Trees and Gnomes for Kate

Trees and Gnomes for Kate

I was able to grab some time between trips to get my March block done.   I have to admit I wasn’t totally crazy about it to start, but making the blocks was an interesting process.  And doing different things is kind of what this is about, isn’t it?

Here is my fabric pull – I was drinking coffee in my New Mexico mug on a Sunday morning:

And here is my finished block.  I was in deep concentration trying to make the trees, and especially putting the darn trunks on the trees – they kept winding up way off to the side – so I don’t have any in-process photos.


My one tip would be to fold the bottom piece in half to get a crease, and then set it under the tree/gnome before cutting to put in the trunk to get a sense of where the trunk is going to wind up.  Before I did that, I kept cutting my bottom piece way too far over on one side or the other, and the trunk wound up in an odd place (see the bottom 2 trees).  But overall I’m pretty happy with it, and got it sent off to Kate Friday morning.  I do hope she likes it.  I think the gnomes are cute!

Home again!

In February, Sue had asked that we write a bit about where we live and I just did not get around to it while in Texas.  So here I am back in Missouri and I am glad to be home.  Don’t get me wrong, being a Winter Texan is great!

Sue’s block was a joy to make, and I think I may have to use that in the next bee I am in.  This could get addictive!  As you can tell, Bella loved the block too!





We were able to spend time on Padre Island enjoying the ocean breezes and the sunshine.  I was surprised at how much I hated leaving all my new friends at the Breezy Lake RV Park….it was like leaving my family!  Every Tuesday and Thursday morning we got together for Crafting…we worked on quilting, beading, crochet and knitting.  And of course lots of visiting!  On Wednesday afternoon, we met for quilting.  And of course there were dinners, card games, music and dancing….never boring!  Just like much of the nation, the temperatures were much warmer than normal.  It got up to 105 in the Rio Grande Valley…not normal!

When we are home, we live in Lees Summit, Missouri.  I am fortunate to be surrounded by awesome quilt shops…Missouri Star in Hamilton is about 45 minutes away.  Also, Quilters Station is here in Lees Summit…a fabulous treat!

I am most fortunate to live in the same neighborhood as my grandsons, Jack and Caleb.  It is so nice to have them ride their bikes over to hang out with me in my art room/sewing room.  They enjoy creating too!  Every year, on Memorial day weekend, we have a fishing derby for the kids in our subdivision.  Lots of fun for all of us!

My flower beds are a great source of joy and work…actually therapy, not work.  I have to stop myself from putting in more beds as I need time to tend to them!

IMG_9545 (2)


Lees Summit is just south of Kansas City, Mo.  We are home to the Royals and the Chiefs.  Kansas City is also known as the City of Fountains.  I love living in this area of the country…I don’t feel like I live in a big city.  We have access to so many things and the Lake of the Ozarks is only 2 1/2 hours away.  The RV has made many trips to the lake!

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of the area I live in!  And if you ever come to the Kansas City area, I hope you will enjoy it and maybe stop by for a visit!

February Bee Block for Sue

February is almost over, and I’m in just under the wire! I finally found time during this crazy short month to make my bee block for Sue. Sorry for the delay!

This month’s block is called Inside Addition, designed by Jessica @A Little Gray. Jessica’s original design resulted in a 7 1/2” finished block. Sue wanted a 12 1/2” block, so adjustments were made. For colors, Sue requested a monochromatic block using mid to dark tones made with solids, blenders, hand-dyes or batiks. I choose purple, my favorite color. We were to use white or cream for the background.


I used my four-at-a-time HST method to make the HSTs.


