De-stash Update / NEW BOOK / Free Pattern & More

Hello Everyone, this is your long-lost wayward quilting friend checking in!  I am briefly crawling out of my “pattern writing hole” to write a quick note to you.  It’s been crazy since I last updated my blog… but all is well, and thank you to those who wrote to ask me to take care of myself.  I am so glad you are looking out for me.  Yes, I am doing well despite the craziness.  I am sleeping well – I go running at least once a week – I am getting my house in order – and I am getting caught up with my “home-school” regimen even though Miss Baby does go to an outside school during the week.

Most don’t know, but each blog post I write takes about 1.5-2 hours, and it’s been hard to carve out that time for me to update my blog.  Please don’t take that to mean I don’t like you.  In fact, many days, I would go through the day thinking about certain things my bloggy friends would find amusing!  I do like you very much, and often wish I have just a few more hours in the day.

So without further ado…

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DE-STASH

There’s been a bit of kerfuffle of late regarding my de-stashing project.  Many have written to asked why they haven’t heard from me.  I thought I would just share the reasoning here:  I am writing quilters on the waiting list in the order they signed up to be on the waiting list.  Back to the original first come first serve arrangement.  If you have not heard from me, that’s because you have signed up late, and I am not able to get to you.  The latest update is that I think I will have about 10 boxes left to the next 10 on my list, and that will be it.  There were actually close to 150 of you who signed up, and to date, I think I have shipped close to 50 boxes.  It’s been a demanding task that I have tried to fit into my daily schedule… and so, some days, I don’t get to pack any boxes or work on my stash.  And after that, I am tasked with hauling the boxes to mail them to the various destinations.

I will have a formal announcement to let you know the de-stash is officially complete once I am sure all the fabrics are gone from my guest room.  I have moved the rest of my stash off my family room floor to the guest room just so that my family could have a somewhat normal living space while I re-arrange things for our house.

I also have a BOM quilt kit and some additional fabrics to give away apart from my de-stash project.  I will have details soon.  Stay tuned.

I thank you for your understanding!

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One reason I have been busy is that I have been proofing the pages of my upcoming book!  This book has been MY baby, and it is finally happening.  It is going to print next week in time for Market!  I cannot be more excited!  More about the book next week…

Most of you know I am passionate about machine quilting.  And to think back on my quilting journey to the point of this book, my heart is full!  I hope to be able to share  sample page with you, but for now, let me just say that my publisher has done a phenomenal job on this book!  I was just telling my husband this morning that the layout of this book has completely knocked it out of the park!!!

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FREE PATTERN

And I do have a lovely free pattern to share with you today that I had designed for Windham to highlight their Simply Red fabric line!  I am in love with the birds in the quilt!  Click here to download the free pattern.

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And that’s all for now!  I am heading out to ship out fabric boxes to some of you, do groceries, and school pick-up! And I still need to work on my Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along etc… and get my weekend details worked out. Have a great weekend, Dear Friends!

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p.s.  This story from my local area warms my heart — I always love to see a young person who is a go-getter: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/11-year-old-frank-gets-his-wish-to-mow-white-house-lawn-gets-personal-thank-you-from-trump/article/2634543

“Even though I’m only ten, I would like to show the nation what young people like me are ready for.”  I love that boy’s sentiment!

I have been in the States more than half of my life, but there’s one Bible verse I can quote in my native Mandarin language till this day.  It’s Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

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HELP ME DE-STASH!

UPDATE AS OF noon EST — I am amazed at the overwhelming response.  Thank you so much, Friends!  However, I have taken enough requests for the waiting list as well which I think I can fill.  Any requests made from henceforth, I cannot guarantee.  THANK YOU AGAIN — I look forward to being able to actually see the floor of my family room!

