Monday, December 31, 2012

Fresh Sewing Day

It kind of seems like I've shared plenty already about my projects, but really now. Fresh Sewing Day is such a lovely tradition, and I figured I might as well share a December mosaic. One glance and you'll see why I didn't sew for nearly a week after Christmas. whew.

Most were gift wrappings and oh-so-practical. Then there were several gifts, December's bee blocks, and one very satisfactory Maisy quilt finish.

I'm following Lynne's lead and declaring my favorite block of the year, which was "Three Wishes" by Jamie Moilanen from 99 Modern Blocks, and one of the blocks I made bee-mates in the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee.
"Three Wishes"

Favorite "anything" quilt-related had to be the whole Triple-Zip Pouch experience. Enough about that . . .

And favorite quilt? Well that's much more difficult to determine. So I think I'll choose two. First would be Spiraled, a mini I made for the festival of half-square triangles. It was the first time I took a pile of blocks and just began creating on my design wall. I love the barely contrasting border, the few escaping spirals, and this was the one and only time I used angled matched binding.

And then there was The Stars of Summer. Here was the most non-traditional layout and palette I had ever done, both of which pleased me to no end. The quilting turned out just as I had envisioned, and again, I felt the matched binding just made it.

So now, really truly, I think I'm ready to face forward into the new year.

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day.

A Backwards Glance

It's been enjoyable reading everyone's 2012 wrap-up posts, and these last few days, I've been thinking about my own. I know I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed recovering from the holidays and all, but I guess I'm also a bit in awe over all this last year has held. I started making mosaics - and needed several! I started a list of accomplishments, and it brought back such fond remembrances. 

So to start, I'll share that list - of what I consider kind of major happenings in this year of sewing and blogging . . .
  • 52 lists in 52 weeks - As the name suggests, this was a year-long project where I wrote a prompted list each week. This project concluded in June and was at once, self-reflective, mind-boggling, and fun.
  • Zakka - Oh Zakka! 24 weeks of projects, and crazy me, I did every one. Many have been gifted, a handful made in repetition. At any rate, this sew-along was one of the year's highlights.
  • *Picture-Perfect* Polaroid Swap - So who had no clue what she was getting into when she came up with this bright idea?! That would be me. There were 66(!) swappers, and 3293(!) blocks swapped. What absolutely delightful chaos this was! And yes, I still need to do something with all the blocks I received!
  • Weekender - Oh my. When I finished this bag, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, and I still do.
  • Sewing Summit - On a whim, daughter dear and I decided to go to Sewing Summit this year, and it was a perfectly wonderful experience in so many ways. We learned, we sewed, we explored, but above all, we met so many talented and lovely people from our online quilting community.
  • Tutorials - I did five this year, and found even the simpler ones alot of work. But how gratifying to share a little something of yourself with others. I hope to do it again.
  • Stretching - There were several areas, all extremely satisfying   . . . experimenting more with free-motion quilting - an expert I'm not, but I'm not scared to try anymore; conquering frame purses - with both glue-in and sewn-on frames, and so not as difficult as they look; guest-hosting and features - so affirming; and in general, taking inspiration from what I've seen and making things my own . . . 
And back to those mosaics. There's massive bee blocks here and here, assorted bags, Zakka, Ruby Star Wrappings, and an assortment of other littles. And then . . . then there are the quilts, shown below. As I glance through them, it's hard to describe what I feel . . . a sense of achievement, of course. But also a recognition of growth, an outright fondness, and undeniably, a desire to make more.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Extreme Sightings

After the adventure the Triple-Zip Pouch tutorial has had these last few months, I thought I'd share another round of sightings, previously shown here, here, and here.  

Featured in November with other "Crafty Little Things to Sew" on Sew Can She, it also showed up in DIY Crafting at heart-2-home.

But the most fun of all has been seeing triple-zips that others have made. Like Kristin of Kristin's Quilts and Stuff . . .
Triple Zip Pouch
Used by permission.

and Selina of selina quilts.
Used by permission.

Look at all these that were posted on Quilting with A Quilter's Table . . .

Blue Square Quilting outdid herself and made 19(!) as Christmas gifts!

In all, I've see at least 45(!) Triple-Zip Pouches made . . . so gratifying! And for the tutorial to have won the Handmade with Love Tutorial Contest was "icing on the cake!" You can bet I'm looking forward to seeing more, so keep sharing them!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 Finish-A-Long News!

she can quilt
I was just innocently reading through my google reader this morning and stumbled on the exciting news that Rhonda of Quilter in the Gap is handing over the 2013 Finish-A-Long torch to Leanne of she can quilt! The FAL has been a huge motivator for me in 2012, and I fully intend to participate in 2013. In fact, I picked up one of my FAL projects yesterday, realizing that the end of the year is right around the corner, and my finish ratio isn't that great for this quarter!

