Saturday, September 10, 2016

Get To Know Erin Harris

house on hill road

Hello there, friends,

Today we have a guest who both Lindsay and I have ‘known’ for at least eight years. We both found Erin through habit (a collection of days) and subsequent to that began to follow her blog and her photography via flickr. We were heavily influenced by women like Erin who wrote about their creative projects and who picked up their cameras to document the beauty of every day. It is a thrill to interview her. We hope you enjoy her thoughts.

xo, b + L


Erin Harris is a wife, mother, and maker living in Kentucky with her two teenage daughters and husband. She enjoys creating in various forms -- sewing, knitting, photography, painting, cooking -- and constantly walks around with thread sticking to her clothes. Erin is the author of Quilt Essential and her sewing patterns have been published in a variety of other books and magazines. She has posted her creative projects for over ten years at House on Hill Road. Erin also shares peeks of her life and her work, as well as her daily gratitude practice, on Instagram (@houseonhillroad).

What does a typical day look like for you?

We start our day early. Our alarm goes off at 5:40 on weekdays for my husband, Fatty. He starts getting ready, feeds the pets and then wakes me at 6:20 so I can get my cup of coffee before our daughters, Jane and Kate, are up and moving. The kitchen acts as the center of our morning, with each of us doing what we need to do to get our day started. The girls are entirely self-sufficient, making their own breakfasts and getting themselves out the door. Now that Jane is driving, they even get themselves to school! I’m thankful for the extra 30 minutes that has given me. Now I don’t feel so rushed and can take a more leisurely walk with our dog Hazel before the day gets ahead of me.

I like to exercise in the morning and I try to make that a daily practice. I either go to workout with a small group or walk in the park. Then if there are errands to do, I get them finished so the rest of my day can be spent making. At the moment, I am spending most of my creative time making quilts and I go up to my third-floor studio with a goal in mind. Having a daily goal has allowed me to stay focused and be productive. I turn on a podcast or an audiobook and get to work. Most days, time flies when I am in the studio. I take a break for lunch and then go back to work more.

After school is by far the most hectic part of my day. The girls arrive home around 3:15 and we spend a few minutes talking about their days. They do homework and Jane returns to school for her play rehearsal. Some days Kate has activities and I drive her. It changes from one day to the next and I have learned that being flexible is key to everything running smoothly. At some point, I start prepping dinner -- having a family meal every night is very important to Fatty and me. We might be eating super early or super late or even ordering burritos to accommodate the crazy schedules, but we make it happen.

After dinner, Fatty and I often find ourselves in the same room, hanging out. We talk, he reads the paper, and I like to unwind by watching a little TV or reading or both. I often do hand work such as knitting or embroidery at this point in the day because I can be present, have a conversation, and keep my hands busy at the same time. Most nights, the two of us are in bed before 10. The girls are almost always up later.

What does gratitude mean to you and how do you incorporate it into your everyday life?

For a handful of years, I took a photo a day and posted it on Flickr. I loved having that record of my days, but for some reason, I got out of the habit of that practice. Last November, my dear friend Emily began posting a photo along with her daily gratitudes on Instagram, inviting others to join her. I jumped in immediately. It was just like my former 365 photo project, but with a focus. I found that posting a photo and a list of what I was grateful for that day made me realize just how good things are, even when they aren’t.

For me, gratitude is a frame of mind. By nature, I tend to be a little glass half empty, but I know that I can choose how I react to something. By consciously choosing to be positive, gratitude has naturally followed. There is so much good in my life and by taking a moment here and there to really think about what small and large things I am thankful for and why I am thankful for them, I have become a much calmer and happier person.

How do you stay connected to those you love?

My favorite way to stay connected is to spend time with my loved ones. I love when we can block out time as a family to have a dinner out and go to the movies and bookstore. Meeting my girlfriends for coffee or a walk is always nice. But it doesn’t need to be anything grand. I am just as happy with some company when I run errands or grocery shop. I’ll call a friend or shoot them a text if I am thinking about them, but I really suck at email.

What’s inspiring you right now?

Solid colored quilting fabrics
Early fall sunshine and little hints of cooler weather
Tiny knitting needles and sock yarns
Interesting tile patterns
A new season of produce
My daughter’s artwork

What is on your bedside table?

My bedside table is a hot mess. There are two stacks of books -- some have been read, others haven’t. Add two Kindles -- one that I use, one that I don’t. Reading glasses. A heart shaped rock. The alarm clock. Lip balm. A small ball of yarn, various hair ties, scraps of paper, and a safety pin.


On Monday, Erin will take over the hello there, friend instagram feed to share more with us and respond to your comments. We hope you take a minute to check in and say hello to her!
Thanks so much, Erin, for sharing with us today! We're so grateful for you! xo.


  1. as i read through your post, i was reminded how quickly time has gone by. not so long ago our house was a bustle of business, activity, and noise. now, it's much more quiet with three teenagers. my job, it seems, is to remind them that vegging out with technology won't help them get their school work done. there are often nights when our oldest goes to bed after we do. (she's a year younger than jane.)

    i am by nature a glass half-full kind of gal, until something goes wrong and then i ruminate over it and the insidious injustice of whatever-it-is. although i have learned so much about how that can change by counting out a list of gratitudes, you and emily remind me on a daily basis, so thank you. thank you, too for being a creator, for being open about the process and what that means for you, and for your photography. i continue to be inspired by you!

  2. hello erin!

    what fun to read you here! i have popped in on your blog off and on over the past - oh - probably 8 years or so. i always love seeing what you are stitching up. i think that i used to peek in on you on flickr as well, but have made the move to instgram - where i will look you up and follow you now!

    happy tuesday to you!

    xo ~elizabeth