UPDATE AS OF 6:45am EST — Order for 20 boxes is fill!  You will receive an email from me confirming you made the first come first serve 20.  I am turning off comments.  If you would like to be on the waiting list for the next 20 boxes.  Email me at wendy2@wendysheppard.net

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Happy Monday and Happy Week, Dear Friends!  I hope you had a good weekend, and are really to roll with this new week!

A few months ago, Miss Baby and I had a conversation.  For some reason, the conversation made an impression on me, and you will see why!

B:  Mom, do you mean I will get to have ALL your quilts in your future?

M: Yes…. But you can always pick out your favorites, and perhaps donate the rest.

B (with a visible sigh of relief):  Oh, that makes me feel better.  I love all your quilts, but I don’t think I want a whole house full of quilts.  If you only made a few, of course, I will keep all your quilts…. but not when you have more than 200 quilts.

I mentally counted as I was organizing my quilt stash – big and small, I think I have over 250 of them, and the pile is still growing.  I keep almost all my quilts because I never know when I need them for educational purposes.  So, I have them neatly folded (and aired and refolded every three months or so) into piles, scattered all through out.  I have:  #1. a bed quilt stash where the quilts are used on beds,  #2. a basket full of smaller projects like runners, placemats and pillowcases, #3.  a utility quilt stash in the coat closet where the quilts are to be used, #4. a linen stash where the quilts are used on the table, and #5. a (large) stash of throw sized quilts that have filled up a couple of bookcases in my sewing room.

Here is a snapshot of my #5 stash:

The side effect of me having made many quilts is that I have a huge fabric stash!  HUGE!  With the conversation I had with Miss Baby in mind, I am determined everything sewing related is going to be confined in my sewing room. I am turning over a new leaf — I am not going to have anymore fabrics stored in boxes and tubs, and have the boxes and tubs stored at various spots around the house.  I am giving away 70% of my fabric stash.  SOOOOOOO — if you could help me de-stash, I would be ever so grateful. Here is how it works…

A.  THE FABRICS ARE FREE IF YOU ARE WILLING TO COVER THE SHIPPING COST(s) of $15 per fabric box!

B.  FABRICS WILL BE PACKED AND SHIPPED IN A USPS PRIORITY FLAT-RATE MEDIUM BOX.

C.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THE BOXES WILL BE MYSTERY FABRIC BOXES — I am sorry I can’t take special order.  But you will get quality cotton and batik fabrics from Moda, RJR Fabrics, Riley Blake, Hoffman Fabrics, Island Batik, Windham Fabrics and Quilting Treasures.  They are fabric pieces of considerable sizes, FQ’s and yardages – unless they are precuts.  

If you are interested — 

#1.  Email me your intention — with your name/address — and how many boxes you would like.  Please write “Destash/fabrics” in subject line.

#2.  I will email you back with information where to mail the check.

#3.  I will stuff the flat rate medium box FULL to the brim with fabrics, and mail the box to you!

#4.  This is on a first come first serve basis.  Right now, I have about 20 boxes!  Once the order for 20 boxes are filled, I will put you on a waiting list.  The way things look right now, I can probably make another 20.  But let’s start with the first 20.

#5.  I have first offered the ladies in my Bleecker Street Sew Along Group, and have already shipped out quite a few boxes.

#6.  Offer is good only for US Addresses.

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Meanwhile, I also have a few copies of two of my existing book titles (signed) if you are interested… I need to make room for copies of an upcoming book.

Click here if you want to read more about this book.

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Click here if you want to read more about this book.

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$15 for one book (includes USPS Priority shipping), or $25 for both (includes USPS Priority shipping).  

#1.  Email me if you are interested for which book(s).  Please write “Destash/books” in email subject line.

#2.  Offer is good only for US Addresses.

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Thank you, Friends — for doing a good deed in de-stashing my stash… and my family thanks you too!

Happy Independence Day 2017!

Hello Friends, I hope you have been well!  I want to stop in really quickly to wish you a very blessed 241st Independence Day – continual prayers and blessings to a great country!

