Memories of The Academy of Applique 2018

It’s hard to believe The Academy of Applique has come and gone:(  For me, it’s a little like Christmas, I spend the whole year preparing and looking forward to this wonderful event, and then poof!….it over very quickly.  Without a word of a lie, I had the best students…eager to learn, easy to teach and just super nice and friendly people, which can be said about everyone who attended this past Academy.  The fact that everyone loves to applique as much as I do is a bonus!

Here are some pictures from both classes.  I would have taken more pictures in the second class, but I was laughing so hard most of the time:)  We had a blast!

First, it is just a lovely time of year for us Canadians to get an early taste of Spring.  This was the view outside my room.


IMG_2495The food is awesome, and if you follow me on Instagram @simplebirdstudio you will know what I am talking about. I posted more photos of food than quilts.  The desserts….amazing!

At the beginning of my class, I tell my students that with a bit of practice their work can look just like mine.  And the work that both classes accomplished did not prove me wrong (yes that is another way of saying I was right…their pieces looked just like mine).  That is what I love so much about Prepared Edge Applique.



Is it mine or is it a student’s flower?  It’s a student’s!!  After just one lesson!IMG_2499IMG_2532Scrumptious!!IMG_2534Almost finished!IMG_2530

Although I offer kits for the classes, I am always happy to see the project in another colorway.  So inspiring!IMG_2531

Nice big classroom and plenty of room to spread out.IMG_2529

I mean…really spread out!  This class was smaller, so everyone had a table to themselves.IMG_2632

Me…taking a bit of a coffee break:)IMG_2537IMG_2513IMG_2553IMG_2631IMG_2547

Til next time….



It’s really happening!

Yes, finally, I am off  to Williamsburg to teach at the Academy of Applique.  This will be my second year teaching after having attended as a student.  The kits are cut…the patterns are ready…but I haven’t packed any clothes yet.  That can wait til tonight

Our very first Applique Retreat is approaching very quickly.  The first Retreat filled up very quickly so I have booked another Retreat.  I have a few spots left and would love to have you join us for some stitching, eating and some much needed time just to relax…hopefully!  I can hardly wait!

Here are the details of the second Retreat.  If you are interest, please contact me right away….. Thanks to everyone who signed up for my first Applique Retreat which will be held in March at Fireside Retreat in Orillia.  The response was so positive that I have booked a second Retreat!  The dates for the second Retreat are April 20-22 (Friday-Sunday).  All meals will be included, starting with dinner on Friday night.  This Retreat is a perfect opportunity to learn the method I use for all of my applique projects.  It is also a perfect time to catch up on your own applique projects and to be inspired by other students. Your fee of $400.00 includes your accommodation, all meals, your project kit and pattern. I am limiting this class to 7, so if you are interested please contact me at

As part of your fee, you will receive the pattern and fabric for this lovely block, which I will be teaching at both Retreats, although there will also be time for you to work on your own projects.  This block is the first in a series I am having designed by Marilyn at MT Designs that will depict Canadian birds and flowers.  I must confess, I love this block!

New Brunswick

That’s all for now…I really must go an pack some clothes…and my toothbrush:)

Til next time…


Hugs and Kisses – Block 2

It may look like there is a lot going on in Block 2 of Hugs and Kisses, a delightful quilt designed by Sue Garman.  But, really it is quite a simple block.  Trust me:)

First I added the brown stems.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am not marking the background.  Instead, I am gluing all the pieces in place in one shot!  Remember…when gluing stems, it is so much easier to place the dots of glue on the background and not the stem.


Next I added the large circles for the flowers.  Whenever I use a fabric with a directional print on it, I like to have all the prints going the same way.  Not sure why, I just do:)


I love to share this next tip whenever I can.  This step saves so much time and freezer paper.  I also mentioned that instead of tracing my templates, I am simply photocopying sections of the pattern onto freezer paper.

So I started with the outer circle and prepped it.  I removed the template and I cut off that part of the template. (Pictures below.) Then I was left with the next shape (the flower).  I prepped the flower and then cut it off and prepped the next shape (the medium circle).  I constructed all 4 flowers with just this one template.  Magical!






