Save those scraps!

I have been working away on the second block of “Love is in the Air” a pattern designed by Lori Smith.  I purchased this pattern a couple of years ago and put it away with the rest of my patterns.  Honestly, I forgot all about it.  About a month ago,  I went through my patterns and books in search of a simple applique pattern that would lend itself to a really scrappy feel.  As soon as I “found” this pattern in my box of (far too many) patterns, I knew “Love is in the Air” was exactly what I was looking for!  For those of you who may want to stitch these blocks along with me, the pattern is available here.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am using a collection of shirting for the backgrounds, so that means that each background square will be different, which I am not going to lie has me a little unsettled.  But I do love a challenge!

Also, I enlarged the patterns by 125%.  I cut my background squares 16″ x 16″, but I am not sure right now what size they will end up.  I never have all the details figured out before I start a quilt….what fun would that be?   Sometimes you have to listen to the quilt!

I started this block by tracing the pattern onto the background with a water soluble marker.  Next, I made a bunch of leaves, using many different fabrics, just for the fun of it and then I auditioned them.  Some I like.  Some I don’t.  Some of the leaves are competing with the background, so I will save those leaves for another project!



OK, next I added my stems.  Notice I used the same fabric for all of the stems, just to give a bit of consistency.


Next, I went searching through my scraps and I found this piece of fabric I have had for about 8 years.  I love this fabric!  So I decided to use it for the 4 main flowers.


Then I went through my scraps and found a fabric that went with the flower fabric.


Next, I went through my blues and golds and chose a few fabrics that played nicely with the main flower fabric.   So far, so good!



This patterns has a circle in the centre that I could make with a piece of bias and  a 1/4 bias maker, but I chose to make a template instead and prep it in the way I prep all of my templates.  So much easier!  Instead of tracing the circle from the pattern, I used a compass to get a more accurate shape.

I cut the circle out and ironed it to the wrong side of the fabric.  I decided not to cut the centre of the fabric out just yet, to keep it more stable.


Using starch, a stiletto and a mini-iron, I prepped the outside edge.


Next, I trimmed out the centre and prepped the inside edge.


Taking the freezer paper out is always fun (and kind of scary!) but it works like a charm every time!



Once it is glued in place, it looks very neat and tidy.  Whew!!


So, I auditioned several fabrics for the centres of the main flowers…brown, black, burgundy, blue…nothing appealed to me.  Then I tried gold.  Gold it is!!  But wait….


I thought the gold circles were a tad too big, so I made them a shade smaller.


Ahhhh.  That’s much better!


Here’s a fun fact… I used three different golds in this block.  After all, it is a scrappy quilt!


And here are both blocks.  Sweet!


Keeping with the scrappy theme, I am working away on Trail Mix, a quilt designed by Laundry Basket Quilts.  I chuckled when I saw this block.DSCN7451

In this block alone, there is a scrap from my hexie quilt I worked on last winter,



…a scrap of the background of my Civil War Bride Quilt….



….and a piece of the background of my Reminescence.  Memories!

detail of Rem.

Til next time….


Trail Mix Progress and a new project!

I have been making steady progress on my Trail Mix quilt, designed by Laundry Basket Quilts. I must say it is rather addictive cutting and stitching all those tiny little pieces.   Sometimes when I start a new quilt, I set up some rules or guidelines for that quilt.  The rule for this quilt is that I can only use fabrics I have on hand.  It certainly is a nice feeling to use the last bits of some of the fabrics I have had for…well, a really, really long time!!!

Ok, so, you make 4 of these units….


…..and stitch them onto these scrappy blocks.


Here is the first one which fit like a glove!


Here are the second and third units….


I was absolutely delighted when the fourth unit actually fit where it was supposed to without any puckers or pleats!  One down, eight more to go.  Yikes!


So, keeping that scrappy theme, I have started a new applique project that will also have a scrappy feel.  The pattern I am using is “Love is in the Air” by Lori Smith.   I enlarged the patterns by 125% to make the blocks bigger than the original size (8 1/2″).  I am also going to make a scrappy sashing, but more about that later!


For my background fabrics, I am also going with a scrappy look.  I have had this collection of shirtings long enough.  It is now time to use them up!  I’m going to use a different background for each block.  Can’t wait to see what that looks like!!


I started this block like I start all of my applique blocks, I traced the pattern with a blue Clover water soluble marker.  Then I made some bias for the stems (using my 1/4″ bias maker) and I started to make some leaves.  When I do go fabric shopping, I am always on the look out for green fabrics (especially olive greens) that would make awesome leaves.




Next, I chose the fabrics for my flowers.


Each flower has a “bud” and so I chose this darker purple (on the right) as the bud.  I thought there was enough contrast….


…but, as you can see, there really isn’t much contrast.  Unfortunately, the bud gets lost.


So, I opted for a darker, more tone-on-tone bud for both of the flowers.  So far, so good!


Next came the tail feathers for the bird.




And finally, the rest of the bird!  Do you recognize the blue fabric I used for the bird body?  It is the same fabric I used in my Mom’s quilt.  You can read that post here.


