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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Commonwealth Ave

A few weeks ago, Justin and I had a free Saturday afternoon, and the weather was just perfect. We decided to hop on the T and head down into the city to soak up some of the sights and to play “tourist” for a day.

Boston Common

Justin has developed an incredible mental map of the Back Bay since he began working there this fall, and he loves hanging out on Newbury Street or at Boston Common. On his lunch breaks, he heads down Boylston Street and I can often tell where he’s been based on his instagram photos.

Boston Common

It took me a little while longer to warm up to the city. As many of you know, we moved here from Michigan in late summer, and like many others, I tend to be wary of new things. Last month I was on a work trip and I found myself looking forward to going home to Boston, and I remember being a little surprised by the thought. Boston? Home? I really hadn’t thought of it that way until recently.

Boston Common

Boston Streets

We had a lovely time this past weekend with family in town to visit, and on Monday morning I know that Justin wanted to head down to watch the marathon finishers. He’s run his fair share of marathons, and there’s something about all of that excitement and positive energy around a race that we both love. And anyone who has run a marathon knows that Boston is iconic—it is THE race. The marathon finishes right down the street from Justin’s office, and he’d been tracking the progress as the crew set up for the race the previous week. It was easy for him to do, as he usually takes the T to Copley Square, right where the finish line is set, and then walks down the block to work.

Commonwealth Ave

Boston Sculpture

We were a bit tired on Monday morning, and I have been nursing a knee injury. I mentioned to J that standing around for hours on concrete might not be the best, and although I bet he was disappointed, he didn’t let it show. We had a lazy morning on the couch instead, watching the marathon coverage while I worked on hand stitching my single girl quilt. Having lived with Justin and his Runner’s World subscription for a number of years, I actually had a few favorites in the race, and we cheered on the elite US runners as they finished. And then, for a little while, we went about our day as usual, until we heard the news.

Boston Waterfront

South Station

Like many, many others, we are just stunned and devastated by the bombing. Honestly, I think we’re having a little trouble processing it. The photos and footage of the bomb and aftermath are right there—right there in the spot Justin walks every day. Right there where we walked around the city, making plans to come back to shop and to eat at every restaurant that looked good. Right there in the city we just recently learned to call home.

Mass State House

Freedom Trail

I appreciated and responded to every message and text that we got from family and friends checking to see if we were ok. Our lives are still a little out of whack, and I think they will be for a bit longer. Justin can’t return to work yet, because his office building is in the official crime scene area and is inaccessible until the FBI wraps up their investigation. I never thought I’d write a sentence like that. I’m thinking about what I might do to help, and of course my thoughts turn to quilts, as that is one thing I can offer. I have it on good authority that we will be brainstorming about this at the Boston Modern Quilt Guild meeting this coming weekend, and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one thinking about what good quilts (and quilters) can do at this time. Mostly I just feel heartbroken for this city I have been learning to love.

Boston Church

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Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve had a minute to stop in here for an update! November kept me hopping, with travel for both work and family, and an extended stay at my sister’s house where I got to spend a good bit of time cuddling with my new niece. Now I can’t believe it’s December already! And although I haven’t found time recently to blog, it’s funny to see where my photos and work pop up around the internet– today I discovered my city reflection quilt over on BuzzFeed! It’s number 26 in the lineup of quilts to eye, create, or buy!

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

I finished up this quilt top for the Love circle of Do. Good Stitches a little while ago, and I’m now working on binding it– so close to being done! I love these bee quilts, because they give me a chance to reflect a bit on some of my favorite things about sewing. Receiving blocks from all across the country, and knowing that my bee-mates will take a leap of faith and follow the instructions I made up for the quilt, is awesome.
Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Everyone did *such* a perfect job with these blocks, and in the quilt top you can see how well they fit together– it’s hard to tell where one block ends and another begins!

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

Wonky Pinwheel Quilt Top

I’ll be sharing the final product here soon, along with a slew of other projects I need to blog about! Baby quilts and christmas decor are piling up!

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People, I hand quilted an entire quilt!!

Hand Quilted Hope Valley Filmstrip Quilt

You can knock that off my bucket list! But seriously– I loved working on this quilt.

Love the drape and the crinkle

I made up the filmstrip quilt top last spring (using the tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts). It’s not my first filmstrip, and I have a feeling it won’t be my last.

Hanging around with some fall colors

I used my favorite line of fabric– Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt, and I love how the colors play together. In general, I am more of a fan of mixing lines of fabric, but these prints are just so lovely together that I couldn’t resist. I used perle cotton (size 8) for the stitches to get that chunky look.

Bound and Backed in Little Folks Voile

I decided to back the quilt in Little Folks voile from Anna Maria Horner, and I would *highly* recommend this as a backing for a quilt you’re hand quilting. It’s so so soft and easy to hand stitch. I used a pastry line print for the binding, and I love how it frames the quilt.

