Monday, August 31, 2009

Downtown Park

There's the greatest waterfront kids' park in Cincinnati, right under the I-471 bridge crossing the Ohio River. I'd never think to look for a cool park in that location, but there it is.

Steph picked up the kids at my house on Sunday and we headed on down. Nora calls this park "the downtown park" for obvious reasons. The kids played on the playground equipment for awhile, then we walked to an overlook.

Steph went to find lunch at the Salsa Festival nearby and the kids spotted the sand volleyball courts.

Imagine being a kid and finding a sandbox the size of three volleyball courts plus some. I'm Gran B, and it's my job to say, "sure, you can play in all that sand." There were just a couple of other kids playing there, basically a huge expanse of sand just for them.

Was there a meltdown (or two) went it came time to leave that heaven? Better believe it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


For several weeks, I've had a trip to IKEA on my mind. There's a lot to like there - the people, the colors, the energy - and the food. I love the salmon and all those veggies.

With Mike's birthday providing the incentive, I went on Saturday morning. And came home realizing that the craving for the trip stems for the fact that I love colors, work with colors, but my home is pretty darn bland (except for that red kitchen, thank goodness.) Got to do something about that.

I was sitting in the cafeteria looking out over the parking lot when I spotted the farm directly in front of me - all those cars, the road, factories on the sides, and between them the farmhouse, barn, and silo. There's got to be a story there.

Nora baked her dad's birthday cake, and she always enjoys a birthday party.

I love this picture - Mike opening cards and gifts, the shock on Nora's face when she realizes that Aaron's sneaking candles off the cake.

Nora and Aaron spent the night with me, Mike had another party, and a good time was had by everyone.

Friday, August 28, 2009

On the Way to Berea

I dropped off this quilt at Carrye's pretty condo this evening and she'll be taking it to Berea tomorrow. It will be part of an exhibition at Eastern Kentucky University, Celebrate the Feminine: Quilting for the Cure, October 5 - 27. After that, the exhibition will be traveling to various locations and the quilts will come home in 2011.

My artist statement:

My quilt represents the paths of a woman’s life. Some are clear, defined, and progressive. Others are broken and transitional. Some paths are traveled in conjunction with another person, some are solitary. The splashes of pink represent the traditional feminine, but this is only a small part. In the end, all the paths and experiences fit together, no matter how diverse.

This quilt honors my mother, who died from breast cancer in 1985.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 139

The end of the week is here, time for Friday Fill-Ins. If you haven't tried them for your blog, check them out.

1. He was a really good boy when I visited a couple of nights ago. Funny thing is - he used to look out the window at my truck and say, "Gran B's truck." Now that he's had a ride in it, he looks out the window and says, "My truck." Talkin' about my grandguy, of course.

2. The last weeks of summer is what I look forward to most this time of year. Yummy garden produce, flowers, warm weather - it all starts to get really precious as the days get shorter.

3. My best friend - actually, I don't have just one best friend but I'm blessed with many friends.

4. Of course I'm going to be honest with you. But don't ask anything too hard.

5. Appearances can be the way things really are. Or, not.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my little grandgirl. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm planning to stop by at Carrye's and give her my quilt to take to Berea, tomorrow my plans include lots of quilting, and Sunday I want to walk over the Purple People Bridge. Want to come, Nora?

Happy Friday, everyone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Wheels . . . Go Round and Round

Aaron is loving playing "trains" these days and these trains from Joy and from Grandma Janice and Pap are really nice ones. Part of the joy no doubt comes from getting to play downstairs in the family room, which is relatively new to him, but most of it is the trains themselves. He will play with them for an hour or more, and nothing else has held his interest for anywhere near that long.

I was helping Mike watch the kids tonight, and Nora and I sneaked outside while Aaron was playing with those trains. The little guy across the street had his red Mustang out and was agreeable to sharing with Nora. After all, he says she's his girlfriend. Here Nora's driving with his little brother.

And because I had to get these in somewhere, here are Sarah and Winnie taking a picture -

of Nora coloring at Frisch's after their Sunday morning zoo trip.

I met up with them at the Frisch's in Bellevue after church. Just about the worst service ever and there was a spilled chocolate milk incident that embarrassed Nora, but still . . . good times.

