Saturday, March 31, 2012

Every Now and Then

Every now and then,

Like when she's playing softball,

Oh, yeah, Nora is her dad's girl.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Since before Christmas, this little quilt has been hanging in my kitchen. It didn't bother me too much because it doesn't scream "Christmas" but it bothered me enough. Now it's down, replaced by the quilt made from the kit purchased at Victorian Quilt Shop.

It seems that the pattern had "picnic" in its title, although I could be wrong about that since it was probably purchased ten years ago. I do wish I had turned the borders on the top and bottom with the stripes up and down, but if I had, I might be wishing that I'd turned them just this way.

I can remember taking Nora to Victorian Quilt Shop and letting her pick out a couple of fat quarters - she probably was around three. And I can remember taking Aaron there in the stroller when he was a tiny babe. By then they were at the final Beechmont location and I could walk from Steph's house.

I remember thinking that I would take them many times in the future and that they would learn about quilting. "Many times in the future" didn't come to be, but they have both made their own little quilts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Urban Spring

This picture was taken from the "downtown park" last Saturday. Leaves just starting to bud, skies just a bit overcast. The building with the tiara is new, now claiming the honor of the highest building in Cincinnati.

I thought that today was sew day with my friends and packed up my things and went on my way. Turns out that it was yesterday, when I was working. I had really looked forward to seeing my friends.

But, it's not like I can't work on my project at home. At some point, when I was looking for something else, I found a partially completed tiny quilt top. I bought it ages ago, when Victorian Quilt Shop was still open and still in their first Beechmont Road location. I used to love to shop there when I came for a visit.

This kit had Hoffman fabrics and might have been used for a class. Even though I started it years ago, the top looks pretty square and the seams pretty consistently 1/4". The directions are long gone, but it will be easy enough to figure them out.

Time to get sewing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Four Tiny Projects

One of my goals for this month was to make four tiny sewing projects in what I call the "practical art" category. Potholder, iPhone bag, needle holder, glasses case. What I learned: if you absolutely don't like something, keep going until you like it, learned with the potholder. I liked the linen/cotton combination, hated the machine embroidery. One I realized I could add the strips, I was happy.

What I also learned: just because the basic directions suggest doing it one way, it doesn't mean you have to do it that way. Add a buttonhole or interfacing or a different kind of pocket. I need to give myself a little credit for the things that I know, consider directions as guidelines only.

I'm wondering whether my seed order will come today. If it does, then it will be officially time to turn some energy to outside projects, including some landscaping. It was the right thing to do to pull out the ugly bushes in December, but now I need to decide what to plant instead. I have new shelves to put up for the grow light system, and I'm thinking hard about a nice timer to go with it.

And those bags of top soil - I wonder how many will go in my car. No more pulling up with the old truck and asking for twenty bags.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Every Child's Playground

Steph just sent me this picture, taken when Nora was not quite three, to add to the post below


At Every Child's Playground, tucked under a busy expressway, beside the Ohio River.

As is her nature, Nora is a bit tentative trying out new things, but she is quite athletic and gets into things quickly.

And yes, Aaron was there too - tomorrow there will be pictures of him.

Afterwards there was ice cream - Nora loves Graeter's chocolate chip, with the chocolate actually being chocolate chunks. She found a huge chunk, so she wasn't disappointed.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Proud of those Bobcats

This has been a magical week, with seven area teams in the Sweet Sixteen. Louisville and Ohio State are still there. Ohio U isn't, but what a performance! I'm proud of those Bobcats. Hoping hard for Kentucky, this is the BIG one. And yes, I love this time of year.

All that basketball and just thirteen days 'til Opening Day. For weeks now, I've been saying that I'm going to the Opening Day parade. Just realized that I'm not, because of other really good stuff, but I'm so looking forward to baseball season. I can get some really good evening sewing done, listening to the games. And then there are the fireworks, for home runs and at the end of the winning games, that I can hear from my house.

Some of my teams may be leaving the Sweet Sixteen, one by one, but it's still a good time of year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One of These Days

One of these days, Sarah, your string of bicycle flags will be ready. I just have to make a casing at the tops for the string to go through. And make one more sun print. Almost there.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Last Day of Winter

Today is the last day of winter, which means that it's the day to reveal the Winter quilt that a few online friends are working on. I've actually been waiting to reveal this for quite awhile because I got the directions mixed up and thought it was due on the first day of winter, not the last day.

I usually wouldn't use shaped buttons like this, but I liked the little snowman button set at JoAnn's. The snowflake buttons were part of the set. The quilt is 12" x 12", hand dyed fabrics Stop by and see Joanne's quilt later today, she's still working.

