The Handmade Quilt and more fun stuff!

Last week I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the Region of York Quilters Guild in Newmarket.  My quilts and I received a very warm welcome, and I may have convinced a few members to dig out their unfinished applique projects.  Fingers crossed!  Here are a few of my very early quilts that I showed.

I was 15 when I made my very first quilt.  It has been very well loved.  The batting is long gone and some of the seams are letting go.  I have such happy memories of this quilt:)


When I was 21 I took an 8 week class at a local quilt shop and made this sampler quilt.  Hand applique was my favourite technique!IMG_0616

When my kids were little, I made quilts to keep them warm, and to save my sanity.IMG_0621


Speaking of the Region of York Quilters Guild, they have a quilt show coming up!  Who doesn’t love a quilt show? The show is being held on April 6 and April 7 at the Newmarket Community Centre located at 200 Doug Duncan Drive in Newmarket, Ontario.  Admission is $7.  Hope to see some amazing quilts!

If you would love to learn how to hand piece, this book is for you!  It starts with very easy blocks or sections.  Then you work your way up to curved piecing and such pointy points that all your quilting friends will think you are a superstar!IMG_6634

This is the block I worked on last week.  It’s called Castle Wall.  First you add 4 squares to the octagon.IMG_6606

Next you add a square to the white background piece.IMG_6607

Then you add 2 diamonds to either side (good practice for setting in seams).IMG_6608


I am starting to sew sections together.  I must confess, I am loving it!IMG_6624

So this next block consisted of curved piecing.  Which is the same as straight line piecing, except it’s on a curve!IMG_6626

Bruin acts like he doesn’t care, but he really is impressed!IMG_6627

Can you spot the block? (Hint: it’s the only orange block).  Good, clean fun!IMG_6633

The Spring Applique Retreat is fast approaching.  I have 2 spots left and I would love to fill them.  Here are the details of the Retreat.  This is the block that I will be teaching.  The Hummingbird in Flight pattern is suitable for beginners, especially those wishing to learn Prepared Edge Applique.  If you are interested in attending, please email me at

Hummingbird in Flight

Til next time….




More fun times at the Academy of Applique!

Exciting news….for the fourth year in a row, one of my quilts has been juried into the show at Quilt Canada this year!  This awesome event is in Ottawa this year, which is only 5 hours away, so we are going on a road trip in June. Hope to see you there!

As promised, here are some photos from the second class I taught at the recent Academy of Applique, held in Williamsburg, Virginia.  

Once again I was amazed at how much the students in The Blue Jay class accomplished.  This pattern was different that The Rose of Sharon because the entire design is made up of layers, so most of the 3 days were spent building those layers…many, many leaves and branches.  Most people started prepping the Blue Jays, and I am sure they have the birds stitched on to their background by now:)








So what else have I been working on?  Well, like most quilters, I have a growing list of  WIPs, so I have decided to work on that list.  I am almost finished my Scrappy Log Cabin, which I must confess I love how it is turning out!  I just need to choose borders:)


I am still stitching away on my 60 degree diamond quilt.  I am using Inklingo to print my diamond shapes.  If you are new to Inklingo, I urge you to give it a try!  I only use Inklingo to do my handpiecing now.  You just print (with an Inkjet printer) your shape collection on the wrong side of your fabric, which has a piece of freezer paper ironed onto the front side so that it will go through the printer.  Next you cut your shapes apart and BAM!  Your are now ready to start stitching.  Notice that both the cutting lines and the stitching lines are printed on the fabric!  What more can you ask for:)




So every night I make myself a pot of tea and stitch the night away.  Really, it is amazing how much stitching you can get done when you just sit and do it!



Til next time…







Fun Times at The Academy of Applique!

Believe me when I say that teaching at Barbara Blanton’s Academy of Applique is the highlight of my year!  It really is an amazing time.  Imagine being surrounded by nearly 200 people that share your same passion…hand-applique.  It is not too early to start thinking about next year’s Academy, which will be held March 2-7, 2020.  The class schedule will be available August 3, 2019 (mark your calendars…now!)

The first class I taught this year was The Rose of Sharon.  I worried that maybe the students wouldn’t accomplish as much as I thought they should.  But you can see from the photos that I need not have worried.  The majority of students in this class were “beginners” and had not tried Prepared Edge Applique before.  You can see that everyone caught on very quickly.  That is why I love, love, love this method!




