22 September 2014

a wedding quilt from my guild

At a guild meeting just a few weeks before our wedding, I was surprised to receive this quilt from the Ann Arbor Quilt Guild:
Wedding QUilt-2
Pictured here with awesome quilter and friend Jenna, who is stopping the wind from toppling that quilt frame!  The colors are truest in the bottom picture in case you are curious.

I was in such a frazzled state at the meeting that I have no idea if I thanked them properly, so I've been meaning to make sure I post a proper thank you here to MAKE SURE they know how much this quilt means to Jon and me.  WE LOVE IT.  We love that they took the time and care to make it for us. I love the colors and the design and the quilting and the thoughtful label.

Wedding QUilt-3

I almost hesitate to name the few names that I know did some specific work, because I know that a lot of people contributed their time and materials and artistry.   But I'm pretty sure that I'm remembering correctly that a lot of folks made blocks, the ringleader was Dorie Schwarz, with help from Debbie Grifka and Brenda Ratliff, and it was quilted by Kathy Koch.   The design is a variation of the "Lone Square"--a modern pattern that is a favorite here in Ann Arborland.  Thanks again for all the love and support, guild-mates! See you on Wednesday!

To anyone who has been thinking of joining a guild of any kind, I heartily encourage you to do so.  While not all guilds are the same and not every moment is 100% awesome, my guild has been a real blessing in my life since the first meeting I attended.

Bonus fact: my quilt guild is how I met Jon (he's a long-time friend of Brenda's), which has worked out pretty well.  :-)

You can find a listing of chapters of the Modern Quilt Guild on their website, I recommend googling for other types of guilds, and/or asking at local fabric/crafts stores.
Wedding QUilt-4

17 September 2014

Love and Marriage

Are you only here for the quilts? Then please skip this post, we'll be back to the usual programming shortly! This post is about my wedding and honeymoon.

I am, it turns out, not really a wedding person.  At least not as a bride.  Being a guest can be fun if there's good music and a dance floor, but I've never been interested in being The Bride.  I'm not interested in being  up on display for everyone, doing something that is both so intensely personal and banal.  I like attention for things that I have thought or that I know. 

I would happily have gone to the courthouse and been done with it, but Jon wanted more, so we worked out something that was good for us both.  We had a small ceremony (12 guests) and big party (150 guests).   I designed the save-the-dates and invitations (Jon helped).

We were married at Jon's mom's house, by Jon's dad, in front of our parents and siblings and their families. Jon wrote my vows and I wrote his; the vows thing (that he would write mine and I write his) started as a joke, after a look at standard vows in a book from The Knot showed we didn't really have the same leanings.  We decided to think about what we wanted the other person to promise, and we were doing this is a really silly way, but it ended up being serious and working beautifully. 

As you can see from the pictures, Jon wore a tux and I wore an emerald green gown. My hair was in its usual style, but blown out properly by the lady who has cut my hair for 5+ years. My make-up was the usual sunscreen + quick swipe of eyeliner and mascara. I wore a mushroom jade necklace that once belonged to my Grandma. 

Barn Party after our wedding

We rented out a 100+ year old barn for our reception. This barn has been used largely for square-dancing parties for the last few decades and has a simple charm that just doesn't need additional decoration. We loved it at first sight. Our immediate family met up at the barn early for photos. As guests arrived, each took a photo with Jon and me. We ate a buffet dinner in the barn's lower level, which Jon's dad had decorated. Then we partied. We had a live band and an open bar and a few toasts. Jon and I did our first dance to Amazed, but with my cousin Kelly and Uncle Ken doing the vocals so that it was in both a man's and a woman's voice. Jon and his mom did a dance. We had some additional songs that family sang with the band, each of which was an absolute highlight.  Everything was awesome and simple and fun.

We skipped a lot of stuff. We skipped flowers, decorations, having "colors," bridal party, wedding shower, bride/father dance, garter throwing, bouquet throwing, party favors, cake cutting, morning-after brunch, guest book, photobooth, the white dress, veil, and heels.   We splurged on real flatware and plates, the best food the caterer had to offer, a live band, and ensuring the bar didn't run out.  It was a good day: we were happy and married and it all worked out.

ANYWAY. It turns out that while I'm not much of a wedding person, I am totally a honeymoon person. Jon and I waited 6 months to go on our honeymoon (this was largely out of necessity given our work commitments). And then we went to England and Germany. We had the best time. 

