Pat Sloan's Bird Song Fabric Tour


Pat Sloan's Fabric Tour is this week and I was lucky enough to be chosen to make a project with her new collection of Bird Song from Benartex. The collection has a woodsy element and colors I decorate with ... plus the motifs have that boho look that I love. I decided to cut up the panel to make a pillow ... for several reasons. I really can never get enough pillows around the house ... and ... I have a little girl in my life who feels the same way! She uses them to put all of the dolls and stuffies down for naps when she visits me. When she saw Pat's fabric for the first time she said "It's so pretty, Gamma!" and I had to agree. I can't wait to show her. Keep reading and I'll show you how I made it.


I was drawn to the square sections because they had a lot of detail. I planned to embroider over the top of some of them to give my pillow texture. I chose to use one of the squares and the strips of floral on either side of the main design.


I also chose the large floral for two borders and the pink and gold stripe for my cheater binding. I liked the pieces that were in the pink range of fabric so that's what I pulled. They were so vibrant!


The margins between the panel pieces were 3/4". I divided that in half to equal 3/8" and that's the measurement I used to cut the pieces from the panel. The reason I did that is because I was going to sew with a 1/4" seam allowance but wanted a little bit of the cream background to show to create a visual space around the pieces. It's hard to sew a seam perfectly so this gave me a smidge of room to make it look good. 



I cut the sides of the square and also the top and bottom of the floral in this manner.



I cut the floral design from the main panel piece. I had to use both of them on the panel because they weren't long enough. I squared the ends of both strips and then cut them to 10 7/8" ... they are going on either side of the first panel piece I cut. You should measure your own piece before you cut them though.



Sew them on either side of the panel piece using a 1/4" seam allowance. You'll see that a little of the background shows along this piece and that's what you want. When you're done sewing, press away from the sashing.


Now it's time to cut the large floral and birds for the borders. The borders will go along the bottom and the left side only, giving the pillow an asymmetrical look. The fabric is directional so you need to cut carefully. I wanted to include the birds in my border so I fussy cut them. To do that, I cut the borders 6" wide and then trimmed them down to the size I needed ... yes it's wasteful but you can use the scraps later. I cut the bottom border first because it's sewn on first. The design is cut horizontally. My measurements were 4 3/4 x 10 3/8". Double check your measurements!! For the left side I cut it 4 3/4 x 15" ... but I did that after I sewed on the bottom border to make sure it was the right size. Measure twice cut once, remember? Both borders are sewn with a 1/4" seam allowance and pressed away from the center.



The final step is adding the faux binding ... my favorite way of putting an edge on a pillow! Cut 2 - 2 x 15" and sew to the top and bottom with a 1/4" seam allowance and press away from the center. Then cut 2 - 2 x 17 1/2" and sew to the remaining two sides like you did the first ones. Give the pillow top a good pressing, using a fabric finish if you wish. Cut a piece of cotton batting a few inches larger and layer the pillow top over it, smoothing it out and pinning in a few places.


Now you're ready for the fun part ... stitching! I have a nice collection of Aurifil floss and that's what I chose to use. I used two strands of floss and a #9 embroidery needle. Most of the stitches I used are basic ones ... running stitch, backstitch, French knots, Xs ... just simple ones that wouldn't require then to be perfect. Mostly I did this to give the pillow texture and with the cotton batting, I had a bit of a quilted look, too.


I used a running stitch to stitch down the center of the panel's tan line, and then did the same thing along the seam of the two larger borders. It helped to keep the pillow top from shifting and to stay smooth. One of the nice things about using batting too is that it's easier to stuff and lets you hide your knots and thread easily. My backside is always a mess!



When I was done embroidering, I carefully pressed the top and trimmed the cotton batting even with the front. Next I chose a fabric for the back of the pillow ... I'd suggest using 3/4 of a yard so you enough to work with. I cut the backing the same size as the front and pinned all of the edges. I sewed around all the sides with 1/2" seam allowance. If you can't see that 1/2" mark on your machine very well, use a piece of washi tape or painters tape on your machine to guide you. Next, I carefully cut a 3-4" slit in the center of the back fabric ... don't cut through all the layers! You'll be using this slit to turn and stuff your pillow. Turn the pillow right side out through the opening and press the edges, using a pin or large needle along the seam line to get them smooth.


