Bed of Roses – Block 5

My goodness!  I must say the 1st of the month seems to sneak up on me!  I am just putting the finishing stitches on the fifth block of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”, a BOM I started back in April.  I love this quilt because the blocks are actually easy (oh yes they are!) but the blocks don’t look easy.  I hope that makes sense!

Ok, so first I traced the block onto the background with a Clover water soluble marker.  Notice, I don’t trace what is inside the shapes, for example, the big flower.  The reason I don’t do this is because once the prepped piece  has been glued in place, it covers up all the inside markings and then you can’t see them.


Next, I added all the bias strips.  I use a Clover 1/4″ bias maker to do all of my stems.  I glued them in place and then I stitched them before I added any more pieces.


Next, I prepped the three pink flowers in the usual way.  I iron my freezer paper templates to the wrong side of the fabric and press the seam allowance over the templates with liquid starch and a mini-iron.  (Note to self…maybe its time to replace the fabric on my pressing board with something less grungy.)


Once the piece is prepped, I take the freezer paper template out…


…and then I place the template shiny side up on the prepped piece and mark any remaining seam allowances.  It makes lining up multiple pieces soooo easy.  Trust me!




Next, I prepped the big flower that sits right in the middle of the block.


Notice the marked seam allowances?  Now I know exactly where the next pieces go.  Easy Peasy!



I prepped a bunch of the yellow doo-dads and glued them in place.  I even marked the seam allowances on them!



Now I placed the green pieces in place.  See what I mean about being an easy block?


So, now I added the tiny leaves and four smaller posies.


Now it’s time to add some circles….



Lots and lots of circles!


And, to top it all off, a sparkly little vase.  I am giddy with excitement!



Here are all 5 blocks so far.  All these blocks are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.


Last weekend was the quilt show at the Simcoe County Museum.  Ruth, from Stitiching Impressions, kindly displayed my “Friends of Baltimore” quilt at her booth.

Ruth Quinn

My friend Kathy and I go to the show every year.  Not only do we love to see the awesome quilts, we love  to have a piece of Sugar Pie!  Of course, we did a bit of shopping at the Merchant Mall.  New fabric and pie….does it get any better?


What else am I working on?  Oddly enough, I am enjoying sitting at my sewing machine working on a scrappy quilt called Trail Mix, designed by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts.  So much fun!


Til next time….


Bed of Roses Block 4 – Part 2 and Some More Baltimore Pics!

This past weekend I finally put the binding and hanging sleeve on my “Friends of Baltimore”.  I am reluctant to actually finish this quilt.  Not sure why.  I think it marks the end of a journey that I just don’t want to end, but I have loved sharing the journey on my blog!

First, I made sure the corners were square.


Then I trimmed the batting and backing.  I always find this step most nerve-wracking.   It just seems so much could go wrong at this point!


I carefully machine stitched the binding to the quilt, making sure that the seam was exactly where it was supposed to be so that the triangles on the sawtooth border were perfect triangles and had all 3 points!


So far, so good!


Next, I made a pot of tea (or two) and hand-stitched the binding in place. Thank goodness for audible books!  And as usual, I had lots of company!


Here are a few more blocks showing the amazing machine quilting that Ruth Quinn from Stitching Impressions did.   If you check out her blog, you will see that Ruth describes in detail how she came up with the designs for each of the blocks.  Very informative!   Ruth is displaying my quilt in her booth at the Simcoe County Rug and Craft Fair this coming weekend.  Hope to see you there!  It is always a great show,  with not only quilts, but hooked rugs, spinning and the most amazing sugar pie you have ever tasted.









If you are stitching Bed of Roses along with me, you will receive Block 4 this week.  This package will include the first border, so here are a few helpful hints.

Cut 15 assorted pink rectangles according to the directions.  Stitch these rectangles together, but only stitch half way up the seam (about 2 “).  Press these seams open.



Place the bottom edge of this strip along the edge of the border and stitch in place.



Next, make a template of the curve provided in the pattern.  I used plastic template material.  Trace the curve on each of the rectangles.  I am not going to lie, when I first read the directions, I was a little leary of this process, but it is pretty slick.  I’m impressed!!

So is Bruin.  Very Impressed.




Before I forget, the white border is cut extra long, so don’t be concerned that the pink strip is shorter than the border.

Okay, so now just trim 1/4″ away from the and start to stitch!



Slick.  Indeed!!

Til next time…


Bed of Roses – Block 4

Block 4 of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses” could very well be my favourite block…so far!  Do not be intimidated.  This block is very simple.  Yes…even for a beginner.  First, I started with the bias strips.


Next, I added the leaves.


The flowers are sooooo easy!  They are really all the same shapes, just different sizes.  It is the fabrics that make them come alive!.  I have added 3 more fabrics to this block, so there is a good variety of light, medium and dark pink.





I mean, really, could it get any easier?


So once all the flowers were finished….


…..I added the berries.


