Friday, July 22, 2011

Great Summer Reads

I think I'm going to have to re-name this "Which book is on my NOOK?"  Now, I will always be a bibliophile - there is nothing like a book: the smell, the weight of it, the excitement of turning the pages late into the night ...

But that being said, I LOVE MY NOOK.  It is so great being able to access new books in a heartbeat, and our local library has a great selection of lendable e-Books that really helps keep costs down.  Here are some of my favorites so far.

I love, love, loved this book!  I just stumbled upon it on Barnes & Nobles's top 100 list and it sounded right up my alley: Scotland, castles, an authoress writing, a love story .... all in all it sounded like a great summer read.

It was absolutely fantastic!!  I think I read the whole thing in under 48 hours just because I couldn't put it down.  I think one of the things that I loved the best was how the heroine's novel-in-progress was woven into the heroine's story, so that half the time you were reading her book, and half the time you were reading her story.  The book was extremely well written, engaging, and I was completely enthralled.  I can't wait to read Susanna Kearsley's other books, which unfortunately are not available as digital files yet.

Hope you have the chance to enjoy it too - if you only have time to read one book this summer, make it this one.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *


I'm a big fan of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series - the inspiration behind HBO's True Blood series, which I also love.

Unfortunately, this book left me a little "high-n-dry."  Don't get me wrong - the storyline is still good ... but this book almost seemed like in the rush to get it published, the author stopped in the middle of things, leaving a whole bunch of loose ends without making a whole lot of progress on the storyline.  I think that if you're a true fan, you'll still read the book, but don't make the same mistake I made, and rush out and buy the hardcover edition.  Wait for the paperback .... or better yet, try and find it at the library!

*    *    *    *    *    *    * 

I'm a big fan of the Pink Carnation series too.  In case you haven't notice, I'm a HUGE sucker for series.  I seem to get sucked into them, but have this completely anal issue of having to read all the books in the series in order, and if a new book comes out and it's been awhile since I've read the previous books, I have to re-read all the previous books in order, before starting the latest book.  (You can only imagine why I've had to give up on the Outlander series.  As much as I absolutely adore them, I haven't even tried to start the last book, because I don't remember enough of her extensive characters and twisty plots to start it without re-reading the 60,000 pages that come before it.  And yes, I own all of the audio books too, but really ... they're 45 hours long EACH.  I could practically finish at least one quilt per book!!!)

Ok - sorry for that tangent.  I keep reading this series - I mean, for heaven's sake, they're books about Eloise, a grad student's doing her doctoral dissertation (in HISTORY of all subjects) research in London, and each book tells the story of Edwardian characters she encounters along the way, along with her "real-life" encounters namely with a hunky Englishman named Colin (again ... what's not to love ... see here and here if you need to be convinced) - because I love the evolving romance between Eloise and Colin.  The historical story lines ... at least in this book, and the previous book ... have been leaving me completely flat.

Will I read the next two books in the series?  Probably, but I'll wait for the e-Book version from my library, rather than waste my precious book allowance on another one ...

*    *    *    *    *    *    * 

Now this next book, I really have mixed feelings about recommending, but because I couldn't put it down, I'm going to go ahead and add it to the list anyways.

If you're uncomfortable with riskee topics, or are particularly in love with either the original Alice in Wonderland book by Lewis Carrol, or are obsessed with the Disney movie, I think it's best that we part ways HERE for the evening.  Trust me. 

If you're intrigued, but a little unsure, let me set the tone.  This book is the story of the real life little girl that was supposedly the inspiration behind Carroll's book.  If you don't know anything about Lewis Carrol, or the allegations against him recently brought to light, might I suggest reading up on his life (great wikipedia.org article here - see the section on Alice or on Controversies and Myths especially) before trying the book.

So when I first downloaded this book from the library, I knew NOTHING about Carroll's life, and honestly didn't really pick up on the allegations or what the author was hinting at right away.  It really started making me feel a little uncomfortable reading it, but I had a morbid curiosity to finish the book to see how it ended and what happened to all the characters.  I'm glad that I did - it was an interesting read and a great fictionalized story of actual historical figures and happenings.  If you're looking for something different to read, and I haven't scared you off yet, this is a good book.

*    *    *    *    *    *    * 

My last recommendation came to me at the recommendation of a co-worker.  She basically told me that she hates historical fiction, doesn't usually enjoy the fantasy, mystical-type stories involving time-travel or previous lives, and can't stand reading books that {usually rather poorly} try to take take several seemingly unrelated story yarns and weave them together into one cohesive tapestry.

