Friday, October 30, 2009

The Day-Before-Halloween Friday Fill-Ins

Friday Fill-Ins, on this day before Halloween.

1. It was a dark and stormy night, I'm going to say it was raining, not snowing. I'm not looking forward to driving in the snow. I'll need to put some weight in the back of my truck soon.

2. Everyone was really busy, so I offered to take the books myself. Or, maybe, the little old lady was having trouble getting to the library door, so I offered to take the books myself. Hope the old lady wasn't me.

3. Rushing out, I took a quick moment to admire the onions beside the edge of the flower bed. I planted them in the spring, they looked nice then, and now in fall they look pretty and green again. I'll probably dig them up soon.

4. What was that noise . . I think I heard a howl. I can't be sure, though. You hear all kinds of strange things on Halloween.

5. Shhh, listen, maybe that howl is actually a ghost. Maybe more than one. Here they come, around the corner, three of them, howling and floating along.

6. Trick or treat, give me something good to eat. Actually, I like something good to eat any day.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to stopping on the way home to pick up some soup and a sandwich, tomorrow my plans include passing out candy, and Sunday I want to start Nora's Wizzard to Oz quilt.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I've just got to start Nora's Wizzard of Oz quilt for her birthday. I meant to get the fabric yesterday but forgot it when I went to the store. I'm not sure what the right fabric will be - light blue, maybe. Maybe green for the Emerald City. Maybe both.

I did get muslin for dyeing fabric for the church Advent wallhanging. The Advent theme is Bursting In and Breaking Out. The Leader material suggests a "purple cloth in a path-like shape shape, leading upwards to hanging stars, sun, and moon." Before it gets too cold, I need to dye about ten feet of purple and some gold. If I just wash the muslin, I'll feel like I've started. I may look for an embroidery design for stars. I'm picturing some metallic quilting too.

Steph said that when she and Nora went to the library last night they found a book called "Nora's Room" about a little red-headed girl. Steph said Nora absolutely loves it, and I'm looking forward to having a look.

Cincinnati Public Libraries have a tax increase on the upcoming ballot and there have been some interesting letters to the editor about whether libraries should have popular DVD's, video games, etc. I can see both sides, no surprise there, but I'd weigh in on the "yes, they should" side. It seems to me that not all library items should be "serious stuff" or books. These things get checked out, which to me is an indication that people use them.

This morning I'm embroidering the Martha Pullen work sample for November. Because of the orientation of the embroidery on the hoop, I'm not exactly centered . . . hmm, we'll see how important that is. I threaded the serger for the edges - my co-worker can thread it so quickly and it seems as if my fingers are so slow. Got to keep telling myself that at least I can do it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Guild Quilt Show

I left my camera at Steph's last night while celebrating Aunt Tina's birthday, so most likely no pictures for awhile. I'm not sure I got any pictures that nicely captured the celebration anyway. It was the end of an exciting day for Nora and Aaron, with trick or treating at the zoo happening earlier in the day.

I volunteered to contribute scalloped potatoes and bread to the birthday meal but found out in the morning that I was scheduled to work at the boutique at my quilt guild's annual show at the Cincinnati Nature Center during the afternoon. Somehow I'd missed that information. So there were mashed potatoes from a box. I had no idea where the nature center was but found out that it isn't far from Steph's. It looks like a wonderful place - I'm going back for sure.

If I hadn't been working at the event I wouldn't have gone and would have missed out on a wonderful show. It's just three days and I was working during the first two. And between reading at church in the morning, joining friends for lunch, and going to Steph and Mike's in the evening, I would have declared the day full enough. As it was, I left right after church and got there just in time.

I really wish that (1) I'd taken some pictures. I left my camera in the car, thinking that pictures probably weren't permitted, which was incorrect. And (2) that I'd had a whole day in that room with just me and the quilts, no distractions, to just look and look. There were so many awesome quilts. So many good techniques.

Between the sunny autumn day and seeing many people heading for the hiking trails, some really nice handmade things in the Nature Center gift shop, and the quilt show itself, I feel like yesterday was a day that will provide a bookmark for days to come. Three of the guild members came over to me when I arrived and said they'd been wondering why I didn't have anything in the show. Next year, for sure.

Since I had many potatoes and all the other ingredients, I'm making scalloped potatoes and pork roast for Steph and Mike tonight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 147

Here are the Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. The crickets sing, they rub their wings, listen to the chorus.

2. I hope it's a satisfying day wherever you are. I hope you make something, even if it's just a scribble. I hope you walk, even if it's just through the grocery store. I hope you admire the fall weater, even if it's raining.

