Putting It All Together!

I am really happy with the steady progress I am making on this quilt.  All of the 9 blocks are stitched and washed.  Now I am going to show you how I trim the blocks to the correct size.  I always cut my backgrounds at least 2″ larger to allow for shrinkage due to all of those tiny stitches.  Before I trim the blocks, I press them really, really flat.  I place the square upside down on the ironing board and iron with steam.  My ironing board is very cushy, otherwise I would iron the blocks on a thick towel.

This is the block after it’s been pressed.  It’s a little flatter and crisper!

I use a window template to trim the blocks, rather than measuring with a ruler.  I used a heavy plastic for the template and cut a square in the middle the size of the unfinished blocks (15 1/2″).  I used to draw a complete square, but now I just mark the corners.  It is so easy just to “eyeball” each block:)

Now I take my long ruler and line up the dots and trim away.  Easy Peasy!

All of the blocks are ready to be stitched together.  Major Goosebumps!

There are only 5 spots left in the Bed of Roses BOM that starts July 1, so if you are thinking of signing up,  don’t wait too much longer:)  Details on the website.

Til next time….


Washing My Blocks

Now that I am (almost) finished stitching all 9 blocks, I am getting ready to stitch the blocks together.  I am excited!  I am adding a few touches of hand embroidery to the blocks, which I am rather enjoying.

I am making sure all of the blocks are washed before I trim them to the proper size.  First, I fill the sink with very hot water and I add a squirt of liquid hand soap.  Then I toss the block in.  It’s not neatly as heart wrenching as you would imagine.  Trust me:)

I usually let it soak for half an hour or so to get the starch and glue out of the block.

When its finished soaking, I rinse it under water to make sure all the soap is gone.

I gently squeeze the excess water out and lay it out on a thick towel to air dry.  That’s all there is to it!

I have started working on the paper-pieced stars that make up the cornerstones in this setting.  I had forgotten how much I love paper-piecing.  It is so precise and you are practically guaranteed perfect results.  What is not to love about that?

Paper-piecing is really not difficult as long as you do not have a cat on your lap.

Remember that you have until July 1 to sign up for Bed of Roses, a Block of the Month I recently completed.  Here are some photos, just to tempt you! Details are on the website Simple Bird Studio.

Til next time…..


Block 9

Well!  We have completed all 9 blocks for this quilt.  I think this quilt going to be very stunning, once completed.  I have taken 9 of my favourite blocks from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” and I am going to put them together using the setting from “Baltimore Squared”.  I cannot wait to start working on the stars for the cornerstones and the swags on the outer border.  It’s all about the journey.

This is the third time I have made this block.  The first one was for the original quilt.  Ruth Quinn from Stitching Impressions did the breathtaking machine quilting.  Not only did Ruth quilt my Friends of Baltimore, Ruth also quilted Darlene’s Friends of Baltimore, which won a ribbon at the AQS show in Paducah.  Congratulations to both Ruth and Darlene!  See more here.

The second time I made this block was for a class sample when I taught at the Wiltwyck Quilt Guild in Lake Katrine, NY.  It is not exactly finished, but it is on my list:)

This block looks difficult, but I assure you it is not!  Imagine how impressed your quilting friends will be when you walk into your next Sit and Stitch session working on this block.  If you notice in the photos below, steady progress is made by placing one piece at a time.  Trust me that is all there is to it.  Where does one start?  Well, this seemed the logical place to start.

So the next piece to be glued in place is a shape that I call “dicey” because of the deep curve.  When I see a shape like this, I actually say out loud “hmmmm…dicey”.  Here is a trick that will turn this dicey shape into a doable shape.  I use this technique whenever I can.

Simply cut the leaf away from the stem.

Now you have 2 easy to prep pieces.

Easy Peasy!

So, when I finish prepping a piece, I take the freezer paper template out and place it on the top of the fabric piece, shiny side up. Then I trace the unprepped seam allowance with a marking pencil.  This is a step I never miss if I want to keep my sanity.  I want to keep my sanity.  The lines that I draw become a valuable guide for where the next piece should be placed.

Next I just started filling in all of the flowers that I could.

I started to have an idea for the basket.  As I mentioned this is the third time I am making this block, so I wanted to try something a little different for the top of the basket, instead of the braid. You can see how I made the basket here for the first block here.

I traced the top section as a complete piece onto the shiny side of the freezer paper, then prepped it in the usual way.

I am so pleased with the results:)  Now I can start to fill in the rest of the basket.

Next, I added the bird, bow and butterfly.  Goosebumps:)

Til next time,


Block 8 – The Glorious Eagle

Have you ever had one of those weeks?  A week where everything and everyone else demands your undivided attention?  A week where you just cannot get to your quilting?  Yikes!  Well, that is the week  that I have been having.  Actually, it’s been more like 3 weeks, but who is counting?

Before I forget, I am thrilled to announce that I have been invited to teach at The Academy of Applique again. Pinch me!!

This is block 8 in the BOM I launched 8 months ago.  This is the third time I have made this block and I do love it.  It is not exactly finished, but the Easter long weekend is coming up and we are going away.  So, at least I have something to stitch while I am away and that is what is important!

