12.23.2010

Reflections - Part II

As of right now, I officially on vacation – yay! I won’t be heading back to work until next Wednesday so I’m definitely a happy camper. Annnddd, I’m leaving tomorrow to head upstate to visit my family. While we don’t celebrate Christmas, my sweetie and his family does so there be plenty of eating, present swapping, movie watching and all manner of relaxing, cozy activities. Not to mention, plenty of snow!


In my last post, I reflected on the past year related to crafty endeavors. This post is a bit more personal. While I have chosen to make this blog mostly about all things crafty, bits of real life sneak in. This post falls in that category. I hope that it inspires you to reflect on your own year gone by and helps you think positively about 2011!


My sweetie and I have been living together in big, bad, New York City for just over a year now. The living together part is GREAT, as we spent the previous 3 years at least 200 miles apart (and during one year it was over 1000 miles apart). We are having a blast sharing physical space and making a home (even though it’s a rental!).


A few things about living in New York City: I can basically sum up living here as a constant love-hate relationship. My whole family is from here; my relatives emigrated from mostly Eastern Europe, going through Ellis Island and building our family here in the Big Apple. My sister and I (as well as cousins) are the first generation to grow up some place else. I spent much of my childhood here when we visited family and always knew I’d come back to live on my own. After college, I did that for almost 2 years before heading down to DC for graduate school. Now I’ve been back and while we don’t want to stay here forever, I find it hard to think about leaving as it’s such a fantastic place. You can’t beat all the restaurants, museums, parks, and general melting pot that is New York. However, it’s loud, dirty, crowded, expensive and has been disappointing on one major front: I have spent a year trying to get a full time job that allows me to use the skills/knowledge from graduate school and have been unsuccessful. This has been emotionally and financially challenging and while I’m trying to stay positive, there have been major changes made to my job search approach that I hadn’t anticipated. But, life goes on and you have to just roll with it. Hopefully, good things await for me in the new year. I’ve been fortunate to hold a job with benefits, but it does not challenge or stimulate me in the way that I long for.

In spite of all my frustration and general ambiguity, I am happy and healthy and thankful for all my wonderful friends, family, and my sweetie. I know that I’m young and only wonderful, exciting and unexpected things lie ahead.


Here’s to a wonderful holiday season and a fabulous New Year. I’ll be back to blogging in 2011!

Cheers! XOXO

12.21.2010

Reflections - Part I

If you're a regular reader of my blog, then you know by now that I'm pretty reflective person. In general, I try to be as self-aware and aware of the world around me as I can. I look forward to milestones, holidays, and other moments that invite reflection and positive thinking.

The ultimate cliche of New Year's reflection is one that I always make sure to note. It's been one crazy year (and really, for my own personal reflection purposes, I'm including a few months of 2009 too since so much happened at the very end) and I feel like there are many ways that I want to look back on the past year (and change) in order to get ready for 2011.

I plan to do a series of posts about reflection, some of which are craft-related, some of which are not. Pick and choose which ones you'd like to read. And be sure to drop me a line if you plan to write about your own reflections!

Firstly, this has been an enormously crafty year for me, in part due to my limited employment (look for employment/job-related reflections in another post coming up soon). While obviously I would have preferred gainful employment in a degree-using job, I am thankful in a way that I've had the time and space (and the resources thanks to a generous support circle and very forgiving roommate who lets me take over a corner of our tiny living room - thanks sweetie!) to create a serious bunch of quilts!

I have compiled a list of all the quilts I've finished (including all the way back to June 2009, when I finished my first quilt!), as well as the bee blocks completed (see this pic - it's missing a few still but it'll give you an idea of how busy I've been in the virtual quilting world!), and also unfinished projects and random projects.

In looking back, I'm very proud of how much I've made. I feel like I have a definite "style" when it comes to quilting, and have gained a lot of knowledge about the craft itself.

In light of that, my knitting has sort of taken a back seat. I've been knitting for almost 12 years now and I don't think anything will comfort me like the sound of clicking needles and the feel of a handknitted garment in my lap. All the hats I wear are my own handmade creations and I have a number of sweaters that I treasure. We also have a cozy lap blanket knitted up that has recently made it's winter debut on our sofa (brr, chilly temps). Part of the lack of knitting is due to my newfound interest in quilting, but also to the simple fact that knitting is expensive! Yes, yes, quilting isn't exactly cheap but I would argue that through various means, it's cheaper to make a quilt (and build a fabric stash, at least for me). When I knit, I usually buy wool for a specific project. I'm also kind of a yarn snob (haha, big surprise, I know) so the skeins I covet are typically on the expensive side (hello, my newest love, Madeline Tosh Pashmina!). While I have a number of unfinished projects (2 gorgeous sweaters) as well as a handful of ideas for new wares, I've definitely focused more of my creative energy (and my wallet) on quilting. Knitting is like an old friend - I know that we can always pick up where we left off, even if we spend time apart. I do plan to get back into knitting after the new year. In fact, I've just dropped my sewing machine off to be serviced and plan on taking this "quilting break" (haha, except for when I head upstate at the end of the week and will most likely be using my mom's machine!) to focus on knitting, embroidery (another new skill gained this year - check out my first completed project) and some hand sewing (yay hexies!). I finished my quilty holiday gifts and will post pictures of them after they make their way to the recipients!