Hope Valley Filmstrip folded up

When I started quilting (on my very first quilt, actually), before I had purchased a walking foot for my machine, and long before I started free motion quilting, I tried hand quilting. And I was miserable. It was hard to sew through the batting, and I couldn’t get into the groove. I thought that if that was what quilting was like, I wouldn’t be making any more quilts! When I discovered the joy of quilting on my home machine, I was hooked, and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would sew a quilt by hand. But slowly, my thinking on this matter changed. I love a long term project, and looked forward to having something to hand stitch in evenings and on car trips. Hand quilting this quilt saw me through all of our trips this summer, including finding a new place to live and making our recent move. It represents more than just my favorite fabrics, it represents the time and care I devote to this craft. I’m so happy with this quilt, and although I never thought I’d say this, I’m excited to get to work on my next hand quilting project!

On the rocks

And a note about the batting– one reason I believe it was so difficult to hand quilt that first quilt was because I did not use a batting that was optimal for hand stitching. This time around I took the advice of some of my knowledgeable guild members in Ann Arbor and went with Quilters Dream Request Loft Batting made from 100% cotton. It made such a difference!!

Hope Valley Filmstrip in the Breeze

And– if anyone out there who happens to read my little blog is considering hand quilting, I encourage you to give it a try! And know that you might not love it the first time around, but that’s ok– there will always be another quilt calling your name on which you can give this a try.

(Simon can’t help but get in a photo of the quilt)

Simon in the picture

I’m linking up with The Bloggers Quilt Festival over at Amy’s Creative Side. Each Spring and Fall Amy hosts this wonderful virtual event that coincides with quilt market to celebrate all of these wonderful quilts, and I’m so happy to join in! Click on the link below to visit her site, and to check out a TON of gorgeous quilts!

Quilt Stats:
Size: 54″ by 62″
Fabric: Kona cotton bone and hope valley (front), little folks voile (back) and pastry line voile (binding)
Special Techniques: Hand Quilted!!! (umm, I’m excited about this, can you tell?)
Quilted by: Me! (otherwise this would be much less impressive)
Best Category for the BQF: Hand quilted, throw quilt, or quilt photography

Amy's Creative Side

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a quilt with a view

I have been waiting a *long* time to share this quilt top, so warning– there are a lot of pictures in this post!

single girl 1

I started the Single Girl quilt (pattern by Denyse Schmidt) with the Single Girl Quilt Along, which started quite a bit ago– as I look back at the group, it looks as though it’s been 20(!) months. This is definitely the longest it’s taken me to finish a quilt top! I don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to make this as a queen sized quilt for our bed. Now that the quilt top is done, I’m soooo glad I did it, but I likely won’t make another, at least not this size!

single girl 2

After finishing the quilt top, I knew I wanted to take it somewhere special to take some photos, and the perfect opportunity presented itself shortly after our move to Boston. We headed out one evening to climb Mount Wachusett, and since finishing this quilt top felt a bit like climbing a mountain, I thought I’d schlep it up there with me.

single girl in the wind

The light was perfect, and the top of the mountain gave us the most amazing views. It was a bit windy, and I think I put my quilt holders to the test, especially as I kept directing them to “just ONE MORE spot” for photos. Thanks so much to my mom, Justin, and Liv for putting up with me!

quilt and tower

At the top of the mountain there are 360 degree views, and an industrial looking tower that was just gorgeous, and provided a nice platform for holding the quilt.

tower supports

windmills

There were also a bunch of grasshoppers hanging around, and we spotted a frog lounging in the pond on top of the mountain.

cricket

frog in the pond

grasshopper

Simon loves hiking and climbing, and he stayed a few steps ahead of us all on the way up and down.

Simon

As you can see, he’s a very fashionable dog, with cans of dog food on his collar. He loves his wet food!

Simon's dog food collar

I just couldn’t help myself, and took about a million pictures. There was something so ethereal about a night like this, with the light just right, hanging out on top of a mountain with family and a new favorite quilt.

single girl 1

single girl 6

Call me crazy, but I’m planning to hand quilt this beast over the winter. I’m almost done hand quilting my lap quilt, and I am loving how slow and deliberate it is to quilt by hand. Plus, I think I will back this one in voile, which I have found makes for VERY pleasant hand quilting. I managed to snag some from Pink Castle Fabric for a great price before it sold out, and I’m so glad I did– if you ever have a chance to hand quilt with voile, do it!!

single girl closeup

I’m sure I’ll be sharing some process pics as I work on this over the next few months. I’m so glad it’s finally ready to quilt!! It took more patience than any other project I’ve attempted, but it was well worth it, and I can’t wait to put this on our bed in the spring!

single girl on the rocks

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seaweed on the shore

This summer marks some big changes for J and I– as I’ve mentioned here earlier in the summer, I finished my dissertation and earned my Ph.D., I turned 30, and now we’re gearing up for a big move! We spent the first bit of July traveling, and a big part of our trip was spent in Boston, which we will be calling home in a few short weeks!

Almost sunset

We took a long road trip out east to visit family and to find a place to live.
At the same time, we were helping my mom get settled into her new home, also in Massachusetts! By some crazy coincidence, my parents (who have lived in Ohio for my whole life!) are ALSO moving to MA, and will be about 45 minutes away from us!

