Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve at the Museum

On this New Year's Eve day, the kids and I went to the Behringer Crawford Museum in Covington.  They have a wonderful holiday train display, maybe not the splash of the Duke display in Cincinnati, but more up close and personal, with buttons to push.

There is a year-round train display too, also with buttons, and the discovery today was a little cave behind the display.  You can crawl through it and pop up in one of two plastic bubbles, right next to the trains.

The place where we spend most of our time is always the steamboat replica, with speaking tubes,

dress-up clothes,

driving the boat, and fishing off the edge.  Lovely unstructured play.  I bought a pass today so we'll be going again soon.  And I'll go by myself to actually study the history displays.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

One More

It was the year of the pajama pants.  I made five pairs in pink, plus pajama tops and bottoms for Nora and Aaron then matching pajamas for Nora's American Girl doll.  That's a lot of flannel.

Then my sister mentioned that my niece Ariel has trouble finding pajama pants that are long enough and I knew there was one more pair to be made.  I didn't get them finished before Christmas, but did make them today, still in the same calendar year. 

The pattern says that they can be made in one hour, but that absolutely isn't true for me, even starting with them already cut out.  Goodness knows after having used that pattern six times I know the short cuts plus the serger helps too but one hour just isn't happening.  Not even close.  I can't bring myself to actually care because they really look nice.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Duke Trains

At the Museum Center, Duke train display.  Are those pajamas on that cute little boy?  Ummm, yes.  A smart mom knows how to pick her battles.

A small section of the trains.  I love that one of the trains has a camera on the caboose, hooked up to a screen.  The trains used to be in the Duke building downtown but needed more room.  Still, there was something to be said for tradition.  And for the cookies that were given out to the kids at the original display.

I remember going with Nora and Aaron and Mike on Nora's third birthday.  She wore a little brown sweater in the double stroller and the outside temperature was 63 degrees.  And she did NOT want to sit on Santa's lap at the Carew Tower. 

Friday, December 28, 2012


Aaron and his mom picked up his new and much-anticipated glasses yesterday.  I understand that so far things are not going smoothly, with either glasses or patching.  Perhaps today will be a better and more rested day.  Aaron loved his fashion glasses, so perhaps he will come to love these too. 

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Museum Center to see the holiday train exhibit.  Most of the crowd went before Christmas and we were able to stroll along without lines deep into Union Terminal, enjoying the exhibits until we arrived at the trains.  There are so many enjoyable holiday things, it's impossible to even pick a favorite.

Thinking about holiday traditions reminds med that when Sarah and I went to Graeter's the day before Christmas to pick up a few goodies, there were many bags waiting for pick-up.  Probably filled with rolls and strudel and schnecken and pie.  Edible holiday traditions.  I really enjoyed the cherry pecan pie Sarah bought - maybe next year there will be a bag with my name. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Do You Remember?

I'm so glad that my grandkids will have Christmas memories like "Do you remember that Christmas that it snowed at Grandma's and Pap's and we didn't have boots so we put WalMart bags over our shoes and played in the snow?"  As opposed to, "Do you remember that Christmas that it snowed at Grandma's and Pap's and we didn't have boots so we didn't get to play in the snow?"

Well played, Steph and Mike.

Here's Winnie's dad with the Christmas quilt I made for him.  Only right that he should get a quilt since he traveled from North Carolina with Winnie and Sarah and the dogs, stayed five nights, and did everything except the early Christmas morning Santa reveal.  He was such a good sport, and is probably sitting in his home in Hendersonville today, enjoying the quiet.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Way Too Quiet

After almost a week of company and little dogs and going here and there and grandkid sleepovers and celebrating, it's suddenly and sadly quiet.  Way too quiet. 

Sarah and Winnie and Winnie's dad and the dogs left this morning in the freezing rain.  They stopped in downtown Newport for Sarah to exchange her bicycle gloves at Resser's and for breakfast and coffee at Mammouth Cafe.  They are in Tennessee now, traveling over Jellico Mountain.  Rain there and temps in the 40's all the way to Asheville.

Steph and her family haven't fared as well, weather-wise.  After a Christmas Eve gift and food bash at her house, and Christmas morning for the Santa reveal, they headed for Greenville, OH, for a Christmas celebration and overnight visit with Mike's family.  It started snowing last night and hasn't stopped.  We're talking lots of snow, blizzard periods even.  I hope the kids can scrounge up some boots and snow pants.

