Monday, April 30, 2012

Improv Winner!

Oh I love it when the win on one of my giveaways makes me laugh out loud! And the winner of Quilting Modern, chosen by is:
#47 ~ Amy of Amy Made That! who I just 'met' last week when we did a little swap - my stamped linen for her key fobs, one of which I wore around my wrist half the day at work today, thank you very much! Well congrats to Amy! (Of course, I seem to have already deleted your address, so email me & I'll get the book out to you!)

Thank you all for playing along - there's so much y'all want to learn and do - truly inspiring! And do consider picking up a copy of Katie and Jacquie's book. I have no doubt you'll be inspired by it!

And for those of you who are now saying to yourselves, "darn, I didn't win," may I at least leave you with the mini quilt top I whipped up yesterday.
A super scrappy Swoon-ish sort of block, using every last DS pink I had (thanks, Kirsten!). I made a half-hearted promise way back when that I was done with my Swoon phase. Good thing I added {maybe}!

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.


Over the last few days, I've been working on a table runner for my mom's friend. The pattern is "Hollywood Boulevard" by Atkinson Designs, made mostly of French General by Moda. I've used a few of Atkinson's patterns over the years, and find them meticulous and straight-forward.
This runner just seemed to call for some straight-line quilting and a solid coordinating binding to finish.
Hopefully, I'll be able to deliver this project in a few days.

Meanwhile, I anticipate working on several smallish projects this week, more than one under a tight deadline. I've been enjoying your many comments on Saturday's Quilting Modern post, hearing about techniques and projects that are challenging you. If you haven't already, do check out the post and enter the giveaway for a copy of Katie Pedersen and Jacquie Gering's new book, Quilting modern: techniques and projects for improvisational quilts. I've had a chance to look through it closer, and it really is terrific! Have a great day - I'll be back tonight to chose a random winner!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quilting Modern

Several of you asked me to report back after I went to the book signing this morning. Well, in three little words, "It Was Awesome!" Daughter dear and I had a great time and are now happy owners of Quilting modern: techniques and projects for improvisational quilts. Well let me back up a bit . . .

The signing was at The Quilting Loft, a lovely little quilt shop about half an hour from our homes, where we had shopped before and even taken a few classes. It moved into a new space earlier in the year, so we were anxious to check it out. (Very nice!)
Katie Pedersen, co-author of the book, is a regular teacher there, and whenever we've visited, we've seen some of her quilts hanging around the shop as samples for her classes. What meticulous work she does. Anyway, when we were ready to have her sign our books, we walked toward her and were thrilled that she lit up, happy to see us and recognizing us from the class we'd taken last year. She was gracious enough to let us take her picture in front of one of the quilts from the book. Personally, I really like this one! (It looked like the background was linen, but Katie said is was chambray.)
And of course, she signed our books.
Found out she's a hugger, which is fine by me. We just had a wonderful time hearing about the book and the quilts and catching her excitement. I've barely had a chance to crack my copy, but from my quick thumb-through, it looks like a book I will definitely learn from and enjoy using.

Confession time. Driving down to the shop, I had the bright idea to buy an extra book and give it away! And yup, Katie signed it too! The Quilting Loft was giving a little stack of charm packs to everyone who bought the book at their shop, so I have one of those too - for one of you!
So giveaway time! Leave a comment on this post between now and Monday night, when I'll come back and choose a random winner. International entries welcome, of course. I'd love to hear what new quilty thing you'd like to tackle - whether it's a technique, a new block to piece, or a new style of improv. You name it!

The giveaway is now closed.

Friday, April 27, 2012

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 47 and Other Stuff

List 47: Things I've learned from my job:
  • knowing others believe in you is a huge motivator
  • working as a team is as frustrating as it is satisfying
  • everyone deserves respect
  • kindness is key
  • all means all
  • with the right encouragement, you're usually capable of more than you think
Guess I don't really feel like elaborating on work much, but it's been a good place to stretch myself, and I've grown alot there.

Meanwhile on to a fun, unexpected swap . . . Amy of Amy Made That! commented on my stamped fabric on my zakka pincushion post the other day, and before we knew it, we'd agreed on a swap ~ my leftover stamped linen strips for a couple of her fabric key fobs. How fun is that? We both received our goods today and agree it was a good trade! Thanks, Amy!

