Sunday, August 31, 2008

Humbled by a Three-Year-Old

Today's postcard - trying out machine applique stitches. I like the simple stitch on the ribbon best.

Last night Nora and Aaron came over while Steph and Mike (and Tina and Bridget) went to see the Bodies Exhibit at the Museum Center. I had a new coloring book for Nora that included a few "Which One Is Different?" pages, which Nora loves.

These pages were hard. Nora and I spent a long time looking for the different one below and she stuck with it when I was ready to give up. And after several minutes she spotted that monster C didn't have "spider webs" between his fingers. (Click for a larger view.) I'm completely humbled since she could find this and I couldn't.

Aaron loves to try to get away with climbing my steps, and that gave him a chance to try out his new and favorite word. He'd climb up three steps, stop, and say, "Uh Oh" and sit there grinning, waiting for Nora or I to say, "Uh, oh, we'd better get him." I love to watch the humor development in little ones, and enjoyed his game a lot, at least for the first fifteen times.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 87

Today's postcard

Time for Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. When I'm sick, I'm apt to pretend I'm not sick at all, if it's a cold or something minor. If I can't pretend, then I whine.

2. When I take a walk, I think about what I've been doing, what's been going on. I try to focus on what's around me, where I'm going, but I'm not very good at that.

3. Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy art supplies, little clothes for the grandkids, meals out. I'm not a big spender, but I enjoy little pleasures.

4. Cotton makes me think about quilts and leather makes me a little turned off. I don't much care for the smell of leather, or the texture, or the thought of where it's been. Exception: shoes.

5. The strangest person/character I've had lewd thoughts about was (pass. I can't think of any lewd thoughts about strange characters, but I'll be looking to see how you answered this question.)

6. My favorite color these days is red because I like the cheeriness, the vibrancy. Red's just a joyful color.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to taking a birthday cake to Mike (For the first years Steph and Mike were together I worked at the college and this was the busiest time of the year and I never got to think about anything else. It's nice to be able to bake a cake,) tomorrow I'm looking forward to Nora and Aaron coming over for awhile in the evening (yes, Nora, I have a new coloring book for you, see # 3) and Sunday my plans include Riverfest fireworks. I haven't decided yet where I'll be watching them, but I'll be watching them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What On Earth?

Today's postcard. Instead of fusing the leaves, I stitched around them, and the results were more dimensional.

Back to yesterday's thought - in my recent bookstore ramblings (thanks, Steph, for the Barnes and Noble gift card) I brought home this book

and this darling little book, too.

And I have these patterns, recently acquired but as of yet unused.

What has gotten into me? I can barely remember the last time I actually sewed anything. It's been quilts all the way, and art quilts at that. My sewing machine is constantly being changed from feed teeth up to feed teeth down and I'm always changing between the all-purpose B foot to the open toe stippling foot.
Why now this attraction to real sewing? It's not like I even have enough time for the quilting. But sew I will, and maybe I'll learn what all this means. Or, maybe I'll remember why I left it in the first place. Probably thirty years ago.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

July Take It Further Challenge Finished (for now)

Today's postcard

Except for the binding and some crystals, I'm finished with the Take It Further Challenge quilt for July. Since I have other projects lined up, and I'm already way late, this is where I'll call it for now.

July's theme was Half Way Point, so I decided to use half-square triangles for the background. The flowers represent the half-way point of the growing season, between the early seedling days and the dying out or domancy days of late fall. (OK, Jane, early fall for you in the Michigan UP.) I meant to free motion quilt half the background but ended up doing a little more than that.

The background is make from a package of Jinny Beyer fabric squares that I got at the Victorian Quilt Shop ages ago, probably from back before they moved.
It had been a long time since I'd done any piecing. I stumbled across this unused 1/4" piecing foot in my sewing machine accessory tray - hey, I know that if you have a sewing machine you have unused feet too, so stop acting all superior. Anyway, this little foot is the bomb, it really is. It makes me want to keep doing a little patchwork.
But, aside from that, I find myself drawn toward doing some sewing, actual sewing, as in making garments and home dec things. I don't know what that's all about, but I've purchased some cool books. More about them later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trying It Out

Today's postcard. I got the leaves at Michael's and just fused them on the hand-dyed fabric. How easy is that?

I took a break from my sewing this evening to head to the river to try out my camera. The evening was fabulous, a little breeze, cool, a reminder that it's the last week in August.

This weekend will be the big fireworks show at the riverfront -

someone has staked out their territory already.

The mural is on the outside of the bar.

Yep, I like the camera. Back to work tomorrow (my weekend was Sunday/Monday.) As usual, my soul is crying for more time off, more rest, more sewing.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Camera

Today's postcard. I joined a 25-person postcard exchange group and thought it was very cool that one of the members said her mother was going through a rough time and asked for a postcard for her if anyone had time. She said that her mother liked sunflowers and other flowers, so this one's for her.

