Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Boo! Happy Halloween, everyone.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lone Zinnia

Last spring I planted zinnias in the back yard and as soon as they would get a little growth the deer would snack on them to about an inch from the ground. Eventually the zinnias and the deer gave up. Then Monday when I was mowing the yard (or, really, mulching the leaves) I spotted this one little zinnia in the bed. A resiliant little plant that started up again and again and made it through weeks of dry weather.

Also on Monday, I mailed this postcard to one of the people on my quilt guild's exchange. I can't remember why this piece of embroidery didn't work out, but it made a nice little postcard, dimensional where the quilted piece was attached. Some of the postcards I received in June represented work that others were currently doing, so I'm not the only one.

This morning I'm doing an embroidery with metallic thread. Not sure why I thought that was a good idea. The design is dense and there have been lots of starts and stops and a couple of broken needles. 42,000 of 50,000 stitches completed. I meant to do two of these, but I've reconsidered.

Monday, October 25, 2010

President's Challenge

This past weekend was my quilt guild's annual show at the Cincinnati Nature Center. As part of the show, the guild president issued a challenge last January that members make a quilt that was mounted on an 8" x 8" wrapped canvas.
Forty-some members participated and the little quilts were all hung together. It was amazing to look at the different ways the challenge was carried out.
The whole show was heart-zinging. I worked Sunday morning, which gave me lots of time to admire everything. And to resolve that next year I'll have something bigger than 8" x 8" in the show. The group's individual and collective talent is incredible. Sometimes I feel like I'm more of a watcher, although I do bring in things from time to time. But, next year, you'll see my quilt.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Play Area

I almost never go to the mall, but this week, I've been to two. This by itself doesn't mean that the economy is better because I spent $2.60 at Bath and Body Works, but last night I met Steph and the kids at the play area at Eastgate Mall.

It was fun to see how their gymnastic skills had improved, especially Nora's. She reminds me of a little gazelle.

By the end of the evening, there were few kids there and they could speed around the area. Aaron laughed and laughed. Surely only kids can laugh and run full speed at the same time.

Who knew that Aunt Annie's has a cup of little pretzel pieces, absolutely delicious. I go by Aunt Annie's on my way home from work, good thing I'm driving a coworker who probably wouldn't want to stop. I'm always a little envious when he walks in his door, I asked him once if dinner was ready when he came home and he said, yes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bird Series

Earlier this week I got the International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene magazine. Lots of pretty things to look at and some nice projects, some of which are quick to make. I was drawn to the Branch and Bird Mini Quilt Series by Candy Glendening.

I like birds and appreciated Candy's approach to drawing one, since drawing isn't my strong point. She says, "they're just 2 S-curved lines connected at both ends." Oh. My little bird quilt is 8" x 8" and there will be more.

From page 5, words I love, "If you can't make it to Houston in the fall, you might want to consider the new International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati . . ." Definitely on my radar.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Praying mantis - symbol of stillness and patience. Does not move until it is certain that movement is an appropriate action. A symbol of spirituality.

Identified by Nora on the sidewalk outside the mall.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Lego Store

After the zoo on Sunday, we stopped at a mall for a thing or two for Steph and lunch for the kids. We tried without success to find a play area, but on the way out spotted the next best thing, or maybe the BEST thing, the Lego Store.

After a little digging around in the wealth of Legos, Aaron wandered away to look at the displays and admired every single one, but Nora never left her spot, rarely even looked up.

I think she would have stayed all day absolutely focused. Aunt Sarah would be so proud. (Aunt Sarah still admires the boxes of Legos.)

And, thinking about Nora, Steph taught her how to braid so that she could make the hair braid for the Jessie costume. When I told her I didn't know she knew how to braid, she told me exactly how to do it, "Take one side, move it to the middle, pull it tight, take the other side, move it to the middle, pull it tight."

I'm grateful for (1) her wonderful mother who teaches her such things and (2) that she did not inherit my right/left confusion. I loved braiding once I learned it, but anything like that took a long time for me to learn. Still does.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nora's Faith in Me

I love Nora's faith in me. Yesterday she gave me a Toy Story book and said, "This will help you make the costumes." And she gave me a cow print bandana to work with too. I think she had complete faith that there would be costumes, that they would fit, and that they would look like they were supposed to.

And on this day, all of the above happened, although I did make a second vest for Aaron because the first try turned out too small.

There was no cow print fabric to be found, so I drew the spots on white duck with a jumbo black Sharpie. That was all the better anyway because the duck was sturdy enough that it didn't need a lining. The fringe on the chaps is white fleece.

