Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Square in a Square

This little baby quilt is going to end up with a lot of practice quilting.  I'm quilting a square in a square pattern in each of the patterned 5" blocks.  It's simple, but not always easy.  The good news is that I'm learning to quilt in different directions with the ruler, over and over again.  And learning to eyeball where I should turn.  Lots of times there are bobbles.  Even though the patterns are smaller than the long rows of quilting I did last week, it's more challenging. 

I'm trying to just go on, usually, not going for perfection.  There will be so much quilting that there will be lots of puff.  I keep telling myself that no one will see the small mis-steps.  The quilt isn't going to the quilt show, it's going to keep a little one warm.

It looks like we will be on the southern edge of the bitter cold weather sweeping through the country.  A couple of nights of lows around zero and days in the teens.  It will be a lot worse in other areas.

This morning was my dreaded eye doctor appointment and the result was really good.  It will be the end of August before my next check-up, unless I try a generic eye drop, which will mean a brief interim visit.  I wish I didn't dread going to the doctor so much, and the dread seems to be getting worse.  I've tried everything I can think of to change my attitude.  I've heard that some people actually enjoy doctor visits.  Oh, my, so out of my imagination.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Straight Edge Ruler

This morning I just dived in with the straight edge ruler.  What I learned:
a shorter ruler with lots of markings is a good thing for this beginner,
when the instructor says to just quilt small increments at a time, there's a reason for that,
and it isn't as hard as it looks, there are some transferable skills.

That does NOT mean that my lines are perfectly straight or perfectly spaced.  It does mean that, for my first time, I'm pleased.

I'm a fan of  Angela Walters' advice that, if you spend your time ripping out and correcting every little mis-step, you aren't spending your time learning to quilt.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Thursday's Story

The quilting rulers are here.  Two are larger than I'd imagined, two are smaller.  Tonight, I'll give one or two a try.  If I love them, I'll order more at work.

This morning my son-in-law had a very early dentist appointment and I said, happily, that I'd take Aaron to school.  I went over last night because there was a little snow predicted and I wanted to avoid being on the road early.

Nora woke up for her 6:20 bus arrival.  She had a low-grade fever so Steph asked if I'd take her to school late if her fever went away.  Sure, I could take her when I took Aaron.

Twenty minutes before Nora was to get on the bus the school recording said there would be a two-hour delay.  That would mean Nora could take the bus but Aaron would have an 11:20 school start.

Cars and driveway were icy.  Nora went back to bed.  Aaron smiled at the news and went back to sleep.

Around 7:45 I got the news that school had been cancelled for the day.  Both kids happily went on sleeping.  Nora's fever had gone down.

By 10:00 my son-in-law was back and I started for home.  Back streets were slippery but main roads were fine.  Streets in my hilly community had been treated.  I went to lunch with a friend.

The end.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Snow Tracks

I don't know who/what made these tracks in my back yard.  Wasn't me.

I have ordered some quilting rulers.  Many of my quilting friends started using them long ago, but I had never been tempted.  If nothing else, I hope they get me moving with my quilting again.

Joanne had suggested a sweet potato/Brussels spouts combo that sounded good for dinner.  Only thing is, I fell asleep over a book and napped through the time for dinner prep and dinner.  I heated some veggie corn dogs and called it good enough.  Maybe tomorrow.  I want to put a little balsamic vinegar with the olive oil when I roast the Brussels sprouts.

Now, back to the book I fell asleep over.  It's Jodi Picoult's new book A Spark of Light.  It isn't at all a boring book, very good actually. I think that my eyes were just dry and I wanted to rest them for just a minute and the rest was history.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Pajama Day

Yesterday was a deliberate pajama day, as opposed to a pajama day that just kind of unfolds that way.  Toward the end of the day I got an email 50% off coupon from my favorite pizza place, favorite because they have an excellent veggie pizza (the white dots are feta cheese) and because they have a drive through.