That being said ... she LOVED this book.  And so did I!  The story's narrator is a guy who lived a very colorful life before waking up in his hospital's burn unit as a result of crashing his car during a cocaine binge.  While recovering, he encounters Marianne, a sculptor of grotesques, who befriends him, and tells him fantastical stories about their life together in medieval Germany, when they fell in love for the first time.

This book was great!  It was laugh-out-loud funny - at least to my twelve-year-old-boy sense of humor - a bit crass, endearing, and surprising.  This was definitely #2 on my list of favorites.  Hope you enjoy it too!

*    *    *    *    *    *    * 

So - I'm on the hunt for my next e-books.  Any recommendations that you can share?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hello Old Friends

Well ... little did I know that my little four week hiatus would turn into a four month extended vacation!  But ... you see ... I really do have a reasonable excuse: our little family of two will soon be a family of THREE!

 Introducing ...


... our sweet baby boy, scheduled to arrive at the end of October.
Hubby and I have finally decided on a name (we think ...), but have also decided to be poor sports and not share with the rest of the world until the little man makes his debut.  In the meantime, Hubby has taken to calling him, "Voltron, Defender of the Uterus."  Gotta love us 80's babies. 


My side of the family, which includes hardly any 80's babies, has taken to calling him "Blaze," after St. Blasius, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, Croatia - one of the favorite stops on our large family vacation several years ago ... and the favorite topic of conversation of our squirrely male tour guide, Andrea, whose monologue mainly consisted of fabulous nuggets of information in the following format: "This is St. Blasius.  He was a saint and his name was Blasius..."


My father-in-law would prefer a strong, Spanish name for his little soccer-playing grandson.  I suggested "David Villa," but he didn't think that was too funny.  Anyone know where I can order a Spanish soccer jersey onesie with a number "7" on the back?




So ... as you can imagine, I haven't really gotten a whole lot done on the crafty front lately.  I pretty much spent the first four months of my pregnancy sleeping, and the next three months flew by so quickly that I don't even know that I could tell you what we were up to - only that it seemed that we were constantly busy.  We finally finished up with our move to the next town over (literally 2.5 miles down the road from our old neighborhood) into a great, kid-friendly, ONE-STORY, home with a fantastic backyard - and let me tell you, I don't miss climbing those stairs at our last place at all!  I think our favorite part is spending the cooler evenings outside, enjoying the delta breeze and watching our pups patrol the yard, trying to keep all the bugs and birds at bay.

I'm finally getting started on some crafty projects for the baby, plus some fun stuff on the home front, and should have some pictures to share soon.  Don't worry, the blog isn't turning into a "kiddie-gear" blog - but considering I can't sit at my sewing machine for very long before Voltron starts kicking in protest over being squished as I lean forward to cut or use the machine, I do have to warn you that the majority of my projects will probably be baby-related.  Be back soon, I promise!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Greetings!

Greetings from blustery Sacramento!!



As you've probably noticed, I've been a little absent lately.  Please know that all is well, but that I've decided to take a little break from my blog just for a couple more weeks.  I'm really enjoying watching everyone's progress on their Eventide quilts, and have definitely been enjoying the monthly Le Petite parades, even though I haven't been getting much accomplished myself.

Thanks for visiting, and I promise I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Eventide Update

Well, it's probably a very good thing that the Eventide Sew Along isn't a race, because I'm definitely getting off to a very slow start!  Granted, I was a little late in ordering my pattern, and then once it arrived, I realized that I didn't have quite as much in my Martinique stash as I thought I did ... so I had to find a quilt shop that still carried enough of the line that I could get what I needed, and not have to pay a fortune in shipping.  Luckily, Lonestar Quilting, LLC still had a great selection and speedy shipping, so when I was finally ready to sit down and start cutting ... I found that I couldn't quite commit to a specific color scheme.

As I mentioned in my last Eventide post, this is the first quilt I've made with the intention of keeping it in my house.  I've already decided that it will live at the foot of my bed.  However, I really picked really girlie fabric, and the other occupant in my bed isn't really too crazy about pale blues and pinks, which meant that my original plan to feature these colorways in my large stars just wasn't going to be a great option.  Luckily, Nicole shared her own color-choice-crisis with the rest of us, which inspired me to play around with my own color choices.

