Friday, December 30, 2011


I will be ringing in the new year turning these

into these

I will probably also work on settling my disagreement with Ada about how much snuggling a dog should do, and maybe, if Josh isn't swamped, I'll hang out at the hospital.  It won't be the most glamourous of New Year's Eves, but I think it will be quite satisfying.  I hope everyone has a happy and safe last day of 2011!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Joys Abound

As I sat down to write this post, I realized I didn't take any pictures of probably one of the coolest things I've ever made before I sent it off as a present.  Oops.  I feel sheepish.

Here are some things I made and remembered to photograph:

This bear is for my friend Susan out of part of an unfinished family heirloom quilt top.  I think he looks quite distinguished in his leather chair.

This is the fourth quilt made from Susan's mom's gardening shirts.  It's for her nephew, so now all her mom's grandkids have one.  My mom made quilts out of my Grandpa's shirts for all of my cousins and me a couple years ago.  I love mine so very much; so I was happy to be able to make these meaningful quilts for Susan.

I made this pillow from linen for Josh's mom.  We brought back two bags of pine needles from Maine so she could have a pillow and a supply of delicious smelling potpourri (is it potpourri when it's not made from flowers?) to put in it.  It's got an envelope-style back so she can refill it with fresh needles every once in a while.

I made this scalloped hat for our one year old niece, Josie.

I made this butterfly hat for our nearly five year old niece, Abi.

It was hard to see the butterfly, so I stuffed it to get a better picture.  It looks kind of creepy.  I'm assuming it will look much cuter on the head of an adorable five year old.

Josh painted these for the girls and they match the mugs we got their parents at the Saturday Market last Christmas.  Now they have a family set!

I also crocheted some stuffed snowmen wearing tiny scarves, but I neglected to take their picture as well.  Don't hold it against me - things are a little hectic around here!  Aside from scrambling to get all my projects finished, we've been planning a trip to Costa Rica in January.  Additionally, December is the busiest month of the year in the non-profit world because everyone feels extra generous.  This is a wonderful phenomenon, but makes for long work days for me.  Lastly, my long work days are nothing compared to Josh's.  He is in the middle of 28 days of work without a day off.  That includes overnight every Saturday (Yes, Christmas Eve.  Yes, New Year's Eve.)  But the end of December means we are halfway through residency.  That sounds pretty nice!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I finished a quilt for baby Zander Ibanez last week.  I especially like his name because it both starts and ends with "Z."  That is pretty neat if you ask me.

His parents are our good friends whom we are always trying to convince to come to Portland.  Now that Oklahoma is having multiple earthquakes a day, maybe we've got a better shot.

They picked out some great looking dinosaur stuff for Zander's room, and I was excited to run with the colorful dino theme:

I discovered that making things look random takes a lot of effort. 

The backing makes me think of tropical islands, which makes me think of Lost, which makes me think of the Ibanezes 

I copied the dinos off the fabric to quilt onto the colored squares 

The brontosaurus only has three legs 

Congratulations, Ibanez family!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Things That Are Not Sewing

Josh and I caught an episode of Free Agents the other day, which takes place in Portland.  I was sewing, so I didn't pay too close attention, but something stood out to me.  Free Agents is about people at an advertising firm, and in this episode they were trying to figure out how to sell umbrellas to men.  Because, apparently, umbrellas are not manly and so men in Portland won't buy them.  I think the real problem, though, would be selling an umbrella to any Oregonian at all!  Ride the train, look around the city, or take a walk and you'll see that the majority of the folks just tough it out with a raincoat, or some microfleece and a hat.  We snickered like natives in on the joke that TV doesn't know what it means to be an Oregonian.

It's been a year and a half since our Europe trip and we still haven't put up any pictures on Facebook.  Oops.
We leave Friday for an epic East Coast Adventure.  We're spending a day in Hartford visiting friends and family, a week in a cabin in Maine hiking and rowing, five days in the Smokies backpacking, and a couple days in NC visiting friends.  We've been working hard over here.  I'm ready for a break.  I'm ready for fall.  This is going to be awesome.

