Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Can Do This

One of my goals is to get to be good, really good, on my serger. Like many people, I've been a little intimitated and very pleased to just be able to do a four-thread overcast and a rolled hem. Why the intimination? A serger uses four or five threads (no bobbin) and goes really fast. That's a lot of threading. I've been reading up, though, and I'm getting to know how all the parts work together.

Monday night I added a five-thread overcast to the mix. Success. So, last night I decided to try a coverstitch, which involves changing stitch plates and feet and about six other steps. And that worked too so I did a triple coverstitch. I'm feeling pretty darn good about all this. There is actually a serger that does coverstitch only to avoid the set-up, but the last thing I want is another machine.

Then while I had that set-up, I did a double chainstitch. Nice. This has a lot of applications for decorative stitching and quilting.

Now I want to try a flatlock stitch, then other overcasting. I've seen zippers put in with a serger, but I can't picture that yet. And then there are the threads - some are fuzzy, some have glitter - the threads are my carrot. If I know how to use them, I can get some of those threads! I want the ones with glitter.

I'm lucky to have a really, really nice serger. It has a little screen that tells me what needles and tensions to use for the different stitches. Sweet. I can do this.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Composting Tonight

Tonight Nora was playing with Play Dough, marveling, as kids do, that some colors had glitter and that one of the tools made a Play Dough turtle.

She decided to make a pie with blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and limes. The limes were decorative only.
She removed the fruits from the pie and put them in the composting. The composting? I had to find out more about that. She said that milk goes into the compost, meat never does. Hmmm. I asked her what composting does and she said that it helps make old food into new food. Close enough. She does know what she's talking about.
Aaron was playing with Play Dough too, trying to consistently figure out which was red, blue, green, etc. Tonight was the first time I'd seen his four stitches.

Just in time, too, because his dad said he was going to remove them tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who But Mike?

Who but Mike would think of getting a huge package of many decks of playing cards and building houses, apartments, and shopping malls, then turning it into a game with Nora. They take turns pulling out one card at a time. Whoever collapses the whole thing loses. Really neat game.

There was fabulous music up the street tonight with a band called Like Minds playing jazz during a block party. I had a meeting going on at my house and we all enjoyed the music. Got to thank the neighbors.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 143

After a week off, it's nice to be doing Friday Fill-Ins again. If you have a blog, join in. My answers are in bold.

1. One week ago I was at Elkmont campground in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Sarah and Winnie came right at dark and set up their tent. We went to visit friends at their campsite and had ribs, mashed sweet potatoes, greens, and homemade cookies, celebrated a 60th birthday, then came back "home" and had a campfire. Helen's sister had made most of her trip and was coming in the morning. You think I remember? Oh, and some random kindness person left a bottle of liquid soap in the bathroom. From here on out, I'm always going to do that.

2. I was a mess of a little kid when I was young. I didn't do well in school, was very dreamy (so, what's changed?) and had trouble focusing. Not very socially adept either. Oh, dear.

3. Mama said I shouldn't talk back. That meant a variety of things and could be applied in a variety of situations. For all the times I got in trouble over it, you'd think I'd be very vocal today but I'm quiet.

4. Remember that song about you and me? You and me go kissing in the dark . . . Maybe I made that up because I'm not seeing the lyrics on google.

5. Take your time and think it through. Ripping out stitches, literally or figuratively, is boring and takes longer than good planning.

6. This time of being unproductive and wandering/wondering will pass! Maybe even as soon as my sewing machine gets back from its first-year service. Can't blame it all on that, though. I did work alot today on my mom's crazy quilt, but my motivation and enthusiasm are lacking.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm planning to either (a) babysit or (b) go out with friends after work, tomorrow my plans include work, then a neighborhood block party with food and a jazz band (hope it doesn't rain) and Sunday my plans include hosting the first meeting of a spiritual journey group.

Happy weekend, everyone.


I'm promising myself that next trip I'll take notes about the hikes and what pictures I took where. This trip, I just have pictures of lovely but unknown waterfalls.

On Thursday we took short hikes between the rain to falls that were close to the trailheads. I can't decide whether the falls were more lively because of the rains - logic would say so but they always seem to be roaring.

If I'm remembering right, the one below is in the Bryson City area.

And then, of course, there's Abrams Falls, in the Cades Cove area. I'd guess that this is the most readily recognized falls in the park. It's a longer hike and we did this one on Friday.

I'm missing them all.

