Blog Tour: Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings — LIVE from Quilt Market!

{ Anna Maria in her maybe-award-winning-again booth at Spring Quilt Market }

I’m sure you’ve learned all about Anna Maria Anna Maria Horner’s new book, Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby, on all the fantastic blogs that have hosted her earlier blog tour stops. If not, well. Let me tell you. Handmade Beginnings, Anna’s second book, is filled with sewing and quilting patterns geared toward all different facets and stages of pregnancy and growing and nurturing a family. This book resonated with me on several levels: as a sewist, I appreciate Anna Maria’s classic, unfussy yet multifunctional, and always beautiful patterns. As a mother, what can I say — I got weepy reading Anna Maria’s introduction. you might scoff at the idea of making stuff for babies — who has the time? — but as Anna Maria writes, it’s not about the stuff, it’s about taking that time, about slowing down, quieting your mind, distracting yourself from the worries and the multiple unpleasantries of pregnancy. And once the baby has arrived, it’s about taking the time to replenish your resources. And when you take that time, you happen to end up with maternity wear and baby gear that kicks the butt of anything you can scanner-gun into your registry.

I have one copy of Handmade Beginnings to give away, courtesy Wiley Publishing. Because this book is like the antidote to cluttery baby gear acquistion, I would love to hear stories about boneheaded baby gear purchases — one that you made you made, or someone you know made, or maybe just a product you’ve seen that you’ve seen that you think is silly. And/or, if you’ve familiarized yourself with the book’s patterns during the tour, let me know which one you’re most excited about. I’ll draw a winner next week, Friday, May 28, 2010, around 3pm central U.S. time.

Anna Maria Horner is at Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis today signing copies of Handmade Beginnings, and showing off a few new products and patterns. And her new shoes. I mean, speaking of kick-butt. The quilt on the right of the top photo is called Gathering Flowers, and its pattern, along with another pattern called the Flower Patch Pillow, will be released this summer (late July-ish). She also has collaborated with Peking Handicraft on some gorgeous embroidered velveteen pillows and other home textiles.

Though we don’t get to see it till Fall Market, Anna told me all about her next fabric collection, called Innocent Crush. She said “it’s a little bit sexy” and will be a bit of a departure color-wise for her. And each basecloth used in the collection will have its own end-use-conscious colorways. There’ll be quilting cottons, a home dec weight cotton, her voile we’ve come to love, and, for the first time — cotton velveteen (oooooooh, aaaaaah)!

And the last bit of Anna Maria news: In response to the recent flooding in her hometown of Nashville, she is the process of organizing a quilt drive, called “Rainbow Around the Block.” Details are still in the works and I will definitely be sharing them here, but if you want to participate, start planning some “mostly monochromatic” 12″ square blocks, which will be finished with donated materials and sewn up by volunteers, and finally given to families who lost everything in the floods. (In the wintertime, she noted, because nobody in Tennessee needs quilts in the summer!) Now I’m not sure if that should be with or without seam allowances, so like I said, just plan, don’t sew yet.

Huge thanks to Anna for sharing the scoop, and for gracing True Up’s pages with+ a blog tour stop! Also, don’t forget to enter for a chance to win Wiley’s huge Giveaway Package, including the book, a sewing machine (!) and 5 yard of Anna Maria’s fabric.


  1. Colleen says:

    I was just sure I needed a bottle warmer, because I would never use the microwave to warm water for formula, right? Ha! It has sat in the closet for two years now, never been used once with two kids.

  2. Lori says:

    I had to have one of those food grinder things to make homemade baby food…only to discover that my kids HATED homemade baby food. Who knew? :)

    I can’t wait to get my hands on that sixth times a charm quilt!


  3. grace says:

    I think “baby wipe warmers” are silly. And I recently saw a product called “boogie wipes” that is a saline wipe for kids noses (really??? ever heard of a handmade hankie made out of a vintage sheet? works great).

    Enjoyed all the info here and glad to hear about more help for Nashville.

  4. caitlin says:

    i have been watching anna maria’s blog for months now, waiting for the arrival of this lovely book!
    i make a lot of baby and children’s clothes, so i can’t wait to get a copy. the project i’m most excited about, would have to be a tie between the ‘center of attention quilt’ and the ‘mariposa dress’.
    thanks for this giveaway opportunity!

