind of a running joke.  (also a joke, my husband laughed at my photos here - he said, "what?! you're not really going to make the soup for the picture just show ingredients!  I said, "yes" while I chomped on the carrots from the plate.  LOL!)

So, my Monday Morning's Inspiration post today is about good 'ol comfort food, Potato Soup ala Trish style.  I've had more than one friend lately ask me for my recipe which is a little tricky because, um, when I make my soups, I'm just kinda throwing stuff in as I go along.  But, here is my best attempt at sharing my potato soup recipe that my family loves.


Potatoes - I use a big stock pot and cut up about 12 - 16 potatoes into chunks

Chicken Stock - I'm lazy, I buy a box of organic chicken stock instead of making my own

Carrots, cut in slices (about 3)

Celery (I use sometimes an entire stalk, leaves and all, cut in 1/4" or so slices)

Onions (about 1 medium onion diced)

Salt and Pepper

Hot sauce



Butter (at least one whole stick)

Velvetta (yes, the evil velvetta - I do love it in soups)

Parsley - fresh if you have it or use dried

1) Pour in your chicken stock and add some additional water (about 4 cups) and start to boil your potato chunks.

2) Add to that your celery, carrots, and onion.  Let those cook until softened.

3) Use a potato masher and gently mash some of your potatoes while they are in the pot.  This just thickens the soup a bit.  Be sure you leave PLENTY of other potato chunks in your soup.

4) Melt your stick of butter and add some flour.  I usually will do about 3 tablespoons of flour give or take.  Just add one tablespoon of flour at a time and whisk making a little rue.  Then I slowly whisk that mixture into my soup.

5) Add some milk to the pot.  Typically, I add around 1 - 2 cups.  If you still need to fill up your pot, you can add more water.  I have enough veggies and liquid to fill my soup pot 3/4 full at least.  You have to or else you can't enjoy leftovers for lunch for the next week.

6) Add about 1/4 - 1/3 of a block of velvetta or to your taste (or another cheese if you are anti-velvetta).

7) Add a few dashes of hot sauce, pepper, parsley, and a few teaspoons of salt to taste.  I literally measure the salt in my hand and toss it in and keep tasting until I get it right.

8) Simmer for about 45 minutes or so stirring to keep it from sticking on the bottom.

You can sprinkle some cooked bacon over the top, green onions or shredded cheddar cheese.  We usually add some nice bread and a salad to go along with it.  It's delish!

So what have you got cooking lately?  Share a link to your blog so we can be inspired by your latest sure to link back here and you can use this button too.  I'll be picking one person using on Wednesday this week from the linky participants to receive a free class with me!  (did you see my first online sewing class was live - over there - on the right sidebar!  Check it out!)



{everyday inspiration}

Sometimes, inspiration comes to you in surprising ways. When you are tired, when you are doubtful, when you are frustrated, when you are just going through the motions and not "in it to win it"...inspiration can surprise you.

And energize you.  Renew your spirit.  Refresh your heart and soul.  Make you very glad. Illuminate the face of God in the most unexpected ways.

So, my inspiration post today is different than most.  Because sometimes, inspiration can come to you in surprising ways.

A friend of mine posted this story on her facebook page this weekend: She and her husband were in the grocery store.  They were buying breakfast items for a ministry they are involved in - feeding those in need the first Sunday morning of every month.  She and her husband were talking about whether or not they should take a step back from this ministry and let others step up to serve.

They were having doubts.

They stood in line to check out with their cart full of breakfast items for the next morning and the couple in front of them noticed and commented they must be planning a big breakfast.  My friend and her husband told the couple about the ministry work they do.  The couple was so moved by what they had shared they asked if they could pay for half of the groceries.  When it came time to pay, that couple instead paid for the entire cart of groceries.  $175 worth.  Just like that.

God answers sometimes in big ways.  And inspires us to keep going.  Because what we do DOES matter to Him and to others who really need us even if we aren't really feeling "in it to win it".

I have shared this story with several friends after I heard it and even as I type this, it still brings tears to my eyes. God is SO real.  And so good.  And loves us so much. Helping others is so inspiring to me.  Giving is such in incredible gift. Know what I mean? Giving is such a blessing for the giver.  And receiver. And so this story has renewed and reenergized my soul this morning.

No cute photos.  No giveaways.  Just words.  God is real. What an inspiration.

<a href=””><img src=””></a>

Want to link up?  (you can use the code above for a sidebar link or just link back to this post url)

Share your Monday Morning Inspiration...your crafting, your joy.  Let's share and lift each other up.

