Friday, January 29, 2016

Little Cardinals

Anita Goodesign Mini Quilts

How can it not be possible to love these little cardinals?  The Anita Goodesign collection has eight designs in several sizes.  And embroidering it is fun, really fun.  A mesh stabilizer is used, and the finished designs are soft, like my quilt blocks.

I'm looking forward to sun and warmth tomorrow, and I'm planning to walk outside at the shopping center on my way home from work.  If only the Aunt Annie's pretzel place were still open . . .

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Things To Love

Things to love:

(1)  Paper Whites in January.  Watching the foliage grow, then the anticipation of the blooms.  This year's bulbs are huge, about the size of tulip bulbs.

(2)  My neighbor's holly tree.  I have a living room window that looks out on the bricks on the side of my neighbor's house.  (Not the window pictured, it looks out the front.)  Not a stellar side view, and yet . . . the movement of that holly tree in the winter wind is always lovely.  If there are a few flakes of snow, all the better.

(3)  The dry street.  I can just get in my car and go, no shoveling.  A winter gift.

Friday, January 22, 2016

High Style

So glad that Becky and I made the trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum this morning to see High Style:  Twentieth Century Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

If you're local, you have through Sunday to see it, definitely worth the trip.

I would love to be able to rotate this so you can have a better look, but you get the idea.  This was actually my second trip for this exhibit, so worth it.

And as a very nice little extra, the cafe server was a former neighbor from Aberdeen, the same age as my daughters, delightful.  There were good times in her family's pool, back in the day.

And as for the snow, it looks like there will be very little for us.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Yes or No?

Big snow?  Yes or no?

For some places it seems pretty likely.  For us, could go either way.  One thing is sure, I'm not watching the news to try and find out.  I'm sure they are hyping it out to the extreme.  

After a busy first-part-of-the-week, I needed groceries anyway.  The store was crowded but there were some parking places.  Just like a normal morning.

I didn't get all that many things, just not in the mood for anything but the basics.  (Except, Sarah, a six-pack of Madtree Rubus Cacao to bring when I come.)  

But the good news is that yesterday a new little grocery opened in my neighborhood.  I haven't been there, but I'm picturing a smaller Whole Foods.  And in a couple of weeks, there will be an Aldi too.  Choices.  I have a feeling that the big store will be as crowded as always. Maybe I'll find some new-store cooking inspiration though.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Easy Baby Quilt Pattern

I really meant to start on a belated Christmas gift that I'm feeling very guilty about.  Remembering that the directions said to cut charm pack squares to 4" I did just that, feeling pretty good about it.  And then I started on the pattern and saw that the squares were supposed to be 4 1/2".  Sorry, Kay, there has been a delay.

Charm packs, by the way, are 42 5" squares, usually from the same design collection.  Usually there are some duplicates.  I guess I still had Christmas on my mind, and decided to set off the charm pack with red background squares and make a baby quilt.

If you want to try this, cut 5 different background fabrics into 10 4" squares each and put them into piles, 1 - 5.  If you're using a charm pack, cut the squares to 4".  If you're using scraps, cut 42 4" scrap squares. 

 For row 1, use 1 and 2 of the background fabrics, then add 2 design fabrics, then 3 and 4 of the background and 2 more of the design fabrics.

Row 2:  2 design fabrics, 5 and 1 background fabrics, 2 design fabrics, 2 and 3 background
Row 3:  4 and 5 background, 2 design fabrics, 1 and 2 background, 2 design fabrics
Row 4:  2 design fabrics, 3 and 4 background, 2 design fabrics, 5 and 1 background

You'll pick up the pattern by then.  This is for a donation baby quilt, and it ends up 28" x 35".  For a larger quilt, you'll need to adjust.  You'll end up with a few left over squares, so don't worry.

