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! 

let's cook! snapshots block 5

It's Snapshots sew along time again! This month's block is Kindred Kitchen. It's the perfect vintage apron!

I had to add a fun stripey pocket to the apron.

Don't tell anybody, but I just wear a tshirt and khakis while cooking - NO apron. Maybe this goes back to a bad baking experience at a job that I had when I was in college. I was the baker's assistant at the food hall. I was responsible for making "monster-sized" chocolate chip cookies. I would load the oven with many, many sheet pans full of cookie dough, and the pans would be rotated in the oven by a conveyor belt. The only problem was that  I couldn't remove the baking sheets from the oven fast enough, and cookies continually burned. I was fired and told that I would never make it as a baker. Now who gets fired from baking cookies?!

Are you ready to get started cooking up your own cute apron? The full details about the Snapshots sew along are on the Fat Quarter Shop's Jolly Jabber blog here. The pattern download is available here, and please consider making a small donation to St Jude's Children's Research Hospital here. Get creative and sew blocks from your stash, or use the kit which features Daysail fabrics. Plus, there's another fun, monthly video with Kimberly, Bonnie and Camille that you can watch here.

And I still can't bake cookies, but I know how to eat them.

snapshots block 4 - puppy love

Who's ready for puppy love?

It's Snapshots month 4! Can you believe that we're already one third of the way through this quilt?! Ok, time for a quick refresher. Snapshots is a monthly sew-along, hosted by Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics. Each month we'll make a block that represents a snapshot of our lives. (Is it still called a snapshot if it's taken with a portable electronic device? Yikes can you imagine a quilt-of-the-future called "Selfie" with blocks that look like selfie sticks?)

Mr. (or Miss) Puppy really went together quickly. Just assemble the head and arm unit, then the cute basket and bow unit...

Then stitch the three strip units together. I'll sew the button eyes down after it's quilted. I think my longarm quilter might appreciate that.

Of course, it helps if you have a friend to help. Mia is wondering why I'm sewing a puppy block. (Relax, Mia, because there's a kitty block coming up in a few months!)

Snapshots is also a fundraiser! The pattern download is free and you can pick up your own copy on Fat Quarter Shop's Jolly Jabber blog here. A donation of $5 (or more) is requested for St Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Such a great cause, and quilters have broken the goal twice! The first goal was for $10,000 and then it was increased to $20,000. So far, over $21,000 has been raised!

My little puppy started with the Daysail fabric included in the kit, but I switched the basket print for an aqua floral Miss Kate print.

The Puppy Love block is a snapshot of my life in two completely unrelated ways. There was always a dachshund or miniature schnauzer in the house when I was growing up, and I have memories that are happy and funny and a little wistful. And then there's Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love". I was obsessed with Donny & Marie (you already know I'm a little bit country!) and I finally saw them in concert a few years ago. As I sewed this block, Donny's song Puppy Love ran through my head. YouTube video to the rescue! Here it is, but don't blame me if you start singing along.

And don't forget to check out the other bloggers participating in this quilt along. I can't wait to see all their creative puppy blocks. And I hope that you're sewing along too! Be sure to use the tag #fqssnapshots when sharing your photos on social media so we can all see them.

fig tree mystery sampler

I think that one of the best parts about quiltmaking is when I start a new quilt. There's all that new potential for discovering and creating and learning new techniques.

You're probably wondering about my other quilts-in-progress, right? I've finished the Moda Modern Building Blocks top! Yes! That thing is huge. I've been waiting for a sunny day to take some photos. Today was sunny... but I completely forgot to get out my camera. You'll see it soon.

So a few months ago, Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree and Company announced a mystery sampler block of the month. Well, I couldn't make up my mind! I was afraid of another block-of-the-month commitment so I stalled until it sold out (I was already working on the Modern and Snapshots BOMs). And mystery quilts scare me. I like to know what I'm getting into before I sign up and commit to that monthly charge on my credit card. What if I don't like the patterns? What if I don't like the fabric? But I love everything Fig Tree, and when the blocks started popping up on Instagram I felt like I was missing out. Joanna was nice enough to find enough fabric for me to get started... so here I am with a third BOM project. I was determined to finish the Modern quilt before I started this one. So, now is the time!