{p.s. last week's giveaway winner from our linky,  #1, Mauby.  Email kiddo, and I will send you that lovely little clutch.}



{monday morning's inspiration}

Remember this little series I was writing about for a bit?  Then Summer hit and my blogging mojo went out the window...

Well, I am excited to bring it back only this time, I have a twist!

Monday Morning's Inspiration is going to be a new link-up party.  Each week, I will ask you to share on your own blog, your Monday Morning's Inspiration.

It may be a special moment with your kids, it may be a piece of artwork, it may be a person or designer, something in nature...share what inspires YOU to create each week and share what you are working on.  I love it when I get to see what each of you have created and to hear your stories of what brings you joy.

Here's how it works.  Write your Monday Mornings Inspiration post and then come here to link up.  You have until Friday to share your posts.  I'm going to open this up starting today.  Please join in as you are able.  You can use the Monday Morning's Inspiration banner above or use the button for your sidebar to please link back.  And be inspired!  Can't wait to visit some new blogs!

Here's the code:

<a href=""><img src=""></a>

This Monday, I want to share with you one of my inspirations.  I had the pleasure of spending this last weekend working for a friend of mine, Kelly McCants.  You might better know her as "June" from Modern June or the Oilcloth Addict.  She was hosting a booth at the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio (Oh, I'll tell you more about that later).

Kelly always has a smile on her face.  A cheerful greeting.  Infectious enthusiasm for everything she does.  And she does so many things so well.  Kelly has found her niche in sewing with oilcloth which is the title of her first book just released, Sewing with Oilcloth

Seriously, how adorable is Kelly?!?  In 5 years, she has successfully started her business and built it into a thriving, fun and exciting career path.  Kelly's new book is full of inspiration, 20 different projects, that will have you sewing up some oilcloth and laminated cottons in no time.  Think modern retro table covers, art smocks, aprons, placemats, pet mats, splat mats, pennant banners, pillows...the projects in the book and the products she offers goes on and on.

During the Country Living Fair, Kelly did a demonstration using the laminated cottons and covered one of my dining chairs from my sunroom.  I am a lucky girl!  She used this yummy print and it goes fabulously with all my beachy decor and colors I use in that room.  Those chairs were covered with stains from little people but no more!  Now all I have to do is just wipe them more worries about spills and stains!

Not only is Kelly an amazing business woman but she also is "teacher" to her 2 children.  Yep, she homeschools her kids as well and somehow, manages to keep her studio running in tip top shape and takes care of Mr. Modern June.  I love her to pieces and I'm so incredibly inspired by all that she does.  It was so much fun and an honor to work with her this weekend and watch her in action, doing what she does best.

Here's the best part, Kelly has a signed copy of her new book and a yard of this oilcloth print to giveaway!  I'll have choose a winner from all of the link-up party entrants and announce the winner next Monday.

So, one more great reason to link up.  {Thanks Kelly!}

Link up!  {p.s.  the registration for the Tie Tote bag will begin soon...not today but soon!  Few technical kinks to still work out.  We will keep you posted!}


If you've been around here long enough you know that this "Monday Mornings Inspiration" doesn't necessarily mean it will actually appear on Monday because it rarely does.  Like all you other Moms out there...its the end of the school year round up and for us the start of swim team (2 practices a day 3 x week plus 2 more on the other, lotta lotta poolside sitting for me).  I have been working, crafting, cursing my sewing mishaps new sewing patterns.  For some reason, these have been a little tricky for me - lots of details for beginners and advanced sewers.  I think you'll love them but they have had me cursing under my breath a bit more than normal.  Our photo shoot is tomorrow for all the new patterns for the remainder of 2011 - very anxious to share them with you!  I've also been preparing for a video / commercial I'm shooting for a company and I'll share more about that as I can.

Where were we?  Monday Mornings Inspiration - and this is a fabulous one!

 Krista Hennebury  of Poppyprint is one amazing quilter from British Columbia and like many of my bloggy friends...I kinda forget when we met.  I think she may have won a giveaway of mine many moons ago and I've been stalking her  enjoying her blog ever since.  She was recently named to the list of Top Quilting Blogs for 2011.  Such a talent and always a breath of fresh air and joy to visit her blog.  It's my pleasure to introduce you to her so you too can stalk enjoy her blog.

