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

month 3 shooting star 2.jpg

Farmer's Daughter block

month 2 farmer's daughter.jpg

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!) 

crossroads quilt along- the final month!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

maggie's first dance month 4, and a giveaway

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

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

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

more popsicles, and new things in my studio this week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

high tea party blog tour

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

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

strawberry plants.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

crossroads quilt along - the big assembly

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

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

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

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

moda modern building blocks quilt FINISHED!

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

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

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

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

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