Rhode Island

My mom had to start work in early July, and my dad will be joining her this fall. While this change is so exciting, there has been much work to be done! For my parents, preparing to move out of my childhood home is a big undertaking. And at the same time, J and I can somewhat commiserate– we’ve been living in Ann Arbor for 6 years, and we will be sad to go. However, we know that amazing opportunities lie ahead. I’m very excited to begin my work in a health psychology lab at a University just outside of Boston, and we can’t wait to explore New England!

at the shore

While we were there earlier this month we took an evening and drove down to Rhode Island, and it was so refreshing and gorgeous. Plus, after living in the midwest, it’s kind of amazing that you can drive for an hour or two and be in so many different states!

Simon

Of course, I can’t leave out the sewing (or the Simon), so I took along with me on the trip the quilt I’ve been working on– I shared the quilt top here, and I decided to hand quilt it.

Simon's helping with the quilting

Somewhat surprisingly, I am loving the hand quilting! It helps a lot that I am using batting designed to work well for this purpose (quilters dream in the request loft, 100% cotton). Thanks so much to my Ann Arbor modern quilt guild members who gave me the advice!

marking my handquilting lines

They also suggested using the clover water soluble marking pencils, which I love! I don’t think it will be too much longer until I’m done with this one, which is good– I have big plans for my next hand quilting project which I’ll share soon!

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tee instructions from class

Last week was my birthday– I finally left my 20’s behind! The week was so much fun and it just flew by! On Tuesday, I took a class with Rae on how to make a t-shirt. I was really looking forward to this class, because you bring in your favorite t-shirt and learn how to make a pattern from it to make a new one.

Rae showing us how its done

This is the first wearable item I’ve made, and I won’t lie– it was a little scary at times! Especially when I was putting in the neckband. But everything worked out fine, and now I have a new shirt that fits perfectly!

side view of my first tee

new tee + favorite bag

The next day I headed out to the park with my mom to take some photos (thanks Mom!), and awkwardly modeled my new shirt (plus, you can catch a peek of a quilt and some new pillows I plan to blog about soon).

modeling my new tee with some of my new pillow covers

We also made time to stop at my favorite thrift shop, and I found this jadeite casserole dish to add to my jadeite collection!

jadeite casserole dish

And we stopped by Pot + Box, the studio/shop where my t-shirt class was held. They have the most beautiful displays and plants for sale, and my mom and I both ended up splurging on some new jewelry.

succlents in the toolbox

succulents

pot and box

low maintenance cacti

jewely at pot and box

air ferns
In all, it was a VERY fun week :) I hope all birthday weeks turn out this well!

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Berry box

I’m so happy it’s berry picking season! Every year J and I try to get out to stock up our freezer, and to pick extras for jam. When we were there, the picking was great– the ripe berries were practically leaping into our berry box.

Berry sign

Under the leaves

The best berries ARE under the leaves!

weighing in

We took home a good haul, and I’ve been working on turning some of these into jam.

Our haul

strawberry season

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It’s hard to find words to describe a day like today, so I’ll let the photos do the talking.

In the river

undert the bridge

favorite bridge

We set out to do a kayak trip from Barton dam down to Gallup park on the Huron river. It was a gorgeous day. We spotted so many animals– even a hawk with babies trailing behind, and a heron in flight. They were too quick to catch with my camera, but there were plenty of other subjects on which to focus.

turtle sunning

goslings

Justin in his kayak

argo livery

dog on a boat

canoe livery

Justin on the river

I hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend!

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March Fourth!

Simon on our hike

My academic advisor says she loves this date on the calendar because it’s also an order– march forth!
Today Simon and I did just that, and took a hike through one of our favorite parks while Justin did a training run. He’s planning to do another race this spring– either a half or full marathon– and Sime and I tag along when he does his runs and we do a more leisurely hike.

tree branch

trail over the water

It’s still a big cold here– icicles under the bridge!

icicles under the bridge

Mossy

hollow log

Old tree

Simon on the bridge

a dogs point of view

oh to be a dog.

Simon's funny face

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Working on my single girl!
Working on my Single Girl!

Things have been busy around here– lots of sewing going on, mostly on the weekends (I have some new quilts to share soon!). Plus, I am aiming to finish my dissertation in the next few months, so LOTS of working/writing happening behind the scenes! That’s why I have been in love with the idea of sharing a few snapshots here and there of what’s happening around here– sometimes I get caught up in the idea of writing a full post about a finished project that it’s hard to find the time to blog, but I always have so many little things going on that I’d love to share. Also– ever since I discovered how to use my instagram app on my phone, I’ve been better at documenting the little things!

I have been…

Baking blueberry cake (you can find the recipe here)

Organizing my office:

Documenting some graffiti around town while I walk Simon:

Graffiti on the morning walk

As well as some very cool sidewalk art:

Sluggo's valentines day

Hitting up the gym– time to get back in shape after my convalescence!

@ the gym

Working on some new projects:

And hanging out with this guy:

What have you all been up to?

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