Tuesday, December 29, 2020

One last Christmas Picture


The oldest of the little brown dogs - Lucy - lying in a dog bed at the front of the picture.  Lucy does a lot of sleeping these days but she seems to enjoy her life.  Loves her mealtime.

All the little brown dogs and their moms are gone again.  The house is way too quiet.  There were a few quilting and sewing lessons.  A last stop for pick up at the quilt shop on their way out of town.  For beverages at the coffee shop next door to the quilt shop.

So now I'm feeling grateful for texting to keep track of their trip as they go down the road.  And for my Wednesday Zoom meeting with friends to chirk me up tomorrow.

For yummy leftovers.  For not wearing a mask tonight.  (That was our agreement, that we would wear masks and socially distance.  And we did.)

Monday, December 28, 2020

Backyard Christmas


Yesterday afternoon was warm, 50 degrees, and we had our backyard Christmas.  So many lovely things, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Just as we gathered in the back yard the Bengals won, which was a nice start to a celebration.

Steph is a health care worker and got her first vaccine dose on Saturday.  I am so eager to get mine.

At first I was thinking in terms of a Christmas do-over next year, but have realized that this has been a special Christmas.  Folks have made adjustments.  The Grinch must be looking down from his mountain with amazement.

Sunday, December 27, 2020



I have been quilting, and quilting, the star quilt.  And quickly learning that the small free motion that I love on small quilts makes for a LOT of quilting on a larger one.  And this one is just lap size.  

It isn't helping that I've only been quilting in small increments because, you know, 'tis the season.

Because I'm a little lazy, I've been using prewound M bobbins with Superior thread but when I went to reorder they were out of stock.  I tried ordering from a different supplier, even though the new bobbin thread is a slightly lighter weight.  At first the bobbin thread broke but now it's seemed to have settled down.  I hated to change thread in the middle of a quilt, but no one will notice the difference on the back except for you and me, and the quilt isn't going to the quilt show.

My family arrived last night, an uneventful trip this time except for a delay as soon as they got on the interstate because of a seven-car accident.  I'm enjoying the three little brown dogs coming and going.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Ah, Christmas!

I had a Christmas photo I wanted to share with you, but pictures aren't sending from my phone.  Friends have been talking about AT&T troubles because of the explosion in Nashville, maybe that's it.  You may see it later but so far no luck again today.

Christmas Eve Zoom church service was lovely, then I called Sarah and Winnie to see where they were on their travels, coming my way.  I was hoping they were at least in Kentucky.  But they said they had had to turn back, the snow in the North Carolina mountains was so bad.  When they left home it was 52 degrees and raining and it didn't look like there would be problems.  It was a long and scary trip back home for them.  They will probably try again today.

In the meantime, they got good news about the Covid tests they were watching for.  No symptoms, just wanting to be sure they weren't bringing it.

Christmas morning was a lovely Zoom time of watching the grands open gifts.  To say that Zoom was a blessing to me and many families is surely an understatement.

I had salmon for dinner, didn't want to try to keep it for another day.  Green bean casserole with fresh green beans and mushrooms.  Sweet potato casserole with baked sweet potatoes.  Mashed potatoes from Steph, along with Chex Mix, we traded dishes on Thursday at our garage Christmas Eve.

Steph had a festive tablecloth and a little tree in the garage, door up.  Masks on and socially distant.  I gave the grands their gifts and enjoyed that time together.  I had renewed the zoo membership for the family and presented that with a wrapped sticker book of zoo animals.  Turned out that Nora really enjoyed the book, it was sort of like a jigsaw puzzle of stickers.

Like many other people, this will be a Christmas I will remember for its weirdness and its joy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Santa and Macy's


Seven years ago, I think.  Nora would have been nine, Aaron six.  We were at the downtown Cincinnati Macy's.  With the real Santa - every year the same Santa so he must have been the real one.  

There is no longer a downtown Macy's.  I heard rumors that Santa had relocated to a mall but that was never verified.

I can easily recall the joy of being in that downtown Macy's at Christmas time.  Riding the escalator, admiring the huge red and silver balls and other decorations.  And the perfume and make-up counters.  One year, I bough pajamas for my sister.  And, of course, waiting in the line to see Santa.

Even the skywalk between Macy's and Carew Tower is gone now  There is still the big tree on Fountain Square and ice skating on the square.  The big tree in the building across the street.  The selection of ice cream and bakery goodies at the downtown Graeter's.

An excellent memory:  one summer afternoon it was just Aaron and me, downtown.  He paused and looked up at the buildings and said, ""Oh, downtown's high."

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Slogging Along

Slogging.  That's the word I feel describes my days lately, and I don't even know if that's a word.  It feels like there's sticky mud on the bottom of my boots, hypothetically.

And so, my blog has been quiet.  I've felt like there is just nothing to say.  Nothing begs me for a picture.  My sewing machine has been quiet.  I spend too much computer time, news, Amazon emails, setting up my new laptop.

But, yesterday, for my family, there was Christmas Eve planning.  Sarah and Winnie are coming on the 23rd.  On Christmas Eve, the family will have a driveway Christmas Eve.  Cell phones charged and on speaker, in two different cars.  The pile of packages on the driveway.  Trash bags in each car, Chex Mix, I hope - I've been hinting mightily.

(When I make Chex Mix, I use twice the amount of cereal, nuts, pretzels, little oyster crackers to the regular amount of butter.  It tastes pretty good.  But then I taste Steph's, with the "correct" proportions, and it's incredible.  That concept probably describes why my cooking is relatively yucky.)

Anyway, the driveway celebration will be early in the afternoon.  Hopefully it will be warmer then.  There will be separate plans for later in the day. Nora works at Kroger from 3:30 - 6:30.  My church's Zoom Christmas Eve service at 6:30.  Steph's church's outdoor candlelight service at 7:00.

We'll exchange Christmas Eve dinner dishes for separate dinners.  Maybe Zoom in the evening.