3. I want to get far away from the city. The beach would be preferable, at least two weeks' worth, but the mountains would do too, at least one week's worth. I enjoy living where I do, but a different space for awhile would be such a luxury.

4. I was riding a bus; the first part of it was a normal bus with seats in rows but in the back there was a room with easy chairs, carpeting, pillows, and a fireplace; this was a dream. Don't know what it all means, except maybe if I hadn't explored I never would have known that nice area existed.

5. But as for me, I want a peaceful life. I want to wear fleeces and jeans and thermal shirts as we go into cool weather. I want a few pieces of art-y jewelry. (But I want my nice sewing machines and the wonderful things that go with them.)

6. Things were a little chaotic in the home I come from. No doubt that's why my sister and I like uncluttered spaces. Doesn't always happen for me, but that's what I like.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to coming home from work and intentionally trying to take it easy and get over this annoying crud that's been with me this week, tomorrow my plans include a busy day at work, and Sunday I want to read Psalm 126 at church.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pajama Time

I absolutely love my library. It's close to home, they have lots of good magazines, and they'll bring books from the other two county libraries if I reserve them. And on Monday nights during the winter they have toddler pajama story time. The librarian reads a few books and then the kids do an art project. Monday night the theme was nursery rhymes and the art project was little boy blue come blow your horn, complete with those paper whistles that straighten out when you blow them.

After the story time Nora and I like to hang out a little and try out some puzzles, coloring pages, and the trains. And this time, Pretend. "Pretend you're the kid and I'm the mom and you can't reach a book and you call me to get it for you." And Nora would come with her face beaming and carrying one of those little round library step stools to help me out.

Another nice thing about the library is that it's just around the corner from Graeter's. I've learned from Steph to offer Nora just two choices, so I offered chocolate chip and blueberry pie. Nora predictably chose chocolate chip although she said she'd try blueberry pie next time. She always likes to do a little mixing with her chocolate chip and my raspberry sorbet.

Today I finished Aaron's scarecrow costume. Don't know about the hat, I decided to cut corners and get a premade witch hat at the $ store. They only had green, orange, and purple, no black. The saving grace is that it was spider webs on it, which is a nice tie-in to Nora's witch cape with spiders. Now we'll see if (1) it fits and (2) he'll wear it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sewing Machines

No pictures tonight since blogger isn't cooperative. That's ok, though, since you would have just seen a picture of a sewing machine once again. This time my Quilt Designer II, actually stitching a downloaded design.

Before today, I was limited to embroidering design collections already on d-cards, but now I have a d-card Reader/Writer and can download designs from CD's or the internet on my personal d-card. My Quilt Designer II doesn't have all the bells and whistles like my newer machine, but combined with my software it can do lots. Now I can embroider on two machines at once or keep on embroidering even though I'm using the newer machine for sewing. I feel like my world has opened up a little. And yes, I'm spoiled, I know that.

Ever since I got my first Singer at Sears in 1968, complete with zig zag as well as straight stitch, I've been lucky to have had nice sewing machines. That first Singer was $88, and I still remember buying it, as well as the machines that came afterward.

My single sewing machine regret is that I didn't get my mother's machine when she died. My brother offered it to me but I was in transition then and didn't want an older machine in a cabinet. Now I wish I had it so I could make quilts on her machine like she did. I do realize that I'm being nostalgic and wouldn't really be happy with the hard-to-manage tension and the front-loading bobbin.

Oh, and I do have another sewing machine regret. I wish I'd gotten better machines for my daughters. Lesson learned, perhaps, for when I get a machine for Nora, which I'd sure I will.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

What a treat for me to go with Steph and Nora to the Taft Theatre to see Beauty and the Beast. I can't remember ever reading it as a child so the story was new, if predictable, to me. It was wonderfully done with great costumes and dancing and the theatre is beautiful.
Here are Steph and Nora on their way to our balcony seats. Nora's pink coat courtesy of Aunt Sarah.
Waiting for the play to begin . . .

And a happy ending.
Thursday night Steph had a late meeting and Mike and I took the kids to CiCi's, another first for me. I can see why the kids are crazy about it, although Aaron did spot Chucky Cheese on the way and firmly said he wanted to go there. Afterwards we went to Sam's Club to pick up dog food and a few other items. The only time I go there is with Steph or Mike and I always enjoy the experience.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 146

Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. So are we going to see Beauty and the Beast tonight? Yes we are - at the Taft Theatre, Steph, Nora, 'n me.

