Tuesday, September 3, 2013

State Fair Beauties

Through beautiful serendipity, a friend of mine had extra tickets to the State Fair that he passed on to me. So, Roommate M and I drove up (stopping at fabric stores along the way!) for my first experience with the state fair. One of the highlights of the adventure was getting to see all the amazing quilts on display! M and I were practically drooling over the intricacies of the piecing and quilting, they were so beautiful! Here are some of my favorites:

My brother would love this pixelated Mario quilt!

The compexity and perfection of points on this ins simply incredible!

This was my overall favorite! We got the whole story from one of the volunteers: It was made by a group of six women, each took part of the Portland skyline and made a panel. What made it so unique is that all of their respective styles came out. Each panel was done slightly differently, some with more quilting, or embroidery, another that appeared to have been painted to create the reflection. I am incredibly impressed by each individual quilter as well as the group. 

The tiger in the quilting of the clouds represents the Portland Zoo, which is farther out of the city in that direction

And this was embroidered into one of the panels, I'm not sure which, but I found it both beautiful and fitting.

Favorite quilt block of the day though? This guy, for good humor value alone! 

Quilt Fever

I am quickly discovering that a love of quilting is incredibly contagious. It was my roommate, M's excitement that actually brought me back to working on my quilt, as she worked on hers, and then our collective enthusiasm rubbed off on another roommate, from the Fish House! It is wonderful to have quilting and crafty buddies, although one look at our living room is enough to make me giggle.
Fabric, sewing boxes, piecing, ironing, and then two sewing machines around the corner! It is crazy in a most beautiful way! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Grammie's Quilt

"What're your summer plans?"
"Not much, watch Dr. Who and work on my quilt"
"Oh, you're a quilter?"
"I guess, a newbie quilter, this is my first quilt"

This conversations played out at least a dozen times during the end of the school year and the first week of summer. I wasn't sure I could actually call myself a quilter, having not actually created any quilt yet, and being rather unsure of what I was doing still.

Then, plans, and my perception, changed. I got a phone call saying that my beloved Grammie decided to stop chemo treatment for the ovarian cancer she had been battling for three and a half years. It wasn't working, it just made her more sick, it was time. As heartbroken as I was, I knew immediately what I wanted to do. My quilt went on the back burner, and I started drawing up plans for hers-while watching Dr. Who, of course.
With classes done, and designs in hand, I made the drive to see her, and to spend some time with her and with family. Looking them over, her favorite was one of mine as well. So my little cousin and I picked out the fabric, and the cutting began. Looking back on the experience, it was the time I was kneeling in an aisle in the fabric store with some cut squares, surrounding a rolled fat quarter that I realized why the noun 'quilter' goes with the verb 'to quilt'. Despite my previous uncertainties, I was, in reality, a quilter. 

Since the best place to cut was our high kitchen counter, the whole family got to watch the project take shape. When it came to creating the layout, everyone jumped in, looking at the squares, helping me rearrange until you could really see the pattern I was going for. 
(If you look at the original pattern, you can see the yellow was a last-minute addition that made a huge difference!)

Momma sunshine was a big help getting it sewn together. I felt so spoiled, I had her all to myself for a couple of days as we watched movies and sewed the quilt top together. 

Getting it quilted was truly a God-moment. Time was of the essence, and Shirley Stills, the quilter recommended to me, had not projects waiting, and was able to long arm quilt the top in one day!

It was a newbies lesson in binding, as I watched several episodes of 'Chopped' and 'House Hunters' with Grammie, sewing on the blue silky fabric around the edges. And here I have to shout out to Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter for her amazing Quilting 101 tutorials, which were a huge help in making this quilt happen, throughout the whole thing, but especially the binding. 

We hung the finished quilt up on the line, in the sunshine to take a few pictures...

And then I gave it to Grammie, who absolutely loved it. From the moment I gave it to her, she never took it off, and stayed cuddled under it for the next several weeks. That was the greatest reward, and comfort. Grammie has been a rock in my life, someone who has been there through everything, always loving me, cheering me on, supporting me. We were/are incredibly close. The quilt was a gift of thanks, and also something that could hold her, even when I wasn't there. Grammie flew home to heaven from under that quilt on July 15th, 2013, and while I do and will miss her terribly, I know she is more at peace now than even sleeping under a quilt made with love. She is home, and free of the cancer, the sickness, and the pain. 

