Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Camera - Again

I got a new camera on Thursday morning, and after a few pictures it didn't work any more by Thursday afternoon. The store exchanged it today, for which I'm grateful. I'm also grateful that it continued to act up in the camera store.
And so, some pictures - A very sleepy Nora and a very sleepy and a little under-the-weather Aaron, loving it up with Aunt Tina,

Nora and Pap,

and Grandma Janice looking through some pictures.

And in the background at my house, cheering for USA Team 1 winning the gold metal in their four-man bobsled.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Fill-In # 165

Ah, Friday, once again. Here are the Friday Fill-Ins.

1. A cup of tea makes my stomach sick, just the opposite of most people. The very thought of tea makes my stomach start to feel queasy.

2. Our own things make a place feel like home. I try to not be too materialistic, but there's nothing like my own familiar stuff.

3. Everything has its own beauty and its own detail. I need to practice actually looking, since I spend so much time in my head.

4. Who does not like the taste of strawberries. When I was little I loved them and I told my mother that one day when I was grown up I'd get a whole quart of strawberries just for myself. I still like them, but it's not easy to find the locally-grown ones.

5. Art makes me happy, happy, happy. Have you noticed?

6. LOL I just noticed I forgot to set the timer for the strusel bread I'm making. Hope I can remember to get it out in . . . 12 minutes.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm planning to babysit Nora and Aaron, been looking forward to that all week, tomorrow my plans include working and then a trip to Hobby Lobby, and Sunday I want to (well not really) take back the new camera I got yesterday because it isn't working. Sigh.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lovely Day

I had lots to do today: put together my Quilt Along With Melody Quilt, go to the bank, get my taxes done, apply for a Homestead Exemption, make chicken noodle soup for Steph's gang, do a load of wash, and grocery shop.

I started out with the quilt and the wash and the soup. Then, I decided to change my mind about the rest and go camera shopping, have lunch at Whole Foods, and go to the early spring show at Krohn Conservatory.

And that's what I did. I got a very sweet and very small camera, had a yummy lunch, and saw some welcome spring flowers. It was just me and the flowers - no one else was in that room.

It sounds like there was a lot of running around involved, but everything is within a few miles of each other.

And then, I still got everything else finished except for the Homestead exemption. Another day for that. And the quilt isn't totally pieced, there are still the rows to put together. But still . . .a lovely kind of day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quilted Bag

A work project with a few changes - a quilted bag. The designs are from the Viking Embroidery Club, but I changed the project from a sewing machine cover to a bag.

I'm just not into covering my sewing machines because I use them so much.

I'm finding that I'm not doing much embroidery these days, doing lots of quilting instead. I hadn't been using my "new" machine for much sewing, but that's changing. There are so many stitches and features, and the bed of the machine is so wonderfully large. I have one machine downstairs where I can spread quilts out on the dining room table and one upstairs for piecing and smaller items.

Different seasons, different things.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Differences at the Aquarium

Good choice on a February afternoon to go to the Newport Aquarium, where, as the commercial says, the temperature is always 76 degrees.

The kids know where everything is and what's coming next. Aaron's eager to touch something, anything, in the little pools,
but Nora wants to hurry on by so she won't be asked if she wants to touch something (no!) and heads for the theatre to see what's going on there.

Aaron wants a visit to the "scary shark cage"
while Nora doesn't want to go there but wants to ponder the comings and goings of the colorful fish.

Aaron asks to see the birds and held up a cup with nectar so he can get a bird to come up close and personal

but Nora wants nothing to do with the birds, doesn't even want to go the that section, and finds something else interesting.

That's why it's good to have at least two adults on the Aquarium visit, so both get to see and do what they like.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fill-In # 164

Friday Fill-Ins on this sunny but still cold morning.

1. Johnny Weir was mentioned in a Christian Science monitor blog that posed the question, "What if skaters wore uniforms like the rest of the athletes?"

2. I haven't watched nearly as much as I'd like of the 2010 Olympics. And it's so fun to watch.

3. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was overpowered by a flood of creativity and the risk was then to not remain tight in a bud.

4. Eat some dark, dark chocolate if you get an urge. REALLY dark chocolate.

5. Having sweet dreams is nice, but having really interesting, revealing dreams is better.

6. What does it take to finally make a hard decision? After all the thinking, is it one seemingly inconsequential thing that pushes us over? Something like in the Dr. Suess book Horton Hears a Who, "one small Yopp put it over."

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm planning to finally do a Michael's shopping trip, tomorrow my plans include making the "rough draft" of a church banner, and Sunday I want to watch some Olympics.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Look Up

I need to remember, when I open the front door these February mornings, to look up at the icicles and be prepared to stand back as the door hits them instead of looking down to see how much new snow the door is sweeping back. I woke this morning to the sound of my neighbor's blower and knew that there would be a little shoveling again this morning. Maybe just half an inch.

I added the trees to the quilt last night. I started out with many more than this, realized I had far too many, and took some out. There's a trip to the art store sometime soon to get some light brown ink to tone them down a little, but painting on the ink is easy.

I'm going to put on the batting and backing before stitching down the trees and river rocks. This will add a little more dimension and I want the quilting to be mostly finished once all the toppings are on. I love this stage, when each addition makes a big difference in the way the quilt looks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Water Features

Helen's quilt progresses, and the water is now finished. Water as in mountain stream and pooled area for fishing.

Next will come the background trees, which I've been looking forward to doing since the beginning, primarily I knew exactly how to do them.

Because of all the snow yesterday, I don't have to go into work until noon. There should be a tree or two on the quilt this morning!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Quilting Along With Melody Blocks

I think this is the fifteenth and final day for Quilting Along With Melody. I did in fact make fifteen blocks, actually nineteen so it would come out right. And somewhere along the way I had to move from the design wall to the floor to get enough room.
I decided to put the blocks on point just because that's something I've never done. Some day soon I'll find a lively fabric for the edge triangles and piece everything together. The plan is still to put it behind my desk, long way, for some color and a bulletin board.
This has been fun, really fun, and part of the fun was doing a more traditional style of quilting for a change, at least as much as these colors could be called traditional. It's been fun to see it take shape and now it's fun to see that there is something that wasn't there before. Part of the deal, which I don't think I mentioned, was that we weren't supposed to buy anything. Hmmm, guess I'll have to see if I have a piece large enough and lively enough for those edge triangles.
For now, off to shovel for the third time today. The first time was the hardest, the last was the easiest. I just know I can't wait 'til the end when it's really heavy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.
My gutters are looking really sad. Did this happen because I didn't clean them out in the fall? Or because my roof is so steep? Or some other reason?

My last house was so easy. I could just go out the bedroom window onto the porch roof and clean out the front gutters, then climb over to the back. Easy, and not dangerous. With this house, I don't even have a ladder tall enough for this particular section.

More snow still predicted for tonight. Goodness. But - two weeks from today will be the last day in February. Still haven't placed my seed order.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Fill-In # 163

Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. Pickles are spicy; pickles are sweet. I like the sweet bread and butter pickles but since I'm cutting back on sugar I'm trying to love the dills.

2. I'll be at home watching the Winter Olympics during the coming days. The winter games are my favorites.

3. The snow is expected continue with more on Sunday night. I'm glad I don't work on Monday.

4. There are beautiful things everywhere in nature. Joy and creation continue.

5. It's 5:16 p.m; that means that there are just 44 minutes until the work day is over and it's time to go home. I love the time of day when my truck turns north on Dixie Highway. I love it even more now that it's still light outside at 6 p.m.

6. A bakery still open at 6 p.m. is hard to find. Panera is as close as it gets. I enjoy Panera but sometimes I'd like some fresh Emerson's bread. Servati's is still open but their cases are pretty empty.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the Opening Ceremony and doing the water features on Helen's quilt, tomorrow my plans include working, then finishing a banner to hang on Sunday, and Sunday I want to see Nora and Aaron and hear about their school Valentine party.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Day

I got up this morning and was shoveling by 6:30, determined to go to work. By 7:30, on the second go-round, I realized it was a lost cause getting off my hill today.

I shoveled a couple more times and the neighbors helped too, and for now things are clear. It's supposed to snow a little more tonight, but a little snow means only a little shoveling.

Around noon the snowflakes were huge - they looked about the size of nickels.

Can't believe I spent almost the whole day making a quilted bag - pictures soon. I got a DVD at the Arts Weekend, Pearl Diver, and I'm off to watch it now.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Yesterday and today I worked on the pathway on Helen's quilt. I've know all along that the pathway would be significant, both in the composition and the time required. On the right side of the quilt will be lots of bare trees, or almost bare trees, and there are leaves on the pathway.

I'm still not happy with the shape of the pathway, but it will be lined with bushes in front so it will smooth out.

The leaves are lots of little pieces cut with the rotary cutter and held down with fine netting and machine quilting.

Helen, we're getting there.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Don't Know Where It's Going

Day six of Quilt Along With Melody.

Some of the participants have lots of blocks and Melody has an entire quilt top, but I'm happy with my six blocks. Especially since six blocks cut into fourths makes 24 blocks.

I don't know where my quilt is going, except that I'm sure it will have a different arrangement than this. (OK, I do know that block two, row two, has the wrong orientation.) Some quilters have put their blocks on point and I like that look - we'll see.

Even though I don't know where it is going, I do know WHERE it is going. Behind my desk in my office. I look at a beige wall and I want to look at color. I'm picturing this quilt, maybe four feet by eight feet, filling up the space behind the desk. Maybe with a new desk lamp.

