Spring has Sprung

With all the crazy back and forth weather we have had this year, I am so excited to say that spring is officially upon us in Durham. What makes it “official” you ask? Well that would be the 1 inch layer of granulated torture pollen on every outdoor surface. For the past week folks could skip down our front walk singing “follow the yellow brick road” and it would be totally applicable. Weird, perhaps, but at least your colors would be spot on.

Speaking of “yellow brick roads”, Ross and I saw “The Wizard of Oz” at Durham Performing Arts Center Sunday night and it was FANTASTIC!

Thankfully we had a nice rain storm on Tuesday that knocked down a good bit of the remaining pollen, so hopefully we are on the home stretch.

Anyway, with spring in full bloom (literally… our front bushes are bursting with flowers!), I thought now would be a good time to share some of the updates we have done to the outside of our house over the past couple of weeks. We added a truck-load of new plant babies to the front mulch beds, as well as some happy little blooms in assorted pots we had from last year. I am in love with all of the color!

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The great folks at Kiefer Landscaping helped us pick plants that had a variety of textures, colors, and blooms that would thrive in our unbalanced front yard (the left side of the house gets full sun, while the right side is predominately shaded).  We wanted an assortment that flowed together, without looking too matchy-matchy or planned.  Every time they would describe a plant as “wacky,” “scraggly,” or “sort-of like Dr. Seuss trees” I knew they would find a home in our yard. :)
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Rufus, our front porch guardian, is pretty excited to be the star of such a lovely front stoop.

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And my jade and succulent friends are ecstatic to be back in their sunny porch, rather than banished to the upstairs under a fluorescent light (where they spend their winters).

DSC_0262We definitely aren’t “finished” with the front landscaping – we still want to add some ground cover and small filler plants between the shrubs – but it is still quite a difference from our house when we first bought it. Am I right?

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October 2012

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Are you busy planting, or just enjoying blooms from a previous year’s labor?

 

Stacking Stones

Last time we talked about the patio,  Husband had created a nice smooth surface for us, and we were just waiting on a chance to wrap up the last few details.

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In between all of our traveling in the past month, we were able to finish up the last finishing steps: add the last layer of polymeric sand, fill in the gaps up against the wood supports, and plant some grass seed.

Of course, it took us quite a while to finish those details, what with the pouring rain, snow, ice, and arctic temperatures we have been having over the past few weeks. Seriously… who would have thought we would be getting this kind of weather in MARCH?!

But, this week it is 60s/70s and sunny, and our baby grass is starting to grow. :)

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Last night when the Hubs got home from work, the sunshine had him feeling all happy-go-lucky, so we decided to put that energy to good use. By building a fire pit of course!

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We basically just took the 60 remaining stones we had and stacked them on top of each other in an alternating patterns. It was like a game of Jenga, except we were really hoping the walls didn’t fall since each stone weighs about 15 pounds.  At this point we didn’t add any type of mortar or bonding agent between the stones because we figured the weight of the stones would keep the walls pretty solid. Plus, we like the flexibility of being able to change it later if we want, before it is a permanent fixture.

We added a layer of stones to the bottom as well (mostly so that our pretty patio wouldn’t be overly stained with ash), and plopped an old grate to the top (that we already had on hand) to minimize ash/debris coming out of the pit.

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I can definitely see us spending all of our summer nights out here. Just add a glass of wine and some marshmallows!

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Between the patio and the enclosed porches, I know have a perfect spot for my morning coffee and a cozy place to spend my evenings.

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Bring on the sunshine!

Recap of the Past Few Weeks

Despite my very best efforts I still managed to let the blog go by the wayside over the past few weeks. Between a crazy travel schedule, a more demanding position at work, and well, life, I had to let go of a few things, and unfortunately the blog was one of them. But now that we are done traveling (for 2 weeks), I can fill you in on all of our adventures, and we can start making plans for Spring. (Happy first day of Spring, BTW).

Last time we spoke (i.e. last time you read one of my long-winded posts), I had just gotten back from Portland and Ross had surprised me with a finished patio (best ever).  We had a few glorious days at home, before packing up and heading west again. This time our destination was Lake Tahoe, CA.