My one Elkmont camping wish, shared by everyone I'm sure, is that Elkmont had showers. We've got a short list of places where shower time can be purchased, but it would be so nice to be able to shower at the campground. I know it's not going to happen, just wishing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


This sticker was on a van at Sugarlands Visitors Center. It didn't seem to have any reference to Sarah Palin, even in the small print, so I'm posting it for my Sarah.

Sarah and Winnie - on Saturday it rained as soon as we got back from our hike to Alum Cave Bluffs but they don't seem too dismayed. That's Helen's aunt in the background - she came from Knoxville for a birthday celebration for Helen's sister.

Sarah and Winnie's tent was among the brightest in the campground, and Winnie had shoes to match, although she's not wearing them here.

And thinking of shoes, I glanced into their trunk and saw these shoe boxes for their footwear.

Once the Cincinnati and Indiana folks were on the road on Sunday, Sarah and Winnie went to town for pizza and a little shopping. Back in Asheville, they had much rain, a wet basement, and their tent drying out in the living room.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

F 8

Thanks to Bridget's reservation skills, our Elkmont campsite was F8, the best in the campground. It's at the edge, down the hill from the road leading to the Elkmont houses.

Over the years, Bridget, Helen, and Steph have acquired a good selection of canopies and tarps, so even though we had rainy weather, we had a large dry area that did justice to the site. At least half the tent campers had additional canopies or tarps, even drop cloths, over their tents in an effort to keep them dry. I always enjoy checking out the campsites, tents, and tarpage.
This is a morning view from the back of the campsite. One evening around dusk, we saw a small bear on the bridge and two more up the road. None of us got good pictures, though, so you'll have to take our word for it. One of the little bears wandered through the bathroom area. We never did see the mama.

We have friends who do elaborate campsite cooking, but that's not for us. One night we had a delicious Caesar salad straight from the bag.
And every night there was "meat on a stick" over the campfire. Note to vegetarians: the Morningstar Italian sausages work best wrapped in foil and placed on the campfire. I stopped at three large grocery stores trying to find veggie hot dogs, with no luck. Except for the basic "burgers," the selection of veggie sandwich items seems to have decreased over the past year.

Even though we had lots of rain, there was a dry time every evening for a campfire, with most of the rain coming at night. We were able to hike every day with just a few drizzles.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Aaron's Birthday Part Two

I don't want to go on, even with camping thoughts, without posting the last of the pictures from Aaron's birthday party.

Grandma Janice and Aaron, enjoying:

Mike, Aaron, and nieghbor Jax, aka Nora's boyfriend.

Obviously, the red icing on the edges is best for snitching.

Checking out the new quilt:

Aaron got skates from Grandma Janice and Pap, and Nora loved them. There were lots of other things in the bag and he'll never notice that she claimed them for awhile.

Good times with Helen:

When I saw him yesterday after several days, Aaron seemed so tall, and Nora seemed so grown up. Moving here was the right thing for me. These kids are precious.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Off for the Smokies. No time to upload pictures, shutting off the power strip. Back Sunday. Hope we don't get too wet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Party Time

How joyful to be two and have a Thomas the Train cake. Aaron's birthday was last week, but the party was on Sunday. Combined with a Bengals Opening Day football game, but we're not going there.
Aaron's not usually a bib kind of guy, but he didn't even notice when his mom slipped this one over his head. He was very neat, but his red fingers give away that he was snitching icing earlier.

There was a big pretzel deli sandwich from Servatti's, ever so good.

Time for presents. I made this little jacket and scarf and thought it would be way too small, but it will work for this season, at least. If you haven't seen Aaron's new haircut, take a look.

Nora was very helpful in opening the presents; I think she enjoyed it as much as Aaron did.

I'll try to post a few more pictures in the morning before I leave for several camping days in the Smokies.

Monday, September 14, 2009


After the last camping trip, I washed my sleeping bag. We'd had rainy weather and it had gotten damp, and besides, it was time. When I opened the washer, the sleeping bag was caught under the rim, between the tub and the plastic piece, and was ripped in many places and there was white fiberfill sticking out. Lots. Sigh, I love this sleeping bag, it's seen lots of good times, and besides, it was expensive.

I pictured ordering a new one, $ flying away. Then I pictured a repair with fabric patches because the damage was so extensive. But today, when I actually sat down to sew, still thinking of patches, it was a good rescue.

I was able to actually pull the torn edges together, and darn where I couldn't, and I'm ready to go camping in a couple of days with a sleeping bag that still looks pretty good.