I've created my very technically advanced chart with fabric swatches. Haha! But seriously... we will be using the leftover bits of fabric in future months, and this little grid will help me to remember the names that Joanna uses for each print. It's just copy paper and a glue stick but it works. There are some great prints coming up soon - even some prints from other Moda designers, so I'm excited about that.

I love churn dash blocks. One of my all-time favorite blocks. So easy and classic and you can vary the dimensions to freshen it up. (This reminds me of a Civil War churn dash block-of-the-month that I discovered in a quilt shop in San Antonio and got hooked.) Then there's the rolling stone block...

I love the rolling stone blocks! But because I'm a little crazy, I started thinking about the block name. Rolling stone? Hummm, these blocks don't look like Mick Jagger or Keith Richards. I prefer to think of them as glamorous, like Mick's exes, Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall.

And then there are the Mini Stems blocks. Kinda deja vu-ish since I just made the Christmas Mini Stems quilt a few months ago. They're simple, time-consuming, and really cute.

The first month is done! (Well, almost... I'm going to temporarily skip the applique clamshell blocks and return to them later.) Now I need to complete three more back months and I'll be caught up. And just in time, because I've already signed up for the upcoming Fig Tree Christmas mystery sampler!

Thanks for checking up on me while I was away last week. I've been super busy at work - it's fall market time for the cosmetic industry - and I've had client meetings and dinners. I squeezed in an hour of sewing wherever I could last week. I've got a few more weeks like this before I return to normal. Those few minutes of sewing make me happy!

blogger bundle GIVEAWAY!


Yes, yes, yes! It's my first GIVEAWAY ever! I'm so proud to introduce you to the Greg Jones Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundle for Fat Quarter Shop!

I was excited when Fat Quarter Shop asked me if I'd like to curate a collection of fabric. Actually, that's a huge understatement. I was completely over-the-moon excited! It's the closest that I've gotten to my "gee wouldn't it be fabulous to be a quilt fabric designer" dream. So here it is, my first group of fabrics just for you! 

My goal was to put together a collection that would give you the full Grey Dogwood Studio fabric experience. I try to incorporate dots, plaids, florals, and an occasional novelty print into every quilt project. And in the past year I've been experimenting with white-on-white and colored backgrounds. They really do add a whole new layer of interest to quilts. So of course, we needed some of those fabrics for you.

Here we have three of my favorite Moda Bella Solids in Fuchsia, 30's Yellow and Amelia Green, atop a classic white-on-white dot by Sunrise Studio / Lakehouse. Pure vintage color, just like the quilt that I WISH I would find at the flea market or antique shop.

I added in 11 brand new fabrics from Just Dreamy 2 by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake, Pam Kitty Morning for Lakehouse Dry Goods and Wildflower Meadow by Melly & Me for Riley Blake.

Ok, so here's my little insider secret that won't be a secret anymore. I chose these fabrics by scouring/stalking the designer's websites, because the fabrics hadn't even been printed yet. And I had to just hope that they'd all work together. When the first blogger bundle arrived from Fat Quarter Shop last week I just couldn't believe how beautiful they are and how well they all play together. I've already started to cut mine up and very soon I'll show you a butterfly quilt that I'm working on.

I hope that you like it as much as I do. I hope that you hop over to Fat Quarter Shop to pick up your Greg Jones Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundle. (And don't forget that it's ok to buy yourself a Valentine's Day gift!)

And those lovely people over at Fat Quarter Shop have given me an extra blogger bundle to give away! All you need to do is leave me a comment here (not an email) and let me know what you would make with this bundle. No need to do anything tricky, although, of course, I'd love it if you choose to follow me via Bloglovin' or subscription (links on top right column) or even over on Instagram (I'm greydogwoodstudio). Easy, right? And make sure that your email address is included when you comment so that I can notify the winner. I'll leave the giveaway open until Saturday, January 31 midnight EST. (UPDATE - GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.)

moda modern building blocks update

How did I let nearly two months go by without working on the Moda Modern Building Blocks, Fig Tree Style? It's time to get caught up!

It's fun to receive the block-of-the-month fabric packets from Fig Tree. My challenge is that if I don't start sewing them immediately, then I move onto something else. (Kinda like magazine subscriptions, right? I'm reading January issues quickly, before the February issues arrive.)

