Sunday, January 31, 2016

Picking Petals in Calico Days!

Hello quilting friends.  Lou Lou's Fabric Shop and I had so much fun kitting my “Picking Petals” pattern using “Strawberry Fields Revisited” (Fig Tree & Company for Moda), that we thought we’d offer another version for all of you Lori Holt / Riley Blake fans.  We are pleased to offer you “Picking Petals” in “Calico Days!"  

“Picking Petals” takes on a new look in the charming prints designed by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs.  The green plaid makes the perfect stem and binding.  We chose the white weekday print with butter yellow text as our background fabric and backing.  And of course, the petals and diamonds are made up of the cheerful prints in the “Calico Days” line.  

I find myself taking the time to look at this little quilt close up, just so I can see the bits of text here and there between the prints.  And I LOVE that my long-arm quilter (Barb at Quilts on Broadway) encouraged me to use butter yellow thread.  It just says "happy" to me!

“Picking Petals" is a 20” x 20” mini quilt.  Lou Lou's Fabric Shop is offering a kit which includes all the fabric for the top, binding AND the backing as well as my PDF pattern!  Cost is just $27.99.  Visit Lou Lou's Fabric Shop using the link in my left sidebar!

The stand-alone pattern is available on my Etsy Shop.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!  Here’s hoping you get carried away quilting often!


Friday, January 29, 2016

Castle Pillow & fabric giveaway with Fat Quarter Shop

The Fat Quarter Shop has designed another sweet project in their Sew Solid Series: a Castle Pillow fit for a young king or queen . . . or in my case, a little princess.  This 20” x 20” pillow was a delight to put together.  In fact, as I was working on this project, I kept thinking of how my daughter would have loved it when she was a young girl.  It’s the perfect size to snuggle up against with a good book or while watching a favorite princess movie.

I looked at a lot of pretty fabric when making my selection for this project, and in the end it was no contest for me.  I chose the blue floral and yellow stripe from “Bloom and Bliss” by Nadra Ridgeway of Ellis & Higgs for Riley Blake Designs.  I know . . . princess usually equals pink.  But when my daughter was young, her bedroom was decorated in soft blues and butter yellows, her favorite colors at the time.  Nadra's fabric is just too darling.

To pump up the sweetness factor, I added jumbo white ric rac in a few areas and three pretty blue buttons from my grandmother’s button jar.  I kept the quilting simple by outlining the castle and a few additional areas of straight line quilting.  I had never used this binding technique on a pillow before, which seems silly as it is exactly like binding a quilt.  It is definitely a finishing touch I will use on future pillows!

The Fat Quarter Shop has kits available for the Queen Castle Pillow and the King Castle Pillow in beautiful Bella Solids by Moda. 
The pattern is available as a free PDF download, but you can also view their handy video tutorial here for instructions!

I hope you’ll visit these other bloggers who are sharing their own Castle Pillow creations. 

Peta of She Quilts Alot
Jenn of Mommy Sew

And now, drumroll . . . we have a giveaway for you to enter!  What fun!  The kind folks at the Fat Quarter Shop have donated this darling half yard bundle of Riley Blake fabrics! All you need to do is leave a comment below and you'll be entered. Comments are open through 5:00 pm (CST) on Wednesday, February 3.  That evening, I will do a random drawing and announce the winner.   *Only one comment per person/per email address.  Email me if you are having trouble leaving a comment and I will leave a comment on your behalf.  (

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Please visit the Fat Quarter Shop to see all the wonderful products they have available for you!  Just click on their banner ad in the left sidebar of this page.  Here's hoping you get carried away quilting often!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Coffee time quilt: Why simple is good!

3/7/2016 Update:  Thank you for the terrific response to this post, originally published on 1/23/2016.  Many of you have emailed me requesting instructions.  I have added a free tutorial on my blog, which you can find here.  Thank you!

Today I’d like to give a shout out to one of my blog sponsors, Stash Addict Quilts.  I’ve been a customer of theirs for years, and one of the (many) things I appreciate about them is that they always tuck in some little treat when they send my order!  It might be a fat quarter, it might be a little precut . . . you just never know! Recently they sent me a 2.5” stacker of “Calico Days” by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs.  Well, if you’ve read any of my blog posts, you know I’m a nut for both of these things.  Lucky me!

