Life Right Now * November 2015

December 16, 2015

november-2015

For the last year and a half I’ve been doing detailed “Life Right Now” posts outlining the happenings of each month. While I like that I have a record of those times and a place to put random things I’d like to share, lately, that super structured format has become too much. It has become a burden to make the time to sit down and do it and they end up getting done later and later into the next month each time. The last thing I need is another (insignificant) thing on my to-do list. In an effort to only keep things in my life that bring me joy while still sharing (with less pressure), I thought I’d skip the format and just chat with you about the happenings of November. (read more about past months in the links at the bottom).

The weather in New Orleans has been so crazy this Fall (and I think in many other places too). It has just been so warm! Usually October is an absolutely gorgeous month here with perfect 60/70 degree weather, but this year it was still hot and Summer-y (with temps consistently in the 80s). November cooled down slightly, but it has still been pretty balmy (which I’m not complaining about, November and into December has had awesome weather!). As it gets closer to Christmas (yes, I’m writing this in mid-December), it seems a little odd. But who can complain about amazing weather!? I’m still loving my new leather booties, even though I haven’t gotten to wear them a lot.

November was a super busy month at work preparing publications for the Advent season. Because of this, I was pretty exhausted by the end of the work day (although, let’s be honest, when am I not exhausted at the end of a work day?). I didn’t blog at all (except for my October recap) and stepped back slightly on social media. I also got a cold and was not feeling well for a week or two. Drew and I both got sick, but we did enjoy drinking tea together out of my handmade mugs! (photo above). I’ve been taking ceramics again (it’s more of an open studio time, there is no class instruction) once a week in Oct, Nov, and Dec, so I’ve enjoyed making more wheel-thrown mugs and bowls and such. It is so awesome to use something you’ve made for a practical purpose. I love painting, but the practical use of ceramics (and quilting) has me hooked. I also finished up the last bit of patchwork on my value quilt top (see it here). I wanted to quilt and bind it as well and have it ready by Thanksgiving (to travel in the car with it), but the fabric I wanted for the backing was out of print and wasn’t stocked online anywhere. I ended up tracking down a retailer in a shop outside Nashville that found it at a warehouse for me. That process took a while and I didn’t get it in until the day we were leaving to travel to visit family for Thanksgiving! So that is on the to-do for December (spoiler! I quilted it the second weekend in December and I’m waiting on my binding fabric to arrive any day now!). I also started planning ideas for another quilt, but I think I’ll wait a little while before I start another quilting project. I bought/ordered/made almost all of my Christmas gifts in November, as well as taking our Christmas card pics, designing and ordering our cards, and putting up most of our Christmas decorations, including some hand painted abstract ornaments I made this month. It was so nice going into December with most of that done!

The past few months (well, always really) I’ve been thinking a lot about my future as a surface pattern/textile designer and exploring ways to make that happen and to expand in that area, and exactly what it is that I want to do next in life. I’ve been working on some things and I can’t wait to see where I end up in 2016! (more on my goals for 2016 coming soon!)

November had many reasons to celebrate, including my friend Emma’s engagement party, a Friends-giving potluck with our 20/30s church group, and of course, Thanksgiving back in Illinois with our families. We brought a GF version of Cheesy Potato Casserole (or Texas Potatoes that my mom made growing up) to our Friends-giving, and it was the first time I’d had anything like it in years! I’m working on perfecting the recipe and when I do I’ll share it here. This month we’ve also made more everything cookies, a GF sawdust pie (my fave!!), homemade hummus, and we are loving making rice in our new rice maker (an upgrade that was LONG overdue!). While traveling for Thanksgiving, we were able to test run our new backpacks (mine, Drew’s) for our Europe trip next year (with packing cubes, a new smaller toiletry bag, and GoTubbs). We also booked our flights on Thanksgiving evening while everyone was Black Friday shopping! (YAY!!) I took advantage of Black Friday deals online to buy this Madewell bag (in the English saddle color with a gold monogram) I’ve been eyeing for a long time (Merry Christmas to me!)!

I’ve had my BKR bottle for over a year now, and use it daily (I seriously take it everywhere with me). While I love it and love drinking out of glass, I’ve had some issues with the cap and lately it has started to leak slightly. It isn’t a huge deal if I’m carrying it around the house or it is sitting at my desk at work, but I don’t want it leaking out in my bag while I’m on the go. I’ve been considering getting this S’well bottle. It seems more lightweight for traveling and is supposed to keep things cold for 24 hours and hot for 12! Anyone use one and love it?

