Magazine Back Story & Back Issues

Magazine Back Story & Back Issues

QIT #2 Jan-Feb 2012 page 24.jpg

You may be aware of the fact that I was the assistant editor for the and magazines published by Valu-Publishing from December 2012 through September 2014. What you may not be aware of is that not only was I the assistant editor but I also designed the magazine from the ground up because these were a brand new titles for the publisher, did 90% of the photography, laid out the magazine to get to press, worked with the copy editor, and designed the covers. But, my job didn't stop there, I was also the liaison with contributing designers and rewrote and illustrated the various projects to fit our format, shipped back the projects, and designed dozens of quilts and sewing patterns for the magazines as well! 

QIT and SIT Full Set.jpg

Our small staff turned out a magazine every 4 weeks. In total, 12 and 11 magazines went to press. There were 3 issues that never made it to press because the publisher went bankrupt in August of 2014. 


Before I was approached to take on the role of assistant editor in the summer of 2012 I had been designing fabrics for Paintbrush Studios (Fabri-Quilt). I was well qualified for the challenge of magazine work but had never put my newly acquired skills to the test. A few years before, at age 45 I'd gone back to school to learn Desktop Publishing and Digital Print and earned a certification is both those studies. I was originally hired on to design the magazine and lay out the pages. Well, my one role quickly became more and albeit extremely stressful, I was able to do it all. There was of course a learning curve but on the job training is the quickest way to learn.

I've never talked publicly about those magazine days and my website went practically dead during that duration. My recent experience with my book brought back all the thrills and stress of those days, making me think it's time to share a bit of that part of my life with you. 


My dear friend and editor on both titles was Deborah Hearn. You may remember her as the editor of Quilt magazines and other titles by the now defunct Harris Publications. Deb had such a clear vision for these magazines and I owe much of who I am as a quilt designer, photographer, and pattern writer to her desire to create projects for the beginning sewist and still make them fun and exciting for more advanced sewers. I swear my book Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living is photographed with Deb's voice in my ear. Those photography days were my favorite as we were on the phone all day long! 


In the spring of 2014 I'd hit the burn out phase. My only daughter was getting married in July and I was nearing a nervous breakdown! I made up my mind that I wanted to get back to the slower paced life of a textile designer (it's not really, but in comparison to what I was doing on staff for the magazines it's night and day difference). At spring Quilt Market that year I took a portfolio of designs to show Pat Bravo of Art Gallery Fabrics. I had only one fabric company I wished to design for and that was AGF. My thought was if I don't get picked up by AGF I was going to give up on being a textile designer for good and continue work in publishing and if I did get picked up by AGF I was going to quit as an assistant editor. Well, I was blown away and so excited that Pat liked my work and signed me on the spot! 

So, since I couldn't leave everyone in a lurch and just quit I agreed to stay on until the middle of August of 2014 and train people to replace me on the magazine. So, that summer was really the lowest I've ever been emotionally and mentally and I really think I was having a breakdown--I cannot even describe the amount of stress. So, while I was still putting out magazines I had to train four people to replace me in my one job. And when I say train, I mean teach them how to use Illustrator, format the issues, and fill all my other rolls. There was a wedding, of which my daughter did a lot of the work but it was still a logistics issue at the very least, and I had a fabric line to design for the fall show! Unreal when I think about it all now how I even made it through all that.

Funny thing is, I did make it through all of it and 2 weeks before my quit date the publisher went bankrupt! ARGH!!!!! Well, the experience made me stronger, smarter, but probably not wiser. I wouldn't trade those years for anything and I learned so much.

QIT8 Jan-Feb 2014 page 16.jpg


I have limited back issues of the no-longer in print and magazines originally distributed November 2012 through October 2014 by Valu-Publishing. Since I've just added a STORE onto this website I thought I'd use this new feature to sell off my extra issues. There are limited numbers of each issue available and these will only be offered for sale until January 5, 2018.

