Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Camping Sunset

Today's postcard

On the last night of the Smokies camping trip, we decided to go to Clingman's Dome to watch the sunset. As often happens, though, it was foggy when we got there. We came down to Newfound Gap, where it was clear.

From there we went to a roadside pull-off just a little ways down the mountain to settle in and watch the sunset.

We marveled that we'd never done this before and decided that we'd do it on future trips.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Today's postcard

Finally getting back to the Smokies pictures. The date on the folder says September 15, how can it be two weeks already that we've been back? Life goes on, calendar pages turn.

This group strikes me as having "multiples" in common. They were all taken the same day, the mailboxes and bridge at Tremont and the others at Cades Cove.

Just this evening, I was thinking that I wish I was back again.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Today's postcard. Sometimes the fabric is so lucious that I don't add much more.

Steph and Mike were celebrating their fifth anniversary yesterday with a rare evening out.

I was babysitting, so I had a great time getting some pictures as well as hanging out with the little ones.

Nora was excited because she had a good day at gymnastics. That's one of her sparkly dress-up dresses behind her.

Here she's settling in to watch The Wizzard of Oz. The remote controls always baffle me, but Nora told me to just try my best, and sure enough, the movie came on.

This afternoon we all played Old Maid, to Nora's delight. She loves card games.

A little nostalgia - here are Nora and me a year ago today.

Here's Aaron, little Mr. Ohio State University yesterday.

There are only a few hand-me-down outfits from Nora to Aaron, but this pair of pj's is one. Nora wore it on a camping trip to the Smokies. Life Is Good, indeed.

And again.

Looking back, here's Aaron a year ago, in his car seat and with Aunt Sarah.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 91

Today's postcard. Accents with Dye-na-Flow paint and shimmering color wash.

Friday Fill-In time. Janet had the best idea in getting this going. Answers are in bold.

1. Making Halloween costumes, mums and pumpkins in the yard, orange accents around the house are some of the things I'm most looking forward to in October. It's been months since there was something to decorate for. Now there's Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter. I always enjoy the little extras inside and outside to celebrate the holidays.

2. Sometimes I blog early in the morning, like today, and that's my favorite time. It's usually dependent on when I get my postcard finished. My goal for the year of making a postcard every day was a good one - I'm tried lots of things I otherwise wouldn't have. It's not one I'll repeat next year, though. I'll still make lots, just not one every day.

3. We are constantly reinventing ourselves, and that's why there is a saying, "never say never."

4. When I'm down, I go camping, write, eat really nourishing foods. I also read more, and that's one of the indicators that I'm sliding down. I just naturally read a lot anyway, so if you see me with a book in my hand, don't assume that I'm feeling down. I'm probably feeling just fine.

5. At home is where you'll find me most often. I love to be at home. (See # 1.)

6. A rainy day is good for feeling grateful. It's been really dry again this summer and early fall. Sometimes I think that we don't realize how precious water is. How precious many things are, actually. In Sarah's area, there is little gasoline, long lines at the pumps when there is some.

7. And as for tonight, I'm looking forward to stopping on the way home for dinner, at Panera if I'm tired (their corn chowder is a treat) or at the Levee if I'm feeling more energetic, tomorrow my plans include lunch with a friend, then babysitting for Nora and Aaron while their parents celebrate their fifth anniversary (congrats, you two,) and Sunday I want to start making the Halloween costumes.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Full Quote

Today's postcard

Last Friday I promised you the Nelson Mandela quote, from his inaugural speech in 1994, and here it is.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people who't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated frim our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

True then, true today.

It's been a long time since there have been Nora and Aaron pictures. Here's Nora puzzling out, what else, a puzzle that Steph brought her from the Smokies. The edges are curved, not straight, so there was a little extra puzzling before the full picture of the bear emerged.

Here's Aaron that same night. He showed up with shoes on his feet - you can see one of them on the floor behind him. The next time I used the pot he's opening, there was a green block in it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September Take It Further Challenge Quilt Finished

Today's postcard

aka September Take It Further Challenge quilt.

The September topic is "lists." I started this morning working with my postcard, thinking about lists, trying to incorporate my thoughts, just meaning to make a pattern for my quilt.

Action lists. Short lists. Endless lists. Special event lists. Christmas lists. Wish lists. Reading lists. Dreamy secret lists. Half done lists.

And then I realized that my quilt was finished. I liked what I had. It said what I wanted to say. So, a little quilt this time. 4" x 6".

Close up:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Take It Further Challenge for August Complete

Today's postcard

August's challenge topic was "balance." Balance. Hmmm. An ongoing goal, a moving target, never overrated. Without apology becaused it's September, here's my quilt. 14" x 15".

Balance between sturdy cotton and soft, delicate silk. I used hand-dyed cotton for the background and placed dyed silk hankes on top. With sparkly tulle on top of that to keep the silk in place.

Balance between imagination and programmed machine-embroidery.

Balance between strong colors.

Balance between quadrants and flowing curves.

In personal life, flowers for balance and a few sparkles thrown in.

