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!!!



Cloud 9 Blog Hop – Improv Hydrangea

Hi! Today I get to share with you a new block tutorial I’ve written using solids Cloud 9 provided. I feel I must say this upfront — this is not a beginner block. There are improv curves involved… dunh dunh dunh.


This was the lovely pile Cloud 9 sent me. Right around the time these arrived, my hydrangea was in full bloom and the two were forever linked in my mind.


I made the bold (for me) decision to use the purples, and the gray. Insert shocked face here.


To make the block, you will need:

  • 1 dark 14″ square
  • 3 light 1″ strips (the length isn’t important, but I used 22″)
  • 1 gray 8″ square, cut diagonally.

This is a very improvised block. My ‘instructions’ are really just suggestions — please feel free to make the block however you’d like!

Cut the dark square roughly in half diagonally.


Pin a light strip along one of the cut edges.


Sew and press.

Now comes the fun part. You get to choose how big your highlight strip is. Trim from one edge to the other, angling your ruler to change the highlight size.


Pin, sew, and press the other dark triangle onto the highlight.


Now, you can leave this as is, or you can add as many more strips as you’d like. (The math here works with three strips, you may need to adjust if you want to add more). Just slice, insert, trim, attach, press. (If only saying the words made them happen, hunh?)


Do you see the petal shape emerging? You might also see that this isn’t close to square anymore, but we can fix that!

Trim your block to 13″ square.


See the upper right hand corner? How it doesn’t quiet meet the line? That’s okay. The next step is going to fix it.

Take one of the gray triangles, and place it over that upper right hand corner. You want the edges to extend 1/2″ past the block. Then cut an improv curve with whatever method works for you. I like the freehand rotary cutter method, personally, but any method will do.


I mark the curve in a few places, on both pieces. This helps keep the pieces aligned. Then I pin through every mark.


Sew the curve, slowly and carefully. Press towards the gray (concave curve).

Repeat in the opposite corner. Press the entire block really well.

Trim to 12.5″ inches.


Ta-da! You have a lovely improvised petal!

Now, I’m not the only one sharing brand new block tutorials, check out these other fine creations:

Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs

Miranda @I Have Purple Hair
Jennifer @The Inquiring Quilter
Sarah @123 Quilt
Leanne @Devoted Quilter
Jen @Patterns By Jen
Jennifer @RV Quilting
Amanda @Quiltologie
Sharon @Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Jen @A Dream and A Stitch
Jen @Faith and Fabric
Carole @Carole Lyles Shaw
Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
Susan @Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Katrin @Now What Puppilalla
Amista @Hilltop Custom Designs
Nicole @Handwrought Quilts
Marla @Penny Lane Quilts
Silvia @A Stranger View
Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
Carrie @the zen quilter
Mary @Quilting is in My Blood


Real Life in the way

Do you ever have those days, weeks, months where real life and all it’s responsibilities get in the way of what you really want to do? That’s the kind of summer I’ve been having. Hubby and I have both been working 60+ hours a week, for the last [I’ve lost count] weeks. It makes it difficult to make time to sew, to say the least.

But! I have managed to sneak little bits here and there in.

Woody loves yellow

A few heart blocks for Orlando.

purple heart

A curtain for my new kitchen.


A few blocks here and there on my Icy Waters quilt (started in a class with Amy Garro herself!).

Icy Waters

I am desperately hoping that when fall arrives, everything will slow down a little, so I can enjoy all my favorite bits (pumpkin bread! gingersnaps! hot cocoa!)

Use what you’ve got!

I’m sure this is not news to anyone, but moving is stressful! And quilting is a great stress relief (well, most of the time) — except the first few weeks of living here in the new house, I had no idea where any of my current WIPs were. So, I could spend my limited sewing time hunting for current projects, or just grab what I could find and start something new. I don’t think any of us are surprised with my decision, are we?

Trimming with Coffee

Unpacking can wait!!!


I won a fat quarter bundle of Best. Day. Ever! by April Rosenthal awhile ago (year+) and that was on the top of a box. Digging around to pull out my iron, cutting mat, ruler, thread, etc, I found a great selection of low volume fabrics. Done. Let’s get sewing!


I love these donkey’s from Laurie Wisbrun’s Jack and Jenny.

In pieces

I’ve loved this pattern from QuiltDad for awhile, and it works perfectly with fat quarters. Unfortunately, it’s a little on the small side for me. You may have noticed I have a propensity for larger quilts… So, I wanted to add a few simple squares.