I have a vocal crush on Adele.  I love to sing along with her songs.  Singing Rolling in the Deep is hard!  I have never heard a good cover of it.  I'm sorry to say that includes my listening to John Legend's version.  I thought if anyone could do it, it would be him.  They always fall apart at the chorus.  But so do I, so I totally understand.  No one can do it like she does.

Have a great two weeks, world! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Ruffles are popular right now, so I don't have to hide that I am in a ruffle phase.  Luckily, I have friends expecting, or with brand new, little girls.  (Note: If you are Laurie and haven't received a box from me yet, wait a couple days before scrolling down)  So I started with a super-girly hot pink zebra ruffle-fest for Aleah:

 I don't think Ada gets how much fun ruffles are

And then I made a diaper bag, complete with pleats, for Allie (or I guess for Allie's mom):

Allie's grandpa picked out some special quilts for her, so I thought I'd try something a little different. It's the first time I've made a diaper bag, and the first time I've designed my own sewing pattern, so I started by making a practice bag out of tissue paper.  It worked, so I charged ahead.  Upon assembly, I decided to put a bird on it, in true Portlander fashion and in keeping with her mom's impeccable taste.  Once it was finished, I didn't want to smash it, so I may have picked an unnecessarily gigantic box in which to ship it.

I also received a ruffly apron from my sister-in-law Ruth Reese (who can meet all your photography needs), friend Marissa (with whom I could talk about sewing for hours), and niece Abi (who picked out the fabric).  It helped me get into the ruffly spirit as I worked on my projects.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ready for Anything

We're having a baby shower for a coworker next week, and I offered to make a little, inexpensive, but unique present from our department to him.  So, I put together these (unauthorized) Red Cross onesies:

I have a plan to embroider "Be Prepared" on another, but I was unhappy with my machine's embroidery font.  So I may have to rethink that idea.  But, I'm pretty pumped about the way they've turned out so far!  I plan to go to the Sidewalk Sale on N Alberta on Saturday, so maybe I'll get some ideas on what to do with the other two.  There are some pretty creative folk around here!  Yet another reason I know I'm right where I belong.

I finished a couple gifts for some friends this week.  I'm waiting to post pictures at least until I get the packages in the mail.  I'm very excited about them though, it's so hard to wait to share them with the world!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bright Hope

The other day, Josh and I were sewing (yes, both of us) while watching the classic She-Ra cartoon.  I was working on a quilt, Josh was re-sizing a fleece jacket (which is a manly sewing endeavor), and She-Ra was saving some miners from the Hoard.  We were all enjoying what is a perfectly acceptable evening in the Reese household, when She-Ra accomplished what Josh and I had not been able to for a couple weeks:  She-Ra named our boat!

She and her team were sailing off in a boat she had just purchased, and She-Ra declared in her noblest voice, "We shall call it The Bright Hope, in honor of our journey."  Josh and I decided that was exactly what, and exactly why, we would name our boat. And so, I give you our anniversary boat, The Bright Hope, in honor of our journey:

We took her out for her inaugural row on Saturday, and I discovered a side effect of naming the boat Bright Hope.  I spent most of the evening with the classic hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness stuck in my head.  You know, "...strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow..."  At least it's a lovely song!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Anniversary Stories

For our first anniversary, I wanted to get something great for Josh - and I had an idea that I wanted to follow the traditional gift guide.  Now, I'm not really sure when that whole gig started, but whoever began it decided that the first anniversary gift should be something paper.  I needed something awesome...and made of paper.  I felt pretty lucky when it came to me that I should blow up a photograph he took and have it framed for our new home.  It was no ordinary picture, you see, this was a Tulsa State Fair third place winning picture of Mount Hood from the yard in front of Pittock Mansion.  There was a couple in the way of the shot, and I remember being disappointed that we couldn't get a better view.  But they brought a nice warmth and balance to the whole thing, so I guess I owe that mystery couple a "thank you."

