Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Know It's For His Birthday, But . . .

I know the quilt I'm working on is for Aaron's birthday, but . . . he was at my house all day today, belly sick, and wanted to sew with the sewing machine. I slowed the machine speed way down and let him step on the foot pedal while I guided the fabric. Surely he'll enjoy his present all the more for having helped with it.

Then he'd press the button to raise the pressure foot. He commented that my sewing machine is cool.

His next job was to trim the threads with the little scissors, after which he'd go back to enjoying the pull of the magnetic pin cushion on the scissors.

The only problem I can see with this is that Nora, who wasn't here today, also loves sewing. Imagine if they fight over who gets to sew . . . my dream come true.

Monday, August 29, 2011


After waiting all summer, several friends and I went to the Cleopatra exhibit at the Museum Center in its last weeks. Although I wished I'd done some ahead-of-time research, the exhibit was amazing. I'll do some afterwards research about Cleopatra and her time. No photos were allowed inside, not a surprise - this picture was from a poster outside the exhibit. My favorites were the huge statues and the jewelry - I bet almost everyone says that.

I've been doing some after-workshop fine line piecing and find that I enjoy the zen-ness of it. Stitch, flip, stitch. Stitch, flip, stitch. By accident, because I didn't want to take it off, I've found that using a walking foot works really well for me in this kind of piecing.

I'm thinking that maybe two more lines will finish this piece, then I'll quilt it and use it to make some bags. I'm thinking straight line quilting in aqua.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sunshine and Shadows

For September's baby quilt, Ginny donated some lovely striped blue fabric. The "pattern" was whatever pattern we chose, as long as it was in blue and white.

My quilt is simple, made with half-square triangles. I cut the stripes on the bias to end up with a Sunshine and Shadows look without the piecing. Thanks, Ginny.

What I like in my quilts: pieced bindings finished with a three-stitch zig- zag. Mostly, though, just admire those gorgeous blue stripes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Finally. Tomatoes on the window sill. Zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers.

"Eating out of the garden" - did you ever hear that phrase?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I always thought it would be kind of nice to have a bright red car, and for about a week, I did, while my car door was being repainted. (No, I didn't scrape it, there had been some kind of small chemical spill before I got it.)

But now it feels good to have my blue car back again. Note the body side moldings, nice touch.

Now that it has the temporary tags replaced with the real thing it really feels like mine. Especially since today there was juice spilled in the back seat and crayon melted on the all-weather floor mats in the front seat. And both cleaned right up. I think the all-weather mats are going to be a permanent fixture. I really love this car, and the dealership has been awesome. (Joseph Subaru in Florence)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Workshop, Day Two

Today was day two of the Kathy Loomis workshop, curved piecing.

I have to admit that I got off to an uneven start in the morning. Just before the workshop started, I realized that my keys weren't in my pocket or in my bag or in my lunch bag. I'd parked in a shopping center parking lot in Newport and carpooled to the workshop.

Oops. I could just imagine my keys being in the car or on the ground beside it. I have a shiny red loaner perfect for joyriding and I could just imagine calling the dealership and telling them that I'd lost their car. Panic set it - I called my neighbor and she said her daughter would go to the parking lot and take a look.

The workshop started and I sat there nervously trying to concentrate while waiting for the call. Then I remembered that I'd brought in one more bag, this one containing a quilt that was already in someone else's sewing machine bag. I took a look and there in the bottom were the keys.

I'd like to say that my concentration immediately improved too but that wasn't the case. I didn't do a very good job with the morning's work. Afternoon was better, though, and we had an hour at the end of the day to work on our own. I cut the morning's work apart and repieced it and ended up pretty happy. A little more sewing will make me very happy.

Following are a couple of example's of Kathy's fine line piecing. Is she not awesome?

Fine Line Piecing

Yesterday I took a Kathy Loomis workshop in fine line piecing. Kathy is a great teacher, and the material was great. I work slowly, but I learned exactly what I needed to know. With the larger bottom piece, we took a large piece of fabric and cut into it and added lines. With the smaller top piece, we worked with smaller pieces to create a larger one.

Today's workshop is curved piecing, so looking forward to it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gardening Update

I'd considered myself really lucky this year to have seen no signs of deer in the garden. Now, though, I'm wondering - whoever was eating this tomato took a BIG bite. A second tomato, also with a big bite out of it, turned up across the street in my neighbor's front yard. Whoever is eating likes to play, too.

I love to mix veggies with flowers. Here is a giant cockscomb in with the tomatoes.

And down lower, petunias. I started the petunias from seed, and there was a seed from two colors in each pellet. I'll probably plant the same kind again next year, if they're still available. I've learned that what's available one year isn't necessarily around the next.

As things start to get dry and lost their exuberance, I'm thinking about flowering kale and mums and pansies. And scattering some lettuce and spinach seeds.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Findlay Market

Lunch today at Findlay Market, one of my favorite places.

