Sunday, November 30, 2008

Baltimore Ravens 34 Cincinnati Bengals 3

Thanks to Steph for a Bengals ticket and the loan of a Bengals sweatshirt. After Sarah left for North Carolina, I headed down to the river and caught a bus to Paul Brown stadium. It was a rainy morning and early afternoon, but by the time I was at the bus stop the rain had stopped.

I had never been to a pro football game and enjoyed the 50-yard-line seat tremendously, despite the fact that the Bengals probably played their worst game of the year, and that's saying something.

I hoped to see the Bengals score a touchdown, but it was not to be on this day. I got there in the middle of the second quarter, and I hadn't missed anything.

By the end of the third quarter the seats had cleared out. I gave it up in the middle of the fourth and so did lots of others - the bus back to Newport quickly filled up. There were four other busses waiting for people who stuck it out.

Thanks, Steph. What an unexpected treat.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 100

Congratulations, Janet, for your 100th week of Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. My stomach feels happily blessed today with memories of yesterday's Thanksgiving food and a wonderful tomato bisque today. Ummmm.

2. Potatoes is what I ate most of yesterday. Idaho potatoes mashed with spinach, sour cream, and a little cheese and mashed sweet potatoes. Sarah requested "real" sweet potatoes this year instead of canned ones and it was a good call. I baked the sweet potatoes with the turkey and pulled them out, peeled them, and mashed them. The grocery store had 5-pound bags for $1.85 and that was just the right amount.

3. The yard has had its last leaves raked and the leaf truck has taken them away. Tomorrow Sarah is going to clean leaves out of the gutters and that will be it for another year.

4. At home or with family is where I'd rather be at any given time.

5. The smell of hedge apples reminds me of my mother's decorating. She was so good at using simple things to make her house pretty. I was glad to find some beside the steps at Krohn Conservatory earlier this week. Sometimes the "tree" is called Osage Orange and the inedible bright green "apples" are bumpy and about the size of a grapefruit.

6. Sleep is what I need right now. Really need. And time off work.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to just unwinding. I'd love to meet Steph's friend Helen's family at her house, and Sarah and Steph have gone on, but there isn't any socializing left in my introverted heart. Tomorrow my plans include working, and Sunday I want to put up the dyed blue and purple fabric at church for the first Advent Sunday, as well as the Advent candles. Then I want to go over the year's photos to decide what I'll use for the holiday collage that I mail to family and friends.

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving Friday, everyone.


Sarah, along with her friends Holly and Ginger, was one of 11,520 people who finished the 10K Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day race. Her time was 5 seconds faster than last. year. She's not in the picture, I didn't see her until she yelled when she was already past. I knew there were 10,000 people in the race, but I didn't really appreciate how many that was until I was watching people pour off one of the bridges.

It was a good Thanksgiving dinner, one of those days when dinner was ready within a hour of the scheduled time and everything came out good.

The rules according to my guests is that the after-Thanksgiving ads can't be read until dinner is over. Then there's a scramble for the newspapers.

And the planning begins.

This year the shoppers decided to go in a different direction than last year.

No planning here, just reading.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Race

Hey, Sarah, I picked up your race packet yesterday. You're number 9276.

Here's your chip -
and your very cool t-shirt -

and some gloves for your hands.

And here are good luck wishes from your mom.

Monday, November 24, 2008

October Take It Further Challenge

I'm really behind on my Take It Further Challenge quilts. October and November aren't started, December is fast approaching, you get the idea.

So, I'm putting the quilt I just finished into its third use, and it's not so much of a stretch. (You can see it in yesterday's post.) The October challenge is thinking about your workspace, how you feel about it and what role it plays in your life.

My studio is a place of learning and surprises. Where things happen because they just feel right. Where I've learned to use my intuition and to listen to what the quilt is telling me. Usually if I make a quilt that requires this kind of time I’d use my own hand-dyed fabrics, but this time I just wanted commercial fabrics, maybe because I wasn’t sure how all this would turn out, maybe because I got my head turned by the colors in the display just inside the store's front door, maybe because my life was just so darn busy. I went back to the store three times because I wasn’t happy with the mix.

One of the really nice features of this quilt is the dark green with its pale stripe. I didn’t plan it that way, really it was just the right color and was on sale. But sitting way back and looking at the quilt it’s the green with its stripe that stands out. It's what gets noticed first. Totally unplanned and a great surprise – if I could have found another fabric in that color it wouldn’t be there.