After much indecision, I finally committed (last night) to a matching inner red square, with brown star-tips in alternating prints.  

While it took a while to get here, I think I'll be happy with the final product!  The good news, is that while I was trying to make my decision, I got all of the tiny border hourglass squares finished.  Phew!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm officially an EVIL GENIUS!!


I blame my husband ... really.  Not only is it his fault that I'm addicted to Dilbert, but thanks to him, my laptop, which died about a year ago, has been resurrected.  I really am thankful, don't get me wrong.  Now I can {theoretically} blog and work on patterns from anywhere in the house, and can multi-task in the evenings by watching my daily dose of CSI (don't judge ... we enjoy a good evidence montage at our house and like to play the "count the cheesy lines" game ... which is way too easy with CSI: Miami!!) while playing my favorite mind-numbly-pointless-yet-addicting-time-sucking-clicky-games AT THE SAME TIME!!

Another big perk is that I can take a break from my Audible audio books and watch some Netflix while sewing.  Last night, however, as I was settling down to work on Eventide and watch some Grey's Anatomy, Season 2, I noticed that my laptop screen was a little small ... which resulted in some scrounging around in hubby's closet of spare computer parts, which resulted in ...



... the creation of my very own evil genius lair!  When hubby got back from his evening run and saw what I had done, he laughed ... and then brought in the sub-woofer that goes with the computer speaker system, just "to make the set-up complete."

So, I have big plans to spend the evening in my "man cave" with Eventide, and Denny and the rest of the group at Seattle Grace.

BU-WA-HAHA!

Monday, February 21, 2011

{Warning} MEGA-blog-post ahead!


I'm not sure why, but I've had a mega case of "blogger's block" over the last couple of weeks.  While I seem to have manged to write and re-write my growing list of things I wanted to share with you, I haven't managed to write a single word here.

So, when I read Rachel's post over at p.s. i quilt about "indecisive blogging" this afternoon, I decided to take her advice and "just do it" already!  Without further ado, here's what's been going on in Poplun-land lately.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


A little bit of shopping ....
Stash Update: February 1 - February 17, 2011

  • Purchased:  13.5 yards including a Lollipop fat-eighths bundle for this month's Le Petite Project, and a whole bolt of my favorite white-on-white polka dot fabric.
  • Used: Zip.  Unfortunately, no finished projects in the last two weeks.
YTD: + 18 yards


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

A little bit of sewing ...



So, I've finally been able to clean up my sewing room and have organized my works-in-progress back into their five little boxes.  This month, I've been working on:

Box #1: The February Le Petite project, "Sweet Spot," a Schnibbles Pattern by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  


We have three baby boys expected in the (extended) family between May and June, so I've been on the lookout for boy friendly patterns and fabrics lately.  When Burgundy Buttons, one of my new favorite online quilt shops, had a great sale on Lollipop fabric bundles, I poked that "purchase" button like lightening and immediately cut it up for this pattern.

I'm really happy with my progress, so far, but also know that I need to get my butt in gear if I'm actually going to finish before the 28th!  I'm not sure why, but for some reason I made the HST border blocks first, and then started on the center stars.  Maybe I was inspired by my "Lemon Taffy" quilt ... who knows!
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  
Tangent Warning!!
I just realized that I never posted pictures of my "Lemon Taffy" quilt.  Yikes!  So, since this is a "just go with it" post, I'd better share them now ... because at the rate I've been blogging lately, if I don't, it might be next October before I remember.

 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  
... and back to the 5 Boxes update ...

Box #2 contains another Miss Rosie's Quilt Co pattern called "Eventide" and my stash of Martinique leftover from last August's "Twin Quilts".  


Ever since I purchased my sewing machine almost 4 years ago, I've either sold or gifted every quilt I've made.  I have been wanting to take the time to make a quilt for myself to keep at home and share with my family for awhile now, but haven't been able to find a pattern I was in love one, and hadn't taken the time to design one.

When I started the "Twin Quilts" last August, I went ahead and splurged on a whole Fat Quarter stack just so that would have enough fabric left over to make a quilt for me too.  I happened to stumble across the Eventide pattern around Christmas time over on Thelma's blog, but a couple of days ago, I saw that Thelma is hosting an Eventide Quilt-Along!  Since I'm already waaaaaayyyyyy behind on my prospective projects for the year, I initially had some reservations about committing to the project ... but as you might have guessed, I decided to say "What the Heck!" and signed up to participate.

