Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween, everyone.

It must be because of the hot and long summer that the trees are still green going into November. There are two maples in my backyard that still have their leaves. I wonder - will I be raking leaves and shoveling snow on the same day? This day was glorious. I mowed and swept in the afternoon and it was wonderful to be outside.

In the morning, though, I noticed that it was getting chilly inside the house. At first I thought that it was because I was upstairs, then because I was downstairs, then finally I realized that it really was cold. The furnace wasn't working. The thermostat didn't have its usual display, so I figured that was the place to start looking. (Note to my Eco friends - I did install a programmable thermostat, even though it's set kind of high right now.)
Somehow, even though I've worked with apartments and have a good track record with isolating problems and making repairs, there's still something inside me that panics and thinks that I can't fix whatever it is, that only a MAN can make this right. Then I have to sit myself down and talk to myself. I realized that the thermostat had little indentations top and bottom, which must mean that the cover is made to come off. Inside were two AA batteries and once they were replaced, all was well. I would have been so embarrassed to have called a repair person or even Mike only to have them replace batteries.

I quilted a lot on Aaron's cuddle quilt today. I tried to tell myself that this is a quilt for a baby, that it will be chewed, stepped on, and peed on, that it's not going to the quilt show, and that it has cotton batting and doesn't need to be quilted every 1/4 inch. But, oh, it does, somehow, all those meandering stitches. Maybe I just need to do my best for that little guy, or maybe it's morphing from a cuddle quilt into a wall quilt. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Aunt Tina

This is Aunt Tina, whose birthday was Saturday. Saturday evening was the night she was babysitting her niece and nephew, and they had a small celebration for her.

Nora is way into birthdays and can tell you that her birthday will be December 11, that she will be 3, and that she wants Snow White on her cake. She was excited to put candles on Aunt Tina's cake.

A year ago she would have nothing to do with cake, but she tasted Aunt Tina's, because, after all, she's way into birthdays and that's what you do.

Yesterday Steph and I went to the mall to get Halloween pictures taken. Aaron was a cow.

and Nora was a cowgirl.

Those are the official picture costumes that Mom chose. For today's school party Nora was a butterfly, her choice. Aaron starts "school" on Thursday so he missed the festivities there.

Last night Nora and I went to a Halloween story evening at the library, where the kids wore pajamas. Here she is with pajamas and back pack, getting ready to go to the library and then spend the night at Gran B's. Don't miss the pink cowboy boots.

Aunt Sarah could have told her the advantage of having cool footwear as part of a Halloween costume, mainly that you end up with cool footwear. Here are Aunt Sarah's Vans that were part of her demon costume.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hidden Circles

I've finished my Quilt Unversity homework - I don't recommend doing it the way I did, all four lessons in one week, but I loved this project once I got started. Here's a close-up
and here's the completed piece. I've named it "Hidden Circles."

I used a lot of silver and teal metallic thread in this piece, and I never could have done it and remained sane without Yenmet thread. Yenmet is made in Japan and has a very smooth finish, coated with a polyester film. It doesn't shred or break like other metallics and it's very strong. Because the top of the spool is smaller than the bottom, there's no trying to figure out which way it should come off the spool. I only had it shred four times this week, and I couldn't begin to guess the number of metallic stitches in the quilt. It costs about twice as much as other metallics, but it's so worth it.

After the start, I stuck with the lessons until I came to the binding. I'm always looking for ways to improve my binding, never my strong point, and it looks like the binding instructions will be great - for another quilt. For this one, I wanted a curvy binding, so I fused it.
Life lessons in this quilt? Oh, yes. I loved making the basic quilt and hesitated when it came time to cut out the circles. That's when the "what if"s came along. What if I couldn't cut out the circles neatly enough? What if I couldn't darn them back in their new spaces? What if I cut the circles, then realized that I liked the quilt better the way it was? What if the trims started to come off?
I think that lots of times life's like that. We're happy enough with what we have and when we see a chance to become better, we hesitate and sometimes we let the "what if'"s get to be overwhelming. Unless we take the chances we won't come anywhere near our potential. Enough said.
Thanks to Dena Crain for her great lessons. You can see her work in the Gallery section of her website at

