Beyond the Block this Month

I don’t know where January and February went.  I really don’t.  If you see them, can you tell them I need those weeks back?  This year is absolutely flying by.  Between my two little sick buddies (we’re finally over our double dose of bronchiolitis and ear infections!), and a super secret quilty projects, I’m pretty much eye balls with things I can’t blog about.  Ha!  Well, something like that.

happy campers

happy campers

Anyway, since last week was so crazy with my new shop launch, I delayed posting an update about what March holds in our “Beyond The Block” Sugar Block Club series this year, so want to offer that up today.  This month’s block was a really fun, spinny version of an old classic.

March Block

I’m really loving using my Liberty of London quilting cottons in these classic blocks.  I can’t quite tell if they feel vintage or new, which for me, means success.

Jan-March Collage

The kids and I really enjoyed making our special dessert this month- a classic apple cobbler- thanks to this magical contraption.  I borrowed it from a friend, but despite my moratorium on any new kitchen paraphernalia, I’m thinking I might have to snag one of these thingies for myself.  It couldn’t have taken me more than 5 minutes to core, peel, and slice about 12 apples, and let’s be honest- it’s just plain fun.

Beyond the Block February 01

I might have had apple cobbler for breakfast.  If fact, we all did!

Beyond the Block February 02

So, after last month’s emotional rollercoaster over the Mercy Challenge post (so many tears writing that one!), I decided that this month’s challenge would be much lighter, and a whole lot more fun.  But despite the the fun, I’m still finding it to be so challenging!  I’m curious as to if you feel the same way.

Be An Explorer

Do you ever notice your days melding together into one big, mundane routine?  I definitely do.  Dropping the kids at school, checking email, cleaning, making the same dinner I’ve made 692 times before.  It’s so easy to fall into this convenient rut of habit- eating the same things, going to the same places, sewing the same quilts.  For heaven sake, my husband and I practically go to the same restaurant every time we go out on a date, despite living in one of the most culturally vibrant and diverse cities in America!  Why?  It’s so easy.  It holds no risk.  We may not love it, but we know we won’t hate it.  No reason to mess with a good thing, right?  Wrong!

Beyond the Block February 04

It’s a huge world, with limitless things to experience and enjoy!  When we are willing to get out of our comfort zone and explore, we open ourselves up to discovering something out of this world awesome.  And even if what we find isn’t so awesome, the learning and growth we experience is.  Sometimes trying new things can be more about supporting and connecting with someone we love, than it is about us. I loved my husband’s guest blog post last year where he wrote about why he decided to make a quilt… “The world that Amy and I share just got a little bigger.”

But how?  I don’t want to shake things up!  I like my grande-half-caff-no-whip-cinnamon-dolce-latte.  Fine, you can keep your coffee drink, but here are some fun ideas to help you find the explorer in you this month!

  • Take a new route home from work, church, or school.  Notice the shops, restaurants, and neighborhoods you’re driving through and make a plan to visit them at your next opportunity.
  • Plan a double date, or outing with friends who you haven’t seen in awhile or don’t regularly hang out with.  Cook their favorite meal, or eat at their favorite restaurant.
  • Visit a park or hike a trail that you’ve never been to.
  • Cook a meal in a cuisine you’ve never tried before.
  • Listen to a radio station or musical artist you’ve never listened to before.
  • Try a quilting technique, or use fabrics you wouldn’t normally use.
  • Plan a family day or night out, where your kids choose all of the food and activities.
  • Plan a weekend getaway to a place you’ve never been.  Maybe it’s a short road trip to a town in your area that you’ve never visited, or even a different state or country that you’ve never had reason to visit.
  • Read a book about something you know nothing about.
  • Redecorate a room in your house using a new aesthetic, that you’ve never tried before.
  • Visit a quilt guild you’ve never been to before.

Do you have any fun ideas to help get out of a same-old-same-old routine?  Any fun tips or stories?  Please share!  However you decide to explore this month, I hope you have fun!



  1. Kathy Fair says:

    Wow, those boys sure are growing. Glad you are all back on the mend, that is never fun. I have always tried to take different routes to make the destination for fun. We ride motorcycles so are always trying a new restaurant or a new road. Great explorations to you and your family.

