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.  

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!

happy birthday, farm girl vintage!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just look at those chicken feet!

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

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

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

farm girl friday - baking and canning

I've been doing some "cooking" this week with the Farm Girl Vintage sew along. I "canned" the seasonal fruits and vegetables. There's strawberry and raspberry preserves, green pickles, yellow summer squash, and... blue stuff. Uh, blueberries? Blue cheese dressing? 

And a chicken foot block. Me and the chicken did not get along. This block gave me trouble, and I did the rubber chicken dance when it was finished!

I forgot to show you last week's blocks! The baking day block was fast and easy. I even have a matching mixing bowl from Cath Kidston!

And the butter churn block just might be my favorite block so far. It's that electric jolt of blue that wakes it up.

If it wasn't for the weekly quilt along, I'd probably just sew every block in the book as quickly as possible - they're that much fun.

For more details on the sew along (and some block inspiration!), check out Lori Holt's blog today here.

And Happy Memorial Day weekend to my friends in the USA!

december finish! have yourself a quilty little christmas

Yay! I've finished piecing Have Yourself A Quilty Little Christmas! Now I really want to take it off of my design wall and have it quilted! 

The stocking and wrapped candy just might be my favorite block. I spent awhile auditioning fabrics. The pink candy fabrics were easy. But the stocking has several seams so I stayed away from large prints. That meant pulling every single red fabric out of my closet. And then putting them all away. I love the dimensional hanging loop.

Now can we talk about the border? It took days to piece! It's made of four-patches mixed with alternating squares. The four patches measure 2" finished. It's constructed in a really interesting way - I didn't actually sew 1 1/2" squares. It started with a large pile of small squares...

And a few days later, four borders were finished and attached! I love this border with scrappy, controlled fabrics and 360 pieces. 

Now for the specifics. Have Yourself A Quilty Little Christmas was an online quilt along designed by Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet. It measures 34" x 46". Many of the block patterns are in her book Quilty Fun. The specific Christmas-themed blocks were designed just for this quilt along, and the instructions for those blocks were posted by Lori on Instagram. They do not appear in a print version. You can find the free instructions for the tree, present, gingerbread cookie, stocking and ornament by checking Lori's feed on Instagram (it's @beelori1) or by scrolling through #haveyourselfaquiltylittlechristmas. It was fun sewing along with many, many other quilters. We all encouraged each other, and I think that it became competitive, but in a fun way. There are lots of different interpretations of this quilt, and they all look fabulous.

My fabrics are a big mishmash of everything in my stash! The only new fabric that I bought was a fat quarter bundle of Sugar Rush by Josephine Kimberling for Blend Fabrics. I used just six of those prints, but they established the mood. So there's plenty of everything else from my stash. I added anything that matched! 

Ok, I'm ready for my next project!

have yourself a quilty little christmas

I've joined the "Have Yourself A Quilty Little Christmas" sew along!

Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet is hosting the sew along on Instagram. It's a fun way to use the Quilty Fun book to make some cute, quick blocks for Christmas. This might surprise you, but I had exactly ZERO Christmas themed fabrics in my stash! I quickly ordered a bundle of Sugar Rush fat quarters. I don't normally use novelty fabrics, but I'm breaking free of that and I'll have a retro/vintage/kitschy Christmas!

That's my little gingerbread house! I love the easy simplicity of making just one of each block. The fabric placement is the best part. I'm mixing nearly anything in my fabric stash with the Sugar Rush fabric - Bunny Hill's Winter Wonderland, Lori Holt's Flower Patch, Bonnie & Camille's Miss Kate, Pam Kitty Picnic... anything that works together. No rules!

Lori even created a special Christmas tree block that isn't featured in the book. I just had to use the blue and green swirly peppermints here!

Many of us are sewing along with Lori, with absolutely no idea how many blocks we'll sew or how large the finished project will be. That's a lot of trust, but it's been fun so far! And you can join us! Specific block info can be found on Instagram by following @beelori1 and under #haveyourselfaquiltylittlechristmas. While you're there, be sure to see what I'm up to by following me at @greydogwoodstudio


quilty fun birthday party!

