Monday, December 26, 2016

When the Song

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

Thomas Thurman

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I wish you joy, pure and simple joy.

This was the scene at Graeter's on the day before Christmas.  It was in the afternoon before I picked up my order, number 28.  Most of the orders had been picked up.  The bag in front of the tree is order number 73, and that's just from my little neighborhood Graeter's.  All the baking is done in a central location.  I love to picture the Graeter's trucks speeding to the 50 stores.

For those folks who hadn't placed an order, there were other pies and cakes to choose from.  I almost got a pie, but remembered that my local family isn't crazy about pie.  This goes against my dad's family's tastes, they loved their pie.  I have a Hoosier cabinet that belonged to my fraternal grandmother and the story goes that she would bake five pies every Saturday and put them on the cabinet to cool.  Every holiday gathering would feature pies.

I enjoy making pie, although I rarely do.  There is just something artistic about it.  

But, back to Graeter's, I ordered a cherry alligator, which is basically a large danish oval with cherries and pecans.  Maybe a little icing.  No one in my family really is crazy about it except me, but I enjoy getting one for Christmas breakfast.

Most people think of ice cream from Graeter's, and they do have holiday flavors.  I vote for peppermint.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Downtown Day

Yesterday we went downtown for that wonderful pre-Christmas day.  We saw Santa at Macy's and got another picture in the progression of Santa pictures.  It's always the same Santa, that's how we know it's the real one.  Other people must know that too, because the line was long.

And then to the top of Carew Tower, for a look all around.  When we got back down, we went to Hathaway's for lunch, and it was crowded, even though it was mid-afternoon by then.  Carew Tower is wonderfully Art Deco.

And then, in the late afternoon, on the other side of the river, we saw Rogue One.  I have trouble following the Star Wars movies, but the kids and their mom loved it.

The grands stayed with me for a sleepover, and they went to bed earlier than in any other previous sleepover.  They are still there now, while I'm taking a break from mixing bread and making applesauce.  I am hoping hard that even though my yeast is a few months out of date that it will be ok since it's been in the refrigerator.

I have really tried to talk myself out of the cold that seems to be everywhere, but I do have it.  As long as it doesn't get any worse, I will be fine. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

More Tuesday

Other years, there have been plastic reindeer at the Newport Aquarium during the Christmas season, hidden in plain sight.  This year the reindeer were absent, but we still had a good time.  There was a small line to see Scuba Santa, but we passed on that.  We'll see the REAL Santa at Macy's on Friday.

In the area where the tropical birds used to live, there are now lively little otters and some other displays.  We were glad to see those birds go, and in fact often skipped that room.  Aaron took this picture.

In the evening, we went to see the room-size Christmas display at the Camboni Mission.  Some friends remember going there as children.  There is a small museum too, and somewhere in the museum is a long knife or two.  Aaron used to call the experience going to see "Baby Jesus and the Night of the Long Knives."

Aaron's Montessori preschool and kindergarten is in the rear of the Camboni Mission building.  Prior to going inside, we made a trip to the back of the building and reminisced about the days of the car line.  Sometimes I miss those days.  What a good experience that was!

Aaron likes Merrill's and athletic pants to this day, that was what the children wore so they could take care of themselves without help.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Back Down Greenup Street

The grands are off school for Christmas break, and we had an afternoon together yesterday.  I planned to take us to lunch somewhere near the Aquarium, which was our main stop, but a voice from the back seat said, "We hoped we were going to The Gruff."  Oh my gosh, how I had forgotten about that?  Probably their favorite restaurant ever.

Even pouring the water is a treat for these traditionalists.  I ask the waiter to please let them do the pouring.

We always put in an order of fries right away,  They have changed from waffle fries to the usual fries, but that was ok since they still have homemade catsup.

(By the way, look at how long Nora's hair is.)

Nora's soup was white chicken chili.  It comes with little hard toast rounds, and Aaron eats those, dipped in the soup.  There was discussion of course about the one time that the soup was seafood chowder and Nora didn't enjoy that.  And about all the other times that the soup was wonderful.

Then there was a cheese pizza and a glorious salad for me called Grass Is Greener.  Wonderful way to start our day.

Monday, December 19, 2016

That Sign

This sign started at a Mennonite church in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It's been appearing at other churches and homes since then.  You can read the NPR story here.  And thanks to one of my church members, I now have my own sign.  (If you want one, the story tells how to download a file.)  

