Category Archives: travel

Toronto.

Oh, hello there!  I suppose it’s been awhile.  Fall has finally arrived and I feel at ease; I feel like sewing (and blogging) again!

In September, I was able to take a really wonderful trip to Toronto to visit my friends Katherine and Karyn and take a great Ginger Jeans class with the lovely Heather.

A couple weeks before my trip, I was in a bit of a car accident.  All parties involved were totally unharmed but unfortunately, my car didn’t make it out alive.  I wasn’t entirely sure the trip was going to happen, but thankfully, I was able to rent a nice little Dodge Dart and I was on my way.

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On the road, driving towards Pilot Mountain.

On the road, driving towards Pilot Mountain.

I traveled to Cleveland first, to visit my dear friend Molly.  I was only there one full day but I had coffee at Phoenix Coffee Co, went to the Cleveland Museum of Art (ranked one of the best in the country, with good reason), drank rosé slushies, and watched the sun set over Lake Erie.  Cleveland is a really vibrant, fun city.

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Leaving Molly’s, I drove a small highway along the lake towards Buffalo, NY and the Canadian border.  I stopped at a little historical lighthouse along the way.

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Checking Sprudge, I found a great Third Wave coffee shop in Buffalo called Tipico.  It was a beautiful space, with huge windows that almost completely opened the cafe to the residential neighborhood it’s in.  I chatted with the barista while he made me a delicious Ethiopian pour over, telling him that I am from North Carolina and work at a coffee shop and bakery.  He told me to walk a few blocks away to BreadHive for a sandwich, a bakery and cafe similar to where I work, and it did not disappoint!  While the area I was in has seen some economically better days, Buffalo seems like a city with a lot of history and character.

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Leaving Buffalo, I headed into Canada.  The border crossing was no big deal and after working my way through TIFF traffic, I made it to Katherine’s and was greeted by this famous guy.

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Over the next few days I got to hang out a lot with Katherine and her boyfriend, eat amazing food, drank amazing drinks, I walked a lot, took part in the city-wide bike share, drank coffee, went to a great bookstore called Type, wandered Chinatown and Kensington Market, spent a lot of time at the Workroom (which is just as dreamy as I imagined) and, of course, made a pair of Ginger jeans in a class with the pattern designer herself, Heather Lou from Closet Case Files.

One thing I did not do much of in Toronto, was take pictures.  Oops!

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After only three days, it was time to head back home, a 12-hour drive almost straight south.  I drove along Lake Ontario to Niagara-On-The-Lake, an adorable town where the Niagara River meets the lake.  I went to a wonderful little quilt shop at Katherine’s suggestion called Modern Bee and treated myself to a couple things, got a pretty terrible cup of coffee and walked along the beach for awhile, enjoying a clear fall day.

Fort Niagara across the river.

Fort Niagara across the river.

And then I had to see Niagara Falls.  I’d been once when I was 13, but knew experiencing it as an adult would be different.  And it was breathtaking.  And the Canadian side is way better.  The color of the water was the most beautiful greens and blues and the sheer power of all that water is humbling.

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It was so lovely to see Molly and Katherine and Dana and Karen and meet Heather.  I’m so thankful to all of them and I cannot wait to go back.

MIA.

I was such a prolific blogger for a while and now I’ve been missing in action. Oh well, hopefully y’all are still here and it doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on some things!

My birthday was back on May 17th and to celebrate, Ian and I went camping on Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks. It’s a bit of a trek, at least 7 hours including a ferry ride, but it was so worth it.IMG_0723

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This was our campsite when we arrived.  Right up that path on the left was the ocean.IMG_0740

We did our best to eat well.  There was not open fires allowed so we had to use a grill but made it work.  We had sausage with caramelized onion, garlic, beans, and roasted corn, we went to a fish market in town and got fresh Mahi and made tacos, and I made chocolate cake in an orange peel (an old Boy Scouts recipe) and brought homemade marshmallows and graham crackers.

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Also, thanks to a hand grinder and pour over supplies from Krankies (where I work), we were able to make really good iced coffee, a must for the two of us :)

IMG_0734 The highlights of the trip were two things I was not able to photograph.  The first night we saw bioluminescent waves and it was the most magical thing I’ve ever seen. Ian had told me about it on the drive out there and I kinda didn’t believe him but it’s a real thing!  Then the second night there was a huge thunderhead out over the ocean with nearly constant lightening flashing inside the cloud, with only a few streaks coming down to the water.  It lasted late into the night; it was weird to wake up in the tent and see a sky full of stars yet flashes of light to the east.