When did you learn to sew?  And what inspired you to begin? 
I learned to sew on a machine in 6th grade home economics class, when I was 12.  I had already learned to knit and embroider at Girl Guides.  I wasn't an avid sewist, but I did make a few sundresses in high school on my Mom's Singer.  After my children were born, I made a few Hallowe'en costumes, curtains and hemmed a pair of jeans here and there.  I loved collecting fabric, though I wasn't sure why until my early 30's when I signed up for a quilting class at my LQS.  I was immediately hooked on patchwork and took class after class to build my skills.

What are some of your favorite projects to stitch together?

Quilting is my foundation but I really love making purses, bags, and zaka-inspired small projects like wallets and pillows. I enjoy making special gifts for people that I know will appreciate them, as well as making items for fundraising events like silent auctions or raffles at my children's school and community events.
Do you create any of your own patterns?  What is your process like for creating your own pattern and what advice would you offer someone else who is new at drafting their own pattern, for quilting or otherwise?  How should they get started?  
I have designed several original quilting projects, mostly for online swaps (which are a great venue for trying new things and stretching your creative skills!). In those cases, I looked to my partners for an inspirational idea, be it a favorite style, colour or design motif.  Photography is also a hobby for me and often I'll use one of my photos as a jumping off point.  Sometimes, I'll make a rough sketch of my idea (for an art quilt), or for a traditional patchwork I will draw it out on graph paper.  I think doodling and colouring is a great way to start trying out ideas.  Although my background is in science, I am not that formulaic when I work. I tend to thrive on trial and error instead of detailed planning!  If I know that I'll want to make something again, or share the pattern in a tutorial, I will take notes and photographs while making the project.  Then I always make the entire project a second time, refining my instructions as I go along.  I like brief, to the point, clear instructions with illustrations or photos for clarity (see? science girl).

Is quilting business or pleasure for you? 
Lucky for me, it is 100% pleasure with a little bit of business thrown in.  I started a retreat business 5 years ago hosting 13-hour day retreats in a public hall not far from where I live.  I cater all the food, set up the hall with my husband's help, provide ironing stations, basting tables, goody bags, door prizes and support if anyone needs help with a project. The retreats have become so popular, the 25 spots available sell out in less than 24 hours!  I really cherish the community that has been built around the retreats and am thankful for the small income they provide.  I did save up for two years to upgrade my sewing machine, but let's be honest; most of my income goes straight back into fabric!
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Our family is planning an extended holiday (maybe even a house exchange?) in France for summer 2012 to support our children's French learning, and to refresh our French, too!  I've been lucky enough to travel extensively, for work and pleasure before having children 14 years ago, so even though that wanderlust is still there, I don't have the same 
desire for adventure that I used's more about spending quality time with my husband and our two teenagers now. I'm worried they won't want to travel with us much longer!

What's next on your sewing table? 
Hmmm, let me analyze the pile (which is always pretty high). Quilt and bind a relief quilt for Japan on behalf of my friend who doesn't have a walking foot, finish the baby gift for my new nephew, make a purse for an upcoming silent auction, continue work on a new quilt for our bed, make myself a new bag with gorgeous home dec fabric that just arrived yesterday!
Was I right or was I right?  Isn't she fabulous?  I know, I know...another blog to add to your reader.  You won't be sorry!  And you're welcome.  Go visit Krista on her blog and tell her I sent you!
I'll try to post again soon...but no promises.  Best to catch me on facebook or twitter (trishpreston) here in the next week or so if you wanna keep up with the commercial shoot, etc.!
What are you guys sewing up lately?   Leave a comment and a link to your blog and share what you've been sewing up this summer!

{daisy janie}

I have a big girl crush on Jan DiCintio.  She is a powerhouse of art and design.  I had the pleasure of meeting Jan last October at Quilt Market in Houston and have the pleasure of calling her "friend" as we have kept in touch over these last few months.  She's a really good Mom, fabulous wife to her hubby, and she is a very successful risk taker.

I say that because Jan self produces her own line of organic fabrics. I love what she has done with her business and love her fabrics (you'll find one of my new sewing patterns has Shades of Grey gracing the cover).  What I love is her love of design AND her commitment to sustainability in business.  Read HERE and HERE.

My Monday and everyday inspiration, Jan DiCintio...

{Since the feature is called Monday Mornings Inspiration, can you tell me what inspired you to a career in art and design?}

The initial spark that started me down this artsy path came 13 years ago, when my son was born, and I began sewing and painting home décor accessories for his room, our house, gifts for friends, etc.  It wasn’t long before I became a juried artist with the PA Guild of Craftsmen and sold my wares by commission and at craft shows.