In years to come, when we gather together in the evening and celebrate into the night, we'll always remember this Christmas Eve.  

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Third Sunday of Advent


The third Sunday of Advent.  

Times goes on.  The tree is not decorated but I'm doing pretty well with gifts.  Not a thing wrapped though.

The washer is washing and I am grateful.  

I got a new - refurbished - laptop right around Thanksgiving.  This is the first blog on it.  I take things a piece at a time.  Figuring out Windows 10 (yes, I had Windows 7.)  Setting up my email.  Transferring my documents.  Downloading pictures where I can find them.  Getting into my blogger account with a new password.  

This laptop - I chose one that is super sturdy - I could, apparently, drop it and it would be fine.  It's like the ones in police cars or construction vans.  Really, I don't plan on treating it roughly, I just liked that it had a lot of memory and storage.  I keep my stuff for a long time so I always go for the memory and storage.  Knowing that what seems like a lot today will be minimal tomorrow.

I just got the tiniest usb flash drive.  Thumbnail size, meant to stay in the usb port permanently.  Big enough to store movies and able to download them quickly.  I won't download any movies, probably, but it should be great for easy file back-up.  Things like this delight me.

Thursday, December 10, 2020



Lights redo on my porch railing.  So much for green for compassion, half the lights went out.  Luckily, I have lots of lights in my light stash.

But, good news about the washer.  The belt had broken and a new one is on order.  It should be about a $20 fix.  The other components look good.

The weather should be warm again tomorrow and I'm planning on an early evening walk around the neighborhood.  Followed by the virtual Berea College Christmas music program.  So many times I sat in the audience waiting for the program to begin.  The venue was always packed.

My neighbor's daughter has Covid and the quarantine has begun.  There were a record number of cases state-wide today but the positivity rate is going down.  The governor compares it to a speeding train.  It takes time to stop it before it can be turned around.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

One on the Tree


One ornament on the tree.  A gift from Sarah and Winnie.

Friday is Nora's birthday and her mom is asking for little recordings of birthday greetings.  I remembered that when she was younger I would tell her that if all the grand girls in the world were lined up in a row and I had to choose one I would always choose her.  So, that is my recording, reminding her of that and telling her that I'd still always choose her.

I sent Nora a text asking what birthday dessert she would like me to drop off.  I haven't heard back yet, but I'm betting on Graeter's ice cream.  Or maybe sorbet.

My washer has a problem - it does not agitate and the water does not spin out.  The water drains, but since the washer doesn't spin there is water left in the clothes.  The tag on the lid says that it was made in Dublin, Ohio, and the date is 09/97.  Maybe today there will be a repair update.

It could be that it needs a replacement belt, that would be awesome.  Or, in my sleuthing I found out that it could also be another part which needs to be special ordered and which costs almost $500.  

Last year at this time I needed a new furnace so the thought of a new washer is barely a blip. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Second Sunday of Advent


Second Sunday of Advent.  I was able to set up the candles for Zoom church, read the poem, light the candles.  Not perfect but ok.

The lights are now on the tree.  But, some of the string of the new green outside lights are out.  Just part of the season, nothing unusual here.

My washer is not working, all of a sudden.  The agitator is not spinning and the water drains but does not spin out of the clothes.  It's a washer that came with the house.  I didn't really need a washer and dryer but put them in the contract as something that could be taken out in negotiation.  But the seller accepted all the offer so there was no negotiation.  When my original washer gave out I replaced it with this one.

I don't know whether this washer will be worth fixing, but my son-in-law will know.  He's very good at appliance repairWord on the street is that the new washers are not as good as the old ones.  Same with refrigerators.

Friday, December 4, 2020

I Will Light Candles

Church services have looked different for many months now and most likely will continue to look different for months to come.  During Advent, my part in the Zoom service is to light Advent candles and read a poem, starting with half of it the first week and adding a line each week to come.  I'll share that poem here.

I Will Light Candles This Christmas

By Howard Thurman
I will light candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.

Last Sunday, the first week, I was nervous about my part because I have a new laptop with an external webcam and a touchscreen.  Until now, I had been joining Zoom on my phone.  With some help from Winnie with the set-up, it went fine and I feel good about doing it on my own this Sunday.

Last New Year's Eve, when I was making goals for the year, I chose learning new technology as one of my goals.  I had no idea that evening how that would actually come to pass.  None of us had an idea of what we would be learning, how we would been adjusting.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Home Again


Home again.  I miss this little companion and the other two little brown dogs.  And the two people, of course.

That little brown dog - she will tolerate sitting with me, will even initiate it, as long as Sarah isn't around.  When Sarah comes, the dog makes it clear that Sarah is her person.

When I left home last week, it was late fall, almost late summer, really, I was wearing just a fleece outside quite comfortably.  And when I came back yesterday it was winter.  I saw the first snow of the season driving back over Jellico Mountain.  On the last day of November, so it was a nice long fall.

The drive back was wet and sometimes windy, but I didn't mind because the roads weren't slick.  I kept an eye on the temperature and it never went below 35 degrees.  Today, it's a little colder and there was just enough snow during the night to cover the grass.

My nice neighbor blew the snow off my car this morning.  I do plan on staying inside during the next few days, though it probably isn't necessary to quarantine.  Other than driving through Winter Lights and doing some curbside pick-ups, it was a relaxing stay-at-home visit.  

Friday, November 27, 2020

Post Thanksgiving

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum.  One of the little brown dogs was enjoying himself.  Actually, all three did.

The Arboretum did an excellent job transitioning to drive-through this year.  You'd never know that it had been walk-through before.

It was a lovely Thanksgiving with Sarah and Winnie.  We had such wonderful food from a local co-op grocery.  I think I need to show you a picture of the pumpkin rolls and cranberry compote.  My applesauce might be in the picture too.

I am realizing that I needed to transition to making conversation, being with people.  Except for a few treasured outdoor family meals and popcorn hand-offs, face-to-face time has been limited.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs re-entry space.

