finding time for a mystery

Hello quilters! I've missed chatting with you! The past month has been full of real-life work activity, and that's involved preparation for client presentations, an action-packed trip to New York and an upcoming trip to Phoenix and Scottsdale. I'D RATHER BE QUILTING! In between all this craziness, I've managed to squeeze in a few minutes to sew this month's blocks for the Fig Tree Mystery Sampler BOM.

I love those Homestead house blocks. Remember how I made the large Homestead quilt a few years ago? It was just quilted by Melissa and I'm working on the binding. So of course I was more than happy to make more Homestead houses!

And these "x" plus blocks - I couldn't have guessed that I'd love this black cabbage rose print so much. (Really, I should have known. I don't think I've ever "met" a cabbage rose print that I didn't love!) I might need to buy some yardage of this print before it's gone forever (It's from the Farmhouse collection by Fig Tree.)

Ok, about these 4" basket blocks. They're cute, and they're small. I think that the aqua basket with the busy background looks a little blurry, but it's done and it's a keeper!

And now about that trip to NYC last week! Here's the view from my hotel window. That's the LIpstick Building on the right. It's an oval shaped skyscraper, and it's and rosy colored... like a lipstick. The building in the center is my employer's headquarters. Staying in a hotel in the city that was my home for 30 years was just surreal.

This was my first return trip since September. I dropped my luggage at the hotel and immediately hopped on the subway to go downtown for lunch and some quick shopping. What made it feel weird was that I acted like a New Yorker, but it was no longer my home. It was fun to run around to my favorite places, and I'm glad that I was able to do that. I even ate dinner at my favorite burger place near my old apartment. (And I walked by my old apartment building. What a dump. LOL) My big purchases? A used, out-of-print cookbook and a bunch of imported pasta from Eataly!  I was happy when my seven meetings had ended and I could get on a plane and leave. I guess home really is where you make it - or, home is where you cook your pasta!

And now I need to pack that suitcase again. The cats will not be happy.  But I'll be back on Friday with the latest Crossroads quilt along block!

two by two - part two

I wasn't kidding when I told you that I have a LOT of blocks-of-the-month programs to sew! I'm now getting caught up on the Two by Two sew along. It's hosted by McCall's Quick Quilts magazine and designed by Holly Holderman of Lakehouse Dry Goods. (I'm guessing that the name of the quilt refers to how we are making two blocks at a time. Surely it doesn't refer to the two enormous Canadian geese that I see every day, or the two mallard ducks that seem to fly back and forth between the nearby Target and my home. I call them "my" ducks. And probably not the two cats that stretch out on my ironing board. No, it must be two quilt blocks.)

So, I made two blocks in November (you can read about them here), and two blocks this week. This month's blocks have the exact same construction, and very similar fabrics.

Two by Two is a series of patterns which will appear every two months in Quick Quilts magazine this year. The blocks each use preprinted scallop fabric for the outer flower petals, and then it can be anything goes in the center! I'm using an assortment of happy prints from Pam Kitty Morning (some are fairly current and some are from prior seasons) mixed with Sunrise Studio prints. I'm sticking to red and pink blooms with just a bit of sunny yellow, although the scallop fabric also comes in green, periwinkle and pewter. Here is the magazine that you'll want to look for on your newsstand or local quilt shop, or you can order a copy here.

I love that quilt on the cover, too, and I even have those exact fat quarters!

Happy sewing!




crossroads quilt along month 2

Welcome back for the second month of the Crossroads Quilt Along! I am sewing along with Fig Tree Quilts and Fat Quarter Shop to create a great vintage-inspired quilt, and to raise funds for March of Dimes! And this month, we're making Diamond blocks.

Even though I've been quilting for many years, I still like learning new techniques. For example, the square-in-a-square elements of this block (the taupe print with the strawberries, set on point). I've always pressed my seams out, toward the solid. Then I've always watched helplessly as my feed dogs gobble the unit up when sewing it to an adjoining unit. (I do hope that this makes sense!) But this pattern tells you to press your seams open and guess what - no feed dog gobbling!  And while I don't use taupe or brown prints often, I think that they'll provide some interesting contrast in the finished quilt.

And now for the obligatory let's-put-all-my-blocks-together-for-a-group-photo shot. Or maybe this is just an excuse to trot out those cute pink and aqua houses again!

Now for all the specifics. The pattern is free, but a donation of $5 or more is requested to March of Dimes. You can download the pattern and see which other bloggers are sewing along with me by clicking here. Please consider making a donation by clicking here. Use your own fabulous collection of fabric, or purchase the kit that I am using here. And don't miss the block tutorial video here.  In the video, Joanna Figueroa and Kimberly Jolly discuss what diamonds mean to them (it's all about family). And are you one of those Strawberry Fields fabric junkies like me? There's also a video where Joanna talks about the similarities and differences between the new Strawberry Fields Revisited and the original Strawberry Fields collections. You can watch that video here.

