Painted Gardens and a Springy Serendipity Sandbox-Style Sewing Project

The long and short of it is that Spring gets me every time. By ‘gets’ – I mean that more than any other time of the year, Spring inspires me to whip up something great; something adventurous and cheery; bright and sunny; joyful and quite obviously – Springy. So when miraculously at Fall Quilt Market 2017, I won a fat quarter bundle of Crystal Manning’s Painted Garden collection, 

Painted Garden Manufacturer Bundlewith logo
Crystal Manning’s Painted Garden, arriving in Serendipity Woods Shop in April Now!

I knew right away that that beautiful stash of colorful happiness would wind up being the source of my inspiration for this spring. My challenge then shifted to deciding just what I was going to create with it.

In most cases, fabric designers are so great about pulling together many options for projects to be made with their collections, from quilts to handbags to apparel of all sorts. They design and coordinate, assembling great ways to use their fabrics.

Crystal Manning, Frida, Sophie and Me
Although I’ve know Crystal (in her sweet Painted Garden sundress) since the debut of her Wild Nectar collection, Sophie was thrilled to find Frida, a new friend, in Crystal’s Painted Garden booth.

Sometimes, however, I find myself thinking from a sandbox perspective.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 4.36.19 PM
okay, not really that kind of sandbox…
…more like this kind of sandbox.

The reality is that although we may all have our favorite brands, fabric styles or pattern designers, our stashes and pattern libraries are rarely made up of just one or two. Why shouldn’t they all play together in the same sandbox?  Sometimes (okay often) I like to mix things up a bit…like, serendipity sandbox-style?

Sophie with Painted Garden Grunges
Since Sophie is such lover of Grunges, I let her choose some colors to coordinate into our project, while I set a course for deciding on a pattern.

Although we have any number of patterns in the shop and in our personal stash, I’ve been eyeballing a free online pattern over at the ‘Inspirations‘ section of the Free Spirit website I thought might be just perfect. It’s  designed by Heidi Pridemore (originally for Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous collection) and is called Scrappy Happy Quilt 

While I want to be sure to redirect you to the above link so you can find the pattern and all instructions there (the redundancy of links you’ll find throughout this post are intended because it’s not my pattern!), I wanted to give you a couple of suggestions that worked well for our project. Essentially, you’ll find that the quilt is made up of 4 blocks, positioned in various ways throughout the quilt. I started by printing out the pattern, then cutting out the quilt layout and the layout for each of the four blocks, like so:

Scrappy Happy Pattern Pieces
Full pattern instructions as well as the above layouts for your printing pleasure can be found at the Free Spirit Website here

Then I typed up a sheet of Scrappy Happy Quilt – Piece Labels for me and for you to print up too, for the purpose of keeping our fabrics organized for this project. It may surprise you to know that even though I’m a dedicated scrappy quilting girl,

candy gif
I never leave scrappy to chance!

(can you tell I’m on a sugar hiatus? Who’s eating chocolate? )

Sugar distraction aside, what I really mean is that even for scrappy projects, I like to know which fabrics are going to live beside which other fabrics as I’m going along.  Call it organized scrappy. So as I was creating my blocks, I positioned the block layout for whichever block I happened to be creating, in whichever configuration I needed, then laid the Piece Labels in those positions…

See that I’m working on the block that is in the 3rd row, 4th one over. It’s a #2 block and for this space, it’s positioned on it’s left side. So I’ve turned my little paper layout of block 2 on it’s side and laid out the coordinating piece labels so I can…

…then I look at the layout I’ve already assembled on the floor…


…so I can think about which fabrics I want to live beside which other fabrics.

—and even though the above photo is not exactly the same block, you can kind of get the idea of how I lay the cut pieces out so I can decide where I want to put them.

Also, in case you wondered, I like to sew my rows together as I go, so A) I can press my seam allowances from the get go so they’ll nest appropriately, B) so things don’t get all jenked up if I walk away and the wind blows, and most importantly C) because once I finish my last block, all I have to do is add it to the end of the last row, then sew the last row onto the rest of the quilt top, and POOF…

Scrappy Happy Painted Garden Quilt
…my quilt top is assembled and it doesn’t involve a whole ‘nother step. Especially, I love Sophie’s choices for Grunge coordinates. With such a scrappy-style quilt, I’m a big fan of giving my eyes a place to rest as they’re wandering around this energetic quilt.

Then some sandwiching, quilting, and binding, and viola!

Loominous Scrappy Happy Painted garde Quilt w Logo
Our finished Painted Garden Scrappy Happy Quilt!


Painted Garden Quilt 2
You can better see the quilt work on this one. It’s called Q Daisy and it just seemed to fit.

Yep, there’s a kit, here and once again – Heidi’s Free Pattern can be found here.

All that’s left is to wish you a happy, scrappy, springy, serendipitous sandbox-style sewing day 🙂

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