Friday, February 29, 2008

Feeling Better

Today's postcard - soft scrub painted on bubble wrap, then pressed on fabric

Aaron was lots better today. His ear infection made for a tough week for him. He started getting sick Tuesday night and on Wednesday he was feeling bad (but still sweet.)

Today he was lots more cheery and eating better - here he's just finished some peaches.

When I went to watch him this morning, Nora was ready for school. We sat on the couch for awhile and admired her purple shoes. Aren't they the best?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Question

Today's postcard

Ages ago, I took a class where we made a quilt with fireworks on a pieced background. We probably used Timtex for the backing. About three-fourths through, I was tired of it, decided I'd learned what I needed to learn, and the Timtex was starting to buckle. I retrieved it the other day and cut it into a smaller quilt and three postcards. This is a long way of saying that you'll be seeing a couple of similar postcards.

You probably can't read the sign in the picture below, so here's what it says: Please excuse our messy house. We are busy caring for our new chicks and we haven't tidied up.

And here's the question - I wonder if it would be worth getting a few chicks in order to put up a sign like that.

Here are a couple of other aquarium pictures.

I've been taking care of Aaron for the past couple of days. The little guy has an ear infection with a fever. The doctor said his medicine should kick in after a couple of days, so maybe tomorrow will be a better day for him.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Aquarium Artist Date

Today's postcard - tissue and angelina

If you haven't read Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, look for it at your next library visit. She recommends three basic things: morning journaling, walks, and weekly artist dates. The artist date is an hour or two spent alone recharging the creativity you put into your work.

Ms. Cameron mentions that "there are as many ways to avoid this commitment as there are days of your life" and I certainly find that to be true. It's been on my mind, though, and on Monday I went to the Newport Aquarium, which is a few minutes from my house. I have an annual pass, and I can't use the "too far away" and "too expensive" excuses. Not to mention, Barnes and Noble is right beside the aquarium.

I tried to take a picture in the virtual shark exhibit, but no luck. I did get others, though.

This is an artistic jellyfish model,

and these are the real deal.

It's always fun to watch the divers feed the rays

but when I was there they were feeding the sharks.

There was a crowd watching the divers and also watching the penguins, but otherwise Monday in the winter is a pretty quiet day. And yes, of course, I did go to Barnes and Noble too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Today's postcard - a handmade valentine from Kay that was too pretty to not be recycled

Since I just finished a big project, I looked through my unfinished quilts to see if anything struck me. I found this one, done many years ago, I'm sure. I can remember liking the fabric at the local WalMart one Easter season and fussy-cutting the chicks. I machine quilted it very badly - I doubt that I even had my current machine then. As often happened, I got as far as starting the binding, then stopped. I'm sure Easter was long over by then.

I know the grandkids would enjoy having the chicks in "their" room here, so I decided to give the quilt an upgrade. One of my small New Year's goals was to learn to do a pillow case finish. I used it for the February challenge quilt and now on this one, too. I tried to get lots of curves in there so I could practice. I like the way it looks with the purple tips.

I did free motion quilting over the straight quilting that was already there so that I could practice some speed. Usually I still poke along with free motion.
Another of my New Year's goals, like everyone else's, was exercising. I haven't been doing a good job at that, so I'm going to try something different. No quilting until the exercise is finished. Since I don't let many days go by without quilting, we'll see how this works.

I meant to put on the two-mile walk DVD but it was the one-mile. I decided I'd just do that for this week in an attempt to get in the habit. It will be warm soon, and an early morning walk outside sounds soooo nice.

Monday, February 25, 2008

February Take It Further Challenge Quilt Finished

Today's postcard - commercial fabric and angelina

Would you believe - my challenge quilt for this month is finished. And, would you believe, I really like it. You can say "I told you so" later.

Here is is. You probably know, I've told you so many times, that the challenge topic is "what do you remember?" My quilt is a collage of many of those things.

Here's what to look for - I hope I get them all.
my uncle's grape arbor
hanging clothes on the line - every time
washing and saving tin foil to use over and over
the wringer washer
shopping at the A & P
getting an electric stove to replace the kerosene stove
my grandmother using newspaper to make patterns
chicks at my grandfather's hatchery. One spring he gave me two - my mother was so mad
always using butter, no margarine, my father was a dairy farmer
the garden
grinding horseradish in the spring
my mother crocheting rugs and my grandmother braiding them
the sulpher water from the well
quilts that were knotted, not quilted (the knots are on the edges)
the background is a gird, sort of - we would stand on the register in the winter to
stay warm
the colors in the background are an Amish pallette, sort of - we were raised in
a Mennonite home

I think I got them all.

