Life Lately v.04

Remember the good old days of blogging where I used to overshare all the time? Well they’re back! Sort of. It’s been a long and strange road navigating Grainline from where it started in 2009 as a small personal blog, to the full grown business with employees it is today. During that time I gradually stepped back on the personal side of the blog, but I miss sharing my individual making journey with you all and hearing about yours! So after a lot of thought, I’m back starting with this random assortment of things I’ve been working on over the summer. Get ready because it’s all over the map!

Carolyn Friedlander’s Collection Quilt

Life Lately v04 | Carolyn Friedlander Collection Quilt | Grainline Studio

At some point in 2015 (I think) I signed up for a block of the month kit for Carolyn Friedlander’s Collection Quilt. The quilt functions as a needle turned appliqué sampler so I was excited to hone my limited skills in that area. I took a class with my mom many years ago, before Grainline was a thing, and wasn’t half bad at it. I’ve always excelled at tiny, fiddly stuff with limited real world application so appliqué was right up my alley.

The quilt kit started showing up in bits, month by month, and I really struggled with having the space and proper equipment for the project. I had to cut the pieces at work, then hauled them home and had to set up at our tiny kitchen table with a mini ironing board and low powered travel iron. A 500sq ft apartment just isn’t large enough for two adult humans, one cat, and anything besides a knitting project! I packed away the kit, which kept arriving in pieces for the next 12 months btw, with the hopes that we’d have a larger space someday.

Cut to us buying a house and POOF! Larger space procured! Last summer was filled with moving, projects, etc. so this summer I dug out the kit and went to town! I finished the first block in May and the second in June, then my travel schedule for work got crazy and I had to set aside the pieces I’d cut for the 3rd block. I’ll be getting back to that soon, and I’m so excited! My plan is for this to be our living room couch quilt someday.

Nani Iro Quilt

Life Lately v04 | Nani Iro Quilt | Grainline Studio

This is another long in the making quilt that was waylaid due to lack of space. I picked up this Nani Iro fat quarter pack back in oh, June of 2015, when I was teaching a Morris Blazer class at Fancy Tiger Crafts. I stayed at Jaime’s house and slept under her amazing Nani Iro quilt and knew that I had to have one of my own. As you might be able to guess, this is another tale of getting fed up with trying to work in our tiny apartment that had no sewing machine so this got pushed to the side as well. Back in May I pulled the fat quarters out of wherever they were and pieced the top. Now I just need to decide if I’m going to quilt this myself or have it done somewhere…

Assorted Knitting Projects

Life Lately v04 | Summer Knitting | Grainline Studio

I did a fair bit of knitting this summer, as usual. Some of it was for the Summer of Basics Make-Along that just wrapped up, and some of it was just for me (or Jon). Clockwise from top left:

  • Getty, part of the Summer of Basics and blogged here.
  • This grey sweater was one I finished for Jon last winter as part of the Fringe and Friends top down KAL. Turns out it wasn’t finished after all and needed 3″ added to the hems of the sleeves and body. I think this one is done for real now!
  • Ludlow, also part of the Summer of Basics and blogged here.
  • High Pines Cowl knit in Arbor. I’ve never knit or worn a cowl, so I figured a work trip would be a great place to knit my first one. It still needs blocking, and cool temps, so the verdict is still out on how much I like cowls.

Working on the House

Life Lately v04 | Grainline Studio

In addition to the crafty things I’ve been up to this summer, we’ve also been doing a ton of work around the house. Last June we bought a super cute Chicago bungalow and have been slowly transforming it into our dream bungalow. It’ll take a few years to get everything done that we want but it’s definitely fun planning everything out. We still have a few empty rooms since we’ve been furnishing slowlyafter we paint each room, and moved here with really no furniture, but it’s really coming along!

Plants Plants Plants!

Life Lately v04 | Grainline Studio

One of the amazing thing about Chicago bungalows is how many windows they have. Our first floor alone has 23 windows and 3 skylights that were added later. Since I was super picky about the house facing west, we have amazing light for plants. West facing in front for the ones who love a bit more light and can tolerate a bit of direct sunlight and east at the back for those who prefer a more chilled out, but still bright, light experience. Plants are one of my favorite non-craft hobbies, and since moving they’ve been growing at such a rapid rate that I’ve had to do quite a bit of trimming. This means I’ve started a bit of a propagation situation in the front windows! We’re heavy on the ficus family at home because Roamy finds them very boring, but I’m excited to see what roots and what doesn’t and how each plant handles being trimmed.

