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  • Why Organic Cotton

    Why Organic Cotton

    I live in Brazil, I'm not sure how many of you know that. I know some of my readers are based around the globe, but I think the majority of you are probably in the United States, where organic cotton fabric is available. I design for a lot of companies, but one of my favorites is Cloud 9 Organic Fabrics. It's cotton fabric, medium to light weight, used for quilting purposes. 

    One day, here in Brazil, I decided to have a go at finding organic cotton, I was just looking for some basic solids or muslin. It was incredibly frustrating. In Brazil they speak Portuguese (you can't image how many people ask if I speak Spanish after I tell them I live in Brazil), and I've been studying for four years now, and am a pretty decent speaker. I mess up a ton, but I think I can usually get my point across, and understand what the response is. But organic cotton! Here's about how my search went::

    Sarah walks into store. Excuse me, do you have organic cotton?

    What do you mean? Organic?

    Yes, cotton that is grown organically, which is more sustainable for the environment, and releases less toxins in the production process.

    Still, what do you mean, are you going to eat it?

    No, I was planning on sewing with it?

    You must mean bamboo. We have bamboo. 

    Is it organically grown?

    Are you goign to eat it?

    Goodness. I ended up with no fabric. Not even a nibble. I couldn't seem to get the idea past the guy that organic didn't mean edible. I think I had said something along the lines of 'grown more naturally', and he came back with hemp, bamboo, pretty much all alternative fibers. Close, but not organic. Yikes.

    Anyway, I'm sure a lot of you would regularly buy normal cotton quilting fabric. It's got a cheaper price tag, which is great. And why pay the extra money for organic? So many reasons! We all teach our kids so that they can provide a good future for themselves, set good examples and help others, all to improve upon the state of the world. Traditionally grown cotton releases toxins and chemicals that effect the workers and farmers of the cotton, the land the cotton is grown on, and runoff from these fields pollutes our streams, rivers and eventually oceans. 

    There are so many more reasons, so to not repeat word for word, just go ahead and read this article. It's short, don't worry, an easy read. I hope it convinces you to take organic cotton into consideration the next time you're shopping for fabric. If you're interested in reading more, check out the GOTS website, this is the certification that Cloud 9's fabrics recieve. Also, for a really reader friendly description, check out Cloud 9's FAQ page.

  • Circles this Week

    This week seemed to end up being an array of circles, as far as pictures go.

    We're in the middle of Brazilian summer, and we have had a great amount of rain at our house in the mountains/rainforest. We live in São Paulo state (just like New York, New York, state and city have the same name), which the majority of is currently in a really tough drought. We happen to live in an area which is recieving a lot of rain, though, so I am very thankful for that. Our water comes from a spring (or a well? I'm really still a bit lost on the translation), so thankfully, we have plenty of drinking water. One consequence of many years of drought followed by heavy rains is flooding and mudslides. We've been safe from flooding, as we live on the side of a hill, with good drainage, but our roads have had a little bit of mud action. Again, though, thankfully, we really haven't been harmed at all.

    We have a BOB stroller, which usually when I see in public I go, sheesh, that's such a big stroller, what in the world am I doing, but when I see in situ, at our house in the muddy mountains, I think, oh, that's why I have this. We live at the end of a dirt road, and were stuck in the house for a few days after mud blocked our road. Without the BOB we really would have been stranded. I took the picture to show how caked on the clay-like mud got around the tires, but it really doesn't do it justice. With a toddler in all that mud we were a huge mess.

    Also in my world of circles, I started cutting into Garden Secrets, and I love it so much. The large Bouquet print is so amazing, and it's voile, so even better! For where to find it you can check Cloud 9's website, they have a great 'where to buy' section.

    I started cutting some circles for some circular placemats, the bright colors go great on our rustic(ish) kitchen table. I used the scraps to do a bit of a test, and am going to turn them into coasters (you know, so that our "rustic" table is protected from water marks). I sandwiched a bit of felt in between the voile and a nice chambray and hand stitched it on, a bit of a trapunto technique. It raises it a bit and looks so nice. And I love the scraps from this gigantic print, it seems like it might be daunting to cut it up, but I like it just as much in small pieces as I do whole.