Our trip to Lake Tahoe was our incentive trip from Canary for a successful 2013; you may remember our awesome trip to Napa last year, and this trip was equally as amazing. Our home for 4 days was the beautiful Ritz Carlton resort, and we had the opportunity to dine on delicious food, enjoy (quite a few) of our new favorite cocktail (Moscow Mules), and tried our hand at West Coast skiing. Ross picked right back up as if he was born on skiis and was cruising black diamond slopes by the end of the first day. I am proud to say I went down the bunny hill a few times without falling.

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View from our balcony

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One of the rare moments of me on the slopes and upright. Lake Tahoe is in the background.

One of the rare moments of me on the slopes and upright. Lake Tahoe is in the background.

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Love

It was a truly amazing trip. Thank you Canary for the awesome memories!

From Tahoe, Ross flew to Taipei, Taiwan for a week (work trip). It was a great opportunity to experience the bike industry at one of the largest trade shows in the world and learn about another culture, although I think he preferred the food in California. :)

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After Ross’s return, we had another quick few days together, before I was off again on another adventure. (Good thing I am racking up some awesome frequent flier miles). This time my destination was Nashville, TN for my “cousin” Cara’s batchelorette party (she will officially be my cousin once she gets married in two weeks, but we have been joking that we are cousins throughout our entire friendship). I am a firm believer of what happens in Nashville, stays in Nashville, but let’s just say there was an aquarium on the loose. Have you ever seen a squid in cowgirl boots?

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SHARK ATTACK!

So now that I have finally unpacked and put away my suitcase for a couple of weeks, it is time to get back into a semi-normal routine, strap on my boots, and climb back on the DIY saddle. (Sorry, I am still in Nashville mode).

Now if only the weather would cooperate.

 

Solid Surface

Last time we talked about our patio (could we even call it a “patio” at that point?), we had a big gapping hole in our yard.

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We considered mud baths, and then the huge snow storm came and we had the opportunity for ice baths. But I am happy to report that you can no longer take any type of bath in our backyard… unless you consider a good ol’ spray down with a hose a bath. :)

Last Wednesday – Sunday I traveled to Portland for work, leaving Ross and the fur kids to hold down the fort in Durham. Wednesday – Friday I was in the office and meetings, but Friday night and Saturday I got the chance to catch up with friends and putz around my former city.

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Amelia

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A mid-day mocha at Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Unfortunately not pictured: my lovely host for the weekend, Vivian.

While I was out of town, Ross set to work to earn the Most Productive Husband award, and focused all of his energy on the patio reno. Now that our hole had experienced 4 seasons in the time span of 1 week (not required for the perfect patio, but makes you appreciate it more when its finished), the next step was to fill it in with a thick layer of yard gravel. The gravel serves as a filler and draining agent.

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In total he added two truck loads of gravel (about 1.5 yards), which built up to about 4 inches thick.

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Once the gravel was evenly spread, he built a simple border out of 2×4′s, than added a thick layer of sand (about 1 yard, which equals about 1 – 2 inches deep for our space).

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The border served predominately as a frame to hold the space square, but also gave a structure to hold the “smoothing beam.” (I just made up that name for it.)  The idea is to smooth out the layers of sand, removing excess and adding it to places where it is needed. This step is crucial because it gives a nice even surface for the stones. Essentially he created a nice perfectly smooth space in a far from perfectly smooth yard.

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The final, and probably most exhausting step involved picking up each individual stone, carrying it across the yard, and positioning it in its place on the patio. I can say with 100% confidence that I am glad I wasn’t in town for this step.

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And a few hours later… done! A perfect, solid surface.

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The last step of the process involved adding a nice thick coat of Polymeric sand in between the stones (to act as the mortar). It was as easy as dumping the sand on a small area of the surface, and then sweeping it into each crack.

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So, that leaves us with the “finishing” steps. We need to add a bit more sand in between the steps, push the dirt up against the side of the frame, then add grass and plants. It’s all fun from here!

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A big thank you to my husband for doing (literally) all of the heavy lifting on this project. I know my day of boutique shopping and coffee drinking was much more enjoyable than your day of building, and I greatly appreciate it.  Additional brownie points to him for remembering to take pictures of each step for the blog. :)

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And in case this post is enough about my husband… let’s all wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY today! :) Woo hoo!

That Time I Took a Nap in Meditation Class

Every once in a while I like to share posts about my life that have nothing to do with renovations or DIY projects. I like to record thoughts here, in a little more public eye than my personal journal, to let you peak into little outlets of my life so you can get a feel for who I am as a person, rather than just a homeowner. This is one of those posts… warning its long (and there aren’t any pictures).

