Friday, June 10, 2022

Time Flies...

 I just checked to see when I posted last and it was in March!  Oh well, they say time flies when you're having fun!  Although they also say once you're over the hill you pick up speed.  👀

It seems like just last week it was Easter, and now here it is the middle of June.  What have you been doing?  I don't know about you but it doesn't seem like I've done much, until I start writing it down.

I joined the YMCA with Silver Sneakers and I'm going there three times a week.  I found two classes that I really like and that aren't killing me (eye roll here if you like!).  I'm doing senior yoga twice a week.  There is no getting down on a mat, as many of us would need a crane to get back up.  My knees will not tolerate much abuse anymore.  But doing the exercises from a standing or sitting position gives me just enough stretching and balance to challenge the muscles without pain.

The second class is called Silver Sneakers Circuit.  Why it's a circuit I'm not sure, but we work all the major muscle groups while moving to upbeat music.  Our leader is great at keeping us moving without hurting anything.  She always says 'do what you can do'.  Great advice at any age!  I already feel better and both classes are benefitting my left knee which had a meniscus repair three years ago, and my right that need something since it's nearly out of cartilage!

The Y that I am frequenting is newer, large and very clean.  There's a day care for parents who are working out, and multiple rooms and pools.  I'm not yet brave enough to put on a bathing suit, so just floor exercises for me.  It'll be interesting to see whether my A1C goes down... fingers crossed!

The knitting is going well.  I am signed up to teach a class next week on a very cute baby sweater.  

It's called Norwegian Fir.  It's a paid-for pattern you can find on Ravelry.  I was drawn in by the cute raglan increase rows that have the look of branches on a fir tree.  It's not hard but the pattern is many, many, many pages due to the way it was written.  It took me a bit to figure out the system the designer was using.  I ended up making a spreadsheet instead of using the written directions.  Good old Excel!!  Never lets me down.  That's my math brain speaking.  I'm making another one in this lovely dark teal.

I also made some knitted bangle bracelets.  That's a free pattern on Ravelry.  They take about 4-5 grams of yarn and are made on small double pointed needles, kind of like a sock.  They're worked in stockinette stitch so they naturally roll up into a tube,  and you can make them in about 18 1/2 minutes!


I found the pattern for this cute sailor sweater in an old knitting book from the early 1990s.  I made it for a friend who's gifting it to a little girl who's just turned two.  It was very fun to knit and I learned the technique for making that rolled sailor collar on a v-necked sweater.  Also the color work was fun.  Those are small anchors along the bottom.

Our group at Church made two quilts for the preschool with their Letter Q handprint blocks.  Every year the four-year-olds go through the alphabet and when they get to Q they make a hand print on muslin to be made into a quilt.  I made the one on the left and my friend Gretchen made the one on the right.  They get auctioned off for a special project for the school.  They made the sign that calls us the famous Loving Hands Quilters.  LOL!  You can't miss with cute handprints!

The group also made many other quilts.  We recently donated the four quilts above to the Silent Auction for Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  The proceeds benefit the synod mission efforts, planting and supporting churches and programs in many places around the world.  The top two are adult sized and the bottom two are

The auction starts on June 12 and can be viewed HERE if you'd like a peek.  

In May I went to the grand opening party for the Nancy Zieman Productions Quilt Studio and Museum in Beaver Dam WI. I went specifically to see the evening presentation from the Midwest YaYa Sisters, Rita Farro and Mary Mulari.  Unfortunately Mary had to miss as she and her husband had just been diagnosed with Covid, but Rhonda Pierce from Schmetz Needles was there to help.  Here she is modeling some of Rita's Frankensewing, as she calls it when she makes a 'new to her' garment from several that may not fit her.  Isn't this one fabulous!

Rita's had a tough year.  She was dealing with her husband's illness and planning a move to a more adaptive home when he died.  She says sewing saved her life and sanity.  It was good to see her again.  She's in my prayers, as are many of my friends.

I made a cute bug pillow for a local nonprofit group.  It was a free pattern that required five fat quarters.  I changed the pattern to have six legs instead of four, because bugs have six legs and some child with a literal mind or an interest in science might notice!  It was fun to make, and I plan to make one or two more.

Wow, that's enough for now!  It's time for lunch.  Hope you're having a great summer.

Craft on...

Monday, March 21, 2022

First Day of Spring, or NOT?

It may be meteorological spring, but here in Wisconsin winter hasn't gone around the corner yet!  We can still see Old Man Winter with our peripheral vision.  That door doesn't close until Memorial Day... or maybe the 4th of July!  

This picture was from the June of 1957.   I'm in the center sitting on the sidewalk.  My sister is on my mom's lap, and her sister JoAnne is holding a light jacket on her lap so I know it was cool that day.  You can see that my cousin Denise is wearing a hat and a sweater.  It might have been a Sunday, since we're so dressed up and my brother David looks pretty clean.  

