Sunday, September 30, 2012


Aaron, teaching me to play a game on the iPad

Shoes of kids already in the hampster balls at Newport on the Levee

I only wish I had a picture of Aaron with needle and thread helping me mend his toy tiger.  He said he was surprised that we used that tool, although he couldn't figure out how we'd do it on the sewing machine.  That little guy is going to be an engineer.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cincinnati River Swim

Sunday morning, with the temperature around 44 degrees, some brave souls swam across the Ohio River and back.  One of my young friends was doing the swim, and I went to take pictures for her.  There was quite a bit of fog coming off the river, and the race was delayed a little to give the fog a chance to clear out.  Then the swimmers assembled on the Cincinnati side of the river and kyakers and a Coast Guard boat took their places in the water.

The fastest swimmer finished in about 13 minutes and the slowest took about an hour.  I was watching someone at the very back of the pack who was doing an inverted breast stroke, consequently making slow progress - I hope that person was able to finish.  I always root for the turtle.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Casey at the Bat

"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;"
And somewhere is in Cincinnati, where the Reds won the division championship this evening.
The part in quotations is from Ernest Thayer's Casey at the Bat.  I was disappointed at the brief fireworks at the end of the game, but then the REAL fireworks started.  A very good evening here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Makes Me Happy

For a group I've joined this month, I needed to take a picture of something that makes me happy.  This little frog always does - but since she does, why does she live behind my computer screen?  So today I've moved her out.

I've been thinking about a trip to IKEA to find something sort of nice for storing my art supplies.  I don't even know where they all are, and that makes me sad.

But back to the group - at first I thought that maybe I'd do the exercises but not post anything.  Then I really wanted to post this picture, so I figured out pretty painlessly how to do that on the flickr account.  That makes me happy too. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I know I've said it before, but I am so drawn to the once-upon-a-time vacation houses in Elkmont,

 on the Little River, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,

 close to what is now Elkmont Campground.

Families were allowed to keep the houses until the 90's, when they became park property and were pretty much ignored after that.  A couple of the properties have been repaired,

but the others are slowly being reclaimed by the forest.  Every camping trip I go to look at them, and every time they are more dilapidated than the time before.  Before too long, the houses and their stories will be gone.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Little Date

On Sunday afternoon Steph took Nora and a friend to the Children's Museum, while Aaron and I had a little date.  An Only Child afternoon.  We did the favorites at Newport on the Levee, including the much loved hampster balls.  And then we took the trolley to Cincinnati.
Ice cream.  No hesitation for Aaron when it comes it picking out his flavor.  This time it was vanilla ice cream with m&m's.  In a cup with a cone on the side.  The kid knows what he wants.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Other Pictures

At Alum Cave Bluffs - how many pairs of hiking boots made the patterns?

A LeConte bucket for getting water for washing up.  There is a spigot outside the kitchen for hot water and a pump for cold.

Cups for coffee and hot chocolate - we decided that surely the ash trays are for matches used to light the kerosene lamps.

 Water bottles filled for the hike down.

Sign at the trailhead.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Capital Letters

In capital letters for me is the hike to Mt. LeConte in the Smoky Mountains and the overnight stay.  I look forward to it, wonder if I can make it, love the stay at the lodge, the highest guest lodge in the eastern U.S.  

There are no roads to the top, only hiking trails.  We took the trail that goes past Alum Cave Bluffs, the first picture.  The bluffs are not quite half way there and a good spot for lunch.  Just before getting there comes the sound of conversation bouncing off the rock.  For some people, on some days, that's hike enough.

After a few more miles, the views open up and offer a distraction from the climbing.  And then, finally, after a series of narrow rock climbs with cables and a final lovely flat hike through a forest, comes the anticipated sign.

The people who work there live there, washing their clothes by hand and hanging them out to dry.  They prepare wonderful meals and make the beds with fresh linens, brought up by lamas, and wool blankets.  When we were there, the night temperature was 44 degrees.

There is coffee and hot chocolate for guests and day hikers available throughout the afternoon and a lovely view from the back deck of the lodge.

And of course there is the obligatory picture from the front of the lodge, with the date in the background.  I am grateful to my group for being patient with my slowness on the up hike.  They could have arrived much earlier if left to their own devices.  In its own way, the hike is a life event for me, remembered and aniticipated.  Capital letters.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Trail Head

LeConte trail head, after the hike down on Thursday. 

It's been an awesome week.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Turning Five

Oh, the happiness of turning five.  Aaron had a cake, his first soccer practice, and a party-to-come on Sunday.  At his new Montesorri school yesterday, he got to go around the sun five times in honor of his birthday and pass out little sheets of Thomas the Train stickers to his classmates.

Along with Aaron's "big" present, I got combination locks for both kids.  A blue one for Aaron and a purple one for Nora.  I know they've both got some frustration to get through with them, but Aaron so admired the combination locks at the Y this summer.

How heart-warming to hear Aaron say yesterday, "I love Nora, she's nice to me."  They're both growing up.   