The projects are beautifully photographed, easy to follow with clear instructions and full illustrations. Geared toward the beginning quilter/sewer but great for all level of stitchers. Each issue is filled to the brim with delightful quilting and sewing projects, tips, lessons, and special features. Only 10 pages of ads per issue and 58 pages of content. Because I was the assistant editor for this title I also created many projects for these magazines under my name or my nom de plume Norah Seels (at least one project per issue). Since that time I've republished many of my patterns as stand alone PDF patterns priced at $8 each. Now you can see what a great value these magazines really are!

Magazines are sold individually at below newsstand price as well as an additional listing of one complete set--sold as a set. See the individual listings. For every 4 individual issues you purchase you will receive a free surprise fat quarter from one of my Art Gallery Fabrics collections as a thank you. Receive 8 surprise thank you fat quarters with the purchase of the complete set.

Shipping to US addresses only

See the individual listings for photos of issue contents. The images posted show a majority of the projects in each magazine but not all are represented with photo thumbnails. Each issue is packed with quilting/sewing projects. See cover image and Table of Contents for total count. 

The magazines have been stored in a dry, light-free, and smoke-free environment. Issues are like new but may show some slight shelf wear.

QIT8 Jan-Feb 2014 page 7.jpg

So, now's your chance to get your hands on these amazing magazines. Don't delay, issues are limited and I'm only listing these in my STORE until January 5th, 2018.

Happy sewing,


Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour

Book Blog Tour 3.jpg

You can imagine my excitement when my first quilt book Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living (Landauer 2017) became a reality this October and I could hold a printed copy in my hand. Well, I'm even more elated about the upcoming blog tour! Starting Monday, December 4th with the talented Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt and running each day until the 19th are 16 creative bloggers to tell you all about my book. 

Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples - Fabric Mutt

Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend - During Quiet Time

Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell - Maureen Cracknell Handmade

Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson - Gigi's Thimble

Friday 12/8  Karen O'Connor - Lady K Quilts Designs

Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart - Olive Grace Studios

Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters - A Stranger View

Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell - Designs by Sarah J

Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift - Jessica Swift

Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble - Love to Color My World

Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens - Live a Colorfullife

Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian - Sew and Tell Project

Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder - Anjeanette K

Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron - Modern Sewciety

Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson - The Tattooed Quilter

Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted - Hopewood Home

Book Blog tour banner.jpg

To kick off the tour I'd like to share a free quilt project with you that I designed to go along with the book. Roman Stripe is super fun to make and a great scrap quilt. You can use jelly roll strips or cut your own 2-1/2" wide strips - the more the merrier with this one!

Roman Stripe by Sharon Holland

Roman Stripe by Sharon Holland

Roman Stripe by Sharon Holland

Roman Stripe by Sharon Holland

The premise of my book is to make quilts to be used. Don't stress about stitching museum showpieces or quilts you're afraid to let anyone touch--make quilts to be part of your everyday life. Experiment with colors and prints. Feel free to create what sings to your heart and forget about color theories (of which I do go over in the book as a basic understanding of color theory).

Make what you love and love what you make. 
Quilt Stack.jpg

Even though this book is only 80 pages, I've managed to pack it full of everything you'll need to make 12 easy-to-piece quilts from start to finish. This is a great resource for a beginning quilter or even seasoned quilters that want fun new projects. I go over fabric selection, cutting of fabric, patchwork basics, utility-style quilting, and finishing of the quilt. The quilt projects are based in traditional patchwork but all have a fresh-modern look--perfect for today's home. 



It pains me deeply that I already have a correction in my book but that's what happens when you have different people to depend on and many hands on a project. This beautiful quilt called Goose Chase has some changes to the material list and cutting instructions on it's first page. Use this link to Landauer Publishings Correction page and download the changes. I know this stuff happens but that gives me no comfort and am sorry for any headaches it may cause you.

Goose Chase web.jpg

My lovely daughter and dashing son-in-law were my models for this photo. The beauty shot photo of this quilt in the book has a different version and includes my granddaughter in the scene who at that time was less than a year old.