Be sure to show us your blocks! When you post them on social media, be sure to tag them #crossroadsquiltalong. Thanks so much for stopping by, and have fun making your own diamond blocks!

mystery sampler 2016

Hello! I hope that you all had a great weekend. I cannot believe the beautiful weather here in Southern Indiana. After a week of rain, all the magnolia trees are in bloom and daffodils are popping up everywhere. All my little birdfeeder friends are starting to find other sources of food, but I know that the hummingbirds are flying back from Mexico and will be here soon. (Hopefully they'll bring some enchiladas for me, because I'm not happy with our local Mexican restaurants. But that's a whole other story. Let's now return to quilting...)

I have a little confession.

I'm a block-of-the-month addict.

I just can't help myself! I'm currently working on FIVE of them: Fig Tree Wool, Fig Tree Yuletide Christmas (from last year!), Fig Tree Crossroads (new blocks are coming this Tuesday), Lakehouse Two by Two (help, I'm falling behind), and now, Fig Tree Mystery Sampler 2016.

I might need an intervention soon. Somebody please stop me from signing up for any more BOMs.

These pics are all from the Fig Tree Mystery BOM. Isn't that star cool? It's from a pattern called Sweet Sugar Swirls. No templates or Y seams, just some creative cutting with the angle lines on your ruler. I'd really like to make a whole quilt full of them, but you know... I've got other blocks that need to be sewn! The individual Sweet Sugar Swirls pattern is available here.

February's fabric/pattern pack had instructions for a lower case "a" but I quickly realized that if I reversed the pattern I'd have a lower case "g" block! I flipped the pattern over, placed it on my lightbox and traced it from the back. It could also easily become other letters, too.

Last year's Mystery Sampler BOM was one of my all time favorite quilt tops. I loved making it, loved the completed top, and I'm sure that I'll love the finished quilt when it comes back from being quilted by Diana. So, lots of love for that quilt. And that's why I didn't hesitate to sign up for this year's Mystery Sampler!

But here's what isn't a mystery: the new block for the Fig Tree Crossroads sew along is coming on Tuesday. The blocks use Strawberry Fields Revisited fabric, and we're all sewing along to raise funds for March of Dimes. You can join us! Click this link for details. I'll be back in just a few days with those blocks.

Have a great week!


classic yuletide block of the month, or, the tale of the big, scary star block

Block 1 Puzzle Star

Block 1 Puzzle Star

Block 2 Carolina Lily Variation

Block 2 Carolina Lily Variation

Did I ever tell you about the Fig Tree Classic Yuletide block of the month? I think I totally forgot about it! So, this started in April 2015. I loved sewing the first two blocks - Puzzle Star and Carolina Lily Variation. And then May's block patterns arrive in the mail, and they included a big, scary Feathered Star. I choked. I despaired. I stuck the fabric into a box. (That always makes a problem go away, right?!) Then, the monthly packages piled up and I felt guilty. I'm a little weird in that I like to sew my blocks in the right order, and that meant that I wasn't going to do any of the other blocks until I got over my fear of the big, scary Feathered Star. I KNEW that I needed to just get it done when I saw Sherri's finished quilt. So beautiful! And now, here's the star block!

Block 3 Feathered Star

Block 3 Feathered Star

It wasn't so scary after all! Yes, it took me 4 days to make, and no, I don't ever want to make this block again. I think I finished it at maybe midnight a few days ago and was too tired to even feel happy. But I'm happy now. Knocking off the next several blocks was all downhill after the star!

Block 4 Flying Geese Criss Cross

Block 4 Flying Geese Criss Cross

Block 5 Goose In The Pond

Block 5 Goose In The Pond

What makes this fun is that there's actually an assortment fabrics from different Moda designers. There are two Minick & Simpson red prints and two Bunny Hill cream prints in the Nine Patchwork block. They all play together very nicely. (I'm not sure what that green confetti print is. I think it could be Sweetwater.)

Block 6 Nine Patchwork

Block 6 Nine Patchwork

Now the first three month's blocks are done. I'd love to just work on this, but of course, there are other distractions - such as the FOUR other blocks-of-the-month that I'm working on! My goal is to do two blocks each month from now until October and then I can assemble the quilt.

Don't be like me. Don't hide your big, scary stars in a box. We learn to be better quilters when we practice. I gotta remind myself about that! Have a star-filled day!

crossroads quilt along, AND the name game!

