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!




sewing when it's too hot to sew, with lecien

Sometimes it's just too darn hot to sew! It's so humid here that my fabric can almost be wrung out. Ok, I'm exaggerating (just a bit) but I had to get out of bed three times last night to drain my air conditioner. So I'm tired and crabby and need something easy to sew.

Enter the dynamic duo of Lecien's sushi rolls! They are called Rococo & Sweet and Petite Fleurs, and they will be coming soon to a fabric shop near you. I'm so happy that Lecien is now doing precuts - sushi rolls, layer cakes and charm packs.  Lecien is a Japanese fabric manufacturer, and they're famous for their bright Flower Sugar fabrics. You already know how much I love those!

I'm making a quick, easy strip quilt that was designed by Carrie Nelson for Quilts and More magazine's Winter 2014 issue. You might be familiar with Carrie's pattern company, Miss Rosie's Quilt Co, or you might already follow her on Instagram (she's @ModaRosie). I'm making 64 sixteen patch blocks. I'm combining both fabric collections, focusing mostly on the light and medium prints, with just a few darks. The fabulous magnetic pin bowl and ruler pal are by Jodi Nelson and came from her Etsy shop here. They're out of stock now but will be back on Monday, July 13.

I especially like the lavenders. That's a color that we don't see often enough, and it's a color that I don't have in my stash.

I've finished 20 blocks, with another 44 to be made. Now can I get them all sewn before my big move in less than three weeks?!

Happy weekend, everybody!

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!



friday finish - whit!

Meet Whit!

Whit by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. is finished! Maybe I should say that it's almost finished. After quilting, it will become a European pillow sham for my bed. To get the correct size for a pillow top, I needed to cut the border strips 2" wider than the pattern. And of course that meant that I needed to buy another 5" of background fabric. Grrrr. Luckily, Donna shipped extra fabric to me in just two days! (I could have joined my leftover fabric strips to get the right length, but I really didn't want to see the seams.) 

Whit measures 26" square. Each Flying Dutchman block is 4". I used Flower Sugar by Lecien - most of it is current season, but I tossed in some older pastel favorites, too. And for extra visual texture, I added 1/8" mini gingham from Riley Blake. I love how it coordinates perfectly with the florals. 

This was a fun quilt to make! Nice little blocks and short border strips. I usually dislike the process of pinning borders, but 26" borders - I can handle that! 

The Another Year of Schnibbles sew along is hosted by A Quilting Life and Pink Pincushion, and you can get all the details about how to join the group here

And now can I start a new quilt? I am dying to cut into my new Christmas fabrics

I'm linking up today with Finish It Up Fridays at Crazy Mom Quilts. 

flying dutchmen

Sixteen Flying Dutchman blocks are done! They're for my Little Bites "Whit" mini quilt. Why is this block called Flying Dutchman, anyway?! Wikipedia says that a Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. Maybe this refers to how I felt doomed to make 128 mini flying geese forever?

I'm kidding, of course. The blocks were actually really quick and easy to construct once the geese were completed. There's nothing complicated here. Each block measures 4" finished. I was a little concerned about getting my points to match in the centers but they turned out really nicely.

It took some maniacal focus on Thursday and Friday nights to get these pieced. I spent the early part of last week in Dallas on a business trip - hence, no sewing for three days. This is an annual trip where I train and motivate a group of 75 people to sell my company's products throughout the holidays. It was quite a production, in a hotel ballroom. I had special music, snacks and decor, and I even did a costume change mid-lecture! It was hysterical, but hopefully they all learned something, too. Then I rushed back to NYC to meet with another retailer. So it was a temporary break from my normal life, but sometimes I gotta do the real job!

I'll leave you with a shot of all 16 blocks. They're ready for sashing, cornerstones and a border! A finish is coming soon!

floral flying geese

The flying geese have arrived! I've got 32 sets of 4 matching geese. They'll finish at 1" x 2". Yeah, I know. Crazy. They took longer to make than I had expected - they're super easy to make and trim with the Mini Fit To Be Geese ruler, but they're a little tedious. I also make them in color groups because then I have a feeling of accomplishment ("Yay, all the red geese are stitched!")

Ok, now that they're sewn and trimmed, I need to decide on a setting. First there is the Flying Dutchman variation. I love these. The blocks look scrappy, but they're really perfectly controlled. It does mean that my points will all need to meet in the middle correctly.

And then there are the straight rows of flying geese going in opposite directions. I really like these too! I could do them either randomly mixed up like I've shown here, or I could arrange them in an ombre rainbow setting.

So which will I choose? I'll think about it for a few days, because once I start sewing there's no unpicking!