Wednesday, July 10, 2019

One Thing Leads to Another :: Skinny Minny

As with many of my projects creative license has a way of happening!  This doesn't just happen with my own designs.  When I use another makers pattern I like to put my personal twist or creative license in a design.  I give full credit to the designer, always love their original concept and especially enjoy that because of their creativity it inspires me to take it to another creative level.

Such is the case with Skinny Minny Geese.  The pattern is by Kelly of Jeli Quilts and available in her Payhip shop.  Who doesn't love flying geese, a rainbow and paper piecing?!  A couple of those might be an acquired taste to some, but for me it's the perfect storm!  

16.5" x 16.5"
It all started with the need to paper piece.  Something.  I settled on Skinny Minny thinking it would be a fun, small, quick-ish project.  The 'quick' part was a total fantasy, as paper piecing isn't usually quick in any way shape or form.  

And it's less quick when you decided to use one of every color for the geese, and decide to make the background gradient grays!  Once that idea takes hold I'm hard pressed to stop it.  It just happens and I have to go with it.

At this point I could have stopped and called it done.  I could have...but I didn't! 

I added three (3) 1/2" borders while carefully matching the seams along the sides.  I liked it so much that it made me want to do more round...of something...

With the tiny geese being so small I wanted to add a little more color in some way.  That became the point of no return and down the rabbit hole I went!  

More geese seemed like a great idea and with that I had to draft my own paper piece geese pattern.  It had to happen.  The idea was firmly planted, therefore it shall be!

The madness ended with another round of three (3) borders.  And with that, this part of my crazy train ride came to an end.

You know what that means don't you?  The dreaded quilting part rears it's ugly head!  Admittedly, I don't mind quilting small quilts like this.  It's a heck of a lot easier than big ones and it allows me to quilt like I know what I'm doing!


The center circle ended up not being perfect as you can clearly see.  I'm not terribly sad about that, as I am not a perfect quilter.  And I don't mind sharing, showing and pointing out imperfections.  There is no shame here!


My usual method of quilting is to take one section, or in this case one border at a time.  I've never been able to look at an entire quilt and come up with a good all over quilting design.  It just doesn't happen.  

I ended up with a combination of circles, echoed geese, grids and straight lines.  Somehow it worked and I'm pretty pleased with the results.  

Many times you can't see the quilting detail unless you turn it over and look at the back.  My one regret throughout this entire adventure was not using a solid gray on the back.  Then again I used a print and that means I have one less print in my stash!  

I feel like complete finishes have been few and far between lately.  Finishing this wall hanging has encouraged me to quilt up a couple projects that have lingered on my design wall for far too long.  And, I can't believe I'm saying this, I'm excited to be machine quilting again!  Coming from one who dreads that process...that is a monumental statement! 


Sunday, July 7, 2019

A Moment of Zen :: Bee Inspired

In my last Bee Inspired post, Bee Inspired :: All Caught Up, I mentioned that since I was in the bee block mode I may as well try my hand at my own prompt and make a couple blocks.  

The prompt I came up with was A Moment of Zen.

ZEN:  a state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.

Finding the right balance in life isn't always easy.  Hectic schedules, work, family or deadlines sometimes throws us into a tailspin, when all we want or need is a moment of calm.  My life isn't nearly as crazy as so many others, yet I still search for that moment of Zen.  Centered, calm and peaceful.  



I wanted everyone to think about Zen Gardens.  Sand, lines and a focal point.  The center point could be round or oval shapes with the quantity up to the maker.  

I wanted the colors to be calm neutrals, sand, beige, gray, aqua, blue or off white.  Not my usual color palette, but necessary for a Zen state of mind! 


When I received the first blocks from Audrey @artandstole, I was super inspired and anxious to make my own Zen version.  I had a very hard time getting good pictures of the blocks! 

Here are Audrey's:

I love that each block is different, but still captures the calm vibe I was hoping for. 

