Before and After - First House


Well it's been a journey. [2jslideshow id="1529"]

A New Adventure

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Handsome and I recently bought a new house.

Here's to

  • learning where the floor boards creek
  • finding the shortest route to the bathroom during movie pauses
  • knowing what temperature the new stove will make the best cookies
  • our dogs finding the best sunny spot for sleeping
  • waving to new neighbors
  • finding her name

- Tomato

WTF Friday

2016-02-26 07.06.17


Packing Up, Heading Out, and Moving On

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We've been packing up our house for months now. Trying to stage it to sell.

It's been emptying slowly. Slowing becoming less of us so others can see themselves in our house.

We've taken down:

  • the pizza peel we use to make fresh loaves of bread
  • the handmade cutting board my father made to celebrate our first house
  • the pots we use to can in massive amounts
  • my grandmothers picture in my craft room like the patron saint of crooked lines and embracing imperfections
  • my vagina warrior lunch bag that reminds me to keep fighting and keep loving
  • handsome's medals from races
  • the tag that hung outside our tent in Canada

It's amazing how we take spaces and make them into spaces where there can be comfort and love.


Quilting x 2

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I had a lot of quilt tops. Which means I had 3/4 of a quilt done. The issue is I have more blankets than I know what to with. The second problem becomes I don't know who else needs or wants a quilt.

Except lately I've been thinking about a bad ass feminist friend of mine. I'm a firm believer that people come into our lives when we need them.

Sarah came into my life when I needed her to. She's kind hearted and loving. I think her heart has grown ten sizes too big and she tries to fit as much in there as possible. When I think of her I think of a warm midwestern laugh and positivity. She gave me a beautiful craft that hangs in my home.

I loved Sarah from the moment she talked to me. She came up next to me on the side walk in New York City and we talked like old friends. She asked questions beyond surface level things and I remember talking to her felt like coming home. Maybe we were both two midwesterners in New York City desperate for a taste of home. Or maybe we were walking into each others lives right when we needed it. 

When I need strength I think of people like Sarah. People who have experienced life and are still loving, still fighting, and still there for me when I need her. Sarah represents goodness that lives in people. She represents love that is always a phone call away, or found on the streets in a stranger. 

I was so happy to give her this quilt. I hoped it would bring her some amount of love, comfort, and strength that knowing her as given me. It looks like it was well received. 

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-Tomato Quilts Feminist Connections 


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Quilting lately has been like hugging a long ago friend.

I'm here and I put these together for you. I currently have 5+ quilt tops that need to be quilted and finished.

Then who knows. Maybe I will be able to give them to long time friends. Then I can tell them.


What It's Like to Be Married to Me

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This was in September.

This was when we were up to our necks in projects.

And I just started the school year.

And we didn't know what was under this floor.

And we didn't have a dumpster.

And we didn't have a plan for dinner.

Someone should give handsome some more cred then he gets.

-Tomato ripped up the floor a long time ago.

Wordless (ish) Wednesday

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Sometimes my students ask how my hair gets that way.

I say. I woke up like this.

-Tall Hair Tomato Don't Care

Political Shirt Friday

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I wear a "political" shirt every Friday. It's my way of telling students that I stand with them on a lot of social justice issues they are facing.

I started this last year and I never really mention it much to my students. Some will tell me, "I like your shirt." I take it as a silent fist bump of radical appreciation.

Let me know if there is any "political" shirt you think I should be wearing.

-Radical Tomato

Quilt Close Up

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So you're thinking, "Hey Tomato! You never showed us the quilt you made. Show em' off. Let me see all the deets.

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Here's a close up of the quilting I did. This was my first time using free motion quilting. I liked the freedom of the design and I liked the imperfections. It gives a little bit of me. From far away it looks put together and like I have my shit together. Then you zoom in and you're like, "oh Jesus. That's a hot mess." So when people snuggle with these they'll be comforted by my imperfections.

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This is a traditional postage stamp quilt with a wide border. I loved the mixture of colors that the squares brought in. The squares were chosen at random hence some of the squares doubling up. This top was actually made mostly out of scraps. My sister bought a chunk of fabric before leaving one place or another and I was given the fabric. I saw the blue colors and thought my mother in law would love the colors. 

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I might be monopolizing on her love of the color blue when it comes to gifts. Again the imperfections are probably my favorite part of this quilt. I especially love how the squares don't always meet up. Just another reminder that I am imperfect and to add another layer, it's great to know that my mother-in-law loves me with all my imperfections. 