  5. Lindsay says:

    My daughter HATED her swing. It was the worst baby purchase ever but we bought it b/c everyone said we HAD to have one.

    I’d love to get my hands on this new book! Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. Kim S. says:

    I have only seen a few projects in the book but I love the hooded jacket for a baby. So great.Thanks!

  7. Seraph says:

    How about convincing a new mum about something they do need even though they don’t think so? When my aunt had her first child, my mum and I went out and bought her all the things she would need -especially a stock pile of receiving blankets (something we both knew, you never have enough of). So after the baby shower, she thanked us and explained that she had already received a receiving blanket and she wouldn’t need anymore. My mum and I never convinced her otherwise; so what we did was re-purchase the receiving blankets, laundered them and the next time we were over at her house just before the baby was born, I went into the nursery and ‘put them up’. Several months after the baby was born, at a family get together, my aunt’s husband remarked how it was great they had received all those receiving blankets.

    As to Anna Maria Horner’s book, I’m all gaga for her large hexagon quilt. I can’t want to really take a look at that pattern.

  8. Holly says:

    Pacifier ‘pods’…those little pocket things to keep an extra pacifier in. Ziplock bag or fabric snack bag works just as well =) Thanks for the chance to enter, I can’t wait to see this book in person! =)

  9. Miss Prickly says:

    We had so many useless baby items..the swing was one. Neither of my kids like it. They wanted to be held and walked around. It took up an entire corner of our living room. I tripped over that swing so many times!

    Also, the dumb toys that make electronic music. I hated those, and the kids weren’t interested in them either.

    Babies don’t need a lot of ‘stuff’, contrary to what the professional marketers tell us.

  10. ~Michelle~ says:

    This book looks great! I don’t have kids (yet), so no personal experiences…but the entries above sound pretty ridiculous to me, lol!

  11. Meghan says:

    I don’t have kids myself, but I never understood baby shoes. I get booties, but shoes? They aren’t even walking yet!?

  12. Wendy D. P. says:

    I’m most excited to make the dress featured on the cover – so pretty (and comfy looking)!

    Thanks for picturing this very sweet book – can’t wait to see it in person!

  13. Katie says:

    Eeee… I want this book so badly! Currently in my first trimester, which is a perfect time to start sewing for baby.

    I know a lot of people who have been swayed by the beautiful yet very expensive and posh designer strollers around, but find their functionality lacking, and also the fact that they are not super useful for newborns, so I have to reign myself in when looking for strollers.

  14. Leah says:

    The Hooter Hider. It’s basically a nursing tent. It languished in my diaper bag for months before I just put it away. Also, I second the wipe warmer. Those things crack me up!
    I am loving the dress on the cover, as well as the little patchworky baby pants. I have a 6 month old, so both of those projects are perfect right now.
    Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  15. SallyB says:

    I love that jacket from the link. I’ve seen it made two other times on blogs and I adore it. I would love to make one for my baby.

  16. Holly says:

    I can’t wait to take a look at Anna Maria’s newest book!

    In terms of useless baby stuff we were given, I remember a duck shaped bath tub thermometer (can’t you use your elbow?). Handmade baby blankets were much treasured!

  17. Emily says:

    I was given quite a few cutesy burp clothes with bows, etc. on them. They were too little to really provide enough coverage/protection from spitup and weren’t terribly absorbant. Cloth diapers trimmed out with cute fabric are MUCH better!

  18. Kim says:

    Thanks for all that lovely information! Can’t wait to see the pictures.
    I love the look of the quilt on the cover and the hoodie.
    I bought a pacifier carry pouch, which was great for keeping a spare clean, but none of them seem to have a section for the dirty one once you need to swap them!

  19. I had a chance to look through this book, and it is so beautiful! My favorite pattern is the Sixth’s Times the Charm Quilt.

  20. Tong says:

    I don’t have any children myself just yet so no baby gifts were given to me. But I love Anna Maria Horner’s fabrics and patterns, and this book looks amazing! I’m loving the quilt draped over the crib shown on the cover of the book, I think it’ll be fun for babies and adults alike!

  21. Valerie says:

    I sewed for my little ones … brought them home from the hospital in something ‘homemade’ with love. I never thought it was a waste of time! Now I’m looking forward to sewing for my grandchildren … when and if!! :-) Would love a copy of the book! Thanks!