Audrey wasn't happy with one of her blocks, so she made three!  I love all three and think they all work and certainly fit the theme.  

My first block started with the circle.  I'm a huge fan of the six-minute circle technique and used it with both of my blocks.  

I wasn't aiming for perfect circles but I did want three shades of blue and I got that!

My goal for the lines was to make them appear as if they had shadows by using a darker gray between a light gray.  Truthfully, I've never used a rake in a zen garden, but I'm imagine that it would be hard to keep the lines perfect!  


This block started with the lines which are about 1/4" wide.  I tried to keep the curves consistent, but it wasn't easy!     

This Kaffe Fasset Shot Cotton with hints of aqua and sand was perfect for this block.

Again with the six-minute circles!  I think I'm feeling a sense of calm after finishing my blocks!  Bee Inspired 2019 blocks are all caught up.  I cannot wait for the other blocks to show up!

I hope you find your 'Moment of Zen'!  

Bee Inspired Mates:  

Kathryn @kupitis
Heather @quiltachusetts 
Audrey @artandstole
Christine @ccpquilt 
Daisy @warmfolk 

Our Hashtag if you want to follow along and see what were up to:  #beeinspired2019 

And of course, the original Bee Sewcial group:  #beesewcial  #inspiredbybeesewcial


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Baby Bow Ties :: Getting Closer!

I wanted a project that was long term and depending on what your definition of long term is, I feel like it has become just that! 

The evenings are when I sit and relax, yet I still have to have some type of hand project to do.  I guess it makes me feel like I've accomplished something!  If there isn't a binding to sew on the next best thing for me is a little English Paper Piecing.  

A couple months ago I started my Bow Tie EPP project and it has grown quite a bit since then.  Two months ago I had 6 blocks finished, now I have 73 with 17 more to go!  Quite an accomplishment!

The Bow Ties finish at 2" square, 1" for the corner squares and center is a 1/2" square.  The block itself is pretty simple to sew together and once you get in the groove, it goes together quickly.  By quickly, I mean each block probably takes 30-40 minutes to hand sew together.    

I was finally able to use my Liberty of London stash, yet with the blocks being small I didn't use all that much!  My goal was to use a different print for each block, and with the help of a couple friends, who graciously offered some of their treasured stash, I was able to achieve that goal!

Thank you Ellyn and Jenny !  You both are the best and I appreciate your generosity!

I've seen so many gorgeous bow tie quilts and had always wanted to make one.  I never imagined I'd go in this direction!  I like when a block has options.  Color, fabric, layout...endless possibilities!  

My plan is to go with this layout, but I honestly haven't explored my options.  Maybe once I get the last blocks completed I'll play around and see if I can come up with something different. 

Once I decide on the layout I'll sew four blocks together at a time.  I plan on adding a white border to finish it off.  Plans can change!

It always feels good when I can cross something off my bucket list!  This one has been on it for far too long.  It would be nice to cross a few more off my list, but for now I'll just enjoy that I got one done!

This little adventure will be continued!  Once I get near (nearer) the end of a project like this, it's hard to slow down!  I get excited and want to finish it!  I'm not very patient at this point!


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Bee Inspired :: All Caught Up!

I don't know about you, but I find myself constantly putting off things until later.  I say I'll do it tomorrow, or next week and before I know it a month (or two) have gone by.  When I finally have no other choice than to get it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.  And, most of the time it was so much fun!

Case in point, my Bee Inspired prompt for April!  Here it's the end of June and I'm just getting to it.  

The April prompt from Shelagh @stuartmoorestextiles was 'April Showers Bring May Flowers'.  


One block needed to reflect the moody April weather using gray pink to dark pink with silver gray accents depicting rain.  These are images Shelagh provided us.  


The second bock was all about blue skies and yellow flowers.  The yellow didn't need to be an actual flower just shapes that resemble flowers.  

The pressure was on...