Hi everybody! The Crossroads quilt along officially kicks off today and I am SO EXCITED! You know how much I love Fig Tree fabrics and quilt patterns, so do I really need to say more?!

These four house blocks make me happy in so many ways. House blocks are one of my all-time favorites (like my pink house logo!), and there they are in the sherbet-y goodness of Strawberry Fields Revisted fabric! I'm sewing with the kit, and for once, I am resisting the urge to make fabric changes. But you never know what the future might bring!

Crossroads is a 10 month quilt along designed by Fig Tree Quilts and Fat Quarter Shop. We'll be making blocks for six months and then we'll put it all together in August and September.

One of my favorite parts of the pattern is that after each step, the pattern tells you what the size of that sewn unit should be. It's a great way to make sure that your sizing is accurate throughout the construction of the block. I always take a measurement of my unit and make corrections if needed. And guess what? There are NO templates in the roof unit!

And of course, while I was sewing these blocks, my local radio station was in the midst of a Big 80's weekend, and John Mellencamp's "Little Pink Houses" came on! (Now if only the lyrics were "little pink strawberry houses for you and me.")

And part of my love of house blocks comes from my very BIG interest in becoming a first time homeowner. I've lived in 18 different locations (there might be more, but I've lost count) and I've never actually owned a house. Maybe home #1 can be aqua and covered with big roses?

The pattern download is free each month, but a minimal donation of $5 is requested for March of Dimes. Together, we'll raise funds to help prevent premature births. You'll find LOTS of additional information about Crossroads here - you'll see fabric requirements, a calendar of the blocks that we'll be making, and a list of the participating bloggers. And be sure to watch this new video with Joanna and Kimberly, where they discuss what "home" means, as well as a house block tutorial. 

But wait, there's more!

Have you ever wondered where my name - Grey Dogwood Studio - came from? I'm playing The Name Game today on Cindy Wiens' blog,  Live A Colorful Life. Learn all about how I came up with my moniker (it's more complicated than you might think!) and check out all of Cindy's other fun posts. Just click here to learn more!




three figs

Hi everybody! I may have been quiet lately, but I have been sewing, appliqueing, binding and designing. I've got lots to show you, but I need to start somewhere, so how about with a trio of new Fig Tree projects?

First is the upcoming Fig Tree Crossroads quilt along. I hope that you're excited about it! The kit arrived from Fat Quarter Shop and the fabrics are beeeautiful (never mind that I haven't even untied the fabric bundle LOL).This is going to be so much fun. As usual, the quilt along will benefit a charity, and this year we'll be raising funds for March of Dimes. The quilt was designed by Joanna Figueroa exclusively for Fat Quarter Shop. You can choose to sew with your own fabric collection or purchase the kit. There is LOTS more information about the sew along here, along with the fabric requirements. The first block pattern is the house (yay!) and it will be posted on February 15. I can't wait to get started! And I hope that you'll sew along with us.

Isn't this the most beautiful wool bundle ever?! Fig Tree has partnered with Weeks Dye Works to create this Retro Farmhouse wool bundle. There's also a new Aurifloss collection that matches. When people describe fabric as "yummy" I always think, no, you cannot eat fabric. But... isn't this wool... yummy?! It's part of a 12 month wool BOM that just started. I've heard that the program is full, but wool bundles (and wool mini quilt patterns) are available here

And finally today is the new Fig Tree Strawberry Fields Revisited Frivol. So what's a Frivol? It's a collectible tin decorated with polka dots and strawberries. It comes stuffed with lots of goodies - 42 7" squares tied with Moda's signature tape measure ribbon, a pattern for a churn dash quilt, an individual block pattern, and a surprise. The surprise is two strawberry quilt labels. I bought the tin just to get those labels! (And of course I love the fabric, too.) Oh how I wish that Moda would print bolts of assorted labels! There are many more pictures of the Frivol items on Fig Tree's blog here. I ordered mine directly from Fig Tree but it appears to have sold out. You might find it in your local quilt shop, or you can order one here.

You might think I'm crazy, but there's ANOTHER Fig Tree BOM that should be shipping soon. Yikes, I am going to be busy. And remember last year's Fig Tree vintage mystery BOM? It's being quilted right now, and I cannot wait to see it.

And now I must get busy sewing! 

crossroads charity quilt along 2016

crossroads quilt.png

Well, my quilty friends, we are at a quilting crossroads. The Snapshots charity quilt along is nearly finished. It's been fun, right? I've seen SO many great blocks from everybody. My Snapshots quilt just returned from my longarm quilter, Kaylene just a few days ago, and now I can stitch the binding! And the generosity of the quilting community has really been amazing - together, we've raised $38,000 - nearly double the original goal. That's awesome (and I don't use that word very often).

