Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Handkerchief Quilt

Now that Christmas is past, I can share this handkerchief quilt, commissioned by a daughter to give to her mother.

Some of the handkerchiefs were plain with fancy edges, others had fancy embroidery but plain edges.  They were all different in size and most had been used and laundered and were quite thin.  

After first going in a different direction, I decided to use the lower right corners of each handkerchief, usually mounting a plain-edged handkerchief over a fancy-edged one, then mounting that on white Kona.  White because the handkerchiefs were so sheer and Kona because it has a nice sturdiness.  

The state handkerchiefs, Washington and Colorado, I used by themselves because they already had the look of fancy in the corner with lighter flowers over that.  And there are a couple, a gray and a blue and white, that I used a different corner of the same handkerchief.  The pictures with lace were already in the package and I just mounted those over all-lace handkerchiefs,

The size was 32" x 40".  On the back, I added a few handkerchiefs that I didn't use on the front, and I added a pocket for a few more plus any memories added later.

I was happy to receive a Christmas picture including the quilt and its recipient, and there were smiles.   

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Visits

Tomorrow I'll show you one of my Christmas projects, but today I want to share more family time.  Specifically, the day before Christmas Eve, when we went to Cincinnati to a few of my favorite places.  Aaron wasn't too happy about the Findlay Market trip, so he sat part of it out across from the gellato stand, drinking Coke from a little bottle.  I thought he'd be impressed by all the food, but really, only the fish with eyes caught his eight-year-old fancy.  He had a waffle from Taste of Belgium, which is very popular here.

Sweet Nora sat with us while Winnie shopped for spices.  Included in her purchases was beet powder, for dying baked goods without using the bright red dye in the little bottle, you know what I mean.  Winnie also bought some darling little pies for Christmas Eve and Steph bought some goetta.

We had lunch at Taft Ale House, which was busy as always.  A couple of their brews are in cans now, and we came out with Nellie's Key Lime and Liquid Advent.  We admired a few tiny urban gardens on our walk to Washington Park.  Nora had been hoping that the wind and rain would hold off so there could be a bit of park time, and she got her wish.  We all enjoyed being out in the warm weather, and Winnie's dad especially enjoyed sitting outside.

When we got back, Aaron settled in for some electronic and dog time, note that Lucy's paws are on his leg, and Nora went on for some quiet time at home before our visit with Bridget. 

I'm feeling lucky that we can get to these spots that I enjoy in just a few minutes.  When I moved here, I didn't fully appreciate the urban-ness of my neighborhood, which in some ways feels like the suburbs.  Except for parking, of course.  And tiny lots.  And just the smallest glimpse of skyline when the leaves are off the trees, from an upstairs window, standing on a chair. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Silent House

This afternoon the white Subaru with the roof rack went up the hill and around the corner and my house is full of its usual silence.  I am aware today that I live with too much silence, even for one of the most introverted of introverts.

It has been an amazing week.  Above is a Christmas Eve picture on a wonderfully warm day.  Some years it's been so cold and we hustled here and there, bundled up.  Not this year.

Aaron is along after his second sleep-over, the first being Tuesday night when Sarah, Winnie, and Walt came.  Tradition dictates that Nora and Aaron spend the night, watching hopefully in the evening for the first sighting of the car.  By Wednesday, after visits to Findlay Market, Taft Ale House, and Bridget's, Nora was ready for some Aaron-free time and went on home.  

Christmas Eve was a blur of last minute tasks and dinner and church for some and happy unwrapping.  On Christmas afternoon, Sarah, Winnie, Walt and I went to see Sisters.  The audience was laughing and loving it.  I was dismayed that, while Steph had taken Winnie's dad to church, I had taken him to a movie with lots of language and sexual overtones.  Then I realized that he was laughing along with everyone else.

Saturday was the Antique Christmas display at Taft Museum of Art and a fun dinner at The Elusive Cow in Bellevue.  Which brings us to today and the white car going up the hill and the silent house.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Krohn Christmas

I love that the grands are starting to enjoy the Krohn Christmas display, admiring the trains and recognizing the buildings.  Seeing the familiar sights in the permanent displays.

It's crazy crowded there this time of year, and I thought that a Monday afternoon's crowd would be light, but I guess that's relative.  Still, it was easy to get around and take a few pictures.  And we had a nice walk from the overlook where we parked.  It was a foggy afternoon and the grands loved looking at the river.