Happy First Birthday, Quilty Fun! Welcome to my stop on the birthday blog hop! 

Quilty Fun by Lori Holt has quickly become my go-to book for fun, scrappy patchwork designs. Seriously, I would like to make everything in this book! The book contains clear, easy-to-understand diagrams for creating the row quilt shown on the cover, plus ten additional projects ranging from pillows to runners to quilts, all using rotary cutting with no templates. 

To help celebrate the first birthday, Lori Holt has created a special, fun birthday cake block!

Mmmm chocolate layer cake. My favorite! I was so excited to print out the free pdf of this pattern's cutting instructions, and I immediately started sewing my birthday cake. But I liked it so much that I needed another piece of cake. How about a red velvet cake?

And because I have so many favorite cake flavors I just kept going! Anybody want a piece of strawberry cream cake?

Before I knew it, this happened. Twelve cakes with rainbow sprinkles sashing!

Who wouldn't love a fancy cake for Valentine's Day?

Or maybe a pretty birthday cake with fanciful buttercream rosettes?

Could I tempt you with a slice of chocolate mud cake?

Seriously, you are going to LOVE making these cakes. One would be cute as a pillow. Three would make a great birthday table runner. Or go crazy like I did and make twelve (or more)! Download the FREE copy of the Quilty Fun birthday cake pdf pattern here. You can also view all twelve of my birthday cake blocks on my Flickr page.

But don't leave yet because the birthday party is just getting started! Here are some of the amazingly fantabulous patterns in Lori's book. There's the full row along quilt that I made last year.

I loved making the Snowball Fight table runner. I really need to have this quilted before Christmas!

And the Quilty Fun book also has directions for Lori's signature bee pattern. Here I've reduced the size of the bee and made a quartet of them!

I do hope that you'll help me in celebrating Quilty Fun's first birthday. Pour yourself a nice hot (or cold!) drink, download the birthday cake pattern and start stitching!

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to visit the Fat Quarter Shop for a copy of the Quilty Fun book. Their blog will also have links to all the other bloggers participating in the hop. And drop by to see what Lori is working on here. I'll see you soon!



quilt finish - mixing it up

It feels great to finish the Mixing It Up quilt top!  Once the weather cools off (it was 91 degrees in NYC today!) I'll think about baking again. Did you see the recipe for browned butter M&Ms chocolate chip cookies on Pioneer Woman's blog today? Yummy. I can't wait to try them!

Ok, back to the quilt. Cookie time will be later. 

Just looking at this quilt top makes me happy! There are all those colorful mixers, ready to whip up some amazing desserts. I had lots of fun just selecting the fabrics for each mixer. And do you remember how I bought the pale pink KitchenAid the same night that I sewed the pink block? 

The Mixing It Up pattern is by Lori Holt, and it's super-easy to understand, with lots of those easy-corner-triangles. The mixers are 15" square so you just need a few of them to make a big impact. I used mostly Bake Sale fabric with a little bit of Polka Dot Stitches mixed in, and solids from Riley Blake. I almost didn't make the mustard yellow mixer (come to think of it, Mom probably had a hand-held mustard mixer in the 70's). And yet, I found that I really needed the mustard just for the right color balance so that it wouldn't become too pink/red or too blue/green. 

I love the pieced "beater" border blocks. But I hate sewing borders. Let's just blame it on the extreme lack of space in my apartment. That's why these blocks sat around since February! I really, really wanted to just slap some fabric borders on this and call it done, but a quilting friend reminded me about how cute it would be if I followed the instructions. She was right. It's infinitely cuter with the pieced border. Borders are better!

Now I think that I've earned a special dessert tonite! Hummm maybe a cupcake instead of the cookie... 

catching up

Hi everybody! I hope that you had an enjoyable weekend! I've had some time to do a little bit of catching up on my sewing projects.

First, I finished August's four 6" blocks for the Moda Modern Building Blocks BOM quilt - Fig Tree style. 

Look at how small they are when put next to the giant 36" block! I had to fold the large block into quarters just to fit it into the photo.

