Saturday, March 28, 2015

Family Time

This morning Sarah was in the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Lexington, and it turned into a wonderful family time.  We met yesterday afternoon and went to the Race Expo at Keeneland to pick up her packet and shirt.  Then we went to Joe Bologna's for their fabulous Italian food.  I had eggplant parmesan, really, really good.

Steph and the grands came in the evening.  The kids adore Aunt Sarah and talked and talked.  

It was a cold day for a race, and this race was huge.  Sarah told us how long it would take her to get to the finish line, and we timed that well.

Steph's co-worker recommended Winchell's for lunch, and it was a great recommendation.  Steph, Sarah, and I all had the shrimp and grits, warm with peppers and onions and a wonderful broth.  

One of Sarah's Lexington friends, Jason Baines, was killed in a bicycle accident a couple of years ago and some of his friends erected a ghost bike in his honor.  Seeing the memorial was something Sarah definitely wanted to do this weekend.

Now Sarah is on her way home, driving through the gorge on I-40.  Steph and the kids are at a hockey game, and here I am.  Everyone is scattered again.  This weekend was a wonderful gift.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Deconstructed Nine-Patch

This is my version of Jacquie Gering's Deconstructed Nine-Patch quilt.  Her pattern has the white and colored squares in the center of the quilt instead of offset.

The pattern is in the Winter 2012/2013 International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene and can also be found at the Interweave Store.

I used the walking foot for my quilting, quilting across one row and starting from the opposite side for the next row.  I just turn around on the extra backing/batting.  If you use basting spray, like I do, be sure the quilt is tacked down well on the upper and lower edges.  I ended up with pleats on my last rows at the top.

I started with in with my seam ripper, then decided to take the dishonorable route and just cut off off the top three inches or so.  No one will ever miss it. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Finally, A Bird

This bird will be the first of many, I've been wanting to try to make some birds for the longest time.  I saw this little guy in one of the Stitch magazines, but I'm not sure which.  I love his long legs.

Really wonderful news, my cousin's baby girl came home today.  Born at the end of December, she weighed 1 pound, 2 ounces at birth and 4 pounds today.  She has a little sister at home and grandparents close by just waiting to help care for the girls.

In my church's Art and Spirituality Group, we are studying the book What We Ache For;  Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  Today, I am pondering these sentences from Chapter 8: "To create in any form, we have to be willing to engage our intent and then let go and allow this grace, this flow, this unpredictable and sometimes seemingly chaotic energy that is both what we are and yet larger than us, to direct the process.  This is how our spirituality is not separable from our creativity."

And from the same chapter, "If the inspiration that gets us to create is the inhale, and the creative work itself is the exhale, empty time is the pause between the two, the place where we sit for a moment and wait for the impulse to take the next breath to come from a deep stillness."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Bag and a Burn

This bag was adapted from directions in the Fall 2009 Stitch Magazine.  I haven't purchased this magazine recently - maybe I need to rethink that.  

What I love:  the linen band at the bottom,  the wrap-around pieces of trim, and the handles lined from old jeans for extra stability. Dotted lining that matches and handles.  

The grands spent the night last night and are snoozing in bed this morning.  A sure sign of spring - Aaron had a sunburn on the back of his neck.  The kids were helping clean up the ball fields yesterday, then played outside in the nice weather.  If it goes like it usually does, Aaron will wake up this morning with the sunburn completely gone.

We watched some of the NCAA tournament last night.  I asked Nora if she knew what make a three-point shot different from a two-point.  Of course she did.

I thought I could watch the Kentucky/University of Cincinnati game and be completely neutral about the outcome.  Not so, I was rooting for Kentucky, like always. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Drawstring Bags

The drawstring bags are for hygiene supplies for my church to give to Mennonite Central Committee for people in crisis areas.  I adapted the instructions just a little so I could use my serger to give them some extra strength.  Hope no one minds.

When I got to the drawstring part, I was reminded of trying to make a similar drawstring bag for Girl Scout camp ages ago.  I could NOT figure out how to get the drawstrings in.  And neither could my mother.  

Actually, I'm kind of in love with these little bags.  I'm picturing making a few to use as gift bags, maybe using scraps of fabric or Christmas fabric.  If you want instructions to try some, google MCC kit bag instructions.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Yellow and Gray

This baby quilt has some embroidery to come, but the quilting and binding are finished.  I'm enjoying the disappearing nine patch these days.  Fabric is by Riley Blake,and I'm loving that too.

One of my goals last year was to use less fabric than I bought, and that worked well.  It's kind of become a habit now.  And the other was to upgrade the fabrics I did buy, to get nicer stuff.  I make nice things and I spend a lot of time making them, and I wanted my fabric to reflect that. 

Back around Thanksgiving, I made kitchen curtains for someone and saved a few of the scraps.  In the interest of cleaning up my sewing area, I put trim on some kitchen towels and added a potholder to go with the curtains.  I hope it will be a nice surprise.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Have I mentioned that I love my neighborhood?  Lots of hills, and a little view of city skyline when I am on my way home on the next street over.