Using a large needle and two strands of floss, stitch a running stitch along the seam of the binding. Go through all layers. Hide your knots inside so they don't show on the front or back. Stuff your pillow as firmly as you like with cotton batting. I find it's less springy than poly batting and gives the pillow some heft. When you're done stuffing, stitch the opening closed. To make it look neater, fuse a piece of scrap fabric over the cut and whip stitch the edges with one strand of floss.

Ta-da! You're done!! Now you can enjoy your pillow and look for your next project to make from Bird Song by looking at the list of others on the tour. You can find the list on Pat's blog. Have fun making things with this adorable line of fabric!


Oh ... I almost forgot! You can win a layer cake of Bird Song from Pat by answering this question ... how many decorative pillows do you have in your home? I don't even think I can count that high! We'll be selecting a winner later ... if you live outside of the US you'll get a prize of Aurifil thread instead. Good luck!


Thank you everyone for your great comments on my pillow and how many you have in your home. We've selected a winner for the fabric bundle and that person will be getting an email soon from Pat. I've closed the comments now but you can read them all if you choose ... there were so many!

Happy quilting everyone!








YUM! Blueberry basil lemonade!

Blueberries 1

Ninety degree temps ... a basil plant that is soooo bushy ... and an abundance of blueberries at the market ... what do you do with all of that? You make blueberry & basil lemonade to cool off on the deck! The ingredients are simple: washed berries, basil leaves, honey, lemonade, ice.

Blueberries 2

Tear some basil into a tall glass ... add a small handful of blueberries and a dollop of honey.

Blueberries 3

Use a wood spoon to mash the berries and basil just enough to crush them and release their juice and flavor.

Blueberries 4

Fill the glass to the brim with ice cubes. Pour over your favorite lemonade and give it a quick stir to mix the berries and basil flavors. Garnish with a basil leaf and a few blueberries. It's so delicious!!

For a gathering you can make a pitcher full. For a boozy drink ... add vodka or even blueberry vodka! So good. Bottoms up!!

Blueberries 5

Masking hack for the hair salon!

Mask 5

Masks are the new attire while we wait out the Covid-19 pandemic. You're supposed to wear them everywhere ... even at the hair salon ... but what the heck ... how do they cut around your ears without cutting the straps off the mask? Once I was able to snag an appointment for a cut and color, my thoughts turned to how to solve this problem. Double stick tape came to mind at first but I didn't think it would hold for the entire appointment. I remembered my friend telling me about a sticky product her daughter used to hold up her pageant dresses and I found some at Walgreens. So for this mask hack you need a disposable mask + Hollywood Fashion Secrets fashion tape. The tape is individual pieces and there are a lot in the tin so share with your friends.

Mask 3

The tape has backings on both sides. Pull it off of one side of a piece of fashion tape and secure it to one side of the back side of the mask. It's really sticky! Don't remove the top backing until you're ready to put on the mask.

Mask 2

Try on the mask using the ear straps and adjust the nose piece if you have one. It's ready to take to the salon! When you get there, remove the backing film from the fashion tape and place on your face, adjusting it before you press it on completely.

Here are a few things I learned after my first haircut.

  • Open and adjust the mask before you apply the fashion tape.
  • Move the fashion tape in from the edge about 1/4" keeping part of it on the firmer, stitched edge. That will protect it from facial movement and also from water if it gets damp.
  • If you don't think you'll need them, cut off the straps. They were a nuisance.
  • Be sure the mask fits comfortably before you stick it to your face.
  • Make sure you've wiped off any moisturizer or makeup before you stick the mask to your face.

I can't believe I went four months without a haircut! My last cut was in February and I was scheduled for a cut in March but the night before, the governor shut everyone down. There were little snips now and then to keep my bangs in check during that time but it was hard not to chop off more. And then there was the whole touch-up issue. Ugh. Not taking getting a good cut and color for granted again!!

Mask 1


A Little Something for Christmas ~ Jewelry Keeper

A little something jewelry keeper pm

I like to get a lot of use out of my quilting and crafting books so when I was flipping through A Little Somethingmy book published through Martingale , I started thinking about other projects that could be made when you combine pieces from many pages. And then the wheels started turning! Here's one ...  Jewelry Keeper ... but remember ... you need to have a copy of A Little Something to make it. 

