Monday, December 31, 2007

The Fresh Market

After church on Sunday, I took a different route home, as I usually do to try to learn more about that neighborhood. I turned a corner, and there it was - the Fresh Market.

I first saw a Fresh Market in Asheville and I like to stop there when I visit. And, here it was, in Cincinnati. And it was all there -

the flowers,

the beautiful produce,

the sushi,

the bakery,

the huge beer selection,

and the wine - one of the little signs says, "no Sunday sales until 1 p.m." I was too early.

There were little bags of spices - I didn't remember seeing those in Asheville -

and my favorite, the snack section.

not to mention the meat and seafood section, set up like a meat market, and the deli with all kinds of hot and cold foods.
I had California rolls for lunch. I'm happy.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Resolution?

Around Thanksgiving, I posted a couple of pictures of my neighbor's yard when their tree shed most of its leaves in one afternoon. The neighbors were at a UK ball game and missed it all and by the next morning the leaves had lost their bright yellow color. I printed a picture on a June Taylor Quick Fuse Fabric Sheet and made this little quilt for them with hand-dyed fabrics and beads. It's about 12 x 15.

I've also been making more postcards. Everyone who went to the firefly camping trip in the Smokies in June got a postcard with the firefly fabric.

Sarah got me a couple of wonderful books for Christmas. The Uncommon Quilter has ideas and instructions for small art quilts using plastic, paper, surface design, and fiber.

1000 Artist Trading Cards has many wonderful pictures of artist trading cards, which measure 2.5 x 3.5 inches, so they're a little smaller than the 4 x 6 postcards. The pictures were compiled by the editor-in-chief of Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts Magazine. No directions here, but the pictures are more than enough inspiration.

All this has turned my thoughts toward a New Year's Resolution of making a postcard every day. This isn't an original thought, by the way - I've run into a blog of someone who does exactly that. There are some advantages, but the biggest one is in the personal growth area. (I know you're smiling, Jess.) From time to time I look at quilts in Quilting Arts magazine and think I'd like to try something new but I'm reluctant to start because I don't quite know if it would work out or a large quilt is so complicated. A postcard is just a little expenditure of time and energy and money and it's no big deal if it doesn't work out. Not to mention, I'd have a good-sized stack to take to an art show at some point.
I think I'm going to give it a try.
I posted holiday pictures of most of the family, and here's one of me. I think Steph was helping me figure out what was wrong with my camera, which sometimes just looks white or black on the screen instead of showing the images that would be in the picture. The review works fine, and if I go ahead and shoot, the picture just comes out black. We thought we had it figured out, but it's still doing it from time to time. It's the Sony DSC-T10 with the slide-down lens cover - if anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thanks, Everybody

Thanks to a few of the folks who helped make this Christmas such a nice one. Nora's wearing her leopard-skin coat, a gift from Grandma and Pap, as was as the outfit below.
Also from Grandma and Pap is the train, which Nora adores.

From Aunt Cindy, wrist rattles and playful socks for Aaron.

Thanks to Sarah and her friend Heidi for making the long trip from North Carolina and bringing many, many wonderful gifts, including pajamas and slippers that Nora wore to bed on Christmas Eve and books for me that you'll see tomorrow.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Afternoon

After Christmas morning at Steph's, Sarah, Heidi, and I went to the Conservatory. There is another train display along with all the poinsettias inside.

I enjoyed the outside as much as inside. There was a nativity scene with the sheep outside the shed,

a pretty winter tree with red berries,

and ever-so-pretty hydrangea leaves. Sometimes I think the winter folliage is more appreciated than what follows in the other seasons.

Then we went to the theatre at Newport on the Levee to see Juno. It's a great movie.
Now that the gifts are opened, here are a couple of little quilts not seen earlier. One for Steph and Mike with Nora at the library. 11 x 15 inches.

One for Sarah of plump angels. I'm not sure why I wanted plump angels for Sarah's quilt since she is anything but, but that was exactly what I wanted. 9 x 11 inches.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Time Speeds Up

I used to think that time slowed down at Christmas, now I think it speeds up. Down or up, I hope you had a good time and a wonderful holiday.

Since this was my first Christmas in Cincinnati, Sarah wanted to do a few Cincinnati Christmas things on Monday. We put the turkey in the oven, then went downtown to see the Duke Energy trains - part of the display is above. Then on to Fountain Square for ice skating.