Aaron's Woody shirt is dyed yellow with red fabric marker lines. The yellow on Nora's Jessie shirt came from fabric paint. Good times, and I especially love my serger this time of year.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Can Do It

A couple of times, when we talked about goals in my church Art and Spirituality Journey Group, I mentioned that I wanted a journal with pictures. A few weeks ago, I started with a ghost of what I wanted, with colored pencil pictures and a single word or two added. It was a start but nothing like what I wanted.

(Background: Thanks to my friend Jess I've journaled for years, on the computer, but what I wanted was something in addition to that, something I've seen in pictures and blogs, something PRETTY. Something to slow down with and enjoy.)
This morning I finally learned that if I use a fine point marker, and dip into the water color pencils, I can get what I want. Not as good as what I want, but I now know the basics. And if I have time today, I'll take the bus to the art store and get a journal with water color pages. I'm happy.
I'm also happy to be dyeing a white shirt yellow for Aaron's Woody costume and painting the yoke of Nora's white shirt yellow plus adding a yoke in the front for a Jessie costume.
After picking out the mis-alligned stitches on Nora's denim jacket, the dragonfly embroidered out cute as can be. It's supposed to be cutwork, but I made it into applique instead and added glitter paint. Dakota Cutwork Butterflies and More. I just may save it for her birthday in December. Or, not.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not Sure

Now that it's all said and done, I'm not even sure if I like this . . . but, it's done, and with the help of my friend, I have my forms turned in for the CQAFA Nature Center Show. Maybe there are too may raw edges, maybe it's not fancy enough, but the important thing for me was doing the challenge and putting it in the show. And putting it in a Bellevue gallery next. Figuring things out in my head.

Tonight I was ripping. I started an embroidery on a little girl's denim jacket, thought I had it centered right, and as it started to stitch, I realized that it was way crooked. Luckily it was a satin stitch and ripping was even possible. Ripping is always a little humbling.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Mother's Influence

Early this year, the president of my quilt guild put out a challenge to members to make a small quilt mounted on 8" x 8" wrap stretched canvas. I was indeed challenged and promptly bought several of the canvases on sale. I also started collecting strips of fabric, some with fringe-y edges, some with batting from where I squared quilt blocks, with sort of an idea in mind of how I might do this. Now here it is, the last few days before the show, and I'm just starting. Sigh. Luckily, 8" x 8" is pretty small.

I'm not going to say I procrastinated because I want to be kind to myself. I've done lots of other projects between when the challenge was issued and now.

I'm thinking about my mother as I make this for several reasons. Use of recycled fabrics. Bright colors. Angles. My mother was contemporary three decades ago. Sometimes I wonder whether Nancy Crow got inspiration from one of my mother's quilts.

There are some of my mother's fabrics in this little quilt, bits that I cut off her crazy quilt blocks when I squared them. Her hand stitches, going to a show at the Cincinnati Nature Center. I think she'd be delighted.

Differences, of course. I have raw edges everywhere, my mother precisely turned hers over. I use lots of machine quilting. My mother was a piecer, not a quilter. When she did need to hold things together, she knotted, in the old Mennonite quilting tradition. Usually, though, she incorporated the backing in the piecing. Batting. I use a thin batting, but my mother used heavy fabrics and didn't need a batting. I'm sure she never heard of the dual feed foot that's so dear to my heart.

So, I quilt and think of my mother. Add again as much quilting as in the picture. So much quilting that you'll notice that first, not the jumble of colors and textures.

I noticed a label on the back of one of my mother's quilts that said 1973. I'll put on one that says 2010.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Every month Husqvarna Viking puts a free embroidery design and project instructions on their website. This is my version of October's. Fun use of software, and I tried out Fusi-Boo batting, which is a blend of bamboo and rayon. Much softer and nicer behaved than fusible polyester battings, perfect for little projects.

This is my favorite time of October, when the weather is warm and the flowers, at least the ones that were watered, look spectacular. Precious, because we all know that they aren't going to last.

I got a new camera yesterday, so maybe I can quit whining (and I can take pictures at quilt guild tonight.) The new one is a Nikon and the good news is that I can upload my pictures without installing any new software. I was holding my breath. There's a new item in my USB hub, a card reader that hopefully will reduce wear from uploading from the camera. At least that's why the camera store clerk said. I'm not convinced yet. The new camera is heavier than my Sony that's in the shop, somewhere, and maybe that will translate to sturdier.