I had wondered what re-entry might be like, and I feel reassured that it will be quite all right.  A little of re-entry and a little of quarantine life, and the memory of normal times will take over.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you're watching the parade and looking forward to some delicious food.  Maybe some football.  Some things are still the same!  

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Last Flower


This is most likely the last little flower from the hanging basket from the band fund raiser in the spring.  Six months was a good run.  That last flower is precious.

Yesterday was a warm day and I took out the green porch bulb, replaced it with an adapter, and threaded green LED lights on the railing.  Still carrying out the theme of displaying comfort to Covid families but combining it with Christmas.  

One of my longer term goals is to have outdoor outlets, front and back.  That would be a nice upgrade for my house.

My grand girl started work as a bagger at Kroger yesterday.  Please wear your mask to protect her and the other grocery store employees.

And now, a recount in Georgia.  The anxiety goes on.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Heirloom Stitching



This morning I was looking for a replacement tablecloth for a little antique table and happened on this white one that was just the right size.  It must have been a former work sample, I know I haven't done any heirloom stitching in ages and also no machine embroidery that required any back-to-back placement.  As soon as I get a replacement bottle of the nice spray starch I'll give it a really nice crisp finish, but in the meantime I'm happy enough with it on the little table.

And now I'm wondering "why not?"  Why am I doing so little machine embroidery and fancy stitching?  I stay on the utility stitch grouping on my machine.  Probably because I have been piecing quilts and making masks and doing mending and alterations.  And because I'm not challenged to do the nice things, don't see my friends doing them either.  I know I'm not looking in the right places.  Something to consider.

When I look out over my back yard, I can see a large hospital on a hill, maybe half a mile away, but with an interstate separating us.  Its hospital chain in Northern Kentucky has been sending Covid cases to that one hospital to maximize care.

But now, its 34 ICU beds are full and another hospital has been designated to take the overflow.  These are scary times.

The library is closing again for in-person visits and will have curbside pick-up only.  I had been considering a quick in-and-out visit to pick up a stack of books, now I'll get a list ready.



Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Young May Be Relative


This picture showed up on facebook, as pictures do, and I marveled on how young those grands were.  And how young I was.  But, at the time, probably eleven years ago, if I had asked myself if I was young I would have said "no."

I guess that, in eleven more years, if I am blessed with eleven more, I might look at a picture of myself taken today and think that I was young.  Something to think about.

The bridge news is that it may reopen on December 23.  I'm sure the truckers aren't happy.  Three percent of the country's freight would normally go over that bridge in a day.  The Civil War era suspension bridge is open again, with police at each end to be sure that no semi's drive on it.

Our governor will hold a press conference this afternoon, announcing new restrictions because of Covid.  A few months ago, one of the themes of the negative comments during press conferences was "look at South Dakota, they don't have restrictions or a mask mandate and they have few cases."  And now, they sure do. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020



I'm feeling grateful these days for the little tub of threads that sits under my sewing machine.  When people bring me pants that need a hem or a top that needs mending, I can usually find just the right color at my feet.  My Sundays used to include church, then going to the Joann that is near the church for whatever I needed for the coming week, plus stocking up when things were on sale.  Luckily, I did a lot of stocking up and I have lots of project left-overs too.

My thread for hemming some turquoise dress pants today was just a little less than I needed.  I used machine embroidery thread for the last few inches and that will be fine.  No one will notice the difference.

It's so windy this afternoon, and I love the wind.  As long as the leaves beside the curb waiting for the leaf truck don't blow back into the driveway.  It looks like the last of the leaves are off the big oak tree now.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Catching Up for Today

 I had a Covid test this morning, required for a yearly pulmonary function test scheduled for Monday.  It was at a large academic medical complex, lots of people getting tested.  Masks, hand sanitizing stations, social distancing.  I told myself that even if the positivity rate was 10.0 that would mean that 9 people waiting in line would test negative.  But of course, one would be positive.

I had a really great technician and it was not the horrid experience I had read about.  

Update on that bridge over the Ohio River.  It's still closed but water traffic is open again.  It will take several days to determine what repairs are necessary and if they are, how long that might take.

Another bridge between Cincinnati and Covington, KY,  has been closed, a historic suspension bridge built in the 1860's.  The Roebling Bridge.  Civil War era, just think of that, building a bridge without trucks to haul materials.  

Semi drivers looking to detour would not stay off that bridge, which has a weight limit lower than empty semis.  So, it's now open only to pedestrians.  I hope they can figure out how to keep trucks off but cars moving.

I allowed plenty of time this morning to get across the river for my test this morning but traffic was moving well.  I needed the time, though, to find the building and parking garage, then the testing area.  Lots of good signage to help out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

All You Have To Do


Shout out to my non-sewer friends.  I love you all.  But I've learned to take it with a grain of salt when you say, "All you have to do is . . ."

A friend recently brought six pairs of her mom's pants for hemming.  "I've already turned them up.  All you have to do is zoom around with your sewing machine."

Except - if I sew on top of the hem that's already there, making a double hem, it's going to be bulky.  And these are nice department store pants.  I'm going to either have to take out the hem that's already there or, if I'm lucky, cut it off.  And, I'm going to measure at least three times before I cut.

I'm going to use my serger to make the raw edges lie really nice and flat and not ravel.  And then I may, unless the pants have a straight leg, have to adjust the leg taper.  If I don't, there will be puckers and the hem won't lie fat and will look awful.

And four of the six pairs of pants were dress pants, which means they have an invisible hem, as opposed to a sewing machine straight stitch hem.  I'm not great at doing this kind of hem by machine, so I do it by hand.  I could, of course, do a hem like on your casual pants or jeans, but if you bring me dress pants I want them to look dressy when I'm done.  I want your mom to look nice.

There has been no zooming around with my sewing machine.

