Monday, December 11, 2017

Turning Thirteen

Yesterday was Nora's family birthday party, today is the actual birthday.  

From her mom and dad:  an Under Armour hoodie plus a music stand that she put together right away.  I was impressed with her dad, giving her the tools and guiding her but letting her do the work.  

From aunts Sarah and Winnie, a drum pad and drum sticks.  I understand that there is a blister on her finger this morning from all that drumming.  From Aunt Tina, pretty fluffy onsie pajamas.  From Grandma and Pap, Twisted Peppermint bath bombs and shower gel.  From Bridget, a game she wanted.  From me, mint Converse shoes and athletic pants.  And, from the neighbor boys, a Red Ryder BB gun that brought a huge grin.

I am listing the gifts, not to be consumer-oriented but to illustrate the diversity of likes of a thirteen-year-old girl.  I hope she maintains that diversity always, not getting bogged down with the "shoulds" and "what everyone else wants." 

That's my real birthday wish for her.   

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Vintage Ornaments

Do you remember having these Shiny Brite ornaments long ago?  And, do you remember that, no matter how careful you were, once in a while your finger would poke through the delicate glass?  Or, was that only me?

I've seen ads this year for those molded candles like my mother had.  Santa, angels, reindeer.  Never lit, just treasured.

I've fallen into a hole these past couple of days, but this is not the season for it.  So, a few things on my list for today.  I've been using Steven Covey's Big Rocks, Medium Rocks, Small Rocks plan recently and that's a good plan for me.  

If I just make a list, I tend to pick out the things I like instead of the things that are timely or important.  Actually separating out what needs to be done is helpful.  Along with still doing some of those things that I like!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

It's Snowing . . .

. . . just not here.

This is Sarah at work at the North Carolina Arboretum.  Eventually the snow came too quickly for a blower and they had to switch to a plow.  Winter Lights was cancelled for the evening.

I hope she was able to get back into work this morning to start snow removal once again.

Here, it's cold.  I need to get out my warm winter coat.  But, no snow.  Maybe a bit this afternoon.

I've done well with my to-do lists lately, more about that another day, but yesterday afternoon I just gave it up, after my trip to the post office and the bank.  I have a good book that was calling me and I was just weary.  Weary.  My mother-in-law used to use that word, and I always think of her when I say it.

Saying a quick prayer for the people in California who are in the fire area.  I just can't imagine.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Little Projectts

Little projects I made for the work open house last Saturday.

If you're looking for some quick embroidery projects:
     Anita Goodesign Bottle Aprons
     Kimberbell It's A Cinch! for in-the-hoop gift bags
     Kimberbell Holiday Mug Rugs

The little patterned circles are surrounds for little LED lights (they have to be LED), linen heart to try with your applique stitch, and blue ornament with Timtex and satin stitching.

Last night I took Nora to meet her Mom at the beauty shop and it was such a treat for me to have that time with just her.  She talked a lot about playing trombone in the band, one of her favorite activities right now.  And about how she hoped that Kelly wouldn't have to cut too much off her hair's length to get rid of the split ends.  

I told her again about the day she was born, sitting in the hospital rocking her most of the day.  Looking at the light snow falling outside.  Sharing the rocking time with her other grandmother who came in the evening.  Remembering the doctor visit, when the doctor said she had a broken collarbone, detectable by a little bump, but that it would be just fine.  And it was.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Little Bird Tree

Christmas approaches.  Nora's birthday is next week.  Time goes on too quickly to suit me.

The little white tree is turning pale yellow and this year lots of little plastic needles fell off.  Half the lights didn't light and I had to cut them off.  I've decided that pre-lit trees are a bad idea, unless you go in with the mindset of a few years, over and out.  And that seems just too wasteful to me.

I pictured shoving that little tree into the trash can, but went on, and now the tree looks lovely.  I have it in my office and use it as light early in the morning as the sky lights up.  It's a gentle reminder of my mother, who loved bird ornaments with their soft tails.

