Charity blocks

Irene is hosting a charity quit that will benefit the Carolina Hurricane Project.  She designed her own block.  Irene loves paper piecing so of course, her block is paper pieced.  But I don’t love paper piecing, so she said the strips could be pieced traditionally.  So I made some strip sets and then just paper pieced the last step.  And here is what I came up with:

Irene charity blocks

She requested that blocks be mailed by March 15th, so I’m just under the wire.  If you are interested in contributing to one of our charity quilts, Ann is our next hostess and she’s accepting chicken blocks through April 15th.  You can find more info here.

I was the first hostess this year and I asked for sailboat blocks.  I received 19, and when you add in the three I made for the tutorial, that left me with 22.  Since that’s not a good number for laying out rows, I made three more.


I now have 25 boats.  I could do a 5 x 5 layout or split them into two quilts and have a 4 x 4 and a 3 x 3.  Since I don’t love working with large quilts, I’m thinking they may end up as two different quilts.  I hope to get them assembled soon.


More Boats Sailed My Way

Since I last posted pictures of all the boat blocks that have sailed my way, I’ve gotten the final two shipments.  (I love puns!)

Ann of Brown Paws Quilting sent these two boats.  Purple is my favorite color, so you know I love these sails!


Paige of Quilted Blooms sent these three boats.  Don’t you want to just disappear to where the sky is that blue and the water is that clear??


Paige even decorated the outside of the mailing envelope.  I was excited to see this in my mailbox!


In total, I received 19 boat blocks!  Add in the 3 I made as tests/examples, and that’s 22 boats!  I haven’t decided on layout yet.  I may do 4 x 5 and then use 2 for the back.  I’ll post a picture when I have a top assembled.

I am not accepting any more boat blocks but we do have other charity quilts this year if you want to participate!  Irene has created a block to be turned into a quit for the Carolina Hurricane Project, you can find the instructions here.  Irene will be accepting blocks mailed by March 15th.  And Ann is our next charity quit hostess, she will be posting her block and deadline soon (probably tomorrow!)


Come Sail Away With Me

I’m the hostess/maker of Bee Inspired first charity quilt for 2019.  I chose a fun and simple sailboat block and the boats have been sailing all the way to my mailbox!

We opened this up to anyone who wants to make blocks, not just original Bee Inspired members.  I’m pleased to report that we’ve had two new folks join in!  First are FOUR great boats from Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life.

Wendy’s boats

And there are two fun boats from Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing. I adore this water fabric!!!!

Kathleen’s boats

Here are two from Sue at Sevenoaks Street Quilts.  You should visit her post here for much better photos.  She really got into the ocean theme!

Sue’s boats

Sharon of Yellow Cat Quilt Designs used different dots for her sky fabrics.

Sharon’s boats

Kate of Smiles From Kate used some lovely sky & cloud fabric for one of her boats.  Looks like a beautiful day for sailing!

Kate’s boats

And Janice of Color, Creating and Quilting! used a similar cloud fabric for a sunny day and raindrops for a stormy day.  Good thing it’s only fabric rain!

Janice’s boats

These boats will be sewn together into a quilt for the Charlotte chapter of Project Linus.  If you want to make a boat or two for this charity quilt, you can find the tutorial here.  If you need my address for mailing, just leave a comment and I’ll email you.  Please mail blocks by February 15th.  If that’s too soon, don’t worry.  Ann will be hosting another charity quilt in March and Sharon will host one in July.

January 2019: Charity Block

Our Bee Inspired group has been together since 2017.  Our first two years, we operated as an online quilting bee.  For 2019, we’re changing it up!  This year, there are a variety of activities and each member chooses which she’d like to participate in.  And we’re no longer limited to just the original twelve members; anyone can sew along with us!

One of our activities is making charity quilts.  There are three of us throughout the year who will pick a block, post a tutorial and a mailing deadline, and anyone can make and mail blocks. The hostess will then assemble the blocks and donate the quilt to a charity.  I’m first up and we’re making boats!

I am an active member of the Charlotte chapter of Project Linus.  Project Linus quilts go to kids from birth to age 18 who need a blanket hug.  The Charlotte chapter sends quilts to 45 organizations in a 5-county region, including hospitals, police departments, shelters, and more. The quilt made from the boat blocks I receive will be donated to Project Linus.  My preferred size is a 4 x 4 setting, meaning 16 blocks.  I can do a Project Linus quilt with as few as 9 blocks.  If I get more, it will just be a bigger quilt!