The England leg was required; my Mom is English and her entire family is in England.   While they would have loved to come to the wedding, it is expensive and the thing about weddings is that you don't really get to spend much time with the bride and groom. So, the plan from pretty early on was that Jon and I would go to England on our honeymoon and have a visit of a few days; my parents paid for our flight as a wedding gift.   We went to London first, where we shook off the jet lag, did a few touristy things, ate well, and I even stopped at the Village Haberdashery to teach a quilt class!

From London, we went to Gloucestershire (about 100 miles/ 150 kilometers) to spend time with family. We tried to time it for right after lambing season (my Aunt Gill and Uncle Graham keep sheep.) These lambs are about 6 weeks old.

Gill and the Sheep

I love visiting with my English family and we had a great time. However, I have to say that we didn't really feel like we were on our honeymoon until we were in Germany. 

Here's the part where everyone asks "Why Germany?" Answer: (1) We wanted to go somewhere that was new to both of us. This was especially important to me since I know the ropes in England pretty well and would inevitably take the lead there and be more comfortable there...I didn't want to have to lead (or follow) on the second leg of our trip.

 (2) This scene: 


When Jon and I first started dating, one of the things we did was watch Season 1 of BBC's Sherlock together. We were watching them via PBS's Masterpiece broadcast, so they had a few advertisements before they started, one of which was for Viking River Cruises and contained an image like the one above. We would both ooo and aaah at the landscape and basically said,"we want to go to there." 

Bacharach Germany
Every week, as the new episodes aired, we saw an image of the river and admired it. It didn't take too long to figure out that the scene was from the cruise along the Rhine and specifically the stretch of river between Koblenz and Mainz, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vague travel plans were born. Which became actual plans when we planned our honeymoon. We didn't do the organized cruise; we're both pretty capable travelers who like to set our own pace. 

We did 2 days in Cologne.  Then we took the train to Koblenz, followed by the ferry to Bacharach. 
After two days in Bacharach (which included a train ride to Oberwesel and hiking from Oberwesel to San Goar) we zipped down the river to Boppard (which included ferrying back and forth from the Marksburg castle--which is a remarkably intact castle that dates back to the middle ages) and finally, we spent a day in Bonn. We saw many castles, took many walks, ate beautiful food, partook of the local wine and beer and cheese, and generally had a magnificent time.

Honeymoon Beverages
It was heaven. We loved every minute. For an introverted homebody, I sure do love to travel.  So, that was the wedding and honeymoon scoop!  Tune in next time for the quilt the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild gave us as a wedding present!

This seems related, and is definitely beautiful and worth watching:

23 August 2014

Bits and Bobs - 1

This is the first of what I hope will become a regular series of posts calling attention to awesome things I have encountered on the Internet. My purpose is to practice gratitude by making a record of the good stuff that I see around me and perhaps bring something fun and new to my readers.

Making a Baby Groot using a YouTube tutorial from NerdECrafter. Just wish I could get his face as sweet as the demo!

The photo above is of a baby Groot, being made from polymer clay.  I made him following the tutorial at NerdECrafter (actually, I made four! shhh!)

Groot is a character in  Guardians of the Galaxy, which I saw in the theater last week. So funny! I really need to go back and watch the Marvel movies I have missed over the last few years—I’ve seen most but not all, and LOVE what I’ve seen, but need to fill in some plot holes.

I need to mention that this post is modeled after Elise’s weekly habit of posting a variety of rad stuff she’s seen online. Her whole blog is great.

The new season of Doctor Who starts tonight! Yay!

Have you read this book,  Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar ?  It is based on an advice column unlike any other advice column I’ve ever seen.  There's just so much honesty and wisdom in Strayed's writing.

I’ve been thinking a bit about home d├ęcor lately and loved this post, which redefines beauty in home renovation: Give me Liberty

Hate small talk? Learn to move conversations into something more fun! http://ideas.ted.com/2014/07/28/how-to-turn-small-talk-into-smart-conversation/

She's always seemed like someone I might not like, but Donatella Versace’s Proust Questionnaire won me over: http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2014/09/donatella-versace-proust-questionnaire

Do you love Laura Ingalls Wilder? They’re publishing the version of her life story that she wrote first, before it was re-written for children. Should be interesting! Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography