maggie's first dance - borders, assembly, finish!

It's the last month of the Maggie's First Dance quilt along! This month's free pattern from Jacquelynne Steves includes directions for the center assembly and borders. Super easy. Super quick. The grey floral border is Strawberry Biscuit by Elea Lutz for Penny Rose Fabrics. For the backing, I used one of my favorite mini strawberry prints from Holly Holderman's Lakehouse, and then a pink and grey plaid binding from Pam Kitty Morning (this is proof that Pam Kitty Morning fabrics go with virtually everything!). It was quilted by Kaylene Parry with an overall design called Curly Twirly. (Kaylene is the nicest quilter with high quality edge-to-edge work, fast turnaround time and reasonable prices. See her patterns and pricing on Pinterest here.)

I hope that you've enjoyed the sew along and will soon have a finished quilt of your own. If you haven't started yet, sign up for Jacquelynne Steves' newsletter here.

This month's giveaway is a Clearly Perfect Angles pack courtesy of New Leaf Stitches. Just leave a comment below. The giveaway is open to all US and international readers, and it will close at midnight on November 14.  And as always, make sure that I'm able to reach you if you're the winner! Visit New Leaf Stitches here to check out Kari's notions, patterns and more.

AND A BIT OF HOUSEKEEPING! I'm so sorry to be late to announce the winner of the First Blush giveaway from two weeks ago. The winner is Missy Shay. She'll receive a bundle of First Blush fabric and the coordinating Aurifil thread. Missy likes Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Good choices, right? (I actually have a hard time choosing a favorite candy. Peeps? Sno-Caps? Junior Mints? Goo Goo clusters? I'm not too picky, but I do have some odd favorites!) Anyway... congratulations to Missy!

first blush blog hop - jacob's ladder pillow and giveaway

Hi everybody, and welcome to my stop on the First Blush blog hop! I've been patiently waiting for my turn to show you this cute pillow!

First Blush is a new fabric collection by Ruby Red Designs. It's full of florals, gingham and stripes. When Windham Fabrics asked me to join the blog hop I knew that I'd want to make something that would really capture the cheerful, vintage feeling of the prints. They're so sunny and optimistic.

I had so much fun making two pillows recently, so I decided to make another. Because can we ever have too many pillows? I used a traditional Jacob's Ladder block that I downsized to 4" using a tutorial that I created for Quiltmaker Magazine last year. You can see how I made the blocks by clicking here (the cutting and construction photos and notes are still there, although much of the blog post and block setting options seem to have disappeared). I quilted the top diagonally at 3/4" intervals, and I also quilted the backing to match the front. If you've never quilted a pillow back, give it a try! It gives you a nice plump pillow that is uniformly weighted. For the zipper, once again I used this super-clear tutorial by Jera. And then came the eyelet - it's the first time I've used trim on a project. (Why did it take me so long to discover this? Oh watch out, because now I want to try make my own piping!)

First Blush by Ruby Red Designs for Windham Fabrics is just beginning to ship to retailers now. You can see the full lineup, along with a specially designed book, ruler and block-of-the-month over here.

And here are all the other stops on the blog hop!

October 10 – Chris Dodsley, Made by Chrissie D
 October 11 – Sinta at Pink Pincushion
 October 12 -  Fat Quarter Shop
October 13- Windham/Two Blondes and a Sewing Machine
 October 14- Jennie at Clover and Violet
 October 15- Aurifil- Erin Sampson
 October 16- Tina Egner
 October 17 – Pretty By Hand
 October 18 – Allison Harris
 October 19 – Erin Cox
 October 20 – Angie Wilson Gnome Angel
October 21 – Debbie at happy little cottage
 October 22 – Heidi Staples
October 23 – Leanne Elliott
 October 24- Greg Jones Grey Dogwood Studio - me!
 October 25- Wendy Sheppard Ivory Spring
 October 26 – Stephanie Lynn Denton
 October 27 – Lisa Ruble

Now for a giveaway! And this one is pretty great. For each day of the hop, Windham Fabrics will give away a fat quarter bundle of the collection. along with a small thread box of First Blush from Aurifil for each stop of the blog tour. To enter, leave a comment with your favorite Halloween candy (I love Halloween candy!) Contest is open to all US and international entries through Thursday, October 27. Winners will be chosen randomly from comments posted on blog posts and will be announced on Friday, October 28.

farm girl vintage - vegetables and fruits

Hi everybody! I hope that you had a great weekend! I've been enjoying the (very slightly) cooler temperatures here in Southern Indiana and the (barely) less humid air. I know that fall is supposed to be coming! I see plenty of leaves falling from the trees. But what's strange is that they aren't turning all those pretty colors that I expected to see. They go right from green on the tree to brown and crunchy on the ground. Where's the yellow? Where's the orange and red? I go for a long walk several times each week - I'm able to walk to Target and the grocery store, and there's ALWAYS a stop at DQ for a burger or ice cream, or usually both. Anyway, I love to step on as many leaves as I can while I'm walking. And when I step on a mushy leaf, well, that's just a wasted opportunity!