I love watching the contrasts develop each month. I'd probably never put these colors together by myself, so in this case, it's nice that somebody else has made the fabric selection for me. These fabrics are Fig Tree's Somerset, Mirabelle and Moda Bella Solids. But I'm getting itchy and might start to shuffle some of the block colors, because, you know, I'm a quilty rebel. Haha.

Look at those two super-easy blocks! A big 'ol 6" half square triangle block in grey toile and coral dots. It almost seems like it's a cheater block because it only took 5 minutes. It should be a component of a block instead of a real block! It was a treat to sew after some of the more difficult blocks, and it gave me a chance to showcase the entire white flower.

The orange and green star block nearly killed me. I spent an entire night on that little 6" block! It was all about sew, unsew, repeat, and yet I love the finished star. I won't think about how many of those magazines I could have read in that time!

I have 30 blocks done! Just 19 to go. And the January fabric pack has new colors, like teal and a frosty green houndstooth.

Today marks my 1 year blogging anniversary! Another anniversary is about to arrive soon, along with a few milestones. I think that this calls for a celebration. Stay tuned!

(And before I forget to tell you, I added photo links to my new Blogger's Bundle at Fat Quarter Shop and the Snapshots quilt along. They're near the top of the right column. Click them for more information. More about that Blogger's Bundle soon!)

snapshots quilt along starts now!

I'm so excited today! Why? It's the first month of the Snapshots Quilt Along! I'll give you the full scoop in just a minute. But first, I gotta show you this month's block! It's a LAYER CAKE! 

Just what we need right after the holidays, right? A big piece of yummy cake. Except that this cake has no calories. None whatsoever. And we can all feel good about having our cake because the Snapshots Quilt Along is a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

On the 15th of each month for twelve months, Fat Quarter Shop will post a block pattern that you can download. The link to this month's pattern is here. The blocks represent snapshot-worthy moments in our lives, such as sewing (of course!), food, entertainment and pets. (My cats can't wait for me to hurry up and get to the kitty block!) The patterns are free, but a donation of $5.00 per pattern is suggested. St. Jude will benefit from the funds raised, and Moda Fabrics and Fat Quarter Shop will match donations, with a goal of $10,000. As I write this, donations are already at $2040, and today is just the first day!

I'll be sewing with the Snapshots kit. It features Bonnie & Camille's hot new Daysail fabric collection for Moda Fabrics. I'll also add in some of Bonnie & Camille's Miss Kate just to be a little different from the kit. The kit is available for preorder here, and it even includes a spool of Aurifil thread and some buttons for the cat and dog eyes. There's also a backing kit which has a camera block. But you can definitely get creative and use your stash or your own customized fabric collection. All you need to do is download the pattern each month and you're ready to sew! I'd love to see this done in Me & My Sister's new Bandana fabric, a grouping of Fig Tree fabrics, or Bunny Hill's new Mistletoe Lane.

Bonnie & Camille have even filmed a tutorial on how to assemble the cake block along with Kimberly Jolly from Fat Quarter Shop. You'll see that the block only looks complicated. It's easy to do when broken down into simple steps. And there's no applique and no templates!

Each month, I'll be sewing along with a group of amazing designers and bloggers. I'm honored to be included with this talented group of ladies. Be sure to hop over to be inspired by their cake blocks, too.

Even more details can be found here, along with a preview of all the upcoming blocks! I do hope that you'll join us. It will be fun for a good cause!

snapshots quilt along!

I've joined the Snapshots Quilt Along! I will be sewing twelve novelty blocks that capture life's happy snapshot-worthy moments! We all take pictures of our pets and our food, right? Well, this quilt includes cat and dog blocks to go along with cake, ice cream and picnic food! We'll also create some outdoor-inspired blocks, such as a hot air balloon, bicycle, sailboat and Volkswagen.

All twelve blocks, borders, binding and backing use Bonnie & Camille's hot new fabric collection for Moda called Daysail. I love the happy aqua, red and navy in this collection. And look at the cool white-on-white print! Would I be weird if I said that the white print reminds me of sequins? Here are some of my very favoritest prints in the collection.

daysail fabric.jpg

But maybe the best part is that the Snapshots quilt along will benefit St Jude Children's Research Hospital to help advance cures and preventative measures for children's illnesses. Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics will match up to $10,000 of the donations that are received during the quilt along. I love that, and I'll be making monthly donations right along with everybody else to help reach this goal.