It was my first time trying the Vietnamese restaurant,

and I got fresh spring rolls, cold not fried, with tofu and veggies and a dipping sauce.

I think that the wrap was a rice wrap, very thin. Really lovely, with half a chocolate chip cookie from a bakery for dessert.

This time I found Findlay Market with no trouble at all, very easy. Coming home was a different matter. Lost, sort of, as usual. Finally found the Taylor Southgate Bridge and glided back into my town.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Baby Quilt Finished

Premie baby quilt - 40" x 40". When I was all finished, I found a small tuck in the back, near the binding. Guess where the label is going. This quilt is a little large for a premie, this baby will surely grow fast.

Monday, August 15, 2011

At Last

For years now I've been saving the plastic thread spools, and of course I have quite a few by now. I always thought that they would be the kind of thing a child would like to play with, a sort of imaginary group of people or buildings.

No luck with that, however. Nora very clearly told me, "Gran B, thread is not a toy."

Last week, however, my heart was warmed to see Aaron playing with the spools in the doll house, carefully making a line all around the upstairs. Ah, at last.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sweet Tooth

On 11th Street in Newport is Sweet Tooth Candies, with awesome ice cream as well as chocolates and fudge. It's just a small place, but a busy one on summer evenings.

Nora, just out of the pool, was clowning with her birthday cake ice cream. She ended up mixing it with my blueberry ice ball.

Aaron had a blueberry ice ball too, and he ate the whole thing, totally into it. The ladies at the next table loved him.

Last Lesson

Tonight was the last swim lesson of the summer at the Y. I'm feeling sort of sad, although there is lots of summer still to come and Nora still has several weeks of summer vacation.

Aaron's teacher was the beloved Miss Heather, described by Aaron, quite correctly, as beautiful.

Usually the lessons were followed by half an hour of outdoor swimming, but tonight was just too cool.

I love that the kids swim in the deep end, even the little ones like Aaron. And that the kids jump off the racing block, once again, even the little ones. It's been a great experience for both kids.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Changing My Mind

The baby quilt group is doing a Double Nine Patch quilt this month, and at the last meeting we started making nine patch strips with 1 1/2" strips. I've learned that it's crazy hard for me to work with squares that tiny, especially if the spatches are just a little different in size and need to be squared up.

So, I've started over with 2 1/2" strips and I can tell already that I'm a lot happier. Not to mention, I won't need as many blocks.

And, I've changed my mind about Aaron's train quilt. I'd planned on nine embroidered blocks but I'll be doing twelve. Four rows of three. My first choices were train cars with animals, very cute, but really, the tank cars and coal cars are just as cute.

Coming home from quilt guild last night was my first night trip in my new car and it was raining like crazy. Loved the blue dash lights and the red radio and temperature lights. Having new tires and all wheel drive was wonderful on the wet roads. I really like this car.

Loving the rain too. Sometimes in August it's just so dry - this is a treat.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chairs, Cars, and Beds

Ah, today the pictures upload just like they're supposed to. Above, the train quilt I'm working on for Aaron's birthday.

Last night was a sleepover, and a good one. There was sleep, even during a 5 a.m. thunderstorm.

When my daughters were small, they had the usual Fisher Price farm, house, castle, etc. I didn't keep the large buildings, which were probably battered and just too big for easy storage. I did keep all the people and their chairs, cars, etc. and they always come out when the kids visit. Amazing that all those years later they still are so loved. I think that some of them even went home with the kids today. Some are lined up and enjoyed, like chairs and beds and cars. And some are fought over a little because, after all, there is only one refrigerator, stove, and sink. From time to time some go into the dishwasher and they always come out fine. Good times.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Train Quilt

I'm not sure why I'm not able to add pictures to the blog today, these things just seem to happen from time to time.

Probably eight months ago, maybe longer, I started on a train quilt for Aaron's birthday. I embroidered five cars, then quit, I think because Christmas was approaching. Suffice it to say, it took some remembering to get back into making the remaining blocks in just the same way. And now I have eight blocks finished, one more to go, I think, unless I change my mind about how many there should be.

Before I started the quilt, I bought a package of microfiber dish cloths at Family Dollar because the colors were so pretty, nice bright pastels. I was happy to find the train pattern because I knew I'd found a use for them. Luckily for me, they are still in stock since I needed a second pack. I think I'll back them with a fusible interfacing, sort of like a t-shirt quilt.

When I started embroidering, Aaron was such a different little guy than he is today. He's so grown up now and can ALMOST swim. He's tall and wears grown-up clothes. Luckily for me, he still likes trains. His birthday is next month, should be able to get this finished by then.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Miscellaneous Tuesday

Ginny's oh-my-gosh night view,

Angela's shopping bag of batiks,

Baby bib adapted from Quilts and More,

Coleus that languished way too long in their cell packs, now happy in Miracle Grow potting soil.