I started this block like every other block.  I traced the pattern onto the background with a water soluble marker.

First, I started with the flag.  So the off-white part of the flag is one entire piece.  I prepped the end of the flag.  Notice that I trimmed about 1/4″ inch off the sides.  

Next, I traced the stripes and other details onto the this piece.

I prepped the red stripes and glued them in place along with the dark blue piece.  I’m going to embroider little white stars on the blue part…just not right now!

Then I added the pole and the star.

The leaves came next…..

Then the eagle….he really is glorious, isn’t he?  Of course, I forgot his feet.  I got a little excited!  Thank goodness everything is just glued in place at this point:)

The top section looks very overwhelming, doesn’t it?  Well, it’s not.  Just remember, one piece at a time.

And here is the not-exactly-finished block.

As I mentioned, this is the third time I have made this block.  Here is the original block from my Friends of Baltimore quilt.  I think I will leave off the Victory Hat, but I will add the arrows, and of course the tassels.

Here are all eight blocks.  So far, so good!

So, we have only(!) one block to go.  I have started it already….

Til next time…..and Happy Easter!


Block 7…2 more to go!

If you are in the mood for some stitching inspiration (who isn’t?), make a big pot of tea and head over to Through The Needle’s Eye.   I had the privilege of meeting Kara and Teri at The Academy of Applique.  Their latest blog post has many photos from The Academy. Hopefully you will be tempted to come next year!

As promised, here is Block 7, The Cornucopia of Flowers.  It just may be my favourite block so far:)  This block and the previous 6 are part of a BOM I launched in September.  You can read about the details here.

This is a relatively simple block, but there are a few things I want to show you.  First, this little fern appears to be a little dicey, but it is very doable.  Just take your time and remember to breathe:)  Note to self:  it is time to replace the cover on your pressing mat.

Next, there are two leaves that require some reverse applique.  First, I prepped the “top” piece as usual.

Then I placed that piece on top of another piece of green fabric. I stitched the vein in the centre of the leaf then I trimmed the excess fabric underneath and glued the two-tone leaf in place.  Such a nice, subtle detail.

These next stem/leaf units are fairly easy to do, also.  The curves are a little on the deep side,  so clip carefully:)

Once the piece is totally prepped, it is time to remove the freezer paper.

And, finally, glue the piece onto the background:)  Looking good!

These are all 7 blocks so far.  Scrumptious, yes?  I am starting to give some thought to what colour sashings and stars to do.  So many choices!

Til next time……



Great Time Had By All!

If you attended this years Academy of Applique, held at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia (February 27-March 4, 2017), I think you will agree with me when I say that an absolutely amazing time was had by all!  I was fortunate enough to have a great bunch of eager students in both of my classes, so, of course, the days flew by.  A few of the students almost finished their project by the time the class was over!  If you dream of stitching all day long (who doesn’t?), being fed the most satisfying breakfasts and lunches, and getting to know some fellow hand-appliquers, then please consider attending next year’s Academy.  Seriously, it is the place to be!  Class schedule is available August 5, 2017 and Registration begins on September 4, 2017.  It is never to early to start planning 🙂

You are now able to purchase the patterns and/or kits for both of the projects I taught at The Academy.  You can check them out on my website Simple Bird Studio. These 18″ x 36″ wallhangings are the first two in a 12 part series that celebrates my love of lovely flowers and fancy vases.  The remaining 10 patterns will be released every couple of months on my website.

A Taste Of Lilies….

Crazy For Callas…..

Also, some of you have been asking if Bed of Roses will be available again as a BOM.  The answer is yes.  Yes!  You have from now until June 15, 2017 to sign up for this BOM on my website.  Block 1 will ship out on July 1, 2017.  The fabrics will be the very same ones that I used in my quilt below.  I still cannot get over the machine quilting that Rose Bell from Fancy Feathers did.  Check it out!

And here is the entire quilt before it was quilted.  Yummy!

Also….I am temporarily taking down the patterns for “To Everything There Is A Season”.  I would like to tweak the patterns a little before I add them back to the website.  I promise, it won’t take long 🙂  I will let you know as soon as they are available for purchase.

And last, but not least, I am almost finished Block 7 of the current BOM (I must confess I am running a little behind schedule). We are stitching 9 blocks from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” and putting those blocks together using the setting for Baltimore Squared.  I cannot wait to see this quilt finished!

I will post a picture of the finished block in a day or two (probably two!), but for now, I will leave you with this photo:)

Til next time…..


Heading off to The Academy!!

I am pretty much all packed and ready to go! These are the two samples I will be teaching at Barbara Blanton’s Academy of Applique, which starts in just a few short days. These 18″ x 34″ wall hangings were exquisitely machine quilted by Rose Bell of Fancy Feathers.  When the Academy is over, these patterns and kits will be available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

This beauty is called Crazy For Callas.  Both wall hangings are part of a 12 part series that celebrates my love of flowers and vases.


This lovely is called A Taste of Lilies.  Thanks Bruin for holding everything in place for me:)


Til next time…….