So here's how it works. Fat Quarter Shop will post a pattern pdf which can be downloaded on the 15th of each month. There will be twelve monthly block patterns. The first pattern will be posted on January 15 and will be a yummy, layer cake (y'all remember my cake obsession, right?!) A donation to St Jude of $5 is requested each month when you download the pattern, although, of course, you may donate whatever you wish. And trust me when I say that these highly detailed patterns are well worth your time and donation. I've already started to work on the layer cake. Everything is rotary pieced! Here's a little peek!

You can use your own fabric! So get creative and clean out your stash! Or go ahead and sew with the Daysail Snapshots kit to make a quilt that looks like mine.

I'll post my block each month on the 15th, along with a link to the pattern. Fat Quarter Shop will also have a fun, tutorial video each month to help you sew your blocks. Here is a link to an introductory video that Kimberly Jolly taped with special guests, Bonnie Olaveson and Camille Roskelley to introduce you to the quilt along. (It is fun to finally hear Bonnie and Camille speak!)

I will be sewing along with a great group of talented designers and quilters. I'm honored to be a part of the group, and I can't wait to see their fabric combinations. Find even more detailed information about the Snapshots quilt along (and a preview of all the blocks) here.

I do hope that you'll join me!

(Do you see how I've loaded so many links onto this post? That's because my new computer works quickly and efficiently!!! Yay! Adding posts to my blog is fun again!)

bring on the snowmen!

white christmas due south 018.JPG

I love red and white quilts at Christmas. And I love the Winter Wonderland collection by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda with happy snowmen, stars and trees!

I bought a fat quarter bundle when it first came out several months ago. But I had no idea how to use it! Most red and white quilts seem to be in solid fabrics, or else they're in vintage turkey reds. I searched though photos from the Infinite Variety show of red and white quilts in NYC a few years ago. That didn't help... most of the quilts were done in solids. Then I bought several patterns but none of them were exactly right. Finally, while reading A Touch of Rosie Quilts by Carrie Nelson, I came across this quilt.

Miss Rosie's Due South pattern cover.jpg

I thought that this might look like shattered peppermint candy if it was done in red and white prints. And of course I love peppermint candy! So I had my pattern. 

white christmas due south 051.JPG

Once again, I'm using the Fit To Be Geese ruler to create accurate flying geese. There is very little wasted fabric when using this ruler, and even the trimmings look pepperminty!

white christmas due south 006.JPG

Winter Wonderland sold out quickly. There is some on the Bunny Hill website, and there is plenty of it on Ebay. If you're lucky, you might even find a few bolts at your local quilt shop. I'll need to buy yardage for my backing before it disappears!

The quilt will need 212 geese, and I've finished 152. The repetitive sewing and trimming is actually a nice break from my previous quilt project - no thinking involved! Just cut, sew, trim, repeat! The quilt will also have a sprinkling of twinkly stars.

white christmas due south 061.JPG

Oh, and in case you thought I just made 152 geese instead of sleeping, well, I didn't! I've been quietly working on these over the past few weeks, in between other projects.

A Touch of Rosie might be out of print, but Carrie has just reissued Due South as an individual pdf pattern. It can be purchased for download on her website


scrumptious 100 patch quilt

Remember the fat quarter bundle of Bonnie & Camille's Scrumptious fabric that I bought at Quilt Festival? (I know that you didn't forget about it!) I carried it onto the plane rather than putting it into my checked suitcase. I'd rather lose my clothes and shoes than my new fabric!

Well, it didn't take me long to open it up and start cutting.

I knew immediately what I was going to make! It's a 100 patch block as seen in the Sept/Oct 2014 issue of QuiltMania magazine. It was shown in deep, rich colors, but I knew that it would take on a much fresher look with lots of bright citrus colors. Each square is 1", with a finished block of 10". You won't believe how different this quilt can look with a color makeover.  

