Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finish-A-Long First Quarter Finishes

Back in early January, Rhonda from Quilter in the Gap began a Finish-A-Long that had my name written all over it! {see my post about it here} The simple goal was to list projects from 2011 that you would seriously like to get finished in the first quarter of 2012. I made a list that was short, and hopefully doable. And I confess this commitment niggled my brain many times as I veered off onto other projects. But in the end, I persevered and can claim a 100% finish rate - big whew!

This set of Color Block placemats were a Christmas gift for my coworker, and as of January 2, I had 2(!) of 8 done. (The pattern, by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson!, can be found here.)
Within a week, I had my first finish of the year.

Next on the list were these scrappy depression blocks from Scrapbuster Swap Round 3.
As I showed off earlier in the week, the addition of scrappy sashing and border resulted in this twin-size quilt, which was donated yesterday in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Holden Village, an ecumenical retreat center in the mountains of Eastern Washington. {a whole quilt story blogged here}
Scrapbuster Swap Round 3 quilt using scrappy depression blocks is finished!

Lastly, was my Hometown Wild Thing by Thimble Blossoms. I had one block done at the time.
I really enjoyed these pinwheel blocks, and chose solid borders and simple quilting to frame them up. {blogged here}
Wild Thing complete 

Three for three feels pretty good.

Linking up for the Finish-A-Long's First Quarter Linky Party!

2012 Finish-A-Long

Friday, March 30, 2012

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 43 and So Forth

Boy, if I ever needed a list, this one's it!

List 43: What's on your declutter list?

I've been meaning to do this for weeks, and have barely started. (I sorted out the spice rack and cleaned the fridge. Gotta start somewhere!) Kellie of getthewordsout, the originator of the '52 lists in 52 weeks' project, has some links on her blog about decluttering. You might want to check them out here. I actually went to Pinterest and just typed in 'declutter' and got all sorts of interesting info, including this site - Happy Clippings. I got a chuckle from the byline on the pin: "How To Declutter in 30 minutes a Day. Now get off the computer and do it!" Uh, yeah. That would be good advice!

Anyway, here's a list I jotted down without trying too hard - all worthy goals, ha. 
  1. Magazine rack in family room has months of magazines that need gone through.
  2. Fabric stash in sewing room needs tidied - it's controlled chaos and even a little time here would help.
  3. Stacks of cookbooks around the house need corralled.
  4. Main food cupboard in kitchen needs a reorg.
  5. All kitchen drawers need a reorg also.
  6. Laundry room counter - yikes!
  7. Under my side of the bed is a mess of books and magazines that I mean to read but probably won't.
  8. Recipe clippings have overgrown their space and need entered in my MasterCook database or tossed.
  9. Spring cleaning time in my closet and dresser drawers.
  10. Front of fridge needs freshened up.
  11. Plastic bags need to be recycled.
  12. Gift wrap shelf is a mess.
Since I know you love photos, here's a quick peek at what went on in the sewing room last night . . . nothing major, but fun nonetheless.
 "Pathways" designed by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr from Modern Blocks

My first two "Hopscotch" blocks! I'm working with rulers (thanks Sharon!)
rather than templates, and cutting my own "jelly roll" strips which is working just fine.

And a surprise from Toni! Wow! My count is up to 22 now! Thanks, girl!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Nice to Share

I really enjoyed seeing three group quilts I had contributed blocks to being blogged about this week. Pretty cool to see your blocks as part of beautiful quilts that go to encourage people that are hurting.

This first quilt was put together by my FAITH Circle sis Kelsey of Kelsey Creates. Her husband's coworker's home was detroyed by a gas line explosion. Her original post asking for help can be found here, and her wrap-up post is here, where you'll also see more pictures of this scrappy quilt. The Mod Mosaic block pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman, and can be found on her blog, Oh Fransson! When I made my block for this quilt, I thought it was very fun to make, and just may try my hand at it again!

Kelsey put together this next quilt too, and shares about it here. It was do.Good Stitches FAITH circle's December 2011 quilt, made up of Wavy Prism blocks designed by Kelsey herself.

Lastly is a trio of baby quilts made by Rachel of Stitched in Color. They were the February project of the FAITH Circle, and you can read about the making of these Granny Square quilts here. Isn't it cool to see them with their different background colors? If you haven't given these popular blocks a try yet, you'll find the tutorial by Blue Elephant Stitches here.

