Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Hypothetical Library: The Building Museum

I'm getting to the age where the best part about a museum is NOT just the gift shop. Don't get me wrong, I still love looking at things that are slightly useful and completely unnecessary, but I like the exhibits a little more now.

While I was at the National Building Museum, I sat in the gift shop for almost half an hour, finding and reading cool books. So, I'm starting a Hypothetical Library, where I list off the books I like and want. (Hint: My birthday is in October, if you need a gift idea!)

Modern North: Architecture on the Frozen Edge
My love affair with Scandinavian architecture began in my Environmental Building systems class. We were learning about daylighting, and designing a building so that it utilizes daylight well. We had one slide about how the countries in the far north have to design with extreme sun angles in mind, because they receive abundant amounts of daylight half the year and practically none for the other half.

This one little tidbit got me interested in sustainable and smart design, and it's part of the reason why I'm choosing Mount Rainier National Park as the location for my thesis this year. I want to explore the particular environmental situations of locations in the northern part of the world.

And the pictures in this book are great.

Organic Hobby Farming
I've grown a garden in my yard almost every year since I was 7. And I plan to continue this tradition for as long as I can bend over and pick weeds. And this book had a really cool "chapter by month" layout, where every month it told you what to plant, what to pick, which bugs to look out for, etc. Really neat!




Tiny House Living
This book is the reason I've been on my tiny house kick all week! I WANT IT. I want to start planning and designing and saving up for my tiny house like now. But I'm at least two years away from this project, so I need to cool my jets.





And finally, The Architecture of the Cocktail. Major cocktail drinks are drawn in the graphic standards of an architectural drawing, and the recipes are illustrated in section. It's a great funny gift for the designer/alcohol enthusiast in your life!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Changes

As I've spent my summer meeting new people and working full time, I've noticed that the things I enjoy are starting to change. The things I get excited about, the things I look forward to. I was stoked for WEEKS because I was starting a 401(k) plan (which, I now realize, was a bad move, I'm not making enough over my internship to keep the account once I leave the company- womp womp). I sit at my desk, dreaming about where I want to move when I graduate and which firm I want to work for. I have an excel spreadsheet saved on my desktop, full of firms and information about them.

I still love to quilt. I find joy in creativity (guess it's good I am going to be an architect!). And I'm starting to find new things I want to do to express that creativity.

I doubt you noticed, but I added a couple new blogs to my list of blogs I like- they're about tiny houses. I have been watching the tiny house movement for a while now, but I caught the bug over the weekend. There are so many things I like about a tiny house:

1. I'd get to design and build my own home
2. I'd get to move around and travel with everything I need on a trailer behind me
3. I wouldn't have to pay as many bills, especially if I make the tiny house self sufficient
4. It's a chance to live minimally, cut down on things that aren't necessary

Don't worry, I'll design a sewing nook into whatever tiny house I build. And hey, once I move out of my tiny house and into a normal house, I can use the tiny house as my quilt studio! IT'S THE BEST IDEA EVER.

Anyhoo, I'm still riding the high of a new idea, so I may not make much sense. But the point is, this blog will be getting an overhaul. I don't think I'll be focusing just on my sewing anymore. I want to share everything here- my projects at school, my travels, my ideas and obsessions, maybe even beer reviews. This blog is called "The Life of Couch" for a reason. It's about me and the many sides that I am made of.

I'm excited for the future. I'm excited to have a life of creativity ahead of me. And I'm excited to share it with anyone who wants to follow along!

P.S. I'm still going to blog about quilts.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mazes

I went on an adventure today! I wanted to sew all day and knock out those baby quilts, but something in the air told me to go hang out with my friends and do something for myself.

I met up with some friends from school and we spent the day at the National Building Museum and in Old Town Alexandria. It was GREAT to catch up and hang out- we talked about our ideas and worries about thesis year, we went through the exhibits at the museum, we ate at the new Chipotle-chain Asian restaurant called Shop House (super delish, get the meatballs), and we read books in the museum gift shop.

There's a maze at the National Building Museum right now, designed by the famous architect Bjarke Ingles. The maze is designed to be built in a month, last for two, and is built in such a way that once you reach the center, you can see the maze walls around you, revealing the labyrinth you just escaped.

