Tuesday, July 30, 2019

All the Little Things

In less than two weeks already, we'll be starting another school year. How we got here so quickly is beyond me as always. In any case, the textbooks have arrived, the school shopping has been done, and the girls -- and I, if I'm honest -- are all showing the signs of needing to be back on a routine again. In the middle of May with summer stretching out before me, I always make an ambitious to-do list for the months ahead, convinced that I'm going to get so much done. This is all completely hilarious to end-of-July me, who tossed that list aside back in June and is now wringing every last drop of relaxation out of each waking moment before lesson plans and homework take over my desk again. Really though, in spite of all the responsibilities on my plate during the school year, I do get more creative projects done during those busy months than during my vacation, probably because I work it all into my schedule on purpose. But that's for another day. Right now it's still summer for two golden weeks, and I'm happy to play while I can.

Part of that play time has been sewing, thankfully, and this month has been all about making gifts for some dear people in my life. Our vicar and his wife finished up their year-long internship at our church last week, and though they won't be with us when their baby is born in October, I wanted to send them home with a handmade gift. This long pillow is just the sort of thing I would have loved to have on hand when I was feeding my own babies years ago. I used a mix of favorite novelty prints, including the one with the expected birth month to make it more personal. I put October in the middle along with September and November, so I'm hoping that even if the baby comes early or late, we'll be covered!

This linen improv pouch was a gift for a sweet, talented young woman who spent the summer at our church working with our worship team. It was so much fun choosing the prints for this one, and I loved being able to reflect different parts of her personality in the fabrics. Many of these are by Melody Miller from her original Ruby Star lines. I absolutely love how this pouch turned out and was so thrilled that she loved it too.

This weekend I was able to work on a fun project using my Color Book pattern from my new book Patchwork USA. It features the Dorothy's Journey collection by Jill Howarth, which is a darling take on The Wizard of Oz

Jill's illustrations are always so full of heart and whimsy, and when I saw the collection, I immediately thought these prints would be such a perfect match for this project. I gifted the book to the young daughter of a friend. I'm hoping she'll enjoy turning these colorful pages as she grows up.

So it's been a month of making all the little things as a way of celebrating all the important things. And really, I can't think of a better way to finish out the summer than that. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019


The Bandstand Mini Quilt from Patchwork USA

I feel as if I've been missing in action for ages, though it's really only been about a month. We've been summering at our house, which is my golden chance to take a break from the rat race and enjoy some time with my family. The truth is that I don't do it often enough, so when I get started, it's awfully hard to stop.

The Painted Desert

We got everyone in the family finished with school by the end of the first week in June. The second week was consumed with Vacation Bible School at our church, where I got to dance and sing four times each morning in front of 1200 kids -- a guaranteed route to exhaustion by Friday, let me tell you. After a wonderful Father's Day with my parents at home, we (my husband, I, and our girls) took off on our annual summer road trip.

Me and my sweet sis

This year we traveled to California to see my sister and her family, and then back through Arizona to visit my in-laws. It was a wonderful two weeks spent with family and friends, visiting places that my girls could just barely remember from their early years and making new memories for all of us.

These beautiful ladies drove 3 1/2 hours  -- each way! -- to join me in Altadena.

I also had the chance to meet with the loveliest group of people at Quilt 'N' Things in Altadena for a small trunk show and book signing, which was all kinds of fun.

Last week's field trip to the Texas Capitol Building in Austin

Now that we're back home in Texas, the summering hasn't stopped. It's been one day after another of swimming and reading, day trips and movie nights.

Home grown produce -- just one more reason to love summer

The garden is going crazy with tomatoes and squash and watermelons, which all pair beautifully with backyard barbecues and make-your-own pizza dinners. We've enjoyed mini marathons of Gilligan's Island, the Dick Van Dyke Show, and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. And we've reminded ourselves why popcorn and ice cream cones will never go out of style.

In other words, it's been heaven. And I'm not quite ready to give it up just yet...

Monday, June 10, 2019

I'm a Guest on Pat Sloan's American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast Today!

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be Pat Sloan's first guest on her American Patchwork & Quilting Talk Show Podcast this afternoon at 3pm CST. You can listen in live here or catch the show later this evening on Pat's website here. It will also be available later in the week on the APQ website here. We're going to chat about my new book, Patchwork USA, and some of my other recent projects. I'm so looking forward to chatting with Pat again, and I hope you'll join us!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Most Important Things

It's been a little quiet around here lately for the simple reason that May has been difficult this year.

