Yesterday may have been a blood bath… but thank goodness it’s Friday!!
1. Ivy Day. Hands down the hardest day of the year for me. I ended up with Harvard (that makes 6!), University of Pennsylvania and Duke… oh, and Berkeley! Wait lists at Cornell University, Brown University, and Yale University. (There are more. This was just yesterday.) Can we just talk about how I bring the pain with Harvard? Today, we wait on Stanford (and a few stragglers). Cross your fingers.
2. JLD awarded $25,000 last night to our Conrad scholars with $10,000 absolutely going to a girl who needed it the most. Thanks Mary Kay, Women LEAD and JLD!
3. The weather is making me crazy. Absolutely positively crazy. It’s been cold, it’s been wet, it’s been warm, it’s been humid, and I can’t dress for those conditions! I’m ready to be set in my spring clothes… particularly because I got a great deal last week on a handful of Banana Republic Sloane pants… and I’m ready to bust out the colors!
4. What’s everyone doing for Easter/Easter Brunch? Totally need ideas that don’t involve traveling two hours to either of our parents or hosting at our non-existent house.
5. Harvard. Man. Who would have ever thought that this girl would figure out Harvard admissions?
If you’ll remember, last week, I went over how to get your quilt ready to… well, quilt! Today, we are going to finish this bad boy up — and believe me, this is the more tedious part – especially the first time you do it, but it’s not TOO hard to finish it up!
1. Now that you have everything pinned, you are going to roll up either sides until you get to the middle of your quilt. Starting in your pinned row, you are going to “stitch the ditch” which is a more fun way of saying sewing along the seams. Don’t forget to remove your pins so you don’t break your needle! Again, I operate in the realm of efficiency, so I did straight line seams right down the middle. Make sure you change your bobbin to something that coordinates with your backing. I used white thread on top and pink on the bottom – you didn’t notice either!
2. When you get to the end, put your needle down, lift your presser foot, turn your quilt, and stitch perpendicularly to your next pinned row. Repeat until you have stitched all your pinned seams. I decided to run a seam around all four sides of the quilt to make the next part a little bit easier.
3. Find your large flat surface, a cutting mat, and your rotary cutter. (Word to the wise – a box doesn’t substitute for a cutting mat. I promise.) Trim up the sides of your quilt, leaving about a 1/4″ after the seam. Your quilt, batting, and backing should all be flush. You want to cut this straight… otherwise binding the quilt will be a pain. Once your quilt is trimmed up, set it aside.
4. Using your excess backing (or any other material you wish), cut 2.5″ inch strips to be used as your quilt binding. Again, the cutting mat and rotary cutter saved my life on this deal. Pin these strips perpendicular to each other with wrong sides facing out. Stitch diagonally to join strips. I ended up sewing eight of these together. (Better too long than too short. Promise.)
5. Because I’m really bad at this kind of stuff, I folded my strips in half and ironed them to make sure that my binding material would stay put. I also realized the best way to do this was to pin it to my ironing board while I ironed each section. After the first fold, I folded either side AGAIN and ironed it to create the “perfect” binding. This is probably easier if you look at the pictures to understand the method to my madness. (This may have taken more time than anything else for me, but I wanted to make sure that when I finish the quilt, I don’t come back and find pieces that weren’t properly finished because of uneven folding.)
6. The final preparation for binding the quilt is to pin your folded binding around the edges of your quilt. I opened the binding and pinned all the way through all layers. When I got to the end, I trimmed my extra long binding and tucked the edge into where I started the binding to make it look continuous and clean.
7. Sewing the binding, for me, is the trickiest part. I placed my needle as close to the edge of the binding as I could and used a zig-zag stitch to make sure I captured the quilt and the binding. GO SLOW because if you get off, your binding may not attach to your quilt and will have to rip out the seam and do it again. And again. And again. Not that I know from experience or anything…
8. Done deal. Enjoy. You just made a quilt. And it’s pretty amazing, huh?
A few months ago, we found ourselves iced in for a few days and I decided that I was going to try my hand at strip quilting – easing myself into a complicated world for a girl with such little patience. I didn’t realize just HOW complicated quilting could be until I started this nonsense, but I’m proud to say that after my first attempt, the second one went like clockwork… probably because I actually had the necessary materials and decided to stop trying to “improve” all my techniques.
I’m doing a two-part strip quilting tutorial on this because you really should take your time with this to save yourself the headaches later on. True to form, I went big. I used two jelly rolls, instead of one… so yeah, there’s that, too. As an engineer, I’m always trying to find more efficient ways to do things… and this is about as efficient as it gets!
