#100Days100Blocks Thrifted City Sampler

A few months ago when Angie from Gnome Angel announced her newest wild and crazy sew along, a challenge to sew all 100 blocks from Tula Pink’s City Sampler book in 100 days, of course I was intrigued, tempted, and mentally plotting color schemes. But I was good, and knew that I already had a full plate. I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch from the outside. Flash forward a few weeks when the challenge began and thousands of gorgeous blocks started popping up everywhere, flooding my Instagram feed with beauty, diversity, and temptation. Cue…

100 days 100 blocks peekSo fun! Still, I resisted. Then I noticed that Kim from My Go Go Life was making her blocks entirely out of thrifted materials, and they were GORGEOUS. This reminded me of the #MakeDoQuilt challenge recently initiated by Sherri Lynn Wood of Dainty Time, where she invites participants to make at least one quilt top and back out of salvaged clothing, linens, curtains, or other household materials in the next 365 days. She shares:

Did you know that a significant percentage of the stuff that goes into landfills is discarded clothing and textiles? Textile waste is a huge problem which will require changes from how the industry runs business to how we run our homes. If every one of the 16 million occasional quilt makers or 1 million active quilt makers in the US made one quilt a year from discarded clothing and linens, imagine how many pounds of material waste would be spared from the landfill.

Reading this struck my environment-loving heartstrings, and I knew I had to add this to my list of makes for the year. With Kim’s encouragement, I was hooked. Thus began my #ThriftedCitySampler, 10 days late but raring to go. I resisted for quite a long time, really!

thrifted clothing for quiltI pulled some old worn out clothes from our toss/donation piles (a workshirt of my husband’s with elbows worn nearly through, a pair of maternity corduroys that were a hand-me-down given to me by a friend who had received them as a hand-me-down from another friend and worn bare in too many spots to mend, and a thrifted leather skirt I had bought for a project that fizzled before it really began), and hit up a local thrift shop to fill in the gaps a bit. I decided to focus on a monochromatic grey color palette, but asked my kids to choose a pop of color from the sale racks. A large pair of coral women’s capri pants fit the bill, and I’m excited at the resulting palette.

Thrifted City Sampler Blocks 11-13
Thrifted City Sampler Blocks 11-13 (from Tula Pink’s City Sampler Book, for the #100blocks100days challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel)

It took me a few days to decide how I wanted to share these blocks each day on Instagram. I began by simply sharing each block with a basic flat lay, but with the muted color palette, the aesthetic just wasn’t doing it for me.

block 14 for Tula City Sampler #100blocks100days
Block 14 from Tula’s City Sampler book, Day 14 in #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel. Environmental focus: wetlands!

I finally decided to continue along the environmental advocate path. Appreciating, understanding, and caring for our earth is very important to me, and so I decided to use the sharing of these blocks made out of thrifted materials as a platform to share some tidbits of information about the environment, in the hope that by learning more about this mind-blowingly diverse and beautiful world, people will be more invested in preserving, restoring, and caring for the environment.

block 14 for Tula City Sampler #100blocks100daysEven if you don’t have Instagram, you can follow along with my posts and environmental tidbits by clicking HERE to see my #ThriftedCitySampler stream on Instagram.* I invite you to follow along with my posts, where I’ll share tidbits about this beautiful world: information about a specific ecosystem, an introduction to some of my favorite plants, or sharing wild stories of symbiotic relationships in the world around us.

*Please let me know if this doesn’t work, those of you without Instagram; it seems to work for me, but I also have an IG account.

block 15 tula pink city sampler 100 days 100 blocks
Block 15 from Tula’s City Sampler book, Day 15 in #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel. Environmental focus: milkweed and monarchs!

So far, I’ve shared information about my favorite ecosystem: wetlands (I worked for 6 years as a wetland scientist before teaching and then mom-ing), and the awesome symbiotic relationship between milkweed and monarch butterflies. I hope you enjoy the journey and perhaps learn something new about this amazing world in which we live.

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since it’s been AGES since I’ve joined a linky party and I miss sharing my creative process and in turn, peeking into your recent creations!

Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop–Mark Your Calendars!

