Sunday, July 30, 2017

Do Over

One evening last week, considering the state of my refrigerator and considering my general malaise, I went to the near-by Chinese buffet, picturing various vegetable dishes and some good soups.  It was not a good choice.  Enough said.

So last night, I went to the tiny hole in the wall, Casual Chinese, which is never a disappointment.  They have an extensive menu, which people usually carry out, it's that kind of place.  I always order the same thing, however, tofu Pad Thai.  It's so good.

It was a most excellent do over.

The events of the past week have exhausted me.  Maybe they are meant to exhaust us.  I got my copy of Time yesterday and it didn't even seem relevant, even though it was printed just a few days earlier.  I long for thoughtfulness, thoroughness, good discourse, and civility.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Yesterday the grands stayed on after their dad fixed a leaky fitting under the kitchen sink.  (Thanks, Mike.  I am inexperienced at home repairs, had never heard of a compression fitting.)  They did their usual iPad and iPhone things, piano playing, chicken tender eating, a bit of arguing over Minecraft.  Aaron, soon to be ten, fixed my Netflix by fiddling with the connections.

And then, in a bit of magic, they decided to get out the art box and paint.  And to get out the play dough and make restaurant dishes, after taking orders for both food and paintings.

Magic because, as they grow into more sports and more time with friends and more enjoyment of solitary interests, these unstructured play times become more rare.  At a younger age for Aaron, it seems, because as his sister companion moves on to other things he often moves along with her.

And magic because time seemed to fly as they created, entering a different world, setting up on the back porch.

I had to wonder whether this would be the last time for "making" pizza and carrots and salad and cookies.  And, because this is a special restaurant, filling those orders for paintings, for music, even dancing.

Time flies in all kinds of ways.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Software to Finished Bib

What is it about kids and software?  In a flash, Nora learned to choose fonts, arc letters, tab between designs, edit the stitching order, change colors, combine designs.  It is very humbling to an older brain like mine to see how quickly a young brain works.

She stitched out two bibs, in the process threading the machine a gazillion times, so she's got that down too.  She was one happy girl this afternoon.

Basic bib from Anita Goodesign Bundle of Joy.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Scene

On Friday the grands and I had our big summer bash at Scene 75, not far from where they live.  It's a huge space, with lots of video games, laser tag, go carts, bowling, restaurant.  Aside from a ride on the go carts, the kids love the video games and just want to do that.

The money is loaded on a card, which is swiped at each game.  Tickets won go on the card, which is nice.  If there is a big win, like in the picture, it takes awhile to get all the tickets loaded, and that's part of the fun too.  Baseball players that they are, their favorite game is knocking over cats on three rows.  A bit smaller scale than the similar arcade game, but more cats appear if they all get knocked down in the allotted time.

I hear footsteps running on the roof as I write, certainly a squirrel, although this is the summer for raccoons in the neighborhood.  A couple of neighbors have trapped and released far away.  One neighbor is pretty sure that a raccoon was swimming in her pool.  Another neighbor has seen raccoons go into another neighbor's chimney.

I stayed home from church yesterday but did nothing spiritual with that time.  It was avoidance, primarily, avoidance of getting on the interstates, at least that was my excuse.  With repair on the big bridge and detours to the other interstates, people in my area are using other routes.  I can usually use a less busy bridge to get into Cincinnati, but once there it isn't easy to work my way to church.  And there was a home Reds game right at that bridge when I'd be coming home.  Still, excuses.  I could have figured it out.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Different From My Usual Life

Soon there will be the clunk that is life returning to normal.  Not that that's a bad thing.  Tomorrow I will wash the clothes in my washer for the third time and actually get them hung up or in the dryer.

On Thursday Sarah came from North Carolina and on Friday we drove to NW Ohio for my aunt Evelyn's funeral.  "It Is Well With My Soul" is still swirling in the back of my mind.

My sister and brother were there, and cousins.  My aunt's relatives, I had forgotten that she had five siblings.  The pictures were amazing.  My uncle was a photographer in the time when it was an art form.  Not like today, when we can snap twenty-five digital photos and there will be one pretty good one and we are happy.  

Sarah had to leave on Saturday, so Friday night the grands and their mom came for a sleepover.  Ale 8 Ones for the kids and a selection of beers that Sarah carefully picked out from the make-your-own-six-pack at Fresh Thyme.  Chicken and pasta and salad and pie.  