I also learned the difference between a maze and a labyrinth. A labyrinth is one winding path without dead ends that promotes the visitor to contemplate life and things. A maze is a convoluted path with tricks and dead ends that is not designed to promote contemplation, but instead frustration. And then leave you going, "UGH WHAT" when you finally find the end and you're like "what the hell was that walking around in dead ends for an hour for".


But I really liked this maze, it was very cool! It was pretty short, and not too difficult to get through, but that doesn't mean it wasn't fun. I was not unsatisfied or frustrated. And the tops of the maze were all sanded, so they were smooth to the touch. A nice detail that not many people notice. 

 

The walls rise up as you move to the edge of the maze.



There was an exhibit called "Designing for Disasters", which I found really interesting. It talked about hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods, and how we need to design our homes and buildings to withstand and accommodate these disasters. It's something I'd love to explore in Architecture, coming up with solutions for these weather disasters that (I believe) are only going to get worse as we go into the future. 

I think this is a great time to be an architect. Our world is changing in so many ways- the climate is changing, storms are getting crazier, education in America needs reform... And I belong to a group of people that gets to come up with solutions to move our country forward into the future. IT'S SO COOL. I have the opportunity to fix problems. I have the opportunity to create beauty. I have the PRIVILEGE to design for America and the world. I am so excited. SO EXCITED.

On an unrelated-to-what-I-did-today but related-to-the-topic-of-this-blog note, I finally got to photograph the scrappy chevron quilt I made for Hanna!

Oh I am so happy with how it turned out.

I especially like the back. I threw together all the scraps I had.

Word to your mother.






Sunday, June 29, 2014

Worker Bee

I'm on a sewing kick at the moment. It's a nice place to be, especially since I haven't been in the mood to sew in months. I can feel it starting to burn out already though, so I have to pace myself. I was commissioned to make two baby quilts (and the woman took me to the fabric store and paid for it all! SCORE), so I can't burn out yet.

I've been chipping away at my scrap bin this week. First I made this out of some half square triangles, and then decided to make more quilts like it. But the "just like it" part didn't pan out as expected. Instead, I made three other quilts that do NOT look anything like Quilt 1.

QUILT 2.

I LOVED making this quilt. Holy crap. I think the colors all work together so nicely and everything is pointing up instead of diagonally and this just makes me feel so happy to look at. It reminds me of a basket of cherries.

QUILT 3.

I had four leftover wonky blocks from this quilt, and I've been sitting on them for over a year and a half. I finally just slapped them together and decided it's the perfect size for a 1-ish year old to carry around and not smother themselves with. 

QUILT 4.

Literally finished this one an hour ago. It's Flea Market Fancy fabric, just like Quilt 2. But I had four HSTs left and some squares, blah blah blah, quilt. I really like these patchwork quilts, they're quick to make and I love how crisp they look. And I have some big dreams for how to quilt it, too.

None of these are being made for anyone in particular. I figured I would just make a slew of quilts and sell/give them away to people as I see fit. They're all on the small side, I'll give proper measurements later. But they're small enough for toddlers to carry around, it's just their size! OR small enough to hang on the wall of your quilt studio!

I have a feeling that Quilt 2 is staying with me.

The gang's all here! I use white a lot.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Leftovers

I have a gift for maximizing the use of my fabric. Since I'm kind of broke and have to prioritize how I spend my money (new brake rotors, yes; new fabric, no) I try to use every bit of scrap and leftover fabric that I can. This is how I was able to make three quilts out of the fabric I pulled for one quilt.

While I was making the Swoon Quilts, I noticed how much fabric I was tossing into the scrap bin while trimming flying geese units. So I figured out an easy way to turn those triangle scraps into Half-Square Triangles, so I ended up with a butt-load of geese and HST's from that project.

The half-square triangles have been sitting around for, oh, I don't know, nearly a YEAR before I finally decided to do something with them. I have enough for three small baby quilts (four if I do something with the original triangle scraps), plus some blocks for an additional quilt.

I'm drowning in usable fabrics :)

But anyway look what I made!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Pink Scraps

I caught a cold when I came home from Bonnaroo. I'd been dealing with it all last week, and it was getting worse the closer I got to the weekend. Naturally, I should've taken it easy and rested all weekend, especially when I woke up Saturday with no voice.

That is not what I did.