Love Nora wearing her scarf.  Usually she isn't big on fashion statements, but this suits her.  It meets her requirements of nothing too low cut, nothing too high maintenance, nothing too fancy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Real Santa

Yesterday the kids and I went to see the real Santa.  The real Santa is at Macy's downtown.

If you have any doubt, just look at the grand's Santa pictures over the years and it's always the same guy.  Not a helper, just can't be, because it's always the same Santa.

There were some interesting requests - a girl Elf on the Shelf to go with the boy elf.  A light-up football.  Santa said he wasn't sure about the girl elf this year because it's almost time for the elves to return to the North Pole, but maybe next year.

I remember my first Christmas in Cincinnati, the first year that both kids saw Santa.  It was a warm day, just like today.  Nora wore a brown sweater and sat on the step in front of Santa, no Santa's lap for her.  Aaron was three months old and he was willing to sit with Santa.  Throughout the years, that hasn't changed, although Nora is now willing to stand close.

After the Santa visit, there is a place to write requests and drop them into a post box, just in case things were forgotten when the pressure was on.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Quilt

I just might have a gazillion things to do these days, but this morning I put the binding and sleeve on this little quilt, just because quilting helps center me, calm me down.  Also, it's a Christmas gift, but that's another story.

I just love these little Riley Blake holiday prints.  I had a weak moment when my grand guy was admiring them and I wanted to just give the quilt to his family.  Nevertheless, they will be going to the post office this afternoon.  I think.

My tree is still not adorned.  I need to get that finished so I can get the big ornament tub out of the living room and back into the attic.  Then I can move back the tubs that I had to move out to get to that big one.  And then there will be room to wrap.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Festival of Lights

Sometimes you just have to take my word for it.  This is my family at the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo.

We've been there numerous times before, but never when the temperature was so mild and it was actually very enjoyable to stroll around.  This weekend's visitors were advised to come early or late in an attempt to manage what are expected to be record crowds.

There are lights everywhere, and people are happy.  At the large pond, the music of the year is the Star Wars theme, and lights flash to the music.

On the way home from work today and stopped at the grocery for some seasonal beers and I found Braxton Storm, which isn't really seasonal but is brewed in nearby Covington.  Very nice.  Of course, I have to sample now and then, and my favorite so far is Sixth West Christmas Ale, brewed in Lexington.  I really love the craft beers.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Basketball Now

Saturday was the first day of a new sport for the grands.  They have played a lot of street basketball but never on teams.

Nora was so nervous but by the end of the game she had a smile.  She wanted to wear her jersey to school today.  And she was very pleased that there was a Wednesday night conflict with her fifth grade concert and basketball.  The concert would never come out on top.

Aaron did not have a great day.  His team lost 19 - 4 and he was pretty upset.  He is a very competitive player and foresees losing every game this season.  I didn't get a picture of him with his uniform, but here he is at Nora's later game.  He brought his basketball just in case there would be a chance to shoot some baskets and his football just in case someone would want to play.

I'm sure he felt a little better yesterday when his beloved Bengals won.  As game day approaches, he starts to worry and quotes reasons why his team may or may not play well.  His dad can't say that he never pays attention to what his dad tells him.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Table Topper

This table topper, Which Way, by GE Designs, is my favorite new pattern.  I like the quilt as you go, just sew and put on the binding.  And I like that it uses a charm pack, which I sometimes can't resist because the fabrics are so pretty and coordinated.  For you non-quilters, a charm pack is a collection of 5" squares, and it's a good way to use a design collection you love without spending a whole lot.

Snow on the roof tops and cars this morning, and that's ok with me.  We've had the longest and best fall that I can remember.  It should warm up this weekend, which will give me a chance to swap out the outside lights on my railing.  There are now two sections out, and it's time to replace.  The new lights on the inside tree are the same style, only larger, and I'm hoping for better luck there.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Greenville, South Carolina

These are the last pictures from last week's trip, a day trip to Greenville, South Carolina.  I've wanted to go there forever, just because I remember that the students from Greenville were so special.

Just imagine having a waterfall like this in the center of your town.

Hospice was having an event in the park with that waterfall.  There were colorful umbrellas in memory of friends or relatives.

There was a skating rink set up downtown, with music and a Christmas tree.  It started to rain and we ducked into the Carolina Ale House for lunch.  There were football games on the big tv's.  Some people liked South Carolina, some liked Clemson. 

