Fall? Already?

Every week I have these great plans of sitting down and writing up a dozen blog posts, editing a whole bunch of pictures, and sharing them with everyone. Best laid plans… Every week, instead, I get distracted by the siren call of fabric. And the more siren, less call of dishes, laundry, and my favorite part – playing with the puppy.

So what’s new in Smilesland? Well, I have a longarm now! A friend was selling hers to upgrade, so I jumped in to save her from Craigslist hell, because that’s what good friends do. Wink wink.

It’s an HQ Sixteen, and I’m still getting the hang of it, but I’ve managed to successfully quilt two baby quilts, finish a fix of my husbands favorite quilt from long ago, a throw quilt, and a Christmas tree skirt I started two years ago. More productivity in the last two months than all of last year really.



There is definitely a learning curve to the longarm, and it will take me awhile to get back to the level of detail I was accomplishing with the Juki, but for me, it’s absolutely worth it.  I’ve had a stack of quilt tops for awhile that needed quilting. Not complicated over the moon outstanding quilting. Just, hold the layers together quilting. Which has always been my least favorite type, especially on the Juki. It took so long, it got boring. Now with the long arm, it’s done in a day. Maybe two if I stop to play frisbee with Hardie, and watch a movie with hubby.

Also, as a result of recent discussions with friends, I’ve decided my pictures here don’t need to be perfect. It’s a quilting blog, not a photography blog afterall.  We all know that “finished is better than perfect”. I’m amending that — Finished, and shared, is better than perfect. Right now, we all need more pretty things, happy things, in our lives, and shared amongst our little community of quilters. And that’s as close to discussing politics as I’ll get.

Here’s to more puppy pictures, more cats on quilts, more quilts, more smiles.


Do you hear crickets?

I’ve not been as present here as I had hoped of late. Actual sewing has been consuming the precious extra minutes of everyday rather than talking about sewing, I know you understand.

Calvin and Hobbes inspired baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

I still have a few completely finished quilts to share with you, one from as far back as October 2016. That will wait a few more days, or let’s be honest, weeks. Today I just want to share a little slice of what’s going on.

Our german shepherd puppy, Hardie, is 10 months old. She alternates between using her enormous intelligence for good and chaos. Most days its for good, though the TV remote would beg to differ.  She takes up a lot of my free time, but puppy snuggles are the best.

A friend of a friend is collecting baby quilts for local refugees, so I’ve been working on a few of those. Finishing up an embarrassingly old do.Good stitches quilt and making a few quick to assemble baby quilt tops.

Finally starting to paint the house in more me friendly colors. Manila folders is not a good color, just sayin’. I’m going to try and squeeze in a little more unpacking too. A few friends have recently moved and are 100% unpacked. I moved a year ago, and am, maybe 40% unpacked…. Competition is a great motivator, right? Maybe there will even be some sewing room organization happening?

How’s your summer shaping up?

A “Man Color” Quilt

A few years ago, I started a quilt for my father-in-law. I inquired of my husband what colors to make it in — uhhh, man colors? That was interpreted as brown, black, cream, with a splash of red, which worked really well with the Penny Patch pattern from Stitched in Color.

Both of these shots were taken at the quilts original inception. In 2014. Yup, I finally finished a long term WIP. Cue confetti. 🙂

In the works….

Last fall I decided to finish it up in time to give as a Christmas present. I got it done in plenty of time, but the weather and life weren’t cooperating for pictures. A few weeks ago we visited my inlaws and I took the opportunity to photograph the quilt. Lucky me, they had recently acquired a slightly rusty tractor, which makes a great photodrop.

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

All that snow is gone and it was 90F yesterday… clearly there’s a lag in my photoediting and blogging time. You don’t mind, right?

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

This was a pretty easy quilt to make; I’m not sure why I took so long to finish it. Maybe the lack of bright colors?

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

I backed it in a small plaid flannel and quilted it with a topography-esque style of FMQ. This was also the first quilt I ever spray basted, and I’m definitely a fan.  I used the Dritz spray basting spray, 505 was a little much for my nose/allergies.

