Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Many moons ago I started working on a wedding quilt. Started, being the operative word. The pattern was taking forever. None of my colors seemed to go together. I ripped out every seam and started over. A lot. It was just ... icky. Luckily (or at least, luckily if you enjoy procrastinating) everyone on the planet decided to have babies, which kept me up to my eyeballs in baby quilts for a while.
But birthin' season is almost over so now I MUST return to the wedding quilt, which is inspired by this.
I spent about three hours working tonight and only made three blocks. Sigh. I forgot how much is involved in this, especially since I can't use my favorite fast-sewing technique of strip-piecing.
After what felt like an hour of cutting, I had this. One glorious mess. (This is just a part of it.)
I had a hard time taking pictures of the finished blocks. Plus, it's getting late, I'm tired and I don't feel like playing with photoshop to fix the crappy lighting. So pretend this looks STUNNING. Is actually a picture of the whole block. Has cool colors that aren't funky in the light. Is straight. And then multiply it. By a lot. And then your mind can enjoy its imaginary-for-now-but-soon-to-be-actualized awesomeness.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Say what you will about Chicago's horrific winters. (And God knows, I've used a few choice four-letter words to describe them.) But there's nothing like surviving that dark and frigid drudgery to make you appreciate the beginning of spring.
(Shot Thursday afternoon in Lakeview.)
Friday, April 9, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
So far there have been nasty notes to a unit owner who's dog was spotted in the back yard (egads!). Complaints about stolen cupcakes. (Seriously, who leaves a package of cupcakes in a public lobby of a 91-unit building for 2+ days and expects to find them?) And other assorted gripes about bad neighboritis.
Now, I don't meant to belittle the thefts. Afterall, I lost my beloved mountain bike two years ago to a thief who got into a back stairwell and rode it away. But the anonymous notes? Really?
Ah, life a condo.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Not sure what you're looking at? It's one of the several big-ass scuff marks my stupid headboard has put on my wall. And NO, pervy! Not from that. Please. Anyhoodles....
I've hated my headboard since I got it, but it was cheap and that was -- and is -- good enough for me and my tight budget. Still, I was getting fed up with the scratches. And finally on Friday, while frantically preparing for my parents' arrival, I decided to bite the bullet and make a headboard cover.
To make the slip cover I used five-inch nine-patches I started piecing together about a year ago, hoping to finally make myself a quilt for JUST ME. Since my project kept getting put aside by baby quilts and wedding projects and giving sewing lessons to friends and all manner of assorted other things, I finally accepted the idea that my bedspread quilt just wasn't meant to be. And with that, I dug into my pile of nine-patches.
With that I mind, I measured the headboard (a queen-size is 60 inches), grabbed five of my favorite blocks, arranged them in a way I liked and sewed them together using the standard quarter-inch seam. They formed a strip that was about 68 inches long at that point, so I trimmed 3 inches off each side to fit my length while still allowing room for a seam allowance Then I added white sashing at the top (3.5 inches wide x the length of the piece) and bottom (5 inches wide x the length of the piece). I hemmed the bottom sashing piece to keep raw edges away and did the same thing on white backing that ran the length and width of my patchwork top.
And, voila! Super pretty AND functional headboard that looks awesome and keeps the piece o' crap from further marring my walls.
The whole project was super easy and took me about 40 minutes to do. Alas: I was in such a rush that I didn't think to take pictures for a proper tutorial. So these will have to suffice.
But, tell me. Whatcha think??
Monday, April 5, 2010
But as we stood huddled together in a circle, singing songs of praise about the miracle of Easter, the sky began to soften. The sun fought through the clouds.
And it wasn't really that cold any more.
Light overcoming dark. Warm replacing winter. Rebirth defeating death. It was a fitting metaphor for an Easter morning.
The seagulls were squawking. (Was our singing THAT bad?)
The sun won. And by the time the service was done and we were headed to church for breakfast to finish the rest of a long day of services, it was radiant outside. And our prayer flags flapped in the breeze inviting people in.
Inside, light streamed through the windows.
The flowers smelled like spring.
And we were so, so happy.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Oh yeah, and he's spending the next nine months walking across the country. You read that right. Nine months. One very, very long cross-country trek.
He left Rockaway Beach, N.Y. on Saturday and expects to wind up at Rockaway Beach, Ore. when 2011 rolls around.
Now, you might think Matt's a wee bit nuts to try this. (Ok, you might be a wee bit right. But let's not get all judgey on the boy. Glass houses and all, right?) But sane or not, you've got to admit: this is kind of neat. And brave. And scary. And exciting. And crazy. And ... And...
So why the hell is he doing this? He admits to a need for adventure and some reinvention of his life. But there's more to it than that. I'll let him explain, from his FAQ:
There’s also no obstacle to stopping and exploring things when you’re walking. When I’m driving, I find myself saying “Oh, I should have stopped there” as I go flying by something that looks interesting. The idea of having to impede your progress, turn the car around, and find a place to park is such a mental barrier to exploring when you’re driving. Even on a bike there’s a hesitancy to stop and climb off the saddle to go check something out. But it’s easy when you’re walking. You don’t have to stop what you’re doing; you just walk in a different direction for a little and have a look around.
But perhaps the thing I find most important about walking is how connected it makes me feel to the space I’m passing through. I think it’s because walking is the way we experience our homes. We walk to the fridge, we walk to bed, we walk around the yard. We walk to the copy machine, we walk to the coffee machine, we walk around the grocery store. So this is that same familiar stride, that most basic form of locomotion we know so well, but through vast, immense, unknown places. It’s a way to live a continuous line across the country as if it were my home.
I’m very drawn to the simplicity of this whole pursuit. Each day I’ll wake up, pack all my possessions back in my cart, and walk a little farther. That’s it. That’s the extent of my world. I’m just walkin’. I think everyone dreams about such a simple existence from time to time, when the worries and pressures of modern life start to accumulate. This is my chance to live that dream for a while, and see how the reality compares to the fantasy.
He outlines the logistics on his blog: what's in his cart (A LOT), where he'll sleep (he's got camping gear but he's also hoping to rely on the kindness of strangers), how long he'll walk each day (far enough to make my fat ass go "ugh.") etc. But the coolest thing on his Web site is turning out to be the pictures of what he sees and the people he's encountered. While I'm sure this journey won't be all puppies and bunnies and roses and compassion of strangers -- in fact, I know there will be a lot of hardship and some dangerous situations -- he's off to a good start so far.
In Boonton, N.J., the pastor at a local Presbyterian (yay!) church, let him come in out of the rain and made him tea and soup. She even brought him the Haggadah, since it's Passover! (10-to-1 he becomes part of a Holy Week sermon. Just saying. I know my preachers.) The next day, the owner of a hardware store refused to let him pay for the supplies he was buying.
I know these stories abound in the communities along the Appalachian Trail, where it takes folks about six months to thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. But this is far from that area and Matt is far from a sight folks are used to seeing. It's been so refreshing to see the kindness of strangers as they interact with him. I know he's just starting, but I can't wait to see what happens.
So, if you live along his route and happen to see a scruffy looking dude pushing a modified jogging stroller with a sign that says "We may never meet again" do me a favor: Buy him some coffee, let him shower and rest his feet. And let him repay you with the awesome stories of his journey. You'll be glad you did.