Mary Jane Butters: Glamping!

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Though she exemplifies all that is genteel, refined, and ever-so-slightly old-fashioned, Mary Jane Butters has been on the cutting edge for years. During her childhood, long before it was trendy, she and her family lived close to the land, raising and preserving their own food and sewing their clothes. In her 20s she worked in Utah as one of the first female wilderness rangers in the United States and the only women hired to build houses at Hill Air Force Base. In the 1980s she raised her children in a house with wood heat, no plumbing, and no television. And in 1989 she became intrigued by organic farming: today she sells over 60 dried organic products through Paradise Farm Organics.

With a background like this, it’s apparent that Mary Jane isn’t afraid of hard work. As her organic farm prospered, she shared her environmentally conscious, health-minded lifestyle through MaryJanesFarm magazine, an “Everyday Organic” newspaper column, and four books. She runs a bed and breakfast on her Idaho property, created Pay Dirt Farm School to teach the business to new organic farmers, and founded Project F.A.R.M. (First-Class American Rural Made) to help energize rural businesses.

And now Mary Jane is a fabric designer. Her new line of fabric will be hitting the stores early in 2013, and she couldn’t be more excited.

“My mother and sisters, we quilted constantly—my mom made hundreds of quilts,” she says. “In junior high and high school we sewed every day—that’s how we got our clothes. We had a big ping pong table in the basement where we cut them out. My mom has passed on and won’t get to see it, but I know she’d love that I’m designing fabric.”

The new line, Glamping, will feature the light-hearted, feel-good imagery that abounds in her latest book, Glamping with Mary Jane (glamping is a combination of glamour and camping—a term Mary Jane coined when she set up her canvas-wall tent B&B). Bloomers and bras run up flagpoles, vintage trailers and cast iron bathtubs, and coffee cups with cheerful sayings keep the mood playful.

“I’m all about fabric,” says Mary Jane. “I walk into a fabric store and I just salivate.”

Amidst the farming, writing and editing, and activism she finds time to do more than salivate: she sews. And not surprisingly, her machine of choice is antique. “I have a treadle sewing machine mounted in my Airstream trailer,” she says. “I grew up using a treadle and I love and collect them. I just can’t resist them.” Old-fashioned or cutting edge? In Mary Jane’s world, it’s a little of both. 

New Town & Country Pattern by Artful Offerings

By Karina Hittle, Artful Offerings
NEW! for Fall Quilt Market…My “Town & Country” Pattern
I knew that for Fall Market I wanted to design a clutch.  I had several ideas popping around in my head, but hadn’t settled on a specific style…that is…until I happened upon Moda Fabrics “Little Black Dress” by Basic Grey…H-E-L-L-O, it was love at first sight for me!!!  This fabric collection encompasses my absolute favorite colors.  The beautiful patterns and stunning classic hues ranging from pure milky ivories and warm nickel greys to rich ink blacks…they are simply gorgeous…PERIOD!  I have been a fan of the original “little black dress” designer, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, for years and I immediately thought of her when I saw this collection and the “Town Clutch” design was born!  My taste being eclectic, I enjoy the juxtaposition of almost everything, so I thought about what would contrast nicely with a glamorous night on the town, and then decided that “Town & Country” would be the perfect title for my new pattern.