Two weeks ago we got the news that my grandfather, my dad's father, had suffered a massive heart attack. The day after Mother's Day, we found out that my grandmother had walked into the room that morning just in time to see him pass away. I never had the chance to know Grandpa as much as I wanted to, partly because he lived across the country in Minnesota. He loved to drive all over the country with my grandmother in their camper, and occasionally they would swing through our town when I was young, often bringing along a paper bag full of balloons as a special treat for my sister and me. They came by a few times after my girls were born, and my oldest daughter vividly remembers playing card games with Grandma and eating jelly beans in their camper with them while it was parked in our driveway. Although talk always seemed to settle on frivolous things -- the weather, the dogs -- I remember one visit when Grandpa somehow wound up talking about his military service during World War II when he worked in the motor pool for Patton's Third Army. It was a glimpse into a side of him that I hadn't seen before, and I wish I could have heard more. Though he never broached the subject with us, I know that Grandpa was part of the American forces who liberated Dachau concentration camp way back in 1945. I was always terribly proud of his part in that, and I remember thinking of him when I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. years ago as I was standing in front of the candles lit for Dachau in the Hall of Remembrance. It's hard to believe that Grandpa won't be driving up our driveway again, doting on my dogs and chatting with his great granddaughters.

Only a few days after that, my dad's best friend from college had a sudden heart attack. We worried and prayed and texted messages back and forth with his wife until he was thankfully able to return home after treatment. But I was shaken. It's hard to see the people you looked up to as a child suddenly struggling with health issues, as though your own stability is somehow tied up with theirs.

And then last Sunday night my oldest daughter broke her arm at a church youth gathering, leading to a host of medical appointments and a new normal for the next few months as we help her recover from this intensely painful injury. It's been hard for her to concentrate with all the stress and discomfort, but thankfully we were able to get her last tests finished last night for the school year so that she could start her summer and really begin a time of rest and healing.

As I sit here typing at my computer, I realize that the last few weeks have left me feeling vulnerable. It's not that you don't know that these sorts of things can happen to the people you love. This is life, after all. But when it does, it feels like a tidal wave sweeping over you. The one blessing in it for me is that troubles inevitably bring clarity to my life.  Little, petty things that seemed like such a big deal before, now fall to the side where they belong. The most important things -- which are almost always the things I managed to neglect due to the demands of my over packed schedule -- come to the forefront. You suddenly realize what matters most, and it's okay to let the rest go. And the people you love -- your family and friends -- you understand how much you need them, how important it is to spend time with them while you have them, to not hesitate to say, "I love you" or hug them close as often as you can.

So today's schedule will look a little different for me. Yes, there will be dishes and grading and maybe a bit of writing. But there will also be Lego building and chocolate chip cookie baking, cuddling under quilts and games of Fishy Tag in the pool. Because every minute I spend with this dear family of mine is more precious to me than anything else in the world.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


Up to this point, I've worked with quilting cotton, linen, canvas, flannel, double gauze, felt, fleece, and lawn. So when Riley Blake Designs gave me the chance to do a blog post about their wool, I jumped at the challenge.

These gorgeous bundles of color showed up at my door, and I was completely blown away. Aren't they stunning?!

I did some looking around online for project ideas using wool, and after much thought, I finally decided that it would be fun to try working on some stuffed animals. I purchased a few patterns from Willowyn on Etsy and got to work.

Sometimes I think it's good for me to try something completely different from what I'm used to. This project was such a fun change of pace for me, and I absolutely loved sewing together this little bunny. It was surprising to me how forgiving the wool seemed to be. Even when stitches weren't perfect, you couldn't really tell, and I was so thrilled with how she turned out. I did almost all of my sewing by machine except for a bit of hand stitching with matching gray thread to close up a few gaps after stuffing. Her ears are lined with a striped print from Date Night, and I embroidered her nose and eyes with black Aurifloss.

I loved the clothing patterns that Willowyn designed to go with her stuffed friends, so I just had to make a sweet pair of overalls in a favorite pink floral print from the Lemonade Sundae collection which I've been hoarding for a while. The little silver snaps on her outfit make me smile.