I've been pretty quiet about New Year's Resolutions this year, thinking them through as the year begins. One I'm sure of is that by year's end I want more color in my house. More color in every room. I work with color every day but have little color surrounding me. I'm ready for that now.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Fill-In # 162

Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. I know that I planned and planned and looked forward to going to Mennonite Arts Weekend tonight, and it isn't snowing as much as predicted, but I'm going to skip tonight's session and see how it looks in the morning. I feel like such a chicken - my cousin's on his way from Northern Ohio, through the snow.

2. I don't know which is the longest month. I'm pretty sure it isn't February. I'd give February points for being the dreariest month, though.

3. You can't help but be happy when Super Bowl Sunday's coming up. A good game, a good food day, a good winter break, if only for a couple of hours.

4. Ordering from the seed catalogs: bring it on! Think I'll be doing some looking this weekend and some ordering early next week. One nice thing: I've been growing some good heirlooms that reseed and since they aren't hybrids they're pretty reliable. A little yellow one and a big purple one.

5. Where have you looked for a good cell phone? I'm ready to upgrade but the list of phones is so confusing. I love the little Sony camera phone but it doesn't get good reviews for battery time, which is one of my criteria.

6. I wonder what special Graeter's flavor is now available. Graeter's has wonderful ice cream - did you know that they pour chocolate syrup into vanilla ice cream for their chocolate chip flavors? That's why the chocolate is so irregularly shaped. Sometimes you find a huge delicious piece.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm going to spend an unexpected night at home working on Helen's quilt, tomorrow my plans include making it to the Arts Weekend, and Sunday I want to watch the Super Bowl, maybe babysitting Nora 'n Aaron.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Quick Dashes

A quick dash across the river to put my quilt in place -

followed by a quick dash to Kroger's on the way home for a few things. I made a grilled cheese sandwich when I got home and realized that I was now out of margarine. Another day for that.

And goodness, I'm sleepy. Crazy sleepy. I had plans for watching "Cincinnati's Abandoned Subway" on KET at 10 tonight, but that's not gonna happen. Good thing I made today's quilt block this morning.

Bad weather coming, it looks like. I've avoided the tv news because I know there is so much hype and I don't want to see it. I got an email saying that Mennonite Arts Weekend is still on. I've been looking forward to it ever since the last one two years ago and I'll be so disappointed if I can't get there. And if others can't get there.

The electric blanket is calling me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


After free-motion quilting for the past three days, I'm finished with this piece. Tomorrow night it will go to Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church on Montomery Road where it will live on the communion table during Mennonite Arts Weekend.

I'm not sure how large the table is, but I anticipate draping the piece over the table. Under the sheer area I've left the batting loose so I can drape it higher and get more of a feeling of motion, maybe like below.

We'll know tomorrow night. There is free motion quilting over the middle of the purple area with the areas around the edges unquilted. Maybe one day, when this is a wall hanging, I'll free motion all the way to the edges and add a sheer border. For now, though, it's finished.

The quilting thread is a Maxi-Lock Swirl, usually used in sergers. It's not a smooth thread so it gives lots of texture and the color changes every few inches. I'm wondering what my bobbin case will look like - it probably will need a good cleaning.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lighting a Candle

On Sunday night, one of my friends mentioned lighting a candle and meditating before she starts her sewing. I had never thought of that, it just hadn't occurred to me.

I know that creative quilting is different in feel than utilitarian sewing, for example making the pillow I showed a couple of days ago. I know that when I make a church banner I'm in a different groove than when I make, for example, a block like I showed yesterday.

I think of creating as spiritual but hadn't thought to introduce deliberate spiritual invitation before beginning my work. I like the idea, like it a lot. Just a few words from someone else changed my pattern of work. And the pattern of my utilitarian sewing and plain block quilting.

Good thing I have lots of candles.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thanks, Melody

I'm sure there are lots of us who faithfully read Melody's blog fibermania. Melody is a wonderful quilter and is so generous in sharing lessons about quilting and dyeing and knitting. For February, she has started Quilting Along With Melody, an opportunity to quilt along her using one common block that can be cut (or not) and which uses only fabrics on hand.

Of course I want to quilt along, so I'm committing myself to one block per day. Melody and probably others are already far along with many blocks, but I'll be happy with just one each day. My middle block (the dark green in this case) will come from my scrap basket - it's just a 4 1/2"square so it will be easy to fine something in the basket. All the next strips will be a red since I love red and have lots in my stash. My outer strips will be a color that compliments the inner color. My results will be pretty scrappy, which is just fine with me.

My first block is above - it's cut into four pieces but those aren't sewn together yet, which is why it looks a little crooked. Who knows, I might want to arrange it differently - I already have once.

Thanks to Melody for coming up with this idea. I've been looking for a gentle challenge, realizing that I have lots going on, and this will be perfect for me.