We saw the Carew Tower Santa, still popular with a long line of children waiting, and ate ice cream at the downtown Graeter's.

Then it was on to Steph's for Christmas Eve dinner and present opening. Here's Nora, with her festive hair pretty, opening a package. That's A Christmas Story in the background, playing continuously for 24 hours.

Nora got a doctor kit and is giving her dad a check-up. Everyone got one.

Below is Nora playing with her new Leap Pad.

When Nora was born, Sarah declared herself in charge of video games and wheeled items.

Santa came in the morning. Nora got the doll furniture and dvd she wanted, as well as a loaded stocking. Then Steph, Mike, and the kids went to Greenville for Christmas there. There was a train and a leopard coat for Nora from Grandma Janice and Pap and a special seat for Aaron.
There will be more Christmas pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Early Christmas Present

My gift from Steph and Mike this year was new exterior lights and installation by Mike. The old lights, as Mike said, had had their day. I never could use the porch light because the bulb was burned out and the screws were painted shut.

Here's what the new fixtures look like.

And here's the house all lit up. Ceiling fan also by Mike, another day. I kept going outside to take a peek since it looks so much better.

And while we're outside, here are some of the neighboring houses all decorated. It's been fun to see how people decorate here.

If you're wondering whether my house is the small one in the neighborhood, that's a yes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cookie Time

Today I baked the Christmas cookies. Snickerdoodles, Russian Tea Cakes, Ginger Cookies, White Chocolate Chip Macademia. Ok, for the latter aren't traditional, but I had a box of frozen cookies that I got from a neighbor who's on the wrestling team.

And then there was the Chex mix. I had a fine time in my "new" red retro kitchen. I wonder who many batches of cookies have been baked in that kitchen over the past 50 years.

I know there are people who think that technology has given us a cold way of communicating, but I don't agree. I sent Sarah a text to North Carolina, "I'm making cookies." Thirty minutes later came a reply, "hooray." Just four words total, but they felt so warm.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hey, I like them.

I tried a couple of different dye techniques earlier in the week and when the dye was wet I was sure I wouldn't like them. But after the dye had dried, and the excess rinsed and washed and rinsed, hey, I like them.

Here's another formerly-finished quilt, Nora's baby quilt, although she was about one when it was finally finished. She cuddled up in it and napped this afternoon. Isn't this why we make quilts? At least some of them?

Tonight there was yet another trip to the mall and a couple more chances to ride the train, which she loves. The picture isn't great, but she's the one in the black, and just know that there's happiness.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Quilt

This isn't a new Christmas quilt, it's one I am always glad to see every Christmas. I don't know how old it is, but it's memorable to me because I had a broken wrist the year I made it. I was determined to finish it with the cast on, and I'm convinced that the reason I didn't need physical therapy afterwards was because of all the twisting and turning I did while piecing and quilting.

I took care of Nora and Aaron tonight. Nora had had no nap and wasn't in the picture mood, but Aaron was.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


On my stop at the grocery store, I spotted these cookies, on sale for 2 for $3 no less, and had to get some.

Pfeffernusse, for those of you unfamiliar with them, are a German cookie, spicy, hard, and tiny, about the size of a nickel. Mothers and grandmothers, so the story goes, would keep them in their pockets during church services and give them to the children to suck on.

These are pretty tasty, but they just wouldn't work. They're about twice the diameter they should be, too large to pop in a little one's mouth, and they're pretty soft, they'd be gone in an instant. And they have a powdered sugar coating, which would never work because the pockets and children would be coated with powdered sugar. Like the original recipe, they are low in fat, though.

We never had them at my house, my mother make beautiful cookies at Christmas, cut-out sugar and molasses, topped with colored sugars and those little hard silver balls. By the time Christmas came, an entire canner would be filled with them. There would be santas and reindeer and wreaths and bells and trees and many other shapes.

I can't make those pretty cookies, although my sister can. Maybe because my mother always, always used butter and I don't, at least we can blame it on that.

My grandmother made only two kinds of cookies, both drop cookies, sugar and molasses with a large raisin in the middle, alternating recipes. She kept them in the pantry in a large tin. When Christmas came, whichever cookie was up would get green or red sugar on top.