A series of  stepping stones later, including painting funky repeat designs in clients’ homes and designing fabric for Daisy Janie handbag collections, and, voila, here I am! (Except that it wasn’t nearly as simple & easy as voila!) {What continues to inspire you each day and how do you keep your art fresh? Inspiration each day}

I’m inspired by just about everything I see because I cannot NOT see the world through an artist’s lens. From textures, colors and patterns in nature to lines & shapes created by sun and shadows dancing through a window, it all seeps into my psyche and comes back out in the form of doodles and drawings that become designs.

I also love design from the late 1920s to early 1970s, particular mid-century modern. It’s not only the actual styles of these periods, but also the stirring nostalgia I feel when I look at them.

Keeping my art fresh: I have learned to trust my instincts, rather than questioning myself too, too much in the initial stages of creating new designs. I let myself go and see where I end up. Unbridled exploration and happy accidents make great art! {What 3 words best describe you?}

Passionate, analytical, loyal.

{What could you not live without to get through each work day?  Your phone/computer, sewing machine or your coffee?}

Hands down, my computer. If I had a penny for every minute I’ve spent on my computer in the past 5 years, I might not need it so much. Funny how that would work.

{What is the best part of your job as a designer?}

Seeing my fabrics come to life in all sorts of delightful handmade goodies! I always have ideas for things I’d like to make, but I rarely have time to sew for pleasure. It really lifts me up when I see or hear about the variety of items made – people are sooo creative! {What advice would you offer to someone when it comes to living a creative life?} Above all, make sure you keep a sense of balance in your life. You have to find a balance between work & family & the rest of the world. Unchecked self-absorption begets more self-absorption…it’s a vicious cycle b/c you never step outside yourself long enough to know there’s more to the world than your deadline, your project, your work. Stop taking and give back instead. You’ll be much happier when you share yourself; your work will feel lighter, your ideas will flow and you’ll become much more efficient & effective. Took me 10 years to figure that out!

{What can we expect to see from you in the coming year in terms of new projects and design?}

I have a few exciting things in the works! First, I just shared my next collection of organic fabrics, Tilly, on my blog this past Friday (available Oct 2011). It’s near & dear to my heart for many reasons, and it’s also the first collection on a beautiful, new base cloth for Daisy Janie. I’m so thrilled b/c this new cloth will allow me to bring down the pricepoint a bit, making my fabrics much more accessible to those who are watching their pennies but still want an eco-friendly fabric. Secondly, I am working behind the scenes with another well-known designer, whose work will be licensed with Daisy Janie. I think everyone is going to love her fabrics!! Look for these in early 2012. Thirdly, I am working on establishing a core group of 1-color mod prints, offered in an array of basic hues; these would be a stock item, and hue determinations will rotate by season or by popular demand.

{if you haven't sewn with Jan's organic fabrics yet - here's your chance at some of her goodies!  Jan is offering a fat quarter bundle from her Shades of Grey line to one of you!} THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Here are the details - if you'd like to be entered in the giveaway for the FQ bundle, 1) simply leave a comment telling us why organics are important to you.

For extra entries, you can do the following:

2) Become a follower of Jans on her facebook page.  Come back here and leave a comment - 1 entry. 3) Share this feature on your facebook page with your friends - leave a comment you have done so - 1 entry. 4) Do you Twitter?  Tweet this feature, "Go Green. Go Sew.  Daisy Janie FQ bundle giveaway OR something like that.  Leave a comment that you tweeted!

4 chances to win but if you don't win - hit up your local fabric retailer to get some for yourself!  This giveaway will be open until Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 5pm EST.

{thanks Jan! }



{olive & ollie}

Shocking, I know.  It's Monday.  And I'm actually posting my "Monday Mornings Inspiration" ON Monday.  {big pat on back for Trish, thank you}. I met Heather Jones at Quilt Market last fall but we had been "Twitter" friends long before that.  Turns out, Heather is a "neighbor" of sorts.  She lives in Cincinnati (I'm in Columbus - only 2 hours apart).  She has been ON FIRE lately with her modern quilt designs and I'm so excited to introduce her to you today!  You will fall in love with her creations and certainly, be inspired!  {and do some crafty things yourself because she is sharing some of her inspiration with you!  See the end of post!}  Friends, meet Heather Jones of Olive & Ollie...

Since the feature is called Monday Mornings Inspiration, can you tell me what inspired you to a career in art and design?

