Monday, August 31, 2020



Today I took my granddaughter to band.  She forgot to tell her dad that she needed to be there mid-afternoon and he had taken my grandson back-to-school shopping.  It was our first outing in about six months.  We wore masks and had the car windows half open.

And she said, "Every day is one day closer to the end of this mess."  Hopeful words of wisdom from a 15-year-old. 

A friend quoted several scripture verses in her newsletter today and I was reminded of one she didn't include, one of my favorites, Jeremiah 29:11.  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

And thinking of hope, I've always liked the name of Philosophy's moisturizer - Hope in a Jar.

I need to add "hope" to my list of favorite words.  Grace, together, comfort, family, mercy, and now, hope.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Musical Embroidery


I wished I had some music fabric for a mask for Nora.  Then when I was embroidering #90 on Aaron's mask I realized that my embroidery software probably had music choices in SuperDesign.  It did.  Shout out to my Viking software.  There are all kinds of choices in the SuperDesign module.

With embroidery on my mind, I visited the Anita Goodesign website.  They currently have a free design for making a mask in the hoop.  Of course I'm going to try it - their in-the-hoop designs are always well done. 

My nephew and his wife recently moved to Eastern Kentucky for their retirement.  Not a strange choice, since she is from Eastern Kentucky.  They moved from Michigan's Upper Peninsula - I just know they will be happy with the milder  winters in their new home.

They took a break from moving to travel in their motor home and visit family.  We were lucky enough to be on the list.  I cherish family but my family is small and visits are rare.  It was a treat to visit (outside) on a Sunday evening.  We had LaRosa's pizza and Grippo's potato chips, Cincinnati favorites.  There was also a United Dairy Farmers ice cream option but everyone was too full for dessert.


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Rain on the Flowers

There was a lovely rain last night and the flowers looked so pretty this morning.  They always like rain water better than hose water.

I was waiting for the utility company subcontractor to come this morning - 8:00 to noon window.  They come every three years to check the natural gas hook up in the basement to be sure there are no leaks.  There weren't any.

Not wanting to stray too far from the front door, I decided to sit on the steps and replace the batteries in the decorative solar lights.  I love those lights but they have been dark for weeks.  It's been sunny this afternoon, so I'm hoping that when the sun goes down the lights will shine.

And now I'm wondering - I have a string of lights on my back porch railing that has been dark for, oh maybe two years.  Do they use a rechargable battery too?  Can it be that easy?  Not that it's all that easy - those screws on the covers are tiny.

Joanne recognized the green fabric in the picture yesterday and wondered whether she might have sent it to me.  I'll bet, Joanne, that you probably did, I don't remember buying it.  And yes, even though I have a lot of fabric I do remember buying most of it.  

Friday, August 28, 2020

Mask Fabrics


Just like that, school starts next week for the grands, a week or two later than usual.  They will be going to in-person school, so, like a couple of days ago, fingers crossed.

They will be needing masks, probably lots of masks.  Things happen.  I picked out these fabrics from my stash for Nora.  And don't worry, Sarah, there will be enough to make some for you too.

The top two fabrics are leftovers from a project for Sarah, who years ago wanted a string of flags made with bicycle fabrics.  I won't be showing pictures of the completed masks because I promised you awhile ago that there would be no more mask pictures.

I was happy at the end of the day yesterday to have 7000 steps on my fitbit.  I'm doing better.  Even today, when I was busy with various things, I still have 6500.  What makes the difference between now and the past many months?  I really don't know, it's a mystery.



Thursday, August 27, 2020

Fabric Bleeding


I made a mask for Aaron from this fabric, I had just a small piece left from something, I can't even imagine what.

He really liked it and it was nice for a boy, but the mask got wet and the red bled.  I have enough fabric  left for another mask or two, so I soaked it in really hot water with dish detergent.  The water turned purple, both the blue and the red had excess dye.

I know there are various products for "catching" excess dye in the wash, but it's been a long time since I've prewashed fabrics.  I use a spray bottle and a dry iron for pressing quilt fabrics and if there is any bleeding it becomes obvious but I almost never have any problems.  This piece of fabric is probably pretty old, probably inexpensive.  

I like to quilt densely, then wash the finished quilt and I want some fabric shrinkage so the quilting stands out.  And more of us are using precuts these days, and prewashing isn't an option.  There isn't a right answer about whether to prewash.  Here is a good article from Moda, a manufacture of nice fabrics.  

I will be more careful as I use older fabric pieces for masks, especially those with bright colors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Rest of the Cabinet


Yesterday you saw the top of this free standing cabinet in my kitchen.  Really, it's one of my favorite pieces of furniture, so I wanted to show you the whole thing.

