Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Decorated and ready to Eat!!!

I am happy to say that I have actually finished my Thanksgiving decorations IN TIME for Thanksgiving!!  I think this is a first for me for any holiday!  And I am so excited!
All decorated and it all works together!

Continuing on from the past 2 posts, the Bright Day of Thanks Turkey ended up in the dining room/sewing room, right next to me!

I had a panel hanging around and quickly put that together.  I'm also very excited for Christmas and got our Christmas card ornaments made this year!  I will post about those later!
My Free Falling Leaves did not become a wall-hanging.  In fact they looked sooooo terrible as a wall-hanging!  I got them up, looked at them for a day and I absolutely hated how they looked (others looked at them for a day and were kind enough not to laugh too much).  In stead, they look fantastic as place mats around the house.  One has been adopted in our front entrance as the key and mail mat.  Django even got to have 2 on his crate!  (Can't leave the fur child out!)
The 3rd installment for my Thanksgiving decorations took a decidedly (and surprisingly) traditional turn!  While I was home a few weeks ago, my wonderful Aunt M gave me a giant bin full of fabrics to play with.  Included in this bin are the fabrics for the new piece, "Give Thanks!"  It's not my normal color pallet but I am kind'a in love with this one!
"Give Thanks!" 24" x 26", pieced and applique with free-motion quilting.  Original design by M. Rose Quilt Studios.

I had a lot of fun quilting this one.  I just went crazy free-motion quilting the background to the applique.  But I made one BIG mistake by not pin basting enough!  I thought, oh yeah, this is a small piece, I don't need to pin this while I quilt.  Lesson learned - ALWAYS, always, always pin and/or baste your project!!  Not to point out the problems, but you will notice that the boarders are not square.  Ooops!  I will ALWAYS pin my projects from now on! :-)

In response to emails I have received, Yes, these 3 Thanksgiving projects will all be printed patterns available soon.  As soon as they are published, I will post links on here for you. 

Have a wonderful, happy and blessed Thanksgiving!!  I will check back in with you Lovelies in early December!  Cheers!!

Mood: Decorated!!
Music: "Heaven's Calling" by Black Veil Brides

Friday, November 15, 2013

Paws in the Leaves

We are having a small heat wave today - temps almost hit 60 degrees today!!  Which meant that Django, my gigantic puppy, and I went on a nice long walk and played for a while in the back yard!  It's probably our last chance to get outside without having to bundle up.

Happy Django!
I love being outside but add my pooch and it's just a laugh riot the whole time.  With all the leaves falling and blowing every direction, he was having the time of his life!

This was attempt #2,478 at a sitting still pose.  Just when I thought we had it, another leaf blew past... 
It's from the leaves that I drew inspiration for this next little project.  This is part 2 of possibly 3 or 4 bright, asymmetrical Thanksgiving projects, so stay tuned!

"Free Falling" abstract wall-hanging leaves, each approx. 12" x 17"
The smaller leaves are tracings from actual leaves Django stole into the house.  From that tracing, I drew an exaggerated, larger leaf around it to get the bigger size.  I then took super focused pictures of the leaf veins.  (For anyone into slightly abstract or organic art, I highly suggest doing the intensely up close photos of leaves!  They end up looking like kaleidoscopes and the closer you get, the more you see!)  

I fused and appliqued the leaves on the background and did the thread art for their veins before adding the backing and batting.  Never having done any quilting quite this detailed, I wanted to make sure the details in the leaves came out exact and didn't want any interference from the other layers.  For the quilting I had fun with echo/ripple style quilting.  It is very easy to get dizzy!  I really like the effect at the end!

I made four of these leaf combos and am not totally sure what to do with them just yet.  In the back of my head there is a wall hanging brewing...  We shall see!

Keep on Quilting, my dears!  And be sure to check out and support our fellow free-motion Quilters at Leah Day's The Free Motion Quilting Project - I am always so inspired by the limitless talents in out there!


