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!

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 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!

maggie's first dance block of the month and GIVEAWAY

Hi everybody! If you're visiting for the first time, welcome to my blog. Today, I'd like to tell you about a fun new block of the month quilt along! And I'm sure that you know I've already signed up, because I seem to be completely unable to resist a good BOM! (And if you're still with me in a few minutes, I might have a giveaway!)

Let me tell you all about it. First, it's designed by Jacquelynne Steves. I've followed Jacquelynne on Instagram for quite awhile and I've always admired her cheerful quilt designs and watercolor art. She has also designed several fabric collections and is contributing to the Splendid Sampler (I know that many of you are making those blocks!). But I didn't know that she designs a FREE block of the month every year. Do you want to see what we're making?

I love it - four different focus blocks, five setting blocks and a border to showcase a special print. You have three options for the pieced blocks - applique the center, embroider the center, or just leave them plainly pieced. I've chosen to piece my blocks and I'll use a fun retro print for the center of each block. 

The BOM will run for 6 months, and it begins in June. We'll make blocks in June, July, August and September. Then we'll make the alternate blocks in October and put it all together in November.

You can choose any fabrics that you'd like to work with. I've changed my mind about fabrics many times, but I think that I've finally settled on an assortment from three collections. I'll be using Strawberry Biscuit by Elea Lutz, The Shabby Strawberry by Emily Hayes and Calico Days by Lori Holt. Plus a few Riley Blake ginghams for that extra-retro touch. My fabric order just arrived today. And here they are!

The monthly patterns are FREE. All you need to do is visit Jacquelynne at the link here and sign up for her newsletter. She will email the pattern directly to you each month of the quilt along. She even put together a line drawing of the quilt so that you can color it in with your favorite fabrics. How cool is that?! I'm sewing along with other quilt bloggers, and I hope that you'll visit them, too.

It will be fun to see everybody's blocks as we sew together. And there will be monthly giveaways from the quilt along sponsors. Read more about Jacquelynne's quilt design inspiration and her sponsors here. I'll be showing my blocks every month right here on my blog and also on my Instagram page.

And we are kicking this off with a GIVEAWAY! Jacquelynne will be providing two digital quilt patterns shown below to one lucky commenter on my blog. Super cute, right?

All you need to do is leave a comment here. Let me know what crafty project you're working on now or are hoping to start soon. (I'm not picky, so you can tell me anything!) The contest is open to US and international readers and will close at midnight Central time on May 4. I'll chose a winner at random, maybe with the assistance of a cat paw. Just make sure that your email is included in your contact information so I can notify the winner (I'll chose another winner if I can't reach you).

Ok, so don't forget... go here to register for the free BOM patterns, and follow my progress on Instagram here!

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!


catching up... from indiana!

Hi everybody! I'm BACK. I can't believe that I've been gone nearly two months. Yikes. I'll tell you all about my move to Indiana very soon. But let me show you what I've been SEWING!

* Warning - lots and lots of text coming up. Remember, I am catching up!

I went without sewing right up until last weekend. I wasn't feeling the need to sew - unbelievable, right? I was so caught up in organizing the apartment and finally being able to cook and bake in my new kitchen. Cookbooks replaced quilt books, like this book and this one, too. But then suddenly, I felt that I NEEDED to start sewing again. And now I'm right back to where I was before. Only this time, I'm going to try to slow it down and enjoy sewing more than I did before.

So. I couldn't decide which abandoned project to sew first. I found that some of those projects that I abandoned are better left undone. New home, new quilt projects! But I really wanted to resume the Fig Tree mystery block-of-the-month quilt. I was only 4 months behind. Totally do-able, right? First, my sewing machine got a long-overdue tuneup. I am THIS CLOSE to being caught up.  It's fun to begin putting chunks of the quilt top together. 