Life Goes Fast

Life goes fast when Sarah comes for a weekend. There's never enough time for doing everything on the list. She and Winnie rolled in at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, and since I worked on Saturday I missed the first hours of visiting/shopping but picked up with pizza in the evening at Steph and Mike's followed by a movie on Fountain Square.

Here's our gang - Winnie and Sarah are in front, Bridget's sister Kevin is behind Sarah.

We all liked the Bee movie, much more of a hit than the chicken movie a few weekends ago.

Bridget in the background with nephew Blake in front -

Steph with Nora, who enjoys the whole downtown experience, including the downtown Graeter's on the square and the water features.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 138

What a pretty Friday morning - and time for Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. Sitting here sewing, I remember, I remember, when sitting down to sew a project meant one needle and one foot and probably one spool of thread. When did it get so complicated? I'm not complaining, though, I love it all.

2. Dear President Obama, I want you to know that I hope your health care plan passes.

3. Is that my cutting table, completely covered with a new cutting mat?! What luxury! Thanks, Steph, for picking it up for me when it was on sale.

4. I'm trying to resist the temptation of numbing out with a senseless book. There are so many really good things to read.

5. I'm saving a bar of dark chocolate just for you, my sister, because I know you love it.

6. If I made a birthday list, my facebook friends would definitely be on it. Come to think of it, I need to set that up.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Sarah and Winnie walking in the door some time late, tomorrow my plans include working, then going to the movie on Fountain Square, and Sunday I want to move an ugly piece of furniture downstairs. Are you up for it, everyone?

Happy Friday, everybody.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Right Shade

The fabric is dried and ironed - the chemistry worked its magic and the shade is what I wanted. My I N T/F P heart loves the process and the product -

done in solitude, all kinds of possibilities, rational process, and let's not measure too carefully because something surprising might happen.

I'm excited to try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Low Imersion

I need a backing for the Crazy Quilt my mother started and have no yardage large enough. I thought about piecing a few fabrics together, but this quilt is special and deserves some special treatment. I'm not very fond of most cottons right now (dots are an exception!) and my trip to the fabric store almost ended up with some solid broadcloth. Then I remembered the plain muslin located behind the broadcloth and thought it would be nice to dye the backing myself.
I haven't done much dyeing this summer (ok, none) and I'm not sure why. My basement is too cold for winter dyeing and this is when I should be stocking up. For this quilt, I want something that includes turquoise, not too dark. And I prefer the hand dyes that combine a couple of colors and have beautiful blending. The green/blue combo is what's in my bucket right now, with just a little water, therefore called low imersion. Too late tonight to rinse it out, and I'm sure I'll be happy to get out of bed in the morning to see how it all comes out. I've totally given up for now on careful measuring and timing to reproduce fabrics. What happens is usually beautiful and if there is only one, that's ok. Having said that, though, there is a method to what I do and I usually dye the same size pieces of fabric and am pretty consistent with the dye recipes.
After my trip to get the muslin I stopped at the grocery store and remembered this time to get coffee and Half 'n Half for Sarah and Winnie's visit this weekend. I called Sarah, a former Louisville resident, to see which kind of Heine Brothers coffee to buy - Front Porch, Mountain Dream, or Good Morning. Good thing she was home - I'd have guessed Front Porch but Good Morning it is.

Monday, August 17, 2009

In the Green Room

Helen got Nora a spot on FOX news back-to-school special this morning. Here's Nora in the Green Room prior to putting on the new clothes.

She had sparkly jeans, white cami with sparkles at the top, shiny motorcycle jacket,

bright pink boots, and a pink messenger bag. By news time, she'd had enough of the jacket but she was a sport about it.

Thanks, Helen, for the great directions to get me to the station and home again. They were awesome! I'm sure I can do it again - turn right at the wooly mammouths.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No Pictures

Little grandguy Aaron spent the night with me last night (Nora was with Aunt Tina.) And I have no pictures to show for it because taking care of an almost-two-year-old was busy work. I always admire my daughter and other moms, and I was reminded of just why.

He was ready to go when I got there, excited about a ride in Gran B's truck. He didn't seem to notice that the car seat had pink and brown flowers and promptly proclaimed it as his seat. I can just imagine what Nora would have to say about that.

I'd thought about going to LaRosa's with him but he was dressed so nicely that I chose Bob Evans instead since grilled cheese seemed "cleaner" than spaghetti. He didn't want to sit in his booster seat, wasn't much interested in coloring, didn't even care much for the grilled cheese. He spent much of his time bouncing around and flirting and was quickly ready to go.