My mother died on a December 19 and my dad on a December 18, not the same year.  My husband died on December 8.  There were years when I sort of dreaded to see December roll around.  Many years later, though, I enjoy thinking of them throughout the holiday season.  I love how the spirit heals and adjusts.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sunny Day

The view outside the window at LaRosa's today.  Kind of combination of summer and Christmas.  And pretty and sunny.  For those of you who aren't from this area, LaRosa's is a local Italian restaurant with LOTS of locations.  And canned sauce in the grocery stores.  My salad and calzone were so good.

I hadn't planned for it, but the day was so pretty that I did my last lawn mowing of the season.  (Surely, it will be the last.)  I could use a few more warm afternoons for general yard cleaning, but the mowing is the biggest thing.  The thought of a few months without mowing sounds so luxurious.

My husband used to delight in calling his Michigan relatives to tell them that he was mowing the grass for the last time while they were shoveling snow.

After some figuring it out, my outside lights are lit.  I used to just run an extension cord out of the garage, but I got a new garage door last winter and the seal is so nice that I didn't want to do that.  I got one of those hardware store gadgets that you can screw in place of a light bulb.  It has an outlet for plugging things in.  Not perfect, but it works and I am happy. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  Wishing you blessings galore.

Pilgrim courtesy of my library.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tree Lighting

Last night was the lighting of the Christmas tree at Newport on the Levee.  The grands always enjoy that huge tree with the lights and accompanying music.  And yesterday was the last day of school before Thanksgiving break.  Perfect.

We planned to go and have pizza at Dewey's, but were told that there was an hour wait for a table.  Not acceptable to hungry kids.  We went across the building to Bar Louis instead.

Lots of others did the same, I think, and the wait for food was long, but we had ordered some pretzel appetizers and there was basketball on tv.  The grands discussed that this was their first time in a bar, although in fact it is a restaurant/bar and there were lots of other kids there.

Then it was on to Barnes and Noble, where Nora loves to browse around and Aaron tries to be patient with all that browsing.  There was no line at Cold Stone Creamery, a rarity, and both kids had ice cream.

We hit the high points and had a fun evening.  Their mom got lots of Thanksgiving cooking done in their absence.  All good. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Cranberries.  Yesterday afternoon I made a cranberry salad for the church Thanksgiving dinner today.  It has lovely things - cranberries, celery, oranges, pineapple, walnuts.  Plus, jello. 

And, it didn't set up, ending up with a delicious thick cranberry soup.  This seems vaguely familiar, like maybe I used the same internet recipe another year with the same results.  So, off to the store for another box of jello, which usually doesn't live at my house.  Just one cup of water with the big box of jello, then mixed with the cranberry soup.  Perfect this time.  I reread the recipe about five times to be sure I hadn't done the math wrong when doubling the recipe, but it was right.  Oh, well, there is now cranberry salad.

The final result reminds me of my grandmother's cranberry salad, made for holidays, except that hers probably didn't have nuts.  It was probably the only "fancy" dish that she made all year.  If there were leftovers, she would save some for me since I loved it so much.

I'm not sure whether my grandmother's very basic cooking was a result of economics, or of post-depression memories, or of a religious commitment to plain living.  Or, maybe, she just didn't put that much emphasis on food. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

After the Concert

Nora the trombone player and her friend the flute player after their seventh grade band concert last night.

It was an amazing thing, in their newly combined school, to see 125 students in the band.  In October, just two months after first getting together.  Twelve trombones.  And it was nice to see Nora so happy afterwards, when the nerves were quieted.

I was sad yesterday to see that Nancy Zieman had died.  I don't think I ever watched one or her shows, or ordered from her catalog, but I always admired her.  It would have been so easy for her to have said that she couldn't be on tv because the Bells Palsey caused her face to look uneven.  She  may have said that at one point but she had her own show anyway.  And helped many people develop their passion for sewing.

Cold, drizzly weather this week.  Yesterday the leaves came off the trees so fast that it reminded me of snow.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

Scrap Baby Quilt

Finally, a baby quilt.  Most of the scraps are leftover scraps of binding, those 2 1/4" strips.  Just pulled randomly from my scrap tub.  If you make this, I recommend using the walking foot for piecing these long pieces.  I like the look of piecing the ends together on the bias, but it wouldn't have to be that way.