I had plenty of time to sew this past weekend. I've finished some of those blocks-of-the-months and sew-alongs (but I do have a Maggie quilt finish to show you in early November!) and I just wanted something "quick" to sew RIGHT NOW. I thought it was the perfect time to return to those Farm Girl Vintage blocks by Lori Holt. It's been months since I've worked on them, and I really want to get that sampler quilt done! First up, Garden Carrots and Shelling Peas blocks.

These blocks make me laugh. I use carrots in cooking all the time. But peas, not so much. I absolutely hated peas when I was a kid (why, oh why, did my parents insist that I eat them?!) and I still avoid them. But oddly, I love sugar snap peas and I can eat them freshly washed or tossed into pasta with basil pesto. And lately, I've started to add baby frozen peas into risotto, soup and creamy pastas.

Betcha didn't know you'd be getting a cooking lesson here today, right?!

Next, Summer Peach and Cold Watermelon blocks.

I'm using a mix of mostly Fig Tree along with Brenda Riddle fabrics for my blocks. I think that they complement each other really nicely. There are two really tiny mistakes with the peach block that I've decided I can live with, but you wouldn't even know it unless you compared the block to the pattern. It's a deliciously imperfect peach, just like the peaches that resulted in this summer's yummy cobbler (recipe here) and a disastrously icy ice cream (recipe in trash).

And next, Scrappy Strawberry and Pie Blueberries blocks.

I tried to do an ombre effect with the strawberry, shading the reds into a pink center. I love anything ombre, including the sound of the word :-) And I ate plenty of unripened strawberries this summer - the kind that look great until you bite into them and taste nothing. (I'm using frozen strawberries cooked with a bit of sugar and crème de cassis on tonight's cheesecake.)

Next... a Patchwork Pumpkin block!

This block sure gave me a chance to use scrappy orange prints! Many of these prints are several years old and had never been used. I unfolded those fat quarters and was really surprised to see that most of them were still intact. Now they're just fat quarters with a tiny 1 1/2" bite taken out of them! I added a small 2" heart to the center of the pumpkin just like Lori showed on her blog awhile ago.

So the fruits and vegetables section is now done. The pumpkin, strawberry and blueberries patterns are in the Farm Girl Vintage book. The other patterns are all add-on blocks and are sold separately. I bought just a few patterns at a time but now I have the whole collection. You can find links to the book as well as the individual patterns in the right hand column of Lori's blog here.

I have just 8 more blocks to make! I think I'll sew up some animals next: cats, cow, turkey, maybe a pig, maybe a sheep.

Finally, I'd like to chat briefly about comments on my blog. I love comments. And I love my readers :-)  I often reply to you by responding to your comments right here on my blog. I hope that you are receiving an email from me with my reply. Unfortunately, my blog host (Squarespace) does not provide your email addresses to me. I've complained about this to them several times... after all, isn't part of having a blog the ability to open up a conversation with my readers? I've been tempted to move to Blogspot, but I now have almost three years of blogging history right here. (I do have the addresses of several of my long-time readers, and I'll reply to them directly by email.) I love my blog because I get to say so much more here than on Instagram... although I do love Instagram too, where I am @greydogwoodstudio. So just please know that I appreciate ALL your comments, and I really hope that you receive my replies.  

a finish! fig tree mystery block of the month 2015

I have a finished quilt to share with you today! You might have already seen some of these photos if you follow me on Instagram. But I had even more pictures that I wanted to share with you here, along with some of the details. But first... let's roll the slideshow!

This is the 2015 mystery block-of-the-month sampler from Fig Tree & Co. I sure learned a lot while making it. There were some diamond shapes, tiny pieces, bias edges and even applique. I substituted a few classic Fig Tree pieced blocks in the place of some appliqued blocks, but I tried to keep the same overall feel of Joanna's design. I stalled on the appliqued clamshells until the very end, and then I finally learned the procedure (and I'm so glad that I did!). I even substituted a few fabrics - I like to squeeze in some of my favorite Strawberry Fields prints wherever I can! I used the cherry print from Fig Tree's Farmhouse collection on the back. It was expertly quilted by Diana Johnson in the exact same way that she quilted Joanna Figueroa's quilt, and each block tells it's own story. I've been having lots of fun examining every block!

I've fallen behind on the mystery quilt for 2016, and I might never catch up. That's ok... I give myself approval to work at my own pace. There are four new Fig Tree blocks-of-the-month coming up in 2017. Signups started last week, and a few of them are sold out already. You can check here to see which BOM programs still have openings (I've signed up for the red & cream and Nantucket quilts).

Can I share how I took these photos? I dragged the quilt outside right after the landscaping crew left (don't worry, I hadn't washed the quilt yet), and there had been a rainstorm that morning. So the ground was covered with grass clippings and it was squishy with mud. As I snapped my camera I realized that there were teeny tiny mosquitos ALL OVER ME. You know, the kind that are so silent that you don't even know they're there? Oh yeah. Now the quilt has been washed and is draped on my bed, and I'm COVERED with mosquito bites. All this for the art of the quilt, my friends! 

maggie's first dance bom continues! and a giveaway

Hi there, and happy Monday! I'm back with the final batch of blocks for the Maggie's First Dance block of the month quilt along designed by Jacquelynne Steves. This month, we're making the five connecting blocks. They're super easy and quick to put together. (And as I was making them, I thought of the Twelve Days of Christmas with "five golden rings.") I was really tempted to put a print into the center square but I liked the clean, simple lines of the blocks. Here's how they'll look when combined with the other four blocks that we made earlier.