Here's the behind-the-scenes. I had thought ribbon would be a good addition to this quilt and actually bought several rolls trying to find the ones that would look just right. On finishing the quilt last night, or so I thought, I felt uneasy but thought maybe I'd just looked at it for too long.

This morning I knew it just wasn't right. Way too uptight and the outer ribbon was fraying where I cut it too close. I decided to cover the ribbon with fabric. And this is what I learned: for a fused border of this type, a layer of ribbon provides just the right amount of extra stability. It's almost like a layer of stabilizer. A trick I know I'll use again.
I also tried zig zag free motion stitching. Much more freeing, since my usual free motion is pretty precised. Another tool.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Day of Fall

Today's postcard

The first day of fall. A little sad, and yet . . .

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Albert Camus

P.S. Steph and Mike have power.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

For One Bright Shining Moment

Today's postcard. Just playing. I've been wanting to try out heriloom stitches using a wing needle, but my old sewing machine didn't have the heirloom stitches.

It was a glorious fall day, perfect for the second day of Oktoberfest in Cincinnati. I got a cup of Warsteiner beer, my favorite, and strolled around. The Bengals game was on the Fountain Square tv, and a cheer went up when the Bengals scored in the fourth quarter. For one bright, shining moment, it looked like they might win. It wasn't to be, Giants 26, Bengals 23 in overtime.

It was a quiet day at the Great American Ballpark, too - Brewers 8, Reds 1.
It was still a good day for a walk over and back across the bridge.

And a good day to watch Nora playing Mermaid. Still no power at their house.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh, My Gosh

Today's postcard - the first thing I did on my new sewing machine

Oh, my gosh, I have a new sewing machine.

Is this beautiful, or what?

And it fits right in, opposite my old favorite machine, which is still living here too. This one has lots more stitches, lots more embroidery, and, hurrah, computer connection.

Usually when I've gotten a new sewing machine, I've been pretty tentative, trying just a few new things at a time, but this time I'm jumping right in.
No power for Steph and Mike yet. It seems a little like the last days before having a baby, that disappointment that labor didn't start today, then that labor didn't start during the night. Same thing - there's always the hope that surely today the power will come back on, but no, but maybe it will be turned on tonight, nope. Maybe today, nope, maybe tonight, nope. The frustrating thing is that Duke can't tell them when the event might occur. Just like a baby.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 90

Today's postcard

Friday Fill-In time, everybody Answers are in bold.

1. There is no need to give up on civility. I love civility. A good example was this week when the power was out - people were ever so good about treating un-lit stop lights as four way stops.

2. Where in the heck did the empty USB ports on my computer go? When I got my laptop last year with four USB ports I felt as if I had riches galore. A year later I'm always switching things out.

3. Ripping out and replacing stitches is all I managed to do. Always use a walking foot when putting binding and sashing on a quilt. Always. End of message.

4. Prospects for good leadership in this country don't look good. We have all these wonderful universities - aren't any of them training leaders?

5. We were born to manifest the glory of God within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone - Nelson Mandela - full quote later - is the message.

6. Simplicity and tranquility are my goals every day. I sometimes admire people who relish a good argument and actually enjoy verbal fighting. Not me, no way.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a little catch up and relaxation. The week coming back from the Smokies is always long. Tomorrow my plans include working, then riding the bus to Cincinnati for Octoberfest, and Sunday I want to do something fun, don't know what yet.

Think Good Thoughts

Think good thoughts for Steph and Mike, who have been without power since the storm in Cincinnati on Sunday. Their whole subdivision is dark, and the news is that it may take longer for those still without power since the easy fixes are done. I took dinner over tonight, vegetable soup which held the heat on the drive over. They were able to borrow a generator yesterday, so they do have the refrigerator going.

No postcard today, I was working on this table topper, 27" x 27". Not my usual style, but I was making it for someone else.

It was fun to do some paper piecing for a change, and fun to use my hand dyed fabric in this kind of quilt.

Back to the Smokies - here is proof that I did the Chimney Tops Trail. I have to admit that I didn't do it well, but I did it. The trail at the very top was closed off so I didn't go to the top of the rock and the others went about half way.

Last time I went on this trail I came on a woman who looked to be about 75, with her walking stick, resting on the rocky part of the trail. I wondered afterward whether she was going up or down or whether she had decided that was far enough. And I hoped that when I was 75 I could hike at least that far on this trail, which is rated as strenuous.

Steph, Sarah, and Bridget dipped their feet in the water afterward - they said it felt like a spa, but a cold one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tremont Hike

Today's postcard

Some pictures from the Tremont hike.

There's a spider web toward the right - you might have to click on the picture to see it.

One of the reasons I'm so crazy about the Smokies is because there are so many beautiful views like this one. Every time you go around a curve, there's a new one.

In the guidebook it makes reference to an old car as a trail reference point. Strange that it's still there, but I guess it isn't going anywhere. That's Bridget with the camera.

Tremont, by the way, was a logging area prior to the park days.