Strip Quilt Tutorial – Supplies
Strip Quilt Tutorial – Directions
1. Lay out your fabrics in your chosen pattern — think about what the finished projects will look like. I like pattens, so I was careful to make sure I didn’t put things that were too similar next to each other.
2. Sew strips together with wrong sides facing out. I used a 3/8″ seam allowance because it was easy for me to follow on my machine. You can pin these together to sew them if you have trouble keeping them straight. Make sure you back stitch on both ends to secure your seams.
3. Open up strips and attach next layer. I only did six at a time and then I sewed my groups of six together. The quilt gets really heavy as you sew additional strips, so it was just easier for me to manage them in groups of six.
4. Once all 40 strips are sewn together, you will need a large flat area to work. I ended up taking mine up to my office so I could use a big flat table to lay everything out. Cut off all hanging threads. Don’t worry if your edges don’t line up completely – we’ll trim those up later!
5. Lay out your backing material with the wrong side facing up. Lay your quilt batting on top of the backing. Smooth out any creases. Lay your quilt-top on the batting with the right side facing up – just like you are going to want the finished product to look like.
6. Using quilting pins, pin all three layers together, spacing them every three inches across one of the seams. Count down three seams and pin along the next seam you are going to quilt. Alternate your pin spacing to make sure your quilt doesn’t slip as you sew.
7. Trim your quilt backing to match up with your batting and quilt top. Again, nothing has to be exact right now. Save your extras, you’ll need them for binding!!
See the actual quilting and binding part here — which was definitely the most challenging part for me! The good news is – it DOES get easier with practice!!
I’ll admit it. I’m a book snob. I eschewed digital devices for hardcover books that I could feel. The trouble is – I wasn’t finishing any of them. Seriously. And with time going at warp speed, I knew it was time to make a change… and then I saw them offering $20 off the Kindle. A quick text to Erin confirmed that this might be a purchase that could change my life… and so I ordered the Paperwhite…
It arrived on Friday in the midst of my Gates Millennium press release frenzy and campus data reports and all the other things that had to happen before spring break, so all I could do was plug in it and let it charge… and at the end of the day, I scanned my SICA reading list for things I could borrow from my library. I found one book quickly and downloaded it on to my Kindle.
And, I read. I read while trying to fall asleep. I read while Tom showered. I read in the car for little bits at a time (I get REALLY car sick). I read while we got an oil change. I read, I read, and I read some more.
I finished Zeitoun by Dave Eggers in less than a day – and it was startlingly captivating. While I understand there is some controversy surrounding him now, the book is an extremely interesting insight into the human psyche, the beauty of humanity, and worse yet, the realities of the post-9/11 world after Hurricane Katrina. In the interest of full-disclosure, Hurricane Katrina occurred during my last year in college. I refused to watch the news or engage in the story — if for no other reason than I felt like it would leave me more disenfranchised than I already was at that point in my life. For those of you who know me really well, you’ll know that I have deeply held beliefs on the treatment of people in the post-9/11 world, so at times, Eggers’ book was a bit much for me to bear — having personally witnessed to the atrocities committed against American citizens deemed to be terrorists. Eggers’ humanized this failure of epic proportions with the story of one family and their attempt to make sense of the chaos around them — something that I live with daily in my work with high school students and college admissions.
So – there’s one list off my 60+ SICA reading list to check off… on to find the rest! What should go on my list after I get caught up on all this nonsense?!
Friday-funday thanks to these lovely ladies!!
1. Yesterday was a good shopping day for me… Banana Republic is offering 40% off… and these lovely things were already on sale.. so I got three jackets for a little more than the cost of one!! Nordstrom had the dress on sale – and my mom wanted to buy it for my birthday… but I decided to hold out in hopes that it would go on sale… and it totally did! I’ll chalk these up as a win – thankyouverymuch!
2. So remember when I posted about having two Fellows? Turns out, we had three! One of them was holding out on me!! SO PROUD of my staff!!
3. One of my kids was accepted into a super-elite business program at USC! We’re talking… 45 kids in the entire WORLD get accepted… and only 15 kids from USC.. the other kids come from Hong Kong and Italian universities. Did I mention she’s also a finalist for a Presidential Scholarship?!
4. I find out today if I made the faculty for a Summer Institute. Cross your fingers for me!! It’s the first time I’ve EVER applied for anything like this… so I’m super nervous.
5. Last Friday, I did some photography for some old friends… and I can’t get over how adorable their little six month old is! If you missed my IG post earlier this week, I offer an adorable re-cap to start your Friday morning off with a smile… 😉
What are you celebrating this Friday?!