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Birthday Candles

Today is my young neighbor's birthday, and yesterday morning these candles appeared in her yard, set up by friends.  They are pool noodles, cut in half or maybe shorter than that, with construction paper flames stuck in the top.  There are slender sticks, possibly tall sparklers, inside holding them up.  How creative is that? 

Aaron's birthday is today too, so I got some noodles, nicely reduced to 60 cents each, so that there can be candles in his yard for the party tomorrow.  Only five for him, though.

I did move my sewing things upstairs yesterday, and the living areas look very, very neat.  It feels really good to have everything together again.  Now for a little organizing.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Baby Things

This is the second little bib I've done this week - Anita Goodesign's Bundle of Joy.  And I really like squaring up two purchased receiving blankets, spraying them with just a little 505, and serging the edges.  It makes a nice thick little blanket, and if there is embroidery on one, the back of the embroidery isn't visible.  I'm especially liking Carter's Just One You blankets.

Tomorrow the high is supposed to be in the 70's, and it is the end of the first week in September, after all, so on my list for this afternoon is to move my laptop and sewing machines upstairs.  It's been great having a cool place to sew this summer, but I'll be glad to have everything back in one place.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Class Bag

At the end of the month, I'll be teaching a class with this bag as the project.  A little 5D software, a little embroidery, a little quilting, then some sewing.  The bag is a Viking project.

I especially like the project because it requires bringing some feet out of their little organizers.  (One of the most original I've seen is a drill bit case.)  Mega piping foot, single and double welt cord feet, button foot.  Probably as time gets closer, I'll make another bag to keep it fresh in my mind.  And because Christmas is coming.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Seam Ripper

Like most sewers, I'm not exactly a fan of the seam ripper but it's a very handy tool and I use it day after day.  I've always used the kind with the little hook shape on the end and considered the seam ripper like the one above to be potential trouble, as in accidentally slitting the fabric.  Now that I'm doing some alterations, though, I've given it a chance and find that it's pretty darn amazing.  Still potential trouble, of course, but pretty darn amazing.  

I'd recommend using it with glasses because I can see the possibility of a poke in the eye when a stubborn seam lets go, but I always wear glasses anyway.  Monday, when notions were half off at my favorite fabric stores, I bought a second one to keep with my second sewing machine, I like it that much.

And now, an equal time picture for Aaron, whose first day of preschool at Garden Montesorri was today.  You'll notice that his expression is happier and more excited than Nora's was yesterday.

Last night I took the grands to dinner at Frisch's and here's the conversation with Nora.

Me:  What was the best thing about your day today?  Nora:  I can't tell you, it was all great.

And later, Me:  Sounds like your day at school was pretty good.  Nora:  Yes, I thought it was going to be boring, but it was the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of School

First Day of Second Grade pic courtesy of Nora's mom, who said it was a very nervous day for Nora.  Tomorrow will be Aaron's turn.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day, everyone. 

We "camped" in a camping cabin at Winton Woods.  The weather forcast didn't work out as expected - yay! - and Aaron got his dreamed-of paddle boat ride before the rain came in.  Then we watched the big riverfront fireworks on tv in air-conditioned, crowd-free comfort.  Perfect.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

End of the Summer Adventures

I love this red footstool from IKEA, and all summer long it's been stacked with little toys.  Dollar Store adventures.  MacDonald Happy Meal toys.  Tiny souveniers. 

Especially, the Dollar Store handcuffs, complete with keys.  How many times this summer have I been handcuffed?  I think it's an indication of the precious-ness of the handcuffs that two months later we still have the little keys.

And now, the footstool looks like in the picture, the toys are packed away.  School starts in two days.  Our summer adventures are done, and it's a little sad.

We went to Kings Island and the zoo.  Visited every library around.  Went to the aquarium twice and the swimming pools many times.  Sixteen swim lessons.  Three times for the Hampster Balls and train rides at Newport on the Levee.  Rode the Duck.  Tried out everything at the Milford Recreation Center.  Loved Cobblestone Cafe with their peanut butter and jelly shaped like butterflies or flowers.  Went to the movies twice.  Checked out the pigs downtown.  The Downtown Park twice.  Took the lid off the Art Box again and again.  

One thing left on my list:  the Nature Center with its trails and kid area, but that's a good fall trip.  It's been a great summer. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Kings Island

Yesterday was Kings Island day.  We got an early start and got to ride early with our passes.  So fun.  This was just before we got on the helicopter ride, which usually has a slow--moving line.  We rode three times and never had to get off because there was no line at all.
I got Aaron his own slap bracelet, which he loved.  When we were waiting on the train he dropped it and it rolled over the edge between the cars.  He wailed and cried huge tears but it was easy enough for me to pick it up.  He and Nora happily slapped their bracelets all day.

On the vibrating chairs outside the Eiffel Tower.  We went to the top of the tower twice. 

Aaron watching the big carousel, which was a three-ride favorite for him.  Love this picture of the back of his head - his mom says that's where his horns fell off.