Mood: Bright
Music: "Groovy Gravy" by Quincy Jones and Bill Cosby

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bright Days and Warm Hearts

I am back in Boston after attending the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to!  And this one is a bit more special to me:

I grew up in a small town just outside of Niagara Falls, NY and, by a series of fortunate twists in fate, I ended up in Boston after college.  This is where I met my wonderful fiance', Fiance' J, a native Boston boy.  It just so happened that J's best friend, G, is also a native Boston boy and his girlfriend, M, was from Niagara Falls, NY as well!  What are the odds!!  This wedding was for G and M back home in Niagara and was just so sweet the whole weekend.  These two are so in love and were surrounded by incredibly warm and supportive family.  I enjoyed every minute of it!

Even funnier is the fact that Fiance' J and I are doing the same thing for our wedding next summer!  In a way it felt like a practice run for us (I was taking notes!!) and got me even more excited for it to finally happen :-)

Photo by the incredible Alyssa Masucci

The past week, since the wedding, as been busy and fruitful!  I again thank all my wonderful friends and readers.  My inbox has been exploding with such sweet emails and news and questions and ORDERS!!  I'm so excited and most grateful to you all! 

Tonight was my quilt guild, the Proper Bostonian Quilters, monthly meeting.  Every single meeting sends me home brimming with inspiration and overwhelmed with chocolate and hugs!  Our speaker tonight was Marianne L. Hatton.  She shared much of her personal history and her gorgeous quilts.  If you are not familiar, I highly suggest looking her up.  She has at least one book published, Simply Dynamic Sampler Quilts (, with another on its way, as well as being an imaginative teacher.  I'm excited for June 2014 as she will be coming back to my guild to teach a workshop! 

In between all the quilt orders I have been trying to pull together a few Holiday wall hangings.  Saturday night I had the house to myself and tried another "create as you go" project.  I knew I wanted a turkey and that he needed to be colorful.  I also knew that I didn't want him to look anything like the hand-print turkeys I used to make in grade school.  And this is what happened:
"Bright Day of Thanks" by M. Rose Quilt Studios, 24" x 24"
I finished the quilting yesterday (Tuesday), also with no real pattern. 

Today is also huge anniversary in my personal life.  One year ago was my last dose of chemotherapy after undergoing 7 months of brutal IVs and medications.  I am completely in remission and have never felt healthier, happier or more alive, nor have I ever felt more gratitude to God, family and the wonders of medical science.  So it feels particularly important that I take every opportunity to celebrate the Holidays this year!  I am excited for Thanksgiving and look forward to being able to help cook more this year - and decorate more this year!!  More Holiday wall hangings to come!  How I love my "job!"

Be warm and quilt on!!  Cheers!

Mood: Toasty
Music: "Rusted from the Rain" by Billy Talent

Friday, October 25, 2013

Elegant Swooning

I can't say it enough - I love Fall in New England!  I can't remember a more beautiful Fall, but then again I've always been chained to a desk and stuck indoors.  Django and I have been enjoying daily walks through the neighborhood and have found some really beautiful nature trails.  Chasing falling leaves are his favorite thing and amuse his little puppy heart for hours!

Have I mentioned that I love New England Fall??

At home in the quilt studio, things have been buzzing and wonderful!  It's a hard thing to write out a pattern.  For "Baby Birds" I've had to go back and forth between my original notes and actually making pieces in order to get the directions correct in my head and then on paper.  I've learned the value of writing down steps in better detail as I go.

This week also brought out a new quilt, as you might have noticed above!  My love of the Swoon block continues, so I introduce "Elegant Swooning," an original design by me at M. Rose Quilt Studios.  

"Elegant Swooning" by Maer Hatz at M. Rose Quilt Studios, Oct. 2013.  56" by 56", pieced and applique.
This has four blocks, each 24" square, with appliqued sashings.  (Yes, the feather applique is my favorite Positive/Negative applique.)  I toyed with the idea of a large, fancy boarder but it didn't work.  Just a simple 2" black edge was all it needed.  This would be a great weekend-warrior project for someone on a quilt retreat or for someone with a limited amount of time to sew! 