So in general, I've had a very good year, craft wise. Now, for the lists/numbers/descriptions:

Quilting Bee Blocks
I'm a member of 3 different virtual quilting bees. One is ending this month (though I still have to finish the blocks for it...) and the other two will end early next spring. In total, I have completed 41 quilt blocks (with 3 currently waiting to be worked on). I've done log cabins, string blocks, ticker tape blocks, and so many others. I've loved being part of each woman's creative process and look forward to assembling the blocks I've received for my months (2 out of the 3 bees so far). Be sure to check out this set to see all the blocks I've worked on. Thanks to Erin for all her hard work organizing and running a big part of the virtual community related to bees! Check out Quilting Bee Blocks for pictures, interviews, links to Flickr, and more.

Swaps and Quilt-Alongs
I've jumped on the swap train that is currently taking over Flickr. Thanks in a large part to Heather and Kerri, swap mammas extraordinaire, I've participated in the last 2 rounds of The Pillow Talk {Swap} and am definitely hooked. I've received 2 gorgeous pillows and can't wait to get more (though my sweetie may roll his eyes - we'll need more furniture to hold these pillows! Haha). A number of blogs have held quilt-alongs and serve as fun, community-esque places (albeit, virtual) to work "together" on projects. I finished the quilt top for Julie's Hexagon Quilt-Along but it has yet to be basted or quilted. Stay tuned in 2011 to see it pan out.

Etsy
I've gone back and forth about my Etsy shop. Ultimately, I haven't put as much time or effort into it as it really needs. I will probably close it down soon. I'm not really that upset, since I'm still having a blast quilting!

Other crafty connections
People have definitely been able to see my work. A colleague commissioned me to turn a handful of her sorority teeshirts into a quilt. It was my first true commission and I look forward to many more! The amazing virtual world of quilting has definitely drawn me in. There are a whole handful of incredibly talented crafters whose blogs are my go-to ones in my Google Reader. I've learned so much and been inspired by so many of you - thank you! Special shout out to John, Greta, Leanne, and Brooke, as you've all been great pals through instruction, creative process, and just general life. :) But seriously, you ALL rock! And to my readers, whether or not you're quilters, sewists, knitters or none of the above, THANK YOU! I read all your comments and am profoundly grateful that you check in here to my little corner of the virtual universe.

Here's the total break down:

Quilting Bee Blocks: 41
Swaps: 2 pillows sent, 2 pillows received
Quilt-Alongs: 1 (quilt top completed)
UFOs (unfinished objects): 10 (some completed tops, some need to be pieced, etc.)
Other crafty/quilty projects: lampshade, embroidered quote, a ridiculous amount of handsewn hexagons
Finished quilts (since June 2009): 20!!!!! (check out most of them here)

Stay tuned for more reflection posts before we ring in 2011...

12.20.2010

Sometimes, we need a little magic...

Dear Santa,

I know that you're very busy, especially as we're down to the wire here, but I wanted to put in some requests. I've been very good this past year and feel that I've really been tough through many bumpy moments. Here are just a few things on my wish list...

1. World peace (I know, I know...I'm totally up for helping out on this one - in fact, that's what I went to school for!)
2. No more gray hair (seriously - I'm not even 30! Make it stop!)
3. More trees in my neighborhood (but less jack hammering on weekend mornings...)
4. A real-life, grown-up, master's-degree-using job (um, have you been reading my blog? This is a biggie)
5. Some new undies (we all need new ones - admit it)
6. This yummy fabric by this amazing woman:


Thank you for reading my wish list. Stay warm and enjoy the milk and cookies!

Love,
Ruth

P.S. Louie has been a very good boy. He would like some new toys but would settle for dirty socks. Yum.

12.18.2010

Last minute

Need a gift for a new mom/dad/baby? I still have some great baby quilts in my shop! At this point, nothing is guaranteed to arrive before Christmas but could certainly get there soon after. :)

12.16.2010

Fabrics

I've been stewing over a snow-inspired quilt. Here are some fabrics for more inspiration...

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12.14.2010

Inspiration

My sweet blogging buddy Brooke and the super creative and social Heather started a great new Flickr group as a source of inspiration for quilting. They've called it {portland pairs}: inspiration through photography (they're from Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon respectively). Members have been posting photos of anything that can serve as inspiration for quilts! Brooke has made some AMAZING quilts inspired the coolest stuff, particularly musicians. Make sure you check our her Flickr stream.

This morning, here in the Big Apple we have a light dusting of snow and VERY chilly temps. I'm finding myself dreaming of a white/gray/sparkly quilt...

What inspires you?

12.13.2010

Monday musings

Whoa, I'm a tired girl. Went to bed too late last night and had to wake up at 5:30 for work. Oh, Mondays...

This week I'm not going to be at work very much, as they've been doing some schedule juggling. That leaves time for the following:

1. Finish quilted presents
2. Send out holiday cards
3. More job stuff (duh)
4. Bring clothes to donate to Salvation Army
5. Clean out file folds and computer (ahh, always like to start a new year off fresh)
6. Finish quilting bee blocks
7. Resume last winter's sweater projects - I haven't dug them out yet and I'm in need of some knitting!

I'll try to blog about the interesting stuff...

This past weekend was a lot of fun - movies with my sweetie, dinner with some close friends. Hope everyone else had lovely weekends!

12.10.2010

Gifts for all

...including me! Oh thank you, employee discount, and unknown customer who returned these unworn and therefore left me with the opportunity to give them a good home (and for a VERY good price).(Yes, that's a Denyse Schmidt quilt on our bed. Another super discount score. Oh, and my mirror is hung that high because my sweetie is quite a tall drink of water - 6 feet 4 inches - so it made more sense to cut off my feet from daily view as opposed to cutting off his head!)

Well, December is scrambling along. We're now 2 weeks away from heading Upstate (yay!) and less than a month til my birthday (eek!). How is the holiday shopping/crafting going for everyone? I'm not as far as I'd like to be (big surprise) but somehow it always gets done. Of course, I finally decided what I want my sweetie to get me, and it's so awesome that it's going to be a Hanukkah/birthday combined gift. You'll have to wait and see!