If you're interested in joining up, there's still time!  Just hop on over to Thelma's blog to let her know that you want to sign up, and post your quilt progress every Tuesday!

Box #3: is breaking the rules this week.  I'm 95% done with last month's Le Petite project - embarrassing, I know!  I really only have to put on the final outer border and then that baby is done!!  However, I ended up with an awkward number of leftover 2.5" squares, so technically, this box is also holding my first forays into Hexagon English Paper Piecing.  I have to tell you, I think I'm addicted!  I totally understand why they're so popular!  I've found that it's really nice to have some hand-work to do in front of the TV.

If you're interested in giving it a try, I found my templates here.  For me, the 1" hexie works great with a 2.5" square of fabric.

Boxes #4 & #5: contain my two spring patterns.  I'm hoping to having them available in my etsy shop soon, but in the meantime, here's a quick sneak peak!!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

And {finally} a little bit of knitting!

I've finally finished the first of my Embossed Leaves socks.  Hooray!  The pattern is a great one by Mona Schmidt in Favorite Socks and it's really easy to follow ... but I'm the world's SLOWEST knitter ... so they're taking forever.  Let's hope that the second one doesn't take quite as long as the first one took me!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love is in the Air ...

... and to celebrate, I'm having a little sale over in my Etsy shop!


To celebrate St. Valentine's Day next, several of my patterns are on sale for $1.49!  Regular retail price is $8.00.






Happy Sewing!!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Kit Builder Contest at Connecting Threads

If you haven't visited before,


is a great online fabric company that produces its own fabric at very reasonable prices.

This week, Connecting Threads is introducing their Kit Builder Tool - a great tool that lets you play around with fabric combinations to create custom kits for several CT patterns.  All you have to do is choose your fabric and drag it over the pattern layout to instantly see how your fabric choices will look as a finished project.

Here is a table runner kit and a quilt kit I designed this morning

This week, CT is have a contest to celebrate!  Head on over to their website, build and save your kit, feature it on your blog or discussion board, and submit your final design by 2/9/11.  Three winners will receive CT gift cards. Hooray!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stash Update

Yikes!  I just realized that I haven't done my weekly Stash Update at all for 2011!

Stash Update: January 1 - January 31, 2011
  • Purchased:  10.75 yards for a new pattern, a shower gift, and a great sale on my favorite polka dot background fabric.  
  • Used: 6.25 yards on my "Lemon Taffy" quilt
YTD: + 4.5 yards

* * * * * * * * * *

Project photos are coming soon, and I'll post my 5 Boxes update as soon as I find out what the February Le Petite project for February will be ... and mange to clean up my work space to actually find the boxes ...

... In the meantime, as no blog post should be picture-less, I leave you with photos of my babies enjoying their favorite treats.  Happy sewing!!

Luigi chomping down ...

Lily, practicing her best "Disney Princess" eyes - tink, tink

January Le Petite {un}FINISH{ed}

January's Le Petite project was Mon Ami by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co ...






Despite hitting a brick wall with my first fabric choice (1974 by Moda), I was making great progress with my quilt once I decided to switch over to Aston Manor by Moda. 




This is another fabulous Carrie Nelson pattern ... however ... it requires about 400 little half-square-triangle units  With my niece arriving early and my iron deciding to crap out on me Sunday night, I just couldn't pull off a finish this month.

I'm really excited to have this one finished to hang in my dining room in time for Valentine's Day, and with the beautiful colors in this line, I think I'll be able to leave it there all the way through Easter.

I'm hoping to be able to finish sometime this week and will post pictures soon, but in the meantime, head over to The Pink Pincushion and A Quilting Life later today to check out the parade of finishers.  Can't wait to see all the projects!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Pattern Review: Saltwater Taffy by Fig Tree & Co.

Yay!  I finally managed to finish my Lemon Taffy quilt (more pictures are coming) just in time for my sister-in-law's baby shower last Saturday.  I was really happy with the way it turned out and I'm so glad that I was able to make the push to finish it last week ... as my niece decided that she was going to make her debut into the world the day after her shower ... 6 1/2 weeks early! Mama and Baby are doing great and we're so excited over the newest little member of the family.


I'm still in the process of downloading and editing pictures from the weekend, but in the meantime I wanted to share my pattern review with you, before I forgot the details.