Enjoy the sunshine and the Fall colors!  I'm off for a while.  Dear friends are getting married and Fiance' J and I will be traveling to help them celebrate!  Quilt on and we'll chat soon!

Mood:  Excited!
Music:  "Railroad Track" by Willie Moon

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Day Spent Relaxing

Today I decided to take a break from the norm and did a project just because I felt like it!  I had a bunch of scraps and a faint idea of where I wanted to go with it and just set to it.

(Disclaimer:  Last Fall I miscalculated the amount of fabric I'd need for a particular project and ended up with three times the amount for each fabric.  I am still trying to work my way through that huge amount so you may well be seeing lots of burgundy, teal and white :-)  Luckily, I happen to really like these colors in combination with each other but there will be many projects with these fabrics - including this one!!)

When I started out, I knew I wanted a quilted version of my logo - a swoon block with an appliqued outline of a bird laid over top.

(Insert my ever favorite method of Positive/Negative Applique!)  In contrast I wanted the silhouette of the black bird in a rotation of the swoon block.   Next came the feather applique (P/N again...) and the rest just fell into place.  And this is what happened:


 The top was done and I had even more fabric scraps than before I started, including the other halves to my appliqued birds and left overs to the swoon blocks.  It all came together because I simply didn't care how it went.  I just started sewing this piece to this and trimming up that until I have a piece slightly larger than the top and beautifully abstract!  I almost like the back more than the top - funny how that happened, and all without a plan!

I had the best time quilting, too.  I am a huge fan of Leah Day ( and her Free-Motion Quilting Project and used 4 of her free motion patterns through out this little project.  I think I used more thread quilting this 23" x 25" wall hanging than I did on my most recent baby quilt, it is that densely quilted.  And I'm particularly fond of how the quilting makes the back even more abstract.  This was my first time going completely improv with my quilting so it is rough but considering the project, I thought it quite suiting.

It was just a fun little project and a great way to break up routine.  Tomorrow, I am back my regularly scheduled stitchery and looking forward to it!

Cheers and quilt on, Lovlies!!

Mood: Music:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Twirl Through the Pumpkin Patch

Today is the most gorgeous Fall day.  The trees on our property have all changed and the sky is a perfect blue.  Combined with the sunshine and signs of football everywhere you turn, it's just a great Fall day!

Alright, it's really here.  I've flashed a few of the practice blocks and stencils over the past few posts.  No more teasing :-)

It is my great pleasure to officially introduce my newest pattern, "Twirl Through the Pumpkin Patch!"  

"Twirl Through the Pumpkin Patch," 50" x 64", original pattern by M. Rose Studios.

  All of the blocks are raw edge, fusible applique in the Positive/Negative style with pieced background sashes.  I really had a lot of fun designing and creating this piece.  Not only do I love fall colors, but I love putting bright batiks up against a strong background to really make the colors pop.  I've also never done a quilt that required so much math to make sure all the blocks would fit and assemble. 

This one started with me wanting to create a Tim Burton inspired pumpkin block.  The bigger of the pumpkin blocks came first.  Then came the owls, my personal favorite from the whole quilt.  Overall I am pretty happy with it and I hope you all enjoy it, too!

Next project for me is tackling writing out a pattern!  Wish me luck!

Thank you, as always, for checking in!  Be well and Quilt On!

Mood: Crisp
Music: "My Name is Mud" by Primus

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tattoo Techniques in Quilting? (Say what...?!)

A little known fact about myself - I had an apprenticeship with a tattoo artist for a while in college and a bit afterwards but never anything too serious.  I love tattoos.  I think they are a beautiful art form and can be just as unique as the person wearing them.  But it just wasn't meant as a career path for me.

While cleaning the other day I came across a bunch of my old tattoo supplies, including a giant stack of transfer papers!  How handy!!  Especially considering my favorite type of applique requires a lot of tracing!  (A looooooooot of tracing!) And this little trick just made my life so much easier, I had to share it with all you lovelies!

