Thursday, April 30, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 122

Love the Friday Fill-ins. Here we go - answers are in bold.

1. The first rule of working in an office and getting along is avoid the politics. And bring the snacks.

2. I can't remember ever eating clams. Maybe some day.

3. When I think of carnivals, I think of happy kids riding and shrieking. And tired moms and dads with cameras. Mmmm, and cotton candy.

4. Pansies are my favorite spring flower. And my favorite fall flower. Who would think that those delicate flowers can often winter over? My aunt can get them to summer over too, but I'm not as good a gardener as she is.

5. Things on my desk include a digital camera, desk calendar, journals, a church directory, an issue of the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society, a copy of Quilters Newsletter Magazine, a Home Sew catalog, some mysterious pattern instructions, a square of copper for a project, a glue stick, my laptop, and a whole raft of USB cables.

6. Summer makes me wanna head for the riverbank, or the ballpark, or the campground. Or just outside. One of my year's resolutions is to make my back porch pretty, and toward that goal I found a nice outdoor rug today. Next: pretty planters of flowers.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I plan to celebrate the first of May, tomorrow my plans include working, and Sunday I want to visit with my cousin Bill, who will be in town from Chicago, then do some kind of real art project.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ran Out

I almost never run out of thread when I'm embroidering, especially with an open embroidery like this. But I was using a 30-weight cotton and obviously there wasn't a lot on the spool. And my design is really big.

I went to my local fabric store, five minutes away, where I got the stuff, and they were out of that color. Some time between yesterday afternoon when I bought it and tonight, someone else decided it was a luscious color.

I can't remember whether I altered the center location when I turned the hoop - I remember that I tried - so I guess I'll leave the machine on all night and hope to round up more thread in the right color tomorrow. Who would have guessed?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh, I Don't Like This

This is my first project in quite awhile, and I sure don't like it.

It's a little better with the gold paint, but still . . . . . . .

I don't like it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pics from Sarah

Sarah and Winnie always take good pictures when they're here and I always snitch some to share.

Saturday morning - time for me to go out the door and teach a class. Thanks to Sarah and Winnie for the pink J Crew sweater.

Sarah playing with Nora and Aaron, while Aunt Tina took a break and went to Target. (Steph and Mike were in Gatlinburg.)

Aaron fishing, a new game brought by Sarah and Winnie. Aaron wasn't feeling well, but he's almost always happy even when he's sick.

What big feet the princess has! Nora's slippers were compliments of Bridget one Christmas.

Sunday - Sarah, Winnie, and me at the Newport Aquarium.

A stop in Berea on the way home for Sarah and Winnie. They ate at Main Street Cafe, one of the things I miss about Berea.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Things I'm So Grateful For

A beautiful girly four-year-old grandgirl with a scab on her nose. And our discussion this afternoon about why I call her my grandgirl.

Lunch at the Whole Foods Co-Op, from the salad bar. Steph asked what I'd had and I'm not really sure, other than tabouli and spinach-strawberry salad. I chose mixed salads that I'd never had before.

This in-between day, between spring and summer. Hard to believe that it's 86 degrees this evening. And the pedicure I got today, signaling for me the end of cool weather and the beginning of true warmth. Knowing that it's still April and it may well frost again. I love my red-tipped toes. And my open windows.

Another sign of warmer weather: this morning at 8 a.m. marked the end of the Fountain Square Flower Carpet, this year designed to look like a butterfly. It began April 7 and featured primarily pansies, a lovely gift of color during the month that started out cold.

My generous neighbor, who mowed my yard, which was way past needing it. And trimmed it, too. I am so grateful.

A Boca Burger that Mike cooked on the grill, making it far superior to the microwaved ones. I'll probably never own another grill and so appreciated this treat.

No fever today, although it popped up again last night and sent me to bed so early for a long sleep.

A church service of the kind we have, celebrating the Easter season. Lots of singing that I enjoy even though I don't sing. The hymn, "How can we be silent, when we know our God is near," will be sung throughout the season, starting with just a refrain and adding verses each week. I enjoy the ritual of turning on the fan under my wallhanging to symbolize the wind of the spirit.

Nora's quiet delight at the rabbit I got her last weekend. It's a variation of a flip doll, with a rabbit in a delightful long dress. When you flip the skirt over its head, there is another rabbit in a beautiful long dress.

Aaron's conversations, which are increasing every day. I am grateful for this engaging little boy with what is now a large vocabulary for a child his age.