By the end of the third day, we were exhausted, but look how much everyone accomplished!


In the next couple of days, I will show photos from The Blue Jay class.  They are just as impressive:)

Also, I still have 2 spots left in my upcoming Spring Applique Retreat.  You can check out the details here.

Til next time…



Hummingbird in Flight pattern is on the website!

My recent pattern, Hummingbird in Flight, is now on the website.  Each pattern includes the templates already traced onto freezer paper.  This is the pattern that we will be working on at the Spring Applique Retreat.  I have 2 spots left for the Retreat so if you would like to come, sign up soon!  Everyone who comes to the Retreat will receive a pattern and a Fabric Supply List for this block.

Hummingbird in Flight

In my last post I showed pictures of my Hugs and Kisses quilt that I have just started to hand quilt.  Some of you asked about how I mark my quilts for quilting.  This is the first quilt that I have marked before I sandwiched it with the batting and backing.  It is so much easier to do it this way.  I decided on cross hatching and my lines are 1″ apart.  I contemplated making the lines 1/2″ apart, and then I came to my senses!IMG_6264

There are 4″ sashings between the blocks and I was a bit stumped about what to quilt in that area.  I thought it might be cool to do a scallop around each block, kind of mirroring the scallops in the border.   I made a scallop template 2″ x 4″, so there are 3 in every sashing.  So far, so good!IMG_6265

I used a Clover water soluble marker (the blue thick one) to mark the lines.  I am using YLI 100% glazed cotton quilting thread and I love it.

I did a bit of research online and discovered this little gadget that I cannot live without.  I was lucky enough to find it a local quilt shop:) I wonder how I ever hand quilted without it. It’s Aunt Becky’s Finger Protector.  Once you get the hang of it, it is quite easy to use.  And the best part?  No more pricked fingers!

Last, but not least,  for the batting I chose Hobbs 80/20.  I am loving the effect!  The most challenging part of this journey is trying to quilt while Bruin takes his nap on the quilt.  Oh I almost forgot.  I am using Clover Black Gold Needles (Quilting size 10) and these needles are gliding right through the batting.  I highly recommend them.IMG_6255

The Academy of Applique is fast approaching (too fast lol) and I am putting the finishing touches on my class samples.  This year I am teaching the Rose of Sharon, and The Blue Jays.


Til next time….


Hugs and Kisses….Finished!

Hooray!  My “Hugs and Kisses” quilt top is ready to be quilted…by hand!  I’m really excited to get going on this next journey.  So once the blocks and sashings were all sewn together, I soldiered on and completed all 4 borders (complete with swags and flowers!).







The quilt top is now marked and basted together.  Now I just have to sit down with a pot of tea and stitch the day away!


Of course I am finding time to work on “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.  The pieces are small, but doable!  Can you guess what this is?IMG_6169

It’s a door!


I am going through my stash looking for the perfect roof fabric.


Last month I was invited by the Simcoe County Quilt Guild to come to their meeting and do a demonstration of Prepared Edge Applique.  I had so much fun and was made to feel very welcome by everyone.  IMG_6160


I have only 2 spots left in the Spring Applique Retreat.  You can find the details here.  Hope you can join us!

Til next time…


Spring Retreat Dates!

As promised, here are the dates for the spring Simple Bird Applique Retreat:  Tuesday April 23-Thursday April 25.  I have 5 spots left and I hope you can join us!  The Retreat will be held at Fireside Retreat in Orillia, a wonderful venue designed for quilters.  I have been working on a new block for the Retreat and here it is!  The cost of the Retreat is $400.00 and includes all meals.  Also included in the cost is a full-sized pattern for the Hummingbird in Flight, and, best of all, your freezer paper templates are already traced!  Once you sign up I will send you a Fabric Requirement List and a Supply and Notion List.  Please email me at if you are interested in joining us.

Hummingbird in Flight.jpg

On Thursday Jan. 24, 2019 at 1 pm, I will be demonstrating my techniques for Prepared Edge Applique at the Simcoe County Quilt Guild, which is held at the Simcoe County Museum.  Hope you can come!  Everyone in attendance will go home with some freezer paper shapes so you can go home and practice.

