patchwork quilt along 2017 - country roads

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Hi everybody! Just a short and sweet post today to show you the latest batch of blocks for the Patchwork Quilt Along 2017. It's called Country Roads. I usually like mix up my prints each month - some florals, some directionals, some ginghams. But when I looked at all my blocks that I've made so far, I was very short on gingham blocks. How can that have happened?! I love gingham! So I took care of that "problem" quickly.

I prepped and cut my fabric early one morning before work and then sewed them together later that day in about an hour, right before making dinner. (Dinner was risotto with Brussels sprouts in browned butter. It's yummy, and I've made it many times. Click here for the recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I double the Brussels sprouts, I substitute 1/2 cup of wine for some of the chicken stock, and I add a bit more butter. Because butter makes it better!)

I'm sure that you all remember Patchwork Quilt Along 2017 is a charitable quilt along to benefit Make-A-Wish. Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics are matching our contributions! Read all about it and find the pattern download on the Fat Quarter Shop's blog here.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of the weekend!


red and cream... and the landscaping begins

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Whew, what a busy few weeks! Since we last "talked" I've been on three more business trips! I've been home for a few days and I am SO HAPPY to sleep in my own bed. (There are two more business trips coming soon. I cancelled my annual birthday vacation to Santa Fe because I just simply cannot even think of getting onto another airplane and sleeping in another hotel, even if it's for a fun trip.)

So to keep my life in balance, when I am at home I've been getting out of bed at 6:30am. I am definitely not an early bird at all, but I find that if I go to sleep earlier, then I actually WANT to do things in the morning. (Now, getting out of bed at 3:45 so that I can catch a 6am flight is something else entirely!)  Now I have time in the early morning to take care of the outdoor flowers and to sew. That way I feel like I'm in control of my day, and I've accomplished something before I even start my real work. (I know that lots of you probably are early morning people and learned this secret a long time ago!)

I am fully caught up on ALL four of my blocks-of-the-month programs! Here are all of the Fig Tree Red & Cream BOM blocks. There is just one month left, and we've been told that there will be a center medallion block so I am dying to see how this is all going to come together. Maybe I'll have a new red and cream quilt just in time for Christmas.

In house news, our landscaper was here this week to rework the front of the house. We've been plotting this for several months. Gone are the prickly barberry bushes, burnt cypress plants and red lava rocks, replaced by two types of holly, arborvitae, hydrangeas and finally, wood mulch. I'll have to show you the before and after shots soon. MUCH BETTER.

I will be back on Sunday with the latest block in the Patchwork Quilt Along! 


patchwork quilt along 2017 - grandmother's choice

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Hi there! It's time for the ninth monthly installment of the Patchwork Quilt Along - Grandmother's Choice. These might be my favorite blocks so far in this quilt along, but don't tell the other blocks. I like how we got to work with triangles this month, and because of that, accuracy is really important. Wow, just three more months to go and then we can start to assemble our quilts. I am going to start to rehearse fabrics for the sashing. The pattern calls for sashing that matches the background, but I'm thinking of trying something just a little different. I love the Fleurs fabrics from Brenda Riddle that I have been using, but I'm also starting to think of adding in some of Brenda's Guernsey prints or even a solid.

I'm sure that you all remember that this is a sew along to raise funds for Make-A-Wish. The pattern is a free download, courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics, but please consider making a charitable donation of $5 to Make-A-Wish. And if you share your blocks on social media (and I hope that you will!), be sure to use the hashtag #patchworkquiltalong so that we can all be inspired by your blocks.

howdy! time to catch up

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Hi everybody, it's me! Wow I cannot believe that it is now mid- September. I've been busy busy busy flying around with way too many business meetings. I just got back from several days in Milwaukee and now it's time to go back to Manhattan. Whenever I return from a trip, I sew like a maniac to get caught up to everybody else. (I know that this isn't a race. But sometimes I know that if I don't get these blocks done, then the patterns and fabric will sit in a box and I will lose interest in them.)

I'm nearly caught up with all the blocks-of-the-month projects! I may have taken on too many BOMs this year. Is four BOMs too many?! But I love all the blocks and it makes me so happy when they come together, so I know that it is worth it. These blocks are all part of the Fig Tree Nantucket Mystery Sampler BOM.

