Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Creating with Waxed Canvas

When Amy/Diary of A Quilter invited me to guest post on her blog, I immediately thought of my new obsession, waxed canvas. You might remember that I tried it for the first time in December when I made hubby a new travel bag. Well since then, I've tried several other projects, and am more smitten with this material than ever.

Clockwise from upper left: 
"Leather" Bottom Pouch pattern from Beyond Cotton by Krista Fleckenstein, Basket pattern from Beyond CottonBoxy Pouch tutorial from Cara of Pink StitchesCanvas and Leather Lunch Bag tutorial by Pretty Prudent

Please hop on over to Amy's today for my tips and to see if waxed canvas isn't something you'd like to incorporate into your own sewing!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Measure Up

Let's just say I'm more than happy with the pattern and fabric I chose for The Big Bed Quilt-Along. The low-volume look is exactly what I was hoping for, and the Sidewalk Chalk pattern is going together so quickly!

Yesterday, our hostess Rachel/Stitched in Color posted about something I'd been intentionally putting off, knowing full well I'd need to face it eventually. And that would be deciding exactly how big I wanted my quilt to be. I had cut fabric for the pattern's "Bed Size" (90"x104") , but now that I've actually done some measuring and calculating, I've discovered that's going to be ever-so-slightly too small. Thankfully, due to the make-up of the pattern, an additional row and block column should do the trick.

I'll decide how to execute that once I get the initial rows pieced. So far I've gotten 9/13 done so hopefully I can keep up the momentum. I'm pretty excited that this is actually happening!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Email Marketing for Creatives

Just a head's up that this Wednesday at 11 EST, I'll be joining Abby Glassenberg of while she naps on Facebook Live! We'll be chatting about email marketing and broadcasting from her page.

Abby's was one of the few email newletters I subscribed to back in 2015 when I started The Scrap Basket. In fact, her ebook, How to Create a Powerful Newsletter, was my resource as I was getting started. So I'm anxious to come full circle and visit with her about the topic, and hope you can join us!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Big Bed Quilt

A new quilt for our bed has been on the to-do list for ages - like all of last year and beyond. I was really hoping this would finally be the year it would happen, so when I saw Rachel/Stitched in Color post she was hosting The Big Bed Quilt-Along, I more or less committed. I've had a neutral palette in mind, collecting quite a bundle of fabric over the last several months.

Just recently I settled on a pattern, Sidewalk Chalk by Meghan/Then Came June. Originally I was thinking of a truly improv design, but when I saw Meghan's quilt with a hint of improv but using an actual pattern, I thought it would be a good compromise. Like I really want this quilt to be a finish rather than a long drawn-out exploration. That can be for another time.

And I've gotta say, I have loved every colorful version of Sidewalk Chalk that I've seen. So I hope I'm not doing it an injustice by going neutral. But it's worth a try, right?

If you're inclined at all to join us, check out Rachel's original QAL post, as well as the latest with some great quilt ideas!


Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Bee Sewcial is always challenging. Rarely do I know right off where I'm headed when I read my bee-mate's prompt. But this month was one of the most challenging of all. One big Freeform-Transparency-Connection block. That was Karen/@capitolaquilter's request. The palette was the easiest part: Maximal minus pink/purple & limited neutrals. And freeform? Ok, that I could do.

I started by piecing one element with transparency. Not sure it was totally successful - still a concept I struggle with - but my attempt resulted in that center 'circle'. From there I just pieced some random improv segments using techniques I enjoy, and I even grabbed a couple of discarded blocks from previous projects that I discovered in my solids scrap bin.

I even tried to create an improv 'egg' that I'd seen Karen admire before - see the dark oval in the bottom left? Yeah. I need some practice with that shape. The 'connection' theme was incorporated through that crooked 'line' in the center of the piece. Then the 'dots' were created as a way to fit the block elements together.

This block was made totally ruler-free until the final trimming, which resulted in a block measuring 17" x 21 1/2". Whew! The top photo was my original orientation, but as I was photographing it I decided to see what it looked like from every angle, so to speak. Do you have a favorite?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Giftable Projects

When Svetlana/s.o.t.a.k handmade asked if I'd like to watch her new Craftsy class, I jumped right on it! I've made many of her patterns and tutorials, and am a real fan!  Her class, Giftable Projects: Zippered Bags & Purse Organizer actually includes three projects: The Easy Coin Pouch, The Two-Zip Pouch, and her Keep-It-Neat Purse Organizer.

The projects are presented in order from easy and quick to more detailed, so obviously I started with the small coin pouch.

Truth be told, I was over-eager, and jumped right in without having the suggested 5" zipper on hand, adjusting the pattern size ever so slightly to accommodate the 6" zip I did have. But the zipper had bronze metal, and I had no bronze snaps, so I mixed things up and chose to use a stud closure instead. And of course once I decided on that I opted to switch out the pocket tab for a scrap of leather. All that to say, maybe not the best idea if you are new to pouch-making, but once you have the basic techniques under your belt - and you will definitely get them in this class - you'll find pouches fun to customize.

So personal tweaks aside, I did make a rookie oversight. In step one, Svetlena guided the making of a handy wrist strap but can you see my little predicament? Yup. My darling zip doesn't allow for the strap to be attached. So I guess I'll set it aside for another pouch!

Meanwhile, I can highly recommend Svetlana's class. Though I only made one project so far, I reviewed all three of them, and found that Svetlana really packed in a nice variety of metal zipper applications and plenty of little tips throughout the lessons. Plus she has a nice, comfortable teaching style and the Craftsy platform made it easy to follow along while adding a fun new way to take advantage of her delightful pouch designs. The one thing about video, is it clarifies every step so well.

Metal zips especially can be a little intimidating to some, and if that's the case for you, I think you'll be pleased how Svetlana helps you master them while making three attractive and usable pouches. Looks like right now all classes are on sale too - bonus!

Saturday, January 20, 2018


It was actually last October that my mom and I started talking about a quilted runner for her dining room table. We scrolled through Pinterest until we settled on an inspiration design. From there we set on choosing fabric, and fun fact: Mom was as enamored with Carolyn Friedlander prints as I am. Mixed with a Maker Maker cotton/linen blend and Kona Garnet, we came up with a unique but delightful mix that was really enjoyable to work with.

I started with making small striped segments....

.... and then designed as I went by piecing randomly and filling in spots on the design wall. I had a size goal - 32" x 92" - and the pieced top ended up just slightly larger to allow for shrinkage due to quilting and washing.

When it came time for quilting I started with variegated Aurifil 50wt #4060 (Silver Moon), fully intending to use a variety of colored threads. But considering my goal was to use several different quilting designs, per mom's request, after I got going I decided using the singular thread would be best. And it really did coordinate well with all the fabrics, nestling in nearly invisibly in some areas and standing out more in others.

First up was my one of my standbys - organic straight-line - off-center across the width of the runner. Next were a pair of harmonizing yet different sections of matchstick quilting.

From there, I went section to section, figuring out designs as I went.... some simple channel quilting, and echos, then a diagonal grid and orange peels (love them!).

That's when I turned to Jacquie Gering's Walk to find some new designs to try, and I found that a Radiating Diamond, some Crosshatch Mashup, and even some Sectioned Curves all suited the piece well.

So nine designs in all, and I gotta say, I love the look.

I trimmed it up, bound it all in one of my favorites of Carolyn Friedlander's Euclid linen-cotton blends, and it was done.... the largest table runner I'd ever made.

The size was of the essence though, covering a good width of the table, while hanging over on the ends to give the look mom was after. Let's just say we're pretty well pleased with our joint effort. The runner looks totally at home on mom's table, which was the goal after all!

This project is on my 2018 Q1 Finish-A-Long list!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Year of Colour

Through our creative year, I think we all get a little myopic. I know the project at hand usually holds my focus, and even though alot of us take a moment to look back at our year as a whole, Emily and Stef of Makelight have generously given us a way to look at those twelve months in a new way.... totally by colour.

Emphasize Saturated / Emphasize Brighter Colours

By their own definition, Makelight is "a membership community for creators, makers and doers." Offering both free and members-only classes, there's also a blogful of thoughtful articles - definitely worth a glance.

Center on Favorite Colour / Order Colours by Time

As they did last year, they are offering a free tool to let us visualize the colours that we used on Instagram in 2017. Not only that, but we can see our personal colours in a variety of ways. Note the categories under each photo of my own, as the colours are reorganized. Each circle represents one of ten significant colours extracted from each image I posted, and the size of the circles indicates both how significant the colour was in the image, and how well liked it was by my followers. Pretty amazing, right?

Rainbow Mode / Order by Popularity

If you're like me, you'll get lost in it all for a bit, examining and pondering. Check out Your Year of Colour. Then share on Instagram with the hashtag #YearOfColour!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


You guys. It was three months after submitting my article to Curated Quilts that I held Issue 2 in my hands and saw my Creative Reset project in its pages. It was immensely satisfying.

When I was asked to create a tutorial for one of my pincushions from last summer's pinnie parade and list some tips on reviving creativity, it felt a very natural request.... something I was totally comfortable creating and writing about, which isn't always the case these days. And truly, an improv log cabin block has been one to call to me over and over again.

So if you happen to get a chance to read the article, know that you are receiving a part of me. The ideas I share are exactly what I do when I find myself in that unsettling place. And though these improvisational pincushions were the result this time, the same processes have led me to equally satisfying places and got me going again at other times. Ie. they work for me.

Gee whiz. I kinda keep forgetting that my Steeped in Tradition also appears in the Gallery section of this issue. Considering this quilt was sold at QuiltCon in 2016, it's always good to see it again!

If you have yet to explore a copy of Curated Quilts for yourself, consider giving an issue a try. I've found it to be a beautifully published and inspiring quilting journal. And I'm pleased to have had a part in it.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Influencer.... Who Me?

For better or worse, I'll admit to doing a fair amount of purchasing on Amazon. Not a 'shopper' by nature, add in a full-time job and a penchant for sewing as often as possible, and I prefer to get what I need quickly and easily.

Enter in the Amazon Influencer program. Basically it's a way for a creator like me to make recommendations to other creators.... like you! And I decided to go ahead and join the program because I get asked to make recommendations ALOT. Folks want to know the tools I use to do what I do. So now there's an easy way to let you know. Here's a peek at what I've put on my page so far....

And if you want to take a look for yourself, just click the link below.

No pressure! And please, rest assured I'll only include things on my page that I either use myself or otherwise can honestly recommend. Even though I may get a small commission on these items, I would never suggest anything I'm not willing to stand behind. You can count on that.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2018 Finish-A-Long :: Q1 List

A new year, a new quarter of the Finish-A-Long. Believe it or not, I just have two wips, and they are both going on the list.

First is Looking Up, a carry over from Q4 last year. The top is now pieced and basted, ready for quilting. And courage. It will happen, I know it.

And then I'm making a table runner for my mom's birthday. Over 90" long, it's still in the design process, but it's coming along. Time is of the essence, so I have little doubt about this one, and I'm very much looking forward to the quilting stage.... soon.

So that's it! Short but sweet. I'll get these two to the finish line and then we can see what's next.

Linking up with the 2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 link-up.

Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 Finish-A-Long :: Q4 Finishes

So it's time to report in for Q4 of the 2017 Finish-A-Long! I am happy to say I finished 4 for 5 this quarter, and the only reason I feel badly about number 5 not being finished is because I let it get the best of me. I don't like that feeling, but it's the reality, and I think this month (quarter?) I'll finally be able to face it. I sure hope so.

But still,  I did finish 4 projects on my list, and I'm perfectly satisfied with that.

1. First up was Venti, second in my series of tumbler quilts. 

I was actually midway through quilting at the beginning of the quarter, so a finish was pretty predictable. This one was an experiment in value, and I fully expect more such experiments and tumbler quilt in my future, tho not necessarily in the same project.

2.  There were just a handful of improv spikes when I added this project to my list, all created from my scrap basket.

spikey was the happy result. I really enjoyed these improv blocks and the crazy scrappy palette. In finishing it, I tried a new-to-me quilting design that felt a perfect match for those spikes.

3.  For a few years now, I've made my own everyday bags, and this time, the Traverse bag  by noodlehead called my name.

Working with my fabric choices and the hardware I purchased right from noodlehead made this bag a joy to sew together. I made the large version, and I've found it so roomy, I haven't even used the pockets under that snapped flap, but I do love the look!

4. And finally, just in the nick of time, I finished my Minimal Day Sampler, the Seattle MQG 
block of the month project last year.

I hadn't appliqued in so long, I pretty much devoured each month's block assignment. And it felt great having this as my first finish  of the year.

Soooo.... one big, challenging project will carry over on my Q1 list, and the rest remains to be seen! If you'd like to join the Finish-A-Long for 2018, here's all the info. It's a fun, low-pressure way to keep moving on those works in progress!

Linking up with the 2017 Finish-A-Long Q4 linky. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Minimal Day

It's been nearly a year since Seattle MQG started its 2017 block-of-the-month, each block a lesson in needle-turn applique. Jonna/@bespokeoutlaw was our hostess, presenting a project inspired by two pieces of jewelry designed by her great uncle, Russell Day. Intriguing, right? If you compare the finished quilt with the photo below, I'm sure you'll be able to see some similar shapes.

My fabric choices included Carolyn Friedlander's linen-cotton blend, euclid, as my background fabric; and a bundle of Anna Maria Horner voile scraps for the applique. [The prints are from her Little Folks line; the brown, I'm not sure.]

In constructing the quilt top, I chose not to use sashing, but did add uneven borders. Wanting to incorporate more AMH fabric in the back, but not necessarily voile, I was happy to find a fat-quarter of her Honor Role in my stash. Pieced with a couple of coordinating solids and some natural Essex was simple but satisfying.

Quilting was done in Aurifil 50wt 2309 (Silver White), echoing shapes in some sections, and creating improvisational designs in others, all done with my walking foot. The actual color blended into the background, while the quilting really provided some stand-out texture. Measuring 38" x 38", a binding in natural Essex finished it off in a subtle way.

I found it very compelling to create this quilt inspired by a real person's designs in a very different medium. Note to self! I did find that the combination of the Essex and my quilting made it difficult to get really clear photos. Even so, it was an enjoyable excursion back to the days where I did alot of applique, and doing so with more modern designs was a treat.

This project was on my 2017 Q4 Finish-A-Long list! If you want to see all the block designs, they can be found on the Seattle MQG website. We've tagged our Instagram posts with #seamqgbom2017 and #minimaldaysampler. Linking up with Finish It Up Friday!