A few weeks ago I attended my first meditation class. Meditation is something I have always wanted to try but I always felt like my chaotic mind would not allow me to sit still for that long, much less sit still in silence. I have always been extremely intimidated by meditation (being typically anxious and hyper active), but have looked at it as the mature and stable twin sister to yoga, and who doesn’t love the idea of being mature and stable?! And flexible. But so far yoga has only proved to me that I am in fact less flexible than the 60-year-old women who I share a class with. But hey, I’m trying.

So any way, I signed up and went to my first meditation class. I chatted with the instructor before class (who just so happened to be one of my favorite yoga instructors) and he promised that he would be sure it was an enjoyable experience for me – being new and terrified and all – and as there was only one other person in that evening’s class I felt a bit more at ease.

The first 10 minutes or so (maybe it was only a couple of minutes but it is impossible to tell when your eyes are closed and mind is racing), all I could think about was the pain in my lower back. I tried to minimize my squirming, I was supposed to be feeling zen and all, but I couldn’t find a comfortable position that also followed the meditation guidelines: spine tall and straight, back and neck against the wall, chin slightly tucked, shoulders down and relaxed, and weight distributed evenly on your sits bones. Trying to follow all of those suggestions felt like I was contorting myself into the most difficult yoga pose, when really all I was doing was sitting. I mean how hard is sitting?

Anyway, I tried to sit tall and straight, which is a joke because my scoliosis spine hasn’t been straight since I was 12 years old, but I kept my giggles to myself and tried to focus. Like really focus. And be calm… And quiet… And still… All the while trying to pay attention to the instructor continuing to guide us through the opening sequence of class.

Once he was convinced we had “found our breath” (I am curious as to where mine was hiding before class began), our instructor led us into the portion of class I call guided release. It is one of my favorite parts of yoga class and I was happy to be in familiar territory. Essentially our instructor would pick a part of the body, ask us to focus our attention on it, release any harbored tension, gently “smile” with that part of the body, and move on to the next part (usually starting at the top of our bodies and working out way down). I like this practice because it gives me a purpose and a place to channel my thoughts.

We started with our jaws  and I was happy to note that my jaw was already in fact relaxed. Woo hoo! I was doing something right. But instead of jumping up and down and patting myself on the back (normal victory reactions for me), I allowed myself a brief smile, then moved on to the next body part. The last thing I remember was mentally sending a little smile to my belly button.

The next thing I knew a wave of complete serenity and happiness crossed over me. It was the most bizarre feeling – almost like waking up from a really deep sleep and a really good dream – but because I had drifted off with my eyes closed, and somehow consciously “woke up” with my eyes closed, it was incredibly calm and peaceful. I later asked and found out I was completely still and quiet for about 35 minutes. I am not sure if I fell asleep (is that taboo in meditation class?) or if I just drifted off into a higher place of enlightenment, but it was wonderful (my bet would be that I fell asleep). I walked out of the class drunk of zen.

My busy schedule hasn’t afforded me the time to go back, and I know I don’t have the discipline to try at home, but I look forward to another class… even if it is just for a quick nap. :)

Have you ever tried meditation?

Snow Day

As most of you know, the east coast was pounded with a winter storm this week. In all, we probably got about 6 – 7 inches of fluffy snow, followed by a heavy coat of ice. The roads were bad enough to keep Ross home on Thursday and Friday, and we were able to enjoy a good ol’ fashioned romp in the snow with the fur kids.

P.S. Our backyard looks like a jungle because the weight of the snow and ice forced the bamboo to bend down. But have no fear, it popped right back up this morning when the snow started to melt.

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Being born in Boone, Eisley is a snow pro.

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Bamboo tunnel

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Snow ball fight

Blurry picture, but I love how expressive their faces are

Blurry picture, but I love how expressive their faces are

RIdley impersonating Falcor from the Neverending Story

Ridley impersonating Falcor from the Neverending Story

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My favorite part of snow days is when the sun sets and everything has a blue hue to it.

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The sun is out today and the snow will probably start to melt in a couple of hours. Two days was just the right amount to be snowed in without going too stir-crazy.