Tattoo transfer paper, or tattoo stencil paper as some prefer to call it, comes in various sizes and consists of 4 sheets.   Underneath a sheet or 2 of tracing paper is a sheet of carbon that will transfer patterns onto a sheet via heat or pressure to the bottom layers.  Some parlors use a heat machine but I use the simple art of a ball point pen and trace designs myself.

For applique, I pulled the carbon sheet right out of the packet and taped it on 2 sides to the top of my drafting table.  Be careful to get the correct side facing down. Meaning put the grainy, non-shiny side down.  That is the carbon that will be transferred to the back of your fabric.

Another way to tell what side of the carbon to put facing down is to scratch it with your finger nail.  If it leaves a mark similar to the one above and you have a purple, grainy substance under your nail, that is the back side.
 Next I taped my stencil over the top of my carbon sheet to prevent slippage.  (These are my own stencils, so please excuse how messy they look!) 

Be steady and careful when lining up edges.
In this particular project, I am working with the Positive/Negative Applique.  I have heard this method called "Give & Take" or "Continuous Line Applique."  Same thing.  All my blocks have a paper back that's been fused on and it is onto this paper that I want to transfer my design.  With the paper side/back up, slide the fabric underneath both the stencil and the carbon paper.  Line up your edges and seam allowances to ensure a centered design.

Again be sure to line up your edges before starting to trace.  I put my stencil edges to the very edge of the carbon so that I can easily see my fabric edges.

Then trace!  Ball point pens or semi-dull pencils work best.  Felt tips are not a good idea.  Not only are the tips not firm enough, but the ink often soaks into the tracing paper and can be smeared or absorbed into your fabric. 

When you're finished, your design will be transferred onto your fabric...

...and your carbon paper will looking something like your design!

You can reuse the same sheet of carbon many, many times.  I'm working on a pretty big project so I'm trying to get a lot of mileage out of every sheet possible.  But after a while, they end up looking like this and are ready to die :-)

My only other suggestion would be to make sure you're not too involved with your music and singing along so much that you don't notice that you put your fabric in upside down.  Yeah.  I did that.   And this is what happens:
Oops, but still usable! 
 I am a huge fan of Positive/Negative Applique and I am sure will have many more posts with it in the future.  But if you have any questions about it at all, please email or comment!  It is my current favorite style of quilting - there are TONS of possibilities for it and it has such a neat effect! 
These are prototype blocks for my new pattern, "Twirling through the Pumpkin Patch."  The completed quilt top is coming soon!  Stay tuned...!
 As for tattoo transfer paper, I got mine from my old parlor.  But a quick search online proved that you can get it just about anywhere!  (Amazon had some nice deals!)

So keep on quiltin' and I'll catch you all soon!  Thanks for stopping by :-)

Mood: Cozy
Music:  "Freedom" by Anthony Hamilton, Django Unchained Soundtrack

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Proper Bostonian Kind of Weekend!

I read a very interesting article about weather.  In every section of the lower 48 States there was some form of severe weather formation close at hand.  The South-East was dealing with a tropical storm, South-West had extreme heat and fires, and the midsection was generally getting dumped on with snow.  Today (Oct. 6, 2013) was the first day in modern, recorded history that this had ever happened.  There wasn't a single area not at risk for miserable weather.  (Whether or not that bad weather happened is a different story...)

New England was no exception.  It was a cold and rainy mess and generally the kind of weather that makes me want to stay in bed, safe and tight under my covers.  The next best thing in my book - a good quilt show!

I am part of a local quilt guild, The Proper Bostonian Quilters (  These ladies are the highlight of my month.  About 80 women get together twice a month to share their talents, serve their community and just laugh until it hurts.  I have gained some very dear friends and learned so much more than quilting techniques.

