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. emily says:

    I have a copy of the book so I don’t want to be in the running to win… but wanted to say that it’s awesome! I already made the henny penny and chicks – super sweet and very easy to understand directions!

    The silliest gift registry item…. well we didn’t register for them but for a while my father in law/his wife thought my baby needed/wanted/would ever wear designer jeans. Please! She was three months old and they were boot cut, and pretty much skin tight. No way! So then the next gift was a pair of guess jeans – she was maybe 10 mos old then… I put them on her, they were cute, but she couldn’t move and she cried. LOL Not to mention what does that teach kids? A baby doesn’t need to look like a miniature adult… or be constrained by crazy culturaly decided clothes. LOL

  2. gina snyder says:

    I want that book! I have her first book and love it. So naturally I will have to have the 2nd!

    And those shoes! Get out! Love em!

    Let’s see. Boneheaded purchase. Probably a pack of *real diapers* thinking I would use them to save money. Hah! Worked great until the first poo. Never put them on her again!

  3. shanna boatler says:

    we bought the mesh food holder. it definitely was messier and harder to clean than just a messy baby eating with her hands!!

    great book!!

  4. Anna says:

    I’m not convinced by baby bibs! I have had 3 babies, and I am yet to find a bib that actually prevents any spillage onto their clothes underneath! Gotta say, I’d rather just change their clothes (and at times, mine!)

  5. Margie says:

    Oh, how my children hated the exer-saucer! I did too. It was a gift, big, ugly, plastic that neither child wanted to sit in EVER. I realized quickly, that most ‘baby’ gear is unnecessary, except of course a sling and/or baby carrier.

  6. Laura B says:

    I recently saw a product called Baby Bubadoo, that you are supposed to slip over a baby’s arms and trunk to secure the arms down while you change a diaper. It looks like a straight jacket and seems a complete waste of resources.

    I could never get a sling to fit properly. It’s amazing what I’ve learned to do with one hand.

    I’d love to have this book!

  7. Sue Goodin says:

    Well I would love the book. I’m a grandma who love to make things for my grandchildren.
    I hate those diaper genies.

  8. Nicole DeCamp says:

    I just adore Anna’s pattern for the hooded baby jacket. I am not sold on the whole crib bumper thing. My 8 month old would climb on top of them and use them to jump out of his crib! Nothing like a little one that size greeting you are your bed side at 2am! Love Anna and the new book. Would love to have a copy!

  9. Rosemary says:

    Oh. Please. Pick. Me.

  10. Patty says:

    Love her shoes too. I’d love to have a copy of the book. My daughter is expecting her first baby in July and I’m trying to convince her that she doesn’t need all the things in the store. She’ll end up with no room for the baby! I can’t believe all the new things in the stores that you don’t need or won’t use for more than a month or so. Wow! things have really changed.

  11. Jenni says:

    Those are awesome shoes! But, I would still prefer the book. :-) The one baby item that I’m so glad we were gifted was a boppy. Everyone said we “had” to have one, but I was reluctant to buy one. Turns out, it was the most used item in the nursery (besides the changing table!). It worked great for nursing and, now that she’s two, it makes a great lounge pillow for her. And there are so many cute handmade covers out there! I love it!

  12. Gwendolen says:

    velveteen! Aaaa! get me to the store on time! Can’t wait!
    I believe the silliest baby gear we got when our kids were babies was a very, very fancy dress for a baby girl–some designer I will not mention–that was not washable, and that had tight sleeves (and my girl was less pudgy than baby-average), scratch lace, and worst of all–a very, very tight neckline. Silly!

  13. Amy Ellis says:

    With my first, I bought a contraption that you strapped to the crib. It played music and your recorded voice when the baby started crying, but if the baby kicked it, it flashed red lights–not soothing at all! Doh!

  14. Raylene says:

    I love the diaper bag she designed for dad. I think it is wonderful that she designed items with the whole family in mind. Wonderful ideas!