Urban enough to hear neighbor's music in the warm weather, and I love that.  Close enough to the ball park to hear the fireworks when the Reds win or hit a home run.  My own little circle of shopping that keeps me close to home when I want that.  A park at the end of my street and the big river close by.  Some nice little local restaurants nearby with more on the way.  A long street leading to the river with diverse shops, with the newest being antique and coffee shops.  And one of the oldest, probably, has the last of the city's dancing girls.  

A fabric store and library that are both within walking distance.  Don't forget that.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Run Happy

I'm so happy to have a new pair of exercise shoes.  I always promise myself that I'll save them for exercise only so they'll last, and then I never do it.  But this time, I really will.  My old ones just don't have good support any more, although they don't show any wear on the treads.  

I spent an hour in the yard today cleaning up the beds and cutting back some ornamental grasses.  Two contractor bags full, but I have a long ways to go.  And my yard is just tiny.  I've exercised a lot this winter and I thought that (a) my old jeans would just slide right on and (b) yard work would be easy.  Neither was true.  

We had baby quilt group today and collected eight or nine quilts.  I think that Connie H did these.  (That's not me.)  I love the one on the bottom because it looks like such a nice pattern for scraps.  I think she saw it in Block magazine from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Oh, and thinking of running happy, congratulations to my daughter Sarah, who ran in the Asheville Marathon yesterday.  She finished first in the Female Masters age category and got some cool prizes.  I'm a proud mom.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

River's Up

This is the park in Bellevue where the kids and I often go in the summer.  On the climber, there is a slide completely submerged. The wiggly yellow line is a hand-over-hand piece of play equipment.  Today - it's just for ducks.

These ducks are perched on a picnic table, where we like to eat our sandwiches from Twisted Sister. 

The reason this park is a favorite is because there is no flood wall and the river and the boats are up close and personal.  This is the down side of that.

There were so many people at the riverfront today, both here and in Newport.  I wondered whether there was something special going on, but I think that families were just happy to be out in the sunshine. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Other Things at the Krohn

The exhibits are special, but the regulars at the Krohn Conservatory are always so nice to revisit.

A bonsai.

Orchids tucked in a tree trunk.

The cactus collection.

And outside the gift shop. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Krohn Early Spring Show

The early spring show at the Krohn Conservatory is Falling Water Gardens:  A Modern Work of Nature, with architectural inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright.  It only runs for a few more days, ending March 22.  Like all the Krohn shows, it is a treat.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Repurposed Shopping Bag

Thinking of repurposed -

Thanks to my friend Tiffany for this one.  A few weeks ago I purchased one of her shopping bags made from a tee shirt.  I loved it and thought that I just had to make one, one of these days.

Today I was looking for a long sleeved tee to wear and saw this one.  I love K Mart tees and have several, but I have never liked this striped one.  I'm sure I got it when there was a K Mart in my neighborhood and it was probably marked down to $3 or so at the end of the winter season.  I thought I should like it, it was a great buy in just my colors, but it never happened.  I just don't like to wear stripes.  And of course, even though I did wear it, it stayed way too nice to get rid of.

When I finished yesterday's bag, I was on a repurpose roll and decided to cut into that tee.  You can find good directions here.  It was easy, took about ten minutes, including threading the serger, which I used to sew around the top and to close it up at the bottom.

What I didn't like as a tee I love as a shopping bag.  It scrunches into a little space.  I can just picture it going to the downtown park with sand toys and bags of pretzels and juice boxes.  Can you tell it was the first warm day today?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Brother Wolf Bag

When I was visiting with Sarah and Winnie in Asheville right before Thanksgiving, we went to a resale store with donations to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.  I found a wonderful black and white skirt for $2, which I bought even though it was a size 6, which I certainly don't wear.  I just liked it.

Today it turned into a pretty bag with a red and gold lining and three zippers and pockets.  A red strap.  It makes my heart happy.

I'd really like to make more repurposed things.  I like that kind of sewing more than any other.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

More Free Motion

After despairing of my free motion quilting last week, it went much better this week.  Primarily, I think, because I was back in the groove and because I remembered to use a NEBS bobbin along with the Aurifil thread in the needle.  My Viking machines are much happier with this combination.  How could I have forgotten?  Two of the samples are done with the walking foot, by the way.  I don't want you to think that I can free motion straight lines like that.

Some of you know that I worked at Berea College for nineteen years and I am so proud of the work the college does.  So, I'll share this USA Today story with you.  It mentions a group of students who went to Selma last week along with a group of twelve who went from the college's group of 59, fifty years ago.  Listening to the president's speech and reading this story has been very emotional for me.

I am so enjoying the rain today.  It's such a lovely change from the snow of recent weeks.  Feels more like I think March should be.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pigs and Chicks

Thanks to Ginny in our baby quilt group for gifting each of us with half a yard of a dark green fabric with scattered pigs and chicks.  Very cute.