We've been to the Krohn for their Christmas show, to the zoo for the Festival of Lights, to Clifton for a nice lunch, to Findlay Market for some wonderful food and shopping.  To Bridget's house for food and an afternoon with Helen.  Visiting with friends.  Christmas Eve dinner at Steph's.  Sparkles and conversations and smiles.

And now it's too, too quiet.  Oh, and it's snowing, really snowing. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lights of Christmas

Last night Steph and the kids plus Bridget and me went to Sharon Woods to see all the lights.  Great.  And then we came home to admire the display on the hill here in Newport.  It's a private home with many, many displays.  If you stand in the right place, this wreath frames the impressive view of Cincinnati across the river.

My favorites are always the vehicles with lighted snowmen driving down the street.

One of the neighbors was having an outdoor party, 55 degrees in December.  It seems so fun to be able to have a party like that.  Part of the fun for them was probably admiring all the people admiring their neighborhood.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Raggedy Ann

I have an item on my sidebar which displays random pictures, a different one every few seconds.  I was struck when this one popped up, not, as you might expect, by the charming then-two-year-old Nora.  It was the cleanliness of the handmade Raggedy Ann doll that caught my attention.  She is still around, still sweet, has survived several surgeries, and she doesn't look quite like this.  She looks more loved than pristine.

In September, when this picture was taken, Nora loved her Raggedy Ann.  Not so when Nora opened the package the previous Christmas.  She was horrified and threw the doll across the room.  Maybe the big eyes?  Or the clown-like appearance?  When it was his turn, Aaron loved his Raggedy Andy from the get-go, maybe because he'd seen it all before.     

Don't Tell Them

Don't tell Milo and Lucy that they are getting blankets for Christmas, fleece with backings and borders of paw prints.  I have to admit that these are not my best sewing, but they're cute and made for dog snuggling.  I hope the grand-dogs like them.

Yesterday was Nora's birthday and she has been celebrating.  Friday night slumber party, Sunday family party, last night dinner at Bob Evans with Bridget and Aunt Tina.  After gymnastics.  That little girl can turn cartwheels.

Next week Sarah and Winnie and Walt are coming on Thursday and the holidays will begin at my house.  One of my goals for today is to get the tree finished.  Aaron and I started it last week and there has been no progress since then.

I hope that by next week the street might be finished.  We are in the third month of big trucks and often no parking during the day. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sewing Retreat

I loved the sewing retreat, thanks, Louise, and the other organizers.  It is such a treat to just sew.  That's all, just sew.  No stopping to run to the grocery store or clean the bathroom or put out the trash.  Just sew.
Most of what I sewed is classified, it is December after all.  Nora doesn't read this blog, though, so I'll show you her pajamas and a pair with matching fabric for her doll.  I also made a pair for Aaron from the same pattern, McCall's 6227.  I love this pattern, no buttons, no trim, just practical.  Aaron's all into "fair" these days, and it seemed fair to make pj's for him too, blue fabric with construction vehicles.

This morning I'm having trouble settling into the alterations I should be working on.  I rethreaded the serger and had to make a table runner, just to see if the serger worked.  Picked out stitches on a project (too hastily done before I left) just to warm up the seam ripper.  Emptied the rain barrel because it's been raining like crazy.

Enjoyed unpacking all the things I took, marveled at the projects I didn't work on.  Pondered on what appetizer to take to the church party tonight.  I never make appetizers, don't know what to make.  Store-bought, maybe?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sick Day

Aaron had a sick day with me today.  Actually, the sick day was yesterday, today was the recovery day.  He would tell you that he threw up nine times.

He helped me decorate my tree, for a little while.  Then we delivered my baby quilt to a restaurant that was in sight of Newport on the Levee and the Aquarium.  He begged to go, so we went home for our passes and saw Scuba Santa and found every one of the hidden reindeer on the list.

Then we hurried across the river to pick up Nora and introduce her to Orange Leaf. 

And now, I'm making applesauce and bread and packing for a sewing retreat.  So many notions, so much thread, I just know I'll need what I didn't bring.  I remembered my great seam ripper, though.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Baby Quilt

I have a feeling that several of us from our baby quilt group are finishing our quilts today so they can be ready for the meeting tomorrow.  Usually, they'd be due the first meeting of next month, but we wanted to get our Christmas quilts to the hospital.  The design comes from the Inspired Modern Quilts class at Craftsy.