This is a family loan from Winnie.  There is mesh screening in the doors.  It's pretty and practical and I love it, hope the loan won't be called in any time soon.

Today was Aaron's first seventh-grade football game.  His team won, 12 - 6.  Only two family members per player could attend, so I'm hoping there will be pictures.  I can't be too nostalgic today for those pretty fall games I'm missing because the temperature was 90 degrees.

Last year Aaron was one of three big guys on the defensive line.  What a difference a year makes for an almost-thirteen-year-old boy.  This year he's taller and slimmer and faster and plays mostly offense.  Fingers crossed for a good season for him.

Aaron's coach seems good about enforcing a six-foot distance on the sidelines.  Football is, though, a contact sport.  Fingers crossed again.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

No Modem in the Kitchen

On the little free standing cabinet in my kitchen, notable for what isn't here - a modem.

When I moved into this house and connected to the internet, the phone jack was in the kitchen so that's where the modem had to live.  Now, all these years later, things are different.

My wi-fi connection has been slowing and  slowing, crazy really, so I've upgraded to 5G.  A huge change.  And the new modem - in the basement.

Even though it was basically right on top of the kitchen, I was never able to connect to the internet in my studio.  Today I could watch the governor's news conference AND use my sewing machine.  This changes everything.

I guess I do need to learn to pay more attention to the sewing - I had to take apart the block I was piecing.  I just came upstairs and glanced at it and I still don't have it right.  So funny.

The only downer was when the technician suggested that my daughter might be able to help me set up my smart tv and other devices.  I think that was a kind but ageist suggestion.  I can set things up myself, thank you very much.  

Monday, August 24, 2020

This Garden Dream


I have this dream - that one day I will be able to stroll around my small yard in the evening and see what new things have happened along in the beds that day.  I'm maybe a third of the way toward my dream.  Sometimes, like today, I'll find something new and pretty.

Sarah tells me that this grass is called pennisetum, or fountain grass.  A website tells me that it thrives in sun, heat, and humidity, and that it requires little maintenance.  That pretty much checks all my boxes here in the Ohio Valley.

I'm pretty sure I probably got this grass years ago, greatly reduced and looking sad at the big box store.  I didn't realize it would turn out so nice.

No rain for awhile but I'm doing a good job of watering the new plants that Sarah put in  I just want them to be happy.

Today, lots of tasks at home on my goal list.  Tomorrow will be a different kind of day - grocery order pick-up, a stop at the quilt shop to pick up and then deliver an order for my friend, service person here between 12:30 and 1:30, fingers crossed, and then walking down the street so a neighbor can try on a blouse with alterations.

There may be a breakfast pick-up when I get the groceries.  My favorite breakfast these days is Panera's egg white, avocado, spinach and tomato sandwich with their peach and blueberry smoothie.  I'm trying really hard to eat more fruits and vegetables and this helps me start the day feeling good about myself.    

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Finished Table Runner

A while ago, like three or four years ago, I gave my friend Becky an inexpensive Singer sewing machine when she needed one to take to classes.  I think I had originally given the machine to one of my daughters, but, after trying it out, she declared herself not a sewer.

Although I didn't expect anything in return, Becky gave me a cute little box filled with some fabric and several mini charm packs.  It was the first time I'd seen mini charm packs, which are 2 1/2" squares, so I sat down and sewed them together.  (Since that time, I've learned that they make really sweet sashings.)  I actually quilted and bound a set of twenty to make a hot pad holder but that was no fun so I didn't finish more.

Yesterday I noticed the remaining three pieced rectangles and decided to put them together to make a table runner.  I don't know when I last actually put on binding and finished a project.  As you know, it's been a dry spell for me.  


I even tried free motion in the sashing, that long blue piece, which was a good experiment.  To be repeated.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Things Left


Left from Sarah's visit.  And I sure  hope I find her runner's watch soon.

That little cup in the upper left is so special.  My sister found a tea set on ebay that our potter uncle had made.  She gifted the set to Sarah for her birthday, how special is that?

When the little cup came to visit, it held rice pudding, which I love.  One large container had soup and another risotto.  Thanks, Winnie.  

Well, I took a blogging break, did some laundry, watered the hanging baskets, ate lunch, that kind of thing.  Changed the sheets in the guest bedroom.  I went to fluff out the bedspread, and there was the watch.

I was so happy to see it, very glad it didn't get tangled in the sheets, making a trip through the washer.

Friday, August 21, 2020



Finally, I'm getting back into the habit of taking walks.  It's something on my year's goal list, and now it isn't too hot or too cold and I'm not off balance from having a cast or being careful after eye surgery or being super cautious about meeting people like we were back in the early COVID days.  Just excuses, I know.