Random, I know, but that’s what I’ve been up to this month. What about you?

Past Life Right Now posts:

October 2015 September 2015 | August 2015
 July 2015June 2015May 2015April 2015March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015
December 2014November 2014  | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014

Life Right Now * October 2015

November 13, 2015

october-2015

Right now in life, I am:

MAKING (finishing up) my second quilt, a value quilt full of fabrics from my stash (see photo below).
COOKING lots of tortilla soup and baking cookies – these everything cookies I hadn’t made in forever and classic no-bakes.
DRINKING a handmade (by me! see photo above) ceramic mug half full of boiling water with a heaping spoonful of honey and a couple drops of lemon essential oil. I drink this every morning!
READING Young House Love’s second book, Lovable Livable Home and stories from my grandpa’s first book
WANTING to enjoy some nice, cooler weather. October is usually a lovely month in New Orleans with near perfect weather, but this October has been a long extension of summer weather and full of rainy weekends.
PLAYING Adele’s Hello. Who isn’t playing this song right now?
SEWING the final bit of my value quilt top. Loving the way it is turning out! I’ve finally mastered getting those squares to line up correctly!
CROCHETING not much this month. I started working on my grey throw blanket again last month after forgetting about it for nearly a year, but I didn’t do much more on it this month. I’m sure as the holidays approach I will get back into a crocheting mood again. Happens every year! 
WISHING for a wonderful holiday season ahead. I’ve already started working on Christmas presents.

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ENJOYING wheel throwing ceramics again! I started back up at the studio I went to this past spring. I’ve been perfecting my mug making! (see photo above)
WAITING for over a year before finally getting a haircut! (eek, I hate getting haircuts, it seems like I’ve had a lifetime of bad experiences with hairdressers.)
LIKING actually seeing people wear my designs! Check out the fabric I designed for my niece’s homecoming dress, here.
WONDERING why all the headaches I was getting the past few months suddenly went away. I’m definitely not complaining, but it is so odd! I wish I knew more about what was causing them.
LOVING all the time we’ve spent lately with our group of church friends — lunch after church, bowling, our bi-weekly PINTS group, and the annual pumpkin carving party. Also enjoyed spending time with the women of the church again at Simple Elegance this year.
HOPING that my attempts to do the quilting and binding on my next quilt turn out well!
MARVELING at how beautiful my first quilt turned out and how Violet loves to snuggle up under it!
NEEDING to get back into a routine of reading every night before bed.
LEARNING a lot about surface pattern design over the last year. October marks one year since I took my first online course on designing patterns!
SMELLING clean laundry! I have really sensitive skin and it has been bothering me a lot lately. In an attempt to help it, I bought Seventh Generation phosphate-free laundry detergent for sensitive skin and re-washed nearly my entire closet. It seems to have helped a little bit. 

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WEARING my new leather booties that I’ve been admiring for a while. I’m still getting used to the whole “roll your pants up with them” thing, but they are comfy and will keep my feet warm as the weather gets cooler.
FOLLOWING my creative journey over the last few years as I talk about what quatrefoils mean to me, here.
NOTICING how nice it is to have my husband back home after all the trips he’s taken recently. He was in Austin for a work conference for a week in September and went back to San Diego to visit his brother for a week over his Fall break in October.
KNOWING that we have some exciting travel plans in the works for next year! So excited for new adventures!
THINKING about the changes I want to make in our living room on my Living Room Design Plan. We’ll have to wait a little longer on getting a new rug and sectional, but I did order a black and white buffalo check pillow!
BOOKMARKING this. It is how I feel about my closet, my life, and letting things go. “It will forever be therapeutic for me to give things away. I’m not sentimental in the way that I feel the loss as a great expanse, a missing piece. It feels instead like making space for something else, for something new, for something that closely resembles acceptance.”
CELEBRATING Drew and I’s 8 year dativersary this month! Also celebrating Violet being a part of our family for 1 year!
OPENING this new backpack for traveling, this new natural deodorant (that I love!), trying this out (not so well so far!), and finally caved and bought a new food processor (our old was was tiny and we were burning it up trying to make hummus) and a new rice maker (our old one was flaking the non-stick coating off into the rice, yuck!). 
LAUGHING at this cat, always, and Drew in his hand-painted avocado costume I made him for Halloween. 
FEELING grateful for how much I’ve progressed in my life, creativity, thoughts, ideas, mind-set, etc. over the last few years.

