Capital of Texas Quilt Fest, September 12-14

In 2012, I attended the Capital of Texas Quilt Fest as a total quilting newbie. I was just getting into quilting, and finding the styles I loved. I stopped by and enjoyed walking around and taking in all the beautiful quilts, checking out the fancy sewing machines for sale, and of course browsing around all the fabric and quilting vendors. (p.s. some of the awesome quilts from the 2012 show are featured in my Quilt Inspiration post if you want to check it out.)

This year, not only am I attending, but one of my quilts will be on display in the show! I joined the Austin Area Quilt Guild, and entered my latest quilt in the novice category, as this is my 3rd quilt to make. I’m excited and looking forward to the show. I hope that some of you Austin folks will make it out to see all the lovely quilts on display – there will be over 350 quilts there!

2014 quilt fest banner

Here are a few sneak peaks of my quilt, which I’ve shown progress shots of earlier this year. I’ll reveal the finished quilt when I get the binding on, and after it’s all fancied up and hanging at the show!

flying geese quilt blocks
flying geese laura wardhamilton on the flying geese quilt  flying geese quilt topwk 18 insp 04
liberty geese hand quilting

If you’re in Austin next weekend and you enjoy quilting, or sewing, or fabric, come out to Quilt Fest! It’s held at the Palmer Event Center, September 12-14. Entrance to the show is $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and the hours are as follows:

Friday and Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm

I can’t wait to see all the lovely quilts and check out a few of the demonstrations. Some of them that sound really interesting and informative: Art Quilts, Quilt Preservation and Restoration, Quick Basting Techniques, and Basic Free-Motion Quilting, plus a bunch more!

Hope to see you there.

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Recent Reads / 02

I thought we might be due for a book update around here!

I posted about my recent reads back in February, and since then I’ve made it through several more books. Our book club has been consistently reading every month, and we have fun meeting up and discussing over food and cocktails.

John also surprised me earlier this month with a new Kindle Paperwhite. I like having the built-in light feature, and it’s a touch-screen, which are some cool updates from my previous Kindle. I’m looking forward to using it as much as possible!

So without further ado, here are my recent reads:

The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester. This was one of our recent book club picks. The Oxford English Dictionary has an interesting story behind it!


Blood Meridian, by Cormack McCarthy. I picked this up a long time ago, but never finished. I’m giving it another shot. One word describes this book – violent.


The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick. This was another of our recent book club picks, when we decided to go with the sci-fi genre last month. I thought it was pretty interesting. Apparently, Amazon may turn this into a TV show? I’d probably watch it.


Written in my own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon. This is the 8th book in the Outlander series. I am currently re-reading the entire series from the very beginning, because I need a memory-refresher (I’m on book 2!) Though it may be cheesy at times, I love this historical fiction/romance/time travel series. I’m super pumped about reading this latest one.


George R.R. Martin’s short story “The Hedge Knight” is included in this book. John and I are joining in on a Reddit re-read of the Game of Thrones series, and each week there’s a discussion posted. The re-read begins with a few short stories by George R.R. Martin that I hadn’t read before. I figure, I loved reading the Game of Thrones series so much the first time around, might as well do it again and maybe learn some new things from the group discussion. (nerd-alert!)


Lucky Spool’s Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making. I picked this up at the book store and I’m enjoying reading and learning more about modern quilting. It includes 10 “workshops” that I’ve found pretty useful so far!

What are your current or recent reads? I love any and all book suggestions, so bring it on!

>> all book images are from Goodreads. Click the book covers to read the descriptions.

Liberty of London Wishlist

I have a slight obsession with Liberty of London fabrics. The only issue I have with this lovely fabric is that it will cost you about $36. I did splurge a few months ago and purchased some for my modern heart pillows, and I think it was worth the cost! Purl Soho has a great selection of their different fabrics. It’s hard to choose which one you like the most!

modern heart pillow

I recently came across this pair of pumps from a brand I love, Marais USA. They are collaborating with Liberty of London on a line of shoes!

Marais USA Liberty of London pumps

I think I gasped out loud when I saw them, then immediately purchased. After I saw these, I started thinking what other great stuff might be out there from this famed fabric line, and found a ton of cute stuff.

Here is my current Liberty of London fashion wish list!

Liberty of London Wish List

1 – Marais USA flats
2 – Vans Old Skools
3 – Saddle Bag
4 – Nike Black Collection
5 – Marais USA wedges
6 – JCrew swim top and bottom.
7 – Gola sneakers
8 – Lord and Taylor wedges
9 – Boticca birdcage earrings

What’s on your fashion wish list?

My New Succulent Container Garden

IMG_2675

Today my friend Charly and I spent our afternoon at East Austin Succulents, finding the perfect plants to make our own succulent container gardens! Not only did they have an amazing selection of succulents, air plants, and cacti there, but they also had some helpful tips for caring for my new little plants.

East Austin Succulents
Rows and rows of succulents and cacti.

Plants from East Austin Succulents
It was tough narrowing down which ones to get!

Tillery Street Plant Co

East Austin Succulents shares a space with Tillery Street Plant Co., which also has a great selection of beautiful plants.

Giraffe Planter
Isn’t this giraffe planter awesome? It can be yours for about 500 bucks.

Craft Takeover Succulent Container Garden
The container for the plants came from Target. At about 8 inches wide, and not too deep, it’s the perfect size for all 10 tiny plants. There is also a drainage hole at the bottom of the planter, which is important to prevent overwatering.

Succulent Planter
Fuzzy details. That one in the front is so soft!

Succulent Container Garden from Craft Takeover
I’m so in love with my new little succulent garden. I plan on keeping it indoors on the dining room table. When I water it, I’ll leave it outside for a couple of days to get a little extra sun and not get too moist. The soil is a special blend that East Austin Succulent Garden makes, instead of regular potting soil.

Succulent Container Garden
I hope I can keep it healthy and beautiful for a long time to come!

Week 22 Inspiration / New York Edition, Part 3

Here are the final photos from our trip to New York! (Here are Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them)

wk 22 insp 01
We spent nearly half a day just walking through Central Park. I never knew how huge it really was.

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Can you spot the person perfecting their downward dog yoga pose?

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Loved the peaceful Conservatory Water with all the sailboats.

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Giant bubbles!

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After all that walking, we treated ourselves to some delicious ramen at Ippudo NY.

wk 22 insp 06
Stopped inside the Chrysler Building and spotted these Amazing Art Deco doors.

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That evening we headed to Brooklyn.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon sampling some beers at Brooklyn Brewery.

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Cheers!

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Pretty vintage beer bottles.

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We followed the brewery with a “Good Morning” hotdog at nearby Crif Dogs. Can’t beat a bacon-wrapped hotdog topped with a fried egg.

wk 22 insp 12
The next morning, we took a quick walk to get a glimpse of the United Nations headquarters.

wk 22 insp 13
The last bit of time before we had to head back to Austin was spent kicking up our feet, and relaxing one last time in Bryant Park during the beautiful weather.

wk 22 insp 14
It was the perfect ending to our wonderful trip.

Hope you enjoyed all the New York photos. John and I are so glad we got the chance to spend our 1st anniversary there! Can’t wait to go back again.

 

Easy Cinder Block Planter

I’m so excited to start working in our new backyard. There are a few things on my wish list, like an outdoor table with an umbrella, a hammock, and a little veggie garden. One thing I recently marked off my wish list though, is this simple concrete planter. I love how cheap and easy this project is!easy cinder block plantercinder block flowers

This is actually the 3rd time I’ve done this project! Here’s the first attempt in 2012. I lived in a townhouse with a teeny tiny little yard. Once I made the planter…I didn’t really do much else, and it sat without plants until I moved out. Sad, right? At least the cats liked climbing on it!cinder block planter 2012

Since the concrete blocks were empty, they came with me when I moved out. I made the same planter a second time, and my dad helped me fill it with plants when he was visiting. (Thanks, Dad!)
cinder block planter 2013

Here’s another photo after the plants got big and took over.cinder block planter 2013-2

Here’s how you can make your own!

Cinder Block Planter

Materials Needed:
10 regular-size cinder blocks
2 half-size cinder blocks
Level
Soil
Mulch (optional)
Plants – any kind you like. I’ve had good success with various cacti and succulents. They are hard to kill!

Steps:
1. Find a good spot for your planter, and clear the area of any rocks and weeds.space for cinder blocks

2. Place your concrete blocks nearby, and lay the first row of blocks according to the diagram below. The “x” on the diagram means the block is turned sideways. (P.S. Gloves are helpful when moving the blocks around. Those things are not soft and cuddly! Careful not to drop one on your toes, either.)stacked cinder blocks

concrete planter 1
3. As you go, use a level to make sure you are placing the blocks evenly. Otherwise, they will not stack nicely. (Note: I know that in this photo the blocks don’t follow the diagram. I changed my mind and moved them around!)
leveling the cinder blocks

4. Continue layering the blocks until finished.
cinder block planter

5. Spread mulch around the planter, fill the holes with soil, and plant your flowers! cinder block flowers

Besides these pretty flowers, I think I may try to grow some herbs like basil, thyme, parsley, and mint. I’ll be filling the rest of the planter up soon!

This time around, I did a slightly smaller version of the cinder block planter. For the bigger version pictured earlier in this post, you would need 16 regular blocks, and 4 small blocks. Here is a diagram for the large version:

concrete planter 2

 

Have fun making your own cinder block planter! I’m glad I made mine now before the Texas heat gets too insane 🙂

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!

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Blurry iphone photo! Enjoy.

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New York skyline as seen from the ferry.

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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.

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America’s tallest building – One World Trade Center.

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

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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!