Mission Accomplished

If you’ve been reading this journal for long, then you may have noticed that I tend to sew in spurts. I can’t seem to find time to fit in a few minutes of sewing in my daily life, so every now and then I work really hard on a project for hours or days until I get it done.

Because I start teaching again next week, and because I’ve done so much traveling recently, I knew today was going to have to be a sewing day if I was going to do what I had committed to do—make some sheets for the baby bed I took to Flynn and Tiffany last month.

I had all the materials. All my fabric had been prewashed. Still, I had other things I had to do this morning, including running a couple of errands, so I didn’t even get the table all the way cleared for cutting out until noon. And I still had to do all the math to figure out what size rectangles I needed to cut.

Since this bed takes a cradle-sized mattress, I had to measure the mattress, figure out how the sheet would cover it, and add seam allowances, etc. Fortunately, I have a mattress here that goes with the cradle, because it would be really hard to fit the sheets properly without it.

The first sheet was a prototype and fit a little too snugly, so I made adjustments before cutting any more out. Once I had it all figured out, I could form an assembly line of sorts. Cutting out, ironing, serging, sewing, etc. I had to take several little breaks because nonstop sewing is really hard on my back and shoulders these days. During my breaks I worked on vocabulary for my students.

My goal was to get six sheets cut out and sewn today, and I did it. Whew! I know it doesn’t seem like much. Sheets are not complicated. These particular sheets are designed like an envelope with an overlap on the bottom, so they can’t come off the mattress no matter how wiggly a baby might be. But simple or not, it still took me all afternoon and much of the evening to get them done. I made four flannel sheets and two that are plain cotton.

In addition, I cut out a blanket and 8 burp cloths which I hope to assemble soon. I felt I had to take advantage of having the table cleared off, and cut out as much stuff as possible.

So for once I feel like I had a pretty productive Saturday. Meanwhile, Jasper did some blacksmithing with a couple of friends this morning and then helped fix a car and went out for coffee. Lucy and Tanner went to a wedding and then went out for coffee too. Walter did some work around the house this morning, but he is still pretty sick so he spent most of the afternoon napping. I think this illness is dragging on so long because he doesn’t get enough rest, so I’m glad he was able to today. Now that my sewing is done, I am looking forward to resting my aching back . . . .

Closing the Door on 2019

So here it is the last day of the year. I feel like I should post something really profound, as a couple of my offspring have already done, but honestly I’m just not up to it. I apologize for my long silence. I did not have internet access except on my phone during my trip and my days in Tennessee. I arrived home at about 8:00 this evening.

I will try to gather my thoughts and post something about my trip tomorrow—after all, I process things by writing about them! But tonight, I thought I’d just reveal a couple of things I mentioned without telling you what they were.

First, I never showed you the amazing gingerbread mansion that Lucy and Tanner made before Christmas:


Secondly, I never showed you the big project that I poured so much effort into in the days before I left for Colorado. It was a Christmas stocking for Flynn’s wife Tiffany. As I’m sure I have mentioned before, elaborate stockings are a family tradition that I started back when I had a lot more time. Normally making one of our family stockings takes me 2-3 weeks of working a couple hours a day. So having to do almost all the work in three days was very demanding.

The beaded angel. All our girls’ stockings have angels on them.

If you’re not a crafter, no doubt you wonder what could possibly be so time-consuming about making something like this. If you are a crafter, you know exactly how time-consuming it can be!

The final project I mentioned but didn’t show you was a photo book I put together for my parents, celebrating their 65 years of marriage. I included a few wedding photos, some photos of our family over the years, and plenty of photos taken at their anniversary celebration back in June.

Here’s a wedding photo I included:

And here’s a photo of us all at the nursing home yesterday:

In a little while we’ll go outside with sparklers and a sky lantern, and say goodbye to 2019.

Yarn & Books

Today started like every weekday does at the moment, with me getting ready for my essay class. Shortly after it ended, Lina arrived to have lunch with us! She had to come into town to do some business, so she considerately came today so she could also help me with the yarn classes—and boy did I need help!