The promise of being in the studio in the morning.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 121

Friday Fill-Ins, here we go. Answers are in bold.

1. Apparently there's some sort of spring weather pattern that I wish would change. For the past few years, we seem to go from cold weather to hot, just like that. I remember different springs, when the weather would gradually warm up and there would be weeks of moderate weather. Now it seems to be primarily either cold or hot. Am I making this up?

2. Today was a pretty, sunny day. Last night I moved my tomato seedlings, which are hardening off, up close to the house because overnight temperatures in the low 30's were expected. I could have moved them farther out today, but I didn't - I'm still low energy because of my bug and am doing the minimal outside of work.

3. 2009 rocks so far. I've made some pretty things, seen some good movies, read some good books, spent good times with family, had some good food.

4. In the world of strange dreams, the one I had a few nights ago, that was it. I dreamed that I was in college, second semester junior, good student, but that semester I couldn't find one of my classes, couldn't catch up in another, and was barely passing in two others. I kept looking and trying, but suddently it was May and it was too late. I made plans to go to summer school but suddenly realized I might get suspended for my poor performance and would have to appeal. I'm sure there's a meaning to all this.

5. For too long, I've been out of the studio. Last week I helped Aunt Tina with the kids several nights, then Sarah and Winnie were here, then I was sick. And I love the studio. There's no place like it. Tomorrow, maybe, if I have some energy to spare, but I'm working tomorrow and Saturday.

6. I'm not obsessed with much of anything, I am not! Except maybe for my beautiful grandbabes, but who wouldn't be?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to more rest, tomorrow my plans include working, and Sunday I want to go to church, sew, appreciate and enjoy things, maybe visit the fabric store. I'm sure they wonder what's happened to me. Or, I could dye some fabric if it's warm. Maybe start a new batik project.

Happy Friday, everyone.


Feels good to be resurfacing again, having flashes of feeling normal. I am rarely flat-out sick for long and am lucky to pop up again quickly. Thanks to everyone who wrote wishing me well.

I missed Earth Day, so I'll do a quick, late tribute. The plaque below appears on Fountain Square in Cincinnati and features a few lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Catawba Wine."

"And this song of the vine,

This greeting of mine,

The winds and the birds still deliver

To the queen of the west,

In her garlands dressed,

On the banks of this beautiful river."

I hope you celebrated in your own way. And I hope you look at the website to ponder over the energy-saving tax credits that are available as part of the economic stimulus package. Year before last I took advantage of tax credits for new windows, new front door, and some insulation. This year I'm planning on adding more insulation.

Peace, everyone.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Out for a Few Days

I've been out for a few days with a flat-on-my-back belly virus, just when I was feeling relaxed and having a good time. I'll surely be back tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 120

Time for Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold, like usual. Check on the link if you want to play along.

1. Join me in celebrating Earth Day on April 22, or whenever your local festivities are. Cincinnati's festival is April 18. And while you're celebrating, make it a point to learn at least one thing about this earth of ours and what you can do to keep it spinning along in a healthy fashion.

2. Put a little creativity in your day. Make something. It doesn't have to be crafty, it can be cooking or making a lovely garden. You'll be happier for it.

3. Happiness is wonderful and uplifts the heart. Choose it.

4. Senile and confused is where I don't want to be. Please. I remember well the confusion of my dad, although he didn't seem bothered by it.

5. I'm waiting for nothing, I'm happy with this time in this day. I like the moderate weather, the quietness of the evening, the promise of sunshine, warm blankets on my bed, the taste of toothpaste.

6. A Blue Moon beer is hard to resist. Draft, with a big slice of orange. Definitely one of life's pleasures.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to helping Aunt Tina take care of Nora and Aaron while their parents are spending time in the Smokies (Mike's going to get the whole hiking experience,) tomorrow my plans include teaching a workshop using a yarn couching foot, and Sunday I want to spend time with Sarah and Winnie as well as helping Aunt Tina. Maybe we'll go to a movie, maybe we'll eat some good food, maybe we'll spend some time on the riverfront.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Samples I've Been Working On

I'd love to show you some samples I've been working on. With this group, for whatever reason, the finishing wasn't what I wanted, but I learned from all of them.

This pillow is a Viking yarn couching design, done on a sparkly fancy linen. (The jeans in the background were done by someone else.) Actually, I learned two things here. (1) When you're using a pillow form, put a little loose fiberfill in the corners to puff them out. (2) Allow a really generous opening for inserting the pillow form. I didn't leave enough opening, because I didn't want to do more finish sewing than I had to, and the linen ripped when there wasn't enough room for the form to go in. Then I had to do all the more sewing to try to sew up the rips on each end.