QuiltMania magazine Sept/Oct 2014 issue 103

QuiltMania magazine Sept/Oct 2014 issue 103

The big question was which background fabric to use. I considered the Scrumptious white-on-white bias stripe (you can see this in the background behind my blocks), but I only have a few yards in my stash, with no idea how much I'll really need. I have a whole new bolt of Kona Snow. Perfect!

blocks 1 2 3.jpg
block 2.jpg

It's completely strip pieced, and each fat quarter will make two blocks. I have enough fabric to make this much larger than the pattern! I might add in some Miss Kate scallops (the "sundae" print) just because they're so cute, and they'll add another textural element. I'm also thinking that I might alter the pattern by adding some sashing, which would help to keep the focus on the fabric within each block. The blocks are super easy to sew, but they take me awhile because I use a billion pins to keep them flat. 

blocks 1 2 3 crop.jpg

Just imagine this quilt in your favorite colors! I bought the QuiltMania magazine at a local newsstand, but it's also available here

moda modern building blocks - the first 18!

Yay! I've completed 18 Moda Modern Building Blocks, Fig Tree style!

This month's blocks all featured the Fig Tree Somerset orange with cream dots and Moda Bella ivory solid. It was like making creamsicles!

I have a tip for you when sewing with bias cut triangles. I love using the Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Corner Trimmer. It gets rid of dog ears before you sew your pieces together, and it helps to make sure that your pieces line up correctly. It's an inexpensive gadget that really works. And it's only $5 from Marti Michell's website. I had one in my sewing box for years and then it mysteriously disappeared, so I recently ordered a new one before I started this project. I used it on all the orange triangles on this square-in-a-square block. 

blocks 24 + 25.jpg

I can hardly believe that Grey Dogwood Studio is going "modern" with this quilt! But I love the way that the blocks look when they're all combined. I really hope that next month's fabric shipment from Fig Tree Quilts has some red!

And now for some fun news!

Be sure to visit me on Monday because I'm the next blogger on the Around The World blog tour! You'll get to learn more about me, my projects, work style and why I'm different from other quilters. Ever wonder about my inspiration? How I put fabrics together? All that and more!

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moda modern building blocks - month 3

It's the third month of the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt- Fig Tree style!

This 24" star block includes a tiny orange pindot print from the current Fig Tree collection, Somerset, mixed in with Moda Bella solids. I love having just the smallest hint of a print. It warms up the block and makes it a little less "modern" and feels a bit more vintage. And then there's the positively huge 30" star block.

These blocks are so dramatic because of their size. I'll also be constructing three smaller blocks this month, and when it's all finished, hopefully my quilt will look like this:

Image from Fig Tree and Company

Image from Fig Tree and Company

The Fig Tree version is sold out, but there is a kit featuring an alternate colorway coming soon to the Fat Quarter Shop. You can also purchase just the pattern and use your own fabrics. The kit and pattern are both available here

This past weekend, I went shopping in search of some upholstery fabric. Any chance to visit NYC's garment district makes me happy. It takes me back to my days at school and hanging out in designer showrooms. And it's a vibrant reminder of the great design creativity that comes out of our country. I only needed to visit one store - Mood Fabrics!

You might have heard of Mood Fabrics. It's where the Project Runway contestants shop. The store was positively buzzing on Saturday afternoon. It's on the second and third floor of an unmarked office building. There are bolts of silk taffeta, shirtings, upholstery fabrics, organzas, satins, burnout velvets... I kinda wonder why some of those outfits on Project Runway are so ugly when the designers have access to all this great fabric!

All that fabric shopping left me hungry for a cupcake! That problem was quickly solved with a visit to Sweet Revenge in the West Village. Sweet Revenge is a tiny cupcakerie that also offers light lunch food, and has special pairings of cupcakes with wine or beer. There are never more than six cupcake flavors, and they're all amazing. I had a "Dirty" cupcake - dark chocolate cake, rich chocolate ganache and dusted with cocoa powder. The cupcakes seem very adult - no sprinkles, no pink and no gummy bears here!

I'd like to thank you for the great response to my Quilty Fun birthday cake quilt last week. I really appreciate the comments and emails that I received. I'm happy that you were able to celebrate with me!


sashing the homestead

Yes, finally! All 20 Fig Tree Homestead blocks are finished!

Isn't this the quirkiest house block? I've never seen anything else quite like it. It's almost an optical illusion. I really love those Fig Tree blues - the sky and navy prints.