I've been wondering what to do that is positive.  I have an idea or two, and this sign is a start.  It seems that the election negativity just goes on and on.  The recent special session by the North Carolina legislature hurts my heart.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up.  Politics at its worst, no collaboration there.

Saturday, ah, Saturday, was a blessed day.  After cold weather, it was suddenly warm for just that one day.  Sixty degrees.  I went outside a lot.  Including to the post office.  The post office is an amazing place this time of year.  There were no parking spaces left, so I parked in the Family Dollar lot across the street.  I did do a little shopping there, that's only fair.  People in line at the post office were in a good mood, no one showed any outward signs of grumpiness.

Then yesterday, it was back to cold again, but that's ok.  We did have that one glorious day.  And it is December.  

Today, there will be another trip to the post office.  I can carry just so much at one time.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

If, Then

If you know how to make a quilt,

Then you know how to make potholders.

I used double layers of fleece for mine and my usual walking foot quilting.

You can do this!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fabric Boxes

Thanks to my friend Angela for reminding me about making fabric boxes and to Seaside Stitches for her tutorial.  You can find it here.

To make the size boxes that are perfect for a Bath and Body Works candle, I used twelve-inch squares.  Perfect size for little scissors and a few spools of thread or some chocolate truffles.  I top stitched around the top of the boxes to make the flaps lay flat, but sewing on buttons is a nice touch too.  Or, you can leave them softly standing up.

Rain today, which feels nice, emotionally.  I am going to lunch with a church friend and we are having pancakes, at least I am.  Perfectly comforting.

I've checked the menu and have decided on the wheat germ pancakes.  The jar of wheat germ is a childhood memory.  My mother always wanted us to eat healthy things but I, at least, was a brat and didn't want anything to do with such things.  I can't remember about my siblings.

Monday, December 5, 2016


I'm sure that everyone has noticed that, in my part of the world at least, it is cold and dark so early.  Last night, add rainy, too.  I often don't know what to do with myself on winter evenings.  I've used up much of my energy, don't want to watch tv, and it's too chilly to just sit around reading.

So, last night I ventured out to Packhouse, which is a casual local restaurant very close to home.  It's the kind of place that has few cars parked in front but there are people inside, which makes me think that there are some local walkers.

The attraction for me is the quinoa "meatballs."  And the excellent broccoli and brussels sprouts.  And then there is the big chalk board of draft beers, none of which I've heard of before, which makes it fun to choose something I'd like.  For meat eaters there are various kinds of meatballs, and there are various sauces or gravies.  The meatballs can go on a sandwich or with sides like mashed potatoes or spaghetti or salads.

When I moved to my neighborhood, I hoped that the downtown area would shift to the sort of place that it is now becoming.  Downtown housing, local businesses, a compact retail space for groceries and other shopping.  I live in the periphery of a small downtown city, across the river from a big city.  I like this.  Sometimes I might fuss about lack of street parking or the relatively small parking lot of the big grocery store, but I like this.      

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not At All

Thanks to my friend Carole Anne for taking this picture today and sending it to me.  Well, she really liked the tree with its pretty shape and golden leaves, but I was there too.

I remember well my maternal grandmother when she was my age.  And somewhere in the back of my head, I had an idea that grandmother me must look like her.

And looking at this picture I realize that I don't look like my grandmother.  Not at all.  She had blonde hair all her life, had blue eyes, and was short. Rarely smiled.  I knew all that.  But I still had an idea that somehow I must resemble her.  I don't.  Not.  At.  All.

Even if I was wearing one of her house dresses and the square-heeled lace-up black shoes, it wouldn't help.

I don't think I have a picture of my paternal grandmother for comparison.  She died before I was born.  Surely one of my Indiana cousins has a picture of her.  I kind of doubt that I favor her either, but I really don't know.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving Trip Pictures

Here are Winnie and Walt at a Hendersonville restaurant on Saturday.  I wish I could remember the restaurant name.  Sarah?  The restaurant wasn't on the main street but it was close.

And here is Sarah at the same restaurant.  We had two pizzas, one with potatoes and one with smoked salmon.  Both really yummy.

Here is Nora with her Daytona hat that she picked up on their way out of town from Daytona Beach.  Her football team lost both their games, but she had a wonderful vacation with friends.

Winnie and Sarah have three small dogs, and Aaron always has a soft spot for Lucy.

One day we took Lucy to a vet visit in South Carolina and stopped at Traveller's Rest on the way back for hiking on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  Behind a coffee shop was this cob structure with a little lending library.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Oh, how I loved my Asheville visit.  People to eat with, every meal.  A lovely vegetarian Thanksgiving meal with salmon.  