Last week Joann had binding by the yard at 60% off, plus an extra 25% off coupon.  I wanted an entire roll, which they didn't have in the battings that I like.  So, I have a roll of a batting that I haven't used before, Toasty Cotton by Fairfield.  I'm hoping for the best.  There are a lot of quilts in that roll, starting with the pretty pink top that came in he mail from Joanne (not the store) this past week.

These past warm days have been glorious.  I've done quite a bit of yard work, front yard only though.  It had been looking pretty sad.  Halloween night was the cold and rainy night during the week.  Three Trick or Treater's came to my door.  Only three.

Last night the warm weather disappeared.  I woke briefly to hear the weather alert on my phone and saw lightning, but I'm a good sleeper and couldn't be bothered.  This morning my heavy wheeled trash cans were tipped over and the air is chilly.

I am drawn to putting up my big Christmas tree with lights only, so that's what I'll do.  I live by myself, so I can do what I want.  It seems part of an energy that I have been missing.  I welcome it back. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Aaron and Self

Look in the upper left corner and you'll see a picture of a much younger Aaron on the dining room wall.  

I took his picture when I was visiting Aaron to admire his knee brace and crutches.  On Tuesday he was playing indoor football at recess and had a bad fall and knee injury.  That boy is crazy about football.

Wednesday's doctor visit revealed no break.  The knee was swollen and immobile.  Follow up on Friday revealed no tear, a meniscus sprain.  Saturday was no better, but yesterday he reported that the pain was less and he could move the knee a little.  So, improvement.

I took a small box of Lego's for Aaron and his sister.  Usually, he starts out, then asks Nora to finish, so I thought one box would work for both of them.  This time he quickly finished on his own, so no Lego's for Nora.  Next time, two boxes.

Aaron tells me that there are perks to having crutches at school.  He gets to ride the elevator to his second-floor classroom.  Another student is assigned to carry his books and help him get his lunch.  

Still, I know he will be glad to get back to his active life.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Great Day of Singing

This is one of those days when I don't "make" something but do alterations instead.  I enjoy that too, especially when I can help someone's ideas come into being.

Today was the Great Day of Singing at some of the Mennonite churches.  At my church, there was mostly singing, no sermon, with some folks describing why they like their favorite hymns.  Two of my favorites were in the mix.  Both are old hymns, I guess I like the old stuff.

The song below was sung at my cousin's funeral last October and at my aunt's funeral this summer.  I had a moment of incredible sadness.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

And this one, I love.  I think I've mentioned it before:

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing? 

My grandmother used to play the piano and sing traditional hymns, but never the ones above.  Trust and Obey is the one that comes to mine.  Another of the old ones.  

Friday, October 20, 2017


Another church picture.  I was in a classroom I usually don't visit and enjoyed seeing the rug and the sunlight.

Years ago, I don't know when, I put a good-sized laundry basket under a sewing machine table and have ever since thrown in scraps.  And now it's overflowing.

This week, I started pulling out pieces.  Some, I've cut into 4" squares for a scrap baby quilt.  Others are strips, mostly left from pieces of binding, usually 2 1/4".  Those I'm sewing together for a different baby quilt.  And some I'm throwing away because they are too small for what I have in mind.

And so, we shall see.  I'm finding that an hour of this is enough for any one day.

Occasionally I recognize a piece of fabric, but usually not.  I'm realizing that I go through a LOT of different fabrics.

Yesterday, I enjoyed the news, reading the words of two former presidents. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

More Random

I was a greeter at church last Sunday, standing at the top of the stairs, and happened to glance over the railing.  And liked what I saw.

In the interest of having more light in my living/dining room, and hopefully a happier mood, I bought two new lamps, which I love.  A bonus:  I am always reading in bed, and that's fine, but I read a lot and don't want to spend all that much time in bed.  Hopefully the new light source will encourage me to read out of bed.

What I learned:  a three-way LED light bulb costs $10 and is a funny shape.