With the cold weather, I'm definitely in the mood to stay inside and be crafty. I have a few holiday presents that need to get finished but I'm so inspired by everyone else's holiday craftiness that I have about 5 projects going in my head! Must resist...

We are snowless here in the Big Apple but I just ordered a new pair of winter snow boots. Why is it that snow boots are generally ugly? Ugh, oh well. At least they'll be waterproof! Last winter I completely killed a pair of Uggs by wearing them through the salt and snow. Time for some big, dorky proper waterproof boots. Between that and my crazy warm puffy coat, I look about 5 years old! Oh well...

The next 2 weeks are chock full - visits from out-of-town friends, dinner out with another couple, and of course finishing the holiday crafting/shopping. There is definitely going to be some baking, movie watching, and maybe some ice skating thrown in the mix...

Happy Friday!

12.06.2010

Winter has arrived

This morning those of us here in the Big Apple spotted the first fluffy flakes of the season. Much to my disappointment, however, they weren't the sticking kind. Meanwhile, back upstate there's plenty of snow - and more on the way! Can't wait to head back up there (in about 2 1/2 weeks!) to play in the snow.

This chilly air makes me want to just snuggle up on the couch with my sweetie, Louie, some quilts, and cozy activities like knitting, reading, TV watching, armed with cookies and hot chocolate. Definitely have to bake this week...I spotted a new cookie recipe coming up on Smitten Kitchen that I'm sure I'll want to try.

I'm working on my holiday gift list, as my sis and my sweetie need some clues. I already know what I'm getting from my folks. It's so awesome that it's going to be my Hanukkah/birthday present: the AccuQuilt Go! Cutter!!!

Making lots of good progress on my quilted holiday gifts. How about everyone else???

12.04.2010

Free entertainment

Thank you, Louie, for providing us with never-ending free entertainment.

video

12.02.2010

Cranky morning

Don't feel like going to work but alas, I must. Even the dog is cranky and didn't want to do his business this morning. It's chilly here and it's making me crave some snow (I hate the cold without snow!)

A little morning inspiration to feed your capitalist tendencies (or maybe provide gift ideas?)

Aren't these great?! Mmm, makes me want to start a new knitting project. You can find these cards here.
Yet another gorgeous slouchy sweater from Anthropologie.
A very timely paperweight found here.

Hope everyone his having a good week!

(And P.S. the latkes I made last night were delicious!)

12.01.2010

Happy Hanukkah!

Yay for latkes for dinner, especially after a long work day. Happy Hanukkah!

(P.S. How is it December already?! ::whimper:: Still not where I want to be, on so many levels. You know? Good grief. Well, at least 2010 will be over soon. I'm ready for a fresh start.)

11.29.2010

Home stretch

How are we in the home stretch of 2010? Sheesh, this year went by fast. I hope everyone on the States had a lovely Thanksgiving! I know I sure did. Lots of time spent in sweatpants, eating, sewing, and relaxing.

I got back to find that my work schedule was cut a bit this week (always bittersweet) so I'm planning on being super productive - and have had a good start so far! Diligently working on job stuff AND sewing projects, including my Pillow Talk Swap pillow!! I decided to do some raw edge applique (using Steam 2 Seam Lite) and leave it free of stitching, except for Rapunzel. I then did a few pink free motion circles over the patchwork part and also free motioned some circles around the applique bits. It makes them really pop!


I'm aiming to get this sent out by the end of the week. I hope my partner likes it!!!

11.25.2010

Give thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

11.22.2010

Home

I'm back Upstate where I grew up, here to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

Already been to the local grocery store (and the greatest one, ever, I must admit - if you've been to one, you'll know what I mean.)

The dogs have been at it like they've never been apart. They crack me up!

I have tons of craft projects planned. Oh, how jealous I am of my mom's whole separate craft room!

I may or may not have had cookie cake for breakfast. After cereal, of course!

Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving (a bit early)!

11.19.2010

Life

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you already know my current (and unfortunate, if I do say so myself) job situation. While I have an awesome degree from a great school, I have yet to get a full-time job that tests my graduate skill set/knowledge.

Such is life these days, huh?
But. I am healthy. I have a wonderful boyfriend whom I love. I have a sweet dog who makes me laugh. I have family, friends, hobbies, a roof over my head, food on the table, and generally get what I need. I know that these are tough times for so many of us, and we all have different ways of coping.

I try to keep things in perspective. A while back, I stumbled upon this quote and couldn't get it out of my head. Sometimes there are sayings that just stick with us. This one really has become my mantra. So much so that for my first embroidery project (yep, first one!) I made this little wall hanging. The quote is embroidered and then the block is bordered with Hope Valley (one of my all time faves) and simply quilted in the ditch, and bound. I'm going to attach little loops on the back so I can hang it on the wall.


And for those of you who continue to read my blog, even the frustrated, angry, whiny, posts about my troubles, I'm hugging you right now. <3 Thanks.

Unfinished

We all have unfinished projects. You know you do, so don't even pretend that you don't. Are you like me, and need to be working on multiple things at once? This is what leads to the ridiculousness of unfinished projects. Currently, I have 3-4 (I didn't really check) baby quilt tops, 2 finished lap-size quilt tops, as well as the blocks from 2 of my 3 virtual quilting bees. Don't even get me started on my unfinished knitting projects.

It's not that I lose interest, per se, but usually that I don't have supplies (so many quilt tops = no batting and/or backing fabric usually). I wish I could say that I have enough will power to not allow myself to buy any new fabric or start any new projects until all unfinished ones are done. Nope, never gonna happen.