I like to pack meaning in everything I do and this book almost feels like a family album in a way. My friends and family all played a big role in making this possible. Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living is as much a lifestyle book as it is a quilting book. I wanted a cover that could rival any home decor magazine and purposely started the reader outside in front of a house. SIDE NOTE: And no, it's not my house but I like to say it should've been my house. We looked at that home when it was fresh on the market when we were finding a place to live in Ohio. Unfortunately it was priced well beyond our comfort zone and we had to find something else. I love that it's the cover for my book and that curved roof line is divine!

From the exterior of a home I lead you through a home beginning on the porch and into the front entry. Every room of this collective home represents how people live today. We end the projects with Goose Chase out in the backyard for a sweet, impromptu picnic. The life-style inset photos were taken by Susan Playsted of Hopewell Home and Susan can tell you more about how that all came about on her blog tour day. Let's just say social media is truly social and it was an amazing collaboration!

Tracery by Sharon Holland

Tracery by Sharon Holland

I'm happy to announce that this website now has a STORE! My first and only item in my shop right now is my book. I have limited quantities to sell and although you could get the book through Amazon (affiliate link) and potentially pay no shipping costs you can only get it signed through my site so hopefully that offsets the extra expense of paying shipping :) Please note that I'm only shipping to US residents at this time. As I get more comfortable with having a store and add more items to my shop then I will open shipping up to more global locations in the future. 

With every good blog tour also comes good giveaways, right? Each of the Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour bloggers has the opportunity to give away one of my books to a lucky follower. I'm leaving it up to the blogger to run their own giveaway, so visit each of their posts to see what project(s) they've created from my book and if they're offering a book giveaway. Since the winning books will be shipped directly to the lucky winning entry via Landauer Publishing I'm sorry to say they will not be signed copies. 

Win Book.jpg

This giveaway is now closed

Congratulations to Jessica Rampelburg!

Follow along on the book blog tour for more chances to win a copy of Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living. 



Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans


The end of the calendar year is approaching and it's impossible not to start thinking ahead about the next year. I'm already mapping out the bigger events that will happen in 2018, like when my second grandchild is due, vacations, Quilt Markets, and when fabric collections need to be finalized. 

Daylily quilt photo by Kitty Wilkins courtesty of the Quilter's Planner

Daylily quilt photo by Kitty Wilkins courtesty of the Quilter's Planner

Not only will I be keeping all my appointments, career goals and project deadlines, as well as organizing my day to day thoughts in the 2018 Quilter's Planner calendar (affiliate link), I also have a quilt in next years book!


The 2018 Quilter's Planner comes with a separate magazine with beautifully illustrated and written patterns for all the projects in the calendar. Alison Glass designed organizational stickers for the Planner, a monthly sampler quilt, and there's so much more...

Courstesy of The Quilter's Planner

Courstesy of The Quilter's Planner

Besides all that is listed above, the gals at Quilter's Planner have thought of everything! Here's a link for instructions on how to make a customized cover for your planner and other printable to keep you organized for special events. 

Photo courtesty of the Quilter's Planner

Photo courtesty of the Quilter's Planner

I'm excited to start filling the pages of my Quilter's Planner and do away with my old system of scraps of paper with cryptic notes, lists, and ideas scattered all over my house! I also want to make a cover for it and love the added zipper for pens and pencils!

photo courtesty of the Quilter's Planner

photo courtesty of the Quilter's Planner

So, join the fun and make 2018 your best year yet! 

AGF Quilt Block Collection Blog Tour

AGF Quilt Block Collection Blog Tour


You all know how much I love Art Gallery Fabrics, right? Well, of course I do, I'm one of their designers but I loved them even before I was designing for them. They are leaders in the industry for sewing inspiration, fabric quality, and fresh, modern prints. Their website and blog is stocked full of free projects, giveaways, and ideas for your next sewing adventure.

For some time now AGF has been building a quilt block library for you with Youtube demonstration videos for making each block. Art Gallery Fabrics has asked Sharon McConnell of Color Girl Quilts to host a AGF Quilt Block Collection Blog Tour so you can get even more ideas on how to sew with all these fun traditional quilt blocks. I jumped on the chance to be part of the tour and today is my turn to show you what I made.