I put my latest baby-quilt-in-progress in a bag and will start on a new design of some kind.  I didn't like it.  There was nothing wrong with it, I just didn't like it.  One day I'll take it out again and it will be just right for then, but it isn't just right for now.   

Sunday, October 15, 2017


If it's fall, then it must be time for hockey.  The Cyclones lost in overtime in their opening game, but it was a good time.  A hockey crowd is a fun crowd to watch.

Tomorrow is baby quilt group, but I don't have a quilt ready.  Once again.  Sigh.  I have one half pieced, but I don't even like it.  

It seems as if I'm struggling lately to finish most things.  I heard the term "political fatigue" last week, and I'm self diagnosing myself with that.

But, good news, my class yesterday went well, most people got close to finishing their project and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  I do enjoy teaching, both the preparation and the actual class.

I was happy this morning to get an email for a friend, asking me to stop at the fabric store close to my church and see if they have a replacement bulb for her Ott light.  I've been avoiding the fabric store, but if I go for a friend, then suddenly I have a purpose.  A reason to be there.  With a little extra money left over in my weekly budget for . . . whatever!

The Bengals are off today, so it will be a fun football day, watching to see how the other games shake out.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Grandparents Day

Yesterday evening was Grandparents Day at Aaron's school.  There was a meal in the cafeteria of hot dogs from a local restaurant, chips, and a luscious chocolate frozen custard.  No veggie dogs, I should have thought to bring my own.  The food wasn't the point for me, it was the joy of being with Aaron in his space.

We talked about football at recess and about his heel inserts, necessary because his heel plates have grown faster than the ligaments in his legs, causing heel pain.  A common "disease" of sporty little kids.  Apparently it used to be seen mostly in boys but is seen in girls these days as they play more sports.

We visited his classroom and some of his former teachers.  For a boy who will tell you that he doesn't like school, he obviously likes his relationships there.

And then, I went to Olive Garden with Steph, Mike, and Nora.  Sometimes I forget how nice it is to just sit and eat dinner and chat.  To relax over a meal.  I'm usually checking the news (not good) or doing a puzzle or reading a bit.  Really, I need to make some changes there.

One of the restaurants nearby just closed.  Traditional meals, no alcohol.  There are some newer trendy restaurants down the street and a few more lively places close by.  Sales were down.

How lovely to wake up this morning to a bit of rain.  It's been awhile.  I like rain, it always helps me to reset.    

Friday, September 29, 2017


Work sample:  wall hanging from Kimberbell's Jingle All the Way.  Definitely fun to do, with little extras, like the layered fabric on the tree, the vinyl on the snow globe, and the fringe on the wreath.

I am lagging behind.  On housecleaning.  On sewing jobs.  On yard work.  On my baby quilts.  All I feel like doing is laying in bed with a book, and I'm not even reading good books.

I did put on a binding for a church baby shower gift yesterday.  Various church folks did the knots.  The quilt has a thicker batting  than I usually use, but the binding turned out well.

Things are kinda sad in Bengals land, they are 3 - 0, but the parents-to-be are Bengals fans and will like their quilt.  Instead of my usual three-part zig zag, I did two lines of straight stitches, like a twin needle effect.  I am not a binding hand sew kind of person.  I like a crisp finish, and I like it done.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


This is Lola, from the Elizabeth Hartman Lloyd & Lola design.  Lola will be hanging at the church nursery.

The original pattern calls for Lloyd and Lola to be facing each other, with design elements at top and bottom.  Maybe some day I'll make that.

First on my list today is sweeping the driveway and sidewalk.  They are a mess, with leaves and acorns.  I've been putting off the fall yard work because it's just so hot.  Ninety degrees, or close, in the afternoons.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Snow Globe

Love this snow globe from the Kimberbell Jingle All the Way collection.  It uses clear vinyl from the big roll at the fabric store, I bought the thinnest they had.  I used a tube of beads from long ago, slowed down the machine, and kept pushing along the edges to keep the beads away from the needle.  You'll see a wall hanging in a bit, but I thought this was cute enough for a stand alone picture.

