Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 96

machine embroidered scarecrow on a brown t-shirt

Friday Fill-Ins on this Halloween morning. Answers are in bold.

1. My favorite food seasoning is vanilla. I like it in baked things but I also like it as a scent in my house. It always reminds me of something warm and comforting.

2. The chatter of my grandkids is music to my ears. Nora always has a lot to say, and it's fun to hear what's going on in an almost-four-year-old mind. And the other evening Aaron went on and on, in whole sentences, I'm sure, I just don't know what he was saying.

3. Lucky is a state of mind. But having said that, lucky is finding money in a coat pocket, finding a long sleeve t-shirt forgotten over the summer, not having the tomatoes freeze, having your quilt fit together just right, and picking out a great cd at the library. I like to pick out something I've never heard of before just to see if I like it.

4. My health is something I take very seriously. It's on my mind because I had my physical about a month ago and am doing the follow-up tests. And as I get older, there are more tests. So far, the results are pretty good, and I'm happy about that.

5. Many people are getting tired of political commercials, especially the put-down ones. I find the local races interesting - it's my first big election here. Every night when I get home there are fliers, note pads, door hangers waiting for me. There are lots of signs in yards, but almost all of them are for local candidates.

6. A cake mix was the last thing I bought at the store. Every Friday at work there is a group of sewers who meet, and I'm in charge of getting the snack. Usually I opt for something healthy, but it's been a long time since we've had a fun holiday so I made a cake this morning. I'm a big fan of icing in the tub, and that will go on as soon as the cake is cool, along with a sprinkling of candy corn.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I plan to pass out trick-or-treat candy. We don't have a lot of kids who brave the hill to get to my street, but it will be a warm evening to sit outside and light the pumpkins. After that, I'm babysitting so Steph and Mike can go to a party. Tomorrow my plans include working, and Sunday I want to go to church in the morning, then stop at the conservatory. It's been ages since I've been there.

Happy Halloween Friday, everyone.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

work project with embroidery and heirloom stitches
One of the reasons my new sewing machine was so attractive was a whole menu of heirloom stitches. The stitching on the napkin holders was made by pulling several threads of linen and using a pinstitch with a wing needle. There is also stitching around the napkins, but it's too dark to see. Very easy, just a smocking stitch over the hem.
Below are some Halloween scenes from the neighborhood. I never go all out, but it's fun to see what other people do.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tag - What Fun

witch on a green t shirt

Ah, yes, I did figure out how to get my sewing maching and computer to work together so I could embroider this witch on my t shirt. Figuring out a technology problem always makes me happy,

as does this tag from Daisy. She invited anyone to join in, and it looked like such fun. Simply go into your photo gallery and choose the sixth picture from the sixth folder. It's that easy.

I really loved Daisy's photo from the Ecovillage days when we lived across the oval yard from each other. Like Daisy, I loved that apartment. Wish I had those utility bills again, too. $500 for an entire year in my apartment, including heat and water, and the apartments weren't small. Our heat source was a ground source heat pump - each apartment had two "wells" 150 feet deep and circulated a liquid for heating or cooling. That deep in the ground, the temperature is a constant 50 degrees, so we started our heating and cooling at 50, not at the outside temperature.

But, back to my picture. It turned out to be from the days when Aaron was an infant, between two and three weeks old, when we were at the airport waiting for Aunt Sarah. Sarah came a few minutes later and got her first glimpse of her new nephew. And Nora's wearing her "I'm a big sister" t shirt that Bridget got for her at the hospital gift shop.

If you want to play, just join in. Sixth picture in your sixth folder.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Early Halloween

postcard for today

Here are pics from Sarah - she went to an early Halloween party last weekend, with her hair as grass with bugs crawling around.

Pretty cool. I asked her if it was hard to get the product out of her hair, but she said it washed right out.
The Evel Knievel costume arrived today. It needs some minor adjustments, but by and large, it fits. Hooray.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aunt Tina

I got the candlewicking designs figured out. These are a couple of the quilt blocks.

This evening we were celebrating Aunt Tina's birthday. Apologies to the family - my pictures turned out so blurry that I checked to see if the camera was set right - I don't know what was going on. I really wanted a couple of pictures of Grandma Janice and Pap to post here.

I do have these pictures of Nora and Aunt Tina. Nora knows that when Aunt Tina's birthday comes, her's isn't far behind, but she truly loves birthdays no matter whose they are.

Here they're blowing out candles.

And here is one of Pap with Aaron, and Tina.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Tina.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Little Spider

spider web with thread velvet spider

on $1.99 orange t shirt from the GAP outlet. When Sarah came time before last, she bought numerous white work t shirts and I got this one orange one, just knowing that when Halloween came, I'd be glad I had it.

I really meant to embroider a witch, but obviously I need to learn more about downloading designs. I thought I did everything right, but my machine didn't recognize the design so obviously I messed up somewhere.

And before that I was trying to do candlewicking for a quilt top and ended up with a big mess. It's been a frustrating evening, but I do love that little fuzzy spider. Now for a dab of fabric glue on the back so he won't unravel in the wash.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 95

Free embroidery design from Husqvarna web site

Ah, Friday. Answers to Friday Fill-Ins are in bold.

