June Garden Update

Thursday, June 8, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
June Garden Update

It’s well time enough for a June garden update. How quickly this time of year passes! I’ve been working on the gardens, and though I have yet to make a video, I do have some photo updates. The image above is from Wenke Greenhouse, on the day Mom and I went to pick up our flowers and vegetables. Mom had her knee replacement surgery April 18 and is still making progress. We shared carts at Wenke and River Street Flowerland, and still were unable to fit anything else in the car. The color displays at Wenke were gorgeous this year (photo example above)! Normally we also do K Drive in the afternoon, but we were tired out from the morning.

June Garden Update

Mom added a new pot garden in the front yard near the pine stump, and this year I planted my vegetables in fabric pots. I added some plantings to our backyard as well. We also did our regular cemetery planting.

And I potted up some plants at the shelter entrance.

June Garden Update

We haven’t had any measurable rain since the Whisker Mixer event May 19th, and last week was in the 90s, so we are watering every other day. Everything is looking pretty good so far, I think. The first colorway to come in our front beds is purple, from the salvia to the Siberian iris, chives, and catmint. I love the color against the bright almost neon green or yellow from the baptisia and ornamental grasses.

As I mentioned, I am working a bit more on some back yard beds. First is Cato’s Garden, which needs more planting in addition to the one pot with a fern and coral bells. The hardscape around it features blue stones and driftwood, as Cato was always partial to water. I would like to add a small water feature maybe. I need to open up the space a little.

June Garden Update

I added a similar pot to Maxy’s Garden, which needs to be weeded out and mulched. The brunnera, ferns, and hostas are looking pretty good though.

June Garden Update

This year I added two large pots near the regular birdbath. My vision for this year is to have views of the gardens from every window instead of having the focus of the gardens for the people driving past on the road. I’m not sure I was successful. Backyard pots:

June Garden Update

That’s it so far for the June garden update, but things grow and change so quickly. I plan on taking some video and maybe doing some shorts as well, so check back soon. I also owe a post on other events going on, including some lovely time with the Russell family lately. How is your garden doing so far?

Spring Crochet Projects

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
spring crochet projects

For whatever reason, since I started crocheting, I have posted my recent projects. I haven’t posted in awhile, so I thought it was time for a spring crochet projects update. I’ve done a little work on various things this spring, and will be doing a bit more in preparation for the Canine Carnival in August. Mom has a craft space at the event, and said she would sell anything I have ready. I have a small list of things I’d like to sell, including hair scrunchies, cat hats, pumpkins, and dish cloths. Pictured above is a baby blanket I crocheted for one of my Board members who is having her second baby. The theme of the nursery is space/NASA, with dark blue and gray-blue colors. It’s made using Caron Simply Soft, the usual for my baby blankets.

spring crochet projects

Next up is a comfort blanket for a loved one. This morning is very chilly for June, so I’m sure it is coming in handy. The picture doesn’t do the color justice. This is the first time I’ve used Brava Tweed yarn, in the color Heron. It’s gorgeous light blue with flecks in it. The yarn is my new favorite, an absolute delight to work with. Never splits, feels great on the hands, and is so soft when done. My favorite crochet hook for all blankets is the Crystalites Acrylic Crochet Hooks in the size L11. This one is a hdc stitch with a ruffle border.

Spring Crochet Projects

One of my goals for this year was to learn Tunisian crochet. Mom gave me a set of hooks, and I watched Toni’s wonderful video on how to crochet. TL Yarn Crafts is my favorite source for crochet ideas and tutorials online. Toni is like your best friend. You will just love her immediately. The yarn is from Hedgehog Fibres in Ireland, and is 100% merino DK in the color Insomnia. HHF is lovely yarn, but super expensive. It is soft enough for me to wear this cowl when completed, and I normally can’t wear wool. It took one skein.

spring crochet projects

Finally, we have this shawl. It’s from a pattern called Sugarblush from Expression Fiber Arts. I think I may have told you my secret; I can’t read crochet patterns. But this one was written easily enough I could follow it and I’m looking forward to trying more of her patterns. Her yarn is gorgeous, too. But this yarn is from Hue Loco‘s Cozy Colorado collection in the color of Comfort. It’s 100% Merino as well, but a bit uncomfortable for me. I’m sure it would be fine for someone without a wool issue though as it feels quite soft in general. It does need to be blocked still. This took two skeins. I will be selling it at the craft fair.