I’ve always been artsy and crafty. I used to paint and draw a lot, and I majored in Art History in college and grad school. I started my career in the Curatorial and Education departments at the Cincinnati Art Museum, while I made all sorts of crafts in my spare time. When my children were born, I knew I didn’t want to go back to my day job, so I looked at ways that I could make money from home and still take care of them. I opened up my etsy shop in 2007, but really started to think of it as a prospective business in 2008, after the birth of my daughter. By then, I had an 18 month old and a newborn, so I began to focus on designing children’s clothing and accessories. 

What continues to inspire you each day and how do you keep your art fresh?

My husband and children are my number one sources of inspiration. They continue to inspire me every day, and challenge me to work as hard as I can for our little family. My husband is a painter, and I’m really inspired by his artwork, and I can see his influence in my work. But, I honestly see inspiration everywhere. One of my recent quilt designs was based on a grid that was painted in the parking lot of my local Wal-mart!

I’ve began to take a few more breaks in the studio, which I think is a good way to keep things fresh. I still rarely have a day off because of my limited hours of work time each day, which are usually late at night or early in the morning, when the kids are still sleeping. But, I’m trying to make more time for myself, which helps me recharge and keep things fresh. I’m also inspired by the women who are members of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild with me.

What 3 words best describe you

Caring, Compassionate, Strong

What could you not live without to get through each work day?  Your phone/computer, sewing machine or your coffee?

Probably all! I’m not a big fan of coffee though, and I really prefer tea, but coffee has become an unfortunate necessity to me, since I’m usually running on about 5 hours of sleep every day!

What is the one best part of your job as a designer?

The best thing is being able to work from home and stay with my babies, who are now three and four. I’m incredibly lucky to have a job that I love and that allows me to be with them as well.

What advice would you offer to someone when it comes to living a creative life?

Follow your passion and do what you love. Don’t forget that you can do anything that you want to, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What can we expect to see from you in the coming year in terms of new projects and design?

I’m working on a series of modern quilt patterns that I hope to have completed this fall. I am also going to be writing patterns for some of the children’s clothing and accessories that I currently make as well. And finally, I’m also part of a big project that unfortunately I can’t say too much about, but just keep your eyes open in the spring!

Thanks Heather for sharing a bit of yourself - your work is so beautiful!  I'm thinking I may need to offer up a bribe of some sort to find out what this big project is...hmm!  I hope you'll visit Heather on her blog and leave her some love!  If you've enjoyed this post - please share (easy to do with the little share buttons at the bottom!)

SEW ALONG with Heather - she has so graciously offered to give 3 of you a copy of her YIELD PDF QUILT PATTERN!  Sweet!  Leave me a separate comment for each of the following and we will pick a winner later this week!  {giveaway ends on Friday, May 13th at midnight - winner chosen via}.

1) Just leave any old comment - preferably one where you share what crafty goodness you've been up to lately.  one entry. 2) Follow Heather on Facebook.  One entry. 3) Follow Heather's blog. one entry. 4) Visit Heather's shop - because you will drool over the adorable birthday ensembles, then come back and tell me you are so glad you found her! one entry

4 chances - one very cool and fun quilt pattern!



gussy sews, and sews, and sews and sews...

Yes, yes...I realize, yet again a series I titled "Monday Mornings Inspiration" has not been posted on Monday.  I really need to change the name because my life is very unpredictable!  I digress...regardless of what day it is, it is a great day to meet Maggie!

Maggie Whitley is the girl behind the ruffle - the gussy sews girl - you know the one!  The girl is everywhere!

Maggie taught herself to sew not that long ago, launched a business, quit her day job and the rest as they say, is history.  She is sweet and energetic and not afraid to take risks.  A lesson that she shares so freely on her blog.  She is always a breath of fresh air and I've enjoyed getting to know her in blogland.

Today, Maggie is my Monday Mornings Inspiration, or Wednesday...whatever!  You'll be inspired too - read on!

1) Since the feature is called Monday Mornings Inspiration, can you tell me what inspired you to a career in art and design?

At the time I started sewing (November 2008), it was truly just a hobby and something to fill my evenings and weekends with. I wasn't really interested in watching TV when Zack (my husband) had to work late, so one day in November I decided I'd teach myself how to sew. As the months passed and I learned more and more I came to really love the trade. Also around this time my husband and I suddenly became unemployed. The Michigan companies we worked for weren't doing very well, and we lost our jobs. As newly weds and recent college grads were were left thinking, WHAT do we do now?!?! It was a really crazy time and we were both unemployed for 7 months.