When I ordered the charcoal and tangerine for my 4x5 block quilt this week, I also stocked up on thread, and splurged on a "Bits & Pieces Scrap Bag PRINTS". It was quite a value for over 3 yards of "the good stuff", and though it appears they sold out quickly, I thought I'd show you anyway, as I think Pink Chalk Fabrics makes these up fairly regularly. I don't know what alot of them are, but they're still a pretty fun mix.

Last, I'm pretty excited to be dropping in on a book signing and trunk show tomorrow. The guest of honor will be Katie Pederson of Sew Katie Did, co-author of Quilting Modern along with Jacquie of Tall Grass Prairie Studio. Katie will also be demonstrating the ‘stitch and flip triangle’ technique featured in the book. Fun stuff.

The real reason I'm anxious to get my hands on the book is because it was from Jacquie that I was first exposed to "modern" quilting. And it was in a class with Katie where my limited world of hst was expanded. So they are both definitely part of my quilting journey, and I'm excited to share in their joint venture.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zakka Along Week 4 :: Sewing Kit

One of the fun things about participating in the Zakka Sew Along is seeing everyone's take on the projects. This week's project was a little travel sewing kit and coordinating pin cushion by Minori Design. Since I stamped on fabric during week three, I wanted to try something different this week. And then I remembered the little pack of Aurifil I'd won in Quilter in the Gap's 1st quarter Finish-A-Long linky. It was a variety pack, and that blue and black variegated on the right is a 12 wt cotton suitable for machine quilting on linen. Perfect.
So I cut into my Stone Quilter's Linen and FMF seeds, and partnered them with some royal blue shot cotton to add some contrast. I went for a fairly tailored look, adding some organic straight-line quilting on two edges of the front.
Zakka Style Sewing Kit
I used the variegated thread wherever stitching would show - inside and out, including trim on the pincushion. (Just fyi, I did change out my needle to a 90/14 quilting needle. Things felt a little tight as I threaded the machine, but I adjusted the tension a tad, and sewing went just fine.)
Zakka Style Sewing Kit
Though I had some leather thongs ready to go, mid-stream I decided to make some fabric ties. So I cut more strips the same width as the pocket binding (1"), which was a little fussy to work with, but gave a nice result. (I did see some discussion on the flickr page that some thought the 1" measurement was a typo. So you might check in there if you haven't started, though it worked for me as written.)

All in all, the sewing kit was very fun, and I love the simplistic look the stitching gives it.
Zakka Style Sewing Kit

Linking up with LRstitchedTNT Thursday, finish it up Friday, and {sew} Modern Monday.

Nip and Tuck

Oh my goodness, friends, the race has been close! I'm talking about the comments suggesting sashing for my 4x5 modern Quilt Bee blocks. {Full post here.} Orange, red, and black were clearly not in the running. Though charcoal was the clear lead with 23 votes, I was awed by the TIE between school bus and tangerine, each with 15 votes. Or if we look at it another way, there were 33 votes for an orange of some kind vs. 34(!) for a gray. Oh my. Now that is close!

So what's a girl to do? Well, I ordered both tangerine - my personal fav of the oranges - as well as charcoal, and plan to lay all my blocks out to make a final decision.
Thanks alot for all your input! What an opinionated lot you all are! haha. Let's just say I've really enjoyed the convo.

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

There's no newly completed projects to show for W.i.P. Wednesday today, but I'm content enough with my w.i.p.s that I don't really care. That actually feels kind of good.

Ongoing projects
Hopscotch - The top is pieced and has been delivered to my long-arm quilter. Pretty exciting stuff. 

Hollywood Boulevard table runner - In progress and coming right along! The pattern is by Atkinson Designs, and you may remember I made another runner using this pattern before Christmas. I've got one block done and two nearly. Already thinking ahead to quilting considerations.

Zakka Style Sew-Along project #4: Sewing Kit - Almost done. Once again, very fun.