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Past Life Right Now posts:

September 2015 | August 2015
 July 2015June 2015May 2015April 2015March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015
December 2014November 2014  | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014

Life Right Now * September 2015

September 30, 2015

september-2015

Right now in life, I am:

MAKING my second quilt, a value quilt, filled with bits of fabrics I’ve been collecting for years. Can’t wait to see this one finished!
COOKING the first pot roast of the season!
DRINKING a mug half full of boiling water with a heaping spoonful of honey and a couple drops of lemon essential oil. I drink this every morning!
READING (finishing up) Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community by Rachel May (love this book). I finished Heather Ross’s How to Catch a Frog (I read most of it aloud to Drew on our drive back from Austin over Labor Day weekend). I also read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton last week. Great read! I just bought Young House Love’s second book, Lovable Livable Home, that came out this month. Can’t wait to read it and see the updates in their house!

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WANTING to relax and enjoy the Fall season. My favorite time of year! (if only work wasn’t so stressful around now!)
PLAYING records on the record player every morning as I do my stretches and drink my honey/lemon water.  
SEWING half square triangles for my second patchwork quilt!
CROCHETING the throw I started nearly a year ago! Finally after months of forgetting about it, I got it back out and worked quite a bit on it this month. I took it along on our drive to Austin and crocheted until I ran out of yarn (forgot to bring more with me!). I don’t think I’ll finish it anytime soon, but it has been nice to get it out and work on it again. 
WISHING for lovely fall days ahead! We’ve started to get a taste of some cool breezes. Can’t wait for lovely October weather!

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ENJOYING our trip to Austin, TX over Labor Day weekend. I’d wanted to go for a while and since I had Labor Day off work, it was my last chance this year for a weekend trip! We enjoyed the shops full of arts and crafts from local artisans, Barton Springs pool and the views from Mt. Bonnell (both pictured above), eating lots of tacos and GF food, and enjoyed IKEA in Houston on the way back and a lovely crepe restaurant. Drew then went back a couple of weeks later for a work conference.
WAITING to see what the finished product looks like with this lovely satin fabric I designed! More on that soon!
LIKING this pattern I made! Here it is in a few more colorways (pictured below as well). It even got framed in four colorways for my church’s annual September Arts Spectacle.
WONDERING why I’ve been feeling so off lately! I’ve been getting so many headaches the last few months. I’ve also had some sinus pressure and drainage, so maybe I’m developing seasonal allergies? I hope not!
LOVING that our bedroom is finally making some progress! Found new nightstands this month for just $30 (for both!) on Craigslist.

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HOPING to finish up a few more projects this year that align with my yearly goals.
MARVELING at how beautiful my first quilt turned out! I got it back from the quilter last week and it looks awesome! It is so lovely to snuggle up on the couch with something you made!
NEEDING a nap! No matter how much sleep I get I’m always tired! A side effect of having thyroid problems. :(
LEARNING about setting Values Based Intentions from Jess Lively.
SMELLING clean laundry!

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WEARING lots of black. My wardrobe has definitely grown up (color-wise especially) in the last few years.
FOLLOWING the pattern these raindrops made in that puddle.
NOTICING how much nicer the front of our apartment looks now that I cleaned off our stoop (threw all the unruly plants away). I need to trim up the rosebushes I planted a few years ago. They are taller than me!
KNOWING how special this pattern of mine is with my Mamaw’s “I love you” handwriting (pictured above).
THINKING about how nice it is to get into a rhythm of sketching/creating daily. Made this pattern and this pattern this month (among others), both from sketches out of my sketchbook.

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BOOKMARKING all my favorite TV shows. So happy to have Castle back!
CELEBRATING 5 years of blogging and 2 years working at my current job!
OPENING a new swimsuit (ASOS’s fuller bust collection and high waisted bottoms for the win!) and an electric heating pad for my neck and shoulders.
LAUGHING at this silly boy. :) 
FEELING grateful for this sweet little kitty that naps under the covers. :)

Past Life Right Now posts:
August 2015July 2015June 2015May 2015April 2015March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015
December 2014November 2014  | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014

august-2015

Right now in life, I am:

MAKING quilts! I finished piecing the top of my paper airplanes quilt that I started at the Cotton and Steel Craft South Workshop (see photos of the process here, here, here, and here.) I sent it off to a long-arm quilter to quilt and finish it off. I’ve already started on my next quilt, a value quilt! I’m so excited to use some of the fabrics I’ve been collecting for years! (see the fabrics here, here, and here.) I plan on attempting to quilt this one myself!
COOKING lots of homemade GF margherita pizza. Seriously, we’ve made 8 homemade pizzas this month. Working on perfecting a crust recipe!
DRINKING lemon green tea with honey every morning out of my favorite mug that I made in my ceramics class last spring.
READING several quilting books. For Christmas last year, my dad got me several quilting books I’d been eyeing. I’ve read all but part of the last one this month! Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community by Rachel May has been a really great read! It highlights many big quilters in the modern quilt world, talks about their processes, gives history of the modern quilting tradition (with nods to the art quilting and traditional quilting worlds), and has been really inspiring. I love that it talks about quilting like the art form that it is. My painting work in college had a big nod to the quilting industry and I was really inspired by that while reading. I wish I’d read this book earlier!

hexagon quilt1
WANTING to continue experimenting with different surface pattern designs, working to define my style. Also excited about future quilts! I’m really enjoying the composition and design process of quilting. Also really wanting to paint and take wheel throwing ceramics again.
PLAYING Paul Simon and James Taylor on the record player. 
SEWING patchwork for quilts! 
CROCHETING nothing lately. Crocheting has taken a back seat to other creative endeavors. I’ve really been thinking the last few days about getting out that throw blanket I started last year to work on again. 
WISHING for lovely fall days ahead! This summer has been a warm one!

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ENJOYING playing with pretty fabrics. Just looking through fabrics for my next quilt has been so inspiring!
WAITING on the California King size sheets I ordered for our bedroom to come in to get to work on finishing up that room! No, we don’t have a Cal King, we have a Queen size bed, but the Cal King was all they had left in the sheet design I had envisioned for the room! There will be some sewing/tweaking happening in my future!
LIKING using my office/studio area for a multitude of purposes lately. I’ve been sewing/quilting/cutting fabric in there, sketching in India ink for pattern designs, setting up my desktop computer at my desk, and hoping to start painting again in there soon!
WONDERING why I’ve been getting so many headaches lately! Almost every afternoon I’ve been getting bad tension headaches. My back and neck have been pretty tight lately too, regardless of trips to the chiropractor, Pilates, and the steam room at the gym! I guess the stress of fall publications at work have really just been getting to me.
LOVING our new foyer shelves, dresser, and church pew!! That room has really been shaping up lately into the vision I’ve had for it! Loving how much more useful, practical, pretty, and functional it is now! We’ve used that room more in the last month than we have in years!

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HOPING that my value quilt comes together well! I’m still so new to quilting that I get a little intimidated, although I have high hopes for this quilt! I think it is going to be beautiful! It will be the first quilt I’ve attempted to quilt and bind myself, so that should be interesting…
MARVELING at the beauty and talent of people. Surrounded by pretty fabrics has me admiring many of my favorite designers all over again.
NEEDING some quiet and relaxing time after how busy I’ve been at work this month. No wonder I’ve been getting so many headaches.
LEARNING about quilting! (as if I haven’t already mentioned that a million times already…) Really though, I’m enjoying learning more about this art and the many artists that specialize in it.
SMELLING homemade pizza…mmm…. 

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WEARING these new leather shoes I got on our trip to Nashville. Leather t-strap heels! I thought I’d sworn off all heels, but these are so low that they are comfortable and I’m really liking them! Also embracing wearing minimal make-up.
FOLLOWING me around and having to be in the middle of everything (Violet again), up on my cutting table this time.
NOTICING the transformation of this city, just in the six years we’ve lived here. Last Saturday was the 10th anniversary of Katrina. Drew and I spent the day working with RHINO on a Habitat build for the New Orleans Day of Service (photos here and here).
KNOWING that the secret to success in the art/design industry is learning to sketch and create daily. Working on that. I’ve really gotten into sketching a lot this month. Here is one of my sketches, turned pattern.
THINKING about how much I would like to spend my days napping and relaxing like my cat does.

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BOOKMARKING lots of quilting ideas!
CELEBRATING Violet’s 1st birthday! August 18!
OPENING a couple cute new circle skirts I bought from ModCloth. I’ve been admiring that vintage style for a long time!
LAUGHING at Violet’s photo, above! 
FEELING grateful for creativity.