I would like to know what America means to you on this special day!

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

by Samuel Francis Smith (1831)

Additional verse to celebrate Washington’s Centennial:

Our joyful hearts today,
Their grateful tribute pay,
Happy and free,
After our toils and fears,
After our blood and tears,
Strong with our hundred years,
O God, to Thee.

I hope you have a lovely rest of your day, Dear Friends – Stars and Stripes over Columbia, forever!

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If you are curious about the quilt I posted earlier – it’s Summer Sparkler, featured in American Patchwork & Quilting’s 2017 Calendar for the month of July.  It is a completed scrappy quilt with about 50 fabrics from different manufacturers – RJR Fabrics, Art Gallery Fabrics, Moda, Windham and Benartex.

Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 3

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

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Before we get started with Part 3, let’s just sit back and relax and enjoy the different versions of Part 2 (posted here) sent in by you all!  I know I have certainly enjoyed seeing your work.

Here is mine – using Quilting Treasures’ Bleecker Street fabric group!  Click here to view fabrics.  If you are new and wondering about the quilt kits, click here for information.

Here is Alice’s.  She blogs at http://aliceinquilterland.blogspot.com if you would like to visit her and make a new quilting friend.

Here is Cheryl’s.

Here is Jennifer’s.

Here is Gail’s.

Here is Debby’s.

These are Billie’s.

Here’s Sharon’s mini.  Instead of incorporating each part of the quilt to make a quilt, Sharon uses each part to make a mini.  VERY creative.  You may follow Sharon’s work on her blog here.

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Seeing how your quilts unfold as we progress in this Sew Along is one of my greatest joys.  I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at any stage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project.

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And here is Part 3.  Part 3 took me about 2 hours as well – so if you 2 hours to spare between now and May 15th, you should be able to make these “skinny mini” shoo-fly blocks. :)

The theme of this part remains to be “Keep Calm and Sew On” because we will be sewing with small pieces (just like in Part 2).  The trick in dealing with small pieces is to handle them as if you are handling normal pieces.  Keep calm – check your cutting, your machine, and you should come out just fine!

#1.  I do starch press my fabrics so that I keep the small pieces as non-distorted as possible.

#2.  I also finger press all my seams before heat-setting them.

Keep Calm and Sew On: Visit the Secret Stitch Club's blog for the PDF version of this image

(image from Secret Stitch Club)

Part 3 deals with half-square-triangles units.  They are special and precious because they will be finishing at 1″ — therefore, you will be making HST units that measure 1 1/2″ raw edge to raw edge.  I cut my starting squares at 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ instead of the conventionally prescribed 1 7/8″ x 1 7/8″.  That way, I can trim them to the unfinished size.

I make my HST units as normal…. but I press my seams open.  Then, I align the diagonal seam of my HST units against the 45 degree angle of my quilting ruler.  I trim the excess so that the HST units measure 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ raw edge to raw edge.

You can see the result of my trimming – but making the HST units that way allow me to make accurately squared up HST units.  And pressing the seams open reduces the bulk when I piece them later to make my shoo-fly blocks.  So at this stage, they are treated as if they are individual squares. [I actually save these trimmings, not usable for piecing quilts, to a lady who makes dog beds.]

Alright…. when I constructed the individual rows, I butted the seams between units.  But when I sewed the rows together, I finger pressed, then iron pressed the seams between rows OPEN!  Again, that reduced bulk, plus, it helped me to piece accurately the shoo fly blocks.

When I pinned the shoo fly blocks together, I made sure the points match at the top of the triangles of the units – very much like matching the seams when we made the house roof in part 1 here.

I pressed open the seams in between rows to even out the bulk.

I then added the shoo-fly assembly to sections made for Part 1 and Part 2 of the sew-along.

Oh — and watch my quilt grow, and yours too!

