Birdie in My Cabin

Remember this scene from Little Miss Sunshine?

Olive: Grandpa, am I pretty?

Grandpa: You are the most beautiful girl in the world.

Olive: You’re just saying that.

Grandpa: No! I am madly in love with you and it’s not because of your brains or your personality.

That scene captures perfectly my feelings for this quilt. You see, I often make ugly quilts. I love those too. They have great personality and hold deep meaning for me, but they do not fit the commonly held definition for beauty. Birdie in My Cabin does in my humble opinion.

Imagine a parent who has a bunch of ugly children and then, out of the blue, gives birth to a future Miss America. That’s me right now! I love my other kids, but this one is super-special. (I know we’re supposed to espouse the beauty of all children, but that’s not reality if we are being totally honest with each other, and I think we should be, don’t you?)

Let me give you the facts… This quilt measures 65 x 70 inches. It is a log cabin design, very traditional, but the following elements plant it firmly in the modern genre:

  • Low-volume fabrics with fresh accents in soft aqua/turquoise with an occasional punch of orange
  • Star sashing – I love this element and will use it again!
  • Faced binding, hand finished with big-stitch quilting

My friend Barb Rubio of Camokai Studio here on Oahu did the long-arm quilting for me, and it too is pretty and sweet. We decided on a light grey thread that accents nicely without overpowering this quiet composition.

Every quilt has a genesis. Mine is usually a fabric but sometimes it’s a pattern. In this case it’s this adorable birdie print. I used it as the center of each block and also for the majority of the back.

The other fabrics are a mix of vintage and contemporary prints. They are all from my stash or scrap bin. This soft floral print is at least 20 years old. I made a sweet, smocked dress for my oldest daughter from it decades ago. I had a tiny piece of Tula Pink’s Saltwater Octo Garden that made it into the mix, and I don’t remember where or when I bought this orange/turquoise piece but it works perfectly for a little punch of color. The stars in the sashing are a Kona cotton I had on my shelf. 

Designing a new quilt is my absolute favorite part of the process and I love to challenge myself by using only what I have on hand. I feel like when you can sneak a few vintage pieces into a quilt, you create something truly unique.

If I had to describe Birdie in My Cabin with one word, it would be “tweet.” I mean, “sweet.” It’s soft and pretty and quiet. I think it would make a great baby quilt, but too bad because I am keeping it for myself. Maybe I will give it to my grandchild one day…if she is not ugly. Haha. Just kidding. (As if my gorgeous girls would have anything other than beautiful children!)

Back of Birdie in My Cabin

I Put a Hex on You

You know how some quilts are super-special? They have a back story, they have great meaning and you invest a lot of emotion into them. They give you ALL the feels… Well, this is not that kind of quilt. This is more of a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of quilt, if you know what I mean.

I Put a Hex on You

That’s not to say I don’t love it, because I do. I really do. The colors are fun and bright, the fabrics are playful, and the pattern is pleasing to the eye. This quilt is basically eye candy. I’m not emotionally attached to it, but I like looking at it.

If you’re wanting a good time, you should definitely give this pattern a try. It goes together so quickly and it’s fun. I finished it with simple but effective straight-line quilting.

The genesis of this quilt

My inspiration was two-pronged: a) this lovely daisy fabric. It’s been in my stash forever. As I drove into work one morning, I was contemplating how I could finally put it to good use. That’s when I remembered b) the new tool I had recently purchased, this hexagon template from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I have the large which works perfectly with layer cakes (10-inch squares). It does a fabulous job of showcasing your favorite prints. You can also get the small hexagon which can be used with jelly rolls (2.5-inch strips) or charm packs (5-inch squares).

My favorite thing about this quilt is the fabric. There’s some grunge (Moda Grunge Hits the Spot in Vert), which is one of my favorite fabric lines of all time. I would love to have a bolt of every color in every pattern. There’s a little Cotton + Steel in the form of tiny pandas. (Cotton + Steel Paper Bandana Panda Bebe Pearl) Lots of florals and dots and a few baby deer. How cute is that?

So cute!