After finishing my projects, I packed up my machine and took it in for service.  Time gets away from me, and the last service tag showed that it had been longer than I liked since the last trip in.

The weather warmed up enough for a lovely evening at the Florence Freedom baseball game and a nice afternoon at Aaron's football game.  I love the trips home from the games when there's been a win and Aaron feels like he's played well.  (He did.)  There was contentment and good conversation - and hunger - from the back seat and we stopped at Wendy's in Amelia.

One of my goals is to show up at Adult Forum prior to the church service, so I need move a bit faster on this Sunday morning.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hello Autumn

I had been wishing for a project or two where I just follow the directions.  Not much thinking.  And I got my wish with this work project.  By Janine Babich.

I have another work project to quickly stitch out, and I'm enjoying that one too.  Sometimes there's just something about following the directions that soothes me.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Age Ten

Yesterday Aaron turned ten.  His dad did a good job ordering the cake.  Also, during the party, the football pinata came lose from its hanger on the first try.  And so, Aaron's dad took the candy to the house root top and tossed it off to the kids below.  The kids had a great time.  So did Dad, probably.

After Aaron's football game today.  His team lost, but he was happy with his game.

And to keep a record, here's a picture of his sister after the game.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Suddenly September 6

Recycling in Hendersonville.  Don't judge, there were six of us.  I see Madtree's Rounding Third, from Cincinnati.  Cider from Bold Rock Hard Cider, they had a lovely porch overlooking green fields, live music, and food.  Piscah Pale Ale, almost a local classic.

In the porch category, we had lovely pizza at La Strada in Lake Lure, sitting on the balcony overlooking the lake.  THAT Lake, think Dirty Dancing.

Before and after the Labor Day Weekend trip, I worked on a Little Mermaid costume.  Not the one with fins, the dancing one.  Skirt, blouse, and corset.  Did it take longer than I thought it would? Sure, but I hope the young woman enjoys dancing in it.

Between the sewing and a few work days and the quick trip, (well, not quick travel wise, there were delays there) it is suddenly September 6.  Oh, my.

My refrigerator is empty, so my first thing to do today is go to the grocery and buy everything I might usually buy.  And then, clean the studio.  It doesn't look good.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Purple and Green

The picture is a bit dark, but not very.  I found this lovely quilt top in one of those wonderful boxes from Joanne.  Full of deep purples and bright greens, triangles and circles.  Some baby and mama are going to be really happy.  The backing is a dark purple print that pretty much reads as dark purple.

The symmetry/asymmetry of it makes me smile and really love this quilt.  I'm sure there is a story.  Joanne?

Once I get a baby quilt finished, I hang it on the metal shelves in the office area with large quilt clips and spend some time enjoying it myself.  Since baby quilt group is Monday, I won't have long to enjoy this one.  The group will be going to lunch early so everyone can get home in time for the eclipse.

The dog and I are doing fine.  Four short walks and three tie-downs in the back yard each day.  Today we went to the top of the hill to the park, lots of sniffing there.  I'm sure there were plenty of deer watching from the brush.

Sigh.  The Reds' Joey Votto didn't tie Ted Williams record of getting on base twice for 21 games in a row.  Votto made it to 20, still in the record book.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


It's that time of year again, and one of my grand dogs is staying at my house for a week.  It's a bit different this year, she has a leg sprain or a torn ACL, either way she is limited in the number of walks she takes.  She is not happy about this.

But, for the most part, she is cheery.  A few treats, one of which has a pill for her leg.  A few bites of salmon.  A full water bowl.  Time in the back yard.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday Morning

Gentle rain throughout the morning yesterday.  How wonderful.  Perhaps my squash and pumpkins will get a little growth spurt.  To go with the weeding they got this weekend.

My "job" yesterday was to hem a knit sleeveless overdress with side openings, very simple and elegant.  I am happy with how it turned out.  I want one more look at it in a bit.  It's black and I want to be sure I didn't miss anything, the stitches tend to bury in this kind of knit  I always try to do this kind of sewing early in the morning when my mind is fresh.