In my back yard he played about twenty-five games of pretenting to go away, saying "see ya," then coming back fifteen second later, all happy and saying "Hi, Gran B." He was happy to take a bath with bubbles, happy to play with the toys, even happy to go to bed. I used to comfort my daughter than crying babies make happy toddlers and I firmly believe that.

He was happy to get up this morning, happy to eat toast, happy to go to church, happy to go home. Just a happy kid, but I have no pictures . . .

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Quilts in One

Sometimes I just have to do two things at once. I needed a sample quilt for the class I'm teaching tomorrow and I wanted to make a small quilt for a church function. Yesterday I was getting off the I-275 exit at Wilder (don't know why this is significant, but it seems to be) when I realized (1) what my church quilt would look like and (2) that it could be my sample too.

Photos of the church were printed on transfer paper. They're fairly light, but that's how I wanted them.

and designs are from the Husqvarna Texture Hoop. Finished size is 29" x 29."

Church members can sign the borders. I thought about various ways to incorporate an area large enough for signing and this seemed like a good idea. The backing is hand-dyed fabric that was used in the church during Advent.

I was musing about when and where I'd found the gray and white border fabric. Three years ago? Ten? It looks like I bought two yards and used a small chunk of it somewhere along the line. I think I read somewhere that if you love a fabric but don't have a plan for it to get two yards. I hardly ever buy more than half a yard, though. I must have really liked this one.

Friday Fill-In # 137

Here are my Friday Fill-Ins.

1. When will civility, peace, and justice prevail? And how can I help make that happen?

2. The Girls from Ames is the last good book I read or movie I saw or tv show I watched. It's a book, bet no one's surprised about that, although I loved seeing Julie and Julia earlier this week. The back cover says "From the coauthor of The Last Lecture comes a moving tribute to female friendships, with the inspiring true story of eleven girls and the ten women they became." Good read.

3. Everything has its beauty but I have to really think hard to find beauty in most rodents. Speaking of which, my neighbor across the street told me last night that the squirrels are taking my tomatoes and running to his yard with them. I wondered where they were going.

4. A bowl of cereal is what I had for dinner. So far. There may be more.

5. I'd like your opinion about how we can solve the health care issue. That's hard, though. OK, I'd like your opinion about which Cincinnati chili is the best.

6. Right here is where I want to be right now. I'm usually pretty happy wherever I am. But if I had two wishes . . . can't get Grandfather Mountain out of my mind since I read Helen's facebook post.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finishing my handout for tomorrow's class, tomorrow my plans include dinner with Aaron after work - he's big enough for my car seat and I think he'll enjoy riding in Gran B's truck, and Sunday I want to piece Aaron's Noah's Ark quilt.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Whole Lot of Cropping Going On

I took these pictures last night, wanting to incorporate them into a special wallhanging. Tonight, there's a whole lot of cropping going on.
I've printed the photos in black and white on cotton transfer paper and cropped them - a lot.

I need a project using Viking's new Textured Hoop for Saturday and this wallhanging for Sunday and I'm thinking I can combine the two.

Picture gray and white, with embroidery and ribbon, add in a few beads. I know, it's hard to visualize, but it's in my head. I figured it out on the interstate coming home.

The church is Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship, in Cincinnati's Oakley neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just a few more

Just a few more weekend pictures, then we can move on. The tree is at my brother's farm - you can see just a bit of the barn in the lower right corner.

Brother Carlton and Aaron, sharing a pretzel, perhaps. It was such fun to have a weekend with the family.

Niece Ariel, who will be back at Penn State in about a week - she's a senior.

The pool was such a big hit - there were three pool sessions in the short time we were there.

And Aaron - did you ever see a sweeter face?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Bluffton Scenes

Close to where I used to live were primarily farms. Now there are lots of houses - big ones. Where does everyone work? Shop?

There are still things growing. Nora picked a bunch of "flowers"

Looks like Aaron found something to pick too

I loved Aaron's swinging arms as he headed back for his mom and sister

My aunt and uncle used to have huge gardens. Now in their 80's, they've cut back a lot, but there were cherry tomatoes for the kids to pick.

Steph said it was their first experience picking vegetables, and their enjoyment is reason enough for me to plan on enlarging my garden again next year.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bluffton pictures

Thanks to my sister for some Bluffton pictures from the quick trip this weekend.