After pondering what to make with this little treasure, it came to me that I’d like to sew a “coffee time quilt” for my kitchen.  When I was little, it seemed like family always gathered around the kitchen table for coffee or tea.  On my dad’s side, it was always black coffee with cake donuts for dunking.  On my mom’s side, it was always tea and "quiet cookies" . . . because Grandma Arlene knew we grandkids didn't like noisy, crunchy cookies.  It’s a simple but sweet memory.

After deciding to make a coffee time quilt, I played around with some different arrangements and finally settled on a very basic design that included tan sashing and borders.  I have to say that I really enjoyed just playing with this fabric with no plan, no pattern, no pressure. I added some simple straight line quilting in the sashing.  Sometimes the cleanest, simplest design is the best.  This little project and the memories it invoked really fed my soul.

Four mismatched buttons from Grandma Audrey's button jar add some charm.

As I was finishing up, it hit me . . . tucked away in a bin I had some ecru colored vintage crocheted trim I had purchased at an antique store in December.  I dug it out and laid it on my little coffee time quilt.  YES!  It was the perfect finishing touch to the warm, happy feeling this project was giving me.  I really love this simple quilt.

Quilting friends, I encourage you to take an evening and just sew a bit without too much purpose or planning. Make a little something just because it feels good.  I bet you’ll love it as much as I did!

Please visit Stash Addict Quilts using their link on my left sidebar.  They have a terrific inventory of fabric.  In fact, twice now they’ve been “that shop” that carried the hard-to-find yardage I needed to help me complete a (long overdue) work in progress! And, great news . . . they have a rewards program. You can also visit them on Facebook to see pictures of machine quilting services they provide to customers!

Thank you for stopping by the blog today! I hope you get carried away quilting this weekend!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mini Charm Mix with Fat Quarter Shop

This week the Fat Quarter Shop said Happy Anniversary to their "Mini Charm Mix" Shortcut Quilt pattern on their Jolly Jabber blog.  Well, just last spring I took advantage of their free pattern and video tutorial to make this fast and fun project myself, and it is one of my favorite runners!  

I used three mini charm packs from Fig Tree & Company for Moda:  Aloha Girl, Avalon, and an original Strawberry Fields.  I love how all three of these lines work together so nicely.  I also added a Fig Tree green border to mine, making my finished runner 18" by 62".

My longarm quilter friend Barb from Quilts on Broadway suggested we use this darling dragonfly quilting.  I think it's perfect . . . almost like the dragonflies are zipping around just above all the flowers and berries.  Combine all that sweetness with a scrappy binding and you can see why this quick quilt is a favorite of mine.  

I hope you'll visit the Fat Quarter Shop yourself and check out either their free pattern or their video tutorial for Mini Charm Mix.  You'll be happy you did!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Mini Story Stars in Calico Days

One of the things I love about the Instagram quilting community is viewing pictures of the same quilt pattern sewn up with different fabrics.  There is something fantastic about the way fabric adds soul to a pattern.

Recently I had the urge to sew up my pattern "Mini Story Stars" in a scrappy style using “Calico Days” by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs.  "Mini Story Stars" was originally designed to showcase a text print with a story, and so it lends itself well to showing off the cheerful text prints in "Calico Days."  I used the nutmeg weekdays print for the focal squares and the white weekday print with butter yellow text as my background fabric.  I love the little calendars and bit of scripture that Lori included in her design.  The cursive lettering also takes me back to days gone by.  It seems I rarely see cursive handwriting anymore!  I think I used nearly every print in the main collection, and even cut into one of the fat eighth panels to get the yellow/gold star centers.  I love the country, farm fresh feel of this scrappy quilt.  This quilt just deserves to be resting on a kitchen table, surrounded by happy people sipping hot coffee and eating homemade cake donuts, don't you think?

Thank you to Barb at Quilts on Broadway for the cheery quilting!

I do want to share the journey of this pattern. When I created my “Mini Story Stars” pattern last summer, I was inspired by a piece of fabric:  “Little Heroines – Little Red Riding Hood” by Lecien Japan.  The fabric made me lonesome for the days when my daughter would line up all her dolls and stuffed animals and have a tea party or read to them.  I designed the pattern to focus on the text print which includes outtakes from the classic storybook. I imagined my daughter reading parts to her dollies and then making up parts of the story to go along with Little Red as she moves along in each star.  The soft, sweet look of this quilt lends itself to cuddling with a little doll and reading a story.  Barb at Quilts on Broadway used a motif called "Baby Curls" for this sample ~ how fitting!

Shortly after that, I purchased two pieces from the “Vintage Market” line by Tasha Noel for Riley Blake Designs.  The colors in this fabric are more vibrant and the characters are so lively . . . a zippy little gal riding a bike . . . another setting up her “vintage goods” shop.  I was curious to see these fabrics done up in the same pattern.  When paired with “Garden Text” by Holly Holderman for Lakehouse Dry Goods, I think this is a very bright and cheerful version of “Mini Story Stars.”

"Mini Story Stars" is a 27” x 27” quilt, making it the perfect size for a table topper, wall hanging or child's play quilt.  The pattern provides cutting instructions for both styles, either the four-fabric quilt or the scrappy quilt.  The star points are made up of easy half square triangles that are sewn slightly oversize so you will trim them down, square them up, and create perfect piecing! 

This pattern is a digital download on my Etsy Shop.

I hope you will consider sewing your own version of “Mini Story Stars.”  I would love to see what fabrics you choose to make this pattern come alive!

Thanks for reading!  Here’s hoping you get carried away quilting often!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Crossroads Quilt Along with Fat Quarter Shop: Are you ready?

It’s a fabulous Saturday morning when you find yourself in your sewing room, surrounded by beautiful fabric, and hanging out with an awesome young quilter.  Ellie and I are both pretty excited because we received our scrumptious "Strawberry Fields Revisited" fabric (Fig Tree & Company for Moda) from the Fat Quarter Shop. Which means . . . we are one step closer to the Crossroads Quilt Along!

I’ll share the quilt along details next, but first I want to introduce Ellie.  She’s a seventh grade student in my home town, and she has been sewing since she was eight years old.  Ellie made her first solo quilt this past summer and since then has made several lovely quilts for her grandmothers, her brother, her mom and her friends.  I’m not sure how she finds the time, as she’s also a talented athlete and participates in school musicals! Ellie is one of those people who will continue to make a positive and creative mark on the world. Lucky me, I will be able to say I rubbed elbows with her in my sewing room! Both Ellie and I are participating in the Crossroads Quilt Along, and I will be a guest blogger for the Fat Quarter Shop.  I hope you will follow along on our journey.

The Crossroads Quilt Along features a timeless, vintage-inspired quilt pattern designed by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree and Company.  The Fat Quarter Shop is hosting the quilt along which will benefit the March of Dimes

The program starts in February and ends in September.  On the 15th of each month, the Fat Quarter Shop will post that month’s pattern on their blog as a free digital download. They ask that you donate $5 to the March of Dimes for each pattern you download. (The first block will be the house block. Darling, right?)  There are Strawberry Fields Revisited kits available from the Fat Quarter Shop, or you could use fabrics of your choosing and download the PDF pattern each month beginning in February.

This may be one of the prettiest quilt BACKS I've ever seen!

Who's Quilting Along?
Below is a list of the quilters who will be sharing their progress each month on their own blogs.  Some will be using Strawberry Fields Revisited, while others will be using different fabric.  I can't wait to see all of these quilts unfold!

I hope you’ll follow our progress and consider joining in the fun!  It is a great way to connect with other enthusiastic quilters and donate to a wonderful cause, the March of Dimes.  You can share your progress and creations on the Crossroads Facebook Group. And be sure to post your own blocks using #crossroadsquiltalong on Instagram!   


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Conquering my fear of hexies: A zipped pouch

Hello quilting friends!  I hope you all survived your holiday celebrations and have already found some time for 2016 sewing!

I’m feeling kind of “woo hoo, hotsy totsy” today.  If you follow my blog, you’ll understand that it’s similar to the goofy cockiness I felt last summer when, after 20 years as a quilter, I finally sewed in my first zipper! (Conquering my fear of zippers)  So what has put the spring in my step this time?  I finally sewed my first hexagon applique project!  Yes!

I bet a lot of you are like me.  You have been quilting for years, maybe decades, but there are still many quilting or sewing techniques you haven’t tried.  I’ve found a lot of excuses in the past for not trying new things and avoiding challenges, but mostly I think fear was holding me back.  It’s so much easier to stick with what you know.  But in 2015, I experienced a few life changing events that sort of kicked me in the backside as if to shout, “Taunja, what are you waiting for?” 