I've got some fun projects in the works... well, they'll be in the works if I get them started! Fat Quarter Shop was kind enough to send me a copy of the latest book from Sherri Falls. It's called Tablerunner Bliss and it has 20 tablerunners. Lots of fun for sure! Sherri's patterns are always clearly written and easy to follow. Do you remember when I made Sherri's Gingham Stars quilt last year? I get emails about that quilt all the time - apparently it's out there on Pinterest. Anyway, I'll soon be starting a fun runner project so stay tuned. Check out Sherri's new book here.

And in house news, we've booked a landscaper for early October! He is going to remove several bushes from the front of the house and plant new ones - I am so excited to add hydrangea (they're Endless Summer Bloomstruck), China Girl holly and Sky Pencil holly to the front landscape. (Goodbye thorny, prickly, scrawny bushes!) He'll also start to remove the lava rocks and replace them with wood mulch. And yes, I know that I owe you all some updated house photos, and I'll try to get them for you soon.

Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be back on Friday with the latest batch of Patchwork Quilt Along 2017 blocks.

patchwork quilt along 2017 - rolling nine patch block

Hello, happy people! I can hardly believe that summer is almost over. It seems like it truly just started and now the stores are full of fall things. Actually, I'm looking forward to cooler temps and I know that our lawn definitely needs a break from the sun!

Today I'm sharing the latest Patchwork Quilt Along blocks, and we're already on the eighth month. These blocks are flying by just as quickly as summer. They're the Rolling Nine Patch blocks. Just make a nine patch and add a few borders and your blocks will be done! Super simple!

A link to the pattern is right here on the Fat Quarter Shop's blog. As always, the pattern download is free, but please consider donating $5 for the use of the pattern to Make-A-Wish. So far, quilters have raised $11,087 - we've exceeded the goal!

patchwork quilt along 2017 - propeller block

Hi everybody! I'm sewing along with Fat Quarter Shop's 2017 Patchwork Quilt Along, and this month's block is called Propeller. Wikipedia defines "propeller" as "a type of fan that transmits rotational motion into thrust." It's definitely going to add some motion the quilt!

I've been using the overhead "propeller" fan in my sewing studio lately. My studio is a dormer bedroom right above the garage, so it has a tendency to get warm. And then the fan makes me cold and I put on my sweatshirt. And then I get warm again. (Winter IS coming, right?) 

Propeller is a fun and quick block to sew. The six blocks took me just a few hours, and I used this opportunity to use some of the larger prints from Brenda Riddle's Fleurs collection.

The sew along is sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics, and it is also a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. The pattern downloads are free, but a donation of $5 to Make-A-Wish is requested for the use of the pattern. You can find the full details right over here on the Jolly Jabber blog.

I also did some catching up on prior month blocks (not like I was behind, of course!) and now I'm ready for next month's blocks! And here are all the blocks so far.

Speaking of propellers... I have 6 business trips coming in the near future, and I just returned from a meeting in Miami Beach late last night, so I am going to be near a lot of propellers! And I better get my hand sewing projects ready to work on in my hotel rooms! Thanks for stopping by today, and I'll see you soon.

red and cream overload!

Hi everybody! I've missed chatting with you, but I've been super busy SEWING! Yes! My job has been running me ragged, so to offset that, I've been getting out of bed EARLY every day so that I can get my sewing time in. And wow did I do some major catching up! 

I've focused on the Fig Tree red and cream BOM. I've finally caught up... thanks to a lot of focus, aided by Baked Cheetos, homemade Blondies and weepy ballads from the 1970's. Whatever works, right?! I soooo hate being behind all the cool kids with the sew along, and I have a tendency to abandon projects if I wait too long. I found that i actually enjoyed sewing after such a long break. So here is the full block lineup so far. They're all 10", and the final block setting is still a mystery.

First up, Blooms block.

Next, Fly Away Home block.

Serendipity block  

Goosetracks block - of course I had to fussy cut that center square!

Ribbon Star block

Thistle block

Flame Quartet block - ho ho ho!

Shooting Star block

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Farmer's Daughter block

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Crown & Thorns block

Star Chain block

Puzzle Cross block

I am sooooo happy to be caught up. I actually wanted to start a brand new project yesterday, and I stared mindlessly at my stash. I'm sure that something will come to me soon... let me go have a snack and think about it!

patchwork quilt along 2017 - round the corner block

Hi everybody! It's time for this month's Patchwork Quilt Along block with Fat Quarter Shop. This month's block is a super simple checkerboard with HST corners. It's called Around The Corner. (Or I like to call it Around the HST Corner block!) The blocks finish at 5" so I used the smaller Fleurs prints.

