Easing into the week

Monday: no agenda. After the craziness of last week, I'm sticking to my guns and going to take it easy. A few things to do but I will not be making obsessive lists or spazzing out about getting things done. The only must-do is call the doctor to set up an appointment. Other than that, whatever gets done, gets done.

Here's to a smooth, stress-free week.

And a few pretty fabrics, to get your creative juices going:

(All fabrics from Hawthorne Threads, one of my favorite online shops.)



Remember this post? Yeah, we had a major drop in the rollercoaster yesterday: kidney stones! (Clearly the mind-body connection through stress/change/etc. is totally real - not that I had any doubts but this past week completely confirmed it). Ugh, who knew at 28 you could get kidney stones? Apparently you can because I did! Even if you eat healthy and try to manage stress.What I thought was something else quickly spiraled into the worst pain EVER. My second trip to the ER within the last year ended with a diagnosis of a few small stones that fortunately passed during my time at the hospital (with only microscopic pieces left, seen in the x-ray). In my nearly 30 years on this earth I have only ever been to the ER three times: once for when a dog bit me while living in London, and now TWICE within A SINGLE YEAR while living here.....

Um, so yeah. So I think it might be time to get outta here. Come on DC...don't fail me now...

(Today I am feeling MUCH better. And armed with a whole slew of strong meds just in case. We're taking it easy for the weekend here - lots of down time - and I'll go in to see my regular doctor for a full work up this week.)

Now back to the GU/SU basketball game (we live in a divided house here so it's getting heated!)


My favorite part

Yesterday I decided to pull out all my unfinished projects so I could size up where to start. See, I have this little problem of having a million things going at once (I know that so many of you understand) and then it seems to get to a point of just bordering on chaos. I was starting to feel that pressure so I figured it was time to take them all out and work on those suckers.

One thing that is very clear from my stack is that piecing quilts is my favorite part of the process. I currently have 4 - yes, FOUR - completed quilt tops there, as well as one almost finished one AND 2 quilts that I'm in the middle of quilting. Well, not really, since I just finished quilting one of them so just one quilt that needs to be quilted and another one now in need of binding.

Honestly, I think the actual quilting part is my least favorite part! Does that make me a bad quilter? Haha. I'm much more energized and excited about designing and putting together a quilt top. I think that the monotony of that comes with quilting just doesn't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, I don't HATE it but it's definitely not my favorite part. I even sort of like binding (not the MAKING of the binding but putting it on since you get to be that much closer to having a finished quilt!).

I think that my lack of enthusiasm for the quilting step also comes from the fact that I feel like that's the point where I can really see the limits of my machine. It's just a simple, sweet Kenmore and I love it but I think it definitely gets cranky after running at full speed for the long period of time that is needed to quilt. I've told myself that if I truly keep quilting in a few years I'll buy myself a fancier machine. For now, I'm letting mine rest. Maybe I'll start pulling some fabrics for a new quilt...




Tired of winter. Feeling frustrated and impatient about jobs. Mushy and out of shape. Stressed. Anxious about money. Craving warmth and sunshine. Ambivalent about where to start. Too many to-do lists.

Trying to remember to breathe in the midst of the ups and downs.


Girl crush

Sometimes, you just need to blast some tunes. (Thanks to my fabulous music twin for turning me on to these guys!)

I may or may not be having my own private dance party (fabulous shoes included).


Growing up

I had coffee yesterday with a sweet college friend who I haven't seen in months. She was the one who got married in Hawaii this past July (will forever be sad that my sweetie and I couldn't make it there for the wedding) and she just started a PhD program in September that she's loving. But the best news of all is that she's pregnant!!! She's my first close friend that's pregnant. Now I know that I'm finally growing up. She looks gorgeous and had all sorts of fun pregnancy stories to tell (fortunately, it's been a pretty stress-free pregnancy). She's due in July and you can be sure that a custom quilt will be in the works shortly...

It's been a quiet Saturday here. My sweetie is working (thankfully, from home) so I've been sewing up a storm. I just finished the quilt top for the Timber/AccuQuilt quilt (pictures coming soon). I also made some fun applique tree blocks for Judy in Quilting newBEES.