  22. Caroline says:

    Oh my, the dozens of useless gifts and baby items… I could go on for a long time. Perhaps the silver tube one is supposed to put the rolled up birth certificate in? Or the socks that never fit any baby? Or just the 2 piece outfits that one must layer a onesie under in order for the baby’s tummy to be covered… as a mom of 9, I have learned few things are necessary… mostly just momma’s arms ;)

    I am in love with the 6th time’s the charm quilt… stunning =)

    love what I have seen of the book!

  23. Lisa P. says:

    OK, this is the best crazy baby purchase I have ever heard of. I read about it on the Cool Mom Picks blog. It is a stroller that STARTS at a price of $2500. Here’s part of their description: “This entirely custom stroller let’s you choose such fancy, Vegan-nonfriendly leather choices as ostrich, alligator and stingray (!!). So what else do you get for your money? Oh, a little thing called a motorized drivetrain. Plus custom rims and tires, a DVD entertainment system, iPod dock, Bluetooth speakers, and a computerlzed display to get it all working. As my sigOth said, “It’s perfect if you’re going to push the kid across country in it.” ” Yeah. Completely nuts.

  24. KristenA says:

    Well, when my first baby was born 8 years ago, my husband and I returned two “defective” diaper genies before we realized we just didn’t know how it worked! And I agree that bottle and wipe warmers were never used…nor did I ever use those covers for the baby carseat when it’s cold. Just used a blanket!

  25. Fern says:

    I think my favorite project is the hooded jacket, so cute!

  26. Ramona says:

    I never used that “essential” pack-n-play. My kids were just fine crawling around or playing wherever I was… I’m super psyched about the hexagon quilt, I think it MIGHT be a birthday present for my little boy…

  27. Jen says:

    What a fantastic set of photos. Her shoes are indeed awesome.

    Now as for our ridiculous baby purchases… this first time around we made lots and lots of those (we certainly won’t make *these* mistakes next time but at least we resold them right away and lessened the errors): a fancy jogging stroller when we realized right away we want to carry her (still do); a fancy change table (we used a moses basket instead); baby socks (uh… didn’t realize babies rip them off immediately… we settled on some lovely homemade organic footed pants instead).

    Thanks for entering me!

  28. Stacy Jones says:

    The most useless baby item I ever had was a diaper genie. It was more trouble than what it was worth!

    This book, however, would be very useful! Fingers crossed…

  29. Jennifer says:

    Oh I so want this book!
    Baby socks. Booties, or slippers, sure, but do socks ever stay on??? They certainly didn’t on my 4.

  30. I would love to try out the projects in this book! We JUST got our referral for our new baby girl from Ethiopia, so I need to get sewing for her!

    The silliest baby gift I received when we adopted our first daughter from Vietnam was a silver box with “baby’s first curl” etched on it. My daughter is Asian. I have yet to see her first curl and I don’t think I ever will! :) Makes me laugh every time I think about it!

  31. Catherine says:

    What a beautiful book! Everyone unanimously recommended those nursing pillows to me, and neither of my babies could stand them, so they are languishing unused in my attic. Thanks!

  32. Lita says:

    When I was pregnant, I made bunch of baby stuff for my baby and the one thing that gets used a lot is the travel changing pad. I love the fact knowing that my baby doesn’t have to lay directly on the nasty public changing table; she has a pretty travel changing pad that mommy made for her ^_^

    Btw, I also make travel changing pad as baby shower present ^_^

  33. Kari says:

    I agree with the socks! Booties stay on much better for an infant. We were pretty minimal with my daughter because we traveled around the world with her from 3 months to 7 months. We just couldn’t take that much stuff with us although I would have loved to have taken her bouncy chair. If I had to do it again, I would have found some way to get that into the luggage. Babies just don’t need all that much stuff.

  34. Deb says:

    A breast pump is in no way a silly purchase; however, it just didn’t work for me. I never could get it to fit, to work, to make it worthwhile to have it…unfortunately! I would love to be entered for your giveaway.

  35. Zu says:

    I think yukky plastic pre-fab toys qualify as unnecessary. And shoes for teeny babies that they grow out of in a week. All of Anna Marias’ items look great.