Next, I added the pretty brown flowers and the pink leaves.  Scrumptious!



Of course, I am doing my quilt this time in a different colourway.  Here is the block with the original fabric:)  If you are part of the Block of the Month doing this quilt, you will receive a Fabric Key in your kit so you will know which fabric goes where.


I also wanted to mention that some of these blocks, like Block 2, have many layers.  The large flowers on this block consists of 5 layers (including the background).  Since I am planning on hand-quilting this quilt, I have very carefully trimmed away some of the layers.  I am not a huge fan of doing this, but I am less a huge fan of trying to quilt through 5 layers of fabric!  You can see I didn’t trim out the back of the smaller flowers, just the larger flowers.


Til next time….


Hugs and Kisses Block 1 and other fun stuff!

For those of you that signed up for Hugs and Kisses, you should be receiving  Block 1 any day now.  The pattern that you will be getting shows the quilt in blues and yellows, but we will be doing ours in some sunny yellows, oranges and reds, and, of course, a couple of lush  greens.  Here is what your Block will look like.  Included in your pattern will be a Fabric Guide, so you will know which fabric goes where.


And here is a picture of the  (almost) finished quilt.  I just haven’t finished stitching all of the swags.  I will be saving that stitching for our upcoming Applique Retreat (more on that later).  I am looking so forward to hand-quilting this gem.


Each month I will do a post showing how I prepped each block.  Block 1 is a very easy block so it won’t take you too long….hopefully:)  Each leaf is exactly the same, so you will be able to practice those perfect points.  I will be doing this quilt in a completely different colorway…warm browns and yummy pinks and rich burgundies, but no green.  If you would like to stitch along with us and use your own fabrics, I now have complete sets of the pattern on my website.

So let’s begin. I didn’t trace the pattern onto the background (like I usually do) because there just aren’t that many pieces.  So, instead, I placed the background on the pattern and simply glued the pieces in place.  You can  glue all the pieces in place and then start stitching.

Whenever I am gluing bias strips in place, I always put the dots of glue on the background (rather than the stem). It is so much easier (and less messy) to handle the strip when it doesn’t have any glue on it.


Notice when I clip the inner curves of this flower, I don’t clip all the way to the freeze paper.


Once I remove the freezer paper, I like to put a tiny dot of glue on each petal and always ON the seam allowance.



And here is the finished block.


Hey…I just noticed the white polka dots on the brown fabric…and I managed to get a polka dot in each leaf.  I wish I could take the credit, but it was A Total Fluke!

Last week I picked up my Friends of Baltimore/Baltimore Squared quilt from Rose Bell of Fancy Feathers.  I was blown away (I mean really, really blown away!).  I think you will agree that Rose did an exceptionally amazing job of machine quilting.



IMG_2284IMG_2285Earlier in this post I mentioned our 2 Applique Retreats that we have planned for the Spring.  The first Retreat is full and there is still room in the second Retreat. We would love to have you join us:)  The dates for the second Retreat are April 20-22 (Friday-Sunday).  All meals will be included, starting with dinner on Friday night.  This Retreat is a perfect opportunity to learn the method I use for all of my applique projects.  It is also a perfect time to catch up on your own applique projects and to be inspired by other students. Your fee of $400.00 includes your accommodation, all meals, your project kit and pattern and class notes.  What is the project you ask?  I am having a block designed specifically for this Retreat and it is still in the works:)  I know you will love it!  I am limiting this class to 6, so if you are interested please contact me at

Til next time….


Hugs and Kisses…Adding the Borders

It is true what Sue Garman says in the instructions for the borders of Hugs and Kisses.  “Once you start to add the borders, it will start to look like a quilt”.  So true!  I like the way this particular quilt is constructed….the borders are added and then the applique is completed.  What an amazing way to make sure the borders are totally accurate.

I am choosing to applique one border at a time.  First I prepped all of the swags and the small flowers (where the swags meet).  The directions are very precise…the middle of the flower should measure 1 5/8″ below the seam line.   I measured (twice…maybe three times) before I glued everything in place.  And then I measured everything again:)




Stitching the swags were a breeze, considering I had the entire quilt on my lap.