We all need another sew along!

Next up is the 2016 Crossroads charity quilt along. And omigosh it features my all time favorite fabric collection, Strawberry Fields Revisited! Just look at this strawberry-licious fabric. 

You can read all about Strawberry Fields Revisited here. And yes, I was one of those people who asked/begged Fig Tree Quilts and Moda Fabrics to pleeeease reprint the collection. There are some new prints and colors this time, along with the return of some favorites. Strawberry Fields Revisited will coordinate perfectly with any older Strawberry Fields that might be in your stash.

Isn't this quilt perfect? It was designed by Joanna Figueroa and it's reminiscent of a vintage quilt. It's the kind of quilt that I always hope to find at a consignment shop, but of course, I never do. It's definitely a future heirloom for today.

The "crossroads" theme is an excellent way to describe the year that I've had. Many of you know that I was recently at a crossroads with my housing, and we made a huge decision to relocate from NYC to Indiana.  Sure, I wanted more living space and clean air and a modern kitchen. I had many doubts about moving. I knew absolutely nothing about Indiana, and it doesn't even have a tour book! But the decision to move was made very quickly, and all I can say now is... why didn't we do this sooner?! My quality of life is SO much better. I miss almost nothing about NYC, and that really surprises me. My boss told me today that I always readily embrace change and I thought "really, I do?" So this major crossroads changed my life for the better.

Next year's quilt along will benefit March of Dimes, which helps families with premature babies. It's surely a very worthy cause, and I'll be learning more about them throughout the year.  I am confident that quilters can make a difference. We did it this year, and we can do it again.

Okay, so here are the details. The eight month sew along will start in February 2016. Fat Quarter Shop will post a pattern download on the 15th of each month. Each pattern is free, but a $5 donation to March of Dimes is requested for each pattern download. A quilt kit with all the fabric you'll need is available here, and there's also a pieced backing kit. Designer Joanna Figueroa has shared a story about her own personal crossroads, as well as the inspiration for this quilt on her blog here.

I do hope that you'll join me (and a group of bloggers!) as we sew together. I can't wait!

snapshots month 12 - picnic basket

Hi there! Did y'all enjoy/survive Thanksgiving? We took a quick, three day trip to see family in Ohio. We definitely spent more time in Cincinnati traffic than at the dinner table! We came home with LOTS of leftover turkey (thanks, Carole!), so now comes the fun leftover part. So far, there's been a basic turkey dinner with newly made garlic mashed potatoes, turkey noodle casserole and 12 cups of turkey stock for some unknown future use (if you happen to have old Martha Stewart Living magazines hanging around, the recipe is in a February 1995 article on making stocks). What can I make next?

I'm now back at home and back to sewing! Here's the FINAL Snapshots block called Walk In The Park. Never mind that I've probably only had a handful of picnics in the park... it's a cute block! You can find this month's pattern download here. And take turkey sandwiches on your picnic.

My Snapshots quilt top has been completely finished and I shipped it out to Kaylene for quilting. She sent a sneak peek of the quilting today and it resembles loopy nautical ropes. I'll show it to you just as soon as it comes back to me.

Kimberly and Fat Quarter Shop are now auctioning the signed, original Snapshots quilt on eBay to raise additional funds for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Quilts from Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill and Pat Sloan are up for bidding, too. Get the full scoop and links to the auctions here.

And I almost forgot something! I have two winners for the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks giveaway. Copies of the magazine are now on their way to Renee Lange and MaryAnn Scanlon. Congratulations!

snapshots - sail away

sail away 1.jpg

It's Snapshots quilt along month 11! I can't believe that this year's fundraising quilt along is almost over. This sailboat was definitely the easiest and fastest block to sew. This month's recommended Daysail fabrics are just perfect. Kinda reminds me of those sailboats that I saw on my Florida trip last summer.

So by now you know how to get the pattern, right? Head over to the Fat Quarter Shop's Jolly Jabber blog to download the pattern and to watch a tutorial video. Please consider donating $5 for the use of the pattern to St Jude's Children's Research Hospital. You might even want to start to do the photo border sashing on your blocks - see how to do it here.

I'll be back tomorrow (really!) with a fun new baby quilt from the new Fat Quarter Baby book. Hint... it has strawberries!

