The Donut Debtor

Ever since the donut shop opened within easy walking distance of our house, Jasper has made a habit of walking over there to buy donuts for his breakfast every Wednesday morning. When an adult sibling is visiting, they are expected to get up early and go with him for a sibling bonding experience.

This morning, Flynn had offered to go with Jasper and buy enough donuts for all the donut-eating members of the family (everyone except Mary and me). They ran into a problem, however. The shop’s card-reading machine was not working and thus they could not accept Flynn’s credit card for payment. He did not have enough cash.

The owner was not concerned. Since Jasper is such a loyal customer, he said to go ahead and take the donuts and Jasper could just owe him $7 and bring it the next time he came in. How often does that happen these days? Credit from a donut shop?

Of course, I made sure to get Jasper over there with the $7 later this morning. I wanted the shop owner to know his trust had not been misplaced.

Mary was gone all morning visiting with a friend, and Spencer was at work, so it was a slow morning. We had planned to go to that new coffee shop/bookstore this afternoon, but when I looked it up I saw that it is closed until after New Year’s, so instead we stayed in and Flynn got the other kids playing a game he had brought. They had a good time.

I took Lucy out to buy a dress because she is going to a wedding on Saturday and she needs something to wear. She found something she can be happy with.

Later, I had to make an emergency yarn run. Yesterday Jasper had been outside having an airsoft battle with his neighborhood buddies, and when he came back in I saw that he was wearing my scarf. Now I have scarves that I wouldn’t mind him wearing, but this particular scarf is precious to me because it was given to me by my best friend when I was fifteen. It is the only thing I have from her, and I didn’t really want it to be worn by my teenage son.

He complained that he was forced to wear my scarf because he doesn’t have one of his own. I’m not sure how that happened. All my other kids were subjected to hand-knitted scarves from me quite early in life. Clearly, I could not let this injustice continue. So I hightailed it to the craft store and bought some yarn. He wanted “camo” yarn so I got the closest I could. It is now seven inches long.

 

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The Mystery of the Missing Gift & Guilt Gifting

I hope your Christmas was as enjoyable as ours. I was up early working on our big Christmas brunch. I haven’t figured out a way to sleep in on Christmas Day yet.

Eventually everyone got up and we had our brunch before opening gifts. I think everyone received at least one gift they really liked. But when the gifts had all been opened, I was puzzled. Jasper hadn’t opened one of his gifts from us, and it was nowhere to be found. I remembered wrapping it, but we couldn’t find it. We looked and looked and looked. Nothing.

It wasn’t until evening that I thought to look in my sewing room, where I had originally stashed some gifts. That’s when I realized how dishonest my memory can be. I had NOT wrapped Jasper’s gift. It was still there, in the bag from the store!

I was just so relieved I could finally give it to him . . .

This afternoon we were able to have a video call with Mercy and Daniel, and watch them open the gifts we had sent them. It was good to see her looking so happy!

There were some gifts I gave this year that were motivated by guilt. Like the hammock straps I gave Spencer, because I had given him a hammock for his birthday, but it didn’t come with any straps that would enable him to use it!

And maybe you remember that last week I was frantically working on a project that had to be done by Wednesday afternoon. That project was making a Japanese kimono for Mercy—something I had promised her for Christmas six years ago.

In my defense, there were several road blocks. I bought the silk for the kimono and had it on hand six years ago, but when I went to cut it out, I discovered that it needed lining. There was no option for making it unlined. So I had to wait until I could save up for more silk for the lining. (If you’re going to go to all that trouble, you might as well use the right fabric.)

At some point I did cut the thing out, but when I started reading the instructions I found them virtually impenetrable. I took the first tentative steps, but then gave up in frustration. I didn’t want to mess up with all that expensive silk.

So I’ve had this kimono hanging over my head for six years. I really wanted to finally make it for Mercy, so this time I did some research and found out that lots of people found the pattern very difficult to follow. I found a YouTube tutorial on how to do the sleeves, which had stumped me before.

I spent three days working on this project and in the end I succeeded. Today I got to watch her open it and see the expression on her face when she realized what it was! She had to wait a long time for that gift!

Mercy's Kimono

The guilt gifting prize, though, belongs to a gift I gave Mary. When Mary was eight years old, we were deep into our Little House on the Prairie days, and Mary wanted a “little house” type dress. I bought some pretty blue and white fabric and prewashed it . . . and never got around to making the dress.

By the time the guilt started getting to me, she was long past the age when she had any interest at all in a dress of that type. So, four or five years ago I had the bright idea of using some of the fabric to make a fleece-lined throw. I bought fleece in a coordinating color . . . and then I did nothing. Until Saturday, that is. I laid out those fabrics and made a blanket from them and then tied the two layers together with yarn.

I blush to disclose the fact that Mary is currently 26 years old. She had to wait 18 years for me to make her something from that fabric. We’re calling it the guilt blanket now.

We finished off the day with the traditional turkey dinner, a Christmas movie, and dessert. Lina made a pecan pie and Mary made a fabulous raspberry trifle. My daughters are great cooks!