The block sews up easy and looks super cute. I can’t wait to see Sue’s finished quilt top.

my-block-6In lieu of sending an extra square of fabric with the block, Sue requested that we tell her more about where we are from. I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, located in the Midwestern section of the United States. A lot of people mistake it for Minneapolis which is in Minnesota, but as you can see they are located nowhere near each other. <grin>

2/28/2017 , 3:03:30 PM
Google Maps - Mozilla FirefoxNor is the weather in Indy anything close to that of Minneapolis, which I imagine is covered in snow most of the winter. In Indy we get maybe one big snowfall a year—which could mean a foot or more. Most of the time though our “big” snowfall of the season is only a few inches and it melts the next day.

winter-1One of the biggest things Indy is known for is the Indianapolis 500. My husband and I are big fans and we go every year. In fact, attending the race was one of our first dates. The Indy 500 appeals to my love of racing and of history, so it’s a natural fit. You have no idea how big the place is until you are inside it. I’m in awe every time I visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

I live near a small art district known as Broad Ripple. It’s a wonderful place to walk around, grab a bite to eat, take photos, and people watch. One of our other first dates was to a restaurant in Broad Ripple—Ambrosia—which has since moved. Although its menu has changed, Ambrosia remains one of our favorites.

Indiana is basically flat, which I hate. Southern Indiana where my mom’s folks are from is lovely though, and very hilly. I love to take a drive there and walk around Brown County State Park. In fact, I went there with Scott one fall to take photos of my quilts in a fall setting. We had a lot of fun that day, celebrating our anniversary and my quilts. Fall is one of my favorite seasons–here in Indianapolis the weather is always changing and I like that too. I guess I like variety. <grin>

Indiana has a large Amish community and thus, a lot of vintage quilts and covered bridges. I find both inspirational.

I really hope you like my block Sue, and my story. The post office is closed now, but tomorrow I’ll put your block in the mail to you, all the way over the pond to Australia!



Smiling because it’s my turn to be Queen Bee for March

Hi, I’m Kate, I blog at Smiles From Kate and I’m Queen Bee for March.

So, who is up for a little improv? If you haven’t done any before you don’t know what you have been missing and the great thing about a Bee is it takes you out of your comfort zone and you never know you may just find your perfect quilting technique.


This is the block I would like you to make.

It is called Trees and Gnomes and was designed by Sylvia at Flying Parrot Quilts,  you can find Sylvia’s original tutorial here. I first saw it on Stash Bee in June 2015, it was love at first sight, sigh………..

I’m not going to do you a tutorial when the original is so good, but there are one or two observations from when I made it. Apologies for the pics, it has been so dull and miserable here, and I left it so late to make the block, that I couldn’t manage any better ones.

The colours are as the original tutorial, low volume background in pale creams beiges, greys and white, green for the trees, red for the gnomes, brown for the tree trunks and the legs of the gnomes, and skin coloured scraps for the gnome faces, if you havn’t got a sort of skin colour a plain cream will work just as well.


First I cut the backgrounds

3 squares 5 ½ inches , these are for the three ‘open’ blocks.


6 rectangles 5 x 6 inches which form the background for the tree and gnome blocks. The idea is you get two pieces by turning the second piece around, it also means you either get two rights or two left sides, I ended up cutting more so I could do a right and a left side and added in a couple more fabrics, I didn’t have enough to give more variation, but that’s ok. If I had my thinking head on I would have used some smaller pieces I had that I could have got one out of, but I didn’t. If I was cutting them again I would make them slightly wider, about half an inch or so to 6 1/2 inches wide, it would make it easier for the trimming, but maybe that’s just me in the making of them.


6 rectangles 1 ½ x 6 inches which form the bottom part of the tree/gnome blocks. I would definetly cut these 2 inches, it makes it so much easier inserting the trunks and legs then lining up and trimming.


Green Trees they are so not the right colours in the pic, they are definitely green, proper green I mean, although you may see it differently to me, did I tell you I have cataracts?  It dulls all the colours down and I don’t see the shades properly.  Of corse it means that once I have them removed I could look at the quilts I make now and be shocked by all the garish colours!!!!

How many you cut depends on your ratio of gnomes to trees, you need some of both but you can do any number of combinations from 1 tree to five gnomes to 5 trees to 1 gnome, or anwhere in between. So you need:

1 – 5 rectangles 3 ½ x 5 inches. Perfect


Red Gnomes, this pic has gone the other way, just screw up your eyes and imagine these are several shades darker.  The solid didn’t end up in the quilt block, I had a bit of trouble, and ended up substituting another fabric.

As in the trees you need any number to bring it to six.