2. The holidays are what's up ahead. What happened? In July it seemed so safe, like I could do a little holiday project here and a little one there. All of a sudden, it seems so late for doing those projects. Yikes. Last year I only got three ornaments on my tree. Surely I can do better this year.

3. I love to sew. Is anyone suprised? And I love to read, cook, hike, enjoy the grandkids.

4. I want to take a class or quilting retreat of some sort.

5. I walk a lot less than I'd like to, and I need to find time to build it into my day, but I'm not and I feel really bad about that.

6. Diet Coke is the true elixer of life. I wish I could just drink it all day.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm planning to see Beauty and the Beast (see # 1), tomorrow my plans include working, and Sunday I want to find the raffia for Aaron's scarescrow costume. And watch the Bengals. It's been so fun all week while they were # 1, but Sunday's a new game.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Witch's Cape

It's Halloween costume time and this afternoon I worked on a sheer black witch's cape complete with spiders. Notice that it's being done on the serger, and to my happiness, I totally get it.

At some point I need to run out and get a black ribbon for neckline and ties, but except for that, it's done. Easily and quickly. And I can see my way through the black tunic that goes underneath. If this were a finished garment, I would have done the neckline a little differently, but this is a costume and still so much nicer than a purchased one. The red at the bottom is a little quilt I forgot to take off the design wall - just ignore that.

Here's the witch, using a pumpkin pail as a hard hat and fixing things. Very sweet.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday night

I really should be working on the turkey crazy quilt, although I did do three blocks today. I need to have him ready by Tuesday and have nine blocks to go. By the way, those pieces of paper and fabric on the floor are waiting to be part of the turkey. There are six beige fabrics, six brown, three red, one black, one white. I need to keep them in order if the turkey is to look like it should.

Instead, though, I've been working on this table runner, made on the serger. It's quilt as you go and reversible, easy as can possibly be, but I'm still feeling very accomplished to have actually made something on the serger. Tomorrow it will get a binding (on the sewing machine.)

Besides, I'm baking cookies for my church's community meal on Tuesday and it was easy to put in a batch of cookies, then run upstairs and cut out and serge another strip of fabric. As an aside: I really did have a cookie life before I started using those pre-made marbles of cookie dough in the refrigerated food section but I can barely remember it now.

I was feeling pretty pleased that I was baking those cookies in a timely fashion and made a couple dozen extra besides when I remembered that tomorrow is church potluck. Sigh. I had a few minutes of feeling discouraged because I can't seem to get everything together but then I remembered that I have a couple of loaves of banana bread in the freezer. And a couple of those big cans of sweet potatoes that can easily be turned into something yummy in the morning with time to spare for making a couple of turkey blocks. Life is good again.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I needed a project for a piping foot class, and while I knew it was going to be a pillow I put it off since it sounded kind of boring. Then I saw this autumn fabric with pumpkins and changed my mind about boring.

One side has a dark brown background, the other has a light orange background, and the piping is made of the dark brown fabric. I'm happy.

The embroidered pumpkin design below is free on the Husqvarna Viking website. The project plan is for a purse, but I made this little wallhanging instead. Binding is purple, and I free-motioned the word "boo" here and there among the other free motion. There are also a few pumpkins and cats and a ghost.

It had been way too long since I did any free motion quilting and it was fun to sit down with it. I'd forgotten how long it takes, though, especially since I like a pretty tight design.

Now I'm off to check the first lesson of a new on-line class. I struggle with getting the lessons done in a timely fashion, but I really wanted to try with this one. We'll see - more on this later.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 145

Friday Fill-Ins are below - answers are in bold. If you have a blog, try them out.

1. Sweet dreams - I love them. Enjoy remembering them the next day. I wish I knew more about dreaming.

2. It's fun to have treats made especially for me (since I'm the one who ends up with them.) California rolls for dinner, Greater's strawberry sorbet, some kind of snack mix from the bins at the Fresh Market. Hmmmmm, my treats are all food related.

3. Silliness is something I don't do often now but remember doing as a child. Sticking my nose in the jar of freshly ground horseradish, eating snow, loving those kid jokes.

4. I'm going to decorate a little more this Halloween. I enjoy seeing houses with flashing pumpkins, autumn flags, even those blow-up yard decorations. I won't have any of those, but I do want more pumpkins, more mums, some pansies.

5. Outstanding or not, I like pizza. And there's a new pizza restaurant downtown that I want to try. But for lunch in a pinch, I get a frozen pizza at the dollar store and I like that too. For really good pizza, there's nothing like LaRosa's and Dewey's.