This morning it was a nice walk while my car was being serviced at the dealership.  Better than sitting in the small waiting room, although the chairs were farther apart than before and there was only one person waiting.  I don't know where everyone else was, usually the waiting room is full.  Maybe they walked in the other direction.

There was just the oil change and tire rotation, nothing else needed to be done this time.  Only fair, last time there was a lot, it was one of the major services.  Hard to believe that was in November, nine months ago, but like a lot of other people I'm driving a lot less.

No complementary car wash though, I'm guessing that they are limiting the number of people who get in the car, both because of their germs and because of mine.  It's a nice perk, but I can go through a drive-through car wash.  I usually go to the local self serve car wash that takes quarters, but I wonder what they are doing about that these days.  Are there enough quarters?

My neighbor just gave me two ripe tomatoes from his garden.  How nice is that?

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Star Block

Even though I have lots of other projects in progress, I just had to try out this star block using cupcake mix recipe # 4.  Stars and birds - those are what I'm always drawn to.  I'm really happy with how the star turned out.  Now I want to make more.

I would guess that the Cincinnati Reds broadcasts will sound different going forward, as they should.  I don't want to get into it here, look it up if you're interested.

I had no idea that, in this summer of the coronavirus, the broadcasters stayed at home and called the game remotely.  It's a different year, with teams needing to take time off when players test positive and with make-up double headers lasting just seven innings.

I miss my cousin Gregg, who died far too soon a few years ago.  We would have a lot of baseball to discuss this summer, now that the season has started.      

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Flower Beds Looking Better


Sarah worked and worked on my flower beds and they look so much better.  She even brought some plants with her and went shopping for more.  (Carrye, remember that gift certificate you gave me from Fort Thomas Florist?  It took awhile to use it but I'm thankful to you all over again.   There is a plant or two here from you.)

She put pine straw on the raised beds and mulch in other places.  Pulled out weeds and weeds and weeds.  I'm going to be a good gardener and keep watering the new plants.  (Inspiration from you, Joanne.)

And now she is getting ready to pack up and head out.  Always a sad time.  

I have a book for curbside pickup at the library, so I'll busy myself with that this afternoon.  A real book.  I'm grateful for the library books that come to my Kindle, but a real book is better.  And I'll do a little sewing.  Rain may be coming.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Beach Park

With Sarah here, and with the virus concerns limiting options, I decided it would be fun to pick up a sandwich and go to Bellevue Beach Park, on the Ohio River.  Normally, we would head to one of our favorite restaurants and eat there.  This way, we could support one of those local places and still eat "out."  

Really, I should do this on a regular basis.  It's one of the few "downtown" areas without a flood wall and with an unobstructed river view.  It's a perfect space to watch the sun go down, big enough to have a nice play area and still be a relatively peaceful space.

I think that the area was once an actual beach, with sand, where people would come to swim.  Of course, that was years ago.  For now, note that cottonwood tree, so impressive.  It was an easy place for Sarah's little dog to tag along.

Sarah has been spending some time weeding my flower beds.  She even brought a few plants that she picked up at her local nursery.  I am very appreciative.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Lobster Dinners

Every August my town has the Great Inland Seafood Festival, by the river.  I have to admit that I've never gone, but it's a thing.  This year of course there was no festival, but drive-up lobster dinners were available.  Lobster, corn, potatoes, butter, bottle of water.  Since Sarah was coming for a visit, an outdoor family dinner sounded like a fun event.

Pick-up was smooth.  Orders and payment were done in advance.  Cars came in one flood wall entry, dinners were passed through the car windows, cars went out through a different flood wall point.


The only glitch was that as soon as family arrived back home so did a hard pop-up shower.  We ended up moving a table from the back yard to the porch so we were a little closer together than planned but these things happen.  It was a fun thing to do, not that the lobster was so wonderful but just the novelty of it.  In these strange times, it did my heart good to do something totally out of the ordinary and to eat with family.  

Friday, August 14, 2020

Nora and Mask


Nora in her new mask.  It fit fine.  Aaron's needs a little elastic tweak.  This style mask needs a good elastic fit but allows for breathing space in the nose area.

The report was that when each kid put on the mask they said, "It smells like Gran B's house."  I checked and this is a good thing.  I'm always trying to avoid that old person smell in my house, but I'm not sure what causes it.

This morning - the dentist.  A good experience.  Someone came to get me from my car and took me straight back to the exam room.  She did the temperature and check-in things there.  Different hygienist than I usually had but she was nice.  Payment was taken in the exam room and I was escorted out the back door.