MM Text Fabric Swap - This swap is unusual in that we're swapping 5"x10" pieces of text fabric. I got mine cut and mailed off.
Source: via Debbie on Pinterest (photo: quiltsandwich at etsy)

Upcoming projects
* Quilt using my 4x5 blocks from rounds 1, 2, & 3
* Tutorial for pieced binding
* FAITH Circle Pouch Swap
* more Zakka
* DS Quilts Doll Quilt Swap project
* Solstice Stars quilt
* a quilt to coordinate with my Christmas tree skirt - On a Whim ??
* scrappy Metrolink

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

Farro. Do you know it?
A type of hard wheat, I discovered it a year or two ago, and go through spurts of cooking with it. I've seen it mentioned around blogland alot recently, and I was reminded again of how much I like it.

First it was Audrie over at Blue is Bleu - she shared an amusing convo with her hubs regarding farro, and served hers fried up with ham and broccoli rabe, topped with fried eggs. Then over on chez us, there was a yummy sounding recipe for Farro and Roasted Broccolini Salad.

Personally, my go-to recipe is the first one I ever tried - Citrus Parmesan Farro Salad by Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks. (Heidi has several more tasty-sounding farro recipes here.) Sometimes, when I don't have the exact ingredients for her recipe, I use the basic formula of farro-dressing-veg-cheese and use ingredients I have on hand. Last weekend, I used the leftover dressing from Friday's Table Tidbit; spinach, tomato, and shelled edamame instead of the mixed greens; and crumbled feta in place of the Parmesan. Delish.
If you haven't tried farro, do! And if you have a recipe that uses it, please do share!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Now What?

So I showed you my 18 blocks from the 4x5 modern Quilt Bee last week {here}, and the big decision is -  now what? I'm thinking since the blocks have a variety of background colors, it might be nice to piece them with a different solid sashing/border to tie them all together. So here's some options I'm thinking about, testing colors with three sample blocks . . .

Kona Tangerine

Kona School Bus

Kona Orange

Kona Charcoal

Kona Pepper

Kona Tomato/Red (tweaked with photo editor)

Black (tweaked with photo editor)

I sure would like to know what you think!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

So Long, Farewell

I'm glad to say that the Hopscotch top is done.
 I love the palette.
Rather than deal with templates, I borrowed my friend's 60-degree ruler, and just measured and cut.
I think this is the first time I pieced triangle blocks, but they weren't hard.
I'm pretty pleased how it looks all stitched up.
And isn't there just something about a quilt top blowing in the breeze on a sunny day?
But now it's time to pack this baby up and check in with my long-armer. A simple pieced backing is made from Domestic Bliss by Moda; the binding, Kona Medium Gray to match the triangle points.
Come back soon, Hopscotch!

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 46 and Some Randomosity

This week's list makes me a little uneasy: List what you'd do with an enormous amount of money. I live comfortably, and have never really had the ambition to be rich, though by the world's standards, of course I am. But in the spirit of the list project, I'll play along. So in no particular order:

A new car - probably a hybrid, leather interior would be nice, and a sun roof. *** A new house or remodelling on our current one - it's a regular debate. *** Travel - continental and abroad. Just about anywhere. But not the moon. *** Donate to good causes - wells for clean water, cures for diseases. Totally. *** A professionally landscaped yard. *** Gifts for my family - their choice! Wouldn't that be fun?

Now for some random odds and ends . . .

I thought this discussion about the difference between patterns and tutorials was interesting.

Pretty sure I won't be able to fit in the Patchwork Prism QAL, but this is sure one awesome quilt!

You've probably been hearing about PicMonkey, a new "feature-rich, free online photo editor that works right in your browser". Personally, I'm impressed. Being a novice at Photoshop, I found PicMonkey really easy and fun to use. Curious what you think if you've had a chance to dabble with it.

And in project updates, I've managed to piece all the rows of Hopscotch, and have just two more seams left to stitch those rows together. Whew!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Table Tidbit

Lately hubby's been enjoying NPR while he's driving, and while in the car last night, it was on, and we listened to Molly Wizenberg tell about her basic salad dressing recipe. She called it 1-3-5 and all it is really is 1 Tb. Dijon mustard, 3 Tb. vinegar of choice, and 5 Tb. extra virgin olive oil, shaken and served.

