Misc. Updates – Painting, Crochet and Weather

It seems we are ready for some misc. updates. I’ve been doing better keeping this updated in general this year, but I am lacking on the postcards. I’ll have to work on that.

We’ve had our first major frost, and it’s been colder than average the past week or so. It is supposed to warm up in the next two days before dropping down again so maybe I will get two final bike rides in. I sure hope so.

Mom and I went up to clean up the cemeteries on the 13th, and took the back way home to take some photos for later painting inspiration. I think this has been the most beautiful autumn I ever remember. It’s so lovely, it fuels my neuroses and makes me wonder if the beauty is to make up for a horror that will arrive soon. Do you ever feel that way? Anyhow, I pulled over at Goldies Motel to snap #10. This photo has not been retouched. The colors were that amazing.

Goldies Motel

I’ve been doing website updates at work. The shelter is closed to the public through the end of the year, except by appointment. It’s more peaceful this way, and we’ve still been doing fine with adoptions. I do miss the Trail of Terror though, and dressing up for Halloween, even though it is a ton of work. Donna and Jerry Castleberry died from COVID-19 this past weekend. Cases are climbing in Calhoun County.

crochet blanket

I’ve been watching streaming and crocheting in the evenings. This blanket is for a relative. The colors reminded me of water…that of the ocean and of the great lakes. It’s Lion Brand Mandala which is self striping, and I’m doing my old trusty repeating HDC using an L hook. I watched The Trial of the Chicago 7 which was quite good. And the Haunting of Bly Manor. Just started Deadwater Fell.

When I am not painting, it seems I am always thinking of painting. I’m taking an online class to build my skills now. I’ve been working on color swatches which is helping me to pick colors I guess. So I have learned something new from the class. It is cool we live in a time when we can take classes and learn so much online. This is my latest piece, which was inspired by a photo in an old Sunset magazine. It’s in gouache and is piece #22. It serves as a reminder that you absolutely need a ruler to draw your horizon line. But I think the rocks are pretty good.

painting #22

I got my flu vaccine and have been having nightmares and bad headaches again. Not because of the vaccine, but just because. I’m finding it somewhat hard to concentrate on writing snail mail letters and impossible to read.

Crocheting and Biking


I finished the third of three baby blankets. This was a really soft, fuzzy yarn that was hard to work with, but the nursery color needed is coral and it fit that perfectly. It’s my standard, continuous rows of half double crochet. On this one, I did a border of rows of half double crochet as well because the yarn is so thick and fuzzy you’d never be able to see a scallop pattern. My friend liked it, and I’ve moved on to another blanket, this one using mandala yarn. Expect an update.

As I’ve been crocheting, I’ve also continued watching documentaries. A Secret Love on Netflix was excellent. Such a heartwarming love story. Athlete A on Netflix was a horrific look in to Larry Nassar and the US Women’s Gymnastics program. A good watch just the same. I started watching Dick Johnson is Dead and honestly I couldn’t get past about 12 minutes of it. Life is too short to watch uninspiring tv or movies. Anyhow, I’m making pretty good progress on the available likely nominees for 2021 Best Documentary Oscars. I have also started the next season of Great British Baking Show, which is balm for my sore and aching heart, and the Haunting of Bly Manor which I am enjoying. We’ll watch the West Wing reunion this week, and have one more episode to go of Raised by Wolves.

I’ve put on 954 miles on the bike this year. Over the weekend I pulled my back gardening and it is supposed to get quite cold this week. I’d like to think I can still get out a few more rides and break 1,000 miles. It’s easier to do it on a sunny day, because at least the sun is warming. Coming up with a replacement exercise plan for winter is going to be challenging.

Crochet and TV

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

I’ve been working away on some crochet projects. One of the employees at work is having twins, so I came up with two baby blankets. The body of both is a variegated baby yarn. Both are half double crochet with an L sized hook. The edging on one is a coordinated yellow with a scallop pattern and the other is the coordinated green with a ruffle edge. It turns out they are both girls, so the gender-neutral colors should be fine. I have one more blanket to go, for a friend. It’s a different yarn than I’ve used before and it is heavy but really very soft. I still have another two skeins to kill on it before it’s done.

You may know that while I’m crocheting, I’m streaming tv shows. This summer I watched the first half of the new Unsolved Mysteries, Tiger King, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, season 2 of POSE, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, The Devil All the Time, and all three seasons of DARK. That’s a fair amount of tv watching.

Now that we are getting closer to the 2021 Oscar season, and nomination predictions are coming out, I’ve turned my attention to the feature documentaries, short docs, animated shorts and live-action shorts. I never care as much about the main attraction movies. So far, I’ve watched Welcome to Chechnya, Crip Camp, Disclosure, and Circus of Books. Documentaries are amazing. They make you see the world in a new way. You almost get to live a life other than yours for an hour or so. I always wind up being moved to help, or to become a better person, through learning more about others.

