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Thanksgiving has come and gone and I spent it with my dogs (they’re lonesome too).  In looking ahead to a long string of holidays and birthdays, I get the feeling each is a hill to conquer.  Eventually, I hope being alone feels more natural and the hills less steep.  In the meantime, I’ll keep busy and concentrate on TODAY.

The holiday wasn’t too bad and I cooked and feasted as usual.  I baked turkey wings and drumsticks, sweet potatoes and the very last cream peas stashed in the freezer.  With bits of bacon and plenty of onion, those peas were wonderful!  The entire meal was delicious and I made plenty to provide for days of leftovers!  YUM!

To fill the evenings, I’ve continued knitting and made this turquoise and shades of grey long scarf.  It finished at 87″ x 5 ½” with an additional 3″ fringe.  I love the super-long length as it provides for multiple ways of wearing it.  It can be worn as shown in the picture, doubled around the neck or doubled with the ends drawn through.  I will be gifting it and hope the recipient enjoys it.

When the scarf was finished, I decided to use some yarn I’ve had for many years and make some leg warmers for myself.  I like wearing them under my boot cut jeans for added warmth in my chilly house.  I found a pattern that would offer me more practice of knitting in the round using the magic loop method.

The yarn is fairly small and the needles required were smaller than I’m accustomed to so the progress was really slow.  After knitting a lot on the first leg warmer, I remembered that I already own some nice ones.   I dug them out, tried them on and decided I truly don’t need another pair, especially ones taking most-of-forever to knit.  Though the first skein of yarn was almost used, I ripped it all out.  I’ll find something else to knit with the yarn.

I’ve also done some VERY little sewing this week  From scrap fleece, I’ve cut out a self-drafted long-sleeved top with a kangaroo pocket.  I had hoped to include a hood but didn’t have enough fabric.  I managed to get half of it sewn before I ran out of enthusiasm.  Maybe when the house gets colder, I’ll be inspired to finish stitching it.  The temperature is dropping tonight so we shall see!

I hope the rest of your week is joyous!

Shirl

First I would like to thank Ceci, Helen, Sheryl and Janice for the kind words.  They truly helped carry me through a difficult day.  Thank you for caring.  It is so appreciated.

After crying a few tears on our anniversary, I decided to remember funny times… those rare moments that have me laughing decades later.  I also spent a few hours cooking.  I baked a half ham slathered with dijon mustard, sweet potatoes and cooked some of the purple hull peas I had frozen from our garden.  The meal, though eaten alone, was delicious, as were several consequential leftover dinners.  Today for breakfast, visiting Jacob and I enjoyed grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on whole grain and there is more ham to freeze for later.  No ham ever goes to waste in this house!

I have devoted more time to knitting.  I finished the second fingerless mitten… this one without mistakes!  Since I plan to use them at home, I don’t mind they aren’t perfect but will serve their purpose well.  They were knitted with Caron® Simply Soft Paints in the color Oceana. I don’t know the yarn weight for sure but it feels and knits like sport weight and the sizing was perfect using size 7 needles.  The pattern called for either DK or worsted weight.  I frankly don’t know what ‘DK’ means as much has changed since I ‘understood’ knitting terms.

The next thing I knitted is a snuggly cowl.  It’s made completely with garter stitches and finished 13″ x 60″ before stitching into a loop.  I used Lyon Brand® Homespun® bulky weight yarn and size 10 needles.  The color of the yarn is Painted Desert.

Not only do I love the soft texture and colors but I will enjoy the versatility of the garment.  I can wear it as shown as a long cowl but because it’s so long, there is plenty to cover my head on misty, rainy or windy days.  I can even wrap it around my neck twice for a snuggly turtle neck.  With the width, I can completely cover my shoulders and upper back for added warmth.  It will be useful in so many ways this winter and I know I’ll enjoy wearing it!

I’m currently knitting a narrow scarf in shades of turquoise and gray worsted yarn.  When this is done, I hope to make some lacy, feminine fingerless mittens.  I also plan to drag out a sewing machine and make myself some flannel and fleece pajama pants and if yardage allows, some warm t-shirts too.

Have a great week!!

Shirl

 

 

 

Tomorrow marks a wedding anniversary with hubster and myself.  Usually we would celebrate the day by him purchasing and grilling rib eye steaks while I made either loaded baked or garlic mashed potatoes and a green salad or veggie.

This will by my first November 10th alone.  Without the hubs, things will be very different.  I won’t think about our long ago struggle to purchase wedding rings in the correct sizes (without resizing) or originally planning to get married on 11-11-77 (lucky numbers) but having to move it one day earlier because of Veterans Day.  I won’t give a thought to my father-in-law presenting me a corsage saying ‘every bride should have flowers’ and welcoming me to his family.  I won’t remember our lunch break jaunt to the courthouse or the shortage of cash to pay the license/judge’s fee (it cost more than anticipated) and the funds contributed by total strangers also waiting to be married.