Big accident very early this morning on the main bridge connecting Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky over the Ohio River.  A semi jack-knifed and another semi ran into the jack-knifed one.  No one hurt, but there was a big fire from fuel.  The second truck was carrying potassium hydroxide, which made the fire burn hotter.  The trucks pretty much melted and have to be removed piece by piece.  The bridge is still too hot to allow inspection.  

Optimistically we're talking days for a shut down in both directions, could be longer.  Water traffic under the bridge is also closed.

Aside from freight and travelers, there are all the commuters who are affected, either because they travel over that bridge or because they travel on highways where traffic is rerouted.  It's a headache right now.  

Monday, November 9, 2020

Others' Words

The words in my head today:

We will lead not by the example of our power but by the power of our example. - Joe Biden 

I may be the first woman in this office but I will not be the last. - Kamala Harris

Please, I implore you, wear a mask.  Do it for yourself, do it for your neighbor.  A mask is not a political statement but it is a way to start pulling the country together. - Joe Biden

I am grateful to have a president-elect who says "wear your mask."

I hope that people will wear those masks, but I'm not hopeful here in Kentucky.  In my "south Cincinnati" area, yes.  But there are so many comments scrolling during the governor's press conferences saying that masks are not being worn in grocery stores and big box stores and dollar stores.  And we do have a mask mandate.

My grands tell me that kids in their schools wear their masks.  I don't think they give it much thought.  It's just part of school. 

I've started on my project of having masks for neighbors to pick up on their way by.  The only thing is, I keep giving some away so right now I only have six ready to go.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Fall Family Picture


Fall family picture - Sarah at the North Carolina Arboretum with dog Lucy.  The fence is one that she built.

One this warm day, I took Applebee's curbside pick-up lunch to Steph's house.  We could eat outside, spread out, on this lovely November day.  I had the best salmon.  My eyes just couldn't get enough of the grand kids.  They get taller every time I see them.

Of all the posts I've seen today, the one that touches my heart is the one that says, "Make Sure to Wear Shoes, Ladies, There's Glass Everywhere."  I look forward to hearing Kamala's speech tonight.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Walking the Bridge

There is usually a brief time in November, here, where the weather turns warm again.  It is the nicest of gifts.  So yesterday I took myself to the river and walked across the Purple People Bridge, which is a pedestrian bridge these days.  On into Ohio - Kentucky "owns" most of the river.

The view never gets old.  No barges or other boats today.  

And, we wait.

Last night this hymn refrain was running through my mind.

Lord, listen to your children praying,

Lord, send Your spirit in this place;

Lord, listen to Your children praying,

Send us love, send us pow'r, send us grace!

It doesn't feel right to me to pray for election results, but to ask for grace and God's spirit - I can do that.   


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Sadness This Morning

I am beyond sad at the way this post-election is playing out among individuals in our country.  The only things I know to do for today is to stay away from news and facebook, and those are usually my pleasures.  And to take comfort in the fact that if Biden wins the electoral vote and so many people believe that the election was stolen, there is still the popular vote that says otherwise.

I don't know why I am surprised.  For months the president has promoted the idea of an unfair election.  For weeks the news has been urging us to be patient, that the results won't be known on election day or even perhaps soon after.  What I am surprised at is the way that this election has only increased polarization.

And I am sad, personally, that if Trump wins, I may not see a woman elected as president or vice president.  I may not have enough years left to see that.  I thought that surely in my lifetime that would be a given.  I wanted that for my daughters and for me.  That didn't influence how I voted, it's just a side note.

I have nothing else to say this morning.  My usual deep well of joy is way down there somewhere.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Come Wednesday

If you only read part of this wonderful poem today, read the last stanza.  It was not written for this election, but the words are just as powerful.


Hasan Davis

Come Wednesday

I will kiss my partner good morning,

Turn on the hallway lights

Then, wake my kids for school.

Come Wednesday

I will return to my unfinished Tuesday work on behalf of all children and families in America.

Come Wednesday

My America will not have fallen into chaos, even if my candidates did not win the seats of power.

Come Wednesday

I will accept the election of new leaders

As a statement from those who chose to be heard.

But, I will not accept their election as a raging scream

Powerful enough to drown out the voices and rights of all the "other" Americans

Because my America is greater than 

The rhetoric of fear that spews

Uncorked from all orifices of this political body.

And my America is stronger than these identity politics seeking every nook and cranny of human difference

Desperate to widen the gaps within U.S.

Come Wednesday

I will walk another mile with people

Who do not look like me.

Come Wednesday

I will discuss our future potential with people

Who do not talk like me.

Come Wednesday

I will choose to offer an affirming hug or strong supporting hand

To anyone who may have need of them,

Even if they never imagined we could stand taller together.

Come Wednesday

I will still be an American from the South.

Come Wednesday

I will still be an American of African descent.

Come Wednesday

I will still be a proud American who has:

Meditated with Buddha,

Fasted with Allah,

Lit candles with Yahweh, and

Prayed with God

And I will never feel

an imposter,

or betrayer,

or fool for doing so.

So, Come Wednesday

I guess I will keep my own promise of

Making America Greater, again

Just like I have done at the break of every other new day 

I have been blessed to meet.

Come Wednesday

I hope you wake with the courage and the grace

To walk another mile with me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Voting Sticker


I got a voting sticker after all!  In the mail.  Hope you get a sticker too!  

Monday, November 2, 2020

Turkey Mask Time


When I first tentatively started making masks in April, I never thought that I'd be making turkey masks in November and that they would be needed more now than ever.  And that there would be such resistance from some folks about wearing them.

I played my first Christmas music this morning, a lovely Christmas Celtic instrumental.  There is just so much lovely Christmas music and a limited number of days to enjoy it.  So, early in November it starts at my house.

Yesterday, Sunday, wasn't an easy day.  I always have trouble adjusting to the time change.  At 5:00 it felt like it was midnight.  I hadn't planned for dinner and then it was dark and I didn't feel like going out.  

But, there was joy in the middle of the afternoon, the Bengals won, and beat a winning team at that.  For one minute toward the end of the game I thought it might all go up in smoke, but not this time.  This coming week they have a bye so I can relax and watch other teams.

