Friday, April 14, 2017

Game-Changer: Options

I read an article today that made me stop in my tracks.

A widow was recalling when, two months after her husband's passing, there was an upcoming parent-child event at school.

A friend suggested to her that she take a "stand-in dad."

"But I want my husband here."

"That's not gonna happen."

"But I don't want anyone else; I want him."

Her friend wisely responded, "That's option A.  Option A isn't available.
Let's go kick butt on Option B."

     What is your Option B that you reluctantly stare at, really wishing for Option A?
I have a few As that have been derailed in the past two years...and am left with only Option Bs.
     I can choose to look back and long for the As or gently lay them down (mine are "currently not available") and pick up the Bs and find to my surprise that the Bs aren't nearly as frightening as I had hitherto thought.
     Here's to a B day!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

kits finally done

I finally got the basket ready for the Volunteer Luncheon, set for later this spring.

I like working en masse because you get a chance to learn small tips----no matter how small the nuance-----when you have to make a lot of something. Plus, it makes me feel like I am contributing something sizable.  Goofy me.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Owls and Faith

I took 2 dozen owls to the Cancer Floor because it was Wednesday and they all needed a lift, or so I summized.  It is always fun to give away things you make with TLC.
Nikki, I hope you and DR are enjoying Julia, Gabi, and Adela.  We'll have to further discuss your talent of juggling....and what that might mean for your household. ;) 
Faith likes to go out with me no matter where I go.....tonight I wanted to take out the trash so I loaded her up in a wool-batted is supposed to snow...she looks so funny in the quilt but no longer fusses over it cuz she sure can feel the cold wind at her little nose and eyes.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Says it all

Bottle of Tears was having a sale before Valentine's Day on small French bottles.
I used a coupon from HL to get a shadow box.  The card with the Scripture comes with the bottle.  The same Scripture is inside the bottle.  I have removed the hangtag from the bottleneck so you can see the Scripture card better.
Bottle of Tears is a class act; visit them for encouragement as well as comfort!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

End of March catch up

Busy today gathering more yarn.  The owls have taken over.  I have a few projects that somehow managed to get squeaked in....

New yarn colors-----the owls will be happy!

These chicks(chickens) go over Easter eggs....they are for Michele's class of second-graders.  Fun and easy to do.

The opening of the chickens is smaller than the rest-----so the egg doesn't drop out when you pick it up.  It has to be wrangled out! ha ha ha

Michele's birthday is on Easter this year.  Above is the pair of felted slippers I knitted for her.  They are almost finished; are now dry and the second one needs the gather string woven through it.  These are blissfully!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Catch up--on a rare snowy day


new labels!

The bag was too big for just 24----so 40 looks better....

I saw this on the internet and had to try it----as you can see, the flashlight
really illuminated the water.  This will be great in a black-out!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Busy busy busy

Hurrah, two dozen owls completed for the hospital pediatrics lab......
on to the next project, until time for more owls!

Here is the pattern for the owls; I have test driven it several times, I trust there are no errors....

Crocheted Amigurumi Owl

copyright 2017
For use as donation only.
Owl is approx. 5-1/4” circ. and 3” tall

·         DK or sport wt. yarns—2 colors for body,

yellow or orange for beak

·         Size E crochet hook

·         Safety eyes, 10.5mm—black pupil, yellow rim

·         Crochet cotton,  (doily thread) size 5, white

·         Size B (or steel 6) crochet hook (for white around eyes)


This is not worked in spiral fashion because the eyes would not be even.  Each row is finished by sl st to first sc of row.
For body, starting at bottom, work magic loop or ch 3 and join as ring.  Always work first sc of next row in same slip stitch you stitched into to join previous row.
Row 1: ch 1, work 6 sc in ring; sl st into first sc.
Row 2: ch 1, work 2 sc in each crochet around; sl st into first sc. (12 sc)
Row 3: ch 1, *sc in next st; 2 sc in next st….work from * around. Sl st into first sc. (18 sc)
Row 4: ch 1, *sc in next 2 sc; 2 sc in next st---work from * around. Sl st into first sc. (24 sc)
Row 5: ch 1, sc around, working 3 increases evenly. (27 sc)
Rows 6-12: ch 1, sc in each st around. (27 sc)
Row 13: change color; sc around, working 3 dec evenly around row. (24 sc)
Rows 14-19: ch 1, sc in each st around. (24 sc)    Leaving a long tail,  finish off.  Do not stuff; set aside.
Eye whites --with size 5 cotton, make magic loop or ch 3 and join as ring.  Ch 2; work 14 dc in ring.

Sl st to first dc to join.  Finish off, leaving tail.  Weave in both ends.
Beak:  With beak color; ch 5. Sc in 2nd ch;

hdc in next ch; dc in each of next 2 ch.  End off.

