About Forsythia Design

Embarking on Forsythia Design came about after I moved to the small coastal town of Gibsons, BC. Feeling the need to be at home with my young son, yet build on a life-long passion for creative expression, I imagined a way to turn my drawing from gallery work into useful object. Inspired by a growing online community of designers and sewing enthusiasts, the concept of developing a line of limited edition printed fabrics was easy to embrace. Forsythia Design offers contemporary drawings on organic cotton yardage. Imagery is based on the West Coast environment, handmade marks, and natural textures.

Playful Pillows

The transition to fall weather is making me think about coziness: slippers, tea, blankets and sweaters. Having a pillow to snuggle into also seems a good idea. I’ve experimented with a few different animal shapes. The bird/anteater, above.This adorable owl with her owlet and bunting.And after the first three incarnations I came up with the “Bunting Buddy” bird pillow.I’m pretty enthusiastic about the stylized bunting wings! The above photo shows the pillow front, and the image below is of the customizable pillow back. Needless to say this pillow is lacking its stuffing. Bamboo polyfill is very soft and nice, but of course too many new pillow lovies means too little stuffing on hand with which to make said pillows puff!

Hat Hat Hat

One of Little B’s words is “hat”. He says it a lot, noticing hats on heads, hats on toys, hats on hooks, or even a scarf on a head masquerading as a hat.

The morning after a late night of sewing, I blundered around the kitchen making coffee and Little B chanted “hat-hat-hat”. Then I heard the scramble of a dining room table ascent. Two seconds later I saw my 18-month-old successfully claim his new orange hat from the center of the table where I had ceremoniously dropped it at 1am after the final stitch. Lifting toddler and hat off the table, I had to scold, “Not on the table,” and then smile “yes that is your hat!”

The pattern is a free Oliver + S download.

The linen-cotton blend sewed up beautifully, and didn’t require interfacing to stiffen the brim. After a couple weeks of use, it still seems to be the favoured “hat-hat-hat”.

Pretty Wristlet

My first foray into the online quilting world was a quilting bee in 2009. Lisa DeMio of Red Staggerwing Designs was also a member of the Quilter Bees, and now she has her own Etsy shop of lovely handbags and inspired accessories. She kindly made me up a “Birds in Flight” wristlet, lined with “Ink Stripes” from linen-cotton canvas in sockeye (pink and grey, a sockeye is a type of salmon).

Isn’t it pretty?

Long Hot Days and Quilting Modern

We had a few weeks of true summer here in the Pacific Northwest. An island wedding to attend, hot days, warm nights and dirty feet from running around barefoot. I guess the blue skies got into my aesthetic, ’cause when I pulled some fabric samples to send to Jacquie Gering of Tallgrass Praire Studio, it was blue, blue and white and more blue. Jacquie has graciously made room in her sewing schedule to make up a piece showcasing Forsythia Design fabrics. Thank you, Jacquie! I can’t wait to see what you create.

I’ve been a dedicated reader of Tallgrass Prairie Studio for several years, so to share something with the talented woman behind all the beautiful modern quilts and friendly words is quite amazing. To top it all off, Jacquie has just published a book, titled Quilting Modern, which I won last month in a draw on another inspiring modern quilting blog, Handmade by Alissa.

Maybe now that I have the book my piecing skills will improve. I can’t decide which pattern I might try first, but “Shattered” and “Blind Co-Pilot” are strong contenders.

The “Fiesta Wall Quilt” looks like contemporary art and is very bold. Lots to fall in love with and ponder.

Solid Value

The Kaffe Fassett shot cottons grabbed me in my local quilt shop this past weekend. I’ve always loved the dual-tone beauty of shot India silks, but I don’t think I’d seen shot cottons until Sunday. Gorgeous! Now all I can think about is how to combine them with something in a quilt. If only there was time for quilting! Look at this art quilt by Anne R Parker, made with solids. Don’t you love the value changes?

Tackling the Stylish Dress Book


I went to Seattle a few years ago and bought the Stylish Dress Book at that awesome Japanese book store Kinokuniya. Many cups of tea and daydreams later (not to mention a career change, husband, baby and house) I’m finally getting around to sewing something from this treasure of sartorial-crafter inspiration. Several people have blogged about the Japanese dress books, and I am very grateful for all the words of wisdom about seam allowances and narrow shoulders, but Make Something blogger Karyn, from Toronto’s The Workroom, has been my go-to resource. She has a dedicated Japanese dress section!


Dress F (above left) is now on my dining room table cut out of some bargain-bin gingham, and waiting for me to thread the Bernina. Should this cute, loose tunic look stylish enough on me for casual wear, I’m going to make another one in some of my treasured Echino animals, by Etsuko Furuya.

Image It’s a lovely double gauze.

Perhaps dress H, but shorter, for my own “Birds in Flight” fabric to feature on the yolk, with natural linen below. Dresses and photos forthcoming!


TV Missing; Imagination Recovered

My mum sent me a Craigslist posting last night. This is not unusual, because she likes to find fanciful chickens, cute ponies and vintage armoires that need to be dreamed about, if not actually adopted into my home. What was new about this CL item was that instead of being a thing it was an idea or perhaps a possible thing. A DIY suggestion.

Calling all ugly old TV entertainment units: be transformed! Does your nursery require a wardrobe? Does your preschooler want a play kitchen? Does your entryway need a storage console? Voilà!

I think this is one of the most compelling examples of the Three Rs. Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle. How many times have I passed a discarded lump of a 1980s entertainment stand on the side of the road? Ugly, oversized, seemingly useless and certainly unwanted; yet a diamond in the rough.

Oceanside walk

Mild temperatures and a few clear days have brought that “spring is busting out all over” feeling to the Coast. I’ve happily taken note of how surprised I am at the vibrancy of the flowers, the noise of the morning birds, and the softness of the wind. What a perfect time to grab the camera and get outside for an oceanside walk with the baby and the dog!

Local ceramic artist Georgina Brandon has these fun tiles adorning her backyard studio.

Hyacinths smell incredible. Have you noticed?

I think there’s a series of drawings to come from this old row boat.

The green and orange are so striking with the weathered grey.