For me, crochet is many things. It’s like a moving meditation. It just feels good to move your hands like that. It’s creative, picking the colors and pattern. It’s an art that has something useful as a result when complete. It’s an art that supports other artists, including fiber artists, dyers, and pattern makers. It’s a mental exercise, taking a single long piece of yarn and creating something more 3-D.

Summer in April

summer in April

This week feels like summer in April! The temperatures have been near 80 degrees. The violets and forsythia are in bloom, and there are little leaves on the invasive honeysuckle and willows. The birds are all singing a merry song, and the air just feels different. Now, April 19th is next week and we always have snow right around then. And sure enough, snow is predicted for next Monday. But you know it won’t last. It will be too early to plant for awhile, but it’s time enough to start getting excited!

Mom is going in for knee replacement surgery coming up. I’ll be taking a week off to stay with her. I haven’t had that much time off straight in awhile now.

The new location for Horrocks opened at the mall. Honestly, it’s a nice store than Battle Creek deserves. We don’t deserve good things here. I expect someone will be shot in the parking lot there, as that is what Battle Creek represents. If you live here, you know.

I finished the prose poetry class, and have started up a private facebook group for our class. I hope to keep the interaction going. I’m working on a little side project for prose poetry as well.

I’m starting to get in a panic about the Whisker Mixer event. I’ve really screwed myself this time with what I said I’d do and the time left to do it in. Maybe the world will end before the event?

March Update

March Update Cass in a Hat

It’s mid-month already, and time for a March Update. I would have to look back at previous bullet journals, but I suspect that perhaps my feelings of ennui are normal for the time before the official start of spring. It doesn’t feel or look like spring yet. There’s still snow on the ground, with more on the way. It doesn’t even really feel like there is the promise of spring, and yet the calendar shows otherwise. There’s more grayness than sunshine, and everyone seems a bit unhappy. Another two weeks or a month, and everything will feel different.

I’ve been typing letters on the 1965 Olympia SM9. It is delightful to work on. I continue to struggle with creativity, but letter writing always feels good. I’m taking an online class on writing prose poetry. It is a four-week class. If you haven’t heard of prose poetry, check out Charles Simic’s work. Some of his poems are included in the bottom of that article. My Grandma wrote and enjoyed poetry. I wish I could discuss this class with her.

I’ve been crocheting a lot of infinity scarves. Nothing is selling on Etsy, but maybe they will sell at the craft booth for the Canine Carnival in August. I have two baby blankets and a special comfort blanket to make, with yarn due in today to get started.

95th Oscars

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
95th Oscars

It’s time for my annual movie review in preparation for the 95th Oscars. This year had a lot of great movies, and also some that were nominated but I would suggest avoiding. Let me know in the comments what you watched, what you enjoyed, and what movies should be avoided. You can check out my thoughts on last year’s awards here.

Best Picture


All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water (didn’t watch)
The Banshees of Inisherin
Elvis (didn’t watch)
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Top Gun: Maverick (didn’t watch)
Triangle of Sadness
Women Talking (didn’t watch)

To start it right out, I didn’t watch Avatar (don’t have Disney+), Elvis (I hate Elvis), Top Gun (I hate Tom Cruise), or Women Talking (not available for streaming). For the rest, be prepared to sit for awhile if you are going to watch them. When did the average length of movies become 2+ hours? I don’t go to movie theaters, and so I streamed everything I watched in shorter segments over multiple days. I didn’t necessarily think all of the movies needed to be that long.