Bee Inspired members already have my address.  Anyone else who wants to make a block or several, leave a comment letting me know and I’ll email you my mailing address.  Please plan to mail blocks by February 15th. 

There are several patterns and tutorials out there for this block.  I mostly followed this one by The Spruce Craft, but I also saw basically the same block at Generations Quilt Patterns, Alanda Craft, and this complication at Quilt Inspiration has several quilts that include this block.  These measurements (except for the HST pieces) are from The Spruce Craft.  I am using my photos because I like a  detailed and photo-heavy tutorial.  This is a 12″ finished block.

You will need four fabrics:

Sky:  light to medium blues or light to medium grays

Water: dark blue

Boat Bottom and Sails: anything yellow, green, red, orange, brown, or multi-colored.  Purple is also fine if it is on the bold side and not too pastel-y. My Project Linus chapter specifically needs non-gender-specific or boy-ish quilts so please avoid anything obviously pink, floral, or girly.

cut pieces


Sky: (2) 3 1/2 x 6 1/2″ rectangles, (2) 3 1/2″ squares, (2) 4″ squares **or whatever you like to make 4 HST**

Sails: (2) 4″ squares **or whatever you like to make 4 HST**

Boat Bottom: (1) 3 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle

Water: (1) 3 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle

Use whatever method you like to make 4 HST out of the sail and the sky fabrics.  I cut (2) 4″ squares from each fabric.  I used my Quilter’s Magic Wand to mark both sewing lines, then I stitched on both lines, cut apart, pressed, and trimmed to 3 1/2″ using my Bloc Loc Ruler.  If you prefer a different method, adjust your original pieces accordingly.  You want 4 Half Square Triangles each measuring 3 1/2″ square.

Quilter’s Magic Wand  

Arrange your HST as shown below.  When you have your pairs sewn together, press one unit toward the sail fabric and the other unit toward the sky fabric.  This will allow the units to nest when assembling the four-patch.

HST arranged for the sails

Once your four-patch of sails is assembled, add a 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ inch sky rectangle to each side.

sails plus sky

To make your boat bottom, take your 3 1/2″ sky squares and mark a line down the center of each square.  Line the squares up on the corners of the boat fabric rectangle as shown.

Sew on the marked line.  Trim 1/4″ from the sewn line and press.  Your boat bottom will look like this:

boat bottom

Sew your boat bottom to your sails.

boat bottom plus sails

Sew your water rectangle to your boat.

completed block

Voila!  You are ready to sail away!  I can’t wait to put together this colorful, scrappy armada!

Kate’s Block

Our fabulous mastermind Kate has had some health problems lately leading to difficulty sewing.  She sketched out a block that takes just two 2 1/2″ strips and creates two blocks that are basically negative images of each other. You will get both blocks from just 2 WOF strips of fabric!

For fabrics, tone on tone if possible in shades of blue, green, red, yellow, and purple.  A veritable rainbow of colour!  Please avoid neutrals, browns, etc.

Choose two fabrics.  From each fabric, you will need one strip that is 2 1/2″ by WOF (width of fabric).  The measurements are tight, so be careful with your cutting!

From each fabric, cut:

2 A – 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″

4 B – 2 1/2″ x 2″

3 C – 2 1/2″ squares

I thought I took a picture of all the pieces cut out but I can’t find it!  I’m so sorry!

To make the middle part of the block, you will sew your pieces together like this: BCBCBCB.  Keep in mind that C is bigger than B.  There will be 3 of the larger pieces (C) and 4 of the smaller pieces (B).  Once sewn, your middle will look like this:

Now all that’s left to do is sew the A piece on the top and bottom!  Your top and bottom fabric will match the B pieces, so the outside becomes a frame.

Ta-da!  You’re done!

May Bee Block for Velda

Our May queen, Velda @ Freckled Fox Quiltery asked us to make her cake blocks–a pattern by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller Fabrics called Sweet Cakes.

Velda asked us to make a cake and give it a name. I wanted to make something representative of me, so I made her an Italian Cream Cake, the cake I had at my wedding almost 25 years ago.

Our Wedding 002Italian Cream Cake is rich, filled with coconut flakes and chopped nuts, with a cream cheese frosting. You can find an original version recipe here and a lighter version recipe that is actually quite awesome here.