Our Valentine’s day plans involve homemade pizza and a fancy IPA (courtesy of my husband who knows that to me, a nice beer is better than flowers any day.)

Happy Valentine’s day from our snow globe to yours!

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Digging Myself a Hole


We built a swimming pool!!!!!!

Just kidding. Sorta.

(Now is when you scroll back to Monday’s post to see if there is any mention of swimming pool construction in our project list… spoiler alert: there isn’t.)

Ok, so we may not have actually built a swimming pool but at the end of the day, it sure as heck felt like we did. Here’s the scoop.

Several months ago some friends of ours built a new backyard terrace, digging out their previous concrete paver patio. Instead of throwing out the old stones, they carefully stacked them on the side of their lot, and offered free materials to all of their friends.

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At the time we wanted to jump on that offer like white on rice (you know how I start to drool at the word “free”), but we were elbow deep in coating every inch of our house in paint and renovating two enclosed porches, and outdoor projects just didn’t seem as high on the priority list.

But after reflecting on the past 16 months in our little house, we have realized that one thing it is majorly lacking is an outdoor space. Sure, we have a very nice sized lot (about 0.5 acres), but besides the designated garden area, the back yard is pretty empty and boring. So, decorate we must! (Can you call landscape work decorating?)

We decided a nice concrete stone patio with a fire pit was just the thing we needed! We set our sights on the back corner our of lot; protected on two sides from our neighbors by our bamboo jungle, and our garage/barn on the the third side, it is a nice little alcove for entertaining. The space is also mostly devoid of grass, with a nice burned spot in the center, proving that the previous owner had fire pit parties on this same space (which was confirmed by the neighbors who attended said parties). The space is in the background of the picture below:

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The first step in the process was to gather our free materials, so we started off with a little heavy lifting. I by a “little” I clearly mean a truck load. Or four. Yes four, very heavy truck loads.

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Each stone weighs about 15 pounds, which meant it was a slow process from the stone pile, across the yard, to the truck. The basic trend we followed was to load the wheelbarrow with about 7 stones which Ross pushed across the yard, while I carried 1 measly little stone over to the truck. We would load up the bed, and go back to the pile for more. Once the truck reached weight capacity (or what we decided was close enough), we went home, unloaded, and drove back across town for more. We loaded about 50 stones per trip, and four trips in total (over two weekends).

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Our next step was to devise a plan, which basically involved me creating a very rough sketch on notebook paper. We then laid out the stones to test the size we had chosen, to make sure it would be adequate for our needs and look proportionate in the space.

DSC_0249We initially worked with a 12 x 12′ space, but at the last minute upgraded to a 13 x 13′ space.

DSC_0254The next step was to stake out the perimeter, which we did by following the same “plane” that the garage is on. Basically we wanted to make sure that the patio followed the same angle as the garage… It made sense when Ross explained it to me.

Once our space was marked, it came time to dig. Based on our research, we knew the hole needed to be about 8 – 10 inches deep to allow adequate space for the materials that would lay below the paver stones. So we started digging.

For the first hour I was a true sport. I would heave heavy piles of dirt, make up songs about our tasks, and even threw in a few cheers about the work we were doing. Imaging me chanting “gooooood job! good job!” ever time we filled up a wheelbarrow with dirt.

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About an hour in we started hitting the big roots. I am sure we have mentioned it before, but we have a love/hate relationship with the bamboo in our yard. Initially we LOVED the bamboo; it was exotic and fun, and extremely entertaining to watch grow (it grows inches, if not feet every day in the early summer). But as we started working on our landscape projects, bamboo started to become the bane of our existence.  You see bamboo grows underground in grids, and sprouts up everywhere. So although the space we were digging didn’t have any bamboo shoots above the surface, the ground was riddled with roots… very difficult roots. A couple of hours in, we were hitting bamboo roots with every scoop of our shovel. The little spine-y devils!

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And yes, we filled up an entire landscaping bin with roots.

After fighting with roots for about three hours, my shovel started to become very heavy. My songs stopped. The cheers disappeared. It became a true struggle to even lift a scoop of dirt. I was delirious, and strongly regretting our decision to add the extra few square feet to our patio. I felt like we were digging to China. Or at least digging out a swimming pool (now it all makes sense).

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It was about that point that my sweet husband noticed my cheerful banter had stopped and he insisted that I go inside. He offered to finish the pit, while I started dinner and fed the fur kids. (Husband for the win!)

