Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Day

Yesterday we went to the movies and saw Planes: Fire and Rescue. I didn't know that we were going to see it in 3D, just chose a time that worked.  Before we go into the theatre, the kids always like to guess how many people will be there.  I guessed that we'd be the only ones, and I was right until just before the movie started, when another family came in.

Then we stopped at Schneider's in Bellevue to try out their ice balls and see whether theirs rated higher than Sweet Tooth. Turns out they did. They don't pack down the ice as much and then put it into a bigger cup. Easier to spoon it out.

Then it was across the river and to the zoo.  Perfect day for it.  Not too hot and not too crowded.  The giraffes were in their house where they can be viewed from above, up close and personal.

Both of the kids wanted to take a picture of this lion, and the pictures were almost identical.  The lion was snoozing except when a UC helicopter flew overhead and that got his attention. 

All too soon school will be starting and these summer days will be coming to an end.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back Yard Gardening

This week has been a mid-summer treat, weather wise.  I've used the cooler days to work on my back yard, mulching, pulling weeds, and doing a little planting.

The bed beside the fence is partly new this year, moving right from the gazing ball.  In the spring I put down cardboard and topsoil, and next spring the grass will have broken down and the soil will be ready to plant.  I've mulched that bed and also the spot toward the front where the big tree came out.  I don't think things will grow where the tree was, at least not yet, so I've started with a few containers.

I was happy to find some rhubarb at Lowe's this week and planted it in the circular bed that was here when I moved in.  There was some overgrown sage there that was definitely unattractive.  In the spring I'd like to plant more rhubarb.  I don't think that I could ever have enough rhubarb.  Normally, I'd plant it in the spring, but I think it will be fine with extra water when the weather warms up again.

My plan is to have grasses hiding the fence and the yards behind it, with beds coming out from there.  There is always a plan.     

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Edible Landscaping

Yesterday the kids and I went to the Krohn Conservatory for their Edible Landscaping summer show. We didn't spot too many new ideas, but I did like this bamboo teepee for beans.  The mix was on primarily flowers and just a few veggies.

This tower looked interesting.  We spent some time in the education room, where the kids crayoned on the kraft paper that covered the tables.  Playing in the background was a video about how to do the tower planting.  I have plenty of ground space and no deck space, but it's an interesting concept.  I did a little research and found that it can be done in conjunction with worm composting.

Even though I didn't get a lot of new ideas, I did come home ready to work on my back yard again.  Just pulling out aged bushes and collecting a contractor bag full of weeds and escaping mint earlier this month made a big difference.  I have spots where two trees were removed a couple of years ago, and I'm thinking about some kind of raised bed in one and a fire pit in the other.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Washing or Not

I have a whole ridiculous set of goals every year, separated by category, no less.  There are even mid-year goal adjustments.  Some are long-term, like "worry less" and "figure out the winter evenings."  And some are easier to achieve that check mark signifying that the goal is complete.

Several years ago I made this simple little pumpkin quilt, about 14" x 20". I don't even remember where I first saw it, maybe in the Fons and Porter magazine.  Every time I would see it, I'd think, "I really need to quilt that" but I never did.  This year, I put it on the goal list.

It only took a couple of hours to quilt and bind it, and even then only because my quilting is so dense.  After it was finished, I decided to wash it.

I've been reading a lot about whether to wash a quilt once it's been quilted.  Just like prewashing the quilting fabric, there are two different schools of thought about it.  Washing the quilt shrinks both fabric and batting, but especially the batting, so the quilt crinkles a little.  It's softer.  The quilting buries in a little. 

I've mentioned before that I don't wash my donation quilts because they get washed at the hospital.  And I don't think I'll wash quilts every time.  I just finished a wedding gift, for example, and I want to give it in all its cripsy newness.  Church banners, probably not, because they are viewed up and away and no one sees them up close except for me and maybe a curious person or so.

But, for smaller things like this, that I'll keep on a table or display on a wall, I'll be washing.  For one thing, when the quilting recedes, the mistakes are much harder to see.  I like that.  And I like the texture, it's just nice to touch.  The fabric softens all that dense quilting, both visually and in the way it feels. 

I want to quilt and wash something else. There has to be something else in my UFO box.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


My across-the-street neighbor has the nicest pool, and yesterday she invited the grands to come swimming. Of course they said yes, because summer is back and they love to swim.

And of course my neighbor offered them ice cream at the end of the swim, because she's just generous like that. 

Nora had a few scrapes from the Playscape earlier in the day, and at the end of all that swimming they were magically almost gone.  I'm always surprised that by this time in the summer she has a pretty little light tan, despite all the #50 sunscreen. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Christmas in July

All of a sudden, it was July 1.  And, all of a sudden, there was Christmas fabric in the stores and there were Christmas projects on the internet.  I really love that, because in July it seems possible that ANYTHING could be finished by Christmas.

I do have one finished Christmas quilted throw in my stash of Christmas gifts.  And this weekend I worked on this work sample, from Anita Goodesign's Dot the Halls.  The design collection comes in four sizes, and I just know that the largest one would make great gift potholders.

On the back of the mini quilt, I embroidered this design from Anita Goodesign's Christmas Quilt Labels.  It would look better on an actual quilt label, but I needed to get that sample finished and this worked fine too.

And now, I'm kind of in the mood to look at those Christmas projects.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The crowd at Kings Island was big yesterday, the lines were long, and we just stayed a few hours and rode a couple of rides.  Nora won this prize that was so large that someone was paged to get it. Aaron did pretty well for himself too, with darts and balloons, but nothing could quite compete with that huge animal.

The lines for food were long too, so we opted out and went to McDonald's in Oakley, taking our food to the park down the street.  Then we explored the Blue Manatee bookstore, which was such a treat.

