Monday, March 23, 2015

Bird in Tree Hop - Picture Perfect Birds

Today is my day to reveal what I made using the theme "Bird on a Tree Branch." I asked Benartex Fabrics to send me their Avignon Collection because it features - wait for it - BIRDS ON TREE BRANCHES! (As you know, I sew for Benartex and they supply me with their fabrics for promotion.)

This is a tutorial (with pictures) and a free pattern. So, stick with me.

I recalled a technique I used with another bird/tree fabric made years ago. I made two of these quilts, with one finished. This uses my Photo Corner technique which I will share with you today, with FREE templates for you to use with your own fabrics.

Four Block Christmas Birds: 9" blocks
A few bird books in my bookshelf to help me identify my backyard visitors:

Who's visiting today?
First, the Avignon Fabrics by Benartex (I only requested a few):

Avignon Collection by Benartex Fabrics
Next, my simple photo corner templates:

Photo corners traceable templates

I used freezer paper to trace the simple template. I made two so I could cut quickly.

Iron templates to fabric that ALREADY has fusible interfacing on back
 Yes, you first have to iron fusible interfacing (NOT double sided, like Wonder Under) to the wrong side of fabric. This stabilizes the raw edges for machine applique.

Interfacing ironed to wrong side of fabric
Cut out squares and then use freezer paper templates to cut out photo corners.

Iron freezer paper to right side of fabric, then cut out.
Two photo corners cut out. Funny little shape in center: discard or find some clever use - your call!

I plan on 4 blocks. I need 8 photo corners of each color:

Photo corners cut out and ready for the birds!
I asked for 1/2 yard of that awesome main bird fabric. I wish I had asked for more, but it worked out! I needed to fussy cut four birds, so I needed a "window" template. Freezer paper to the rescue.

I created a window that mimicked the opening that the photo corners would create on a 9-1/2" background square. I cut a 9-1/2" piece of freezer paper and traced the photo corners as shown; then I cut out the center. Now I can see the bird fabric and find out where to place this template for cutting.

Window template drawn; now, to cut it out
Now I can see where to place the cutting template. Centered this bird . . .

Bird #1 centered and ready to be cut
Iron the template to the fabric (so it doesn't shift when I cut)

Bird #2 ready to be cut out on the OUTSIDE of the freezer paper square
I used my 9-1/2" ruler to do the chopping

Don't worry birdie; you're safe inside that ruler. I'm only cutting the outside fabric

And how do they look, waiting for the stitching?

Auditioning one bird with green corners
 And how does the same bird look with orange corners?
I like this one better
I placed the photo corners on the 9-1/2" background squares and then used matching thread, zig zag stitched them down. I also trimmed away the excess background fabric from behind each photo corner (before I added the sashing).

Simple zigzag stitch; trimmed away background from behind photo corners
Added sashing (from another Benartex collection), then that luscious fruit fabric for a border.

Song birds in my backyard
Yes, here is the free pattern for the Holiday Birds quilt at the top of this post. The same dimensions apply to this new quilt made with the Avignon Collection.

Many thanks to Lana and Madame Samm for pulling this all together. Loved seeing what all the bloggers have done this past week. Whew! We sure were busy.

Take a hop on over to see what today's bloggers have been up to:

Monday, March 23

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tree Bird Hop Day 6 - More Love Birds

Today is Day 6 of the Tree Bird Hop. Remember, my day is Monday March 23, so be sure to come back to see what I've been up to. (FREE pattern today, so don't go away)

I have another Love Birds quilt that I wanted to share with you. I made this using a fabulous collection of reds, blues and yellows from Kona Bay Fabrics. Yes, that simple bird applique is back and this time perched on a branch with a heart on each end. Very folk art-y!

Love Birds Quilt
Did I share with you my Tea Cozy Ensemble using this same bird?

Tea Cozy Ensemble
I have since gifted this ensemble to a family friend and I know she absolutely loves it. I sure enjoyed making it!

Now let's visit our Tree Bird bloggers today and see what wonderful things they have come up with featuring birds on a branch. Please come back one more time on Monday to see my own creations, won't you?

Friday, March 20

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tree Bird Hop Day 5 - Chatty Birds

The Garden Bouquet series of blocks ran in the Chicago Tribune in the 1930s under the pen name of Nancy Page (for Florence LaGanke). Each new block came with a whole lot of chatty information, as though you were in the midst of a group of socialites at a tea party making small talk.