What am I working on?  Well, every year around November, I long for some Christmas quilts to decorate the house.  But November is not the time to start Christmas quilts, right?  So I decided that starting in January, I would start Sue Garman’s “T’was the Night Before Christmas”.  And so that is what I did.img_6043

Such tiny trees.  This is going to be fun!  I’ll keep you posted on my progress:)img_6042

I am also working on getting my Hugs and Kisses quilt together.  I am looking forward to hand quilting this baby!  img_6004

I took a couple of days to audition various brown fabrics for the swags.  Bruin and I were unanimous in choosing the scrumptious Jo Morton fabric in the bottom right corner.img_6041

It is a stripe so I had to make sure the swags were going the same way.  Actually, we are having our whole house painted.  It all started with replacing a bit of flooring.  Isn’t that always the way?  So I had to pack up my sewing area and keep out only a few things to work on.  And I am working in the kitchen.  Not a bad idea though.  The counter is the right height and lots of lighting.img_6048

Here are some of the swags prepped and ready to stitch the night away!img_6051

IMG_6075 (1).jpg

The Academy of Applique is fast approaching…March 4-9.  I will be teaching 2 classes this year and I am super excited!  If you are thinking of signing up for classes, you have until the end of January…which is right around the corner!

Till next time…




Hugs and Kisses – Block 12

Block 12 is finished!  Well, not completely finished.  I still have a bit of stitching to do before I can call it finished.IMG_5780

If you are doing the BOM, this is what your block will look like.  Along with this month’s block, you will receive everything to finish the quilt….sashings, cornterstones and swags.  Even the binding.  It’s all in your next package, which should be arriving on your doorstep very soon.IMG_5786

I am in the process of squaring up all of the blocks.  Each block is 12″ finished, so I am trimming them to 12 1/2″ square.  I am simply using my 12 1/2″ square to trim the blocks.  Just make sure the square is centered on the block and away you go!IMG_5782

Here are all 12 blocks!IMG_5783

2019 is approaching and I have some new projects to share with you.  I just signed up for Esther Aliu’s 2019 BOM.  I have been hunting for an applique project that will challenge me, and I think this is it.  I will be posting pics as soon as I get started.

I must confess I am totally obsessed with my most recent handpiecing project.  I am working on The Handmade Quilt by Carolyn Forster.  Very addicting.  Of course, I love the fabric I am using, so that helps!  The fabric is called Sun Kiss by Tilda.  I bought half yard cuts of the whole line!  Merry Christmas, Me!




I made a minor faux pas in this block:(IMG_5745

Ahhh…that’s better!IMG_5779

Til next time…




Block 11

It is hard to believe that we are on Block 11 already.  This year has flown by.  I guess it is true what they say….the older you get, the faster time flies.  I think one of the reasons this year has flown by so fast is that we have had more than a few weddings in our immediate family (2 daughters, 1 niece and 2 nephews).  Next week our entire family is off to Cuba for the fifth(!) wedding.  Looking forward to relaxing in the sunshine.

Block 11 of “Hugs and Kisses” is an easy block.  In fact, all of the blocks in this quilt are easy.  Nice for a beginner:)  If you are doing the Block of the Month with me, this is what your block will look like.IMG_5503 (1)

I am making my version in browns and pinks.  Only one more block to go!IMG_5279


I spent the last year making my 2 granddaughters their I Spy quilts.  The pattern is called Smitten by Lucy Carson Kingswell.  Shopping for the fabrics was an absolute delight!  It gave me a chance to visit every quit shop in the area.  I pieced the blocks by hand, and I used acrylic templates to cut out each piece.  Loved the process!  I quilted both quilts by hand…again, loved the process.  I am pleased as punch at how lovely the quilts turned out.

This is Ellie’s quilt…..IMG_5464

…..and this is Grace’s.IMG_5463

And, these are the labels.  Thanks to Christie Davidson for doing such an awesome job on the labels.  What a perfect touch!IMG_5438


Last month I had the pleasure of presenting a Trunk Show at the East Lake Simcoe Quilt Guild, located in Beaverton, Ontario.  I received such a warm welcome.  I am always happy to travel to guilds and show everyone that there really is a stress-free way to do hand-applique!