And, they had Cold Mountain, a seasonal beer from Highland Brewing. ( The foam left a nice pattern on the glass.) The downtown had lots of shops and galleries.  It reminded me of a classy Galtinburg, maybe because there was a Kilwin's.  I'm so glad we went.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Homemade Applesauce

When I was a kid, my grandmother would save some of the Thanksgiving/Christmas cranberry salad for me because I loved it.  It had cranberries ground in an old-fashioned food grinder and mixed with jello, probably sugar too.  Topped with whipping cream.  

I was thinking of that today when Aaron was enjoying applesauce.  Not exactly left over, but extra that I made for him because he loves it.  He calls it G B Applesauce, for Gran B applesauce.

It's pretty easy to make.  My directions are a little vague, and the applesauce is never quite the same two times in a row.  I usually use about 8 or 9 pounds of Granny Smith apples, although if I have some other apples hanging around I might put those in too.  

Peel, core, and slice the apples and put them in a large pot.  Put in about a cup of water, cover, and bring the water to a boil, then turn it down low enough to just maintain the boil.  Stir with a wooden spoon every five minutes or so, adding more water when there is just a little left.

When the apples are soft enough to mash, turn off the heat and mash them with a potato masher.  Don't worry about getting it all perfectly smooth.  Add about a cup of sugar.

Take out a bit and taste when it's cool enough, adding more sugar half a cup at a time if necessary.  It probably will be necessary.

And that's it.  If this makes more than you need, just freeze some.  I always make applesauce for holiday meals, freezing it ahead of time.

The secrets, I think, are to use a firm apple and as little water as possible.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Warm Thanksgiving

Warm Thanksgiving wishes, everyone.

And it really is.  The warm weather this fall has been a treat and it continues today.  

The parsley and pansies were in a bed in the downtown park in Greenville, South Carolina, where we visited last week.  Parsley and petunias, I like that.  And I never would have thought of that combination on my own.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Winter Lights

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum was stunning.  So many lights, incorporated so well into the arboretum features.

Somehow, two of the ones I loved were on the quiet side.  The tree was inside one of the buildings and had twigs painted white and added to the evergreen.  Of course, I might have liked it because Sarah cut and painted the twigs but I think I really liked it because of the contrast of the white with the dark green.

It's been a wonderfully warm day here.  I did get the yard mowed and the vines cut off the iron railings.  And then I couldn't resist winding the lights around the railing because there just CAN'T be another day like this for outside decorating.

Happily, my shopping today was simple.  The fabric store for some bits of fabric for alterations I'm doing.  The local ice cream shop just because it's the day before Thanksgiving and it's such a happy place, the kind of place out-of-town people just have to visit when they are home for a holiday.  There were extra donuts and Thanksgiving cakes.  Bags with orders waiting to be picked up.  Cars pulling up at the drive-through for ice cream.  Just happiness.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gingerbread Houses

This year I was lucky enough to go back to Asheville's Grove Park Inn and their gingerbread house competition.  Here are a couple of the houses for you, Joanne, I know you love them.

This one was the grand champion, displayed behind glass.  The shadow is probably me taking the picture.

In the lobby was a faux gingerbread house, where they sold this Oskar Blues Ol' Snap Fireplace Ale.  Among other things.  Very luscious small pour, with alcohol content around 9%.

We found unoccupied rocking chairs around one of the huge fireplaces to sit and enjoy it.  Lovely.

It was such a nice day, weather-wise, holding off turning colder until the next day.  Wonderful afternoon.  Thanks, Sarah and Winnie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tall Christmas Tree

Another Christmas gift, a Tall Christmas Tree (76"), paper pieced from A Very Special Collection.  It took me a very long time, although a friend just finished one in a few days.  Did I mention that she's my hero?  This is my second tree, the tissue paper patterns come two to a package.  The patterns come in several sizes, with this one being the biggest, of course.

What a rainy afternoon.  I think I missed my window for the last lawn mowing on Monday, when the weather was still reasonably warm and dry.  I'll still mow, of course, but it may be pretty cold when I do.  Before that happens, I need to go to the gas station for about a quarter of a gallon to gas to finish up the season.

Next week I will trim back the clematis and other vines on my railings so I can put up the Christmas  lights.  It's hard to believe that they haven't frozen yet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tis The 'Season

'Tis the season for not talking a lot about where this little quilt is going.  The pattern is a disappearing nine-patch, although it's hard to tell that.  The fabric is Moda, but I can't remember the name of the design collection.

A week from today, I plan to be doing a lot of decorating and wrapping.  I had a closet that badly needed to be cleaned out and now it's a wonderful place for storing gifts.

