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Tattoo Quilt: GRACE & FURY

July 31, 2017

It seems apt that these two designs be in the same post, as they are both important options when handling challenges in life. Ideally we’d always be calm and face adversity with GRACE, not allowing our emotions to take charge when confronted. However not every situation allows for this, and it doesn’t always enable us to look out for ourselves. Sometimes when when people are behaving unacceptably, unjustly or just being nasty, and they’re not taking accountability for it we need a bit of FURY to confront the situation. It is a motivator that makes us get stuff done, resolve issues and fight what we feel are wrongs in life. I think FURY gets a bad rap. It is a most valuable tool that enables us to look out for both ourselves and for others.

Here are the two blocks I designed as part of my tattoo quilt series, along with the reasoning I posted on Instagram:

GRACE tattoo pattern:


GRACE is a trait that requires a special kind of inner strength & emotional discipline. Especially when faced with prejudice, disrespect or unkindness. It’s so much easier to resort to anger and revenge, than to respond with dignity and grace. There are a few people in this world that exemplify grace in this way to me. Michelle Obama being one of them. Standing tall with her head held high, she appears to glide through adversity with a peaceful confidence, leaving a figurative trail of flowers behind her. She sets the perfect example of taking the high road for us all to follow. Thank you Mrs.Obama for inspiring myself and others to be better human beings. This Grace Tattoo block is dedicated to you.

This pattern is available in my shops here:

GRACE tattoo pattern – Etsy

GRACE tattoo pattern – Craftsy.

FURY tattoo pattern:


Some people are scared of FURY, and think of it as negative. And of course, at times this is valid. However FURY is an essential emotion – it is FURY that puts fire in our hearts when we feel a sense of injustice. And it’s FURY that, when channelled positively, makes us step out of complacency and calls us into action to right that injustice. Heavy stuff, I know. But nevertheless I felt it had an important place in this #tattooquilt series. it brings out the fight in us. It makes us stand up for what is right. And that is a good thing!! Let’s embrace our inner FURY. Let’s use it positively to get to work. There is lots to be done!

I dedicate this block to Gillian, who taught me to embrace my inner beast!

This pattern is available in my shops here:

FURY tattoo pattern – Etsy

FURY tattoo pattern – Craftsy

To finish off here is another version of GRACE pieced by one of my amazing pattern testers, Jackie Costabile. Just love her version with the white swan against the pink. Thanks Jackie and my other wonderful tattoo testers for your enthusiasm and generosity with your time in helping me perfect these patterns.



Tattoo Quilt: HOPE & COURAGE

July 4, 2017

Catching up on blog posting about my tattoo quilt project. Here are two more blocks in the series.

First up: HOPE

Because Heaven knows we all need to have hope right now! I chose swallows for the graphic as swallows symbolized hope to sailors out at sea. When they saw swallows they knew they were close to land and safety.  This HOPE tattoo pattern goes out to all those displaced by war and politics around the world. Migrants, refugees, minorities and those that just no longer feel safe, comfortable or welcome in the places or communities that were once home to them. May they find their “swallows” of hope, and land somewhere safely with their families.


The purpose of this project was initially for myself to process my range of emotions about what’s going on in the world at the moment, through creativity. And now that the patterns are starting to roll out I invite anyone who is feeling the same to join me in making themselves either a block to two, or if you’re a keener, then the whole quilt which is evolving as we go along. I have kept the prices low for now to try and make it an affordable project. (If these patterns weren’t such a lot of work, I’d make them free.)

HOPE tattoo pattern is available here in my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

You can see more maker’s versions of this pattern on Instagram: #HOPEtattoopattern

Next up… COURAGE!


The breastplate is a symbol of courage, and so I incorporated a women’s medieval breastplate into my COURAGE block. There is lots to fight for right now. We need to stand tall and feel strong to confront what we feel are wrongs. For this we need courage.

Interestingly the word COURAGE contains the word RAGE. I’d never thought about this until I started piecing it. It seems pretty apt though as it is often our inner rage that fuels courage.



So let’s summons our inner rage to give us the courage we need to peacefully and intelligently confront those bullies promoting hatred and prejudice with fear for their political and personal gains. Together we are stronger, and even though confrontation is uncomfortable, when we promote LOVE we are a better human race.

COURAGE tattoo pattern is available here in my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

You can see more maker’s versions of this pattern on Instagram: #COURAGEtattoopattern

This block pattern would also make a beautiful centre for a breast cancer quilt.

Tattoo quilt: LOVE

April 22, 2017

LoveHeart1HSL“Sometimes it takes courage to love and be kind to someone different to you, not in your “tribe”, “other” than what you were taught is “normal” or “right”. The reality is human beings feel safer with those “like” them because we feel like it validates who we are. We need to own this to understand hate. But we also need to learn that we are actually stronger, not weaker, when we embrace that which is “other”, because as a group it provides us with diversified strengths. Validating who you are by surrounding yourself by others like you is a false sense of security. Allowing others to be strong around you builds everyone up as a group, which is way more powerful. So today my friends I challenge you to go out there and BE BRAVE, BE BOLD, reach out and BE KIND to someone that’s NOT in your tribe. ️ ”

This thought was from my Instagram post for this #LOVEHEARTtattoopattern. It was the spark that got me going on my Tattoo Quilt series.