I'm making the HSTs using my usual method instead of sewing triangles together as the pattern suggests - I'm sewing two squares on the diagonal, cutting in half, pressing open and trimming down to the exact size. I'm also using the Mini Fit To Be Geese ruler by Monique Dillard to construct my flying geese. The ruler really helps to make sure that they're sized perfectly and that I don't accidentally cut off my points. Monique has a nifty tutorial video on the Open Gate Quilts website about how to use the ruler. Basically, you sew two oversized "sky" triangles to an oversized "goose" triangle, and then use the ruler to trim it down to the right size. You might want to check this out if you've ever had problems sewing little 1 1/2" x 2" flying geese using other methods. I use the mini ruler and the full sized ruler to make almost all of my flying geese. 

And now I need to be patient and wait until the September fabric pack arrives from Fig Tree Quilts. I wonder if there will be some of Joanna's new Somerset fabric mixed in with the Moda Bella solids? But of course I need to work on something now. And so, this is the perfect time to finish my Mixing It Up quilt! Do you remember this quilt that I started in FEBRUARY?

And how about the spatulas?

It's called Mixing It Up, and the pattern is by Lori Holt for Bee In My Bonnet. I'm using an assortment of Lori's Bake Sale and Polka Dot Stitches fabric collections, with solids by Riley Blake. It's time to get this finished! I went from just a few of the border blocks to all 48 in three days. I can get stuff done when I focus! (Ok, I gotta admit a small flaw with my "focus" - I made two extra blocks because I wasn't paying attention.)

I've started to sew the blocks into border strips, and I think that I'm going to have a finish by the end of this month!

friday finish - strawberry social!

It's done! The Strawberry Social top is completely assembled!

strawberry social 023.JPG
One of my all time favorite Flower Sugar prints. 

One of my all time favorite Flower Sugar prints. 

It's always an extra-good Friday when I finish a quilt top, and this is my second finish this month! I know that I say I love all my quilt tops, but I really, really love this one. I had fun sewing every single berry. I used all my favorite reds and pinks from Pam Kitty Morning, Lori Holt, Flower Sugar and Bonnie & Camille. The pink-on-white dotted background is from the Pam Kitty Picnic collection. 

The pattern is Strawberry Social by Margot Languedoc's The Pattern Basket. Her instructions are very clear and easy to understand, although the leaf portion takes a bit of concentration.

I also made my quilt larger than the pattern. I think that it's the perfect sofa size. My top contains 36 berries and measures 62" x 75" - the pattern measures 53" x 66" and has 25 berries. 

Remember the two experimental blocks? I decided that they weren't ripe enough for this quilt, and so I turned them into jam. Ha ha! I'm glad that I tried something quirky, but, um, no... just too weird. 

I love this recipe print from Lori Holt's Bake Sale collection.

I love this recipe print from Lori Holt's Bake Sale collection.

Yes, that's a strawberry covered in cherries!

Yes, that's a strawberry covered in cherries!

Thanks for taking the time to visit with me today! I'm linking up with Finish It Up Fridays at Crazy Mom Quilts. I'll check out what everybody else finished this week after lunch. And maybe dessert. A strawberry sundae? A strawberry shake? I saw strawberry cream filled Twinkies at my grocery store last night, but they scare me.

friday finish - butterscotch tart!

Guess what? It's D-O-N-E! The Butterscotch Tart quilt is finished! It's time for some fireworks!

I hope that you'll allow me to gush about my own quilt. I love everything about this! The goal was to do a patriotic quilt, but without any patriotic fabrics. There are no stars or fireworks here, but there are plenty of dots, flowers, cherries and strawberries. And then I dared myself to add light blue and pink. 

I feel a little bittersweet now that this is completed. I was in a big rush to complete it (yeah, I missed my July 4 goal), and yet, I felt a bit of sadness when I sewed that last border strip. Sadness as in, oh no, it's done and I won't get to sew any more of these cute blocks!

The quilt pattern is Butterscotch Tart by Fig Tree and Co and measures 66" square. I used a happy fabric mix from Pam Kitty Morning and Lori Holt. Special thanks to my Instagram buddies who cheered me on throughout the whole process. You can follow me there at @greydogwoodstudio to see daily updates of my projects. 