Hope you enjoyed this little showing of quilts that are already on their way to giving care to folks in need.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Scrappy Upon Scrappy

Almost a year ago, I dipped my {quilting} toe into the pond of swapping, and joined the Scrapbuster Swap's Round 3 on flickr, hosted by Kreated By Kari. In this round, we were making scrappy depression blocks. I remember being very excited to be in my first swap (thanks to Marci's encouragement!) and proudly sent off 10 blocks.
My 10 blocks for Scrapbuster Swap
I even did a little extra "mod tree block" as a thank you to Kelsey.
Ready to ship Scrapbuster Swap blocks
By August, I had gotten all my swap blocks back! (There are also two in this dozen that I made and kept for myself.)
Scrapbuster Swap blocks returned
Marci and I did a little private swapping, and now I had 15. 
scrappy depression blocks 
The blocks unfortunately dilly-dallied in my fabric closet for several months. Eventually I came across this picture. (And if anyone knows the source, please let me know so I can credit appropriately!) Updated: I found the block on flickr and am pleased to give credit to Ryan Walsh of Ryan Walsh Quilts!
The light-bulb lit up, and I decided how I wanted to pull these blocks together - adding scrappy 'borders' to make the blocks larger. (My original plan was to set the blocks 4x4, so I made one more block. In the end, I settled on 3x5, so one lone block is stitched into the backing.)
expanded scrappy depression block 1/16
Even though I posted the next couple of pics a few days ago, I'm sharing them again as part of the 'story' of this quilt. Here's the top complete with a scrappy border.
Scrappy Depression Block quilt top
I was really pleased when I was able to catch my first 'stained glass' photo!
scrappy depression blocks in the sun
Some wavy white quilting and solid KONA Raisin binding and it's done!
Scrapbuster Swap quilt using scrappy depression blocks is finished!
All washed up and ready to be shared!

Linking up to the Festival of Scrappiness hosted by Rachel at Stitched in Color! Do check out the festival and be inspired by all things scrappy! Also will be linking up with Rhonda's 2012 Finish-A-Long at Quilter in The GapTNT at Happy Quilting, Finish It Up Friday, sew & tell Friday, {sew} Modern Monday, and Fabric Tuesday!

Update 1/29/12: The first quarter of Quilter in the Gap's Finish-A-Long is over! My original post about it is here, and the First Quarter Linky Party is here!

W.i.P. Wednesday

It looks like the thing I do best lately is add more projects to my TO DO list! Yikes. Not much to show for this W.i.P. Wednesday, but I did just barely finish my scrappy depression block quilt. Like just pulled it out of the dryer finished!

Completed projects
Scrappy Depression Blocks - What started as my first swap ever eventually became this quilt! Hope to have a full post with pics later today, in time for the Festival of Scrappiness.

Ongoing projects
Hopscotch - fabrics chosen, 60-degree ruler borrowed. Pretty excited to get going on this! And obviously cutting my own 'jelly-roll' strip

Windows Improv table runner - no progress. In fact I may try going a different route before I decide what I really want to do.

Upcoming projects  
* scrappy Metrolink
* April Modern Blocks Bee blocks NEW
* April do.Good Stitches blocks NEW
* FAITH Circle Pouch Swap NEW
* a quilt to coordinate with my Christmas tree skirt - On a Whim ??
* DS Quilts Doll Quilt Swap project 
* Little Quilt - Sew, Vote, Swap Group Round 4 project 
* Zakka Style Sew-Along projects NEW
* Festival of Half Square Triangles NEW
* tutorial for pieced binding
* a zip pouch w/o zipper tabs - want to know this way too

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday . . .
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

You know you're in for a good time when the name of the band is "The Stray Dogs." Better yet when the local high school principal is one of the lead singers. Actually, the event was a fundraiser for my coworker's son's senior grad night party. A bunch of us from work had met up at Big E Ales/Ellersick Brewing Co., a local brew-pub in our town - you know, to support the cause and all. Funny how even when the music is too loud to talk, the table is a great place when shared with {laughing, texting, singing} good friends.

I didn't come home with any new foodie tidbits, but did find some new tasty brew, and went hunting for my coworker's chili recipe, which I thought had beer in it. (See the connection there?) Well, it doesn't, but it is still our favorite chili these days, so I asked her if I could share her recipe.