Last night there was dinner company on my back porch.  Three guests and me - we all had a corner.  It was breezy.  I hadn't had Casual Chinese in forever, well before the quarantine, and it was delicious as usual, we each had our own, no sharing.  It felt like the old days.

I was thinking about a walk but checked the temperature and saw that it is raining, just a gentle rain, making no noise.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Block Arrangements

The cupcake mix recipe #1 blocks are finished and I spent some pleasant time this morning trying out different arrangements.  Taking pictures with my phone.  I think this is the winner, at least for today.

And then, the quilt shop called and said that my order of cupcake recipe #4 had come in.

One of my friends posted this Mary Oliver poem this morning.  It's one of my favorites, and I may have posted it here before, but I hope you enjoy it once again.

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, hopeless.

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 I gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Recycled Mask Fabric


Well, this was fun.  Former pajama pants, now a mask, with more masks to come.  The pajama pants were just too big, with no draw string.  But I loved that fabric.  What's not to like about Life Is Good?

I'm enjoying the Creative Grids mask template and instructions.  So worth the small investment.  The masks come together in no time.  I've started making the masks with different fabric for the lining so folks will easily know which side is the outside.

On my left wrist, my fitbit.  It's been gone since I broke my wrist and had the cast and the brace.  I don't know why it took so long for me to put it back on, but I feel so normal again.  I may need to resynch it with my phone though.  

I'm not happy with the small "normal" font size now available on Blogger, and this next size up seems huge.  I think, though, that I'll be using this larger size.going forward.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Last Cushion


The eighth and last outdoor cushion is finished.  Zippers reused.  I am breathing.

I am lucky that the owner was very patient. Tomorrow I'll deliver this last cushion, the owner wants me to see the completed project.  She is happy.

And I am happy.  I did three more blocks on my new quilt.  Practiced a little free motion - how long has that been? Made a mask for Aaron.

And I made potato salad.  One of my goals for today was to cook something.  Anything.  I like to put a lot of veggies in my potato salad and lots of eggs.  But no onions.

No press conference today.  The governor and his wife were sick, COVID-like symptoms but they tested negative.

Monday, August 10, 2020


Today I'm putting away this project, another done during the dark days, during the governor's press conference.  Just sequins and beads on the felt.  Something to keep my hands busy, to keep moving forward.

Of course, these are still the dark days of this virus.  That hasn't changed.  There are more cases in  my state.  More arguing, more political posturing.  Worry about school.  Press conferences continue.  I'm glad I'm not the governor. 

I never did find a replacement for this daily mindless project.  I planned to substitute the cupcake papers quilt but found that it wasn't a good replacement.  Now, though, I'm doing a block or two every day, so maybe the timing wasn't quite right.  I do miss the hand work.

I have more energy these days, and I'm grateful.  My breathing is light and easy, that's the only way I know to describe it.  I was scheduled to have an annual breathing test this week, but I postponed it for a few months.  It seemed risky, maybe it was and maybe it wasn't, I don't know.  There is a COVID test required before the breathing test, I didn't know that when I rescheduled.  I can worry about that in November.



Sunday, August 2, 2020

Coronavirus Hair

Pretty sure the last time I had a haircut was in January.  This is probably an all-time long hair record for me.

In high school, I was always envious of my friends who had long hair and swing-y pony tails.  (Looking at you, Diana.)  For some reason I could just never grow out my hair.  So, this is a surprise.  Could be all the vitamins I swallow.

I really don't wear it this way, usually put it in a low bun.  Kind of like my grandmother wore hers.  Oh, my.

Maybe if I had a regular stylist I'd brave up and mask up and go in for a visit.  But for years I've just popped into the busy quick salon, take my turn, and go with whoever was available.  And so, I procrastinate.  The little bun isn't all bad.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

So Lovely

These hydrangeas are always lovely, but they are really putting on a show this summer.  After a few days they will start turning a blush color.  Thanks to Sarah for picking them out and planting them.

On my calendar this morning is a quote from Lailah Giffy Akita.  "When we rest, our energy is restored."  If that is true, I should have SO much energy by now.

Have I mentioned that I got a quilt pattern last week that features birds?  I am always drawn to birds, in pictures.  In person, not so much.  If one gets inside, I am terrified.

I am out of Diet Coke, and this isn't good.  This morning I drove through the ice cream/bakery shop and got some donuts, plus two Diet Cokes, for today and tomorrow.  It's my morning beverage of choice.  Early this year I decided to give up soda, but then during the pandemic it was a comfort thing.  Really, I only drink one a day, but I really look forward to that one.

Good news from my eye doctor appointment.  The dryness is getting better so my vision is improving.  I can tell a big difference up close.  I can continue with just one glaucoma drop in the evening.  I don't have to go back for three months.  Three MONTHS!!!