Next month, we'll assemble the top with all nine blocks and some easily pieced borders. I might have cheated and jumped ahead a bit but all I can tell you is... you'll love the finished quilt. Are you sewing along with us? The monthly patterns are free, and there's only one place to get them - that's by signing up for Jacquelynne Steves' newsletter right over here. I'm also sewing along with these other quilters and I can't wait to see their blocks this month!

And now for this month's giveaway. Christa Watson of Christa Quilts has a fun package of quilt patterns valued at $30. Just leave me a comment below. The giveaway will close on October 10 at 11:59pm Central. As always, be sure that I can reach you by email if you're the lucky winner! (Visit the other participating bloggers and Christa for seven more chances to win!) 

crossroads quilt along- the final month!

It's the very final month of the Crossroads quilt along! This is the month of the pieced backing. Ok, so before I show you my pictures, let me warn you. My iron DIED just as I was finishing this up. As in, spitting black coffee-colored gunk all over my cream fabric DEAD. So I never say this, but please excuse my wrinkles!

I am in love with this backing! It's a huge, 36" square block, surrounded by simple borders. The original pattern is a scrappy block; it is made with leftover prints from the front of the quilt, plus cream solid background and a cream print border. It looks great just the way it was designed. But sometimes I like to customize patterns just to be different. With the backing, I definitely wanted it to be non-scrappy. So I printed out multiple copies of the pattern and then colored right on top of them with pencils until I found the right color combo. Yep, I'm really hi tech and modern here!

I made a block with pinks, yellows and greens against a printed cream background. But it didn't work at all - there were too many medium tones, and the star just faded away. And then, late one night (because that's when I do my best thinking), I thought why not try a medium background with a dark star? I made myself a color chart so that I wouldn't accidentally cut the wrong prints. (These pieces are big. I didn't want to chop up half yards and then realize that I cut the wrong fabric!)

Have I already mentioned that I love the backing now? I can easily flip the quilt over for a whole new look!

I used the Crossroads backing kit from Fat Quarter Shop (available here) and added in the pink and aqua fabric. Crossroads was a fundraiser for March of Dimes, co-sponsored by Moda Fabrics and Fat Quarter Shop. I'm so happy to see that the quilting community has raised over $12,000. While the monthly projects are finished, you still have the opportunity to make the quilt using either your own fabrics or the kit that I used, available here. A link to some additional details about the quilt along, as well as the monthly patterns and a link to the contribution page at March of Dimes is right over here.

Thanks for being there with me as I made this quilt throughout the year. I can't wait to send it off to Melissa for some custom quilting! A new charitable quilt along will start in January. I'll be sharing more details as we get closer to the kickoff, but you can see a sneak peek here. It'll be fun, and I hope that you'll consider joining us.

(And finally, RIP dear Rowenta iron. You did an amazing job pressing LOTS of seams this past year. Your poor cord was plugged in for 3-5 hours every day and you never complained. But let's face it... you gave up and stopped steaming a few months ago. I hope that you are out of your misery now and enjoying your new life at the bottom of the trash can. I would have bought another iron just like you, but you've been discontinued. A shiny new iron from Reliable is coming to take your place very soon. Pam is already using one and is very happy (so far). I'll be sure to let you know all about her, dear readers.)

Oh wait, I have one more thing to share! Judi Duncan is the winner of the Maggie's First Dance September giveaway. Judi is working on a Dear Daughter quilt. Congratulations, Judi!

maggie's first dance month 4, and a giveaway

Hi everybody! It's the first Monday of the month, and y'all know what that means, right? It's time for the next block in the Maggie's First Dance block of the month! It was designed by Jacquelynne Steves, and it's a free pattern. This was the last individual block, and then next month we'll make the five simple connecting blocks. Doesn't it seem like we just started this quilt along yesterday? Once again, this month's block is relatively simple to construct once you've finished up a bunch of half-square-triangles and flying geese. I finally had a chance to fussy cut that cute rabbit print from Elea Lutz's Strawberry Biscuit collection.  

You've probably already signed up to receive your copy of the pattern. But if you haven't, then head on over to Jacquelynne's website and sign up for her newsletter right here. And don't forget to check out this same block as interpreted by the other participating bloggers.

Finally, I have another giveaway for you! One winner will receive an assortment of patterns from Snuggles Quilts, valued at $30. For a chance to win, leave a comment here letting me know what you're working on (for more chances to win, visit Snuggles Quilts and the other participating bloggers). The giveaway will be open until Sunday, September 11 at 11:59pm Central. Make sure that I'm able to reach you if you're the winner! And for my US readers, I hope that you enjoy the Labor Day holiday!

more popsicles, and new things in my studio this week

Hello everybody! I hope that you all had a great weekend. We did some unexpected gardening... or should I call it un-gardening? Our flowerboxes and potted plants were looking, how should I say it, exhausted. Or dehydrated, maybe. The plants have been extremely prolific but I think that they were just plain tired (and potbound). The bugs all knew it too, and lately they've been on the attack. So we did some extensive digging and cleaning and bagging and sweeping, and now we're down to one potted geranium. I like to think of it as just clearing the way for chrysanthemums and pumpkins.