Pattern: “Saltwater Taffy” by JoAnna Figueroa, of Fig Tree & Co.




Quality of Pattern: This was the first pattern I tried from JoAnna @ Fig Tree & Co.  One of the things that struck me almost immediately was that the full pattern was entirely in color.  Now, don't get me wrong - there is absolutely nothing wrong with black and white patterns, but this one was very visually appealing, and with multiple steps in the block construction process, full color definitely was a bonus.


I felt that the directions were well written - especially since the steps for block construction were involved - but they definitely required several readings.  I made the mistake of only reading through once before piecing (and of sewing at 1:00AM), and ended up having to pull apart corners from about 25 squares.  Arg.


Difficulty Level and Technique: While there was nothing I can specifically pinpoint that made this quilt tricky, this is definitely not one to try for those quilters who aren't feeling really comfortable with some of the basic quilting skills, ie: trimming with templates, accurately piecing pinwheel blocks, squaring/trimming blocks, working with pieces that were cut on the bias, pressing instead of ironing (!!!!!!), etc.

None of these are really difficult on their own, but this quilt pattern layers these techniques (and more!) on top of each other, and repeats them over a number of steps in the block construction process.  The blocks turn out beautifully, but require a lot of dedication and care (and the willingness to re-piece, as necessary) to put together.

Adaptability:  Aside from leaving a row off, I made my quilt true to the pattern.  I would imagine that you could change the block size as needed, but it would require a bit of math.  It really wouldn't be that difficult to do, but the pattern yields such good-sized blocks already (just about 8") that I don't know if I'm personally willing to burn off the brain cells to re-size it.

Speed: This quilt is definitely not a weekend project.  There are a number of steps involved in block construction (with lots of trimming and re-trimming), and extreme accuracy is a must ... but it's totally worth the time.  This is definitely more of an "enjoy the process of sewing and construction" quilt, rather than an "I love the gratification of finishing quickly" quilt.

Would I make this pattern again?:  I'd definitely like to try this one again, but I'll probably wait for awhile.  Next time around, I might play with making some of my setting triangles a bit larger, so that the blocks trim up more smoothly, and I think that rather than having my colors match in the "X-intersection," I think it would be fun to match colors within the octagon instead.  It would definitely take quite a bit of planning ... but that's what our design boards are for, right?

Happy Quilting!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Poplun is rockin' a new logo!

Thanks to Ginger over at Ginger Studio Etsy Shop, Poplun is rockin' a brand new logo!!






If you're in the market for a custom design project, be sure to check her out!!  Her turn around time is super quick and she's fantastic to work with.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

{giggles}

So, I've noticed that my blog has been a bit whiny and gloomy lately - my apologies!!  Maybe it's been the gazillion days of cold, overcast weather in a row we've been having here, or maybe I'm just cranky about going back to work after a cushy, two week holiday break.

Regardless, things are looking up in the Poplun sewing studio!  My lemony-yellow Saltwater Taffy  blocks have been reassembled correctly and the quilt is progressing beautifully, my Le Petite project is still making me smile, I have a new logo to unveil this weekend ...

... and I found this [new-to-me] blog: Megan's The Bitchy Stitcher

She is freakin' hilarious.  Megan is a writer, a quilter, and has a humor column in Quilter's Home Magazine.  I really have been cracking up reading her posts all morning!  She has a fantastic, snarky sense of humor, a great voice for storytelling, and isn't afraid to use profanity.  Throw in her love of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series and her new-found addiction to the Outlander series, and it's a match made in heaven!

And, as if it couldn't get any better ... she has a store too!  I mean, check out this tee shirt:

 
Photo Copyright: The Bitchy Stitcher

She has a matching coffee mug too, which I suspect will be finding a new home in my sewing room soon.  I hope you enjoy Megan @ The Bitchy Stitcher as much as I have been!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Check It Out!

Want to automatically get Poplun blog updates by email?  Sign up on the right hand side of my blog, under the followers section.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why sewing at 1:00AM isn't the greatest idea ...

Thank you all for listening to my whining last week.  I'm happy to say that the Urban Chiks blocks have been retired, hopefully for re-purposing in the not-too-distant future.  I'm also happy to say that the new Mon Ami blocks made with Aster Manor are turning out very well!



While I love the colors in this line, this quilt is definitely looking too grown up to be a baby quilt, as I had originally intended.  Luckily, however, my dining room is done in shades of brown and red ... and has a big, empty wall where this quilt would look great, just in time for spring!