And thanks so much for your love of the little Christmas tree tutorial that I provided last month. It's been really exciting to see so many of them popping up all over Instagram. I love seeing how you've all customized the tree and car with your own fabrics. Please keep on tagging me so that I can see your trees! (And also, please credit me for the tree tutorial. Don't create or sell kits using my pattern without asking or linking back to my blog tutorial, okay? Nuff said. :-) )


two by two sew along

Hello! I'm awake and drinking my first cup of tea really EARLY this morning so that I can tell you about a new sew along! Have you seen the McCall's Quick Quilts Dec/Jan 2016 issue yet? (I am SO not a morning person. Even the cats are looking at me as if to say "what are you doing out of bed so early?")

It's the Two by Two sew along! Holly Holderman (of Lakehouse Dry Goods fame) designed this quilt. It's a 7 part series, and the patterns will be printed in McCall's Quick Quilts throughout 2016. The first six installments will be blocks (each block comes in two coloways) and the final installment will be quilt assembly and finishing. The blocks measure a generous 12 3/4" unfinished.

The flower blocks use an engineered scallop print to make the flower petals - it's the look of applique without all the fuss! For my flower centers, I'll be using an assortment of Lakehouse fabrics, but really, any stash could be used. Maybe you already saw the scallop prints in your local quilt shop and wondered how to use them... now's your big chance! The magazine is on newsstands and in bookstores now. Copies of Quick Quilts are also available here and here (I actually ordered one by mail because I'm impatient). A kit is available on the Quick Quilts website here. Or if you just want the scallop fabric to pair with your stash, I found the best assortment of colors here (you'll want the largest scallop print, not the medium or small versions).

And all fun quilts deserve a sew along! Join me while I make this quilt throughout the year with some of my quilting buddies. We'll be sewing and showing our blocks on Instagram. There are already some blocks that are very different than mine - even some with appliqued touches! I will be sewing along with:

  • Pam Kitty Morning (@pamkittymorning)
  • Amber Johnson of Gigi's Thimble (@gigis_thimble)
  • Nanette Merrill of Freda's Hive (@fredashive)
  • Gayle Brindley (@gaylebrindley)
  • Susan Guzman of SuzGuz Designs (@suzguzdesigns)
  • Holly Holderman - the designer herself! (@hollyholderman)

snapshots month 10 - car

Wow, we are on month 10 of the Snapshots charitable quilt along! This month we are making a sporty red car on the way to the beach with a surfboard on the roof. The block is called "Gone Surfin." But wait... I have a tree on my roof! Ok, let me explain.

I don't surf. I don't own a surfboard. But I recently "Gone to Indiana" in a new Suburu. And since this quilt is a snapshot of important moments in our lives, I thought about moments that are important to me. Christmas is important, with lots of significance as well as opportunities to decorate, eat and relax. So how about adding a Christmas tree to my car?!

I'll tell you all about how to make a Christmas tree just like mine. First, a small disclaimer. Y'alll know that I'm not a professional pattern writer, but I think you'll be able to follow along. First, digitally drive over to the Fat Quarter Shop and download your free Gone Surfin block pattern (and please consider making a $5 donation for the use of the pattern to St Jude Children's Research Hospital here.) Build your car just like the pattern specifies.

Now of course, you can go ahead and make the really cute surf board. But If you want to try a tree, here's how I made mine. For the "branches",  you'll need to make 5 flying geese that measure 1 3/4" x 3" unfinished. Use your favorite method, like maybe (2) 1 3/4" background "sky" squares and (1) 1 3/4 x 3" green "branch" rectangle for each goose, sewn with the stitch and flip method. Or I used the Mini Fit To Be Geese ruler. Sew the 5 green flying geese together in a row.

Next, build your tree trunk. I sewed a grey print measuring 1" x 5" between two background white prints measuring 1 1/2" x 5" each. Press towards the grey trunk.

Now add the pieced grey trunk unit to the base of the flying geese branches unit. Trim the short end of the trunk so that the entire tree unit measures 3" x 10 1/2" - voila, it's the exact same size as the surfboard! Now add the "C" background rectangles (refer to pattern cutting directions) to both ends of the tree. It will now measure 3" x 16 1/2" long. Then add the completed tree unit to the car and you're done!

In the craziness of my recent move, I completely forgot to show you last month's Quilty Cat block! (Chloe and Mia said that this is their favorite block, but maybe they're a little biased.) You'll find the pattern download right here, next to the car pattern. I've also started to add the sashing to each block as I sew. The assembly pattern is already posted on the Fat Quarter Shop link, so why not? It will make it a whole lot quicker to assemble the quilt top very soon!

Oh, one more thing. There are still some Snapshot fabric kits available here, as well as a backing set. I've enhanced the kit with other Bonnie & Camille prints from my stash.

Thanks for stopping by! Now go sew!

like riding a bike

Wow, it's month 8 of the Snapshots quilt along! How did it get to be mid-August already?! And I am officially declaring this block my favorite one so far (until next month).