I find that I'm liking the new 30-wt Sulky Blendables with the very subtile color changes.  Perfect for simple quilting, like the zig zag block outlines on this quilt. 

Carrye and I went to Cabin Arts last week and I got the lovely tree-and-star fabric above for my quilt background.  It doesn't match at all, I must have just talked myself into the idea that it did because I loved it so much.  I guess it will be for another day.

I ended up piecing these three fabrics togther so I'd have enough for a backing, and I like that look.  I'm finished!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Outdoor Nativity

There is a large, although not mega, church down the street that does a live nativity each December.  The animals are real and arrive in a very large trailer drawn by a truck.  Aaron was so happy to feed straw to a camel, he said he'd wanted to feed a camel his whole life.  And a donkey, he said he'd wanted to see a donkey his whole life too.  There were also goats, but he's fed goats at the zoo so they weren't on the wish list.  The llamas apparently weren't either.

Nora sat on my lap, a respectable distance away from the animals.  She's never been fond of being close to animals or even of people dressed up like animals.  Think Mickey Mouse or Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Inside the church were crafts, hot chocolate, and cookies.  How nice is that?  There was a basket by the front door, which I thought would be for donations, but it was filled with candy canes.  It was the end of the afternoon and the kids were urged to take two.

And then, the kids got to watch the animals get loaded into their trailer. Some were pleased and some weren't.  Great end to an afternoon, the kids had gone to the Art Museum earlier.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Orange Leaf

With some time to spend between Aaron's 1:00 pick-up time and Nora's 3:00 time, Aaron and I tried out Orange Leaf, one of the talked-about frozen yogurt stores.  It's the kind where you put one or more kinds of yogurt in your cup and one or more toppings and the whole thing is weighed.  I didn't offer Aaron the multiple kinds of goodness, just gave him a choice of one yogurt and one topping.  I'll offer him two of each next time, when we bring Nora.

The nice person in charge gave him four tiny paper cups so he could sample various flavors.  And just maybe he talked her out of one more.  He loved trying out different flavors but equally loved pulling the handles to dispense yogurt.  That boy loves machines of every kind.

I hadn't had any frozen yogurt in years and this was really delicious.  I had pumpkin pie with almonds.  Aaron had strawberry with M & M's.

A really nice bonus - there is a tee shirt store close by with a big van with the name, Big Frog, on the side.  Nice reading lesson material.  It makes my heart happy to see that Aaron is able to sound out simple words now.  I tried some sight words in the summer and he just wasn't interested.  I'd write "cat, for example," and he'd say "elephant."  His new preschool with their sound boxes is amazing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Joy Boy

This is Anita Goodesign's Joy Boy, a new shop sample I just finished.  I have to admit to a preference for Anita Goodesign embroidery designs, and this one, done all in the hoop, is super cute.  Done in the hoop means that stitch-outs from several hoopings are all joined together with satin embroidery stitching.

First came the mittens and "Joy."  Next was the left coat, with left mitten joined.  Then the right coat, with right mitten and left coat joined.  Then came the pants and shoes, which were joined to the coat.  Last, the head and beard, joined with the rest.  The word "Joy" is strung on curled red wire.

Lots of heat-fix crystals.  I ran out, hope there are some at the shop for the bottom coat trim.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Communion Table Cover

Communion table cover for baby dedications, designed by Violet.  Violet and I wove strips of fabric backed with Wonder Under then ironed them to interfacing.  I added backing and batting and machine quilted the strips, then added the sashings.  Put binding on the bottom, attached the unquilted drop part, then binded the entire piece.  It was one of those times when I puzzled out Friday night how to put it together, then woke up Saturday morning knowing. 

There was a dedication on Sunday, with lots of family guests.  The baby behaved perfectly.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quick Table Runner

Variations of this table runner are on numerous blogs and web sites.  I'm not sure who gets the original credit since it appears here and there.  It's sometimes called a ten minute table runner, but that's not an apt description at my house.  Still, though, 25 or 30 minutes isn't all bad.

This table runner takes 1/3 yard of the top fabric and 1/2 yard for the backing/trim.  Trim off the selvages and sew the fabrics together along the long edges, right sides together, starting at the top both times.  Square at both ends so both pieces are the same length.