When I pulled up to the drive through window there was a sign that said "drive through closed."  The driveway WAS a mess getting out, it looked like chunks of icy snow from excavation had fallen down.  Of course by then there wasn't much choice except to drive through.

I really wanted that pizza so I did the honorable thing and went into the store in my pajamas with a coat on top.  Luckily the pajama pants are kind of trendy looking, sort of like the patterned leggings that younger women are wearing these days.  I tried to act as if I meant to wear them all along.  A couple of people were seated, waiting for their pizza, with nothing to do but check out who was coming in and out.

Snow fell during the night.  My neighbor shoveled this morning, which I appreciate very much.  It's cold, cold.  Several of the ladies have indicated that they won't be coming to Baby Quilt Group tomorrow so we're cancelling.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

My Favorite Mary Oliver Poem

In memory of Mary Oliver.  I love this poem.

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Best Leftover

As leftover go, this isn't a bad one to have left over from Christmas.  Kind of a sweet taste, as beers go, not hoppy at all.  One last bottle, perfect for this Friday night that may, and may not, bring bad weather.

(And oh, by the way, my favorite local brewery will be having food starting in the spring.  Locally sourced food, ordered at the counter.  Something to look forward to.  There should be Reds games on the tv by then.  I can just picture it.)

This morning I did the weather shopping, although I was going to grocery shop anyway.  Almost all the checkout lanes were open, and there was a person with a clipboard to get someone to open a lane if the lines got too long.  Aside from the parking (there isn't enough,) I like my local grocery.

So, groceries, gas, library books, ice melt from the hardware.  Salmon for dinner.  I am happy.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Steaming Eggs

When Winnie was here at Christmas, she taught me to steam "hard boiled eggs" instead of boiling them.  It's taken me a couple of times to get them just right, fifteen minutes steaming instead of the twelve minutes that work for her.  Maybe my pan is bigger, maybe my eggs are larger, maybe my eggs are more cold to start with.  But those eggs - they peel so nicely, it's amazing.

Bring about an inch of water to boiling in your pan.  My pan is big, so I've learned that two inches works better.  Put the eggs in the steamer basket, put the lid on, keep the water simmering, and when the time is up, put the eggs in an ice water bath.  That's it.

I'm learning to use Google Docs like the big kids do.  I'm in love with the fact that the document saves itself every few seconds.  I worked three hours, then sent the document off to the others in the group.  Fingers crossed.

Tomorrow will be a day for me to go back over my undone goals for the week.  After I get groceries and that ice melting stuff - not rock salt.  It may just snow again Saturday and it may not.  For the most part, I've stayed in this week, and I'm content with that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Holiday Free Motion

Some easy free motion, just to get back in the habit of doing it.  With this wall hanging, I'm trying to not do the tiny stitching I'm drawn to.  My friend has a wall hanging with a similar panel and for the past two holiday seasons I've admired it on her wall and thought of my own, undone.

Next year, mine will be done, and a new washable tree skirt, too.  I love, love holiday stitching projects, always have, and there's no reason I can't have some nice ones.

My new years goals are taking shape, enough said about that, except to add that some are going to take much of the year to complete.  Nothing wrong with that, I need to be a bit ambitious, but I also need to add a few easy ones.

Like going to some Reds games.  Last year I didn't make the short trip across the river to the ball park but this year that's going to change.  It doesn't matter - well not too much - if they win or lose, I enjoy the experience, especially those late afternoon games.  I know football isn't over, and basketball still has a ways to go, but here are the magic words:  Reds pitchers and catchers report for duty on February 12.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Out and In

Snow outside.  It snowed again during the night.

And inside.  Not sure when I made this little quilt.  Approx 12" x 12".

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Wet Snow

It snowed during the night, a very wet snow.  Sarah just showed me a picture from their North Carolina Weather Channel of one of their weathermen at an Ohio River bridge in my adjacent town.