  36. When my daughter was little, a friend of my sister’s crocheted a baby for her with a visor. When her stitch must have been off or she used the wrong kind of yarn because the visor hung over her eyes completely!!

  37. Jaime says:

    I’m not sure what it’s called but I have seen a “baby hammack” out there. ANd with all of the amazing swings that they have now, I just dont see the point of a baby hammack.
    I think this giveaway is FANTASTIC. I am due on Wednesday so I could really use this!!
    Thanks for the chance.

  38. PJ says:

    Um, I’d have to say a travel bottle warmer that you plug into the car – one of too many things I saw in the store and thought, what a great idea – until I got home.

  39. Heidi says:

    The Pee-Pee Teepee. I admit I’ve never actually tried them, but if a kid has enough oomph to hit the cat across the room this thing is going to stay put? Really? And so maybe you use it while you are cleaning a messy poop, but then when you’re lifting a little behind it just going to fall off?

    I don’t get it.

  40. Ammie says:

    I’ve found that my baby product tastes are much different from most of my friends’ tastes. For instance, after having a baby, we discovered we didn’t need a crib, but loved the changing table that came with it. Also, we used maybe six jars of baby food in the several months it took our kiddo to learn how to eat solid foods. He’s a pro! Finally. All this is to say that I’m hesitant to call that teeny tiny bib or blanky or baby coat ridiculous, lest somebody mocks my collection of tiny infant booties and my dozens of slings/wraps/carriers. ;)

  41. Jen says:

    I don’t have a baby but I like making baby things.

    I find that there are too many things on the market designed to make it so you don’t actually have to you know, be a parent. All these things to distract the baby. Maybe it’s the crazy hippy in me, my mother was a LLL leader and should I ever have baby I’m going to be all about the baby wearing and the natural parenting.

    I’ve also seen some very bizarre clothing for babies and children. Things that are sexually suggestive but for babies! The craziest thing I’ve seen is heels. For babies. Baby heels! Why? It’s just weird.

    I’m really excited for this book. I just need one of my friends to have a baby so I can supply them with lots of baby gear. :)

  42. tara says:

    a friend of mine just totally believed i needed a wipe warmer. as the penguin says “smile and wave, boys, just smile and wave.”

    twrightgirl at

  43. holly p says:

    I don’t have kids of my own yet but I think the wipe warmers are a little over the top!

  44. Shannon says:

    A crib–none of my three children really made use of it. It was a great storage device though! ha ha ha! Also, when my first son (who’s now 14), was a baby, we just had to plunk out the $450 for an Aprica stroller (my parents helped w/some of the cost). Yeah–what did we use most? My sling or the $15 umbrella stroller. The Aprica just not did not do well when he got heavier, and it was just so clunky to transport around. Really, all my children just liked being carried.

  45. Kristin says:

    I’m sorry, but my only comment is wondering how the heck AMH looks so cute and youthful with all those kids and a rockin’ business? Seriously, she looks like a college student sitting on that couch.

  46. Crissy says:

    There are some good ones on here! I’d have to say one of the silliest items I’ve seen “educational” dvds for babies as young as 3 months old!

  47. Felicia says:

    There are so many crazy things that I had with my first, cashmere outfits, baby robes, 3 different strollers. Now that we are on our second we realized how few things you actually need.

    I want to make the hooded baby jacket. I love it!

  48. Myrnie says:

    Oh dear, where to start? Baby toys. (My first was inseparable from an old rubber scraper spatula from my kitchen, the 2nd loved a broken off strap from my Crocs.) Binkies (had 2 thumb suckers), teeny bibs (need coveralls, really), oooh, how about the dry-clean-only silk dress Mom got for my 1-year-old? (The one-year-old with lactose intolerance who was always spitting up…) Really, babies need diapers and…trash. That’s all :)

  49. Jules says:

    I’m currently trying my best to avoid useless baby stuff, we already live in a tiny cluttered apartment! I love Anna Maria’s philosophy about making things for baby as a way to prepare for their arrival, so much more satisfying than decorating a fancy nursery that will never get used!

  50. Sheri says:

    My baby just turned 23 last week–so I am waiting for grandchildren to come along! And when one of my daughters decides to have a child, I would love to make one of the maternity tops in this fabulous book by Anna Maria! Thanks for the give away!