Her tiny wool coat (my daughter chose the color) has a hood lined in a print from Lori Holt's upcoming Granny Chic collection. I actually got this fabric to use in another upcoming project, but when I saw how perfectly the colors complemented that shade of green wool, I just couldn't settle for anything else.

I made a button bow to complement her outfit. Normally I wouldn't sew a button onto a stuffed animal, but since this one is for me, I made an exception.

During one of the nights when I was working on this project, my own Bunny was having trouble falling asleep. She wandered into my sewing room and asked if she could do my hair for a few minutes while I worked. So I let her practice her French braiding skills on me while I cut out pattern pieces, and together we watched an old Jeanne Crain movie called Margie on my computer. When I showed Bunny my finished doll the next day, she squealed and immediately asked, "What's her name?" I told her that I hadn't decided yet. She clutched the bunny to her chest in a hug and said confidently, "Margie. You have to call her Margie."

And that, my friends, was that.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

New Patterns & Early Book Sales!

Motel Key Pillow Pattern by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt available through Lucky Spool

Big news today, friends!! I am so thrilled to announce the launch of my first PDF patterns for sale: The Soda Pop Shop Quilt and The Motel Key Pillow.

Soda Pop Shop Quilt Pattern by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt available through Lucky Spool

You've already gotten several peeks at my Soda Pop Shop Quilt on previous blog posts. I love this quilt so much!

Motel Key Pillow Pattern by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt available through Lucky Spool

The Motel Key Pillow is a special pattern that I wrote to go along with the release of my new book, Patchwork USA. I designed these blocks to look like retro motel key rings with a key attached. This little pillow is sitting on my guest room bed as we speak, and it goes perfectly with the vintage travel theme I have in that room. I think this block would be just as darling on a pouch or in a quilt, and it's absolutely perfect for fussy cutting!

Both of these patterns are beginner friendly, requiring only traditional piecing skills, and they have lots of illustrations to walk you confidently through the instructions. After getting so many requests for the Soda Pop Shop Quilt pattern, I was searching for a way to make the patterns available to you as quickly as possible, and my amazing editor Susanne came to the rescue. You can now purchase them on the Lucky Spool website at this link

But wait, there's even bigger news!

Lucky Spool, C&T Publishing, and Martingale have all declared April 21-27 to be National Craft Book Week, a celebration of craft books and the wonderful people who create them for us. There are going to be special promotions all week from these publishers.

Patchwork USA by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt available through Lucky Spool

Today is my special day at the Lucky Spool website because they're not only selling my patterns at a  20% discount, but they're also selling a limited number of advance copies of Patchwork USA while supplies last at a 20% discount today too if you use the code NEW20. That means you can get your copy of my book before it's available anywhere else! AND everyone who buys a copy today gets entered into a drawing for a $100 gasoline gift card, a fun way to play along with my book's road trip theme. Is that amazing or what?!

Remember, the discount is for today only, so hurry over there if you're interested. I couldn't be happier to share these patterns and my book with all of you, and I can hardly wait to start seeing your projects popping up on social media. I hope that they bring you all kinds of joy!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Mini Majestic Easter Gift Basket

Mini Easter Gift Basket from Pink Penguin tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt using Majestic by Gerri Robinson for Riley Blake Designs

There are some patterns that you go back to over and over again, that fit you like a comfortable sweater or your favorite slippers. They're familiar and lovely, and you know they're going to be just what you need. The Lunch Bag Tutorial by my friend Ayumi is one of those patterns for me. I don't know how many times I've sewn this one, but it never fails to be a joy. This time I thought it would be fun to do something crazy and shrink it down to half size for a mini gift bag using the Majestic collection by Gerri Robinson for Riley Blake Designs.

Mini Easter Gift Basket from Pink Penguin tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt using Majestic by Gerri Robinson for Riley Blake Designs

The footprint of this finished bag is only 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" -- such a sweet little size!

I met Gerri for the first time last June when she was kind enough to drive me all over Missouri while we were both teaching at Missouri Star Academy. She and I spent hours together that week chatting about everything under the sun -- fabric design, the quilting industry, our families. I loved every minute of it. Watching her teach was an education in itself for me. She is an incredibly talented and generous lady, and I admire her so much.

I chose just three prints from the Majestic collection for this project in a range of scales. The smallest scale white floral was especially perfect for a tiny bag like this one. These prints all work together so beautifully, don't they?

