FTC DisclosureWelcome to My Happy Place!

My Happy Place Row Along

What’s your happy place? Or, like me, do you have trouble narrowing it down? There are so many places to love–I made a list! There’s a quilt shop, a bookstore, a library, a coffee shop, my front porch at sunrise, the beach…and many more. But I realized that I could combine elements of the experiences from my happiest places to create My Ultimate Happy Place.


Detail of "Beach Reading", by Becca Fenstermaker of Pretty Piney Quilts
Detail of “Beach Reading”, by Becca Fenstermaker of Pretty Piney Quilts

I wanted a design that YOU can customize to make it YOUR Ultimate Happy Place, too. So I decided to keep the basic design as simple piecing, with raw-edge appliqué for personalization. Plus, there’s enough negative space for you to add elements as you desire. I made two samples of the basic design to show you what a dramatic difference your fabric choices can make in the mood of your row, then I finished one of them to show you what quilting can add to the design. It’s a quick, simple finish with plenty of opportunity to customize the look. You’ll find some suggestions for personalization below, and I’d love to hear about your ideas, too!

Beach Reading

I grew up along the New Jersey shore, and nothing beats the sound of the ocean and the cry of the seagulls for a peaceful, lovely way to start the day–but it gets even better if I’m accompanied by a good book (or three). Although I live a few miles inland now, I still love to sit on my east-facing porch in the mornings to watch the sunrise–and a cup of coffee is never far away. So I combined these elements to illustrate my perfect peaceful morning.

My Happy Place Row Along Beach Reading by Becca Fenstermaker of Pretty Piney Quilts
This version was made with Kaffe Fassett shot cottons (plus Moda Grunge for the book pages).

In this case, I opted to keep my row unembellished to leave you free to experiment with your own Happy Place and used quilting to create texture. I stitched in the ditch around the railing and between the sky, water, and sand sections, then switched to free-motion quilting to illustrate clouds (and a few birds), the churning and swirling of the ocean, and the effect that waves have along the sandy shoreline. I also waited to stitch down the appliqué until after the quilt had been sandwiched, to add some dimension to the table, books, and mug in the foreground.

Detail of "Beach Reading", by Becca Fenstermaker of Pretty Piney Quilts
Detail of “Beach Reading”, by Becca Fenstermaker of Pretty Piney Quilts


Northcott Fabrics generously provided us with fabric to create our rows (I had already finished my first version before I learned this), and I decided to play with their Naturescapes line. It was truly a pleasure to work with–the fabric has a nice hand and the designs can’t be beat. I chose a very stormy sea fabric, and my daughter and I have plans to turn the “happy place” notion upside-down by adding sea monsters and spilling the coffee (GASP!), as well as putting nautical book titles on the spines of the books. You know, like “Jaws” and “Moby Dick”–good uplifting fare!

My Happy Place Row Along Beach Reading Northcott
This version of the background was made with Northcott Naturescapes fabrics.
Northcott Naturescapes 21390-42
Northcott Naturescapes 21390-42
Northcott Naturescapes 21391-62
Northcott Naturescapes 21391-62
Northcott Naturescapes 21399-35
Northcott Naturescapes 21399-35
Northcott Naturescapes 21386-12
Northcott Naturescapes 21386-12


The Beach Reading pattern will be free to download until September 14, 2018.

Personalizing Your Row

  1. Add white lace, ribbons, or other embellishments for whitecaps.
  2. Hand-stitch real seashells onto the beach after quilting.
  3. Put your favorite book titles onto the spines of the books.
  4. Change up your drink! Create a wineglass if that’s more your style.
  5. Want company? Put some beach umbrellas out on the sand.
  6. Or some boats in the ocean, if you don’t want anyone that close.
  7. Kites or birds in the sky will break up that long expanse of empty fabric nicely.
  8. Use your imagination and appliqué a mermaid’s tail as she dives under the waves.
  9. Carol of Quilt Schmilt plans to add her grandchildren’s toys out on the beach…
  10. …which made me think a sandcastle might be a nice addition, too.
  11. PJ Miller plans on a hammock and a glass of Diet Pepsi! Mmmm, a hammock to read in at the beach….
  12. Elizabeth had the clever idea of adding some flower boxes to the railing. I think some nice red geraniums would add wonderful contrast!
  13. Sharon Aurora thought to add a plate of pecan pie and an embroidery hoop. Wouldn’t that allow you some fantastic embellishment opportunities? You could even “embroider” on the hoop for extra personalization.
  14. April suggested a seagull on the railing. If you put it over on the right, it would definitely add some balance to the row.