                        Montana Gourmet Chili
(Recipe from Colleen Collins, originally from Joyce Jensen, Butte MT.) 

  1 lb.  ground beef
  1 lb.  pork sausage
  1 lb.  bacon cut up
  1 can  sliced mushrooms -- (4 oz.)
  1 large  onion diced
  1 green pepper diced
  4 cans  chili beans -- (15 oz.)
  1 quart  tomato juice
  2 cans  diced tomatoes -- (15 oz.)
  ½ t. salt
  1 t.  garlic powder
  1 t.  pepper
  1 t.  oregano
  1 t.  ground cloves
  1 t.  cinnamon
  1 t.  chili powder
  1 t.  cumin
  1 T.  sugar

Fry beef, pork, onion, and green pepper.  Fry bacon separately.  Drain fat from both.  In
8 qt. pan, mix all ingredients.  Simmer 2-3 hours.

And just in case you're not into the major pork in the above recipe, here's another tasty {Cooking Light} chili that daughter dear shared with me that does have that bottle of beer - Beef and Beer Chili.

Either way, I think you'll enjoy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 42 Etcetera

12 things I've learned so far in 2012:
(or at least they've been reinforced!)
  1. sometimes change is good
  2. rescheduling a haircut too many times catches up with you
  3. mixing and matching fabric for a project feels good
  4. personal style changes over time
  5. grief lingers 
  6. every year, it's harder and harder to stay in shape
  7. machine quilting is kinda fun
  8. hugs from a grandgirl makes any day great 
  9. it's amazing how satisfying a square of dark chocolate can be
  10. starching hasn't impressed me yet
  11. having an office to oneself feels luxurious 
  12. encouraging newbies is very gratifying
What I'm working on . . .

Did you notice the new Festival of Half Square Triangles announced by Canoe Ridge Creations starting April 2? Definitely worth a glance - see details here.

And Lindsey of LRstitched and Sukie of Don't you know who I am? are cohosting a Zakka Style Sew-Along also beginning April 2! {see details here} My copy of Zakka Style is on its way, and I'm hoping to sew along at least a few of the projects.
Zakka Style Sew Along
I don't think April is going to be boring!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tagged and Then Some

I'll warn you from the get-go. This post is word-HEAVY, photo-light. Don't feel obligated to continue on. The fact of the matter is, I've been tagged three times in as many days. That means alot of questions to answer! I figured I might as well get it over with!! 

First, Toni of Hoosier Toni tagged me - you can see the answers to her questions here. I'm not surprised her favorite color is orange, considering she grew up in Tennessee!
1. What is your least favorite color? yellow
2. What is your dream vacation, and would you take anyone with you? going to Italy again with hubby would be a dream come true
3. What was your first car? 1963 Mercury Comet
4. How did you meet your current partner/ love interest? at work
5. What is the worst injury you've ever had? stitches in my chin when I was young
6. What is your favorite snack? dark chocolate
7. Besides quilting, do you have any other hobbies? cooking/baking
8. What is your least favorite household chore? dusting
9. How close do you live to the place you grew up? a few miles
10. If you had to pick a favorite quilt, which one would it be? I think my Supernova. It is so packed with emotion and such a key piece of my quilting journey, it is super-special to me.
11. Do you have any pet peeves that you don't mind sharing? lack of follow-through
Supernova complete

Next it was Rebekah of The ThompsonsHere's her answers. Cool that she's a cake decorator!
1- Besides the obvious hobby that you blog about what other things do you enjoy doing? see #7 above; I also like tinkering with photography
2- If you were stranded on an island for a full year and could only eat one thing that whole year what would it be (calories/health considerations don't count)? pizza
3- What is your favorite book or one that you enjoyed recently? A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
4- Is there a movie that you like to watch over and over again?  What is it? Sound of Music
5- What is your absolute favorite thing you've ever made/sewn? see #10 above; but Kaleidoscope is a close second!
6- If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be? besides #2 above, visiting Australia would be awesome
7- If we went out for dinner, what restaurant would you pick? loving FIVE at the moment
8- What is your favorite childhood memory? my mom reading to me, rocking in the rocking chair with me on her lap
9- If you had to describe your personality in one sentence what would you say? dependable
10- Who do you consider one of the most inspiring people in your life? my step-dad, John
11- What is the last thing that made you smile? a gathering of friends
Kaleidoscope complete