I'm pretty sick of cold and snow right now.  I was out last week on a couple of very windy, cold days.  The dampness gets into your bones and makes live miserable sometimes.  I can understand why people go to Florida or Arizona in the winter.  But if you only go for a short vacation, doesn't it feel hard to come back to bleh?

My aunt and cousin went on a cruise in February.  They were in the Caribbean, they visited Honduras and the Bahamas.  They said it was wonderful until they got off the plane after returning and they didn't have their winter coats!

Snowbirds do it better I think,  they leave just before it gets really cold and they come back just before it gets really nice.  However, I wonder if I'd like living somewhere so warm in what should be winter.  What excuse would there be to curl up on the couch with a book while the fireplace burns?  Or to stay in for three days because the roads are all snow covered and slippery?  Ha!  

Nope.  Winter in Wisconsin is not for sissies, so I guess I'll just tough it out until something better comes along.

First day of spring?  Not at all... regardless of what the groundhog said last month, it ain't over until it's over!

Rock on...

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Civic Duty and Other Things

Last week I had jury duty.  I deeply believe that we should all be good citizens and do our civic duty.

But UGH!  The experience was so awful!

I have to say my hubby may be right when he says the world is populated by idiots.  Evidently a lot of them live in my area.

Criminals are not known as the most intelligent segment of the population.  But honestly, half the people who were witnesses in the trial I was picked for were not much more erudite.  And some people say the more intelligent you are, the better your excuses are to get out of jury duty!  

Well, I didn't.  Get out of serving, I mean.

Jury selection was interesting.  Three dozen people showed up.  We were numbered, in some mysterious order known only to the bailiffs.  We lined up and the first 21 were seated in the jury box area.

I was number 22.

Questions were asked and answered.  One person stated that they were unable to set aside a prior experience to give a fair and impartial opinion.  The judge excused that person.

The judge said "Number 22, please replace the excused juror."  Or words to that effect.

OK, more questions asked and answered.  The judge said "We will now do jury selection, or more like deselection.  If your name is called, please stand."

My name was not called.  Those standing left.  Dismissed.  For the next FOUR years.

So, on to testimony, witnesses, the whole nine yards.  The rest of the day was very interesting.  The defense attorney was a large, loud brutish-appearing man, but he didn't seem uneducated.  The prosecutor bore a close resemblance to my oldest granddaughter.   Smart and beautiful all at once!

Some of the witnesses though.  Well, I have to give them a pass on total cluelessness, because the trial was for a crime committed in 2019.  Bad covid!  But really, would you not remember something as momentous as the theft of your property?

Oh, did I mention alcohol was involved?



I guess this serves as a life lesson.  Yes, there is bad out there.  And a whole lot of dumb and dumber.

And at the end of a couple of hours of what passed for deliberation, one very rude and obnoxious 19 year old and a couple of whatever the current name is for the school of "oh, the poor thing wasn't raised like us in a nice house and how could they possibly know that it was a CRIME??" managed to skew the concept of reasonable doubt, emphasis on reasonable.  I found myself in a minority.  Of one.

I caved.  I was unwilling to keep us all weekend, and unwilling to send back a no-verdict verdict and make the State do it all over again for the amount of money that was in question.

I believe right is right and wrong is wrong.  Actions should have consequences.  But I also believe in the Law of Diminishing Returns.

The defendant will be back in court I'm sure.  And probably sooner rather than later.  The cops will be waiting.  And the prosecutor will be more ready next time.

Rock on...

Monday, February 7, 2022

Monday Morning Musings

 As I'm typing this it's Monday morning and the sun is shining down furiously here in Southeast Wisconsin.  Which means it is colder than a -- well, you supply the rest of the metaphor as you wish!

Yesterday the high temperature was 40 degrees F.  It was almost balmy!  My youngest granddaughter and I went shopping after church and neither of us could bear to have a coat on in the car.  My car is dark gray with a black interior, and it heats up pretty nicely when the sun is shining.

The previous day the high was a single digit, but at least it was above zero.  Below freezing but above zero...boy howdy it's WINTER!

Today it's 23 but feels like 13, according to the current forecast.  


Rock on...

Friday, February 4, 2022

I Had An Idea...

But maybe I have Covid brain too!  The other day I was sitting on the couch thinking about something that I wanted to tell the Blog, but now that I'm sitting here ready to write I can't remember what it was.  Doesn't that happen more and more these days?  

I attended a virtual quilting retreat last weekend.  It was also a Mystery Sew-Along, where the clues were doled out one at a time and you had no idea what you were actually going to end up with for a quilt.  This is the second year in a row that this particular quilt shop was holding such a retreat, and I have to say that I had a little less anxiety over this one than I did last year.  I had a blast, and even though I made a few errors along the way, I think my blocks are coming out fine.

There's plenty to do before I'm done, but it's not a race!!  But I do think I'm stuck on blue quilt island for now, LOL!

I remembered what else I was going to write about!  I came across a sticker from a book I bought from a used previously owned book site.  Each book has a tag with a bar code and a 3-digit number.  I've been buying books there for several years.  If you spend $10 shipping is free, and every time you spend a certain amount you get a free book.  So I've had lots of stickers.

