Friday, February 17, 2012

Pintrest Experiments

About a month ago, I finally gave Pintrest a try...and yes it is as addictive as everyone says it is. I discovered two things on Pintrest however that I did more with than just post to my board: "How to Make Ricotta Cheese" and a "Soft Block with Ribbon Loops".

How to Make Ricotta Cheese: I gave this a try this past weekend and it worked. I can't believe how simple it was. I don't think that I'll make ricotta cheese from scratch all the time, but I might for special occasions. I ended up using it in a lasagna (picture above) and it was super good.

Soft Block with Ribbon Loops: Here's the version from Babyville Boutique...
And here's my version:

What's so great about these is that they use up scrap material or charm squares beautifully.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tote Bag on Steroids

About 2 years ago I found a pattern for a simple tote bag (above) and tried making a few. In general I liked how they turned out and they work well as a simple quilted tote. However after being married 5 years to a man who is never happy with any bag he owns and who is always want to alter it somehow...I've been pondering how to modify this simple pattern into something a bit more exciting.

And tada! My version of a simple tote bag that is no longer so simple.

I started with the original pattern but then added in 3 extra pockets (2 on the outside, one on the inside), a zipper on top, and a water bottle pocket on the side. I also used a heavier canvas fabric (courtesy of the free table at work) instead of cotton.

I'm amazed at how well it turned out. I really like how sturdier the bag feels due to the canvas. And the pockets really added a lot to the overall feel of the bag. In putting the two bags side by side, I don't think I ever would have guessed they came from the same pattern.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Public vs. Private Goods in Today's Society

Ran into an interesting blog post over at Babs Ray's blog (a blog that often has reflections on emergent adulthood) on the topic of public vs. private good in an iSociety. The post was a response to recent articles about the rise of online school options.

Some of my favorite quotes from the post are:

This steady disappearance of the public systems we take part in daily is for many a sign of progress. But in this headlong race to privatize everything–and its cousin, tailoring everything to our circumstances, we risk losing the very fabric that stitches us together in a society. We risk losing the “public” spaces; the “we” in a rush for the “me.”

The daily interactions in public spaces, whether on a public bus, at the park, on our sidewalks and highways, in a classroom, at the doctor’s office, or at the DMV, are shared experiences, and ultimately meritocratic. Even Bill Gates has to renew his driver’s license. Our interactions remind us what we have in common with others–sometimes others we would not otherwise meet. The rules (wait your turn in line) and customs (say thank you to the bus driver) reflect back on us the order of our ideal society.

In fact, the online communities are the exact opposite of public spaces. We self-select into the online worlds, balkanizing by interests, splintering down to the most specialized slices. You don’t have to ride with someone who is talking too loud, or who is softly weeping with her face to the window, or who is reading a book you never heard of. You might run across those ideas or people online, but you don’t have to sit with them for 30 minutes—time to wonder, to sympathize, and yes to fume. You click and you’re gone. Some will say that’s the exact reason they love the internet, or private taxis. They don’t have to be bothered. It is why we live in gated communities as well. In those havens, we don’t have to brush up against humanity if we don’t want to.

The last quote in particular  made me reflect on my own interactions with the world around me. The further away I get from college (an environment that tends to emphasis the "public" more than "private") and the more I find myself entrenched in the daily routines of life, the easier it's become to isolate myself and avoid what seem like inconveniences on my time, comfort, and personal wants. It's as if isolation breeds more isolation. It makes me wonder if "brushing up against humanity" somehow goes against our very nature as humans.

I'm glad that God intentionally chose to "brush up against humanity" literally through Jesus and that more often than not, he took the time to interact with people in the public spaces of life. It's a good reminder that every interaction with people around us can be significant and it's not necessarily a bad thing to seek to include people in our lives.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Sunflower Quilt

The only upshot of catching a cold from my husband over the weekend was that it gave me plenty of time to sit and mindlessly finish a quilt I started in October.

This quilt was a kit that I picked up at last year's Quilt Expo. I really liked the colors and loved the way it turned out. The only change I made from the pattern was instead of making quilted triangle blocks for the four corners, I embroidered a decorative medallion type thing. I think that worked a lot better with the quilt. I'm super happy with how square I got the inside block...still need to work on getting the boarder and my binding a bit straighter. My only debate now is to figure out what wall to put it on.