Friday, November 30, 2007

Ten Days

I'm trying not to whine, but I'm sure you'll pick up on just a little, or more, whining. That's my sewing machine, and yes, those are pieces. I was quilting along, very happily eyeing the eight inches and decreasing border remaining. That's all the quilting that was left on this whole quilt, which is about 40" x 50" and has many bobbins worth of thread in the making. You'll have to look close, but you can see that there is a smooth area at the top left, which is what remained to be quilted.

The machine started to clunk and the thread started to knot and it was quickly obvious that something was very wrong. Something related to the bobbin. I tried all kinds of things, including putting in a different bobbin case, but I couldn't fix it. I packed it up and took it to the dealer, which is in Steph's neighborhood. And they said it would be ten days to fix it. Now I know that is the usual repair time, maybe even a little quicker than most, but it's hard to think of being without that machine for ten days.

The dealer did offer me the option of trading it in on a new model for a mere $6000 plus my machine. Not an option for me.

Several years ago Sarah and Steph thought they might want to get into quilting and I got them each a very, very basic machine. Sarah has since brought hers back, so I do have that to use. Not a single bell or whistle, but I was able to finish the last eight inches (it has a little plastic piece to cover the feed dogs) and it has a walking foot so I can do the binding, too. And proceed with my Christmas projects.

I know I'm spoiled, don't even say it, but I use a sewing machine almost every single day. It's so nice to have the presser foot lower automatically and the machine adjust to the thickness of what I'm sewing. And I'll miss those two lights, even though I'm old enough to remember when sewing machines didn't have lights. I could go on, but this is really starting to sound like whining. And in ten days or so I'll have my machine back.
After I dropped off the machine I took a pot roast for dinner at Steph's. Both Nora and Aaron seem so much taller than last weekend. Here's Nora on our trip to Target, trying out some toys. It's almost her birthday, not to mention Christmas, and I'm sure she will have a new toy or two.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pretty Amazing

For my non-sewing friends, a serger is a sewing machine that in one swoop trims the seams and sews over the edge of the fabric. Turn your slacks inside out and you'll see what I mean. Instead of a bobbin, it has multiple thread cones. I kind of doubt that there will ever be one in my life - imagine that, a sewing machine I don't lust after.

On one of my walks, I decided to go into a store I hadn't visited before, one that had the words "sewing center" on the sign but had a row of vacuums in front. I'd never considered popping inside for just that reason.

There were no bolts of fabrics, but they do have a small but nice selection of thread and are a dealer for Pfaff sewing machines. There was someone demonstrating the newest model. It had three lights and shown like a beacon. I don't know what else it had because the session was full, but just the lighting was pretty amazing.

But back to the serger - they had the original model of the Baby Lock serger, shown at the top. I wish I'd asked what year it was manufactured, but I didn't. Pretty amazing. They also had the newest model that uses eight cones.

And two more small but pretty amazing things. I've been getting the carpet of leaves out of my yard and hopefully piling them beside the sidewalk, noting that other neighbors were doing the same. And, this morning, a big truck with a vacuuming device came and took them away, as well as the growing stack across the street where I usually park my truck. A small thing, but I really appreciated it.

And isn't it amazing that Christmas trees in people's homes are always pretty? Never the same, different shapes and sizes, live or not, they are always pretty. One thing I always enjoy about the holidays is admiring friends' trees.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Melody Johnson is my favorite quilting blogger, and I've wished I could attend one of her workshops. She's recently retired, and on November 23 very generously put a set of workshop slides on her blog. Her instructions are so clear that I felt as if I was there.

Yesterday and today I worked on my project. Lots of fusing, which I like. A few sparkles, not too many. The finished size is about 12" x 12".

You can find Melody's blog at
Even if you don't quilt, you can find a great no knead bread recipe in the sidebar.

Monday, November 26, 2007

'Tis the Season

Here's Nora, putting ornaments on the tree. Serious business, indeed, when you're not quite three.

Sarah left yesterday, and I spent the day doing post-Thanksgiving cleanup and getting back to my quilting. I didn't get my quilt finished and hung before Thanksgiving and now that my self-imposed deadline is off, my new goal is to do just a little free motion quilting on it every day. Really, there's not that much more, just the border.

In the meantime, I've started something new and small, meant to be finished quickly, but already I'm looking at the finished piecing and planning quilting and embellishment that's more complicated than I'd envisioned. I think I have to admit that the fussiness is part of my style and just appreciate it.

Now for some fun stuff - when Sarah was here, she wanted to go scooter shopping and determined that the desired scooter was at a store called The Coolest Toys on Earth in Milford, Ohio, not too far from Steph's. We pulled up to find some cool stuff on the sidewalk, including this go cart.

Inside the door was this thing-a-ma-jig, I really don't know what it's called. A little ball rolled on the lighted tracks.

These Fridigears were less complicated but still looked like fun.

There was a locked case of antique stuff, and a huge assortment of boomarangs, yoyos, bubble pipes, sunprint paper, kites, kazoos, dolls, lighted frisbees, Lincoln logs, blocks and things you remember having as a kid, no matter how old or young you are. This is a small store with a big inventory.

Sarah really wanted the scooter in green but settled for bright pink. This model gets its power from pushing with a foot - it isn't the model with a motor that Sarah had several years ago. And, no, there isn't a light, just a reflection from the camera flash.

It really was a great store with truly cool things. I don't know if their toys are the coolest on earth, but this is a fun place.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Post Thanksgiving

The early morning Friday shoppers declared their shopping trip to Kenwood a great success, one of the best trips ever. They left around 4 a.m. and were able to travel to their destination more quickly than the Berea to Lexington trip. They returned to eat left-overs and scan the ads once again.