The back is also adorable (Michael Miller Road Trip Hit the Road in Celestial). Even though I bought it recently, it wasn’t specifically for this quilt so I’m going to say ALL of the fabric came from my stash. Yeah! I get so excited when I use my stash. The really cool thing about that is – it all goes together so well, it could have been a single line of fabric. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t happen every day for me. I usually end up buying something for a new quilt.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Asian…

… and also something blue.

I am so super-stoked to have finished this quilt top today. It’s a UFO from waaaayyyyy back – about 2013 to be more specific. I started it when I lived in Peyton, Colorado.

“Something Old” is most of it. The red/brown/cream daisy fabric was my original inspiration. I loved it then and I love it now.

“Something New” is the backing fabric, which I adore! It’s Pastiche in flame orange from In the Beginning Fabrics. It’s a perfect match to the fabrics I used on the front. With it’s rich, vibrant colors I’m tempted to call it the quilt top. 

“Something Borrowed” is this little bit of cherry blossom fabric donated to my quilt guild’s freebie table by a friend. With it’s Asian vibe and coloring, it fits right in and adds to the quilt’s story in such an impactful way, I’ll never look at it without thinking of my guild and my friend.

And check out that creamy kanji fabric (above). I bought it when I visited my soldier hubby while he was stationed in Korea. (What a trip that was. If you ever get a chance, you must go. The fabric district is A-mazing!!!) I don’t have a clue what the kanji means. Hopefully nothing awful. Haha.

As I mentioned, the project has a great oriental vibe, hence the “Something Asian.” It reminds me, not only of the aforementioned trip, but also of the six years I lived in Japan. Of course, the “Something Blue” is self-evident. I just need to finalize the placement and iron those buggers down.

I have a strong love/hate relationship with this project.

I hate that it’s so imperfect. I never make perfect quilts but this one is quite, quite flawed. My skills were definitely less impressive in 2013, which you can see clearly in some of my pinwheel points. My aesthetic has also changed and I’m not as enamored of the pattern as I once was. I wouldn’t say I hate it, but… I don’t love it. In fact, I almost chucked the whole thing, but I had completed more than half of the blocks so it would have been a terrible waste.

So, what do I love about it? I mostly love that it’s nearly finished. 🙂 I love the colors and the fabrics and the story. Ugly though it may be, it’s a keeper. I can’t wait to snuggle beneath it, thinking about my quilting buddies and reliving my adventures in the Orient.

Mahalo, Y’all, for stopping by.


Accuquilt Block Design Contest

Aloha, Y’all.

I did a thing… I entered the Accuquilt Block Design Contest. Here’s my entry.

If you sew with me, you know how much I love my Accuquilt Studio, right? So when I saw the contest, I was super-excited. There’s some stiff competition though. I would love it if you would take a moment to vote for my little block. I think it’s kind of cool. Just look what happens when you put it into a quilt…

Those secondary patterns are so pretty, aren’t they? This block is something of a skill builder. It’s got some curves and Y seams, but it’s also got a lot of easy, straight seams so you can learn without stressing yourself too much. haha

I just ordered that chisel die for the pieces that make up the y-seam. As soon as it arrives, I’m going to start sewing this quilt, and trust me, I need a lot of work on my y-seams, so it might take a while. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

I first called this Central Square, but driving home from work yesterday, I came up with a better name: “Y U Seam So Drunk.” Because of the Y-Seams and Drunkard’s Path pieces. Get it? Haha. Anyway, thank you for looking, and remember… vote early and vote often. 🙂



My Cat…Asshole or Quilt Designer?

I’ve been working on this quilt for quite a while. I was going to call it “In the Stacks” because it reminded me of rows of library books. It was to be a gift for a friend who recently had a baby. My plan was set.


My cat had other ideas…


What an asshole she turned out to be! Albeit a very cute asshole.


Luckily, appliqué can cover a multitude of sins, and Accuquilt makes it super-easy. This is the Go! Critters Die (#55030), which also includes a dragonfly and a bumblebee. I use it a lot. Butterflies are very much my thing.


This was my first attempt at echo quilting with my walking foot, and I still need a lot of practice, so I don’t know if I’ll end up giving this quilt to my friend, but…


…to be honest, I like the design better now, with the butterflies. Don’t tell the cat. She already suffers delusions of grandeur. She’ll start thinking she’s the better quilt designer.