Eighty degrees today. I went out walking after baby quilt group and have been drinking water ever since.

I was reading a new article about Ohio University's spot in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. The article said this is OU's first Sweet Sixteen since 1964. And, I remember that. I was a first year student there, and the game was broadcast at the basketball arena. What a change from now, when everyone could just watch it on their computers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It's St.Patrick's Day. Wear green and be happy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Journal Quilt Eleven

Journal quilt, ummm, eleven. Had to go back and count. In a few weeks, I'll be teaching a digitizing class where we will digitize this little thread velvet flower. Not that it will look like this, I had to go back and tweak the instructions and redo the sample. It's so easy to make the little adjustments to someone else's work, so hard to write out the instructions in the first place. That applies to lots of things, actually, we're always standing on someone else's shoulders.

I'm going to lunch with a friend at a little restaurant close to the river and am hoping the rainy sky clears up so I can combine lunch with a walk through the business district and small river park.

Feeling sad this morning for various reasons, one of which was the incident with a few University of Mississippi's band members and their green card remark to a Hispanic player. One of my former colleagues wrote a very elegant response to what he thought the school's president should have said when he apologized.

University of Mississippi's President Saunders: "We deeply regret the remarks made by a few students at today's game. The words of these individuals do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department, or university. We apologize to Mr. Rodriguez and will take quick and appropriate disciplinary action against the students involved in this isolated incident."

Brian Reed: "This is a classic non-apology apology. Why can't a University President just once say, "Our insitution obviously failed these students. Our goal is to foster intellectual curiosity, rigorous thought, reason, compassion, and humility. As such, it is clear that we have failed to deliver on that promise to these students. As an insitutiton we have much soul searching to do as we examine how our students could receive a Southern Miss education and still be capable of what can only be described as unabashed racism.""

Brian is Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students at Dartmouth College. I am so honored to have served on a Student Life team with him.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


This month's theme for our group's baby quilts is Pinwheels. I chose a blue and white background, floral but as close to a "sky" feel as I could find, with dotted fabrics for the pinwheels.

The theme for next month is Strips, and I have to admit to piecing that one yesterday. I had lots of other things to do, but I was curious to see how it would work out. I'll just be a little ahead this time.

Almost two years ago, I bought Norton Anti-Virus software and also Photoshop Elements. I installed the anti-virus right away, but was a little intimidated by the Photoshop, even though it was the basic one. Finally, this morning, I installed it. It's a start, anyway.

It's stormy here this morning, but I got in a quick 25-minute walk before the raindrops started. Sometimes it's just easier to exercise in two smaller segments anyway.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Long Ago?

How long ago, I wonder, were these daffodils planted at one of the now-abandoned military officer homes beside Tower Park in Fort Thomas? What kind of day was it, and what was the gardener thinking on that day? The houses were built in a circle, and I like to imagine screen doors banging and people going in and out. I like to imagine a path going from the houses, down the hill to the river. And one day, someone planted these flowers.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It Can Be Done

Finally decided to figure out how to get pictures from my new phone to my computer. This just might change things. Do I really need to carry around a camera? Should I have sprung for the more expensive phone, with the only real advantage I could figure was a better lens? Maybe not, I can be happy with this picture taken at a hotel in Gatlinburg under less than optimal photo conditions.

And there's this picture taken at the library while Nora was at her Girl Scout meeting. Really nice colors and probably more crisp than pictures taken with my camera. So do I still need my camera? Yes, if I've got lots of pictures to take, and if I want to do a lot of easy tinkering with them. Otherwise, guess not.

And thinking of tinkering, there's the Photoshop component, I've had the software forever, and the easy version at that, and haven't learned it yet. I need to slide that into my list of goals. That voice in my head has been too loud with Photoshop and it needs to be quieted.

Journal Quilt Catch Up

My journal quilting got a little behind while I was working on the memory quilt, so I needed a couple of quick catch-ups. I found this unquilted quilt block on my somewhat messy desk, tucked behind a magazine. It looks like it was an exercise from Quilters Playtime. The quilting was done with a walking foot.

Since I've always been drawn to words on fabric, I was happy to find Deborah Boschert's tutorial about handwriting on fabric. I've read that the best way to access the tutorial is the March 1 link on her blog. (Link on her blog by clicking on her name earlier in this paragraph.) Quilting is free motion using rayon thread. I started with cotton thread, but quickly switched, my machine is so much happier with rayon. The block started with a white or cream piece of fabric and a black micron pen. I know I'll be coming back to this, thanks, Deborah.

