Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Wallhanging

Finished a wall hanging (that's really straight, need to get a system for taking good pictures) using curved piecing. And I'm realizing that I need to do some dyeing before cold weather so I can get more bright "solid" fabrics for this kind of piecing.

Actually, I have a nice little stash of solids, but some really nice pieces I want to save for something more "special" than this experimental piecing. I think I got this from my mother and grandmother, this saving of things for "good." I try to be intentional about actually using my nice things, but there's just something that I have to get past every time. Shoes, jewelry, fabric . . . makes no difference.

I'm thinking that this afternoon I'll do some work in my front yard garden. Surprising that I'm not seeing pansies for sale at the grocery stores this year, guess I need to actually go to the greenhouse or a garden center. I'd love to find some ornamental kale too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Maybe I'll Try

The cockcomb are especially pretty in the garden this fall - maybe I'll try drying a couple. I have no idea what to expect, but I can always compost them if they don't dry prettily. Then next summer I'll have a lovely cockcomb bed in the compost pile.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big Day

Yesterday was a big day in the life of Nora, who wore her pretty new dress to school, saw the 3D Lion King (thumbs up,) and finally, finally, has not one but two loose teeth. She's been waiting and waiting for those loose teeth. Turns out they're the bottom ones, which wasn't what she was expecting, but she's happy none the less.

Monday, September 26, 2011


This year brought a Playscape area to the Cincinnati Nature Center. It's a great place for intuitive play,

for "pretend you're a troll under the bridge," "pretend we're building a house," "pretend you're camping in a tent and I came to visit,"

for imaginative, unstructured play,

for putting your feet in the stream and running through the grass, for looking at a wetland up close and understanding what that is.

There's a gentle reminder as you leave, that on the other 1,000 acres respect for nature is part of the visit, but in the Playscape things can be touched and manipulated to create whatever imaginary kid world is desired.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Piecing Curves

A couple of months ago I took a Kathy Loomis workshop about piecing curves. It was a great workshop, but I was especially hooked on her workshop from the day before, fine line piecing. Since then, I've done a lot of practicing on that and none on piecing curves.

Recently I picked up two Dianne Hire books (thanks, Lockharts, for the birthday Amazon birthday gift card) and yesterday I opened "Vivacious Curvy Quilts." Taking what Dianne says and building on Kathy's workshop, I get it. My curves are lovely and flat, and this is something that's never worked for me before this summer. And it's so easy. Who knew?

And, there's more. I've always appreciated the 1/4" piecing foot that came with my Viking Quilt Designer and never even tried the one that came with my Diamond. Until this week, when I temporarily misplaced the Quilt Designer one. And now, having finally tried it, I love the Diamond one, especially for 1/8" seams, which is what's used for curves. Happy Day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Miscellaneous

Thanks to Winnie for my new Arboretum tee shirt - I really love it.

I brought out my knitting the other night while watching a movie (Rosemary's Baby, from long ago.) I'd really, really like to learn to be a good knitter. Socks and granola kid hats. Not just scarves.

And, a tiny picture from Nora's Kids First teacher, from a summer field trip. I think it was taken outside the bus during a drizzle, and it was the day that Nora got her treasured yellow bracelet which allowed her to swim in the big pool, no longer restricted to the baby pool.

It was one of the highlights of her happy summer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Smoky Mountain Brewery

Lots of restaurants in Gatlinburg, many, many, but I have a couple of favorites. The Pancake Pantry, open 'til 2 p.m. And after that, Smoky Mountain Brewery.

I wish I'd taken a picture of the micro brew sampler we shared - it was the first time I'd tasted ALL the brews. And there was this delicious Margherita pizza, made with fresh mozerella, tomatoes, and basil.

Got to try that at home. The pizza, not the brews.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All About Aaron

One last birthday piece -

a Day Out with Thomas visit in Lebanon. Note: Nora is tall herself, but Aaron's catching up fast.

Aaron was absolutely enthralled all afternoon. Nora proclaimed herself bored, but said she was happy for her brother.

Posing with Sir Topham Hatt -

and a real train ride with a conductor to punch the ticket. The little guy so looks like his dad, but maybe he looks just a little like his mother too.

There were games, a bouncy house, a tent full of tracks and trains for playing, a kid-size straw maze, and prizes for visiting all the exhibits. A perfect afternoon for a four-year-old who wants to play with trains every single day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Elkmont Houses

Whenever we camp at Elkmont in the Smokies, there is always a hike or two to "the houses," summer homes built long ago, then acquired by the parks services with lifetime leases, the last of which ran out ten years ago.