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So now we have a great big hole in our yard. Anyone want to come lounge in it and pretend we are taking a mud bath?

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This weekend we have hopes of kicking out the next step in the process – filling in the hole (which feels EXTREMELY counter productive to me). Sigh.

P.S. Thank you to our lovely friends Peter and Emma for the free stones!!!

Projects in the Hopper

Has it really been a whole month since my last post? Wow.. I am bad. So bad. I don’t even know if I have any dedicated readers out there anymore. And if I do, I certainly do not deserve you. I will make it up to you, I promise!  :)

November and December are super busy months for every one, and our family is certainly no exception… I was so out of it, I don’t think I even shared my Christmas decoration photos with you. Them January came and went, I added two little posts, and honestly I have no idea where that entire month went. Sigh. I really do not deserve you.

Now February is well underway, and although it is the shortest month of the year, it is the busiest month for us this year. But, I promise to do a better job keeping you in the loop. I will post pictures of our travels (there will be a lot!), adventures (small and large), and I hope to have some time to get some projects at least started. (I did say hoping).

With the apologizes behind us, I am excited to share that we have SO many projects in our idea hopper. After being in our little house for 16 months, we have figured out our priorities for big projects and changes moving forward. (Which reminds me, I never posted the “one year in progress” post I promised back in October. Ugh. I will add that to my blog “to do” list.) There are only a couple of big projects left, followed by a lot of little improvements to be done over time. I know we never be “done” because I could paint and repaint and decorate all day, but I am looking forward to the day when we aren’t constantly saving for the next big house project and we can actually take a tropical vacation. Yea right.

So, let’s take a look at the big things we have in mind for this spring/summer:

-Install a better fence for the dogs
-Bathroom demolition and complete reno (I am SO excited to get this one started… and quickly finished)
-Front yard landscaping
-Build a patio
-Build a fire pit
-Convert the side of our carport/garage into a sitting area

And oh so much more. That’s just our first brainstorm! :)  And at some point we need to throw a great party to show it all off!

Are you as excited as I am?

A Cozy Quilt

I will not talk about the cold weather. I will not talk about the cold weather.

I am sure all of you are tired of seeing pictures of thermometers, shots of frozen puddles, and posts about record-breaking cold. Who knew that the words “arctic blast” and “polar vortex” could become so trendy? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the posts, and the weather has definitely been a topic of conversation for a couple of days now, and not just for the old folks who sit in rocking chairs on the front porch. Although, I doubt they are rocking this week.

So in an effort to talk about something different on Backseat Boone, I am sharing with you a blanket project that I *finally* finished today. Because you know, blankets come in handy when the temperatures are arctic-blast-worthy. (woops.)

But first, here is a little background info on this project. I have been working on this endeavor for about 16 months. Yes, I am well aware that in 16 months I could have built a house, traveled around the world, or given birth to a walrus (did you know that their gestational periods are 15 – 16 months?!). Alas, I didn’t do any of those epic things… because giving birth to a walrus is definitely epic. Instead I made a quilt. Sigh.

For those of you who don’t know, and in case it isn’t obvious based on the amount of time this project took, I am NOT a professional sewer. Sure, I can replace a button on a shirt, patch a little hole in a favorite pair of pants, and heck, I have even made a dog bed. But those are all quick and (relatively) easy projects that I can usually do in one sitting. Granted I had a lot of coffee when I sat down to make the dog bed, but I figured anything my dog is going to drool on doesn’t have to be perfect.

So this quilt was my first big sewing project, and based on the amount of time it took me to cross it off the to-do list, you can say it wasn’t the easiest thing I have ever attempted.

For a quick review, you can see where I started the project on the old blog here, here, and here, but in summary I:

  • Collected t-shirts and decided which pieces I wanted to use on the quilt
  • Cut the t-shirts into squares and ironed on a non-woven interfacing onto the back to stabilize the fabric and help make the t-shirt squares less stretchy and unpredictable.
  • Determined the layout I wanted, and sewed my squares into row, and then sewed the rows together.

At that point I had an entire “quilt top” which basically looked like a quilt on one side, and an unfinished mess on the back. And that is where it sat, folded neatly in a canvas bag for 14 months. Sure, I thought about it every once in a while, but the whole falling in love with a fixer-upper, closing on the house, moving in, and getting emerged in dozens of huge house projects kind of kicked the little t-shirt quilt to the backseat far corner of our upstairs storage space.