Til next time……


Bed of Roses – Block 6

Here we are at the half-way mark!  We have stitched 6 blocks (and a few corner triangles and side triangles) and so now we only have 6 more blocks to go!

I have said it before and I will say it again…these blocks are easy and very suitable for a beginner.  You can use whichever method of applique you choose.  I use the freezer paper with starch method.  You can check out my videos here.  Always good for a laugh!

Block 6 started out a little differently than the previous blocks.  The leaves were glued in place first and then the bias stems.DSCN7390


Next, I added some simple leaves.


And some pretty pink flowers with yellow centers.  I love the added detail of these yellow centers.  The square edges give some contrast to all the curvy pieces.



I decided to work on the center section.  The yellow piece is the most challenging piece in this block, but you shouldn’t have any problems with it!  As I mentioned earlier, I use freezer paper as a template and press the seam allowance over the template with starch and a mini-iron.  When I am done prepping the piece, I pop the freezer paper out.  It is that simple!!


Now I add a small drop of Roxanne’s glue to each petal and place it on the block.



It’s starting to look impressive, no?  (I bet you are saying to yourself…”I bet I can do this!!”)


So, next, I prepped these pieces and stitched them in place.


I don’t like to add all the circles at once.  I find the thread can get tangled up in the circles that are glued in place and not stitched yet.  So first I added the dark circles and stitched them.



I added the lighter circles in each section and stitched them in place, one section at a time.   Sometimes I like to break things down in parts or sections.  That way I don’t get overwhelmed:)


One more section to go.  Yippee!  I have come to the conclusion that Bruin is my Vanna White.


And, finally!  Here is the finished block.  Beautiful!


So here are all 6 blocks, which are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  I also sell all of the notions I use including my favourite mini-iron.


I have been slowly working away on Trail Mix, a pattern designed by Laundry Basket Quilts, which is available on Craftsy.  The online class is awesome with lots of helpful hints on how to use up those scraps.


Sweet!  DSCN7422

Til next time…..


Washing my Baltimore. Yikes!

Last weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and, like most people we had a super busy long weekend.  We had the family over…just 26 of us!  I cooked a huge turkey and all the fixins!  Hubby bought himself a new camera, so we headed north to Meaford and Thornbury to take some awesome photos and to get some apples.  Is it my imagination or are the leaves really spectacular this year?

I also had a few spare hours, so I decided it was time to bite the bullet and toss my Friends of Baltimore into the washing machine.  Let me explain why I did this.


I am not sure if you remember this, but when I washed one of the borders, some of the fabrics ran (red and dark blue) which shocked and upset me.  I was shocked, because I am very careful about pre-washing all of my fabrics. Since I used all the same fabrics in the blocks as in the borders and this was the first time any of the fabrics had run, I was really puzzled.  I was upset because my quilt had very distinct red and blue splotches on the background.  I finished the top and had it quilted, knowing that one day I was going to have to deal with those darn splotches.  Well…that day had come!

I talked to Colleen from Elite Quilting who knows everything there is to know about bleeding fabric and how to fix it. Imagine the look of sheer horror on my face when she nonchalantly suggested I wash the entire quilt in the washing machine with Synthrapol.  It took more than a little coaxing on Colleen’s part to assure me that all of the bleed marks would come out and my quilt would not be ruined.

So I gathered my quilt up, added a whole bottle of Synthrapol, put it in the washing machine using the hottest water possible, crossed my fingers and prayed to the Quilt Gods.  I stood there for 40 minutes and watched the quilt go round and round.  I called Colleen for some support…twice!   This is a picture I took of the quilt spinning around.  You can see that Bruin is as concerned as I am!!


I am not sure why I felt compelled to stand there and watch.  I stopped the washing machine and opened the door just to check up on it a few times.  I was very thankful that all looked good!

Once the washing machine stopped, I gathered the quilt up in a clear bag, and whisked it over to my husband’s shop where we laid it out flat on some tables to air dry.  I was so very thrilled to see that all of the marks had completely vanished and, more importantly, my quilt had not fallen apart!! Yes, so much to be thankful for!

I am also working away on a scrappy quilt designed by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts called Trail Mix.  It is a great stash-buster.  Here are the strip pieced diamonds, which I am now going to go and stitch together!

IMG_1767 (1)

Tile next time…



Wait til you see this!!

When I (finally) finished the applique on “To Everything There Is A Season”, I handed it over to Rose from Fancy Feathers with my usual set of instruction.  My instructions were:  “Do whatever you want.  Surprise me.”  I am that kind of quilter!

So when Rose called Thursday to say the quilt was ready, I could not wait more than a day before I went to get it.  To say Rose did a spectacular job is putting it mildly…extremely mildly!!

I love everything about the way Rose quilted it.  I especially love how the feather borders inside each block do not go all the way around the block, and have a random feel to them.  Love it!!  This pattern was designed by Marilyn at MT Designs.  Marilyn has not seen the finished quilt yet, but she will see it tomorrow at Thanksgiving dinner!  The individual patterns for each of the blocks are available on my website Simple Bird Studio as paper patterns for digital patterns.

So….here you go!














The centre medallion will take your breath away.  I wish you could see this quilt in person!





Till next time….


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…