I decided to start with the flowers.  I gathered my yellow fabric and began the cultivating of my flowers.  Three flowers later, I what I needed.  Yet, I couldn't help but see three eggs over easy!  Yikes!  I reminded myself that these were flowers, they look like flowers and therefore...they shall be flowers!

My idea was the center would be darker as if they were still in the process of blooming, and from there the yellow would become lighter.  Improv flowers are very enjoyable to make, it's the 'fitting' together after the fact that can sometimes be the hard part!

18" x 18"
I had to walk away several times when I became frustrated, but kept coming back until the job was done.  I think it looks pretty good! 


When I make improv pieces like this, I get highly focused!  Almost like I'm in a frenzied trance!  Fabric is flying, rotary cutter is humming and the mess is growing.  By the end of it all I'm exhausted!  Literally mind-numb!

Do you ever feel like that?!  Not that I know this from first hand experience, but it's like running a marathon!  By the end a good stiff drink is needed!

The next day I tackled the moody block.  Once I came up with a semi thought out plan, I grabbed a variety of pink and gray fabric.  This is where my love of pink came in handy!  I have a lot to choose from.

17" x 18"
I just love the images of the pink skies that Shelagh included!  Whether they are real skies or computer enhanced, they are gorgeous.  I was drawn to the second photo and decided I would try to replicate it using curves.  

In order to get the vibe of the photo, I went heavy on the pink for about two-thirds of the block.  Working towards the top using more gray, but including slices of pink.  Does it look like a stormy sky?  Given the colors, the theme and the prompt, I think it works out to be just that!

My last curve adventure was 'Making Waves'.  I was so excited to finally get back to making something with curves again that I was inspired to do it again with this block.  I also promised a tutorial on curves and I have not forgotten!  I have all my strips ready to go...I just need to sit down and do it!

The devil is in the details as they say!  I can almost say I'm caught up with our Bee Inspired group!  

May was my month with the prompt:  A Moment of Zen.  With improv on the brain and being on a roll, I decided I'd try my hand at my own prompt.  I'm nearly finished and I'll share those along with the blocks I've received from my bee mates very soon.

Bee Inspired Mates:  

Kathryn @kupitis
Heather @quiltachusetts 
Audrey @artandstole
Christine @ccpquilt 
Daisy @warmfolk 

Our Hashtag if you want to follow along and see what were up to:  #beeinspired2019 

And of course, the original Bee Sewcial group:  #beesewcial  #inspiredbybeesewcial


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Cotton Cuts :: COSMOS Puzzle Mystery Quilt + Giveaway

I was very excited when I received an email asking if I'd like to participate in a Mystery Puzzle Quilt Blog Hop!  It didn't take but a second to say yes!  Jenny Unger of
Cotton Cuts is putting together what promises to be a super fun event!  

What really grabbed my attention and what I think is a game changer about this Mystery Puzzle Quilt, the pieces for each block are precut!  One challenge I've faced when participating in a block of the month is pulling out my fabric every month to cut and then make the block.  The idea of having the fabric cut and sent each month is mind blowing!

Cotton Cuts Fall 2019 Puzzle Mystery Quilt starts next month!  Cotton Cuts along with 8 other wonderful quilting bloggers/instagrammers are hosting a charity blog hop!

Each month, one of us will assemble a Puzzle Mystery Quilt clue and post about it.  At the end of the 9 month project, Cotton Cuts will finish the quilt and raffle it off, with all the proceeds going to Valley Industries.  Valley Industries is a sheltered workshop for disabled individuals that Cotton Cuts uses for their box fulfillment process.

You can get all the details at Cool Cottons Puzzle Mystery Quilt.  A few of the highlight details are:

Every month for ten (10) months you'll receive:

PRE-CUT pieces of fabric (triangles, squares and strips - we do all the cutting, even those pesky corners on your triangles - so you don't have to cut a thing!)

Instructions for turning the pieces of fabric into puzzle pieces.  This isn't a block of the month, but rather a puzzle pieces of the month!

In the tenth (10th) month, you'll receive the key to putting together the puzzle...