And that’s it for Part 3!  I hope you will have a blast making progress on this quilt as much as I have!   know the units are small, but I am hopeful that by making these small shoo fly units will help confidence in tackling small pieces in other quilt projects of yours.  Can’t wait to see what your Part 3 looks like!!!!

Happy Sewing, my sewing friends!!  Hugs to you all.

Sad News… Sue Garman

Hello Friends,  I am bumping my scheduled post for today to share with you the sad news Sue Garman’s passing this past Sunday.  Sue Garman lived an amazing life, not only at NASA, but also as a quilter of 40 years.  Sue has always been, and will always be my hero!

Let’s take a moment to remember Sue’s contribution to the quilting community, as well as our great land.  And along with that, do pray for Sue’s family as her husband actually passed away just a few months prior.

http://thequiltshow.com/daily-blog/142-newsletter/25388-in-memorium-sue-garman

To view Sue’s amazing quilts, go to www.comequilt.com.

I will be back tomorrow.

Rose Trellis Runner – an Autumn Project & others!!!

Hello Friends, I hope you are well.  Are you feeling the chill in the mornings these days?  Autumn is upon us.   Have you spotted my Rose Trellis table runner project in the latest Keepsake Quilting catalog?  I received mine yesterday, and was thrilled to see quite a few kits are being offered for my designs!!  Without further ado, here is Rose Trellis, designed with Robyn Pandolph’s Garden Gate fabrics for RJR Fabrics.

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A bit of piecing, and a bit of applique for a relatively easy autumn project:

Purchase the kit here, or purchase the pattern here.

Be sure to check out my other offerings in Keepsake Quilting here.

While we are talking about kits and such, I found that a few kits made with my designs are on sale over at McCall’s Quilting!  ‘Tis might be the time to stock up.  We are all different, and we all have different views on kits.  I actually like kits because sometimes I just like someone else to do the thinking for me. :)  Here goes…

Kits for Sherbet Stars HERE.

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Kits for Rows of Roses HERE.

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Kits for Big Time HERE.

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Kits for Twilight Trellis HERE.

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Kits for Constellation of Colors HERE.

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Kits for Sherry’s Stars HERE.

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That’s it for now, Friends!  I hope you have fun shopping.  Look around at some of the other kits on sale while you are at it.  I am buying a couple myself. :)

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Some of you asked how the “Miss” is doing!  She is doing well, ever the chipper kid that she is.  She is also thriving in second grade.  Yesterday during our car ride to school, she schooled me about the almost impossibility of having to put a heart valve in an ant’s tiny heart in case the ant had a cardiac arrest.  Well, to be quite honest, I didn’t even know if ants have hearts… “Of course, they do, Mama!” were her parting words when I dropped her off.  I came home and consulted Dr. Google — and learned that indeed ants do have hearts.  They don’t have lungs, however!  So there — the trivia of the day for those of you who care to learn about ants, hahaha!!!

Thanks for stopping by – hugs to you all!

Quick Friday Catch-up & Rosewater Winner

Hello Friends, Happy Friday to you!  I hope you are doing well.  I do apologize for not posting more this week. Please know that it was totally unplanned… the reason being I have been rushing against time working on this sweet quilt. This is an upcoming editorial feature using Windham Fabrics’ Elm Cottage fabrics.

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This is a super super sweet fabric line.   Click here to view the sweet fabrics!  Stay tuned for this free-to-use pattern to become official using these sweet fabrics!

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Anyway, before the weekend is upon us, I want to make sure I share the news of the winner for my Rosewater FQ Bundle Giveaway winner!  I have so enjoyed reading about your summer projects…. thanks so much for sharing!

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AND THE WINNER IS… #57 Mary!  An email is sent to Mary!  Congrats!!!

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Thank you ALL for playing along!  We will have another giveaway VERY soon — I promise!!!!  Have a lovely weekend!  Hugs to you all!

Thread Journey Part 5 — We are still quilting!

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Hello Friends, we are still quilting!  I will again let the pictures tell the story today.  So far, I have logged 30 hours quilting this quilt… sounds crazy, doesn’t it? :)

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These colors from my Subtle Strings collection were used to quilt the Ohio Star border.  Click here to read more about Subtle Strings.

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Click here to find out how to quilt the motifs I have quilted on the Ohio Star border, as well as other options you could try to quilt your own Thread Journey Quilt!

That’s all for now – another busy day over here.  I’ve got to run for now!  Take care, and have a lovely rest of your day. Hugs to you all!

p.s.  By the way, did you know today is National Mail Order Catalog Day?!  Perfect time to order something from your favorite quilting catalog!!! :o)

Thread Journey Sightings…

…. also known as Eye Candies that make my heart flutter!  Friends, it’s been extremely busy over here.  Can you believe it’s already getting ready for Fall Market season?  Truth be told, I have been working with companies on Fall Market stuff even before Spring Market was over, but ’tis the season of pattern writing (LOTS OF IT!) to make sure samples happen for the upcoming Fall Market.  And I am also working on a new book…. and this week is when I finalize most of the projects!  Lots going on, but always with a heart filled with gratitude.

I am definitely not one who has been busy…. Miriam sent pictures of her complete Thread Journey quilt top, and it looks fabulous!!!!

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Jody also sent in pictures of her version of the completed quilt top – absolutely gorgeous! Absolutely loving the border fabric Jody selected!!!!

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These ladies have done an amazing job!!!!  If you would still like to join in the fun, and journey with the rest of us in the Thread Journey project, click here for the latest post.  The post also has links to previous posts.  The posts contain instructions on constructing the quilt top.

That’s all for now, Friends.  I hope you have had a lovely week so far.  It’s hooooot over here…. but we managed.

Beyond the bustles….

Besides the creepy story I shared with my friends at Rogers Sewing Center that happened when I was filming my Machine Quilting Level 2 class, I had a most memorable time filming that class in Indiana back in cold, cold January 2015.   Note:  The creepy story is not for internet public consumption, but I am happy to disclose everything if you ask me about it in person! :)

Now onto the other memorable parts… I remember as the plane touched down at Ft. Wayne airport, the passenger sitting beside me commented that their average temperature the week before was about 12 degrees.  My heart sank a little — because I am a chicken when it comes to driving in inclement weather.  Since my husband wasn’t there with me, I braved myself and drove my little rental car to the destination, and very thankfully, arrived in one piece.   Well, on the way out was a slightly different story… the kind people with whom I work had warned me about the impending snow that day… and still being the chicken that I was (and still am) when it comes to driving in inclement weather, I left about 2 hours ahead of the intended time, and even more thankfully, arrived in one piece because the snow was really falling halfway through my drive to the airport.  SO…. I had about 3 1/2 hours just to sit in the airport – which I didn’t mind because I really enjoy the hustles and bustles at airports (as long as I am not one of those rushing about to reach my next gate, ha!).  And at airports, I get to indulge in one of my favorite activities – people watch!

While waiting, an older gentleman came and sat beside me… and he struck up a conversation with me.  He was a WWII veteran who was 91 years old, half-blind and was on his way to Florida to play golf.  We had a lively conversation about his experience during the war, among other things.  He was one of the support guys during Normandy.  He asked me if I knew whom General Eisenhower was (seriously?!) , to which I named most of the generals in WWII.  I did that not because I wanted to show off, but to show him he didn’t need to bother with the basic stuff.  I wanted him to get to his stories, and more stories. As he shared his life story (and of course I was totally mesmerized by all the twists and turns in his 91 years of life), he summarized his life with, “Where can the son of two illiterate peasant from France become a successful dentist, and lived a full life but in America?”

[Note: Photo taken right before the flag was taken down when dusk set in….]

I almost cried when he said that!  At that moment when he uttered those words, he and I formed a precious bond. He is an immigrant, and I am an immigrant… we both came under circumstances bound by law during different eras of American history, as well as bound by the love for the rich legacy and history of the land in which we live.

Talking to this very accomplished retired dentist was how I spent my 3 1/2 hours at the airport before we embarked on the plane.  I helped him find his seat because he couldn’t really see despite his nearly impeccable health at his age. Well, it turned out he was my neighbor across the aisle.  So, we chatted some more… he told me I looked like a teenager to him, and asked me to be sure to tell my husband that when I got home.  My husband didn’t offer any comments (smart guy!) when apprised of that comment, but my ever-so-slightly cynical friend aptly pointed out that the reason his dear man thought I was no more than 15 was due to his visual impediment.   Impediment or not, this dear man totally charmed me with his sweetness and his life stories.

We reached out layover destination,  the plane was so small it didn’t park right next to the airport.  So we had to get off the plane on the tarmac.  I gave him a hug before we parted ways!

I have often thought of this dear man since that cold and snowy January day.

MY TURN: The Aurifil DOM 2016 Block #7

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Hello and Happy Friday, Friends!  It is an exciting day at Ivory Spring because… today is the day my Aurifil Designer of the Month block is released!!!

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Click here to find out more about my block done in the blue colorway to go with this year’s blue/white theme!  You might also learn a couple of deep dark secrets about me you haven’t yet known. :)  And, more importantly, you just have to make and share a block to be entered in the giveaway of a whole box of Aurifil large spool threads!!!  A really generous gesture by Aurifil!  Details are mentioned on Auribuzz.

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Meanwhile, here is the block I made for myself using Windham Fabrics’ Blush & Blooms fabrics.  I added two primitive birds onto the block.  Because of the fabric choice, the block ended up taking on a “Shabby Chic” primitive look! :)

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You may recall seeing the same bird being embroidered in my Block #5.  I enlarged the bird for this month’s block.

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I used the yellow in my Subtle Strings thread collection to buttonhole stitch around the pink birds to give a bit of contrast.

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You can add the bird to your block too if you would like.  Click here to download the bird applique template.  Use the image below for placement guide for the birds.  Just think of the quilting possibilities in th negative area.  I know I certainly am for my block. :)

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I am so glad my spring dishes came out to play.

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Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you are still sewing along?  If not, there’s no better time than now to join in the fun. I have thoroughly enjoyed making all the DOM blocks, so I imagine you would too.

Have a great weekend!

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So, below are Blocks #1-6.  You have seen Block #7 today.  I am now ready for Block #8!

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Block #3

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Block #4

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Block #5

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Block #6

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Bastille Day & Thread Journey Part 3!!!

Today is Bastille Day!  This very key from Bastille prison is displayed prominently at Historic Mount Vernon.  It was a gift from Marquis de Layfayette to the venerated General Washington who is almost like a father to Lafayette. Click here to read more about the fascinating story.[As of 7EST today, I heard the news of the Bastille Day tragedy.  So sad!  It’s during times like these, words fail me and I can only pray.]

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[photo credit: Mount Vernon Ladies Association]

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Hello Friends, Happy Thursday!  Over at Auribuzz today, we have the final installment for constructing the Thready Journey quilt top!  Here are a few beauty shots I took of my Thread Journey Version 2 completed quilt top.  We will continue on with quilting Thread Journey a month from now.  So, if you would still like to join the journey, just hop on!!!  Auribuzz has all the instructions, as well as upcoming schedule.

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The mottled light gray fabric I used for the outer border is my new favorite gray.  In case you want to track it down, it is color 37098-12 from Windham Fabrics’ Palette collection.

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I unwittingly captured the seams on the back of my quilt, reflected by the sunlight.  I love this shot.

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Have a most fanta-bulous day, my Friends!!!  And I am always grateful that you are part of my life’s journey.