I did this on my own time, with my own materials and design package, so it could be mine when it's no longer being displayed.

The pink bag is a Viking Embroidery Club Design and I love it. It was supposed to have brass eyelets on the top but since I had such trouble with those on another project, I made buttonholes. Since there is batting the bag is quite stiff and I cut through the end of the buttonhole not once but twice and had to repair. Moral of this story: when opening buttonholes on a thick item, use a buttonhole knife and wood backing, not a seam ripper. I do love the dimensional effect of making some of the flowers on organza and Ultra Solvy.

The linen bag below is a Viking free design and free sewing project this month. It will be mine, too. This is where I had the eyelet troubles. I cut a hole in the bag to insert the eyelet but just couldn't get it to work. Then I had a little hole in the bag. I mended the hole, which no one will probably see since the bag is gathered at the top. Moral: practice on a scrap piece. I knew that, I really did. Once again, I used buttonholes instead of eyelets for the cord.

I love the soft embroidery on the linen and am excited about using this bag. I got lots of good practice with the software, too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Easter

Sometimes I still get the church calendar wrong. I thought that Easter was the last day of Lent and really it's the first day of Pentacost. The reason I'm telling you this is to explain why I quickly made a new banner last week instead of just as quickly, I'm sure, making one this week.

The Pentacost theme is None Can Stop the Spirit and the visual was to be a banner of a globe with children surrounding it. The fabric was to be light enough that a fan could create ripples in the banner, representing the wind of the Spirit.

It was recommended that the fabric be painted, but the thought of that was scary to me, so I did it all in fabric. I decided to put the children inside the globe instead of surrounding it. I did try to make the globe look like it might have looked had it been painted.

I've found that I really enjoy sanctuary art. Instead of my usual small scale it's much larger, and the finishing I usually think is so important isn't necessary here. And yes, the fan really does ripple the fabric. Good thing I bought two fans, though - the smaller one just didn't do it.
From Asheville, here are two Easter pictures. Sarah and Winnie colored eggs at Winnie's parents' house and spent Easter there. Both the women and the eggs are, well . . . gorgeous.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday was a chilly but sunny day for Easter egg hunts. Steph and Mike took the kids to one not far from home.

It was a well-organized event and a simple concept. The kids looked for eggs with their age groups and there were many, many eggs scattered around.

The kids could pick up as many as they wanted to for as long as they wanted to, then they traded them for a bag of goodies. The eggs were then scattered around all over again so there was never a shortage.

How fun is this?

Nora collected hers, then got to help Aaron with his.

Then on Sunday they got to hunt all over again at home. That Easter Bunny has a tendency to hide an egg in the microwave every year. After the eggs were found, Aaron noticed one more and opened it up. M & M's. He wasted no time in popping them in his mouth as quickly as he could.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rained Out

This year I have a goal of going to watch the Cincinnati Reds - alot - so when my friend Scott Little said that he and his son Nathan were coming on Friday night it seemed like a perfect opportunity to start going to the ball park early.

But, the bad news is that we were rained out. No batting practice. No nachos. No fireworks. Just rain and pizza at LaRosa's and lots of catching up.

Here's the story. Scott grew up near my hometown of Bluffton, Ohio and attended Berea College, where he met his wife Jennifer. They lived in Cincinnati for awhile, so they know their way around here, and ended up with Scott working at Berea College in Residential Life, same as me, and that's when we met. When they left Berea, they moved to Bluffton.

So we had lots of catching up to do with Berea news, Bluffton news, and Cincinnati news. And it was a treat to see Nathan, who was in a stroller last time I saw him.

It looked on Saturday like Easter dinner would be "rained out" too since everyone at Steph and Mike's was sick. But Janice and Don and Janice's sister's family all decided to brave the germs and come anyway.

Good thing, or we'd have missed Nora's bunny cake. Left eyebrow courtesy of Aunt Tina, right eyebrow courtesy of Nora.

Here are Grandma Janice and Nora reading a book

and Pap enjoying the festivities.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 119

This week, Janet from Friday Fill-Ins is dedicating question # 1 to Anonymous, who left a nasty comment about last week's questions.

1. Anonymous . . . don't be hiding, leave some identification. It's the civil thing to do if you're dissing someone. Give them a chance to respond. (By the way, Janet, I really like your questions and appreciate the thought you put into them.)

