Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homesick Ohio

A few weeks back I posted about how I was feeling a little homesick after moving away from home to begin an adventure in Key West, Florida.  The same day I wrote that post I also worked up a little craft project to make myself feel better.  There is no better time to share it with you than now as I am entering the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy's Creative Side, in the Wall Hanging category.  Excitingly enough I also recently entered this happy little quilt in the Quilt Your Happiness Challenge hosted by my friends at  Craftster.  You can go HERE to vote for me if you'd like.

For the Quilt Your Happiness Challange I wrote a post that I'd like to share with you here:

Quilting My Happiness: Homesick Ohio
I love quilting.  I love everything about it. I love that I can spend all day looking at beautiful fabric, never actually make anything, and still be satisfied.  I love that I can get in the "zone" and be in a world where it's just me and my quilt (and usually a good audio book).  I love that I can spend hours, weeks and even months or years on a giant quilt but on a particularly homesick Monday, in just a few hours, I can quilt up a little happiness to brighten my day.

So I just moved here:

I know, I know and I'm homesick!? Already?!

Well Ohio, specifically Cincinnati is my home and I love it. It has my family and my friends.  Oh, and it has fall (not that I'm complaining about the beautiful weather here).  This past Monday morning I was feeling particularly homesick so I put on an audio book and  whipped up a mini-quilt to lighten my load.

Ohio has such a fun shape and I just love looking at maps of it divided up into its 88 counties so I just googled up a map and printed it out.  I was lucky and the printed map was pretty much exactly the size I wanted.

From there I made my quilt "sandwich" and pinned all the layers together with the map placed where I wanted it on top.  Then I did a bit of free-motion quilting and just traced all the lines - this was very relaxing.
Elna (eXcellence 740) really seemed to enjoy this.

Once every thing was traced I used my seam ripper to remove the perforated bits of paper.

Then I trimmed, turned under and finished the edges of my blue "ohio" fabric, added a few concentric circles in the background and bound it!  Oh, and I added a little red heart right where I left mine behind.

I <3 Cincinnati.

And don't forget to head over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival to check out some of the other entries!

 Note:  Don't miss my Full Signal entry into the Doll/Mini Quilt section as well!

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Full Signal

I know you all have already seen this little quilt here, but today I'm posting it as an entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.

At only 24 inches x 24 inches, just big enough for a small dog, this quilt is being entered into the Doll/Mini Quilt Category.  This quilt was really fun to make - and quick too!  I used a few old scraps of blue and used traditional needle turn applique methods to sew them right on to a piece of Kona White.  I then used my girl elna (eXcellence 740) to add a little machine quilting and voila!

Make sure to check out some of the other great entries (and my competition) at the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Note:  I am entering a second category!  My Homesick Ohio quilt is entered in the Wall Hanging category.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Finish Them!

When reading that title please pretend you are in the land of Mortal Kombat and channel this...

So I didn't complete even one single quilt I posted about for the Quarter 3 Finish-A-Long (my last finishes were in Quarter 2) at She Can Quilt.  However, because of the big move I'm letting myself have a bit of slack on that - BUT it means I have to work harder to finish my quilts in Quarter 4!

I can do it!

she can quilt

Fourth Quarter Finish-A-Long List:

1. A Weekend in the Country
No progress has been made on this. Still trying to figure out a nice backing fabric and get over how freaking huge it is!

2. A's Quilt
Again, no progress has been made - I have everything I need to finish it, I just need to get at it!

3. Irish Breakfast
Small progress!  I pieced the blocks together but now I'm not sure if I want to add a border or just leave it baby sized.

4. Milk
No progress so I'm not even gonna change the description I wrote for the last post! --> So this little bottle isn't even a whole block.  It takes five to make one block - and I want the whole quilt to be made of  these blocks.  I have a few more milk bottles partially sewn in the stack here but I still have a long way to travel on this project.

5. Night Candy
At the time of the last post this hadn't yet been named but lo and behold a name came to me!
Night Candy expresses it's darkness and its "pop"-y ness all at once.  Ironically, night is the one time of day that I don't crave sugar.  This  New York Beauty Medallion Quilt turned out to be such a wonderful surprise when all I started out to do was learn a little foundation paper piecing.  The new name isn't the only progress that has been made on the quilt.  Mark moved down to Key West about a month before I did and I spent every minute of those first few nights after he left finishing the top.  I knew I was going to send elna away to be cleaned for two weeks and that it would take a while to get settled in to our new place and I didn't want to lose my quilt mojo!  Now I just need to find a proper backing fabric!

6. Fish School
Of course, while I didn't finish any of the ones above, I started a new quilt!  And it is farther along than any of the others - it just needs to be bound!  I am also writing up the pattern for this quilt and it will be available soon!  I'll reveal the full design soon!

Once again I'm putting this list is out in the Universe and I plan to have a few finishes this quarter!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Settling In

This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver
    To the Queen of the West,
    In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River.
-Longfellow, excerpt from Catawba Wine

Now things are finally getting settled and the adrenalin rush is wearing off - it's giving me time to sit and relax and reflect. Once the reflection started, it was troublesome. It was then I realized that I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss going to work every day and having lots of interesting people to talk to, I miss our old apartment and I miss the Cincinnati air which was full of that "almost fall" excitement when we left.