11.18.2010

Across the pond

I am lucky enough to have friends all over the world. One place that I have yet to visit, despite knowing someone there, is Scotland. My sweetie met Stephen in college, as they were both recipients of different scholarships related to remembrance and the legacy of the Pan Am 103 bombing. Stephen, a Scot, spent a year in the USA and has kept in touch with my sweetie since his time here! He visited NYC last winter and I hope the next time we get to see him will be on his side of the pond.

Stephen recently became an uncle to a beautiful baby girl named Lauren. He wanted a quilt to give her and fell in love with a top that I had already completed. I was thrilled to be part of such a celebratory occasion, even from thousands of miles away. The quilt features bright colors and fun prints of birds and other animals. Below is a picture of Lauren and Stephen enjoying the quilt! (Thanks, Stephen, for letting me share this adorable pic.)

Sigh of relief

Today was my last day of work for 10 days. My next day back is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

I'm so happy I could dance - except for the fact that I'm totally exhausted and my feet hurt.

But all is good - I have so much stuff I want to do that I don't even know where to start!

On the agenda:
1. Holiday gifts - both working on homemade and seeking out items to be bought
2. Major job push, now expanding back to DC (more on this later)
3. Baking/cooking/all things food - yay!
4. Restart/start knitting projects
5. Clothes/shoes/bags seasonal sort - time to go through and sell/donate/throw away
6. Movies - Harry Potter is at the top of the list...

I can't believe that a) Thanksgiving is next week, b) There's only a handful of weeks left in 2010 and c) my birthday is less than 2 months away!

What are you up to?

11.17.2010

Mid-week musings

1. I go back to my folks' place on Sunday for a whole week of relaxation - I'm already planning what I'm going to cook in their giant (read as normal-sized, I'm just used to my tiny NYC two feet of counter space) kitchen.

2. I'm in search of the perfect tall brown boot. Never one to buy cheap, trendy ones, I'm trying to carefully choose a pair that will last me and can be worn in various settings (weekend, office, current retail job). Here are a few faves:
3. I may or may not have eaten 8 Thin Mints in less than 5 minutes. ;-)

4. Did some applique on my Pillow Talk Swap pillow - pictures coming soon!

Yum

These are my favorites from Tula Pink's new line, Parisville.


Can't wait for payday! ;-)

11.15.2010

Progress

I've made some really good progress on my pillow for my partner in the Pillow Talk Swap.


It's not finished yet...keep checking back for more progress, hopefully this week!

11.12.2010

Huh?

Why is it that on that days not spent working, time passes crazy fast?!

Uuuuuggghhhh.

11.11.2010

Crafting adventures

Woo, it's been a while since I blogged. Sorry about that! Busy, as always. Elections, planning for holidays, new job hours, etc. But all the while I've managed to squeeze in some crafting.

I spent an afternoon a few days ago catching up on my bee blocks...

These are for Susan (Quilting newBEES)
This is for Anita (Fresh Comfort Two)

And these last two are my first paper-pieced blocks! Made for Mary (Bee-Stitched). They were tricky (the second one is definitely filled with flaws) but I had a lot of fun learning this new technique. I've been meaning to try it for quite some time. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to do a whole quilt this way but I definitely like the end result!


A few days ago we were assigned our partners for the Pillow Talk Swap Round 4. I've been playing around with some fabric ideas and patterns. We have about a month to complete our pillows and my partner has great, fun taste. This is going to be a joy to make! Here are some fabrics that I've been playing around with...


I've also been working on my holiday projects (though haven't made nearly as much progress as I would have hoped by this point). They always manage to get done, some how. I've been trying to decide what I want for Hanukkah but can't really seem to make up my mind. My birthday is pretty soon after (in January) so I need to think about that too. In these economic times, I'm trying to think practically so I have a few ideas (but that's for another post).

I'll be heading back to my folks' place for Thanksgiving in about a week and a half. I can't wait! My mom got an AccuQuilt Go! Cutter that I'm excited to try out.

I'm done working until Sunday (when I have a 12-hour day - eek!) and am worried I'm getting a cold so Louie and I are just chilling out for the rest of the day. We're both pretty content to hang out on the couch (especially since Louie loves bogarting the quilt!). It's tea and snuggling for us! And maybe a little sewing, recipe reading (mmm, soup anyone?), job searching, etc.

What are your Turkey Day plans?


Fortune favors the brave. – Virgil

10.30.2010

Saturday! And a little soapbox...

Wheeeee! A lovely day off WITH my sweetie. This week was another long 40-hour work week but I was able to start on my regular schedule (ie. had 2 days off to resemble a weekend, yesterday and today) which made a world of difference. It's an absolutely perfect fall day here - crisp temps, warm sunshine, and lovely leaves in bright colors everywhere. Fall is my favorite season!

Today I FINALLY get to do so some sewing. It's been way too long (thanks, new schedule!) so I'm really thrilled to finally get to work on my projects. A friend who lives in Scotland just welcomed a new niece to the family and I made a quilt for her and am shipping it off today (after only a minor incident with printing fabric paper that may or may not have resulted in ruining my laser printer...ugh). I'm also going to tackle some more stippling, basting, and working on holiday presents as Hanukkah is only a month away! No Halloween plans for us - meh, another year!