Thanks to all of the readers who made suggestions! You’re the best.


The Schedule

Visit every blogger on their assigned day to enter to win more prizes! All rows will be available for free download for one week after publication.

Tuesday September 4, 2018

The Quilt Rambler
Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Cheryl LaPlante
Patti’s Patchwork

Thursday September 6, 2018

Pretty Piney 
Ms P Designs USA
Creatin’ in the Sticks
Freemotion by the River
Any Pattern
Be A Quilter

Tuesday September 11, 2018

Barbara Dieges
Upstairs Hobby Room
Quilt Art
UlaSewing / SzycieUli

Thursday September 13, 2018

Pumpkin Patch BC
Sew Incredibly Crazy
A Quilting Chick
Patchwork Breeze

Tuesday September 18, 2018

Just Let Me Quilt
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
Quilt Fabrication
Renee’s Quilting Addiction
Made By Marney

Thursday September 20, 2018

Clever Chameleon
Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Heleen Pinkster Quilt Design
Cynthia’s Creating Ark
Seams To Be Sew

Tuesday September 25, 2018

Songbird Designs/Brenda’s Blog
Powered By Quilting
Kissed Quilts
Happy Sewing Room
Sew Joy Creations

Thursday September 27, 2018

Daydreams of Quilts
The Quilted Snail

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Words & Stitches
True Blue Quilts
Miss Loreen’s Schoolhouse
Meanderings Along Lizard Creek

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Quilt In Piece
Jaded Spade Creations
Mountain Meadow Designs
Masterpiece Quilting
Pamela Quilts

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Show and Tell Day

Words & Stitches
Upstairs Hobby Room
Powered By Quilting
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
Clever Chameleon
Creatin’ in the Sticks
Sew Joy Creations

Many thanks to Marian of Seams to Be Sew for organizing this wonderful row-along and coordinating all of the giveaways. Speaking of which….

And Now…The Giveaways!

Enter via the Rafflecopter entry below, and you could win an Inspired LED Sewing Machine Lighting Kit valued at $30(US). Adding an LED strip to the throat of your machine can make an enormous difference in your sewing experience!

This contest is open worldwide, and the winner pays for shipping of the prize.

Complete rules from row-along organizer Seams to Be Sew are included in the Rafflecopter entry or can be read in their entirety HERE.

My Happy Place Row Along Inspired LED LogoMy Happy Place Row Along Inspired LED Sewing Machine Lighting


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The following Rafflecopter is to enter to win Electric Quilt 8 software (EQ8), valued at $239.95(US)! I started using Electric Quilt software a couple of years ago and find it especially useful for determining yardage and also for easy color/fabric placement experimentation. It’s fun to play with the orientation of your blocks, too, for a simple way to play with your quilt design layouts.

Complete rules from row-along organizer Seams to Be Sew are included in the Rafflecopter entry or can be read in their entirety HERE.

My Happy Place Row-Along EQ8 Prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How will you customize your Beach Reading row?

Download a pdf of the \

76 Replies to “My Happy Place Row-Along

  1. Hi, I grew up in DE and every summer, every weekend you could you went to “the shore”. Just listening to the gulls & waves put me to sleep on that hot, hot, hot sand. This row brings back so many memories.

    1. Yes!! And I loved to bury my feet under the sand to cool them off. The sound of gulls still takes me back to those days.

  2. I love this row, I would leave it as is, I love the simplicity of it. Everything feels so calm, perfect for a days reading 😍 thanks for sharing 😍

  3. We had a house in Ocean City, Maryland and spent the summers there. I loved waking up to the seagulls and the salt air. Thanks for sharing your row.

  4. Thank you for a great row idea. My daughter is a school librarian and her daughter (my only granddaughter) is going to school in Maine. We were lucky enough to visit Maine in August, and the beaches are beautiful. I know that my daughter would love to have this for her office, so I’m going to make her one!!

