Week 21 Inspiration / New York Edition, Part 2

Last week, I shared some photos from our trip to New York City. Now it’s time to dive into part two!

wk 21 insp 01
We started the day at Delectica for an awesome breakfast – an omelette sandwich with avocado, tomato, and chipotle mayo. They also had great coffee and fresh-squeezed OJ that made me VERY happy. We ate there 2 days in a row.

wk 21 insp 02
Then we headed to Grand Central, where I proceeded to awkwardly initiate a one-woman flash mob, inspired by this video from back in the day. No one cared.

wk 21 insp 03
We made our way downtown and hopped on a free ferry to Staten Island in order to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. You have to check out the ferry’s website – the “ferry facts” were NOT comforting!

wk 21 insp 04
Blurry iphone photo! Enjoy.

wk 21 insp 05
New York skyline as seen from the ferry.

wk 21 insp 06
The 9/11 Memorial is a short walk from the ferry. It was a very, very moving experience to be there. We didn’t go inside the museum, as it was not open until the following week.

wk 21 insp 07
America’s tallest building – One World Trade Center.

wk 21 insp 08
Lunchtime meant a visit to the one and only Katz’s Deli for the corned beef sandwich of my dreams.

wk 21 insp 09
Luckily, we missed the sinkhole that occurred right in front of the restaurant just a few days later.

wk 21 insp 10
And while we’re on the topic of good food – here’s the amazing spread from Sushi Yasuda for our anniversary dinner.

wk 21 insp 11Sushi was followed by a dessert of Cereal Milk Ice Cream (with Corn Flake crunch) from Momofuku Milk Bar.

wk 21 insp 12Several cookies were taken back home and eaten for breakfast, because vacation means cookies in bed. After the trip there, I think I may have to buy Christina Tosi’s amazing cookbook!

wk 22 insp 13Evening walk with pretty colors.

I have a few final New York photos to share next week, and that will wrap up the New York edition of my weekly photos.

Oh yeah, and I have a fun gardening project I can’t wait to share with you this weekend!

Week 20 Inspiration / New York Edition, Part 1

I skipped last week’s Weekly Inspiration post because I was too busy getting ready for a trip to New York! John and I headed to the Big Apple to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. He surprised me with plane tickets at Christmas, so we had been looking forward to this trip for quite a while. I’m so excited to share some photos of this awesome vacation. Hope you don’t get too sick of New York photos – I’m planning to share lots more later this week!

wk 20 insp 01
First up, Grand Central Terminal. We were lucky to be staying just a couple blocks from here, so getting around on the subway was really convenient.

wk 20 insp 02
The first night, we walked over to Times Square for an obligatory visit. It was a pretty foggy/overcast night. It was neat to see this famous spot for a moment, but then we were ready to move on away from the big crowds.

wk 20 insp 03
I did really like the NYPD stand, though!

wk 20 insp 04
More walking around. I love this blurry accident.

wk 20 insp 05
And this view looking up.

wk 20 insp 06
Stopped and took a break in front of the Radio City Music Hall.

wk 20 insp 07
Then we made our way to Rockefeller Center, and headed back to the hotel for some rest.

wk 20 insp 08
First morning in NYC! We grabbed some breakfast treats from Cafe Zaiya and took them over to Bryant Park to eat.

wk 20 insp 09

wk 20 insp 10
The people and puppy watching was good, too.

wk 20 insp 11
Some views of the front of the New York Public Library.

wk 20 insp 12
And the beautiful interior.

wk 20 insp 13
Next we hit the Natural History Museum. The Hall of Minerals was my favorite. Such beautiful colors!

wk 20 insp 14
I met a big dinosaur.

wk 20 insp 15
And then on to the MoMA. Hello, Warhol.

wk 20 insp 16
Textile inspiration.

wk 20 insp 17
After the museums we checked out the amazing Lego store near Rockefeller. I’ll leave you with this parting shot of John and a giant lego dude.

I have lots more photos to share, look for more later this week!



Week 19 Inspiration

This week has been PRODUCTIVE. We’ve been crazy busy at my office over the last month, so you’d think I’d want to come home and just veg out. Not gonna lie, sometimes that’s exactly what happens. This week, however, my after-work activities haven’t let up. I’ve been busy with sand volleyball, working on 3 sewing projects at once, on top of speed reading for my book club, and doing a ton of stuff (like unpacking boxes) at our house. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but it feels kinda great to get so much done.

Without further ado, this week’s inspiring photos:

wk 19 insp 01
Met some friends for drinks at The Silo on 7th. We sat at the only picnic table under the old silo and it was awesome.

wk 19 insp 02
Speaking of drinks – I fell for the gimmicky Game of Thrones beer when I was wandering around the grocery store. No regrets though. Good job Ommegang Brewery!

wk 19 insp 03
The fireflies have been insane lately. I attempted to photograph them in the backyard, and this was the only sorta cool one.

wk 19 insp 04
Testing out different ways to make more quilted coasters.

wk 19 insp 05
They’re definitely works in progress.

wk 19 insp 06
Some quilting inspiration brought to you by my office elevator construction work.

wk 19 insp 07
Ham says hello from his between-the-shower-curtains hiding spot.

Thanks for tuning in this week!

Week 18 Inspiration

This week we are saying the official farewell to our old house! It was the first house John and I ever lived together, where we got engaged, and where we had lots of fun memories. I’m a little sad, but also very excited to make new fun memories. Here’s to new adventures in our new home!

And now for the 18th edition of my weekly photo inspiration:

wk 18 insp 01
When I unpacked some kitchen stuff, I decided to put my spices in the drawer next to the stove and it is LIFE CHANGING. I can see all of them! At once!

wk 18 insp 02
I can’t wait to get all these books neatly arranged and organized.

wk 18 insp 03
New ironing board and cover! I’ve been using one of those table top ironing boards and it wasn’t cutting it. Hopefully after I get my sewing workspace all set up I’ll share a picture of everything. It’s coming along!

wk 18 insp 04
The flying geese quilt is getting hand quilted. I’m going to record how many hours it takes me to finish this one.

wk 18 insp 05
Bluebird blog
recently introduced me to Kaufmann Mercantile and I signed up for their newsletter (p.s. they automatically e-mail you a $7 credit toward your next order) They have some really amazing goods and I had to order this Cinnamon Cider Syrup. I can’t wait to make pancakes and top them with this goodness!

wk 18 insp 06
Also purchased this awesome Caran D’Ache pen. I’ve mentioned before here how obsessed with note and list-making I am. All I can say is this pen is badass. It writes so well and I love it.

wk 18 insp 07
And I’m OUT.

Have a great week!

Week 17 Inspiration

I know you guys are probably sick of me talking about moving…but have I mentioned that moving is the worst? All my sewing and kitchen stuff has been packed up and moved to the new house. I’m going a little crazy this week!

wk 17 insp 01
To cope with the stress, this is how we’ve been relaxing. Enjoying the spring weather on the porch – beer in hand.

wk 17 insp 02
Also coping with stress by eating adorable petit fours.

wk 17 insp 03
Little fluffy paw.

wk 17 insp 04
Bella is one of the therapy dogs that’s sometimes at my office. She’s now on the cover of this Nulo dog food can! What a celebrity. (Bonus – cute cowboy boots!)

wk 17 insp 05
Speaking of my office…I took a different set of stairs out of the building than usual, and found myself in this long weird hallway that used to be part of the parking garage. I just want to decorate those plain white walls.

wk 17 insp 06
One fine example of a decorated wall: a bar downtown had this amazing wallpaper. Don’t judge the bathroom photo quality.

Have a great week, guys!

Easy Quilted Coaster

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you are enjoying this lovely Sunday. Today we packed up most of our kitchen to move to the new house. This means I won’t be cooking any fancy Easter meals. Guess I’ll just enjoy an easy sandwich with coffee on my new quilted coaster. Look how cute!

quilted coaster 01

Recently I shared a tutorial for flying geese quilt blocks, so afterwards I had several of these blocks floating around just begging to be used for a project. I thought a teeny tiny quilt would make a great coaster for drinks, hot or cold.

I made a square with 2 of the flying geese blocks, then grabbed a scrap of batting and a piece of plain fabric for the backing. I used a couple of pins around the edge to hold the layers together, then took it over to my sewing machine for some simple straight line quilting (start with a line right down the middle to keep things in place!). This couldn’t be easier, the coaster is a great size to work with. Just take a second every now and then to check out the back of the coaster and make sure your quilting is looking ok. I quilted each line about a quarter of an inch apart, and didn’t mind if my lines were a little imperfect. It has some character that way!

quilted coaster 03

Instead of doing something more time consuming like a traditional binding, I used my serger to stitch and seal around the outside of the coaster to finish.

quilted coaster 02

Making a coaster is a great way to use up extra quilt blocks you might have. Bonus points if you have enough for a matching set! Of course you could also quickly sew up some blocks in order to make as many as needed. This is a project without strict guidelines – just use scraps you have on hand, make however many you like, and in whatever size you want!

quilted coaster 04

I’m looking forward to making a whole set of these for our coffee table at home, and I think this would also be a really great handmade gift to give!

Week 16 Inspiration

This week we are smack in the middle of moving. Having various stuff piled everywhere in both houses stresses me out a little. But once we are all done it will be worth it.

green counter stools
These stools have been on my wishlist for a long time, and I’m so glad we got them in this cheery green color.

old book box
Old book box. One of my relatives wrote the Boris Borborygmus book. The sad guy on the cover (and the book itself) is strange, and I dig it.

church cookbook collection
Cookbooks before they go in their box. I’ve got a collection going of church and family cookbooks. Some of the recipes in here are magical, and some seem a little crazy. I love it.

haywood and the broken dishes quilt
The pup had me nervous this week. He had some blood tests come back with elevated liver enzymes. After a month of pills, nothing had changed in the levels, so we took him in for an ultrasound. Glad to report that everything is looking alright, and the vet didn’t find any major issues, just some slight inflammation. He should be ok. Whew!

circo hermanos vazquez
This crazy circus tent caught my eye.