Each of the 20 blocks features a different flower in a red urn with two birds perched atop: Saucy Bird and Meek Bird. While they weren't doing all the chatting in these weekly pattern reveals, the women in this imaginary tea party certainly were!

Here is a photo of my own five block quilt:

5 Block Garden Bouquet Quilt
And a photo of all 20 blocks, each with a different flower atop that urn. This is an antique top with the border as it appears in the pattern:

Antique Garden Bouquet Quilt
I absolutely love these historic pattern sets. I redrafted the blocks (not scans) and typed all the words that came with the pattern. I've included a FREE pdf of the DAFFODIL pattern here so you can see what I mean about all those chatty words.
Daffodil flower from the Garden Bouquet series

“My heart with rapture thrills and dances with the daffodils,” thus quoted Nancy Page and thus echoed the club members.

Now, let's see what our Tree Bird bloggers are up to today!

Thursday, March 19

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tree Bird Hop, Day 3 - Love Birds

Today is Day Three of the Tree Bird Hop. And it's the third day of some more eye candy from my Quilt Vault. I've even surprised myself in how many quilts with birds I've made over the past 22 years. Remember: I've been sewing for the camera all that time, not just for a hobby or fun (though I truly have had lots of fun!) That's why I have so many quilts.

Here is one of my Love Birds quilts (I have two and hope to show that one later this week). I made it with a simple applique bird pattern I designed and used it for several years when I taught my Building Blocks and Borders workshop.
Doves and Hearts
Here is that bird again on a tea cozy:

Love Bird on Tea Cozy
And alone as a Christmas tree ornament (and FREE pattern):

Holiday Dove FREE pattern
Now let's go visit today's Tree Bird bloggers and see what they've done!

Tuesday, March 17

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tree Bird Hop, Day 2 - Happy Birds

This is Day Two of the Tree Bird Hop. I'm so glad to participate (my day is March 23) and I am sharing one of my own bird projects each day as I also share the list of daily bloggers.

Today I want to share with you a lovely little block you've seen before - and the pattern is FREE! This is my Blue Bird of Happiness and I use it when I teach my free motion quilting classes.

Blue Bird of Happiness
I designed this a few years ago for another blog hop. Simple applique to feature a new fabric collection by Windham. It has a 9" center for the bird and the outer strips are 2", finishing to 1-1/2". So, if you do the math right, it's a 12" block! (You didn't have to do the math; I did it for you.)

You can have this Blue Bird of Happiness free pattern by clicking the link. But, I hope that you'll first go visit our Day 2 bloggers to see how they've interpreted this Tree Bird challenge.

Come back tomorrow for another one of my bird quilts and a new list of fabulous ideas from the Day 3 Bloggers.

Monday, March 16

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tree Bird Hop, Day 1 - Tipsey Birds

I have made a variety of quilts that feature birds. Today is the first day of the Bird in Tree blog hop and I'm anxious to see what the featured designers share today. But, first let me show you a quilt made with four birds perched on tree branches. This is from the 25 block Laurel Wreath quilt.

Four of the 25 blocks in the Laurel Wreath quilt
Cedar Waxwing (top left in the picture above) is an interesting bird according to Charles Seabrook and his 2005 Wild Georgia column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I was living in Atlanta at the time and came across this one dated - yes! - March 13, 2005. It's all about the Cedar Waxwing and its peculiar habits.

"Waxwings have a ravenous appetite for fleshy berries. Flocks of them seem to sweep down from the sky, land on a berry-laden tree or bush and strip it of fruit in minutes. Its name comes from its love for cedar berries."

"Sometimes waxwings gobble up overripe, fermented berries. They may become so INTOXICATED that they fly . . .well, drunkenly, and crash into buildings or pass out on the ground. They can be picked up easily. Cats and other predators may make a meal of them. If you come across intoxicated waxwings, the best help you can render is to guard them from  predators while they sleep it off. After a few hours, they will sober up and be on their way."

Wow. Would you ever think a bird could get DRUNK? And on berries? A real lush!

Here's a shot of the entire 25 block Laurel Wreath quilt. That pattern is available at my Craftsy shop (both quilts). But I thought you'd enjoy these details about this silly Cedar Waxwing.

 Now, let's go see what our blog participants show us today. My day is March 23, btw.

