The Easy Friday List, July 13

Friday should be easy, especially on Friday the thirteenth. This is my weekly list (posted every Friday) of items that have made my life easier in some measurable way these last seven days. Maybe they can make your life easier too.

T-gauge: This little guide thingie screws into your sewing machine so you get accurate seams every time you sew. It was invaluable to me while I was piecing the Etchings Argyle Nine Patch.

The T-gauge on my Juki sewing machine at fig+fence HQ.

The T-gauge (T-guide?) is that little thing on the right of the presser foot.

Hey! There’s the poker from a previous Easy Friday list!

The lit T-gauge on my Juki sewing machine at fig+fence HQ.

Here a pic with the machine on… not that you can see the gauge much better with the lights. It’s still in the shadow a bit.

I’d never used one before the Etchings quilt top and it was a revelation. I love it.

Divider Totes: Love these totes. Bought them on sale at Micheal’s, which makes them even better. My sewing machine is the entire length of the house away from where I cut and iron fabric. Taking one of these totes filled with all my equipment saves me multiple trips back and forth to fetch all the things I forgot. I have the large one for machine sewing and the little one for hand sewing. They’re great.

The divider organizer totes at fig+fence HQ.

Typically, the big one sits on a plastic box by my sewing machine or on the floor where I’m ironing/cutting. The small one follows me around when I’m hand sewing.

Mod Podge: Seriously. It’s a wonder of the twenty-first century. What can’t it do?

Something Different

I now interrupt your regularly scheduled quilt blogging for a brief announcement: I’ve finished the balsa boxes!

The balsa box at fig+fence.


I love the pink one. It’s a little dark. And fun. And creepy. And slightly off in some indefinable way.

The balsa box at fig+fence.

I love the wallpaper-like scrapbook paper on the lid.

The balsa box at fig+fence.

The butterfly box… I’m so into butterflies right now.

I will admit that the butterfly one is my favorite.

The balsa box at fig+fence.

The butterfly box is very feminine and strong.

It’s soft without heading into the dreaded cute territory.

The numbers on the top represent wire gauge numbers: The boxes are for my mother and she’s going to use them to keep scrap 20 and 22 gauge wire in them.

I learned so much about Mod Podge on this project. The biggest lesson is simple: don’t over-use Mod Podge. Less is definitely more when it comes to top coats.

Also, Mod Podge top coats will dry pretty fast… but they take a little longer to cure. The difference? A cured top coat will be tough as nails. A dry top coat will be safe to touch gently, but will stick to other dry Mod Podged items if left touching for too long. How I know this is a story better left untold.

The Trouble with Cute

I’m working on balsa wood boxes; this mostly means that I’m covering them with pretty paper. I’ve finished mod podging the pink one. (God bless Mod Podge.)

The result? Well, it certainly was pink. I didn’t like it.

I don’t have problems with pink. (In high school, I did. I think it had something to do with power and baby blankets. Eh, we’re all stupid when we’re kids.) So my problem wasn’t the color.

The problem with the pink one was that it was cute*; it was so stinkin’ cute that I immediately had to do something to change the level of cute. Seriously. The Standard Model of particle physics does not support such cuteness. I had to have made a mistake somewhere; I had to change something. So this is my excuse for the box uglification: I did it for the Higgs boson.

CERN scientists and lab gurus, you may all thank me for my tireless service to modern science in making the box less cute. (Aside: I guess that we’ll find out on July 4th whether they actually found a Higgs at CERN. Exciting!)

Hello topic: I wrote all that nonsense to tell you this: I didn’t get a picture of the paper-covered box when it was really cute. Such was the intensity of cuteness that I, horrified, went on to the next step and completely forgot to take a picture. And the next step was to uglify it by distressing it with brown ink and black paint. Like this.

The non-cute box at fig+fence.

Front view: It looks like a box from a Tim Burton movie. All it needs is one side that's a parallelogram.

The non-cute box at fig+fence.

Do I dare open it? I dare...

The non-cute box at fig+fence.

ARGH!!! Someone call the EPA! HAZMAT team, stat!

Seriously, it looks like some kind of black mold is growing in there. I love it.

* So what’s my problem with cute? I am a post-twenty-something year old woman. There are many attributes to which I aspire in life; I probably have a list of them somewhere. Nowhere in that list of aspirational attributes will you find “cute.” Cute is for puppies and babies and kittehs and tweens and princesses who refuse to grow up.

Overly harsh? Probably. Overly thunk? Yessir. Logical? Maybe not. Still. I hate having anything of mine referred to as cute. I guess we’re all stupid when we’re adults, too.

Even so. I hate cute.

O topic, where art thou? I’m not finished with the pink non-cute box. I still have some embellishment to go. Pictures forthcoming.