This year I really, really want to improve my free motion, and my goal is to free motion the baby quilts.  I feel confident enough for that, and I know that the more I do the better it will look.  I'll miss the walking foot quilting that I have been using, but I can do that on other things.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Quilt Top

I don't remember when I signed up for the Home Sweet Home Craftsy class, or when I bought the quilt kit.  Three years ago, maybe?  And now, this weekend, I actually put together the quilt top.  The fabrics are Kona, very nice, and there are big blocks for different kinds of free motion.  I'll stitch in the ditch around the blocks then take my time with the free motion.  I won't use all the designs used in the class but instead refer to designs from various classes.  This is a long-term kind of thing.  You won't be seeing it again for awhile.

Ah, January.  Snow and cold.  No yard work, so there's extra sewing time.  I always enjoy that.  More house cleaning time.  I don't enjoy that, but I do like an uncluttered look.  Shiny surfaces. 

I wimped out on driving to church yesterday.  I remember from other years that the road crews are less apt to be working on a Sunday morning.  Last year I saw an overturned pickup and a smashed car on the big road as a result of the ice on the road.

I am going to try really hard to not complain about winter.  Enjoy the season and whatever comes my way.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Life Lessons # 1 and # 2

Last night I talked with my daughter Sarah on the phone.  She's had a cold since the day after Christmas.  

She said she thought she'd surely be over it by now, and she'd signed up to run a half marathon today.  I asked her if she would cancel and she said no, that maybe she'd just consider it a practice run.

Today around noon she called to say that she was the first female to finish.  Ahead of all those 20- and 30-year olds.  I asked her what happened to "just a practice run."  She said that if you're running ahead, you don't think like that.

So, the life lessons.  # 1. If you don't feel quite like doing something you really wanted, do it anyway.  Show up.  You just might finish well.

# 2.  If you're running well, your thinking just might change.

Why do these life lessons strike me now?  Because I have the usual post-holiday reluctance to get back to my projects.  They seem too big.  Not engaging enough.  They might not turn out well.  I might not have everything I need.  There are lots of what if's.

Time to show up.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Still A Little Light

Today, the big Christmas tree came down.  Epiphany was yesterday, so it was time.  It's interesting that both the Amish and Appalachians call Epiphany Old Christmas.

If you like Appalachian literature, or if you just like good writing, you'll enjoy an Old Christmas story by Silas House.  It's called Another Country.  I tried to put in a link, which didn't work, but you can google "Silas House Another Country Blackbird" and find it that way.  Blackbird is an online literature journal.

And if you like the short story, you'll like his books.  Like Clay's Quilt.  Coal Tattoo.

I'm always on the lookout for some kind of light to put up once the tree comes down.  Lights all over to total darkness just doesn't work, too discouraging.  This year I found five large snowflakes on a cord.  They are LED (think energy saving) and they have several ways to sync the lights.  Half off after Christmas.  Perfect.

My job tomorrow is to put the Christmas totes and small trees in the upstairs storage in such a way that I can find the fabrics I store there.  Those fabrics are mostly larger pieces, like quilt backs and holiday fabrics, not day-to-day things.  I don't have much patience for searching around, so they need to go toward the front.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cake Rack

I didn't choose the right lunch at Findlay Market today.  There wasn't anything wrong with it, it just didn't taste quite like I wanted it to taste.  And that is quite fine, because I think that sometimes it's important to try something different, to not just order the familiar.  You can do that at McDonald's or any other number of places.

But I really, really got the right dessert at the Cake Rack.  This beautiful scone, fresh, light, just the right amount of sweetness.  Soft raisins.  

This shop is outside the main market building, and they have a great-looking breakfast menu as well as desserts that are just SO pretty.  Nice seating area.  Art on the walls.

Goal for the year:  go to Findlay Market more often.  Not just for the scones, for the happiness.  My favorite staple there is a carton of brown eggs.  I can buy those at the grocery, but there's something about remembering when I got those beautiful eggs at the market.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Looking Back

On this New Years Day some of my blogging friends are taking a look back.  In that spirit, I thought I'd share with you some looks back, from the Taft Museum of Art Antique Christmas.  These are ad prints from the way back.  (Which is also what the grands call the third seat in the SUV.)

I didn't get a complete picture of this one - it reads "The Ford Truck saves valuable minutes."

Such sweet prints.  Simpler times.

Happy New Year, everyone.