My studio is a place where I can try new things, where I can incorporate traditional ways of doing things with new technology and tools. I love that. Using machine embroidery in quilts is still in the new stages. The 30-weight thread, now available in luscious colors, and the candlewicking foot that allows thick stitches are things that weren’t in my studio a few months ago.

My studio is a place where I learn things I could have learned before, just didn’t, and I love that, too. When I got my first computerized machine several years ago it was important to me that it have a quilting stitch that looked pretty much like hand quilting. I tried it out but never really used it until now. The invisible thread I used is so much smoother than what I tried back then.

Plastic templates have been around forever, just not in my studio, and I used them for the side design. I'd never used the 1/4" piecing foot before, and it's sweet and was in the tray all this time.

My studio is a place where things wait, sometimes. This quilt, already started, waited patiently through Halloween costumes, the Dorothy jumper, a couple of other pretty little jumpers, playing with Halloween and Thanksgiving embroidery, some alterations. Sometimes that happens, and I've learned to be patient. Sometimes I put something aside and am surprised when I pull it out years later.

The role my studio plays in my life is large. One of the first things I do each day is visit there, look at what's ongoing, what plans I could be thinking about as I do other things. Sometimes, as with this quilt, I think about what isn't working quite right or what technique I'll be doing that's new and how I'll approach that. My studio is my look at the past and my hopes for the future.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

At Last, It's There

At last, the quilt is hanging at church, for today's service and the one on Thanksgiving Eve.

Once all the quilting was done, the free motion outlining and the binding went really quickly.

I'm really happy to contribute in this way. So many of the people at church are very musically talented, and I'm so not. I'm glad there's an alternative for me.

Next Sunday when the quilt comes down (and the Advent display goes up,) it will temporarily go to the store for a sample.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blog Type

You too can go to Typealyzer and have your blog analyzed. Here's how mine came out.

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves. The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Good for my blog. I like it's type. Hmmm. In real life, though, I'm an INFP,

really strong on the I, the introvert. I like to be with people, just not in large groups. After an hour at the party, I'm ready to go home.

really strong on the N, the intuitive. I don't tend to take in information with what's actually in front of me, more with what that relates to, or could relate to, or has related to. I can think a whole lot about what I've seen but never quite know what I've seen. And that's ok. That's how new ideas come about.

right on the fence on Thinking and Feeling, not a logical decision-maker but not a people-only decision-maker either, just a mix of both. And I'm really happy about that. Sometimes I test one way, sometimes the other, but the preference is always very slight.

a little on the Perceiving side, less apt to plan carefully and to want the decision made, more likely to change at the last minute and to want to put off making decisions - there's always more to learn about it, you know.

I used to enjoy doing personality testing as part of team building. You might like to try this personality test from

Friday Fill-In # 99

Friday Fill-In time. Answers are in bold.

1. The last band I saw live was The Campbell Brothers and that wasn't recently. They played gospel music and called it Sacred Steel Guitars. The female vocalist could really sing. It was at a convocation at Berea College, and I miss those. I'm sure that more recently I heard bluegrass bands at the Traditional Music Festival, but I don't know their names. The whole evening of good bluegrass just blends together.

2. What I look forward to most about Thanksgiving used to be days off, a whole bunch of them, a quieting of the work schedule. Now that I'm working in retail that won't be happening, but I'm still looking forward to time with family and friends, cooking the meal, the time to be grateful.

3. My Christmas shopping isn't started, and I used to try to be finished by Thanksgiving. Like everyone else, I'll be cutting back this year, but that isn't the reason for my procrastination, it's more that time seems to be flying by. I hope I get a chance to make a few projects, including Aaron's Raggedy Andy and Nora's quilt.

4. Thoughts of cold weather and snow fill my head. I noticed last year that the weather people here really hype the snow and the same thing has started already. Calm down, you guys.

5. I wish I could wear warm weather clothes on the beach. I've had the beach on my mind for months now. Something about the sound of the surf and seeing the water stretch on forever is so seductive. Aside from that, I wish I could wear sandals with the little piece between the toes. I never could wear those.