We had two first-timers today who wanted to learn to crochet, and several others who were crochet beginners. Plus several kids who still need help with knitting, and a couple of crochet prodigies who were ready for more challenging projects! It was a very intense couple of hours.

When yarn class ended, I took Lina to the bank to take care of some stuff and then we continued on to the bookstore as she had some books to drop off. And then, to my amusement, she bought one of the very books that I had dropped off yesterday!

We came to the house and I kept Lina company while she ate supper, and then she retrieved her laundry from the dryer and headed on home. It was good to see her and hear how she and her cat are settling into their apartment.

My new sandals arrived via UPS today. I will try not to launch into a jeremiad about my shoe woes, but the reality is that finding shoes that fit and are comfortable is just about impossible for me. But my one pair of walking sandals have just about worn out after some 15 years, and I know I’m going to need something to walk in on my trip.

So I ordered some new leather sandals from Amazon. Of course, I had to get men’s sandals because the ladies’ shoes don’t come in my size. (I had a specific brand I wanted because that’s what my old sandals are and they’ve been pretty comfortable and functional for many years.) I wore the new sandals for about an hour and they are definitely going to need some breaking-in. The footbed is very comfortable but the straps rub in a couple of places.

When Jasper got back from church this evening I made him take a few minutes to shoot some crochet videos for me so I can post them for my students. He hates doing it but he’s the only videographer I’ve got!


I wish I could report to you that I finished sewing my “practice” dress. I haven’t even started. All I did is get it cut out. There is too much going on!

Yesterday we went to church. During the summer we continue to go early even though there is no Sunday School—for us, anyway. The youth still meets so we go early to get Jasper to his class and then we have an hour to sit around and read while waiting for the service. I kind of miss Sunday School.

In the afternoon I taught Jasper how to make lasagna, at his request. I sat beside him and talked him through it while I made a pan of low-carb lasagna using spinach instead of noodles. Both kinds turned out pretty well! Spencer and Jade came for supper as usual, so I even made keto garlic bread.

After supper we watched documentary about Apollo 11 while I worked on my knitting. I had hoped to finish that project last night, but instead I finished it this morning at about 7:30.

It’s a vest. I made it in four days while doing a lot of other things too. If I knitted nonstop I bet I could have made it in two days! This is possible when the pattern calls for size 17 needles—even when you make it at least eight inches longer than the pattern specifies. My original thought was that I might take it on my trip. However, now that I’ve got it, I realize it is both bulky and heavy and I don’t want to travel with it because it is so big, I’d have to wear it on the plane. I will look forward to wearing it here in winter.

Also, notice I am posing in front of our ivy again. I’m trying to take advantage of it while we still have it. We will soon be forced to pull it all down if we want to keep our house insured.

Lina left this morning to take a carload of her stuff down to her new apartment in Nacogdoches. She also had her internet installed while she was there. Wednesday is her actual moving day. She was back in town to help Walter one last time at the daycare center this evening.

I spent the morning preparing for class and grading papers and making goodies for recess and trying to track down and eliminate the smell in the kitchen. (It’s much better now.) Then my students arrived and we talked a lot about using dialog in stories.

After class I just had to go to Walmart to get a few things for an event my husband has tomorrow, and make supper. And I finished another knitting project! It was just a dishcloth. I am trying to slowly build up my stash of dishcloths again. Now I just have one project on the needles, but it is a big one and I am trying to resist the temptation to cast on a new project right away . . .

A Busy Day

Today was the first time in a month I was able to do my regular grocery shopping at my regular time on Friday morning. It will be another month before I can do it again, but it was nice to get it out of the way this morning. Meanwhile, my husband was getting a lot of yard work done.

As soon as we got the groceries put away, Lina and I headed up to the yarn store. We always go in January and July, because those two months everything in the store is on sale for 20% off. And I actually wanted to look for yarn because I thought I was getting some on Ebay and was outbid at the last moment!

