Nesting

This is such a good word for what it describes. Nothing else really comes close. “Decorating,” “unpacking,” even “settling In” just don’t have the same connotation. And these past two weeks, I’ve been all about nesting. My latest nine-patch thus has a fall weather-nesty look (or, it’s meant to):

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Now where do I begin? As I’ve already confessed, I’m not exactly a travel-light kind of girl. I might even be a bit high maintenance. Certainly, when it comes to feeling at home, I need to surround myself with lots (and lots) of color, pattern, fabric, good food, and more. Of course, the first step to making myself at home in my new apartment was unpacking and dispersing throughout every room all those lovely fabric things I’d made this past summer; my patchwork pillows, tablecloth, rag baskets, and a few older projects like my Log Cabin with a Twist Quilt. Instant hominess right there:

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Finally, the patchwork tablecloth put to good use!

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Some  old pillows and my grandmother’s quilt on my new futton.

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Turns out the rag baskets are perfect for holding fruits and veggies.

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But it didn’t take me long to pick up on what was missing. First of all, how can one have wooden kitchen chairs without cushions? Crisis. Fortunately, I was able to make the most of some scraps in my stash and it only took me a few evening sewing sessions (made somewhat longer but my first couple failed attempts) to come up with these:

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I discovered that seat cushions need a lot of stuffing, and since I’m not exactly rolling in dough, some of these might still be a little short. It was great to use up only left-over fabrics, and some fabric-covered buttons that had been lying around in my stash for far too long. I love the mismatched variety of them all, and they go rather nicely with the tablecloth. Some of the fabrics may even be the same, but it’s not too matchy.

Another glaringly missing item? A plastic bag holder! I realize this doesn’t sound all that essential (and, for the record, I do indeed believe in reusable bags as much as possible) but those little plastic produce bags build up quickly. They’re too handy to throw away but look pretty ugly just hanging on the closet door handle. This was another quick-and-easy sewing project:

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My next sewing endeavor was rather ambitious, and about 92% successful. Curtains. You see, I had no idea how to approach this. I didn’t really know how curtains work, or what a curtain rod is, etc. The friendly guy at Home Depot was just about as clueless as I was, so this was a learn-as-you-go process. I bought a $15 rod, measured the window space (about 68” by 90”) and set to it. Thankfully, I had a $50 giftcard to this place called Sewfisticated fabric (Sewfisticated.com) I’d been meaning to go forever, but had been prevented by my appalling sense of direction. My diminishing bank account and curtain-determination were the necessary motivation to finally find my way (though I still got lost and had to pull into a nearby car dealership to get directions) and let me tell you, this place is over-the-top wonderful. What a crazy, eclectic, inexpensive variety of fabric! And it’s only five minutes away; that’s both good and bad news for my future stash-supplying impulses. Anyway, I managed to find $1.99-a-yard curtain fabric and bought it all. Since I wasn’t looking to spend my entire weekend making these babies, I decided I’d go the fusible route (which I’ve never really done before in this way) and fused a bunch of differently-sized squares from fabric scraps onto the curtains. I went for mainly blue fabrics from my stash, to go with the red-and-blue living room furniture. What I didn’t anticipate was the fact that hanging a curtain rod would be REALLY difficult. Thank God my handy older sister stopped by for lunch; I put the poor thing to work and between the two of us, the curtain rod was installed. They’re now hanging beautifully in my living room, complementing the red-and-blue furniture beautifully:

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That darn 8%? They’re a few inches too short. Not a crisis; just something to keep in mind for the next time (oh yes, there will be a next time; we have three other curtainless windows in the apartment that are calling my name).

So, not a shabby amount of sewing for what’s only my second real weekend in the place. I do believe my productivity may be because, for the very first time, I have my own studio!

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It’s like having a little room of heaven. I’m hardly done setting it all up, but I’m well on my way. There’s all the essentials; my fabric, thread, sewing machine, etc. Slowly, I’m also filling it up with those little touches that infuse a space with inspiration; the gorgeous antique Log Cabin my mother bought me, a bulletin board covered in random, colorful images (including those glorious free paint sample color cards at Home Depot), a fabric skirt around the edge of my sewing table. But, didn’t you notice, no curtains… not yet.

While it’s tempting to spend all of my time in this one room, that wouldn’t be very sociable…or healthy. And a homey space (not to mention the people who live there) needs food as much as fabric. So, of course, I’ve been up to my usual cooking adventures. I have to say, I did break out of the mold to make cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries for a group of friends on Saturday night, but when it comes to feeding myself, I’ve been sticking with the favorites (and their copious leftovers).

This week’s pasta; the Pearfect Date, round 2. Though experimenting is fun, so is returning to those dishes that you know you love. My mom also supplied me with a bag of fresh pears and apples that I couldn’t let go to waste. So once again; pears, prosciutto, feta, dates, caramelized onions, but this time slivered almonds instead of ground macadamia (mainly because I couldn’t find these, but it turns out I liked the crunch of the almonds):

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I also discovered that there’s no such thing as a carb overload, and this pasta goes very well with my latest bread: pumpernickel. I was feeling a tad lost in my bread-baking career, unsure of what I should try next, when someone at work printed out a pumpernickel recipe! Whoever they were, they inspired me, so I went into an old bread book that my mother gave me during the moving-out process:

Pumpernickel Bread

This is not the most attractive bread I’ve ever made (for some reason, it came out all knobby and bumpy) but it is really, really good—and odd; it calls for instant coffee grind and molasses! I did the kneading by machine for the first time, so it was pretty painless, and I’m liking this morning bread-baking thing because, once again, I had a fresh-bread sandwich for lunch.

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But no week is complete without a foolish experiment. This one is perfect for fall: caramel-apple. The apples were from the fresh fruit my mother gave me; I decided not to puree them, but to chop them into cubes so I’d still get that nice crunchy apple bite. I even left the skin on because, in my opinion, that’s where so much of the tangy flavor resides. I warmed them up with caramel and cinnamon and it turned out just right:

Caramel Apple Fool

But that’s not all! In addition to my typical sewing and culinary adventures, I’ve been partaking a bit in the non-fiber-art side of things to do some furniture painting. First of all, there’s the dresser whose knobs I painted before the move:

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I also inherited this lovely bookshelf, but wasn’t terribly fond of the subdued, dainty vine pattern that was painted on it. I like my colors bold! So, over a couple of evening glasses of wine and a mid-day chat with my sister, I polka-dotted away:

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Quite a nice backdrop to my boyfriend’s old government textbooks from college. I also inherited an all-white bookcase that simply couldn’t stay that way:

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Phew, I think that might be it… at least, that’s all I’m going to admit to right now. I realize it looks like a lot of work, all this nesting business, but I couldn’t be enjoying it more. I mean, why do I love everything even remotely related to patchwork and quilts in the first place? Because of that comforting, beautiful aesthetic that makes you feel so at home.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Nesting

  1. Girl you crack me up. Next time you make curtains give me a call… I love your food. I have two apple trees that are dropping them like mad… I have been making apple sauce but wants a chunky thick caramelized one…. Guy fell thought with the chicken coop. So I am getting a contractor out ( I don’t really have the money but I am going to get an estimate). I have to work f-sun cause every one is going to Earthdance. But I swear I am going to call you. The decorating looks good.

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