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I'm also really loving that this blanket adds warmth to a house. Just like I can add to the personality of a family.

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I bought this fabric over the summer. I liked the quirky colors. I liked how they were bright and fun. I also liked how they were fairly gender neutral. It is very hard to make quilts for people and try to remain far away from the blues and pinks.

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I made two quilts with the same colors, but two different designs. This is what you have to do when you are an aunt to adorable twins. Same Same, but different.

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I don't have a good photo of the quilt that is Same, Same, Different. You can see I put a seam down the middle to make for another rag seam. I'm hoping this holds well over time.

- Tomato Quilts

I Wore A Lot of Ugly Sweaters

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2015-12-18 06.32.11- Tomato does silly things to make students laugh

A Full House (Not the Show)

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We've been hosting an Over-the-Top Christmas party for 5 years now. It seems like forever ago that we had a teeny-tiny cookie decorating party in our apartment.

COOKIES_0004It started six years ago with my favorite roommate in our Christmas PJs and sparkling apple juice and a grandma's recipe.  COOKIES_0038

We decorated them all by hand and only made a "few." We gave them to folks we loved and we ate a lot of them. 

OverTheTopChristmasParty 2011 098Then we had people over in our teeny-tiny apartment and we did it all over again. This time we called it an Over-The-Top Christmas party and we went nuts.

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I wore my grandma's blinking earrings and an ugly sweater.

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We had friends over and they were up to their elbows in icing. It made our apartment feel full and warm. It was perfect.

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Then we moved to our house in Charleston and we did it all over again. Made a lot of cookies and filled the house. Again with my old roommate from college. 

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It was filling and warm. It was Christmas sweaters and sugar. Laughter and a mess! 

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Then we did it again for a third time. Here I am wearing the same sweater from the first party. With the same old friend from the first party.


Over The Top Christmas Party 2013 145We filled the house with friends and neighbors. We laughed and we had loads of sugar and cookies. We had kids running laps around the house and dogs eating too much food. This was also the year that Rube ate food that could have / should have killed him. 

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So we did it again. With more familiar faces and a half finished house.
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Our house kept growing with love. We kept filling the rooms with laughter, sugar, and love. Over The Top Christmas Party 2014-096We filled the seats, and filled our hearts with the people we love and that love us.

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Then this last year! We did it all again! For the 5th time. Over The Top Christmas Party 2015-46

Safe to say we've grown a bit.

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There's new faces. And old. There's a lot of sugar and a lot of mess. 

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And a lot of laughter.

So here's to filling our humble lives with joy! Here's to the people we love and who love us! Here's to sugar and cookies! Here's to having this party for years to come! Here's to the people who help and who come and eat some of the cookies!

Thank you all for first and foremost people our people.

-Tomato hosts Over-The-Top Christmas


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This was the year of the quilt. I made three to give away at Christmas. I spent years on some and days on others.

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I believe in the warmth of a blanket made with love. I believe in the warmth of how long it took to sew each square, stitch, and row. I think that you should sit down with a gift for a while and work on it, thinking about the people who will have it for a long time.

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For little kids it's imagining the forts, the tears, the picked off scabs, boogers, puke, and warmth the blanket will provide. It's thinking about the small square that might still exist when they are twenty, or the picture that makes them say "I remember that! I was so sad when I had to give it away." It's thinking that it'll be loved half as much as you love them.
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It's thinking about how soft it will get with each wash. How it'll be covered in an art project of stains. How it'll be covered in a history of a life. 

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It's a visual representation of just what is a little bit of my heart.

Then of course when someone sends you this video you just melt:

- Tomato

Christmas x 1

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Why Christmas is so important to me:

It's about the sugar. Being up to your elbows in powdered sugar, icing, cookies, fudge, and sticky buns.

It's about the people. Being up to your elbows in uncles, aunts, cousins, sisters, brothers, moms, dads, grandparents.

It's about the laughter. Being up to your elbow in I-can't-breathe, My-side-hurts, I'm-crying, laughter.

It's about the food. Being up to your elbows in handmade, homemade, loved over, hot, heirloom recipes from one generation to the next.

It's about the feeling of fullness. Because you just can't take one more moment of the people that matter most.



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Today I'm grateful for Indy pup and her constant ability to love me.

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House projects that are almost done. 

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And endless opportunities that lay ahead.


Power tools

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Over break I got to play with power tools. I was too tired of wearing pants and dressing up everyday. So I did my house project in my pajamas.

Still. It's coming along.