On a completely non-crafty related note, I wanted to include some personal info here. I definitely am not the type of person who likes to leave their personal life out of their blog but I do like to mostly try to make this blog about crafting. Lately though, I know that hasn't been the case and I appreciate all the kind and supportive words people have offered to me during this difficult transition period in my life. I really want to share with you a little more insight into my professional life and WHY not having a job that uses my master's degree is such a big deal for me. During the summer between my first and second year of graduate school, I was fortunate enough to work as an advocate at a non-profit organization in South Africa that addresses the legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)*. I was part of the seminal team, a coalition of NGOs that examined an ad hoc presidential pardon process that appeared to be leaving out victim input. When the TRC addressed the atrocities that occurred during the apartheid regime, a key part of the process was including testimony by victims. Technically, the mandate of the TRC is expired but South Africa continues to try to uphold its legacy by governing with many of its principles. During the later years of President Mbeki's term, a number of special pardon requests were submitted that directly referred to crimes committed during apartheid but were - for one reason or another - not addressed through the TRC. A special parliamentary committee was selected to review these pardon applications and make recommendations to the president. The problem was, the victims were never given a voice during this process. On behalf of the victims and with the greater interest of the whole country in mind, a coalition of respected organizations - including the one I was interning at - came together to make recommendations to include victims when deciding whether or not pardon requests should be granted. Flash forward 2 1/2 years and the advocacy was a success! You can read all about it on the International Center for Transitional Justice's website as well as on the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation's (this was where I worked).

Soo...you can only imagine how incredibly psyched I am, not only that the government listen and favored the victims but that I was fortunate enough to contribute to this victory! This is why getting a job in my field matters to me.

Now, I'll be stepping off my soapbox.

Oops, before I do, don't forget to VOTE THIS TUESDAY!!!

(By the way, the blog header picture is me at the Cape Point, which is right near the Cape of Good Hope, the south-western most point of the African continent. Approximately 40 miles out into the ocean from Cape Point is where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.)

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects the freedom of others. ~ Nelson Mandela


*For more info about the TRC, check this out.

10.29.2010

Dreaming

This year I plan on making most of my holiday presents. In fact, many are already in the works (I'm such a planning geek). I also really want to try to beef up my Etsy shop. With my new full-time work schedule, that leaves little time (or energy!) for sewing. :-/ Hopefully I'll adjust to it soon and will be able to work in more crafting time.

My fabric stash is pretty full so I'm really trying to not buy any new fabric. I've been doing really good and have only bought little things here and there (little by little I'm collecting all of Little Folks voile). I think that there is one collection I want to get for myself (probably in a big fat quarter stack):
(Read more about Tula Pink's "Parisville" here.)

What collections will you treat yourself to this holiday season?

10.28.2010

Musings

- Quilt Market is happening this weekend in Houston, TX and I wish I was going. To all those going, have a great time and take lots of pictures!

- Another 40 work week done. WHOA, tired.

- Fall is in full swing = must make time to take pictures of the trees in the various parks.

- Less than a month 'til I head home to my folks' for Thanksgiving. Squeee!

- Making wish lists for Hanukkah/Christmas and my birthday, not to mention things I'd like to buy myself. :)

- SEEERRRIOUS job search push in full swing. Anyone work at a nonprofit in NYC want to give me a job? Just throwing it out there... :-P

- Need to make a list of soups/stews for slow cooker meals. Mmm, cozy.

- Gotta get my butt in gear on gift quilts - holidays will be here before I know it!

10.27.2010

*whimper*

I haven't sewn a stitch in over a week.

My feet are kiiiilllllllling me. Ugh, 8 hours standing up, walking around, running up and down stairs will do that to you.

Haven't gotten to spend much time with my sweetie or Louie.

Feeling cranky.

(I'm sorry - I know that we all have our own problems but I just needed to vent out into the void. Thanks, void.)

Tell me good things that are going on in your life!

10.22.2010

phew

I made it through my first 40 hour work week (not first one ever, but first one in a very long time). I can't even describe how tired I am.

Fortunately, there's no better way to end a long week than with the latest issue of InStyle magazine, a slew of DVRed shows, and Zabar's chocolate babka (before dinner, of course).

Happy weekend everyone!

10.16.2010

Ok, ok, I'm IN!

Originally, I said that I wasn't going to do the next round of the Pillow Talk Swap. Buuuttt, I had so much fun and got a GREAT pillow last time. I feel like this time as long as I start planning early, I'll be really psyched to do it. I think I was just intimidated last time! But seriously, it's so much fun and I get so inspired by the creativity of others that I can't wait to see who my partner is. Here's my inspiration mosaic for my secret pillow-maker:


Now I'm off to see one of my best friends get married today - yay! I also get to see two of my other really good friends. We all met while studying abroad in London 6 1/2 years ago (eek!) and while we've been all over, we still have an incredible bond. Mazel tov, Amy!

Have a great weekend everyone!


We are friends for life. When we're together, the years fall away. Isn't that what matters? To have someone who can remember you? To have someone who remembers how far you've come? ~ Judy Blume

10.14.2010

Distractions

This lovely stack of Anna Maria Horner's new Innocent Crush is calling my name. But I'm busy with lots of other things and since this is reserved for my personal use (ie. a quilt to be made for me to keep!), there's no rush.

But isn't it pretty?!

(FYI: my stack of 1/2 yards, purchased by my amazing mom, was bought here.)

10.12.2010

Changes

Things are shaking up around here. While I still have not secured a job that utilizes my master's degree, I've decided to start working full time at my current part time job. It's retail, but I'm fortunate enough to work in a lovely store, with fun and interesting people, and am treated well. Bittersweet overall but this is simply my life. For now.

While my schedule still lends itself to time to craft, this space may be a bit quieter from now on, especially in the next couple of weeks as I get used to 40-hour work weeks. Keep checking back for what I'm up to...