A Little Something cover

To make the Jewelry Keeper, you'll need a 9" square of wool for the outside, a 4 1/2" square for the inside, scraps for flowers and leaves, and a long strip for the ties. Of course, don't forget floss ... matching or contrasting is fine ... sharp scissors, Roxanne's Glue Baste, and #9 embroidery needles.

A Little Something Jewelry keeper 3

Use freezer paper to make templates and cut the wool for the scallop and circle. The patterns are on pages 30-31 or a larger circle on page 27. You can find info on how to cut wool shapes on page 78.

On the scalloped piece, use two strands of floss to blanket stitch the edge. I worked from the front so my stitches looked best there, and I hid my knots on the inside as much as I could. You're only working with one layer of wool so it's a bit tricky. Just make it look nice.

A Little Something jewelry keeper 5  

A Little Something jewelry keeper 5

Press the circle in half, then in half again ... use steam or mist with a spray bottle because you want the folds to stay.

A Little Something jewelry keeper 8

Center the circle on the scallop. Use a running stitch and two strands of floss to stitch along the folds, going through all of the layers. Hide the knots under the circle. This makes the pockets for your jewels.

A Little Something jewelry keeper 6 

A Little Something jewelry keeper 7

So next you have to make templates for the flowers and leaves. I used the large and small flowers on page 23, the leaf on page 31, the flower and small and medium and large circles on page 33, and the leaf on page 53. Look at the photos to see what you need to cut. I used scraps from my stash.

Fold the scallop in half and then use glue baste to hold the flowers and leaves in place. Notice that the rounded ends of the leaves are facing out. The shapes are only placed on half of the scallop. If it makes it easier to lay them out, lightly press the scallop into quarters.

To stitch the flowers and leaves, use one strand of floss. Try your best to keep the stitches under the inside circle if you can ... but if you can't, make them neat on the back. If you don't know how to make the stitches, we've included photos on page 79.

Make one long stitch down the center of the leaves.

The larger flower is anchored by large X stitches in each petal.  The smaller flower and center circle are anchored with a star stitch over the top of the center circle, going through all of the layers. The small flower is loose.

Whipstitch the larger circle flower along the edges. Make a star stitch over the center of the small circle to hold it in place.

Cut two strips for ties ... a scant 3/8" wide x 10" or so long. Layer a small flower and circle, then glue baste about 1" or so from the end of each tie. Anchor with a star stitch over the center circle. On the back, cover the stitches with a circle, then stitch a large X through the center, hiding the knots underneath. Notch the ends of the ties about 1/2" beyond the flowers. Look at the photos above to see how they should look.

Fold the jewelry keeper into four and press lightly. The flowers will show on the front and the back when it's tied.

Make a mark 1/2" from the scalloped edge along the fold on both folds. Cut a slit a scant 1/4" long along the fold. Push the other end of each tie through the slit to the inside. Tie a knot in the ends and trim the excess.

Tuck necklaces, earrings, and rings into the segments of the inside circle. Fold the jewelry keeper into four and tie it to close.

If you don't have a copy of A Little Something yet, you can order an autographed copy here!

Happy stitching! Enjoy making 'a little something'!!

A Little Something jewelry keeper 2


The Splendid Sampler ~ Minnesota Maze

Splendid Sampler pm

It's hard to believe that a year ago exactly, I was frantically sewing my block for The Splendid Sampler in order to meet the deadline. And here it is ... 12 calendar pages later and it's my turn to show you Block #83! Pat and Jane have created this wonderful quilting community through the Splendid Sampler and it's been amazing seeing how differently each block looks. I love it when people load them up to the Facebook Splendid Sampler group . If you haven't joined the group, get over there pronto!! I can't wait to see what you do with Minnesota Maze!

Grandpa Waldoch

Minnesota Maze came about because of this guy ^^^ ... my Grandpa Waldoch. Grandpa had a full time job as a lithographer and another full time job as a farmer. This photo of him is etched in the minds of all of my cousins, and the aunts and uncles who remain. It's how we remember Grandpa. My cousins run Waldoch Farms now and as a tribute to him last year, designed their corn maze off of this photo.