6. Bagpipes remind me of a December funeral I attended where people filed out to the mournful sound of Amazing Grace played on bagpipes. I looked at the widow, who was relatively young, and wondered how she could bear losing her husband so early. And almost a year later, I was in her position. She continued on with her good work at the New Opportunity School for Women, a live-in three-week workshop held twice a year for women in transition, giving them a chance to try a job, put together a resume, gain self-confidence. Really amazing work, she's one of my role models.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight my plans include going out for appetizers after work, then scooting home to work on my quilt, tomorrow I plan to conclude the Beginning Sewing Workshop and hopefully pick up my new glasses afterwards if they're ready, and Sunday I want to do the rest of the Thanksgiving shopping and planning. There is a Thanksgiving potluck after church and I know that will put me in the mood.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Up on Top

I didn't hang my church quilt last weekend, decided to let what's there stay for one more week and finish this one during the week. Turns out that even that is a challenge - I'm doing machine quilting and thought it would go quickly, but it isn't. I'm using an invisible thread in the needle and a red rayon in the bobbin along with a quilt stitch on the machine that makes it look, a little, like hand quilting. I'm using a walking foot and can't imagine being able to do this without it. No matter how far I get, the binding goes on Saturday night.

I always like to go to Carew Tower when I'm downtown. It's very art deco and fun to look at, but this trip I wanted to go to the observation tower before it got too cold. There's a speedy wood-paneled elevator that goes up the first 45 floors, then a tiny elevator for the next 3, and gray steel steps for the last floor.

I took this picture of the mail drop on the 45th floor. I wonder whether it's still in use. I'm reflected in the glass.

On that semi-cold day, I was the only one who paid my $2 and went out of the deck at 2 p.m. If you look straight up from the left side of the black circle on top of the building in front, you'll be just about at the location of my house.

A peek over the edge is always fun.

The last picture is looking off toward the southwest. You can get a good idea of how curvy the Ohio River is in this area and why the tow-boat operators find it challenging. It's hard to turn one of those long barges.

On my way out, I took a quick look for signs of Santa's coming but didn't see any. When Nora was 1, Helen suggested that Steph take Nora to the Carew Tower Santa since the same Santa comes every year. And sure enough, her Santa pictures have the same Santa every time - how great is that? Last year's picture shows Aaron sitting on Santa's lap with Nora sitting at his feet - she was very clear that she didn't want to sit on his lap. Wonder what will happen this year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Transitioning to the Holidays

new piece of hand dyed fabric to use at church during Advent - it starts as primarily light shades of blue at the top and transitions to purple at the bottom. it's more blue than it looks here

During my trip to downtown Cincinnati last week, I admired the planters. Some already have ornamental cabbage and kale for early winter, others, like this one, still have hearty summer plants. I remember that last year when we went in December to see Santa it was a balmy 50+ degrees and sweater weather so we should still have a few warm days to come. The planters seemed especially pretty that day.

There were snowflakes in the window at the art supply store. We've seen a few of the real thing.

I checked out the skating rink on Fountain Square. It isn't up yet, but they're working on it.

Macy's is ready, of course.

I'm looking forward to making a big Thanksgiving dinner next week. I have the turkey in Steph's freezer and have some of the groceries. My usual style is to do a little at a time. I'll have a shorter work day on Saturday as I finish the last Beginning Sewing workshop, so I'm hoping to do a little decorating/cleaning on that day.
Yesterday I had a picture of Nora, and here's Aaron today. Steph sent it along because of the unusual-ness of it, Aaron sitting down reading a book. Usually he's climbing on whatever can be climbed on, banging cupboard doors, racing around, looking hopefully for things to dismantle - you get the idea. He's such a great little guy, very active and sunny.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Take It Further Challenge for October

The October Take It Further Challenge was to think about your textile work space - how do you feel about it? What role does it play in your life?

I wanted some sunny yellow fabric since my studio represents such a happy part of my life. While the dyed result is much more yellow (and green) than it looks here, it isn't as sunny as I wanted - but that's part of the fun for me. My studio is a place where a kind of magic happens, where things don't necessarily look or happen like the image in my head but where they take turns and curves that delight me and end up better than they began.

I'm not sure yet what I'll make with this goodness, but I'm excited to be on my way.