2. Joy is a choice. I highy recomment that you choose it. Life is better that way.

3. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, or maybe I could just have sour balls instead. Oh, yeah, a much better idea. Lemon ones. With fizz.

4. Easter is what I look forward to most about Spring. And it's here, or almost. Of course, there's also Opening Day, onions poking out of the ground, the free feeling of stepping out the door with just a fleece, watching the grand babes rediscover warm weather.

5. Who needs therapy when it's gardening season? My uncle had a wonderful piece of art in his home which read, "When the world wearies and ceases to satisty, there is always the garden."

6. A hollow chocolate rabbit with ears for biting off first MUST go into the Easter basket. Did anyone ever eat the feet first?

And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the Cincinnati Reds (please, please don't rain,) tomorrow my plans include an Easter egg hunt with the kids and finishing the new church banner, and Sunday I want to relax and celebrate and hang that banner and have dinner with the Lockhart's.

Happy Friday, everyone.

The Fresh Market

When I lived in Berea, I loved to visit the Fresh Market in Asheville when I was visiting Sarah. Now in Cincinnati there's a Fresh Market a block from my church and it's a frequent stop for me when I'm lollygaggin' around on Sunday afternoon. (Not to worry, though, there's still plenty to do in Asheville.)

Tonight was the Maundy Thursday service at church so I made an evening stop.

From the oranges inside the front door,

to the flowers right inside, these folks know presentation.

Just looking around is a whole other way to feed the soul.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Girlfriend Survey

Thanks to Steph and my friend Patti for sending me the email Girlfriend Survey. Pretty fun. I've decided to respond to it here and break it up in segments since there are lots of questions. If you decide to use it on your blog, send me a link so I can enjoy your answers.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:40 a.m. I meant to get up at 6, but that didn't happen. I usually get up around 6 and sew and do housework for a couple of hours.

2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds, but any diamonds I have are Diamonique

3. What is the last film you saw at the cinema? The Reader. It was really excellent.

4. What is your favorite tv show? I don't have one, don't even turn on the tv most days, and am wondering if I should have spent the money to upgrade to digital.

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Oatmeal with a sprinkle of walnuts, two slices of fat-free or low-fat cheese, and some kind of fruit. And Diet Coke. I try to front-load the nutrients.

6. What is your middle name? Ann

7. What food do you dislike? Onions. I'm forever picking them out.

8. What is your favorite cd at the moment? I have a Chip Davis cd from the library that I'm playing right now. But my all time fave is my Tom T Hall boxed set.

9. What kind of car do you drive? 1993 Toyota extra cab pickup. It has 232,000 miles, and I'm going for 300,000.

10. What is your favorite sandwich? Right now, the tomato and fresh mozerella from Panera. My favorite sandwich is always something from Panera.

11. What characteristics do you despise? Dishonesty and putting people down instead of helping them up.

12. What is your favorite item of clothing? In the spring, a little knit cami to wear under sweaters or t-shirts.

13. If you could go anywhere in world, where would you do? Switzerland. My cousin went a few years back and he met some of our relatives. And I loved the story of Heidi when I was a child. I just know I'd see her grandfather there.

14. What is your favorite brand of clothing? For slacks, Jones New York or Ann Klein because they're long enough. For most things, Eddie Bauer or LL Bean, that kind of thing.

15. Where would you retire to? That's easy - I retired right here, Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati. And thinking of that, I just heard fireworks - one of the Reds must have hit a home run. Hearing those fireworks is one of the reasons I like to live in this neighborhood.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Not Tonight

I thought sure I'd have something pretty to post tonight. One of my projects is . . . oh, so close. But just as I was (1) turning on the studio lights, and (2) musing on what to have for dinner, I got a call asking whether I'd forgotten the church Worship Committee meeting.

I hadn't actually forgotten it, just wrote it on my calendar for tomorrow night in the usual Wednesday slot. And now I do kind of remember the discussion six weeks ago to have it on Tuesday this time so we could do last-minute planning for the Maundy Thursday service without it being quite so last minute. What really stuck in my mind, though, was volunteering to make soup for the supper before the service and I have the ingredients for that.

So it was in the truck and across the Big Mac bridge for me and here I am, back just before bedtime, nibbling on cottage cheese and crackers and being happy that I can stay home tomorrow night. No project to show, though.