IMG_0755 IMG_0743 IMG_0753It was a really fun trip and I look forward to going out there again.  The town on the island was really cute, definitely touristy, but not in the humongous beach mansion kind of way.  It’d be fun to rent a bungalow there with some friends for a week.  I am determined to make this a multiple camping and beach trip year!

Finally: Sewing Summit, a gift, & a quilt

It’s been so long since I’ve made myself sit down to write.  It’s so hard to make the time sometimes!  I have a lot to catch up on.

Sewing Summit this year was fun.  It wasn’t as great as last year but I had a great time traveling with Caitlin and getting to wander around the city a little bit more than last year.

Class registration was a bit of a mess this year so I got 7 lectures and one hands on, a class in which I made a maxi skirt.  It was taught by the lovely Leanne Barlow and the skirt was so easy and is so comfortable that I want to make many more.  I loved Mena Trott‘s class on a handmade wardrobe and I’m so inspired to keep sewing clothing and to one day fill my whole closet.

Funny story: the one person I really wanted to meet at Summit was Katy from I’m A Ginger Monkey.  We crossed paths a couple of times but never really introduced ourselves.  A couple days after I’d returned home, she tweeted at me that she, and a girl named Laura, has a girl crush on me and that she was nervous to talk to me because she thought I was way too cool.  I couldn’t believe it!  I totally though she was the cool kid!  It bums me out that we didn’t both put our anxiety aside and talked to each other!  We could have been best friends!  Oh well; we will continue on in the internet world and one day we will meet again.

I left Salt Lake City so inspired and ready to sew.  It’s been hard to get myself into the studio but I’ve made a couple things.  My dear friend Rose wrote to me recently saying she’s beginning to do some embroidery.  She is in a band that tours a lot so I made her a travel embroidery kit with my favorite Aneela Hooey fabric and some sparkly linen.

There is a needle book with pockets for 5 embroidery thread spools and a pocket in the back, a pincushion (using the pattern from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts), and a bag to carry it all in.  I went with kind of a weird color scheme but I’m loving the green Chicopee print with the grey.  I hope she likes it!One of my favorite little details is the pull tab of a book with an elephant on the cover :)

I also finished a baby quilt that I was supposed to have completed a long time ago.  I really hope to make commissions a larger part of my work but I need to get better about sticking to deadlines and communicating (including saying no sometimes).

They wanted trees to be part of the design and I had a hard time coming up with a way to create that and still stick to my aesthetic.  When I saw this quilt kit at a shop, I thought I had the design.  I bought the Lotta Jansdotter’s Belle collection but not wanting to to be too Halloween-y, I added fabrics (including some of Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee, Lizzy House’s pearl bracelet, and Amy Butler, to name a few) on the pattern adding a few other fabrics until I came up with this, which I love.It is 5 by 6 blocks measuring 50″ by 60″.  It’s backed with an assortment of fabrics from the front, quilted with a meandering pattern in pale grey thread, bound in Belle’s scattered dot in charcoal, and simply labeled with one of my little tags. I also whipped up something I had seen on Pinterest a long time ago.  I used some red vinyl I’ve had for a while and covered my Moleskine notebook I use to design quilts and make lists.  I love it!

Hiking around Roanoke.

I went up to Roanoke last weekend to work on a quilt with Lindsay (that I will be able to reveal in all it’s beauty next week) and hang out with my best friend Catherine.  On Saturday afternoon we went on a couple short hikes with her dog Django, her friend Ryan, and his dog Harold.  It was a beautiful day.  Hopefully this spring will be filled with hikes with my dogs.

Roanoke weekend in pictures.

I went up to Roanoke this past weekend for my best friend’s birthday.  Her apartment is one of my favorites.  She and her boyfriend went out one night and I stayed in, lit some candles, and read “Wise Blood.”  Something about the scene reminded me of Posie Gets Cozy‘s lovely shots so I took a few photos. (Please ignore the blurriness due to low lighting.)  The ever lovely Sarah also took a few photos at the party.

Having a houseguest, being a houseguest.

I’m having one of those times where I feel like I have so much to write about that it’s overwhelming and I don’t know where to start.  So, I’m just going to post some pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks and write blurbs.

I picked up my friend Holly in Columbia South Carolina where we hung out with our friend Joe.  We had breakfast at Immaculate Consumption (mediocre latte, good granola),

and went to the Riverview Zoo where we saw, among other things, penguins! (Did you know emperor penguins can be up to 4 feet tall and 100 pounds?  That’s a pretty large penguin.)

Coming back to Winston we cooked some delicious caramelized leek and spaghetti squash polenta (which I didn’t photograph) and broccoli lentil soup from the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook,

and vegan ginger cookie cupcakes.  So good!  So sugary!  (Holly blogged about them and gave the recipe over at MPLS.TV where she’s a regular contributor!)

We also went to a highly recommended vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Greensboro called Boba House where we had an unbelievable sampler platter of “calamari,” “chicken drumsticks,” and “crab” won tons.  When I say unbelievable, I mean it, too.  How can they possibly make vegan things exactly like the real thing?  I’ll definitely be going back there.

Only a few days after Holly left for DC, I drove up to Roanoke to meet Catherine and head to Kentucky for, among other things, an early Thanksgiving with her family.  Addie came along and as it turned out, was a really good dog all week.

We saw Beirut the first night we were there at the Kentucky Theater in Lexington, a show that was so good.  The current trumpet player is from Lexington so the crowd was pretty wild about that.  (Bad phone picture alert:)

We went to Louisville for a couple days and stayed with the family Cat used to nanny for.  We took the kids, Lily and Aidan to the zoo where we saw an albino alligator named Louie,

and the cutest baby polar bear ever.The kids were pretty cute, themselves.

We also ate at a really good restaurant called Ramsi’s where I had a seitan (vegan “meat” made of textured vegetable protein – much tastier than that sounds!) parmesan sandwich with vegan mozzarella.

Back in Lexington we had Thanksgiving dinner with Catherine’s family, since she won’t be able to go back there during the holidays.  Her sister Caroline was just about to have a baby (she spent 12 hours at the hospital a couple days after we got there but she didn’t come out then) so I kinda commandeered the meal :)

I made apple and onion stuffing muffins as per Cat’s request,

mac and cheese (from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School), as per Shane’s request,

cranberry mousse (a little melty), because it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without that (recipe to come next week!),

and silky smooth pumpkin pie.

Cat’s dad smoked the turkey and we had green beans, corn pudding, and rolls.  It was pretty delicious!  Some of us definitely vegged out afterwards :)

I had a really good time on the trip.  It was nice to get away and have Addie with me.  She was so happy to have a yard and to be able to go outside any time she wanted.  I caught her lounging in the grass in the sun a few times :) I think she’s actually a little depressed to be back.  But Louisville was awesome and Lexington was okay.  The family was a bit much sometimes but I always had a room and my book (Dracula; so good!) to escape to.  I love Catherine and it was great to spend some time together.

Recap.

I wanted to post a quick recap about the last couple weeks, including the visit with my mom Kerrie and aunt Reen.  They came to see me from California for almost a week and were so generous with their time (cleaning) and money; I’m glad they came!

We did a couple touristy things that I wouldn’t probably do by myself like go to the Reynolda House.  It’s the historical home of RJ Reynolds (a very attractive man, as it turns out) that houses both the original furniture and history, as an art museum, currently showing Modern Masters from the Smithsonian.  I really enjoyed the whole experience.  There are also beautiful gardens near the home that while not in season, are still well manicured and lovely.  The garden is surrounded in weeping cherry trees that are probably gorgeous in spring (future quilt photography site?); I’ll definitely be returning.

We drove up to Asheville for a day and it was a beautiful day with the perfect fall colors. I had never been to Asheville before and didn’t really know what to do with the few hours we had so we wandered around the arts district by the river a little bit, ate at the Early Girl, went into the Grove Arcade,

and lots of other little shops.  There’s a lot of really interesting history there (not that I know it, I just know it’s there) and so much art and busking. At only two hours away, and a lovely drive at that, I’ll definitely go up there again.

We ate a lot of good food while they were here including 6th and Vine, Mellow Mushroom, Breakfast of Course, and First Street Draught House, while I made steak tacos, mini broccoli pesto lasagnas, and chili.  Yum!  They were really gracious and bought me so many great things I needed like a bath mat, a Swiffer-like cleaner, an immersion blender (even though it was 4 times more expensive than thought!), a nice little cat perch for the window, dishes, soap, chocolate, and a massage!  They also mowed both yards, scrubbed my shower, mopped the whole upstairs, and did countless dishes.  I wish they were around all the time! :)

While it was great to have them around, I didn’t realize how much time I usually have to myself.  After I took them to the airport I spent the day laying around, doing pretty much nothing. I’m enjoying some alone time before Holly comes next week!

I finally finished a Swoon block!

Goodness gracious, this quilt is so labor intensive, especially when I’m trying to make two at one time and have sewn a few things wrong.  The coloring of this picture is off but this quilt is both a gift and part of the Habitat challenge in the Modern Quilt Guild (and I am using three different neutrals).  Unlike most people, from what I’ve gathered, I love this line and bought a half yard set and would like to get more.  I can already tell I’m going to love this quilt.

The weather has been lovely and wonderfully autumnal but today it took a turn for the cold this weekend.  (It was 74 yesterday and it’s more like 40 today.)  I turned the heat on for the first time and am making Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew for dinner.

Tomorrow is the big Halloween party at work.  You have to dress up to get in, hundreds of people come, and all out friends play in amazing cover bands.  Last yea the boyfriend and I only stayed for half of it but we saw the Zombies which were amazing.  This year will be Weezer, Led Zeppelin, Dick Dale, the Buzzcocks, and Nirvana.  I’m working it and I’m really looking forward to it.  Pictures to come!

Tomorrow is also Marcus’s birthday!  Whoo!  I bought him a little something and I think we’ll go to dinner.  Nothing fancy but he (we) isn’t too hard to please :)

Hopefully I’ll have more crafty photos to share soon!

The Sewing Summit.

The Sewing Summit was better than I ever could have imagined.

The morning I was leaving I finally finished my weekender bag and threw together a little pouch for my Q-tips and band aids, a new tea wallet, and a little book for my bobby pins, all out of my Habitat fabric (well, except the weekender which is made with Amy Butler Lotus).

The first morning there I awoke to a beautiful sunrise over the amazing mountains.There was nothing planned for the conference on Friday so Lindsay and I went with the perfect group of ladies, Amanda, Angela, Jessica, Jeni, and Amanda, on our own little shop hop.  We went to a Halloween village (Amanda just about died),a couple great fabric stores (more pictures on Stitched in Color, including one of me) where I bought these beautiesand a wonderful yarn shop called Blazing Needles.(when the wind blows, the knitting needles in the sculpture move back and forth as if they are knitting)I bought a skein of alpaca/wool yarn in Swimming Pool blue and started a herringbone cowl (which I love so far, I can’t wait to finish!).  Angela, Lindsay, and Jessica bought yarn and needles and along with Katherine and Karyn, learned how to knit.

We also got a bunch of free things, half of which was not so exciting, but a few things that were awesome (I think that was the word of the weekend)The best thing was probably a gift in Jeni’s color class, that lovely booklet at the back, a Robert Kaufman Kona cotton color card!  Between the batting sampler and Amanda’s wonderful mini quilt class, I’m ready to make seven minis!

So I took Jeni’s color class, Amanda’s mini quilt class, a class on photography from Vanessa of V&Co, blogging and social networking from Dana of Old Red Barn Co, and improv piecing with Jess of Urban Patchwork where I proudly made thisIt was so inspiring, I really want to make an improv quilt now (like this one of hers)!  I might make this block into a commemorative pillow and dig into my scraps and make more blocks!

The weekend flew by too quickly and leaving didn’t come without a few tears.  Our lovely group (save Lindsay and Angela who had left already) took some pictures together that make me so happy.  (My camera was a little blurry for some reason but I don’t mind too much.)I’m waiting for more pictures to show up in Flickr because there are so many more lovely ones.  Karyn (above right) is from Toronto, along with Katherine, and I adored them both;  I really want to go visit them.

It was a sorrowful goodbye but we all stayed hopeful that we’ll see each other again soon.

Thank you immensely to Erin and Amy for putting this whole weekend together and I can’t wait for next year!  Time to get to work with my spoils.

Home.

I had an absolutely fantastic time at the Sewing Summit this weekend. I have made it home, though not without a few tears. I think I made some lifelong friends and that makes me smile. I have some pictures to go through and thoughts to gather and I’ll write a better post about it.

On my way.

I’m posting from my phone for the first time as I’m at the airport awaiting my flight to Salt Lake City! I’m giddy with excitement over this trip. Meeting so many wonderful women I admire and learning new things, all while visiting some place new! I hope to blog with a few updates over the weekend but forgive me if I’m busy having too much fun :)