february diy + business book club + book giveaway

dear-handmade-life-diy-business-craft-book-club“I know Megan’s book is about cancer, but I swear it’s not depressing,” Alicia said.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah, it’s the funniest cancer book I’ve ever read. Megan is kinda the best,” Alicia responded.

This was the introduction Alicia Dirago (Whimseybox) gave me to her roomie at Alt Summit Megan Silianoff (Greetings from Texas). Before I knew it, Megan was sitting in our hotel living room (aka the speakeasy) on the first night of Alt Summit. The invitation to our hotel room debauchery clearly stated that pajamas and muumuus were welcome, yet Megan was the first to take up us up on our offer. There she sat in her adorable navy blue pajama set, night after night in our room. Our intention was for the speakeasy to be a one night affair but it blossomed into a nightly party. Megan attended every single night. So did her blue pajamas.

It’s hard to truly connect with people when you’re at a conference or retreat. Every minute is a barrage of information and networking. Yet, right away I wanted to take the time get to know Megan more. She showed me photos of her daughter, Macy.
“We named her after the girl in Uncle Buck,” she said.
“Wasn’t her name Maizy?” I asked.
“Yeah, we realized that when it was too late,” Megan said.

Yes, Megan really did name her daughter after a character in one of my all time favorite 80s movies. Amazing. Then, I caught Megan saddling up to the bar in our room pouring herself a shot of the High West rye we’d picked up in Park City. I shared my favorite books about writing and shared the audiobook memoirs that get me through long drives. At some point we talked business. I read her hand-out for the class she taught at Alt about how to get a book published when you’re not a big-time blogger. It was awesome.

Then, I came home from Salt Lake city. After two weeks away, I returned to my house, chickens, husband and dog. All I wanted to do was listen to my husband (chef/amateur wine-maker) talk about the benefits of organic dry-farming wine while sitting on the couch and petting my dog.

Instead I had hundreds of emails to answer and tons of work to do planning our Patchwork Show spring festivals and Craftcation Conference. My second night home I had a junior nervous breakdown from exhaustion and went to bed at 8:30pm. I wasn’t tired but just couldn’t manage to do anything else. I slipped under the duvet and picked up Megan’s book. I spent the next several hours unable to put it down. If you love heartbreaking funny memoirs like I do, I suggest you get ‘99 Problems and a Baby Ain’t One‘ asap. If you don’t, no worries. we have three other lovely DIY and business books in our book club this month. This month’s picks also include ‘The Alabama Stitch Book‘ by Natalie Chanin. If you don’t know Natalie or her work, please watch this Creativebug video right now. Every time I watch it, I weep. Natalie’s passion for the handmade process is contagious and beyond moving. Or check out Richard Branson’s autobiography, ‘Losing my Virginity‘. This was one of the first entrepreneurial autobiographies I read. It’s so damn inspiring. Our last pick, ‘Skirt a Day Sewing‘ by Nicole Smith has 28 skirt-sewing project tutorials perfect for any shape.

So slip under the covers with one of these books. Blue pajamas are totally optional.

-nicole s.



dear-handmade-life-diy-business-craft-book-club-2Here’s a list again, of the February books:

1.  Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin

2.  Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson

3.  99 Problems but a Baby Ain’t One by Megan Silianoff

4.  Skirt a Day Sewing by Nicole Smith

Want a chance to win two of these books – the Alabama Stitch Book and Skirt a Day Sewing all you have to do is…

Leave a comment on this post by February 10th at midnight telling us the last time you met someone inspiring. Make sure to include your email address so we can get your address and ship you some lovely things to read.



  1. I recently had the opportunity to meet Juki Educators, Karen Pharr and Jane Plisga! How inspiring and fun they are! So much so that I’m going to sign up for their class at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Illinois!

  2. Wow! Cool books!
    And nearly every day I meet someone inspiring. But one of the most recent inspiring people was a woman I met on my neighborhood Facebook page right after the disaster in thr Phillippines. She was making lumpia to raise money to send to her family as their house had been completely destroyed. Nearly everyone in our neighborhood ordered these delectable treats she made and she was able to buy plane tickets home to help her family. The photos she posted of her time there were amazing and I was so grateful to be able to help her.

    1. thanks sivye! how awesome that you meet so many inspiring people in your life! absolutely LOVE that story about your neighbor! really shows how big of a difference each of us can make in each others live 🙂

  3. A friend of mine lost her son to a brain tumor when he was just five years old. Since then, she has used the experience to empower her to get in shape, lose a bunch of weight, and now she is training to become a personal trainer. She sees signs from him in everyday life, and I love how she has focused on what he brought (and still brings) to her life instead of the incredible loss itself.

    1. oh my gosh… annie! that is such a lovely source of inspiration! i can’t imagine what your friend went through and how amazing that she both able to grieve and turn her tragedy into something beautiful 🙂

  4. Last night I met a woman who has been gluten free for 15 years. I just started my gluten free journey this year and it was inspiring to hear that someone has had such success for so long. We were both excited for a delicious gluten free dessert at a local restaurant that sparked conversations with those around us about the greater access to healthier restaurant food in our neighborhood.

  5. I recently met someone who admired my art to the extent that they wanted to buy one of my photo books that I made to keep track of my paintings. Definitely an encouraging moment, as I didn’t sell any art that day…just my one personal photo book 🙂

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