Anyway... I managed to get some actual sewing done, too! I've been adding to my collection of popsicle blocks. The tilted blocks are done and now I just need to finish the simple, straight up-and-down blocks, and then I can sash them together. What's interesting is that when I started the blocks I used very subtle cream print backgrounds, but now I find that I really like the busier prints like the grey dotted backgrounds.  The pattern is by Fig Tree and Co and it's in the new pattern book Sherbets & Creams. You can check out the book and see the other patterns on Fig Tree's website here. I'm working with Moda Bella solids in a special Fig Tree bundle, mixed with cream backgrounds from my stash - Fig Tree, Minick & Simpson, Bunny Hill, Sweetwater, 3 Sisters.

And some new items found their way into my sewing studio this week! First, some really cute tins by Lori Holt for Bee In My Bonnet.

Are they the most adorable tins you've ever seen? The red tin also contains some notecards that correspond with the tin lids. They're sold as a set of 6 or individually here.

And then... more tins! These are the perfect size for holding a rotary cutter, scissors and thread, or let's be real here... they're perfect for holding sewing SNACKS (chocolate for me in one tin and Temptations treats for Miss Chloe Cat in another tin). Plus the new Jolly Bar Book by Fat Quarter Shop. It's been on my nightstand all week. Never mind that reading quilt books keeps me awake because then my mind goes to work, putting fabric combinations together when I should be asleep! (Same thing happens with cookbooks, only I start cooking in my sleep LOL!) The set of three tins is available here, and the Jolly Bar Book is here

And I bought a few new patterns and charm packs, too. I often buy charm packs just to see what the fabric looks like before I invest in yardage. This week I added Grand Traverse Bay by Minick & Simpson. I love a good blue and white quilt - so clean and crisp and classic.

And I also picked up a copy of Me and My Sister's Precut Primer book and a charm pack of their latest collection, Brighten Up! I've always liked their bright, happy prints and I'm trying to figure out how to make them work for me.

So that's what's new in the studio this week. Oh no, I forgot something! The Seedlings quilt is back from being quilted by Melissa, and it's gorgeous. Now I need to bind it. You can see it on my Instagram page here, and I'll show you more pics here on my blog after I've finished the stitching. Happy sewing, y'all!

high tea party blog tour

It's time for high tea! Welcome to my stop on the High Tea Party Blog Tour. High Tea is the premiere fabric collection from Jera Brandvig for Lecien Fabrics. I've long been a fan of Jera's way-too-pretty quilts (and I gotta admit, her little dog Paige is really cute, too, always hamming it up for the camera). Jera writes the blog Quilting In The Rain, although I know her best from Instagram. She is also the author of Quilt As You Go Made Modern. So when Jera asked if I'd like to join her on the blog tour my answer was a big, excited YES! The new High Tea collection is inspired by Jera's love of quilts and china dishes, and that's something that we have in common.

I love the names of her colorways: Fig Red, Butter Cream, Green Tea, Dusty Pink, Brown Sugar and Cottage Blue, and the prints include teapots, flowers and lace. And do I need to mention those strawberry prints?! They look just like the strawberries in my garden!

strawberry plants.jpg

But I know that you're here for more than strawberries and tea, right? So let's serve up a High Tea pillow!

When I received the fabric, I knew right away that I wanted to do an applique project. This 18" pillow was done with two charm packs plus some border and backing fabric. To make it, I cut most of the charms into four 2 1/2" squares, and I left the charms with larger prints whole so that I could do some fussy cutting. The applique method that I used was freezer paper and starch to create the shapes. I then hand appliqued them to the base with silk thread, and finally, I hand quilted around each clamshell. I used to be afraid of applique, but then I watched this lengthy video with Joanna Figueroa, and I thought, hey, I CAN do that. Rather than do a full tutorial here, check out her video and you'll see how un-scary the process can be. Here are the supplies that I used. Notice the freezer paper templates that I used until they were scorched beyond recognition. And then there's the essential sewing snack!

And next, I really wanted to have a quilted pillow backing with a zipper. But I don't know how to do zippers! (I had one experience with zippers in design college. I actually sat there in the classroom in NYC crying over that stupid zipper and the other students had to rescue me.) Well, Jera has the perfect zipper tutorial on her website, and that was all I needed. It's EASY! The zipper isn't flawless, but I learned a lot and it functions, too!

Next up is a simple strippy pillow, with loose, squishy pleats. It was made using another tutorial from Jera's website. (Yes, I love online tutorials!)