I needed to go to the post office this afternoon, hadn't been there since February, but I had some small packages to mail.  I told myself to get over it and went in the middle of the afternoon.  Good timing, there was only one other customer in the little lobby and she soon left.  I got Christmas stamps while I was there.  

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween This Year


What if . . . you had your Halloween candy, nicely individually wrapped, and no one came to your door?  Well, then you could be like me.

One of my friends, who lives in a more popular neighborhood, did it just right.  Candy, individually wrapped, on a table so the Trick or Treaters could help themselves, no one digging in a bowl.  She also had Play Dough - no wonder kids came to her.

So, she followed all the governor's recommendations and who should come up her sidewalk but the governor himself.

I am so jealous.

It's hard to tell, since I cropped out the face, but this is a youngster.  Best costume of the year!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Edith Costume


Here is where we were going. Each of the drum majors will be a different Despicable Me character for the band showcase tomorrow afternoon and Nora chose Edith.

And here is Nora's sweater

She wanted it tunic length to cover her butt.

And here is her hat.

Now the only question will be:  does it fit.  It works ok on me, so it should be ok for her.  Maybe a bit big for the sweater.

Sweater pattern is New Look 6404.  I told my daughter to look on the pattern wall, not in a book.  Who wants to spend the big bucks for something to be worn once or twice?

The most time-consuming part was serging all those strips of fleece together.  Once that was done, the rest was easy.  I have almost no fleece left, and the only reason I had fleece for the ear flaps was because it was the end of the bolt and the person who was cutting just gave my daughter the extra.  I forgot to figure in that I would lose yardage in the seam allowances sewing all those strips together.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

By the End of the Day


Well, this is different in a few ways.  A Joann bag, although the shopping was done by my daughter.  A garment pattern, which hopefully will convert into a Halloween costume.  Fleece, not my usual fabric.

Hopefully, by the end of the day, there will be a "sweater" for a Despicable Me character.  A pink striped sweater.  And, maybe, a striped hat with ear flaps.  It will be quite a day.  But, I love my grand girl and I love a challenge.

Rain all day today.  All day.  That should keep me sewing.  Yesterday I ordered a set of fat quarters from the Just Sew Live! and I'll wait to pick them up until tomorrow.  There is a white marking pencil in my order too.  I have a chalk marker for marking on dark fabrics, but it's messy and I'm always looking for a better way.

Thanks to Joanne for pointing me to an enjoyable book, Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer.  Good story, light reading, nicely written.  Just what I was looking for.  I was hoping to get the actual book from my library but they didn't have it so I got it from the online library to read on my Kindle.  That's good too.  

I'm old enough that it's still amazing to me that I can go online and see if my library has a book and if it is available.  And if not, whether any of the branches have it.  If they do, the book comes to my library on the daily van run.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

And Then. And Then.

Meet Bacon Bits, the next little kitten.

I had a lazy afternoon and evening.  I think I was worn out from the eye doctor yesterday and the tests there.

And because then, when I changed the thread on the quilter early this morning, something went wrong and the needle struck the bobbin case.  I must have not had the bobbin in right, although it clicked so I thought it was ok.

Then, the bobbin case was stuck, really stuck, finally came loose.  Then I realized the upper threading wasn't quite right.  Then, I put in a new needle since that seemed like a reasonable thing to do, and I got it in backwards.  The quilter needles aren't like regular sewing machine needles, they are round all the way around.  And then, I needed to adjust the needle rotation just a little to get the timing right.

Thank goodness for the internet to help me out.  I just tried a quick sample and things are as they should be but it was nerve-wracking.

I just found out that Nora will need a Halloween outfit for their Saturday band showcase and I'm pretty excited to get to help with that.  I miss Halloween costumes for the grands. 

One week until the election.  1786 positive Covid cases in Kentucky today.

So, I am doing the honorable thing tonight and drinking a Braxton Storm beer that I found in my refrigerator.  And it is delicious. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Visual Field - Done

I had the very dreaded visual field test at the eye doctor this afternoon.  The results were stable, which is good.  I think everyone who takes that test dreads it.  It doesn't hurt, just press the clicker whenever you see a flashing light.  Nothing hard about it, just the idea of not doing well, although if you miss a light the machine will go back and try again.  

Anyway, I don't have to go back for four months and then for only a pressure check.  By then it will be late February and I will be looking forward to spring.

They had the most amazing temperature check machine at the eye doctor.  Step in front of it, and then your temperature reads on the screen.  No other person involved.

In "normal" times I would have rewarded myself with a trip to Joann Fabrics, which is just down the road from the eye doctor.  But, these are not normal times, and I'm avoiding the stores.  Anyway, I'm getting spoiled at the nice fabric at my local fabric store.

For the kitten quilt, I have some lovely fat quarters that my sister gifted me, a whole box full, she really spoiled me.  They are a bit more "old fashioned" than I usually use, lovely, small prints, and they are just right for the kittens.

But, tonight, I'm just going to put on pajama pants and go to bed with a book.  The most recent book from my online library is actually good.  The past several, I didn't even read all the way through.  Just not worth sticking with.  

Return to Virgin River by Robyn Carr.  It's the most recent of a series but it's a good stand-alone book too.  It has just enough reference to earlier books that I feel like I'm meeting old friends.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

This Will Work


Some time ago, my niece Ariel gave me the Elizabeth Hartman pattern The Kittens.  This morning I made a couple of sample blocks and decided this will work for my next little-bit-every-day project.  It probably isn't too ambitious to do a kitten every day.

The cat on the left is called plain cat, and there will be only one of him on the quilt.  The little guy on the right is called Simon and there will be several of him.  There are also several other characters.  Each cat is 8" x 10" so this should go fairly quickly.

Yesterday I checked my ballot about three times and put it in the ballot box outside the county building.  That part is finished.  Praying that the election will be without incident, with safety both in voting and to the candidates.   Where are our leaders, not calling for civility and calm?  I mean, I know where they are, but where is their responsibility to this country?