Crochet Lap Blanket Extravaganza

Monday, June 17, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

If you were to ask me what my favorite thing is to crochet, it would have to be lap blankets. I enjoy picking colors specifically for individuals. I like using a nice big hook and a HDC stitch with either a rippled or scalloped border. I make them in the evenings while I’m binge-watching something on Netflix. And so far this year, I’ve made quite a few lap blankets…working on number seven, and that doesn’t include a smaller one for a cat with cancer that I made back in January.

I started out with this blanket, made with all kinds of colors, for a special lady who crochets blankets for shelter cats:

Next up was a blanket for a friend’s mother who was having surgery:

Then a blanket for a friend’s mother who was moving into a nursing home (the orange color with the blue and green edging reminded me of a sunset over the Caribbean Ocean):

Then a sage-colored blanket for a friend who is facing a serious health issue:

Then a pink blanket for the feisty daughter of a friend who was in the hospital:

And lastly, now I am working on a blanket for a friend who is moving someplace really cold. I’m doing something a bit different with this stitch pattern:

As you can see, Maxy often helps me work on the blankets. He especially likes it when they are long enough for him to nap under while I’m working. There is something meditative about working on a lap blanket, the same repeating stitches. It’s very calming.

Crochet Project Update

Thursday, February 14, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a crochet update (hello, any kind of update!). There is a very nice lady who used to crochet little blankets for the shelter pets. They were meant to go home with each adopter, so the pet would have something of their stay in the shelter to take home with them. She has arthritis, and it’s been hard for her to crochet much. I thought she deserved a crochet blanket of her own to warm her on cold nights.

I like lots of colors, so I got a number of skeins of yarn and switched colors as I felt it needed. The crochet stitch is a simple HDC with a size L hook. The ruffle border is a triple crochet, three stitches per, to form the waviness. Most of the yarn is Caron Simply Soft, but there are a few others in there as well.

Blankets are my favorite thing to crochet, as the repeating pattern is relaxing, almost like a meditation, and I can watch tv while I do it. This blanket saw me through The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the Ted Bundy Tapes and GLOW (thanks, Amy for the recommendation!) and now for a repeat watch of Twin Peaks as Twin Peaks Day is this month.

Maxy also enjoys when I crochet blankets in the winter, as when they start to lengthen, the wind up over his back and help facilitate his napping. It’s a win-win!

Recent Crochet Projects

Monday, June 12, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

Sweater, Shawl, Blanket – Recent Crochet Projects


It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a crochet project update (and the last one, for National Crochet Month 2017 – I didn’t do a single one of those projects). I’ve been steadily working on various items. I did two sets of eight washcloths to pair with soap from Black Sheep Antiques in Marshall. They have the best soap ever…smells wonderfully, maintains its scent, doesn’t melt down too quickly. I love it. One set of eight went to the Women’s Co-Op auction and the other for the Hand Made Market at the Humane Society’s Martini Madness event.

After the washcloths, I finished up my attempt at a sweater (above photo – and not the one I was planning on in National Crochet Month, which is still not completed). I took the photo from the only angle that looks good. The sweater is unwearable. It’s two rectangles stitched together, and seamed up the sides and down the middle. As you need to leave room for the neck hole, the center of the front and back of the sweater are much shorter than the sides. In fact, the back of the sweater only comes up to mid-back, which the sides are both at hip level. Bummer. Worse yet, it came from a pattern on facebook and I can’t see any way possible the pattern would actually work out as described now that I’ve completed it. I just started a different pattern for a cardigan, also from facebook. It’s a rectangle that is seamed together in a weird way. I hope it turns out. I’m using some linen knit picks yarn I bought on sale two years ago and forgot I had. I have high hopes for it.

After the no-good sweater, I did a quick Shawl in a Ball shawl for my mindfulness instructor. I took the extra time to block it out on the boards, which helped I think. It’s the purple color and she liked it. I’ve made a number of these Shawl in a Ball projects. They are fast, they look good, and they make great gifts. Highly recommend.

After that, I had a baby afghan to make for my cousin’s baby. It’s a new yarn for me, Bernat Pipsqueak. Each skein I used had multiple knotted joins, so I’m not a fan and probably won’t be working with it again. I understand one join in a skein. But multiple joins in each skein? No thanks. It required a giant hook for the pattern I did so you could see the stitches. It is really, really soft. I used five skeins.


After the current cardigan sweater, I did find a pattern for another one that I might try. I got a really interesting book on crocheting sweaters from the top down, but it’s too complicated for me. I need simple blocks that don’t require a lot of counting.

What crochet projects are you working on?

Like crochet? Check these out:

National Crochet Month 2017

National Crochet Month 2016


National Crochet Month 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 0 No tags Permalink

As you know, March is National Crochet Month. I’m a little late in posting, as we’re already half-way through the month. Things are stressful all over now, so I’m doing the best I can.

national crochet month

I’ve been working on blankets. Finished the purple and white one I was working on last. I’ve got two new ones going now, stash-busting projects. I’m not exactly happy with either. Turning a circle into a square is not as easy as you would think. These two blankets will be one-of-a-kind and unique, and they will be the last two I make like this. I’ll update with photos when they are done as they are a mess right now.