I was so dismayed at myself for holding on to various things in that closet.  Like the two pillows that came with my sofa.  I've had that sofa for 12 years now, never liked those pillows, never used them.  I don't even like the sofa any more and keep a slip cover on it.  Why did I think I needed to keep those pillows?  It's especially discouraging to have things like that which actually came in the moving truck when I moved here.

Because it's the season, I'm making a double batch of cookies tonight.  Some for now, some to freeze for Christmas.  When I make the Thanksgiving applesauce, the same thing will happen.  Did I mention that I love my freezer?  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Quilt As You Go

I'll be doing a quilt as you go class later, and this is the sample.  It's from Quilt-As-You-Go by Gudrun Erla.  The picture in the book was pale pinks and greens, but I like dots.

Aaron and I went to see The Peanuts Movie on Saturday and we both enjoyed it.  It was very nicely done, blending some of the original comics and themes with 3D characters.  Our favorite line was there:  I am NOT your Sweet Babboo.

Last time we went to this theater I didn't have any quarters for video games and I promised him "next time."  I don't think he remembered, but I did.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy Day

My daughter Stephanie and I had an afternoon beer sampler (maybe 2) and good bar food at 50W in Newtown, Ohio.  And all the beers were great.  A new local favorite.

It's a day to be happy.  Aaron had his annual eye exam at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center and the news was good.  So grateful for the doctors at Children's and for preschool vision screening.  For his parents who patched him as much as he could tolerate, made sure he wore his glasses every day, and tracked down those glasses at least three times a week in unlikely places.  At age eight, his vision with glasses is 20/20 in each eye, and it could have been so different.

His dream is to be a baseball player, and if that happens I hope he is an advocate for early screening.  If that doesn't happen, I still hope he is an advocate.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

That Turkey

The turkey quilt.  An Anita Goodesign in the hoop project.  Sort of like the paint by number that I enjoyed as a kid.

As I recall, it took quite awhile to do all those hoopings, but it was so fun to do.  

I got up early this morning and went out to vote for our new governor and a few other selections.  There were four poll workers, no voters except for me.  I was voter # 20.

Yesterday was an all-day annual work event at a nice hotel.  I had such a good time and the day flew by.  I enjoy seeing the employees from the other stores and hearing about new techniques and notions.  Today, I'll be in the store, and I'm looking forward to that too.

At the end of the day, my bosses took us out to eat and it was lovely to have a glass of wine and just sit still and enjoy a meal.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Post Halloween

I woke up this morning eager to change the clocks and to change out the Halloween decorations.  I made this little Halloween quilt years ago.  Very precise, with sashings  Polyester batting.  Stitch in the ditch quilting.  Or, maybe I just used the buttons as tacking,  Still, I can see some of the quilter I would become.  Bright colors.  Movement.

I can picture myself making it.  Probably using a Singer machine, which I still have.  Cutting out each individual piece, or maybe I used a rotary cutter.  I was so happy when the rotary cutter/ruler/cutting mat came along and when I could finally afford all three.  And a book with directions about using them.  The idea then was to use this new technique to make traditional quilts.  I want to see whether I still have that book.  I'm guessing not.  

The Thanksgiving replacement is a turkey quilt, made with the embroidery machine, very different.  I'll post that picture tomorrow, although you've probably seen it before.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Trick or Treat is about to start, and there's just a little drizzle, not too cold.  I walked on the flood wall beside the river earlier in the afternoon.  Hardly any walkers.

Last night I was baking banana bread and decided to heat my leftover pizza in the oven.  Two small square pieces, on the rack to stay crisp.  Would you believe, BOTH of them slipped when I was taking them out, and landed face down in the oven.  The oven had some grit on the bottom, the pizza got gritty, and that was that.

There was also a piece of foil that had been there for the longest time.  Some black from spills.  So, once the bread was finished, I took out that foil, turned the oven on to clean, and got out of the kitchen.  This morning I washed out the white ash and got happy.

Usually I get books at the library or on my Kindle Unlimited, but recently there have been some good books at Dollar Tree.  If there is a Dollar Tree in your neighborhood, check it out.  Sometimes I just like to have a real book of my own.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Almost Halloween

My neighbor, who might just love Halloween even more than I do, stopped in on her way to a Halloween party at a local elementary school.  She dropped off some pumpkin cookies and showed me her ghost Rice Krispee treats.

I had my dreaded dentist visit this morning and it went very well.  I've been using a whitening mouthwash a couple of times a day and it does wonders in reducing the amount of tartar.  It must be the peroxide.