I'm loving this block so much because honestly, I didn't think I could do it. All those little pieces. That handlebar. That seat. Well, really, it's completely do-able with the super clear instructions. There are lots of stitch-and-flip pieces here, so it's made completely with squares and rectangles. It just looks complicated. I just read the directions several times and sewed very slowly and it all came together perfectly.

If only real bicycles came in prints! Since this quilt is a collection of snapshots of my life, you might wonder how a bicycle fits into that scheme, right? Well, when I was a kid I bicycled everywhere. After the bicycle with training wheels (and lots of tears, just ask my dad), I then got a purple bicycle with a sparkly purple glitter seat. Yes, sparkly purple glitter. And it had those streamer things on the handlebars. But it was the mid 1970's and I'm sure that it was the "grooviest" bicycle ever. Then came the green metallic 10 speed Schwinn and I rode that thing EVERYWHERE. I remember bicycling miles to go to my favorite preppy shops in Pittsford, NY. (Imagine me wearing pink and green while cycling on my neon green bike. All true.) I had all the nifty gadgets - toe clips, gadgets, bottles, saddle bags. I'd also ride it though the farmland in Victor, NY, past the cows and corn. Alas, my favorite transportation was abandoned when I moved to NYC.

But now that I'VE MOVED TO INDIANA, there might be a new bicycle in my future! And I can ride it through the corn fields, just like yesterday once more.

Now I know that you want/need to make your own bicycle, too. Here's how to make yours:

  • the free pattern download is here
  • the kit that I used is here, featuring Daysail prints (I added some Scrumptious and Miss Kate
  • consider making a small donation to St. Jude's Children's Research hospital here
  • tag your block with #fqssnapshots on social media to share your blocks

little joys quilt along - present block

Yay! It's week four of the Little Joys quilt along with Elea Lutz! And this little bow-tied present might be my favorite block... this week. (Every new block becomes my new favorite, and that's why I love sampler quilts. No chance to get bored!)

Who doesn't love a pinwheel block topped with a quarter-square-triangle bow? And I finally got to go crazy with the two pink prints. Once again, I tried as hard as I could to have as many fully intact deer as possible in the green print, so I cut my HSTs slightly larger than the pattern and then trimmed them down.

I hope that you're sewing along with us! The pattern download is free from the Fat Quarter Shop, and you can find it here. I'm sure you know that I'm sewing with the kit as a base, and then I added in half yards of the two pink prints.

So now all the blocks have been sewn! And not a moment too soon, I might add, because I've packed up nearly all my sewing supplies in anticipation of my relocation move next week. The only quilty thing that isn't packed is my Little Joys quilt project and supplies. Next Wednesday we'll add sashing and borders! Thanks for stopping by today!

Oh, I almost forgot... if you share your blocks on social media, please use #LittleJoysQuiltAlong and #ILovePennyRose so we can all see your blocks.

up, up and away in my beautiful balloon

It's time for the July Snapshots sew along block!

Actually, it's a little past the time for this block. Ahem. I might have forgotten to show it to you last week because I was surrounded by moving boxes, small AND large bubbles, white newsprint and tape guns. You all know about the Snapshots sew along, right? And how it benefits St Jude Children's Research Hospital? And how we are making one block each month that represents a snapshot of our lives? If you need a refresher, just hop over here to get all the details, plus links to the patterns, video tutorials, kit and donation page. 

This block represents my 20 trips to New Mexico! Every fall, a massive Balloon Fiesta is held in Albuquerque. (And if you're curious, here's a time-lapse video showing the balloons taking off at sunrise. It's amazing.) The fiesta is in October, but I usually visit in mid-November - it's my annual birthday tradition - so I haven't seen the balloons yet. Balloon imagery is found all over the state, and even on some license plates. Of course I would want to take a ride in a cute fabric balloon. (Actually, the truth is that I'd be terrified to get into that balloon. I'd need Dramamine. And cookies. And somebody to hold my hand. But I'd enjoy watching them take off and float around.)

Once again, I used the kit as a starting point, but I changed some of the Daysail prints and I added a Scrumptious tiny floral. The same floral was also used as "whipped cream" on last month's ice cream sundae block, so the finished quilt will have some continuity. I felt that the smaller, repeating prints would be more forgiving in the seams than the intended stripe would have been.

Ok, so get your balloons sewn up! The next pattern will be released on August 15 and it's the bicycle!

