Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice, everyone.  One of my favorite days of the year!  It feels like a celebration, this lovely, long day.

And yes, I know that there is a self-started redbud tree in my flower bed.  Right next to the sidewalk, so it can't stay.

The past few days I've done some early morning weeding and planting since it's been a little less warm.  This morning I got an email from Duke Energy saying that I can expect my bill next month to be $33 higher than last month since it's been so hot.  Of course I know that mine will be more than that, since last month I didn't have the ac on at all.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

New Restaurant

The big garage-door-style window is open to the street at Lucy's on Monmouth during these warm days.

And the nachos are just the way I like them.  Crisp chips with real cheese melted on top, not cheese sauce.  Jalapenos in a little dish on the side.  Sour cream - to me, that's more for show than anything else.  Tiny chunks of tomatoes.  Perfection.

For those who like to know - the beer is Cougar Bait, from Country Boy Brewing in Lexington, KY.  

Friday, June 16, 2017

Let's Start This Day Again

At the Contemporary Arts Center downtown in Cincinnati, Ugo Rondinone's 45 life-size clown sculptures, titled Let's Start This Day Again.  To showcase the exhibit, the walls and floors of two big galleries were painted in wonderful shades and the skylight was colored with gels.

 One grand declared the exhibit to be creepy and the other declared it to be pretty cool.  They both enjoyed the hands-on area, then our explorations took us up another floor to the Unmuseum, which is a wonderful interactive space for kids.

The Center is in the midst of three years' free admission from a generous donor or donors.

A visit downtown isn't complete without going to Carew Tower's observation deck, on the 49th floor, even though we usually don't stay long.  Long enough, today, for the grands to marvel at all the bends in the Ohio River as it flows by Cincinnati.  

On the first floor of Carew Tower is Hathaway's Diner, which the grands love.  Nora had a cup of chicken noodle soup and a cup of vegetable beef soup.  Aaron loved his plain cheeseburger, a departure from his usual chicken tenders.

Park of the adventure is taking the Southbank Shuttle across the bridge from Kentucky.  The shuttle coming back was so crowded that that was an adventure in itself.  Back on the Kentucky side, we ended the day with a visit to Barnes and Noble (so nice to see it crowded) and to Bellevue for the first ice balls of the season.    

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Simple Gifts

My neighbor,who had never been inside my house before, gifted me with this salad as he prepared to leave for a trip.  I am grateful.  As you know, I am struggling with the divisions in this country.  This simple gift represents hope to me.  That, and our brief gardening/sharing plants conversation.

We talked about how he wants a simple fence across his back yard, with ornamental grasses on his side of the fence.  Amazing to me, my neighbor on the other side told me two weeks ago that he too wants to put ornamental grasses at the back of his yard.  Like mine.

I am picturing how this could look, with the three yards displaying a kind of unity in landscaping.  This calms me.  

Last night I went with Carrye to Modern Quilt Guild.  I hadn't been in quite awhile.  It is at a different location now, at a once-upon-a-time dairy barn that is now a beautiful venue restored by the Woman's Art Club of Cincinnati Foundation.

Appropriately, this cow lives in the front yard.  Isn't she a treat?

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Last night was Aaron's last regular season game.  Somehow, the season has flown.

For Nora, one more softball game before tournaments.  This picture is from Saturday's game, with the precious game ball tucked between her knees.

Yesterday the president came to town for a brief stop.  Somehow he got completely preempted by a Reds player named Scooter Gennett, who hit four home runs Tuesday night.  First Reds player to do that, only seventeen others in major league baseball have done it.  

And that was all anyone wanted to talk about.  Not the president's visit.  Not infastructure.  Just . . . baseball.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Joanne's Improv

In one of those boxes from Joanne, there was this pretty improv quilt top, in glorious colors.  Almost the perfect size for a baby quilt.  Aren't those white dots on green just the best?  

And that floral fabric!  It was so fun quilting this and watching those glorious pinks and reds and peaches slide under the machine.

Joanne, you and I are ready for the next NICU baby quilt meeting.

Friday, June 2, 2017


We went to the Cincinnati Zoo yesterday afternoon.  Rode the train, then sat down with a pretzel and drinks.  Looked at the video from the day before, when Fiona the baby hippo had her first outside people encounter, with the press.  Read that it might be a couple more months before she would be on display.  Sighed, commented on how we wished we could see her.

