December 14, 2016

Wrapping up Four Years with the Mid Century Modern Bee

Four years ago, Cindy of Live A Colorful Life sent me an email. She said she was starting a new bee for quilters that were 50+ in age with a modern aesthetic. I will be forever grateful for that email. It was the start of many online connections and true friendships right when my blog was getting off the ground.

Now, four years later, the Mid Century Modern Bee is coming to a close. Over the years we've had a few people come and go and I've enjoyed meeting each and every one along the way. The bee also gave me the opportunity to make a wide variety of blocks including ones I'd never sewn before. Dresden Plates, Spiderweb, Churn Dash, 9-Patch, Log Cabin, lots of paper piecing . . . these are just a few of the blocks I've had the pleasure of sewing for an amazing group of quilters.

Today I thought I'd share all the blocks made for 2016.

January 2016 for Elizabeth of OPQ, also found on Instagram @occasionalpiecequilt

February for Cindy of Live A Colorful Life, also found on Instagram @liveacolorfullife

March for Linda of Chirp, also found on Instagram @lkhomework

April for Stephanie of Peas in a Pod, also found on Instagram @stephiepeterson

May for Carla of Grace and Favour, also found on Instagram @carla_knit2yarns

June for Rene' of Rene' Creates, also found on Instagram @renecreates

July for Sherri of A Quilting Life, also found on Instagram @aquiltinglife

August for Mary of Needled Mom, also found on Instagram @needledmom

September for Mary of Mary on Lake Pulaski, also found on Instagram @maryonlakepulaski

October for me here at Springleafstudios and also found on Instagram @springleafstudios
I had everyone make the letters for the word Bee. I asked each quilter to use their favorite fabric for the capital B and was quite surprised that I got so many reds and bluish greens. At this point I have only a very vague idea of how I will use these. It will be a long while before the concept works itself out into a finished quilt. When done it will be a lovely reminder of my connections to these women.

November for Nancy of Patchwork Breeze, also found on Instagram @patchworkbreeze

December for Elizabeth of Pieceful Life, also found on Instagram @piecefullife

Isn't the word "Bee" just the perfect block to bring this bee to an end?

It most certainly was another year of variety and fun. I'm sorry to see the bee come to an end but happy to know my friendships will go on. Thanks for a fun four years ladies. And thank you Cindy for inviting me to play along.


November 18, 2016

Walk With Me

Time for another walk. Are you ready?

I love taking walks in the fall.
I love kicking up the leaves and hearing them crunch beneath my feet.
I love the colors of fall . . . yellows, golds, oranges, reds.

This walk was all about color . . .

The soft yellow and gold in the photo above was a happy accident as I didn't realize the camera setting was on soft. The painterly quality of the image is just lovely. In another life, I'd love to be a painter. I dabble here and there but have little real training. My aunt was a wonderful watercolor artist and I believe I inherited her artistic side.

As I walked, I noticed that some trees are still completely full of leaves and beautiful glowing colors. The range of colors here is just amazing . . .

On the other hand, some trees have only a handful of leaves still hanging on set against an intense clear blue sky . . .

The park nearby has this lovely mini grove of trees. The band of bright green running through the middle of the photo caught my eye.

The intensity of the reds is always beautiful. Colorado falls are mostly yellows and golds so the really red reds here and there are a real treat . . .

The golden tones of ornamental grasses simply glow this time of year . . .

After all the beautiful colors, this is what I found outside my back door this morning. White! We've had a lovely long fall but this was bound to happen sooner or later . . . 

I'm hanging on to fall just like this last little leaf . . . 

In case you're wondering, I am still sewing. A little. Just not as much as usual because we've got some house projects that are eating into my time right now. 

Hope you enjoyed another walk with me. Each time I go out now I find myself looking at things in a whole new way. Try it. You might be surprised at what you actually see.


November 3, 2016

Walk With Me . . .

I go for a walk most every day. On the treadmill. Around the neighborhood. To the park. Along the nearby trails. Many times I take my camera along.

I'm starting a new series called Walk With Me. My plan is to turn my daily walks into little trips of discovery. To pay attention to both the details and the overview of my surroundings. To see the little things that are often overlooked. To record the things that catch my eye or inspire me in some way.

When I did my Color Inspiration series, I was specifically looking for color in my world. Paying attention and really seeing color. With this new series, I'll be challenging myself to simply see more. Wildlife. Texture. Shape. Line. Composition. Ordinary things. Extraordinary things.

