The Bird Quilt

The Bird Quilt. A simple, classic 4-patch design.

The second quilt we made for the twin beds upstairs was the Bird Quilt. This one, a very simple four-patch design, is still one of my favorite things we’ve sewn. It was a learning process in terms of color choice and fabric selection. For instance, that purple fabric is horrific. It’s uglier than ugly. It’s truly fugly. But in this quilt, it works. It makes it.

 Part of the art of making something like this is finding the pieces that work, and sometimes (often times, in fact) the pieces are something you think you would never choose. Agonizing over what fabric to use with the birds and the gray-green and finally choosing that horrid purple was, looking back on it, one of those obvious revelations that piqued my interest in sewing and designing even more.

The Bird Quilt (unfortunately the colors are pretty washed-out in the sun). And the evil border collie looks on….

Incidentally, that olive-greenish Kona has found its way from this early project into a HUGE number of my projects.  What can I say?  I think olive green goes with everything 🙂

My dog Schped thought that we put the blanket on the ground for him to lay on, of course.

Plain Quilt

The Plain Quilt (with feet, haha)

After making Aiden’s quilt, and becoming quite addicted to the almost euphoric high we got from making something we ended up loving so much, we decided to make quilts for each of the twin beds we have upstairs in our guest bedrooms. The first of these, The Plain Quilt, is very simple patchwork. Looking at the binding and its very visible white stitches looks so amateur now! But this was our first big quilt, and I think we each still have a soft spot for it.  It still gets lots of use at our house.

Quilt close-up. (Check out that, um….amateur…binding. Brown binding hand-sewn on with white thread, lol.)

Aiden’s Frog Quilt

ImageWhen I started grad school in May of 2009, I soon discovered that I would not be spending so many weekends backpacking and camping in out-of-the-way, internet-free areas. I would be spending a lot of weekends at home, doing homework and reading. I needed to find a new hobby, one that could be done at home, in very short stretches of time. I had always wanted to make a quilt. I don’t know why – I was not great with sewing (yes, it WAS the only class I ever got a failure slip in, go figure), and I’m certainly not a patient person. Maybe it was just my love of great bedding.

At any rate, I decided to make a quilt for my godson Aiden for his baptism. This frog quilt was my very first quilt and very first sewing project since Junior High. It’s very simple, and I’m sure full of mistakes. But it was also full of love, in more ways than one.  (I just gagged a little reading that sentence.)  But truly, this little quilt was the start of something big.

Urban Townhouse Garden

Back Alley Garden: flowers, beans, various peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and more!

I like to grow stuff. We live in a townhouse, and we don’t have a lot of area for gardening, but we make it work. I usually start some seeds inside in late March or April when Spring fever gets the best of me. I always say I will take pictures of those tiny tomato seedlings, so spindly and weak-looking, because in a few months they are huge plants with amazing biomass – almost as tall as I am with tons of fruit. It’s something of a miracle, really. Here are some early garden pictures from this summer:

It’s amazing what you can grow in a very small amount of space!

Giant Dahlias

Pea plants growing in the backyard.

Very Tiny Tomato

So Much for that Tuesday thing….

Pesto Pasta with Asparagus and Strawberry Spinach Salad. Again, dinner on the porch. You have to take advantage of porch weather while you can here in Minnesota.

We lasted just one week with “Try-Something-New Tuesdays.” It’s just that this week was so busy, and we weren’t even home on Tuesday night, so we had to move our weekly culinary experiment to Saturday. This week we decided to try pesto. Pesto, like curry, is one of those things that I’d tried and disliked when I’d eaten it years ago (in the college cafeteria, natch), but I feel like it’s something I should like. I thought that maybe making our own would help.

We grow a lot of basil plants. They’re everywhere – in window boxes attached to our porch, in pots in the backyard, and a few plants are growing in with our peppers and eggplant, too. We picked a bunch of basil leaves, cooked up some pasta and asparagus, and had a nice summer dinner. We both liked the pesto a lot. I’m not sure if it was because it was fresh, or because we could season it to our liking, but it was really good – much better than the college version had been. And, even better, it was super simple to make.