Cloud9 New Block Blog HopI’m excited to be a part of the Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop that kicks off two weeks from today. This is the third year this New Block Blog Hop is happening, hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl at Meadowmist Designs, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter, and the second year I’m participating. During the first new block blog hop, I shared a tutorial for my block called Transparent Play. When the hosts announced this year’s blog hop and made a call for participants, I signed up as soon as I saw the colors they had chosen, and learned that the fabric would be the gorgeous Organic Cirrus Solids made by Cloud9 Fabrics.

2016 cloud9 organic cirrus solids new block blog hopThere are almost 70 participants in this hop and each one will be presenting a free tutorial for a new 12″ (finished) block using 5 fat quarters of Organic Cirrus Solids generously donated by Cloud9. All blocks will be collected by the hosts and made into quilts for charity.

I love this project for many reasons: the community building effort of helping new designers work a bit out of their comfort zone in creating a step-by-step photo tutorial, the fact that the fabric is organic and therefore an environmentally friendly choice, the fact that all created blocks will go into quilts donated to charity, AND because the hosts serendipitously (or intentionally???) selected my all time favorite colors for the color palette. How could I say no?

cloud9 new block blog hop bundleAfter petting this gorgeous bundle of organic fabric and sketching out a few block ideas, I think I’ve decided on a winner, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I will be posting my tutorial with the Wednesday crowd on September 14th, so mark your calendars!

Getting into the Swing of Things… or Not

Despite the best intentions, I’ve had a pretty slow start at “getting back into the swing of things” after returning from the Slow Stitching Retreat. I have done zero non-deadline related sewing, my house is not nearly as tidy as I’d like, and there are days where we all just run amok outside all day long. But you know what? I’ve decided that’s all okay. These are the final days of summer, with my daughter beginning 1st grade next week and my son beginning preschool two weeks after that, so I’ve officially decided that it is a-okay for the plans and schedules to go out the window. There will be plenty of time for schedules, cleaning, sewing, blogging, and organization in September.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this past week and a half, a peek at our family fun through phone photos, with not even a lick of sewing involved. It happens! Note: Not shown are the moments of crying and bickering kids, sweaty complaints, frustration, exhaustion, and boredom that are very much a part of life. Just keeping it real–I’m human, too! All my days aren’t sunshine and roses, but I like to share the high points here. Enjoy!

organic you pick blueberries at North Branch Farm
We spent a sunny late morning picking blueberries at our local organic farm, North Branch Farm.
organic you pick blueberries at North Branch Farm
16.6 lbs to be exact!!
meeting up with Karin Jordan's family
Quilty blogger friend Karin from Leigh Laurel Studios took her family on an impromptu weekend getaway to Belfast, Maine, so we got our families together for beach, drinks, and dinner. So fun!
garden flower
I’ve been enjoying the late summer blooms in our garden…
hiding spider in flower
…as well as the clever creatures who hide within them!
hiking Blue Hill Mountain
I hiked to the top of a mountain with a friend and our cumulative 5 kids. It was quite a fun adventure!
Robot Dinosaur on the trail
My son insisted on bringing his friend “Robot Dinosaur” on the hike (yes, it’s a toy digger, but the digger part looks like a dinosaur neck and head, right? Right. Trust me, don’t call it a digger.).
hiking Blue Hill Mountain
The weather was perfect and the view was fantastic! This photo was taken about 2 minutes into the 2 and a half hour hike. We were celebrating being on the trail!
hiking Blue Hill Mountain Maine
Most of the hike was along gorgeous, shady forest trails.
hiking Blue Hill Mountain Maine
With a gorgeous look out on the top, at over 900 feet elevation. The kids did great, the moms-lugging-babies did great, and Robot Dinosaur rested in the woods near the bottom of the trail until our descent.

I hope that you are enjoying the final days of summer (or whatever season it may be in your corner of the world), and I look forward to sharing sewing and inspiration with you again soon! Just last night I pulled fabric for three (3) new Farmer’s Wife blocks, and I have plans to finally finish a much overdo and beloved project, as well as join in (in a very relaxed, no pressure way) on the #100blocks100days challenge hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel, thanks to Kim at My Go Go Life‘s prompting! There is much sewing inspiration on the horizon!