Going here and there, visiting some lovely eating spots, trying out various local craft beers.  Getting to share in the day and day out.

Saturday night Steph's family came on their way home from Nora's football tournament in Florida.  Lots of stories, happy kids.  They are always happy to spend time with Aunts Sarah and Winnie.

Yesterday was a long ride back.  Steph and her family were much smarter and took the back road through Virginia.  Same travel time but no sitting around and creeping time, roads much less crowded than my I-40 and I-75 roads.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Last One

This is surely the last rose of summer, blooming all by its lonesome on November 20.

I am still trying to make sense of the elections, and I have to admit that I am enjoying the memes with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that show up on my facebook page.  They are providing some much-needed laughter.

My grand dog Maggie spent a couple of days with me while her family was in Louisville for the last of Aaron's football games for this year.  As they went out the door on their return, I told the kids that Maggie said, "I love you, Gran B.  I'm leaving now."  A follow-up to what I say she says when I come to visit, "I love you, Gran B.  Don't take me home."

She is a most excellent dog, but she misses her family when they are gone, and she misses her huge back yard.  She tries her best to be a city dog when she visits.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Orange Today

Not a lot to say about this, because the goose is getting fat.  It's an Elizabeth Hartman pattern and very fun to do.

I saw the Super Moon last night before bed and again this morning.  At those times, it wasn't as big as I expected, but it sure was bright.

In my effort to bring down my cholesterol,while maintaining my vegetarian diet, I've been eating a lot of egg whites.  From the carton.  Cooking just a little chunked veggie sausage, a little veggie, the egg white, and a whole wheat pita makes a nice breakfast sandwich.  One day when I was going to work, I grabbed an Egg White Delight from the arches restaurant.  I removed the cheese and meat, and oops, there was very little left, not to mention no whole grain.

This diet has been an adventure.  One month in.  Always trying to find new recipes.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Blue Baby Quilt

This blue baby quilt was finished this morning.  It was a long time coming.  The strips for the log cabin blocks were from a kit I got at work, from Mayfield, I think.  It's kind of different for me to make a blue baby quilt, I tend to pick out the pinks and greens.

I dipped a toe back into the world of facebook and CNN this morning and decided that it still isn't for me.  I miss seeing the pictures of kids and the posts about babies to come, but this isn't the time for me to jump back in.  I am far from centered.  I'll continue with local news for now.

Sarah tells me that the smoke from the forest fires is sometimes seen or smelled from where she lives and works.  All summer long she told me about how dry it was.

I have another quilt to bind, and this one goes back even farther than the blue baby quilt.  Years, actually.  Perhaps today is a good day to finish that one too.


Friday, November 11, 2016


What I'll miss about the elections (maybe the only thing) are the neighborhood signs for local candidates.  Folks running for school board, city commissioner, judge.  I'll miss the little flyers appearing in the door and the knock announcing the mayor, who was running for re-election.  I enjoy the localness of them, the friendliness of the small town in the big city. 

I even enjoy the little signs announcing that the family in that house supports presidential candidates. Just a snapshot of that family, not in my face, that helps me feel that the person cares and is willing to show their support.  

There is much that I won't miss.  I so enjoy real news, politics, and facebook friends, but I have had to step away from those very things that help me feel connected.  I feel so sad about having to do that, but the ugliness of it all are affecting me too much.  

And I had I hoped (what was I thinking?) that the end of the election would signal the end of the fake news sites that have been popping up from who knows where.  Saying whatever they want, true or not.  So many people take their words as truth and push the share button and the "news" takes on a life of its own.  (Please understand, I'm not talking about the networks or talk shows that we know have their own slant, although I'm not happy with those either, I'm talking about the sites that we have to dig to find out where they come from and may not even find out then.)  But now, after the election, many are still there.  

I am a former journalism major from long ago and we were taught firmly that news should be news, anything else goes on the editorial page.  You can see where I'm coming from.  Check your sources three times, folks.  But who has time for that? 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


I have to admit that I don't always follow the Sunday sermon like I should.  The spoken word is sometimes hard for me to focus on.  But the visuals - those I pay attention to and carry with me.  This was the communion table last Sunday.

Out the door early for my mammogram.  My mother died from breast cancer around age 70.  I wonder sometimes whether regular mammograms would have made a difference for her.  Different times.  I am always a little surprised when women in her cohort pass away now.  They had so many more years.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Last Day of October

What a gorgeous last day of October.  I walked across one bridge and back across another.  Took time to swing on the swings at Smale Park.  Perhaps I should have walked across a different bridge so I could look down at the venue for the Clinton rally, but I have a feeling that bridge may have been closed to foot traffic.

