Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pin the Tail

Barb, from a small group that I love, passed out little plastic rods at the last meeting and challenged us to use them in a quilt. Here's mine, with inspiration from Dianne Hire's Quilters Playtime, Pin the Tail on the Donkey section. I love Dianne's book and am ready to go on to the next section, Musical Chairs.

I'm feeling really accomplished today because I replaced the belt on my vacuum. No big deal, I know, but I'd never done it before. I looked on the Bissell website and there was a video - only a minute and a half so I knew this wasn't going to be as big a deal as I thought it might be.

My Berea friends are facebooking about snow - haven't seen any here yet, we're still in the 40's.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Self Portrait

At a lovely Sunday afternoon gathering with Helen, Bridget, Steph, and spouses, Nora picked up my camera and took some pictures. Most of them were typical kid pictures, but I found this in the mix . . . Good job, Nora.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Banner

At my Mennonite church, suggestions for Advent visuals are published in The Leader:

This season's theme, "Awesome Deeds We Do Not Expect" invites us to find concrete ways of welcoming the unexpected. The theme for the season is visually represented by the flower growing through the crack in the concrete. Something beautiful and awesome (flower) emerges unexpectedly in a very ordinary way (growth) and yet in an uncommon place (crack in the concrete.) In the same way, the beauty of Advent breaks through unexpectedly through the common "concrete" of our ordinary lives to represent the awesome beauty of hope in the birth of Christ.

When I worked with this, I chose a pine sapling instead of a flower since it's the Christmas season.

I did minimal quilting on this, since it is viewed at a distance, but . . . I think that when it comes back to me, it will get quite a bit more quilting.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Own Matinee

Steph and Nora went to see Wicked on the day after Thanksgiving, so Aaron and I had our own downtown experience, starting with a trolley ride across the river. We learned from the driver that (1) the shuttle service now uses trolleys rather than busses because of weight restrictions on the Roebling Bridge and that (2) there are no longer as many downtown stops because the trolleys weren't able to stay on an every-fifteen-minutes schedule with all the stops.

We admired the skaters on Fountain Square and wondered whether Aunt Sarah might take him skating when she comes

and had the usual stop at Graeter's. This guy is a traditionalist, never wants the ice cream, always goes for the baked goods. And the chocolate milk.

At the Westin, we admired the tree and rode the long escalators.
The tree didn't get as much attention as the sparkly, fake snow.

We went to the top of Carew Tower, but Aaron didn't like the windy view and that visit was very short, like a minute and a half. The elevator rides got high marks, though, as well as the view from the 45th floor, inside. The skywalk between Macy's and the Carew Tower was a great spot, and we spent a long time looking at vehicles coming up on one side and out the other, sometimes stopping for the traffic light.

Aaron asked a couple of times to go to see the trains, but they have moved from the Duke Building to the Museum Center. I'm sure there will be other afternoons for that.
He is a great little tourist, remembering other visits and absolutely loving "downtown."

On the way home, he requested a stop at the library so of course we did that too. Great afternoon after Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks, Steph

Thanks, Steph. It was a lovely Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

And, if you haven't clicked on the body of the google turkey, it's time to do that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanks, Sarah

Thanks, Sarah, for the sweet plant.

If you're thinking about Thanksgiving cooking, or anytime cooking, google "A Year of Slow Cooking." I'm late coming on to the site, despite the urgings of several of my friends. And in fact, my crock pots tend to sit for months at a time, unused. I'm determined to change that, though, since I really need to cook more and better. For Thanksgiving, I'll be making the mashed potatoes recipe. So happy that my newest crockpot has a "warm" setting. How great is that?

And thinking of good stuff, I stumbled on the Private Selection edemame at Kroger yesterday when I was looking for frozen corn (for the crock pot creamed corn.) It's positively yummy, like all the Private Selection brands I've tried.

Years ago, my mother tried to make us eat soybeans from the field, and brats that we were, we wouldn't touch them. I really, really don't think they were anything like these.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Loving IKEA

Not every week, or month, or even every year, I love a trip to IKEA.

