Friday, November 30, 2012

Absolutely Mod Pop

When Julie of Distant Pickles first showed off her finished Mod Pop, I was totally wow-ed. I mean this quilt was unique and bold and fun. Not long after, I saw Leanne/shecanquilt's done in solids, and I just loved it. I really didn't consider making a Mod Pop myself, though, until Leanne came up with the Mod Pop QAL, and just for fun I decided to join in and make the baby size, just to go along for the ride and try something outside of my comfort zone.

For fabrics, I chose seven Kona solids - Berry, Crocus, Hibiscus, Lupine, Petunia, Thistle, Violet, plus another Violet of unknown origin. The chain fabric is Northcott Colorworks' Pearl, a very light gray. I purchased Julie's acrylic template set, and cut my curves out with a very small rotary cutter, which worked great. I got my first block put together at Sewing Summit.

In all honestly, I moved at a snail's pace from there. I just let those curves intimidate me. Not sure why, but I had issues getting them matched up just right. But I kept at it, and eventually the chain design really began to show itself off.
For the backing, I chose V and Co. Simply Color Ikat Diamonds Eggplant. For me, it was a perfect choice, has such a nice hand, and quilted up so nice! I really need to add more Simply Color to my stash!
I chose to use variegated purple thread for quilting the background of Mod Pop. It's King Tut "Crushed Grapes", which coordinated wonderfully! For the chains, I used light gray Aurifil.
Aurifil 100% Cotton Mako Thread MK50-2600 Light Grey
I'll abstain from much self-criticism here - the good news is I free-motion quilted the majority of this quilt (the purple background); the bad news is, I'm still learning and gaining confidence. So in no way is it perfection, but it is done, and overall, I'm pleased. The chains were done with the walking foot, basically following the design. My hera marker came in very handy here.
As for the binding . . . there was a hearty discussion on Instagram when I asked for thoughts on binding. I was simply considering either a solid or a print (the Ikat Diamonds), and was a bit taken aback by the suggestions of orange! or yellow! Oh my. It sounded fun though, and I honestly did get those solids out and audition them. But either I had the wrong shades or who knows what, but they just didn't work for me. So Lupine it is. Maybe next time . . .
I took the quilt along in the car to finish binding today while hubby and I were out and about, and finish I did. Soooo, we decided why not have an impromptu photo shoot? 
So, Mod Pop is done! It was a stretch both in piecing and quilting, but I'm really pleased to have conquered it!

Linking up with finish it up FridayAt the end of the hallway, Friday Felicities, and Fabric Tuesday. AND this quilt was on my fourth quarter Finish-A-Long list! Also linking with shecanquilt's final roundup here.

Ruby Star Wrapping :: Perfect Wine Wrap

While we were on a wine-tour vacation last summer, we picked up a bottle for friends, who we happened to meet  for dinner last night. So the Perfect Wine Wrap project came along at just the right time. I used Parson Gray's Curious Nature as the main fabric, trying to make the wrap a tad masculine. Where the suggestion in the book was to use a vintage tea towel as the lining, I used some Essex Linen. Though the original idea that this wrap could be re-purposed as a kitchen towel is very clever.
Seriously, this project was done and the bottle wrapped in about 30 minutes. The only change I'd make next time would be to do a better measurement for where I wanted the ribbon casing (which is only on one end, the right-hand one in this photo). In following the guideline of 2" from the top, I wasn't able to place the ties equally at the ends, which would have made me happier.

If you'd like to see another take on this project, Heather of Bolt Neighborhood had her own twist. I loved her idea, though it didn't work for my particular bottle. (I tried!)

Overall though, this was a nice quick way of wrapping up this simple gift.

Linking up with Ruby Star Wrapping.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


There's no shortage of gadgets at our house, and I admit, I'm always up for a new one. So when my sister-in-law gifted me with one last weekend, I was more than pleased. It's a seam ripper with a twist - "innovative thread removers on each end." It's called a seam-fix, and believe it or not, there's even a youtube video showing how to use it. Now that's really random, but of course doesn't mean I'm not anxious to give it a try. I'm sure I'll have a chance soon.

