New Blog Alert


I have begun blogging again this time for Vintage Fabric Studio! You can find it here: Vintage Fabric Studio Blog

I hope you'll join along with me.


I am vintage.

I've been throwing around the term vintage for a long time now. Since the early 2000's the term started to mean something, imbibe a feeling - a nostalgia: a style. Vintage to me evokes a picture in my mind of a white farm house kitchen in pale aqua and whites with feed-sack cloth for curtains that looks out onto the expanding prairie. Just search 'vintage kitchen' on google images or pinterest and you'll see what I mean.

Cross Back Apron: Pattern from

But then I wonder is vintage something I have been taught or do I really know it? How do I know it? Is it that you'll know it when you see it kind of a thing or is it more concrete than that? Can it be defined by a number? Oh yes it can: 1940-1980. Bam. Vintage.

I was born in 1979 right on the edge of vintage. Lookey there; by the very definition I am a vintage person. I grew up around things that are now considered vintage. The knick knacks in my parents house, the hand-me-down clothes I wore, the television I watched, the fabrics my mom sewed with; all of it was produced in the vintage window.

Going back another generation to my Grandparents and the things they were surrounded with firmly placed the range of 1940 to 1980 in my early childhood memory. Their house, their aesthetic became the creative language of my youth. The patterns in the fabric, the style of clothes we wore, the music we listened too. My dad always had the oldies station and the top 40 station programmed on the push button radio in the beat up vintage car he drove. Pushing between his youth and my older sister's pre-teen demands.

So when I say I am drawn to vintage fabrics, vintage patterns, vintage everything; it's because I am vintage. And I like it that way; I want to be true to that part of me. I am not modern, I am not a great big expanse of white with a square strategically placed here and there. I am a big 'ol cornucopia of color, shape and repetition. I am making due with what I have. I am re-purposing the old in a usable way. I am aqua, red, yellow, blue and green.

So when I bring to you this newest form of Blue Bird Sews please know it is not for kitsch. It is not to jump on a bandwagon of vintage. I am in the vintage camp and always have been. It's just not until now that I have found my best form of expression to it and I can't wait to share it! But it's not ready yet; I am still cutting, ripping, formulating, measuring, asking and percolating on it. Believe me, you'll know when it's ready.

It's gonna be so fun! Yee-haw!


Hello, I make quilts.

2014 was the last quilt I completed for myself; the last blog post I wrote too. I had made a few other commissions between then and now but really what I had poured my energy into was growing a baby; birthing said baby and now caring for that baby who is due to turn 1 at the end of the month.
Whew, that was a lot of energy I used in that whole process. Like can't hold two thoughts together at the same time kind of expending. I never shared this here but I had a hell of a time getting that baby in my womb. My creativity suffered because of it. My worth was tied to that struggle and now that I am well on the other side of it all I can say that right now I am right where I should be. I am tapping into my river beneath the river I knew was there my whole life; I just didn't know it's name.

Until now.

I jumped in this space again not knowing what I wanted to say or how it was going to come out, but trusting that what needs to be written will be written. I needed to tell you these things, to clear the air and crack open my truth and reveal myself anew. Because I make quilts. I make fucking awesome quilts that feed my need for creation and connection.

Last night was Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting under an almost full moon, under the guidance of Melissa Averinos who gave a presentation on her artistic journey. It was deep ya'll. It was another piece in the puzzle of this journey I am on. The room was on fire. The women were holding that space last night and it was lit.

So here comes the pretty pictures part and if you're still reading after you get the story of this quilt. Which is the story of me.

Vintage Dresden Improv began in March of 2015 from a bag of scraps my Aunt found for me at an estate sale. With no design intentions behind it I just stared making dreseden plates. I made full sized dresdens and then I found a pattern for mini-dresdens (gotten by signing up for Westwood Acres newsletter)  and made some of those. I cut the wedges based on the size of scraps I had. Then I made quite a few and had to figure out the center circle. As I was chatting with Cris Pera from PMQG she offered to teach me how to sew inset circles, so I did that. Then they were made and I was wondering what are these for? That's when the gingham started to creep in, a big burnt sienna piece was calling to me but I didn't pick up the phone. I went for my blue gingham stash, in all colors and scale. I sewed them together in a puzzle to create a large background for my dresdens. That's when the magic happened. Those little dresdens had a spot to fill, the bigger ones had their own space. Each dresden had a special spot. I machine appliqued them onto the background and quilted the top myself at Nancy Stovall's quilting studio - with a baby on my back in the Ergo. When I pulled it off the longarm and brought it home I knew it needed curved corners and a red gingham binding (thanks Nancy ;). The crowning touch was a block printed label set on the vintage red gingham.

This quilt really embodies me as a quilter, as a maker, an artist. The process, the materials, the colors, the design, the re-purposed fabrics and the time I took on those final touches. I am proud of this quilt and the community which helped make it and the space they gave me last night to share it in. I am holding onto this quilt, it's a part of my river now.

I'm gonna do me so hard from now on. I have found the goddess in me and she is not afraid.
press publish.

A quilted finish: PMQG Medallion Quilt

As a 2014 officer for Portland Modern Quilt Guild I had the opportunity to work and collaborate with a bunch of amazing people. My fellow officers were awesome and I am happy to call them friends. One of the coolest things we did for the guild this year was to design a medallion quilt for an alternative to a block of the month program. It worked really well and we have almost 20 finished quilts hung up at our December party and I know there are more out there to be finished in 2015.

I'm gonna be honest here, if I wasn't an officer I probably wouldn't have taken this project on, but I am so happy that I did! The pace was just perfect with just one new boarder each month and I started it with the intention of it being just for me so I chose fabrics that were my favorite. 

Making this quilt throughout the year taught me so much about my own personal quilting style. I am now 100% sure about the colors that speak to me and patterns I'm drawn to. There are my favorite vintage fabrics in there and lots of DS Quilts; this quilt is so much me and I love it.

To finish I straight-line-quilted it with an all over grid 2" apart on the diagonals. And thanks to precise piecing lines match up! I backed it with a vintage sheet and a line of yellow gingham to bring it up to size. 

This is the first quilt to be able to live on our bed but for bittersweet reasons. Our kitty of 14 years passed away over Christmas. I was unable to put a quilt on the bed because she would claw things. It was in her final days I finished the binding and put the quilt on our bed. I know, sad face. 

My final quilt of 2014 turned out to be my best quilt ever and set me up nicely for 2015. Happy New Year! 


A quilted finish: Early Americana

Hello there, I will say it. It has been a while since I sat to write a blog post about my quilty endeavors. It is too much fun to just sew and there has been much to be sewn! Lots of quilts got finished and I hope to share them all in due time but the first and most rewarding was the quilt I made for my mother-in-law that she commission me to design and make.

It started last year she asked me to make her a queen sized quilt for her beautiful Amish sleigh bed. I happily accepted and we picked out a basic pattern (she was drawn to an Irish chain) and then we went to Fabric Depot and selected a palate of blue, green, red and tan. I choose the white to make the other shades pop.

To design the quilt I use a very basic program called Quilt! 1-2-3, it allows you to form a very traditional layout with blocks, sashing and borders. Once you have a layout you can select blocks to put in the quilt and then it gives you a cutting guide to make the block. Very simple but handy for designing and getting the quilt math right!

I slowly sewed the blocks together until I had a 90"x83" quilt top! The backing for the quilt was picked out on our trip to Fabric Depot but when I went there to buy it they didn't have the 9 yards I needed for a solid backing. Luckily the good folks at Fabric Depot ordered me up a new bolt. But before I could quilt it I had to de-thread the back. Necessary evils. Like flu shots or DMV stuff.

Quilting a gigantic quilt like this was not gonna happen on my trusty Viking 830. Another stroke of luck was that my wonderful friend and guild mate Nancy just happens to own an amazing quilting studio where I was able to rent time on a long arm machine! That was an experience I will not forget! Nancy helped me load it onto the quilt frame and I was ready to go!

When I went in to quilt - I had a plan. I had been researching quilting patterns and found one that fit the shape of the quilt white space and went well with a simple corner to corner filler pattern for the rest of the blocks. I really wanted those white middle blocks to shine in the quilting. I think I got it. My side fillers are really fun to, they remind me of 1950's future star shape.

I quilted it in 5 hours, just before my MIL's plan landed at PDX. I hurriedly made binding for it - in that great red French General by Moda - and spent our vacation with her stitching the binding down here and there. I think she saw how much time goes into a quilt. It is mind boggling what we do sometimes. But each stitching is worth the results.

She took it back home with her on the plane to NY and it now lives in her bedroom on that beautiful bed keeping her and her man nice and warm.

It feels nice to write again;


Quilted Finish: QAL Value Play Pantone Quilt

Hello! I am usually excited but today I am really excited to share with you a finished quilt that does double duty as a Pantone Challenge Quilt and a Quilt with Me quilt along (QAL) finish! When I started the QAL I had no idea there was a radiant orchid Pantone Quilt Challenge happening in these same colors. How cool that purple is making it's way into modern quilting. Purple can be a hard color to work with but when paired with a neutral like grey it allows the colors to shine through. If you'd like to make this quilt then stay tuned I'll have all the links you need below. But for now enjoy the photos of my value play quilt!

Full Quilt Front

Quilt detail front

Quilt Back: pieced with leftover fabrics

Quilt Back Detail

Quilt Back and Scrappy Binding Detail:

Quilt Detail

Quilt and FMQ Detail: Echo Triangle Quilting

This quilt is a crib size measuring at 36" x 54". It will be listed in my Esty Shop. 
Thanks for looking and thank you to the Pantone Quilt Challenge Hostess:  On the Windy Side and Play Crafts

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid

Here is a list of all links to the QAL posts to make this quilt!



Quilt with Me: Backing, Basting, Quilting, Binding Tutorial Links

Hello There!

So I've got a lot of good information for you today on how to finish the Quilt Along Quilt - or any quilt for that matter! Since I started quilting my methods have changed and evolved for what works best for me and feels right. When I  wrote tutorials for finishing a quilt it worked for me but since I started this blog I have learned a lot and changed how I do things mostly due to reading other quilting blogs! So instead of just saying hey read what I wrote I wanted to add in other points of view and ways to do things. So here is a big list of links for backing, basting, quilting and binding you quilts. And if all else fails, Google it.

Blue Bird Sews: Making a quilt back

Jaybird Quilts: Pieced Backing Tutorial

Red Pepper Quilts: Basting and Batting

Oh, Fransson!: Making the Quilt Sandwich

Sew Mama Sew: Binding & Quilting Resources

Blue Bird Sews: Quilt Binding Tutorial

Heather Bailey: Continuous Quilt-Binding Tutorial

Cluck, Cluck, Sew: Machine Binding Tutorial

Stitched in Color: Zig Zag binding Tutorial 

Canoe Ridge Creations: Straight Line Quilting Tips

A Few Scraps: Free Motion Quilting

PS.  Look for a post with just photos for the quilt finish coming up quick!