There is no big plan. No set schedule. Just walks and photos.
I'd like to invite you to walk with me . . .

As I leave my house each day, this little red brick sidewalk leads me out into the world.
And this is what I found on a recent little stroll around the park.

Lots of wildlife caught my eye. The park pond has always featured frogs at all stages of life. Tadpoles. Little froglets. Big voiced bullfrogs. Bunnies have now invaded and multiplied. And squirrels and birds are plentiful.

The wildlife around my home has always captured my attention. Birds visit the feeders and birdbath in my backyard. I especially love to watch the robins take a bath. Mama raccoon and her babies visit the tree right outside my bedroom window on a regular basis during summer nights. The great horned owls hoot on and on from dusk long into the night. An occasional skunk wanders through the yard. The coyote howls often wake me in the middle of the night. The cows bellow in the field . . . and sometimes right behind our fence if they've managed an escape. Deer are more infrequent visitors off in the distance. Thankfully the mountain lions, bear, moose and elk that are common visitors in many Colorado towns are seldom seen nearby.

I attribute my wildlife watching to my dad. He had a good eye for spotting animals while on country drives we used to take when I was a kid. He paid attention and that's what I want to do. Pay closer attention to my world.

I encourage you to get out and take a walk. Bring your camera along and really look at the details of your surroundings. Maybe something will spark an idea. Inspire your next quilt or creative work. Or simply brighten your day with it's beauty.

Hope you will enjoy walking with me. I'd love to have you join me.


September 23, 2016

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Original Design

Welcome to my Blogger's Quilt Festival post. If you're brand new to my blog, I do hope you'll look around a little. I'm a graphic designer turned quilter with a love for strong graphics, bold colors and an affinity for large scale prints. Thank you ever so much for stopping by. I also want to give Amy a big round of applause for putting on this virtual quilt show twice a year. Love it every single time.

Now on to my entry . . . I'd like to introduce Interweave, a brand new finish that I haven't even shared on my blog yet. I am entering it in the Original Quilt category.

Interweave quilt pattern, Springleaf Studios, Kaffe Fassett

Interweave is the fourth version of a new quilt design I've been working on and I have to tell you . . . it's my favorite. I love it!

The black and white prints were part of a cherished fat quarter collection I'd been saving and this was the perfect design for them. I only wish I'd had more fabric because I think it would be amazing as a bed sized quilt. It's a small lap size made for my new guest room which is mainly black and white with pops of bright color. Doesn't it look great with the black and white chair I redid last summer?

Interweave quilt pattern, Kaffe Fassett

I thoroughly enjoyed the design process for this quilt. The initial concept started with an exploration of weave patterns. Basket weaves. Fabric weaves. I enlarged the weave pattern and played with the sizing of the different elements. Since I love working with large scale prints, the horizontal rows were sized specifically to show off big prints.  The vertical columns are narrower to contrast with the wide rows and make a good place for either large prints like I used for this one or smaller prints as you can see further down the page.

It was a challenge to figure out the piecing method but it really isn't complicated. Essentially it's a row quilt and is quite easy to piece.

When I first started the pattern idea, I wanted to explore color schemes and a simple use of fabrics. Lush garden blues and greens with purple accents. The pattern is being written with this quilt below as the primary design, but I'd really love to know which one of all these is your favorite.

Interweave quilt pattern, Kaffe Fassett

The one below is a variation featuring a single fabric in all the horizontal rows. It has a real beachy feel to me because of the colors. Now if only there was a beach in Colorado.

Interweave quilt pattern, Springleaf Studios, Amy Butler

As you can see, there are lots of possibilities with the design. That's what I absolutely love about designing . . . exploring all the variations of a single concept. I still have other ideas that I haven't had time to try yet. Right now I'm toying with a green on green idea for my family room and possibly an all solid one with waves of color from both top to bottom and left to right. Solids would provide some amazing areas to show off machine quilting.

The Interweave pattern should be finalized and published soon. Please let me know which one of these three is your favorite. I'm curious since each new one I make becomes my latest favorite.  : )

I love designing my own quilts. Most are for my home and family plus some charity work through my local modern guilds. I turn a few of my designs into PDF quilt patterns that are sold through Craftsy and my Etsy shop in case you're interested.

Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you are enjoying all the beautiful quilts in the festival. You can see my other entry here.