We had to come here.  The opportunity to grow yourself can't be turned down.  I needed one last adventure and Mark says he has never felt so much like himself as he does here - that's exactly why we came - we get to grow ourselves and grow together.  Before we left Cincinnati I thought I wouldn't have all that much growing to do - I've left home before, I know what it is like to live in different places.  But now I realize this time there is something different about it for me - different from when I moved to Kent, different from when I moved to California, different from when I moved to Texas and different from when I spent a few months in Korea - all of those moves had end dates.  As in, I can move here and experience it but at some predetermined time in the future I know I will be leaving here.  This trip is open ended - we could leave tomorrow or we could stay forever. This brings on all kinds of new implications I've not dealt with before.  We should vote here. In all the places I've lived I've never changed my permanent residence because Cincinnati was always still home, we would always be coming back and therefore had stake in its future.  We should learn the history of this place.  Cincinnati has amazing history and I was always proud to share it with visitors because it was MY history of MY city.  Now I can share new history of a new city - MY NEW city.  That seems crazy even to type - MY CITY - Key West is MY CITY.  Weird.

I <3 Cincinnati. FOREVER.

NOTE:  Yeah, I love Ohio because that is where you'll find Cincinnati.  In fact, I received this mug as  gift after leading a group of conference goers from out of town on a get-to-know-Cincinnati-morning-fitness-and-history walk.  I led about 15 people on a vigorous walk through downtown Cincinnati at 7AM while spinning tales of local history.  I took  a Cincinnati History class my senior year of high school and have been hooked ever since.  Sometimes I get teary eyed driving from east to west along Columbia Parkway at night when everything is lit up and driving north from KY on I-75 takes my breath away every time.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Key West: The Begining

So what have we been doing since we arrived on September 1st?  What has been keeping me from blogging? 


Let me tell you all about it.

When we pulled up in front of our new place on the first we wasted no time in unloading the truck (this was Mark's decision to just push through - if it were up to me we would have just curled up with the cats on the floor of the new place for a few hours.  Luckily, our friend Johnny came over to help so it actually went pretty quickly.  Then I stayed in our apartment somewhere amid the towers of boxes and dissasembled furniture while Mark and Johnny made the 2 hour round trip to Big Pine to drop off the truck.  We spent the rest of the day making heads and tails of our stuff so that we could get a good nights sleep.  It was wonderful and we woke up that Monday morning to celebrate Labor Day with a lot more unpacking and a grill out at the beach complete with some older drunk gentlemen with a spear gun (we did not see anyone injured and, in fact, we later saw them catching lobsters with their hands and giving them to people).

Just like that the weekend was over and Mark had to be back to work on Wednesday morning so the cats and I enjoyed our new surroundings and kept unpacking.

The cats grew tired of unpacking pretty quickly and found some nice places to nap.

Willie naps in secret in the bottom of the bookcase behind the couch.

We call him Long Paws, Leeroy Long Paws.

The cats were especially excited to be back together with Mark and made a special point to sleep in his clothes.

Really everyday for the first week or so was the same.  We woke up about 7, Mark went to work and I unpacked and organized.

Saturday, September 10th we took a break from all of the unpacking and went to make some friends. Mark joined the South Florida Jeep Club and they were meeting about 2 hours away at a Cuban juice shop owned by one of their families and then caravaning down to Key West to enjoy the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square.  We made a short trip to K-Mart to gather some supplies like another swimsuit for Mark (he doesn't love the snazzy green plaid one I picked out for him) and some camping chairs, oh, we also took a moment for this to happen...

Skeletons love to make jazz hands.

Once on our way we headed up the keys for a nice trip and some fresh juice, guava for me and pineapple for Mark It was a nice event, domino's were played and prizes were given but weren't able to hang with the folks all day because we were exhausted and still had lots of stuff to do to get our place into shape.  Oh, and don't worry, on the way back we did manage to stop at Baby's Coffee to pick up a bag of locally roasted coffee beans - you know, because somehow, overnight, we've both become coffee drinkers.  Nothing like a hot cup of coffee in the morning when it's 90 degrees out.  I am blaming the Cubans.

A boy and his Jeep
The big blue one - that was called SinWagon.  Yeah, SinWagon.
What did we have to do? We had to do was to finish building a loft for our bed so that we could reclaim some of the floor space it was taking up in our bedroom. Do you see our favorite visitor?
Peek A Boo
 Yep, our favorite handy friend, Unicorn, dropped by for a visit.  He just couldn't wait to check out our new place and give Mark and Johnny a hand building our loft.

Unicorn was a little worried about the somewhat unsafe methods Mark and Johnny were using while cutting and assembling most of the pieces at Johnny's place.


Willie gave final approval for the completion of the loft.

Now that it's all completed it looks great and has freed up some time to do other things. Like...

Mark was able to make lots of visits to the skate park.

I was able to get out my craft and sewing stuff and start working on a few projects. 

When Leeroy would allow it...

We had time to get totally wasted on down on Duval St.  JUST KIDDING.  That's not really our thing, but we did have totally sober fun posing like this in front of the Customs House/Art Museum after taking in a movie at the Tropic Cinema and then heading home around 9:30.

Reenacting how many tourists spend their time in Key West.

I even had time to talk Mark into trimming my hair.

Phew.  It's been a busy few weeks but things are starting to calm down.Please pardon us while we nap.

Cat nap.