New name: “Flight Lines.” 

Aloha, Y’all.

Ugly Quilts

Aloha, y’all.

I have a confession. Sometimes I make ugly quilts. On purpose. Not for nothing though. That would be crazy, right? 

You may be asking yourself, “Why would anyone intentionally make an ugly quilt?” Believe it or not, there are several reasons. When I made Churn Dash Aflutter, I was living in Alaska with my two daughters while my husband served an unaccompanied tour in Korea. Money was tight so I challenged myself to create a quilt top using nothing but my stash. I wanted to make the kind of quilt my great-grandmother might have made. Something practical and warm using whatever materials were at hand. I had a small amount of one gorgeous fabric, the butterfly print, and that became my starting point. From there, I focused mostly on color, so some of the other fabrics aren’t true quilting fabrics, but they do kind of match. Also, I didn’t have a good quarter-inch seam at that time so my churn dash points are cut off. Lesson learned. Overall this quilt is ugly, yes, but it has its good qualities and I love it despite everything, because of the memories it evokes.

My latest finish is ugly as well, but it’s also quite beautiful in it’s own way. I call it Found Treasure. I didn’t even make most of it. A stranger did. See, I have this quirk. I cannot leave fabric at a yard sale or thrift store. If I find it I buy it, and occasionally I score real treasures, like these colorful strips – sometimes called Chinese coins. 

When I pulled them out of the bag, I thought, “How sad. Someone spent a lot of time making these strips and for whatever reason, didn’t finish them.” I set them aside for months but kept thinking about them – and their maker. Finally, I knew I had to finish this unknown woman’s quilt. Maybe her spirit was compelling me. Maybe I’m just weird. Whatever.

It took me several months to come up with a design, then a few more to sew the top. I set aside the finished flimsy for over a year, but eventually, I got started on the quilting. I worked on it here and there until this month my quilt guild had a day-long sew-in. That gave me just the time and motivation I needed to “git er done.”

I have a name for my ugly quilts. I call them Picnic Quilts. They’re the kind I don’t mind taking to the beach or on a picnic – if I EVER decided to go on a picnic. Which I probably won’t. Ants. Flies. Need I say more? But that’s what I call the quilts anyway, because Ugly Quilt is an over-simplification for these wonderful, beautiful, slightly unattractive creations.

Have you ever made a Picnic Quilt? I’d love to see it.

[NOTE: Better pictures to come in a few days. It was too late when I finished to get any good ones and I just couldn’t wait to write about it. :)]


Friday Five

When it comes to quilting, I love all the things. I WANT all the things. I buy as many of the things as I can afford, and maybe a little more. I justify this because I don’t buy jewelry. I wear flip flops almost exclusively, so I don’t spend much on shoes, and my annual budget for makeup is minuscule. I am mostly a low-maintenance gal, except for this one area.

As I was sewing today, I was thinking about my most favorite things of the moment and decided you probably want to know about them too, so here they are in no particular order…

Dritz Quilting Crystal Glass Head Pins I’ve never been infatuated with a pin before now, but these are just gorgeous. The picture doesn’t quite capture their luminescence. A friend had some at a recent sew-in and – after deciding it would be rude to steal them from her – grilled her like a cheap steak until she told me where to buy my own. I included the link above so you don’t have to resort to desperate measures.


This current WIP, which was a UFO for a long time, but which I recently got back into. I should finish it this month and it will only have taken two years. Yay. I call it Chaos Theory and I adore it. Is it bad form to tell people how much you love your own work? I hope not, because I just can’t help myself. I love it. This is Block 15 of 16, so I’m almost there.

Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea, 50 Tea Bags This tea is not technically a quilting supply BUT… I’ve been drinking the shit out of it while I quilt and it’s damn good, so I’m counting it. It’s also a hell of a deal over on Amazon. I bought three boxes and I’m thinking about buying more just in case there’s an unexpected zombie apocalypse or something. I mean, anything could happen at any time and I like to be prepared.

Accuquilt Studio Dies Working on Chaos Theory has made me appreciate my Studio cutter more than ever. All those 2.5″ squares and half-square triangles would take eons to cut with scissors or a rotary cutter, but with these two dies I can cut enough squares for several blocks in about 10 or 15 minutes. 