I decided over the weekend to switch gears a bit and work on a project I started over the Christmas break.  While at the Pacific International Quilt Show last fall, I stopped by the Fig Tree & Co and purchased Joanna's Salt Water Taffy quilt pattern ...


(Pattern and Photo Copyright: Joann Figueroa, Fig Tree & Co.)

... and over the Christmas break I decided to use some of the FQ's from my big "Black Friday" purchase to try the pattern out.  Her quilts are GORGEOUS, but this pattern has a ton of steps and unfortunately a great deal of unusable trimmings.  Despite this, however, I'm really enjoying the process of putting it together, and Saturday afternoon I blazed through all of the pinwheel blocks for the body before hubby and I had to leave for our brother-in-law's birthday dinner.

{Tangent: BTW: We ate at Aioli Bodega Espanola in midtown Sacramento.  If you live in the Sacramento area, I highly recommend it!  The ambiance is fantastic and the food is terrific.  Their entrees are a little bit on the pricier side, but their Tapas (Spanish Appetizers meant to share as a group) are the best I've had in town, and you can definitely make a full meal off them alone.  You also can't been the great sangria and assortment of Spanish wines they offer, not to mention the great live Flamenco Guitarist who played throughout the evening!}

We had a great meal, but I'm fairly certain that the decaf espresso I order after dinner really wasn't.  I ended up sewing until about 1:00AM and managed to finish all the interior blocks.  I pinned them up on my design wall, snapped a couple of pictures, and went to sleep happy!


I spent Sunday morning piecing all the border blocks, and 'lo and behold ... when I to pin them on the design board, I realized that I had pieced ALL of the inner blocks incorrectly!!  Rather than sewing the white corner blocks to the printed side of my pinwheels, I had just matched the white fabrics together and sewn away.

I really feel like I've been batting 1,000 lately!!!!  Luckily, there was a CSI marathon on TV Sunday afternoon for me to watch and two puppies to curled up at my feet to keep me company while I pulled all the corner triangles off.  I tried to be as careful as I could, with the hopes of reusing them, but I'm thinking that starting with brand new blocks will yield the best result.

Long story short ... my Weekend-WIP photo is really just an empty border. :)



Moral of the story: Sewing in the wee small hours of the morning ... even when heavily caffeinated ... is never a good idea ...

Monday, January 3, 2011

{Raspberry Noises}

So, Saturday morning I was all excited to unveil my new posting strategy for 2011 - my Weekend-WIP, or "Weekend Work-In-Progress."  In an effort to spend more time working on my Process Pledge this year, I'm trying to make a weekly effort to take a picture of whatever is on my new design board (thanks hubby!!).

First project of the year was the January Le Petite Project: Mon Ami (Schnibbles patter by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co).


To be 100% honest, this isn't a pattern I would have chosen to make on my own, but part of the whole point of joining a club like Le Petite is to branch out and try new patterns, methods, and fabrics.  I had a Moda 1974 by Urban Chiks jelly roll in my stash ...


... and since I love the colors and they have some great coordinating light and dark prints, I thought I'd do some early stash busting and use it for this quilt.  Before even untying that precious "Moda" band from the jelly roll, I took the time to plan everything out in EQ6 and even went so far as to order two matching prints off Ebay for the border and binding ...



... I'm sure you can see where this is going.  I spent a lot of time on Saturday and Sunday putting together about 15 blocks in four of the six color-ways ...

... and I HATE it!  I've tried most of my usual tricks: walking away for the evening and starting with "fresh eyes" in the morning, playing around with the color combinations, making a few more blocks to see if it makes a difference ...


I just plain old don't like it.  I think that the colors appeared softer in the EQ6 mock up, but on the board the lights and darks blend together and the quilt is just too ... noisy.

After sitting and staring at it for probably a half hour, I even asked my hubby who stopped in my sewing room to iron a shirt.  He suggested that rather than staggering the colors to just have rows with all the same colors ...


... so I rearranged the blocks for the 100th time (PS - hubby says I exaggerate all the time, so he takes any number I tell him and either multiples or divides by three.  I guess in all honesty you could say that I rearranged the blocks for the 33.33rd time) ... slept on it again last night,  didn't even look at it before I went back to work this morning, came home hoping to see it with "fresh eyes" ... and still HATE it.

