Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Sunday

On the first Advent Sunday, the quilt was revealed, just a little.

I have four little thread baskets, ready for gifts. I enjoy collecting the threads and seeing what colors I've been working with. Looks like blue and dark pink are pretty constant themes.

The rain continues, lucky for us: (1) because we need it, and (2) it would be SO much snow.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanks for

Thanks for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, including turkey cooked by Steph and many sides and desserts from many folks.
Thanks for family creativity. "Mashed potatoes" = icing, "gravy" = caramel sauce, and "butter" = yellow Skittles.

And, thanks that little Aaron is suddenly potty trained. Wearing his big-boy underwear like a champ. "And then one day, in his own good time . . ." - ahhh, one of my fav children's books. Which is not to imply that he is a late bloomer. In fact, he's right on. I just like the phrase.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you love this day as much as I do.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It's been a long time since I've actually sewn anything, well, a garment, anyway, but Nora's birthday is coming and I wanted to make her a skirt. Not just any skirt, but one with tulle peeking out.

Back in the days of the back-to-school shopping, Nora wanted a skirt like that but her mother wisely decided that the tulle really wasn't practical to stand up to playground equipment and general play of a kindergarden-er. But, being Gran B, I tucked aside that desire of her heart, knowing that her birthday was approaching and knowing that grandmothers have special license when it comes to practicality. Besides, I got extra tulle and if accidents happen it will be easy to just do a quick replacement.

My hope is that I'll have the skirt far enough along tomorrow for a quick try-on since it's fitted around the top. The skirt won't be a surprise, but the tulle will be.

Last year Aunt Sharon gifted me with a lovely linen table cloth, hand embroidered (gasp!) I loved it and thought right away that this could be the tree skirt I've been wanting. And, a quick serge up the back has turned it into one. Aunt Sharon, I hope you're not dismayed - I really love it. Thanks for such a wonderful gift.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nora's Pictures

At the Nature Center on Sunday, Nora asked to take pictures with my camera. That little girl has the picture-taking down, and she did a great job.

It's unusual for me to post pictures of myself, just because I'm usually on the other side of the camera, but she took a couple of me.

You never know what will strike a five-year-old's fancy, and she asked for the camera again in the parking lot because she loved this tree. Maybe because the brown leaves haven't fallen off yet.

By the way, I know to take a day pack with me when hiking with little ones, but when I left in the morning I didn't realize we'd be going hiking. So, my hands are full of sippy cups, jackets, sticks, and usually, camera. Next time there will be a little planning.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Sunday - the quilt is hung for Advent. First hung (above) then covered with organza (below.) As the weeks progress, more of the quilt will be revealed until it will be completely uncovered on Christmas.

There was a Country Journal magazine in the box of the squares my mother made, March 1981. When Steph said it took 30 years to make that quilt, she was probably pretty close. I know my mother would be pleased that it's finished and hanging for Advent.
Steph had the bug that we've been passing around, so after putting up the quilt I picked up the kids and took them out. We started out at the Cincinnati Nature Center, which is a delightful place. It was a warm end-of-November afternoon, perfect for hiking. Usually on such a warm Sunday the overflow parking would be full, but probably people were working on holiday things and we could park close to the trails.
Aaron is carrying sticks, of course.

We left there and went to an indoor play center that has lots of what would usually be back yard play and climbing equipment, the wood kind. And lots of scooters and riding toys. Kid heaven for a couple of hours.
Just talked with Steph and she's feeling much better. This bug comes on fast but thankfully leaves quickly as well. Kind of like a concentrated mini-flu. Hope today goes well for her.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Things Can't Always Be the Same

I was thinking today about my maternal grandmother, Grandma Luginbuhl. She was blond, blue-eyed, and short, very different from the Habegger relations. Sometimes she'd comment that the Habegger's were so dark. True. Both sides of the family were Swiss, and Switzerland isn't a large country, but there were different genes for sure.

Sometimes I wonder what she would have thought of my daughters, who are tall and dark-eyed. I'm sure she'd have loved them greatly, but she would have been awed by their height and not surprised by their dark brown eyes. They don't fit in the "so dark" category, though.

