Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Buckeye Quilt

My husband has always really liked the Buckeyes, but attending The Ohio State University sealed the deal. He is a Buckeye fan through and through!

With his graduation approaching, I was wracking my brain to come up with the perfect graduation present for him. I really wanted to give him something that would remind him of his time at OSU and that he would use for years to come. So, I decided to make a Buckeye Quilt. (of course)
I've only made my husband one thing that was arts and craftsy- but I've never made him anything that involved sewing. Mostly just because I think my sort of sewing lends itself to making cutesy sorts of things, but I was determined to make something that he could deem "manly" and "cool".

I saw this darling kaleidoscope quilt by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts and I started imagining it in Scarlet and Gray colors and thought "this could be really cool!". So I printed out the free pattern and started putting together my blocks.

Can I just take a moment and tell you how much I hate sewing with fabrics that I am not in love with (ie: bright, cutesy, girly fabrics)... Annnnnd- Scarlet and Gray actually happens to be one of my least favorite color combinations. Pluuuuus- a kaleidoscope quilt is not for the faint of heart- it takes a really long time to put each block together (at least it did for me) and I had the worst attitude while I was making them... at least if I had been using darling fabrics like Rita did, the work would have been pleasurable, but nope- scarlet and gray was not cutting it for me. So I put my blocks aside for almost an entire year. Poor little buckeye quilt.

Then about a month before my husbands graduation, the panic set in. Holy Cow- I didn't have anything to give him and there was no way that I was gonna have time to finish the buckeye quilt at the rate I was going.

So onto plan B. 

My husband had a week rotation away from home... perfect time to finish his quilt without him seeing it! 
I have always been inspired by this gingham quilt by craftyblossom. So, I decided to do a bigger more "buffalo plaid" version of it, with a block O for the front. I cut 10" squares for the patchwork... super easy to piece since they were so large! I used Kona Charcoal for the dark gray in the plaid, Yarn Dyed Essex in black for the lighter gray in the plaid (which really added some texture since it is a linen blend, and since it is a black and white woven fabric it really made the plaid look legit!), and then just a white cotton I had on hand for the white in the plaid. I used a "Block O" Ohio State fabric that I found at Joann to make the "O" on the front of the quilt. (I would have just used plain red if this was a quilt for myself, but I knew my husband would appreciate the Ohio State fabric). 

I was so happy with the way it turned out! I think it looks masculine, school spirity, and I love the Buffalo Plaid!

Then I picked up a full sized sheet flat sheet from Target for the backing... Only one problem. The sheet was a few inches short of being wide enough for the back... Bingo- My kaleidoscope blocks!! They were the exact width that I needed to make the backing the right size. Hallelujah! I cut the sheet and pieced these puppies in there... PERFECTION! And- I felt a lot less horrible about all the time I put into those blocks! Love it when things work out that way!!

For the quilting, I used my walking foot and did some straight line quilting. I quilted the "O" with horizontal lines close together. And did herringbone-ish quilting for the rest of the quilt. (Being on the short timeline I had, I opted for really simple quilting. :)

The quilt is roughly 70"x90"... the perfect lap sized/picnic blanket!

I gave it to him a couple days before he graduated and he was so surprised. He had no idea I had made anything for him... My girls were so good at helping keep the secret! He loves it and thinks it is so "COOL"! Job accomplished! :)

As for me... I have happily returned to sewing with my cutesy, girly, darling fabrics! YAY!! ;)

Have a great week!
xoxo, Ashley

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ode to Ohio

Four years ago, my little family moved across the country to Columbus, Ohio so my husband could attend The Ohio State University. Being a Utah girl, having never lived more than 5 minutes away from my family, it was quite a change for me. I tried my very best to acclimate to the new home, town, people, etc, but it was a struggle at first.

Over time, little by little, Ohio started to feel like home to me. I experienced new things, took up some new hobbies (blogging and sewing), and met new people.

Looking back over these last 4 years, I can't believe how much the time in Ohio changed me. I grew stronger as a person, a mother, and a wife. I realized just how important my faith is to me. I met people that have changed my life forever and that I now count as some of my very best friends. I could not have asked for a better experience, than I had in Ohio... Columbus is a great place!

As our time in Ohio was coming to an end, I found myself trying to soak in every last minute in Columbus. Savor every last bite of Graeter's and Jeni's Ice Cream. ;) 

Wishing time could stop, or that somehow I could bring every last person that I have come to love like family, with me, to my next adventure. 

So as we packed the moving truck, and pulled out of town, I couldn't help but feel like I was leaving behind a piece of my heart. Such is life, I guess. 
Right now, I am out in Utah visiting family for the summer, before we move across the country again, while my husband does some training for his new job. It's good to be back in this beautiful state... I love being able to look out over my parents backyard and seeing the gorgeous mountains I grew up looking at, the smell of summer in the garden, and watching my two beautiful children run around in the backyard- so carefree and happy to be with family for the summer.

Here's to wishing you all a beautiful summer!! 
xoxo, Ashley

PS:  Columbus is such a fun area! If you are ever in the Columbus area- You have to visit some of my very favorite places...
It was so hard leaving this darling brick and mortar fabric shoppe. I love the staff, the fabric selections they offer, and that I was constantly inspired every time I walked in. I even taught my very first sewing class here and had such an amazing experience. 
I will definitely miss being able to visit Sew to Speak whenever my heart desired- which was sometimes more than once in a week!! ha ha
So if you are ever passing through Columbus, (or get lucky enough to move there) be sure to swing by and say hi for me! ;)

#2: The ice cream in Columbus is unreal...
Graeters and Jeni's are both so amazing!  I love the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip at Graeters. The Brown Butter Almond Brittle and and Dark Chocolate at Jeni's (pictured above) is probably the best thing I have ever eaten. Lucky for me- I can actually buy both out here in Utah so I am slowly easing off my ice cream addiction- (Graeters available at Smith's and Jeni's at Harmons and Whole foods). But really- there is nothing like visiting either place! Definitely recommend it!

Last but not least, 
#3: Amish Country
I love the Amish people. They are so sweet and it is so interesting to see how they live. Our family loved going to Amish Country! We went probably 6 times in the 4 years we lived there. Our favorite place was Hershberger Farm in Millersberg, OH. It is a farm that has a free petting zoo, they sell furniture, do buggy and wagon rides (in the fall you can ride the wagon out to the pumpkin field and pick your own pumpkins), and they have a bakery- my husband is addicted to their peach fry pies (kinda like a krispy creme donut filled with fruit filling)- and I am addicted to their fresh kettle corn that they make over an open fire with a kettle (of course). It is definitely one of my kids favorite places to go and is worth the drive (just under 2 hours from C-BUS- but one of the prettiest drives I have ever been on). And if you are in the area, Heini's Cheese Chalet is a great place to sample amish made cheese and see how they make it! So fun!

Go visit Ohio!!