And just last night it was Krista from krista stitched. Learn more about Krista here. Love her cat, Hank!
1. Starch or no starch? no
2. Prewashing or not? no
3. Solids or prints? prints though I definitely love solids too
4. Dogs or cats? cats, hands down
5. Big quilts or little quilts? definitely both, but love what you can try in a little
6. Thrifting or buying new? new
7. Wood floors or carpet? have carpet; want wood floors
8. Beer or wine? wine but enjoy both
9. Staying in or going out? there's a time for each for sure
10. One fabric line per quilt or mix and match? usually mix it up
11. Watching tv or listening to music? tv
Scrappy Super Swoon

Whew! Way more than you needed or wanted to know! Thanks though, to Toni, Rebekah, and Krista for including me in the fun!

Now to do my part, I'm tagging the following bloggers! Do check out their blogs and get to know them!
Megan of jaffa quilts
Montseta of Montse Cose Cose
Darcy of Modern Cozy
Lynne of pieceful
Manda of Quilty Moments
Erica of Happy Fabric
Mitzi of LiveLoveQuilt
Allegory of {sew} Allegorical
Andrea of Quilt Factory

And my questions are:
1. What is your favorite color to use in quilting?
2. Where would you like to visit in the U.S. that you've never been before?
3. How old is the car you drive most?
4. What's the last movie you saw and would you recommend it?
5. What makes a day great?
6. What is your favorite snack?
7. Besides quilting, do you have other hobbies?
8. What is your least favorite household chore?
9. Where would you live if you could?
10. What is your favorite quilt you've made?
11. What's your "wake up" beverage of choice?

O tagged ones, please feel free to participate as you wish! Have a great weekend everyone . . .

Friday, March 23, 2012

Three Words

These are the three words I finally settled on to describe my quilting style for the FAITH Circle swap.
Thank you for your kind comments this week as I reflected. It really was a gratifying and insightful exercise.
I was cheered when you loved my scrappy project more than I did. Thankfully, Jessica predicted correctly, and this quilt and I are friends again. 

Linking up with (sew) Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Royal Mail

SO excited to receive an envelope yesterday stamped Royal Mail! It contained my blocks from the Japanese x and + block swap! In the picture below, the top two rows are from the swap (including blocks from my friends Toni of Hoosier Toni, and January from Sew Sew Go - how cool is that!?); the third row are blocks from a private swap with my now-buddy Sue; and the bottom two I kept from the batch I made for the swap. A pretty good start towards a quilt, huh!?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

Since last W.i.P. Wednesday, it's pretty much been all about bee blocks!

Completed projects
Modern Blocks Bee blocks, 4x5 modern Quilt Bee blocks, and do.Good Stitches Faith Circle blocks for March - done! See here and here. Whew! Good to have those all done and mailed, though I enjoyed making them very much!

Ongoing projects
Scrappy Depression Blocks - I feel like I really need to get this one done - yes, for the Finish-A-Long, but really, because I just need to move on. What passion I had for this one is gone. sigh But! I did comple several more blocks - 10 done, 6 to go. Unfortunately I have no idea where to go with them once the blocks are done - sashing or no? borders or no? All TBD.

Windows Improv table runner - Finally getting to this runner that's been on my list for a while. I'm using Malka Dubrawsky's pattern, which I made in solids months ago and really loved. This one's for my cousin, and when she said she liked contemporary, geometric patterns, this one came to mind. So we'll see how I like it as I get further along.

Upcoming projects  
* tutorial for pieced binding NEW
* scrappy Metrolink
a zip pouch w/o zipper tabs - want to know this way too
* a quilt to coordinate with my Christmas tree skirt - On a Whim ??
* Little Quilt - Sew, Vote, Swap Group Round 4 project NEW
* DS Quilts Doll Quilt Swap project NEW

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday . . .
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


So the FAITH Circle of do.Good Stitches is having a little internal swap. Making a mosaic for it was fun and not at all difficult.

But I'm stuck on "Describe your personal style in 3 words" . . . Me? Style? I don't even know how to describe it! I'm sure I must have one. How do you describe your style?? What do you think of when you think of my work? Just curious here. And struggling to put it into words.

Tuesday at the Table

I totally forgot to mention that I did get Grasshopper Pie made on Saturday, per hubby's request. Glad I did.