All three were taken by the lighted snowman, and three boxes of them came in the door.
Sarah's was for me, and I feel certain that this is the first time a lighted snowman has appeared in my front yard. Thanks, Sarah.
There was a visit from Steph, Nora, and Aaron.

Bridget brought the Sneech for Nora, but Aaron liked it too.

Early Saturday morning the yellow-leafed tree across the street started dropping its leaves at a great rate, and Sarah and I went out to admire the process.

The yard soon looked like this

and by the end of the afternoon it was covered. The neighbors had gone to Lexington for the UK game and missed it all. Now, a day later, the yellow leaves have turned to brown.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Good Thanksgiving

Sarah came on Wednesday evening and was ready for the 98th Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day race in the morning. She was one of 10,500 participants in the 10K race and finished with her best-ever time for a 10K. The race starts and ends in Paul Brown stadium, where the Bengals play, and goes over three bridges. She reported that it was a nice race, and by afternoon the chip times were posted online. Just in case you're wondering, the newspaper reported that there were 33 participants the first year.

There was a great meal, late because the turkey just wouldn't get to the magic temperature, but worth the wait,

and now there is strategizing as Janet, Sarah, and Holly comb the newspaper ads planning the Friday shopping trip. I'm not a shopper, so I'll be snoozing when they roll out around 3 a.m. Other years the shopping trip was in Lexington, so this year requires more planning. Holly lives in the area now, too, so she knows where the favorite stores are.

What a great day - I hope yours was too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Leaves, leaves

All of a sudden, over a couple of days, my back yard is covered with leaves. My preferred method of dealing with leave is using a mulching mower every few days, but the roofer's dumpster has been, and still is, in my driveway and the mower is hostage. It's way past mulching now. Luckily, there is a real hardware nearby that hadn't replaced the leaf rakes with Christmas trees. In a few days, the raking will begin.

Today, though, it's raining, so there can be no raking. Not that there would be anyway, because this is a day for cooking. I have on my hypothetical apron and am loving making Thanksgiving foods. Thanksgiving foods say comfort foods for me, and my favorite way to cook for Thanksgiving is to make things a few at a time so that when Thanksgiving comes all that remains is turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Most of the mess and dishes are done and I can enjoy the day.
My favorites for today - macaroni and cheese

And the beginnings of oatmeal bread

and jam cake.

and, of course, pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Let It Snow

Well, not really "Let It Snow" because it's 66 degrees outside and people are getting ready to travel, but that's the title of the holiday show at Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati.

My daughter Sarah had asked me to register her for the Thanksgiving Day race at a store called The Running Spot. That was an adventure in itself - who knew (not me) - that at 11:30 a.m. on a Tuesday the place would be bustling, there would be policemen directing traffic, and that there would be a steady stream of people going out the door with bags containing t shirts and racing chips. Someone pulled out right when I was in front of the store, so I got the primo parking space beside the door, and there was a happy someone in the stream of cars cruising by feeling lucky to pull in when I came out.

Krohn Conservatory is only a couple of miles from the running store, so I stopped in to see the holiday display. There were many parking spots there and only a few visitors, leading me to believe that the Tuesday before Thanksgiving must be one of the best days to go.

The village and train tracks rotate, so I considered myself lucky to get one shot that wasn't totally blurry.
I took lots of pictures and will save some for another day.

I thought about my gardening friend Jess and my gardening sister Cindy, knowing they'd really enjoy this.

And for the first time EVER I didn't get lost on the way out of Eden Park.

Monday, November 19, 2007


The roof is finished, and it only misted a little this morning, no real rain. I like the color, and now, finally, I like the siding color too.

Yesterday I went to a different area with a little shopping center. There was this beautiful Joseph Beth bookstore -isn't it great?

The real treat, though was a Smith and Hawken gardening shop. These flowers were on shelves outside the front door, and they were so lucious that I'm posting all my pictures. of them.

Then there was this display - so pretty. This is so much better than a catalog.

It may look like I'm not quilting these days, but I really am. I'm working on the quilting for a larger quilt than I usually do. I'd really like to have it hanging on the dining room wall by Thanksgiving and have been working hard to the exclusion to getting ready for the holiday. It may be just too large to finish in time. If I keep this up, there may be no quilt and no food. Here's a peak of just a bit of it, though. Usually I design first, then choose fabric, but I really loved this fabric from Kyle's Marketplace and worked the other way around this time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Little Nervous

I've been a little nervous this weekend because while the back of my house looks like the photo above, the front looks like the photo below. By the way, the white in the "back" photo is bags of top soil for early gardening in the spring.
I really, really didn't want it to rain in the midst of the project, and so far it hasn't, for which I'm thankful. I'm also thankful that it wasn't my job to back the dumpster into my skinny driveway.

Hopefully tomorrow morning the work will resume and the front will match the back before the end of the day.
Remember the pictures of the church that I showed you a few days ago? My historical librarian sister was curious about the history of the church and found some interesting information on wikipedia. If you're interested, here's the link:

It's hard to see them, but there are underscores between the words. The church history goes back even farther than the building. Thanks, Cindy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Downtown Today

This afternoon I took the bus to downtown Cincinnati. The photo above is one of the buildings. Below is Macy's decorated for the holidays.

The kale was outside Carew tower,

the poinsettias

and the aqua-lit glass blocks were inside Carew tower,

and here's the view from the observation deck. With 49 stories, Carew Tower is the tallest building in Cincinnati.

At the Great American Ball Park, it was a sad day, and people came to pay tribute to Joe Nuxhall, who died yesterday. The statue celebrates his being the youngest player in the major leagues at age 15. It was during World War II and many of the older players were serving in the war.
After his playing years ended, he was an announcer for the Reds.