Making Lately: A Spiced Chai Quilt

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So if you haven’t talked to me lately, I have some news.

I sew now. Like, on the reg. Isn’t that exciting? Is that what you were expecting me to say? I mean, I guess I have been sewing for a few years, but it is only recently that I finished my first big-huge-cool project- this quilt! From start to finish it was all me, baby. The pattern is Spiced Chai, and it is awesome. I’m bummed I didn’t get more photos of the back- it is the same as the back of the quilt I made with my mom, a very nice deep grey.

This quilt is in its new home now, and I am wrapping up another for my place. There is something so satisfying about cutting, piecing, and sewing after a day on the computer. Sometimes it just feels good to create something.

Cherry Blossoms (and the corresponding seething masses)

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Good morning, good morning! Isn’t it a great Sunday? I’m working on some Pablo’s coffee from Denver (thanks Emily!) and considering further garden plans. I am am a woman obsessed, let me tell you! More on that in another post. For now- cherry blossoms!

The cherry blossoms were both as stunning as was foretold and more crowded than I ever could have imagined. The main area where they bloom in the city- around the tidal basin, not far from the National Mall- is an area I’m used to seeing deserted as I bike around the monuments at night with visitors. When I went to see the blossoms one evening after work, I was unprepared for just how many people there were enjoying the trees and taking photos. It’s been a long time since I was in a crowd that large. People. were. EVERYWHERE. I have no idea how any of these trees are still alive given the masses that descend upon them every year, getting up close and personal with the branches and blossoms at any point they are in reach. I didn’t see quite as many people as I thought I would with flowers in hand, but I did spot a few broken branches.

What was amazing was the variety of tree species there are around the basin and the rest of the Mall- the pinks vary in hue from a delicate white to deep and vivid pink. I hadn’t realized that so many additional cherry trees have been planted aside from those around the tidal basin; the groves surrounding the Washington Monument are equally as stunning.

Going to see the cherry blossoms gives one an overview of life milestones- people are out among the trees taking photos of weddings, of engagements, of newborns, of their families. Small children chase the falling petals, and old couples picnic on grassy plots. It’s really quite idyllic in some ways.

The day after I took my photos and braved the basin, a heavy rain came through, and many of the blossoms fell from the trees. My verdict on the cherry blossoms? Great if they’re blooming while you’re in DC, but even if they aren’t, April is a magnificent month in the city. The weather is generally delightful, and people neglect to give credit to the myriad of other flowers around town, including numerous magnolias, daffodils, and more tulips than you can shake a stick at. I don’t know that I would travel here specifically for the blossoms, but if you’re around when they’re out, it’s not a bad coincidence.

In like a lion, out like a lamb.

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Aren’t those snowmen next to the Supreme Court cute? I have a pretty good feeling about this upcoming week. How about you? I think last week was a little weird. Let’s forget about it, pack all of lunches in advance this week, and move on.

A few things to talk about from life lately:

I got a new bike! I went on a bike-buying rampage. She’s fully outfitted, totally adorable, and my new best friend. Two minutes into my first ride, some guy shouted “Hey! I like your Taylor Swift bike!” I’m a little offended (am I?), but the man’s not wrong. The new bike- in conjunction with the new 50-60 degree temperatures- has been an absolute pleasure. It still needs a name though! After that stranger’s comment, maybe Swiftie is appropriate? I’m currently taking submissions.

One new habit I’ve developed over the last few months is listening to Podcasts. They’re wonderful! Did you listen to Serial? Did you experience the same post-Serial guilt related to gossiping about a story that is someone’s real life? Jay’s interviews were what sobered me up from my Serial-drunkeness the most. I had a coworker at my last job who was from Baltimore, so he gave me the inside scoop on all of the locations related to the case. Most recently, I’ve added Radiolab to my usual Freakanomics/Death, Sex & Money lineup. Radiolab has a fantastic sound editor- somehow they take it to the next level with their editing and recording, making the postcast feel different from the radio.

I’ve been disenchanted with food lately. Isn’t that weird? I’m bored of my usual lunches, and I need some suggestions for things to cook.

Great news- I’m going abroad again! Just for a few weeks, but this time it’s for work! What a grown-up thing to do! I’m so happy that traveling and being in Europe will remain part of my life for the foreseeable future. What a lucky duck I am these days.

The new seeds are growing pretty well, but my window options are limited to East/West versus the highly preferable South window for maximum sunlight. I’m such an old lady- today I carefully set the seeds outside during the warmest part of the day to let them get as much sun as possible, and then hurriedly brought them back in as it started to get dark. Hopefully my efforts will be rewarded with lots of delicious veggies in the coming months.