Sewing, Writing, and Roasting

I’m pretty happy with today. I finished a sewing project which was my big goal of the day, and got some writing and music stuff done. (Hit my word count goal.) I finished a knitting project too.

I also broke in a new appliance. I got one of those round glass convection ovens because it was dirt cheap and I’ve heard other people rave about them. I used it to roast a chicken, which is supposedly something it excels at.

It did do a good job of roasting the chicken, but it took much longer than expected. One of the selling points of these ovens is that they are so much faster than regular ovens. My chicken took an hour and a quarter to be fully cooked, instead of the promised half an hour, and at a temperature of 480°! That is not much faster than a conventional oven, and I think it heated my kitchen up even more. So at this point, I am kind of skeptical. It might be a nice “extra” to have when cooking holiday dinners. And I suppose if I wanted to make a fancy dinner in a hotel room, I could . . .

School & Sewing

Can you believe it’s the end of August already? This has been a weird month for us since it has been unseasonably cool and wet. August is normally my least favorite month of the year, but this year it hasn’t been too bad.

Today was all about getting ready for and teaching my first class of the school year. I have ten students this year—my biggest class ever. Unfortunately, two of them were unable to come today. I think we got off to a pretty good start. We covered a lot of ground.

After class was over, I had to do a job I truly loathe. I had to re-hem something I had already hemmed. It was my own fault, which made it even less enjoyable!

Let me explain. When you’re tall, you learn to accept certain realities.  A garment that is described as “long-sleeved” will never be more than three-quarter-length sleeved for you. A “mini-dress” will be a tunic, and not even a very long one. And a “maxi” dress will in fact be a “midi” if you’re lucky.

Two years ago I ordered a dress that was billed as an “extra-long” maxi. I knew better than to think it would be long enough for me, so I also ordered some matching fabric. I wanted to wear the dress to the costume banquet at Realm Makers. So I dyed it a color that I preferred to the only color it came in, and I added a fabric border. (Which always looks lame because the dress wasn’t designed to have a border.) Apparently, I did not have a daughter around to help me get the length right, for when I put the dress on after adding the border, it was too long. Really, really too long.

However, I was out of time. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. In the spare moments I had before the banquet, I sewed some beads onto the dress and hoped for the best. I had one of the most annoying nights of my life—holding up the dress, tripping on the dress, kicking the dress out of my way. By the end of the evening I was ready to rip the thing up—but I didn’t.

I have not worn it since, because I knew I was going to have to re-hem it and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it. But this weekend I am going to a Renaissance faire, and I really want to wear that dress. I have been sewing more and more beads on it this week, knowing that my efforts would be pointless if I didn’t also tackle the hem.

So today I tackled it. I had to cut 5 inches of fabric off the bottom of the dress, and then the hem itself raised it by another inch and a half. So it is now almost 7 inches shorter than it was, but it is still plenty long. I got a tiny taste of what it’s like to be petite and have to hem stuff up all the time. I still think it beats being tall, because no matter what you do you can’t magically lengthen something and have it look the way it was intended to look.

 

False Alarm

After all the fear and anticipation, it looks like the hurricane will not be coming our way after all. This is good for us, but I almost wish it would head this way and give those near Houston a break. When I went to Walmart this evening, I saw a couple of guys with a pickup truck pulling a boat. They were filling both the boat and the pickup bed with emergency supplies to take south.

Today was a fairly normal school day. Little by little, we are adding to our schedule until we are fully up to speed.

This afternoon I watched a movie with Lina and got a lot of beads sewn onto a dress I hope to wear this weekend. I have time to do that now because I finished the knitting project I had been working on for the last few weeks. Now I have to think about what my next “big” knitting project will be. Last year I made hats for so many people. Maybe I should finally make a hat for myself!

A Helping Hand

Today was Friday, which meant grocery shopping at Aldi. As always, it was an interesting people-watching experience.

I got a little farther on my sewing and spent quite a bit of time revising a story that has been languishing for some time.

After lunch I received a surprise phone call from the son of my friend Robin. I don’t think I had seen him since his wedding a year and a half ago. His wife was working on a crochet project and she had run into a snag. He wondered if I might be able to help. I was willing to try, but I always worry that others think I am better at crafting than I actually am!

So they came over here and I looked at the pattern and after looking to see if there were any pattern corrections online, I realized the pattern had an error in it. This happens more often than you might think. Once we identified and corrected the error, she was good to go. She should easily finish her project before her deadline.

After that it was more sewing and revising, and going to the store to pick up a few things for an upcoming class. The store I went to was Michael’s. I was not prepared for the fact that it is mum season again. There was a whole aisle stuffed full of mummery.  Not to mention all the Halloween displays. *sigh*

I made pizza for Walter and Jasper, since Spencer is in Dallas for the day (and night) and Lucy is working. I rarely feel tempted by pizza anymore because it really does make me ill.  I do miss it though . . .

Something Practical, Something Pretty

I’m trying to take advantage of my crafting momentum and get as much stuff made as possible before the school year starts, because once I get busy with school, I know that there won’t be much time for sewing or knitting.

Today I cut out the straps and pockets for the aprons, and got the straps all sewn. I also did a bunch of revising, some other paperwork, and made some really good stir-fry for supper. At least I heard it was good.

So the aprons are going to be cool and all, but also very practical. Today I took a break from sewing to make something that was more on the “ornamental” side of things. I dug out a very small portion of my bead stash and made a “necklace” to hold an I.D. holder which I bought and modified:

7-27-17 ID necklace

I hate those stick-on name badges because my hair always gets stuck in them. And a chain won’t work because of my metal sensitivity. So I wanted to have a generic I.D. holder that I could use whenever I go to meetings where they want me to wear a name badge. Now I have something that doubles as a piece of jewelry. And, because I had some glow-in-the-dark beads left over, it glows in the dark too. Well, it’s really more of a glimmer, but still pretty cool.

I also worked on chording a new hymn. It is the favorite hymn of a friend of mine, but it is not included in the hymnbook we use at church, so I had to find it in another hymnbook and get the chords all figured out. Now I can’t stop humming it!

I’m trying so hard not to feel sorry for myself but I can’t say I succeed a hundred percent of the time. I really wish I was in Reno at the Realm Makers conference right now.

 

Back to Sewing

Well, now that those two labor-intensive cloaks are out of the way, I can start working down my very long list of stuff waiting to be made. The first step was to get the green thread out of my serger so I could serge the raw edges before washing and drying several pieces of fabric. Since I will be needing black thread next, I went to put black thread in my serger and found out I was missing a cone of black thread (it takes 4 cones). I have no memory of using up a cone of black thread, but it was gone!

So I serged the fabric with 2 black and 2 green cones and then got the fabric in the wash before making an emergency run to buy more black thread. Now my serger is ready to go, the fabric has been washed and dried, and the pattern chosen. I will be making at least 5 aprons in the next few days. A couple of them are literally years overdue!

I also did some paperwork and some housework and some writing. In fact I revised a short story and submitted it to the online magazine that published one of my stories last year. I am terrible at remembering to keep sending my work out.

In addition, I knitted some rows on my new and very boring project, did some reading, and watched most of a YouTube lecture. And worked out the chords for the hymn I posted on Sunday. I love my autoharp so much.

Relief and Recreation

What a relief it was to finish the beading on the cloak last night! I’ve had a couple people ask me to remind them what the cloak is for.

This is the fourth year in a row that I have made and contributed a cloak to the raffle at the Realm Makers conference. (The first year, there was no raffle that I remember.) The raffle is to raise money for scholarships for the conference. Each year I have made and named a cloak. The Radagast cloak came first, followed by the Sapphire cloak and then the Desert Assassin cloak. This year’s cloak, the Ethereal Enchantress cloak, will not be delivered in person as I cannot afford to go to the conference this year.

So this afternoon I drove forty-some miles to the home of a lucky writer friend who is going to the conference, and gave her the cloak to take with her. I am looking forward to finding out who wins it.

Today, since I was done beading, I went grocery shopping as usual in the morning. After lunch my friend Robin came over for a visit. I hadn’t seen her for at least two months! It was good to get caught up.

As soon as Robin left, I had to dash off to deliver the cloak, and once that was taken care of I drove to another town to visit my dear friend Sybil. We had a lovely visit and went out for supper and then back to her house to visit some more. It is hard to stop talking when you only see each other about once a year.

Now I’m back home and waiting for Lucy to text me that she’s ready to be picked up from work . .

 

All Beads, All Day

My original concept for the cloak featured lots of beading on all the vertical seams. Because the cloak itself took so long to construct, I had to scale back my beading plan. I have to deliver the cloak tomorrow to a friend who will take it to the conference, so I knew that whatever beading I did had to be done by tonight.

I’m actually pretty proud of how much I was able to do in two days. There are at least some beads on all the vertical seams, at the top and at the bottom. Hundreds and hundreds of beads. The cloak is much heavier now!

I did take a break to go to the gym with Jasper. I didn’t watch as much stuff because I realized it was slowing me down. I sew faster when not distracted by something to look at.

My “fit model” had offered to come back for a photo shoot when the cloak was done, but unfortunately she wasn’t feeling well today and it had to be today or never. So I pressed Janet into service and made her put on a pretty dress and meet me on campus shortly before sunset because I wanted to get that lovely light.  I actually wasn’t quite done beading yet, but I had to take the photos while I had the light!

This is only the second full circle cloak I’ve ever made, and the last one was smaller and the body was made of only 2 pieces instead of 15. And, not that I’m keeping track or anything, but this is cloak #47. I have at least 3 more planned.

Parting Shot:

EE 3

You can see that there are some white beads mixed in with the coordinating green beads. The white beads glow in the dark!

EE 4 hood

The front edge of the hood is also beaded.

EE 6