Hi! Thank you for the great responses to my tutorial I share over a month ago — has it really been a month? Wow, I guess I’ve been busier than I thought.

Recently, I had the opportunity to escape the busy and go on a quilt retreat with several dear friends. In between the catching up, laughter, and margaritas, I even managed to finish a few things! [Insert completely shocked face here] Before I went, my new-ish boss challenged me to make something more conservative than normally my style. See, I have a few minis hanging in my office (which I have never blogged about, tsk tsk) which, as you may guess, are very bright and colorful and well, yellow. Kona Sunny to be precise. Not high on the conservative scale…

A conservative mini by Smiles Too Loudly
This is the back…

The night before I left for retreat I grabbed a semi-random assortment of tans, browns, and a few blues. On Sunday morning, about 5 hours before leaving I decided it was time to whip it up. Since I was running on almost no sleep, I didn’t do my normal ‘agonize over every detail’ thing and just went with what looked good. I think it worked out. Does this read as conservative to you?

A conservative mini by Smiles Too Loudly

(please forgive the terrible picture)

I couldn’t resist including the little mouse on a bicycle. Whimsical can still be conservative, right? Well, for me.

A conservative mini by Smiles Too Loudly

A little quick wood grain quilting and Ta da! No yellow, no bright colors, very little whimsy, and would you look at that, it’s still a quilt I like. Maybe yellow isn’t everything… Maybe.

A conservative mini by Smiles Too LoudlyOn the right there, you can just see a little peek of the other project I worked on during retreat. Complete opposite.

When was the last time you jumped outside of your comfort zone? Was it to do something more conservative, like me? Or the other direction?

Broken Log Cabin Tutorial

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Hi! And welcome to my stop on the PaintBrush Studio Blog Hop!!! I’ve designed a 12.5″ block to share with you today:

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

There’s a few options when you get a finished quilt layout, but first let’s start with how to make it!

You will need:

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

(2) 2.5″ x at least 15″ strips of one color (light blue)

(2) 2.5″ x at least 15″ strips of another color (navy blue)

(4) 1″ x at least 15″ strips of contrasting color (pink)

(1) 2.5″ x 2.5″ square (white)


Sew a pink strip to each one of the blue strips. This will make it easier to sew the skinny strips.

Cut each strip into a 5″ long piece and a 10″ long piece. You will need two of each size, per color.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Now here is where it gets a little trickier: Partial Seams. Dunh dunh dunh.  They aren’t that bad, I promise. These are really, really easy ones.

First, you just line up one of the dark blue pieces with the white center square, and sew most of the way down.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Press the seam open, and sew on the next piece.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

And the next piece. Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Now with the next piece, you want to make sure you don’t catch the piece that’s hanging down.  Pin the next piece in place, and sew.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Now it’s time to finish the partial seam. All you have to do is line up the half sewn piece with the edge of the piece you just sewed. Unfortunately, this is hard to photograph, but it’ll make sense when you get here.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

You have now finished the middle of the block!  For the rest of the block you just do all the same steps, sewing each piece around the middle.  Starting with the first strip, only sew most of the seam.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Pressing the seams open as you go, sew the other three strips onto the middle.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

And then sew the last strip on, then finish the partial seam.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Tada! You have a completed block!

Now, there’s a few things you can do with this block…

You can sash multiple blocks with 1″ strips and get something like this.

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

Or, you can choose a nice big floral, a coordinating solid and get something like this:

Broken Log Cabin, a block tutorial by Smiles Too Loudly

I cannot wait to see what you come up with!!!

There are so many other gorgeous block tutorials being posted this week — Today’s offerings are:

Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Kim @Leland Ave Studios
Andrea @The Sewing Fools
Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
Tish @Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland
Abby @Hashtag Quilt
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Carrie @The Zen Quilter
Wanda @Wanda’s Life Sampler

Jayne @Twiggy and Opal


A long time coming…

There’s a finished quilt to share today! It’s been almost a year to the day since I pulled fabrics for this quilt… tick tock goes the clock.

from Smiles Too Loudly

I’ve shared a lot of details about the making of this one, and today is the final detail — how I quilted all that empty space! I used this really great pattern I found on Youtube, Loopy Clams from Lynn Durbin. Of course, she was quilting on a longarm, so I had to adapt it a little for my Juki.

from Smiles Too Loudly

This quilt was planned for my Mother In Law from the very start. Purple, teal, yellow, peach, all her favorite colors. Tiny happy sheep because she’s a knitter. I even bought the sheet to back the quilt when I was with her (she didn’t suspect a thing).

from Smiles Too Loudly

The inner hexagon is quilted with several different quilting patterns. Mostly variations on dot-to-dot quilting and big easy loops, with a few spirals thrown in for fun. There was also a fair bit of “following the fabric” like on those AMH flower prints. I just quilted around the flowers.

from Smiles Too Loudly

from Smiles Too Loudly

I used a scrappy binding, from mostly the same fabrics in the middle hexagon. Machine stitched as is my usual.

from Smiles Too Loudly

from Smiles Too Loudly

One thing I did learn with this quilt: Square your quilt top before you quilt it. There was so much quilting that I ended up cutting off. I could have saved myself at least 2 hours, and it’s a lot easier to fold and manipulate a top than a quilt.

from Smiles Too Loudly

from Smiles Too Loudly

When we took pictures today, it was a fair bit windier than is normally ideal, so there are a few outtakes…

from Smiles Too Loudly

from Smiles Too Loudly

Also, I handed my camera to my husband (Quilt Holder Extraordinairre) and he caught this one. It may just be my favorite picture of me ever.