When we returned home, I had two chickens to cook and pick for a meal I’ll be making in the future. I just like to have that job done ahead of time as it is my least favorite part of any chicken recipe. And I enjoyed a phone call with a dear friend.

I also indulged myself be doing quite a bit of knitting on my new project, and then I made pizza. Once again I have neglected my sourdough starter and had to revive it before I could make the dough for the crust. I need to start scheduling sourdough recipes on a regular basis. It’s hard to remember to do it when you live a grain-free lifestyle and don’t really think in terms of bread anymore. Maybe I’ll make crumpets tomorrow if anyone wants them . . .

Walter and Jasper did their yard jobs today because one of their clients is hosting an event tomorrow. It was very hot but they got done quickly because the grass was dry.

Lina spent the afternoon with a friend before joining us for supper. Afterward we had a family movie night and I worked on both of my current knitting projects. (Actually there is a third project that’s languishing because the others are more urgent.) Sometimes I wonder if I’d bother to watch videos at all if I wasn’t able to knit at the same time!

Parting Shot:

Jasper’s been working outdoors for about a month now. Can you tell which arm is his and which is mine?

Starting Over

How was your Independence Day? Ours felt kind of like a Saturday. Walter went to work on floors. I cut Lina’s hair, then later took Jasper to Walmart to get some work pants, since he ripped the ones he was wearing yesterday.

I also did a bunch of knitting while waiting for Jasper to get up—on the project I started last night. And just as I used up the last of the first skein of yarn, I realized I had been following instructions for the wrong size and in fact had cast on the wrong number of stitches. Grrr! I had to rip out all my hard work and start all over again. I hate it when that happens.

Lina and I watched some Netflix while I worked on re-knitting what I had already knitted, and she worked on sorting all of our playing cards. We had a drawer full of card decks left over from chai party days. She was able to put together 17 complete decks of cards! I think some of them will be going to a thrift store. I certainly can’t imagine ever needing that many again!

I made homemade ice cream and corn on the cob and cauliflower “potato” salad. I chickened out of grilling the sausages out in the heat though, especially as there were only three of us. Spencer and Jade had other plans, and Jasper was invited over to a friend’s house for the evening.

We finished up by watching a video while Lina and I knitted, and then I cut out some pattern pieces in hopes that I’ll be able to cut out fabric tomorrow. I have an idea for a dress design but I needed a pattern to base it on. Of course, I still have a jillion things to do before I start teaching again next week . . . .

The Wrong Kind of Tea

Today as I was driving Jade to our house to help with my knitting classes, we passed a business that advertised itself as a “tea and water” company. I was stunned. Could our redneck town have actually acquired a classy tea shop?

The answer is no. Upon researching the establishment in question, I discovered that they sell various flavors of sweet and unsweet iced tea. I do not drink any variety of cold tea so this place is no longer of any interest to me. *sigh* And yes, that does make me a failure as a Texan.

So anyway, I had my paragraph class this morning and then picked up Jade and brought her back in time for lunch. My two knitting classes have developed distinct personalities over the last month. The first class is the extrovert class. They are almost all talkers and on the loud and rowdy side. Today’s class felt like barely contained pandemonium. At least most of the kids have begun to master the basics of knitting and several have finished their dishcloths.

The second knitting class was a change of pace. The kids were focused, polite and quiet. They patiently waited for help when they needed help. No one yelled. It gave me a chance to recover from the first class!

After taking Jade home I had a well-deserved cup of (hot) tea and made supper so Jasper could eat before he went to church. After dropping him off, I had a very quiet walk in the gym. Tomorrow I only teach one class!

New Knitters

Whew! What a day! Today was the first time for my two knitting classes to meet. Because I had so many interested kids, I asked Lina to help me and boy was I glad to have her! The first class was a more manageable size, but the second class was very large and it was pretty intense. The kids were all adorable—even the teenagers. Both classes had very little time to start on actual knitting because it took a while for everyone to get their stitches cast on. I didn’t get a precise head count but I know we had at least 20 kids altogether.

I took Jasper to youth group for the last time until fall. I think they are planning some special activities during the summer, but not regular meetings.