You just never know what you'll find in a bin there.

I really loved this kitchen,

guess it sort of reminded me of mine.

The excuse for the trip was to get some inexpensive flower pots, and I actually got what I went for. And other stuff too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here We Go Again

So very recently, July 29 to be exact, I bought a new iron for my studio. And yesterday, when I was pressing this block, the iron suddenly started to scorch the fabric and smoke started pouring out of the iron. This morning, it wouldn't heat at all.

So once again, I have a new iron. I know I'm rough on irons in that I have them on for hours at a time, sometimes, but a lifetime of four months? That's crazy - it's not like I buy the cheapest one. Quite fortunately, I have the sales slip and original box from the July iron and have started the warranty process, but I just can't do without an iron. Besides, in some perverse way, I think that the fact that there is another iron waiting will make my new iron last for years.

As for the quilt block, the scorch marks are actually kind of nice for what I'm doing, so there's nothing lost there. Could have been a lot worse.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Miscellaneous

Ah, Nora, with a very sore toe. She and I went to Target and got a pair of fur-lined clogs so that she'd have something to wear that would accomodate the swelling. Very cute shoes, from the slipper department but with suede uppers and a regular shoe bottom. And, by last night she was getting around much better. Kids are amazing.

Just started work on an Advent worship banner. Obviously I need to work quickly. Basically, the idea (from the worship material) is to have what looks like a sappling growing out of a crack in concrete. I'm not sure yet just how to do the sappling, but I have a good start on the "concrete" with the crack. I think that the sappling will be pine, because, after all, it's for Advent.

So grateful for the rain, and so grateful that it's not snow. It is the middle of November after all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Front Only

Just finished this quilt, but we can only admire the front for now. The back is pretty nice too, but to look at it would be to give someone's surprise away. That's all I'm saying.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Best Boy

On Saturday, my best boy and I spent the afternoon together. His first request was to sew, so we made a sweet tiny Christmas quilt with Santa and John Deere's on the back. His second was to go to the library, so we did that too. Got to do that one now, since in a couple of weeks my library will be closed for a whole month for renovations.

Then we played on my back porch, which he always enjoys, and took a walk to the park at the end of the street. Not much of a park, really, but he has the most fun walking on the curb on the way up, pretending that there is water on one side and "poison idy" on the other. Danger on both sides. He took the precious quilt with him.

On the way back we admired these fake deer in someone's yard. My neighbors say that there is a huge buck that is coming down from the park at night, but I haven't seen it yet.

I thought Aaron might want to go out of eat, or at least pick up a Happy Meal, but no, he wanted to "cook at home." I made grilled cheese but what he really enjoyed was peanut butter on whole wheat crackers. Nora loves those too. Got to remember to get their mom a box of those crackers.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Yes, It Is

Yes, it is, at least I think so, my last rose of summer.

And yes, it is kind of blurry because it's a very breezy Saturday morning.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quilt As Desired

About seven years ago, I took an online piecing class. The finished project was a Christmas tree made from lots of little blocks. Very nice, and I learned what I was supposed to, but I got to the end, "quilt as desired," and I was stuck. There was so much white surrounding the tree and I just didn't know how to quilt it. I still don't, actually. Into the box it went.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I found the tree in the box once again and decided to go with my usual mode: when I don't know what to do, I cut. I cut from the top and bottom, then sliced again, and had the beginnings of some nice gift-y Christmas potholders.

Then someone suggested that I use the middle section as a table runner. She said, rightly so, that it still said "tree" without the whole tree being there. She was so right - I love the new table runner. Merry Christmas to me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Riding on the Duck

Steph asked whether Nora was scared riding the Duck. That would be a "no." She wanted her own seat, which was fine since there were only three families. We learned that the Duck wheels don't retract when it goes in the water. Interesting. We cruised by the Great American Ball Park,

the beautiful mansions in Covington, (Nora listened carefully when the guide talked about how the Boy Scout founder used to live in one. She may have been hoping for a mention of the Girl Scouts too. I told her that when her mom and dad got married they had their wedding pictures taken there.)

the blue and white Ascent in Covington, (some people like it, some don't.)

and we went under the Roebling Bridge, usually known to Nora as the Singing Bridge.