Blogger's Quilt Festival: Small Quilt Entry

Welcome to my Blogger's Quilt Festival post. If you're brand new to my blog, I do hope you'll look around a little. I'm a graphic designer turned quilter with a love of strong graphics, bold colors and an affinity for large scale prints. Thank you ever so much for stopping by. I want to give a big round of applause to Amy for putting on this virtual quilt show twice a year. It's always so good.

Now I'd like to introduce Tequila Sunrise, my entry in the Small Quilt category. This quilt is 42" x 58",
a nice small lap size made specially for my daughter.

Cascade quilt pattern, Springleaf Studios, Amy Butler

Tequila Sunrise is my latest make using the Cascade quilt pattern. I had this great collection of Amy Butler fabrics in the orange/teal colorway and pulled several other fabrics by Kaffe Fassett and Tula Pink that had similar coloring.

I would really love to get a photo with a great sunrise but getting up that early isn't my strong point. Maybe someday. I took this fun shot last week though and would like to go back when the lighting is better and get a few more shots. The color washed out a bit.

Cascade quilt pattern, Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink

This shot was taken shortly after I finished the quilt in the spring. Another location I'd like to revisit.

Cascade quilt pattern, Springleaf Studios, Amy Butler fabrics

If you'd like to read my original post about this quilt it can be found here.
I find it amazing how different fabrics and different fabric placement can change a design. That's the part of pattern designing that I really love to play around with. Just look at the difference between Tequila Sunrise and my original Cascade on the right. Fabric and position make all the difference!

Cascade quilt pattern, Springleaf Studios,

I love designing my own quilts. Most are for my home and family plus some charity work through my local modern guilds. I turn a few of my designs into PDF quilt patterns that are sold through Craftsy and in my Etsy shop in case you're interested.

Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you are enjoying all the beautiful quilts in the festival. You can see my other entry here.


September 19, 2016

One Lovely Blog Award

I recently received a nice email from Dawn of First Light Designs nominating my blog for the One Lovely Blog Award. And what might you ask is this award all about? Well, it's a clever way to spread a bit of quilty love around and get to know some bloggers just a little better.

Dawn often leaves comments on my blog or IG and every time I see her photo I do a double take because she looks a lot like my sister-in-law. Turns out Dawn is a twin but I think she must have been from a set of triplets. Do hop over to First Light Designs and learn a little more about Dawn and take a look at her lovely quilts. Thanks for the nomination Dawn!

So here's how One Lovely Blog Award works . . .

The rules:
Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
List the rules.
Display the award image on my post.
List 7 facts about myself.
Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the award and notify them they've been nominated.

My seven facts . . .
  1. I'm a small town girl all the way. Grew up in Indiana farm country, pop. 2000.
  2. I'm an only child and am more than a bit jealous of those of you who have siblings.
  3. Perhaps because of #2, I'm happy spending time alone, quietly in my studio.
  4. I'm a collector of pretty things from flea markets and thrift stores. Colored glass vases. Fruit, flower and leaf dishes. Lacy things. Too much stuff. Trying to pair down and simplify.
  5. I don't like to cook but since my family needs to eat I do my best. 
  6. I'm a huge fan of Les Miserables and love to sing along. 
  7. I can't carry a tune. At all. Not even Happy Birthday. But I'd still wish you a Happy Birthday and maybe sing along.   : ) 
If you'd like to know even more about me, check out my Around the World Blog Hop post where I share more about my process and work. Also take a peek at my Color Inspiration series to get a glimpse of how I see color in my world. And you can see where I work in these various posts about my studio.

Now, on to my nominations. There are so many wonderful blogs out there. Instagram may have made posting quick and easy, but I still love getting to know people more through their blogs. Reading about their process. Seeing more of what they're working on in detail. The following blogs are ones I've always enjoyed. Three of them I've had the pleasure of meeting in real life. The other two I'd love to meet sometime. One way or another we all share something in common. I value their work, their stories, their words of encouragement and their quilty friendships. For these reasons I'm nominating for the One Lovely Blog Award . . . 
  • Cindy of Live A Colorful Life, the first blogger to really reach out to me. So very grateful for the real life connection and friendship we've made.
  • Elizabeth of OPQuilt, another blogger I am so happy to call a friend. She's a great quilty cheerleader and does wonderful causal quilt-alongs.
  • Linda of Flourishing Palms, a fabulous machine quilter and ever so supportive online friend.
  • Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation, a lover of large scale prints and a very talented pattern designer. 
  • Maureen of Mystic Quilter, a fellow Kaffe fan way down in New Zealand. I love connecting with people far and wide that share a love of quilting.