Color Inspiration Thursday (76)

*Note that this was mostly written before last week’s Slow Stitching Retreat. It still holds true, just add a week of slow stitching to the list of adventures that have been keeping me busy!*

I feel like I’ve been overly absent from this space these past few weeks. I have been wrapping up SO many projects and making things happen behind the scenes, but I promise I will return to more regularly posting here soon. Most of my time lately has been spent going on grand adventures to the coast of Maine with my trusted and ever-able assistant (also known as my husband) and a giant chest full of quilts to photograph for the Quilter’s Planner.

I’m excited, relieved, happy, and have I mentioned excited?… that I have officially finished the photography for this year’s planner and I couldn’t be happier with it and the fantastic planner Stephanie and her graphic designer Lindsie are putting together this year. I will definitely be sharing much more about the Quilter’s Planner 2017, so I will hold back the excitement just a little bit for now. However, this week’s color inspiration comes from photographs taken along the coast of Maine, during our photo shoot adventures. As always, color palettes were created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs. Maybe you find even a fraction of the inspiration these natural details bring me!

grey barnacles color palette Corresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Pearl Pink, Bella Platinum, Kona Medium Grey, Kona Coal, Kona Pepper, Kona Black

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2405 – Oyster
2606 – Mist
2625 – Arctic Ice
1158 – Med Grey
2785 – V Dk Navy
2692 – Black

This first one fills that final gap in “colors that don’t often star in color palettes” in getting ALL the greys. Barnacles are such gorgeous tiny creatures, both dainty and tough as nails all at once. They also provide a gorgeous aesthetic randomly arranged on a tide-swept stone. These beauties were underfoot as I photographed Rita from Red Pepper Quilts‘ contribution to the planner (recently revealed on IG), so before hustling off to the next photo location, I had to give them a private photo shoot. Gorgeous greys!

orange rusty chain color palette maine coastCorresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Lead, Bella Etchings Stone, Kona Cobblestone, Bella Rust, Bella Burgundy, Bella Kansas Green

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1246 – Grey
5011 – Rope Beige

2375 – Antique Blush
2335 – Lt Cinnamon
4012 – Copper Brown
2370 – Sandstone

This vibrant rusty chain was sitting right next to the barnacles on the beach in Bar Harbor! Again, a tiny detail that when seen closer simply jumps out at you, begging to be captured in photo. I love the subtle neutrals on the stony beach, with just a few tinges of green from seaweed, boldly divided by a lone rusty chain. I’m holding onto summertime as long as I can, but this palette has an air of autumn to it. Shhh, let’s not talk about that.

Back to berry-picking, lake splashing, sun-kissed summer bliss! Enjoy your day!



I’m back after a wonderfully relaxing, rejuvenating, and surprisingly silly fun week at the Slow Stitching Retreat in Washington, Maine. My reentry into real life was rather abrupt, since I only had a 15 minute drive upon leaving the blissful retreat until I was resubmerged in the thick of parenting, with my 4 year old sneaking a melty chocolate and dripping it all over the inside of my packed car, one big drip falling a literal inch from my stitching project I had peacefully sewn all week, while my 1 year old simultaneously hightailed it down the hill toward the lake. Ahhh, life! I’m now just starting to feel like I might be getting back into the swing of things, and will share much more of my experience here in the coming weeks.

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maineWhile I had every intention of taking lots of photos, I also made a conscious effort to distance myself from social media and technology as much as I could, so that I could aim to slow down body, mind, and spirit. Lo, I took hardly any photos at all. But I can tell you this: the retreat was everything I imagined and more and I would jump back there in a heartbeat. I’ve already begun saving pennies for next year. There was a whole lot of relaxing, chatting, stitching, laughing, learning, making new friends, swimming, yoga, relaxing some more, stitching some more, eating, drinking, and so much more.

weeks dye works perle cotton alison glass collectionAnd of course color. Lots and lots of color. This is just a tiny peek at the Weeks Dye Works perle cotton collection Alison Glass brought along for all of us to try, and only a tiny sneak peek at all of the gorgeous color that permeated the week.

Once it all has time to permeate, percolate, settle in, process, and all of those other things a rare and beautiful experience must do before becoming coherent, I’ll write a reflection post with a few more peeks and highlights of the week. Until then, you can read my friend Karin’s account of the week, rich with photos galore (at least someone took lots of photos!) on her blog Leigh Laurel Studios, here. In the meantime, while my reflection on the experience has time to process, I’ll jump back into sharing my projects, inspiration, and tips, picking up where I left off two short weeks ago.