I started the sashing last night. But I just wasn't paying attention to what I was doing! Often the simple sewing is where I make the most mistakes. There was quite a lot of unpinning and unsewing going on. My biggest hurdle was getting the horizontal seams of the grass to line up from row to row. It was easy to fix with a little concentration and pins. 

It's amazing how much abuse those poor 1 1/2" strips of sashing fabric had to endure!

And after all that effort, I love how it's coming together. This quilt is going to become a favorite! I just need to add two outer borders and it will be ready for quilting.

Thanks so much for visiting me today. I'm always happy to have house guests (heehee get it?!).

moda modern building blocks - month 2

Howdy, everybody! I recently returned from a short trip to New Mexico (yes, again!) and immediately got back to sewing. It was exciting to find an envelope from Eric Figueroa at Fig Tree and Co crammed into my tiny mailbox. That could only mean one thing - the September fabric pack for the Modern Modern Building Blocks sampler arrived!

Last month I made one 36" block and four 6" blocks, and this month's fabric made an 18" block and four more 6" blocks. Working with Moda Bella solids is fun! I don't think that I've ever used solid fabric for blocks, so this is a bit of a stretch for me. I love that tiny coral pindot fabric from Fig Tree's recent Mirabelle collection. It adds just a bit of texture without being too overpowering. 

The Flower Sugar fabric for my Another Year of Schnibbles "Whit" pattern also arrived while I was away (I could barely open my mailbox!) and I quicky starched and cut it. Here are my fabrics, just waiting to be sewn into flying geese.

So when I wasn't sewing or blogging last week, here's what I was up to. My sister took me on a trip to New Mexico to celebrate my upcoming birthday. She's traveled around the world but never to the Southwest US! First, we visited Taos Pueblo, which has been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years and has no running water or electricity. 

And we had to have a snack at the pueblo. I love this sign. 

No running water or electricity, but they managed to find Sue Bee honey and a plastic tablecloth. That cracks me up. 

Then came a 2 1/2 mile hike in Bandelier National Monument. It's breathtaking to see caves carved out of ancient volcanic ash where primitive people made their homes. There are still traces of their artwork thousands of years later (swirls, zigzag serpents, and... people with marshmallow heads?).

We saw these sunflowers EVERYWHERE we went, growing wild and out-of-control along the highways as well as in the park.

Surely this volcanic ash home could use a nice quilt with pointy-points and heirloom quilting?

After visiting the Bradbury Museum in Los Alamos to learn about the secret mission to create atomic bombs during WWII, we then stopped at Camel Rock, just outside of Santa Fe. We joked about how silly this rock formation looks, but after driving by it 8 times we decided that we just needed to get a closer look. I think that if you look at it head-on it turns into a cobra instead of a camel, but never mind. I wouldn't want Camel Rock Casino to have to change its name!

And, of course, we spent time in Santa Fe, where the annual Fiesta was taking place. And the green chile pepper harvest was being roasted in giant rotating metal drums. We really had a great time. I got to spend time in one of my favorite locations with my favorite little sister!

back at the ranch

I have been quietly piecing the Fig Tree Homestead quilt blocks throughout the past few months. They help me to avoid other sewing projects. Whenever I have a quilt top that needs the dreaded borders, well, it's easier to stitch up a few houses! Fourteen houses are now done, with another six still to be built. 

The latest batch of three blocks just did not want to cooperate with me! Sometimes the simplest piecing can get messed up really fast. These blocks are constructed in three layers. There's the roof section, the middle window and door section and then the walkway and grass. The middle row is just a bunch of rectangles. Should be simple, right? I stitched them over and over and over and over. First the strips were too short - I mean, 3/4" too short in the length! And then they became 1" too long. I ripped and resewed them. I cut more fabric and sewed them again. And then I sewed them together in the wrong order. Whaaaat? Well, I finally figured it out. My sewing machine needle was bent just a teeny bit, but it was enough to turn my scant 1/4" seam allowance into a generous 1/4" seam allowance. A new needle solved the problem. Now why didn't I think of that several hours earlier? (I can't even tell you how long the last 3 blocks took to sew! It's too embarrassing! But I did win this battle.)

And here's the house lineup so far! First, the blues!