1 – 5 rectangles 3 ½ x 5 inches


Skin fabric, I found a scrap of a pale pinkish solid I used as skin on another quilt

1 – 5 (depending on how many gnomes you are making) 3 ½ x 1 – 1 ½ inches.


Brown tree trunks and gnome legs.

You need 1 for a tree and two for a gnome, they are all 1 x 2 inches

This is my hints and tips bit based on my mistakes.  Mind you I was having a particularly bad day, I ended up recutting several pieces.  I’ll blame my eyes, it’s as good an excuse as any (blush blush).

I already told you about cutting the background rectangles a little wider and the bottom backgrounds a little deeper,

After you make up the top part of the tree and gnome blocks just trim the top and bottom to 4 ½ inches, I found it better not to trim the sides at this point, it makes it easier to add the bottom pieces and it gave me a little fudge room, but that’s me.

After I made the bottoms I just trimmed the tops, then I could decide exactly where I wanted them and after stitching them to the top part and pressing that’s when I gave my final trim of the bottom and sides, it helped me be more accurate.

Then I just played with the arrangement but I ended up with the same as the tutorial. I have lots of cut pieces for backgrounds left ready to make some more, plus a couple of trees and a gnome, or the top part anyway, yes, it was the red solid. I’m not sure if I will use the gnome, I didn’t read the instructions properly and he has a very small hat.

The biggest mistake I made was not trimming the top and bottom of the blocks before adding the bottoms, it didn’t say so in the instructions and as I said I didn’t have my thinking head on.  I ended up with half inch bottoms and had to take them all off and make all new ones.  Well, I’m honest anyway, sometimes you just have a bad day.

I do so hope you enjoy making it as much as I did (and don’t get to make all the mistakes I did), and yes I really enjoyed it even after everything I did wrong. I am so excited about this, I can’t WAIT to see what you make, and if improv isn’t really your thing well it may just change your mind!

Question, what is the worst mistake you have made when quilting?

With smiles from

Kate x

Inside Addition Block for Sue

For February we are making 12 1/2″ Inside Addition blocks for Sue at Seven Oaks Street Quilts.


The block went together quickly.  Using the Blocloc HST ruler certainly helped with trimming the HST units.


Sue asked us us share a little about where we live and since I live near GREENville, South Carolina, I decided to make a green monochromatic block for Sue.  I used a Kona Cotton solid for the plus sign, a Denyse Schmidt for the coordinating green and a Bonnie and Camille low volume print for the background.


Here’s a map showing Greenville, South Carolina is located in the southeastern US.


This is the Liberty Bridge which spans the Reedy River in downtown Greenville and was taken after a big rain.


This is the historic Huguenot Mill built in 1882 and is one of Greenville’s olded structures.  I took this picture after a summer rain and loved the reflection in the water.


I met some friends down at the water’s edge, but didn’t have any snacks to share with them.


I mailed my block last week and hope it makes it to Sue in Austrailia safely.  I’ll leave your with what’s blooming right now in my yard, some pretty daffodils.


Paige at Quilted Blooms

February Block for Sue

I hope this deep green works for what you are looking for, Sue! I enjoyed making this one.  I wrote the instructions down correctly but still managed to cut to many squares of both fabrics, so I have an extra set of HST that I am sending you as well.  I hope you can use them.


I wrote the instructions down correctly but still managed to cut to many squares of both fabrics, so I have an extra set of HST that I am sending you as well.  I hope you can use them.



Charlotte Skyline

Sue asked about where we live.  I live in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, and have been here for 11 years.  Charlotte is a big city, though I frequently forget how big it is and how many people really live here.  While you often hear that everyone in Charlotte is a transplant, I actually know quite a few native Charlotteans.


North Carolina is generally thought of in three geographic parts: coastal, mountains, and Piedmont.  The Piedmont is in the middle and that’s where I am.  I like that I am about a 2 hour drive to the mountains and a 4-5 hour drive to the coast.  I go to the mountains much more than the coast–I love the Blue Ridge Mountains!


The view from one of my favorite overlooks in the Blue Ridge Mountains.