I think some baking, some more sewing, and definitely a movie will make up the agenda for the rest of the day. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!


Fun Friday

It's almost 60 degrees here so I'm about to head outside to the park with Louie but wanted to post some crafty stuff first. I spent the morning doing other productive things so once Louie is sufficiently walked (and his paws are super muddy...awesome...) I'll be back in to do some sewing.

Next month is my turn for Quilting newBEES (my other 2 bees have both finished and this one will only have one more month after mine). In light of my StashPact11 promise to not buy any unnecessary fabric, I'm focusing on a scrapbusting block. I made this block for Greta way back for another bee and have decided to use it for my month.

I'm going to supply my fellow quilters with some squares that I specifically want to be used un-cut (2.5") and others that can be used for the half-square triangles (3"). I'm trying to decide what neutral I want to use. I love the gray that we used for Greta's block but I already have a fair number of quilts that I've used gray in recently and I'm thinking I'd like to try something different. I love my Kona Color Card - so helpful! I am also considering some quilter's linen, or grunge.



3" squares - for half-square triangles

2.5" squares - to be kept as they are

I only have one more block that I'm delinquent on so I'll probably work on that this afternoon.

My mom sent me a bunch of stuff this week and I had also ordered a few books online so now I have a selection of crafty reads to enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!


It wasn't my fault

Is anyone else having trouble resisting eating their entire box of Valentine's Day candy? (My sweetie knows my weaknesses...er, I mean loves!)

If mine is empty before dinner, it wasn't my fault - it was calling my name.

Just sayin...



According to my calculations

I've talked about my love/hate relationship with math here before. It's not that I really love it or hate, actually, but more that I never really enjoyed it during school (and now in life, for that matter) but fortunately I wasn't that bad at it.

So, in working on the Timber quilt (talked about the super fast cutting process here), I had spent waaaay too much time trying to calculate how to arrange the blocks. I'm not a super picky person when it comes to layout, and without a design wall (read = no space), I tend to lay out quilt blocks on my bed, then stack and label the columns before piecing (and so that we actually sleep in the bed, heehee).

No matter what I did, I could not figure out a perfectly even layout for this quilt. It consists of the following:

100 4" blocks, plain cuts of all the prints
50 4" pinwheel blocks, 2 repeats
25 4" four square blocks

I don't use any sort of spreadsheet or quilting software, just plain old pen and paper (and a calculator!). Try as I might, I couldn't figure out a layout that really used all the prints in an evenly repeating/symmetrical/etc. pattern. Then I just decided, to heck with it, I'm going to alternate between the plain prints and the pieced blocks, trying not to put the same prints next to each other and we'll see how that works out.

Of course, that still came with a few obstacles in the form of left over blocks but over all I'm happy with it. It's going to be 12 x 12 blocks and the left overs will be used on the back (probably a strip of them and then the rest will be some sort of solid).

How do you do layouts???

They're all sorted into columns and labeled and I think I'll start piecing them tomorrow. For now, I'm off to finish up The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (and to be honest, I didn't really LOVE any of these but felt interested enough to read all three...anyone else feel the same?). Dinner tonight with friends at Momofuku Noodle Bar for their famous fried chicken dinner.

Here's to a good week!



This post is a bit of a departure from my usual crafty musings. Forgive me but it's too important not to bring up. I could go on and on (seriously, you have NO idea...) but I'll try to just keep it brief. I'd love to hear your thoughts about all of this - please feel free to comment or email me directly.

Today has been an incredibly historic day. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has resigned. He has been in power for pretty much my entire life. While Egypt has long been a US ally, its citizens have never fully experienced a free, democratic society. Everything is changing from this moment forward.

While I can't imagine how proud Egyptians must be today, I feel a sense of victory as well, even from my couch in the cold Big Apple, as opposed to Tahrir (which means "liberation" in Arabic) Square. (I was listening to the daily broadcast Brian Lehrer who was holding a special talk that included practitioners, scholars, activists, and people who have lived through various revolutions/transitions around the world.) Professionally, academically and personally I am committed to conflict resolution, especially in how people cope after conflict (or transitions). My interest in Egypt isn't simply that of a well-read Westerner, but as someone who has been - and will always be - devoted to peace in all aspects of my life. I even have a graduate degree in this.

But regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you do, one guest on the radio today put it best: "Today we are all Egyptians."

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.


Perfection is overrated

I have never been a perfectionist. I am someone who appreciates meticulous and thoughtful crafting (and general approaches to other things) but am by no means the kind of person who gets bogged down in making things perfect.

Behold the beauty of imperfections, seen in the slightly wonky piecing of my solids quilt.

I totally love this! I think the quilting will be wavy horizontal lines.

I've been crafting here and there over the past few days. It's been quite cold again (sigh) so a lot of time has spent snuggling on the couch with Louie and in front of the sewing machine (me, not Louie - he's not really a quilter...heehee). I ended up powering through a whole bunch of (late!) bee blocks and realized that I only have one active bee right now (and will finish up in April). I've really enjoyed the bees but am pretty much over it, at least for now. I also have been working on my projects for the Spicing Up the Kitchen swap. I made this cute little mug rug in addition to the pear potholders.

Today will be pretty low-key. Laundry, some more sewing, the usual job stuff, and some reading. Almost the weekend!



I've been a very good girl and have stuck to my personal StashPact11 rules. Basically, I'm limiting myself almost entirely to my stash this year but I'm allowing a few purchases here and there for necessities (backings, bindings, etc.) and for major fabric crushes. Here are a few that have been sitting in my cart on one fabric website:Sigh. Not yet. But soon.

Let's try this again

So unfortunately (for her) but fortunately (for the rest of you!) my winner never emailed me back. Since it's now been 4 days, I decided it was time to do another drawing and voila:
Congrats to Celeste! I already emailed you for your info.

Right now:
Seeing: the mess that is my desk (must be cleaned ASAP)
Feeling: chilly! (even inside the apartment)
Tasting: Butternut squash/apple soup. Mmm.
Smelling: I think Louie needs a bath...
Hearing: pipes (which reminds me to call the super...)

Stay warm - I'm off to sew!



Tobono symbol: from the Adinkra alphabet, stands for strength, confidence, persistence.

I love the simplicity and beauty of the Adinkra symbols. I even have a tattoo of one. My mom got me this necklace here.

Been wearing it constantly. Perfect.



A HUGE thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaway. A winner has been chosen:Congratulations, Karen P. - I just emailed you. :)

My DC trip was super successful - tons of networking, contacts, and interviews (with more coming up)!!! Thanks for all your kind words and well wishes. Hopefully more good news from here on out...

I'm not a huge football fan and since my sweetie's team isn't one of the 2 playing, we'll only half-watch the game (gotta see the commercials - especially the E Trade baby ones!) and eat yummy food and sew. Happy Sunday, everyone :)


All systems go!

I'm off to DC! The "snowstorm" didn't really hit us at all...thankfully! Some ice but nothing major. Armed with my Kindle and some knitting, I'm ready to hit the road. Weeee! (I haven't been back to DC since I finished grad school over a year ago - too long!)

Back in NYC this weekend. :)

Don't forget about the giveaway - open 'til Sunday!



As I get closer to my DC trip (leaving tomorrow - take THAT, snowstorm!), I find myself getting nervous. I am typically someone who doesn't get intimidated by meeting new people, going to new places, interviewing, etc. but still...the anxiety is creeping in, I think because I'm so ready to jump back into what I'm passionate about. After what seems like never-ending searching, I finally feel like this week I could make serious progress in my journey to find a job that allows me to use my master's degree and start my true professional path.

One of the ways that I calm the crazy monkeys in my head (besides sewing/quilting/knitting) is to peruse some of my favorite books. Heroes, true pioneers, and others who write about things that interest and stimulate me remind me that this is what I want to do.

I'll be back blogging next weekend... 'Til then, cross your fingers and toes for me!

(And don't forget about the giveaway!)