Nov 13 - Sharon McConnell | | @colorgirlquilts

Nov 14 - Karen O'Connor | | @ladykquilts

Nov 16 - Amy Friend | | @duringquiettime

Nov 17 - Kate Basti | | @katebasti

Nov 18 - Yvonne Fuchs | | @quiltingjetgirl

Nov 19 - AnneMarie Chany | | @genxquilters

Nov 20 - Maureen Cracknell | | @maureencracknell

Nov 21 - Sharon Holland | | @sharonhollanddesigns

Nov 22 - Lucy Brennan | |  @charmaboutyou


I knew right away I wanted to make a table runner from the Aztec block. This block makes me think of pine boughs and perfect for all the pretty Art Gallery Fabrics I have in spruce, mint, teal, silver, and wintery-white mixes. 

BG0A3114 cropped.jpg

To make a runner like mine you will need:

  • Six 10'' square light prints

  • Six 10'' square dark/medium prints

  • (1) 20'' x 60" rectangle backing and batting

  • (4) 2-1/4'' x 42'' strips for binding

I mixed my own AFG prints with fabrics designed by other AGF designers for the perfect winter-greens look. Here's a list of the Art Gallery Fabrics collections these prints came from:

Bountiful prints by me Sharon Holland (me)

Coastline print by Sharon Holland

Bachelorette Fusions with prints by Sharon Holland and Pat Bravo

Floralia Fusions with prints by Sharon Holland and Bari J.

Woodland Fusions print by Maureen Cracknell

Spices Fusions print by Bonnie Christine


I always like a physical print out when I'm working with a new pattern. You can download the free Aztec block here. The AGF instructions are well illustrated and easy to follow. I did jot down a few notes for myself when I was making this block and I'd like to share those tips with you. 

First off, I made you a downloadable coloring page for this runner. It's three Aztec blocks sewn short sides together to make a runner that finishes around 15'' x 54'' in size. If you'd like a longer runner, then simply add more blocks. The reason I suggest working out your fabric placement before you begin has to do with the sub cutting and the direction of the points. Click on the coloring page image (below) for the download to pop-up. 

When you first are sewing your half-square triangle (HST) units, use a short stitch length to keep your pieces from unraveling after sub cutting the strips. Be sure to use an accurate seam allowance and square your HSTs to 9-1/2". 

Audition Before SUB Cutting

Aztec Runner Cutting.jpg

My original idea for fabric placement ended up changing once my sections for the blocks were all assembled but for this tip you can see how I reference my colored page before I made the sub cut strips. Notice I kept my HST seams running the same direction (like in the AGF instructions) BUT the light and dark placement of the HST have been flipped in my cutting so the points are correctly oriented when I put the blocks together. My suggestion is to have your coloring page by you and flip the HST before cutting to see if everything matches up with your colored page. When you're ready to sub cut, cut the strips into 2-3/8'' segments. 


Pairs of A/B sections ready to assemble into blocks. After I had my block sections sewn I played with the placement and decided to make my blocks so the green prints meet in the center of the block. 


Now here's a runner perfect to leave out all winter long. Dress it up with sparkling silver and metallic accents or create a snowy lodge-look with rustic elements. The quarter inch straight-line machine quilting accentuates the needle-like quilt block pattern and was a fast way to finish this table topper.


What AGF quilt block would you make from their quilt block collection? I hope you've been inspired by the tour makes and if you have, Art Gallery Fabrics wants to see your blocks and block inspired projects and they have an Instagram contest to help celebrate all your quilty creations! 

Here's how to enter: 

-Sew up a block from the AGF Quilt Block Collection with AGF fabrics

-Share them on your public Instagram account using the #agfquiltblockcollection hashtag

-Every month AGF will be choosing two lucky winners who will receive a fat quarter bundle of AGF fabric featured in the AGF Quilt Block Collection!!!!!!