Fiona was the bright spot of this politically charged winter, born in January weighing only 29 pounds, needing a team from Cincinnati Children's Hospital to come at one point and start an IV for her.  Too weak to stand and nurse, she small drank bottles of tweaked formula to get her start.  We watched videos of her with progressively bigger bottles, learning to swim, getting lotion rubbed on her skin.  Then learning to navigate deeper pools.  Watched as she got bigger, now weighing 275 pounds.

We went down the hill to the Africa exhibit, admired the lions and painted dogs.  Turned a corner and . . . there was Fiona, swimming away with about six zoo helpers who were guiding her and watching to be sure she was ok.  Fiona!!!

It felt like a small miracle on a Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Stepping Outside the Kitchen

Stepping outside kitchen shown a day or two ago, into the dining area . . .

I'm looking for a new rug, one with turquoise and white and gray - so far, without success.  I'm finding that buying a rug is kind of like buying a dress, hard to find one I really like.

I am lucky in that my house is oriented so that I need no air conditioning during these early June days.  And there are lots of windows for breeze.  As long as we're in the lower 80's, all is well.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Grandma Kitchen

This morning Joanne posted a picture of a "grandma kitchen" with some memories of her grandmother.  Take a look.  

Her grandma kitchen reminded me of my own kitchen.

Pretty small, not much counter space.  Still the original formica.    Metal cabinets but with a nice upgrade of the sliding frosted glass doors on the top cabinets.  There are florescent bulbs to light them from within.  Refrigerator not as small as the one Joanne mentioned, but I did need to special order it to get one this small that had glass shelves.

When I moved in, the floor was gold vinyl.  I don't remember the paint color, either light gold or beige.  No backsplash tile.  No shelf over the kitchen door.  Really shallow sink with those plastic faucets.

There was the little enamel kitchen table with two chairs, like Joanne mentioned.  I opted for storage and a portable dishwasher instead.

When I moved to this house I planned to gut the kitchen, but the house told me to not do that.  Ten years later, I'm still happy with my choice.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Ahhhh.  This melts my heart.

Saturday afternoon after a game for each of them.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Flowers In and Out

Flowers outside - peonies are finally blooming.

Flowers inside - a Welcome Wall Hanging.  A Janine Babich Design.  The flowers are appliqued on the embroidery machine on water soluble stabilizer, then the stabilizer is rinsed away.  Flowers are then sewn on the wall hanging in sets of two.  This is not a quick project but it's a lovely one.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Muffins With Mom

Muffins With Mom this morning at Aaron's school.  I've been looking forward to this all week, and not because of the muffins.  I told Aaron I was the oldest mom there but he politely found a couple of other grandmothers as the event went on.

Rosie Red and Gapper were there too, although Aaron informed me that these weren't the REAL ones.  Pretty darn close.

The guidelines of food, according to me, is that protein should be eaten with carbs, so I nibbled at the muffins and stopped for an Egg McMuffin on the way home.  Without the Canadian bacon and with half of the cheese scraped off.  I am a little worried about all that sugar for the kids, but I guess they will be ok.

And now, on to the sewing jobs I'm behind on.  I felt bad about a late evening phone call asking whether a hem was ready because the owner wants to wear the garment this weekend.  I am behind on everything!  (But, I didn't know she wanted it this weekend.)

All week, the first line of the hymn running through my head is, "My life flows on in endless song."  And, the verse ends, "Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing."

Not that I'm a singer, I'm not.  But you get the idea. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Frog on the Rails

Seen at the big box hardware and garden center this morning, a frog on the rails of an SUV.  I hadn't planned to go, I really hadn't, but my neighbor called and said that they had LOTS of reduced plants today.  People hadn't been shopping because it's been rainy and cold.  And a new shipment was on the way.

I got two lovely hanging ferns for $5 each, two containers, some bedding plants.  Most were 70% off and looked so pretty and fresh.  You can't sale shop and say, "I want exactly this pink petunia today."  The sale flowers might be white petunias or purple dahlias.  But if you're willing to go with what they have, there are bargains to be had.

On the way home, I rounded the corner on my city street and saw two little deer grazing.  I hope this isn't a sign that my plants are doomed.

Some time, perhaps next week, a routine will set in.  There will be baseball/softball games scheduled and not postponed because of weather.  School will be winding down and the special events will be over.

The school projects will be done, but I did enjoy helping my neighbor girl scheme how to sew together her art project kite.  And I am looking forward to going to Aaron's school on Friday morning for Muffins with Mom.  Or, in this case, with Gran B.