Anyhow, I had it matted and framed and I wrapped it up and presented it to my husband.  He opened it and got the strangest look on his face.  "Dangit," I thought, "he hates it.  I should have gone with a different frame or something."  After a minute of me feeling like a failure, he got up and told me to follow him into the garage.  In the back of his pickup truck was a fantastically done painting of the same picture he asked his brother to do.  At that moment, I think we might have yelled "MFEO!" (Made For Each Other?  Sleepless in Seattle?  Anyone?) because we got each other pretty much the same present.  We hung them next to each other in the living room as a testament to our synchronicity. 

Here is the painted version, plucked from the background of another picture

We've done well at following the gift guide since then:
Year 2 (Cotton):  I commissioned a Tulsa-inspired painting on canvas done by his favorite Saturday Market artist, and Josh got me tickets to see James Taylor because he mixed up the first two years and thought it went cotton then paper, instead of the other way around.
Year 3 (Leather): We picked out cowboy boots together
Year 4 (Fruit/Flowers): We got a membership to a local vineyard

Today is our fifth anniversary, and the gift this year is supposed to be wood.  We thought about a nice piece of furniture, or maybe a tree, but we don't have a house anymore.  So that's out.  Instead, we've been looking at little boats on Craigslist.  I'm getting pretty excited about it!  I like our tradition.  It makes us get a little creative, and our anniversary gifts have always been memorable!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Old Timey

A few months ago, I went to karaoke with my Aunt Laura.  *Fun Fact: I was named after her.  Fun Fact 2: She was named after the song Laura that was composed in 1945 and performed best (in my humble opinion) by Nat King Cole, whom I love.*
Anyhow, before we joined my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Jim at the Elks Club to sing the night away, she gave me some treasures to complete:

They are quilt squares made of what I always want to call "scrunchies," but are actually "yo-yos."  If I remember right, it was her husband's grandmother that made these 24 squares, and Aunt Laura asked if my mom and I could figure out how to connect them into a full quilt.

Well, I had seen these before at my favorite tea/antique shop in Beaverton.  So the next time I went out to Tea Thyme and Lavender, I brought these squares along and asked Claire, the owner, for some advice.  Aside from making delicious tea and French treats, Claire makes quilts out of yo-yos and she was kind enough to walk me through how to put them together.  So, I've been working on connecting them (by hand) intermittently these past couple weeks.  I'm not very far yet, but it's been fun!  And I'm enjoying having a portable project.  I can sew outside in this gorgeous weather we've been having because I'm not tied to a machine.  I'll get a picture up once they're all together, but be warned, it may be a while!

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Made It!

By "it," I mean my deadline, not just the quilt this time.  Josh's dad was in town last weekend, and in order to not have to pay shipping on the quilts I was making for some Oklahoma folk, I wanted to finish them in time to pack them in his car for the trip back.  And I did!  Three of them were posted in my last update, but the crown jewel (read: the most time consuming) has yet to be seen.  Well, voila!

This was my first time doing applique and my first time doing a pieced back - I will definitely do both again.  Also now that the weather is clearing up, I plan on snapping more of my pictures outside.  The colors look so much better in the first picture than the last picture.  I was kind of sad to say goodbye to this one, but I have more projects up my sleeve that will soon get my mind off of this one!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


 I may have been a little unsociable this week, but I finished so many projects!  I finished the third quilt in the collection of quilts made from my friend's mother's gardening shirts.  This is for her 10 year old son:

Josh approved it's manliness at each step along the way.  I am especially pleased with the cozy, furry backing.

I finished this quilt for Josh's 11 year old cousin.  It's even kind of (unintentionally) OU colors. 