Love you Grammie, always and forever. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Catch-Up (aka the past eight months are a blur)

In the time since my last post, I've had some crazy adventures, and then settled down a bit. Spain adventures became a full-time affair, so I didn't get a chance to post more on what I was doing. Needless to say, it was amazing! Here are my good-bye photos to Spain, with my host family and El Cristo above the city:

Then, I came back to the states, and moved into this crazy house. I live in a community house, with 20 other wonderful, weird, lovely people. Here we are, at our finest:

 This became my biggest adventure of the year. These are the people who were there for me as I went through the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Class Winter Term, who held me as I tried to process it all, even after only knowing me for a few weeks.

Then came Spring Break. I chose to do an alternative break, and spent the week in Henderson, Nevada, working with the St. Therese Center, an AIDS resource center. One of the days we spent helping out with their Easter Basket distribution. That's me, in the ears:

Spring was a blur, I was suffering from what one of my friends called "Credititis" or an inflammation of the credits. Turns out that 17 credits, with 16 of them being 400 level is not the best idea. My crazy roommates and a lot of hard work got me through it though.

The whole while I was working one job and getting ready for another. My job giving campus tours was wonderful, and sometimes very, very wet. I also got hired to be a Peer Minister for the Newman Center for next year, which will be a completely different wonderful position for 2013-14!

This gets you pretty much caught up on my adventures, although now it is finally summer, so I'm preparing to have some more! Be on the lookout for family, quilting, Oregon, and my more of my marvelous roommates!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

More than Skin Deep

This is a little bit of a tangent, I'll admit it, but I had a conversation today that sparked my passion, and I need to stand with my megaphone for a moment or two.

You are beautiful. You are so much more than what you look like on the outside, or what someone else judges you to be. You are a marvelous and wonderful being, full of so much life, and beauty and potential. This world is better off because you are in it.

My dear blog reader, I wish I could be sitting next to you, looking in your eyes and telling you this in a way that would reach to your soul, that somehow you could hear it, internalize it and never doubt it.

Today, I had a conversation with a friend about the judgments someone passed on another based on solely their looks. This comment wasn't even directed at my friend, rather a third person, but still these comments still provoked doubt and uncertainty in my beautiful, cool, confident friend. She is incredibly tough, and beautiful way beyond skin deep. She understands that person A was being incredibly shallow and immature. However, as we both noted, this drives us crazy. Person A making these comments creates a culture where girls-women, constantly question their image, because somehow we have decided that image determines self-worth. These comments create a culture where women, living in a foreign culture, with amazing new food, are self-conscious and worried about gaining weight.

My soapbox is this: you are infinitely and unaleinably beautiful. Your body is a wonderful part of who you are, but it is only a part. You are beautiful for the way you smile, what your laugh sounds like, the jokes you make, how you help other people, that little quirk you have that makes you uniquely you. Believe it. Hold onto it.

You are beautiful!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Osos y La Sella

This past weekend I soaked up the wonderful late-summer weather with a couple of wonderful adventures. On Saturday afternoon, my host mom and I drove a couple of towns over to see the bears (osos) of Asturias. The two girl bears were rescued after their mother died, and have lived on the reserve all their lives, and the male bear, Furaco, was a gift to Asturias in hopes that he and Tula or Paca might produce baby bears. No such luck yet, but all three live on the reserve, and a park has been built around it, with biking and walking trails to see the bears and the gorgeous surrounding countryside. 
Furaco about to take a swim

The beautiful Asturian countryside

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to have another awesome adventure. With a group of international students from the University of Oviedo I kayaked for the first time, down the River Sella. I didn't realize until later that there is an internationally famous kayak race that happens here every year, I just appreciated passing a wonderful day with my friends. It was warm enough to be able to swim, but not so warm that we were uncomfortable. Plus, the entire 16k route was gorgeous! 
We stopped at this really awesome footbridge over the river and went exploring! 

My awesome partner gathering chi from the raging river!

The views were simply breathe-taking. For the whole six hours we kept saying "this is what it means to be alive. We are 20 years old, in Spain and living, this is so cool!"


Life is good here in Oviedo. It's hard to believe that I arrived just two weeks ago today, so much has happened in such a short amount of time. I'd like to introduce you all to mi familia, my family here in Oviedo. This is my host family, Eugenio, Olga, me, my host-sister Yumi, who is from Japan, and her friend, Natsuki.

I am so happy here, especially at home. I've been truly blessed with a wonderful, amazing host family, and they make the transition and accompanying culture shock so much easier! Life is good!