Top of the quilt

Top of the quilt

But over “Christmas break” I had some free time on my hands, and decided now was the time to get back on the sewing saddle and conquer that wild steed. (To a non-sewer a sewing machine can feel like a wild bronco.)

At first I stared at that giant not-so-perfect blanket top and thought of all the ways it could go wrong from here. Although it wasn’t a masterpiece, and the lines were a little wonky and the corners didn’t exactly meet up, it was my special blanket (well, half a  blanket), and I didn’t want to screw it up.  So I was cautious, yet, optimistic, going into the next steps.

I bought several yards of black quilt fabric for about $25 with a 40% off coupon from JoAnn fabric (the kind with two layers of quilted cotton with thin batting sewn between). I figured this would be better (i.e. less sewing) than getting a piece of fabric for the back and individually adding a layer of batting. I created a rectangle, a couple of inches larger on each side than my quilt top, and sewed the back together. I then ironed down all of the seams on the back of the top so they would lay flat after  being bunched up in a tote bag for a year, and repeated the ironing process with the black back layer. Because no one likes bunchy seams.

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Quilt back fabric

Then I took the back and the front of my quilt and faced the good sides towards each other, pinned around each edge, and used my sewing machine to stitch each side. After each completed side I would flip it back right side out to make sure nothing was going wonky or totally sideways, then flipped it back inside-out and went to the next side. It was at about this time that Henry realized how much fun making a quilt can be.

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Thanks for the assistance buddy.

I continued this process (occasionally moving a cozy cat) for three of the four edges. When it came to the fourth side, I stitched a little from each side, being sure to leave a small middle portion open, so I could flip things right-side out before sewing it totally closed with the icky seams facing out. Because that is something I totally would do.

Once right-side out, I stitched the final little hole closed using a decorative stitch on my sewing machine, and boom, I had myself a happy little blanket.

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I should note that I feel like the finished product is more of a quilt/blanket hybrid, because I didn’t go back and do the actual “quilt finishing.” Between my total lack of skills, and my small beginner sewing machine, I felt like attempting to quilt the the finished product would end in complete disaster, full of tears, non-lady-like language, and a huge mess of tangled thread. Granted, my finished product is sort of like a pillow sham… if you pull on the back and the quilted front, you can easily separate the whole thing out since nothing is holding them together except for the stitching around the edges. BUT, with weight of each layer, it really isn’t that big of an issue. And one day, I could always pay someone to use a big-girl sewing machine and do it for me. :)

My favorite part of the quilt is that I used a combination of t-shirts from both my four years at Appalachian, and Ross’s four years. Although our undergrad time at ASU overlapped by two years, we didn’t meet until grad school, so we had completely unique experiences (which gave us completely unique sets of t-shirts).

Ross’s t-shirts obviously focus on cycling,

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while my t-shirts are predominately from Ambassador events and favorite football games.

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I love how the quilt shows each of our pasts and how our paths criss-crossed until we were both ready to meet our future spouses (each other). Aww.

DSC_0269And while spending all this time locked away with the sewing machine, I have decided on my next project…. organizing the storage/hobby room.

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Have you ever made a t-shirt quilt? Has there been a project you thought you could never complete?

2013 Year in Review

I love that the turn of a new year brings a fresh start – a blank page to write the story of 2014. But I am also a firm believer of the idea that the things that happen in your past build you into the person you are meant to be. So let’s take a look back at the big events, accomplishments, and life changes of 2013.

In 2013 I ran approximately 520 miles and walked approximately 100 miles. running

Which led to competing in two half marathons:

Crystal Coast HalfBull City

I participated in 12 yoga classes, one of which was in a vineyard:

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I attended 3 weddings, for 3 very lovely couples:weddings

We welcomed two new members to our family. A handsome boy dog whom I can’t imagine my life without:

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and an adorable nephew who we love watching grow:nephew

In 2013 I lost my father,

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and a good friend,

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but think of them both daily.

I traveled all over the country, highlights being in:

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Quite a year, right?

In 2013, Backseat Boone:

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And for those astonishing numbers, I thank YOU, my lovely readers. Here’s to a successful and happy 2014!

How did 2013 change you?