By the way, I almost never leave the house without my bag of applique.  We are going to a friend’s cabin for the day, so I am prepared.  Because heaven forbid I sit there with nothing to do!


When I do work at home, Bruin is such a help.  He keeps my pieces warm and organized!


And finally, I added a cute little vase!


Here is the finished block!  Block 4 (and Blocks 1, 2 and 3) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.


Til next time…..


You have to see this!

How do you find the words to describe this kind of talent and workmanship?  You tell me!  Last night I picked up my “Friends of Baltimore” from Ruth at Stitching Impressions.  As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to take out all my hand-quilting stitches and have Ruth machine quilt it.  This could very well be one of the best decision I have ever made!  Take a look at what Ruth did.  I am only going to show you a few blocks at a time, just so you do not get overwhelmed.  Ruth wrote a blog post describing her different techniques and terminology.  You can check it out here.

If you are thinking about making this quilt I recommend you jump in with both feet.  Have fun and enjoy the journey.  I did!  The pattern is available on my website Simple Bird Studio.









Til next time….


So much creativity! So much fun!

I believe that everyone is capable of creating beautiful things.  But how often do we just allow ourselves to be creative, for the sake of being creative?

About 15 years ago, I discovered the quilts of Paula Nadelstern and I haven’t looked at fabric the same way since. This is a quilt I made using her technique and I can’t remember when I felt so creative.


If you look really closely at this section, you will the the centre is made up of polar bear faces.  Does it get any better than that?IMG_1673



I also came to appreciate all fabrics, especially ones that are truly symmetrical.  There are many fabrics that may look symmetrical, but are not.  So don’t be fooled!  This is a classic example of a symmetrical fabric brimming with possibilities.


Although beautiful, this is not a symmetrical shape.  Symmetrical simply means that you can cut the motif right down the middle and end up with mirror images.


Truly symmetrical fabrics are very rare, and so you should pick them up whenever you find them.

Joan, at Vibes and Scribes (in Ireland!) very graciously sent me two fabulous fabrics that just happen to be truly symmetrical.  Let me show you what I did with the first one….

First, I laid it on the table and drooled.  Who wouldn’t?


I knew that I wanted to make a vase from this fabric.  I found a shape in the fabric which I thought to be very vase-like and traced the shape onto a piece of template plastic.  Next, I used that piece of plastic to make a freezer paper template and ironed it onto the back of the fabric and prepped the piece the way I normally do.


Here is the beginning of my vase.  I could have easily left off the outside gold trim, but I just love the effect it has.


…and of course, every vase should have a base.


So far, so good!


The creative wheels starting turning and I wondered if I could make a few of the flowers from this same fabric?  Of course I can!  I cut a few simple shapes and starting playing.  I think the key is to keep the shapes simple and let this stunning piece of fabric speak for itself!  I added a dark chocolate brown piece which I used in the flower on the far right.  I added this fabric to help define the shapes and so that the flowers do not look so smooshy.


Of course, when you are being truly creative, you are in total control of the situation.  Just do what you want to and remember…changing your mind is certainly an option.

This piece is made of 3 simple leaf shapes.  But look what happens when you flip them around and change the placement just a smidge.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.



Speaking of changing my mind… you remember this picture?  And have you noticed there has been no further progress?  That is because I changed my mind and decided to have this quilt machine quilted by Ruth at Stitching Impressions.  So I spent an afternoon or two ripping out all of my hand-quilting stitches, knowing I was making the right decision.  (Anyone who thinks that hand-quilting stitches are not very strong should spend a day or two ripping them out.  Yikes!)


Ruth contacted me earlier this week and said my quilt will be ready to pick up next week.  Here is a sneak peak. Major goosebumps!!!

baltimore block

And last, but not least, I am working away on Block 4 of Bed of Roses.  Scrumptuous!


Til next time…


A Few Helpful Hints!

A few of you asked if I could do a little tutorial on how I prepped that centre piece in the third block of “Bed of Roses”.  As always,  I am happy to share this with you!

First, I always use 2 layers of freezer paper to make my templates and I iron it to the wrong side of the fabric.


I trim the seam allowance to less than 1/4″, even in the inside curves.


Now I need to clip the inside curves.  By the way, I never clip an outside curve.  Never!

I have drawn lines where I will clip.  (I don’t really draw the lines before I clip them, I am just showing the position of the lines.)  Notice that the lines are always perpendicular to the freezer paper.


It is very important not to clip right to the freezer paper.  I like to leave about 1/8″.


So now, starting at an inside curve,  I apply liquid starch to the seam allowance and pull back the seam allowance with my left hand….


…..then I pick up my mini-iron and iron the seam allowance.


And now, if I did not have the camera in my left hand, I would pick up my stiletto and pick up the mini-iron with my right hand and start to press the seam allowance over the freezer paper.


If really just takes a bit of practice!  Here is what it should start to look like.


Once the piece is completely prepped, I add a tiny dot of glue to each outside curve.


And now I am ready to stitch the piece in place!


Til next time….