I got a new pocket camera today, so there should be more pictures and less whining about how I miss my camera. I had no real desire for a pink camera, but it was the best deal and it is kind of snazzy. It has all the features I wanted and a few that I didn't care about that came along for the ride. One thing I think I'll really like is a memory stick adapter that plugs into the computer to transfer pictures without using camera battery time. I got another Sony - I really like the lens, and I think that the problem I had last time was specific to the model of camera.

Would you believe that the little camera came in this big old box? Yes, there are a few accessories, but they're small, too.

The box is 10" x 15" x 10" and the camera is 3 3/8" x 2 1/4". Very crazy.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Haircuts

Today's postcard

Last Sunday Steph took Nora and Aaron for haircuts. It was Aaron's first haircut. Nora reported to me that she sat in the pink car at Cookie Cutters and that Aaron ate snacks while he was getting his hair cut so he'd sit still.

Here's Nora's cut. She tells me that it's shoulder length. She's about a month out from the haircutting incident at school and her bangs are slowly but surely growing.

Aaron was in his high chair when I snapped his picture, so focus on the haircut and ignore the food mess on his sweet face.

I'm still amazed - probably always will be - at Nora's snappy dark eyes versus Aaron's blue ones. The two of them are starting to play together a little now.

Aaron's been walking for about two weeks now, and already his thighs are slimming down.

I sure love those kids.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 86

Today's postcard

Friday Fill-Ins. Here we go, answers in bold.

1. Dancing to the silly tv kid songs while watching the grandkids makes me all kinds of happy. It's the only kind of dancing I ever really do, I'm not much of a dancer, never have been.

2. The last time I knitted I nearly finished the scarf. (It was red, really pretty yarn.) I enjoy the zen-ness of knitting, love pretty yarns, but never really get into it. When the weather gets cooler, I'll be looking for that red scarf again.

3. While I drive I really try to watch for motorcycles. Other than that, I try to make my drive to work a spiritual connection time, think about things I'm grateful for that day.

4. I saw a bear standing on the trail with two cubs last time I was hiking in the Smokies. It was my first bear sighting. Not too close. There were hikers who stayed really close - what were they thinking?

5. Give me fresh summer produce (thanks for the peaches, Bridget,) give me mountain hikes, give me beach sunsets.

6. Next week I'm looking forward to having Saturday off. I work every other Saturday so the one I have off is always a treat. And I do enjoy the Saturdays I work since the rhythm is a little different than the other days.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a little time with the book I'm reading, The Other Boleyn Girl, tomorrow my plans include working, and Sunday, I want to enjoy the day, whatever comes up.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Abrams Falls Quilt

Today's postcard

While reading Deb's blog yesterday and today, I was reminded that I made a quilt of Abrams Falls a couple of years ago.

Abrams Falls is on the west end of the Smokies, not far from Cades Cove. It's a nice little hike. I wish I had my older photos organized enough to find a photo of that hike, but it's not to be today.

Nora was in a back pack, and I think she was wearing a red cap that day. And Helen's aunt from Knoxville joined us. Good times.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Zucchini Casserole

Today's postcard

Janice, here's my favorite recipe for zucchini casserole. No pictures 'cause they're not ready yet.

3 medium zucchini, cut into pieces

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup grated cheese

1/2 t salt and 1/8 tsp pepper

3 slices bread, crumbled

2 eggs, beaten

1 T onion

Simmer zucchini in small amount of boiling water. Drain, mash with a fork, and drain again. Combine with best of ingredients and place in greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

(This recipe is very adaptable. You can use whole wheat bread, subsitute Egg Beaters and fat-free sour cream and low-fat cheese and it's still delicious.)

And, while on the food subject, thanks, Helen, for the trip to Hyde Park and the tofu pad thai at Noodles and Company. It was the best pad thai I've had in ages. Can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Take It Further Challenge for August

Today's postcard - machine embroidery on sheer silk between water-soluble stabilizer

The theme for the August Take It Further challenge is "Balance." (I know, you haven't seen July's Half Way Point yet, but it's coming.) I've decided to make a four-patch with the silk over cotton, with each patch being similar to the postcard above. The balance will be between the strong cotton batting and the gorgeous but less-sturdy embroidered silk. With beads, of course.

Below you'll find a welcome sight - summer squash. The yellow squash are my favorite summer vegetable, with green zucchini right behind. Won't be long now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gratitude in August

Today's postcard. I don't much like it, but it's here. Maybe I'll touch it up with green fluorescent ink.

I have tomatoes - large purple ones and golf-ball sized yellow ones. And potatoes from my work friend. I don't know how long it's been since I've had fresh garden potatoes.

I came home today to find fresh peaches on my porch, warm in the sun.