Anyway, you can read all about the news here and here. Do consider joining in the fun, the community, and the finishing!

A Tuesday at the Table Winner

A quick hello to announce the winner of December's Tuesday at the Table linky party!
Congratulations to Darcy of Modern Cozy! She is a prolific participant at The Table, and besides going a little donut crazy like myself, has shared all sorts of deliciousness from her kitchen. We had the pleasure of meeting at Sewing Summit, and I so appreciate Darcy's support of me and A Quilter's Table. Darcy - I'm emailing you as soon as I finish this post!

Thanks to everyone who commented and linked up this month! It's been fun!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This and That

Quilting blogland seems a tad subdued, which isn't too surprising really, but still. Honestly, since the big rush of finishing presents and wrapping on Christmas Eve, I haven't been in the sewing room except to clean up the mess I'd made! Event-wise though, there's plenty going on - some wrapping up (no pun intended), and some gearing up for the new year.

The Ruby Star Wrapping Contest comes to a close Sunday night. Each entrant is allowed three entries, so I entered my Simple Drawsting Bag, the Melody-Didn't-Mean-to-Make-It Tote, and my lifesaver as far as wrapping went this Christmas - the Pillowcase Pouch. I was happy to see some of you bloggy friends had entered too.

And while on the topic of sustainable gift-wrap, look at these clever {and darling} gift-tags by amyinuk. Check out the tutorial on her blog, [Amy's] Crafty Shenanigans.
Recycled Christmas card tags

Now on to new challenges for the new year! Saw this today . . .
If you remember, last year's color was Tangerine Tango, and I had great fun creating Tangerisk.
"Tangerisk" for Tangerine Tango Challenge
When last year's challenge was announced, I had never even heard of Pantone's Color of the Year. And I definitely was not an 'orange' person. But I must say that after this last year, I love it, and have used it quite a bit. So we'll see if Emerald has the same affect on me. Not sure yet if I'll participate in the challenge or not, but I do want to at least try and incorporate some Emerald in my sewing . . . just because.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of personal challenges I'm looking forward to. One of those is venturing more into foundation paper piecing with Elizabeth of don't call me betsy and her block of the month club.
To start us off, Elizabeth gave us a practice block - and yikes, it's pretty impressive! I'll try to work on mine soon so you can see . . .There's an option of making either 12.5" blocks or 6.5" blocks, and I think I'll go with the 6.5". So there may or may not be a Lucky Stars quilt down the road - maybe some smaller star projects. We'll see.

AND I've been itching for a 'tv project', and I don't always have a quilt laying around to bind. So I up and joined hey porkchop's Woodland Sampler series. Are any of you joining in?
Image of 2013 Monthly Woodland Sampler PDF Pattern

I'm sure there's plenty more goings on. I'd love to hear what you're planning on getting involved in or trying new in the next weeks and months . . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Finish Postscript

There's no W.i.P. Wednesday this week, so I thought I'd tally up the Christmas finishes I haven't shared yet.

Ruby Star Wrapping Pillowcase Pouches - This pattern saved the day for me. Though I had planned on making oodles of fabric gift bags this year, I missed my goal by a long shot. But on Christmas Eve, when I finally got around to wrapping my gifts for my family, I realized that not only did I not have as many fabric bags as I had planned, but I also ran out of paper ones. Thank goodness pillowcase pouches are pretty quick! I think I even was working so quickly that I forgot to take pics of a couple.

Drawstring Bags - I could not not make one for daughter dear, the queen of fabric gift bags! It was The Artist Bag (16" tall x 14.5"), in blue and gray snowflake dots.

Infinity Scarf - I mentioned last week that this item wasn't very photo friendly, and truly, I was afraid the project was a fail. Even though the fabric was a lovely voile, I wasn't sure it draped well enough. But once my daughter-in-law-to-be slipped it on, I knew it was fine. It looked just darling on her.
(fabric was cut 11"x42"; shown here looped once)

Zakka Frame Purses - I made three for gifts, two with the pleats, and one without, just to try it. Unfortunately, I only managed to take a finished picture of one of them.

Frame Purse - For this little one, I actually drafted a pattern to fit my frame, and I love its unique shape.

And lastly, in addition to running out of gift bags, I also ran out of tags! On Christmas Eve! So I cut into a quilted scrap from the stocking I made recently, and quickly stitched up some tags.

I'll definitely be making some of these again!

For next W.i.P. Wednesday, I hope to also report on the couple of projects I did not get done!

Linking up with finish it up Friday.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

Over the years, we occasionally were invited to our friends' home on December 23, "Little Christmas Eve." These friends were of Danish heritage, so being invited for Little Christmas Eve meant one thing: we were going to have aebleskiver. Much to our delight, we were served these round pancake balls hot from the specially-designed skillet, and offered a variety of tasty toppings and breakfast meats to round things out. We loved it.