Saturday, October 27, 2007

St. Theresa Textile Trove

On my second try, and with better directions, I found St. Theresa Textile Trove, no problem. I kept hearing they had things art quilters love, and it's true. If it were a more pretentious place, which it certainly isn't, they would call themselves a breadery and a quilt shop. The friendly people at the store said that the owners were off buying at Houston so the fabric inventory was low, but the beads so made up for that, and there was a wonderful group of Nancy Crow fabrics in colors that almost glowed. And, to make it all the better, the strands of beads were 50% off.

If you're an art quilter and if you're ever in Cincinnati, it's the place you've got to go. If you're not in Cincinnati, check out their website

I've posted more pictures than usual, so feast your eyes.

Below are the Nancy Crow fabrics.

These are my treasures. The bundle is a group of African scraps that I can't wait to dig into. Along with everything else, they have some beautiful African fabrics.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bubs' Daddy

Mike likes to call Aaron Bubs Daddy, and it kind of fits. I asked him how he came up with that name, and he said that Bubs' Daddy used to be a bubble gum.

I guess I missed the gum, although it was introduced in 1954. I looked up some information - it was a long, thin strand about 8" in length and chalky on the outside, popular in the 70's. Mike's right, it isn't made any more, but the company sold the recipe and it's used to make Super Bubble Long Lasting. Super Bubble doesn't come in long sticks but in chunks.

There are several websites that list discontinued or hard-to-find candy and gum for nostalgic folks with a sweet tooth - who knew?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Down by the River

I went to Newport on the Levee for a job fair that wasn't what I'd hoped, but it was good for me to get dressed up and see what's going on. I always love the arrangement of stars and twinkly lights at the Levee and want to take it home on a smaller scale.

This must be the riverboat form of a haunted house - the USS Nightmare.

The Sweet Dreams Candy Company - I always like the orderly presentation of their storefront.

I saw that the Steamboat Bagel Company next to Graeter's is open - maybe I'll try it out this weekend. I really like the exterior colors on this rehab and want to see the inside even more than I want to try their soup.

And, thinking about food, Leah and I had lunch Wednesday at a Chinese restaurant at Cold Spring Crossing - I can't remember the name but I can remember my lunch - absolutely great Korean tofu. And, hey, Sarah, it's next door to a Montgomery Cyclery.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How Do They Get Down?

My neighbor has many Halloween decorations tastefully arranged in her flowerbeds and on her porch. This weekend several of these cute little wooden ghosts appeared in a tall tree.

I can picture how those little ghosts might make their way up in the tree, but I'm wondering - how do they get down?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

That Woman

The latest Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting has a light-hearted article called Kaleidoscope Workshop. It follows a woman as she prepares last minute for her guild's workshop, not taking her assigned items and the proper materials. Once there, she borrows from her neighbor, spills her soda, and doesn't follow the teacher's instructions, sure that her way is better.

I've thought about that article as I've worked the past two days on my homework assignments for an online class. The class involves sewing curves, and that's why I signed up for it, but somewhere along the way, I've turned into that woman, you know, the one in the previous paragraph.

I'm late starting my homework because as I read over the assignment and did some practicing, I just knew that I wouldn't be happy with my work unless I fused it instead of sewing those curves. Same with applying appliqued strips. The teacher is great, the lessons are clear, it's just me. I procrastinated, thinking maybe I could talk myself into doing the lessons as assigned, but no.
Finally I just started on what I know will make my happy. So far all is good, but who knows what will happen when I open lesson 3. Maybe my piece will be too firm to work with what comes next. If that happens, I'll be happy to have a new quilt with what I've done so far.