Definitely things to be grateful for. I am also grateful that I opened a business checking account today. I've decided in my musings that, among other things, I'm getting off track in getting my business going, and that's a step for today.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Write It On Your Heart

Somewhere on my internet travels, I came across this poem. Wish I knew where, but I can at least credit the poem to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Wirte it on your heart
that every day is the best day of the year.

He is rich who owns the day,
and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Words from long ago to think about, my friends.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 85

Time for Friday Fill-Ins

1. The last meal I had at a restaurant was at the Lucky Otter in Asheville. Followed by a walk to the ice cream store, which has a tiny deck tucked out back. The Lucky Otter is my favorite Asheville restaurant, small with fairly healthy choices. Always a good place to people-watch, there was a softball team last time I was there.

2. Rodents, up close and personal, are something I detest. Thanks again to Mike for fixing the squirrel entrance.

3. The full moon may bring crazy times, I don't know, but I love the references to them, maybe even the craziness.

4. Get you a plate is one of my favorite local expressions, more so in Berea than here. It seems to have two meanings - (1) to get a plateful to food at a dinner or potluck, and (2) to load up a plateful of food to take home.

5. Sometimes it's best to learn to not take things too personally. I believe that many times cruel words really aren't all about us, but reflect the experiences the person has had that day or that week.

6. ________________ is the best movie I've seen so far this year. I have to admit that I haven't seen one. The last movie I saw was Juno, and that was in December.

7. And as for the weekend, I need to regroup. I'm not happy with my lack of creativity right now, even postcards seem a chore that I've decided to set aside for a week or so.

I'm hoping for the easy solution. Could be it's as simple as missing being in my studio during the hot weather, or missing my "pocket" camera (and I'm researching its replacement, definitely have decided to not spend the $140 to get it fixed since I'm pretty sure the problem is in the design and could resurface in another 18 months.) It's been a long time since I've been on an artist date. Could be that I need to see a hypothetical movie (see # 6.) Could be that my internal clock is still set to August, which was the busy, busy time in my former Berea College job.

Anyway, I need time to ponder, to reset the "joy" button, to look around at colors, to muse on little Aaron's birthday coming up so soon and Nora's being so pleased with her little princess container filled with alphabet letters.

I need a time to be like that machine that resurfacs the ice at the hockey games, sweeping away the unevenness and making a smooth playing surface so the action can start again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

First Quilt

You've seen pictures of Olivia making postcards and getting her first sewing lesson. She's really good at it, and last night she came over and made her first crazy quilt.

Love the quilt, love the smile.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Front Yard Garden

Today's postcard

Morning time is so precious - that time between when I get up around 6 and leave for work around 8:45. It flies by at an unbelievable speed. That's when I try to do my postcards, housework, maybe a precious little quilting, not to mention ironing and showering. Evening is a little unpredictable, energy-wise. Morning is best for me.

Where I'm going with this is that I've decided that I really need to squeeze a little walking in that morning time, even if it's just 15 minutes. Especially during summer, it's fun to look at neighbors' flower beds when I'm out walking.

The only tomatoes I've seen in front yard beds are mine. I'm a big fan of mixing veggies and flowers, and my back yard isn't sunny. And when I lived at the Ecovillage, there were some dandy front yard gardens.

This winter I started tomatoes from seed with a package of mixed heirloom varieties. The package is long gone, so I don't know exactly what I have. The little yellow ones are golf-ball sized, very sweet. I'm getting about one every other day now.

Beside the yellow tomato is one with large tomatoes that are turning purple. You can see one ripening on the left side of the picture around the center. I don't think it's a Cherokee purple, but it's something like that.

And next year, ah, next year. There will be more beds, more flowers, more squash, more tomatoes, more everything. Starting earlier.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Today's postcard

Finally, after a long dry spell, I have a completed small quilt. I wanted to make a wedding quilt for a special friend and decided on a crazy quilt block since I've noticed that people gravitate toward them. I deviated from the traditional crazy quilt by using my hand-dyed fabrics and very little hand stitching, some machine embroidery, lots of beads.

Not a large project at all, but it feels good to have something completed.

The large bead in the center is made with fabric, fused with Wonder Under, rolled around a bamboo skewer, and wrapped with wire.

The machine stitching on the piece second from the right spells "love" over and over.

I've seen this woman made large-scale gardens, hauling dirt and rocks. As I worked, I realized that this quilt looks like her gardens, including the white beads that are rather like a rock path.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday at Steph and Mike's

Today's postcard

Mike's mom and dad were visiting on Sunday. Nice new haircut, Grandma Janice.

Steph had a pretty new cut, too.

I don't remember what Nora was thinking about, but her body language says it all.

Here she's happier, watching the Olympics on tv with Pap and pretending to be a gymnast.

Aunt Tina's starting Aaron on his way - yes, he's walking.

Good visit, everybody.