On a more serious note, there was a really thoughtful and thought-provoking post by Jacquie of Tallgrass Prairie Studio yesterday on the private lives behind our public faces. It's worth a read.

Also yesterday, I was able to visit Drygoods Design, a little(!) shop tucked in behind the delicious Anchored Ship Coffee Bar. I chatted with Drygoods' owner, Keli  (we happen to cross paths on Instagram) about her new venture, MAKE*DO*MEND, an adjacent craft and sewing studio, which sounds like a really special place. I can't help but wish it were closer to my home!
Meanwhile, I enjoyed visiting the shop and finding a few adds to my stash. {What's a girl to do?}
And lucky for all of you who aren't able to actually visit the storefront, they have a complete online shop too. You might even consider checking it out soon, as they are having a mighty fine "spend $40 and save 40% on fabric" sale through 12/1, with the use of the posted coupon code.

Speaking of Instagram, I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I'm there - just look for aquilterstable. Fun times.

And to end on a totally random note, I thought I'd share a pic hubby took last weekend when we traveled to Eastern Washington. When I peeked out the window in the morning, I thought it had snowed, but no, it was just really heavy frost. I love the shot he took.

Linking up with Really Random Thursday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

With the holiday last week I was able to squeeze in a little time in the sewing room, getting this month's bee blocks done and mailed off, a few littles whipped up, and even touched each of my quilts-in-progress. So here's my W.i.P. Wednesday report!

Completed Projects - I'm not going to risk boring you with more pics of completed projects you've already seen, so feel free to hop back to the posts on these finishes if you missed them the first time around.
Brrr! Potholders & Lined Drawstring Bag
Ruby Star Bag
November Bee Blocks

Ongoing projects - Meanwhile, I've made at least some progress on each of the three quilts I'm working on!
Christmas lap quilt - So I've cut plenty of strips and have started piecing to make the 'dark' top and bottom blocks. Three down, 17 to go . . .

Modern Crosses quilt - 25 blocks done and a longarm quilting appointment for the first of January, so feeling pretty good about progress here.

Mod Pop Quilt-along - Oh I'm pretty pleased about my progress on this one! I'll share about the backing in the reveal post, but let's just say the quilting is coming right along!The purple 'background' is done and now I'm working on the pearl gray...

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

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday at the Table

Having baked the pecan pie and the cornbread for the dressing the night before, I got to the kitchen Thanksgiving morning thinking I had a good start on the day. Till I reread the dressing recipe which said to cut the cornbread and French bread into cubes and let it dry on trays for 24 hours. Oops. So I got on the web to double-check what I thought would be a good substitute for air-drying ... pop in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes or so. But what I found really entertaining was the discussion on the topic I found at Serious Eats. After a dozen or more comments, the person who started the conversation said, "I just realized how nutty it seems to have started a post, semi-freaked out, over the best way to get bread stale." Uh, righto.

So the point is, yes it's great to make things from scratch when you can and if you enjoy it. You know I often do. But what's really important is sharing good food around the table. Yeah my family is inclined to try a new recipe, make the pie from the vegetable up, and stand at Grandma's elbow as she makes her awesome gravy again. But it's that gathering, that sharing conversation and a meal that really sticks with you, binds you together, and sends you out truly nourished and ready to face another day. Do it. It's worth it.

Meanwhile, a quick report back from a recent post - The Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe that I tried is definitely a keeper, and will be my 'go-to' dressing recipe from now on! Mom got the idea from food TV to bake the dressing in muffin tins, and that went over really well with our crowd, so I'll be doing that again too. Love when something new is a success.

As for the monthly linky, it ends Friday night. Remember that Jennifer of knotted thread has generously offered a bundle of fat-quarters from Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill collection. That's 12 FQ's in the colorway of your choice! So join in and link up here by midnight PST on November 30 - a recipe, an experience in the kitchen, a project for your table or kitchen, a recap of your Thanksgiving meal . . . and I'll choose a random winner from the link-ups this weekend.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

An Early Christmas

Over the mountains and through the wheat fields to brother-in-law's house we went. Dark o'thirty the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we headed east to join hubby's family for our annual early Christmas gathering. Years ago we decided to go the gift-exchange route, so everyone brings a gift, then we draw numbers to decide who picks one first etc. etc.