The Fabelmans is worth watching to the end, for me at least, due to a cameo appearance in the last five minutes that I really enjoyed. I suspect Everything Everywhere All at Once may win for best picture, as it has won so many awards at the other ceremonies leading up to the Oscars (Golden Globes, SAG Awards, etc.). And it is nice to see an Asian film win for sure. Also, I love Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh. I found the movie itself kind of hard to follow. Interesting concept as well, but not my absolute favorite. Should you watch it? Maybe, if it is streaming on a service you already have.

I thought Tár was excellent, and Cate Blanchett was amazing in it. It’s a movie that would win in another year if it wasn’t up against Everything and I do recommend it. I think I will probably watch it again. I understand that The Banshees of Inisherin is a dark comedy. I just didn’t like it that much. All Quiet on the Western Front is a hard movie to watch. It might win against, Everything, as it did very well in the BAFTAs. It is quite good.

My favorite nominee is Triangle of Sadness. I doubt very much it will win for any award, but I loved it. Loved the concept, loved the acting, loved the humor. Loved it.

Actress in a Leading Role

There was controversy over the category of actress in a leading role with how the film To Leslie scored a nomination of its lead actress Andrea Riseborough. There is a bigger conversation on which films get nominated because they are really good, and which films get nominated because the money is there for promotion, but that’s for another day.

I watched all of the nominees except for Ana De Armas in Blonde. The movie wasn’t interesting to me, so I didn’t watch it. All other actresses put on great performances and I wouldn’t be disappointed in any of them winning. I really did enjoy To Leslie, and thought Andrea Riseborough did a great job.

Documentary Feature Film

All That Breathes (didn’t watch – can’t stand another dead animal film)

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (not available)

Fire of Love (didn’t watch)

A House Made of Splinters


My goodness, I had a hard time this year with documentary feature, and it’s normally one of my favorite categories. Fire of Love is on Disney+, and I’m not springing for another service. I wanted to watch All the Beauty but it won’t be available until March 19 which is after the awards show and honestly by that time I think I’ll be watching gardening shows to cleanse my palate. For that reason, I didn’t watch All That Breathes as I absolutely can’t watch another film where creatures die. I know that it’s about brothers who try to save birds and have a bird hospital, but you know well enough some of them are going to die and I’ve just plain had enough.

A House Made of Splinters is depressing. Navalny is depressing. Both are worth a watch to see what’s going on in the world, and they are both important stories. Watch them, but not back to back, and watch a comedy or two in between.

Documentary Short Film

The Elephant Whisperers (didn’t watch)


How Do You Measure a Year? (not available – didn’t watch)

The Martha Mitchell Effect

Stranger at the Gate

I enjoy a nice documentary short. How Do you Measure a Year is not available for streaming, and I just didn’t feel much like watching The Elephant Whisperers. I get tired of watching sad animal films to be honest. Will some elephants die or be threatened with death? Yes, probably, so I’m not going to risk it. I get enough of it at work, you know? For the films I watched, I would recommend seeing them all. Haulout is quite short and it’s less a walrus film and more an environmental film. I would guess Stranger at the Gate will win, and it deserves it. Martha Mitchell was by far my favorite though. What an amazing woman and a life story that should be more well known. It’s a reminder that what happened to Mary Todd Lincoln was still happening not too long ago in this country. Outspoken women could be institutionalized for being outspoken. You should watch it!

International Feature Film

Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)

Close (Belgium) (didn’t watch)

All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)

The Quiet Girl (Ireland) (didn’t watch)

EO (Poland)

I would absolutely expect All Quiet to win this category, and it is deserved. I really did like Argentina, 1985 as well. It’s a dub, not sub, so that might be a problem for you. If you put on the sub, it doesn’t match the dub, which is even more irritating. The story is great, the set design is amazing, and it features a speech that will move you to tears. Close and The Quiet Girl are not available for streaming. I regret watching EO. The donkey dies in the end. Yes, I understand the point of the film. Yes, it’s an important issue. But I don’t need to see it to know it.