I also finally got things set up for Jasper’s birthday camping trip this weekend. His birthday was in April but this coming weekend was the first one available for a camping trip with his buddies. The lake we had planned as the location didn’t work out—I couldn’t get the campsite to answer the phone and in fact I have reason to believe the whole place might be underwater. So I came up with a new plan and found them a campsite that is actually quite a bit closer to home, which means less driving for me.

Today was my first day back in the gym since returning from our trip. The gym was closed on Monday and yesterday I had my meetings. I like going to the gym in summer because I usually have the track to myself. The downside is that the gym closes at 8:00 so I have to make a real point of getting there in time to finish my walk!


My life is not slowing down. As I told my friend Darlene, I feel like I am being forced into a high-energy life when I am not at all a high-energy person!

My main task today was to get as far as possible with my editing job before meeting with the client again. It is tedious, slow work, because he is very exacting about what he wants the citations to look like and what information he wants them to contain. I’ve just about made up my mind to edit only fiction from now on . . .

But anyway, today’s meeting was shorter and quite positive, and I have hopes that I can finish the job sometime this weekend.

Then I had to put gas in the car and go up to Hobby Lobby to stock up on sale yarn. My charity crafting group was meeting tonight and I wanted to have a new project to start. I picked out some lovely yarn to make a prayer shawl for a friend who is walking through some very deep valleys right now.

I left Lina in charge of supper and drove to my craft group. There were only three of us tonight. I cast on my prayer shawl, and the other two worked on turning plastic shopping bags into “plarn” to be used in making sleeping mats for the homeless. I got a good start on my shawl.

Now all I have to do is finish making my grocery list and do a little more reading for my class. Tomorrow’s going to be busy too.


FINALLY I have been able to move my sewing machine out of the dining room. The blanket is done! I did a lot of work on it today, and the binding didn’t meet my standards, but hey—sewing binding on something very large and heavy is quite a challenge and I figure it won’t affect the performance of the blanket, right?

This morning I anxiously called the yarn store and this time I received an answer. Turns out the reason it was closed last week was that both of the sweet sisters were in the hospital! The older one is still in rehab after a nasty fall, but Lina and I hightailed it up there to commiserate with the younger sister and check out the sale. Neither one of us left empty handed.

I want to share some brilliant technology with you. If you sew, you’re going to love it. For the last couple of years, I have had difficulties threading the needle of my sewing machine due to my “mature” eyesight. It is hard for me to even see the eye of the needle.


When I started working on this big project, during which I’d have to thread my machine multiple times, I was desperate to find something that would make the job easier. My machine actually has a needle-threading doohickey, but using it requires having three hands, and I only have two, so I virtually never bother with it. However, I hit on a solution which works very well with the number of hands I already have. It’s a little piece of white paper that I cut from a 3×5 card. I hold it behind the needle thusly:


See how much easier it is to see the eye? I haven’t had any problem threading that needle since I started using this marvelous invention!

The blanket was so difficult to handle because of its weight, that when it was finished I couldn’t resist weighing it. Since it is too large to just put on the scale by itself, I weighed myself first (no longer a scary ordeal) and then had my husband drape the blanket over my shoulders so I could weigh myself again. I staggered into the bathroom and stepped on the scale, made a note of the number, and staggered back out to the dining room to get that heavy burden off me.

I sat down to do the math and discovered that the blanket weighs 36 pounds. It felt like a hundred! (Most weighted blankets are not that heavy. If Lucy was a foot shorter, as many women are, this blanket would be much too heavy.) But here’s my point. As I dragged myself to and from the scale with that heavy blanket on me, I struggled to walk. Yet two years ago, I carried around more than three times that much weight on my body all the time. No wonder I feel so much better now. It was a sobering moment. It helped me to realize how far I’ve come—and why I never want to go back.

In other news, my family undecorated and took down the Christmas tree while I finished up my sewing project. Now my chair is back in the corner where it belongs! Maybe tomorrow I can tackle my teacup tree . . .

Parting Shot:


The finished (and very heavy) blanket.