With some assistance from the official Quilt Helper, I got it all sewed together… and it was still a little small. It’s currently at about 55 x 70 (I had a few cutting mishaps). I’m sure that’s a great size for quite a few people, just not me. So, back to the think tank.

My helper

It’s currently being unconstructed, strategically. I’m thinking that adding a few more flying arrows, in different sizes, and a bit more blank space. And more fabric, because I used up every bit of the fat quarters. It may be all the recent practice, but I’m thinking hot pink. Yellow would be the predictable, safe choice, afterall. Quilts shouldn’t be too predictable.

Soft kitty

Have you ever taken apart a quilt? Or been dissatisfied with the outcome? Did it eventually work out for you?

Another Baby Quilt…

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

First, thank you for all the house congratulations! I very much appreciate all the warm wishes. We’re still taking our time unpacking. Hopefully, we’ll feel completely settled soon (and I can show off my sewing space!)

Until then, I have another baby girl quilt to share. I gave a little sneak peek of it a few weeks ago with this picture:

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

And I’ve talked about it before here but you haven’t seen the final thing. Are you ready?

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

Ta-da! I made it for a semi-cousin (close friend of my husband’s family) – I knew from the grapevine that she was going with coral and gold with a hint of black for the nursery. And, I must say, it was nice to work with coral more than pink.

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

I started with this inspiration. I pieced the two sides with random-ish sized strings; one lighter side and one darker side. Then I laid both sides on the floor, overlapping slightly, and drew a curve. I cut along the drawn line with scissors, then marked an indicator dash every few inches to be able to line up and pin the curve accurately. This is very similar to the improv curve method in Sherri Lynn Wood’s book: The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. (I just used scissors rather than a rotary cutter, and the pieces were huge).

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

After piecing, it came time to decide on a backing. I went to my awesome local quilt shop and after hemming, hawing, and petting all the pretty fabrics, landed about this unicorn print by Sara Lawson. Perfect, right?

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

Basting. There’s really never too much to say about basting, is there? You kick on some tunes, change into super comfy stretch pants, and just go for it. At least it was baby sized…

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

Then comes the super fun and kind of hard part — how to quilt it. I had found some gold metallic thread at the LQS while shopping for the backing, and that seemed to be the perfect choice. However, I’ve used metallic thread before, and it is not really fond of being intensely free motion quilted. I needed something straightforward and simple (so the thread wouldn’t break a jillion times) but still interesting. Talking it over with my husband, he suggested the triangle paisley I did on this quilt. Genius! The angles would counteract a little of the sweetness, and the metallic thread could hold up.

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

At first the thread did break a few times, then I accidentally hit on the secret: Leave my stitch length at 2. I’m not sure at all why this worked, or if it was just merely a coincidence, but I left my stitch length dial alone for the remainder of the quilt with zero problems. None. I’ll have to do some more experimenting to see if this is truly correlative, but if you’re having trouble with metallic thread, give it a try!

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

I bound it in a black sketchy print. I’m not sure if it was actually Architextures, or the Timeless Treasure Sketch (I didn’t have the selvedge anymore), but it compliments it nicely.

The quilt has now made it’s way home to the precious little girl, and I can cross another baby quilt off the list.

Large Improv Curve baby quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

All the busy

I think I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been busy – and some of you already know why: we bought a house! That exclamation point conveys so much doesn’t it? Excitement, frustration, exhaustion, worry… we’ve been cycling through all of it, almost on a daily basis. Organizing, packing, labelling, moving, organizing (again), unpacking… Ugh, my back hurts more just thinking about it all. We’re still not very unpacked, but we’ll get there.

Stack of Boxes

Those are my scrap buckets. What I thought was all of my scraps. Umm, yeah, that’s not all of them. The sheer amount of fabric I unearthed from every crack and crevice of that apartment is just astounding. Why were there scraps in the kitchen/bathroom/office closet/box with video games? Expect to see several dozen scrap quilts at some point in the future. After I find them again that is.

Woody in a box

Except for the day we had to put him in the carrier and drive to the new place, Woody has loved this whole process. Boxes everywhere!! His current favorite napping spot is a half unpacked box of fabric. Fabric in a box! When he’s not there, he’s on a window sill monitoring the local wildlife.

