Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Journey

One of my Facebook friends started a blog about her and her husband's cross country road trip and ultimate move to Los Angeles. She asked the question, when did her journey begin?

On April 20th, I presented my thesis for the final time. On May 14, i submitted it all for a grade. And on May 16, I walked across a brightly lit stage, tears in my eyes, to accept my college diploma. I tried to laugh to keep more tears from falling out, because it was such an intensely emotional moment. Wrapped up in that handshake were five years of work, five years of friendships, and five years of love and hate and fear and excitement and passion and dejection and a million other words to describe how you feel when you're on top of the world one day, and on the bottom the next and have to climb back up. 

Did my journey begin then? It sure felt like ine journey ended. Just like that, I saw friends for the last time. We shared hurried hugs and smiles and handshakes as I bolted out of graduation to go have lunch with my family. Some of my colleagues packed up and moved out that day. Others were in town, but couldn't hang out because their families were still with them. We all slipped away into the dawn of tomorrow, all headed to Invent the Future as our university motto implores us to do.

Did my journey begin as I drove up to Brooklyn? How about when I boarded my flight to Brussels? Or even when I boarded my flight to Oslo? I've been in Norway for a week now, and I've had an amazing adventure. We've driven across frozen mountains and through verdant valleys, couch surfed with wonderful people and been denied couches by most of the city of Bergen because they're all "busy", and we've eaten things like chicken cheese spread in a tube and pickled herring. And the next week will be even more amazing! 

There isn't a hard beginning to the new chapters of your life. There may be hard endings, like that handshake on stage, or the last hug you share with a friend before she drives across the country. There are many little beginnings to stories that you don't understand yet. And you'll keep beginning new journeys all through your life.

The journey to Molde because no one in Alesund said you could stay with them.
The journey up the mountain in Molde to see the sun set on 222 mountain peaks.
The journey on a $100 ferry because the road out of Geiranger was closed due to Avalanche.
The journey to not being annoyed at your partner. (Or, the choice to let the little things go)
The journey to the refrigerator. 
The journey to the gas station. 
And ultimately, the journey home. 

Little beginnings make the hard endings bearable- there is always a new little journey to look forward to.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Eat, Drink, and be Kitty

This semester, I am taking "Geography of Wine"- a class dedicated to the history and consumption of fine wines. As part of my grade, I'm supposed to keep and maintain a wine blog of tastings, vineyard visits, and fancy wine and cheese parties.

As you can tell, I haven't been blogging often. But hopefully this class will help me get back into the writing groove! And if you ever get bored without my quilt/life blog, just click on the link in the header for "Eat, Drink, and be Kitty" and go read my weekly updates on my descent into wine bliss!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My new Pot

For Christmas, I received many wonderful and useful gifts- a new phone, boatloads of safety pins for basting, a free motion foot for my Pfaff, and clothes. But so far, no gift I have received (likely ever) has been used so much since Christmas as my new Le Creuset French Oven.

Clothes and nice things and FRENCH OVEN

It is beautiful. It is heavy. And it is so freaking handy. As soon as I got it, I dove right into my mom's copy of "All About Braising" and read that book cover to cover. It has fantastic recipes, as well as loads of information about the braising process and different cookware types. For my maiden recipe in the Pot, I decided to bake a loaf of bread.

I found the recipe and video on Le Creuset's website, and had absolutely no trouble and all fun making my first loaf of bread. We ate it for dinner with some fish stew my mom cooked in HER new french oven (hers is a blue oval), and it was divine. 

I let the dough rise in the dishwasher, where it was warm. Then in the Pot it went!

What beauty.


Since then, I've made a roasted chicken (Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary Chicken), a huge pot of chicken stock, and a baked apple dessert. I want to use it every day. Maybe I'll find a way to!

In other news, sewing has been on hold for quite some time. I'm matchstick quilting a baby quilt at the moment, and it is so tedious and annoying to tie off SO MANY THREADS that I've just straight given up on it about five times. Every now and then I pick it back up, sew for ten minutes, then spend two hours tying and burying knots. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Recap: October

I've thought about abandoning blogging in the past month. My schedule this semester is so packed between work, architecture, other classes, and maintaining my own sanity that I haven't had any time for quilting. But then I find a quiet morning and I think, "I'm ready to share now".

