The garden that took a long time to grow.

This quilt is another 2014 finish I have yet to blog about, but it was started waayyyyyy before 2014. I bought the fabric to make my niece a quilt when she was 8-9 months old (May 2012). Here she is at my mom’s house, lovin’ on the fabric:


There is another shot taken just before this one where she is sitting up looking at the camera with a big cheesy grin. Then she just kept snuggling the fabric on the floor. Yep, I completely understand, Z–I feel the same way about new fabric.

I started cutting hexagons for her quilt in July 2012 at my Gruber’s retreat in Minnesota using a friend’s Go! Cutter and this die I bought:GoCutterHexagon

I only cut the large hexagon, not the two smaller sizes.

In the meantime, I had used some of the fabric I bought to make Z this sweet pillow for her 1st birthday using our One Big Cabin owl applique, and I made a matching valance for her new bedroom… y’know, to match the quilt she didn’t yet have. 😉

I didn’t really have a pattern in mind when I started cutting hexagons, but shortly after that retreat, I came across Terry Atkinson’s Hexie Garden pattern, and I knew that was meant to be Z’s quilt.

I worked on it at a few more retreats, and naturally, adapted the pattern a bit (because I have a hard time sticking to a pattern), added a double border, and eventually had it ready to gift to her for her 3rd birthday last August. It’s twin size, perfect since she was moved to a big girl bed that very same week:


The center of the hexagon flowers are a light grey print from Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda, the purple triangles are Tiny Diamonds by Dear Stella, and the flower “petals” all came from my scrap bin, mostly scraps from my Candied Hexagon quilt.




The quilting is a computerized Innova design, and includes butterflies, flowers, dragonflies, bumblebees… truly perfect for this quilt, and this sweet girly-girl.


I used leftovers on the back, leftovers from the valance and pillow, and the front of the quilt, and a few coordinating pieces from my stash.


One of my favorites is this Valentine print, tiny X’s and O’s with little hearts hanging inside each O:


Z is the child I believe should have been named Joy, because she is THE poster child for living a joy-filled life. She’s kind of a party waiting to happen, very sweet and kind, almost always smiling and enjoying herself. I hope she stays that way, always.

Zoe&HerQuiltThat’s her on birthday #3, when I gifted her the quilt. She gets lots of goodies from Aunt Doris, handmade and purchased–it doesn’t hurt that she knows how to melt her auntie’s heart.

Happy Quilting,



Far-Flung Friends, Reunited

July was a busy month, and August is doing its best to keep up! The highlight of July, as usual, was my annual retreat in St. Cloud, MN with…
















and myself.

This year, we sadly missed our friends from Missouri and Wisconsin–hopefully they can both make next year.  It’s hard to put this friendship into words; I treasure each and every one of these ladies and I’m so glad I took a leap of faith four summers ago and drove to St. Cloud to spend three days with a group of complete strangers (a very scary and anxious prospect for an introvert like me!)

From the pics above, you get a little taste of what everyone worked on over the weekend, but there was also plenty of laughing, sharing, eating, brain-picking, debating, Instagramming (is that a word?), even a little sleeping.  No one was ever far from their technology (typical, in a room full of bloggers)…


(In the center photo shows evidence of what happens when a group of bloggers go out.) A few years ago, someone started the tradition of exchanging “happies”… I forgot to take a single photo of the happy that Toni and I collaborated on, but these are the goodies I received:


a Minnesota trivet and drawstring bag from Cindy

a “pencil” pencil case and luggage tag from Mary

a mini pincushion from Michelle

a wool needle case from Stephanie

A thread catcher and FQ from Amanda

and Montana Cowboy Chocolate from Rene


Love these ladies — everyone needs a group of friends like this!

December Drumroll…

I have to share my last few finishes of 2012, including a big one… but, it wouldn’t be as fun if I gave it away right up front, right? So a quick December recap first:

Every year, my girlfriend’s an I have a favorites party, you know, like Oprah’s “My Favorites” giveaway episodes? Only on a smaller scale, but same idea. We give the exact same gift to each of the women at the party, something that we consider a “favorite” from the year. None of these five friends are quilters, so no sewing themed gifties. 😉  We started the “My favorites” party tradition last year, and I think it’s going to stick!

This year I gave them each an Aveda gift bag containing Aveda Foot Relief and Hand Relief Lotions:Aveda-Hand-Relief-Gift-Set

My favorite Aveda product, period.  Especially for Winter dry hands, it’s a Godsend.  From my five friends I received:


From Michelle: her favorite car freshener and a Jason’s Deli giftcard

From Kelly: her favorite Gold Canyon candle, Vanilla Rum

From Carisa: her favorite Tea and a statement “Hope” bracelet

From Tonya: an Angel ornament, Lindor Truffles, and an Orange Leaf giftcard

and from Carrie: her favorite Bath & Bodyworks Candle, MERRY MISTLETOE and Pretzel m&m’s

I didn’t have much of a chance to create gifts this year, aside from the Baby Cheetah onesie for Carrie’s baby:

Baby Cheetah Applique Onesie and sweaterI made Frank a photo frame that I painted a pale pink and embellished with type stamps to read “Grandpa’s Girl”, since his first grand-baby was due to arrive on Christmas Eve.  She arrived promptly on her due date, so I let him open that present right away — She was framed and on his end-table before she turned 4 hours old:

Gemma Frame Grandpa's Girl

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you know we spent much of 2012 first moving my Mother from her house 100 miles away (selling the home, cleaning out, packing, garage selling extra stuff, etc.), to a very nice retirement cottage community only 19 miles from us, and THEN, helping my MIL clean out her house (of 58 years!) to move into an Independent Living apartment at a new retirement community.  That was a huge task, and it is still ongoing (she is moved into her new home, but the old house is not completely empty, yet – a saga in itself, but I’ll spare you the details).