I finished this quilt for one of Josh's chief residents who has a brand new baby girl:

Every time I closed my eyes for the past couple nights, I saw clusters of circles because of this quilting:

And I even made a hat and a larger-than-anticpated-but-still-loved felt dahlia to put on it.  I've been wearing it all day even though it's almost June. 

Now I have one more week to finish the little leaves quilt I started ages ago so we can ship it to Oklahoma via Josh's dad next weekend.  Here's to renewed motivation!

Friday, May 13, 2011


My friend Laurie at The Corner Slice is a wonderful writer and often uses the theme of confessions to write honest, witty, and heartwarming posts.  So I thought today I would follow her model and offer some confessions of my own:

It's not a secret, but I have neglected the blog.  I think my self-discipline comes in spurts, in blogging and in other parts of life.  I'm a bit sad that my last post was kind of cranky and was on the top of my blog for so long, so I am pleased to solve that today.

I have four quilt tops piled up that are not quilts yet.  I never do that!  I used to be quite responsible, making one or two quilts at a time and finishing them completely before starting another project.  No longer!  I basted all four last weekend, and I have to finish them in the next month so we can deliver them to Oklahoma upon our next visit.  The previously mentioned spurty self-discipline will need to kick into high gear!

I feel indignation toward people who set their bags on the empty seat next to them on a crowded bus.  It's silly of me, they probably would move their bag if someone asked to sit down.

I love spring in Oregon.  I don't think I will ever understand people who tire of the rain.  Spring rain is so pleasant!  And I had forgotten how long spring is here - things bloom for more than two weeks!  We've had at least a solid month of blooming trees, azaleas, rhododendrons, and bulbs and they feed my heart every day.  That said, I also am grateful for spring sunshine.

Every time I see Laurie's blog posts titled "confessions," I get the Glee mashup of the song stuck in my head.  This apparently also applies when I title a post the same way.  I will be tapping my foot to it the rest of the day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Unexpected Stop

Josh picked me up from the train station after work, and as we were on our way to do some errands, we passed a little girl about nine walking down the side of the road.  In the rain.  Without a coat.  Crying.

Of course Josh stopped the truck, and I got out to ask her if she was lost or needed help.  It took a minute to get her to tell me what was wrong, and as it turns out she was running from her dad who was not far behind in the car.  He would stop, get out, talk to her, and she would run off.  He would jump back in the car, catch up, get out, talk to her, and she would run off.  I don't know how long this had been going on.  And it was all because she didn't want to go to a church club.  This poor little girl was so upset because there is another girl there who is mean to her and to her friends.  She was telling me how this mean girl hurts her feelings when her dad came up again and told her she didn't have to go.  "Please get in the car, and we'll go home."  Aside from her hysterics, things seemed to be on the up and up.  And it was kind of awkward, and not my place, to try to handle the situation with her actual parent there, so I said goodbye and got back in my truck.  As we were pulling away, I saw her running up the street again.  *Sigh*  Since her dad was there and handling the situation (well, kind of) and it wasn't anything that needed outside intervention, we didn't follow.

So, this kind of broke my heart on a few levels.  First, it's going to be a while before I get that sad, sad image of the forlorn, wet child out of my head.  Second, she was just so beside herself that she wouldn't even calm down when her dad suggested they go home.  The poor thing was pretty traumatized over something.  Third, the mean kids were at the church!  There's nothing worse than mean church girls.  Church.  Where you're supposed to feel safe and loved and accepted.

I wish there was more that I could do for her.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Put a Bird on It!

I laughed most during that Portlandia sketch because I'm totally in a bird-loving-phase right now.  Ever since I saw that episode, I've been noticing birds all over the place in Stumptown.  My friend Nike and I have sent several texts back and forth sharing joy in the fact that Portland puts birds on everything
All this is leading to the fact that I started (and finished) this quilt top today:

(Please pardon the terrible picture, my camera and I aren't on good terms right now)

and didn't notice until I was about halfway done that I definitely was putting a bird on it!