And, just for fun, I put the quilt onto my bed. It blends in perfectly with my collection of new and vintage Ralph Lauren bedding. The red and white faux drunkard's path was the second quilt that I ever made, and it's hand quilted with Baptist fans and dated November 98 - November 99. I'll never tire of red, white and blue quilts!

I'm linking up today with Finish It Up Fridays at Crazy Mom Quilts. Hop over there to see what other quilters have finished this week. And happy weekend, everybody!

assembling the butterscotch tart quilt

Finally! I have started to put it all together!

As you can see, it's always helpful to have a friend. (Ok, maybe not so much!) I like to use LOTS of pins. I pin about every half inch, and even more if it's a tricky block. And I even have a color coded system. The blue pins are removed just as the needle approaches the presser foot. But the yellow pins anchor hidden seams that point away from the presser foot, and I sew right over them to hold the seams flat. 

Putting these together takes a little longer than I'd like (you know that I'm dying to work on the house blocks, right?!) but I pin and go slowly to make sure that I don't accidentally chop off any star points. 

I think that these little pinwheel setting stones are just so cute. They add the right amount of movement without distracting from the larger blocks. 

The next three rows are ready to be sewn. I have my hopelessly old fashioned way of keeping everything organized. The row number is always pinned to the left block of each row. It helps to keep my layout accurate without having to look at the blurry photo on my iPhone. 

And now I need to stay focused so that I can finish this. I started exactly one month ago today, and I'm really looking forward to the big finish!

Butterscotch Tart is a quilt pattern by Fig Tree Quilts, and my fabrics are a mix of Pam Kitty Morning and Lori Holt. Thanks for stopping by today!

yarn and crochet hook

I've caught up with the Great Granny Squared sew along! I finished the yarn and crochet hook block.

And here it is combined with the yarn basket block.

Making this half size (4 1/2" x 5 1/2") made me crazy. That crochet hook is 1/4" wide! I don't think that I've ever used my seam ripper this much. The back of the block looks like the Bride of Frankenstein, with several rows of stitching, a few thread knots, a few lumpy seams and some extra holes. But only me and my quilter will ever see that. Maybe I should have just used hot glue or staples. That probably would have been less painful. But the extra effort was truly worth it. I'm really happy with the finished block even if it did push me right into eating a  pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food. 

Next week we'll receive directions on how to put it all together. But I couldn't resist playing with the blocks. Here's the whole grouping. Definitely worth the all the crazy! And check out the blocks from everybody else at the Flickr group here

great granny squared quilt along - mama blocks

It's the third week of the Great Granny Square quilt along! And this week I made twenty mama blocks.

The Fat Quarter Shop is hosting the Great Granny Squared sew along using Lori Holt's book, and the blocks will be set to make Mama's Crochet Quilt. I'm having fun working on my blocks... except that oops, I missed last week's block. Maybe I was too busy making strawberries! This week's little granny squares were super easy to make. I once again downsized the original pattern, so my blocks measure 3 1/2" instead of 6 1/2". I usually like to make these from my precut 1 1/2" strips, but I ran out of them last week. So yes, I individually cut all these squares. The fabric prep and cutting took more time than the actual sewing!

I sure am learning about color value with this quilt! Working with a pale Kona Bluebell background is a nice challenge. I like the freshness that the blue brings to the project. Several fabrics with similar values had to be edited out because they didn't have enough contrast. 

And now my cute little blocks will get packed up, awaiting next week's assembly instructions!

half square triangle happiness

I actually like to sew half square triangles! And that's a good thing, because the border of my Mixing It Up quilt needs 184 of them (Ok, that's a lot of HSTs. Almost too many.)

mixing it up beater pieces 007.JPG

I make them by pairing squares, marking a line from corner to corner and then sewing 1/4" away from the line. I've tried all of the other methods but I really prefer this one. I always cut my squares slightly larger than pattern specifications and then trim them down to the exact size. If the pattern says to cut squares 2 7/8", I cut them to 3 1/4" or even 3 1/2".

