North Pole Quilt-Along

Ready for a fun project? We’re having a Quilt-Along through the end of the year!

Build a house! Or two. Or a whole neighborhood. 🙂

I’m going to make a quilt – but you can make anything you like. Here are a bunch of free patterns that would work great with these houses.

Get the Shiny Happy Houses quilt pattern here.

Get the free signs to make North Pole buildings here.

If you want to use that shimmery white fabric I used for the snowy ground, you can get that here.

I’m also going to add sashing strips between my rows of houses, to make an extra snowy landscape. ☃️

Tag your photos #WinterCAL2019 and post them to the Shiny Happy People group. The Winter Craft-Along is a larger craft-along for projects that use any Shiny Happy World or FreshStitches winter or holiday pattern. There will be lots of prizes in lots of different categories – including a prize just for North Pole projects.

Happy stitching! I can’t wait to see your houses!


August at Shiny Happy World

Here’s what’s going on this month at Shiny Happy World.

And here are the links to some of those things I mentioned. . .

Whoops! I misspoke here. The Safari Craft-Along will actually just be running in September, but you’re welcome to get a jump on making now. 🙂

  • I mentioned a bunch of free patterns that could be used with single block patterns – pillow covers and tote bags and placemats and bibs and Christmas stockings and more. You can find all of these here.

Happy stitching! Have a fantastic August!


A New Version of the Noisy Farm Quilt!

Noisy Farm Quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately asking for suggestions for the background colors of the Noisy Farm quilt pattern.

The cover sample you see above is from before I had fabric bundles in my shop, and most of the fabrics I used are no longer available.

One of the things I love about the way I do fabric bundles now is that you can use any bundle for any quilt. Here’s an example of three quilts that all use the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundle for the animals – but different bundles for the background colors.

Here are the Playful Puppies made with Solid Rainbow for the background blocks.

And here are the Cuddly Cats with the slightly-more-grownup-but-still-colorful Box of Crayons for the background blocks.

And here is the Bunches of Bears pattern made with the Rainbow Sherbet bundle for the background blocks.

See what a difference?

Changing just the background colors really changes the whole feel of the quilt – and I love them all!

So when people ask for suggestions for background colors for the Noisy Farm pattern – I want to tell them they can use anything! Go totally bright with the Solid Rainbow! Go a little more subdued with Box of Crayons! Go baby sweet with Rainbow Sherbet! Go natural with Green Batiks! Want even more suggestions? Go to the Noisy Farm pattern listing and look at the additional photos. There are a bunch showing finished quilts that other people have made with different fabrics than my samples.

For my new version of the Noisy Farm quilt I used Rainbow Sherbet for the background blocks. I went totally wild with the animals and using the Gingham Play fat quarter bundle. Gingham always says “farm” to me and I can’t wait to make the animals in fantasy colors.

Pastel version of the Noisy Farm quilt pattern

One more change – I made this one a silent farm. 🙂 I left off the half-blocks with animal sounds and added sashing. I get a lot of requests about adding sashing to a Quilt As You Go quilt. There’s a tutorial here showing how you can reset (almost) any of my quilt patterns with added sashing. I even did the math for you for all the sizes. 🙂

If you’ve made any of my quilt patterns using a different color scheme – please share! Seeing all the different versions of my patterns makes me Muppet-arms-flailing happy – and it’s a great resource for your fellow makers out there to see different options. 🙂

Happy stitching!


Try one of our newest quilt patterns! Get the Liz Llama pattern here. Or join the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club to get a new block every month. 🙂

April Free Calendar

Free April Calendar from Shiny Happy World

Happy April!

It’s Bear Month here at Shiny Happy World AND it’s my birthday month – so of course I had to make a bear in a party hat for this month’s calendar. 🙂

The bear is one of a dozen new bears in a new pattern coming soon called Bunches of Bears. Her name is Annabelle.

Update – the pattern is finished now! Get the Bunches of Bears pattern here.

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without an April calendar.

Free April Calendar from Shiny Happy World

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Free April Calendar from Shiny Happy World

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

And one more thing for you.

Annabelle in birthday party hat - from Shiny Happy World

I like to wish my friends on Facebook Happy Birthday by posting a cute picture on their wall. I decided to add a little speech bubble to Annabelle so I could add her to my library of digital birthday cards – and I thought I’d share that image with you so you can use it too if you like. You can download it here.



Playing with Improv Piecing – Stripes

Playing with Improvisational Piecing - Stripes (from Shiny Happy World)

I finished my design wall (you can get instructions here) and immediately started sewing some blocks to pin up there.