So tonight I tried it using sherry vinegar, plus I added a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

I asked hubby to take a picture of the cruet before I poured it on our salad (delicious, by the way).
"I added a clove of garlic," I told him.
"Of course you did," he replied.

4x5 Modern Quilt Bee: Three Down

Well, I survived my first round as a bee caretaker for the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee, and have 6 lovely, modern gray/orange/white blocks to show for it, not to mention some new friends around the world. Below are all the blocks I've gotten in my three rounds with this bee. I've found it to be a really fun experience, I've tried new blocks I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise, and made blocks in such an interesting variety of color schemes for my hive-mates. 

I haven't heard when the next round starts up, but when it does, I'm ready with a new palette and a new mosaic - rainbow!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Zakka Along Week 3 :: Zakka Pincushion

This week's Zakka project was a pretty basic little pincushion, designed by Sonia Cantie of cozyhomemaking. What really caught my interest was the hand-stamped cotton tape that was stitched on the front. I actually did a little etsy window-shopping to see if I could find some stamped tape I liked. I mentioned my search to my friend Marci and she promptly suggested I make my own! What a novel thought.

A quick bing search brought me to Jennifer Rizzo's blog post, Tie a muslin ribbon 'round the old oak tree.... Her simple tutorial made it sound easy, so I went to Joann's on my lunch break and picked up the ink Jennifer suggested. I already had some rubber stamps I thought would be fun to try. And in about 5 minutes that evening, I'd stamped up some lengths of linen scraps. Perfect.

Rather that purchase lacey trim, I happened to have a French General selvage I'd saved, so I folded under the raw edges, and stitched it in place. And thanks to Granny's button tin, I found a button to cover. So in no time, my little Zakka pincushion was done!

I'll once again be linking up Sunday with Zakka Along Week 3 at LRstitched.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

It's been a good sewing week, with several small projects to show for W.i.P. Wednesday.

Completed projects
Zakka Style Sew-Along project #2: The House Pouch - This little pouch was really alot of fun. You can read more about it here. In making it, I also completed another 'to do' on my upcoming projects list - a zip pouch without zipper tabs, so that was cool.

Zakka Style Sew-Along project #3: Zakka Pincushion - This quick little project is done and I'll post about it later this week.

Spiraled - This is my entry for the festival of half square triangles, and boy was it a fun one. A complete post on this quilt is here.

do.Good Stitches - For April, the FAITH Circle is making two zigzag quilts. I enjoyed putting together my contribution - one gray zigzag strip, using 4" hst. Thanks to the nice gray stack in my stash, I was able to use 14 different grays - some of my favs.

Ongoing projects
Hopscotch - The blocks are all pieced and I really need to get back to this!

Hollywood Boulevard table runner - Fabric is all cut, so I'll be working on this soon.

Upcoming projects
* Tutorial for pieced binding
* FAITH Circle Pouch Swap
* more Zakka
* DS Quilts Doll Quilt Swap project - fabric arrived!! And I think I have a plan.
* quilt using my 4x5 blocks from rounds 1, 2, & 3 NEW
* Solstice Stars quilt NEW
* a quilt to coordinate with my Christmas tree skirt - On a Whim ??
* scrappy Metrolink

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

I am easily enamored by kitchen gadgets, as you saw a couple of weeks ago, and it's also true with unique food items.

Well, last weekend I tried some Swedish Pearl Sugar, produced by Lars own in Sweden. Hubby saw it at the store last time we were shopping, so we brought some home.
Since we had blueberries on hand, it sounded good to try the pearl sugar on some blueberry muffins.
The granules were kind of the texture of colored sprinkles, so I just treated them as such. They stayed right on top as the muffins baked, and when eaten, gave a subtle little crunch. I'll definitely be using the pearl sugar  more in my baking. Has anyone tried this product, or have their own "unusual" foodie item you enjoy using?Enlighten us!

Blueberry Muffins

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh

Stir together dry ingredients and add blueberries.

Combine egg, milk, and melted butter and stir into flour mixture and blueberries, stirring just to moisten. Do not Beat. Bake at 375-degrees for 20 minutes until lightly golden.