October was absolutely packed this year. My blog turned 2, I turned 23, and so many more exciting things happened.

On October 4th, I competed in a rock climbing competition, and placed 3rd in my category! Also, in relation to all the women who climbed that day, I had the 7th highest score. Out of like 20, but that's still an accomplishment!
The gym, with the crowd of climbers.

On October 11th, CJ and I escaped to Asheville, NC for some R&R&Beer. I bought a stein.
I didn't finish the beer...

On October 13th, I presented my thesis work to my peers. Sadly, I didn't photograph it, but the wall was full of charcoal drawings and photo collages. My big end of semester presentation is coming up on December 1st, where I'll pin all of my work up on the wall and stand by it from 8am to 5pm, talking to whoever walks by. I'm a little frantic at the moment, thinking about what I want to prepare for that day. With thanksgiving break coming, I really only have a week and a half of school to work, plus any days during break that I stay here, and don't go home.

On October 16th, I turned 23 years old. CJ had to work late that day, so I had a fantastic day with my friends. I wore my favorite sweater and earrings and felt pretty amazing :) That's really what birthdays are about, making the day special in your own way. I went to my friends' flag football game, made 5 little chocolate cakes with my friend Lindsey, and went out for margaritas with everyone later.
Presents on my desk :)

On October 18, I dressed like a viking and played in the Beer Olympics, in honor of my friend Ryan (who passed away on August 2nd this year). It was a hilariously fun day, and I'm sure Ryan enjoyed it from his box seat up in heaven.

On October 19, I went to Charlottesville with CJ to go apple picking with my Dad and Co. It was a really fun day, full of climbing apple trees and birthday presents. We went out to dinner at the Three Penny Cafe, and I had the most delicious monkfish of my life.

Even Dad climbed a tree. And my present is so comfy.

The next week was full of me not working on studio, because I earned a break, right? Pin up, right? Right? Yeah, I should've worked harder.

On October 24, my mom came into town for the weekend! We went to the pumpkin patch, hiked Buffalo Mountain, ate dinner in Floyd, and rode the Virginia Creeper bike trail. Plus we exchanged birthday presents (since hers is in September and I hadn't seen her yet).

And then on November 1, Dad and Irina came into town to visit and attend the VT-Boston College football game. We lost pretty embarassingly, but I had a great time. I don't get to go to sporting events with my dad really, so watching football with him was a real treat.
It was also cold.

And now it is handily into November! I've started back up with my thesis work (nose to the grindstone), I'm enjoying my pottery class, and (most importantly), I attended the Virginia Society of the AIA (Architect's Institute of America) convention and gala to accept an Excellence in Architecture award for the bridge I worked on two years ago. I made a connection with the principal of my DREAM firm, and I sent off my resume, cover letter, and work sample yesterday morning in the mail :) Hopefully, I'll be looking for a Quilt Guild in Seattle soon!

Also I finished this mini quilt:

And I did other things this month too, like a bit of quilting and going to the park and drinking tea from my handmade teapot.


Friday, October 3, 2014

9(9) Problems, but a Stitch Ain't One

Amy over at 13 Spools has started a round of talking about our quilter problems. Although I'm not quilting much these days, I have felt these troubles and have decided to share, as an effort to cleanse my heart and get things off my chest.


1. Piecing together your quilt back, and realizing you only have enough fabric to barely cover the quilt front. So you say "Screw the 4" of extra quilt back on all sides!" rule and quilt it anyway. And then you get spots of your quilt that show the batting.

2. Switching the direction of your quilting, so your stitches pull in opposite directions. You tell everyone you did it on purpose, to make the quilt look ripple-y, but you know you're lying.

3. Trying to get the cover back on my machine... it takes three solid minutes of wiggling and finagling.

4. Not having a big enough quilting table.

5. Not having enough safety pins for basting. Or, deciding to save some money and not buy basting spray, in favor of the pins you already have. And then not having enough pins.