For my block, I wanted to choose fabrics that were similar to those in the actual cake but also rich (like the cake itself) and elegant enough for a wedding. If you look closely, you’ll notice that most of them have a shimmer.

Italian Cream Cake 5After making the block, I decided I simply had to add flowers to the cake so it would look more like my actual wedding cake.

Italian Cream Cake 4Finding the right flowers (right size, right colors) took awhile but I finally did it. Then my sewing machine broke down so again the block sat around while I solved that problem.

Italian Cream Cake 1The block is finally done now, and I’ll put it in the mail tomorrow. I hope you like it Velda!

Blog signature 2

Raspberry Tea Cake

Welcome!  Today’s featured cotton confectionery is Dogwood Delights, where the dessert of the day is a Raspberry Tea Cake.  This tall tiered cake is light and refreshing, with swirls of raspberry, hints of traditional birthday cake, and floral accents.  Our Raspberry Tea Cake is the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of tea.

May Bee Inspired

Velda, I had so much fun with this block!!!!!  Such a fun choice for a bee block!  I hope you like this cake I baked up for you.  Can’t wait to see all the other decadent treats!

Star blocks for April

No Foolin’!  I’m not quite sure how it got to be April already.  I have been wanting to do stars for a while now and when I saw this beautiful Starry Night block designed by Cath of Wombat Quilts, I knew it was the one. (Block being used for our bee with Cath’s knowledge and blessing.)


Star: You decide if you want to make a red star with blue accents or a blue star with red accents.  You can use as few as one red and one blue fabric or make it as scrappy as you like.  I have no problem with other colors in the fabric as long as it reads predominately as red or blue.

Background: White solid or tone-on-tone.  I’d prefer one background fabric in the block as opposed to a scrappy background.

This is a paper pieced block.  You can find the pdf here.  You will need two copies of the page to make the block.  For those who have trouble visualizing, here is how the sections on the pattern break down: 1 is the star fabric(s), 2 & 3 are the accent fabric(s), and 4 & 5 are the background fabric.

I know some folks don’t like or aren’t comfortable with paper piecing.  Here are some tips that I hope will help.

Tip #1: Use fabrics that don’t have a right or a wrong side. This immediately eliminates one of the mistakes that it is easy to make when paper piecing.  If your fabric doesn’t have a wrong side, you can’t do it backwards!  Solids and batiks both eliminate a wrong side and both are fine for this block.

Tip #2: Because each section has the same elements, you can kind of chain piece which will (hopefully) help it feel less labor intensive and mean less back and forth.  I sewed all 8 #2 pieces to the #1 fabric, then trimmed and cheater-pressed (see tip #3) and by doing it this way rather than one section at a time, it went faster.

Tip #3: You don’t actually have to press each step.  Really!  I didn’t press my test blocks until I had the full segment done and you can’t tell, can you?  I used this fabulous roller from Violet Craft and it meant that I didn’t have to get up from my sewing machine until all the segments were done!  Don’t have a handy roller gadget?  Maybe you have a pastry roller or small rolling pin in your kitchen that will work just as well. A solid finger pressing will likely also be sufficient.

Tip #4: Need the visualization?  Color on your pattern!  You can see that I didn’t color all the way in, just marked a little section, but on more in-depth designs I color it all in like a coloring book.  It helps me visualize, as seeing a whole amid the pieces is not my strong suit.

This was the block where I alternated light and dark blues in the star

Tip #5: Remove the paper from the seam allowance.  You can do this before or after you sew each set of segments together.  This was a new one for me and it worked like a charm.

Taking out that seam allowance makes it less bulky

Still worried?  I’ll make you a deal.  Set whatever you think is a reasonable amount of time.  Work on the block for that long and stop when the time is up.  Send me whatever you’ve done and I’ll finish it.  Seriously.  I do not want this to be source of stress for anyone.

I can’t wait to see what you make!  Thanks, everyone!

I Spy blocks for Paige

Queen Paige has asked for a rectangular I Spy block appropriate for a teenage girl.  I love I Spy quilts and I Spy fabrics!  I reined myself in and I still made 5 blocks.  Paige, I’m hoping that unicorns and fairies aren’t too juvenile for what you have in mind.  Personally, I love both and I am long past teenage years. (The unicorns didn’t photograph well; they are the middle block on the bottom.) I can’t wait to see all your blocks together!

March Bee inspired Paige