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

I tried to use several fabrics that would have meaning to my father-in-law: French script (the family’s French-Canadian), barcodes and software, glasses, coffee text, maps, a great print with visual instructions on how to build a campfire (he was a scoutmaster for several years), bicycles, and several ‘manly’ blenders.

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly

Manly Penny Patch by Smiles Too Loudly


Would you believe that this still isn’t my oldest WIP? It’s not… maybe someday I’ll finish all of them? Ha!

Sunnyside of Charms

Hello! Today I’m sharing a quilt top I’m very excited about. It’s yellow!!

Recently, I was lamenting to my wonderfully patient husband that I wasn’t feeling inspired to finish any of my current projects. He, in a brilliant bout of wisdom said “Just go grab some fabric and make something”. Duh!

So I grabbed a charm pack of Acreage that I received at Sew Boston last fall, some coordinating solids I happened to have, and a big chunk of yellow. Because everyone keeps 2+ yard cuts of yellow on hand, right? No? Hmmm. You should. It’s very pretty and helpful.

This layout was completely, utterly inspired/derived from Crazy Mom Quilts quilt, found here.

Oddly, I didn’t have enough yellow to completely finish the quilt top — at least not at the size I wanted (it’s a healthy twin). So, I broke into my teeny tiny stash of yellow prints, and chose some tonal ones to fill in where the solid was lacking. I think this might be my favorite part!!!

For the back, I just picked up a pretty vintage sheet in all the right colors. Soooooo soft.  Now the trick is just to baste it and quilt it up. Maybe even this year! Ha!

What project has you excited these days? Are you making your own sunshine on a dreary day?

Design Wall Wednesday, the first.

Hello there! I thought that I would try something new. I finally got a design wall “hung” up in my sewing room. Insert happy dance!

So in an effort to blog more regularly and keep track of my sewing progress I’m going to share a snapshot of my design wall every Wednesday.  Some days there may be a long winded explanation and discussion, some days it might just be the snapshot. We’ll just have to see how it goes!



This week, I’ve resurrected the Rainbow Friendship Supernova quilt from three-ish years ago. Let’s see if I can stay focused and finish it up!!!

What are you working on this week?

Cloudy Skies Baby Quilt

Hello! A few months ago I got the chance to make a baby quilt for a coworker of mine. He and his wife are a little more on the conservative side and the nursery was painted with gray and white stripes, so my normal over the top color wouldn’t have really worked.


One afternoon I just had this flash of using squares and rectangles, with measurements all multiples of 4. The smallest squares measure 4″ square, finished. The largest are 16″ x 16″ and 12″ x 20″.


Then, to add a little color, I added the stitch and flip corners. Originally, they were just going to be royal blue, but it looked a little blah. Rainbows to the rescue!!


I tried really, really hard to force free motion quilting onto this quilt — it just wasn’t going to work.  1/2″ spaced straight lines won out. Boring for me, but great for the quilt.


I backed it in a great Lotta Jansdotter print I’ve had for more than few years, and bound it in a great Karen Lewis print.


With some of my favorite prints, its no wonder I really wanted to keep this one. Those little sheep are just to die for, and when you combine that with glasses, Architextures, and the cutest paw print, just, ah. Love this quilt.



Long time no see…

So, it’s been a while. Life got in the way and the decision came between using limited free time to sew, or to blog. You can guess what I chose, right?


This cute “little” chaos monster is the biggest life change — Her name is Hardie. Currently a 4 month old German Shepherd. Who thinks I’m the most awesome thing in the world and therefore must play with her every. waking. minute. We’re slowly getting her to understand that she is not the center of the universe, but the emphasis is on slowly….


I have managed some sewing time over the last few months. All of which I’ll post in more detail, but here’s a quick glossy overview.

Finished this baby quilt for a coworker.



Finished this baby quilt for a friend.

Version 2

Finished this heart quilt for the Quilt for Pulse drive, but not in time for the deadline. (So if you know of any local charities…)

Woody loves yellow

Finished this quilt for my Father in Law (only 3+ years in the making…)


In the works....
In the works….

Started this quilt just for me


As today is the last day of 2016, I’ll leave you with the happiest, most fabric filled wishes for 2017!!!