The smile behind Smiles Too Loudly

Potholders, finally!

Recently, I needed a little break from quilts for others. I really enjoy making quilts that go off to get loved and snuggled, but sometimes you have to make something for yourself.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

I started by cleaning, well, really digging, through some piles and ran across potholders that I started…oh, ummm… I’m actually not really sure. Judging from the fabrics used and the poor tension of the quilting, I’m estimating these are about 3 years old.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

They had gotten a little wear in the pile — loose threads, frayed edges. So I trimmed them up. I dug some binding fabric out of my scrap bin and made some double fold binding (I cut it 2″ wide).

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

First step was to bind the top of the pockets. See, my husband is not really safety inclined when it comes to the oven… he’s constantly burning the top of his fingers, so a quilted pocket top is pretty needed.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

Then comes the fiddly part. Putting the binding around everything. I initially tried to just clip the binding in place all around then stitch down. That turned out… well, it’s only a potholder. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

For the next one, I tried a more quilty binding technique. Very precise technical terms. I stitched the binding to the back first, then top stitched to the front.  It turned out much less wibbly wobbly, and I’ll definitely do it this way again.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

Oh, I forgot to mention. There’s a layer of Insulbright in the gray sections. Make sure you keep the metallic side down (facing where the hot dish would be). Then there’s a scrap of batting on top of that.

Bright potholders by SmilesTooLoudly

The one on the left has the quilt-esque binding, the one on the right is the “winged it”.  And both loops are just what made sense in the moment.

After waiting three years, this whole project, including pictures, took only about 2 hours. And now I have two potholders! Ta-da!

Linking to Finish it Up Friday

Sewing through the Polar Vortex

If you don’t live in the northeast, you may not be aware of this — It was really, really, really, really cold this weekend. So what’s a girl to do? Sew in your nice warm sewing space in a sweatshirt and slippers, making a baby quilt. Of course.  There may have been hot chocolate involved…

Fabric Pull

This particular baby quilt is for a very non-traditional momma. Lucky for me, she’s pinned a lot of nursery decor on Pinterest lately, so I knew to add metallic and some black/white prints. Then, add some coral, a little pink, and we have a winner. Well, I hope so.


On the wall

Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft. Cotton and Steel Arrows. Floral print from Les Amis by Patty Sloniger. Prints from Flea Market Fancy and Florence by Denyse Schmidt. A great print from Bold and Gold by Ampersand Design Studio. A few prints by Bonnie Christine.  A few solids, and a Kaffe Fasset dot, round it out with my favorite print – Sealed with a Kiss by Laurie Wisbrun.

Cherish copy
Close up

Time to go back to sewing! And maybe laundry… enh, probably not.

Linking with Sew Cute Tuesday

Finish does not mean Focus

Apparently, I have a hard time focusing on finishing one thing…


I’ve been bouncing from project to project to project…

Loopy Paisley

But progress is being made, and there will be finished quilts to show you soon. Well, if the weather and schedules cooperate… otherwise you might not. We’ll have to see how it goes.

Woody, in the back

What would you like to see here in between the not-so-often finishes? Constant updates of quilting shots? More cat photos? Shots of pretty fabrics?

This is why everything takes so long....
This is why everything takes so long….


Finishing is hard…

So, it’s been just a few days since I made my resolution to finish quilts rather than starting new ones. Which, per the laws of the universe, means I’m now flooded with ideas to start quilts.  It’s going to be a long, but satisfying year.

Instead of dwelling on all the things I “can’t” start, I’m going to dwell on all the pretties I can finish. Like this quilt.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

This one is for Gramma. I had meant to finish it by Christmas, but got distracted by the ribbons, glitter, eggnog, etc. Lucky for me, Gramma is a patient lady, and has a birthday soon.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

I don’t want to quilt it too much – the embroidery is too wonderful to distract from. So, I’m thinking simple spiral quilting on all the text sections, then accent feathers around the embroidered blocks. A big half feather in the grey border should round it out nicely.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

I chose a nice 1″ gingham for the back. You may be able to tell that I purposely skewed the quilt top.  Let’s face it, perfectly aligning the quilt top to that gingham grid on the back would have been a nightmare — and it probably would have shifted while quilting. This way, I’m not going to be upset at the end. It’s already skewed, any further distortion isn’t going to be noticeable.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

And of course, my quality inspector was nearby. Every time I tried to get him to move off the quilt, he’d just move to a different section… Oh well. At least it meets approval.