I missed saying Happy Birthday to my former co-worker yesterday.  I mean, I said it to her on facebook, and I'll be sending her a card, late,  but still, there is just something about smiling and singing over a cake, as we did for years.

As the summer goes on, my energy level is waning.  I think it's the same every summer.  I would think that summer would be my happy production time, but it doesn't seem to be that way.  I'm finding it very hard to stay motivated.

I looked up how much added sugar is ok and found that the recommended amount is only six grams.  Six!  Have you looked at a nutritional label?  Six grams hardly covers the pesky incidental sugar in bread or crackers or salad dressing.  Or half a cookie, maybe.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Maybe . . .

When looking through my studio a few days ago, I noticed this box of sweet blue and pink fabrics, with an accompanying pattern.  From a quilt shop that has been out of business for several years.  A quilt shop that I loved to visit.

I realized that I have since met the pattern writer.  She is incredible at heirloom applique and intricate work.  There is a lovely border.  I noticed that I had paper pieced the blocks, realizing that had I tried piecing it would not have had a good result.  The middle square is about 1 1/4".

About twelve or so years later, I still would not have a good result from piecing those little triangles, so I'm thinking about drawing out more paper piecing blocks.  There were only 13 blocks in the original pattern, alternating with the white print blocks, and I'm realizing that the resulting quilt was very small.  I'd like it a bit bigger.  Plus, there are all those pretty fabrics.

Recently I have been thinking of making more quilts with actual patterns, as opposed to improvisational or art quilts.  Paper piecing isn't what I was considering, but I like these little precise blocks.

Maybe . . .

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Do Over

One evening last week, considering the state of my refrigerator and considering my general malaise, I went to the near-by Chinese buffet, picturing various vegetable dishes and some good soups.  It was not a good choice.  Enough said.

So last night, I went to the tiny hole in the wall, Casual Chinese, which is never a disappointment.  They have an extensive menu, which people usually carry out, it's that kind of place.  I always order the same thing, however, tofu Pad Thai.  It's so good.

It was a most excellent do over.

The events of the past week have exhausted me.  Maybe they are meant to exhaust us.  I got my copy of Time yesterday and it didn't even seem relevant, even though it was printed just a few days earlier.  I long for thoughtfulness, thoroughness, good discourse, and civility.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Yesterday the grands stayed on after their dad fixed a leaky fitting under the kitchen sink.  (Thanks, Mike.  I am inexperienced at home repairs, had never heard of a compression fitting.)  They did their usual iPad and iPhone things, piano playing, chicken tender eating, a bit of arguing over Minecraft.  Aaron, soon to be ten, fixed my Netflix by fiddling with the connections.

And then, in a bit of magic, they decided to get out the art box and paint.  And to get out the play dough and make restaurant dishes, after taking orders for both food and paintings.

Magic because, as they grow into more sports and more time with friends and more enjoyment of solitary interests, these unstructured play times become more rare.  At a younger age for Aaron, it seems, because as his sister companion moves on to other things he often moves along with her.

And magic because time seemed to fly as they created, entering a different world, setting up on the back porch.

I had to wonder whether this would be the last time for "making" pizza and carrots and salad and cookies.  And, because this is a special restaurant, filling those orders for paintings, for music, even dancing.

Time flies in all kinds of ways.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Software to Finished Bib

What is it about kids and software?  In a flash, Nora learned to choose fonts, arc letters, tab between designs, edit the stitching order, change colors, combine designs.  It is very humbling to an older brain like mine to see how quickly a young brain works.

She stitched out two bibs, in the process threading the machine a gazillion times, so she's got that down too.  She was one happy girl this afternoon.

Basic bib from Anita Goodesign Bundle of Joy.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Scene

On Friday the grands and I had our big summer bash at Scene 75, not far from where they live.  It's a huge space, with lots of video games, laser tag, go carts, bowling, restaurant.  Aside from a ride on the go carts, the kids love the video games and just want to do that.