But, I digress. The reason I was thinking of her as I drove down the hill to the grocery store in the early morning was because from time to time she'd say, "Things can't always be the same."

Today was the church Thanksgiving dinner and I signed up to bring rolls and pumpkin pie. Easy enough, but Friday and Saturday were busy days at work and I had no energy last night to bake. In other years I'd probably have baked anyway, energy or no. But this year I decided that Buskin makes wonderful pumpkin pie and everyone loves King's Hawaiian rolls, so why not just go with those. I love handmade anything, but, "Things can't always be the same."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cookie Dough

Tuesday it rained, finally, first time in weeks. I had to call my neighbor and ask him if he'd kick the leaves away from my driveway drain. Leaves on my drain = a wet basement. This morning I swept most of the leaves out of the driveway, so it can rain away.

Tonight I decided to bake some cookies to thank my neighbor and got out the frozen cookie dough from Nora's school. I had pictured little marbles of cookie dough, but it was a tub of dough. Very nice, but just not for tonight. I put in the refrigerator to thaw and turned off the oven. It's snickerdoodle dough, should be excellent when the time comes.

Following Steph's example, I have my tree up. Next step, to cut off the lights. A prelit tree sounded like such a nice thing several years ago, but as the strings stop lighting it isn't so nice. For some reason, the thought of going after it with the wire cutters sounds like a good project. And I got new strings of lights on sale.

I have the binding on my mother's crazy quilt, now just the hanging sleeve to sew on. Almost finished, and like Steph said, it only took 30 years. I'll take some pictures when it's hanging in the church.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So Deceptive

This little Martha Pullen work project looks so deceptively sweet and easy. In fact, it took me hours and a redo to get the little drawstring bag right.

I think I sort of knew this wouldn't go down easy and that's why I put it off 'til the last minute. I should have studied it just a little more because the first time around I got the embroidery upside down. I could have lived with that, though, if other things had gone right. In the same category, I made two extra buttonholes the first time around.
I learned that for embroidering and putting buttonholes on organza, Ultra Solvy is the stabilizer of choice. Just trim it closely and it will disappear just fine. I needed a special trip to the store to get a Dritz Mark B Gone with water soluble ink because my fine-point pen just wouldn't show up on the organza. With fourteen buttonholes to mark, I needed it to show up. My old faithful purple pen didn't work well either.
Then there was the invisible thread. I tried every trick I knew and never did get it to sew on organza the way I wanted it. I finally used bobbin thread in the needle and bobbin and it wasn't obtrusive and looked fine and was very easy to work with.
Starching the organza was a whole new adventure. Mary Ellen's Best Press worked lots better than the spray starch in a can. The second time around I kept unplugging the iron so it wouldn't get too hot as the layers of starch built up. Too much heat and it's very easy to melt a hole, especially on a crease. Enough said about that.
In retrospect, I wish I'd stitched the buttonholes in white instead of red because if one or two aren't perfectly straight it wouldn't be easy to see that. But with the gathers that becomes a non-issue anyway. And I'm ever so grateful for my machine's sensor buttonhole foot.
Now, I can go on to other things. I have a whole new skill set that one day I might be very happy to have.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Could Be

Could be that yesterday was the last really pretty fall day. And since it was November 13, and since I had the day off work, I'm ok with that.

The grands had a sleepover here Friday night and Saturday morning we headed to the park at the top of my street. There's no play equipment there, though, so five minutes of trying to catch leaves as they blew off trees was about enough.

We headed to the Fort Thomas park, which is always a hit. Aaron wore the shirt I got him for Christmas and couldn't resist putting on him early. It says, "Leader of the Pack," perfect for a little boy who insists several times a day, "I'm the leader."

Steph got there just as Aaron fell off a ladder and had a few tears. Perfect timing, Mom.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Totally Gets It

What joy to have a five-year-old grandgirl who totally gets it. Turn on the machine, thread in needle and bobbin, lower the pressure foot, needle in the fabric to pivot, change stitches here, step lightly on the foot pedal. And her foot reaches the foot pedal. I started her out with the pedal on a box but that wasn't necessary.

