Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

Hearty Thanksgiving greetings, friends! I hope this year has given you much to be grateful for, and that your stomachs and hearts are full today.

This image is a very favorite of mine, even though Ralph Waldo Emerson definitely did not write it, so I made a slight edit to it and hopefully will not get sued for that. It's still a lovely printable, which can be found here.

This year is the first of many where we didn't host our annual Friendsgiving potluck. Though I'm sad not to have had the time to do it, I'm so grateful for the things keeping us busy: interesting work projects, a healthier lifestyle, and seeing friends and family individually instead of in a big group.

I'm often overwhelmed by how lucky I am, and I try to remember to be gracious, to embody gratitude every day. But, I'm human and having a special day to remind myself, and to surround myself with family and friends, is always a good thing. And to anyone reading, please know that I'm grateful that you choose to spend time with me here, and for your community.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Molly's Deviled Eggs - Cooking with Kristin

Sorry to repeat content here, but these deviled eggs are amazing, and it turns out that some people eat appetizers on Thanksgiving. (We do not, but I'm not judging. We bring our appetizer game to Christmas Eve big time.) If you are such a person, and you don't have a deviled egg recipe of your own, look no further. This is actually the BEST deviled egg recipe out there.

Plus, I finally managed to take a snap the last time I made these. Yum! They're super easy and deserve to be on your Thanksgiving table tomorrow, so give them a try and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy 36th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

My incredible parents are celebrating their 36th anniversary today. They are just as cute now as they were back on their Colorado honeymoon in 1979.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad! Thank you for modeling love in everything you do.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Weekday Wanderings - Robin Coste Lewis's Reading at NYU

My incredibly talented and incredibly dear friend Robin Coste Lewis won the National Book Award two nights ago for her unbelievably brilliant first book of poetry, The Sable Venus. She was working on it while we were in graduate school together, so I had the deep privilege of reading it early, and it's stayed with me ever since.

Kristin Maffei and Robin Coste Lewis
At the reading last night.
So many of our classmates were there!

Last night, she gave a reading at our alma mater with Yusef Komunyakaa, who advised on both of our theses. It was a glittering reading, and I can't think of a better place to celebrate with her. She kept saying, "It's so crazy. It's so fucking crazy." and one of our classmates (Mike? Travis?) said, "It's not crazy at all. It's so deserved."

If you haven't read it already, go pick up The Sable Venus as soon as you possibly can. I love this book almost as much as I love Robin herself, and that's a lot of love. It's staggeringly good, and I'm so glad the National Book Foundation felt the same way!

Kristin Maffei and Robin Coste Lewis
This was at our graduation, but it's pretty much the exact face I made when I heard she won.

Congratulations, Robin!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Crafting with Kristin - Heirloom Baby Quilt

Well, it's been a year since I made my last quilt, so it was fortuitous that one of my closest friends happened to get pregnant this year, and give me the great opportunity to make a baby quilt! I'm really fond on this one, which I think is really bright and gender-neutral and fun.

The center of each of the squares is actually made from an old dress that belonged to my friend. She wore it to death when we were in college, and then I got it as a hand-me-down a few years later, and then I really wore it to death. Even though it had holes in it, I loved the pattern on it so much that I just couldn't bring myself to toss it. And now I'm glad I didn't, since I think it really helps make the quilt into an heirloom for the baby.

The colors in it also really inspired me. Since they've decided not to find out the baby's sex, and since orange is such a kick-ass color anyway, I pulled the orange out from it and decided to make something really fun and bright. The white lines going through it may be ill advised (I guess babies can be kind of messy), but I think they really help bring it all together, and it's an acrylic fabric, so I hope that it will wash out easily.

Plus, because it's a ribbed acrylic fabric, it stands out from the stiffer cotton of the orange quilting fabric and the very soft, worn fabric of the center squares. I think it will be good for the baby to feel lots of different textures. Although, let me be real. I was working on a deadline for this (when am I not?) and didn't pre-wash the fabric, so there's a chance this will not wash well. Oh well. Here's hoping it all turns out okay.

To fill the quilt, I used two different types of batting - the leftover thin, natural batting I used on Emily and Taylor's quilt, and a thicker, acrylic batting I bought at the store. The combination led to a VERY thick quilt, where I was finally able to get those puffy lines I like so much. Hopefully that will be fun for the baby to play with, too. 

One downside to using so much batting is that I broke my sewing machine's needle, and had to learn to replace one at 1am the night before I was set to give this to my friend. But! It turns out it's quite fast and thank god my grandmother was wise enough to have extra machine needles in her sewing basket, so I was back to work in no time.

It's also thick enough that it sort of stands straight on its own. I think between the stiffness and the square shape, it's really going to end up being more of a play mat than a bed quilt. For some reason while I was making it, it just seemed like more of a mat for tummy time than something that you could wrap a newborn up in, and I'm just fine with that.

The back is a large piece of checked fabric from Fulton Fabrics, and again, it's very soft and warm. I really liked shopping with them, and I'll definitely be back. One word of advice if you're going to make a backing that isn't pre-cut larger than the front: measure more than once. That way, you won't end up ripping seams into the night like yours truly. Yikes.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the way this turned out. I'm hoping to get a rotary cutter for Christmas, which I think will take a lot of the strain of measuring and cutting out of my life in the future. It was really fun to try a new pattern, and to work in the dress to the quilt, rather than just using pre-cut squares. Hopefully I'll be able to make another new one soon!

And, in case you're wondering, here's the whole gift, which was themed "Keeping Baby Warm":

Pretty perfect for a New York December baby. The onesies are from Old Navy (is there anything on earth cuter than a baby in cable knits?) and the book is a personal favorite of mine from childhood.