I have wanted to sew some type of English Paper Piecing (EPP) / hexagon (hexie) project since this summer when I began noticing darling hexie quilts, bags and pouches on Instagram, but I kept pushing it to the back of my mental sewing list.  (Yep, the fear of what I didn’t know was winning.)  Then a few nights ago, probably in some type of subconscious New Year’s resolution mentality, I found myself in my sewing room determined to make something, anything, which included a hexie.  I pulled several fabrics and found myself drawn to a collection of items from Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop:  a charm pack of “Gooseberry” (Lella Boutique for Moda), a bit of graphite Moda Cross Weave yardage, and a sweet little sewing machine zipper charm.   (Please check out Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop by clicking their banner ad in my left side bar!)

Lying nearby on my cutting table was my newly purchased “idea journal.”  The colors on the journal looked lovely with the Gooseberry fabric and I knew what I would make . . . a Lori Holt Quilty Zip Pocket!  I had made two during the Farm Girl Vintage Sew Along.  This would be the perfect pouch to hold my idea journal. 

Full of determination but lacking experience in making hexies, I did some Internet searching and found a great tutorial.  In a nutshell, here’s what I did:

  1. I watched Ellison Lane’s video tutorial for the basics:  Hexagon Tutorial: A Step-By-Step Video.  The instructions provided by Jennifer Mathis are excellent and the video is only 5 minutes long.  I’m sure there are many other wonderful tutorials available, this is just what I stumbled upon.
  2. I used my Cricut paper cutting machine to cut out several 1” hexie templates onto card stock.  (Note: I learned that when speaking of hexie sizes, 1” refers to the length of one side of the hexie.  Also, you can purchase hexie templates from several sources.  Or, you can print them yourself if you have software which allows you to draw a hexie shape and a printer that prints card stock.  If you have a Cricut like I do, you can make fast work of producing hexie templates.)

  3. Then I selected my favorite reds and pinks from the “Gooseberry” charm pack and made several fabric hexies as instructed by the Ellison Lane video.  The first one was a bit tricky.  The paper template kept slipping.  After three attempts, I finally pinned the shape to the fabric and it was smooth sailing.  Before I knew it, I had made 19 fabric hexies.

  4. I cut an 8 ½” square from the graphite Moda Cross Weave.  After playing around with several designs, I finally settled on a simple flower.  I removed the paper template from 7 of the hexies, pressed them flat, and pinned them in place onto the square of Moda Cross Weave.   I then appliqued the shapes using matching thread and a blind stitch.

  5. Finally, I followed Lori Holt’s free tutorial for her Quilty Zip Pocket.  I added fusible fleece to mine to give it a bit more weight.  I added the darling zipper charm from Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop, a bit of measuring tape twill ribbon, and some fun text print from my stash for the lining.

My first hexie project turned out to be pretty easy! Really and truly, it was not hard.  If you can bind a quilt by hand, you can applique.  If you can use a needle and thread, you can baste. If you like to keep your hands busy while watching TV or riding in the car, you have a great new activity. You see where I’m going with this.  ;)

It’s a new year and it’s a great time to throw fear aside and try something new.  Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!  I hope you will visit Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop and see all the loveliness they have available for you!


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fun with Fat Quarter Style & Calico Days

We don’t have much snow this winter in central Minnesota, and the weather has been fairly mild.  But this weekend the arctic air finally settled in on us and it started to feel like a typical January in Minnesota.  On Saturday the high temperature was 4 degrees! And I'm not even adding in the wind chill factor.  Oh yes, this is the perfect weather for hibernating in my house and quilting, don’t you think?

Primrose Quilt:  Fat Quarter Style

I found a way to bring a whole lot of warm sunshine and happiness into my sewing room this weekend, as I began work on one of my favorite patterns from the Fat Quarter Shop's terrific book, “Fat Quarter Style."  The quilt I chose is called "Primrose."  I’ve been drooling over that quilt since the book first came out! I was just waiting for the right fabric.  My choice for this happy quilt . . . "Calico Days" by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet! 

The little letters are "Alphabitties" from Fat Quarter Shop.  They are an excellent way to keep your pieces organized!

I hit a small snag during the planning and cutting stage, as I really wanted to do the navy background as shown in the book.  You can see here how great the yellow flower looks on a navy background in the picture below!  However, the "Calico Days" line includes some darker blue prints.  I wasn't sure how well they would stand out in a finished quilt against the navy, and I didn’t want to omit those darling blue prints.  I was in quite the quilting quandary and even texted my support group and pestered my family to weigh in with votes.  The votes were split, but in the end I decided to sew up my flowers with a white background.  I think the effect will bright and cheerful.  I'm sure someday I will have to make another with the navy background!