I hope you had a week full of little wonders and surprise moments of bliss! I’ve missed you and look forward to getting back into the swing of the online quilting world.

Monday Giveaway & Off to Slow Stitching

Ahhh Mondays! Mondays often have that heavy feel, transitioning from a relaxing or adventuresome weekend of family fun back into the daily grind of work and household duties. Not this week! I’m home on a quick packing layover, gathering my supplies for the Slow Stitching Retreat at Medomak Retreat Center in Washington, Maine!! I dropped in on this retreat for one blissful day last year, but this year I’m attending the entire week! I’m so excited to relax with Sam from A Gathering of Stitches (the mastermind behind these retreats), Alison Glass, Chawne Kimber, my friend Karin Jordan from Leigh Laurel Studios who is also attending the retreat, and all of the other slow stitchers!

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maine alison glass chawne kimberMy parents have graciously come up from New Jersey and rented a house on a lake only 15 minutes away from the retreat center, so during the day they will be playing with all three kids, and every evening someone will drive Finn to me where he will join me for sleep, to be (hopefully) joyfully picked up each morning. He’s still a nursing babe at 14 months, so I’m looking forward to the nightly mama reconnection time, too.

medomak retreat center maineI originally aimed to schedule some blog posts for while I was away, but life has been very full these days, so this week will be quiet. I will be stitching away in this big, beautiful building and its neighboring barn, and will join you upon my return. Keep your eye on Instagram, since I will post a few updates to help share the blissful relaxation of the week! I have a fun color inspiration post pretty much ready for the week I return, and will get back into the swing of sharing my creative process and projects with you next week. And of course, of course, I will share a reflection of my time slow stitching.

fresh adventures amy sinibaldi art gallery fabric fat quarter shopTo hold you over for the week, I do have a fun giveaway sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop! One lucky reader will win this Fresh Adventures Playground Fat Quarter Bundle by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics, which includes 10 fat quarters.

To enter the giveaway today, tell me what type of adventures you like to go on. I’m a big fan of exploring new places, so my ideal day consists of traveling to a new ocean beach, walking along the coast line, hiking through the neighboring woods, and picnicking on the beach. I’d love to hear about what you do for an adventure! Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win.  For an additional entry, click HERE and sign up for my Night Quilter email list (or let me know you’re signed up). Tell me how you follow Fat Quarter Shop (facebook,twitter, Instagramtheir blog Jolly Jabber, etc.) in a third comment for a third entry.

fresh adventures amy sinibaldi art gallery fabric fat quarter shopThis giveaway is open to US and international participants.  The giveaway will be open until Sunday August 14th at 8pm EST when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Good luck, and enjoy your week! This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations One Creative Family!

*Please note that comment moderation is on, so if you do not see your comment right after posting, do not be alarmed! I will be disconnecting from social media for most of each day on the retreat, but will be checking in each evening to approve new comments. xoxo

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial on Andover Fabrics’ Blog

Today’s the day! A few months back Giuseppe (aka @giucy_giuce on social media) from Andover Fabrics asked if I would like to do a guest post on their blog. For those of you who haven’t put it together, Andover Fabrics is the manufacturer who houses fabric lines by Alison Glass, Lizzy House, Libs Elliot… and more! You know how much Alison Glass fabric alone is include in my makes, so of course I said YES! I decided to share a tutorial for my favorite quilting technique that sadly often has a bad rep–foundation paper piecing. Today a revamped foundation paper piecing tutorial featuring my newest pattern, Constant Flux, which features Handcrafted Patchwork by Alison Glass, went live on the Andover blog.

foundation paper pieced block from constant flux andover tutorialThis tutorial takes you through the basics of foundation paper piecing, but also includes some special hints, tips, and helpful cutting measurements for sewing together the Constant Flux pattern. You can read more about Constant Flux HERE, and be sure to visit the foundation paper piecing tutorial on the Andover blog HERE.

constant flux pattern coverIf you haven’t yet added Constant Flux to your pattern library, it’s still on sale for a few more days in my Craftsy shop (and Payhip for those of you in the EU). Get it now for only $5, since at the end of the week it will head back up to its usual $8.

Many thanks to Andover Fabrics for hosting me, and I hope all of you find my foundation paper piecing tutorial helpful! Happy stitching!