Turn right side out and presss, with an equal amount of trim on both sides.  At one short end, fold fabric back to back and sew across the top.  Turn and the point appears.  Repeat at the other end.

Press well and use a straight or decorative stitch to topstitch along the edges of the inner rectangle.  

Note to friends and family:  don't be surprised if you get one for Christmas. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Two Baby Quilts

Two of my baby quilts went off today.  The month's pattern was to be two horizontal bars with pieced strips above and below.  Wedges, actually, but I'd just done wedges and didn't want to do more right away.  I had a baby-looking jelly roll so I made a jelly roll quilt and cut off three pieces.  That made the pieced strips.

Then I still had enough left to put two colored strips top and bottom and make another quilt.  Lots of quilting, but I didn't take a picture of the back.  There are numerous premmie twins, and this set should work well for twins.

Last month two members of my group took the quilts to the hospital.  They were invited in to see the little babies.  There were between 50 and 60, and each one had a quilt.  (In case anyone is wondering, the quilts are washed at the hospital.) 

Twelve quilts were delivered today, my group has been busy.  Of course I'm biased, but I think that the quilts from my group are especially nice.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Nora's friend showed up with a pair of fashion glasses, no prescription, and Nora was most smitten.  When Aaron saw hers, he was smitten as well.  So here are the two of them, looking mighty cute.  Aaron actually has an appointment with the eye doctor next month - who knows, he may have glasses for real.  If that happens, I hope he loves them as much as these. 

I made my dinner contributions early this morning - mac and cheese, applesauce, cranberry relish.  Listened to Smitten Table on NPR, love the Thanksgiving show.  And now I'm about to head outside to put the Christmas lights on my porch.  It's a wonderfully warm day, and that may not happen again for awhile.

Then, I'm going to try a ten-minute table runner.  I don't think it will only take me ten minutes because I'm a slow sewer, but even if it takes three times that long I figure I'll still be in the ball park.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jackets and Extra Days

These jackets will be a Christmas surprise, so no story about them yet, other than to say that they are silk.  I'll be delivering them in a couple of days.

I was looking forward to a few relatively relaxing days after the intensity of the jackets, but now of course I'm looking at projects set aside.  Can I finish quilting a baby quilt before the group meets tomorrow?  And bind two baby quilts?

I think that some of this hustle comes because of an "early" Thanksgiving.  Even a few days makes a difference.  Maybe next week it will seem that there are extra days between Thanksgiving and December 1.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cranberry Banana Bread

Tonight I drove to Oakley for a church meeting, only to find the office dark.  A quick check of my calendar told me that in fact the meeting was tomorrow night.  Sigh.  I'd done my homework, too.

Back home again, a little comfort sounded good and I decided to bake a loaf of banana bread before resuming my sewing.  I added chopped cranberries because (1) I only had two bananas, not the three called for, and (2) the cranberries had been in my freezer since last year and it's now this year.

I'm really happy how things worked out, very yummy.  This recipe isn't especially sweet, but it's ever so good.  I remember the days when I'd put chocolate chips in my sweeter banana bread, but no more.

Cranberry Banana Bread
1 cup bread flour or all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ripe bananas, mashed  (3 if you aren't adding cranberries)
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 eggs
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup old-fashioned oats
half a package cranberries, chopped
1 cup walnuts

Combine dry ingredients, add the remaining ingredients, and mix with a spoon until everything is blended.  Put in a loaf pan and bake 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

(Thanks to Tiffany for the original recipe)

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Yesterday's visit to the Nature Center reminded me of the November day just two years ago when I was also there with the kids.  Same kind of weather as yesterday, mild and sunny.  Just smaller kids.

As for today, I need to get outside and mow the grass and clean up the beds.  Empty the rain barrel because it's supposed to rain again tomorrow.

When I drove up this afternoon, I noticed that my big white pumpkin was gone.  It was very heavy and took two of us to lift it in place, so not just anyone could have taken it. I'd like to know the story. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I love those precious November days in Kentucky.  You never know quite when they are going to be, but the wather turns sunny and the temperature is 70 degrees and there's one last gift from nature before cold, gray weather comes to stay.

Today and tomorrow are those days.  These pictures were taken in southern Ohio, but that's close enough.  Steph and I took the kids to the Cincinnati Nature Center, where both kids love the Playscape.  I always feel happy there, amazed at all the people and dogs in that spot in the country.

