Hugs and Kisses – Block 6

It’s June already!  Can that be right?  Block 6 was a delight to make.  I love it because it looks rather complicated, but it honestly consists of mainly circles, and a few curvy flowers, just for fun.  The block has a few different sizes of circles so it is a really good practice blocks.  I always say “to get really good at something you have to do it a lot of times!”  Or…Practice makes perfect!

So Block 6 starts with some tiny stems and some large flower.  I know I have shown this tip before, but I think it bears repeating.  I use only 1 template that I have photocopied onto freezer paper…so no tracing.  I prep the largest outer shape and then remove the freezer paper.


Next, I cut off that outer section, and I am left with my next shape to prep.  Once you prep the large circle, trim that section off and prep the next section…and so on.




I thought the block was looking a little dark so I thought I would spice it up with some light pink circles.



Next, I added the brown leaves and called it a day!  I am thrilled with the way these blocks are coming together:)


If you are part of the Hugs and Kisses BOM, this is what your block will look like.


I am still working away on two “I Spy quilts” for my two granddaughters.  These quilts have proven to be so much fun.  Finding the perfect fabrics has given me an excuse to go fabric shopping for fabrics that I wouldn’t normally buy.

I have been searching high and low for an astronaut fabric (one of the granddaughters wants to be an astronaut when she grows up lol).  I finally found this adorable fabric and the astronauts actually glow in the dark.  Life is good!


I just knew I had to fussy cut those cute astronauts…


So darn cute!  I am hand piecing these blocks (not English paper piecing) and I am quite amazed how quickly they are coming together.


Since I am making two of these quilts, I fast tracked one so I could get on to hand quilting it.  I am quilting 1/4″ inside each shape.  So far, so good!


I was thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to have my “Friends of Baltimore Squared” win a Judge’s Choice Ribbon at Quilt Canada 2018, recently held in Vancouver, BC.  You can click here to see all the winning quilts.  I am sure you will agree with me when I say that every year the quilts get more sophisticated, original and breathtaking.  So glad we have Quilt Canada to show the world that quilting is alive and well!


Til next time…



The Chickadee

I have been slowly working away on The Chickadee block and I am thrilled to say I am finished.  I must confess, I am mighty pleased with the way it turned out.  This block is the first of 13 blocks I am making that are inspired by Canadian birds and flowers.  The blocks will be stitched together to create a quilt, although each of the single blocks will make lovely stand alone wallhangings.  Your choice!


I taught this block at both Retreats I recently hosted at Fireside Retreat in Orillia.  It is suitable for beginners as well as experienced stitchers.  The Chickadee Pattern is now available on my website here.  And because it’s been requested, you can also purchase  the templates already traced onto freezer paper for you.  This is definitely a time saver:)

While at the first retreat, I was introduced to Cindy Blackberg’s Template Stamps by Amy, one of the students.  These stamps are fun to use and is another option for anyone wishing to do hand piecing.  I used the Carpenter’s Star template set to make this lovely border for the Chickadee.  I love the way this border frames the block.  On to the next block!


Til next time…


Block 5 Prepped and Ready for Flight!

Very early tomorrow morning we are flying to Squamish, BC,  for my niece’s wedding.  This will be 1 of 4 (probably 5!) weddings this year for our family.  2018 seems to be the year to tie the knot.  Block 5 of “Hugs and Kisses”  is prepped and ready to be stitched while we are in the air.  Prepared Edge Applique is the perfect portable project.  All you need is your block, a needle and some thread, a thread cutter and away you go!

So this block began like the others, with the bias stems.


Next I added the center circle and flower.  I am loving this pink and brown combo:)


The leaves came next….


My goodness those polka dots certainly liven things up!


…and then I added the little flowers at the end of the bias strips.  Easy Peasy:)


These are all of my blocks, so far.

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If you are part of the group doing this quilt as a BOM, here is what your fabrics will look like.  Very summery!


My second Applique Retreat, held at Fireside Retreat in Orillia was a success!  Here are some photos….As you can see, we managed to get all of the Food Groups in.




The scenery is lovely.



Everyone in the class worked like demons to get as much prep done as possible.








I have booked Fireside Retreat for 2 more Applique Retreats, one later this year in the fall, and one next Spring in May.  Details to follow later.  Hope you can join us:)

In my spare time, I have been stitching away on my 2 granddaughter’s I Spy Quilts.  I am making 2 quilts.  The pattern is Smitten by Jen Kingwell.  Loving every minute spent cutting and stitching these quilts.  I am stitching the blocks by hand.





So, I have one quilt top completed and I am in the process of hand-quilting it.  I am still working on blocks for the other quilt.  So once I finished the first quilt top,  I spent a few hours pressing all of the seam allowances flat.  Thanks goodness I had lots of help:)


Next, I basted the quilt top, batting and backing together with a needle and thread.  Thank goodness for Audible books.


This is the backing I purchased at Thimbles & Things in Orillia.  I went looking for a fabric for the backing but I didn’t know what I was looking for. I’m sure you know what I mean.  Then when I spotted this fabric, I knew I found what I was looking for.  I’ll take 5 meters, please!