Son was about 10 when he curiously asked THE question: "Do you have to be Danish to make aebleskiver?" {We are not.} The answer was "no," of course, and shortly thereafter, we owned an aebleskiver pan of our very own.
Source: via Simone on Pinterest

Off and on in years since we've enjoyed this delightful tradition in our own home, usually on Christmas morning, or just because we had a hankering for this unique deliciousness. (Since we aren't Danish, we've continued to bend the rules.) Still, it was a special pleasure to be invited over this last weekend to have aebleskiver with our friends again, because this time, it was the daughter, now all grown up, who was hosting us, standing at the stove cooking pan after pan until we all had had our fill. And then as tradition has it, the last hot batch was for the cook herself, as she sat down to join us at the table.

There's something super special to me about tradition being handed down to the younger generation, and even more so when it is thoroughly embraced. Make opportunity to share something you love with one of your younger family members. Lift up the tradition for the unique part it holds in your family. It really is extraordinary.
Tuesday at the Table is falling on a holiday this month, so I know most of you are preoccupied. But undoubtedly some cooking, or at least some time around the table, has been included in your day of celebration. I hope you will share some of that in the days ahead. Link up here through Friday, December 28, for a chance at this month's prize - a $40 gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics. Meanwhile, thanks for joining me at The Table. Wishing you all many blessings, and a very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oh My Goodness!

After a super busy work week, I've spend the last couple days doing what many of you are doing too - finishing up my Christmas shopping, sewing gifts, thinking about wrapping, meal planning and shopping, and especially, enjoying family. So I wasn't really paying attention today when Kathy at Pink Chalk Studio announced the winners of the Handmade With Love Tutorial Contest.
When my Triple-Zip Pouch tutorial was chosen as a finalist in the Gifts for Friends category over a week ago, I was completely thrilled. And of course, I thought about how nice it'd be to win the category, but I really didn't think it possible. So when the emails started coming in today congratulating me, I rushed right over to Pink Chalk. Boy was I surprised to see that not only had I won the category, but THE contest. Shocked, excited, humbled - that's pretty much how I've felt ever since. 

Thank you to all of you who voted for my tutorial, for those of you that have done me the honor of actually making your own triple-zips, and for all of you who just stop by to see what I'm up to here at A Quilter's Table. It means alot.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ruby Star Wrapping :: Pillowcase Pouch

One thing I love about sew-alongs such as Ruby Star Wrapping {and Zakka!} is seeing what others do with the same pattern. Case in point: seeing Amy/Diary of a Quilter share her Pillowcase Pouches made me want to run right to my sewing room!

When I finally did get there, I started off with a couple of basic pouches. Great idea Amy had to do French seams, and it barely added any time at all, but made a really nice finish. And for families that like to reuse bags (paper or otherwise) year after year, this simple tip will likely prolong their usefulness.
The first thing I learned making the Pillowcase Pouch was to keep in mind the directional nature of the fabric, which you can see illustrated above and below. 
I discovered that for a very flat gift, you really don't need to fold the top over, and with a festive reindeer accent strip, who really even needs a ribbon?
On my last pouch, I used a companion fabric for the top several inches. And since my fabric wasn't quite wide enough for my gift, I decided to add contrasting side insets. . .
then small gussets at the base helped accommodate the thickness of the gift.
So for the little amount of time spent on these handmade wrappings, I got four presents ready to gift, and enjoyed a much needed dose of sewing room time.

Fabric in picture order: from Riley Blake's "Christmas Candy", Kate Spain's "12 days of Christmas", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by Marisa and Creative Thursday (reindeer from Kate Spain's "Flurry" panel), and lastly, "Brrr!" by Laurie Wisbrun. Linking up with Ruby Star Wrap-Along and the Ruby Star Wrapping Contest.

W.i.P. Wednesday

Whew! I've been going non-stop. Work is b.u.s.y. this time of year so the days are long and the deadline looming. Same can be said of the sewing room. Mass gifts and wraps  - some already gifted, some soon, some in progress. I know it's W.i.P. Wednesday, but I can't show you all the wips, if you get my drift and I'm sure you do. So please forgive if there's more finished projects to show this week. I promise you, all in due time . . .