It was also one of those days when there was more to do than I had energy for.  I put the sleeves in a jacket I'm making, met a friend from the quilt guild to get the membership materials, spent hours at the Nature Center, then had to postpone evening events with a friend because I was just worn out.  Maybe tomorrow for that.

And, it's Homecoming at Brerea.  I'm looking at all the pictures on facebook and wishing that I was there, too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Day

This is going to be the same message as my facebook post of last night, but our political polarization has been so much on my mind, so I'm going to say essentially the same thing again.

Today, let's make a first step to putting our political division behind us. When you vote, vote with your head and your heart, then say a prayer of blessing for the person behind you in line.

As I said, I've thought and thought about this and what I can do and this is what I've come up with.  That, and going to communion in my church once the polls have closed.  There are two local churches doing communion (that I know of,)  Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship.  You can read more about it here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Good for a Kid's Heart

As usual, when we left Winnie and Sarah's house, there were tears and pleading from the back seat to go back, just for a minute, please, please, please.  We headed for the North Carolina Arboretum for one last adventure and Aunt Sarah showed up on a Mule.  Instantly, the tears and pleading stopped at the sight.

We had thought the kids would love the temporary dinosaur exhibit, but it is the greenhouse that they love.  The marvel of the big walk-in refrigerator with its light switch, the long movable benches, and the jobs that could be done -

cleaning the floor

taking pictures -

watering -

sweeping the parking lot.  A made-up game of sweet gum ball hockey outside.  All good for a kid's heart. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everyone.

It's such a cold and gray day that I actually keep forgetting that tonight is Trick or Treat night.  I need to get out that candy stash.  Since I live up a hill, and since there aren't many little ones up here with me, there usually aren't many kids out.  I'm guessing that tonight there will be even fewer than usual.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Bear's Pumpkin

Look close and you'll see a black bear eating a pumpkin.  At the zoo.  I wonder if the zoo animals are excited about pumpkins or whether they only tolerate them during trick-or-treat time.

This month is going my far too quickly.  Amazing how that happens.  So many projects, so many inside and outside chores,  Holiday planning.  Work days, away and at home.  A sleepover last night with my grandguy.  Trips to the zoo and Kings Island.  All good.      

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Awake in the Night

Mending.  I'm going to see Sarah next week and have a couple of things to take to her.  I love mending.

Things that keep me awake in the night:

How can we as a nation find civility, respect, collaboration? 

What has happened to unbiased news reporting?  Why do we now expect our news to come from a liberal source or a conservative source?  Do people understand the bias?  What has happened to the concept of the editorial page?

Whoever thought that Super PAC's were a good idea?  Or, did they evolve in ways not originally foreseen?

I hope that whoever wins this election does not consider it a mandate.  I hope that he is open to the other 50%.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Costume Reveal

Kings Island yesterday, and the reveal of Shark Boy and Lava Girl.  The kids glowed whenever someone recognized them and commented.  Tomorrow night will be a costume skating party.

The weather was perfect, the park was crowded but not terribly so, and Steph and I got to ride the Diamondback while the other grandparents took the kids trick or treating.  I've renewed my season pass for next year, it's so nice to have since I live so close. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Beginnings

I am pretty much a bargain shopper when it comes to fabric.  Of course these fabrics were on sale, but I got them because I really, really liked them, not because I could fit them in.  I'm thinking the paw prints would make nice little quilts for the grand-dogs.  And the jelly rolls?  One's for a baby quilt, and the other for a Christmas lap quilt.

I really enjoy making the jelly roll quilts from time to time, relatively mindless piecing.  Very fast, once the strips are all pieced together.  I could start one tonight, but I think I'll just go to bed and read.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall at the Nature Center

I finished my front desk duties at the quilt show today and headed out the back door just as the rain started.  I hurried to the pond and took this quick picture, went to the parking lot, and turned on the heated seats in my car.

Not what I had in mind, and yet - how can I be unhappy with a picture like this?  And with heated seats? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

View From the Porch

This morning I worked on the porch at the Cincinnati Nature Show main building, helping make floral arrangements for my quilt guild's annual show.  Last year it was so cold and rainy, and it started out that way this time, then warmed up.

This was the view from the left of the porch, down the path going to one of the hiking trails,

and this view was directly across from the porch.

Tomorrow I work at the show until 3, and I'm hoping for nice hiking weather once my time is finished.  For sure, I'm going to wear the new earrings I bought today at the gift shop.