We have made three, 3-day trips to the St. Paul, MN (about a 4.5 hour drive one-way) since Thanksgiving.  Sweetie even made one day trip in between without me along.  That is A. LOT. OF. DRIVE. TIME. my friends, or riding time for me, as my sweetie does about 65-75% of the driving on these trips.

But, do you know what that means?  You all know what I do when a passenger on a road trip, right…?  Hand-piecing.


And y’all know what I have been hand-piecing forever, right…?  (or at least since July 4th, 2010)…

Candied Hexagons in Nov 2012

Candied Hexagons!  These are a few I made on the Thanksgiving Weekend trip… and those I made in med-December….

Candied Hexagons Dec 2012

and on Christmas Eve, I sewed the last blocks up while relaxing at home watching Downton Abbey Season 2 on DVD (possibly the only blocks I made outside of a vehicle!).  I finished the final one up just before the ball dropped at Midnight, and now have all 104 full blocks and 12 have blocks pieced!

Ta-Da!!! (insert drumroll, here):

Candied Hexagon blocks

Here they are unceremoniously laid out on my studio floor.  I have them all organized to start sewing into rows… My sweetie came in while I was arranging these on the floor and he said “wow, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day when you had these all made.”  I had doubts myself…

I’m considering alternatives for the border, debating whether I want to stick with the original border design or create my own. Decisions, decisions….  but I think I have a day or two before I have to decide. 😉

Happy sewing,


Vintage View: Pieces of the Past


I’ve always had a thing for vintage quilts, even when the color or style doesn’t really appeal to me, I appreciate them for the stories they can tell about the time period they were made, and the technique used to make them.  Just like an old house or building; “if these quilts could talk…”

I’ve heard some of today’s modern quilters (self-proclaimed Modern Quilters) make the statement that they don’t care for vintage quilts, or that vintage quilts lack creativity, etc.  To me, those statements seem narrow-minded.  Our modern quilting, or contemporary quiltmaking, wouldn’t be what it is without the patchwork quilts of the past, the innovation of new block designs spread across the nation and world through newspaper features and mail-order, and the individual re-interpretation over the years of these same designs.

Two color quilts?  Very common in vintage quilts.  Solids?  Yep, especially white and off-white.  This blue and white quilt has 256 8-pointed stars.  11 of them are pieced using 8 diamonds, Lemoyne Star style.  The other 245 stars are made using v-shaped, or chevron shaped pieces with y-seam settings.  (You might be able to see the two different methods if you click on and enlarge this photo:)

These English paper-pieced diamond blocks use some of the most contemporary and fun looking fabrics!  It’s a wonderful quilt; I could see this being made in 2012 and posted to a modern quilt group on flickr, couldn’t you?

See, fun fabrics–this quilt had novelty critters, florals, geometrics, text fabric, solids…

And Grandmother’s flower garden, all the modern EPP hexies we see on blogs and flickr… well, it first appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book (a journal) in January 1935.  How cool is it that this design has lasted the test of time and is still considered creative, clever, fun, and worth making!?!

Of course, I don’t know too many Modern Quilters, myself included, that would take the time to finish the binding like this quilter did:

The fussy cut fabrics in this quilt are extremely well done:

Now, I’m not suggesting as a quilter that you have to like every quilt you see.  Lord knows, I don’t.  But acknowledging that many of our contemporary quilts are reincarnations of past designs and styles, and giving a nod to the history of our craft, doesn’t make our creations any less creative, any less “modern”, or any less.  Period.

Happiness, received.


In July, at our annual Gruber’s Retreat, we decided to draw names for a “happy” swap amongst the 8 of us (Stephanie reminded me yesterday that it came about because of a challenge for herself; having never been in a swap) A “happy” is a little gift for no reason other than to spread joy to the recipient, as taught to us by the Harper sisters.  I believe I was the first to receive a happy, and I have no doubt I was the last to send out a happy–it’s been a rough two and half months at Chez Brunnette.

Mary sent me this wonderful little ball clasp coin purse, made from EPP hexagons in Denyse Schmidt fabrics (i lurvvve it!), and she included the sweetest Snapfish printed notecard with an image of a Denyse Schmidt quilt she made that appears in her blog header (this may have to be framed for my sewing room wall!)  btw, I adore Mary’s blog header.  Just sayin’.

I believe the prints are all from the Hope Valley collection, and what makes it even sweeter is remembering her sewing up this quilt with the same collection at last year’s retreat!

I have many of these clasp purses pinned in Pinterest, because I’ve wanted to make one ever since the first one I saw pop up on flickr.  It takes me ages to hop on a bandwagon officially by actually making or doing something, so Mary saved me the trouble, and for once, I’m trendy! Ha!

Thank you, thank you, Mary–I thought it too pretty to dirty up with money, but as of today I am now using it as my coin purse.  Real coins and all.

Candied Hexagon WIP

Long time readers of my blog know I’ve been working on this quilt for quite some time, hand-piecing the entire quilt, on road trips and vacations for the most part. I celebrated finishing the cutting of it at a retreat last month (not including the border), and to date I have completed all of Block Two (17 total):All of Block 3A (9 total):All of Block 3B (9 total):and all of Block 3c (6 total):Block 5 are all done (17 total):and there are 24 Block One (solid 5″ hexagons) that I have fussy cut and ready to go.

So, to finish the blocks for this quilt, I have to hand-piece 22 Diamond Star Hexagons (Block 4), and 12 Half Hexagons (for the edges). 82 blocks COMPLETE, 22 full and 12 half blocks to go. I like the sound of that! Stay tuned, you may even see a finish yet in 2012…