Turn this sideways and you will have a triangle beak. (I’ve since changed mine and do 3 ch, sc in second st from hook, dc in last ch.  This makes a smaller beak and I like it better.)
Construction:  You can just stuff beginning “tail” and “tails” from color change inside. 

Place safety eye inside eye white; place this now through a hole between sts in the second row up of the second color.  Secure tightly with safety backing.  Work other eye same way and place 3-4 sc apart from first eye.

Stuff the owl, firmly but not too.  Sew up top seam of head, horizontally.  Work in tail of yarn.

Place beak between eyes, at the row where the color change was made.  Using each end (yarn tails), secure to owl and double knot ends.  Weave these ends into owl body, pull, and cut off excess.

I get my safety eyes at Lisa and Ed’s Eyes (  They are very helpful.  Give them a call for questions.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Bags and stylin' dog

I did finish the 15 bags late last night; but in my rush to pair some with a project bag, forget to take a pic of the 15 together. Meh.

Here are some of the sets I have put away for Christmas...

Faith and I just had to tool around town today as the weather was fantastic.  One of the credit union managers said that I keep wishing that Faith could be a therapy dog----but that she already is, because if I take her in on a Friday when the tellers are more apt to feel a bit frazzled and they get to hold her, even for 1-2 minutes, they say they can feel their blood pressure dropping.  Go, Faith!
She is here sporting her new harness. I wanted something easy to be able to throw on her (or say, throw her into?) if we have to bug out due to a tornado warning.  Sounds dumb, but this is after all the Midwest...... you can see she is enjoying herself immensely.  No, it was not hot out today----about 50 degrees....but her tongue comes out when she is excited, too.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Snow, sewing, and the BBC

Well it did snow a bit, still is----not sticking on the ground (yay!) but chilly chilly chilly.
I've been working on the (now 15) triangle bags, have five finished.  My thumbs are really hurting so I need a break. Knitting or crocheting are definitely out-----that's why I'm sewing.
I'm watching YouTube BBC documentaries.  I declare I probably know more of England's history than many Brits.  It isn't so much that I love their history-----I just find it pleasant to listen to. Barring the blood and gore, however......ahem.

Second seam set-up for triangle bag...this picture really helps me not make mistakes.
I've already thrown out 3-4 bags in the last month.  No more! Hurrah!

Five down, ten to go for the weekend.  Many of these will be paired
with projectbags.  They are really small and oddly enough make me giggle.

Zippers galore and more bags!

When I turned 55 a friend sent me 55 small zippers----I am enjoying them with the triangle bags. 

I'm posting a pic of the zipper collection I now have....the 14" ones come from, a sewing company. 

Until Feb. 28 if you buy two sets (25 various colors each) you get a third set free.
On the 14" zippers that works out to 26 cents each.  Added to fabric I already have, these bags (the larger project bags) make good and inexpensive gifts.

Who says it's too early to start on Christmas??????

The 7" zippers work out to 20 cents each.  I got the Wawak catalog from my hair stylist who is a quilter/seamstress.  She says the sale happens 3-4 times a year.

If you are a fiendish zipper fan or user, make sure to get in on the sale.

Probably 150+ zippers.....oh, the things I can make!!

Some recent project bags

Triangle bags prepped and ready.....after all, it's supposed to snow this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

tea dyeing merino sock yarn

I've dyed homespun wool before using coffee as well as KoolAid.  I don't think I've used tea...
This is a "doll blank" I knitted with KnitPicks Bare Merino sock yarn.  I used the magic cast on and a 40" circular size 1 needle.  I started with 8 sts. on each needle end and worked up to 16 sts on each needle end.
I knitted in the round until the entire piece measured 5".  I then cast off, leaving a 36" tail (to be used as the nose, and for closing the doll body).

It is a bit hard to see the difference---but the Constant Comment tea (one bag in 2-2 1/2 C hot water) left the yarn a delightful light tan/flesh color.
Now, on to doll designing!
Bare Merino, knitted up

Bare Merino, soaking for 30 min. in hot water-----no agitation!

In rinse water, after soaking in tea for about 15 minutes.

Finished Constant Comment tea-dyed doll blank......happy.
This is Constance. She is inspired by Maidolls, which can be found on Etsy.
I made a crocheted cap for her wig then added mohair for the braiding.
I also made her arms and legs double-yarned.  She will join the other smalls that I have in my collection.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Love

I never knew that love could just keep growing and growing when it comes to a dog....

Book Recommendation

Those of you who know me well know I rarely recommend a book.  My level of expectation is over-the-top---so I do especially apreciate books that speak to me when I find them.

This book was given to me yesterday by a local.  She said "I have something I think you might like" then pulled the book out of her tote box.

Her grandson, 11, was killed in July on a farming accident.  We talked about that a bit and she said, "Keep the book-----I hope it speaks to you."