These two pillows are already best friends, living side-by-side on my bed.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope you've enjoyed our time together for High Tea. And thanks so much, Jera, for inviting me to play along with your beautiful fabric collection. High Tea is available now at some of my favorite online quilt shops, here and here. And look for it in your local quilt shops, too.  The blog tour continues all week long, and the schedule below has the remaining stops. Meanwhile, please join me on Instagram where you'll always see the latest projects that I'm working on.

crossroads quilt along - the big assembly

I know that I say I love all my quilts, but I really love this one. Extra love for the Crossroads quilt! This month, the blocks were connected with sashing, and I arranged the blocks exactly like the pattern. The pieced border has 122 red half-square-triangles. And I have a little confession. The pattern directs you to make them using triangles-on-a-roll paper. But instead, I used my usual method which is done by placing two slightly oversized squares right sides together, drawing a line from corner to corner and sewing 1/4" away from the line on both sides, cutting in half on the drawn line and pressing them open, and then trimming the pressed HSTs down to exactly the right size. Use whichever method works best for YOU! And finally, I added the five borders.

I loved watching the quilt come to life with each step of the assembly. It looks like the perfect antique that I hoped to find at the antique flea market that we went to yesterday at the local 4-H Center. Sadly, all I found were tattered, abused quilts - I wonder if those quilts were loved very much, or if they were just used for farming needs. Well, now I have my own "instant" antique quilt!

I'm so happy that I participated in the sew along, and I really hope that you've been sewing with us. All of the patterns are still available free of charge here, courtesy of Fig Tree Quilts and Fat Quarter Shop. A minimum donation of $5 to March of Dimes is requested for the use of each pattern, and your donation will go directly to the charity. This month's video tutorial is really helpful (and at least I learned how to use those trianges-on-a-roll!). Next month, we'll assemble the pieced backing - I'm using the kit, and I'm planning to tweak it a just a little :-) and then Crossroads can go off to my quilter!

Also - congratulations to last week's giveaway winner, Tammy Barnhardt! Tammy likes to decorate for Christmas with red and gold, but she's thinking of trying pink and teal. Thanks, everybody, for playing along!

moda modern building blocks quilt FINISHED!

I have a finish to share with you today! The Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt is finished, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I can hardly believe that I started this in July 2014 - two years ago! The last time it appeared on this blog was February 2015, and at that time, I said that I had only two blocks to go. Wow, how time flies!

The pattern was a bit challenging, for sure. The block patterns instruct you to use triangles (not the stitch-and-flip method), so lots of careful cutting and pinning was needed. Several of the blocks - such as the large 36" block! - have stretchy bias on the outer edges. I loved working with the Fig Tree color palette, with a few prints added for interest. I added a narrow Fig Tree toile outer border in a taupe color.  There were three reasons why I did this. First, I wanted to contain all those seams that would have been on the outer edge. Second, adding an outer border ensured that no star points would be accidentally hidden within the binding. And finally, the borders created a quilt that was the perfect size for a queen bed (it finished, with borders, at 90" x 102" before washing). It was quilted in a Baptist fan pattern by Kaylene Parry of Lehi, UT, and I love how her quilting helps to bring a classic element to a modern quilt. 

But I don't have the quilt anymore - it's been gifted! When I was first started working on the quilt, my friend Carole saw it on the blog and mentioned that she'd be happy to have it. I thought how perfect, now I know what to give her for Christmas! So this past Thanksgiving, I took the still-unfinished quilt top to Ohio so that she and her husband Russ could have a preview. Then I stuffed it into a bag and brought it home :-) I added the border and shipped it off to Kaylene for quilting. And then it sat in my studio for another three months until I stitched the binding (Surely I am not the only lazy quilter when it comes time to do the binding?!) Carole and Russ came to visit us in Indiana last weekend, and I was so happy to be able to present them with a finished quilt... at last.

Specifics: my fabric mix was part of a monthly block-of-the-month program from Fig Tree Quilts. It is made of Moda Bella solids and some Fig Tree Somerset prints. The pattern was written with a different color grouping. You can see more detail about the blocks and fabric yardage requirement on this Moda pdf that I found online. I also searched and found that a copy of the pattern is still available here.

Giveaway: don't forget that you still have a few more days to enter the giveaway on my last blog post! I know that I had a problem earlier this week and my blog wasn't accepting comments. Sorry about that! It's been corrected, so go ahead and enter... just make sure that I can reach you by email if you're the lucky winner!

maggie's first dance month 3, and a giveaway

Can anybody guess what I did on a rainy Sunday afternoon? I made this month's Maggie's First Dance block! It's a fun block-of-the-month project, and it only takes a few hours to sew each block. They're getting easier to make, because the same construction techniques are used throughout the project.  If you need to practice making flying geese and half square triangles, this is the project to try! The pattern is designed by Jacquelynne Steves, and it is free. All you need to do is sign up for her newsletter, and then a new pattern is published the first Monday of each month. You can sign up here. We've done 3 blocks so far, with one more to go, then four connecting blocks, and finally the big assembly.

And if you like to applique and/or embroider, Jacquelynne has cute floral motifs that fit into the center squares of each block. I went with a focal print instead - I needed a place to show off the little animals in the Strawberry Biscuit fabric collection by Elea Lutz.

I'm sewing along with six other bloggers (and Jacquelynne, too), and it's fun to see how we each interpret the same pattern. Be sure to visit them to see what they're up to with their Maggie blocks.