Misc. Thoughts on Other Categories

I didn’t see enough movies in the categories of Cinematography or Music – Original Score to really be able to comment on who should win the categories. But while I was watching All Quiet on the Western Front, I thought it could absolutely win for these categories. The musical score was haunting and perfect. It was like a character all on its own, just amazing.

I did watch a couple of the animated shorts, which is normally one of my favorite categories. I didn’t like anything I watched. And the live action shorts weren’t available for streaming.

That’s it! That’s my thoughts for this year’s Academy Awards. What, if any, did you watch? What were your thoughts?

Vintage Typewriters

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
vintage typewriters Olympia SM9

I have recently, as mentioned in my last post, fallen into the rabbit hole of vintage typewriters. Heaven knows I appreciate vintage desk equipment like my Zephyr American Rolodex V-File Jr. or my Swingline 333. And also, modern life in general is maybe not so great, as this week I have spent hours upon hours on tech support with three companies to get to the bottom of some email troubles. And any time I wind up trying to write on the computer, I find myself wandering the internet and not doing much writing.

So, vintage typewriters. The one at the top of the page is a 1965 Olympia SM9. It was born in West Germany and is in fantastic shape.

vintage typewriters olympia SM9

The feel of typing on it is amazing, crisp and fun. And the typeface itself is perfect.

vintage typewriters olympia SM9

Honestly, writing on it is a delight. I look forward to writing letters, tags, short stories. Owning an Olympia SM9 is a slam dunk.

vintage typewriters royal safari

The 1966 Royal Safari is a beautiful machine, isn’t it? And this one has a lovely script font.

vintage typewriters royal safari

That being said, it takes more effort to get it to type nice and dark. You’d have a hard time writing something really lengthy with it, but it would make some nice cards or tags.

I need about three weeks to get everything done that I would like to get done, clear the plate of old projects, and start fresh. I don’t see that happening, but it sure would be nice.

February Storm

February storm

We are on the edge of a February storm. This month has been odd for weather, with five days so far 15 degrees or more above average. We are expecting snow, then ice today into tomorrow, and then maybe temperatures at 50 degrees Thursday before plummeting to the 20s for the weekend. Hopefully we won’t lose power and we will be able to get to and from wherever it is we need to go. Cass, above, shows a nod to spring wishes while staying warm with a hat. He is a good office mate and brings me much joy at work. The daffodils in the CWBP are just poking up, but no pussy willows yet. There are flocks of robins at the shelter. It feels more like March weather than February at this point. I am not freaking out so much for the start of spring. Maybe it’s because when it’s cold, all of the idiots are inside instead of outside making noise. Or maybe it’s because we haven’t had much snow and the grass has been mostly visible and winter altogether hasn’t been as harsh as normal.


I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of vintage typewriters. Quite often when I write on a computer, I get distracted with other things on the internet (Reddit). I cleaned up my arts space some to make room for a new hobby. So far I’ve written one letter with this 1966 Royal Safari typewriter. It has an interesting script typeface. I used a typewriter a little when I was younger to type papers for school, but we moved into the computer age by high school. This is a lovely machine, and it’s a fun tactile feeling to type on. I’ve got a small stack of letters to catch up on if I ever have time. It seems I never have much time. Then, after that, writing prompts, short stories, and maybe a screenplay? Who knows.


Mom has a guest at her house. Phantom, or Fanny, is staying with Mom for an unknown amount of time – either when Mom gets tired of her, or she gets a good application for adoption. Fanny was found as a stray, and the woman who found her tried to keep her but her own cats beat on Fanny. Then she came to the shelter, where the cats in the cat room beat on her. She had spent the last several months in a cage alone for her protection. She is becoming more brave and wandering around Mom’s house. She has found her way to the counter tops and everywhere else. We’ve had some cat challenges at the shelter lately. In fact, everything just seems to be kind of difficult at work these days.

Valentine Gifts

This year’s staff Valentines were handmade crochet washcloths with soap paired, lavender sachets, and chocolate. The bags had a lavender sprig attached with a heart wax seal. Right now, I’m crocheting up some cat blankets for Companion Cats for their adoptions. I hope to have two more done before I drop them off. No new sales on Etsy. Anyhow, here is hoping the February storm is lighter on the snow and ice than predicted, with no power outages. Stay safe and warm!