Now I can get on to other things, like collecting my things and going to the grocery store, and mowing the grass. Happiness is mine.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oh, Joy

Oh, joy, Aaron's quilt is finished and ready for his birthday party this afternoon. Yesterday at this time it was in pieces on the floor and I'm happy, happy that it's finished in time. Steph reminded me that birthdays last a whole month, but still, I so wanted him to have it today.

Kona cotton is on sale at the fabric store, so I used that for the backing. Partly because time was so short, and partly because this is a functional quilt that should have bias binding, I used purchased quilt binding. I'm hoping that it's colorfast.

Yesterday there was a community yard sale in a neighboring community and I stopped at a couple of houses. I spotted this sewing machine for $10 and decided to get it.

It is not a good sewing machine, has only a few stitches, strictly mechanical, worth maybe, oh, $10. But it's much better than the so-called "toy" sewing machines and is attractively packaged.

I can just picture sitting down with Nora and teaching her to sew. This will be great for stitching on paper without thread, then making a pillow case or a little cotton bag. The yard sale woman said it was her mother-in-law's and she couldn't get the tension right. It looked ok, though, barely used, and just a twist of the dial got the tension right. I have a feeling she was hemming jeans or a similar heavy fabric, and this machine just isn't made for that.
Good times are coming, Nora.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 141

Even though it's Saturday, here are my Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. That's a wonderful place to be. Talking about the Smoky Mountains, and I'll be there next week. Next week. Starting Wednesday. Camping beside the Little River. Reading a book in my chair. Hiking the trails. Cooking "meat" on a stick. Going to town.

2. Don't diss my state. I'm over here. A former work colleague of mine posted a facebook question today asking about whether we ever felt stereotyped because we live in Kentucky or in the south. All kinds of stories. And another facebook friend suggested, unrelated, that the south should go its separate way, free to ban gay marriage, abortions, etc. Fact is, I have many, many civil, thinking, and yes, liberal, friends and neighbors here in the commonwealth of KY.

3. The possibilities include: cleaning, sewing, shopping, getting ready to go to the Smokies. I have a Saturday off.

4. A big pot of something warm is one of my favorite cool day recipes. Something vegetarian, something that can be divided into little freezer containers and pulled out on another day. August wasn't a good month for me, food wise. Just getting by. Eating things less than nutritious just because it was what was available quickly. I went to the grocery store one day this week and got good stuff, time to start cooking again.

5. How will you know when your quilt is done? When it has enough stitches, enough embellishment, enough color? Answer: it will tell you.

6. If I'm home, I love hearing the wind picking up and seeing a stormy sky. But on this day, the sky is blue, blue, blue, not a cloud in sight, no smog at all, and I love that too. Temperature is 63 degrees, awesome.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to eating some dinner and relaxing, don't think I have energy for anything else, tomorrow my plans include working on Aaron's birthday quilt although I don't think I'll be able to finish it for his birthday party on Sunday, and Sunday I want to watch the Bengals game and enjoy Aaron's party.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Packing It Up

I don't often pack up my sewing machine, and even if I'm going along with it, I feel a little twinge of separation anxiety. I just packed it up for a quilt guild workshop tonight and my sewing room looks empty. The workshop is about machine maintenance and I'm helping the top-drop bobbin folks. So many of the quilters have Bernina's and I'm helping with the "everything else" category, which includes me.
Sewing machines are really personal, and I love, love my Viking with its sewing advisor and sensor system. And my new one has such a long bed. Not to mention that when I step on the foot pedal the presser foot comes down automatically. Luxury.

There will be a question-and-answer afterward about sewing machine feet and I grabbed my little basket of optional feet in case there are questions about any of those. I'm excited about helping with this - it's so nice to be in a group of talented, artistic women.

Next week I'll be camping and I'll drop off my machine for its first year service when I'm gone. That way the separation time won't seem so long. Gotta remember to check the timer first to see how many sewing hours I've put on that machine.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

I hope everyone's having a great Labor Day. There was really pretty weather here except for some much-needed rain during the night.

In Cincinnati, the day before Labor Day means fireworks on the river. I stayed overnight in one of the hotels with Steph and Mike and the kids. There was a nice river view from the hotel room and the kids really loved looking out at the boats.

And the swimming. They really loved the swimming.

Nora tried out the hot tub too. Aaron would have liked to, but it was hotter than most, too hot for his little(?) two-year-old body.

In the afternoon, boats and people started gathering at the riverfront to get a good spot for the big event. I'm sure it was even more crowded further down.