Ready for trimming!

Ready for trimming!

This gives me larger squares than I really need. I trim them down to the exact size using the diagonal line on my 6" square ruler as a guide. I like how my components are accurate after trimming. This method also lets me focus on the cute parts of the prints - I sort of fussy trim them to capture the flowers, cherries, strawberries and spatulas.

All that trimming can be calming once I give in to the monotony. I just have to watch out for that rotary cutter and my fingers!

And three hours later I ended up with a big pile of scraps and 184 2 1/2" HSTs! 

All lined up, like cookies on a baking sheet. I love this Bake Sale fabric from Lori Holt (and a few pieces of Polka Dot Stitches, too). And now I can make the mixer beater blocks for my border!

mixing it up borders

It's border time again! Wow, I just finished borders for the Quilty Fun sampler, and here I am working on MORE borders! These are for the "Mixing It Up" quilt that I've been making for the past few weeks. 

mixing it up border and japanese magazines 002.JPG

These 5" blocks are called "beater blocks" and will form the second border surrounding the mixers and spatulas. Lori Holt's pattern says that the blocks are designed to look like "a beater twirling into the batter mixing up something yummy." I couldn't agree more. When I was a kid, licking the beaters was my favorite part. I probably liked the beaters even more than the finished cake! Mom always saved a beater for me, and she or my brother got the other one. I need 46 of these blocks... so that's a LOT of half square triangles that need to be sewn!

I spent some time this weekend at the Kinokuniya Japanese bookstore in NYC. I love that store! The street level has English language fiction and art books. The upper level has manga books and a cafe. But my favorite is the lower level, which has tons of Japanese magazines, cards and craft supplies. The level of detail in these magazines is beyond amazing. (Looking for a dozen different magazines on men's workboots? How about ten guides to garnishing your sushi?) This is where I go to find magazines like Cotton Time, Quilts Japan and Patchwork Tsushin.

The quilts shown in these magazines are more classic than what is currently popular in the US (no acid yellow and grey combos here, and most prints are smallish), with an almost obsessive focus on miniaturized blocks - Dresdens, hexagons, log cabins, granny squares and rail fences. There's so much cuteness - I want to make everything on the cover of this copy of Patchwork Tsushin! The store also has a very large section of Japanese books on embroidery, cross stitch and quilting.

I finally bought this Log Cabin book. I had been stalking it for the past few months, so it was just time to buy it! I love that cover quilt as well as many of the unique block settings shown inside. Look at that fun house border! The magazines and books are entirely in Japanese, but they're great for inspiration. Now maybe if I do one house block each month I can be finished in a few years. 

I'm linking up today with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times. Check out what other quilters are working on this week!

quilty fun finale!

The Quilty Fun sampler is finished!

Wow, it's hard to believe that this twenty week project is done! And I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every step of the way. With one exception. Borders. I hate piecing borders! "Borderline, borderline, feels like I'm going to lose my mind." But I think that black dotty postage stamp border is pretty cute!

quilty fun final 016.JPG

This might be the first time that I've ever planned my whole color scheme around a border. I always knew that I wanted to have a Pam Kitty Morning black print in the border. Of course, I settled on the one black print that wasn't already in my stash! I found exactly one seller on Ebay who still had a few yards. I made sure to incorporate some black into each week's blocks so that it would all tie together at the end.

I modified the pattern to create four buzzy bees at the center instead of one larger bee. Now I am four times as likely to get stung...

The clever block patterns appear in the Quilty Fun book by Lori Holt. Lori sure does have some great ideas! Print fabric is an assortment of all three fabric lines by the wonderful Pam Kitty Morning - Pam Kitty Picnic, Pam Kitty Love and Pam Kitty Morning. This was also my first quilt with a white-on-white print, which is Sweet Things by Lakehouse. 

I rushed to get my sampler completed this week, because this is the final week that prizes will be awarded by the Fat Quarter Shop. This week's two prize winners will each receive a fantabulous LARGE box of Aurifil's Bee in my Bonnet Happy Colors thread. And I'm not gonna lie. I WANT that box of thread! That sure was motivation to complete this quickly.