You see – I have a specific project in mind and I’m sooooo eager to get to it!

This is the door between my office and my husband’s office.

barn door before upholstering with improv quilt - Shiny Happy World

I love that barn door – and from the very beginning we planned to cover it with a quilt. Basically, I’m going to make two quilts – one for the front and one for the back, and I’m going to hand-sew the door into them (like a model on Project Runway) with a strip of solid fabric all around the thickness of the door.

I want to improv piece the quilts – but I’ve never really done that before. So I want to practice a bit and try some things out before I start on the big door project. And for that – I really wanted to have a design wall. It helps so much to be able to see the design straight on as it’s growing!

For my practice pieces I’m making some placemats. Each one will use a different basic shape so see what I like – and what’s fun to do. 🙂

I’m starting with stripes. I love stripes!

Here are my rules for this one. . .

  • No rulers. I’ll use my rotary cutter and scissors – but no rulers, either for measuring or cutting. I want my lines to be slightly wobbly/crooked.
  • A limited color palette of rich grey mixed with pastels. (All the pastels are all from my Rainbow Sherbet fabric bundle. Such pretty colors!)
  • Big Stitch quilted with really dense stitching. Yay! I haven’t done any big stitch quilting for months and I’m itching to get back to it.

The first thing I did was measure out a space on my design wall – a little bigger than a placemat needs to be – and mark the four corners with pins. That way I can see what space a need to fill.

Then I started cutting and sewing. Remember – no rulers. I just grabbed some pastel scraps, cut a chunk of grey, cut them into strips, and sewed them together. This is so much fun! Once a finished a little chunk of pink, I moved on to other colors. Here’s a super short video showing each little chunk going up onto the wall.

After I was happy with all the chunks, I sewed them together. Easy peasy – nothing fancy.

At the end of the video you see it hooped up in a square frame all ready for stitching, stitching after one evening, and stitching after two evenings. So here’s a little more info about that part of the process.

It’ll probably take me about a week to do the quilting on this piece. It’s small (standard placemat size) but I only get to do hand work for an hour or two most evenings.

Happy stitching!


Happy 2018! This Is the Year!

applique felt and embroidered letters saying, "This is the year!"

I love the New Year!

My husband and I got married on New Year’s Day in 2000.

I started Shiny Happy World on New Year’s Day in 2011.

Shiny Happy World is merging with FreshStitches today – New Year’s Day in 2018.

New Year’s Day may be my favorite holiday of all. That sounds silly because it’s not what most people think of as a major holiday – but I love that sense of possibility.

The idea that anything can happen.

Every year I think to myself. . .

This is the year!

And it always is. It’s always the year for something.

This is the year I learn to quilt.

This is the year we move to the mountains.

This is the year I learn to cook without following a recipe.

This is the year I start my own business.

That statement is going to be different every year, and for every person – but I think many of us feel that sense of anticipation and the magic of possibility on January 1.

What are you excited about doing in 2018?

For many of us in this group – it’s something related to craft. 🙂

This is the year I learn to crochet.

This is the year I make a quilt for my bed.

This is the year I learn to embroider.

This is the year I make my first softie – for my first grandchild.

So I have a New Year’s Day assignment for you. Think about your end of this sentence.

This is the year. . .

Pick a thing. One thing that you really want to do this year. One thing you want to learn, one thing you want to make, one thing you want to teach. It can be anything! And that’s why this is a pretty hard assignment. Grab a cup of tea and some quiet time and really think about it.

This is the year. . .

I’ll go first.

This is the year I actually make a quilt using improvisational piecing. I already love improvisational stitching – especially Big Stitch quilting – but it’s the piecing I want to jump into. I’ve got a book I’ve been reading. I’ve been collecting inspiration. I’ve even make a few blocks. But I want to make a whole quilt. And I’m going to use it to upholster a barn door hanging between my studio and my husband’s office.

This is the year!

Now it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments.

This is the year. . .

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World


Shiny Happy Haunted Houses

Haunted Houses - quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

If you have the Shiny Happy Houses quilt pattern, you can use it to make a whole different quilt just by switching out the fabrics. Make a fun haunted house quilt!

For this block the arch templates that I usually use for doors and windows became fun tombstones! I used ghost and creepy eyeball buttons for extra Halloween fun. And of course – the Halloween-themed fabrics make it easy. 🙂

There’s a tutorial here showing how to do some fussy-cut applique.

Shiny Happy Haunted House with fussy cut trick-or-treaters. Fun!

That’s how I made these adorable trick-or-treaters!