The dentist said I had very nice teeth.  He probably says that to everyone, but it was nice to hear that something in my older body is nice.  It was just my bad (or good?) luck to have the dentist visit and my mammogram in the same week.  The mammogram tech said that if I didn't hear anything in two days I was off the hook, and it's been three now.  I'll still feel better once I get the letter.

I wish I didn't get so anxious about medical visits.  I've tried really hard not to, but I think it just gets worse.  I've read somewhere that real Christians don't worry.  Hmmmmm.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

More Gray and White

When I did the Whole-Hearted worship banner, I used gray and white in a jelly roll race style for the background.  The problem with that, at least at my house, is that I really don't know how large the finished piece will be.

After I used what I needed for the banner, I had just the right size left for a baby quilt.  The backing has little animals playing various sports with a light aqua background.

The stained glass quilt squares in the background are from my Berea days, a gift for a birthday or Christmas.  A nod to the artist, whoever that glass artist was.  I look at them almost every day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Pumpkin pattern by Husqvarna Viking.

Yesterday when I was going to visit a friend in rehab, the low tire pressure light came on in my car.  I realized that I had no tire gauge in the glove box, probably never put one in this car.  I went on and parked, then fretted all through the visit.  Really tired hard to be present but it wasn't working.

After the visit the tires all looked good so I carefully drove home.  The gauge in the basement didn't work any more, so I asked my neighbor to check.  Have to admit that it's hard for me to ask for help.

After awhile he knocked on the door and said that all the tires tested fine, just keep an eye out.  This morning I got a new gauge of my own and all the tires have the same air pressure.  I've been hearing stories about that dashboard light coming on when the weather turns cool.  We'll see.

Daylight Savings Time on Sunday.  Trick or Treat on Saturday.  I wonder  how many trick or treaters will come to the door.  I always feel like I have to have lots of candy, just in case this is the year.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Halloween Party

We meant to go to Kings Island today, but it was windy and rainy.  That pretty much knocked off the zoo too.  So Aaron and I went to Behringer Crawford Museum.  We happened on their Halloween party and there were spots left.  It turned out to be a fun afternoon after all.

Aaron got some cool prizes, including these glasses.

There was a mummy contest, where the parent/grandparent wrapped the child with toilet paper.  He was one of the older kids and could stand still while I wrapped him up.  He won a prize - a certificate for a Graeter's ice cream cone.

We did the honorable thing and stopped at Graeter's on the way home.

I'm happy to be back with you.  I had upgraded to Windows 10, which turned out to be an unwise move.  The repair shop guy said that sometimes it works out well, sometimes not.  It didn't work out well for me.

Friday, October 16, 2015

October Afternoon

These last roses of summer can be found on the Covington side of the Roebling Bridge.  Steph, the grands, and I had lunch at The Gruff, fries ordered right away (because that's what we do here), potato soup for the girls, salad, cheese pizza.  Why don't I go there more often?

Then the roses, followed by the walk across the bridge, breezy as always.  Good times at Smale Park, then the walk back.

There was a conversation about high the bridge is.  Turns out that it is 230 feet high and spans 2057 feet.  When it was opened in 1866 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Another high point this week:  meeting nephew Steve and wife Janie and admiring their motor home.  It's always so good to see them - we've connected at Kings Island, Gatlinburg, and this time at an I-75 rest area.  No teenagers this time, it was a grown-up trip for them.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


My sister and niece are notoriously late with birthday gifts,which I love.  Especially this year when I turned 70 and the celebration was a little bigger than usual.  How nice in late September to get these wind chimes and be able to enjoy just them.  And THREE pairs of earrings, oh, my.  All in silver and two of them have blue accents.

On Mother's Day I received a gift certificate from Banasch's, a store that has sold fabric and notions in various locations in Cincinnati for 100 years.  I love gift certificates and usually save them for awhile.  When I went to the store this week, there was a sign out front that they were closing.  My gift certificate bought twice as much as I was expecting.  Four lovely lime green Riley Blake fabrics.  And five spools of Gutterman thread, which is on sale for $1.00 per spool.

Happy Birthday and Mother's Day to me!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Carabello Coffee

Sarah, we're definitely going down the street to this coffee shop next time you come.  Note the "Coffee and Compassion in Tandem" on their sign.

And here's the real tandem sitting over the menu.  

The space is currently two rooms plus outside seating, but they will be doubling their size soon.  You can see information about the renovation here.

And the scones are really, really good.