And now, I'm caught up.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tree Trail

Yesterday Steph and I took the kids to the Fort Thomas Tree Trail. We had a great time hiking and Aaron especially delighted in finding the numbers on the trees.

In a few weeks, the view of the Ohio River will be obscured by leaves. We admired the red-roofed building on the Ohio side, but couldn't figure out what it is. I went back today for another walk and another look from a different angle, but I still don't know what it is. We were guessing a water plant.

The reason I went back today was because I was pretty discouraged yesterday at my lack of hiking ability. I've been exercising faithfully since the beginning of the year in preparation for a hike to Mt. LeConte in September and really expected an easier time than I had. What do I need? More actual trail hiking? Strength training? It's the climbing that gets me, and that's what I'll be doing on LeConte.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Extra Curls

I've been waiting for the electrician to come to give me an estimate for some things for quite awhile now. He's retired, lives in the neighborhood, and works on the side. I'm obviously not high on his list.

One thing that was high on my list was extra lighting for the upstairs studio and office. I have flush-mount fixtures, and that's probably what I need to continue with because the ceiling isn't all that high and I don't want to deal with holes in the ceiling. I was hopeful that the electrician might know of two-bulb fixtures in the same square configuration. There is plenty of room for another bulb.

I had the equalivalant of a 100-watt compact fluorescents but they kind of got swallowed up in the large rooms. Then one day this week I spotted 150-watt CF bulbs at Target, . . .hmmm. Turns out that they works great, so much more light, there is room to spare for the large bulbs, and they are still only 42 watts. True, the bulbs cost $13 each, but that's minimal compared to the cost of the electrician and new fixtures. And it looks like there may be even higher-wattage bulbs available online.

Sometimes procrastination works out well. And now, I'm considering, maybe one of the other jobs on my list is one I can do myself.

Don't forget to spring forward tonight.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Baby Picture

Yesterday my younger daughter sent me a message saying that she needed a baby picture of herself. She is going to a baby shower and I'm sure there will be some kind of game involved.

Those of you who know her think of her as very tall, very slender, very athletic. It was fun for me to be reminded that as a baby she was very plump and very dis-inclined to hit the markers of rolling over, sitting up, and crawling. Had she been my first baby, I would have worried as the days went by and she did none of those things.

I'm always rooting for the race horse who travels at the back of the pack, then chooses his time and starts his run, just because I'm reminded of my daughter. One day she just started her run and ended up walking early. She left those baby days behind and has been on the move all her life.

I told her that at the shower no one will guess that this picture is her.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Burnett Woods

One of my friends recently moved to a charming neighborhood near Burnett Woods park, and we walked there earlier in the week. Early in my church's history, church members would frequently meet there on Sundays in the summer, so I was curious to see it. Last summer we had a service there, as a sort of remembrance, but that was during my vehicle-less time and I didn't go.

I always enjoy the neighborhood parks in cities, little areas that are so different from their surroundings. My daughter works a few blocks from this pretty little lake, in a multi-floor building with a parking garage.

My friend's neighborhood and the nearby downtown area have the old-fashioned gas lights so I machine quilted a gas light motif for my journal quilt. The pieced and sandwiched quilt is put in the embroidery hoop and an area is embroidered, effectively quilting it, no stablizer required if the design is an outline one like this one.

I used the machine quilting for the little border hearts on the memory quilt I just finished. Since there were fourteen hearts that did mean fourteen stitchings, but they each took only a minute or two.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Back

Yesterday I finished a memory quilt, commissioned as a gift for a 90th birthday gift. There are ten pictures, which made for a larger quilt than I'd originally thought since there three rows of three pictures plus one on the top row. The one on the top is the woman's graduation photo from Berea College, probably 68 years ago, and has blocks of free motion quilting on each side.

The woman's mother-in-law wanted burgundy and brown frames for the photos, free motion on the sashings between them, and hearts on the borders. All done. I used my embroidery software for the hearts and connected them with swoopy lines. I hope the family is happy with their quilt.

It was so fun on Saturday night to meet one of my high school classmates with her sister, who lives locally, and her sister's husband. In high school, my classmate had the best pony tail ever. We had a luscious dinner and good conversation at Newport on the Levee. There must have been some kind of event going on and we also saw lots of pretty, short sparkly dresses and really, really high sparkly shoes. I'm usually not out and about on a Saturday night, and the evening was such a treat.

Walking back to my car, I was impressed once again how the relatively mundane daytime Monmouth Street really lights up on a Saturday night. This was just 8:00 too, it only gets better.