Despite my frustration last Friday, this was a good project for me. I tried some things I wouldn't ordinarily have, at least not yet. It was an ambitious project for me - thanks, Sharon, for the push.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

No Postcard Tonight

No postcard tonight. I'm having too good a time watching the Academy Awards and admiring the clothes.

So, just some pictures instead. Helen brought Nora presents from California, both with fairies.

Nora, your hair looks great.

Aaron, is that product in yours?

Aunt Tina with Aaron

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Over It

Today's postcard - commercial fabric and angelina

Thanks to all of you who sent commiserating messages about the winter. I've over the crankiness now.

First thing this morning I made some fabric with angelina fibers. I just can't stay cranky when I work with that wonderfulness.

Here's the color mix I chose - see what I mean? Aren't those fibers glorious?

Now they're fused together by ironing them,

And now some of that sparkly tulle from JoAnne's has been fused on top.

And how can I stay cranky when I turn to my sketchbook and remember that Nora added her touch to my sketch,

and added some crayon to the next page?

And to make it better, my quilt has come out of the hypothetical trash can. I drew the chicks (my grandfather had a hatchery) and they actually look like chicks. I'd been dreading that part.

I also added one more thing - my mother crocheted rugs and my grandmother braided rugs, and I wanted a little rug honoring that.

Everything is on the quilt now. I just have to stitch around the chicks and maybe around the grapes, I can't decide about that. Then I can start on the quilting.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tired of This

Today's postcard - hand dyed fabric and paint

There was freezing rain again today. I am so tired of this.
At least my sidewalks and steps are clean, after a lot of chipping and shoveling. And yes, I did de-ice the truck and left it unlocked so the locks won't freeze shut.

I worked all day on my Take It Further Challenge quilt, and I'm so tired of that, too. I'm at the "what was I thinking?" stage. Usually when I make a quilt there comes a point when I seriously dislike it and think there is no way it will turn out nice. I'm surely there this time, and I really do dispair of it ever looking good. Looks like a rag bag candidate right now.
And I know, I really do, not to fuse Wonder Under on Warm 'n Natural batting and I unthinkingly did it anyway. Don't do this at home. The top draws up and ripples. I meant to knot this quilt, but I'm going to have to try to quilt parts of it for damage control.
Here is a peek at it - you can see the butter dish, horseradish, other radishes to represent the garden, electric stove burner to represent the conversion from the kerosene stove, and a bit of the surphur well. Actually, all this is well and good, it's the rest that isn't. I'm muttering that next month I'm not going to do a collage, no matter how much the topic suggests it.

Hmmm. Do you suppose if I drink this winter lager and it disappears that winter will go away too?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More Snow and Sleet

Today's postcard - napkin, paint, tulle

It's snowing again. And sleeting. It's 7:30, and I just talked with Steph, who is almost home after leaving work at 4:00. Luckily Mike was able to get the kids at school with a few minutes to spare.

There was a workshop in Bellevue tonight that I've been looking forward to, but it was postponed. The snowplow has been by several times, but the sleet keeps coming.

I'd thought I'd make dinner for a drive-by pick up for Steph - bad idea, I thought the snow wouldn't start 'til later. I made this mac 'n cheese with something called cellentani, a curvy macaroni. I thought Nora would love it, but she can love it another day.

I need some spring. Even though it's probably a week or so early, I planted some tomato seedlings today. I got a pack of Burpee assorted heirlooms in a mix of colors. I like the idea of being surprised. There are Brandywine Pink, Golden Sunburst, Black Krim, Evergreen (green), and Djena Lee's Golden Girl.

The Jiffy 7 peat pots are so great - they start out flat and expand when wet, with a fine netting around them so they keep their shape. Germination for the tomatoes is 7 - 14 days, so we should be seeing some seedlings soon.
Steph said she'd share some of her Valentine rose pedals with me for future projects, and it's nice to glance at those. Dried flowers are still flowers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Snow Day, Sick Day

Today's postcard - the paper towel fabic (love those left-overs) and foil

Aaron is a little, very little, under the weather. Since he had a low-grade fever yesterday, Steph was afraid that if he went to school today she'd get a call in a few hours asking her to come get him. With snow on the way, that would be more difficult than usual. I went to their house last night so I could be there and watch him today without driving in the snow predicted for this morning.

Nora was in her pajamas and using her "computer."

She enjoyed teasing me that it had a rat instead of a mouse.

Aaron was playing football with his dad, but he was more delighted with the dogs than the football.

Aaron and I had a nice day today. He didn't eat as much as usual, but he was in good spirits. It did indeed snow, so I was glad I went the night before. It took Steph and Mike twice as long as usual to drive to work.

This was Mike's Father's Day gift from Nora. She picked it out at a store in Berea - once she saw it, there was no doubt in her mind that this was the gift she wanted for her dad.

We were talking about how, in the past few years, the biggest winter snows come in February. The good news is that March is almost here.