Strictly gossip, maybe, maybe not, but what is going on with our Kentucky senator's bruised hands?  Why the secrecy?  He is up for reelection and he is 78.  If there is something seriously wrong, or not, I would like to know that.  Of course, I've already voted so I guess it doesn't matter for me personally but lots of people haven't voted yet.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Tri Tools

In my blog ramblings the other day I noticed that someone (sorry, like I said, I was rambling and most likely can't find that blog again) was making something that had a triangle in a rectangle.  

She mentioned using a pair of templates, a Recs Tool and a Tri Tool.  Those templates looked familiar, and sure enough, they were hanging on my wall.  The tips of the templates are cut off, making it easy to line up the fabrics.

I've been admiring table runners and pillows that have triangular Christmas trees, alternating tops and bottoms and these templates would be great for that.  I hope you get the idea, the first tree has a trunk at the bottom, the second tree has its trunk facing the top, alternating back and forth.  I'm going to do some experimenting with that.

This evening was my neighbor's daughter's wedding.  This morning friends with big SUV's came by and loaded up many, many mums, lanterns, table clothes, caramel apples for table favors.  I'm sure there were many other things.

My task for the day was dog sitting this evening.  The dog and I took a couple of walks, he was sure to get his treats at the end of the walks, and, finally, a peanut butter Kong after the last walk.  It thundered for awhile, but a gentle rumbling so I felt that he was ok.  He is used to me dog sitting and doesn't get alarmed when I walk in the door.  When he was a pup, he was lively, but now he is three and is more settled.  A couple of walks, a couple of treats, a little petting, and he is ready to settle back down on his cushion.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Mask Elastics and a Dream


Someone commented on Amazon that these are a game changer and I'm hoping that's true.  I've been having trouble getting the elastic length just right on my masks - it's a little different for everyone.  I have a list with my favorite people and their various lengths, but even then sometimes the masks fit better than other times.  The little vinyl circle moves on the elastic and seems to lock in well.  I'm hopeful.

Plus, I have a dream.  Only a dream.  I have a plump bush beside my sidewalk.  My dream is to have a bunch of masks in little plastic bags, marked for women, men, kids, lying on the bush for people who pass by to help themselves if they need a new mask.  Maybe just for a day or two.  Maybe right before Thanksgiving.  These little elastics could help make that happen, masks that can be adjusted.

My dream goes back to when Sarah lived in West Asheville.  One of the neighbors had an outdoor oven and would put out a table of baked goods from time to time.  Bread or muffins, whatever.  A way of giving to the neighborhood.  Ever since then, I've wanted to be that neighbor.

As you know, I'm big on goals.  If I make it a goal to make one extra mask every day my dream could just happen.  I'm just not sure if I'm quite ready to commit.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Penny Candy


Penny Candy Table Runner.  If you love it, you can order the kit from Apron Strings Quilt Shop, Maysville, KY.

This is the project that I started Sunday night when I just didn't know what to do with myself.  What I've re-learned:  now and then it's nice to work with a project that be quickly done.

Yesterday I made an appointment and shopped in person at Just Sew in Fort Thomas.  I got fabric for the outer border on my star quilt, fabric for pillows, a charm pack, a pillow form.  And a replacement mask template, mine still hasn't shown up.  I know that as soon as I open the new package my old template will reappear, but it's ok, one of my friends will enjoy having one.

This afternoon I'm remembering Martha Cotterill, who taught at St. Patrick School in Maysville for almost forty years and who died last week.  She taught both my daughters in seventh grade and both remember her fondly, as do I.  Truly a long career of teaching young teensWhat patience she displayed.     

Monday, October 19, 2020

Tribute Poem to a Quilter

Saturday was my friend Ginny's memorial service.  Her family had the service in person but also (very kindly) virtually.  Ginny's daughter Lori wrote a lovely tribute poem for the service and she said I could share it with you.  The back story - Ginny was a teacher for many years, then a wonderful quilter.  She and her son Larry had a fabric hand dyeing business and they also sold a few special fabrics, including Australian fabrics.

Some of you will picture yourselves in some of the words.  I hope you enjoy it.


By Lori Brubaker

I must work on my design today!”

Virginia Beth Keiser was known to say.

She’d iron and measure and then she’d cut

Circles, strips, and squares to construct.

Her fabrics were many, her ideas profuse

In brights and pastels and neutral hues.  

Her stacks were neat and all color coded,

Her bolts were straight with ends nicely folded.

Her hair wasn’t combed, her bed wasn’t made.

She forgot to eat lunch on many a day.

Her texts went unanswered, her phone was upstairs

She was in the basement without any cares.

Her machines were singing, her audiobooks played

While she straight stitched, basted, and appliqued.

Creating memories and gifts for our beds, walls, and laps

Uncountable hours and, of course, the requisite naps.

Lo and behold, a foreign language broke through,

Words like fat quarters, scant quarters, fussy cuts, too.

Radiance and shibori and charms, squares, or pacts,

Jelly rolls and cake layers, the bulk fabrics, not the snacks.

Australians aren’t folks from the world down under

But aboriginal art work, a textile wonder!

And confusion was caused whenever she’d say ,

“Larry and I will be doing some dyeing today.”

Her favorite machine was her high tech long-arm,

Who knew that it cost as much as a car?

Custom-made cabinets, a large wall for hanging,

Threads and pins scattered, extension cords dangling.

When grandkids did visit, homemade treats were none.

But there were child sized projects for each and everyone.

Beanie babies, pot holders, place mats, and quilts, too.

They learned how to sew, design, and creatively choose.

“I must work on my quilting today!”

Grandma Ginny was frequently known to say.

Baby quilts, comforters, hand dyes, wall art,

All are reminders she lives in our hearts.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Table Runner Start


Feeling kind of at loose ends tonight.  Waiting for the border fabric to finish the star quilt, not enough energy at the end of the day to start a big project.  Watching football, but only half.  Waiting in the back of my mind for the the rain that will be starting, later.  Not in the mood to pick up my book, can't even tell you the title.