Another kind of magic - this afternoon I spread out cardboard in a sunny space in my back yard. I put some leaves on top and added 20 bags of top soil. The bags had been in the back yard all summer and each bag must have added 20 pounds of water to the 40 pounds of top soil. All through the next five or six months the soil underneath will soften and the grass will mulch into it and in April or May there will be a new space for peas to climb on the fence and for planting tomatoes. The space in the front yard that housed tomatoes this year will have peppers next year.

In the upper left of the picture above you'll see a tree with red berries. I don't know just what it is, but it looks pretty.

From last night, here's a picture of Steph and Nora at the Aranoff. The Wizzard of Oz was as good as they both hoped.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things To Try

I want to try a flannel rag quilt for Nora. I don't know if I can have it finished by Christmas - there are lots of other things on the list - but if I can do two squares every day, then maybe . . . I'll start it out, then give you directions.

This morning there was snow on my truck - just a little, but enough to let me know that the cold is coming. Tonight I just know I can hear the wind howling around.

I want to try this space heater for my studio, or the bathroom, or wherever I need it.
And I want to try actually programming the thermostat that I had installed last year but never programmed because last winter I was home all day. Hmmm, I just realized it's the same brand as the space heater - I didn't plan it that way.

And I really want to try some nice warm slippers, with the theory that if my feet are warm the rest of my body will feel warmer too.
Tomorrow I want to get some bags of topsoil to put in the back of my truck. Just a little cold moisture on the road has reminded me how light the truck is in the back end. A little extra weight makes all the difference in keeping it going straight down the road.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tomorrow - the Ruby Slippers

Tomorrow is the day Nora will be putting on her ruby slippers from Bridget and going downtown to see The Wizzard of Oz. Really big stuff for a little girl who asks to watch the movie almost every day.
I took over her jumper tonight. Here she's checking it out, right before the buttons went on.
We decided to shorten it a little - the pattern was really long. Good deal, though, the cut-off piece made two hair bows.

Then came a little dancing and a little "Off to see the Wizzard" stepping down the hall.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fill-In # 98

simple jumper pattern for Nora's blue gingham jumper. I really, really like this pattern, and it has buttons on front, too.

Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. Please feel free to give me constructive criticism on my art work. Just keep it constructive.

2. When I've baked a white cake, I can't stop from sniffing it occasionally, even if I'm not eating much processed sugar. Chocolate cake, too, a little, even though it's that vanilla smell that I really love.

3. My favorite thing to cook is Thanksgiving dinner. I enjoy making everything, love all the side dishes, like making the list and doing the shopping.

4. Sewing and quilting are something I can't get enough of, but you already knew that. And reading. And walking in the door of home.

5. That's the thing I love most about Thanksgiving dinner, how it all comes together. I start with something and freeze it, do something different the next day and freeze that, just do a little at a time and then when Thanksgiving comes things are pretty much ready.

6. Mean-spirited people always make me think to myself, what the heck. Luckily, most people display some generosity of spirit and I don't think "what the heck" too often.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going out for a quick drink and a little dinner after work, then sewing the top part of the jumper, tomorrow my plans include work, then finishing the jumper and binding the quilt, and Sunday my plans include going to church and hanging the quilt. Here's the deal: I didn't make much progress on that quilt yesterday so I'm going to bind it and then quilt it later. It already has stitch-in-the-ditch quilting so it won't shift, it has all that candlewicking, and people will be seeing it from at least 20 feet away, so it will be fine.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time Away

You've seen this quilt before, but when it came back from the show in Berea it was telling me that it needed more quilting and some beading. I think I was in a really minimalist mood when I made it. I sat in on a lesson earlier in the week where the instructor recommended using small pieces of plastic shelf liner to help push the fabric during free motion quilting. My hands appreciated not wearing the gloves - it was a good tip.

This afternoon I took some time off and rode the shuttle to Cincinnati.

I learned that even though it's getting colder, the Duck is still in operation.

Passengers ride to the dock on Newport city streets, then the Duck serves as a boat on the river.

Newport on the Levee (where I get on the shuttle) has holiday decorations up.

My favorite art store in downtown Cincinnati has some great children's things that make me glad that Nora has both a birthday and Christmas coming up. I got a couple of bottles of cool ink for myself, too.

This is the Aronoff Center where Steph and Nora will be seeing the Wizzard of Oz on Sunday.

And here is a promotion for it.

Look at those spike heels on the ruby slippers.
More about the afternoon later.