I read it last night then read it over the phone to a friend who has recently been widowed.

If you know of anyone who has experienced loss or grief then I recommend this book highly.  The printing lends itself to being read to a child; but the story is age-less and I feel touches the soul deeply.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sam I Am! Green eggs and ham

These are the crocheted green eggs and ham I've done for Michele's second grade class---littles celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 2.....

The extra (small) sets go to Michele's girls....and Michele coveted a triangle bag for herself.


This knitted Hitty is Tree's......she does such wonderful work...this doll says "you can trust your secrets with me"------of paramount importance to me, a dolly Momma still...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Love Story

For the Love of dolls---and Love

This had to have taken  place in the 60s….I was between 6-8 yrs. old.

I had the two Flintstone dolls, Pebbles and Bambam…..among a plethora of other dolls but these two had taken center stage at this time.

One Sunday I decided to take the dolls to church with me.  When we started to walk into the church (always as a family, back then) my mother turned and said surely you don’t plan to take those in????  Put them back in the car!

She and the family promptly went in to the church.

I went to the parking lot which was full by now.  I put the dolls in our car and went into church.

When the services were over and we came out to go home, I started to panic.  Why were we getting into the station wagon?  Didn’t we take my father’s VW Bug to church?

Somehow I was able to communicate to my mother that I had placed my dolls----my babies!!----in the VW.  She kept saying “but we came in the station wagon”… the time we drove the 4 miles home I was in hysterics.  My dolls were gone, kidnapped by some foreign VW Bug!

I couldn’t be consoled; I must have cried myself to sleep, because the next morning I awoke with my dolls in my arms.  How on EARTH???

I discovered my dad had decided to look into matters and found that the church friends who owned the VW had left for Wisconsin immediately following the church services for a summer vacation camp (we lived near Chicago)….so he drove the three hours to the camp to retrieve the dolls, then the three hours home.  Dolls placed under my arms; done.

Some of my siblings told me for years that he did that because he was sick of hearing me rant on and on about my missing dolls.  (I think the family would have returned home in a week’s time.)

Two years before my dad died----which would be over 45 years after the doll incident-----I mentioned how grateful I was that he retrieved the dolls for me. (I had mentioned this numerous times throughout the years.) This time  I added, “Of course, the kids say it was because you were sick of hearing me cry on and on about it.”

The look on his face haunts me still.  He looked like he’d been unsuspectingly punched in the stomach….he sucked in his breath and said,

“No...I went and got them because I love you.”

I no longer have the dolls; but this picture is seared into my brain and I hope it remains clear until I go to the grave.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Worthy of Note

I came across this website many weeks back and recently checked it out again.
Lindsey Wheeler runs the site and small business; she is the quintessential "lemons to lemonade" woman in my book....
Check out her site and be encouraged.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Everests, smoking kitchens

Everest Three
Everest Four, hot off the needles this morning...

My KoolAid dyeing attempt
 I dyed wool with KoolAid in the early 90s....and set my kitchen on fire (okay, it went "WHOOSH" then extinguished itself).  Long story that still makes me shiver. So I bypass it. :)
Suffice it to say, this time I was more careful.  The KoolAid is safe; but last time I used nailpolish remover to clean the counter----while water was boiling....ahem......

Hanging my dyed mini hanks

One sock done.....the other will be started tonight.
I must put in a disclaimer here:  It takes me upward of two weeks to get one pair knitted.  The small work, needles, and yarn really do a number on the arthritis in my thumbs.  I have combined my pics here to try to keep my posts from being boring....I'd hate it to look as though I am cranking out socks each day!


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Thirty years later....Brook's Cap--my Valentine's gift to you

Brook and I are old friends; we go back to the late 80s.  She is also a fiber fanatic; she crocheted this cranberry cap when she was in her 30s (before we met) and didn't have a pattern.  She has mentioned it over the years and I finally pinned her down and made her send the cap to me.
We lived in the same community for 20 years.  I still feel I can safely say that we have talked daily for over 30 years.  That is not an seems to average out to that.
We used to even swap furniture---yes, you read that right.  She has been a widow for almost 20 years and we would find some poor unsuspecting soul (male, with muscles) and use her van or his truck and swap mostly couches, if I remember correctly.
When we tired of the furniture, we'd swap it back.  Those days still make me chuckle.
     The cranberry cap came on Thursday this week.  I grabbed what I felt was comparable thread and really went to work.  The ivory cap is the result.
I give the pattern to you as a Valentine's gift.  The rights are mine; please don't take credit for the pattern but you are welcome to work it up and do with as you wish.
    I sent it out to her with Friday's mail.  I am hopeful that it will fit; she has directives that if not, she is to send it back and I'll make it right.  She can read a pattern so I would change the pattern to fit her perfectly.