I love it!  And that blue fabric that is the border for this quilt?  I have so much of it that it's made its third quilt-appearance today, and last year I made myself a dress and belt entirely from it as well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I finished something!

No, that something is not either of the quilts I've blogged lately.  Mom and Dad went to China and that means I don't have access to the giant conference tables at Tektronix which are the best surfaces for pinning big quilts.  I did, however, start and finish our niece's 4th birthday present on Friday.  She likes to cook with her mom, so I made her this apron:

I hope its bright colors appeal to her fashionable taste.  This kid is 4 going on 15; she has very definite fashion opinions and a new crush on Orlando Bloom.  "Do you think he looks better with blonde hair in Lord of the Rings or brown hair in Pirates of the Caribbean?" she asked Josh a couple weeks ago.  Seriously.  Just turned four.  She's awesome.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another Europe Post

I know it's a little ridiculous.  It's been almost a year since our trip and I've posted only 2 or 3 of our European adventures.  But I've been thinking about how great Hallstatt was lately, and thought, "I should blog about that!"

Hallstatt, Austria was the second stop on our trip, and just might be my favorite place we went.  This place is Alpine perfection:

We stayed in a house where we had our own kitchen.  So Hallstatt became the home of our first international grocery shopping experience.  We bought some things we recognized and some things that we thought looked good even though we weren't quite sure what they were.  We ended up with some pretty tasty stew!  We also ate at some lakeside restaurants (because the whole town is lakeside) and had some fresh Hallstatter-See fish.  We hiked up to the world's oldest salt mine and then all through the woods.  We saw an authentic May Day celebration complete with liederhosen and accordions.  We explored an abandoned hotel in the next town over.  And we drank a lot of coffee on our balcony while admiring the once-in-a-lifetime view.  The lady we rented our rooms from said that the town doctor was getting ready to retire, and we really wished that Josh could speak German so he could take over!  Here are some pictures to help explain why:

The view from the salt mine above the town

 Some from our hike

The town's main street.  I love how everything is terraced up the hillside.

 Our future homestead in a clearing outside of town

 The waterfall by our future homestead.  Yes, this is about as close to perfection as you can get in this life.

I convinced Josh that this empty hotel was unlocked because they wanted us to explore it 

Our view

Wow.  This makes me want to go back.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Mom's a Winner

My mom entered this website contest before Christmas and the stuff she won finally got here last week.  Check out the bounty:

She won 6 2 yard fabric cuts, a bajillion fat quarters, a jelly roll (which for my non-fabricy readers is a bunch of coordinated fabrics cut into strips and rolled together), lots of thread, some crazy huge batting scissors, gift cards to various websites, a new ruler, a book with a bunch of bag patterns in it, and (for some reason) a nail file!

I've been working on arranging these squares to my liking:

I think it's almost there.  I gave Josh artistic control over this one since it's for his cousin, and the quilts I make aren't always the most masculine.  Per his request, I'm going to move around a couple of the dark brown edge strips to make a more sensible pattern.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm Fancy

I wish this statement were true: Josh and I made a resolution to be fancier this year.  But we didn't.  I did however say we did when telling a story, because it sounded funny (it got a good laugh) and we are being fancier so far this year.  If I realized it a couple weeks into 2011, and we keep it going, can I say we resolved to be fancier?

Anyhow, I'm sure you're wondering about our first big event as fancy people.  On Saturday, we are going here

for an exclusive Cellar Club party.  Yes, we are members of this club.  Like I said, we're fancy.

On the quilting front, I finished sewing around the edges of all 480 leaves on the quilt for Emma, sewed all the blocks together, added a border, and made my first ever pieced back for it.  I'll add a picture soon.  I finally came up with a good plan for PJ's quilt and will start that this weekend while Josh is working in the ICU Sunday.  We do at least have a little weekend, he gets a whole 40 hours off starting tomorrow morning!