Fat Quarter Shop has the pattern download on their Jolly Jabber blog today, and you can find a copy right over here!

A brief house update! Sewing has been scarce in my neck of the woods lately. Putting the house together has been a BIG project! But we finally moved in three weeks ago and we are SO happy to be here. Seriously, I think I say every day how much I love the house! It's been an amazing thing to see the empty house become transformed into a home. We finally have an organized kitchen (and I don't need to sit on the floor to pull pots out from the back of the cabinets)!  We've spent days working in the yard and planting boxwoods, flowers and herbs. We had a consultation with a landscaper last week to discuss some changes to our tree and shrub arrangement, and hopefully he can get that done next month. Our lawn is turning crispy brown so I am super happy that we have three days of rain starting today. (For years I talked about how much I wanted a lawn... and now I know that a lawn needs daily maintenance!) My sewing studio was just set up recently, and I've started to sew again after a nearly 5 month break. The sewing studio is an oddly shaped room with a dormer window, so it is taking me some time to figure out how to make the space work. I have a few spare hours this weekend and you know what I'll be doing - sewing! (And watering. And weeding. And pruning. And cleaning all these rooms. LOL!)

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend!

the new house diary - the renovation begins

Hi everybody! Today's post is all about the new house. I was surprised by how many of you wanted to see the house so let me welcome you inside! We haven't moved in yet - better to get all the renovations out of the way first, and then we can just move into a "finished" home. Ok I know that it will never be truly finished, but maybe we can get close?

I think it's always a bonus when a house is nicely landscaped. Now I need to learn what all these plants are called. There are several very large holly bushes and a few rose bushes. And I love the huge oak tree in the front yard. Here we are in mid-April and it hasn't budded yet!

The first thing that needed to be done was to have the interior repainted. The previous owners had immaculately clean walls, but they were all a shade that reminded me of a powdery tan foundation makeup. We worked with a great painting contractor (he is quite a character, and he's a regular on the local news program, discussing paint). We narrowed down our paint colors and he had large 8" x 11" swatches made before we made the commitment. Our paints are all Sherwin Williams. Choosing colors wasn't easy since we don't live in the house yet, and at the time it did not have the proper nighttime table lighting. We knew that we wanted to highlight all the amazing moldings throughout the house.

The living room, several hallways and guest bedrooms are all done in Cotton White. It's a perfect cream shade that looks good in sunlight and at night.

See that little bit of contrast with the white moldings?

Those are the dining room chairs, hiding out in the living room while the dining room was being painted. I almost can't believe I said "dining room chairs" because I've never had a dining room before!

Now, on to the kitchen. I have always wanted a white kitchen. And most of the houses that we looked at here had dark, drab kitchens. I walked into this kitchen and could already imagine myself cooking there. But it needed some upgrades, because, well, why not? Our paint color is Banana Cream - kind of old fashioned, kind of modern (yellow seems to be all over the home dec magazines lately). And just through that doorway is the laundry room that has been scrubbed clean of a dark rose wallpaper border.

The chandelier and beige-y blind are gone now. And while there was absolutely nothing wrong with the laminate counter or tile backsplash (other than that makeup color again!), we wanted to make the kitchen truly ours.

We also said farewell to the tiny wet bar. Because I'm not mixing any whisky and soda here. I mix cake batter and frosting, but not drinks. I'd rather have a full counter to put a pretty cake stand on! The contractors thought that we were crazy to remove it.

While all this was going on, we needed to replace the carpet in the upstairs bedrooms, hallway and sewing studio. We chose a pet-friendly, plush Stainmaster carpet and pad. Now Chloe can feel like it's her carpet, too.

Bye bye old carpet and pad!

Hello squishy new pad!

As if all of this wasn't enough craziness, a huge order of furniture was being delivered at the same time! Clearly there was no way that it was going to fit into the house so it was stored in the garage for a week. Then the delivery service came back out to unwrap it and move it into the house. (Well, first they pretended that they didn't need to put it into the house. Um, noooo. Somebody needed to carry the 328 pound bed up the stairs and it wasn't going to be us! I called their boss to ensure that the work got done. It did, with us helping, and it took 4 hours.)

And then it was time to remove the old counters, backsplash and plumbing. One of the nice advantages of living in a small city is that the contractors all know each other, and they coordinated their schedules for me. I still needed to take careful notes (the counter, backsplash and plumbing involved three contractors, and they each needed to make several trips to the house).