  2. We have been vacationing in the same spot for the last few summers, Prince Edward Island here in Canada. It is a small island paradise and home of of LM Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. Despite having been here so many times and having driven on just about every road at least once, we never fail to discover something new. We see different things when the sky is grey from when it is blue and sunny. We see or get a different perspective when the fog rolls in. And even though we often do some of the same things(like eating Cow’s Ice Cream) it always feels different because it is a new day. We love to explore and widen our horizons and experiences by going to new places, which we do at other times of the year, but we also love discovering new things and new places in this old familiar place.

    • I absolutely love this reminder that you’ve shared- about finding newness in our old familiar spots as well. I can hardly imagine how utterly wonderful Prince Edward Island is…oh my, I’m sure it’s heaven on earth. I suppose the exploration can be more of a daily frame of mind, and not necessarily a call to stop doing the things we know and love (like treats from Cow’s Ice Cream), but to just not let ourselves get to a place where we are afraid to venture out or try new things. Or even just slow down to enjoy and truly savor the blessings we already have and enjoy.

      Love that you pointed this out!!! PS- can you pack me in your suitcase next time you head to the island??? I want to come! :)

  3. Caroline says:

    Don’t fotget that your apple peeler doubles as a potato peeler/slicer! Thanks for the post and happy sewing!

  4. I so agree on changing things up! Not everything and not all the time but you grow a little with a change. That’s why I love to travel. It can be a pain to pack, line up the petsitters, someone to watch the house, stop the mail, etc., but it gives you a new lease on life to get away from the routine. And I just said goodbye to a home stager because I’m thinking of selling the house after living here 15 years and I’m freaking out but I need the change so badly, it’s just a LOT of work after 15 years of time to accumulate and make a house a home. Thanks for this positive reason that I really do need to do it, even if we have no idea where we would go yet!

  5. My husband tells me my problem is I get bored easy and always shake things up LOL

  6. I stopped reading at “apple cobbler for breakfast.” Yummmm!!!!

  7. A couple of years ago we got a subscription on a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables that I pick up once a week. We used to eat more or less the same vegetables every week, now I am sometimes forced to cook with vegetables that I otherwise wouldn’t have bought. We eat more varied and have discovered some new vegetables that turned out to taste great.

  8. Mary Reade says:

    Inspirational Amy as always… A good friend (and fellow quilter!) looks after my daughter for a few hours in the afternoon while I am in work and she prepares the Veg for dinner while she is here…. She is a great help! however she must go home everyday and say Carrots they are having Carrots again…. I really must shake things up around here. Mary

  9. Those little faces always make me smile!

  10. I have that same apple peeler/corer/slicer and it made pie making at Thanksgiving and Christmas a lot faster! Last year, it took my husband almost 6 hours to deal with the apples for pies, but this year is was just one or two. He approves!

  11. Oh Amy you are too funny, didn’t you get the notice on variety is the spice of life! The twins are getting so big! and the apple looks good, I can make with sugar substitute? perhaps I will try that….

  12. Cindy Brettell Brown says:

    Hello Amy, I have LOVED working on your “Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month” (and I know we are in 2014 but…. I’ve just discovered quilting… and I LOVE IT!! So…. (I’m also a twin so I’m all about that…. except I have an identical sister!) and I wanted to ask you a question you mentioned in your discussion when you explained flying geese 1/4 square triangles. You mentioned you could sew an additional seam before cutting off the excess to be used in another project that you would explain on your website but I haven’t been able to find it! What little secret project are you referring to? I am also interested in the Sugar Block Club and your recent pics of those beautiful classic blocks are gorgeous! I’m super excited to see how that works out! I’m working on the curved piece blocks to hopefully finish up the 2012 quilt …. I’m using grays, a little aqua and a little purple with a tiny splash of orange! It’s turning out really nice!
    I love your website and all the Craftsy options… (although I will have to confess that I like the 2012 Block of the Month better than the blocks for 2013 or 2014!)
    Keep up the great work and I’ll be checking back really soon!
    Have a wonderful March… hopefully Spring is almost here!
    BTW, the twins are adorable!
    (also a grandma to a set of twins!) <3