And now it's time for this month's giveaway, sponsored by Eva Paige Quilt Designs! One winner from each of the participating blogs will receive the Mod-ified Trees table runner pattern AND fabric kit. It's perfect for an early Christmas project. Just leave me a comment letting me know what your Christmas color theme/scheme is.  Red and green? Silver and gold? Pink and aqua? (Yes, I know that's a silly request, but I thought it might be fun. Lately, I'm loving the shimmery, frosty look, with a gazillion lights, and I cannot wait to put up the holiday décor again!) The contest is open to all, and it will close on Sunday, August 7 at 11:59pm CST. Just be sure that I can reach you by email if you happen to be the lucky winner!

holiday wishes blog hop

Welcome to my stop on the Holiday Wishes book blog tour! It's time for Christmas in July with Fat Quarter Shop and author Sherri Falls. This book is full of great quilts (10 of them, including the sampler shown on the cover), plus a runner and a tree skirt.

I was curious to see if I could translate a Christmas quilt into a Halloween quilt, and I just happened to have a fat quarter bundle of Bunny Hill's latest fabric collection, Spooky Delight. I love those little goofy cats, mice and owls, as well as the dots and stripes.  After about a month of pondering (I am not kidding... I even had the book on my bedside table!) I finally decided on the Gingham Stars pattern.

Twelve "gingham" star centers coming right up! I used the smaller prints here, and I reserved the larger prints for the star points. The blocks measure a generous 18", so you could easily turn one block into a pillow, or keep going for a king sized quilt.

The top goes together very quickly once you've finished your blocks. Super simple sashing and no outer borders! (I backstitched all the seams that fall on the outer edges so that nothing will pop apart when it's on the longarm machine.)

The patterns in Holiday Wishes are very easy to understand, and the book has lots of construction diagrams. I always appreciate having arrows to indicate which direction to press my seams. (Hey, it's hot here, and my brain doesn't always function perfectly in the heat!) Of course, Sherri provides yardage requirements, but if you use a fat quarter bundle like I did, you'll definitely have a generous amount of fabric left over for another quilt (I'm planning to make a bunch of these cute scaredy cats with my scraps).

There are lots of other projects in this book that I'd still like to make (maybe even a Christmas quilt?!) so I'll keep it near my sewing machine. There's still plenty of time before Christmas, right? You can pick up a copy here. Special thanks to Fat Quarter Shop and Sherri Falls for asking me to play along!

crossroads quilt along - chain blocks

It's Crossroads quilt along time again! This month I made the chain blocks that will link the blocks from previous months. It sure was nice to have simple, partially chain-pieced blocks to sew.

Sewing with red and pink fabric always puts me in a happy mood. For the block centers, my original plan was to go with just one color (either aqua or pink) but then I went scrappy like the pattern suggests.

Are you sewing along with the #crossroadsquiltalong? You can still join us! The pattern download is here, and it's free. A donation of $5 is requested to March of Dimes for the use of the pattern - we've raised over $10,000 so far! I'm using the quilt kit since I love the Fig Tree Strawberry Fields Revisited fabric so much. Watch the tutorial video here with Joanna Figueroa and Kimberly Jolly from Fat Quarter Shop. Joanna explains the inspiration for the chain block. And next month we get to start assembling the quilt top!

And I'd like to congratulate Lori Smanski! Lori is the winner of last week's giveaway, part of the Maggie's First Dance Quit Along. She'll soon receive a package of Thermoweb products valued at $60.

Now go download your pattern and start sewing!

maggie's first dance month 2, plus a giveaway!

Hi everybody! It's time for the second block in the Maggie's First Dance quilt along! It's a free block of the month, designed by Jacquelynne Steves. It was another fun block to stitch - just sign up for the newsletter which contains the FREE pattern, pick your fabric and start sewing. I'm enjoying using fun retro prints by Elea Lutz and Lori Holt in this quilt... plus a few Riley Blake ginghams.

I even learned something new while sewing this block. Jacquelynne has a super nifty way of making flying geese blocks. I thought I had seen just about every way there is of making flying geese, and then I received this pattern and thought "what a great idea!" - and I'm sure that you will, too. I won't give away the secret, but let's just say that you make them slightly larger and trim them down.

I was also able to whip up the second block in 2 hours - that's relatively quick for me. While I was sewing, there were tornado and hail updates on radio, literally every 3 minutes. I panicked a little - what if we lost power and I couldn't sew?! Then what would I do?! (Four hours later, we still have power. And my block is done :-) The rain didn't stop us from going out for pizza, but the roads are very flooded.)

I hope that you'll consider sewing along with me and my new quilty friends. We're all making the Maggie Quilt. Some quilters are using an appliqued center (where I've used the teddy bear on a turtle print), some are using applique, and one quilter is even doing two versions! First, visit Jacquelynne Steves at her blog The Art of Home to sign up for her newsletter - the newsletter contains the free block pattern! Then go check out the other Maggie Quilt blocks here:

And I know that you're all waiting for the giveaway. This week, we have a fabulous quilter's package from Thermoweb. You've probably already tried (and love) their products, including Spray N Bond and Heat N Bond. One winner from my blog will receive a prize package worth $60! Just leave me a comment letting me know what you're working on this week, or where you're vacationing this summer. For more chances to win, visit the other participating bloggers to enter their giveaways, too.