6. Some good sleep and maybe sweet dreams (see # 1) is what I want right now! When I was a young mother I never got enough sleep. Now I'm a live-alone grandmother and I still never get enough sleep. There is always something I want to do before bedtime or before work in the morning. And I really wouldn't want it any other way.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to maybe picking up a small pizza at that new pizza restaurant, tomorrow my plans include working then starting Nora's Halloween costume, and Sunday I want to watch those cardiac Bengals again. Bad as last Sunday was, I didn't learn my lesson. Every Sunday, there's fresh hope.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Movies Before Noon

Two great reasons to go to the movies before noon:
1. At the theater at Newport on the Levee, the before-noon price is $5.00.
2. There's almost no one there. When I went last week to see The Hangover, I was the only one at that showing. Time before that, there was one other woman, way up in front. I feel all luxurious, like I'm getting my own private showing. I love to go the movies by myself - I can just concentrate on the movie without sharing a thing, not popcorn, not thoughts, not space.
Of course, if you want to share a movie with me, I love that too.
The Hangover was great, by the way.

Monday, October 5, 2009


It's been awhile since I had some projects to show.

The beige linen napkins have a monogram above the bells, covered up because Christmas is coming and someone is going to have a nice present. Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Club 144. The table runner is a Martha Pullen project made with white linen.

The apron is made from a vintage pillow case with another pillow case used for the ties. The embroidery design is Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Club 144.

The casserole tote took forever but ended up kind of cute. Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Club 143.

All these are going to work for awhile, then coming back home. More projects to come.

I'm developing an appreciation for thrift store items that can be taken apart and made into something else. So fun. Today I found a black and white skirt with a few sequins that is sure to have a new life.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Family First Saturday

It had been way too long since I went to Family First Saturday with Steph and Nora at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The museum is one of my favorite places in town and they do a wonderful job with Family First Saturday. Stories, music, artists, art for kids. All too often, I'm working on the first Saturday of the month, and it's only September through May. I understand that Aaron went along in September but he didn't really appreciate the experience. Or, maybe he did but his family didn't appreciate his experience.

Steph very nicely dressed Nora in a dress I made for her.

I think that "making art" is Nora's favorite experience at First Saturday. The museum workers do a great job of choosing art to match the day's theme and finding creative things for kids. This time was "In the Round" and Nora is getting ready to wind yarn around a thick plastic bangle. This may have been a little hard for kids - all over the room were parents wrapping yarn around bangles. There were beads and big sequins to add.

Then there were collages to make on paper plates. I love the way Nora hums when she's happy and engaged, and she's humming here.

Some creative soul came up with the idea of letting kids pick a clear plastic cylinder with a lid and filling it with marbles, plastic shapes, yarn, etc., then

putting it on a platform above a beanbag and turning it to make a kalidoscope. Really fun.

When we got back to my house, Nora wanted to stay. We had pizza at LaRosa's and made a trip to Rempke to get juice, Pop Tarts, and Goldfish. She was so pleased with the little shoppping cart.

For me, a highlight of her stay was introducing her to the sewing machine I got her. I have no pictures, but I took the thread out of the machine and she sat on my lap and guided lines on paper under the needle while I pressed the pressure foot. I think that next time we'll use thread and fabric, still with me on the pressure foot. I've heard that sewing skips a generation, in which case, Nora's up.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 144

Friday, and the morning is rainy. Here are my Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. I have a history of procrastination. Not necessarily because I'm putting things off, more often because I'm thinking about how to proceed with something I'm unfamiliar with. Eventually even I get tired of processing information and just want it done.

2. How to achieve balance in all things is something I wish I knew.

3. I'm eating (or recently ate) nothing yet, although I'm drinking Diet Coke (are you surprised.?) Last night I had a quesadilla with a spinach tortilla and some kind of white cheese from my refrigerator and black olives. Come to think of it, there's one piece left. . .

4. I tend to eat junk food when I'm on the road. Good thing I'm not on the road all that often.

5. So that's it, that's all the natural/light beige linen Hancock had on three bolts last night, and I got all three pieces. I got to realizing it may not be available during the winter months. It was only about eight yards total and it was half off.

6. A little of something is better than nothing! I don't subscribe to the theory that a little of something (love, dessert, good times, etc.) will just make you realize how much you want it so it's better to ignore it.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm planning to do something relaxing (since I'm not working this weekend I'm thinking of it as kind of a retreat weekend,) tomorrow my plans include going to the Art Museum for Family Day, and Sunday I want to have all my work samples finished. And some time this weekend, I want to lay out another garden space for next year.

Happy Friday, everyone.