Eek, where did my island go?! It looks so small without the top!

It's a beautiful mess.

And then this arrived.

The counter is Silestone quartz, and the color is Maple Blanco. It has just a hint of sparkle. Picking out the counter was one of the most difficult projects. I bought quartz swatches in December, even before we closed on the house. I struggled with the color - should it be olivey grey? yellowy grey? solid black? sparkly black? greyed white? I made myself crazy! It was such a major purchase and I was so afraid of making a costly mistake. In the end, I decided on white because it seemed timeless, and it was what we originally loved about the house. And this was the perfect choice. (Just last week, Pam Kitty Morning told me that she has the exact same counter. That's quilters thinking alike!)

I kept the original faucet. It's by Delta and it's champagne colored. The house had only the faucet and sprayer, and I bought a new soap dispenser to match. I love the mixed metal approach here when it's combined with the stainless sink, and it also ties in with all the knobs, lighting and hardware. (I went with a single bowl sink instead of a divided sink so that I can fit cookie sheets and French ovens into it for easier cleaning.) 

And the sprinkles on the kitchen sundae must surely be the backsplash. I knew immediately, without question, that this would be our backsplash. It seems like a quilter's backsplash, right? It's Carrera marble, and thankfully, it doesn't need any invisible stitches to hold the pieces together LOL! The contractors were happy to work with it; they told me that most of their projects involve horizontally set subway tile.

Here's what it looks like with the counter. The grout is still drying, so I haven't wiped the dust off of the surface yet.

And then there are the new brass pendant lights and the furniture, but I'll save that for later. If you're still with me (hello?), thanks very much for following along. I haven't even talked about the dining room or my office-slash-sewing studio. Coming soon!

patchwork quilt along 2017 month 4

Hello there! How did it get to be the fourth month of the Patchwork Quilt Along?! This month truly caught me by surprise. With all the house renovation craziness, I somehow am losing track of time, losing opportunities to sew, and probably also losing my mind. So I needed to carve out some special time to sew because these blocks are a fun diversion! I love how the collection of blocks is growing each month without much effort. I used just two prints with dense background color this month (from Brenda Riddle's Fleurs collection) to show off all those half square triangles to their best advantage.  These blocks took awhile to make but still super easy - a bunch of HSTs and a few squares and that's it. I made my HSTs a bit larger than the pattern directions and then trimmed them down to the exact size.

If you'd like to sew along with us, check out today's Jolly Jabber blog on the Fat Quarter Shop's website. There you'll find a link to the free pattern download. And don't forget that it's a charity fundraiser for Make A Wish, and Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics will match our donations up to $10,000.


catching up, and two winners

Helloooo everybody! Wow, life has been extra busy here lately. Doing "little" renovations to the new home has taken up a lot of time. In a good way, of course. I put "little" in quotes because sometimes the projects that seem the most simple take up far more time than we ever imagined, right? I've taken a whole bunch of pre-renovation photos so that I can always look back at "the way we were." The serious renovation work just started yesterday, with the ripping out of the kitchen backsplash. And then there was my week-long business trip to NYC. My company's corporate headquarters is in the Empire State Building. And no, I did not see King Kong while I was there :-) I managed to run around the city one afternoon in search of fun stuff for the house, and I even carried a large throw pillow onto the plane. (I usually say that I don't miss living in the big city anymore. But I do miss having places to shop for beautiful home décor items. I didn't have space for lots of stuff when I lived in NY, and now that I DO have the space, I don't have access to those shops. It's not fair!)

All that is my big buildup to an apology for not announcing the two winners of the Happy Flower Quilts book! Congratulations to Monique of Farm House Quilts. Monique's favorite flower is the hollyhock. And congratulations to Mary of @hueymary on Instagram. Mary's favorite flower is the primrose. I'm pretty sure of that... she told me so three times!

I haven't had a whole lot of time to sew, but I have managed to keep mostly up-to-date with the two Fig Tree mystery block of the month programs that I joined. First is the sunny, breezy Nantucket Mystery Sampler.

I was happy that I had extra text fabric in my stash so that I could have all the words going in the same direction. I wonder if they'll be completely upside down in the finished quilt?! There was also one word that was misspelled in the print, and that drove me crazy... so I deliberately cut around it, and that word doesn't appear in my blocks.