(PostScript:  She now has it and  I went back and shortened it to fit her better.  The pattern now represents that.  You can still make it longer (deeper) as the instructions explain.)

Brook’s Cap

copyright 2017
All rights reserved.


Bernat Handcraft size 5 perle thread, one 400 yd. ball
Size B crochet hook

This cap is worked from the crown down. 

Ch 5; sl st to first ch to form ring; ch 2.

Row 1:  Dc 12 dc in ring.   Sl st to first dc.  Ch 2. 

Row 2:Work 2 dc in next dc (you just sl stitched into this) and in each dc around ; sl st to first dc; (24 dc). Ch 2.

Row 3: *Work 1 dc in next dc; 2 dc in next dc….work from * around. (30 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 4: *Work 1 dc in each of next 2 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (36 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 5: *Work 1 dc in each of next 3 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (42 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 6: *Work 1 dc in each of next 4 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (48 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 7: *Work 1 dc in each of next 5 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (54 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 8: *Work 1 dc in each of next 6 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (60 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 9: *Work 1 dc in each of next 7 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (66 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 10: *Work 1 dc in each of next 8 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (72 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 11: *Work 1 dc in each of next 9 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (78 dc)  Ch 2.

Row 12: *Work 1 dc in each of next 10 dc; 2 dc in next dc…work from * around. (84 dc)  Ch 2.

This completes the crown; if you have a large head, continue on with the increases for a few more

Pattern Row 1: Work 1 dc in first dc; ch 3; *skip 3 dc; 2 dc in next dc; ch 3…work from * around.

You now have 2-dc groupings with 3-ch loops inbetween.  Sl st into first 3-ch loop.  Ch 2.

Pattern Row 2: Work 5 dc in each loop, skipping 2-dc groups.  Just work in loops.  Sl st to first

dc, sl st to third dc.  Ch 2.

Work Pattern Rows  1 and 2, six  more times.  Try cap on.  You have THREE final rows to complete; determine how “long” you want the cap to be making sure to consider the three rows you will work to finish cap.  Work additional Rows 1 and 2 if you need to for a better fit.

Row 1 on Finish: Instead of Ch 2 at end of previous Row 2 of pattern, Ch 3 (after joining round).

*Skip 2 dc; dc in next dc, ch 1; skip next dc; dc in next dc, ch 1; work from * around….join to 2nd of Ch 3.

Row 2 on Finish: Sl st into first ch-1 loop; ch 2, dc in same loop; *ch 3, skip next loop, 2 dc in next loop…work from * around to last loop, ch 2 and sl st to first dc.  Sl st into first loop and ch 2.

Row 3 on Finish: Work 4 dc in loop; *5 dc in next loop….work from * around…Sl st to first dc.  Leave a tail and weave in ends.

UPDATE 3-6-17
Brook says it is a perfect fit IF it is 1" shorter.  I will make note when I make a second one so I can tell her how many pattern rows I used for the perfect fit.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Friends at Christmas

Just received this pic of some friends for whom I did a bit of handwork at Christmas time.  The handmade mice were the biggest hit of all!


     It's 7:15 a.m. and I've been up for hours, knitting.
Faith patiently awaits our next great adventure while sleeping on the daybed.  Patient puppy.

I have been thinking the last while (translation: weeks) about what the loss of hope means.

Despair comes to mind; lost-ness, fear, worry....the great "it's dark and I'm afraid" feeling that can become a fulltime job before you know it has hit you.

I decided to write this post because I know of a few friends who are struggling with the loss of hope.  Wayward family members grieve their hearts; the longing to see the "wanderer return" is ever in their line of vision.

Where is God in all this?  I think He is in a different place than we expect to find Him.
I have found my own past year, by all accounts, "unsustainable"....which means I shouldn't be able to bear up without going looney on a momentary basis.

If you are one of my struggling friends, or someone I don't know----perhaps God glorifies Himself best in the seemingly unsustainable moments.  I plod on not because I am strong-willed...but because I continually cast my longing and pain on the only One who can make sense out of this unsustainability.  He is able to help me sustain, to not only keep going but to dare to believe His plans for my future are "yes and amen."

If you are very, very brave, perhaps you will embrace the pain He has allowed.  We Westerners run so quickly from pain.  It just might have a purpose that He plans to use to glorify Himself.  I know of what I speak.  My pain is something I must resolve to yet conquer every day.

Above all, He loves the wanderer more than we can fathom. 
Take heart, and hope, in that today.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Project bags

Here are a few project bags I've recently done. 

This is a small bag that will hold sock knitting.  I love how lightweight the bag is, it is easy to put over my wrist and redeem the time in bank lines!

Curious George (the older version) is one of my favorite characters. This bag is bigger, holding two worsted weight yarn cakes.  I'm knitting slippers with this yarn.  This bag is not fleece lined but does have deep boxed pleats at the bottom for standing on its own.