No, I won’t think about these things……MUCH.

Instead, I will be a little sad without him but thankful for the many years we were together.

The house is too quiet and my memories too loud.  I definitely need a distraction!

Shirl

Enjoyed a 3 day visit from DS + girlfriend this past weekend.  I love having them here, talking, laughing, grubbing down and comparing life-notes.  They are both such wonderful people!!  They were very grateful to receive the t-shirt rug and have already decided where it will be used in their home.

Since finishing the rug, I’ve searched for a project that doesn’t require I drag out a lot of stuff.  I’ve settled on knitting.

Many, many moons ago (38 years to be precise), I learned a couple of basic knitting stitches from my MIL.  Though I never learned the proper way to hold the needles, I figured out how to follow patterns and knit some intricate sweaters, afghans, baby items and lace.  I don’t know why but I quit knitting a couple of years after learning.  Recently, I’ve found some patterns for knitted items I would like to own so I brought out my sets of needles, stitch holders and yarn and began teaching myself (with help from YouTube) to knit in the round using the magic loop technique.  Gee willies, it’s taking me more than a minute to learn this!  My hands feel so stupid!

I have managed to knit one complete fingerless mitten (with several mistakes).  I am finished with half of the second one (without mistakes, thus far).  It’s still slow going as knitting memory returns to my hands but I’m excited to be learning!

I’m really enjoying it and today purchased yarn for a couple more projects.  I plan to make another pair of fingerless mittens along with a long scarf I’ll enjoy using during the approaching winter.  Our old farmhouse is cold so I’ll have plenty of opportunity to use cuddly, warm items and I’m hoping the fingerless mittens will offer the ability to continue doing handwork while the weather is miserable.  We shall see!

Shirl

Since the weather here in East Texas has cooled, I’ve been outside enjoying it.  I’ve spent several days mowing near the house.  I really wish I could mow it all (just less than 6 acres) but all I have is a push-type mower and am the sad owner of ruptured and spun spinal disks.  I don’t dare get back on a riding mower or tractor.

Though it sometimes doesn’t seem worth it, I’ve continued cooking for myself most days.  On other days, I eat leftovers (which I don’t mind).  I also cook for the spoiled brats dogs.  This week, they shared 10 lbs. of roasted chicken with me.  Later, we’ll eat pulled pork.  My dogs eat better than most but I only feed them meals that cost less than dog food!

I’ve devoted most of my evening attention to finishing the rug using DH Bob’s old t-shirts.  I completed it this afternoon and am anxious to present it to DS Jacob.  I only have a few t-shirts left but combining them with many of my own that I don’t wear, I should have enough to make another rug for myself.

After racking my brain for a use for DH’s many white athletic socks, I’ve decided to cut them up to use for stuffing dog beds.  My critters like their current beds in my office but sleep on thin rugs in my bedroom at night.  With winter coming, I know they would appreciate having warm, snuggly nighttime beds.  What other use do I have for a huge laundry basket stuffed full of socks?  Wish I could find a clever use for men’s underwear!

Shirl

Enjoyed a visit with son Jacob recently.  He’s so unique and interesting and I so much enjoy his company.  He’s my favorite person in all the world to cook for or make things for.  He truly seems to appreciate me.  The only drawback is when he leaves, the house is even more empty and it takes a little while to get accustomed to it again!  Even the dogs miss him!!

I’ve continued to work on the rug made with DH Bob’s old tshirts.  Amazingly, it doesn’t matter how stained or worn the shirt, the strips look pristine when twined into the rug. Many of the shirts featured large advertisements but because of the properties of tshirt knit, the strips tend to turn inside out, showing only the shirt color and not the logos or themes.  I really like the way it’s progressing and Jake really likes it too.  He’s making plans for it’s location at his home.  The rug should be finished by the time he returns for another visit (which I hope is VERY soon!).

With the passing of the first day of Autumn, I can’t help but think of upcoming holidays.  It will be so different without the hubster.  I’m hoping to begin building new traditions without turning my back on the old ones.  Maybe this year I’ll enjoy ribeye steaks for Thanksgiving!

This old dog is learning new tricks!

Shirl

The String Pyramid (Bob’s String Pyramid - Bob's Memorial QuiltMemorial Quilt) is finished.  All that remains is making and attaching a label and this task will be done as soon as the supplies I ordered arrive.