Most have been sadly falling down and becoming more sad looking each year - until last year when renovations began on three, including this newly painted pink one with the chimney restored and the stone patio expanded over the Little River.

And one that housed the Appalachian Club, which started as a men's hunting club and where neighbors later came on Saturday nights. It has a gorgeous porch once again, with rocking chairs overlooking the woods.

If you want to know more, wikipedia has a nice history - google "Elkmont houses" to help find it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back Again

Back again from the Smokies -

four lovely nights camping,

and one cold, rainy night in a motel.

And yes, we loved town too,

Gatlinburg of course,

and Maggee Valley.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Done In No Time

Sun glasses case.

Lots of times I like to free motion quilt on a piece of fabric, then cut it up for camera cases or little purses or something similar. It seems to take a long time to do the quilting, then the construction goes together in no time at all.

Same with this - I spent what seemed like a very long time doing the fine line quilting on two 20" pieces, then the straight line quilting went by really quickly. And the construction? Done in no time. Can't wait to see what comes out of the rest of the pieces.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Repair Box

Sarah, your box of repairs is finished. What fun. You're going to have a whole weeks worth of "new" shorts. And Winnie will have three new table toppers. Love the hand-me-down pants for me, too. The blue/khaki ones are the nicest I've ever had.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aaron

Birthday crown, make by the beloved Ms. Judy at preschool.

Mini pillow pets for each kid. Nora has been longing for the ladybug and Aaron picked out the puppy during our shopping trip to Kroger. What is there about pillow pets that kids love so much?

From Aunt Tina: balloons to blow up with a straw, plus really comfie pajamas were a big hit. Mike and Tina could remember having those balloons when they were kids. From Mom and Dad: Thomas train cars, of course.

The party with friends is Saturday, with Grandma and Pap and Bridgie helping. I'm working so I'll miss this one. The party is at a park, so everyone is hoping for no rain.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

After All These Months

After all these months, the train quilt is finished, one day before Aaron's birthday.

In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best idea to use the dishcloths in the pretty colors for the train car backgrounds. I fused them on interfacing, which makes them kind of stiff and makes the quilt heavy. Or, maybe I should have just fused around the edges. The cloths make wonderful burp cloths, but for a whole quilt, not so much. The colors make a great background, though, and a four-year-old isn't a quilt judge.

Embroidered applique is
Anita Goodesign Baby Train.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tag Time

Time to put some tags on Aaron's birthday quilt before I put on the binding. Even though he's going to be four, he still likes his tags.

Last week we were playing some kind of game where he was covering me with a blanket. He asked, "Do you like tags?" When I said I did, he very nicely covered me with a tag within reach. Than he informed me that if I rubbed the tag it would feel hot.

What a great little guy.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Did You Ever?

Did you ever see a sweeter hide-and-seek face (hiding between the big roll of batting and the wall?)

Did you ever see more rapt concentration focused on ice balls?

Did you ever see a painted gas cap? It could start a trend, but probably not.

Since I've lived here, I've had the actual front and center WEBN fireworks experience, the front-but-slightly-off-center experience, the watching-from-the-hotel-balcony experience, the watching-on-tv-at-someone-else's-house experience. Last night was my first time watching at home on tv, with the front door open and the sound echoing from the river. Pretty cool. Next year I might invite some folks over.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Healing Quilt

The healing quilt is finished, and it looks pretty much like I wanted it to look,

watercolored and out of focus, dreamy.

Lots of things to look at, forty-eight, actually, since each block is unique. I'll keep it at church for awhile, then set in motion for it to go to a lady vet at Fort Thomas Rehab. I hope she finds peace and healing in it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Open House

Last night was Open House at Nora's school - school starts on Tuesday. Nora will be in first grade this year, first all day school for her since her kindergarten was just half days.

Her school was new last year and has lots of cool stuff. I love that her classroom has lots going on but isn't overwhelming. And that Nora, with her introverted heart, had a chance to quietly sit at her desk before the big day.

Aaron enjoyed himself, predictably going for the mechanical things in the classroom. He would have loved to have spent ages with the smart board, if we'd let him.

But since we didn't, the clock had to do. He loved the feature that showed the sun rising and setting.

What a difference from my first grade school, which was old, old even then. It was my first experience in a mixed-grade classroom, but certainly not my last. I always found it so hard to concentrate on my work when the older grade was doing their reading or math. I have no idea how many children were in my classroom, but it seemed like there were lots. Nora will have twenty-four, with a student teacher to help out.