Nora was scheduled to be starting pitcher tonight.  The weather was fine.  But, the other team's coach had mixed up the times.  No game today.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hang On

Sixth grade band concert was Thursday night and "Hang On Sloopy" is still running through my head.  Serious kudos to the band directors.  How do they take 100+ kids, most of whom don't know how to read music and have never played an instrument and over a school year teach them to play together?  The thought makes me head spin.

Hoping for a dry day today to mow the grass.  Before the rain starts again tomorrow.  And it's expected to continue all next week.

But this morning, it's wet.  Long rain delay for the Reds last night.  The Friday night fireworks didn't start until almost midnight.  The Reds had thirteen runs.

I'm a terrible housekeeper.  Never learned at home, my mother had other interests, like me.  But, I've stumbled on a website about how to clean your house in 20 minutes a day for 30 days.  My house is looking a lot better.  Maybe I just needed someone to tell me what to do.

Some of the days have tasks that take longer than 20 minutes, and in fact I'm spending more than 20 minutes a day most days.  Like today, cleaning the interior windows?  What???  Maybe a few of them.  Plus, I have a little routine of five things to do daily.  

So, we'll see how this works.  I know I feel better when my house is clean.  It's hard for me to feel creative when my house is a mess.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

And Silver Sandals

Football jersey, bruised knees, and silver sandals.  I love this girl.

Nora and I went shopping for sandals for this week's band concert.  She also spotted some Nike slides, in wolf gray and mango, which weren't in her size but which her mom found online at another store.  I'll pick those up tomorrow.  The deal was . . . one pair of dress sandals or flip flops and one pair of whatever she loved.

Once the shoe shopping was out of the way, we went to Plato's closet, a resale store with junior sizes.  She scored some mint jeans and a tee there.  It's one of her favorite places to shop.

This happens maybe once a year for us, and I enjoy it so much.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Joanne's Box

From Joanne's precious box of fabrics and UFO's.

The brown and tan/rose patchwork were part of a piece with applique interest - that will most likely show up later in another project.  I cut apart the patchwork and inserted the strips of beige animal fabric.  A totally different look - I'm in love.  The back is yellow gingham.

Quilting is that increasingly larger rectangular spiral that I'm currently drawn toward.  36" x 40".

There is something so intriguing in using Joanne's carefully and beautifully executed but never finished creation and making a 180 degree turn.  I feel confident that she was never thinking of a baby quilt.

I wish I'd taken a picture of her original piece.  Next time.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Baseball Tonight

Of course I love this picture - a base hit for Aaron - note the ball showing up in front of the trees.

But this one touches my heart - the back view of him as catcher.  It seems to capture the lovely evening, perfect weather for watching a boy who loves baseball.  And how I admire his ability - up and down and up and down, throwing the ball back to the pitcher a hundred times, probably more, over five innings.

No matter where it is, sitting watching the evening come in with a baseball game in the background is my happy place.  This game went to the bottom of the fifth for Aaron's team, two out, score tied, before they scored the winning run.

But meanwhile, in Milwaukee, my Reds are struggling.  Swept.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

This Girl

I'm proud of this girl,  We ended up at a restaurant that served country food - I really meant to go to a different one down the street.

No complaints.  She ordered bean soup, fried potatoes, and cornbread and was happy about it.  It was a lot of food, but she put a big dent in the potatoes and soup.  The cornbread went home for another day.

Her brother, without a doubt, wouldn't have been as happy with this meal, probably would have chosen something meat related, maybe meatloaf or a ham sandwich.  

I'll be back - it was non-smoking and not every restaurant in Northern Kentucky is.  Can you believe that?  

Friday, April 21, 2017


Preparing for future Starbucks customers:  the Unicorn Frappuccino.  Apparently only available through Sunday.  Purple and pink, no caffeine.  Tons of sugar.

But fun.  Nora and I drove through her neighborhood Starbucks but they were out of the ingredients.  On Thursday.  We had success at a Starbucks in a Target.  Perfect to sweeten up working on math homework.

She declared it delicious but only drank the froth on top, didn't finish the syrup on the bottom, which was just as well.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this grandmother experience, I think Nora did too. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Memories

How does the time fly by so quickly during holiday visits?  

We had so many wonderful memories.  Kayaking on the lake (one capsize, Aaron, rescued and towed by Nora.)  Gem mining, a favorite with the kids and Walt.  Rocky's Hot Chicken, a tradition.  Campfire, badmitton, golf putting in the side yard, skipping stones on the lake, walking the dogs.  Ginormous egg hunt.