Mini Easter Gift Basket from Pink Penguin tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt using Majestic by Gerri Robinson for Riley Blake Designs

Whenever you shrink a pattern -- especially for a bag or basket -- there are positives and negatives. Smaller pieces make a much quicker sew, but the logistics can definitely be more difficult as you try to navigate your needle with a more narrow bag opening. The drawstring casing was a bit fiddly, but with some patience and care, I was able to get it right. It took me a while to decide what to use for the drawstring itself until I remembered my box of chunky thread by Lori Holt. This pink was a great match and just the right weight to fit easily in the casing. It's always hard to hit a speed bump when you're almost about to finish a project, so I was awfully glad to have that thread on hand!

Mini Easter Gift Basket from Pink Penguin tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt using Majestic by Gerri Robinson for Riley Blake Designs

Now that I'm looking at this little bag, I'm thinking that it would make a darling mini Easter gift basket. Just toss in some candy and other small goodies, and you're all set.

I have the sneaking suspicion that I may have just launched my next sewing obsession...

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Soda Pop Shop Quilt Finish

Soda Pop Shop Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt using Perfect Party by the Cottage Mama for Riley Blake Designs

I just took a walk down to the end of our driveway to see if the mail was here. Our mailbox was empty, but it was absolutely worth the trip. Texas is looking gorgeous today. After a rainy weekend, the trees and plants are looking lush and green again, and the sky is pure blue. My neighbor has hopped on her riding mower next door (my husband will probably be doing the same thing tonight after he gets home from school), and I can smell that amazing scent of cut grass in the air. There are butterflies dancing on the wildflowers, horses grazing in the pasture behind our property, and birds chirping at each other in the trees by my front door. Best of all, the temperatures are starting to warm up enough that we just might be able to try a dip in the pool this weekend. The girls can't stop talking about it and were already laying out their swimsuits last night in excitement.

Soda Pop Shop Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt using Perfect Party by the Cottage Mama for Riley Blake Designs

My Soda Pop Shop Quilt came home from Farm Fresh Stitches last week, and I just can't say enough about their quilting. I asked for a Baptist fans pattern, something I've always wanted on one of my quilts. Wow, was I thrilled with the results. It looks so beautiful, and the texture is amazing. I cut up the last of my green and blue plaid from the Perfect Party collection for the binding, and it stretched exactly long enough to fit. James helped me take some photos of the quilt outside after we got home from church on Sunday. By then the thunderstorms had stopped, and all the trees were dripping wet but lovely in the background.

Soda Pop Shop Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt using Perfect Party by the Cottage Mama for Riley Blake Designs

After long thought, I decided to give this quilt to my youngest daughter. Mouse has always been such a little thing that most of the quilts I've made for her have been on the small side -- perfect for cuddling but not quite large enough to cover her bed properly. This one is a wee bit small, but much closer to the right size. She was perfectly delighted to get it and keeps telling me how much she likes it, especially the quilting, which she says makes it so much more "comfortable." I'm just always content to see my projects in use and well loved.

Soda Pop Shop Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt using Perfect Party by the Cottage Mama for Riley Blake Designs

I've gotten so many requests for the pattern for this quilt, and whether it winds up in a third sewing book or gets released some other way, I promise I won't forget to share it with you at some point here in the future. I'm so happy that you guys love it too.

Friday, April 5, 2019

My Tea Party Quilt in APQ Magazine

Tea Party Quilt for American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt
Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

It's amazing to me how many events in my life have been marked by a tea party. My mother loved to splurge at least once a year by taking my sister and I to a tea room in our small town when we were growing up, and sometimes my grandmother would come along too. For our first official date, my husband James took me to the Rose Garden tea room at the Huntington Library in California on a rainy January day. I remember walking around the gardens with him afterward, sharing an umbrella together as we laughed and talked and took our first steps into the most important relationship of our lives. I took my extended wedding party out for tea before I got married, joined my mother and mother-in-law for tea when James' parents came to visit from Arizona, and celebrated a bittersweet tea party with the women in my family before we left California for Texas. I've hosted special holiday teas in my home for friends and family each year, and I've enjoyed making tea and cookies for my daughters on Friday afternoons to celebrate the end of a long week. Every family has little traditions that become part of the fabric of who they are, and this has definitely been one of ours.