When I first began stitching the triangle units on my Singer treadle machine, I loved the process but didn’t care much for the appearance of the units when stitched together.  I showed them to DH and he loved them and asked if I would make something for him incorporating the units.  Together, we decided to make a single-size lightweight quilt he could wrap up in while relaxing or use on his single bed.  He selected a lightweight batting and everything else came from my scrap bins.

The larger the quilt grew, the more it grew on me.  I will proudly display it on Bob’s bed while wishing he had survived to enjoy it.

To read more of the steps in making this quilt, click ‘2016 – String Pyramid (Bob’s Memorial Quilt)’ in the left column under ‘Finished Quilts’.

Finishing the quilt left me with idle hands (like there’s not several other projects awaiting attention), so I decided to begin another rug.  This one will be made from Bob’s old, stained, worn t shirts.  I’m cutting them in long strips so I expect the rug will be more striped rather than chaotic like the scrappy rugs I’ve made.  We shall see!

After making the denim rug, this one is a pure delight!  The warp strips are made of good quality muslin and I’ve only begun the twining.  The t shirt strips are soft and pliable (unlike the denim) and will make a wonderfully soft, absorbent rug.  I love it!  It’s such a terrific way to use these old shirts and more beautiful than cutting them into cleaning rags.

I’m hoping there’s enough shirts to make 2 rugs; one for Jake and one for me too!

Have a great week!

Shirl

Today is Labor Day in the U.S. and the last holiday of summer.

It’s also the time of year the millipedes come out in amazing numbers.  If they would stay outside, I wouldn’t notice or mind but they’re finding their way into the house, which drives me nuts (I know, short trip!).  I have probably killed over 100 of them today alone, making it necessary to sweep the floors AGAIN!  I’ve tried spraying them with a mild insecticide to no avail.  They don’t even drown easily!  My only choice is to continue to step on them and sweep them up.  I am thankful they don’t require feeding and don’t sting or bite.

I’ve managed to accomplish several things over the last few days.  I finished making Halloween pillowcases.  This set is made with black bats on white for the body and bright dancing skeletons on black for the edge separated by a narrow solid orange flange.  My homemade pillowcases include French seams so no raw edges will unravel with wear.  I hope to find more holiday fabric on sale to make more fun pillowcases for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter.  I already have some batik yardage I plan to use too.  I love having new pillowcases!

I’ve continued sorting DH’s clothes but have found no area charity where I wish to donate.  If my donations do not benefit the needy but puts more money into a corporate CEO’s pocket, no thanks!  Instead, I am removing and saving the buttons and using the fabric to make dog beds.  The 100% cotton fabric will be added to my fabric stash.

As I’ve pulled shirts from the closet and separated them into piles of keepers and cutters, I am amazed at how many there are.  I’ve clipped until my back hurts every day and still have a huge stack to go.   Pictured is a container of buttons I’ve removed from many of the shirts.  There are hundreds of them!  Most of these are made of coconut shells with a light side and a dark side from rayon and silk Hawaiian-style shirts.  I plan to add a number of these to my own button stash and will share the rest with online friends who also make men’s shirts. I certainly hope to finish this clipping chore SOON as I can think of much ‘funner’ things to do!  Honestly though, I’m totally enjoying spreading out into the newly created space in the closet.  Yippee!  Mine, all mine!!

I’ve continued working on DH’s memorial quilt.  The hand quilting is finished and a red/black print binding has been machine applied.  I’m in the process of hand stitching the binding down.  I haven’t designed a label yet and hope to be inspired by the time the binding is complete.  Having recently lost my printer to a lightning storm, the task will be more challenging.  I’ve included a picture to show how much I tend to mark my quilts as I work.  Because I use Crayola® Ultra-Clean Washable Markers, all the marks wash away with simple hand washing using laundry powder and a little OxiClean®.

It’s time to get into the kitchen and make English muffins.  I’ve eaten the last of the sliced bread and know I’ll want something for breakfast tomorrow.  Ham, egg and cheese McMuffins sound yummy!

Have a terrific week!

Shirl

I didn’t realize it has been over a SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESmonth since my last post.  I wish I had more to report of things that have kept me busy but I’m either getting incredibly lazy or some activities take a big toll on this aging body.  It seems just going to the grocery store or running a few errands wipes me out for an entire day.  What is going on with this dropping energy level??!

In the past month, I have continued to reduce the piles of stuff collected by DH.  Today, I plan to sort his button-up shirts.  He has scores of them sent to him by his Floridian brother.  These are all Hawaiian print shirts so few area men are interested in receiving them.  I will donate the rayon and silk shirts to charity while de-boning the cotton ones and saving the fabric for quilts.  There are many dozens so the task is daunting.  A little work each day will finally see the job complete.  Bob’s old t-shirts will eventually become bathroom rugs for DS Jacob and myself.  They will be so useful, soft, colorful and absorbent and will be a nice keepsakes… remembrance rugs?.