Each number is different, and they don't appear in any order.  I thought it might be fun to keep track of the numbers and use them for something - I have no idea what, but it might be interesting to see.  I guess you have to be a numbers person to even think that would be fun.  

Meanwhile back at the sewing studio, I need to get back to work.  There's a long way to go on this mystery.

Sew on...

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Beginning a New Year

 “Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.”

― Charles H. Spurgeon, All of Grace

Charles Spurgeon was a Calvinist preacher in England in the 1800s.  All of Grace was a book written by Spurgeon and published in 1885.  

I have heard and seen many times the statement above... begin as you mean to go on.  Ha ha!  I began this piece on New Year's Eve and now 22 days later I'm finally finishing it!  I hope that doesn't mean the whole year will be filled with missed deadlines.

I started 2022 with some sewing projects and some knitting projects.  I spent some time in my sewing studio, organizing and cleaning out some old stuff, and then sewing.  I made a blue knit top and wore it later that week.  It's good to be making garments again.  

After having my close encounter with hot chicken broth in November, I lost time on my knitting.  I had intended to make small projects for holiday gifts for the family.  I finished three pairs of fingerless mitts before the incident, one pair for my grandson with yarn that had a light reflective thread spun in.  

Once those mitts were done I couldn't wait to make some more, and each pair that was begun made me wonder what other color they could appear in.  They're like potato chips, you can't stop at one!

This is such an easy pattern!  
And it's fee on

The blue and gray pairs were gifted on Christmas Eve, and the purple are promised to my son's fiancé, Ms. A.  Another blue pair are finished for her daughter, Miss L.  

But then I could NOT stop!  Once the church ladies saw them, they said "oh, how much would I have to pay to get you to knit a pair for me?"  Goodness!  It's a good thing they're fast and fun, or that would be a chore.

See what I mean?  They pile up quickly!  I am learning about the yarns I'm using by doing the same pattern over and over, using the same size needles.  These are all DK weight yarns, and they are varying sizes depending upon the springiness of the yarn and the fiber content.  So far, the best are merino wool and merino blends, followed by Superwash wool which has a little less bounce.  For softness and shape retention they rate a 10 out of 10.

The yellow pair at the top of the stack is mystery yarn.  I didn't do a burn test but I think it might be acrylic or poly.  During blocking all of the others were easily shaped, but not the yellow.  That was the first clue.  The yarn was a gift, a partial skein with no ball band, and with it was a loose wad of eyelash yarn of the same color.  The giver is not a knitter and had gotten it from someone else.  Thus the mystery content.  But it knit up nicely and they are pretty.

I used one ball of silk and bamboo, which are very smooth and soft but tend to be loose and don't have a lot of shape retention.  They're beautiful but not very practical.  We'll see how warm they are too.

But for sheer brightness I think the winner is this neon yellow-green pair.  The yarn is Manos de Uruguay in the color Highlighter.  I bet you can't tell why!!  I think this might be the pair I'm keeping for me...

So I guess I did start as I mean to go.

Knit on...

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Baking For The Holidays

I love baking, and even though I'm not supposed to be eating too much sugar, I still enjoy it.  This year my families will go home with a tray of homemade cookies as my gift.  Since I have no idea what to buy people who want things and then go get them, it seems like the ideal solution.  None of them has the time to bake, but I do!

I have the fun of doing it, and other people will eat them and then take them away to remove the temptation.  Win win!

This year I've made six varieties so far:  chocolate chip, peanut butter, shortbread, chocolate chocolate chunk, oatmeal with dried cherries instead of raisins, and pecan tassies.  

Toll House Choc Chip

Choc Choc Chunk from a mix!

Mrs. Fields peanut butter cookies

Still to come are: Mexican wedding cakes, potato chip cookies, and sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles.  Those will probably happen over the next two days.  The sugar cookies are slated for the day Miss A starts her Christmas vacation, because she likes to decorate them.

Right now I have about two dozen cookie recipe books on the table.  I've chosen just one or two recipes from each of my favorite books.  My best ones look horrible... like my 1963 Betty Crocker Cookie Book.

I wish mine looked this good!  It's pretty shabby after being hauled out every December since 1971!

Then there's Mrs. Fields... our mall used to have a Mrs. Fields' shop, and when the kids were small we could buy a little cone of bite-sized cookies as a treat for behaving while shopping.

I have a whole collection of cookbooks from Wisconsin Electric Company, or as it's called now, WE Energies.

They're distributed annually, free of charge, in WE Energies territory.  Someone from our church picks up a stack every December and I make sure I get one.  The potato chip crisps recipe is in the 2011 book.  I think it might also be in the 1957 book, which in addition to cookies had appetizers, meals, all sorts of holiday goodies.  I have many older books from my mother-in-law, who worked there before she retired.

You can find them in pdf format on the internet for downloading, for 2021 here WE Eng Cookie Book 2021 or for years past at this link   WE Energies Cookie Book Archive

Bake on...