And then there is the Red and Cream Mystery Sampler. We're making two 10 1/2" blocks each month.

So that's what's happening around here. Thank you for stopping by today! Coming very soon will be the house photos before the renovation.

patchwork quilt along 2017 - month 3

Hi everybody! It's time for the next installment of the Patchwork Quilt Along 2017 blocks. I think that these Box-In-A-Box blocks were the quickest things that I've sewn in years. They'll add a nice counterpoint to some of the more delicate blocks coming in future months.

I thought that it might be helpful to share how I've chosen my fabrics for the blocks. Each month I've tried to include a variety of prints: gingham, ditsy and large scale floral. I've reserved the medium and large scale florals for the blocks with larger pieces, and I am using the smallest prints for the blocks with the smallest pieces. I've also tried to have an even distribution of color each month (there isn't any green this month, so I'll make sure that I include it in next month's blocks). And while I'm using a Fleurs fabric bundle that includes white prints, I'm deliberately not using the white florals in this quilt because I don't feel that there is enough contrast with the cream background. They'll be put to good use in a future project!

Patchwork Quilt Along is sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics. You can find a link to the pattern here, as well as a kit to make the quilt in an alternate fabric collection. The monthly block patterns are free, but please consider making a donation of $5 or more to Make-A-Wish.

Thanks for stopping by today! I'll be back very soon with a winner of last week's book giveaway as well as some new projects that I'm working on.

Now go sew your Patchwork Quilt Along 2017 blocks!


happy flower quilts book tour! and a giveaway

Hi there! It's finally my stop on the Happy Flower Quilts book blog hop! I've been waiting patiently for my turn! (Ok, maybe not quite so patiently. The truth is that I worked right up until the last minute on my project, fueled by the limited edition Peeps Oreo cookies. They have yummy hot pink marshmallow-flavored filling.) You might have already seen a few sneak peeks of my project that I shared on Instagram (I'm @greydogwoodstudio.)

So let's talk about the book. I've known about the elusive, legendary Happy Flower Quilts book by the great Atsuko Matsuyama for several years. Some of us have referred to it as "the pink book."  I wanted that book so badly, but it was only available in Japanese print. But now everything is coming up roses because there's a brand new English version

The new English translation is published by Zakka Workshop. My friend Kristyne Czepuryk of Pretty By Hand is one of the English editors.  Now at last we can sew up those cute designs! So when Zakka Workshop contacted me and asked if I'd like to help promote the book, of course I was as excited as a daffodil on a March morning. (I am positive that daffodils, tulips and crocuses are excited to pop up through the ground. If only they could read this book!) 

Now that you know the history of the book, let me show you my project!

My Lovely Vines pillow is an interpretation of the Lovely Vines quilt. The quilt is by far my favorite project in the book. It features five columns of leafy vines alternated with postage stamp columns. I'd love to make the whole quilt some day. To make my pillow, I purchased a fat quarter bundle of the latest Antique Flower Pastel fabric by Lecien for the leaves. How pretty is this fabric?! I used one of my favorite light green prints for the stem - it's High Tea by Jera Brandvig for Lecien.

My leaves were made by tracing the applique shape onto freezer paper. Then I applied starch to the edges with a small paintbrush and pressed them to the paper with a hot, dry iron. It's my favorite way to prep applique shapes because I'm able to get nice clean edges with no distortion. And for my stems, I used a Clover bias tape maker, although the book illustrates an easy method that doesn't require any gizmos. I hand appliqued the shapes using Kimono silk thread in Zen Zen 375 and a number 11 straw needle (I even use these needles to stitch quilt bindings), and then hand quilted around each shape and a grid in the background. You could definitely speed this up by using iron-on fusible web and a zigzag stitch. I like the slower method, and it gave me LOTS of time to catch up on some older The Splendid Table podcasts.

The book has quite an assortment of projects that can be completed in a short amount of time. There are 30 patterns for quilts, mini quilts, pouches, pincushions, totes, satchels, placemats, wall hangings. There is piecing, applique, embroidery, 3-D applique and embellishment. And more! The book cover has an amazing sampler quilt. Plus, there are two large tear-out sheets of applique templates to be traced (some of which I might use for other projects. Those birds are too cute!). There is truly something for everybody here.