The thing is, we aren't Weather Channel worthy.  Barely enough to cover the grass.  I have a feeling that the weatherman was here for the hyped 4" - 8", which didn't happen.  But the contract people who drive their pickups with plows and salt were busy, buzzing around in the early morning.  It's always that way with the first couple of snows.  By March, they are over it.

I went out to the library in the afternoon to get four more books and to Graeter's for a pint of ice cream.  I hoped there would be peppermint left from Christmas, but no such luck.  They did have the new seasonal flavor, chocolate chocolate almond chocolate chip.  Yes, there are three chocolate's in the name.  And, it's good.  But not so tempting that I just want to eat it all.  Something about chocolate ice cream, I don't tend to want to keep digging in.

A personal victory today - I did 250 steps for each of the nine hours specified on my fitbit.  The little dots turned green and flashed and I felt good.  Sometimes it doesn't take much.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Quilt Mini

Several months ago, when it was warm, I started on this little Christmas quilt from a kit.  Finished size is 16" so some of those little square are tiny.  Just maybe I should have paid attention to the finished size on the package.

Today I finished the basic piecing of the squares, next come a little more piecing and the sashings.  I mentioned to a friend that I was working on this and she said she LOVED little pieces. I told her that when I finished I'd pass on the pattern and any left-over fabric.  So now, someone will know how much procrastinating I am doing.  Or, hopefully, maybe not.

Snow is predicted starting tonight.  I made the obligatory trip to the grocery store this morning, although in fact I would have gone, snow or no snow.  The cupboard was bare.  I got a package of veggie meat balls, hope they will be a nice addition.  I'm not looking for the taste of meat, just some variety in my protein.  

And an Amy's veggie pot pie is in my freezer.  This past year I tried to eat fewer processed foods, but I feel it didn't work out like I hoped.  Too many times I didn't cook and ended up eating less than desirable things, like tortilla chips.  Obviously I need to keep trying. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Warm Surprise

Just when I thought Christmas was over, it wasn't.  Yesterday these warm Fair Trade fingerless gloves arrived from my sister and niece.  Just the right color for my pink coat from Winnie and Sarah.  Although I'm pretty sure my sister and niece didn't know about the pink coat.

Today is a good day to try them out.  Yesterday the high was sixty, with gusty winds.  Today, thirty but still clear and with less but still noticeable wind.

This morning I gave my friend a sewing lesson on her new Janome 15000, which is a wonderful sewing/embroidery machine.  We went out to lunch at a new restaurant that has good fresh food and then visited the sort-of-new quilt shop just down the street.  She hadn't been before.  I resisted buying a thing!

This afternoon I've been reviewing my budgets for the past month.  Although I'd love to be able to spend without thought, I actually do enjoy the budgeting process.  I was talking at lunch with my friend - she doesn't care for math, I like it a lot.  

Sometimes it's just comforting to know that the answer will be right or wrong.  There will probably be different ways of getting to the answer, but the end result is clear.  Unlike some of life's problems.  I'd actually enjoy going through my college algebra book and working through the problems, most likely why I kept it.  Remember those texts - the odd-numbered answers are in the back? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Scrap Bag

I've mentioned before that someone else's scraps are always better.  So it was just impossible to resist this scrap bag of Moda selvages, each at least two inches wide.  This is my second scrap bag purchase, the first I reluctantly put in with a quilter's Christmas gift.

The wind has been gusting all afternoon.  The temperature is dropping from a high around 60 degrees.  On Sunday I swept leaves away from my steps and driveway.  Today, they came back, or maybe it was their friends.

The first tax documents came in the mail today.  And I don't plan to watch the speeches tonight.  I can read about them in the morning.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Staying Out

This ornament was a Christmas gift that I can't pack away yet.  It will probably stay out until next year.

With that thought, there was a choice this morning:  church or Aaron's basketball game.  This time, the basketball game won out.  In fact, I have had a bit of a church time out, between being out of town and being under the weather and having company.  Starting next week, the time out is over.  I'm greeting so that will get me out the door.