I do hope you've enjoyed learning a tad more about me and hope you'll hop around to meet the others too. I don't know who started this idea but it's a fun way to get to know more bloggers. Thanks for stopping by.


September 14, 2016

Snowball Block: Making the Octagon

The snowball quilt block has been around for a long time. The basic block is an octagon that gives the illusion of a circle. According to a little online research, it's an Amish block. I make no claims as a quilt historian but one thing I do know is it's a wonderfully versatile block. Check out all these quilt tutorials curated by Quilt Inspiration that use a snowball block. So many variations are possible. This is the version on my design wall right now.

The easiest way to make a snowball block is with small corner squares that are stitched across the diagonal, trimmed, and then flipped open to form corner triangles. While this method uses more fabric than sewing triangles, I find it fast and easy. All you need is one big square and 4 small squares for the corners. No bias edges to contend with.

No need to let those trimmed corners go to waste either.  Once I've gotten a decent start on making the blocks and have a handful of trimmed corner triangles, I use them as leaders and enders when sewing the rest of the blocks. This way I end up with lots of half square triangles sewn and ready for a second project like a mini quilt or pillow. It's like making two projects in one. Gotta love that!

So you might be asking how do you know what size small square to use? Well, the size is often determined by the quilt setting you are using. Because a snowball block is frequently paired with another block in an alternating setting, the size of the corners is usually determined by the breakdown of the alternate block. In other words, If the alternate block is a 9-patch block, then the side of the snowball block is divided by three. If the alternate block is a 16-patch, then the side of the snowball block is divided by four. Here's a great source for determining the size of the corner squares for various sized snowball blocks.

The most common sizing for a snowball block calls for dividing the finished size of the block by three and then adding a half inch seam allowance. This would then align with a 9-patch block as shown above left. Whatever number you are dividing by you will still add 1/2" seam allowance. For my quilt the finished block size is 6" so the squares would be cut 2 1/2" x 2 1/2".  (6 divided by 3 equals 2 plus 1/2" equals 2 1/2")

Since my quilt is made entirely of snowball blocks, the size of the small corner squares didn't matter so much. The triangles didn't need to line up with any points on an alternate block, they simply line up with each other.

I started with the typical directions and made a sample block using the 2 1/2" corner squares. It didn't really seem as much like an octagon as I wanted. All eight sides of the octagon aren't the same length. Of course they'll change a little once the seam allowances are taken into account but it still wasn't going to be a true octagon. Here's what it looked like.

Wanting a more true octagon, I turned to my computer to see if I could figure out a better size for the corners. Since I didn't know the mathematical way to draw an octagon in Illustrator, I estimated using a small grid. For my finished 6" block I found that if my corner squares were cut 2 1/4" the end result was as close to a true octagon as I could get. In other words all eight sides were of equal length. You can see the difference below between the 2 1/2" square (left) and the 2 1/4" square (right). The one on the right is closer to a true equal sided octagon.

I know this is a small thing to some of you, but it was worth the effort to me. Not to mention I could get more small squares from my yardage so I needed less fabric. All together I need 900+ of the small squares so I have a lot of cutting to do.

I'll be back with another post soon showing you my quick method of sewing the corner squares without any marking. It saves a ton of time.

Until then, I'm curious, have you ever made a quilt that included snowball blocks?

I'm linking up this week to Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation. It's been far too long since I've played along. Hop over and see Kelly's latest quilt finish.


September 2, 2016

Kaleidoscope Breeze; Online Charity Drawing Sept 24th

This award winning quilt, Kaleidoscope Breeze, can be yours!

the modern quilt guild, charity quilt, pinwheel quilt, boulder modern quilt guild

On behalf of the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild I'd like to share what our chairperson Josi of AvocadoQuilts wrote up about this quilt.

Occasionally, an amazing group of women come together and create beauty and goodness out of thin air (and a pile of fabric).  This is the case for the award winning 2015 QuiltCon Charity Quilt, named Kaleidoscope Breeze, which may be yours soon!