Modern Quilt Magic: 5 Parlor Tricks to Expand Your Piecing Skills – 17 Captivating Projects This book by Victoria Findlay Wolfe is really, really great. Look at this pillow I made from it. It’s so cute and even though it has partial seams, it was super-easy thanks to VFW’s wonderful instructions. As soon as I finish Chaos Theory, I am going to make a king-size quilt to go with my new pillow. Hopefully in a more reasonable time frame. BTW, I also love her double wedding ring book. I haven’t attempted that yet but she gives me hope I can do it one day.

Making a Zipper Pouch in 5 Easy Steps

Happy Easter everyone. All two of you. 🙂 Love you, Mom. Haha. My audience may be small right now, but I have faith…

Anyway…it’s been a busy weekend quilting-wise and that means it’s been a GREAT weekend. 

I decided last-minute-like to make my daughter a little Easter gift so this morning before she woke up, I whipped up this little gem.

If you need a quick gift, you really can’t beat a nice zipper pouch. They are so easy to make and can be customized to the recipient. 

Step One The hardest part is picking out your fabrics, but that’s also the funnest part. (I know that’s not proper English, by the way, but proper English can be so tedious.) Aren’t these kitties the cutest things ever? That fabric is by Cotton Kobayashi. The black lining fabric is Ink and Arrow’s pixie dots.

Step Two Quilt as desired.


Step Three Add a binding to the top.

Step Four Add your zipper. Yeah, I could use some practice on that part.

Step Five Sew around the sides and bottom. Ta da. I like to add a little ribbon tab too. Makes it easy to grab and go. And it’s cute.

Those instructions aren’t exactly detailed, but let’s face it…there are loads of zipper pouch tutorials out there and I’m not in the mood to reinvent the wheel tonight. Sorry gang.

I also made a pillow…

And made great strides in quilting Found Treasure. But I’ll tell you all about those things next time. Have a lovely week!

A Little Something for Me…

Aloha, y’all. It’s been a minute since I finished ANYthing, so today I decided to make something quick and easy. Something just for me. This adorable scissors cozy from SOTAK Handmade fit the bill perfectly.


I love how simple it was to make. Alas, my scissors didn’t fit, so guess who’s getting a new pair? Me!


Isn’t that baby octopus just the cutest! I’d love to tell you more about this fabric, but I didn’t see any writing on the selvedge. I bought it at Wal-Mart and that’s all I know about that. I hope you won’t think too badly of me, but I actually like some of Wal-Mart’s fabric. I also drink wine from a carton. 🙂 I’m not fancy.

I think I’ll make more of these scissor cozies for gifts and such, but I will definitely make a couple of small modifications. For one, I’ll sew a tab on both ends of the zipper instead of just the bottom part. And I’ll make it a weensie bit bigger. 

And I’m most certainly going to buy more of this fabric, because we all need more clown fish in party hats, am I right?

Narwhals Are for Real

News flash, People… narwhals are NOT fictional characters. They actually exist. Maybe you knew that, but until today, I did not.

Just in case you are even less informed than me, narwhals are whales with a unicorn-like horn. Google them. They’re fascinating.

So basically, I just experienced a paradigm shift. My mind has been blown. On one hand, I’m horrified I remained so ignorant for so long. On the other, I’m enchanted to learn these magical creatures are more than just a fairy tale.

My introduction to narwhals was an adorable quilting fabric by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabrics.

Out to Sea by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller

Perhaps you can understand my confusion. Who could guess these unicorns of the sea were based on real animals? Not I, my friend. NOT. I.

Now I am not a stupid person, but I’ll be the second to admit I don’t know everything. (My mother-in-law would be the first.) That is especially true when it comes to quilting, so one of my top goals for 2018 is to expand my skill-set.

I recently purchased Modern Quilt Magic by Victoria Findlay Wolfe and am going to spend the next few months learning to sew partial seams. I also want to continue my adventures in straight-line quilting using my digital dual feed foot. I had a great experience with that while working on Positively Scrappy.

Do you set sewing goals every year? If so, what do you have planned for 2018? Perhaps a lovely narwhal quilt?

Happy New Year, My Friend.