Today Nora and I went to Lucy's on Monmouth and then on to Barnes and Noble for the sixth Harry Potter book.  "It's Just You and Me" time.  We strolled through the Bacon, Bourbon, and Brew event by the river.  There were lots of interesting things to eat, which we didn't.  Deep fried oreos wrapped in bacon.  Fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Nachos with goetta.  You get the idea.

Nora is enjoying playing my piano these days, using you tube videos to help her.  Who knew?


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Table Runner

This is the table runner made with the leftover blocks from the baby quilt.  The one with the quilting I was so disappointed in.

And, really, if you're not right on top of it, four inches away, it isn't so bad.  This afternoon when I do a load of clothes I'll toss in the table runner and when it comes out of the dryer it will be somewhat better.  The cotton batting will shrink more than the piecing and there will be more puff.  The puff hides irregular quilting.

This morning in church I was paying attention but I was also sketching out the ribbon candy design.  Again and again.  Attendance at my church goes down during the summer when people are away.  People are more spread out.  I'm sure my sketching went pretty much unnoticed.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

What's growing well?

What's growing well this summer?  The ferns on the back porch.  That's not always the case, usually not, actually.  But in this humid, hot summer, the ferns are happy.  Growing.  Not turning brown.

And the geraniums, they are happy too, especially the pot sitting under a spreading ornamental grass.  And the cone flowers, but they are almost always happy.

What's not growing well?  The veggies, because I haven't planted any.  The baskets of impatiens.  The petunias, although I think that's the variety, smaller flowers.

The day lilies do their job, popping out with burst of color from time to time.  Not too spectacular but reliable.

What I'm liking best of all:  the garden decorations.  

Friday, July 7, 2017

Free Motion Frustration

I am all kinds of frustrated.  There is a free motion design that I love, but I just can't seem to quilt it.

I draw out the design, trace it with my finger, practice it, even mark the quilt top for guidance and it just turns out ugly.  I watch video after video.  In the table runner above made with four left-over blocks, that I thought for about fifteen minutes would be a nice gift, I even double quilted it to try to fix it up a bit.  That helped but it's still just not right.

I know I have a right/left thing going on in my brain, always have.  I remember well my marching band teacher's dismay that I just couldn't get the foot patterns right.  Especially since she was standing facing me.  Eventually I practiced on my own, again and again, and I got it.    Another memory:  I was in second grade doing some kind of IQ test where a picture was shown with part of a hand or foot and I had to choose whether it was the right or left.  And it was so hard, almost impossible.

I don't know whether that's what's going on here.  I am determined, though.  I will quilt an entire quilt with this design even if I have to throw it away.  If that's not enough, I'll do another one.

I know there are many other designs that I can do well, but I like THIS one.  And others like it.    

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July Baby Quilt

July baby quilt.  Thanks, Joanne, for the pattern and much of the fabric.  I'm loving the orange/yellow/pink color combo.

Pattern is Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs.  A baby quilt takes six fat quarters, or approximate fabric.  The pattern has several sizes, all the way to king.

I actually used my sit down quilter, so the quilting isn't my usual walking foot quilting.  I just did a meander, larger than my usual tight stippling.  My friend recommended trying prewound Superior Bottom Line bobbins with the quilter, and they work great.

Next up:  Ginny gave us fabric and pattern for a challenge.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Ever since I've lived here, and who knows how many years before that, my small city has had twice a week trash pick-up.  Recycling optional and paid for by the customers.  

In my perfect world, there would be once a week trash pick-up and recycling.  There was always opposition, for various reasons that made little sense to me.  But this week, it came to be.  It was nice to drive up last night and see two containers at lots of houses.

I thought I would get one of the big, wheeled green containers to replace my little red tote, but that didn't happen.  I guess I need to call to request that.  It will be nice to be able to keep the recycling outside and dry.  And to be able to put in cardboard.

At the Ecovillage in Berea, one of the goals was to recycle as much as we put in the trash.  We actually tracked that, weighing the recycling and checking the dumpster, knowing how much a full dumpster weighs.  I've tried to maintain that goal since then and am usually pretty good at it.

Last night I made a Target run, hoping they would have some of the packaged fireworks that kids love.  And they did.  Smoke bombs and sparklers and pop-its and jumping jacks and cones.  My daughter went to a fireworks place and got some of the bigger things that adults love.  It should be a fun evening.

Happy July 4, everyone!