This year I was so inclined to make my gift, not totally sure how it would go over, but feeling ok that IF I brought my own gift back home I'd be perfectly fine with it. I went really practical and dug into my stack of Brrr! fat quarters, making a couple of quilted potholders reminiscent of those I made my Mom for Mother's Day. Originally inspired by Jacquie of Tallgrass Prairie Studio, and still my favorite potholder 'pattern' y-seams and all, they measured about 10" when complete. And with a layer of both cotton batt and Insul-Bright, they'll be functional and study, as well as fun to use.
Of course, one of Jeni's drawstring bags was perfect to gift them in, showcasing the largest scale print in that cherry palette.
Gladly, my gift went over just fine, transferring hands several times, which is a gift-exchange compliment for sure.

Linking up with {sew} Mondern Monday and Fabric Tuesday.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bee Blocks and A Finish

Bee blocks for October and November are all on their way to their respective owners, so I thought I'd do them a little farewell post. 

In the Modern Blocks Bee, Susan/thehistoryquilter asked for this lovely Parisian Star, done up in osnaburg and voile. The texture of this quilt will be amazing. This star pattern by Leanne Cohen, goes together so quick, and as Susan confirms, is great in just about any fabric.
Parisian Star - October

Diamond Ripples, by Lara Finlayson, was requested by Toni/HoosierToni.
Diamond Ripples-November
Like many others in our bee, I was curious how a quilt's-worth of these blocks would look together! Leanne/shecanquilt put together a mosaic so we could all see. Isn't it really interesting and surprising? I can't wait to see Toni's quilt put together!
Diamond Ripples in a mosaic

On to the Always Bee Learning bee. In October, Marci/Marci Girl Designs had us make a Y-Seam Hexagon Block (Modern Baby Quilt) from the book "Fresh Quilts" by Malka Dubrawsky. This looked kind of difficult, but it was really fun to put together and made such a pretty block. This is another quilt I can't wait to see completed!
Modern Baby Quilt block

Thanks to Leanne/shecanquilt, we all got to dabble in improv this month. She asked for asterisks and plus blocks or any other symbol. I couldn't resist making a pound sign block, reminiscent of QWERTY. I really do enjoy these blocks. I bet another wonky cross or asterisk quilt is in my future.
Improv symbol blocks

FAITH Circle of do.Good Stitches took a break in October for a little reorg. Here's a mock-up of the quilt we made blocks for this month, designed by Debbie/Blue.Ridge.Girl:
Irish Chain & Ribbon Stars
I made this teal and gray Ribbon Star. The pattern is from Lee at Freshly Pieced, and she shares her easy to follow tutorial here.
Ribbon Star
And then we were all asked to make a Modified Irish Chain block as well.
Modified Irish Chain block

So I'm all caught up right now, and as a reward of sorts (or so it seems) - Kelsey of Kelsey Creates posted her completed FAITH Circle Ohio Star quilt today! Here are the blocks I made for the quilt . . .
Ohio Star for May FAITH circle
And here is the finished quilt!
Do. Good Stitches, FAITH, May 2012
It's always so fun to see one of the quilts I've contributed to come together! Guess that inspiration is part of what keeps all of us doing it!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ruby Star Wrapping :: The Melody-Didn't-Mean-to-Make-It Tote

Apparently, this Ruby Star Wrapping pattern was an accident, created unexpectedly while designing a different project. But considering my fondness for fabric bags, it was one project in the book I needed to try. I pulled out some pretty special fabrics - my first Anna Maria Horner Field Study for the main bag fabric, Lizzy House jewels for the accent, and a new favorite, Dear Stella Diamond Dots for the lining.
Please don't get me wrong - this bag turned out great, and I very well will be making it again. But I struggled with just a few details. One being the contrasting top - it was shown in the book's photo, and one of the details I really liked about it, but specific directions weren't given, just the measurement of this piece. Because of this, I think, my batting didn't go to the top of the focus fabric. Maybe this was the intent, but it seemed a little odd. Also, adding the circle bottom of the bag was in no way an exact science. It confused me for a bit, but it seemed just fine in the end.