This morning my feet are nicely feeling yesterday's walk.  I didn't wear my usual walking shoes.  I'll wear those today and life will be good.

Not many Trick or Treater's last night.  Maybe fifteen.  I have a big bag of candy left.  Every year I think that this will be the year, that lots of kids will come, that I should be prepared.  Every year I am prepared.  I bought Nora and Aaron's favorites, which I'll put in the freezer for later snacks.  Twix and plain Hershey's.  Plus lots of other kinds.

This morning my in-box had a few emails about Christmas bargains.  It's November.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Reclaimed Stuff

After two days of working at a wonderful sewing event, I'm left to my own devices today.  I worked really hard last week to get my sewing projects for others finished before the event.

So today, I got to choose.  I started with squaring the blocks on a lap quilt but after that decided to clean around the baseboards and here and there around the storage items that collect in the sewing area.  Above is what I found, not counting numerous pins and bits of fabric and paper.  And dust.  Lots and lots of dust.

Of course, sewing feet are treasures to me, and I was happiest to see the clear foot in the bottom of the picture.  The 5/8" seam guide foot.  One of my favorites (I know, I always say that.)  For a quilter like me, this foot is wonderful for those times when I garment sew with a pattern.  One quarter inch seems natural to me, 5/8" does not.  This little foot is a joy.

Why I have two bendable lights, I'm not sure.  The little hair scrunchies are for putting around spools of embroidery thread.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Day Off School

It was a day off school for the grands, and we headed to Scene 75 in Milford for some fun.  That place is huge, lots of arcade games, go carts, laser tag.  Obviously it wasn't a day off school there, and the kids had the place pretty much to themselves.  The kids loved the air hockey, which would periodically dump a bunch of pucks on the table.

Aaron won at the jackpot game, just in the right place at the right time.  The tickets were automatically loaded on the game card, very nice.  The favorite game was pitching balls at the fuzzy cats or clowns.  The kids got lots of tickets for that and played numerous times.  

And at the end, choices.  It wasn't cheap entertainment, but we hadn't been out in awhile and the kids had the best time.  Thumbs up.   

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Saturday Afternoon - Just Showing

And then, in the evening, I was watching the kids, chick sitting, as they decided to call it, while Steph and Mike went to a Halloween party.  Except that those chicks weren't home, they were at a birthday party of their own for much of the time.  I went to Target for a book and some yogurt, to KFC for slaw, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  The others had cheese pizza, but I'm doing well on my eating plan to reduce cholesterol and was happy with my choices.

Sarah introduced me to unsweetened cashew milk and I've found that I don't mind drinking it.  I know that the calcium is added, but I figure that if I drink it at a time other than when I'm taking my multi-vitamin with calcium I should do ok with absorbing it.  I had thought I was doing ok with my diet, but it turns out not.  And so, I adjust.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Nora - Growing

At the zoo again today, perfect weather for it.  I hadn't seen Nora in a couple of weeks and she looked so different.  Glasses - she's just the smallest bit nearsided.  And, she was sick ALL last week with the virus that's going around and has lost a pound or two.

It was good to see her looking healthy and happy today.  I've stayed clear of visiting the grands this past week because I don't want that bug.  Aaron has been struggling with it too.  His day at the zoo may come next weekend.

It was fun to see the little ones in costumes, trick or treating at different stations.  Steph and I were remembering the year at the zoo when Aaron was Darth Vador and had a light saber duel with another Darth Vador.

Nora and her friend weren't in costume but decided to trick or treat too.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Baby Giraffes

Since I was in the neighborhood, and since it's a good place to walk, I went to the zoo.  It was a perfect day for it and the baby strollers abounded.  It's hard to see, but there is a second baby giraffe in front of the tree island, resting in the shade.

A zoo pass is a wonderful thing, giving free parking and access most days of the year.  The botanical part of the Cincinnati Zoo is a joy, and the plants are marked, which I appreciate.

I feel like I've had, for the first time in forever, a real Artist Date, per Julia Cameron.

The reason I was in the neighborhood was to complete a lab test at UC, and this one turned out as it should.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A LIttle Bit Shorter

A couple of years ago I taught a class in using paper piecing to make a large Christmas tree wall hanging.  One of the ladies who took the class asked me to piece a couple of the smaller version wall hangings for her this month.  Not something I'd normally do, so don't ask, but just this once . . .    
A Little  Bit Shorter Tall Tree by Cindi Edgerton.

