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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

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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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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Behind the Scenes

Squires Castle long view

I was so excited that Generation Q decided to feature my post about my most recently finished Do. Good Stitches Quilt as their post of the week!

in the castle

I love scouting out locations to take photos of my finished quilts. It’s one of my favorite parts of finishing a quilt! It’s easy to do– I just think about my favorite places to go for a hike. That was how I discovered Parker Mill (the site of MANY of my quilt photos, including these), and Squires Castle has always been a favorite place for a hike. My family has been going to that park since I was a little kid, and on our last trip to Cleveland it struck me that it would be the perfect place to take photos.

Simon looking out the window

snowy tree through the castle window

In the castle

fireplace in the castle

The castle itself is very photo-worthy, so I thought I’d share a few quilt-less shots I took while there. Many of the floors for the second story have been removed, as have the windows, so even when you’re “inside” it feels very open, bright, and outdoorsy. I hope you enjoy, and I’ll be back tomorrow with the details and more photos of my other recently finished quilt!

in the castle

In the castle

turret

Sime in the window

Squires Castle

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The Great Outdoors

in the park

Lately J has been very interested in playing disc golf. Did you know there are a ton of different types of discs you can buy for different types of throws? Me neither!

fall tree

Well, now I do– and I love tagging along to play disc golf because it takes us out to a bunch of gorgeous parks in the area. Disc golf is like taking a hike and play a game all at once! It’s a nice excuse to get outdoors for a few hours. The light was beautiful at the park this afternoon, and I snapped a few photos while we played. I hope this feeling of calm and relaxation sticks with me all week!

path through the park

disc golf

empty seed pods

seeds

trees

picnic tables stacked for winter

The edge of the lake

sun setting over the lake

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The Banff Quilt

Earlier this year I decided to make a quilt to enter into the Project Modern Challenge 4: Find Your Own Voice challenge. The description I wrote for project modern is below, but I have to note first– this is truly one of my favoritest quilts ever, and accordingly I took a million and one photos of it. Consider yourself warned!
Plus, to show more of the inspiration, I’ve interspersed some of our pictures from Banff. Enjoy!

Banff Quilt Detail

Banff

This quilt tells a story about my past and my present all at once. Last year, I took a trip to Banff, Canada, and I was incredibly moved by the landscape and colors. The gray mountains, white snow and glaciers, green flora, and range of blues of the glacial streams and lakes were all stunning. When I returned home from the trip, I purchased a large pile of solid color fabrics representing all of the colors that so vividly remind me of the trip. However, at the time, I was unsure what pattern would best capture the lines and shapes of the landscape.

Banff Quilt Back

Back of Banff quilt details

Banff

After a year had passed, I revisited the photos of the trip, and I thought it was time to dig in to my pile of fabric. In the past year, I have experimented with a number of different approaches to quilting, and I found that improvisational piecing is my favorite way to sew; I love that I don’t have to follow a pattern or rules, and can let the colors and shapes guide my choices of which pieces to cut and sew together. I find such joy in sewing without strict rules, and I love continually making decisions that shape a project, not knowing exactly how it will turn out.

Tea House

Banff quilt on the bridge

After piecing a number of blocks concentrating grays and light blues (my mountain blocks), and greens and rich blues (my water and tree blocks), I randomly joined these to blend the colors together. I laid them out in a mosaic style pattern for an organic look, and I framed the quilt top with 2 gray borders, interrupted by 3 small lines of color in unexpected places. I chose the mosaic layout and the borders interrupted by 3 lines of color because it was reminiscent of the arts and crafts style, my favorite architectural style. I love the clean lines and simple forms of this style, and I loved translating this to my style of quilting. This quilt represents myself and my style on multiple levels—the colors, the inspiration, the piecing, the layout, the borders, and the overall design and aesthetic. My quilts are a reflection of myself, and I love that this quilt, which I call my “Banff Quilt,” are a seamless marriage of my personal experiences and the elements of my style.
Lake Louise

Banff quilt on the bridge rails

Lake Louise

Banff quilt hanging

Lake Louise

Banff quilt folded up

Banff

Banff quilt detail shot

One last– Here are J and I at Peyto Lake:

Peyto Lake

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peek into the garden

J and I took advantage of the long weekend to dig into the garden and harvest quite a bit of produce. We focused primarily on our heirloom tomatoes, kale, and zucchini. We probably harvested 3 full boxes of kale, and 3 or 4 full boxes of tomatoes. Plus, a handful of zucchini, cucumbers, beets, and flowers (zinnias and snapdragons).

Kale

Roma and velvet red heirloom tomatoes

I feel like I spent all day yesterday cutting up tomatoes to dry! I love it, though, because there’s nothing better than eating our own produce through the winter. We blanched and froze a huge batch of kale and made some kale chips, and dried more tomatoes than I can count.

drying the tomatoes

We also did our fair share of eating the veggies– last night for dinner we had beets, fried zucchini, and a focaccia made with dried tomatoes, and home made tomato sauce to dip it in. And this morning, more zucchini bread!

Simon hangs out while we work in the garden and catches bugs.

Simon and the garden

Simon waits patiently

Time to head home!

time to head home

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the Huron River

This evening we took Simon for a hike in one of our favorite parks along the Huron River. This is one of my favorite things to do in the evening, especially when the weather is so perfect.

kayakers on the river

pathway covered by trees

picnic on the banks of the river

sun through the trees

The path we took traverses a series of bridges the cross over the river.

bridge over the river

another bridge to cross

view from the bridge

view from a bridge

Simon is not a fan of bridges. If we pull on his leash at all on a bridge, he freezes. This made it difficult tonight, as other people wanted to pass us on the bridge. As soon as we’d try to pull Sime to the side, he’d resist and end up in the middle of the bridge.

Simon does not like the bridges

Simon holding his ground

And, as always, I managed to sneak in a few photos of some new quilts I finished recently. I’ll be posting more info about these soon!

Mosiac baby quilt

nicey jane quilt

I hope you guys had a nice weekend too!

on the banks of the river

dock on the river

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More strawberries

Last night J and I managed to squeeze in some strawberry picking. Our summer has been so full, we have something to do pretty much every night! Last night we realized we have plans every night for the rest of the week and through the weekend, so we had to go or we might miss the chance to pick strawberries this season!

Strawberry fields

Unpicked Strawberry

In less than an hour, we picked 16 pounds! We had some for dessert last night, and we usually freeze a whole bunch to use in smoothies throughout the year. Last year I made a strawberry balsamic jam that I loved, and I might try to make that again! My other favorite is a strawberry and tart cherry jam. I love making jam, and I hope we find some time to make some soon! I’m just so glad we didn’t miss the berry picking this year.

Strawberries

Also, it’s been a while since Simon has been featured on the blog, so I thought I’d leave you with this picture of him– it cracks us up how much of a “nester” he is. He will take any rug or pillow or towel or blanket and will make it into a nest and curl up on it. This week I found him laying squarely on the one pillow in the guest room (or, Simon’s room, as we sometimes call it).

Simon's cozy spot

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