Meanwhile, I loved the suggested random quilting - just some angled lines here and there. And the use of the batt gives the bag a really nice hand. One little warning - I'll tell you up front there are buttonholes involved! I shortcut and only put in one as I was having, uh, issues. But I think it'll work just fine. Oh, and do know that this is a good size bag - 10" wide at the bottom x 18" tall. It'll hold serious stuff!

Ruby Star Wrap-Along
Check out Lucky Lucille for her take on this project. Linking up with the Ruby Star Wrap-Along,  Finish it Up Friday, and the Ruby Star Wrapping Contest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

I feel like I've made a little more progress this week - finishing a quilt top and choosing its backing, organizing my stash closet, which makes it sooo much easier to work, and getting a good start on the month's bee blocks. So a variety of projects to show for W.i.P. Wednesday today . . .

Completed Projects
Parisian Star - Susan of The History Quilter chose this block during her month in the Modern Blocks Bee. The pattern is by Leanne Cohen from Modern Blocks. Susan's fabric choices made this fun to construct - osnaburg for the background and Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voile for the star.
Parisian Star - October 

Ongoing projects
Mod Pop Quilt-along - The top is done! Now to piece the backing and get to quilting!

Christmas lap quilt - No progress, but I've been thinking about it!

Modern Crosses quilt - I've been plugging away at blocks, and have quite a few more than this in one stage of completion or another.

November bee blocks - In the works and on schedule!

Lined Drawstring Bag - Decided it was time to do up a Christmas one, and am cutting into my Brrr! by Laurie Wisbrun, and using Jeni's pattern.

Upcoming projects
* Christmas!
* more frame purses
* Ruby Star Wrapping
* Binary quilt using blocks from Modern Blocks Bee
* scrappy Metrolink
* Polaroid block projects
* placemats
* Dresden project - back on the 'sometime' list, and probably no time soon

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

While sorting through fabric on Sunday and putting my stash closet back in order, I was actually multi-tasking. I was also watching Food Network's Thanksgiving Live! Some of my favorite FN chefs were sharing their time-honored recipes and tips for a perfect Thanksgiving meal. Near the end of the show, I was quite entertained to see Alton Brown carve a turkey in 1 minute, 20 seconds. Yikes.

I didn't get the turkey-carving gene, but thankfully hubby did. Nor did I get the gravy gene, but mom has it big-time and many a Thanksgiving you'll find my kids by grandma's side, freshening up on all her tricks of the trade. I'm feeling pretty confident in their ability to carry on the tradition there.

Now I'm no Martha (see below what she does to pie!), but the baking of the pie is where my foodie heart is as I prep for Thanksgiving. Son-in-law will be baking his own from-scratch-pumpkin pie for our meal this year, but I'll be making the pecan, and there's something in that process that I just really enjoy.

A poll was taken on Thanksgiving Live! about what folks do with their leftovers. When given the choices of a casserole, soup, or a sandwich, the majority of Americans say they'd choose a sandwich. That's certainly true of our family - what about yours? I'm curious what dish IS Thanksgiving for you, or which one you always volunteer to contribute, or even the one are you scared silly to even try. 

Enough talking. I'll sign off and you can link up here. I know some of you are still baking donuts, and others are already knee-deep in celebratory food prep. Food, sewing project, or reflection - the invitation's open to share from your table.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Randomness

The randomness is piling up, so I figured I might as well share it while I've got it. First off, I noticed someone mentioned 'Explore' on one of my flickr photos over the weekend, and it was only then that I thought to look at my current 'explored' status. Lo and behold, I found several I hadn't known about. Here's my current Scout poster:

To make your own, go to Big Huge Labs, and scroll down till you see 'Scout' on the right-hand side. Click there and all you have to do is enter your Flickr ID. You can also go to and enter your ID, though the two don't always give the same info. I find Scout more all-encompassing. Anyway . . . interesting.