  15. Jane says:

    the strangest things I’ve seen are badly designed baby clothes, like onesies that you slide the baby into like pants but a one-piece.

    I am most excited about the hooded jacket in Anna’s book – so adorable!

  16. Alexis says:

    We’re such minimalist when it comes to baby gear since seriously, they hardly need anything. The one item I did buy that never got used was a breast pump. I know some people need it and so it’s not ridiculous or anything but it just wasn’t necessary for me. One of the great things about babies is that you can just feed them anywhere at anytime…they’re so portable :)

    And I LOVE LOVE LOVE those little britches!

  17. erika says:

    i keep it pretty simple when it comes to baby stuff, but i have received some interesting gifts. for instance teeny, tiny baby shoes that will fit on a brand new baby. seriously?! what does a little baby need with shoes, for crying out loud?!

    i am really excited about the sweet little hooded jacket in the book :) so cute!

  18. Angie says:

    Several others have said it, but it’s true here too – the swing! Both of our kids HATED it.

  19. nanann says:

    Most wasted purchase was for sure the Diaper Genie. Sure, it worked well for 6 months…and then they started eating real food and Oh My, did it smell when you had to open it! And you can’t get rid of them b/c no one wants a USED Diaper Genie!

    The book looks awesome — I of course like the 6th Times the charm quilt!

  20. Katherine says:

    It doesn’t sound particularly boneheaded, but. White clothes. They look adorable and angelic on the hanger, but they don’t stay that way for long. At least not on my kiddos — who will probably never possess another piece of white clothing until they’re buying their own. Stains are much less obvious on multi-color stripes.

  21. Sherie says:

    Wow. Love those shoes and the thought of cotton velveteen is fabulous. Silly is the little shoes for babies. They are so cute but so not needed. They are hard to resist sometimes though.

  22. Kylie says:

    I LOVE Anna Marie – that booth is just amazing. and those shoes!!! Most useless baby gift – a size 00 one-piece swimming costume for a baby girl. It was absolutely impossible to get on the poor baby, and now is worn by the dollies.

  23. Ane says:

    I’m trying to get pregnant again and when I found Anna Maria website and learned about her book I jump out my chair!!!
    Great great projects!! For the MOST useless baby gift was a car bottle warmer, my baby only drinks cold milk , who knew?!?!?

  24. Steph says:

    I really dislike crib bedding sets. Bumper pads are dangerous (risk of suffocation/entanglement), diaper stackers are useless, and you can’t use the quilt until they’re at least a year old (suffocation again). Sure, it comes with a matching sheet but how many sheets do you go through in a week? Yet people pay $100 to $500 for these things. I was glad everyone listened to my begging and didn’t buy us one, because I’d rather have one homemade blanket than a whole set! They did not, however, listen to our begging them not to buy us any clothes, and I wound up with SIX jumbo plastic storage tubs of clothes, most of them too pink, too ruffly, with huge stiff appliques, wrong size for the age/season, too many snaps and buttons…it goes on and on. I gave away over half of it with the tags still on, and I wish everyone hadn’t wasted their money.

    I am in love with that hexagon quilt!

  25. Audra says:

    Just planning, not sewing – that’s why I need this book!

  26. Krystina says:

    I have to say the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen are baby heels. Yes, that’s right, baby heels. They are soft, so at least not dangerous, but I think they’re just downright creepy!

    Anyways, your blog is amazing. Its always one of my first stops in the morning!

  27. Julie Richardson says:

    i’d love, LOVE one of Anna’s books! i adore the hooded jacket pattern in there…but they are ALL darling. i’m expecting #3 in 6 wks. and would love to give him/her some new duds! i think the dumbest baby product i’ve seen has been the “peepee teepee” for baby boys…seriously, a wipe works just fine. :)

  28. lotsie says:

    Oh I want this book! It’s so cute al of it!

  29. Lynn says:

    My friend got this seat with strings attached so you can walk around with your baby without breaking your back. I thought it was ridiculous, but he uses it ALL the time!