And now it is giveaway time! Zakka Workshop is generously providing a copy of Happy Flower Quilts at each stop of the book tour. Just leave me a comment letting me know which flower makes you happy and I'll chose a winner on March 1. Contest is open to readers of my blog, and it is also open to my Instagram followers.  And be sure to check out the other stops of the book tour, too - there are some really pretty projects that I've seen!




patchwork quilt along 2017 - month 2

Hi everybody, and welcome to this month's installment of the Patchwork Quilt Along 2017! Without further delay, let's get right to the block, ok? Here are Diamond Panes!

The Diamond Panes blocks are simple, spring-y, easy and quick. I love a block that covers all those categories! They're part of the Patchwork Quilt Along 2017 charity quilt designed by Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics. I'm sewing along to create a cute quilt AND to help raise charity funds for Make-A-Wish. So we can feel good about sewing, knowing that we're helping others, too.

(The blocks are "supposed" to look like tall X's, but I prefer them as short X's - they remind me of butterflies or bowties. And I love watching butterflies, and I have a collection of bowties. So in my finished quilt, the blocks will be turned sideways. That's the beauty of quilting, right? We get to put our own personal stamp on each project that we make.)

And I love how they look when they're combined with last month's blocks.

To get your free pattern for Diamond Panes, visit Fat Quarter Shop. You'll find the pattern here, as well as a kit to make the quilt (with different fabric). The blocks really use very little fabric, but I'm using a fat quarter bundle of Brenda Riddle's Fleurs. I like having a little extra fabric because that gives me more freedom when cutting my blocks - like the pink bowtie, where I was able to have all the "chains" going in one direction. Or just use your scraps! But please consider making a donation of $5 to Make-A-Wish for the use of the pattern.

I know that I've been a little quiet in these parts lately. We've been putting a lot of time and work into the new house... it's like a full-time job! Many of you are probably pros at the moving and renovating thing, but it's our first time, so everything is still new and exciting... and overwhelming... and bank account draining LOL! The painters were there yesterday (the entire interior is being redone), a contractor measured for bedroom carpets and kitchen backsplash, and I contemplated the new countertop samples for the 100th time. Then a big truck full of new furniture was delivered, and it will all sit in the garage until the painting is finished. That was how I spent Valentine's Day! But just seeing our paint colors on the walls instead of somebody else's really makes it feel like our home (My sewing studio is a pale, sheer shade of aqua by Sherwin Williams called "Glimmer.") I really need to start taking pics with my "real" camera to document the makeover before it's too late!  I've also been working on binding several quilts at night and I hope to share them with you soon.

Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope that you enjoy making your Diamond Panes blocks!

patchwork quilt along 2017

Hello everybody! It's a new year, and I'm jumping right into it with the latest Patchwork Quilt Along, sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics. Y'all know that I love a good quilt along, and this one benefits Make-A-Wish Foundation. I'll give you the details on that later. But first, here's a look at what we're sewing this year.

Image courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop

Image courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop

For the Patchwork Quilt Along 2017 we'll make 72 blocks. Ok, don't panic yet. Each month we'll sew 6 five inch blocks all using the same pattern. The blocks are all relatively simple and quick to sew - I think that this would even be a great project for beginners.  

There's a kit to make a quilt exactly like the sample, but I'm using the new Fleurs collection by Brenda Riddle for Moda Fabrics. I love Brenda's softer palette, and I thought it would be interesting to see what a modern, graphic quilt pattern could look like in paler prints. (I know that some quilters might do a mock-up with EQ7 or Photoshop to see what this would look like. And that's a great idea. But not for moi. I'm just winging it and hoping that it all works out the way it looks in my mind!)

So those are my prints. And here are the first 6 blocks, called "Souvenir of Friendship."

And now for the full details. Fat Quarter Shop will release each new block pattern on the 15th of each month. The patterns are free to download, but a donation of $5 per pattern is requested to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics will match the donations raised up to $20,000 - how cool is that?! You can purchase the kit here, or if you'd like to use your own fabric, just scroll down within the item listing and you'll see the fabric requirements. (I'm using a fat quarter bundle of Fleurs along with yardage of the cream background fabric. These blocks don't need much fabric, so I'll have lots of leftovers, but I'm not complaining about that!) Here's a helpful block tutorial video.

If you've wondered why I have been absent for awhile, well... we've been busy house hunters! We closed on a home that I am in love with just a few days ago! I shared a photo of the outside of the house on Instagram, and I am hoping to write about the journey to homeownership here soon. And yes, I will finally have a real sewing room. Woo hoo! Here is our new home!

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!)