perfect 10 quilt along week 2


Hi everybody! It’s week 2 of the Perfect 10 Quilt Along, and I am back with more bright and happy blocks.

I thought that this was the perfect time to break out one of my recent purchases - a new pin bowl that coordinates with the Guest Room by Kristyne Czepuryk fabric. And yes, I have a collection of pin bowls!

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Just make three blocks this week and you’ll be up-to-date.

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First up, the Buttered Pecan block. Make two of them.

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Next is the Coconut block. Are these block names making you hungry for a snack?

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They’re all really easy to make and definitely do-able for beginners. The instructions for each block are in the Perfect 10 Quilts book by It’s Sew Emma are super-duper-clear and easy to understand. And of course, the Perfect 10 Ruler makes cutting a breeze. (There’s even a combo pack with book and the ruler.) All items are available at Fat Quarter Shop by clicking the links.

I’m now going to check out the blocks that my quilty friends are making. And I think that you should join me!

perfect 10 quilt along

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Hi everybody! I’m back, and I’ve joined a new quilt along! It’s Sew Emma has just published a new book called Perfect 10 Quilts. The book has 16 fabulous quilts, and they’re all made with 10” precut squares and the Perfect 10 Ruler from Creative Grids. I will be joining 9 other bloggers and Fat Quarter Shop to create a sampler quilt which incorporates all of the Perfect 10 blocks. (10” squares. 10” ruler. 10 bloggers. 10 weeks. Do you see a theme here?!)


Here is a rendering of the quilt that we will be making. It will be interesting to see everybody’s fabric choices. I’m going with the fabric shown in the diagram. And how could I resist?! It’s the new Guest Room fabric collection by Kristyne Czepuryk for Moda Fabrics. (You may know Kristyne by her blog name, Pretty By Hand.) I’ll mix it up a bit and not use the prints exactly as shown, and I am using a PINK background! It’s Moda Bella Solids 3 Sisters Pink.

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Here’s the Banana Block. I used my favorite print from Guest Room. I think that I really need an entire quilt made of banana/bowtie blocks!

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And then there’s the Birthday Cake block, made with the cutest wallpaper stripe.

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I’ll be back each Tuesday with two new blocks for you. And I need to go check out my quilty friends to see which fabrics they’ve chosen!

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spelling bee sew along week 40

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Hi there, everybody! Welcome to Spelling Bee Saturday! I was invited to sew along with the group, and it's already week 40. 


The Number 8 block comes in two sizes, and it is in Lori Holt's latest book, Spelling Bee. The book includes complete instructions for 100 letter, number, punctuation and image blocks. Each block comes in two sizes, so I made both! There are also instructions for many quilt projects using these blocks - cute sayings, mini quilts and of course, the cover quilt. 

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For my large Number 8 block, I used Fig Tree's Ella and Ollie fabrics. The small 8 is made of Christmas Figs and Corey Yoder's Pepper & Flax background.

I chose to make the 8 because it is my favorite lucky number! I loved growing up in the 80's, and 80's music and fashions have always been my favorites. I moved to NYC in the 80's, and my apartment was on East 82nd Street. 8 is a lucky number in the Chinese culture, and our best local Chinese restaurant is called China Bistro 888. One of my favorite childhood toys was the Magic 8 ball with the floating fortunes ("Concentrate and ask again" and "Reply hazy, try again" always drove me crazy). When I sign my name, my capitol letter G looks like a big freeform 8. (Even my phone number and email address include the number 8!) And then there's the never-ending infinity loop appearance of the number 8. 

Anyway.... where was I?!

The sew along is nearly complete - there are just a few weeks left. Please hop over to today's blog posts from Fat Quarter Shop and Lori Holt to learn more.

Thanks for visiting me today!

patchwork quilt along - final month

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It's the final month of the Patchwork Quilt Along! And I'm a little sad to see it end. I've had so much fun watching the stack of blocks grow each month. I've kept a log of how many times I've used each color to make sure that I have a fairly even distribution (for the record, that's 14 pink blocks, 12 grey blocks, 12 blue blocks, 10 green blocks, 10 yellow blocks, 8 purple blocks, 6 red blocks).  My blocks are all made with Brenda Riddle's Fleurs fabric. This month's blocks feature my kind of Christmas colors - traditional red and green, mixed with pink and silvery grey.  

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Quick, easy blocks again this month. That leaves more time for Christmas decorating and cookie baking!