The giveaway is open to Continental US readers only. This is due to the limitation on shipping aerosol products. (Don't panic, there's another giveaway for all readers, so keep reading!) Contest will close on 11:59pm CST on July 11. Please be sure that I can reach you by email if you are the winner, or another winner will be chosen. 

There is an additional giveaway that is open to ALL readers (including HI, AK and overseas) over at The Quilting Gallery. Four copies of a digital pattern will be awarded. Follow this link for more details.

And finally, due to my oversight, I forgot to announce the winner of the Aurifil giveaway. Jodi Guerrero is the happy recipient of a designer box of thread, which is being shipped to her from Italy. I've already notified Jodi by email, and I can assure you that she is very happy.

Thanks for visiting today, and enjoy making your Maggie's First Dance blocks! 

happy birthday, farm girl vintage!

Welcome to the birthday party! Look at the cute cake I baked for the birthday girl! Lori Holt's book Farm Girl Vintage is celebrating her first birthday. How much do we all love this book? Lori's patterns are always fun, and they come with very easy to understand directions. I want to make everything that she designs.

I'm still farming my blocks for the cover sampler quilt. I've completed over half of them, and I've added in a few of the bonus blocks that are available for purchase separately. Like the corn and tomatoes block. Oh how I love that corn block!

My blocks are 6" square. Now if only I could find nice juicy corn and tomatoes like this at a local farmstand. And the book also has a perfect flag block that you can make for the Fourth of July - it has a single friendship star.

Meet the mama hen block with her light blue wing. (Yes, she's missing her little embroidered eye. I'll add it later!)

I'm sewing with fabrics from Brenda Riddle and Fig Tree Quilts. I love how Brenda's pale Bespoke Blooms prints mix with my large Fig Tree collection.

I am having so much fun working on the blocks. They're like little gems, and every time I finish one I have to just step back and say "isn't this the cutest block." Luckily only the cats can hear me talking to myself! For the postage stamp below, I cut 36 different squares and hoped that it would be cute instead of a mess.

And while you might know me as the town mouse from NYC who packed up and became the country mouse in Indiana, would you believe that my mother grew up with a chicken coop in the backyard? I remember always seeing that coop behind my grandparent's house in Connecticut, and I was afraid of those clucking sounds. Here's 9 year old Bunny, my own original farm girl, with her baby brother and their pet rooster Whitey.

Just look at those chicken feet!

So I had to ask mom to tell me about Whitey. Well, he was the family pet until he pecked her. And then Whitey became Sunday dinner. Oops! But my grandparents always had fresh eggs from their chickens, and that was where I first saw brown eggs. And with those eggs, of course, my grandmother baked amazing cakes, which always had buttercream frosting, and often raspberry or lemony custard filling. That's what inspired the colors of my layer cake block. (I'm lucky to have several of her frosting recipes.)

Would you like to bake your own cake block? The pattern PDF is a free download at Fat Quarter Shop, and it comes in 6" and 12" sizes! No need to preheat your oven or sift the flour! Just visit the Jolly Jabber blog here for more information. The Farm Girl Vintage book can be purchased here, and the corn and tomatoes block pattern is here. And Lori always has something fun going on at her Bee In My Bonnet blog, too.

Finally, I'd like to invite you to see the cake blocks that many bloggers have "baked" for the birthday celebration. Feel free to visit their parties. And don't forget that you can see my daily sewing updates by following me on Instagram (I'm @greydogwoodstudio).

crossroads quilt along - intersection block

Hi y'all! Just a short, quick, sweet post today to let you know that it's time for the Crossroads quilt along again! This month we're making the Intersection block. In the tutorial video, Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts and Kimberly Jolly of Fat Quarter Shop discuss the intersections in their lives. But we're at another type of intersection, too - we've now finished the vintage-inspired blocks, and next month we will start the chain blocks that will pull everything together. Are you sewing along with us? You can still catch up! Check out this blog post for all the details on how to download the pattern (it's free, but a donation of $5 or more is requested to March of Dimes).

beginner charm pack placemats

Hi everybody! I'd like to share with you my new placemats! Or should I call them mini quilts?! Ohmigosh these are SO easy and quick to make. I suppose that's why quilt and fabric designer Sherri McConnell teamed up with Fat Quarter Shop to design "Beginner Charm Pack Placemats." To make FOUR placemats, all you need is one regular sized charm pack (the 5" charms) and enough fabric for a narrow border, plus minimal fabric for backing, binding, and some batting.

I used Little Miss Sunshine by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics, and a few pieces from her previous collection, Gooseberry (I had to have that print with the geese in it!)  I wanted a summery look for my placemats, so I used the warm prints and saved the navy and olive charms for a future project.

To get four placemats with the same prints, I actually bought two identical Little Miss Sunshine charm packs, although you wouldn't need to do this if you use all the prints in a collection. Or of course, cut up your stash! I'd love to make these again in Fourth of July red, white and blue. Or maybe with Halloween, Christmas, or even birthday party prints.