There's a new quilt along starting next week! Yay! That's right, Lori Holt has a new Great Granny Squared quilt along! This might be the perfect excuse for me to go shopping for some new fabric after I find out more details on her blog next Monday.

Check out everybody else's finished Quilty Fun samplers at the Flickr group. I'm also linking up today with Crazy Mom Quilts "finish it up Friday."

Thanks for stopping by!


fully blended

I had a very productive weekend! Sometimes forty eight hours of rain isn't so bad. All of my "Mixing It Up" blocks are done! This is a pattern by Lori Holt for Bee In My Bonnet, and I also used an assortment of Lori's fabrics, but mostly "Bake Sale."

I love that recipe print, and I cut it to focus on my favorite recipes. Marshmallow brownies, yummy pink frosting and mom's sugar cookies.

Nine spatulas, with more recipes that I love. Lemon meringue pie! Coconut layer cake!

And I have a funny little story. I've already told you about how I don't think that I can fit a Kitchenaid mixer into my little city apartment. It's bigger than my counter! It weighs 30 lbs! I don't have storage space! But I've wanted one for as long as I can remember. Well. On Saturday at midnight, guess what QVC's "today's special value" item was?  Yes, it was the Kitchenaid 4.5 quart, tilt top mixer with extra bowl, dough hook, scraper and splatter shield. And so, at 12:45 am when they announced that the pink was almost sold out, I bought it. A pale pink Kitchenaid mixer. And I had just finished piecing the pink mixer block, so it was meant to be. I'm not sure where I'll store it, but it will be kept busy making lemon meringue pie, coconut layer cake and pink buttercream!

Check out what projects other quilters are working on at today's Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday.

putting it together

The big Quilty Fun assembly continues! Bit by bit, putting it together. Those words come to my mind every time I'm on the verge of completing a quilt top. They're actually lyrics from Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award winning musical "Sunday in the Park with George," which is a fictionalized account of Georges Seurat's painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" with Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. I didn't see the original production in the 80's, but I was lucky to see the amazing revival on Broadway in 2008.

And bit by bit, I enjoy putting all the parts together. It's fun to see all of the blocks from the past 19 weeks finally turning into a finished work.

Here are this week's buzzy bees in their floral frame.

Happy houses and SPRING flowers. I am SO ready for spring! It's been in the mid to high 20's here in NYC this week, and super windy. And this weekend we'll have rain - does that count as April showers?

Here are two of the first blocks - apples from week 1 (in October!) and baskets from week 4. That was before I started my blog!

Honeycombs and cocoa cups! The colors of the cups were inspired by two of my favorite mugs - a red and green Santa mug that was a gift from my father a loooong time ago, and a piece from my collection of Spode Blue Geranium.

I've had a few questions here and on Instagram about the pattern. It's actually completely rotary cut! No paper piecing!

My scalloped border fabrics from Pam Kitty Morning are picked out and ready to sew as soon as Lori Holt publishes the pattern next week. And I might have something tricky planned for the bonnet label, too!

There are several other amazing versions of this quilt happening over at the Flickr group. I love to see how different this top can look in other fabrics. 

(P.S. Happy 84th birthday to Stephen Sondheim. Thanks for the music!)

buzzing around with quilty fun

The bumble bees have arrived! It's week 19 of the Quilty Fun sew along.

I miniaturized the pattern and made a quartet of bees instead of a solo bee. Each bee is half the size of the original block (roughly 6" instead of 12"). My calculations were all done on bright bee-yellow Post-It notes, and then discarded after cutting. The blocks went together really easily, but I may have complained a little when I had to sew the 3/4" easy-corner-triangles onto the sides of the heads. 

quilty fun bees 002.JPG

I'm so happy with my collection of little bees flying around in a circle. Just wait until they see that they're about to be surrounded by a bunch of colorful blocks! Lori Holt posted instructions on how to assemble the quilt top yesterday, and so, I'll have the top completely joined together within the next few days! All that will be left is to piece the borders and label. Yay!