Whatever you are, be a good one. – Abraham Lincoln

10.08.2010

Yay Friday

I have officially been released from jury duty - hurrah!

On another note, had yet another first round interview...and didn't make it to the second round, despite a sparkling feedback email. Hmm. Seriously? ::whimper::

Thank goodness it's Friday, the weather is lovely, and my sweetie comes home tonight.

Unfortunately, I only have one weekend day, and then am working all day Sunday. But Saturday night we're going to see this guy (who we've seen live before, and is so much fun!):

10.07.2010

Not inspiring...

...jury duty!

I have the utmost respect for our legal system and the importance of juries (uh, DUH, I live with a lawyer!) but the selection process is TEEEEDDDIIIOUUUSSSS. Not to mention a pain in the butt for those of us who don't get compensated by our regular employers.

Sigh. Unfortunately I have to head back tomorrow too as they haven't even gotten to me yet.

Tonight's agenda, filled with fun, comfy things (a little lonely - thank goodness my sweetie gets home tomorrow!):

1. Simple, delicious dinner
2. Warm apple cider (yay fall!)
3. Project Runway (though not that into it this season...does anyone else feel like it's gone downhill since it's been moved to Lifetime?)
4. Quilt doodling/planning/piecing/etc. (really want to make a value quilt...)

Oh! And so excited to see who gets the Nobel Peace Prize! (being handed out tomorrow)


Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. – Albert Einstein


10.05.2010

Inspiration

When crafting, where do you find inspiration? I definitely have days when I'm not the mood to be crafty. On those days, I usually try not to force it, as I am fortunate enough to do this as a hobby (without deadlines...usually). However, sometimes I find myself in the mood to quilt/sew/knit but am sort of wishy-washy about where to begin. I love the daily inspirations over at Creature Comforts and am always poking around Flickr and Etsy. I listen to music, go for walks in this busy city, and try to pay attention to details around me (for example, the tiles on the floor of my bathroom are hexagon shaped!). Brooke is working on a second music-inspired quilt and I'm loving her approach.

My sweetie is out of town this week for work so it's just me and Louie. Had another job interview today which always emotionally exhausts me so I'll probably head to bed early. I'm making progress on a whole bunch of projects (as you've probably seen from my last few posts) so I'll get some more pictures up soon.

10.01.2010

Today's agenda

Happy Friday all! It's (another) rainy day here in the Big Apple. No matter - I have lots of inside activities planned for today.

- The never-ending job search
- Quilt basting (a long-neglected top, a nearly finished baby quilt to add to the shop)
- Job searching
- Cleaning (ugh, basement mysteriously - or not so mysteriously, considering the weather and presence of patio door - a bit water logged)
- Laundry (erm, maybe)
- More job research

Ha, as you can tell, I'm stepping up the job search. As many of you know, I've been at it for quite sometime and while my yield of interviews is great (wow, can you tell that I'm a nerdy student at heart?), I'm still not seeing any results. In this tight economy, bursting with talented job-seekers, we're all fighting for a spot, especially in non-profits (my main focus). Any job search tips are welcomed! :)

Hope everyone has fun weekends planned! My sweetie and I are doing some major reorganizing/cleaning and then I'm working all day Sunday. Ah, the life of a grown-up...





It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot


9.30.2010

What do you do?...

...when you're feeling kind of blue? I love to...

- Listen to funny podcasts
- Watch mindless TV
- Eat goodies (this moment's feature: Candy Corn!)
- Do some crafting (quilts, hand sewing hexies, knitting a cashmere scarf)
- Read a light-hearted novel

Sigh. Just one of those days.

9.28.2010

Sneak peeks

Here's a little hint of some projects I've been working on.

All of these items will eventually make their way into my shop...stay tuned!

Yay!

More goodies...
...in my shop!

9.27.2010

Advice

I've been thinking about how to promote/spruce up my Etsy shop and was hoping that some of you readers had advice? Etsy itself has a wealth of information but I figure the more info I can get from people, the better.

Specifically, do you have tips about photographing your work? How about marketing/promoting? In terms of products, are there certain things - fabric arts related - that you feel are lacking on Etsy? What catches your eye?

I'm looking to really keep the shop full of quilts - including lap sized but I'm not sure how to financially get those going - as well as bags and maybe little goodies.

Thoughts?

9.25.2010

Today's agenda

I find myself with a real weekend. Yep, 2 whole days without work. Woohoo!

Today:
- add finished quilts to the shop
- bind another adorable baby quilt
- dream of ways to play with new fabric sent by mom (pics to come...)
- hang out with my sweetie and Louie
- movie?
- dinner out (!)

What are your weekend plans?

9.22.2010

Hi there

Wow, it's been quiet around here. Sorry about that. I haven't felt much like blogging lately. I've been dealing with a whole bunch of stuff and haven't really had time or much to write. I have, however, been crafting and have re-opened my Etsy shop. I have a bunch of unfinished projects that are calling to me and will be added to the shop soon. Keep checking back as I add more stuff, hopefully a little bit each week.

Check out the new goodies here.

9.10.2010

Home

Even though I'm a grown-up (well, supposedly, right?), going back to the house I grew up in always feels like "home." I'm here, in Upstate NY, for a few days, relaxing and being taken care of in only the way that parents could (especially when you're only a few years away from 30...)

While the weather leaves less to be desired, it's still so comforting and nice to be home. I know where all the dishes go, I can make daily (or even more) trips to the local grocery store, and things don't seem to change (which both frustrates and comforts me - go figure). My sweetie will be heading here tonight and we'll finish out the weekend at our respective family's houses - 3 blocks from each other!