Tea Party Quilt for American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

So it seemed like such a natural fit to design the Tea Party quilt featured in the June issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. I wanted to make a different kind of sampler quilt, something small that would be fun for fussy cutting, and I loved the idea of using tiny traditional quilt blocks to decorate teacup blocks. The flying geese border makes me think of a string of party bunting all around the quilt. It looks so happy!

Tea Party Quilt for American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

There's nothing that I enjoy more than a scrappy quilt, and this project is perfect for emptying out the scrap basket, especially treasured little bits that are out of print now. Some of these fabrics were designed by wonderful friends and a few were even from my own collections, so that made this quilt extra special to me.

Tea Party Quilt for American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I think this mini would be so sweet to hang on the wall in a kitchen or dining room or even a child's room. Finishing at only 38 1/2" square, it makes a nice gift for a little one. I often made quilts this size for my daughters to use as play mats for tea parties or soft spots to cuddle up with a pillow and a picture book when they were young. If you don't have time to make a whole quilt, try turning one block into a cute mug rug (see the magazine for this adorable idea from one of their project testers). And wouldn't these blocks make such a darling set of little tea time placemats?

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

If you make one of these, please share it! You can add the hashtag #teapartyminiquilt, and be sure to tag me @fabricmutt. The June issue of American Patchwork and Quilting is out on newstands now -- isn't that cover quilt amazing?! -- so be sure to grab a copy while you can!

Rabbit Trails

Linen and Canvas Log Cabin Quilt by Heidi Staples for Fabric Mutt

One of my favorite paintings is a piece of concept art that Mary Blair created for Disney's Alice in Wonderland. I ran across it once when I was doing research on her, and when a tiny version of the painting printed out along with the text, I framed it. At first glance, it looks like a soft wooded landscape...until you look closely near the lower right edge to see a glimpse of the white rabbit hurrying off on his way, the sight that sent Alice running off on her great adventure. I've often thought that this painting reminds me so much of the way I tackle my creative pursuits. I seem to follow all the white rabbits that come across my trail.

I've been playing along with the Sunny Day Supply Log Cabin Sew Along on Instagram (#sunnylogcabinsal) since last week, and it's been such a relaxing, enjoyable project for me. I decided to make my quilt entirely from my linen and canvas stash, prints I've been collecting for years but don't use as often as I should.

Fabric for Linen and Canvas Log Cabin Quilt by Heidi Staples for Fabric Mutt

I cut 3" squares from a darling teatime print for my centers and then cut a whole bunch of 1 1/2" wide strips for the rest. I wanted the quilt to have a light, airy look to it, so I pulled in a lot of neutrals to balance out the colors.

Linen and Canvas Log Cabin Quilt by Heidi Staples for Fabric Mutt

Every block felt like a new adventure to me as I lay out centers and strips on my cutting mat and played with placement as you can see above. I had no idea where I was going with each one until I finally settled on something that felt right. Sometimes I would have everything in place and then get another idea and pull it all to pieces to follow that white rabbit, which almost always seemed to lead me to better things.

My original plan was to make 9 blocks, but after sewing together 4, that white rabbit came running past me, and I had to follow it. I played around with different arrangements of blocks and strips and center squares, and this was the result. It's a small quilt, only 40" square, but packed full of fabrics that I love.

Linen and Canvas Log Cabin Quilt by Heidi Staples for Fabric Mutt

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to quilt this one by hand or by machine, but that's okay. There's time. That's what I love about this sort of sewing. It doesn't matter where you go with it or how you get there or what time it takes you, just so long as you're having fun.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Finding the Fun Again

Scrappy Log Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Yesterday was the first day of spring and, as it so happens, the last day of our spring break this year. We took a few extra days off after our annual week of vacation because my sister's family drove out from California to spend some time with us. Being together is always such a treat, especially for our daughters. I had all five of them in my minivan yesterday afternoon as we went on a special "cousins shopping trip," and it was so much fun. It's amazing to me to see how quickly they're all growing up into beautiful young women.

As I was driving my girls home last night, we were listening to the soundtrack for the Curious George movie which was such a big hit with them so many summers ago when they were little. Just hearing the music took me instantly back to a dozen vivid memories -- seeing them scamper around the vegetable garden with their Daddy, helping them swim in their little plastic pool on the patio in the afternoons, watching cartoons with them in the evening as the smell of warm grapes drifted in the back door from the arbor outside, tucking them and all their stuffed friends into their toddler beds at night.