This quilt has been generously donated to the Anchor Center for Blind Children by the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild which will be holding an online and physical drawing for the quilt on September 24th at their annual Cherrity Pie Festival.  Click here to purchase drawing tickets for the quilt.  Please pass the word to all the quilt lovers out there, friends and family members alike.  All proceeds benefit the blind children at the Anchor Center, which is dedicated to teaching fundamental life skills to children from birth to kindergarten.  I have been involved with fundraising for this amazing cause for three years now, and am continually so moved and impressed by the impact the school has, and more so on the strength of the children and families who attend.
This quilt was created by a group of skilled Modern Quilters from the Boulder Modern Quilt guild as a challenge quilt for their 2015 QuiltCon entry.   Over 71 quilts were created by guilds worldwide as part of the challenge, and all of them benefited charity organizations in their respective local communities after being on display together in 2015. This particular quilt then went on to win 1st place at the Boulder County Fair in 2015 for the group quilt category.
Anne Deister of, created the unique design for this quilt in Adobe Illustrator.  Over 12 guild members then paper pieced the 36 blocks together, requiring them to sew the fabric directly on a paper pattern in order to create crisp lines.  The blocks were then arranged on an alternate grid to fulfill one of the challenges.   The quilt is 68″ x 88″ and made entirely of solid Kona Cotton fabrics.  The professional quilting was done by the guild president Cynthia Morgan, which truly put the finishing touches on this work of art.  The Boulder Modern Quilt Guild is very pleased to donate the 2015 QuiltCon Charity quilt to the Anchor Center for Blind Children as a fundraising item to go home to one fortunate supporter during the 2016 Cherrity Pie Festival!
To see the process of the quilt creation,  please visit Anne’s blog post for the quiltcon charity quilt challenge, and for more information on Modern Quilting, feel free to visit the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild on their Facebook page or website 

The more we can spread the word and sell tickets for this amazing quilt, the more it can raise to help the visually disabled children of the Anchor Center.  Please pass on!  
Much thanks to Josi for all your hard work in getting this organized.
As quilters, we have the pleasure of seeing beautiful colors and fabrics. 
The Anchor Center for Blind Children helps children who cannot see. 
Please consider buying a ticket and supporting a very worthy cause.


August 30, 2016

Snowball Quilt; the Diamonds

My design wall is bursting into full bloom.

I'm well on my way to making a snowball quilt. My wall is covered with squares of Kaffe, Amy Butler and several older traditional prints from my stash. Lots and lots of cutting from lots and lots of different fabrics. Putting them up on the wall is like watching a fabric garden bloom. Love it!

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt, Springleaf Studios

Before I cut any fabric, I cut white paper squares to represent the diamonds. Then I fussy cut the blooms. See this blog post for my fussy cutting method. As more and more fabric blooms went up on the wall, I ran out of paper squares and decided not to bother with any more.

It's interesting to see the difference in the layout with and without the white diamonds. My first reaction was that the section without the white diamonds looked flat. The floral squares alone seemed incomplete. However as more and more squares went up I liked the look better and better.

Here's a section with the diamonds.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt, Springleaf Studios

And here's a section without. Which do you prefer?

I don't really think one is better than the other. It's more a matter of what you're after in a design. I actually think a really large quilt of simple squares would be quite stunning. Especially one that included several of those big blooms with the dark background. They add depth and a focal point that helps to break up the overall surface. At this point in the process I have not played with fabric placement. Only cutting squares and throwing them up on the wall. Distribution of color and fabrics will come later.

My original plan was to use white for the diamonds but before committing I tried another fabric from my stash. A small black and white dot. This quilt will be used in my guest room where I've used a lot of black and white decor. At first I didn't like the dot. The white paper stood out so much that the dot looked flat. But the more dotted squares I added, the more I liked it. It's more subtle than the white which allows the blooms to really stand out. Plus, the little tiny touch of black is just right for the room.

Kaffe Fassett, snowball quilt, Springleaf Studios

Even though I grew to like the idea of all squares, perhaps that's another quilt for another time. Right now I'm making a snowball quilt.  A snowball quilt with black and white dot diamonds. This process reminded me of how important it is to continue to fine tune and work through design issues as you go along. If I hadn't bothered with the paper diamonds I wouldn't have had a good idea what the final quilt would look like. It's good to see all the parts come together. It's also good to be flexible if those parts aren't working the way you envisioned. Be open to making changes along the way. You just might discover a whole new concept that's even better. Or at least different and equally worthy of being made into another lovely quilt.

I'll be back soon with a post on how I decided on the size of the corner squares plus how I sew them.

Love gardening with fabric. Just wish my design wall was bigger so it could hold even more
beautiful flowers.   : )