I had my dreaded physical yesterday, and my blood work shows that I need to clean up my diet and exercise.  Thing is, I thought I was doing well, although when I review the past few months I can tell that I've been slipping.  

I am SO exercise lazy, definitely exercise by the clock, watching to see how much time is left before I can stop.  I have lots of Leslie Sansone DVD's, trying to keep things interesting, but I'm never really interested.  I need an attitude change, need to feel grateful that I CAN exercise.  Finally, finally, it's cooled down enough for walking outside, which I do enjoy.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Friday Night in Bluffton, Ohio

Following my cousin's visitation at the church on Friday night, my family and I ate at the Mustard Seed Cafe at the Depot.  After a day of travel and emotion, it was a time to just sit and be in a restaurant that was open late.

Once upon a time, one of our relatives had an antique/furniture restoration business there.  And of course, before that, it was a train depot.  

It isn't a large space, more like a cozy space.  Little lights and pictures hanging from the ceiling.  An easy place to order for the family vegetarians.

I knew, of course, that there is now alcohol served at a couple of restaurants in town, but this was my first time actually experiencing it.  Surely it was controversial at the time it was implemented.  I wonder, did it take more than one vote to get it through?  Was there a vote or did it happen some other way?

At any rate, I enjoyed the pumpkin flight, four seasonal beers, all of them good, a nice touch with my vegetarian flatbread.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


In Bluffton, Ohio, this weekend for the memorial of a wonderful cousin.  And as close a family reunion as it gets these days.

My daughter, my niece, and my brother in my brother's barn.

My other daughter, me, and my brother at the university baseball field.  Our cousin did the bronze casting for the 2008 memorial Touching Home to honor the Bluffton University baseball students killed in the 2007 bus crash.

Part of the casting, made with the cleats of the players.

The signature of the artist, who died last week.  He will be missed on many levels by so many people.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lunch Date

My grand guy has been asking me to come to his school for lunch, so today we made our plans for him to meet me on the bench at the bottom of the stairs.  Because this year he's old enough that his class room is upstairs.  A rite of passage.  

Two of his friends could eat at our table with us.  He chose a football team buddy, and to his dismay, a little girl in his class asked if she could sit with us.  He very nicely said yes, even though he then had to tell a couple of his other buddies that he was "maxed out."

I learned that when the lights are turned off, everyone is supposed to stop talking.  Too noisy.  I learned that there is an orderly way for the kids to leave the lunch room.  I might have learned that my grand guy is so sweet, but I already knew that.

I also learned that I had to check in at the office and get a badge, but that no one checked my bag.  Old lady white privilege.

My bag had a power salad from Wendy's, minus the chicken.  I won't be ordering that again.  And, it had a bag of Oreos so I could share a few cookies with Aaron's friends.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Orange Improv

These days, I'm making blocks for an orange improv quilt.  It's one of those projects that has been in my work space for . . . several years, actually.  Oh, dear.  I just need it finished.

It's an Elizabeth Hartman design, where you cut up twelve fat quarters and put the pieces in labeled bags, pulling out fabrics so that there is no duplication of fabrics in any one block.  I remember finishing the cutting at a retreat last November but the cutting started long before that.

If I do one block each day, I'll have the piecing finished next week.  Although this has gone on far too long, I do enjoy having various projects in the mix.  There's just something about seeing pretty things in progress, working around them, mixing them in my days.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Viking 415 Freesia

Meet my newest wonderful play pretty, this Viking 415 Freesia.  I worked extra days this summer while one of my co-workers was on maternity leave and my boss gifted me with this new/old machine, which is perfect for me. 

When I'm doing repairs I often feel most comfortable with this size platform.  I'd been putting off a service on my Quilt Designer II because the repairs/alterations keep coming, but now the QD can go to the shop.  This machine has a little screen that tells stitch length and width, recommended tension, and which foot to use.  Everything is right in front of you.  I've done many lessons on this or similar machines, so it was just sit down and go.  It has the fix and stop features, as well as mirror image.

I love my sewing machine feet, and almost all the feet in my collection can be used with this machine.  I even have a walking foot for it.  

I have to admit that it's been weeks since I actually started a new quilt, but maybe this evening will be the time.  With extra work time, grand kid days, yard work, and a couple of short trips, my sewing time has been limited to finishing projects or doing some alterations.  Not to mention it's hot in my sewing area.

If not tonight, then soon . . . .