There is a smoothie/coffee bar as well as books.  Aaron's new fave flavor is mango and the barista said that yes, she could make a smoothie with just mango instead of a blend of flavors.  Then it was on to some reading and picking out just the right books.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Striped Baby Quilt

Since the last baby quilt I made was pretty piecing- and quilting-intensive, I wanted something easier for this one.  I used Fusi-Boo batting, which is pretty flat but I've heard that it puffs up with washing.  Since the hospital washes the quilts, I don't wash them before I send them off.

It's a pretty cool day today, high in the 70's, so the kids and I are taking off for Kings Island.  Crowd-wise, it could be great.  Or not.  We'll see.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Little Boy Overnight

Nora went camping with a softball friend's family, and Aaron came to spend time with me.  This meant video games (without a doubt, more than he gets to play at home)

and Lego's.  I couldn't resist this set with a chain saw and ear protection because Sarah had requested a larger set with the same items a few years ago for Christmas.

We looked for the full moon, but it was too cloudy to see it, both Saturday and Sunday.  We admired the front yard's pumpkin, getting bigger and starting to turn orange.  We watched a few Sponge Bob episodes.  

And, we listened to the Reds game on Sunday.  He is such a good companion for listening to Reds games.  He gets so excited at Reds hits and says "Dang it!" when appropriate.  He follows the pitch count and the outs.  At the end of the game, we dashed to the front door so we could listen to the winning fireworks.   

Friday, July 11, 2014


This placemat is the Viking project for July. It has a cute little pocket for silverware.

The kids and I went to the zoo this afternoon.  I like to go around the middle of the afternoon, when the early birds have left and their close-in parking spaces are available.  We saw two elephants and two monkeys and the sea lion, then Aaron wanted to go to the playground at the Children's Zoo.  Turns out there were some young zoo volunteers there playing hide and seek with the kids so that's where we stayed.  No more animals for us.  The kids had the best time running around, stopping often for water breaks and enjoying the day.

That's one of the advantages of the zoo pass, if there is something unexpected and fun going on one day, then there will be another day for the animals.  Or, in my case, the plants, there are beautiful gardens and planters at the zoo. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reds Fan

I'm so glad that the grandkids are baseball fans.  We went to a game on Saturday, a game in which the Brewers scored a run in their first inning and that was it for runs.  I thought that the kids might be a little bored but they enjoyed themselves, except for being a little disgruntled at losing and at the Brewers fans a few rows up.

I love how Nora sits down in her seat and just lights up.  She glows and cheers and sings, that often quiet girl transformed.  I'm so glad I live like, maybe, two miles from a major league stadium so that going to a game involves the cost of tickets and maybe parking, not a tank of gas and a hotel and meals. 

Last night I was having trouble sleeping and realized around 1:00 that I hadn't heard the game-winning fireworks from a game that had a bit of a rain delay.  I got up and checked the score, and I'd missed them.  I must have slept more than I thought. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Baby Girl Quilt

Baby girl quilt for Good Samaritan Hospital NICU.  36" x 36".

Quilt back.

Pieced backing, pieced binding.

I wonder what it might be like to make a large quilt, lots of pieces, lots of fitting it all together.  I have a feeling that I won't be finding out any time soon.  These little baby quilts are just right for me.   

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July, everyone.

Ice balls.  Going into the shop in the old building, looking in a glass case to see the colors available.  The grands always choose by color, not flavor.  Chipping down the ice to make it just so.  Sitting outside, watching cars pull up and people go in, guessing whether they will come out with ice balls, ice cream, or chocolate.  Ending up with a tongue that's red or blue or purple. 

There's a definite rhythm to eating ice balls, a way of sitting still and concentrating.  It can't be hurried.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Remember These?

Remember those stamped cross stitch items that you could buy and then cross stitch with embroidery floss?  I hadn't seen them in years until yesterday, when a customer wanted satin bindings sewn on not one but two baby quilts for twin girls.  She had done a wonderful job with the cross stitch and most of the knots on the back were buried.  I had to reduce the width of the bindings a bit to get around the curved edges of the quilts without puckers, but they did set off all that hand work nicely.

I've done a bib or two in the past, maybe once a toaster cover for my grandmother about 45 years ago, but I can't imagine having the patience for two quilts, even crib size.  My sister-in-law used to order the stamped cross stitch items from a company called Mary Maxim.  I wonder whether they are still in business, I'll have to check.

***Still in business, still have the cross stitch things.  And, felt calendars to embellish with sequins.  I'd forgotten all about those, I used to make them for my grandmother, too. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hot Day at Kings Island

Yesterday was steamy and hot, and the grands and I took off for Kings Island.  There were storms predicted for the afternoon, and I was hopeful that this meant a day without crowds.  That's pretty much what happened, except that there weren't any storms until evening.

Nora loves the water rides, Aaron not so much.  Nora rode on one by herself and Aaron and I waved as she went by.  We waited by the exit, but she didn't show.  Grandmother panic.  I told Aaron we had to go and look for her, and we started down the exit walk, which was empty.  More panic.  Then she appeared, all happy.  Turns out that there was no one in line and everyone on the boat agreed to just ride again.

Usually I don't let the kids play games, but I decided to yesterday.  Aaron won this dog because the person didn't guess his weight within three pounds.  There were some smaller prizes too.

Every once in awhile we just had to stop and cool off.  Drink.  Watch the people go by.  We were feeling lucky to live close to a big amusement park.  Nora rode a couple of water rides with a little girl from Texas who was visiting her grandpa.  That was pretty impressive to the kids, that and the fact that she flew to Cincinnati by herself.