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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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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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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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Finishing up the Quilt

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on my progress in the Do. Good Stitches bee! I’m in the Love circle, and we donate our finished quilts to Wrap them in Love, a charity that distributes quilts to kids in orphanages.

Almost Finished

Recently I’ve been working on quilting and binding this strip quilt. I asked the members of the bee to send me a strip, pieced however they would like, in either gold, plum, or red colors. Originally I planned to cut the strips up and stagger them, but as I received them and laid them out, each was sewn in such a different style and was so gorgeous that I clearly needed to leave them intact. I added a red pieced border, and I love the bright, warm colors all together.

Simon Helping with the Quilting

Sime was keeping an eye on the quilting, and he gave his approval. And his yawns. I caught him mid yawn– he looked so funny caught in the act!

Caught Mid-Yawn

In the last couple months I also made these asterisk blocks for a quilt Lee is working on,

Do. Good Stitches Asterisk Blocks

And this herringbone block for Rachel. I can’t wait to see the quilts come together! Each quilt is so unique and so gorgeous!

Do Good Stitches Herringbone Block

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Thanksgiving table runner detail

Wow, the last couple of months have gone by so fast! I’m so grateful to take a quick break and to spend some time with my family for Thanksgiving. My sister was so kind to invite us to join her for the holiday, but sadly we didn’t have enough time off work to travel there and back (it’s about an 11 hour drive, so I would love to move closer!). I wanted to let her know we were there in spirit, so I managed to get a little sewing in and whipped up this fall-inspired table runner to send. I hope it brightened up their table!

Thanksgiving table runner

the back of the Thanksgiving table runner

I haven’t had as much time to blog the last few months, because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m finishing up my Ph.D. this year, and work responsibilities have taken over! In addition to finishing my dissertation, I’ve been teaching a class, applying for jobs and postdoctoral fellowships, mentoring undergraduates, working as a research assistant for my adviser, and continuing to work on ongoing research projects. Needless to say, I’ve had significantly less time to sew, blog, and keep up with my favorite blogs 😦 I’m hopeful that things will calm down soon, because I’ve really been missing my sewing machine! Plus, I have a few holiday gifts in the works I need to get done! So, stay tuned– I promise I’ll have a few more big projects finished soon to share here!

Simon hoping for some turkey!

And, I hope everyone has had a happy, warm, and safe holiday! Simon has been enjoying himself, and even managed to snag a little turkey.

Celebrate Color

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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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One year ago today, J and I were married.

sparklers

sparklers

sparklers

We wanted our wedding to be a comfortable, fun, local, organic, vintage inspired party. To this end, J grew all of our wedding flowers in our community garden plot. Our bouquets and arrangements included zinnias, black eye susans, bells of ireland, snapdragons, and hosta leaves.

Justin with flowers at the garden

hanging jar of flowers

We used my grandparent’s cake topper for our chocolate cake. It was looking a little yellowed on the bottom, so I sewed it a little pleated skirt!

vintage wedding cake topper

We strung up photos from our time together, as well as family photos along the porch for people to look at.

Wedding Photos

Simon served as our ring bearer. He really knows how to steal the show! I also upcycled my wedding dress– it was the same dress my sister wore the year before, but I had it altered to look like a new (and different!) dress.

Playing with Simon at the wedding

Filmstrip quilt backdrop

I designed and made our save the dates and wedding invitations. They included sewn on mini bunting, and I made matching full sized flags to hang on the porch where we held our reception and over the outdoor altar where we held our ceremony.

Self designed save-the-date

Ceremony site

I made quilts for our friends and family in the wedding party, and used this as an excuse to sharpen my quilting skills!

Stack of wedding quilts

Stacked coins quilt

Filmstrip quilt

zigzag quilt

Striped Wedding Quilt

Striped Wedding Quilt

We used one quilt in particular as a backdrop for our outdoor photo booth. I love seeing this quilt in all of these photos! I want to make another like it. I’m also so glad we thought to have a dry erase board and markers available for guests to write us messages in the photos– these turned out to be my favorite of all of our wedding pics!

Filmstrip quilt backdrop

Filmstrip quilt backdrop

I really can’t believe it’s been a whole year! Time flies when you have a good partner. Love you, J! I’m so excited for the rest of our years together.

family portrait

*** Here are links to the posts I’ve previously written about the things we made for our wedding.***
Things we made, reused, and grew:
Save the Dates

Invitations

Vintage Cake Topper

Photobooth

Home Grown Flowers

Handmade Gifts:
* Birdie Sling bags can be found here and here
* Stacked coins quilt
* Filmstrip Quilt (which can also be seen as our photobooth backdrop, here)
* Striped Quilts can be found here, here, and here

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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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