Friday, March 13

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tasty Leftovers and Scrap Buster Quilts

I have been thinking about all my scrap buster quilts and how I should begin sharing them here in blogville. Over the years I've done many articles for Quilt Magazine about how to pull all those scraps that gather under my cutting table into tasteful quilts. Stay tuned for some tutorials on that, but I want to show you a few to get you interested:

Tasty Leftovers #3
OK. Where's Tasty Leftovers #1? I'm looking. I'm looking . . .

This was a magazine cover, too. One of the publishers wanted to buy it. I couldn't part with it (and still own it).

A class I taught in my Kaffe Fassett Club at Intown Quilters (Atlanta). We gathered all our leftover strings and strips and we pieced on 8-1/2" x 11" rectangles of newsprint. I had this quilted and gifted to my daughter's mother in law after surgery. Isn't it a happy quilt?

String pieced on 8-1/2" x 11" newsprint
Here is one of my students' quilts:

Strips and leftovers
And a REAL oldie, one of the first I did by string piecing on paper:

String pieced stars
 This quilt was one of two quilts I got from my string pieced squares of newsprint. I'll be sharing that one, too.

So, stay tuned for more scrap buster quilts and ideas. We all have piles of scraps and I was asked often to share my tips for Scrap Deliverance. I hope you've enjoyed the few I showed today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March Classes

Back on the road with the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo. I enjoy the teaching and my students! Travel? Not so much. Especially when laryngitis hits and there were no drug stores around. But I digress. Here are my Spring classes:

Coffee Filter (20" diameter) Mariner's Compass (Lakeland and Cleveland)

Coffee Filter Mariner's Compass
Second color family:
Mariner's Compass in solids
 Buzz Saw (Lakeland)
Buzz Saw using my 12-1/2" Dresden Ruler
Thousand Pyramids (Lakeland, Atlanta, and Cleveland)

Thousand Pyramids
 Free Motion Machine Quilting (all 3 cities)

Learn to work with stencils, marking tools and thread color choice tips
 Quilt inside defined shapes:

Thread sketching
 Cupid's Arrows (Cleveland)
Cupids Arrows (Hosannah Quilt from my book)

Cupid's Arrows banner
Tight Knit Circles (Atlanta and Cleveland)

Tight Knit Circles
 Seven Sisters (all 3 cities)
7 Sisters table topper
 And in batiks
7 Sisters
And Machine Quilting again, my most popular class in every city for 7 years straight!

Packing and unpacking. Taxis. Rental cars. Airports. Hotels. Eating in restaurants. It truly is NOT a glamorous life (as some think). My students make it all worthwhile, along with the paycheck!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sunbonnet Sue Wishes for Spring

Sigh. Big sigh. Snow, ice and rain keep reminding me that Spring is NOT here yet. March is here and my Galaxy of Stars block was revealed yesterday. But, I remembered that March comes in like a roaring lion, and I'm tired of hearing it if you want to know the truth!

Let's talk about Sunbonnet Sue. She looks like she has discovered spring in this bed sized quilt below. Can you see all those flowers? I've added a new pattern at my Craftsy site of a Sunbonnet Sue bed sized quilt (104" x 114", with 14" blocks). This is NOT a quick quilt to make, but it's fun. I made it quite a few years ago and I no longer own it. What do you think?

Sunbonnet Sue bed sized quilt
Sunbonnet Sue and her flower
The pattern is a 7 page pdf with full size traceable templates. Notice that the side blocks are turned so Sue can always remain upright. It sells for $5.00.

Now let me show you a few other Sunbonnet Sue creations I've made. I made the block smaller and got creative with the borders. This is also at my Craftsy site ($1.99).

Sunbonnet Sue quilt with a 10" block
I had a little appliqued block from years ago and I added ruffles to it for a mini quilt. I had this in a blog hop last year (Ruffles and Stuff).
Sue with some ruffles
Tiny 3-1/2" block with ruffles added before adding the stuffing
If you click on that link you can see how I put this together (and get a peek at my little granddaughter and the ruffled skirt I made for her).

And last is one small quilt I made using my Pfaff embroidery machine and a Sunbonnet Sue pattern. This is one of my favorites, even though it used a bazillion yards of thread!

Sunbonnet in 1930s reproduction fabrics and authentic feedsack for the border
In searching my computer, I just discovered I have several other patterns for Sunbonnet Sue! I might bring them out and scatter them around to scare off Old Man Winter. Do you think it will work?

Hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of happy color and thoughts of Spring.