Completed Projects
Ruby Star Wrapping Snack Sack minis - I tweaked the pattern to make the little sacks just right for a gift card. Talk about quick and easy!
Ruby Star Tiny Snack Sack 

Falling Flakes stocking - Love this pattern by imagine gnats, who offers a free tutorial on her blog. It was super fun to put this together. I trimmed about 1" off the top to make its size more comparable to our other stockings, plus made my own fabric hanger, rather than use a ribbon.
falling flakes stocking 

Drawstring bags - Used Jeni's pattern of course. I'd really planned to make oodles of these, but so far have only managed to make the two that have already been gifted. oh well. The dotty one is The Project Bag (13"  tall x 8") and the bird one is The Snack Bag (8" tall x 4.5").
Drawstring Bag


Zakka potholders - Used some DS prints and plaid along with some white Essex.
Zakka Style Potholders

Zakka frame purse - just for fun. I adore this pattern.
Zakka Style Frame Purse

Infinity scarf - Not very photo friendly, but fun to make. I referred to a tutorial by Nancy Zieman, plus got some help from Heather. I'll keep trying to get a decent photo - love the voile I used - first real item I've sewed using voile.

Frame purse - I confess I love how this one turned out with fussy cut Field Study poppies. 
Metal Frame Purse 
Lining is Nordic Diamond by heaven & helsinki. Sorry I only managed to get the thread in focus, but my tiredness precluded me from popping the camera card back in and trying again. At least you get a peek at the contrasting interior. It makes it, imho.

Ongoing projects
Modern Crosses quilt - No progress but top priority once Christmas is done! Serious.

Zakka frame purse without the pleat - I set it aside for a bit, so still working at stitching that frame on.

A stocking for hubby - Not sure why I decided he needed a new stocking this year, but I'll be using Camille Roskelley's Merry pattern (the zig-zag one), so am working on piecing some hst's. Shouldn't take long once those are done.

Plus other Christmas surprises are in the works!

Upcoming projects
* more Christmas!
* more frame purses
* Ruby Star Wrapping - pillowcase pouches + ??
* Binary quilt using blocks from Modern Blocks Bee
* scrappy Metrolink - January?
* Polaroid block projects - January?
* placemats

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

My coworker, Colleen, brought me a baggie of cookies a few days ago. I ooh-d and aah-d appropriately, and enjoyed the back-story she told me: 

"This is an old German Recipe from Ron's {her hubby} mom, Caroline. 

In our family, we make the dough on Thanksgiving night which has become a tradition.  We have a special wooden spoon and pot that we have used for as many years as I can remember to mix the dough.  It takes a lot of manpower to make the dough, as the recipe is large, so everyone takes a turn mixing at some point.

Ron usually cuts out and bakes the cookies on the day that we put up our tree.  He then sends some to his dad, sister, and brother.

The recipe makes so many that we enjoy them well into the new year.  They say they are better the longer they are allowed to 'age'."
Personally, I love stories like that - ones full of good food, family, and tradition. Colleen generously shared her family's treasured recipe . . .

Peppernut Cookies
3/4# butter
1 1/2 pints dark Karo syrup
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 Tb. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 Tb each: allspice, ground anise seed, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, & mace
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
4 to 5 Tb. flour

Heat and dissolve butter, syrup, molasses, sugars, and salt. When cooled somewhat (so that eggs will not cook when added), add eggs and spices, then set aside.

Add soda to buttermilk (it will get foamy) and set aside. Add baking powder to first batch (a sifter full) of flour.

Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the original mixture starting with flour. When the buttermilk mixture runs out, keep adding flour, even using hands at the end when it gets too stiff for a spoon.

Let the cookie dough rest overnight in a cool area. Next day, roll dough out to about 1/8" thickness. Cut and bake 10-12 minutes in a moderate oven (about 350-375 degrees F). Store in non-airtight containers.

So what about you - any heirloom recipes to share about? Or other meaningful traditions? Holiday projects you are working on? We'd love to hear. Link up through December 28 for a chance to win a $40 gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabrics. Cheers!

Monday, December 17, 2012


I was a tad surprised when I saw that Pantone had chosen Emerald as Color of the Year for 2013. {click link to read more} Generation Q had some interesting thoughts on the subject this morning.

Needless to say, I was pleased when daughter dear presented me with an official Pantone swatch so I know exactly what we're talking about here. I took it into my stash closet, and though I have a nice stack of greens, not many like this. Interesting indeed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Handmade with Love

Thanks to Karen of capitola Quilter who nudged me to add my tutorials to the Handmade with Love Tutorial Contest sponsored by Pink Chalk Fabrics. And wouldn't you know, it was Karen who alerted me by email this afternoon that my Triple-Zip Pouch had been selected as one of the finalists in the Gifts for Friends category!
What a lovely surprise! It's been so fun to see my tutorial enjoyed by others these last few months, and I most certainly appreciate the affirmation of it being chosen as a finalist. 

Take a moment, won't you, and check out the lovely projects in the contest and vote for your favorites among the finalists. Honestly, I know many of the entrants, either online or having met at Sewing Summit, and wish them all the best!