With the precut fabric, you purchase the colorway you'd like as well as the size of the quilt you'd like to make.  (48" x 60" and 72" x 72").  Quantities are limited and some colorways have sold out, so - reserve your colorway today!  

Click on this link to see what colorways are still available:  PMQ Colorways. 


Cotton Cuts has chosen Sunprints 2019 by Alison Glass for the PMQ 2019 Charity quilt.  
I will be making the August block and am anxiously awaiting the day my precut fabrics will arrive!

Again, check out Cotton Cuts for more information on the Cosmos Puzzle Mystery Quilt.

To kick things off, we are doing a Cosmos Clue scavenger hunt.  

Giveaway has ended!

The giveaway is for one (1) cosmos fat quarter bundle of your choice to one of my readers provided by Cotton Cuts.  

To be eligible to win, leave me a comment telling me which colorway is your favorite.  

But wait...that's not all...

For the Grand Prize winner, Cotton Cuts will randomly pick one (1) winner from the comments of all eight (8) blog hop bloggers/instagrammers!

Giveaway ends June 28th at Noon

Look for the clue on the following sites and enter to win prizes! 


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Mini Mini Binding :: A Tutorial

I've been on a mini mini obsession once again!  I cannot resist the challenge making mini quilts, as you are most likely aware, and thought it might be a good time to share my method of binding by making a tutorial.  


I don't believe there is a standard size for mini mini quilts, that decision should be left up to the maker.  I tend to stay in the 4-7" range, but have made a 2" before!  Whatever your comfort zone is, that's the size you should make.  If you want a challenge...go smaller!  The minis in this photo range from 5-6".

Many of my minis are paper pieced like this one:  Skinny Minny Geese.  The pattern is by Kelly of Jeli Quilts and available in her Payhip shop.  

Some paper pieced patterns are perfect for mini minis like this Skinny Minny Geese one, while others might be too big.  I solve that problem by reducing the size when printing the templates.  

I've made what seems like a 'gazillion' minis and have come up with a binding method that I use nearly every time.  It works well for me and I hope it works for you too!

Just like binding a standard quilt you need to figure out the length of binding needed.  I don't get my calculator and pencil out for this size of quilt!  I add up all the sides and then include another 8-10".  That will give you extra when joining the ends.

Cut your binding strip 1 1/4" x length needed.

Draw a 1/4" line on one end of the 1 1/4" strip.  It's easier to mark the line before sewing the binding on and will come in handy when joining the two ends.

Position the strip along the edge just like you would with any binding.  I  center the end in the middle on the edge.  

Using a scant 1/4", stitch 1/4" from the corner, backstitch.  Be sure to leave enough of a 'tail' in order to join the ends.  I sew about an 1" in length for the first side.


Miter the binding at the corner.

Stitch across the side stopping 1/4" from the corner and backstitch.

Continue sewing and mitering the corners on each side until you reach the fourth and final corner.  

At the final corner miter and pin the corner in place.  


Lay both ends of the binding flat along the edge.  Fold the binding so the fold is butted up against the edge of the marked binding.  Finger press to make a crease.

Draw a line that is 1/2" on the outside of the crease.

Cut off the extra binding.

Pin the two edges together and stitch on the line.  This is a 1/4" seam allowance.

*It can be difficult joining the ends on small mini minis  which why I pin the final corner.  If I need extra 'give' when sewing the ends together, I unpin the corner, sew the ends and repin the corner before sewing the final side.

Finger press the seam open and stitch across the final side.


From the back, fold the binding towards the quilt lining up the raw edges.  

Press and pin your binding to the back.  Gently fold the binding around the corners and pin in place.

Stitch the binding to back using your favorite finishing method.

This rainbow heart is 6" and is part of my Rainbow Heart Trio pattern that is available on Etsy.  It works well with prints or solids, rainbow or not! 

If you are a mini mini maker or would like to be, maybe this tutorial for the binding will tip you over the edge!!