Nora in the motel pool - she loved to alternate between the pool and the hot tub
Aaron had a great time too. He has tubes in his ears and Steph told me that he shouldn't go under water in the hot tub. I thought that would be easy until he came to the edge and walked right in before I could get there. He sputtered and went on being happy.

Sunday was a very hot and windy day. The following pictures were at my brother Carlton's farm.

Aaron isn't sunburned, he just gets pink very quickly in the heat.

Brother Carlton and niece Ariel. About a year after Ariel was born The Little Mermaid came out and her relatively obscure name was a household word for households with kids.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday morning

going to see my sister, brother, and niece
going on a picnic
cleaning out the refrigerator
ironing and laundry
picking up shoes
taking out trash
loving Saturday morning at home.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 136

Thanks again to Tonya for this week's Friday Fill-Ins.

1. Blue Moon on tap is my favorite summertime drink. Unfortunately, for the past couple of years I've gotten really congested when I drink any kind of beer. I'm not happy about this.

2. My favorite John Hughes movie is I don't think I have one. I'll have to look him up. One of my year's goals was to see a movie every month but I fell behind in April. I figure I can still catch up. Maybe even with a John Hughes movie.

3. Fabric is something I love to touch when I'm working with it. And the grandbabes' hair, so silky.

4. The full moon should be coming around again. Thinking about it reminds me of fall and Halloween and fun to come. Does anyone remember getting a candy mix at Halloween way back when - there were pumpkins and black cats and candy corn and - moons.

5. I'm pretty happy right now. I'm going to see my sister on Saturday, and I'm really looking forward to that. And I found a nice book for my co-worker's birthday.

6. When daylight fades it's earlier than it was six weeks ago. We're sliding into the dark time to the year. It always seems, though, that with the holidays I don't notice so much - and then we're heading for the light time again.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the end of my work week for this week, tomorrow my plans include seeing my sister and niece (haven't seen my niece since Steph's wedding, probably,) and Sunday I want to get going on my quilts again, if only just a little.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Coming Soon

Coming soon - maybe - after 25 years -

My mom started this quilt long ago. She died in 1987, so it probably goes back at least twenty-five years. When she died, I took the box of crazy quilt squares, made from neckties that she got at the second-hand store or that people gave her. Some were stitched in blue, but most had gold stitching.

Probably ten years ago I made an attempt at putting the squares together but I lacked the skill and the tools and took them apart again and put them back in the box. On Sunday I was sitting in church with my mind wandering - a common occurrence - and realized that I could probably finish this quilt now.

I did the piecing Sunday afternoon, using a large square plastic ruler to square up each block and the dual feed foot to keep the squares feeding smoothly. I also set my sewing machine for woven heavy since the ties were stithed on a muslin base. All these were options I didn't have on my first try.

The piecing went easily and quickly (the blocks are 9" square) and I put the sashing on last night. The next step will be the quilt sandwich, then stitch in the ditch around the squares.

Then things get a little unsure. I know I can't duplicate my mom's lovely hand stitching so I'm going to try using one of the crazy quilt stitches on my sewing machine to go around the squares. I got some 12-weight gold thread today. I don't know if this will work well or not, but I'm hopeful. If not, I can leave it with just stitch in the ditch quilting and it will still look lovely. I'm hoping for more, though.

Don't worry, Aaron, I haven't forgotten your Noah's Ark quilt.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Gang's Almost All Here

The blocks for Aaron's Noah's Ark birthday quilt are embroidered and on the design wall.

The gang may not be quite all here, though. I'm thinking of a small 2" red sashing and a wide 6" purple one - same width as the blocks. A couple more pairs of animals may find themselves on the purple sashing. We're missing the elephants and the lambs.

There's still more than a month to go, so timewise it's looking good. Fabrics are a sturdy cotton. I know that somewhere, somewhere, in the studio or office or basement there is an aqua piece that I really wanted instead of the red but I couldn't find it and decided to go with the red.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fountain Square

Last night there was a movie showing on Fountain Square in Cincinnati. Steph, Nora, and I agreed that the experience was good but the movie not so much. We'll try again another time.

The fountain on Fountain Square -

When we got back to my house, Nora requested a sleepover, and that's what happened. I'm glad she likes to stay at my house, and she was ever so well behaved.