Louie is having a ball, playing with Winston, my parents' dog who happens to be Louie's younger brother. The two of them fell into their old routine from last summer within about 5 minutes. I've been here less than 24 hours and have already laughed my butt off at the two of them.

For those of you who celebrate (we do in a minimal way), l'shana tovah (or Happy New Year, to those of you not familiar with the Hebrew). The Jewish New Year is rung in with apples, honey, and warm cozy favorites. I'm off to that wonderful grocery store to pick up some brisket and other goodies. Then it's time for haircut/hair color. Yes, even though I live in one of the most stylish places, I still come back here to get my hair done. These people have known me forever and it's wonderful to be able to catch back up with them. Not to mention, they know exactly what I like when it comes to my crazy, unruly hair.

I'm also looking forward to taking advantage of my mom's sewing room - yep, she has a whole room for sewing! I will try to get all those bee blocks finished (sheepish head drop) and have some other little crafty things to work on.

What are you up to this weekend?


Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. – unknown


9.07.2010

So behind

These days I feel like I'm behind in so many things: crafty stuff, catching up with people, blogging, and just my life in general. Schools are starting for so many people and while I'm no longer a student, fall always feels like the start of something. Well, usually. This year, I feel like I'm still treading water. I have some things in the works but mostly my life is still in limbo. Hopefully things will progress soon.

I'm terribly behind on my bee stuff. Ugh, so sorry friends! Will try to get working on those soon. I did however get started on a new knitting project - just a simple scarf and realized that I should keep up knitting year round (typically I'm just a fall/winter knitter)...

I finished and delivered the tee shirt quilt...without taking a final pic. Doh! Once I get Erica to take one, I'll make sure to post it here. She loved it and I'm glad that I was able to help her with such a special project.

My sweetie and I were all the way out - and up! - in Salt Lake City this past weekend for a wedding of one of his friends. The bride and groom said their vows on top of a mountain under a glorious sky. It was definitely one of the nicest ceremonies that I've seen and while it took FOREVER to get there (curse on non-direct flights), I'm glad we were there to celebrate with them. Not to mention we were able to take a chair-lift up to the ceremony! Here are some pics!

I'm heading back Upstate to visit my family this weekend. I haven't been there since March which is waaaaaay too long. My head is spinning so I'm looking forward to a chance to chill...

I'm here!

Things have been crazy busy. And seem to remain that way...

I promise I'll post soon. Hope everyone (in the States) had a lovely holiday weekend. Fall has arrived! :)

8.26.2010

Randoms*

*I don't have anything in particular to say today. Here's what been spinning around in my head at one point or another.


My fabric stash is seriously pushing the limit. Time to make some quilts. I need to just dive in and not worry about who the recipient will be (even if it's yet another one for us to keep!).

Sometimes you need dessert after lunch. Especially if it's in the form of s'mores (thank you, microwave).

What else can we do to organize/de-clutter the apartment?

My sister started back at college (her senior year). I miss school!

Is this the year my sweetie will finally get a hand-knit sweater? Time for pattern searching.

How long should we stay in NYC? Where else would I be happy?

We need some new recipes. I have lots of cookbooks/magazines and really need to spend an afternoon picking out new ideas to put into our regular rotation. Getting tired of eating the same things, even though they're easy and predictable.

What have you been thinking about today?

8.24.2010

Tuesday

Today I'm much more upbeat. Sorry about the cranky puss taking over yesterday - we all have those days, especially after vacation! ;-)

Today is drizzly and chilly but I'm OK with that. I think yesterday's meditation/journaling and today's cleaning/reorganizing/recharging has really helped turn my mood around. Not to mention, I've got an interview for a great job coming up next week - hurrah! Send good luck vibes my way.

In honor of fall, here are a few seasonal goodies that I've found poking around online. I was very productive this morning and have allowed myself some fun internet time this afternoon. Now if only I could just wish some more money into my bank account to pick up these goodies.

(Shrunken blazer and gray booties are from Shop Bop and brown booties and J. Brand cargo skinnies are from Anthropologie.)

In other crafty news, I've finished Erica's tee-shirt quilt!!! It looks adorable - I hope she likes it. I'll post some pictures after I give it to her (I think it's only fair she gets the first peek, ya know?)



May the road rise to meet you, may the wind always be at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, may the rains fall softly upon your fields. – Irish Blessing


8.22.2010

Summer's end

Now that my vacation has come and gone, it really feels like summer is ending. I can't believe that it's almost September and while fall is usually my favorite season, this year I'm not as enthusiastic as I have been in the past. I think it mostly has to do with my lack of full-time degree-related employment. I hate that it still dictates how I feel and I'm really going to try and focus on all the other wonderful things in my life. I'm going to approach fall as a fresh start. Crisp leaves, sweaters, and cool evenings are definitely welcome, especially after this steamy summer here in NYC.

Vacation was WONDERFUL. My sweetie and I spent 10 days in Southern Maine. His family has a little cottage there that his grandfather built in the 1950s and they've gone almost every summer since he was a kid. His uncle recently bought a house across the street so we got to spend some time with more family. We overlapped our trip with my sweetie's brother and his girlfriend, then had the house to ourselves for a week. I absolutely loooooove the beach and while that was certainly the focus of our trip, we did lots of other fun stuff too. Maine weather is certainly cooler but we still had many sunny, warm days (though the water was never warm enough for me to go in - I'm spoiled by years of Caribbean vacations and 80 degree ocean temps). I'm super freckled now and am sporting a pretty silly bathing suit tan!