You never know what kids will enjoy the most. Aaron liked trying out this brownie, hated waiting, rode the glass elevators again and again, and "liked the boom" when the fireworks started.

And Nora? She was so enchanted with the glow-in-the-dark bracelets like the one on Steph's wrist that she paid minimal attention to the fireworks. The bracelets could be linked together and she tried all kinds of configurations. I've got to see if I can find more for her.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


See, I TOLD you I was making a crazy quilt turkey.

Row 1 of 5.

I stopped at the bookstore on my way home tonight and found two treasures.

Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials

and Quilting Arts Gifts, a holiday issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. I love this magazine, look forward to it every year, keep it from year to year, and always find something to make.

What was especially nice: the bookstore clerk asked if I wanted a bag. I don't think that's ever happened to me in a bookstore before. She just stuck my receipt in my book and I walked out the door happy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Fill-In # 140

Friday Fill-In time. Answers are in bold.

1. I feel happy. Good times once I get off work on Saturday. Church on Sunday morning, fireworks on the river Sunday night, lots of people joining me off work on Monday.

2. Camping at Elkmont is always fun, and in a couple of weeks I'll be there. Bridget reserved the primo campsite, the river will be roaring, and my soul will soothe.

3. Right now I can hear these things: my embroidery machine, traffic on 471, the whir of the computer, my fingers tapping on the keys.

4. My brown quilt is finished and I'm glad. Sometimes when I'm done with a project I'm tired of looking at it and a little disappointed with the outcome and that's certainly true this time. I really thought I'd like working with the suede and corduroy, but in the end, I didn't. I think some buttons in the centers of the corduroy squares would perk it up, with I'm so over it that I probably won't add them.

5. The last time I celebrated a birthday was last weekend (Mike's) and Aaron's is coming up next weekend. Gotta get going on his quilt. And can't wait to see the little guy's new haircut. In the photo, he looked incredibly proud of himself. And Nora is pleased and sweet with her chin-length bob.

6. I feel grateful this Labor Day weekend that I have a job, that the weather should be great, that I'm healthy, that I have lots of fabric and art supplies, that I have a wonderful family.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a good dinner and some work on the turkey quilt, tomorrow my plans include going to work then going to the bookstore, and Sunday I want to love those fireworks and the awesome location for watching them.

Happy Friday, happy weekend, everyone.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Three Projects Finished Today

Three projects finished for next week - means six total so far.

There's my quilt, completed,

and this wine bottle cozy, a good rescue after I cut in the wrong place. If I give it to you, don't say, "Is it supposed to have a seam in the front?" Which you wouldn't say anyway because it was a good rescue and looks intentional. I used my serger for finishing - great.

And this quick little project, baby bib and washcloth. I meant to do a burp cloth too, but time's running out.

Now, I'm working on a crazy quilt turkey - yes, really. And I need a project for my next workshop.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I almost talked myself into signing up for a Quilt University class by Linda Schmidt. The supply list is all things I love - sparkly tulles, paints, tyvek, heat gun, cellophane, beads, decorative thread. The class description said there was quite a time commitment, which is true to all her classes - but still, I was ready to push the button, despite the fact that I'm signed up for an advanced batik class during part of the time. I'm longing for someone to teach me. I know I have quite a few things coming up, but I really want to have an online lesson come my way every week.

Only thing is, I think I've already taken that class. I can remember burning edges of "rocks," painting on cellophane and hitting it with the heat gun and watching it bubble. Putting decorative thread in the bobbin and stitching on water soluble stabilizer. Making sparkly water with the tulles. Somewhere in my move I've lost the lessons but I think I've already taken this. Probably the reasonable thing to do would be to do some research on the techniques, maybe get a book instead. I know there's nothing that says I can't take the same class twice, but for that kind of time, I want something new. Sigh.

Forgot that I was supposed to head to Mike and Steph's after work and went home instead. Remembered and headed on over. Played cars and birthdays and beauty shop. When it was time to go home, Aaron said, "I want to go home with you." How sweet is that. I love those kids.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Maybe tomorrow

Maybe tomorrow, I'll get the binding on this quilt. Maybe even before work, although probably not.

I need several samples for a presentation a week from tonight - this is my third one, and it's the largest. I forgot to take pictures of the other two, but I can do that later. Right now I'm wondering - why didn't I make this one a little smaller, less binding to put on.

Fabrics are corduroy and suede. The embroidery on the dark brown corduroy was there when I purchased it, designs are Viking Textured Hoop designs. Maybe tomorrow - I can finish this and make something else too.