I quilted them on my Brother sewing machine with a 1" diagonal grid that I marked with a Frixion pen. I love these pens because the ink disappears with the heat of an iron. I probably wouldn't use them on an heirloom quality quilt, but they worked just fine for my placemats.

I also used a coordinating but contrasting fabric on the back (it's also from the Little Miss Sunshine collection). Now I can have two looks from one set of placemats!

My regular readers might notice a whole bunch of props in today's photos! I've been prop-challenged up until now, but the only way I'll get better at it is to keep trying, right?! I always see all those beautiful photos online and wonder how people do it. I hope that you like my props... now I'm going to need a prop closet LOL!

So, here's some specific info on how to make the placemats. I watched a tutorial video with Sherri McConnell and Kimberly from Fat Quarter Shop here. It was really easy to just write down the supplies, but here's what you'll need:

  • One charm pack
  • 1/4 yard contrast fabric for side borders
  • 1/2 yard binding
  • 3/4 yard backing (I bought a yard so that I'd have some left over)
  • I used two packages of fusible fleece batting

I followed Sherri's instructions for piecing the placemats, and then finished them with the following:

  • 2 - 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" side border strips for each placemat
  • 7- 2 1/2" x width of fabric strips for binding
  • 4 - 13 1/2" x 20" rectangles for placemat backings

I hope that you'll give these placemats a try. I really enjoyed working on them. Now I need to actually USE them on my table and not fear the vinaigrette splatters!

popsicles!

Summer = an excess of frozen treats in my house. So a few weeks ago I started to work on this new pattern from Fig Tree Quilts called Popsicles. I like to think of it as a palette cleanser between the larger, ongoing quilt projects. Kinda like a lemon sorbet after the steak, know what I mean?!

I'm working with this luscious stack of Moda Bella Solids in sherbet colors, curated by Fig Tree. I ordered it here, along with a copy of the runner pattern. I think they'd be really cute in prints, too.

But... I don't have much use for a runner on our round farmhouse table. So I decided to keep making more popsicles for a larger quilt. (The runner needs just 11 blocks, but I've made 20 so far.) And now Joanna has designed a larger quilt just brimming with popsicles! I preordered my copy this morning, and I'll keep sewing blocks. The larger quilt pattern is available here. I might need to make that melon slice quilt on the cover, too!

I was thinking about my own personal history with popsicles. I remember going to the corner store with my parents in Florida, just to get an evening popsicle. But the wooden sticks give me tongue shivers! I loved Fudgsicles back then, and mom occasionally made popsicles with a Tupperware mold. Then came the Dove bar craze. My love of popsicles came to a crashing end in the late 1980's when I worked for a small company that couldn't afford to make the weekly payroll, so they'd pay us with... FrozeFruit. Seriously! I vividly remember the company owner cackling that "we can't pay you this week, but have a FrozeFruit." And to this day I refuse to eat FrozeFruit! But I still like those Haagen-Dazs dark chocolate ice cream bars! And I just bought a new ice cream maker last week.

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE AURIFIL THREAD GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment on my last blog post (not this one) for a chance to win! (ps - I'm using Aurifil thread, color 2000 on the popsicles)

maggie's first dance bom starts today! and an aurifil thread giveaway!

Hi everybody! Today is the official kickoff day for the latest monthly block of the month program from Jacquelynne Steves. It's called Maggie's First Dance. Let me show you the first block.

I had sew much fun making this block. Jacquelynne offers a choice of three centers for our blocks - you can applique, embroider, or leave them plain. I chose to use a cute focus fabric with some happy little critters.

The piecing instructions are super easy to follow. The hourglass segments are sewn slightly larger than needed and then trimmed down to the correct size. I always love that method because then I know that my pieces will fit together perfectly. And Jacquelynne even specifies which direction to press your seams so there's no guesswork there. Really, the most difficult part was just picking out my fabrics!

I hope that you'll join me as a quilty dance partner. To get your own FREE copy of the Maggie's First Dance quilt block, just sashay over to Jaquelynne's website and sign up for her newsletter. You'll then receive an emailed copy of the pattern. How easy is that?! And then do-si-do (or two step!) back over here to my blog because we have a GREAT giveaway!

My very favorite thread is Aurifil. It's the only brand that I use for my piecing. It's strong and doesn't break, it comes in a million colors (maybe more!) and it doesn't leave a linty trail like some other brands. I do all my basic piecing with Aurifil 50 weight thread in colors 2000 and 2021. They're both white and cream shades. I'll use the colors if I'm piecing something where I really don't want any cream thread to show, and they help to create a flawless hand-stitched binding. I'm trying to push myself to try the pastels when doing machine quilting.

Aurifil is offering a box of threads valued at $46.00 to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment here on my blog. Let me know what your favorite color is for piecing. Contest is open to US and international readers. Actual box of threads will be of Aurifil's choice, and Aurifil will ship the prize directly to the winner. Contest closes at 11:59pm CST on June 12. If you're the winner, be sure that I can contact you or else another winner will be chosen.

And be sure to check out the other bloggers participating in the sew along (I need to go visit them, too, to see their blocks!). Here's who is making the quilt with me:

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I do hope that you'll give this block-of-the-month a try!