I got her this little machine at a yard sale, $10, nothing great but far better than the "toy" machines. Next time I'll introduce her to the joy of a top-drop bobbin and fancy stitches. For now, though, she's totally happy and so am I.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Advent Approaches

Advent approaches and I need a new church banner. Some months ago, I started putting together this crazy quilt from my mother. She did the squares and the beautiful handwork in them and I squared up the squares and pieced the top. Then I machine stitched in the ditches around the squares with a feather stitching. I remembered having quite a bit to finish, but it turns out that there is only the border on two sides to stitch. If I can get the binding on, all the better.

My plan is to have the quilt covered with red and gold organza on the Sunday before Advent, the 21st. Then, on each Advent Sunday I'll uncover more of it until the 26th, when it will be completely uncovered with the organza completely puddled under it. It should be very nicely visual.

My mother made squares for two quilts, completely from old neckties. Lots and lots of hand stitching. Then I speculate that she wasn't sure how to put it together. This is actually the second try for me - the first didn't work at all.

Just yesterday I got the new open toe attachment for the Viking interchangable dual feed foot. It should be just the thing for the feather stitching. I'd love to have the quilt hanging after the service on Sunday so it will be ready for the 21st, but if it takes longer, I can hang it before the service on the 28th. I can do this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Aaron's previous visit Family First Saturday at the Art Museum was not happily memorable, but on Saturday Steph decided to try it again. This visit was different. The little guy joined his sister in making an art project, listening to stories, and going on the scavenger hunt.
I'm sure he didn't know what his sister was writing on her paper, but he studiously copied her.
I was on my way home from work when Steph called to say that they were at Bridget's, which is on the way home from the museum and a few blocks from me. Life at Bridget's is wonderfully kid friendly. I found Aaron playing chess

and Nora hanging upside down from Bridget's lap.

There had been chicken nuggets and french fries and chocolate pudding. Cinnamon rolls. Sugar cubes here and there. Always good times at Bridget's.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gypsy Red

I did it - painted one living room wall and one dining room wall Gypsy Red. I meant to paint both rooms red when I moved in, but at the last minute, literally just before Mike was going to the paint store, I panicked. Went with a pale pink, and a pale immitation of what I wanted. Even now I'm dabbling, poking in one toe before stepping into the water. And so far I'm happy. The play of light on the red reflects off on the pink walls, making them look deeper and changing. Every time I glance at the red walls I'm not surprised because I've pictured them in my mind for so long. I have to admit that usually I add a little color saturation to my photos, but the above picture has no tweaking. I will try to get a better and less reflective photo later.

It's turned cold and my body is trying to adjust. Tomorrow, I promise, I'm going to bring a space heater to move between my upstairs office and studio, depending of which I'm in at the moment. And find the controls for my electric blanket, not to mention the blanket itself. My personal theory is that I grew up a little north of here, where there was an actual spring and fall. Here, it seems to just go from summer to winter and my thermostat can't quite keep up.

Which is maybe why I'm a little under the weather. I thought at first it was because of the paint, but it's lingering and today I had almost no voice. Unusual for me, I can't remember that ever happening before. The lucky thing is that whatever it is doesn't seem to make me sick, just congested.

Today at work, the radio was playing Christmas music. Horrible. I never like the work music, but this is worse than usual. Ugh. Of course, I'm also working on Christmas samples, like the quilted postcards below. I thought that postcards needed to be 4" x 6" or smaller, but I followed the directions for these larger one. They'll probably just need more postage than the usual 62 cents. Viking Embroidery Club.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Showing Up

On my list of promises to myself was having a couple of small things in my guild's show at a gallery in Bellevue. (The photo is the view of Mt. Adams from a gallery window.)

They're small things, but they're there. My President's Challenge, top right, below.
And my other piece, bottom right, below. I didn't make the new piece I wanted, so I chose this one from my Berea days. I didn't like it at the time, but it's grown on me.

Today, voting. Why, oh why, are the choices so bad? Where are the leaders? I'm very discouraged, but I'll show up.

And on my list today, continue painting two of my walls, one in the dining room and one in the living room. Red. I've been wanting this for so long, but I'm not an experienced painter. Once again, I'll show up. Feeling a little panic-y because there are so many other things I need to be doing, but I'll show up.