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.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Ballot Is Here


Blocks five and six.  Patchwork sawtooth star.

My ballot is here, still unopened.  I'll open it, take my time, research the candidates and state constitutional amendments.  And then, drop off the ballot at a drop box.  I don't like myself for this.  I don't like that I allowed a candidate to plant a seed of doubt about how or if ballots arrive.  My rational mind knows that there is no reason for this doubt, but I will still drop off my ballot.  The clerk's office is a mile down the road, if that, it's not like it's a hardship.

Really, I would worry more about people, just outside the 100 foot no-contact space, trying to influence my vote and crowding me, than I would be about my ballot arriving in the mail.  I know how we got here, but I'm still amazed and appalled.

We have increasing coronavirus cases in my state, although not in my county just now.  Cases seem to be hopping more into the rural areas.  Mask compliance (our governor calls them facial coverings) seems to be good here, at least in those few places I might see people.  This morning I adjusted the elastic in several of Aaron's masks.

We had a power outage on Tuesday night and it seems as if my internet is just now readjusting.  Is that even a thing?