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About Shelley

Zen Gardens Bento Box Flimsy Finish

Hi, I would like to share my Bento Box quilt top that I finished today as my WIP Wednesday project (updated for Friday). I have decided to call my quilt Zen Gardens Bento Box after a couple of the prints that were amongst the jelly roll strip set it was made from.


Zen Gardens Bento Box

I got 49 blocks made to make the quilt top 86 inches square. I certainly did not plan on a quilt top that large but it had a life of its own and this is what it has become. I really, really like it. I think my friend should really like it as well. This size of quilt will work on whatever she uses for a bed in her new house.


Bento Box Closeup

It took a bit to figure out how to lay out all the blocks to get the patterns to be spread throughout the quilt. I tried to not get too much intense red or black clustered in one area. I did discover after all pieced that on the one side I ended up with two opposite coordinating bentos right above each other. I did not want to take it apart so it will stay that way. They look enough different that it doesn’t stick out too much.


Zen Gardens Bento Box  86 inches Square shown on a King Size Bed

When I won this set of jelly roll strips, I had no idea what I would make from them. I questioned using the red with gold metallic fans on it, the bright red solid and the black solid strips that were in the set. I now think they help add an extra pop of interest. The gray solid does that as well.


Smokey Approves!

It is officially Summer in Iowa this week with temperatures over 90 and the heat index in the 100’s. It’s been hard on Smokey and Buddy. They are hot and want to lay on you as to say make me “un-hot”. Last night it was quite lovely outside after 10 PM and we thought Smokey almost was Coyote food. My daughter and I were out walking the new puppy one last time, and we heard the Coyote and pups start calling and yipping up a storm. This is a usual occurrence but then we heard an odd screech. We rush the dogs inside but Smokey is unaccounted for. My daughter gets the wild hair to hop in Dad’s truck to drive down the road and see if she can scare them off, hoping that Smokey is not a goner as the Coyote are sounding like they are just across the road in the field. My daughter pulls into the farm drive and here is ol’Smokey standing in the middle of the driveway with a wide deer in headlights look. The silly cat starts his yeowling and chortling. Nothing like giving the Coyote something to find you easier with. As a joke, we have taught our Black Lab to howl like a Coyote and the new Aussie puppy is having a good time yipping with other dog. It is not likely that the cat is confused by the two sounds. Smokey thinks he is a big hunter, which he actually is. His most recent kill find was a  Least Weasel. I am not sure where he found it, but he brought it home to me. He has a definite call he makes when he has caught something. You can hear him coming across the farm yard and know he has some sort of mouse, vole or even rabbit. After his week, I will allow him to test out the new quilt.

I am trying to decide what color of thread to quilt this with? White, gray or red? I am running low on white thread so am leaning towards the gray.

Friday Update: I have the backing for this quilt made. I pieced a dozen cross blocks in the remaining red solid yardage I had from cutting my Midnight Mystery Quiltalong fabrics. I cut binding strips out of it as well. I used the wild red,white and black paisley yardage that I found at Walmart as my focus fabric for the back.


Pieced Back of Zen Gardens Bento Boxes

The back is straight, even if photo is not. I may have extra black solid on top and bottom that is not needed. It seems way bigger than my quilt top.


Cross block closeup

I really like how the backing turned out. What started as a fly by the seat of your pants idea seemed to work out quite well. Adding the dot or dash just came to me, and it was an easy add for sashing.


I will be linking up my flimsy finish with Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday,  Let’s Bee Social and Needle and Thread Thursday and Crazy Mom Quilt’s Finish It Friday.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate all comments and am doing my best to send personal emails to everyone.

Happy Sewing,



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12 Responses to Zen Gardens Bento Box Flimsy Finish

  • Stunning quilt. The colours really pop. Fabulous. I think the grey thread will work perfectly.

  • Great quilt. I would go with grey for the quilting as it will settle into the fabrics with ease.
    So glad your cat is OK. Reading your story makes me glad we don’t have any pet predators over here in the UK, apart from the odd fox which may take an unguarded rabbit.

  • Lovely quilt. I think I would go with the gray thread.

  • Your Bento Box quilt looks great! Love the layout & color placement, it looks nicely balanced. So glad your Smokey didn’t end up as coyote dinner!

  • Beautiful finish! I vote for gray quilting thread, too. I’m glad your kitty’s okay.

  • What a close call with your kitty. Glad that he is okay. I love how when cats hunt they like to bring their catches home so you can see what a great job they have done. My cat is an inside cat so he only gets to hunt flies and small bugs. Great job on your quilt. I think black, white and red are just classic together. And I also love fabrics with hints of metallic in them, it just adds a little extra something. Can’t wait to see how you quilt it. I would probably go with the gray thread as well.

  • I love this pattern. I bought it when Tracey Brookshier spoke at our quilt guild some time back. I guess you could say that it’s on my bucket list. My purple ninja quilt is from one of her other patterns (Puzzle Box). Your Zen Gardens is great. It’s a great palette and I like the variety of patterns and solids. Grey thread sounds like a winner!

  • Oh this turned out SO nicely Shelley! I don’t even see what you mean as one of the Bentos is beside each other…Yep, quilt it with the grey thread. As for Smokey (ha he’s grey too) making a unique sound when he catches something, our old tomcat (who was fixed) used to do that too, like a calling miaow sound.

  • It looks great and so does the back. Will be a great gift to your friend. Thanks for joining up to #scraptastictuesday

  • Love the back! Great quilt. Lovely finish.

  • Yep, love love love that backing. Sometimes flying by the seat of your pants leads to genius ideas like this plus and dot or dash! Love that paisley too. 🙂

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