Clutch with Pearl Collar and Bow Tie Accent

Clutch with Beaded Collar and Button Accent

I was so excited by the prospect of tying-together my classic pattern design and Coco’s influence of simple, functional elegance to capture the sophistication of the “Town”.  Slip your hand under the unique hand strap to keep the clutch secure and close.  The collar can be left plain, or easily embellished with pearls, beads, sequins and accented with a bow tie or a button.  The interior divided pocket helps to keep things nicely organized.
For the “Country” element, my inspiration came partly from the 2012 Olympic equestrian events of this past summer and my love of the simple silhouettes that became popular during the mid-nineteenth century.  I chose to design a functional roomy tote so that it could feature a large silhouette of a thoroughbred horse with a button-braided mane on a quilted background. This striking feature is so easy and fun to achieve by using the fusible applique technique and adding small round buttons for the button-braided mane.  Easy-to find hardware adds a clever harness-look detail.  The back of the tote features a convenient exterior pocket and 2 extra-large interior pockets keep things organized. 
Tote Front
Tote Back
So whether it’s a night on the town or a day in the country, these pretty pieces are sure to keep you in high style!  I hope you enjoy making the town clutch and the country tote as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Karina Answers 3 FUN Questions From Moda
What is your one guilty pleasure in life? Hmmm…I would definitely have to say the Salted Caramel Sauce by Williams-Sonoma.  I could eat this rich and creamy sauce by the spoonful!  It is wicked delicious when heated up and generously drizzled on french vanilla ice cream from Sullivan Farms (our local dairy creamery shop) and topped with fresh blueberries or heavily dolloped on a piece of plain New York style cheese cake with or without fresh berries…hold me back!
Where do you do your best thinking? While I am constantly inspired by my surroundings in what ever I do, it never fails that I seem to come up with some of my favorite ideas when I am in the shower or late at night in bed when I am trying to get to sleep.
What do you listen to when you work? I LOVE music, so I have an extensive iTunes collection, which I play on my Apple Macintosh computer through external stereo speakers and a subwoofer.  The music I play depends on the mood I’m in or what project I’m working on and whether or not I need to keep a good pace to get things finished or a slower pace that is perfect for times when meticulous sewing needs to be done.  Whether I have the tunes cranked up until the windows are bulging to the beat or turned down low and in the background, music is a big part of my life here in my studio.  I am a fan of Country, R&B, Classical, Pop, Rock, New Wave, Alternative, Electronica and of course Christmas music during the holidays.  Right now, I’m listening to the oh-so-talented Michelle Branch!
Many thanks to Moda United Notions for inviting me to blog here on The Cutting Table and getting a chance to share my newest design with your loyal and enthusiastic bloggers.  It’s been quite enjoyable! 
Town & Country Pattern Cover (Pattern No. 2012141)

Our Town & Country pattern (Artful Offerings Pattern No. 2012141) along with the model/samples will be featured at the Fall Quilt Market trade show for wholesalers in the Moda United Notions Booth (October 27-29, 2012).  Wholesalers, please order through United Notions and retail customers please order through our website at  Happy stitching!
Kind Regards, Karina

Sweet Celebrations Blog Hop *Winner*

Drum roll please…Our winner is Tiffany from {Pinks Sweet Treats}! She has won a fat eighth bundle and a copy of Sweet Celebrations with the Moda Bake Shop Chefs. Congratulations to Tiffany and thank you to all of our readers for participating in this fun blog hop. If you missed some of the stops, you can still stop by each blog and pick up a recipe card with a seasonal treat. See the full blog list {here}.

No Strings Attached

Mama’s Sunday apron, Sister’s first sundress, and the pièce de résistance—my red polka dot romper, were all to be found in the quilt Great Aunt Nell made. And find them I did. . .over and over and over! I’m not sure it wasn’t an early symptom of OCD, but oh how I loved to look for favorite fabrics as I lay under it and to see where they had been used (and how often) in the quilt. 
I didn’t take an interest in quilt making until entering young adulthood, but when I did, my favorites were quilts with a profusion of different fabrics and a variety of shapes. This “more is more” inclination has continued through my career as a pattern designer, resulting in a number of quilt patterns that involve string piecing on a foundation. (See them at, and order a free copy of “String of Diamonds.”) 
I recently got to celebrate Christmas early when I received a box full of Fat Eighth packs from Moda. What a treat to open it and look at all those beautiful bundles!
But what do you do with Fat Eighths? One of the first things to come to mind was string piecing. I’d made a curvy table runner several months earlier and thought one of these gorgeous collections would be perfect for the pattern cover sample.



As I began playing with the idea—and trying to recall how I put together the original table runner!—I hit upon a way to achieve the look of string piecing with its variety of shapes, but without the need for a foundation (for stability) and without the kind of waste that usually accompanies it. 
So, I loaded up the car with sewing equipment and supplies and, of course, the box of Fat Eighths and drove to Texas to spend a week creating quilts with my mom. While my dad did some major pattern packaging, “Nana” and I made several quilt tops that will become quilts in the next few weeks. They will then be photographed for the covers of Seams & Dreams’ new patterns for Fall Quilt Market.
I’ve found in the past that a design that looks difficult can be a hard sell to quilting consumers, so it may be a challenge convincing them that this technique is EXTREMELY simple. A number of these patterns are in the works and will be designated with a “No Strings Attached” logo.  I can’t wait to see if other quilters get as excited about this fun technique as I am!