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Autumn From My Window

22 Nov

For almost a month, I’ve been taking photos of the view from my office window as the seasons ebb from late summer to autumn. The colors burst into lively flame as the air cools and the sky grows dim. And then, they’re gone.

The pictures were taken from the same spot in the cross-hairs of a window pane with my semi-functioning iPhone 4. Hopefully I’ll have time to do this again when those verdant green shrubs at the bottom of the photos are overcome with pink azalea blooms.


Burning the Old Year
By Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.


The Worstbug

18 Sep


This post has nothing to do with adorable quilts, or fabric, or sewing. If that’s why you’re here, you may be disappointed. If, however, you ended up here by accident, maybe this will be the one post you enjoy. If you like the worst grossest things ever.

Worstbugs. Bugs I’m so insanely afraid of that I can’t even call them by name. (They aren’t spiders, I’m pretty okay with those. Plus, spiders are arachnids anyway,right?)

This morning, I was going about my regular routine and chatting to my cat about breakfast, when I reached up to get a sweet little flowered bowl out of my cabinet. Something flew at me and whizzed through my hair. I thought it was a moth (a very…sturdy…sounding moth), so I shook out my hair and went about my business.

I had my breakfast and was on the threshold of re-entering the kitchen when something buzzed across my vision. Simultaneously, George the Cat raced across the kitchen, somehow both frantic and focused. I followed her line of sight to find the largest, ugliest Worstbug I’d seen in a long time. And it was perched without grace or shame on my coffee cup.

To recap: this monstrosity has been on my beloved coffee cup (the very same one that holds my precious coffee) and in my hair (presumably–I think I could prove it in court, if necessary.)

So I proceeded to do what any normal Worstbug-fearing person would do and ran away yelling made-up profanities, shutting my cat in the kitchen with it for good measure. So she could hunt it. And then I could put that Bug’s tiny head on a tiny pike and stake it in front of my house to scare all of the other ones away.

After laying curled up on the sofa for a couple of minutes with a pillow over my head, I decided I was still too exposed. I peeked out from my feeble fortress, certain that it could smell my fear, and made a run for my bedroom.

Now we were separated by three rooms and two doors. Better odds. I cowered under the covers for a few minutes, trying to figure out if there was a way I could get dressed and leave for work without having access to my clothes, keys,  or coffee, all of which were in or on the other side of the kitchen.

I finally acknowledged that it was impossible and that it was past time for me to get ready for work. I steeled myself and scoured the room for weapons, but found none. All I could do was armor myself in a nice, thick quilt  and put on a knitted cap to keep him from getting in my hair… again. I still didn’t feel secure though, so I put on Garrett’s fedora (over the knitted cap) and took a deep breath as I exited the room.

Apparently, I had been holding a bag of cat litter when It had startled me, because there was one sitting in the middle of the living room where I’d dropped it in fear as I ran away.

I continued walking toward the kitchen and pulled the quilt around me as I gently and slowly opened the kitchen door. I peeked in to see George the Cat staring intently in my direction. She looked a bit possessed, and I was afraid that the Bug might be a demon who had taken over her body, but I was eventually able to attribute that thought to all of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer I’ve been watching lately. I pushed the door open slightly more and then made a dash through the kitchen.


I got ready for work and came back to glance out at the kitchen. I felt safe enough to stick my head out a bit further and saw George the Cat sitting with her back against our dryer, which was odd. Again, I followed her gaze to see the awful thing close-up and it was huge and shiny and huge.

When It slipped into the laundry basket, I gave up and handed over my house and all of my belongings as a peace offering. All I asked in return was that it stay out of my hair forever.


This is the most appropriate photo I have to go with this post. Unless you want a picture of a gross bug.

Low Volume Baby

25 Jun

The last few stitches coming into place, the last few threads to be cut, the first trip through the sudsy, cool, gently whirring washing machine. I love those moments that take a quilt from being a bunch of cloth joined together to being its own entity. Something that will live a life that–if it’s going to a new home–you may never know about. It may be trampled, bundled, and spilled upon–if it’s lucky. But as its creator, I’ve hoped for a good way to catalog and chronicle its development. So I’ve come up with a little questionnaire for myself that I can fill out when I finish a quilt so those quiet moments of its construction aren’t lost.Low-Volume-quilt

1. Who is it for?

My college roommate/friend since elementary school who just had an adorable baby girl.

2. Why did you choose these fabrics?

I’ve been hoping to make a low volume quilt for awhile and this was the perfect chance to use a mixture of fabrics I’ve admired to make a piece that was just the right amount of girly. It has some Pearl Bracelets, Prince Charming, Architextures, and Salt Water, not to mention several others. I’m usually nervous about mixing colors and prints, but I loved working with this variety of fabrics.

3. Why did you choose this design?
Even though it’s simple, I’d never tried a patchwork design and I hoped that the simplicity of patchwork would complement the variety of the fabrics. I really enjoyed the process of chain-piecing and making the ninepatch. Something about this, even as simple as it is, says “hey, I’m a quilt!”