The pinks and greys!

The reds!

And the aqua and yellow houses. 

I'll continue to work on these in between other quilts. I just need to get the border sewn onto the Jumping Jacks quilt and I'll have another finish soon!

moda modern building blocks

Hi everybody and happy Monday! I hope that you had a great weekend. I was able to spend some time with friends enjoying barbeque in Brooklyn and saw the new movie Magic in the MoonlightLoved it. Set in the French Riviera in the late 1920's, it's the story of a famous magician (Colin Firth) who sets out to prove that a medium who conjures the dead (Emma Stone) is a fraud and a con artist. Go see it for a fun, light-hearted, grown-up movie with absolutely no explosions, no superheroes and gorgeous scenery. But right before all of that, I started a new quilt! It's the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt, Fig Tree style. Here's a rendering of the quilt that I borrowed from the Fresh Figs blog.

I liked the original quilt when I first saw photos of it from the Pittsburgh quilt market. You might have already seen that version, in quite a rainbow of solid fabrics. Joanna Figueroa then reinterpreted the quilt in Fig Tree colors. What I really love about this version is that there are some subtle tone-on-tone fabrics mixed in with the solids. Her quilt is being done as a block-of-the-month. But it was very popular and it sold out before I could sign up. Then when I was in Florida a few weeks ago, Joanna posted a photo of it on Instagram and mentioned that a few slots had opened up. But I was in meetings and didn't see that message until hours later! Luckily I was able to get into the program. Whew. The first month's shipment arrived late last week.

Three fabrics came with the first installment - Moda Bella solids in Royal, Carribean and Ivory. They look just like my Delray Beach photos! The quilt includes 48 blocks in measurements ranging from 6" all the way up to 36", with the finished quilt measuring 84" x 96".  (The Fig Tree version is now sold out, but there are kits for the original version at several online retailers. You can also buy just the pattern and use your own fabric. Just do a search for Moda Modern Building Blocks.)

I never thought that I'd make a 36" square block out of a bunch of oddly sized triangles and actually like it. Yes, a square yard!

I was SO happy when this block turned out perfectly. I didn't know if I could do it! There are also four 6" blocks to be made this month. I've done two of them already.

The 6" blocks remind me of the Farmer's Wife blocks. And the construction method is similar. The Moda pattern provides cutting directions and a diagram showing how the pieces of each block fit together. It does not include instructions on how to construct or press the blocks, so an understanding of block construction is needed. I'm making HSTs and flying geese units with my own method instead of cutting triangles wherever possible (I love using the Mini Fit To Be Geese ruler for absolutely perfect flying geese).

I might customize my quilt even further by substituting some of my Fig Tree stash for a few solids. You know... just to be different. 

I've seen that a few other quilters are planning to do two versions of this, one in solids and one in prints. I can be completely happy with just this one quilt. But I'm also dreaming about a second version in pastels and florals - for example, Lori Holt's upcoming Flower Patch collection would be perfect for this. Then I could gift one quilt and keep one for myself. But can I fit it all in to my schedule?! I'm going to be optimistic!

quilted hot chocolate

Brrrrr! It's coooold outside! With all of today's snow and super-cold temperature here in NYC, it made me think about a nice cup of hot chocolate. A cup of hot chocolate quilt, that is!

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I started this quilt just a few weeks ago during the holiday break. And since it is snowing, I thought that now would be the perfect time to finish it up. Plus, it's holiday fabric - and I really want to move on to springy sewing. 

To make a cup of hot chocolate, first start with a generous helping of chocolate. Oops, I mean a generous helping of fabric! I've used a fat eighth bundle of In From The Cold by Kate Spain.

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Next, start sewing! I used this great free pattern on the Moda website. Kate calls the pattern "Hot Cocoa" but I've always referred to the drink as hot chocolate. So I've renamed my quilt. But wow, this pattern is a LOT of pages, so fill up your printer with paper! There are just 9 blocks plus sashing. I've made a few alterations to Kate's pattern just to make it a bit more unique and, well, Grey Dogwood-y. Here are a few of my favorite blocks so far. 

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Thanks for stopping by! I'll be back soon with the finished top. But now I need to go play in the snow. And make hot chocolate. The real kind. With marshmallows. Lots of marshmallows!