And so, I opened a table runner kit.  Just five of these blocks, plus a border.  Pretty mindless, not a big commitment.  Piecing fabric, border, backing, and binding included.

But the best part is a little Creative Grids ruler, with the name of the quilt shop, that was with the kit.  Two and a half inches wide, perfect for cutting the little white squares for this project.  Six and a half inches long.  I've found myself grabbing that little ruler for all kinds of things.  Thanks, Apron Strings Quilt Shop in Maysville, KY.

When we can take road trips again, visiting this quilt shop will be on my list.

Had a quick pop-in visit at my daughter's house.  Delivered some masks.  Ordered some band fund-raising goodies.  I have to say, my grandson is getting so handsome.  Nora wasn't home.  

Saturday, October 17, 2020

One Year's Costumes


I used to enjoy making little kid costumes.  Jessie and Woody showed up on my facebook memories this morning.  There wasn't much "making" for these costumes but there was enough.  Their mom found the hats.  I remember being so happy to find the "cow" fabric at Hancock Fabrics down the street, back in the day when there was such a thing.

I wonder if I used markers for Woody's shirt and Jessie's yoke.  Probably.  I do remember fitting the yoke to the shirt.

This was a day for making masks - but - I can't find the acrylic template.  I'm careful with my things, too.  Luckily, I had a mask cut out, but not sewn, that I could use for a pattern.  I remember how to add on to make a larger size.

The most reasonable explanation would be that it was on the cutting table and was pushed over the edge or the back.  I've looked on the floor there about three times.  I keep a basket on the cutting table where I put scissors, rotary cutters, and pinking shears when I'm finished with them.  I'd been keeping the template there too, because it doesn't have a hole for hanging.  I've completely emptied the basket, no template.

I'm pretty bummed, but - like I'm always telling my daughters - if that's the worst thing that happens to me, I'll have a charmed life.  


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Trick or Treat Revisited

I'm sure I made this as a store sample, back when I was making store samples.  Sorry, I can't remember the design collection.  It's fun to decorate for a holiday - it's been a long time since Easter.

I am feeling a little anxiety creeping up these days as the election approaches in a whole new kind of way.  To go along with that, virus cases in my state are increasing, we had the highest number of positive cases yesterday.  Dr. Fauci has said that Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois should be vigilant. 

So, what does that mean for me?  Nothing different, most likely.  I rarely go inside anywhere.  My neighbor's daughter is getting married next weekend, a fairly large wedding, and earlier I made the decision to not attend.  I hope all goes well, it will be a lovely wedding.  I will be on dog duty, visiting my neighbor's dog and walking him as they go about their busy day and evening.  And earlier I hemmed the mother-of-the-bride dress.

Tonight the bride's mother put mums for decorating in my basement.  The temperature will dip down to the upper 30's early tomorrow morning and there may be frost tomorrow night.  The mom wants those mums to stay safe, and I have plenty of room.  

A week from today the expected high will be 75, because that's how it is here. 


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Trick of Treat?


Not sure if there will be any Trick or Treat folks coming this year - even in a "regular" year there aren't many.  I always hopefully buy some good candy just in case.  The governor's press conference suggested putting out little piles of candy for the children to pick up.  I guess that will work.

My neighbor's oak tree is huge but the acorns are tiny.  My driveway slopes down.  You get the idea.  I spent a while this afternoon raking out leaves and those bitty acorns.  Tomorrow I'll probably sweep the driveway.  Those little acorns are like marbles and I don't want any accidents.

Quilting has been putting sashing strips between the star blocks.  With little checkerboards where the sashings join.  In a perfect world, everything would just line up, but in my imperfect world I'm doing it in little bits to make sure that everything fits.

I'm enjoying the hammering from my neighbor-behind-me's house.  He's either putting on a big deck or adding a room to the back of his house.  I'm guessing it's a deck.  

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Halloween Wall Hanging


Halloween wall hanging.  Maybe you saw it last year, maybe not, but this year it has a brand new binding.  The wood at the bottom is the dining room table, not the floor.

It has been the laziest of days.  Zoom church this morning.  The Bengals football game this afternoon was NOT exciting.

And now it is dinner time and once again, I just do not know what to eat.  I have eggs and yogurt and peanut butter and cheese, my basics.  Fruit.  Frozen veggies and a few fresh ones.  Potatoes.  Some really good veggie sausage.  And nothing sounds good.  I had a veggie burger last night, don't want to repeat that again tonight.

So, I'll sit back and be grateful for all the things mentioned above.  So many folks would be so happy to have those choices.  I'll think on that, and maybe I'll fix something or maybe I'll eat yogurt and a banana.  It's all good.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Last Two Blocks


The last two blocks for the block-of-the-month quilt.  Sawtooth star with pinwheel center.

Now that all the blocks are pieced, I have to admit that I am not liking this quilt.  Maybe, hopefully, I'll like it better when the sashings are in place.  And the border.

Like it or not, it's done what it was supposed to do, give me a project that kept moving forward, day by day.

Just got a text from Winnie saying she wishes we could all have a rainy day hot chocolate together.  That sounds pretty good.  It's very overcast here, but the rain isn't expected in Cincinnati until the morning.

Just as well, since Nora's band is having another showcase tonight.  They aren't wearing uniforms but are dressing like the 80's.  Nora has a big hot pink Goodwill sweater, orange cross body bag, and hot pink socks with her black leggings.  Her mom got her a tutu, but that got nixed.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Pumpkin Pie Ties


Tied to my bag from the quilt shop yesterday were these "pumpkin pie" selvages.  I wish I had a piece of that fabric.  But, I had three other pieces of fabric in the bag.  Two are for a quilt with houses that I'll be starting one of these days.  The other was an impulse buy - fabric with little birds.