Grandpa Waldoch maze

This amazing maze was on my mind as I was working on my Splendid Sampler block. As I was twisting and turning the pieces, I was thinking "this block is like a maze" while I shuffled them into the right places.

Splendid Sampler 2

This is how it always starts for me ... on full size graph paper ... 1" grids ... so I can make sure the measurements are correct. Light, medium, and dark fabrics.

Splendid Sampler 15

Then a little bit of playing around to see what happens when you switch some of the colors. In this case, I made the triangles around the center square to match the adjoining pieces instead of using the background fabric ... the results gave a different look. I sent the block that I did first off to Pat Sloan and then watched the Splendid Sampler come to life.

Splendid Sampler 4

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know what happened next! As time spun out from last year to now, I've been busy making things for Quilts and More, Sizzix, and something else that I can't reveal yet. All of it was stitched by hand. I didn't touch my sewing machine until a few weeks ago when I decided to make a few more Minnesota Maze blocks. 12 months. Yikes ... I couldn't remember how to use it! I had to call the sewing center to find out how to move the needle so I could get my 1/4" seam allowance. Talk about panic! Because I was getting ready for my quilt retreat too and was short on time, I decided that I would do what Huckleberry Finn did ... get my friends to help 'paint the fence'.

Splendid Sampler 9

Splendid Sampler 8

Splendid Sampler 22

I asked my guests at the retreat to make some blocks ... it was all top secret of course because the pattern wasn't out yet but I knew they wouldn't tell. I let them choose from 10" layer cakes I had gotten from Moda. I can't wait to see what their blocks look like! A few finished them at the retreat and the results were so different ... part of the charm of the Splendid Sampler. There's no right way to make them.

Splendid Sampler 6

Splendid Sampler 17

I loved seeing that other retreaters were working on Splendid Sampler blocks during the retreat. It's always fun to observe others work.

Splendid Sampler 3

It's fabulous to get tips from others, too ... like this lovely bunch of Splendid Sampler designers who were there for the group photo at Quilt Market. They've compiled a list of piecing tips that you can rely on to make your blocks come out just right. Here are some more, too.

Splendid Sampler 21

Keep your pages organized. My friend Chris used a three-ring binder with page protectors. She slid her cut pieces and finished blocks together with the instructions into the protectors. It was fun to flip through her book to see the finished blocks. Use the appropriate rotary cutters ... a larger one when you cut bigger pieces and a small one for paper piecing. An Add-A-Quarter is is another great tool for the paper piecing blocks. My favorite tool of all times is the Folded Corner Clipper for any blocks that have you drawing a line to do a corner flip. I'm terrible at getting them to turn out right so I use the Corner Clipper to trim the corner before I sew ... it allows for the 1/4" seam and trims the dog ears. It was a lifesaver on Minnesota Maze when I was using 1 1/2" squares.

Folder Corner Clipper

Splendid Sampler 16

More tips. When you make the Flying Geese units, press the first seam toward the goose and the second seam away or towards the sky. It eliminates bulky intersections. And while I don't usually press seams open, I did for the last few in order to make the block lie flatter. A few squirts of Best Press at the end and you're done.

I'm constantly putting tips for sewing, quilting, and crafts on my Rosebud's Cottage Facebook page .  Join my Wild Roses Quilt and Craft Club  and Wool Workers  too!

Don't forget ... time is flying and the free blocks won't be available forever. After Block #100 they'll be retired and Martingale will publish them all in a beautiful book with layout options and even more tips! We can't wait to get it in our hands!!

Splendid Sampler 23

It'll be a two-toned Christmas this year!

Red sock 1

Here in Minnesota with it's huge Nordic heritage, it's normal to see red and white holiday decorations. So what better way to use my Sizzix stocking die cut and recently released dies!

For this project I used these dies ... they can be found here on my Rosebud's Cottage spot at Sizzix. You need the Stocking, Circles and Tongues, Hearts and Scallops, and Winter Wonderland die cuts. Just use the photo ^^^^ above to figure out which pieces to cut. Of course, you need a front and back to the sock and a hanger. And if you didn't want to use the pine tree, you could use a snowman or a bunch of hearts ... no rules ... just red and white.

Sizzis stocking

Sizzix circles and tongues

Sizzix hearts and scallops

Sizzix winterwonderland
The other things you'll need are red and off white wool and floss, embroidery needles, Roxanne's Glue Baste, some pins ... and that's about it! All the stitching is done with one strand of floss ... except for blanket stitching the front and back together ... that's done with two.

Red sock 2

Trim a piece of the scallop and fit it under the cuff. Use Roxanne's glue to hold in place. Put the cuff over the top and whip stitch the bottom edge to the scallop, going through to the stocking. Use one strand of off white floss for this. Place the stars and dots on the cuff. Use red floss to whip stitch the stars and to make a star stitch over the top of the circles. Backstitch along the edge of the cuff.

Red sock 3

Center the tree and star. Whip stitch them both with off white floss. Make star stitches over the top of the snowflake circles, the red ones on the tree, and the one in the center of the star.

Red sock 4

Whipstitch along the top edge of the toe with off white floss. Whip stitch the heart with red floss and make a star stitch over the circles. Backstitch in red along the toe.

To finish, match the back and front and pin together. Use two strands of floss to blanket stitch ... off white for the toe and cuff ... red for the body and the cuff edge of the back. Stitch a hanger in one corner between the layers.

You can order the dies from me ... and if you're local, a Big Shot Plus, too. Email me at [email protected] or message me on my Rosebud's Cottage Facebook page. I'll send you a Paypal invoice and get your things on their way.

This is a quick and easy project ... mostly because of the die cutting ... and would make a great gift for someone at the office or a friend. Stuff it with special things they'd enjoy. Happy holidays!

Red sock 5

There's more than one way to stitch a leaf!

Leaves 5

If you do any kind of wool applique, it's almost impossible to get away from stitching down leaves. Lots of people feel they have to blanket stitch down every shape but with leaves, sometimes they're too small to do that. Here are ways I like to stitch them ... keeping in mind that I consider these as projects that won't be worn or laundered. If they were going to be touched a lot, I'd stitch them down tight! I tend to stitch with one or two strands of floss. If I want to stitch down all of the edges, I prefer a whip stitch to a blanket stitch. I often stitch down the center of the leaf with a back stitch, tugging the stitches a tiny bit to make them gather.

Leaves 11

X stitches are another favorite. They give some texture while holding the leaf in place.

Leaves 10

Leaves 4

Leaves 2

Long stitches angled from each side anchor the leaves and give dimension. Or you can add angled long stitches to either side of a back stitch.

Leaves 8

Leaves 7

I love finding unusual ways to stitch the leaves too ... just for fun. This leaf is found on my Wool and Whimsy pincushion at American Patchwork and Quilting.

Leaves 9

Sometimes I'll use two different stitches on one leaf set. I'll whip stitch the bottom leaf down and then do something different on the top leaf. An X stitch works great. So does a chain stitch.

Each leaf  speaks to me and helps me decide from project to project which is the best technique. That's the beauty of wool applique ... there are so many ways to stamp yourself on each project you make. Enjoy it!

btw ... if you love wool ... make sure you join our Wool Workers group on Facebook!

Leaves 1

Stitch up some Snow Friends!!

Snow Friends pix

It's snowing in Minnesota and it's the kind of snow that is perfect for making some snow friends! Well ... not outside  ... inside! Get out the wool and floss and stitch away on a snowy day.

Hexxies are so popular ... I've used them for my snow friend faces. If you have a die cut, use a hexxie die that is about an inch and a quarter or an inch and a half. Or cut them by hand. Mix up different pieces of orange wool if you want so each snow friend is unique.

I prefer to cut out my wool appliques using freezer paper. If you like to use fusible, make sure you reverse some of the noses. I didn't in the pattern. You want the noses to go in different directions.

The tiny stars in the eyes and the cross hatch marks for cheeks are some tricks I learned as a decorative painter. It was easy to transfer the idea to thread!

You can down load the Snow Friends pdf here and get to work!

Download Snow Friends

We'd love to see your Snow Friends! When you get done, show us your pix on our Facebook page or at our  Wild Roses Quilt and Craft Club!

Happy stitching!!

Snow Friends closeup