Let There be Light!

On this gloomy winter day, as we North Easterners await the doom moniker-ed snow bombgenesis, I’ve been thinking a lot about light –how we use it, how it affects us, and how we need it.

I escaped from my no-windowed office into the greenhouse on campus and worked for about an hour today. I try to do this every couple of days because the greenery, the light, and the sounds of the koi pond make me happy. I was ecstatic to realize that there is a papaya tree in that space — I’ve been walking by it for years and never noticed it! I can resist picking the papayas — good thing it’s not a tomato or strawberry tree.

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Like many quilter blogs I’ve been reading this week, I’m contemplating a reset of my sewing space. Alas, I am still without a cutting table (the “honorable” gentlemen featured in this blog post, did not live up to my expectations).  Some time ago I moved my machine so that it is directly underneath the window in my sewing room. I assumed that more light would be better. I’m not so sure. Sometimes the light from the window is too harsh. At night when I want to see the moon and the stars while sewing, the glare from the Ottlite floor lamp reflecting on the window pane is troublesome.  Not to mention that Boots has been mad at me ever since I moved the machine to the window, because it means his favorite chair is no longer in the best corner to catch a sunny cat nap.

How do you use natural light in your space? Where do you think is the best sewing tool to be placed near the window?

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The winterscape from my sewing room window at 5:30pm –before the snow bomb goes off.

There are lots of benefits to winter — and I love the four seasons — but the dark long days make me crave Vitamin D and brightness. Now my quilting obsession turns to light and quirky themes. Here is a sneak peek at a table runner I’m working on for spring. It  features some up-cycled pretty spring flowers from a former Pottery Barn dust ruffle. You can read the original post about the dust ruffle here.

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The lemon yellow border fabric was also a Salvo find — it will surely keep the sunshine flowing on this pattern!

May your Friday be filled with goodness and light!

Favorite Holiday Happenings

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At my pay-the-bills job, the 4th of July marks the end of summer, since our busy season begins on the Monday after the holiday. To compensate for a long slog of intense activity that starts now and doesn’t end until early October, we always get several days off around the holiday and I am enjoying every single minute.

On Saturday, my room mate and I drove to Ithaca to attend a workshop at the Yoga Farm near Ithaca, NY. The weather was threatening, but the rain held off until we were safely inside. The workshop took place in a converted barn–can you think of a more grounded place to have a workshop? Barns just seem to have an authentic vibe that you cannot manufacture.

We stopped on the way to have lunch in Corning. My room mate’s son-in-law gave us a gift certificate to a new restaurant for Christmas and this was the first chance we had to try it out. Hand+Foot was delicious (but I must say, the name is kind of a problem for me — when I first saw the gift certificate, I wondered why he got us a gift certificate to a nail salon??)

Anyway, when we walked in, all thoughts of nail polish disappeared.

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The bar at Hand+Foot

We got there at 11:30 am when it opened, but we weren’t alone for long. Before the rush caught up with the kitchen, we over-ordered with three entrees and an appetizer because, well, did I mention the gift certificate? And yes, if you are counting, there were only two of us.

It was fun to try new things and indulge in local ingredients like the delicious sandwich rolls from a local bakery.

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This is the pretzel appetizer with beer cheese cream. Yum! Think “blooming onion” except with bread and cheese.

I can’t resist sushi, so I chose the Tuna Poke as my entree. It was so fresh and flavorful. It featured watermelon radishes. I think I will have to expand the kinds of radishes I grow in my garden so I can try to replicate this dish.

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Not quite sushi, but close enough for WNY.

On the way home after the workshop, we chased a rainbow, but we could never quite catch up with it.

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On Sunday, we stayed home, rested and entertained a few friends with a steak roast on the grill.

Christmas eve can never rival the joyful anticipation I feel on July 3rd. This morning’s sunrise was spectacular to begin the 24 hour count-down to the main event. Despite the old adage, we had nothing to fear from the evening’s weather. The weather was lovely all day long.

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“Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” Pffft.

I spent the day reading, sewing and playing tennis with my family. It was perfect together time!

I’m developing a quilt to make for my room mate’s daughter and her small family. She requested yellows and grays to match her living room decor. I created a sample square today. I hope to buy the fabric for the complete quilt when I visit Cindy in Ohio next week. I can’t wait to hit the shops with her!

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Tomorrow’s the big day. I hope you have a glorious 4th of July. Let the “skyworks” begin!

Waiting to Shop

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I’ve been playing lean and mean with fabric purchases this month, as I wait for the Super Bowl sales to begin at my favorite fabric shops. I cheated a little with my E-Heart wall quilt and purchased a couple of jelly rolls on-line, but most of my quilting time this month has been centered around my scrap bucket.

When fabric pieces become really scrappy, I throw them into a plastic lidded bucket that I keep underneath my sewing table. It contains the flotsam and jetsam of my sewing world (and some of Cindy’s as well). When the bucket is really stuffed or when I get distressed, I iron all those little pieces and make them into “precut” squares: 1.5″, 2″, 2.5″, 4″ or 5″, depending on the size of the scrap.

I’ve been sorting through the scraps and pulling out all the bright colors for a quilt I’m calling “Drops of Rainbow”.

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I’m hoping that this will turn into a bed-sized quilt. Each square is 2.5″ inches and, although I had a lot of precuts on hand, I’ve spent a lot of time cutting more scraps for this project. I haven’t even started on the white squares I’ll need — and there will be a lot of them.

Yesterday I diverted a few more scraps and spent some time on my dresser scarf (perhaps I was inspired by Cindy’s Cheddar and Blue).I’m going to attempt to quilt this by myself. If you hear some naughty words on the wind, it might just be me.

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Happy scrapping!

 

Life in a Twizzle

Since my brand new sophomore returned to school, it seems that time has sped up. There is so much happening, it’s a good thing that I have my planner, because I’d never keep all of this straight!

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He wasn’t completely thrilled to return to routine, but I do believe that he was ready for a change.

As my son is tackling trig, the bathroom renovation that I’ve been dreaming about has finally begun. Seriously, this project has been 1+ years in the making, but I still haven’t finalized all of the details. I think I am one of “those” customers

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Demolition nearly complete

And then there is soccer or soccer practice every night. Meanwhile the lawns needed to be mowed, I’m starting to think about winterizing the house and for goodness sake, who’s making dinner? Don’t get me started on the holiday planning….

Just when you think you might have a lazy afternoon at the farm, a first cousin arrives for a visit for the first time in 5 years.

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Since my grandmother died long before I was born, it was nice to hear my father’s cousin speak about her “Aunt Jessie”.

I’m not complaining about any of this activity — I love the early fall and the promise of things to come and time with family. But it certainly has curtailed time in the studio. It’s a good thing that I worked a little ahead.

Several months ago I developed a little Frank N. Stein mug rug to match Count Dracula. Cindy sewed and quilted Frank. Isn’t he the original patchwork man?frank_watermark