I went to Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE with some friends on Saturday. Get up early, drive 2 hours, listen to music all day, stay out late, drive home late, get to sleep around 4am. GREAT for people with colds. But I did rest all of Sunday!

 
Bryana, Abby, Jen, and Mattie- and the singer from Twenty One Pilots, who climbed on top of the sound booth.

I'm a sturdy base.

Sunday was FINALLY a sewing day. The problem with only having time on the weekends to sew and traveling most weekends is that I don't ever get a chance to work. But I FINALLY got a chance to play with the pile of Half-Square Triangles I have left over from those Swoon Quilts I made for Christmas/Hanukkah. 

I've decided to make three baby-sized quilts with the fabric I have left over. They're still going to be small, probably around 30" square, but I would much rather put these bits of fabric to good use than let them sit in my scrap bin. And hey, I already know the colors work well together, since I, you know, made a quilt out of them already.

 

 

Four little squares, about 11"x11"- AND SO ADORABLE

I also have a butt ton of scraps, so I'll be making a little patchwork quilt too. And some 9-patches for the center and corners of this pink quilt. And probably a triangle-y quilt/potholder as well. Who knows? The world of fabric is expansive and has many opportunities.

Laid out some 9 patches. The squares are 1.5"x1.5"

And some sashing! But the cleaning ladies messed up my layout and now I have a square missing.

 
Piles of squares and triangles!

And my mess of a desk.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Catching Up- No. 2

I spent the last week at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN. CJ has been going for 6 years now, and I started joining him last year. Festivals are so much fun, they're full of music that you've been listening to for years and music that's just waiting for you to walk by and catch a chord. And there's never enough time to see it all.

Bonnaroo is by far the friendliest festival I've been to. Everyone there treats Bonnaroo like a holiday, with free hugs and high fives and good vibes and an upbeat attitude. It's so easy to make new friends while waiting for an act to start or while waiting in line for food. I definitely made some new friends, and I plan on keeping in touch with them and meeting up again at next Bonnaroo (since I won two tickets for next year's festival! YES!)

Favorite Sets (in no particular order)
- Jack White (CJ and I sang enthusiastically to Love Interruption)
- Phoenix (They played Love Like a Sunset, my favorite! And I helped the lead singer crowd surf)
- Cake (They played Stick Shifts and Safety Belts, my mom's favorite)
- John Butler Trio (HE PLAYED OCEAN OH MY GOD)
-Kansas Bible Company (A small band I saw in Nashville last New Year's)
-Taran Killam, from SNL (He performed Boy Dance Party and the Sloppy Swish)
-Disclosure (Sam Smith came out to sing, it was fantastic)

Anyhoo. On my way home, I stopped to visit my Grandma. I had some furniture to pick up and take to Blacksburg, and she had some delicious food to fill out bellies with. We were talking during the meal and she chastised me for not uploading my blog (sorry Grandma!), so here is post number two.

After Anna's travelling quilt came and went, I received Allison's! I remember the blocks she initially made- she tried paper piecing for the first time, and her use of color was fantastic. But as I opened the package, I noticed that everyone who had made pieces had contributed four 12.5"x12.5" blocks. So I went online and found four block patterns that I really liked. I used DelewareQuilts.com, they have tons of patterns. 



(Which I now realize is pieced wrong... I need to fix that)


When I was selecting the colors for these blocks, they looked a lot more epic next to each other without the white background. I really like how the Alpine Cross turned out, but I'm feeling a little self conscious that the blocks I made just aren't enough. I was going for a downward spiral effect with Money Wrench, having the colors fade darker and darker, and I think it turned out nicely, but I don't know. I'm just self conscious. I haven't been able to sew much lately, so I feel off my game.

I did end up with a few half square triangles that I'm going to throw into the bag when I mail it off. I'm thinking of turning the scraps into a bunch of 2.5" squares, so maybe Allison can piece them together and turn them into sashing or something. I just don't know, I don't want to impose my ideas too much onto this quilt.

HSTs!

Also, this is my sewing dungeon now. I've gone from the spare bedroom in my apartment in Blacksburg, to my bedroom in Richmond, to the basement at my mom's in Nashville, to the loft in Alexandria, and now back into a basement. This is by far the least inspiring place I've sewn in. But I'm planning on working on my sewing this Sunday, so hopefully I can pull out of this rut.