The final block pattern is now posted on Fat Quarter Shop's Jolly Jabber blog, along with the quilt assembly instructions. I'll put my quilt top together in January (I have a few red and green projects in the works this month!) To recap this quilt along: visit Fat Quarter Shop's blog here to download your block pattern. Please consider making a donation to Make A Wish of $5 for the use of the pattern (we've raised over $12,000!). And enjoy your quilt! Thanks for following along with me as I made these blocks throughout 2017. Now what's next?!

patchwork quilt along 2017 - spinning tops

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Hi there! You know what time it is... it's Patchwork Quilt Along 2017 time! November's block is called Spinning Tops. I can't believe that this quilt is almost ready to be assembled... just one more month to go. 

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These were fun blocks to make. A little more challenging, but still fun. Those corner sections are made with actual triangles. If you're sewing along with me, just pretreat your fabric with starch, use a few pins and handle those bias edges with care. (And play some Christmas music. It helps!)

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I still love working with Brenda Riddle's Fleurs fabrics. But you may have noticed a lack of red prints in my blocks. Here's why. I originally made a few red blocks, but I thought that they distracted from everything else. I planned to redo them. But then I realized that the all the other blocks could benefit from just a small dash of red. I'm thinking of the red as being like a sprinkling of sea salt on a baked potato (it's always about food!) - something to enhance without distraction. I only had one truly overpowering red block that really needed to be redone. Here is the original block, along with the redo. Much better, right?

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I know that many of you are sewing along... I see your cute blocks on Instagram! Patchwork Quilt Along is hosted by Fat Quarter Shop, and the free monthly block patterns are published on the 15th of each month. You can find this pattern, as well as all of the previous block patterns here. (It's never too late to start!) A small donation of $5 for the use of the pattern is requested to Make A Wish. And be sure to use #patchworkquiltalong when sharing your blocks on social media so that we can all see them :-)

Thank you for stopping by today, and happy sewing!

halloween gingham stars finished!

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Um... happy belated Halloween? Ok, I know that it's a little crazy to show you a Halloween quilt now... except that this might be a good time to shop for Halloween fabric at clearance prices, right? 

Here's the backstory. I was a part of the book tour for Holiday Wishes by Sherri Falls in July 2016. All of the patterns in the book use Christmas fabric. But I challenged myself to be different, so I reinterpreted the Gingham Stars quilt in Halloween prints. I used a fat quarter bundle of Spooky Delights by Bunny Hill for Moda Fabrics. 

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I sent the top out for longarm quilting. But then when it was returned to me, we were in the midst of the house purchase, and I didn't immediately stitch the binding. Gingham Stars was packed away, unfinished, when we moved. And then one week before Halloween, I knew that I wanted it completed NOW. The only problem was that I was in NYC for that entire week! So I finally got that binding stitched down just 2 days before Halloween. Whew! (Are you still reading? I hope so!)

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Don't even ask me how we found time to decorate the outside of the house, but I couldn't get myself to stitch that binding!


Yes, those chrysanthemums are pink!

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Halloween Gingham Stars has kind of taken on a life of its own. I've received so many emails requesting information about this quilt. Then one day I discovered why - it's been pinned and repinned on Pinterest! And I've seen on Instagram that several quilt shops created kits and taught classes to duplicate my quilt. I love that it has inspired many people to make their own versions.  (I'll admit that sometimes it stings when I see it popping up online and I'm not credited, but I do realize that some makers might not know the origin.)

A big thank you goes to Sherri Falls for writing such a great book, and also to Kaylene Parry for her beautiful modernized Baptist Fan quilting.

And now I am ready for Halloween 2018! Just add candy corn...  

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tablerunner bliss quilt along

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Welcome to my stop on the Tablerunner Bliss book tour! I was happy when author, quilter and designer Sherri Falls and Fat Quarter Shop asked me to participate. After all, I had so much fun making a Halloween quilt from Sherri's previous book.

Tablerunner Bliss has twenty tablerunners. It was difficult choosing just one, but I love the Picnic pattern with swirly pinwheels. And for my indoor holiday picnic, I knew that I really wanted to use Minick & Simpson's Snowfall collection.  All you need for this runner is a charm pack, two fat quarters (I used three), and fabric for the backing and binding. 

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This runner is super duper easy. Just make twelve pinwheels and set them with alternating unpieced squares. Of course this means making a few HSTs! The runner finishes at 14" x 54". I wanted this runner to fit our new 72" dining table, so I made one additional block, resulting in a runner that is 68" long.  

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And in just a few days, I had a new Christmas runner! Time to bring out the vintage Spode china and pour a cup of tea.

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And that's just the beginning. There are many, many more runners in Tablerunner Bliss, with clear instructions and lots of diagrams. 

Thank you, Sherri and Fat Quarter Shop for inviting me to sew along. It was fun!

Be sure to drop by to see what the other participating bloggers made from the book:

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!