Sam and Maisy guitars
Sam and Maisy are guitar heros! I loved hanging out with our friends Aaron and Jessica and their cute kiddos recently.

fuzzy green fruit
These fuzzy green fruits on my tree are making me happy.

This weekend I’m looking forward to working on my latest quilt, and sharing a teeny tiny quilting project with you! Look for it on Sunday.



Week 15 Inspiration

Week 15 has been fantastic. I got to spend time with friends this weekend, and Monday was my birthday! That night John and I went to grab dinner at Contigo, and while we were there a crazy thunderstorm hit. The wind was blowing like crazy and it was pouring rain…but it was secretly kind of fun to be under the patio at that moment.

Here are some of the more lovely moments from my week. And as always, you can see past Weekly Inspiration posts here.

key lime whoopie pies
I made these key lime whoopie pies this weekend for a get together. They were a HIT.

playing settlers of catan
A few of the people of said get together.

settlers of catan pieces
I know it seems like we play a lot of Settlers of Catan. That’s because we do – NO SHAME!

Ice Cream Machine Legos
John and I continued our new birthday tradition (posted in Week 4) of Lego-building. Building Legos just never gets old! I picked out this Ice Cream machine and the Cloud Cuckoo Palace from the Lego Movie sets.

colorful quiet moment
A colorful quiet moment.

vintage seed packets
I found these seed packets in the storage closet at the new house.

1988 seed packets
The seeds are from 1988, what the heck?! I think I might plant ’em.

babylock free-motion quilting foot
Today I was able to get the sewing machine foot I was needing for free-motion quilting. I had to go to 3 different stores, but I finally got it!

babylock feed dogs removed
I even figured out how to remove the feed dogs on my sewing machine, after a lot of confusion. Some machines allow you to simply lower the feeds dogs, but mine was a bit trickier.

free-motion quilting practice
Crappy practice “L.” It’s pretty bad…but I guess it could be worse?

Of course I’ll do some real practicing with more layers of fabric, and I can’t wait to share my free-motion progress here. Until then, hope you all have a lovely rest of your week!

Free-Motion Quilting Inspiration

Recently I was given the chance to work on a cute baby quilt project for one of my co-workers. A friend had already made the quilt top and binding, and provided me with all the materials I needed! I happily volunteered to quilt it all together.

pinwheel quilt block
Here is a close-up of the pinwheel blocks I’ll be working with.

pinwheel quilt top
More of the front of the quilt.

cute animal fabric
Cute animal fabric for the back.

butterfly quilt binding
She even made all the binding!

For this fun quilt, I want to do something besides quilting in a straight line. I’m going to try my hand at free-motion quilting for the first time! Now I just need some inspiration, and idea of how to get started.

Here are some photos I found around the web of some pretty designs on pinwheel quilts.

rounded quilt
Circle quilting. From here.

pinwheel for linda
See how the quilting adds movement on this one? From here.

sisters and quilters
Love this simple and large design. From here.

pinwheelquilt by honey bear lane
This pebbled texture also looks great. From here.

Next step for me? I need to purchase a darning foot, or free-motion foot for my machine since I don’t have one. Then I need to read up on free-motion quilting techniques and learn a little bit.

I will share some progress pictures once I get the hang of things and decide on a pattern to quilt on these fun pinwheel blocks. I hope this will be a quilt that my friend’s new baby girl enjoys for a long time!

Are there any quilters out there with free-motion tips for beginners?

Week 14 Inspiration

Heyyy April! I can’t help feeling extra excited about this week with the lovely weather we’ve been having in Austin. Also looking forward to fun plans this weekend. Here’s to Week 14 of 2014!

Aerial advertising
This type of advertising seems a little excessive, right?

jungle of a backyard
I’ll miss this jungle of a backyard when we move in a couple weeks.

Ham enjoying the backyard
Hamilton will miss the yard, too. He’s not allowed to venture outside at the new place until we get a proper fence put up.

watercolor pet art
The current art above my desk – quick watercolors I did of my sweet animals.

Austin bookclub
Some of my bookclub lady friends. In March, we tried reading Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon. We failed. On to the next (hopefully easier) book!

sad fiddle leaf fig
This is what I get for neglecting my fiddle leaf fig – it’s not doing well and I feel like a terrible plant parent. I’m going to try my best to bring it back from it’s current withered state!

Michi Ramen
Takeout from Michi Ramen. It’s the best, and this photo doesn’t do it justice.

Gene Stratton Porter & Elephant bookends
My little Gene Stratton-Porter book collection and the awesome gold elephant bookends made by our wonderful friends Aaron and Jessica.

Wish me luck this week as we start packing things to move! Currently, I’ve moved all of two chairs over to the new house. (And even that was a pain!) Hey, at least now we have somewhere to sit. I’m calling that progress.