One border down…three more to go!



For those of you who have ordered Hugs and Kisses (as a Block of the Month) I will be shipping Block 1 early next week, along with your package of co-ordinating Mettler 60 weight thread.  You will get an email notification when I ship the blocks.

If you would like to order this 12 month Block of the Month, you still have time.  I have 3 spots available!  This quilt is perfect for a beginner.  Even a fairly experienced appliquer will enjoy this easy project.  Also, for those that requested, the full set of patterns is also available.  You can check the details on the website.

What else am I working on?  Well, I am having a blast making 2 Smitten quilts.  I am handpieceing the blocks (which I am loving!).  My intention is to make two I Spy type quilts for a couple of special little girls:)

Til next time….


Hugs and Kisses Almost Finished:)

Yesterday I had some time on my hands so I went into my sewing room and shut the door.  I was on a mission:)

You may recall in my last post I explained how I wash my finished blocks.  Once that step is complete, and the blocks are dry,  it is time to trim the blocks to the correct size.  Since these blocks finish at 12″ x 12″, I simply used my 12 1/2″ square ruler.  I placed the ruler on top of the block and centered it.  Take your time with this step.  You don’t want to mess it up:)

Next, I carefully trimmed the excess fabric away.  Easy Peasy!

The pattern calls for 20 appliqued cornerstones, which didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.  I cut my sashings and away I went!

So far, so good!

Right now the quilt measures 52″ x 68″.  Once the appliqued borders are on, it will measure 71″ x 87″.  I am intending to hand quilt this beauty and I am excited to get started!  So scrumptious…

“Hugs and Kisses” is a Block-of-the-Month that will begin in January 2018…that is just next month!  Each month you will receive the pattern and fabric (same fabric as shown) so that you can complete one block a month.  Also, as a bonus, I am including (free of charge) 5 spools of Mettler 60 weight to match the fabrics.  You have until the end of December to sign up on the website.  Also, for those that have asked, you are able to purchase a full set of patterns to stitch along with us, using your own fabrics.  I am wondering what this quilt would took like in Civil War fabrics.  Or browns and pinks.  Or totally scrappy.  I could go on and on!

Til next time…



Washing my Hugs and Kisses blocks

My goal was to have this quilt, Hugs and Kisses, finished by the end of the year.  I am trying my best, really I am.  I have finished stitching all 12 blocks.  Yipee!  Now it’s time to wash my blocks.  For those of you who have been following my blog, you will already know the routine.  For those of you who are new to the blog, this post is for you.  After I finish each block, I toss it into a sink filled with hot water and a bit of soap.  This step will remove the glue, the blue marking pencil and anything else that might be on your block.  Cat hair, maybe?  You will be amazed at how yucky the water looks once your block has soaked for a while.  But before you toss your block into the sink, take a really good look at it and make sure every itty bitty piece is stitched in place.  Trust me, this is an important step:)

Once  the blocks have soaked for about half an hour, it’s time to rinse them under the tap to remove the suds.  Then gently squeeze the block  to remove the excess water.  Your block should be fairly wet, but not dripping.

Next, lay the block out on a thick towel to air dry.  Easy Peasy!

Hugs and Kisses (designed by Sue Garman) is a Block of the Month that will start in January.  The blocks are fairly simple so this is a good quilt for a beginner.  I think this quilt is an excellent example of a quilt made up of simple blocks, but looks rather stunning when all the blocks are assembled.  Mind you, there are appliqued cornerstones and a swag border to follow.  Yes, stunning is a good word to describe this quilt.

Very often I am asked about thread.  I stitch with Mettler 60 weight.  It is 100% cotton and I use it because I love it.  It’s that simple.  I think everyone should at least give it a try (that is, if you haven’t tried it already).  I am including 5 spools of Mettler 60 in the colours you need to stitch the blocks.  Free.  No charge.  My gift to you:)

I think you will love it as much as I do.  You can sign up for Hugs and Kisses on the website.


Til next time….