This past weekend was their biennial Quilt Show at St. Theresa's School in West Roxbury, MA and it was a great success.  This was my first show being involved in the set up.  When I signed up, I mistakenly thought - how hard could this be?  Set up a few racks, hang the quilts on top and BAM!  You're done!!  I have never been more wrong in my life!!  Eight hours later, after going up and down 10' ladders all day, I felt like I had just run a marathon.

 But let me tell ya, it was so worth it!!

I always love to see others works and I was very much impressed by, not only the level of talent, but also the number of completed works these quilters create.  And by volunteering for the set up, I got to chat with them and learn the stories behind many of the quilts.  This came in very handy as on Saturday I was a "White Glover" (the person wearing the white polyester gloves who can handle the quilts for guests) and was able to share the tid-bits I learned with others.

For instance, I had a great conversation with P, who is rather new to quilting but I wouldn't have been able to tell that by looking at her work.  The piece below, "Peppermint Swirls," was her first submission to a major quilt show and she came in 3rd in her category!  Granted she has a very strong creative background from working in construction and knows how to make things fit and work, when it comes to quilting she is simply a natural.  Her piece to me is so bright and happy and abstract in a way that I wish I could be.

I am not a very brave person when it comes to colors and love seeing how people pair colors and patterns.  It gives me courage!

I'm loving all the Kaffe quilts!!

There was one wall of bed quilts, that included these:

In addition to quilts, there were flags.  After the bombings of the Boston Marathon, a collection of hand crafted flags began through the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Thousands of flags of all different designs and colors, filled with messages of love and healing came in from all over the world.  Many of the local guild members created flags.  All of them were on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts and are now part of a permanent collection.  A few hundred loaned to our Guild for the show.  I wish I had taken pictures of the backs of these, as well as their fronts.  People wrote messages of love and hope to a city that is still trying to close it's wounds.  Complete strangers giving unconditional friendship and support all while creating a beautiful place in the world for others.  It was very touching and I can only hope you can get a sense of it through my poor photography:

Overall, it was such a beautiful show and I give a solid round of applause to all who participated!  It was fun and quite the motivator!

And if anyone in the Boston area is interested in learning more about the Proper Bostonian Quilters, please feel free to contact me or follow the link posted earlier.  They take anyone with even the slightest interest in quilting - no experience necessary and the only prerequisites are a sense of humor and an open mind!  I can promise you a fun and inspirational evening!

Mood: Inspired
Music: "Another Day on the Terrace" by Sunlounger

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Catching up and BIG NEWS!!!

September literally flew by and I realized I didn't get a single post up the entire month.  Apologies!!

The reason it went by so quickly was because it was so intensely busy with exciting things in the works!  First and foremost, a huge bow of gratitude to you all for your support in my quilting and in sharing my blog and email address.  September was a hugely successful month and I could not have done it without you all!  Danke, gracias and merci!  Over the past 6 weeks, I have made and sold about a dozen quilts and/or quilt tops. Included in these are many  Baby Owl Quilts in both boy and girl tones.

For the Tiny Gents...

...And the Little Ladies!

...Which leads me to my second point - my BIG NEWS!!

As of yesterday morning (Oct. 1, 2013), I am a published quilt pattern designer and my patterns will be hitting shelves in quilt stores nation wide shortly!  QuiltWoman will be printing and distributing two of my patterns almost immediately and there are several more in various stages of completion.  The first pattern to get put into ink will be the Baby Owl Quilt.  And second will be the Positive/Negative Snowflake Quilt.

Soon to follow each design will be patterns for wall-hangins and, for the Snowflakes, a table runner.  These patterns will be available in traditional paper format and also online for PDF download.  And just as soon as everything is uploaded and ready for purchase, I will gladly post the information on here for you, my lovely readers!

And that is about it for today.  Soon there will be another update more in tune with our fabulous Fall weather and the promised braided tutorial!


Mood:  Optimistic
Music: "Strip My Mind" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Baby Birds

So I need to apologize up front for not posting sooner.  I have had this problem with balancing my designing time (while outside in the sun on a blanket with lemonade and an iPod) and having enough time to sew and publish.  My sketch pads are bug marked and grass stained and my legs are finally not white any more.  This allure of being outside is pretty tough to turn down.