What I really want to share today, though, is a yummy new salad I made recently - Chopped Salad with Bacon and Fried Garbanzo Beans. In general, I love a good chopped salad. This one was full of fresh ingredients, a little different with the fried garbanzo beans (yum!), and all-around tasty. (I did leave out the Ranch dressing which I thought was unnecessary, and subbed black beans for the butter beans, as that was what was in my pantry. I could see all sorts of mixing and matching with this one.)
                        Source: via Debbie on PinterestRecipe created by Traci Des Jardins  

And now, friends, I need your opinion. I've been thinking about ending the linky aspect of Tuesdays at the Table. It's not about numbers - I totally enjoy each post and am fine with their irregularity. I'm just wondering if you're liking that feature or not. Just let me know - if you link regularly, now and then, or never - is it a good thing? Or would you rather see it go away? Feel free to comment here or email me at aquilterstable at gmail dot com. Thanks!

But for today at least, feel free to link up!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Random on Monday

Well I didn't realize until late Saturday that it was National Quilting Day! There was no sewing done, but unknowingly I spent the afternoon celebrating in the best possible way - teaching a newbie about quilting! I had loaned her my copy of The Practical Guide to Patchwork, and she had picked out a pattern to try, and came, fabric in hand. So I showed her about cutting, stitching, pressing, and we talked all things quilty. Very cool.

Also cool has been my winning streak of late! As if it wasn't enough to garner a win in the Modern Mini Challenge {here}, I was pleased to win some "Meet the Gang" charms in  Kate's 50 follower giveaway on her blog, Katie Mae Quilts; and a "Brrr!" fq pack from Jessica over at Twin Fibers. Love all that fabric! Thanks Kate and Jessica!

Last night, I was able to wrap up the last of my 4x5 "Three Wishes" blocks - yay!
Just for fun, here they are all together, including my 'sample' block in the bottom right corner.
It's really been fun working with this block and trying all the varied palettes! (Pattern by Jamie Moilanen from "99 Modern Blocks")

Lastly, for those of you who were interested in the Little Quilt - Sew, Vote, Swap group, it's opened up for Round 4. Here are the rules if you want to check them out.

Happy Monday!

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday and Made by ME . . .

Saturday, March 17, 2012

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 41 and FNSI

First, the list for this week . . .

1. four places I've visited - Grand Tetons National Park, Crater Lake, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, Cinque Terre

2. four things I wish (maybe) I could get paid to do for a living - quiltyness, sight-seeing, something in the food industry, computerese

3. four things I am looking forward to - shopping at the new Whole Foods in our town once the Grand Opening crowd has disapated, settling into my new job, the next time we get to babysit grandgirl, teaching a newbie about quilting

4. four people who inspire me the most - hubby, daughter, son, mom

. . . and second, reporting in from Friday Night Sew-In. I didn't pick the quickest block in the book by any means, but do have two more 4x5 blocks to show for myself.

Four down, one to go!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The End of the Beginning and Bee Blocks

I seriously hope I haven't bored you to tears yet over my job transition. I just couldn't help but show you the modern cross quilt now hanging in my office {see here and here}. The week has gone well - my replacement is adjusting nicely, coworkers are finding me, my cross quilt has only been called a blanket once (ouch), and I finally have a phone that works (good news, bad news!). A few of you have asked if I've hung any other quilts, and the answer is yes!
You'll notice QWERTY there by my nameplate, and straight ahead is Sister Pairs, which I blogged about here. I'll show it off again since you haven't seen it in a while . . .
Sadly, it had been folded up in a pile of quilts for a few months, but now has found a happy home in my office, seen from clear down the hallway as people approach.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this step in my journey. It's meant alot to have you alongside.

Meanwhile, I finally got into the sewing room last night and was able to finish up my March bee blocks. First, some butterflies for Des for do.Good Stitches Faith Circle's current project. (tutorial found at Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts)
And this month for the Modern Blocks Bee, Krista/kritta22 send us solid black and light blue fabric, and told us we could choose any block in the book to make for her, and were free to add blue prints from our stash! She was so generous with the fabrics she sent, that I was able to make two blocks for her . . .
 The first is Blue Lagoon by Pat Sloan; the second is Fussy Cut by Susanne Woods.
Whew! What a relief to get these done, and also fun to try new blocks from Modern Blocks.