January Blues

january blues

My goodness, the January blues are here and they’ve hit hard. We are down to the last week of the month. Yesterday we had a tiny bit of sunshine, and we really haven’t had much sun at all this winter, but today is a dump of snow. The polar vortex is on the way next week, and it will be super cold again. It always seems to correspond that the January blues happen and we have a bunch of sick or stressed cats at work. I am counting down the days until spring, and I know time is passing, but there’s nothing I’d rather do more than curl up in bed. Fortunately for everyone around me, I am somehow able to get up and remain a productive human being.

january blues

I haven’t managed to get my latest scarves up on Etsy. Maybe I can muster the energy this weekend? Since the start of the new year, I’ve finished four scarves or cowls and I’m working on a fifth. My next one after the one on the hook will be Tunisian crochet for sure. Mom got me some hooks for my birthday and I’m anxious to give it a try.

january blues zine making

The sun briefly came out for Mom’s birthday. We had lunch and made some zines. That’s right, I’m back on my zine making and zine collecting. I even forced a bunch of Girl Scouts to make zines.

Yesterday was also the Oscar Nomination ceremony. I’ve seen three of the ten nominees for best picture already, one of the documentary shorts (plus five on the short list that weren’t nominated), one of the animated shorts, and none of the international, feature documentary, or live-action documentary. I’m going to have to get busy.

Crochet Update

Thursday, December 15, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
crochet update

I have a big crochet update! I sold my first two items on Etsy! The boxes are all put together and include some stickers and individual packs of gummy bears. I hope I’ve done a nice enough job on the wrapping, and I get positive reviews. I’m quite nervous!

crochet update

I’ve been working on some rude dish towels, too. I ordered the printed towels off Etsy and have been crocheting toppers on them so they hang on the stove. I think it’s a good mix of old fashioned and rude. They are Christmas gifts for some coworkers who don’t mind profanity or other nastiness.

I’m really looking forward to getting the last of the gift projects done so I can get back to making some scarves for Etsy. I have so much yarn! I’m well behind on everything and starting to stress a little. I have all of my holiday greeting cards addressed, but writing them out is taking forever as I can only do a few on the weekends. I’m also well behind on the cards and letters at work, although I am caught up with Momo the Cat’s cards. I still have to put together all of the staff gifts and stuff for home as well. At least I should have the last of my packages mailed today and the ones for out of state have already been delivered.

Are you feeling the stress of the season? How do you cope with deadlines and still enjoying yourself?

December is Going Fast!

Thursday, December 8, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
December is Going Fast!

Oh my goodness, we’re already well into December and I feel like I’m running behind. I’m working on a few last crochet projects and slowly working through my holiday greeting cards. I’ve had to cut my list back this year from 60 to 40 and I’ll be lucky to get them done on time. I hope to take my three packages to be mailed tomorrow. The good news is that, as December is going fast, spring will be here before we know it! Honestly, I’m more in the holiday spirit this year than normal, and I’m not as panicked about the upcoming winter. Maybe it’s the CPAP machine and getting regular sleep? Who knows.

I just finished this lap blanket for a family member’s mother. The colors remind me of the ocean. It’s using Bernat Blanket yard in one of those quick O’Go skein things. I don’t understand the hype of that yarn configuration. I’d rather have a skein. I generally don’t find skeins to knot and twist, which is the reason they came up with this new variety, and I find the new version actually binds and twists more at the end of the skein.

These two kitty blankets are for a friend. I made her middle kitty a blanket when he was tiny, and just now got one done for the older cat and newer kitten. These are both crocheted using Caron Simply Soft. Mom got me some fantastic Tunisian crochet hooks for my birthday. As soon as I finish my remaining holiday gift projects, I plan on starting a fun project with those hooks. I think it’s going to be the perfect way to start the new year.

What projects are you finishing up?