Earlier this morning I went to Hancock and got a full bolt of Warm 'n Natural for half off, plus my 10% coupon. I feel so weathy having a full bolt just waiting. For me, that's about a year's worth of quilting. And the savings was well over $100.

Target was right there, and I also got white shirts for Nora and Aaron's Halloween costumes, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story. One of these days there will be a new Target in my neighborhood, the outside looks about finished.

I'm making potato soup and baking sweet potatoes for sweet potato salad. Procrastinating, maybe, on starting my quilting project and mowing the yard. The grass hasn't grown in forever, but my hope is that if I mow a couple of times a week I may not have to rake leaves. Raking leaves rates way low with me.

My heart is feeling a little bruised after Sunday's Bengals and Reds performances. That's all I'm saying about that. There is no joy in Mudville.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Can You Imagine?

Can you imagine next spring, early spring, lettuce and radishes (I don't even like them, it's the principle) growing in the new extended part of my front yard garden? New, as in, put in yesterday. With a nice curve where the corner is - I didn't have enough dirt for that. When I get the bags of topsoil for the truck bed's winter weight, I'll get a couple of extra bags for the curve. Topsoil over cardboard, and by spring the grass should be gone and the planting can begin. There will be lots of good space that I started late this spring, too, that wasn't ready for summer planting. I hope I get ambitious enough to start some plants inside with grow lights, something I haven't done in this house. I haven't been happy with the selection of garden plants here. I want to start heirloom tomatoes again. And have rhubarb.

When I got the topsoil, I also got mums, pansies, and a couple of tiny plants of ornamental kale. I'm hoping that the pansies and kale will winter through. One of the mums went into the front porch planter with the Gerbena daisy. It seems that mums used to be more hearty than they are now. I can remember dividing them in my first house, and that was in Detroit. Every year they'd come back.

For Aaron, a vest with a robot from Dakota. There's a little guy on the front, too. Totally little boy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

For Sarah

Sarah and I were talking last night about the panarama feature on my camera, which she enjoyed using during our Smokies trip. She asked to see some of the pictures, and here they are.

The bottom picture is at Mt. LeConte just before we started down in the morning.

While the pictures look better on the computer just because they're bigger, I used the large photo option instead of the medium on the blog set-up and got this result.
Thanks, Sarah, for challenging me to use this feature. I have to try some video, too, with the zoom feature. It's so tempting to just point and shoot.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shaw Farms

I've been hearing that there is a shortage of pumpkins this year, but you couldn't tell it at Shaw Farms, not too far from where Steph lives. Lots of pumpkins in the field and lots for sale. And three that Nora and Steph got for getting to all the stations in the corn maize. Aaron and I were there too, but we wandered around, cutting through rows of corn, finding good walking "sticks," and picking up field corn and discussing that boys don't eat it. Aaron kept saying, "I like this place."

The kids loved the big John Deere and Aaron went back for extra tractor time. I was thinking that my dad would have loved seeing both kids enjoying that tractor.

We went for a ride on the horse-drawn wagon and Aaron petted one of the horses afterward. Predictably, Nora did not want to pet the horse. When I was small, we had horses on the farm and once I held the reins and drove the team and wagon home from a neighboring field. I wondered what would happen when we came to a crossroads but the team turned for home. I thought it was because I was a good driver. Must have been around 5.

Last night we watched The Great Pumpkin twice and there was discussion about finding the really big pumpkin.

Thanks to Steph for the pictures. I actually stopped to look at cameras on my way home today, looking for a basic digital that I can carry around and not worry about. Something under $100. What I learned is that there are certain things I want that aren't in that price range, like lithium batteries and the good lens. Anti-shake. Large screen. Hmmmm.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vintage Baby

Saturday morning sewing. I just finished these shower gifts - baby's name on the lace-collar sleeper and a stroller quilt made from a quilted pink and cream pillow sham and fleece. Hope the baby's mom likes the vintage baby look.

And, hemmed five pairs of pants for Nora. One for each day of the school week so she can continue kindergarden in style with the cooler weather.

I find that I often give sewing lessons to women who do a lot of mending/sewing for their grandchildren and children. It always strikes me that this is a nice role to play in a family and I'm glad it's my role. I'm marveling a little that the morning's sewing took an amazingly short period of time.

I had such a nice dinner last night at the home of church friends. Really delicious and attractive food with nice linens and a pretty house. Lots of candles. I want to do better in the home area. Better food. More attractive house. Graciousness.