Charley Harper Mural

When my sister Carrie, her husband Doug, and my mom came to town in August, they had a list of a few things they wanted to do. One thing on Carrie’s list was to see the Charley Harper mural at the John Weld Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati. Thankfully she provided a link, because huh?

It turns out that in 2015 the U.S. General Services Administration launched a database of public art held and on display in federal buildings around the country. (Carrie works at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, so she’s kind of tapped into government things.) She searched the database and learned about the Charley Harper mural.

So after a day walking around Findlay Market and Washington Park, we went in search of the Federal Building. After only a little bit of trouble, we found the building, and the other piece of art: an American Eagle on the outside of the building. Then we went in and came to the realization that we were actually in a federal building. So we were asked our business (“To see the mural.”) and went through security.

The mural consists of two panels, each about 13 feet x 18 feet, that are tucked behind a bank of elevators. The right side of the mural is shown above. And you can sort of get the scale from the photo below.

Me, Mom, and sisters Brenda and Carrie

Both panels are just filled with super cool tile animals.

We spent so much time there it was kind of crazy. But there were keys on the wall identifying each of the animals, so that was fun. And we couldn’t get over how each animal was so artistically rendered with simple squares and triangles. Talk about ready-made quilt inspiration!

So, watch out Traveling Companion. Now in addition to checking for local fabric stores whenever I travel, I’ll be looking for potential stops on the federal art database, too. I’m sure there are many more hidden treasures out there!

Quilt Block Roundup

puppyblockIt’s been a while since I shared the blocks I’ve been making for the Hive swap and various charity projects, so here are some that have come across my sewing table.

That adorable puppy block is one I made for a Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild member who is making a quilt to be auctioned off by a local pet rescue. The pattern is Dog Gone Cute by Sew Fresh Quilts, and the pattern creator generously gave her permission to copy the pattern so Guild members could all pitch. Each dog is just a bit different, and the quilt turned out pretty darn cute.


I’m still in a Bee Hive swap with CMQG members, and one recent block was fun and scrappy. Elizabeth asked us to cut a 12.5-inch square of a solid fabric (or one that reads as a solid) and to make a 12.5-inch square with narrow strips of fabric.

HST Bee block 1

Then she asked that we use those two squares to make make two half-square triangle blocks. Super easy!

HST Bee block 2

Next up is a little paper-pieced block I made for Tara. She provided the Tea and Coffee Cups pattern (a free one) from Piece By Number and a swatch of a teal color that she wanted each block to include.


A person on Instagram with the handle Crafty Cop is a police officer who is making quilts for families of police officers killed in the line of duty. She put out a call for 12.5-inch Raspberry Kiss blocks, and so members of CMQG made some to send. She asked that all the backgrounds be low volume and the Xs be blue. The tutorial we followed was from Heritage Threads.


Finally, this past month, Susan from the Hive swap asked each of us to make four Polaroid blocks. The centers of each are 2.5-inch fussy-cut images. Then narrow white strips of fabric are added to look kind of like the frame around Polaroid photos. These were so fun to make. So fun that I couldn’t stop making them and have started my own Polaroid quilt. I ended up making five blocks for Susan just in case the shark block wasn’t her style—but it was.


I love that participating in swaps and charity projects means I get to try so many different blocks. Some I know I won’t try again (that puppy was a bear!), but know that you’ll see some of these again in future quilts.