4. How long did it take?
A couple of weeks. It could have been finished in a day or two if I had been really focused (clearly I wasn’t!).

5. Was it difficult to make?

It was easy, but being different than anything I’d done before, it still took some concentration. It was a great stress-buster!

6. What did you learn from this quilt?

One thing I learned was that I like muted colors more than I think I do. I usually go for bold colors, but they’re harder to design with (for me), since they demand so much attention. I also took full advantage of chain-piecing, and I’ve been all about that technique ever since!

7. What music did you listen to while you worked on it?

The Great Gatsby soundtrack. (And some other things that have faded with memory.)

8. What would you improve, if you could?

I’m really pleased with this one as it is. I’m always quick to critique my quilts (or anything I do), but I’m happy to leave this one alone. Well, except for the photos I took. It was gloomy outside, so these aren’t the best.

9. What makes you happiest when you think of this quilt?

The thought of baby Lily all wrapped up in it!


Sew a Serenade

10 Dec

I just realized that I hadn’t actually posted a full photo of the front of Quilt #2. And then I remembered that’s because I didn’t really get a good picture of it before it went to its new home. I feel like I’ve talked about it enough in previous posts that I’ll just leave this picture here and go on to the next one!
Quilt 2_Cartwheel Serenade


3 Dec

I went on several unsuccessful trips to the store this weekend, ultimately braving the crowds for no good reason. Just as I was beginning to get a little down about it, I found this little guy, just hanging out in the parking lot. It made my day.

My family had a yellow bug when I was little. I have fond memories of watching my dad work on it every week after it broke down. I wasn’t very old, but he was still able to teach me his near-foolproof method of fixing it. It involved hitting the engine with a hammer.

Even though you have to have two back-up cars in order to own one of these (and that’s even knowing about the hammering the engine secret), I really want one when I grow up. I feel like you’ve really made it in the world if you can own a car this unreliable.


A rocky start, a rocky middle, and a happy ending

28 Nov

Boy did I send a lot of time on this quilt. I received the fabric as a gift back in August and had the most trouble deciding what I wanted to do with it, pattern-wise. The fabric is Serenade by Kate Spain and I love it, but there is a lot going on–in color and design–and after I had the quilt top finished, I came to realize that I should have added some neutral color or some sashing (or both) to get the look I had intended. I was a little disappointed in my “creative vision,” so the project stalled. Fortunately, Garrett kept encouraging me to move forward. What a guy!


When I did get the motivation (and backing fabric) to move forward, I hit a snag with my machine. A literal one. I could not get the tension of the thread right. Not by guessing, not by Googling, not even by guessing some more! So, in a burst of inspiration, I found my sewing machine manual and consulted it. Now, I should say that I bought my sewing machine for $30 on Craigslist–and I’ve moved two or three times since–so I didn’t think I actually had the manual. Otherwise, yes, that might’ve been a good place to start. But here we are.

So I consulted the manual, figured out that the problem was simple, and fixed it. Unfortunately, I’d been sewing with the wrong tension for a long time without realizing it, and had to go back and fix a lot of shoddy workmanship. Bummer. In the end, I learned a lot about my machine (including the fact that it has a manual!) and I liked how quilt #2 turned out, so much that I gave it away. I wouldn’t give away something I didn’t like, or wasn’t proud of, and I was thrilled to give it to my cousin’s daughter on her first birthday. Technically, it was a late birthday present that I gave her on Thanksgiving, by putting it under my grandmother’s yet-to-to-be updated Halloween/Christmas tree, but that’s neither here nor there.

More photos to come later!

How a sewing machine works

27 Nov

Garrett found this gif on imgur and it has made all of the difference in understanding the problem I was having while finishing my previous quilt (pictures to come!). I thought I’d share in case it is helpful to anyone else. At the very least, it’ll mesmerize you for a few minutes.

Source: imgur

Forever to the Letter

16 Oct

At the wedding last weekend, the couple passed out adorable cards that were in the style of a library reference card (adorable, right?). The cards took the place of a traditional guest book and asked each guest for their name, title of their favorite book, and some advice or well-wishes for the couple.

When it came time for me to fill out my card, I couldn’t really think of any advice that the couple didn’t seem to have well in hand. But these words from Emily Dickinson seemed appropriate somehow. I lettered this while in training at work over a year ago (shh!) and I’m still quite fond of it, even if it’s just simple ball point pen on yellow legal paper. What is it about hand-lettered quotes that is so captivating?

I wanted to brooch the topic

12 Oct

I happened upon some adorable brooches while I was working on my last post and couldn’t resist sharing them with you!

1. Typewriter Wood Brooch

2. “The Envy of the Office” Typewriter Ribbon Pin

3. Clickity Clack Brooch

4. Just my Type Brooch

5. Vintage Rhinestone Brooch

6. Retro Typewriter Pin


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