  13. Its so funny that this is what your post is about this week because it was only a week and a half ago that I decided that I needed to step outside my comfort zone and so I decide to contact our modern quilt guild and I am going along this sunday to their monthly sew along day. I’m so excited to be going to my first guild meetup. I have never done any quilting classes or any guild meetings since starting pactchwork just over a year ago. I have taught myself all from the internet so I thought it was about time I got off my bum and went out there to meet with some people that love the same things I love. I am also in the preparation of cutting all my pieces to make your Tilt A Whirl quilt that I bought the pattern for which I’m going to be doing tomorrow a the sewing day. I’m so excited to finally be getting around to starting this and my first big paper pieced project. I have decided that this year is my year to start stepping out of my comfort zone and doing new things and changing my life a little bit after a couple of year of really tough times. (Things are still tough but its up to me to make it better right). Anyway I love all of your work that you do and every post that you make and look forward to them each time they come out. You are doing such a great job. Anyway till next time take care. XOXO

  14. Linda June Wilson says:

    Love the new SBC blocks. Can’t wait to get the password so that I can begin. Or, you could refund my little payment for 2014? I will always love, love, love your designs and family life, but I’d really like to get the password.

  15. Kathleen says:

    I had to laugh about your apple peeling. My son-in-law came over one day with everything to make two apple pies. He wanted to do them with my help (although he has made them on his own several times). Sort of combining a visit with me and my husband. So he unpacks all his stuff and realizes he forgot his “apple Houdini” as he calls it. I said no problem, and gave him my peeler. He gave it a puzzled look proceeded to peel an apple like a potato, so I had to show him the proper way to peel an apple! It was quite a fun baking session!

  16. Amy…you have such a beautiful smile…so infectious. I am exploring this month by signing up for a hive to do the Modern Bee by Lindsay Conner. I am excited to “meet” the other girls in the hive. I am also starting a local Sampler Bee. The boys are so cute. Has your daughter sewed anything lately?

  17. Carol Kuse says:

    Such a cute pair of little ones. As my mother used to say to me, and now I say to my grandchildren: enjoy them while you can they grow up too fast! Glad you are all on the mend. Love your new block. About your “new” kitchen thingey. Our mothers and grandmothers used them long before we did. If you want to try something new and different, check out flea markets, garage sales, estate sales and/or antique malls for one like they used. Probably better made than the “new” ones.

  18. Jennifer says:

    A few years ago, my daughter and I decided that we wanted to switch up our weekly menu in an effort to enjoy eating at home more. We quickly decided that we would step outside our comfort zone and start searching for new recipes from different cultures to make each week. One week we made carribean food, then we tried our hand at thai food (I have to admit the thought of fish oil scared me but it really was good). In the past month we have stepped out further into cuisine from India. Our collection of favorite recipes grows every week. We also found geocaching; a virtually free scavenger hunt using GPS coordinates. We have found so many places in our own neighbor hood that we didn’t even know existed. Love, Love, Love being an explorer!!!

  19. Such a cute set of cheerful babies but bet not so happy when dealing with the nasty germs. Hope all are on the mend now; our grand kids had the traveling germs this year, bronchitis to stomach flu throughout the brood and back again with a short visit to grandma and grandpa, too. In response to yourbeing an explorer post, my husband quit his steady job to accept a job more closely related to his education and experience; a move that requires us to transplant ourselves 800 miles from our home. Gave ourselves three days to find the new job location, housing, furniture, utilities, etc. And we did it, in spite of some glitches. In this process, we are also learning how to navigate a large city, thank heavens for google maps turn by turn feature..New job starts next week. And while he’s working, I’ll be stitching up some Ufos and new window treatments.

  20. Great post Amy with really fun reminders to just be aware of the experiences awaiting you. But, I must know what is the restaurant that you and your husband go to? Because my husband and I could use a change and a tried and true suggestion is always welcome.

  21. Katina Chapman says:

    We decided to move half way across the country. To be closer to family, medical facilities, airport, and I wanted to see pretty each day when I got up. And here we are in paradise, just a stones throw from Prince Edward Island. It has been amost three years and not a week goes by that we don’t find something new. Today it was a restaurant. Last week it was a hiking trail (where I slipped on ice and badly sprained my wrist). It is now as colourful as the quilts I make. Love your posts. Encouragement is always a good thing. It is never to late to try something new, we have six grandchildren and one great grand daughter. Life is good.

  22. Hi Amy,

    I am doing the 2014 Sugar Blocks with a fabulous fat quarter set of Amy Butler’s Alchemy fabrics. I was inspired by your use of linen in the January Block for subtle contrast and took off with that. I have been using a wide collection of white on white and white on natural prints to make my blocks unique.
    I find that I make my block within days of when it comes in and that I wait impatiently for the next month’s block. I am from North Carolina and was really glad to see that you enjoyed your quilt trip here!


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