6. Cutting into your precious hoarded prints, only to decide you don't want to make that quilt idea anymore.

7. Dropping pins in the carpet... and finding them with your feet. 

8. Having everyone in your life demand you make a quilt for them, when you're averaging about two a year.

9. And my biggest quilter problem... NOT FREAKING HAVING THE TIME TO QUILT.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Arm Knitting

This weekend, I visited Hanna's family in Northern Virginia. We went into DC to drive around and look at her project site for her Thesis, and I visited my old coworkers.

I was on Pinterest Saturday morning, looking for pottery inspiration, when I searched the term "chunky scarves". A tutorial for arm knitted infinity scarves popped up. I watched the 18 minute how-to video, and decided that I was capable enough to try it out. I dragged my friend Hanna to AC Moore, bought $20 worth of chunky yarn (I got excited), and set to work.

Simply Maggie's tutorial explained everything clearly, in terms that a non-knitter like myself could easily understand. I was able to figure out what "casting on" and "casting off" and "working yarn" all meant pretty easily. And it was SO EASY to make the scarves! Literally, half an hour later, I had a great chunky cowl scarf.

I used three strands of curly green yarn for my first cowl.

Hanna actually knows how to knit and crochet, so she had a leg up on me.

We watched Pirates of the Caribbean while arm knitting. During the movie, each of us made TWO scarves and were able to take breaks to focus on the pirates.


I made two more scarves on my four hour drive back down to Blacksburg from NoVA. I can easily get two scarves from one skein of yarn (albeit one will be much smaller than the other, because I didn't use the yarn evenly...), so Hanna and I decided to swap one of my orange scarves for one of her maroon ones. Her orange scarf turned out to be a lot smaller than mine, but it still looks good.

I noticed that her scarves were closer to her neck than mine are, and they're knitted tighter. Maybe I have bigger arms? Maybe I'm still a beginner knitter and have no clue what I'm doing? Either way, it's cool to see the differences in our work.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I have a few quilt blog friends. We're doing this traveling quilt thing that is taking a little longer than I think any of us anticipated. And one of the participants, Anna, invited me to participate in the Around the World Blog hop- I talk about myself and the work I'm doing!

1. What am I working on?

Great question. Until Saturday, I didn't have a sewing table, so I hadn't been sewing. But I have been doing a lot of things in school.

I'm taking a pottery class. I learned how to make pinch pots (which sadly got annihilated in the kiln last week by an exploding piece) and some draped pieces, and I glazed for the first time on Monday. They came out on Thursday, and look pretty neat.

My lonely pinch pot.

My draped egg bowl.

My deformed draped egg bowl.

My jewelry cup.

I'm working on my architecture Thesis this year. The goal is to study wilderness and architecture, and how buildings can work with their environment to bring people closer to nature. What I've ended up doing is just cutting cardboard for an increasingly frustrating topography model.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

Well for one, it isn't much sewing... haha! But really. I think I differ in my slowness. My time is divided between many many things, and when I do have time to sew, I like to do it in long batches. I don't sew for thirty minutes here, thirty minutes there. So, it takes a while to get a stretch of time I can sew in. So, all of my pieces are WIPs.

Like my Sister's Ten BOM from 2013.

Or my collection of baby quilts, needing to be quilted.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I began this blog to keep track of my quilting. I maintain it because my grandma and my friend Andy like to read it :)

I love to be busy. I fill my time with crafting and architecture because I don't know what to do when I have nothing to do. So I create in order to keep my mind and my hands busy. It's why I love being an architecture student, and it's why I love to quilt.

4. How does my writing/creative process work?

It's been hard recently. I have felt no motivation to write at all. So I'm sitting here, forcing myself to type something. I've just felt so busy lately, so I haven't had any time to think about things I've experienced and done. But when I do sit down to type, it just flows.

As far as creative process goes, dude. My studio desk is full of inspiring quotes and pictures and paper to draw on, but guess what I've done. I made a mountain out of cardboard. Not a building, but just a model of a mountain.

I have ideas for some pavillions and buildings. I just need to get the ground done first. So, I guess, process wise, I work in stages. Finish one, move on to the other.

Thanks for tagging me, Anna!