Past Life Right Now posts:
July 2015June 2015May 2015April 2015March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015
December 2014November 2014  | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014

Life Right Now * July 2015

August 11, 2015

july-2015

Right now in life, I am:

MAKING lots of art this month! India ink sketches, sketchbook drawings, experimenting with block printing (pictured below). LOVE getting to spend more time making art lately (all for surface pattern design work).
COOKING meals from Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. How nice to have all the ingredients for meals delivered right to your door! Use code: CEFVYJ for $40 off your first Hello Fresh box! Also cooking with lots of fresh veggies from my sister and dad’s gardens. Loving all the summer fruit out too — love me some peaches and cherries! And of course, lots of Plum Street Snoballs (pictured above).
DRINKING Lemon Shake Ups with Drew and Gigi at the Nashville Flea Market.
READING Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career by Katharine Sise. I’m really taking my time reading through this and thinking about/writing through all the prompts. If you are thinking about a creative career, so far this is really a great read! I feel like so much of it is speaking directly to me!

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WANTING to continue experimenting with different art and styles of surface pattern design. Really working on figuring out my style and the voice I bring to that industry.
PLAYING Kacey Musgraves’ new album, Pageant Material (like seriously on repeat the first couple weeks it came out). Listening to lots of music on Spotify this month as we took two different road trips. Also lots of records playing in our house, especially after Drew went record shopping all over Nashville.
SEWING all the things! Actually just a quilt, but a really awesome one at the Cotton and Steel Patchwork Weekend Workshop at Craft South in Nashville
CROCHETING nothing lately. I have multiple projects in the works, just haven’t worked on them recently. Crocheting has taken a back seat to other creative endeavors. 
WISHING for a great month of August as we work on home projects and I continue quilting and working on pattern design work.

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ENJOYING family time! When visiting Nashville for the Craft South Workshop, we stayed with my older sister and her husband and kids that live there and my parents and younger sisters came down from Illinois too. Drew, Gigi, and I went to the Nashville Flea Market, we had a tie-dye birthday party for my niece, Evie, and then my sister, Kelsey, and niece, Evie, rode back to New Orleans with us and spent a few days here. Then my dad came to New Orleans to bring me my furniture (and pick Kelsey and Evie up). So much family time this month!
WAITING to work on/finish up some fun house projects in our foyer/dining room!
LIKING having my work office back in order after crazy renovations all summer!
WONDERING why Drew and I didn’t join the New Orleans JCC (Jewish Community Center) sooner! We aren’t Jewish, but we love using their amazing gym facilities. I’m loving the Pilates and yoga classes, the pool, the steam room/sauna/whirlpool and Drew loves the exercise equipment. We put off gym memberships for so long, but for the price, and the exercise/stress relief it provides — so worth it! It is way too hot outside to just go on walks around our neighborhood! (unless we are walking to the sno ball shop…)
LOVING Asheville! We took a trip there over the 4th of July weekend and it was amazing! Great weather, amazing views, delicious GF food. It was just a wonderful and relaxing trip.

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HOPING to continue working on my Cotton and Steel / Anna Maria Horner quilt I started at Craft South. I’ve wanted to get into quilting for a long time, I can’t wait to finish this one!
MARVELING at all the wonderful adventures we’ve been on this summer. 
NEEDING a creek like this in my life all the time.
LEARNING more about my design style the more patterns I make! And this month I made several! See some here, here, here, and the one I made from a hand-carved and printed block print, here. Also a couple more for an exciting project, here and here.
SMELLING peaches? snoballs? heat? Oh the smells of summer. 

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WEARING new jeans I got from Madewell (my first pair from them and loving them so far). Lace kimonos, breezy summer tees, jean shorts (while on vacations).
FOLLOWING me around and having to be in the middle of everything (Violet that is) — she hopped right up onto the fabric I had printed as soon as I set it on the table for a photo. Love seeing my designs on fabric!!
NOTICING this amazing mirrored tile wall at the French Quarter Sucre.
KNOWING that although I didn’t study design like I wanted to in college, that I’m so thankful for my art degree and what it taught me (and the skills I have because of it!).
THINKING about the talented designers that designed old book covers and pages. Such beautiful patterns!

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BOOKMARKING lots of patterned sheets for our bedroom bedding. Target is sold out of the black and white plus sheets I wanted! Boo! :(
CELEBRATING Evie’s birthday, vacations and road trips, time at home. Lots of lovely this month. 
OPENING the door for Drew and his friend as they unloaded the furniture into the house that my dad finally brought me from Illinois. Our church pew finally arrived as did our mid-century modern cabinet/dresser. LOVE them!!
LAUGHING at Violet and her silly ways. Always. 
FEELING grateful for how full and amazing this summer has been in so many ways.

cait quilt

Past Life Right Now posts:
June 2015May 2015April 2015March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015
December 2014November 2014  | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014