1. Right now, I'm feeling hopeful. Hopeful and happy are usual states for me.

2. Home is where I want to be, followed by the Smokies. If I were there, my answer to # 1 would be calm and excited, both at the same time. It's a little cold for camping, so my next choice is a nice motel on the Little River in Gatlinburg. I'd be going to Granny's for a pancake breakfast with sweet potato pancakes and to the Smoky Mountain Brewery for dinner and a brew and spinach and artichoke dip. In the meantime, I'd bundle up and spend a lot of time reading the newspaper or a good book and listening to the river. And go out into the park for a long hike. Maybe two.

3. How does one keep a nice, clean house? I never learned that, plus I always have other things to do than clean. I've considered hiring out to Merry Maids just so I'd learn the tricks and how to do it quickly.

4. My personal motivation keeps me on track. And the many choices that we have lure me off sometimes.

5. Please don't vote in the upcoming election without being mindful. I wouldn't begin to tell you how to vote, just ask that you don't vote for a candidate because your friend is, or the tv ad said so, or you always vote for a certain party. Think about it. This is an important election.

6. Lots of things fill me with joy. My family, creativity, pretty flowers, personal mail or email, kindness, good news, change of seasons, a clean house (see # 3.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I plan to babysit for Aaron if it isn't raining so the rest of the family can go to a nephew's football game (although I think it's going to rain,) tomorrow my plans include teaching a beginning sewing workshop, and Sunday I want to hike, once again if it isn't raining.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cleaning Up

cape, belt, and jumpsuit - the whole deal

I took Sarah's costume to the post office this afternoon. Now it's just a matter of waiting to see if it fits. I tried it on and it's way snug around the hips (zippable, barely,) snug around the chest, and dragging on the ground, so I'm hopeful.

Now comes the welcome part of cleaning up. Not just my studio but the entire house needs a pick-up after the princess, the frog, and EK. Plus a little project on the side that you'll see tomorrow.

The leftover slippery fabrics are in a bag - pink for the princess, yellow for the frog collar and crown, and red and blue for EK. I will be ever so happy to go back to cottons for awhile. The patterns are back in their envelopes. And while I know I said that I was feeling that I wanted to really sew for awhile instead of quilting, I'm over that for now. Especially with the slippery stuff.

I've learned some good stuff, for example that my machine does a great job of sewing through velcro, which wasn't the case 20 years ago when I last tried it. And that basting spray comes up big when getting the satin to behave. And that there are transferrable skills from quilting that make the sewing go better, like using a bias binding. And that sometimes it's better to sew the way I think it will come out better instead of the way the pattern says. And, sometimes not.

These projects have been fun ones, but I'm ready to go back to quilting. I have three projects to think about:

(1) the Take It Further challenge for October (oh, no, is it really the 23rd already?)

(2) the online class I'm taking that I've done none of the homework for. Well, that's not quite true, I did purchase my fabrics and wash them and I read the first lesson. Sort of.

(3) a quilt that was in the last Quilters Newsletter Magazine and which uses candlewicking designs from my new machine - how can I pass that up?

Back to picking up pins and vaccuming up bits of tissue paper and shiny stuff.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monday Night Babysitting

There is a collar, and a hem. The jumpsuit part is finished. Tonight, the cape.

Monday night I watched Aaron while Steph and Nora went to Mike's last softball game of the season. Nora was excited to be going to the game, to play there, to eat a hot dog, to watch her did play softball.

There are reports from school from time to time of "no nap Nora," but Monday was the first time of a report of "no nap Aaron." He's had short naps before, but there was always at least 20 minutes. The little guy didn't act very tired, though, and did his usual amount of climbing and opening whatever could be opened.

He was agreeable to sitting down for awhile and looking at books and listening to the music that comes with them, preferably these two at the same time. He can't quite push the buttons on the Winnie the Pooh book hard enough to make the music start, so he points to the one he wants and says, "there."

When bottle and bedtime came, though, he was fast to fall asleep.

Nora came home soon after with tales of her evening, and she was happy to snuggle in my lap to watch a few minutes of "Wizzard of Oz."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Pumpkin Farm

sleeves with linings at the openings

Back at the pumpkin farm - Aunt Tina and Nora riding the teacups

Nora with orange hair pretty - there was a black one on the other pony tail

Aaron in the straw bales - his favorite part

Nora and Steph in the maze - one of Nora's favorite parts

Nora solemnly eating a corn dog

It was so fun to see kids in Halloween or Bengals t-shirts. Bengals, 0 - 7, but people still wear Bengals outfits on Sundays.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Farm

Farther than I could see yesterday - stars are on and zipper is in

Yesterday, Steph, Aunt Tina and I took Nora and Aaron to a pumpkin farm that was really very close to their house. We left early enough that we were there before the crowd that was coming in as we left.

There was a hayride to the pumpkin patch,

where Nora examined many pumpkins, then picked out small ones for each member of her family.
Aaron didn't do any pumpkin picking, but he enjoyed a chance to run around, his favorite thing these days. If you think he looks suddenly grown up, it's the haircut!