That fox cracks me up every time!


So…continuing my love affair with hand-piecing, I has finally started La Passacagalia.  I am using Inklingo to print my shapes.  I decided to do one rosette first before I committed to this quilt (or be committed lol).  Believe it or not, it was much easier than I anticipated and yet very addictive.  Here is my first trial rosette.  As I mentioned, I am using Inklingo, so first, I printed and cut some of the shapes.


Next, I very carefully laid my shapes out, but that did not last long.



Then I starting stitching the pieces together.


Love it!  I think I’ll continue:)


Til next time…




Hugs and Kisses Block 4

Before I post pictures of Block 4 of Hugs and Kisses, I want to show you something really special.  Joyce Dickens-Loffree from Naples, Florida sent me these photos of her quilt, which won a ribbon at her guild’s show.  Do you recognize it?  The pattern is Peggy’s Puzzle, a free pattern available on my website.  I am so honoured that Joyce chose to make this quilt.  Congratulations on a spectacular finish.  And the label is a wonderful addition.


Garden Party (1)

Block 4 of Hugs and Kisses is a nice, simple block.  I am thoroughly enjoying making this quilt for a second time.


As I mentioned, I am making this quilt again, but in browns and pinks.  For some reason, I have a rather substantial amount of both brown and pink in my stash.  So I thought this would be a good time to use some of these fabrics up.  Even the stems are brown and not green:)  I’m not marking the background at all, just using my light box to place all the pieces.


I’m not sure if you can tell from the photo below, but the brown fabric I used for the large circles has subtle dark brown lines on it.  Notice the lines are all running the same way:)



So far, so good…..


The hardest part was deciding where each leaf should go.


Easy peasy, nice and easy!


I am absolutely obsessed with the I Spy quilts I am working on for my 2 granddaughters.  Every morning I get up early and hand-piece a block or two.  What a great way to start the day.  The pattern is called Smitten by Jen Kingwell.  So much fun!


I’m so excited to announce I will be teaching again at The Academy of Applique in Williamsburg in 2019.  I can’t wait!!


Til next time…


The Applique Retreat was a Success:)

Last week I hosted my very first Applique Retreat at Fireside Retreat in Orillia.  What a great time we all had!  The food was awesome (it’s always about the food, isn’t it?)





When I teach classes, I supply the freezer paper templates already traced, so within a couple of hours, the students have actually accomplished something.  Such a good feeling.

I asked the ladies in the group to write a testimonial about their experience.  Here are a couple for you to read.

Diane writes…I just want to thank you again for the fantastic time I had at the Fireside
Retreat. Having never gone to a retreat of any kind you couldn’t of made it any
better.  The ladies were all soooo friendly and sharing.  Hope we’re all able to
get to gather next year again. Being a small group everyone learned new things
and shared so many new ideas.  It was so friendly and we made new friends with
like interest.  We had many many laughs and shared so much. The Fireside is just
the best place. Such a beautiful place and so warm and welcoming like any home
would be.  Felt like being wrapped in a warm quilt.  And the food was the best.
Can’t wait till next year for the next retreat.

Jude writes…What a wonderful and amazing time we shared at the Fireside Retreat with Kerry Burke.  Kerry is not only an amazing appliqué and quilter, but also an outstanding teacher.  The preparation that Kerry did to set up our wall hanging, prior to the start of the retreat, allowed us to jump right in with helpful hints and learning new techniques. Without her prep work, we couldn’t have started stitching our projects.  If you are interested in appliqué, there is no better person to learn from than Kerry.  The Retreat itself is so beautiful.  Decorated with quilts in every room, Fireside Retreat made us feel so warm and welcomed.  Can’t wait to do it again.

 Careful…my head might start to swell:)
I have another Applique Retreat book for April 20-22 (Friday-Sunday) and I have 2 spots left.  I would love to have you join us:)  Here are the details.  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 lunch on Friday.  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  Here is the project:
Til next time…

A Little Behind….

Yes, I’m a little behind, but I will catch up…I promise:) This is the third block of Hugs and Kisses, a BOM I started on my website in January.


I have already finished my quilt in this cheery colorway, so I have started another one.  This time in warm browns and rich pinks and burgundies.  I’m not sure which one I love the most!IMG_2475

This is a fairly easy block and it will allow you to practice those points and gentle curves.  You will be a superstar when you finish this block!


I love to share this next tip…it saves time and freezer paper.  I think it’s pretty slick.  Instead of cutting out a separate template for each part of the center unit, I cut just 1.  So I started by prepping the outer pink circle.


I cut that outer circle away, so I am now ready to prep the brown flower.




And then I cut that section off and prepped the 2 inner circles.  Easy Peasy!  I see from this photo my centre circle is a little off-centre.  I will have to fix that!

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Actually, I was working on this block very early this morning.  Stitching first thing every morning is a really good way to start the day.  I highly recommend it!

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I am so excited about my upcoming Applique Retreat.  It’s coming up very quickly.  The March Retreat is full, but  I have just 2 spots left for the Applique Retreat in April.  Here are the details  I’d 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….



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….