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

I hope you’re not tired of this quilt… there’s probably at least two more photo dumps coming…

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

A gifted bag

Hi! Today I want to share with you something I actually finished back in 2015… yes, I’m a slow blogger. But see, this was right before the holiday craziness set in… Ok, enough with excuses, on to the pretty pictures!!!

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

I made this bag for Jessica, for the drawstring bag swap at the end of the year guild party. Everyone who wanted to participate had to make a lined drawstring bag following this tutorial from Jeni Baker. We were each asked to fill out a questionnaire to make it easier on our makers.

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

Well, I’ve known Jessica for a few years now, so the questionnaire wasn’t really needed, but helpful nonetheless. (I love that word: nonetheless. Always feels like it should be three words, but nope! All one word).

Purple is not really my strong suit. That’s putting it mildly really. I hardly ever find a purple I like. And when I do, it’s more of red purple than a blue purple. My husband is going to roll his eyes at that sentence — the man believes there’s only one purple.  I had happened to pick up this purple Cotton and Steel print at QuiltCon earlier this year. Yes, it’s purple and Cotton + Steel. Hey, I told you 2015 was stressful, see what stress makes me do?

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

Combine the blasphemous purple print, with a cute semi-novelty print I’d picked up on a whim a few days before, and make a flange out of leftover binding from this quilt – ta-da! Instant wonderful bag!

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

Except it wasn’t all that instant. This was my fifth set of fabric choices. See? Purple and me aren’t really the best of friends. I have about 7 purple fabrics in my stash, and went through nearly all of them with different combinations until I remembered this print still tucked away in the QuiltCon Swag Bag (why, no, I’m not fully unpacked from the trip I took in February).

A lined drawstring bag by Smiles Too Loudly

Add a few musical touches (she’s a music teacher, so that part was a no-brainer), and fill it up with goodies. The end.

A lined drawstring bag by Allison Coe for Smiles Too Loudly

Oh well, except for the part where I received one! Allison made me this adorable bag with a cat face on each side, filled with yellow and cat fabrics, and yellow thread! And I’ve already tucked some  knitting into it…

A lined drawstring bag by Allison Coe for Smiles Too Loudly

2016: Finish, Finish, Finish

Hi! I’m back today to share all the details, and thoughts behind, my 2016 resolution: Finish quilts.

Here’s the deal — I have tons of unfinished projects. No, seriously, I keep them all listed here on the blog. Well, all is subjective, because I forget to update the list, but most are on the WIPs page. Go ahead and look at them, I’ll wait.

Yup, still waiting, because there’s a lot for you to read through.

Some I put aside waiting for my skills to improve. Like this one:


Started pre-blog, circa 2011. I knew I wanted to go to town with FMQ in all that aqua space, but I didn’t even have a free motion foot for my machine at the time… But now I have the Juki! No more waiting. I just need to decide on a back for it.

Then there’s this one:


I started it not long after the Ruby quilt above, 2011, maybe 2012. I started with the Crazy Nine Patch pattern, then quickly fell out of love with the design in my head. Recently, I got some new inspiration from, of all places, the design on the sandwich bags from our favorite pizza/sub shop. I just have to actually execute the new design…

By my count, I have 7 8 9 quilt tops, all done, just needing quilting. For a gal with Juki that’s almost downright criminal. I’ve run out of excuses on those – and some of them are charity quilts, like this one:

2014-05-26 09.57.25

Then there are quilts that are for me, that I’ve just kept pushing down the priority list. Like this one:

Smiles Too Loudly: Two Friendship Supernova Blocks

My Supernova Friendship Quilt that’s been waiting over a year for me to make my half. Or my Farmer’s Wife quilt, that’s been waiting even longer for me to just put them together.

Smiles Too Loudly: An idea for reimagining the Farmer's Wife Quilt

As well as more recent projects, like this quilt for Gramma:

Feed Company BOM for Gramma by Smiles Too Loudly

I have started 3 4, yes 4, Christmas quilts over the years and never finished a single one of them. It’s time, don’t you think?

Christmas Bow Ties are Cool

So, this is the year of no new projects. I am not going to start a single quilt. Now I’m a realistic person, so I understand that I will most likely not meet this goal. In fact, there are two exceptions for this: two baby quilts I need to make by March. But, my true aim is to finish as many of these lovelies (and this wasn’t all of them by any means) as I can by 2017. This year, I finished 4 adult-sized quilts. Last year I finished 2 adult-sized quilts.  Let’s see how many I can finish this year!

And I’m sure this guy will be doing his uptmost best to help in every possible way.

Hello, I'm Woody