I wonder, do I need to ponder on my absent-mindedness, or as my sister would say, dreaminess? Or should I just write it off as one of the several such occurances this week. I think it's going to be the latter. Maybe a creative mind shouldn't be too precise anyway.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I worked Saturday and came home late and absolutely beat, so Steph drove the kids to my house so I could have a little recovery time. The little bit of time worked its magic, and Nora, Aaron, and I had a nice evening while the karoake birthday party went on at Mike and Steph's.

Aaron didn't want to go to sleep, so the evening went on into the night. He watched most of three movies with Nora and me in Nora's bedroom before finally crashing on Nora's bed. At around 10:30 p.m., Nora said she was hungry, so she and Aaron had little servings of UDF ice cream which luckily were in my freezer. Aaron's pajamas went home with chocolate ice cream stains, but, after all, he was at Gran B's. Once he finally went to sleep Nora and I had popcorn in bed, then she was off to sleep too.

When Steph came on Sunday, we went to the play area at Tower Park in Fort Thomas. The play area there is both spacious and well-equiped, with many slides and climbing features.

Today my long-time friend Leah and I went to PF Chang's at Rookwood.

I love their menu with choices of white or brown rice and steamed or stir-fried veggies. And the little pot of hot sauce.

I had thought of having lunch in Cincinnati after the Opening Day parade but it was a very cold and rainy day. The Opening Day news was almost eclipsed by the news that Xavier's coach is going to Arizona.

There were a few sewing projects, but nothing completed, so no pictures of those today. Time for basketball.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Steph's Birthday

Saturday was Steph's decade birthday, complete with a karaoke party, but Friday night was a small birthday celebration for Nora and Aaron. All the components were there - some excitement

smiles and the cake Nora ordered from Gran B - strawberry cake, pink icing, a strawberry on top, and five candles -

blowing out those candles -

a little sneaking -

and the concentration that birthday cake requires -

as well as a few presents.
Happy Birthday, Steph.
Just a note - Steph was born on Good Friday, but her birthday has never been on Good Friday. This year, six days apart, was closer than most.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 118

Here are this week's Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. Angel or not, I will soar. I've never liked it, though, when people call me an angel. It just doesn't seem to fit.

2. You can't have me any way you want me, but I might decide I want to do some of what you suggest. It's my decision, though.

3. As my mother used to say, you're full of hmmm, don't know, my mother wasn't much for phrases. My mother-in-law used to say the grandkids were full of beans when they were high energy.

4. I almost always feel really good after I'm done working out or doing something strenuous. Why, then, is it so hard to motivate myself to work out? There's got to be a lazy factor going on.

5. Even in the most crowded of rooms, there's room for a flower and hopefully for a friend.

6. A day when there's shooting in a place full of people is a day fraught with peril. And terror. Does it seem to be more and more common?

And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner with Steph's family for an early celebration of her birthday - her birthday is actually Saturday, but this is for the kids - Nora said she should have a strawberry cake with pink icing, a strawberry on top, and five candles, tomorrow my plans include having Nora and Aaron over at my house while there is a noisy karoke birthday party going on at theirs, and Sunday I want to help Sandra put the little jungle ruffle on her baby quilt.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Stole Finished

Tonight it's thundering and lightening and we're supposed to have thunderstorms all night. Ok with me, I love storms, especially spring storms.

The pastor at church was ordained a couple of months ago and one of the members asked if I'd make a stole. The red lining has little messages fused and zig zagged, attributres that members appreciate in the pastor.

I made the lining for that day and put off finishing the rest, first because members had a chance to add things for a couple of Sundays and then because I was a little puzzled about how to do the back. I didn't have a pattern, and the back needed a little tweaking. Sometimes when I'm not sure how to do something I have a tendency to put it off. Then the longer I put it off the bigger the project gets in my head.

I guess I shouldn't have waited so long because I forgot to mirror image one of the peace doves and when I finished the sewing and turned the stole inside out one of the doves was facing the outside. Good thing I had extra fabric to do another panel. The back part looks good, and now I have a pattern if I want to do another one.

I stopped at Steph and Mike's after running an errand near their neighborhood. Steph was watching the ER fanale and Nora was playing with her dolls, lining them up and covering them with a blanket.

I asked her if I could take a picture and she said she wanted to take a picture too. She got her mom's camera, and that four-year-old really can take pictures. Nice clear ones, and she knows how to set the camera to review them.

Aaron was outside when I came. I put him in my truck and he said, "I drive truck" and told me good-bye as he pretended to drive away. He loved the game and was most unhappy about having to give it up. He has perfected the limp body tantrum and it wasn't easy to get him in the house.

I love those kids.