There was a puppet show in the barn that captured Nora's attention, one of many things that kept kids happy and occupied.

More pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't Know What It Is

Evel Knievel costume on the way

Sarah's costume is cut out, although I don't have a clue what the fabric is. Since it takes a lot, and since it is a costume, after all, I went to the big box store and got a shiny white fabric of undetermined origin for $1 per yard. I don't sew a lot with shiny things, so I don't have an idea of what it could be.

It's shiny like satin, which was a prerequisite. I've learned in the cutting that it doesn't ravel, which makes me very happy. It's thick enough that I can use it for the decorative stars. It melts a little but it isn't flammable. It's shiny enough on the back that the cape won't need lining, and that makes me happy, too, and it has a nice drape. It's a little heavy but Sarah will do ok with that.

I don't do enough actual sewing to see my way to the end of this, and time is tight, so I'm just going to start and see where I go. I'm confident that I'll get to the end. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 94

Embroidery I'm working on

Friday Fill-In time. Answers are in bold.

1. Follow the plans you set for yourself. Doesn't mean don't revise them, doesn't mean drive yourself crazy with them, just means keep on a path. Of course, on a lighter note, follow the Yellow Brick Road. Nora loves with Wizzard of Oz these days and asks to watch it almost every night. It's amazing how that movie has stood up over time.

2. A book is something I always take with me on vacation. Or to the doctor's office or almost anywhere.

3. To achieve your goals, you must make them realistic and measurable, and check in from time to time to see how you're doing.

4. That I'm usually happy and creative is something I'd like you to know about me.

5. I have a smile, usually.

6. The human spirit floats. Sort of like a cork. It might be submerged from time to time but it always pops back up.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I want to start on Sarah's Evel Kneivel costume, tomorrow my plans include work, and Sunday I want to get out and do something lighthearted.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween Try-Ons

Sewing project - Nora's Halloween princess dress
Nora tried it on after her bath - it looks like a hem and zipper will finish it. Talk about Pretty in Pink -
I've been looking at Aaron's frog costume, thinking it was going to be huge on him. And it's not. If he grows half an inch before Halloween he'll grow right out of it. The little wrist bands need to be opened, and the hood needs a ribbon tie to make it fit around his neck. Not that he's going to wear the hood longer than 25 seconds, anyway, so I'm not going to worry over it.

A couple of years ago I was at WalMart the day after Halloween and found a unicorn costume for 75% off. I thought Nora might like it, but she had other plans in mind last year. I tried it on Aaron - pretty funny -

but his mom says no way is he going to wear a lavender unicorn costume with teal wings.

Nora and Aaron played with their dad after their bath, with Aaron trying to get away, of course. He loves to climb and run and figure out how to open things. He figured out how to open the oven door tonight and was all pleased with himself.

By the way, Steph, here's the year-ago picture we talked about tonight.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day

Completed little outfit for Nora, purchased top and pants with embroidery

This is the second Blog Action Day, and this year the subject for bloggers to write about is poverty. I've been thinking about that all evening. Thinking about it as I work with projects that are inexpensive and a sewing/embroidery machine which is not. Thinking about it through the debates, with the candidates outlining expensive plans for education and health care.

Thinking about it as I looked up last Sunday's sermon, where Pastor Joel urged the congregation to resist the temptation to depersonalize poverty but to remember the individuals and the situations. Thinking about how I have a house of my own which is huge by most of the world's standards.

I have no eloquent words to write. Just an invitation to readers to think, to ponder, to not take their riches for granted. To live simply, whatever that means to you. To be rich in spirit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Last of the Weekend

Practice pillowcase - the question is, is it too bright to sleep on? Or, happy to wake up to?

On the way to Steph and Mike's on Saturday, Sarah and I stopped at a yard sale in the neighborhood. Sarah found the reel lawn mower she's been wanting forever, as well as a large chalk board for her apartment.

And a couple of things for Nora and Aaron. Although, after seeing Aaron's getting-into-things abilities, she wondered whether this puzzle would just teach him all the more skills.

The music toy has both keyboard to bang and buttons to push. Aaron's wearing a West End Bakery t-shirt that Steph picked up on a trip to Sarah's neighborhood. Aaron could hold his own with all the cool granola babies who go there.

Loading up for a trip to the Golden Corral - one of Nora's favorites. As usual, she went right for the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and rolls.

Sarah brought Guitar Hero for the WII. Steph, who says she's usually not good at video games, turned out to be really good at it.

It was such a great weekend. Thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Monday, October 13, 2008

York Street Cafe

A little piece of someone's embroidery that I painted and quilted

Friday night, Holly, Ginger, Sarah, and I went to York Street Cafe for dinner. It's in Newport, on York Street, of course. Here are Holly and Ginger.

Part of the fun is always looking at the many, many retro pieces everywhere. The restaurant used to be a pharmacy and there are many cabinets and nooks. Just the PEZ dispenser collection alone is amazing.

And then there's the food -

it's always really good.