And a really nice thing is that I tried to fuse a sheer fabric (that was actually in the lesson.) I'd always been afraid that the sheer would melt, but with a pressing cloth it didn't. I can see all sorts of applications for that down the road.
Yesterday afternoon it started to rain, and it's rained pretty steadily since then. I'm both grateful for the rain and soothed by the sound. Maybe, just maybe, I will plant the pansies and ornamental kale that I've been enjoying, and watering, on my front porch.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's a Go

The cuddle quilt is a go. It's pieced and sandwiched and basted. I have no idea of how to quilt it, but I have faith that I will wake up tomorrow knowing.
.Mike's parents came today to go to the zoo with the grandkids. Here are Pap and Aaron

and here are Grandma and Nora taking a Magic Carpet ride. Nora really gets into that, pointing out Kroger's and Walgreen's and her school and Aunt Tina's house.

Here's another granddaughter, Lindsay, who goes to college in Lima and came to the hotel Friday night to say hello. You can tell that she and Nora enjoy being cousins.

Here are a couple of other pictures from that evening, swimming in the pool
and playing with paper dolls on the bed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Trip to Bluffton

My uncle Darvin and cousin Gregg are both artists and were/are both professors at Bluffton University in Ohio. Their combined service at Bluffton is 50 years this year, and there is a month-long combined gallery show for the two of them featuring 50 of their works of art. The reception was this morning during the Homecoming festivities at Bluffton.

Steph, Nora, Aaron, and I made the trip to Bluffton last night. We enjoyed seeing the artwork and caught up on both happy and sad news with relatives. My uncle and aunt are both in their 80's and it was a joy to see them enjoying such a happy event. My cousin Gregg looks forever young. I didn't take any pictures there - it was a large crowd and the only person taking pictures seemed to be a PR person so I opted out. You can read about the show at

Nora thoroughly enjoyed the trip - she chatted all the way up I-75 about staying in a hotel and chatted most of the way back about the same subject. Her teacher said she talked about it at school, too. I haven't been able to upload any pictures tonight, so hopefully that will happen tomorrow.

On my way home, I saw what must be the MetLife blimb over the Bengals' stadium. I should have gone downtown for a closer look, but my radar was set for home. I'm going to try to remember to wear orange and black tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007


A few months ago, I bought Ricky Tims' book Convergence Quilts. It has lots of great pictures that caught my eye because of the use of hand dyed fabrics in bright colors and the cool ways they went together.Although I didn't have all hand dyes, I decided to give it a try yesterday with what I had and with one commercial fabric in the mix. This first time I really couldn't visualize how the colors would work together anyway. I especially wasn't crazy about the "tie-dye" piece but I wanted to see how it would work.

This quilt starts with four fabrics that are joined two at a time, cut into strips and joined.

Then the pieces are rotated a quarter of a turn, cut, and joined again.

The surprising thing is how quickly a 20" quilt with 144 pieces goes together. This has great possibilities for backgrounds. A first glance I wasn't crazy with this result, and yet . . . hmmm.

I've been thinking for months about a cuddle quilt for Aaron that wasn't too "baby" and no pink allowed and I hadn't been able to come up with anything I liked. Not even close. All of a sudden, could it be that easy? Comments, anyone?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cincinnati Children's Museum

There was another outing for Nora this afternoon, a surprise for her this time, at the Cincinnati Children's Museum. The museum is housed with two other museums and an OmniMax Theater in Union Terminal, which was once a busy train station with 108 trains in and out every day. The surprise for me was to find out that it is only 10 minutes from my house.

The Children's Museum is casual and interactive and big. I know we didn't see more than half of it. Below you'll see snips of the water play area,

swinging bridge connected to tunnels, caves, and slides,

ball area - there are balls flying everywhere,

and the grocery store, part of a play complex with store, kitchen, restaurant, doll area, and animal hospital . Nora kept a close eye on her shopping cart (are you listening, Santa?)

Through it all, sturdy little Aaron was a good guy, checking things out, eating, and snoozing.