Around August of 2009 we decided to pursue the only job offer we received -- I was offered a full-time, salaried position in Minneapolis, so we moved. We packed up the house we were renting in Detroit, MI and moved 600 miles. I was still sewing at really developing my brand and style. A few months later Zack and I agreed it was time to leave my salaried job and work full-time on my business, Gussy Sews.

In college I studied photography and journalism ~ two subjects I really love, and have for some time. Originally my dream job was to work for a magazine. I was drawn to fresh designs, new monthly page layouts. Since I love to talk and interact, working for a magazine and interviewing others for features was perfection! Even though I'm not working THAT dream job, I'm definitely working my current dream job {yeow!}. I'm really drawn to color and this job in art & design allows me to work with it, through various mediums, plus it allows me to feel inspired by completed to-do lists. Oh yes, I'm a list girl ;]

2) What continues to inspire you each day and how do you keep your art fresh?

I work a pretty strict schedule which coincidentally allows for "free time" daily. During this time I read, watch a movie {seriously -- there is so much inspiration in movies}, I write guest blog posts that allow me to create using different mediums. Each day I walk our puppy, Bauer, and so I find inspiration in nature, fresh air, exercise. I need to clear my mind since I do spend a lot of time online ~ it's very fast paced so taking short breaks outside is incredibly helpful.

Another way I stay inspired is to meet with friends weekly for coffee. We don't have a car {Minneapolis has a fantastic bus system}, so some times it takes a little planning to get out, but it's a must for weekly inspiration.

3) What 3 words best describe you

Sassy, vibrant, caring.

4) What could you not live without to get through each work day?  Your phone/computer, sewing machine or your coffee?

Umm, all three! :] I need coffee -- yes, need -- because it helps me to relax and take a few minutes for myself each day. I need my sewing machine so I can create pretty ruffles and I need my computer so I can share them with the world!

5) What is the one best part of your job as a designer?

I feel a real sense of purpose being my own boss. To take a product I've designed and be able to make a living selling it is so fulfilling. I feel very blessed.

6) What advice would you offer to someone when it comes to living a creative life?

I think it's really important to know how you work best, to know what encourages/motivates you, and to be able to say "no" if something doesn't feel right or you don't have time. The best part about this is there's no right or wrong answer to these things. They can be totally personalized to fit each business owner.

7) What can we expect to see from you in the coming year in terms of new projects and design?
Can I be vague and say something colorful? :]
Maggie you rock!  Maggie has very generously offered to share some gussy goodness with one of you - a $40 shop credit!  That could get a girl some serious ruffles!  This giveaway will be open until Sunday, May 8th at midnight.  Giveaway is now closed.  Winner will be chosen via  Here's how to enter:
1)  Visit Maggie on her blog and leave her a comment saying hello!  Come back here and tell me you did so - 1 entry.
2)  Visit Maggies shop - come back here and tell me how you would spend the shop credit - 1 entry.
3)  Like Maggie on Facebook - leave her a nice little note saying hello.  Come back here and tell me you did so - 1 entry.
4)  You could just leave me some blog love too - a nice little comment saying, "Hi Trish!" you know, something like that would make me smile.  1 entry just for being so nice and sweet.
5)  Or maybe, be my friend.  I like to have friends too.  Who doesn't like to have friends?  I love making new friends.  Want to be my friend?  (Oh sheez!  I've been inside too long with all this rain and just me and Sprout all day - my brain is turning to mush!)  Friend me on facebook and say hello.  Come back here and tell me you did so and I promise to say hello back.  Really, I will.  I love making new friends.  (hee!hee!) - 1 entry.
5 chances to win $40 smackeroos worth of shop credit from Gussy Sews!  Thanks Maggie for sharing your inspiration with ya!

Monday Mornings Inspiration {or Tuesday, whatever}

I don't even recall how Sarah and I became friends but I just know that I am blessed with her friendship.  Meet the talented and lovely Sarah of Sarah B Designs...

Since the feature is called Monday Mornings Inspiration, can you tell me what inspires you to be creative? Inspiration is everywhere! I've never been one to just let things be-- I always have to tinker with things to make them just so. If what I want isn't ready-made, then it's time to jump on in and do it myself!

What continues to inspire you each day and how do you keep your art fresh?  I'm thankful to be able to stay at home with my my young kids but between the morning school drop off, the inevitable errands, housecleaning, potty-training, preschool drop-off, and all the cooking that needs to be done in an day, there's hardly any time left to be creative! I try to make a point to find at least a few minutes to sew or sketch or scribble out a recipe conversion as a way to inch forward, make some progress that cannot be undone (because a cooked meal, clean sink or empty laundry basket don't last long).What could you not live without to get through each work day?  Your phone/computer, sewing machine or your coffee? An internet connection of some sort! I don't tend get much face to face adult conversation on any given day, so chatting with my online friends and browsing blogs is a great pick-me-up and inspiration.

What is the best part of your job as a designer? Seeing something turn from an idea into a finished project is so exciting! Whether it's a doodle turning into a piece of fabric or graph paper sketch that finishes as a quilt, it's thrilling to see the end result. One of the best things has been the treat of seeing others use my Moda Bake Shop "recipes" and post photos on their blogs or on Flickr. Receiving notes from people who have used my food allergy baking recipes either for themselves or their child is especially heartwarming.

What advice would you offer to someone when it comes to living a creative life? Time is precious. Spend it with the people who make you happy and support your creativity. Focusing on negative talk never helps anyone, so eliminate as much of it around you as you can, and you will find that you are happier and more productive. What can we expect to see from you in the coming year in terms of new projects and design? I am still designing digital scrapbook kits for sale, which can be found in my shop at Digitals If your readers would like head over there, there are a few free samples and I am please to offer a coupon for $2 of purchase of $6 or more. Just enter 614c45a59b during the coupon code field at checkout. (Expires April 30, 2011, valid once per registered customer.)

I have some of my current digital scrapbook paper designs formatted as fabric and up for sale at Spoonflower  along with a few other designs like this little one that is being printed now and on it's way to being either a cute shirt or pair or PJ pants for my little boy!   In the coming weeks I'll have a new quilt tutorial posted at Moda Bake Shop and I'm excited to finally share the front of quilt I've been working on! I will give a sneak peek of the back of it…. I sketched up another quilt for my mom and plan to share that tutorial on my sewing blog as soon as I write it up.

Thanks Sarah for sharing your inspiration!



I have the pleasure of calling today's featured artist a friend and mentor.  Patty Young is a very talented designer with a heart as big as the sun.  She has been a wonderful mentor to me as I've started my Two Peas business offering me advice, counsel and friendship.  She and her husband Jon make an amazing team and have been a great inspiration to our family.

She is truly a fabulous, genuine talent.  Say Good Morning to Patty Young...

Since the feature is called Monday Mornings Inspiration, can you tell me what inspired you to a career in art and design? I have always been "artsy" for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I took as many private art classes as I could and many times I'd get in trouble at school for doodling on my notebooks or on the desks.  I chose Fine Arts as my major when I got accepted to college and luckily, my parents supported me all the way (even though we all feared it would be a tough life!).

After graduating with a BFA in Photography and Graphic Design, I worked for about 15 years in the Marketing/Advertising field as a Graphic Designer turned Creative Director.   After my second daughter, Sydney, was born, I just couldn't do the long hours and crazy schedules anymore.  Plus, the stress of managing people, commuting and being away from my kids for so many hours was really messing with my head, so I left my job to "pursue my own creative endeavors".  I put that phrase in quotes because at the time we didn't know what it would be. We are all thrilled at what those "creative endeavors" turned out to be!   I wouldn't trade this life for anything in the world.

What continues to inspire you each day and how do you keep your art fresh? I draw inspiration from the past and the present alike.  Before I had my kids I traveled extensively through Europe and Central America, so you'll see bits and pieces of my travel experiences pop up in my collections.  Andalucia was inspired by our honeymoon in Spain. Mezzanine was inspired by my travels through Northern Europe in the late 90's.  I also draw inspiration from nature (Flora & Fauna), my kids (Playdate) and favorite places (Sanctuary).

What 3 words best describe you

Passionate. Obsessive. Sleepless.

What could you not live without to get through each work day? Your phone/computer, sewing machine or your coffee? Anyone who knows me can attest to my morning coffee addiction. Usually it's a Peppermint Mocha, but lately it's Espresso with Coconut Milk on ice. I cannot start my day without it. My MacBook Pro and iPhone are my necessary evil. I am -- and probably will forever be -- a slave to technology.

What is the one best part of your job as a designer? The best part is seeing the beautiful things other people create with my fabric and patterns. Just today I ran into a blog post, purely by chance, where someone had made the most beautiful quilt out of my latest fabric line, Sanctuary. The words she used to describe my fabric and the names of my prints literally brought tears to my eyes (in a good way). I immediately thought "She gets me." That's what it's all about!

What advice would you offer to someone when it comes to living a creative life? Not to sound too clichéed, but "if at first you don't succeed, try again... and again... and again". Perseverance is everything in this industry!  If you are original people will notice. It may happen right away or it may take some time.  Be patient and keep up the good work.  It will happen for you.

What can we expect to see from you in the coming year in terms of new projects and design? I have a new fabric collection coming out this May that I am over-the-moon in love with.  I cannot reveal the name or any sneak peeks yet, but I will say it is exotic, rich and happy.  I hope you all will love it as much as I do!   I also have a new line of sewing patterns coming out in May and my first book coming out later this year.  In addition to all this, I do have three super exciting licensed products that will delight everyone in your family.  Again, it's all hush-hush for now but I can give you one hint: My mom will LOVE the first two, my dad will SQUEAL when he sees the third! (that is, if squealing was his way of showing excitement... in reality, he will probably just smile and say "WOW, that's great!" :)

Patty, thank you so very much for sharing your inspiration!

Patty has offered to share some of her fabulous designs with one of YOU!  A 5 - piece MODKID pattern bundle!  Cuz' she's generous and wonderful like that.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment for each one:

1) Visit Patty's website and tell us which of your favorite MODKID patterns you would add to a bundle.

2)  Follow Patty on Facebook

3)  Follow the Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs blog (you can find a subscription link over there in the sidebar)

This giveaway will be open until Friday, April 8th at midnight, EST.




A new blog feature I hope to post as I can...Monday Mornings Inspiration.  Just a look at many of the fabulous artists in our crafting community and what inspires them.  Mentors and friends - people I admire and enjoy their art - and I want to share that with you.  There is an artist in each of you, there really is.  Don't say, "Not me" because YES!  You!  Enjoy these posts and then look for what inspires you.

My first feature is with the wonderful Jayne Barnes of Honeyrun Farm.  Jayne and her husband are master artists with their hands, the soil beneath their feet and what they produce from their farm.  My roots being strongly planted in agriculture and the environment, it is a pleasure to share Jaynes art and inspiration with you today.  {I can attest that you haven't tasted honey until you've had Honeyrun Farms honey - it is quite simply, the best ever!}

Here is our interview with Jayne:

1) Since the feature is called Monday Mornings Inspiration, can you tell me what inspired you to a career / hobby in farming and crafting? I grew up on a small dairy farm and always loved being outside.   I studied Sociology in college, and I never thought I would one day earn a living from farming.... but here I am!  My husband I and are both from farm families and we kind of just fell into beekeeping after I gave him a hive one year for Christmas.  What started as a simple hobby has turned into a bit of an obsession!  I love doing crafty projects, so living on a honey farm allows me to enjoy the farm life while also creating useful items from the hive and garden.

2) What continues to inspire you each day and how do you keep your art fresh? Farming follows the seasons of course, so there are always changes that dictate how our days go and what we are doing.  In the Spring, we are busy working in the greenhouse, preparing the garden for planting, and checking the hives to make sure they are strong and healthy.  The summer is our busy season with honey extraction, produce and flower harvesting, and selling at farm markets.  In the fall we are harvesting heirloom pumpkins, fall honey and bee pollen, and making sure the hives have enough honey to last the winter.  In the winter, we still keep busy making beeswax candles and handcrafted soap.

3) What 3 words best describe you?  People say I am practical, laid-back, and content.

4) What could you not live without to get through each work day?  Your phone/computer or your coffee? Computer!  We actually don't own a TV so I get all my info/news from the computer.  Also, as a stay-at-home mom, Facebook is my contact with the adult world.  :)

5) What is the best part of your job as a farmer/crafter? Getting to do what I want every day!  That is the pleasure of owning your own business.  I do think we work harder than if we worked for someone else... we have longer hours and work on weekends, but we wouldn't trade it for a day job.  When you grow up watching your parents run a farm, it just feels like what you're "supposed to do"... know what I mean?

6) What advice would you offer to someone when it comes to living a creative life? Follow what you love... don't do things because other people are doing it or it looks like it can make money.  Only do it because you love it. 7) What can we expect to see from you in the coming year in terms of new projects and design? We are experimenting with all sorts of new infused honey flavors:  vanilla infused honey, chocolate whipped honey, cinnamon infused..... etc.. etc...

Thanks Jayne for sharing your inspirations!  Check out Jayne's fabulous products on their website and follow their family farming adventures on her blog.
PS I promise to get to the Birthday giveaway very very soon...our family has a big week ahead of us. Hoping for nothing but positive results and I will sort through your comments soon and post winners later this week!