One thing I’ve been struggling with lately is shifting my attitude from fighting-to-survive-post-grad to making-deliberate-adult-choices. I’m still finding it really difficult to get out of my be-ready-to-leave-at-a-moment’s-notice groove. I feel like I spent all winter living from one event to the next; I was being carried along by the river of life with no real say in what I was doing next or how I spent my time. I’d like to change that this spring.

Have any podcast recommendations? Any great lunches that vastly improve the 12-1 o’clock hour? Send ’em my way, and have a fabulous week. xx

DC under a Blanket of Snow

dcwinter1 dcwinter2 dcwinter3 dcwinter4 dcwinter5 dcwinter6Good day, all! Pull up a chair- let’s get out Cards Against Humanity (the expansion packs only, please), bake something nice, and watch the Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s been snowing a lot here lately, and today’s a snow day, and everything feels right in the world, especially oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

These DC-ites are wimps, I tell ya. But you almost can’t blame them! It’s not that the snow isn’t manageable, it’s that they don’t have the right tools to manage it. And it’s not the good snow drivers who are the trouble, it’s the ones that are terrible who are out there sliding all over the pace. I did recently get confirmation that it’s the Coloradoans who are out running in these big blizzards, so that was nice, at least.

I am getting ready and excited for spring and the next few months. We have a garden at our new house, and as resident outdoorswoman-in-chief I’ve ordered seeds and am ready to get started on hatching some little plant-chickens. It’s going to be great! So far my list includes kale, tomatoes (some purple and yellow ones!), basil, watermelon, zucchini, lettuce, cilantro, and thai basil. If this thing is as prolific as I hope and expect with the humidity here, it should be a great veggie-filled summer!

Besides the garden prep, I also have some visitors coming in March and April. It’s so fun to show people around DC- it’s been a real pleasure to be able to see many friends from home and abroad in this international pit stop of a city. I went to my first spin class a few weeks ago, and I can’t decide if I like it or don’t, but I’ve been back since, so we will see. Other than that… the usual happenings have been happening. More soon. xx

Ol’ Sturbridge Village: A New England Staple

osv1osv2osv3osv4osv5osv6osv7osv8osv9Hey blog family. What’s up? What’s been happening? How was your January? Mine was cold. We got our electric bill yesterday and my, my, that number was higher than expected! It’s pretty chilly out there, folks. These pictures are from back in November, when snow still felt exciting and Thanksgiving spirit was all around. I took Flo, my Dutch roommate, up to Connecticut with me for the holiday and had a German friend from Boston come down. My usual Connecticut habits of watching too much HBO and baking up a storm were not going to cut it here, no sir… we needed to do something entertaining… we needed to do something American… we needed to go to Old Sturbridge Village!

Old Sturbridge Village, for those of you that didn’t grow up in Massachusetts or Connecticut where it seems like everyone and their mother paid a visit to OSV at some point during their childhood, is a living history museum that replicates colonial life in New England. Not only do they replicate colonial life in New England, they replicate it YEAR ROUND, so on cold, snowy days like the last few they’ve had up north, all of the people who work there are dressing in period clothing and heading out to entertain the visitors. So, in a word… it is GREAT.

There wasn’t as much going on while we were there as there is in the summer; outdoor activities become null and void when there are giant, muddy puddles where all of the presentation grounds are supposed to be. The structures are the best part of the experience, as many of them are period houses and buildings moved from all over New England onto the site. My favorite “business” that we visited was the local potter, where you tugged open a massive wooden door to enter a dimly lit room where some guy was cranking away at a potter’s wheel that was turned using his foot. Along the wall were rows and rows of cups, bowls, pitchers, and plates drying and waiting to be glazed, all of which are slated to be sold in their extensive and not-as-kitschy-as-expected gift shop. Several of the houses had people inside answering questions, and one had a few large pots of food, including pie, leftover from a colonial Thanksgiving celebration they had done the day before.

What a contrast visiting the village was to DC- sometimes it’s nice to just poke around outside, see some farm animals, and think about how tough life was back in the old days. Old Sturbridge Village was a good preview of another historic site that’s on my list for this spring- Mount Vernon, the home of the big man himself, George Washington. But until it warms up, I’m going to stick with catching up on the Americans (which is making me consider learning Russian) and working away on a new quilt (another that I just finished will be up on the blog soon). Happy Wednesday!