OATMEAL THE BEAGLE!!!

Life Lately v04 | Grainline Studio

If you follow my personal Instagram account you know all about Oatmeal the Beagle! Oaty was my sister and brother-in-law’s dog, though Oaty, my sister, and I were all roommates when she first adopted Oaty as a tiny pup. My sister has to move a ton for her husband’s job (Oaty was Canadian for 3 years!) and during the last move from Seattle to Pittsburgh they dropped Oaty off with us to stay. It was a hard decision for my sister but having a 4 year old and a beagle that don’t love each other (Oaty is kiiiiind of an attention hog) was becoming pretty rough and I’d been plotting ways to claim Oaty for my own for years anyway. So now Oaty is ours and it’s so fun! She loves to help and comes to work with Jon and I every day. She even has her own little fenced yard complete with a family of rabbits, which is endlessly entertaining for her since beagles were originally bred to hunt them. Lucky lil puppers!

So that’s my summer in a very large nutshell! Are you working on any crafty projects besides sewing garments?

25 replies on “Life Lately v.04

  • Nicole Shepherd

    That Nani Iro quilt top is gorgeous! I love the layout. I wish I didn’t kill most plants I purchased. 🙁 I shall live vicariously through you.

    I didn’t realize Oaty was yours forever! Yay! I thought it was just a year long temporary thing, but I’m glad to know she is sticking around. I enjoy Oaty posts.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Thansk! And I don’t think I ever mentioned Oaty staying forever on Instagram but yep, she’s ours now! Oaty laughs for years to come. And don’t give up on the plant life if you want some! I took a class at the Chicago Botanical Gardens and the teacher said “don’t be afraid to kill some plants along the way, that’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t” which I think is good advice for plants and life in general!

      Reply
  • Kelly

    Yay for Oaty!! How hard for your sister, but she can be confident he’s clearly living a good life and she’ll get to visit him, at least. How did Romy take it? Congrats on the beautiful house too, and all your projects look fantastic!

    Reply
    • Jen

      Roamy wasn’t super pleased but she’s lived with a dog before and Oaty has lived with a cat. Oaty and Roamy have also met before, so it’s not horrible. They mostly just ignore each other with the occasional sniff here and there. And thanks! Hopefully I finish some of them soon!

      Reply
  • PsychicSewerKathleen

    Your home is looking so beautiful! And your story re Oaty was great fun to read, ” (Oaty is kiiiiind of an attention hog)” made me laugh out loud. She looks like she makes it too EASY to pay lots of attention to her 🙂

    As I was looking at the pics of your evolving home, I was struck by it’s open, airiness and at the risk of sounding scary, uber trendy – minimalist 🙂 I pant for it truly because that’s exactly what I’m doing in reverse – AIMING fiercely for an airier, less cluttered, ordered environment in which to ponder and relax. I always had a policy of “one in and one out” but somewhere along the way I lost that and we’ve become annoyingly inundated with THINGS. It can happen so easily when you get to 62 years old and one of you is an artist (retired) and the other is a sewist/self employed.

    I’ve promised myself however, that I will NOT move to accommodate my THINGS! So I’ve adopted a program of de-cluttering over the past few months. Every
    day I commit to part with 2 things – to the Thrift shops or in the bin. So far we have taken 2 van loads to the Thrift shops. We live in a 2 1/2 bedroom apt and the master bedroom is my office/work space just to give you a sense of proportion – we don’t have a house, garage, basement etc. Also I’m strictly back to adhering to my rule of one in one out. We’re getting there but it’s going to take us a while yet before I feel back to normal. Additionally I’m married to a man who struggles with parting with anything – a serious maker/artist he’s CONVINCED he’ll need it SOMEDAY in the future 🙂 BEWARE MAKERS is my advice 🙂

    Reply
    • Jen

      Hahaha Oaty needs all the attention ALL the time! It’s pretty funny.

      As for the house, it’s mostly that we moved with almost no furniture and we’ve been so busy at work we haven’t had time to get things really settled! Jon hates all clutter and keeps almost nothing, and I’m not far behind him. Though I do keep more. It also helps that most of my sewing stuff is at work! That can get a little messy from time to time.

