It’s For the Birds

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today! Many of you may be visiting as part of the “It’s for the Birds” Blog Hop, organized by Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt, and our cheerleader, Mary at I Piece 2. Big thanks to both of them for their time and effort.

The theme for this hop, as the title suggests, is birds. I loved working with this theme. My project is a raw edge applique of the California State bird, the Quail. I love these sweet little birds. They nest and spend most of their time on the ground. We have a covey of them living at the top of the hill in our backyard. The babies scurry after their mother in a nice straight row, while the father sits on top of the fence, watching for predators. They are adorable.



This is my “Quail” block.



I am working on a quilt featuring birds, so I will be using this block in that quilt. If you would like to make your own quail block, you can download my applique drawing here – Quail PDF.

This is a paper-pieced block of a woodpecker that I made a couple of weeks ago.



And, where there are birds, there are feathers….


If you would like to make these blocks, the woodpecker pattern can be found here, and the feather pattern can be found here. I love to paper-piece and I really enjoyed making these blocks.

I hope you will consider following my blog. I try to offer helpful advice and links to interesting things. Those of you who become new followers have the chance to win this:


It is my embroidery pattern “Aviary.” It offers complete instructions for making the pillow, including how to sew in a zipper.

Be sure to visit the other fabulous blogs in this hop:

Tuesday, May 7
Wednesday, May 8
Thursday, May 9
Friday, May 10
Monday, May 13
Tuesday, May 14
Wednesday, May 15
Until next time,

Favorite Applique Tools

Yesterday, when I was working on the applique on my sample quilt for my new pattern I found myself stopping to consider the little workhorses on my sewing table.  They have made my handwork easier over the years and I feel they deserve a shoutout.

First are my Little House applique pins.  I have had this tiny tin of pins for almost 20 years and they are still as straight and sharp as they were when they were new.  There is a trend now to use applique glue to affix applique in place before stitching.  The glue is useful for some projects, but these little pins with their very small glass heads are easy to place, hold the applique very securely, and I very rarely have a problem with my thread getting caught on them.  I am a big fan of these wonderful little pins.

Next are my Roxanne needles (particularly the #11 sharps).  These small, incredibly sharp needles (with impossibly small eyes) glide through layers of fabric like a hot knife through butter.  They are a little pricey, but stay sharp forever and are well worth the investment.

My applique scissors and my scissors-minder.  The little scissors-minder was given to me as a gift by a dear friend who is also a quilter.  She has a carved wooden face, a pretty cotton dress and is filled with lavendar.  She waits patiently on my sewing table and holds my needle and thread, as well as keeping those pesky scissors in sight.
This is a new product.  Mary Ellen’s Best Press.  It is a scented, clear spray starch.  This one is rose scented.  I use it to shape my applique pieces before I apply them.  It is a great starch.  It doesn’t gunk up my iron and it makes my workroom smell like the rose garden.  I am not sure my husband would appreciate his shirts being starched with this, but it is wonderful nonetheless.
Last, but not least, this pin cushion.  I have several pin cushions, each holding a different kind of pin, but this one always makes me smile.  It was given to me as a gift by my daughter.  We were in the Shanghai airport on our way home from a two-week performance tour in China with the Contra Costa Children’s Chorus.  She knew it would be the perfect little accessory for my sewing room, and she was right.

A New Design

Invigorated by my walk in the sunshine yesterday, I came home in the mood to design some floral applique.  Here it is.  I visited my local quilt shop a few days ago and saw the most beautiful dark khaki green toile.  It was the inspiration for the circles and border.  This would make a nice bridal quilt if it were done in softer colors.  It would take some time to applique all those leaves but I think it would be worth the effort.  When I finish appliquing the flowers on the Ohio Star quilt I am working on, I will start this one.