    The last in a series of circles (seriously, though, I looked through the camera and it was all circles) was the inevitable picture of something I ate. I really try not to do that, but it happened. We were sorely lacking in lettuce from the garden, so I picked some nasturtium petals and leaves, marigold petals and rose petals, as well as some leaves from a cabbage that doesn't seem to be turning into a cabbage. I didn't tell my husband what was in it until he finished, because, I mean, you never really want to tell a guy he's eating flower petals, I feel like that just wouldn't go well.

    That's all in my world. Back to working, drawing for a new collection, and hopefully making some tutorials that I can share with you soon.

  • A day in the life: 05/20/2015

    Good morning world. Or at least part of the world. As it is always 5 o'clock somewhere, I guess it's also always morning somewhere. I'm intent on posting more on my blog, so here I go. My usual concern with this is a problem that I would assume lots of people have. What should I post about? And do people really want to know these things? I'm going to go ahead and assume that yes, you do want to know more about me. And, you know what? Likewise, I'd love to know more about you. Leave a comment, shoot me an email, whatever. I'm so happy to know when people like my work, it delights me to actually meet the people and get to know them.

    Back to what to post about. The majority of my day isn't comprised of design work. The majority is much less glamorous, changing diapers, mopping floors, doing dishes and cooking. I love these things, don't get me wrong, but that's probably not the reason you're reading this, so I'll try to keep it to a minimum, pictures mainly.

    If we're looking at a 'day in the life' situation, my day usually starts around 5AM. That's when dearest baby wakes up, also when the sun rises, see above). I would love to sleep in a bit more, but I can't complain too much, as he gets me up to see one of the most beautiful parts of the day. Then, you know, things, teeth brushing, eating (I won't even try to take pictures of my incredibly beautiful meals for you), bathing. 

    I usually keep something crafty nearby when I'm hanging around the house. I work from home, with the 8 month old baby, so there is a lot of time where I'm sort of just sitting and watching him enjoy life. He doesn't go in my office, because it's perhaps on of the most dangerous places for a baby I've ever seen. Needles, scissors, electricity, a giant hole in the wall (that's another conversation). So I keep a project elsewhere in the house.

    I've currently got the above project going. A lot of my fabric is based on a white ground, and I thought a sweet low volume quilt would be a great gift for my new neice. I've got plenty of fabric scraps, so I've started appliqueing hearts on the 5" squares. Notice how they all lean to the right? At least I'm consistent? Always look at the bright side. The fabrics above are from Arcadia and Biology. If you're looking to pick up some of these fabrics, check out Cloud 9's website. They're a dream to work with, I'm finding especially great for applique, and of course, they are organic.

    Next on the to-do list of crafts? These sweet guys that I'm calling Jungle Buddies. I'd love to release them as an embroidery pattern, I just have to work out some kinks. Working on adding spots to these, but having a crisis about what color. Black? Orange? Solid? Outline? I'll make sure to keep you updated on progress. 

    Are we still on the 'day in the life' topic? The majority of the day. Hanging with baby. 

    To wrap it up, I usually do a little design work here and there. I license my patterns on a variety of products, one of my favorite collaborations is with Chasing Paper. It's peel and stick wallpaper. No goop, no glue, and easily removable. It comes in 2X4 foot rolls, and is great to use for wallpaper, but so much better to use for everything else! I liken it to the contact paper that I remember my mom having on all of our shelves and drawers growing up. Only so much cooler! This print has three color options currently, but we're adding the above three as quickly as possible, so keep an eye out! 

    That's all for this week. If you're reading this thinking, man, what is this girl writing about, don't worry, I'm sure I'll get better at speaking via blog. Just stick with me (oh, was that a stickable wallpaper joke? No, but good try). Until next week!

  • #biologyfabric hitting stores!

    #biologyfabric hitting stores!

    Yay, yay, yay! My Biology collection with Cloud 9 fabrics is hitting stores as we speak! I'm so excited to see what everyone does with this fabric. I think it's got a lot of potential, for clothing, quilts and home dec. It's also got an incredible border print that has so many uses (ahem, curtains, anyone? skirts, and amazing quilt backs!). 

    To see what folks are doing with Biology fabric, and to add your photos, make sure you use the hashtag #biologyfabric. As always, I really love seeing what people make with my fabric, so if you want to show me personally, I'd love to hear from you! (see email link at bottom of page).

    To get your own bundle (FQ, yards and yards and yards!) of Biology fabric, visit Cloud 9 fabric's website. They've got a great 'where to buy' section, with list of stockists, brick and mortar stores as well as online shops.

    Now get sewing!