The money is loaded on a card, which is swiped at each game.  Tickets won go on the card, which is nice.  If there is a big win, like in the picture, it takes awhile to get all the tickets loaded, and that's part of the fun too.  Baseball players that they are, their favorite game is knocking over cats on three rows.  A bit smaller scale than the similar arcade game, but more cats appear if they all get knocked down in the allotted time.

I hear footsteps running on the roof as I write, certainly a squirrel, although this is the summer for raccoons in the neighborhood.  A couple of neighbors have trapped and released far away.  One neighbor is pretty sure that a raccoon was swimming in her pool.  Another neighbor has seen raccoons go into another neighbor's chimney.

I stayed home from church yesterday but did nothing spiritual with that time.  It was avoidance, primarily, avoidance of getting on the interstates, at least that was my excuse.  With repair on the big bridge and detours to the other interstates, people in my area are using other routes.  I can usually use a less busy bridge to get into Cincinnati, but once there it isn't easy to work my way to church.  And there was a home Reds game right at that bridge when I'd be coming home.  Still, excuses.  I could have figured it out.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Different From My Usual Life

Soon there will be the clunk that is life returning to normal.  Not that that's a bad thing.  Tomorrow I will wash the clothes in my washer for the third time and actually get them hung up or in the dryer.

On Thursday Sarah came from North Carolina and on Friday we drove to NW Ohio for my aunt Evelyn's funeral.  "It Is Well With My Soul" is still swirling in the back of my mind.

My sister and brother were there, and cousins.  My aunt's relatives, I had forgotten that she had five siblings.  The pictures were amazing.  My uncle was a photographer in the time when it was an art form.  Not like today, when we can snap twenty-five digital photos and there will be one pretty good one and we are happy.  

Sarah had to leave on Saturday, so Friday night the grands and their mom came for a sleepover.  Ale 8 Ones for the kids and a selection of beers that Sarah carefully picked out from the make-your-own-six-pack at Fresh Thyme.  Chicken and pasta and salad and pie.  

Today Nora and I went to Lucy's on Monmouth and then on to Barnes and Noble for the sixth Harry Potter book.  "It's Just You and Me" time.  We strolled through the Bacon, Bourbon, and Brew event by the river.  There were lots of interesting things to eat, which we didn't.  Deep fried oreos wrapped in bacon.  Fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Nachos with goetta.  You get the idea.

Nora is enjoying playing my piano these days, using you tube videos to help her.  Who knew?


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Table Runner

This is the table runner made with the leftover blocks from the baby quilt.  The one with the quilting I was so disappointed in.

And, really, if you're not right on top of it, four inches away, it isn't so bad.  This afternoon when I do a load of clothes I'll toss in the table runner and when it comes out of the dryer it will be somewhat better.  The cotton batting will shrink more than the piecing and there will be more puff.  The puff hides irregular quilting.

This morning in church I was paying attention but I was also sketching out the ribbon candy design.  Again and again.  Attendance at my church goes down during the summer when people are away.  People are more spread out.  I'm sure my sketching went pretty much unnoticed.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

What's growing well?

What's growing well this summer?  The ferns on the back porch.  That's not always the case, usually not, actually.  But in this humid, hot summer, the ferns are happy.  Growing.  Not turning brown.

And the geraniums, they are happy too, especially the pot sitting under a spreading ornamental grass.  And the cone flowers, but they are almost always happy.

What's not growing well?  The veggies, because I haven't planted any.  The baskets of impatiens.  The petunias, although I think that's the variety, smaller flowers.

The day lilies do their job, popping out with burst of color from time to time.  Not too spectacular but reliable.

What I'm liking best of all:  the garden decorations.  

Friday, July 7, 2017

Free Motion Frustration

I am all kinds of frustrated.  There is a free motion design that I love, but I just can't seem to quilt it.

I draw out the design, trace it with my finger, practice it, even mark the quilt top for guidance and it just turns out ugly.  I watch video after video.  In the table runner above made with four left-over blocks, that I thought for about fifteen minutes would be a nice gift, I even double quilted it to try to fix it up a bit.  That helped but it's still just not right.