A wonderful Easter brunch coordinated by Winnie, with lovely table settings.  Safe travels, especially returning on Sunday with surprisingly light traffic and no slowdowns in central Kentucky where those usually happen.

There was so much to celebrate and be grateful for.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Guest Artist

In recent weeks, Joanne has sent me not one but two boxes of lovely no-longer-needed fabrics and a few UFO's.  Including this one.

It was begging for a little pieced binding and no more.  The quilting was done, everything.

It's hanging in my kitchen, but, Joanne, if you have second thoughts, we can pass it back and forth.  Or, I can take a deep breath and gift it back to you.  If I were the artist, I'd be sorry I gave it up.

You'll be seeing more of Joanne's work in the form of a baby quilt soon.  My favorite phrase:  "If you're stuck, cut."

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

NICU Quilt

This baby quilt was so simple, just charm packs, that I wanted some walking foot quilting,

starting with a little square spiral in the center and just spiraling out.  I love the effect on a plain quilt.

If you try it, just know that it requires a lot of quilting.  Just so happens that I like a lot of quilting, but it is time consuming.

There was a time when I would purchase 2 1/2 or 3 yards of sale fabrics for backings-to-come, and I found this 3-yard piece in my stash.  

I don't make those purchases any more because
     a.  the store where I found those bargains has closed,
     b.  there is a limited number of backings that I can possibly use, and
     c.  I like pieced backings too.

The Reds lost yesterday afternoon, but it was glorious to sew and listen to the game.  And there was that home run in the 9th inning.

Monday, April 3, 2017

House Quilt

Finally finished after laying on the quilter for many months.  The pattern is from Craftsy and Freida Anderson.  There is a nice class about how to finish it, but I wanted my own free motion.

Lots of really small-scale free motion, more than I'd usually want to tackle.  What I wanted was a free motion lesson, and a lesson on using my quilter, and that's what I got.  I was very eager to wash and dry it this morning, since that's where the "puff" happens.

Now I can go on to using my quilter for those baby quilts, in a larger scale.  I really, really like my quilter, Husqvarna Viking Platinum 16.  It does everything I wanted and it's oh-so-well behaved.  The delay in finishing my quilt was the chaos in my mind, nothing at all to do with the quilter.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Run the Bluegrass

What a fun weekend in Lexington, where Sarah ran the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon at Keeneland Race Course.  For you out-of-state folks, Keeneland is a lovely horse racing venue.  

This was Sarah's third time running here, and every time it's been cold.  Although she was disappointed to not place in her age group, she finished 18th of 2010 female runners.  I was getting out of breath just walking from the parking lot to the race finish.

Steph and the kids joined us Saturday afternoon.  One of our favorite restaurants is Joe Bologna, close to UK's campus.  The pasta is really good and the atmosphere is fun.

It wouldn't be a Lexington visit without a stop at West Sixth Brewery.  It was their fifth birthday party, with cupcakes and free birthday glasses.  This isn't a birthday glass - those said "Love, Sweat, and Beers, It's Been Five Years."

Friday, March 31, 2017

More Spring Break

Outside Gameworks yesterday, on the balcony, where the wind was blowing and it looked like it might storm.  It never did, though.

And inside Gameworks, where Aaron timed it just right and a game started spitting out tickets.

In fact, most of the time was spent in the corner with the football and basketball games.  I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't some sore arms and shoulders this morning.  

We took a break and got some pizza at Dewey's, hoping for outside seating but learned that that won't happen until around Mother's Day.  I cherish this time with these kids, glad that I can spent some spring break time with them.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring Break

Looking forward to a pretty spring day today.  The grands and I will be going to Gameworks for the day, taking our groupons that are good for the entire day.  There will surely be some lunch involved, maybe some walking on the Purple People bridge.

Last night the kids went with their parents to the hockey game.  Aaron was dismayed at the Cyclone's loss, but they had a good time.  I was invited to tag along, but hockey just sounded so cold last night.  Beauty and the Beast the day before . . . that was something to not be missed.

I want to finish piecing an Elizabeth Hartman quilt with a llama, just one more side strip to go.  After months of lackluster quilting, nothing seeming interesting, I suddenly find myself with pieced quilt tops all over the floor.  It's time to start using my sit down quilter.  I have some new thread and prewound bobbins that I'm eager to try out.