      I have a feeling we’ll end up with a lot more stuff than what’s in there now. Since moving I started a small yarn stash (WHAT?!?! Who am I?) and have a small pile of fabrics waiting to get sewn up. I can completely imagine how the things start to accumulate and compound over the years and for me at least, the longer they’re around, the harder they are to get rid of! And when you throw in an artist, WATCH OUT!!!! When I did my BFA I had so many art supplies it drove me nuts, but you kind of do need everything! One in one out is a great plan though. I could use that in some areas of my life *cough shoes cough*

      Reply
  • Audrey

    Yay for Oaty! I’ve always hoped y’all would get to keep her and give her all the love and attention she deserves. By the way, did you know that if you leave a loaf of warm banana bread on the table to cool, and get distracted, a beagle will take on the long boxy shape of the missing loaf? There’s nothing like a good scent hound.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Hahahahahahaha I don’t know from experience but I can imagine! I would love to see someone draw that as a cartoon. Oaty recently ate an entire bag of pumpkin muffins, paper cups and all…what a weirdo. I take it you’re a beagle owner too? I’m sure the one who ate your banana bread definitely deserved it all to themselves

      Reply
    • Jen

      Thanks! They’re reproduction Hans Wegner CH25 Lounge Chairs. If you search that term you’ll find a bunch at every price point from Wayfair to Design Within Reach. I got tired of searching for good condition originals so I finally broke down and bought repros.

      Reply
  • Amanda

    I love this post, lots of nuggets and fun and goodness all rolled into one. I saw on Instagram you’re debating a style post on clogs?! Yes, please. I think that’s totally worthwhile. Do some compare and contrast for us. I have Danskos and Svens but would love to learn more about how some other brands compare. Also – a studio update? I’d love to see more on your new-ish space.

    Reply
    • Jen

      I think I’ll be doing the clog post! I have a pair of Danskos but my instep is too high so my veins are always being smooshed which makes me so sad. I’ve got another pair of clogs arriving later this month so after those get here I’ll write up the post. Also yes! I keep meaning to do a studio post but then I get here and completely forget. Just added it to my fall to-do list!

      Reply
  • ElaineChicago

    Happy to see that Oatey has completely moved in with you all. Your house looks great. Our house used to be a Chicago bungalow too but when we found it , it had been made into a true two story with original footprint. Seems like that’s happening a lot around here as people don’t want to move but need more room.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Ooh you’re in Chicago too! Yep, very popular up in Portage Park for sure. Ours has the taller second story and at some point a dormer was added to one side but you can’t see it from the street. There’s one bungalow a few blocks from us where the developer who bought it tore the entire thing down to the foundation, did some concrete work there, rebuilt the first floor using the original bricks and decorative stone, then added a 2nd story on top. That kind of blew our mind that someone put so much work into it!

      Reply
  • Nina

    Am super confused by the photo of stairs… in a bungalow… Does the word mean something different over there? Here(UK) it’s a house all on one floor! (Although to be fair we do have ‘dormer bungalows’ with a little room in the roof.) Your plants look so healthy. What will you do with all the propagated trimmings? I keep having to give mine away to neighbours – I kind of enjoy the fact that the building is now full of clones of my houseplants!

    Reply
  • Florence

    I so enjoyed reading this. I miss people writing blogs (I write on my own less now too). As a reader, they offer a level of depth that can’t be replaced by more instantaneous platforms.

    Your new apartment looks dreamy. And those chairs! Who are they designed by? I love how green-fingered you are – for me, if a plant lives near a tap (like on the kitchen window sill or in the bathroom) it’s fine, but putting one in the living room always feels like I’m consigning it to certain death.

    What a gorgeous little creature Oaty is and so lovely that you can take him to work too.

    Florence x

    Reply
    • Jen

      I totally agree, I really do miss reading them. I just started putting a few in an RSS reader for when I get back to town.

      The chairs are CH25 from Hans Wegner reproductions – you can find repros at every price range if you just google that. They’re super comfortable!

      Reply
  • Rae

    Jen, i super love this post. I still have such a thing for “real” blog posts — they’re just the best. Even though I have a hard time finding time to write them myself. Love your updates, and everything happening in your life!! SO awesome! Also: Listened to your Elise Gets Crafty episode yesterday and really enjoyed. and learned something new! So thank you!!!

    xoxo

    Reply

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