Read more…

Pussy March Quilt

January 24, 2017


PUSSY MARCH QUILT BLOCK LOTTO (& flying geese tutorial)

Inspired by the Women’s March of January 21, and the Pussy Hat Project I came up with an idea for this month’s Toronto MQG block lotto: a Pussy March quilt! Diverse coloured pink triangles marching in the name of women’s rights, and in support of peace and love over hate and prejudice. My husband and I both marched the Toronto march in our hot pink pussy hats, and came home buzzing with motivation to keep the dialogue going. As protesters marched together, so too as a block lotto project, this quilt will represent many hands coming together to symbolize the same unity. And the flying geese block used for this quilt concept, has a symbolic history in helping uneducated slaves from the south find their way north via the underground railroad. (To read more on that see point #11 here.)

I thought I’d share the details of this quilt concept here on my blog in addition to the TMQG blog, in case some of my followers were inspired to make one for themselves. Let me know if you do. And tag your pics: #pussymarchquilt

Read more…

Prairie Points Show Ribbon Tutorial

July 25, 2016


On August 27 & 28 the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild is hosting their first quilt showcase at North Van Shipyards Building near Lonsdale Quay. With over 150 modern quilts on display, it’s sure to be amazing. I’ll be sad to miss it. Despite my move to Toronto a couple of years ago I have maintained my membership of the VMQG – because I love those girls (and couple of guys). The show committee has been rounding up volunteers to help organize, and making the show ribbons was a job I could do from afar. So sign me up, Baby!

Inspired by a prairie points mat in my laundry (sweet story about that here), I decided to use prairie points instead of the usual ruffled ribbon.  I love how they turned out so I thought I’d share my technique in case anyone was keen to make some for their guild’s shows. Read more…

Rainbow Mash-up Quilt

March 11, 2016

PrintAs anyone who knows me knows, I am a rainbow enthusiast. When asked what my favourite colour is I am somewhat stumped, and usually revert to providing a favourite colour combination. There’s something about the juxtaposition of colours that makes my heart skip a beat. So when I decided to design a quilt for a transparency quilt workshop that I was teaching, of course it had to be a rainbow. And a 16 colour one at that! Read more…

Quilts for Refugees

February 10, 2016


Canada’s new forward-thinking government has committed to helping tens of thousands of Syrian refugees find a new home in this beautiful country. I’m so grateful to be living in a place that is kind and generous. After reading and listening to so many heart-wrenching stories in the news about the risks and journeys these refugees have taken with small children in tow, I wanted to find a way to get involved, and somehow help make those coming to Canada feel welcomed and supported. I was guessing that others in Toronto might be feeling the same way. And you know how it is with quilty friends: makers gotta make! So I posted an idea on Instagram to host a little quiltathon to churn some quilts out to donate, and got a great response. Read more…

Ola, Sugar Skull Pattern!

October 22, 2015

Last year I participated in the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge with the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. You had to use their Petal Pinwheels fabric in pretty much any way you wanted. There was something about the colours and the higgledy piggledy teeth-like print that reminded me of a sugar skull. So that’s what I decided on. I designed a pattern end I ended up with this:

Sugar Skull Quilt

Read more…

EYEBALLS Quilt – Block Lotto tutorial

July 19, 2015

Happy Sew Lucky

BOO! The next TMQG meeting is in October, so our next block lotto is spectacularly Hallowe’en themed. I’ve had this eyeball quilt in my head for a while, so I figured this was the perfect time for it. The idea being a whole lot of googley eyes staring out of the darkness. Some nasty ones, some scaredy ones and some looking left and right to see who’s there. There will be lots of stories to tell with this quilt! It would also be awesome to hang from your front window as decoration on Halloween night.

A quick note to take care of business: This is a free tutorial written and designed by me. Any guild or quilt group is welcome to use it for a group project or block lotto. However I ask that you please link to this tutorial for others to follow the instructions. Please do not repost my design, images or text on your blog without my written permission. You are welcome to make this quilt for your own personal use or for a gift. You may not however sell anything made using this design without my written permission. Under NO circumstances may you sell any form of a pattern or tutorial based on this tutorial. Thank you.

Read more…

“Pop it in your purse, Honey!” (New pattern and fabric design)

July 15, 2015

hsl.PurseNeedlebooksA couple of years ago I designed a little needle book for a swap that the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild did with the London (England) MQG. I thought it’d be neat to have a little pocket to keep a little stash of embroidery thread or a few emergency sewing kit buttons in. Here’s what I came up with:

Purse needlebook pattern

It turned out really sweetly and I was sad to give it up, but that’s a good thing when you’re making for someone else. The recipient loved it, so it was well received. A few people asked me if the pattern was available. I said that I was working on it. Well, here I am two years later announcing my new pattern: “Pop it in your purse, Honey” now available in my Etsy shop. Better late than never, right?! Read more…