We learned that the new building with the tiara (right) isn't actually as high as the older Carew Tower (left) even though it has more floors. The Carew Tower is on a higher elevation.

Today it's windy and chilly - hard to believe that two days ago we had this adventure.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Election Day

Nora was out of school for election day, and we got to spend the day together. (Side note: the school levy in her district didn't pass, and the vote wasn't even particularly close. Ugh.)

While I was working with my current project, she spent some time admiring scraps and threads and ended up choosing the threads she liked to go with some sew-off squares. I need to make something for her with those.

After we voted (she put the ballot in the machine) we headed down to Newport on the Levee for some lunch at Tom and Chee.

She wanted the grilled cheese salad with grilled cheese croutons. For myself, I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich with potato chips in it, just because I was curious and because I thought a child might be intrigued. Nope. She wasn't a bit interested, but loved her salad. That's my girl.

We went to Barnes and Noble and got a book - a Sponge Bob Squarepants book, to the dismay of her mom. We read it while waiting for the Duck. The Duck was her choice over the Aquarium - pictures later. Good choice, who would have believed that we could have such lovely Duck weather on November 8. We can always go to the Aquarium during the winter.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chasing Leaves

Raking leaves just isn't my thing, I really dislike it. So, I try really hard to keep mulching them with my lawn mower. I was so pleased to get the job done before it started to rain this week. So dismayed after the rain to find a new batch of leaves, even more than before.

So happy now that I think that the worst is over. Another "mowing" tomorrow and then one more in a week or so should get it. A few more sweepings of my downward sloping driveway that collects my neighbor's oak leaves should take care of that too. And I love the leaf vacuum truck that goes through the neighborhood and sucks up the leaves left on the curb.

With all those leaves almost taken care of, it feels like Thanksgiving is truly almost here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Reader Rabbit

Last night Nora had a Daisy meeting at their library. In last year's routine, her mom would entertain Aaron during the meetings by letting him use the Reader Rabbit module on the computer, which he absolutely loves. This year, though, she's helping with the meetings.

So, I got the joy of meeting Aaron for his computer session. So fun to sit with the little guy, normally a talking, jumping typical boy, while he sat quietly, absolutely absorbed.

His mom commented the other day that in past years kids liked the "toy" laptops with various add-on programs. Now with iPAD's and smaller laptops, the kids want to use the real thing and the toys don't interest them. Aaron mentioned that he didn't want to try a certain module because he'd used that one at "school" yesterday.

As a result of last night's library session, I have a new Cincinnati Public Library card. I wonder
what goodies that will bring. I've heard that they have check-outs for books for Kindles and similar devices. And a huge wonderful library downtown, one of the nation's busiest.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baby Christmas

This is my premmie Christmas quilt, due in November. The instructions were that the quilt could be any design, as long as it was made with Christmas fabric.

This isn't any particular design, just something I made up that would (1) piece quickly, and (2) be nice and scrappy. Thanks to Carrye for sharing her Christmas scraps with me.

This went really quickly because when I was reserving books at the local library I accidentally ordered one in "audio book" form. I love this, it's perfect for listening while I quilt. And the book, "The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks, is engaging while not requiring a lot of thought. Not to mention, I suspect that the waiting list for the actual book is much longer than the audio version.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kings Island

When Kings Island was just new, I pictured an amusement park on an Ohio River Island. Of course, it would just never fit.

Grandma Janice and Pap met us there on Sunday. It was my first visit in twenty-five years, probably, and I wonder why I stayed away so long. The Beast is still around, and I rode that, as well as a fun newer coaster, the Diamondback. High and fast and smooth, fabulous.

I got a pass for next season, which included Sunday's visit, and am looking forward to fun and riding all next year.

Note: Nora's snazzy hat is courtesy of Aunts Sarah and Winnie. Aaron has an equally awesome one with skulls, but it was off his head in his picture.