I also saw that Giveaway Day has been announced! More info will be coming, but it's a great day to interact with other bloggers by giving away something handmade or sewing/craft supplies on your blog. If you can join in at all, do!
Giveaway Day

Jennifer has finished a few of the Hurricane Sandy Help! quilts! So far this is my fav!
Hurricane Sandy Relief Quilt #1 

And lastly, though I had intended to have some Mod Pop quilting to show off today, unfortunately I can only show you the backing I've chosen (V and Co. Simply Color Ikat Diamonds in Eggplant) . . .
because I spent most of my free-sewing time this weekend organizing my stash closet.
But since it now looks like this, I'm ok with the slow-go on the quilting.
Though I really need to get over the dreaded piecing-the-backing and basting steps . . . then I'll be on my way again!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Table Tidbit

For those of you in the U.S., you might just be having similar thoughts as I am:
  • who's making what for Thanksgiving?
  • what recipes am I going to use for my meal "assignments"?
  • when will I manage to get to the grocery store? 
  • when do I need to make what?
So I spent a little time on the subject this weekend, and the menu and assignments are at least in place:

I'll be trying a new recipe for dressing this year - the "stuffing" from The Pioneer Woman, though I won't actually be stuffing; the Layered Green Salad {below} is an old standby and family favorite; cranberry sauce will be canned and jellied per request; and the Pecan Pie will be my standard.

I'm hoping those of you celebrating this week will consider linking to Tuesday at the Table and sharing about the upcoming holiday. For everyone else, consider linking your latest donut adventure (couldn't help myself!), your current table project, or what treat you'll miss most due to the Hostess crisis. Meanwhile, I'll share that salad recipe . . .

Layered Spinach Salad
adapted from "feasting after . . . work and play", by Susi Anderson

In large salad bowl, layer the following:
1 - 10 oz. bunch fresh spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar
6 chopped hard-boiled eggs
1/2 head iceberg lettuce - chopped
1 bunch green onions - chopped

Spread with dressing. (1 cup each sour cream and mayonniase, 1/4 tsp. prepared mustard, salt and pepper)

Continue layering:
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
8 slices bacon - crisp and crumbled

Cover and refrigerate up to several hours. Before serving, add sliced avocado on top.
Serves 8 to 10.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Various Sightings

It's been a while since I shared Triple-Zip sightings {here and here}, so I hope you'll bear with me! I actually blame Leanne of shecanquilt, who made TWO this week! But before I show off some zips, I'll just mention how crazy it is to see your project on a post where you need a translator (from Portuguese) to read about it, like I did on Criar com Tecidos. A metric converter would also be a necessity for a reader of "Create with Fabrics" to make my tutorial. Lovely.

The tutorial was also shared on Ninth Street Notions, along with other fat quarter projects; at Sew Pretty Sew Free, where free tutorials are shared every day; on Lola Pink's Great Tutorials(!) board on Pinterest; and on Sew, Mama, Sew!'s Sew It! ~ Bags board! Humbling to be sure.

So on to the actual pouches. First, Grandma G outdid herself and made her fourth Triple-Zip!
Triple-Zip Pouch

Deb of Trio Stitch Studio resized it and made one using some delicious fussy-cutting.
Triple-Zip Pouch - Sewing Summit Zipper Pouch Swap

And Leanne, like I said, made two this week! I just love her use of patchwork!
Triple Zipper Pouch 

Triple Zipper Scrappy Pouch

While I'm at it, I might as well mention the fun convo I 'overheard' about my matched binding tutorial. {here}. And I quote: "...check out her post on Striped Binding...another clever technique." And regarding the striped binding tutorial, "The striped binding looks like way too much work." Cracked me up.

And to wrap up this self-gratification post, check out SharHen's very own Mod Angles Cushion also made with my newest tutorial! This is the first I've seen, and it made me so happy!