  5. Nice row! I can’t wait to see what you do with your second version. I’m not sure how I’ll personalize mine, but I’m loving the idea. Maybe a piece of pecan pie with whipped cream. Maybe one of the books will be Little Women, which brings back good memories of my oldest daughter and I reading it together when she was a kid. Maybe a hoop with embroidery. So many possibilities. Thank you for such a wonderful pattern.

  6. I liked to download it and gave it to order. But it didn´t worked. I cant get it. Can you help me??
    Greeting Guilitta

    1. Hi! Thank you for letting me know you had trouble with the download. I confirmed that your order went through, and my records show that the file has been downloaded. It may be in a Download file on your computer or phone. I resent your order confirmation with a link to download it again, plus a separate email asking you to let me know via email if you still can’t find it so I can help you resolve the problem. Have a great day! -Becca

  7. Thanks for this fun row. I’m going to add my Hammock and a frosty glass of Diet Pepsi. Then it’ll be PERFECT! LOL

  8. The row is great! I can picture sitting by the beach enjoying a book. The wavy line quilting makes the water move as it would at the beach. The rough sea fabric is perfect for jaws or a sea monster. This is a row I would like make for my kitchen table, where I usually sit and read with a cup of tea. (sorry, not a coffee drinker)

    1. So, truly, coffee isn’t your cup of tea. *rimshot*

      It would be easy to add a little tea bag string and tab over the side of the mug to make it clear what’s in there, wouldn’t it? If you do something like that, I hope you’ll share a photo with me! I hope to see lots of rows that I can feature in a future round-up on the blog.

  9. I grew up on the West Coast, by the beach, and even though I live up north in the country, going “home” to the SoCal beach is still my happy place.

  10. This simple row is awesome–personalizing is where it’s at! I’m thinking whale tails and maybe a bird.

  11. Thanks so much for being a part of the “My Happy Place” QAL. Your hard work and time involved are much appreciated! Thanks for the chance to win such a great prize too!! Who can’t use new LED lights on their machines!!? Vivian
    wvoaks at comcast dot net

  12. Wonderful Row!! Would love to spend time reading at the Beach!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us! 🙂

  13. I love that row! Its fun to see it in two different fabrics and I love your colluding with your daughter for a more sinister version. I love the Jersey shore – we went to Stone Harbor and Avalon for many years…. I miss those long gorgeous beaches and expanse of sand – something I don’t see as much of in Maine.

  14. I love the design! Your first block is beautiful, but the fabrics in the second are incredible! I love Northcott Fabrics. I think my happy place will include books, coffee or perhaps a cup of tea, and perhaps the grandkids sand toys on the beach. Too much fun to play with design ideas!

  15. When I first saw the pile of books with a cup of coffee, I automatically thought “Back to School”. (I’m a retired teacher) But was pleasantly surprised to find the books were for beach reading. 🙂

  16. I love how you created this row with not only your happy places but the ability for the quilter who re-creates this pattern to add to the happy places to meet there needs also. Adding ideas to help enhance the row is also very nice to see. Beautiful job Becca and I for one am thrilled you joined us for the row along this year.

    1. Thanks, Marian! I had a great time thinking up this block, and I’m enjoying seeing everyone else’s Happy Places, too. Thank you for ALL of the hard work you’ve done!

  17. What a cute row. Reminds me of summers filled with days at the beach, sunshine and … sunburn. LOL. Thank you for sharing your creativity, your time and your talent.

  18. Such a nice row. I like reading books, holding them in my hands, touching and turning the pages with my fingers. And a cup of tea and the sound of water would make it even better. Thanks for sharing.

  19. I love your row, one of my best happy places is the beach. I would only use one book, otherwise… totally fantastic.

  20. Thanks for shary ing your lovely Happy Place Row. I would customize my Beach Reading row by adding evergreens and rock along the horizon as that is just what I see when out reading on the front deck coffee in hand.

  21. I just love the textured quilting on your row- it really makes the quilt “feel” like the ocean waves! Great job with brainstorming ideas for personalization- the flexibility of your row makes for a myriad of possibilities.

    Thanks for sharing!

  22. Love this so much! I’m thinking I would add book titles and probably a sand castle; maybe my son playing by the ocean? And a seagull!

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