And I made a little switcheroo. Applique has never been my strength, and I'm probably too lazy to spend hours learning to do it correctly. But this quilt has some appliqued blocks. Groan. After agonizing over an appliqued basket for months (I am not kidding) I finally decided to change the block. Of course I gave myself some rules - the alternate block needed to use a Fig Tree pattern, and I would use the same fabrics that were recommended by Joanna. After several more days spent reviewing every single Fig Tree pattern that I own (and even buying more patterns) I settled on a schoolhouse block. It's from the Fig Tree Houses book. And there it is in a taupe and peach print. I love it so much and I think it will make my quilt just a wee bit different from everybody else's quilts. I have a few more blocks that I'm going to change, too. Just wait till you see them!

Now about that move.

The decision to leave NYC was actually very easy. I had lived there for exactly 30 years and in the same apartment for exactly 20 years. And I had one of those milestone birthdays in the past year. Lots of round numbers, know what I mean? I felt like that was a sign. Paul accepted a job in Indiana and I said sure, let's go. It'll be a change. But I didn't know if I could handle leaving. See, my dream was always to live in NYC. And I was lucky to be able to live my dream for 30 years. I love New York, I really do. I had so many unbelievable experiences there and I could definitely write a book, as they say. But for all the sparkly glamour of the city, there's also the dirtiness, rudeness, expensiveness and small-apartment-ness.

The Mayflower people packed up our stuff into a BIG truck. I said goodbye to my apartment - those walls have ears - and I felt NOTHING. No tears, no sadness. Just hope for the future. We put Chloe and Mia into their carriers and got into the car for a very long drive. (Note - cats do not like hotel rooms in creepy, deserted towns in Ohio just off the highway with only a fly-infested McDonald's for dinner.)

Our furniture took 28 days to get here. Apparently, Mayflower had a "shortage of truck drivers." Really?! Their communication was terrible. Their service was terrible. And their prices are very high.

And yet.

I love being here! Every day I think about how radically different my life is. You know - it's all that stuff that most people have, but I never had in NYC. I feel like a real person getting to use all of the modern conveniences here that I went without before: a full-sized shower and tub, a full-sized stove, oven and fridge. A dishwasher (gasp) and a laundry closet (yay) and a balcony where I can grow plants and read. Central air. I can get out of bed without walking into a wall. I can finally use my Kitchenaid mixer, and I've bought lots of new kitchen stuff. I have a home office slash sewing room slash guest bedroom.

The outdoor air is cleaner. I can see stars now (city skyscrapers light up the sky too much, making stars "invisible.") The hummingbirds (and wasps) spent the summer hanging out at our hummingbird feeder. Local events take place at the 4-H center, and we've gone to an antique show and a quilt show there. The high school football games are broadcast on the radio. People are very friendly here - the grocery store checkout people usually ask what I'm planning to cook with my purchase. My new favorite stores have become Target , TJ Maxx and Marshalls instead of Bloomingdale's, Ralph Lauren and Gucci (seriously, have you seen all the cute stuff at Target? Amazing!) Paducah and Nashville are very close, so they'll be places that we can visit in the future.

And I am obsessed with buying new stuff for the home.

The (slight) downside? I miss my old barber. I miss fancy restaurants, but we have almost every national chain restaurant here - all except for my beloved Cheesecake Factory (oh pleeeease come here!) I cannot even tell you how many times I've been to the local Dairy Queen for their Peanut Buster Parfaits and Cotton Candy Blizzards.

And I do not miss NYC at all! I flew to NY a few weeks ago for a meeting. I arrived a day early so that I could visit my favorite restaurants and shops. I even had dinner in my old neighborhood, and I was shocked by how dirty and noisy it was. I couldn't wait to get on the plane and leave. New York was no longer my home. The song that played through my head as I walked around the city was Madonna's "This Used To Be My Playground." But no longer.

Indiana is my home now. And I'm glad to be here.

Thank you so much for the emails and comments asking me if I'm ok and if I'm planning to return. I missed you all. I missed sewing. And I'm happy to be back.

See you very soon! There's a new Snapshots block coming later this week.