On the window sill

And boy, are there a lot of window sills for him to choose from. Our apartment had three windows. Total. Let me just let that sink in. The new house – well, I haven’t done an official count, but even the smallest bedroom has two windows. There’s somewhere around 10 in the living room. I think it’s safe to say, Woody is loving the house. And I’m loving all the natural light.

Version 2

I’m slowly finding projects to work on. This quilt top is a baby quilt for a friend of my husband. I finished it in the apartment, just before the mad dash to pack started. That cart underneath has any and all small, random craft related things shoved in it. Ribbon, buttons, some thread (but not all), a few templates, and yes, more scraps. If I get my act together, I’ll be basting it this afternoon. That’s the other thing! I now have giant open floors for basting. No more pushing all of the furniture to the side. I think I may be more excited about that then the washer and dryer coming on Wednesday (no more laundromats!).


Since we saw, and bought, the house long before spring brought everything to life, it was a pleasant surprise to find we had two lilac bushes. In the three weeks we’ve lived here, I’ve added a hydrangea, a rose, and several annuals. You may not be aware of this, but I love to dig in the dirt and plant pretty flowers. Yesterday, I planted a few tomatoes for the first time ever. It was a very exciting day. And in a few weeks I’ll be able to say that I’ve eaten a tomato I grew!

Baller in Entry

It wouldn’t be home without a quilt hanging on the wall, right? This is a mini quilt my dear friend Stephanie made me. Isn’t it awesome and perfect? I actually brought it to the closing, so I could hang it up right after. We haven’t hung up any other art, or quilts, but we have the best one in the entryway, next to the stairs, so I can see it everyday. (Yes, that wall is yellow. Most of the downstairs is yellow, but it’s not going to stay that way. It’s the wrong shade of yellow to go with that much brown. Trust me on this.)

Backyard, with Machine

This is the view from my sewing machine currently. Not too shabby, hunh? I’m testing out sewing rooms. We have three extra bedrooms, so one of them will be my sewing room, I just have to decide which. The other window in this room looks over the neighbor’s pool… not quite as picturesque. The other major contender is currently painted a deep, deep, Tardis blue. It’s a little overwhelming. After it’s painted, it’ll probably be my sewing room. Until then, I’ll just float from room to room.

Trimming with Coffee

I have found a little time for sewing. I couldn’t find any of my current projects in the mass of boxes, so I started a new one. I went with what I found in the two boxes that contained my rotary cutter, rulers, and thread. I think it turned out pretty cute. Slightly smaller than behemoth husband would prefer, but that just means I don’t have to share.

What’s keeping you busy this summer? Kids on vacation? Trips to the pool? Travels to exotic locations? Locked in next to the AC with your sewing machine? Inquiring minds need to know!!!

A Special Quilt

Hi!! Today I get to share a very special quilt. A coworker’s daughter was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, so of course I had to make a quilt.

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

I went with a simple charm square pattern, with a hefty dose of her favorite color: pink. Yes, I made another pink quilt. I did add a hefty dose of blue, based off an Anna Marie Horner print. That’s right. Pink and AMH.

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

I managed to get the quilt top mostly done right before I went on retreat with the Seacoast and New Hampshire MQGs. Three days of non-stop sewing time was exactly what I needed to get this quilt done. A giant floor for basting was a really good incentive too.

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

On the way to retreat, I stopped at a magical store called Marden’s. Now, if you google search that it says its a surplus carpeting store. Well, it’s sooooo much more than that. There’s a giant section of discount fabrics. All under $5/yd. I found this great pink on pink print from Michael Miller to use for the back of this quilt. And since I didn’t bother measuring a quilt (who has time?) I waaaay overbought, and now have pink fabric again!

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

When choosing the prints for this quilt, I was trying to stay away from too baby-ish. I raided charm packs (Sew Stitchy was very fruitful), my scrap bin, fat quarters, really anything and everything I could get my hands on. Turns out I had more pink than I anticipated.

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

For the quilting, I wanted to do something special. Special, but easy. And quick too. I went with a large paisley design, with a few hearts thrown in for good luck. Also, hearts are an easy way to fill in some of the pockets that form while quilting.

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

What special quilt would be complete without a unicorn?

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly

This quilt has been very, very well received by the little girl and her family.

And here’s a sneak peek of another pink quilt I made recently… I promise I’ll share that one soon!

A girly charm square quilt by Smiles Too Loudly