Last week I traveled to Newmarket, Ontario, to visit the Moraine Quilt Guild.  Such an enthusiastic, welcoming group of quilters.  guild moraine

So, my husband and I decided to do a bit of remodeling around our house.  One of the major jobs we have wanted to do for a long time is to replace the carpet in our family room downstairs with hardwood flooring.  Well, that is all well and good, but over the past couple of years, I have slowly (and nonchalantly) taken over the entire family room for my quilting/fabric hoarding.  So, for the past week, I have been packing up all my “quilting stuff” and it is now in storage.  Yikes!  I did keep out a few projects that I need to be working on, class samples etc.  Oddly enough, I came across a few projects that I have started and have not completed (imagine that!).  But the problem is, I cannot for the life of me remember why I didn’t finish those projects.  There are one or two that are very close to a finish.  So I am going to go an a bit of a finishing spree.  Wish me luck!

Til next time….


Block 9

Block 9 of Hugs and Kisses already!  Time flies.  This block is fairly simple so you will have it completed in no time.  Then just 2 more blocks to go…and the cornerstones…and the borders.  Well, still a fair bit to do, but the end is in sight.

If you are doing the Block-of-the-Month, this is what your block will look like.


I am working on the same quilt but in browns and pinks.  It is amazing how different the blocks look just by using different fabrics.  The brown and pink version has a bit of an antique feel to it.  I love them both!

Since I am using a background that I can see through, I am not tracing the pattern onto the background.  I am simply placing the pattern on a light box, and pinning the background to the pattern.  Once the pieces are prepped, I am  gluing them onto the background.

First, I made the bias stems, using a Clover 1/4″ bias maker, and glued the bias strips in place.  Next I added the leaves.  Make sure that the tip of each leaf just barely touches the stem.



Next I added the centre scalloped flower and BAM!  I was finished.  Well, of course, I still need to stitch the pieces down:)


When I finish stitching my blocks, I wash each block in the sink. I use hot water and a bit of mild soap.  This step gets rid of the starch and glue that I use.  Also, if you do happen to use a marking pen to trace the pattern, this process will eliminate all traces of the marking pen. Note: the photos below show a previously stitched block.


Once the block has finished soaking for about half an hour (or longer if you happen to forget about it), I rinse it in clear water.  Then I press (don’t squeeze) the excess water out  and lay it flat on a thick towel to dry.  Easy Peasy!


I have 1 spot left in the upcoming Applique Retreat happening on Oct. 22-24 at Fireside Retreat in Orillia.  This is the project we will be working on.  Looks complicated. but it really isn’t…trust me:)  Click here for details.


Also, there is still a few spots in the workshop I am teaching in Powassan this coming weekend (Oct. 13). It is the perfect block for beginners. I will presenting a trunk show the night before where I will be showing many of my quilts.  I am so excited and I hope you can join us.  Click here for details. 

New Brunswick.JPG

Meanwhile, I am working away on the two I Spy quilts I am making for my granddaughters.  I hand pieced the quilts using the Smitten pattern.  I love hand piecing, so these were the perfect projects to work on over the past year.  Another couple of evening of hand quilting, and I will be finished.  Well, except for the binding and, of course, labels.



Til next time…


Come join me!

In my last post I shared dates for the 3rd Applique Retreat at Fireside Retreat in Orillia.  I have 2 spots left and I would love to have you join us.  We will be working on the Calla block, which I taught at the Academy of Applique 2 years ago. Here are the details:

As promised in my last post, here are the dates for the upcoming Applique Retreat.  The  Retreat will be held Monday October 22 through to Wednesday October 24.  The project I have picked for this Retreat is “Crazy for Callas”, a class I taught at the Academy in 2017.  I teach the Prepared Edge method and I am so excited about this method that I want to share it with the world!  So easy and stress-free. This wall hanging has a few tricks that I would love to share, like how to get those super sharp points!  The cost is $400 for 3 days of teaching, your accommodation, your meals, and your pattern kit for the wallhanging!  If you would like to sign up, please email me at

Crazy For Callas Photo

In other exciting news, I will be doing a Trunk show of most of my quilts on Friday, October 12 in Powassan, Ontario.  And the following day,  I will also be doing a one-day class.  As you can see, it is going to be a very exciting weekend! The project I have chose is the Chickadee.  It is the perfect block to learn the Prepared Edge method of applique.  I hope you will join us!  Here are the details:Quilt Show poster.jpg

Til next time….