Summer is flying by!  I can't believe August is half over.  There have been some big changes in our house that have kept us very busy.  Fiance' J and I are doubling our efforts to get fit and build a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.  We have 379 days until our wedding and are having fun with all our planning and designing!

I have officially left the corporate world and have never been happier.  Thanks to all of you wonderful readers (and Facebook friends and Pinterest followers...) I have been getting quilt orders!  I have sold 2 quilts that were posted here and have taken on another custom order.  Building a business has been a slow but very worthwhile venture.  I am most grateful but please keep the orders coming!   If you have something in mind, let's talk and make it happen!

Alright, enough of the business end.

It was suggested to me that I should post tutorials of techniques or tricks that correspond with current projects.  For my most recent project, I had to make a lot of flying geese blocks.  I am all about conserving fabric, not giving up any waste unless I absolutely have to, and getting the small building blocks done quick enough that I can move on to the more interest parts of piecing.  Enter the 4-from-1 Flying Geese Technique!

4-From-1 Flying Geese

  • 1 large block - this will be the "goose" fabric, size to come
  • 4 small blocks - these will be the sky fabric, size to come
  • Ruler
  • Ball point pen
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Magic Formulas:
Large Block = Largest Finished Block Size Measurement + 1 1/4"
Small Block = Smallest Finished Block Size Measurement + 7/8"

My finished block (meaning the space it will take on the quilt top, no seam allowances included) is 2" by 4".  So my large block/blue goose fabric is 4" + 1 1/4" = 5 1/4" square.  My small blocks/white sky fabric are 2" + 7/8" = 2 7/8" square.

Mark your seam lines
The blue line is the center line.  The black lines are the 1/4" seam lines.

Using your ruler and ball point pen, mark the center line from corner to corner on the back of each small sky block.  From this center line, draw another line 1/4" away on both sides.  Those 1/4" lines are your seam lines and are your most important guides. 

Align blocks and sew
Insert shameless flash of my gorgeous engagement ring - love that Fiance J!!
Putting fabrics right sides together (meaning the pretty or top sides of your fabric are facing each other - if you have prints, it is easier to tell as the prints will be facing each other), place two small, sky blocks on your good fabric as shown in the picture.  The corners are squared and even.  There is a small amount of overlap between the two sky blocks.  Be sure that your 1/4" seam lines are in line with each other from block to block.  Nice straight lines!

I am not much of a pinner when it comes to quilt piecing, so please don't be alarmed when you see me skip over that part.  If you want or need to pin, this is when you would do so.

Sew on those 1/4" lines.

Cut down the middle on the center line.


Add 2nd sky blocks
 Continuing with right sides together, lay one small, sky block on each new unit making sure the corners are lined up evenly.  Just as before, sew down both 1/4" seam lines and...
Cut down the center line.
 And this time, when you iron each unit open, you will have:

4 Beautiful Flying Geese!
 See!  All done!  

It is always a good idea to trim you blocks to the exact size you need for piecing later.  I tend to trim everything before moving on to the next step.  It makes for easier assembly later on and your quilt tops will come out squarer, which either you or your long-arm quilter will DEFINITELY thank you for! :-)

And that's it!  These are our 4 flying geese units, cut from the same block, beautifully ironed and assembled and ready for your next project!  Way to go!!

Or if you don't want to assemble them in any sort of order, then don't!  I'm always a fan of thinking outside the box and away from the traditional form.  With all the flying geese that came from the 4-from-1 method, I made a modern little baby quilt:

"Baby Birds," an original design still under construction.
 Though it is not totally finished, you get the idea! :-)

Thanks for tuning in today and for all your wonderful support!!  Enjoy your weekend and check back soon.  A sneak peek for the next post is just below!


Coming Attractions...!
Mood: Sun Toasted
Music: "All Nightmare Long" by Metallica