It’s Haunted House Week here at Shiny Happy World. The Shiny Happy People group on Facebook is already on board – I’ve seen two awesome haunted houses over there already!

Happy Monday!

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

A Peek at My Shiny Happy Neighborhood-in-Progress

Shiny Happy Houses Quilt Club - the blocks so far

I’m putting the finishing touches on the new house block patterns going out this weekend and I thought I’d share a look at all my house blocks so far. Remember – I’m working on three different house quilts in three different styles and color palettes. Most people in the club are only making one. 🙂

Up top is my whimsical neighborhood – with houses in colors that most people don’t use in real life. I love them! There’s an extra house in this group because it’s what I used to make the video demo showing how to put everything together. 🙂

Shiny Happy Houses Quilt Club - the blocks so far

This is my more conventional neighborhood. The houses are still wonky and fun, but the colors are more like what you’d see driving down the streets of an actual neighborhood.

Shiny Happy Houses Quilt Club - the blocks so far

And this is my gingerbread quilt. 🙂 All the houses are gingerbread color with candy trim and lots of extras – like beading, extra stitching, buttons, and rickrack “snow” on the roof.

I’m having so much fun with these blocks! And it’s been absolutely fantastic to see the houses that members are making! Pop into the Shiny Happy People group on Facebook to see! Here’s just one fabulous example – this one from Terri.

Terri's awesome houses from the Shiny Happy Houses quilt club

Want to join the club? It’s never too late! If you sign up now you get instant access to all the pattern pieces and all the emails that have gone out so far. The next mailing goes out this Sunday 4/3.

Updated – The club has finished, so if you order the pattern now you get it all in one big download.

Get the Shiny Happy Houses pattern here.

Happy quilting!

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Controlled Chaos Scrap Quilt – The Last Block!

Controlled Chaos Scrap Quilt - the last block!

Here it is! The very last block in the Controlled Chaos scrap quilt!

What You’ll Need

  • 52  two-inch squares in color A (shown in purple)
  • 48 two-inch squares in color B (shown in green)


Use 1/4″ seam allowances for all sewing.

Press all the seams as you go. I’m pressing mine open for this quilt. I think it will make things simpler in the end.

Arrange your squares according to the diagram below.

block 20 template

For this block I worked in big chunks. I sewed things up in the following order. . .

  • Sew all your individual squares into pairs of matching colors. You should have 26 purple pairs and 24 green pairs.
  • Sew the purple pairs into 2 x 2 squares.
  • Pull out four of those purple squares. Sew two green pairs to opposite sides of each purple square. Sew the remaining green pairs into eight 1 x 4 rectangles.
  • Sew these rectangles to the top and bottom of your purple squares, so that there’s a green ring around each of the four purple squares.
  • Sew the rest of your purple squares into one 2×10 rectangle and two 2 x 4 rectangles.
  • Sew a 2 x 4 purple rectangle between two purple/green squares. Repeat with the last 2 x 4 purple rectangle and the last two purple/green squares
  • Assemble your chunks in rows and sew the long 2 x 10 purple rectangle between your other two rows.


Well – finished with the blocks. 🙂 I still need to join them all together with sashing strips between them and then quilt the whole thing. Here’s what it’s going to look like. . .

Controlled Chaos Scrap Quilt

I’ll have a tutorial showing how to do the sashing strips (there’s a little trick to that!) and then tutorials showing basic hand quilting, quilting without marking, and big stitch hand quilting. Yes – I’m going to spend the winter hand-quilting this beauty!

But all of that is going to have to wait just a little bit. I have a new and improved website that I’m really close to launching, so that’s taking a lot of my attention behind the scenes these days. It’ll be worth it! While you wait – finish all your blocks!

Remember – you don’t have to make your quilt the same size or number of blocks as my quilt. You can make fewer quilts for a crib size, or repeat some of the designs in different colors (or make up your own additions!) for a larger quilt. Mine is going to be just the right size for curling up on the couch. 🙂

Click here for all the Controlled Chaos posts.

Happy piecing!


Paper Doll Quilt Update

Paper Doll Quilt In Progress

I’m almost halfway done with the blocks in the Paper Doll Quilt I’ve been working on, so I thought I’d share a little peek at what they look like so far.

I love them!

Mixing and matching the hair and the shoes and the outfits has been so much fun!

I’ll keep posting single block updates on Facebook, if you follow along there. And if you want to make sure you don’t miss the pattern release – sign up for the Shiny Happy News.

Update – The pattern is finished now! You can get it here.

Happy quilting!