I found a Halloween wall hanging that I made last year - without the binding.  I kind of vaguely remember deciding to go ahead and put it up, minus the binding, so it would have a chance to hang during the season.  Maybe this weekend I can take care of that.

This week has held the most glorious weather.  Today my local daughter came for a back-porch lunch.  A veggie sandwich for me.  There are a lot of mediocre veggie sandwiches out and about, but the one from Newport Pizza Company is outstanding.  Lots of artichoke hearts, usually, depending on what they have.

Be happy for my 13-year-old grandson.  Yesterday he caught a pass for his first touchdown.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Be Well

I stopped at the library to pick up my book on hold.  Just like the grocery store - pull in, put on my mask, call the number, tell them which parking spot.  When I got home I found this bottle of hand sanitizer in a little satin bag, inside the bag with my book.  And so, I'll pass the wishes on to you:  "Be Well."

Oh, yuck!  Last week I kept smelling something really bad but couldn't find it.  I looked in and around the refrigerator and the whole kitchen again and again, no luck.  This morning, I found a puddle of what was probably once a dead mouse in the basement.  I sprayed it with some Kaboom that was in the basement for some reason, who knows, and mopped it up with a paper towel.  Several times, end of story.

After the debate last night, six words are going through my head today.  "Mr. Vice President, I am speaking."

Sending good wishes to Wisconsin as they set up a field hospital.  We here in Kentucky already have a field hospital at the state fair grounds, unused and hopefully never used.  When the governor is criticized for spending the money on something we haven't used he says he would rather spend the money and not need it than need it and not have it. 

And thinking of governors - sending good wishes to Michigan's governor.  I hope she really is a badass and gets past it.  I would be hiding . . . somewhere . . . terrified. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Ohio Star blocks, # 9 and 10.

Thanks to whoever got my grocery order ready at Kroger.  I ordered two decorative pumpkins for $1.99 each, thinking they would be pie pumpkin size.  They are big, I had trouble carrying them across the street and up my steps.

On my way home, I did a drive-by at Fresh Thyme to look at mums for my neighbor.  She's buying flowers for a wedding venue.  The mums looked nice so I stopped, grabbed two, went through the check out (no line,) and hurried out the door.  Probably was in the store for two minutes, tops, paid with my credit card and didn't touch a thing, barely came in contact with anyone.  

So now I have pumpkins and mums, which makes me all kinds of happy.  I love, love fall flowers.  I'd like to find some bittersweet, haven't seen any in years.

Yesterday's repair adventure:  my customer had a nice sturdy tote bag from Keeneland, but the plastic liner was ripped.  I replaced that liner with a nice cloth one.  No matter how many times I make a box bottom for a tote bag, I always, always have to look up the instructions.  It's ok.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sunday Reflection


Pinwheel blocks # 7 and 8.  Pinwheel star.  In case you're wondering, there will be 12 blocks total.

For Sunday reflection, words from interpretive translation of Talmudic texts:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief.

Do justly, now.  Love mercy, now.  Walk humbly, now.

You are not obligated  to complete the work,

But Neither are you free to abandon it.

and from the Bible, Micah 6:8

What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

I am glad today that my peace and social justice church prayed for the president during our Zoom service.  The neighboring  Ohio governor has proclaimed today as a Day of Prayer for the president and First Lady, as well as those suffering from or impacted by coronavirus.  A very inclusive proclamation.  Another glimmer.  We really can all work through this together if we only will.  

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Evening View

Evening view out the window behind my sewing machine.

Just finished hemming a mother of the bride dress.  Tiny, skinny hem on a chiffon overskirt.  And I was reminded that a little while ago I was lamenting about having so many supplies in my studio.  And yet.  Today I am grateful that one day I bought a package of those tiny little silk pins (not really made of silk) that made all the difference.  And that package of 60/8 sharp machine needles, rarely used but so needed for something like this.  And the thin rayon thread, usually used for embroidery.  I'm pretty relieved to have this project finished.  I prefer sewing on cotton or linen, when I can press a crisp fold.

Thinking of those needles - 60/8 refers to the size of the needle.  The smaller the number, the smaller the needle.  The "60" is a metric measurement, the"8" the English measurement.  Sharp needles do in fact have a sharp point, nice for thin synthetics or tightly woven batiks.  Usually I keep a 90/14 universal needle in my machine, it's a good size for most things and the needle point is slightly rounded, splitting the difference between a sharp needle and one used for knits.

Just don't try to use your machine's needle threader with a size 8 needle.  The needle's eye is just too small to accommodate the needle threader.

The mother-of-the bride dress will go out the door and a throw pillow project came in.  These are not like the porch cushion pillows that I promised to not do again.  I actually enjoy making throw pillows, very easy.  

A hoodie zipper repair didn't go well.  The zipper had been damaged, so just replacing the slide didn't work.  It's really too bad, the zipper in the hoodie was too flimsy to begin with and didn't hold up.  It would have been easy enough for the manufacturer to put in a sturdier zipper but that would have cost a dime or two more.


Friday, October 2, 2020

To Keep Your Balance


To keep your balance, you must keep moving. -Albert Einstein.  In case the lettering is too small to read.  It was on the edge of a piece of fabric that I was cutting.

Agree 100%.  It's been true for me for a long time.  Many years ago I had a much-anticipated new baby and a case of after-baby blues.  I had read the articles about sleeping when the baby slept and that sounded fine, but the baby was a cluster feeder and there was little sleeping.  I remember standing at the kitchen counter and reading through the health insurance information to see if we had coverage for a therapist.

What helped me then and what helps me now is keeping a daily list of goals, these days divided into sections:  Moving Forward (the largest section,) For Myself, and Small Things.  It doesn't mean that I do every goal every day but I keep moving.

On a different topic, you know how I value civility, which seems to be in short supply.  And yet tonight, after a day of concern about the president's health, came the announcement that the Biden campaign would withdraw their negative ads during the president's recovery.  This may have been a purely political decision, I realize that, but there is civility in there.  And I am grateful.