This is one of those January days that is a gift.  Fifty-two degrees and sunny.  I think that every baby in the neighborhood went for a walk today.  The leaves are finally swept off the driveway and the little winter decorative flag with cardinals is up - no more pumpkins flying.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Good Tidings

As I was cleaning up today, I came across this metal tag, nicely wrapped in black tissue, along with a similar one.  I'm going to assume that it was meant for me and just enjoy it.

Yesterday my son-in-law was involved in a bad traffic accident.  Luckily, he was in a large vehicle and his check-up following an ambulance ride revealed no broken anything.  I am beyond grateful.  The family dog was with him and stayed nicely in the vehicle until my daughter could come to get her.  The tow truck driver was there by then and didn't even realize there was a dog in the vehicle.  The dog is ok.

Just incidental:  when I went to the suburban ER, I noted that there was no police presence and no metal detector, different from the large urban ER I am familiar with.

My grand guy, age 11, came home from school and heard the news and immediately sat down to write a letter to the governor about the dangerous intersection.  He stopped to consider writing to the president instead and puzzled over whether the president gets so much mail that his letter would be lost.  He decided the governor would be a better option.


Friday, January 4, 2019


One of my last-year's goals was to get my 2019 planner ahead of time.  Check, I did that.  But, I didn't write in my appointments.  And missed my dentist appointment yesterday.  I had it in my head that the 3rd was Friday.  I'll need to call the dentist office this morning and apologize.  And start filling in those appointments that I wrote in the back of my 2018 calendar.

The cover of the new planner is glorious.

Today I will . . . sit down at my sewing machine if nothing more.  And eat some good food.  

And call Senator McConnell's office and ask him to allow the Senate to vote to reopen the government.  He doesn't pay attention to what I say, but at least I feel better.  And he is my Kentucky Senator.  He is skilled at ending government shutdowns.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Popcorn Thoughts

Random popcorn thoughts, bursting out and then laying in a pile.

What looked like progress at my house yesterday looked like a discouraging mess this morning.  Ornaments boxed but in a pile on the floor.  Wrapping paper and bags corralled but in their own pile.  Lights half off the tree.  Pretty holiday dishes still on the kitchen counter.  Aero Beds rolled up but not put away.  Sheets washed but not back on the bed.

And yet all of it is part of my joy if I just let it be.  One last chance to admire those ornaments.  Remembering that this year Sarah put the lights on the tree so nicely that everyone who came in the door commented on it.  Remembering sleepovers with the grands and Steph, a tradition when Sarah and Winnie come.

Usually I spend New Year's Eve planning my goals for the year, but this year I had company so that's something enjoyable still to do.  I will choose a few goals that are easy to do and a few that I can't see my way through yet.  Even at this age, I enjoy looking ahead to the kind of person I want to be and figuring out the steps on the way.  

And my Christmas book from my niece and sister, Becoming by Michelle Obama.  If you haven't read it, you're missing out on a treat.  It's hard to put down.  Regardless of your politics, it's a well-written and interesting book  A glimpse into another life.

I heard last night that the dad of one of my neighbors passed away unexpectedly.  I wonder what the culture is here.  Food?  A card?  Visitation?  I don't know my neighbor well, but well enough to say hello every week or so.

Down my street:  construction on a house across the street at the end continues.  As it has for five years now.  No kidding.  And on my side of the end of the street, there is a dumpster today.  The inside of the house is being gutted.  I don't know what happened to the old man who lived there, whether he died or whether the house was condemned and he went to a nursing facility.  Whether as the years went by things just got too much for him and he ignored them.  I can understand how that might happen.

Do you suppose the same people who have been working on the five-year house will be working on the other one?  For another five years?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

May you follow life's twists and turns with grace and joy.  May you find beauty wherever beauty lives for you.  May you find a bit of time to pass on the goodness you've been given.