Stitch Fest

It’s safe to expect that when Martha Stewart and her staff of talented crafts editors set out to do something it will be A Good Thing. Stitch Fest, the launch event for Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts held April 1, 2010, was the sewing party of all sewing parties.
Martha looking in on partygoers working on Heirloom
Tomato Pincushions from page 277 in the book

I spent the evening getting a sneak peek at the many projects featured in the book. Some of my favorites were:

• Athena Preston’s demonstration of stenciling with fabric paint on linen. Within minutes of entering the room I was bursting with ideas combining fabric paint and linen (or other heavily textured) fabrics.
Pillows made using stenciled linen. The stenciling technique is explained
on page 89 of the book

• Eco-friendly ideas were represented as well. Would you ever think of turning a tuxedo shirt into a pillow? Check out page 233! Make a bunny out of that wool suit jacket you haven’t worn in years – find that one on page 94 right next to the felted wool sweater animals.
• The line to make your own heirloom tomato pincushion and machine embroidered hand towel was very long. But how often do you get to say you stuffed a tomato at Martha Stewart’s place? It was worth the wait.
• Projects from the book featuring appliqué, quilting, hand dying were on display as well.
A menagerie of dolls and animals
Tuxedo pillow

As fantastic as Stitch Fest was, I could hardly wait to get home to devour my copy of the book.

Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts is both beautiful and useful. It delivers exactly what the title promises, straightforward, basic techniques covering both sewing and fabric crafts. The information is reminiscent of that on the website and magazines, however here it is all in one well-organized place.
The first part of the book is divided into 6 sections each featuring a different area -- sewing, appliqué, embroidery, quilting, dyeing and printing. In each section you learn the basics and a few more skilled techniques. The second part of the book takes the techniques and works them into 150 clever and delightful projects, organized from A-Z. The entire book is beautifully photographed and well illustrated. Techniques and project instructions are clear and detailed as they are in Martha Stewart’s magazines, other books, and website. I think it is safe to say (almost) everything is in here – tips on setting up a workspace, essential tools, glossaries, techniques, suppliers, and 150 projects with a CD that contains the patterns and templates.

I’d say this is a book that belongs on your bookshelf, but in reality it will spend it’s time on your sewing table. Now I have some sewing to do!

Reported by Holly Ann Ellis, from Ellisdesign.

NYC Rooftop Gardening

Every summer I dream of getting out of the city heat for a few months to some nice summer home upstate. That dream hasn't come true yet, but I've found a way to bring a little bit of that summer back home to the city.

My garden is my refuge, my happy place, my growing place. It's amazing what a few plants will do to your outlook. They've lived on my fire escape and window sills before I graduated to the rooftop.

A few tips

I love the book The City Gardener's Handbook. It's written by a New Yorker, and I swear for New Yorkers, though I think anyone would benefit from it. Easy enough for a beginner but with plenty of resources for the intermediate (and dare I say advanced) gardener.

Don't spend too much money!
All of my pots (or plastic tubs) I got off of craig's list or from the dollar store. I even got a few just regular tubs and drilled lots of holes into the bottom for drainage. Some of them were free.

Try growing from seed.
They're cheap and I certainly don't mind that they sprout irregularly. You can move them around or trim them back as they grow so you have even seedlings throughout your pots. Or try growing them inside!

Spend money on plants that you know will last.
This is the rose bush's second season on my roof. Handled the winter just fine. Learn what zone you're in and shop accordingly. Perennial plant tags say what zones are best for them. Otherwise, you can bring tropical plants indoors. Just remember to keep them in until the temperature has stabilized above 40 deg F at night. I tried to bring my Aloe Vera plants out too early this year and almost killed them.

Know what you have and Use what's already there.
And I spent a few days going up to the roof at different times of day to get a feeling for how much sun and shade my roof gets. During the summer it gets more sun than some plants can handle. But I do have that wall that provides a bit of shade in the afternoon, even with the silver paint.

And I use what's already on my roof, like this pole will eventually be supporting these snap pea plants.

Ask an expert!
Find your local nursery, plant and garden store, or even a hardware store and find someone that will answer your questions. Start out small and learn as you go. It's ok if it doesn't work out at first, a lot of it is trial and error. While I love the plants themselves, I also just love playing in the dirt.

Where to Find The {NewNew} on March 21 + 22

DUMBO Winter Pop-Up Market

The DUMBO Pop-Up Market is back this weekend, so head out on this first weekend of spring and check out members of the {NewNew} Team this Saturday and Sunday. Location: 81 Front Street, Brooklyn (Map)

Saturday, March 21st Line-Up (left to right): JournalisticTendencies, BetterThanJam, and WabisabiBrooklyn

, March 22nd Line-Up (left to right):
Jantar, Groundsel, and PinkBabyMouse

Artists and Fleas Indoor Market

Karen's Monsters will be at the Artists and Fleas Indoor Market both Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd. Location: 129 North 6th Street, Brooklyn. (Map)

Happy First Weekend of Spring!


How a California Girl Survives a New York Winter

Moving across the country from Sunny California to Snowy Upstate New York was quite an experience. I still recall my now husband teaching me to tie on a scarf that first snowy winter.

Well I’ve come a long way in the almost 8 years I’ve lived in New York. I’m sure you born and bred New Yorkers learned all of this from your mother’s milk. This is for the rest of us.


Probably the most important thing I ever learned: How to put on about 50 more layers than anyone would notice. Thin soft layers underneath all leading towards the big chunky ones on the outside.

These fingerless gloves are perfect for finding your metrocard or keys without talking off your mittens, from ShutterKate.

My natural proclivity is to wear dark melancholy colors to match the landscape and sky (especially here in NYC), but my mood suffers. I try to brighten my day with brightly colored scarves and hats.

Like this bright pink Cowl from SpattersandJayne.


I hate high maintenance. I’m not awake enough in the mornings to do all that. But I never leave the house on a cold day without moisturizing, especially my face, hands, and lips.

I love that these lotion jars are the right size to fit in my purse to keep my hands nice all day, from Nordea’s Soaperie.

Staying Inside

While I spend all summer outdoors, I try to spend all winter (when I can) indoors. I invite friends over. I take naps with my cat. I read lots of books.

Reading made easy with these quirky bookmarks from Beacon Bookmarks.

I learned the hard way how dreary it gets all winter long without enough sun. I’ve finally understood why my husband has to turn all of the lights in the apartment on when he’s home. So brighten up your space with good colors, bright lights, and beautiful things.

Like this beautiful lamp from YoursTrulyxoxo.

If All Else Fails, Go On Vacation

Everyone else seems to do it too.

By a professed California Girl (even if I didn’t know it until I moved across the country)