I really hate doing this, but I think I'm going to scrap the project and start fresh, or at least put the blocks aside to be pulled apart later and used for something else.  What do you think?  Is is salvageable?  Would you scrap it?  Would you do as hubby suggested while I was complaining about it earlier and re-purpose them as individual mug rugs so as not to waste anything?  What would you do?

For now, I have to put them away 'cuz I can't stand to look at them.  After playing around in EQ6, I came up with this design, using Moda's Aster Manor by 3 Sisters, which I already have in my stash.


I'm thinking it's a much better alternative, and it definitely looks a lot more like something I'd do, but at the same time, I'm disappointed because the 1974 line was a different color palette and I was hoping to love it ...

{Raspberries, again}

Ok - thanks for listening to me whine. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!

Well, after five different Christmas celebrations this year, with various branches of our family, hubby and I are pooped!  We had a great time, but have definitely enjoyed a couple of days of relaxing and practicing the art of doing nothing.  With how busy we were during the months of November and December, I didn't have time to make as many hand made gifts as I had initially hoped, but I'm really pleased with how my two gifts turned out.

First up was a handmade gift for my hubby.  While he's always more than willing to give me his opinion (when I ask) on which color combination or block pattern looks better for a work-in-progress, and has even been willing to accompany me to a quilt show or two, quilting is just not really his thing.  He has been known, however, to enjoy the occasional video game and really gets a kick out of "vintage" Nintendo stuff from when we were kids.  A couple of years ago, he realized that since the 8-bit images from the original Nintendo games that he loved as a kid were nothing more than a series of colored boxes ....


... that they would translate REALLY well into a quilt pattern.  So, he decided that I was going to make him a Mario pillow and promptly dragged me off to JoAnn's (I KNOW!!!!) to get some solid-colored fabric so that I could get started.  Unfortunately, we purchased some fabric on sale that shrunk when ironed - even after pre-washing - which made the task of sewing together 256 squares into a 1" grid really unpleasant and impractical ... and the project was shelved.

I began playing around with the idea of the pillow again, after I stumbled across a tutorial by Elizabeth from Oh! Fransson on Sew, Mama, Sew's website.  Elizabeth started by drawing a grid on a square of super lightweight fusible interface, and then used the lines as guides to place her individual squares.  She ironed them in place and the seamed the back, and voila! ... she made a perfect mini-quilt without having to individual piece together a bunch of tiny squares.  (Check out the tutorial for some great pictures and more complete directions)

I tried her method with some higher-quality solid fabric for my pillow and was absolutely thrilled with the result!!  The grid on the front was so precise and the whole pillow front was done in less than two hours!!


Hubby was thrilled with it too!  He's dubbed it his video-game pillow and has already asked for a second one (specifically the green 1-UP mushroom) to take into his office at work.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My second handmade gift this year was for my mom, aka "my fabric-shopping partner in crime."  Over the summer we took an embroidery class at one of our local quilt shops (which sadly went out of business this month.  I'm so bummed!!).  I knew after we finished the class that I wanted to make her a Christmas quilt that incorporated embroidery.

Every Christmas, my mom has this great collection of snowmen that she displays on the wall behind the kitchen table, so I decided to make her a quilt that matched.  I used Bird Brain Designs' Redwork Snowmen pattern ....

... along with Mom's favorite snowman fabric line, Makin' New Friends by Deb Strain for Moda, and Carrie Nelson's (Miss Rosie's Quilt Co) Hot Cross Schnibbles pattern ...





So sorry for the crummy picture quality!  We've had weeks of rain in Sacramento, so it was hard to get pictures with decent lighting.  Here are some close-ups of the Snow-Peeps ...





Mom loved her quilt, and it's now happily living on the back of the living room sofa ... just waiting for someone to come by and take advantage of the dreary weather with a good book!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So, with those two finishes, I'd like to present the FINAL status of my 2010 stash.
Purchased: 3.0 yards for the Mario Pillow
Used: 6.12 yards as follows:
  • 3.58 yards for Mom's Snowman quilt
  • 0.75 yard for three new mug rugs to be listed in the Etsy shop soon ...
  • 0.69 yard for the Mario pillow
  • 1.10 yards for the December Le Petite project
Grand Total for 2010: +90.78 yards
A bit higher than I had hoped ... but as of today, the numbers all roll back to 0.  Let's see if I can start the next update off with a negative number!!