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. Alisa says:

    I didn’t really buy anythingb’bone-headed’. Not that I’m that smart. I did lots of dumb things with my first baby though. :-)

    I love the reversable pants and the little coat. So cute.

  2. MaryJo Novak says:

    My daughter is 9 months pregnant with her first child. Can’t wait to be a Grandma! The silliest thing I’ve seen on her registry is “My Brest Friend!” It’s a device that you strap around your waist to support the baby as you walk around breastfeeding and doing your chores! What a silly idea! Breastfeeding is a time to chill, relax, put your feet up and feed your baby! Just my humble opinion! Would love to have Anna Maria’s new book, just drooling about it!

  3. Thien-Kim says:

    I have to say, I thought the diaper genie was pretty useless. It didn’t hold a lot of diapers and the refills were expensive!

  4. Nikki says:

    For us, bottles were useless. They were just an extra reminder that mommy wasn’t around. Good thing I didn’t go back to work, I guess! :)

    I am totally in love with this book!

  5. renee says:

    One purchase that never got used was one of those bundle me things to be used for the stroller (or car seat?) — it zips like a sack and is supposed to stay put better than a blanket. But it turns out a blanket is darn easier and he spent more time in a mei tai anyway.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Kristin says:

    I made the most adorable swaddling blanket for my daughter, and as pretty as it was, it was terrible for swaddling! It didn’t stay on at all. Now it just serves as room decoration.

    I’m really looking forward to the baby quilt that’s on the cover, it’s just beautiful!

  7. Kori says:

    I love the quilt on the cover! Thanks for the chance to win.

  8. Jules D says:

    I bought one of those weird chairs that hook onto the edge of a table so the baby is suspended in mid-air. Evidently, the picture of the picnicking family is what did me in. I wanted to be those picnickers! The darn chair fits on very few tables and we have yet to use it (having already surpassed the weight limit, I’m sure). Some proud, picnicking family will hit the jackpot at our next yard sale.

  9. Amy says:

    I love all of Anna Maria’s patterns and fabric. Looking forward to picking up a copy of the book and get to some sewing for my little girl and maybe a few things for my 4 yr old boy.

  10. Lauren Marco says:

    I was just at a baby shower and the mom to be received an infant tub that was spa as in circulating water with a shower spray attachment? It’s the mom to be that needs the spa!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  11. Natalie Anderson says:

    my sweet sister made my son the most adorable baby booties and matching cap. Her first crochet project… she was so proud. When she gave them to me at the shower, I didn’t have the heart to tell her they would MAYBE fit a premie… MAYBE. OF course, once my son was born she realized her mistake. I kept them of course, small or not, they were stil soooooo sweet.

  12. Sarah B. says:

    I’ve been busy trying to register for our upcoming baby shower, so I’ve seen a lot of baby products that are out there. I’ve added Anna Maria’s book to the registry… fingers-crossed. I definitely, however, did not add the soft top baby helmet. Gotta see it:

  13. kathy says:

    the amount of stuff babies r us and other retailers make you register for is crazy. diapers and a few outfits are all you need in the beginning. the swing, bouncer, exersaucer are living in the garage, not being used by anyone.

  14. michelle says:

    I bought one of those baby saucers – the baby sits in it and plays with all the items surrounding it – my son hated it, he wanted to crawl and get into things – how dare he be strapped inot the play saucer.

    Love that Anna Maria – I just finished a zig zag quilt using her pattern – can’t wait to start the next one.

  15. sacha says:

    I found that I purchased a wonderful smelling diaper rash cream- was given a zillion other brands and varieties- and the only kind that didn’t give my guy’s bottom a rash is sold at our co-op and smells pungent/earthy and I have only just grown to love it.

  16. Charmaine says:

    Heck with the book…. GIMME THOSE SHOES!!!! No I would love to have the book, the Sixth’s Times the Charm Quilt is gorgeous !!! Hey better yet…. The book AND the shoes!!!!! ; }

  17. Francheska says:

    I would like to have this book, the quilt, the shoes, the dress.. it’s void in Puerto Rico?

  18. Regina L says:

    It’s not any particular product, but when I see items for baby- whether it be clothing, toys, diaper bags or blankets that have exorbitant prices on them because they’re a specific brand, etc…it makes me cringe. Anna shows how beautiful handmade items can be and truly cherished. And they are honestly so much nicer than commercial products! I would love to make the bag, the quilt and I’m totally in love with that hooded coat and four corners blouse!

  19. Alice R. says:

    Oh, thank heavens I squeaked in! That book looks fantastic!
    Mine was the lovely baby bassinet basket when I had my first born in Germany. We had no money, but it wasn’t too, too much since I could make the insides myself, and it was only the basket so you could take the baby with you everywhere – room to room or on the go. Fail! The whole basket was very soft, and the handles were in the middle so when you picked it up when the baby in it, you squished him, the whole thing toppled forward and he slid down on his head! We could use it only when we left it on a table or on the floor, and my little boy grew like a monster baby – outgrew it in no time!

  20. fayrene says:

    I think it’s a tie between the wipe warmer and the pee tent thingie for most useless baby item.

    We managed without a bouncy seat, swing, or jumperoo thingie that everyone insisted we HAD to have. The jogging stroller and the pack-n-play, though – we can’t do without!

  21. Susan says:

    Baby wipe warmer. We got one as a gift, I returned it, and my husband managed to purchase another one at some point later on. Which got good-willed a couple months later. Ugh.

  22. kelli says:

    Skirt for a newborn baby. Seriously, they’re just wearing PJs and getting clothes changed about 10 times a day.

  23. karen says:

    You know I did not get any silly baby items. I especially treasure a pair of tiny flannel nighties that were made by a colleague – used them for all my babies – they were so soft and old fashioned looking

    hope I squeak into this give away because I would dearly love to make so many of the items in the book for yet to be grand kids

  24. Patti says:

    I finally got a chance to look through this fantastic book yesterday…I seriously adore the mamma chick pattern and the Daddy Diaper Bag.

    I had my baby 18 years ago and that was before all the nifty, pointless gadgets came out…everything we had for the baby was either used, borrowed or donated, and we didn’t care!

    But Anna’s shoes are radically divine!

  25. [...] This lady TOTALLY amazes me.  She designed all these fabric and these projects….and she has 6 KIDS!! From 18 to 1!  AND she is as sweet and genuine and thoughtful as she seems in her blog.   I would have to say that her blog is my very favorite for the way she mixes family and design and pain and laughter.  My heart is often stirred by her musings on parenthood.  It is such a wonderful and difficult and ultimately fulfilling and draining  life work…and Anna Maria captures it all …..surrounding it with beauty as she goes….including her now famous Quilt Market Spring ‘10 shoes! [...]