I wanted the blocks to be fairly large so each one would have lots of chicks and a pig or two, so I cut those blocks 6 1/2" square.  The strips for the other blocks were each 2 1/2" x 6 1/2".  And I added 2 1/2" strips at the top to make the quilt rectangular.

Can't wait until next Monday when the group gets together again so I can see what others did with their fabric.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Urban Angels

It must have been years ago that I got this Urban Angels foundation piecing pattern from Sweet Peas, designed by Kim Halvorson.  I wish I could remember where I got it, but I really don't remember and the price sticker had no clues.  I only remember that I loved it.  The picture on the pattern had a red background and there was some homespun and gingham used.

I also don't know why I never made it.  Maybe I wasn't experienced with paper piecing at that time, or maybe I wasn't sure how to quilt it, who knows.  

One of my goals this year is to spend an hour every week making something that I'd just like to work on, and that's how this little wall hanging finally was finished.  Of course it took longer than an hour, but that hour was the beginning.

One thing is certain:  if I don't free motion on a regular basis, it takes some time to get back up to speed.  I'm not sure if that's true for everyone.  

I might have ripped out some stitches, but in our Art and Spirituality group we're reading a book that encourages us to sometimes lower our standards and just make art.  So, I kept in the stitches, and really, the mottled blue background is very forgiving.  I'll wash it and the forgiveness will be increased as the batting shrinks away a little.

Finished size is 12" x 16 1/2".

Friday, March 6, 2015

Home and Garden

My neighbor had tickets for the Cincinnati Home and Garden Show, so we went today.  

With lots of snow still on the ground, it was fun to see a little spring preview.

This collection of decorative twigs looked more like winter, but it was still pretty.

There were way too many hot tubs (who cleans those?) and way too many basement waterproofing displays.  Lots and lots of windows.  I must have had the show on my mind because last night I dreamed that I had French doors put in my kitchen.  Not in this house.

There were also a few things for me to ponder, like garage doors and gutters.  A vendor with handmade marshmallows.  One of my friends gave me some for Christmas, and I'd really like to try making them.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow Tracks

The birds don't seem to care for the corn in the feeder mix and it mostly ends up on the ground.  It does look as if someone does like it, though.  Someone who doesn't worry much about balancing on the edge of the wall.  Someone big.

Surely this is the last snow.  Next week should be in the 50's and I'll be trimming back the ornamental grasses and looking hopefully for new shoots here and there.  A whole different world.

Yesterday I made oatmeal rolls that were really wonderful.  If you're into bread baking you can find the recipe here.

My daughter is going to a baby shower on Saturday and will be taking this bib, among other things.  Anita Goodesign Bundle of Joy.  I'm sure I've used this design collection more than any other.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Poor Little Snowman

This little snowman came to live on my porch Christmas before last.  He was white and shiny with a glossy top hat and a red scarf.  Stars in his belly.  So pretty.

After last year he had lost half his gloss.  My porch faces south, doesn't have a cover, and the roof has a high slope.  When the snow melts, the gutters dam up and ice forms and drips.  I had plans to repaint him last year, then I saw someone else's snowman that looked like mine and it had a certain appeal, kind of shabby chic.  So he lived on without an update.

Now, he's looking kind of sad, and his snow and ice nest hasn't all melted yet.  This year he will surely need replacement or painting, depending on how much of his terra cotta chips off.  I think that the "new" one should live on the back porch, which is covered.  Poor little guy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cranberry Orange Scones

It is a rainy/icy afternoon.  I'm out of my usual eating suspects.  I made spinach and artichoke mac and cheese with my leftover artichokes and some frozen spinach, and that was good.  I made a lot, freezing several little casseroles, so it's a good thing that it was good.

And then I tried these cranberry orange scones, from the King Arthur recipe here.   I did use frozen cranberries, half a bag left from the holidays.  I think that if I'd used the dried cranberries these would be sweeter, and sweeter is often good.  These are just a little bitter - I did use a LOT of cranberries.  But still, good.

My grandmother always made cranberries at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that was quite a departure from her usual cooking.  Her usual was very plain and quite frugal.  She would eat two kinds of cereal, Shredded Wheat and Corn Flakes, and would rotate the two of them.  She would rotate molasses and sugar cookies.  She would rotate pink mints and white mints.  I can remember only twice that she ate between meals.  Cold water and yellow cheese in the refrigerator, always.  She would dry corn and store it in mason jars and she would make noodles and spread them on unused beds to dry.  Those memories are precious.  I can't remember what she cooked for meals, other than smoked pork chops.  Those cranberries were really a special thing.  One year, cranberries were scarce or there were problems in the cranberry bogs.  I missed them.

I wish I could share grandmother memories with my sister, but she is ten years younger than I am and she mostly relies on me for those stories.

I hope that my grandchildren have good memories of me.  I hope that they remember that I rode the roller coasters with them, took them swimming and to lots of parks, went to the movies and to Orange Leaf and Sweet Frog.  To the Playscape at the Nature Center.  To the baseball games.