I’ve also managed to do a little sewing this month.  First, I made a new cotton knit (interlock) nightgown using McCall’s M5640 pattern.  I used the dress length pattern and added 2″ wide gathered lace between the front yoke and skirt and lettuce-edged the sleeves. I also lengthened the pattern as I have noticed some cotton knit fabric continues to shrink a little with each washing. I’ve made this pattern many times and love the fit and comfort of each garment.  This has become my favorite and has already received several washings.  It’s a keeper!

I have several more cotton knit fabrics in the stash I intend to use to make more of these.  I particularly like that with the interfacing in the yoke, the gown doesn’t bunch up at my neck during the night as often SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTUREShappens with t-shirt type necklines.

After failing to resist a super sale of cotton fabric from Fabric Mart (my current favorite online fabric store), I received two cotton woven chunks with the intention of making modest lounging clothes for wearing after evening bath time and before bedtime.  Now that I’m enjoying more visitors and sitting up late and talking, I needed something comfy and decent to slip into.

Since the McCall’s pattern was still on my cutting table and it fits so well, I used it again, this time radically lengthening the skirt to maxi length, eliminating the lace, adding side inseam pockets and roll hemming the sleeves.  I finished it just in time for DS Jacob and his lady’s arrival.  I was so happy with the skirt length… it just touches the tops of my feet when I walk.  Perfect!  The woven cotton fabric is high quality and I expect to get years of use from this garment.  I absolutely love it!

In the same Fabric Mart delivery, I received another woven cotton print; this one is an aqua modern print that I plan to make into a similar maxi dress.  I will wear them often.  I’m waiting for another sale and plan to order heavier fabric to make a warmer version with long sleeves to wear during cooler weather.

Speaking of cooler weather, it has moved into our area.  Along with rain each day, we’re enjoying temperatures in the mid to high 80’s.  That is so welcome after suffering a dry summer with daily temperatures in the 100’s!  Just wish the first rain that moved through had displayed less lightning.  It got us good, taking out much wireless Internet equipment, LED light bulbs and a printer!  Things could have been so much worse and for that I am grateful.  The lower air conditioning costs as resulting from the cooler weather will help make up for the replacement costs… at least that’s what I’m telling myself!

The cooler weather has made me think of upcoming holidays.  One of my favorites is Halloween.  With enjoying additional overnight guests, I noticed my pillowcases are limp and shabby so I decided to shop through my fabric stash and found some ‘spooky’ fabric for making Halloween pillowcases.  I’ve cut two pair and finished sewing one.  These are made of two printsSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES (black and white spiderweb batik and white quilting fabric printed with black bats).  I also included a narrow orange flange for a zing of color.  I like them so much, they are on my bed (a little early for Halloween!).

That’s about it for now.  If I don’t start dealing with Bob’s shirts the job will never get done.  Frankly, I’m looking forward to having use of the entire big closet…. mo’ room for mo’ stuff!

Have a great weekend!

Shirl

The last few weeks have been emotionally bumpy but I’ve tried to stay busy.  Focusing on individual tasks has been a good distraction and there are MOUNTAINS of tasks needing attention.  I’ve also re-discovered the joy of cleaning (!).  I love that I can scrub away years of grime and things stay clean.  DH was a mindlessly sloppy person and I had given up on cleaning behind him.  It was one of those battles I quit fighting.

I’m also enjoying re-discovering my independence.  Yes, I can saw lumber, mow grass, change light bulbs, cook on the grill, burn trash, grocery shop and all the other chores DH had normally done.  I’m proud to be finding my ‘roar’ after all these years.

I was worried I might fall into poor eatingSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES habits as I’ve witnessed so many of my single peers do.  Yes, I’ve eaten a couple of ‘convenience meals’ but still prefer cooking (and eating) from scratch.  I’ve learned to make half the quantity and often have enough for multiple meals.  Because I enjoy baking, this week (for the first time), I made English muffins.  I love them and am thrilled to find they are so cheap and easy to make.  They’re freezable too!

Today, I will bake several versions of oatmeal cookies.  I don’t care to eat oatmeal for breakfast but this will be a good way to use the new carton of DH’s oatmeal taking up space in the pantry and have sweet treats for Jacob when he visits in the coming days.  I will also make pita bread for quick lunches I know we’ll enjoy.

I’ve continued working on the String Pyramids quilt.  I was originally making it for DH but now it’s for his empty bed.  It’s pretty and keeps my hands busy as I relax in the evenings.

Shirl

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