I remember it all like it was yesterday.

Scrappy Log Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Back then I would clean up after dinner and then get my machine out on the dining room table so that I could get in a little bit of sewing before bedtime. It was such a challenge back then to get any time to sew, and I treasured every chance I had to do it. So much of what I made was for the girls -- play quilts, floor pillows, book bags. All of it was well used and well loved. I was cleaning out our guest room the other day and found a whole stack of those little quilts in a wire basket, too small for my growing girls now but full of memories from when they were just the right size.

I can't escape the fact that, in many ways, I was having a lot more fun with my sewing back then. It was always exciting to look for the next project I had never tried. Fabric collections were fewer, and fabric designers were like rock stars. I remember counting the days until the release of Nursery Versery by Heather Ross (where the mouse print from her current Trixie line made it's debut), Hello Pilgrim by Lizzy House, and anything from Melody Miller's early Ruby Star years. Blogs were still newish, and there were so many sew alongs and swaps back then, all of them administered by chatty, happy Flickr groups. I remember large groups of us sewing through entire books like Zakka Style by Rashida Coleman-Hale and Patchwork, Please! by Ayumi Takahashi. (Does anybody even do that sort of thing anymore? Do any of us have the time to do it??) Working through these books in online communities wasn't just about doing what was popular, but it was also about learning new things with other people who enjoyed it as much as you did.

It wasn't that long ago, really, but those days seem so innocent and naive to me now. Somewhere along the line things changed...or maybe I changed. It's the tradeoff you make with turning your hobby into a business. You get so many opportunities to do amazing things, but that inevitably leads to more deadlines and less time to play. Trying to balance your creative work time with your creative play time, and then figuring out how to balance all of that with your family time -- it's a tightrope I walk every day. Even now as I write this post, I'm trying to alternate between typing and being a guest at my youngest daughter's imaginary diner, where she's serving cardboard blueberry pancakes and rubber chicken. Yes, I'm running short on time this afternoon. Yes, I'd like to get this up on the blog before I have to take the car to the dealer for maintenance. But how many more years will she be willing to put on an apron and serve me plastic food? Some things are too important to wait.

Scrappy Log Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

So one of my goals for 2019 is to find the fun again. When it comes to creativity, I want to be able to work hard and play hard. This month I'm looking to one of my most inspiring friends to help me get back on track with that. The unbelievably talented Mary of Sunny Day Supply is running a just-for-fun log cabin sew along on Instagram starting next week. It's not too fussy -- any kind of project featuring any kind of log cabin block will do -- and it will be a wonderful chance to get out my fabric and play. I decided to start early, making a little courthouse steps block that finished at 6" square. It's scrappy and playful and quilted entirely by hand. I added a bit of black and white gingham to the back and turned it into a tiny pillow. Not, of course, because I need another pillow, but because just looking at this little bit of handmade joy makes me so happy that I almost want to cry. I'll be putting it up on a shelf where I can see it every day, reminding myself to find my way back to where I began in this hobby that I love so much...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Soda Pop Shop Quilt Top

Late last fall I was scrolling through coming collections on the Riley Blake website when I came across the most adorable set of fabrics called Perfect Party by my friend Lindsay (the Cottage Mama). I immediately wrote to our RBD blog tour coordinator and said, "I HAVE to be on this tour!"

I'm completely in love with this fabric collection. The little animals enjoying birthday celebrations together, the border prints, the ribbon flowers, even the colorful plaid designs are all so playful and sweet. And don't even get me started on the panel that includes birthday bunting and larger animal squares that are just perfect for pillows. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

A collection this cute called for something special, so I decided to make my first attempt at a vintage soda pop bottle quilt block. Blocks this large actually come together surprisingly quickly, and I really love the way they look, especially with the novelty prints as soda bottle labels. I worked in a few RBD basics too, mostly the striped prints that I used for the bottle caps and the filler blocks, which remind me very much of party straws with little decorations on them.

This quilt top was a joy to design and sew from start to finish. I've decided that I love it so much that I'm going to have it quilted with a longarm, so I'm packing it up tomorrow and sending it off to a pro. Once it comes back to me and I get it bound, I'll have more pictures to share...promise!
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