Each morning we'd take Louie to the beach (dogs are allowed before 10 am and after 5 pm). This was his first time going to the beach and he loved it (though like his mom, didn't want to go in the water!). This was also the first time that we took him off his leash without any sort of enclosure or fence outside. He was great and with the exception of a few times (a flying seagull, a giggling child...) he stayed near us and bounded along the beach, making lots of friends. We'd take him back to the cottage and then go back to the beach ourselves. We usually spent the afternoon at the beach, then came back to shower, read some more, and get some dinner. It was so simple and relaxing! My sweetie and I read a lot and didn't turn on the TV once (and I didn't miss it!) The cottage is adorable with a small, screened in porch, walls made from knotty pine, and cute rustic touches like old quilts (yay!) and funky vintage cookware. We slept A TON, going to bed before 10:30 many nights and waking up early. There were lobster rolls, ice cream breaks, and many other vacation food adventures. Our last night there we had steamed lobsters. Mmmm!

Besides the beach, we also spent an afternoon in Portland (about 40 minutes away) and rode a ferry around to some of the small islands near the harbor. We also played miniature golf (always a vacation fave), went kayaking in the salt marshes (so cool - we saw a turtle and tons of birds), and made s'mores on the grill.

While I love living here in busy NYC, it was so nice to get away to a simpler, quieter retreat. I spent some time working embroidery projects and reading a lot. It truly was an escape for me and my sweetie and I'm so glad that we got to spend all that time together, away from the stress of real life. I definitely feel refreshed and recharged and ready to keep up my energy for the job search. I've gotten a few leads recently so hopefully, I'll hear some positive news about my job search soon - cross your fingers for me as this could be the start of something really cool... We have lots of fun stuff coming up this fall including a few weddings, a trip back upstate to see our families, and visitors.

Now it's back to reality. We're both back to work tomorrow and have spent the day hanging around, unpacking and settling back in. Sundays are always dreary, especially rainy ones after vacation is over.

For pics of my Maine adventure, check out my Flickr photostream here.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer! I'll be back blogging about crafty stuff soon.

Back from vacation

Hi all! I'm back after 10 days of glorious relaxation on the coast of Maine.

Will post more soon :)

8.11.2010

A much-needed break

Tomorrow my sweetie and I will head up to beautiful Maine for 10 glorious days of vacation. I'm seriously giddy with excitement. It seems like we've been counting down to this trip for a loooong time and it's hard to believe that it's finally here. While the packing is mostly done, I thought I'd check in and tell you what I've been up to lately.

Erica's tee-shirt quilt is basically done. I finished the binding last week and now I just need to go over the whole quilt and trim threads, add stitches, etc. I also need to make a label. I'll definitely be able to give it to Erica before September 1st - can't wait to see what she thinks! For those of you interested in more process details, I usually make my own binding out of 2.5" strips sew on the bias. Julie has a great tutorial about binding that I've followed for a while now - check it out here.

In other quilty news, I scrambled to finish the backing, quilting and binding for our beach quilt. It's WAAAAYYY sloppier than I would have like (we're talking crooked fabric, some gaps in seams, etc.) but I'm just so freakin' happy to be heading to the beach that I don't care. Besides, this is by no means a glamorous vacation - lots of flip flops, jeans, beer, and laziness. A sort of sloppy quilt fits. (Pictures to come AFTER vacation - you'll get to see the quilt live in action!)

I'm getting more and more into embroidery. I was debating what type of crafty project to bring with me on vacation and embroidery won out. I was going to bring hexies but decided that I wanted something a little more engaging (though I'm still plugging away at my hexagon stash and have started to think of some actual projects!). I'm working on this awesome quote AND an abstract piece. (Again, due to the state of my apartment - eek, filled with suitcases and basically just a mess - pictures will come after we return.)

A lot of blogs that I read have been very self-reflective lately, many with a common theme: simplify. (Amanda and Brooke have written some beautiful, thoughtful posts about this). Our lives are busy, complicated and stressful and many people have become aware of the need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take each day one at a time. This idea seems to also be paired with more of a focus on local initiatives, healthy lifestyle choices, and quality time with loved ones. Maybe these tough economic times produced something positive: a larger community reflection on what's important. I know that I've felt the need to re-examine my life and priorities and am vowing to focus on being healthy, happy, and thankful. I've blogged about this before and will continue to do so as I work on myself and my life. Thanks to all of your supportive comments, suggestions and for simply following along. :)

On a less serious note, I have an absolutely adorable 4-year-old cousin who has the vocabulary/language ability of a 6-year-old. This past weekend I got to spend some time with her and she cracked me up for hours! Her mom (my 1st cousin) invited us to hang out at their house for the afternoon for some swimming and BBQing. It was so relaxing to get out of the city (they're about an hour train ride away) and definitely entertaining! My little cousin talked NONSTOP (obviously related to me) and mused about everything from boys to favorite words to floating. One of the cutest things that she said was in response to her dad asking her if she was floating (she's learning to swim/float and wore a floaty vest but mostly hung on to the wall of the pool). She stated, "only my toes are floating." Too cute!

So, I leave you all for a while here, as I will not be bringing my computer on vacation. Here's just a few things on the vacation agenda:

~ blueberry picking
~ trip up to Freeport (L.L. Bean!)
~ hanging out in Portland
~ see "Eat, Pray, Love" on a rainy day
~ LOTS of reading
~ lobster. 'nuf said.
~ beach snuggling!
~ yoga/meditation

I'll be checking email but will mostly be outside enjoying nature and goofing off with my sweetie and Louie. We'll be back in 10 days - until then, stay cool, have fun, and enjoy these last few weeks of summer!


Find life experiences and swallow them whole. Travel. Meet many people. Go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. Try everything. Exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life. – Lawrence K. Fish