I know I have a right/left thing going on in my brain, always have.  I remember well my marching band teacher's dismay that I just couldn't get the foot patterns right.  Especially since she was standing facing me.  Eventually I practiced on my own, again and again, and I got it.    Another memory:  I was in second grade doing some kind of IQ test where a picture was shown with part of a hand or foot and I had to choose whether it was the right or left.  And it was so hard, almost impossible.

I don't know whether that's what's going on here.  I am determined, though.  I will quilt an entire quilt with this design even if I have to throw it away.  If that's not enough, I'll do another one.

I know there are many other designs that I can do well, but I like THIS one.  And others like it.    

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July Baby Quilt

July baby quilt.  Thanks, Joanne, for the pattern and much of the fabric.  I'm loving the orange/yellow/pink color combo.

Pattern is Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs.  A baby quilt takes six fat quarters, or approximate fabric.  The pattern has several sizes, all the way to king.

I actually used my sit down quilter, so the quilting isn't my usual walking foot quilting.  I just did a meander, larger than my usual tight stippling.  My friend recommended trying prewound Superior Bottom Line bobbins with the quilter, and they work great.

Next up:  Ginny gave us fabric and pattern for a challenge.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Ever since I've lived here, and who knows how many years before that, my small city has had twice a week trash pick-up.  Recycling optional and paid for by the customers.  

In my perfect world, there would be once a week trash pick-up and recycling.  There was always opposition, for various reasons that made little sense to me.  But this week, it came to be.  It was nice to drive up last night and see two containers at lots of houses.

I thought I would get one of the big, wheeled green containers to replace my little red tote, but that didn't happen.  I guess I need to call to request that.  It will be nice to be able to keep the recycling outside and dry.  And to be able to put in cardboard.

At the Ecovillage in Berea, one of the goals was to recycle as much as we put in the trash.  We actually tracked that, weighing the recycling and checking the dumpster, knowing how much a full dumpster weighs.  I've tried to maintain that goal since then and am usually pretty good at it.

Last night I made a Target run, hoping they would have some of the packaged fireworks that kids love.  And they did.  Smoke bombs and sparklers and pop-its and jumping jacks and cones.  My daughter went to a fireworks place and got some of the bigger things that adults love.  It should be a fun evening.

Happy July 4, everyone! 


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Smale Park

The newest section of Cincinnati's waterfront parks is still very new, but it's already hard to imagine life without it.  Yesterday was a cool Monday, but there were still lots of people.  The Reds are out of town, so parking was so easy.  We admired the part of the parking garage marked "players only."

The outdoor foot piano is a popular feature, whether it's a toddler just dancing on the keys or an older child trying to tap out a tune.  Thanks to everyone who had the dream for this park, who helped it come into reality, and who takes care of it.

Before the park, there was lunch across the river, at The Gruff, of course.  It was the first time for patio seating for us, and that was the popular option of the day - we grabbed the last table outside but there were lots inside.  Cheese pizza.  Fries.  Vegetable soup.  No surprises there.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Aaron On Deck

These are the weeks of the baseball tournaments.  And they do go on for weeks, if the team is winning.  I've missed most of the games, but yesterday afternoon they were starting a new tournament in a small town on the Ohio River.  It was a pleasant drive, trees and river glimpses, the river was beautiful from Friday's rain, and by 4:00 the field was dry enough, just barely.

It was the second game that day for the team, the first was at a different tournament site where they finished their bracket.  The boys' baseball tournaments are so different from Nora's softball tournament, which is an intense weekend, four games, over and done.

Last night I made a big to-do list for today.  My days have been unproductive, lots of anxiety, feeling stuck.  Not how I like to be.  This is my first step out of the muck.

My first checkmark was finishing a group of blocks for my next baby quilt.  I have been doing no quilting, no sewing, and that isn't good for me.  This quilt pattern goes quickly and it's almost like a mystery quilt, stitching the blocks on faith that they will look nice together.  Not like a group of stars or triangles.

Another checkmark will be to finish planting the sale plants I've purchased.  There are only a few now to get in the ground, and the ground is moist, good for planting.  

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.