Finally, while making the balloon block I had to listen to Up, Up and Away by the 5th Dimension. Maybe I'll need to play this while I float over Albuquerque in my quilted fabric balloon!

little joys - welcome home wreath

If it's a Wednesday in July, then it must be time for the Little Joys quilt along! This week we are making the Welcome Home wreath block. Nothing says summer quite like a Christmas wreath, LOL! But just think of how happy you'll be when you have this wall hanging done waaaay before Christmas! These Little Joys prints from Elea Lutz for Penny Rose Fabrics make me smile every time I see them. And this week I got to break out the pink print! I couldn't decide if I wanted a red bow or a pink bow, so I thought why not make an ombre bow?! Then I went ahead and made two more identical wreath blocks.

The tiny pop of pink makes me happy. And just wait till you see how simple these wreaths are to sew. The pattern shows you how to trim slightly oversized pieces to get perfectly sized blocks.

Want to make your own cute wreaths? The free pattern is here (but only for a limited time!), and there's even a kit with the red and green prints at Fat Quarter Shop. I used the kit and added half yards of the two pink prints - you'll see more pink in next week's blocks.

LJQAL banner.png

I'm sewing along with Elea Lutz, Fat Quarter Shop and a group of my favorite quilty people. You can check out everybody else's blocks on their blogs and on Instagram. (I am @greydogwoodstudio on Instagram.) We'll all use the hashtag #LittleJoysQuiltAlong with our blocks.

For those of you who might be curious about my upcoming move to Southern Indiana, my packing boxes arrived yesterday. The movers will be here exactly two weeks from today! EEEK! I spent four hours on Tuesday night packing books. Yes, just books.  The cookbook boxes were easy to pack. But then I had to ask myself if I really needed to keep EVERY book by Kaffe Fassett and Thimbleberries, even though I no longer use them... and the answer was YES I do! I even kept some of the older country-inspired quilting books because they remind me of how I got started, like Debbie Mumm and Little Quilts. My living room is now completely taken over with boxes of books. Tonight I will attack the fabric stash, quilting magazines and DVDs!

little joys - trim the tree block


It's week two of the Little Joys Quilt Along! Join me, some of my favorite bloggers and Fat Quarter Shop as we make the Little Joys mini quilt together. It was designed by Elea Lutz of Penny Rose Fabrics. We're making a tree block this week, a ribboned gift next week and a wreath the following week. Then we can assemble the quilt! I hope that you've gathered your Christmas prints and are ready to sew along with us. (The fabric requirements are here.)

I'm using the kit which includes red and green prints as well as the ivory background. I'll enhance it with Elea's pink prints next week.  (I need my pink and green!)

Could this fabric be any cuter? Nope, I don't think so. It has that perfect retro, vintage look that I love. You'll also want to print out a copy of the tree block pattern. It's available for free here for a limited time, so get yours soon.

This has to be one of the easiest, and most classic tree patterns ever. Simple stitch-and-flip corners form the tiers of the tree. I also did a small amount of strategic cutting when I cut my print strips. I wanted to get as many deer into my tree as possible without cutting off their heads. Decapitated deer aren't very Christmasy :-)

You'll make just three trees.

You can reuse your scraps in a future block or in another project. Here's how I store mine. Simple and not too elegant, but it works...

The bag serves another purpose. I lightly starch my fabrics right before I cut them. Now I know that the fabric in the bag has been starched, while the other fabric still needs to be treated. So, no guessing about which fabric I'm using. And see how great the red and green look next to the pink?

Next Wednesday we'll make the gift box block!

If you share your blocks on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #LittleJoysQuiltAlong. And look at who is sewing along! Such a talented group of ladies, and I'm happy to be included with them.  

i'm off to the farmland

I'm back on the farm again with the Farm Girl Vintage sew along. Wow, I had a lot of catching up to do! If I miss out on making two blocks each week I can get behind quickly.

You probably know that I'm a little addicted to gingham. I try to put some gingham into every quilt if possible. So how perfect that last week's project was to make a "gingham" block! I even used gingham for the medium-toned print, so it's Gingham Squared. Or Gingham Gingham. Or Double Gingham. Now, of course, I want to make a whole quilt full of gingham blocks.

And yes, I just used the word gingham nine times in the previous paragraph :-)

The Fresh Pears and Feed and Seed blocks are fun, too. Ah, fresh pears. My friend Judi has a pear tree in her backyard and there's always a plentiful yield of green pears for everybody to take home. They're often hard and sour, but there are lots of them!

And finally, the egg basket and crops blocks. Who wouldn't want to fill this basket with farm fresh eggs?

The Farm Girl Vintage blocks might even have inspired a short trip that I took last week to the real farmland. 

Can you guess where I went?