There are 12 quilts in the "Fat Quarter Style" book.  As with all of the lovely quilts in the book, the pattern for "Primrose" is available in four sizes: crib, lap, twin and queen.  I will be making the lap quilt. I have all of my pieces cut and have made six flowers. Don't they just make you think of summertime?

I have worked with several of Fat Quarter Shop's "It's Sew Emma" patterns, and without fail they are easy to follow with detailed instructions and terrific illustrations!  I encourage you to check out this book and other "It's Sew Emma" patterns at your local quilt shop. Please visit Fat Quarter Shop by clicking their banner ad in my left sidebar.  You will be amazed at their vast product line, video tutorials, excellent customer service and much, much more!

To finish off my Saturday sewing, I had to add the stems and leaves to just one of my blocks to see how darn cute it was going to be.  And of course it was too darn cute!!

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!  If you live in my neck of the woods, I hope you are using this cold weather snap as an excuse to keep that sewing machine whirring.  And to everyone, happy sewing to you!


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Feeling sentimental with "Toy Chest" fabric

My grandma Audrey at age 18.
The nice folks at Fort Worth Fabric Studio recently sent me a 2.5” stacker of “Toy Chest” by Penny Rose Fabrics.  When I opened this precious little bundle and laid out all of the squares, I was quite honestly filled with a sappy longing for childhood.  In particular, I thought a lot about my Grandma Audrey.  She was kind of a character.  She had a quick smile, liked to tell stories, was a great cook and loved to sew and crochet.  She made several receiving blankets for her great grandchildren who were born in the 1990s.  But the flannel prints she chose always had a vintage 1940s look.  I know she would have loved this fabric.

Exposed Lace Zipper Pouch

The Fort Worth Fabric Studio blog has a great tutorial for an “Exposed Lace Zipper Pouch” that I had been longing to try, and this fabric seemed like the perfect choice for that project.  Lindsey’s instructions are easy to follow and I finished this project in an evening.  I chose to make a patchwork version that is roughly the same size as the one in the tutorial.  I also used Pellon 987f fusible fleece before machine quilting to give my pouch a little stability and weight.

This pouch would be perfect for tucking away little books or toys.

I had so much fun arranging these darling pieces.  The exposed lace zipper is about the cutest thing I’ve seen as far as zippers go!  Please visit Fort Worth Fabric Studio by clicking their banner ad in my left side bar.  You can check out the “Toy Chest” fabric they have in stock, as well as these unique zippers and other fun products they carry.

Playing with print arrangement.

Straight line quilting seemed to be the perfect finish for this piece of patchwork

Look at that sweet little boy, watching a lamb cloud in the sky.  

And I had to show the back too . . . of course!

There really is something about this “Toy Chest” fabric that touched my heart.  I’m going to let it sit with me a bit, and then decide on a larger scale project using this fabric.  In the meantime, I enjoyed thinking about my Grandma Audrey and remembering how neatly she could French braid my hair, how she baked fabulous Scandinavian treats at Christmas time, how she loved to play cards and laugh, and how her sewing basket was never far from her chair.

Audrey having fun with friends.

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today and allowing me to share with you.


Monday, January 4, 2016

New Pattern: Picking Petals

If you are looking for a sweet mini quilt that will make it feel like springtime, please check out my new pattern:  Picking Petals.  This 20” x 20” mini features the new “Strawberry Fields Revisited” line by Fig Tree & Company for Moda.  Happy flowers grow on the vine, surrounding a patchwork of petals and twinkly diamonds. 

This pattern is charm pack friendly and requires a minimum of extra fabric. The construction is straight-forward and simple, making this a project you can complete in a day! 

The pattern is available on my Etsy Shop.

But here’s the really good news . . . “Picking Petals” is also available as a kit through  Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop!  The kit includes all the fabric for the top, binding AND the backing as well as my PDF pattern!  Cost is just $27.99.  Visit Lou Lou's Fabric Shop using the link in my left sidebar!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!  I hope you will give “Picking Petals” a try.  I guarantee it will brighten your day and your home!

Shout out to the talented Barb Erickson at Quilts on Broadway for the lovely quilting.  Those swirly flowers put the happy finishing touch on this little quilt!