    I really like the nesting blocks!

  30. euphoria says:

    lovely post/review! I am waiting for this book to come in the mail… dont count me part of the giveaway, but I just wanted to say that I loved your post. And I am very exciting about Anna’s new line. I can’t wait, she really is fabulous!

  31. Amanda says:

    I’ve only seen some pics on different blogs, but I absolutely LOVE the sixth time’s a charm quilt. Its so beautiful!

  32. Kirsten says:

    What about that product that is supposed to help you “walk” your child so that you don’t have to bend over to hold their hands during the phase where they constantly want to walk but can’t do it themselves yet. Seems silly to me.
    Can’t wait to check out Anna Maria’s new book!

  33. Paula says:

    The most useless items given to me for my daughter were a TON of ugly baby clothes, including a lot in newborn sizes when I wasn’t about to put anything complicated over her wobbly little head. Lesson learned: don’t give baby clothes unless you are 200% sure that you know the mother’s taste and that she actually needs them.

    I most want to make the four corners nursing top…it is the most ingenious nursing shirt I have ever seen.

  34. Sara R. says:

    The most useless baby item I ever saw was a disposable baby wipe warmer. More plastic dreck you will never need!

    As for the book, I’m in love with the patchwork sleep sack! Can’t wait to make it.

  35. susan says:

    Wipe warmer. I used it with FLetch but Asa has never had a warm wipe touch her chubby bum. It takes up too much space (the warmer, not her bum).

  36. Emma says:

    I haven’t seen an actual copy of the new book but I adore the first one! Thanks for hosting the contest!

  37. We went out and bought a super duper fancy swing for our newborn. It had lights, music, and a little hanging mobile on it. Our daughter screamed her head off every time we put her in it. Oh well.

    Thanks for the lovely pictures of Anna Maria’s booth (and kick-A** shoes)!

  38. coffeechris says:

    I like the baby jacket and sixth time charm quilt.

  39. Debra says:

    The boppy nursing pillow was a huge waste! It’s gigantic, who is that thing made for? I ended up getting a small one that the baby is supposed to use to learn to sit in, a baby boppy or something like that which helped a bit but a regular pillow worked best. The best thing the baby boppy was for was to sit on after labor!

  40. Sarah says:

    I only wish that I had started quilting before my three babies had to spend long hours laying on a quilted mat with cheezy jungle animals suspended above it from none other than Babies ‘R Us. Oh well, I guess I’m trying to make up for that now- just finished quilt number 2!

  41. Bellgirl says:

    I think I’ve blotted out all useless baby purchases and gifts ;) I’d love to make some of the Happy Pants aka patchwork trousers in the book!

  42. Tricia L. says:

    People seem to receive a multitude of receiving blankets at showers. I would probably not register for any if I were having kids, because you’ll be sure to receive a ton!

  43. Tiffany says:

    i am excited about the entire book. but i am dying to try out the “here we go” bag.

  44. MzTallulah says:

    In our case, I think buying a cot was the largest silly purchase – our baby has slept with us since shortly after we came home, and I think that she’ll need a “big girl” bed by the time she graduates to sleeping on her own. Among the products I’v heard of and thought, “whaaaat?” were baby wipes warmers, but I know of people who just loved them…

  45. carolyn says:

    What a beautiful book! I’m looking forward to being a first time aunt soon and would LOVE to catch a copy.

  46. Melissa S. says:

    I think white baby clothes are ridiculous… although they do look pretty for the first 10 minutes!

  47. Cruz says:

    The pinwheel quilt is to die for!

  48. jackie says:

    the baby wipe warmer certainly takes the lead when it comes to sill baby inventions!

  49. robyn says:

    the bathtub ring. too hard to wash your child while they are in it!

  50. I also *had* to have the food grinder. Although our baby has eaten mostly homemade food, I found using a fork was faster and easier than the grinder!
    My favorite project from the book (that I’ve seen so far) is the tunic. Looks so versatile!
    Thanks so much for the chance to win!