I was in Indiana looking for a new home! Can you believe it? Paul and I are leaving NYC for greener pastures... literally. We're trading Metropolis for Midwest! It was a quick decision, but after living in NYC for 30 years I'm ready for a change. And this will be a BIG change for sure. Imagine how excited we were to find an apartment that's three times the size of my current place, with all those "modern" conveniences that I lack in my current apartment - stuff like a full sized refrigerator, dishwasher and garbage disposal, washer and dryer, sliding door and balcony. And a walk-in closet. Plus green leafy trees and cute birds that chirp instead of big, ugly pigeons. Crazy, right? There are even THREE quilt shops in town (but none of them carry Moda fabric or Aurifil thread... what's up with that?) and one of them can service my sewing machine. We'll move at the end of July, but I intend to keep on sewing right up until the last minute. The movers will deal with our furniture, and we'll pack the cats and my sewing machine into the new car. I'll share my farewell message to New York with you soon. The move is now just three weeks away. EEK.

Now back to the quilty stuff. The Little Joys sew along starts this Wednesday with that cute fabric by Elea Lutz. (Remember Elea's first fabric collection Milk, Sugar & Flower? She's back with a terrific Christmas collection.) The patterns will be free for a limited time only. I've got all the details for you in my previous blog post, or you can click on the Little Joys button in the right sidebar. See you back here on Wednesday!

little joys quilt along starts soon!

It's time for the annual mid-year Christmas In July quilting fest! So throw a log on the fire (ok, maybe not!) because the Little Joys Quilt Along starts soon!

It's the perfect time to begin a small Christmas project. It's a small quilt (34" square) and the pattern is free! We'll have our quilts finished way before December!

Photo credit Fat Quarter Shop

Photo credit Fat Quarter Shop

Cute, right? We'll make 9 blocks using the adorable new fabric collection, Little Joys by Elea Lutz for Penny Rose Fabrics. I'll be using the kit from Fat Quarter Shop with fabrics as shown, but I might add some of the pink prints, too, for extra joy. The block patterns will be free and can be downloaded each week, so you can make the quilt with your own fabrics. (Wouldn't this be fun in 30's repros, or the new Holly's Tree Farm collection?)

Find all the details here, including a handy PDF with fabric requirements, plus links to the other bloggers who will be participating in this quilt along. The pattern for the first block will be posted on July 8 so you have plenty of time to gather your festive fabrics!

farm girl friday - farmhouse

I'm so happy to be your cowboy tour guide for Farm Girl Friday, week 8! Or as I prefer to think of it, it's Farm Boy Friday!

We are using the Farm Girl Vintage book by Lori Holt for the sew along. And today we are building a farmhouse block!

The farmhouse is my favorite block in the Farm Girl Vintage book. I've always loved house blocks. They have that classic, vintage look, and they can be playful or sophisticated depending on your fabric selection. I've blended Ambleside by Brenda Riddle with Aloha Girl by Fig Tree & Co, both by Moda Fabrics.

First, turn to page 27, then cut and sew, preferably with country farm girl music. I was super happy when I finished the 6" block for my sampler quilt, and I didn't want the fun to end. So I made another block, this time 12" and using Mistletoe Lane by Bunny Hill.

Humm, I think it looks bare. How about if we add a topiary tree?

But why stop there? Let's make another farmhouse and another topiary!

I LOVE them! The two large houses are the beginning of the Farmhouse Lane quilt. The pattern is in the book on page 128. You'll need nine of the 12" houses, six trees and sixteen 6" blocks.  I think it will be the perfect Christmas quilt full of gingerbread houses, ice skates (never mind that I don't skate, even though I stalk the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink every Christmas) and little Christmas trees. But wouldn't it also be a spooky fun quilt in Halloween colors? Or summery with red, white and blue?

I really wanted to make a striped roof. It took me a few minutes to figure how to get the stripes all oriented in the same direction. So now let's talk about how to use stripes on your roof.

The roof is made in four sections. You will need two half square triangles (HSTs) for the left and right portions of the roof. Lori's pattern shows you how to use my very favorite method for making HSTs. But when you make your HSTs using the method shown, the result will be one HST with vertical stripes and one HST with horizontal stripes. You'll need to make a second set using the exact same method, and this will give you a second HST with vertical stripes. (You'll have two leftover HSTs with horizontal stripes, but I KNOW that you can find a creative use for them!)

Thanks for joining me today! I hope that you share your farmhouse blocks on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #farmgirlvintage, #farmgirlfridays and #farmhouseblock when you post your blocks. And you can see all the fun projects that I'm working on, too. I'm @greydogwoodstudio.

Now hop on over to Lori Holt's blog to see her Farm Girl Vintage blocks, and check out the other guest bloggers, too. The full schedule is on the Jolly Jabber blog here.

Until next time, happy farming!