Normally, for National Crochet Month, I like to try something new and challenge myself. As I mentioned, things are difficult right now, and it’s all I can do to keep on with the two blankets I’ve got going. However, I did purchase two vintage books. If you crochet much, you might know that nearly all vintage crochet/knitting books have patterns that are almost always knit with just a tiny bit of crochet trim. But getting the ratio of what is knit to crochet on eBay is difficult. You’re lucky if you get a few pure crochet patterns. In the two books, only the photo above here is crochet. It sort of looks like a crocodile stitch. I did think maybe I’d work on that next. Vintage patterns are also challenging…good luck trying to figure out what that old yarn they used would correspond to today. But, it could be fun.


Because I don’t like to knit, it’s kind of disappointing to look at all the beautiful patterns in the vintage books and just brush them off. I think what I’d like to try is to convert a few of these patterns into crochet. Some of it is getting a stitch that looks right. Some of it is in the drawing and measuring of the finished project. So, although I don’t think I will get anything other than one of the blankets done during National Crochet Month, my plan is to work on eyeballing a vintage knitting pattern and converting it over.

What are you working on for National Crochet Month?

Previous National Crochet Months:






Recent Crochet Projects

Friday, February 26, 2016 0 No tags Permalink

Recent Crochet Projects – February Edition

Thought now would be a good time to catch up on recent crochet projects, as March is National Crochet Month! I’m still working on my plans for projects for that month (and have a few other things going as well).



First up was two baby blankets. I used Bernat Baby Blanket Big Ball Yarn and a bamboo P sized hook. The top one is purple with a white border, for a LHS alumni friend’s little girl. The bottom one is striped with a beige and cream. It looks less baby-ish, but I thought it could be fine for either a boy or girl. The color reminded me of a small woodland creature, soft and warm, which is why I chose it.



Next, I was ready for a quick and easy project. These cleaning cloths are made of cotton Sugar N Cream yarn; one skein made three cloths.



I love those kitchen scrubbies made of mesh. When our last one gave out, I thought I’d give it a try and make some myself. The stiffer netting works better at cleaning, but it’s hard on the old hands in the crocheting process. One yard of netting made two scrubbies.



This time of year, Maxy is always searching for a warm place to sit. I thought I’d see about making a bed without any kind of pattern. It didn’t go that well, to be honest. I do have some bamboo splicing that I am going to bend to make this stand up better. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try a bend coat hanger. It’s a lot of yarn and a lot of work for not much of a result, unfortunately.



The leftover skein from the above bed was used to make a little blanket for Maxy as he sits on my lap. He has several of these blankets in various locations through the house.



And now again for another blanket, again using the Bernat Baby Blanket Big Ball Yarn. This time I’m doing stripes with the purple and white. It’s for a friend’s son who is facing a grave illness. I hope to finish it this weekend and deliver it Tuesday.



Recent Crochet Projects

Monday, December 21, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Recent Crochet Projects – December Update

In the midst of writing out my holiday greeting cards, I have been working on a few crochet projects; thought I should catch you up my my most recent crochet projects. I made this nice little one-skein scarf with some Jimmy Beans Wool silk/cotton mix yarn. It’s soft and lovely. 20 rows sc, 2 rows dc, repeat using a L hook. I loved the yarn color when I saw it, and wanted to make something easy for myself. It is so soft. Why can’t all projects be like this?


I’ve also been working on a cat bed for Maxy. It’s slow going as I’ve ripped it out and started five times over. Hopefully the L hook is the key to stiffness. It’s my own pattern, and I’m not sure it will work out. It’s a learning experience for sure.


Maxy also got another blanket, as the blue one is now in a box in the office and he needed one for the couch.

2015 – what I’ve learned. I prefer easy projects I can do while watching Downton Abbey. Blankets are my favorite, followed by scarves. I started a tunic, and didn’t get very far with it. For crochet to be relaxing for me, I want easy and repeatable, like a moving meditation.

2016 – my goals. I have two baby blankets to complete in January. And I have a few scarf gifts I’d like to work on for volunteers at work in January/February. I’d like to make a lap blanket for a friend who needs a hug. I would like to get back to the tunic as I bought all the yarn for it and it’s just sitting there. January starts the last season of Downton Abbey. I’ll have to find something else to watch when that’s over. Love Downton Abbey. Love.

More crochet here:

National Crochet Month 2015

Crochet Cat Sweaters (for cats. sweaters for cats)

Easy Crochet Purses

Misc. Monday


Wooooo dog, this post has it all. It’s been months since I’ve done a general, non-postcard update. So here it is, the fruits of the summer.


Our veggie garden did great this year. I made two batches of salsa verde (tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno).


In addition to tomatoes for eating, I made a batch of sauce and cooked down two batches of tomato paste (boil and peel tomatoes, puree, cook down, put in pan in 350 degree oven and bake until paste).


And I made a batch of sauerkraut. We got a fair amount of radishes. Three heads of cabbage. Lots of tomatoes. A few carrots. Good lettuce and arugula. Next year we’re planting more green beans and more peppers. This year we also got a compost barrel (and inside bucket) and we’re composting our kitchen waste. Right now I also have a batch of hard cider cooking. It’s exciting!


I’ve been crocheting up a storm. I made a mint lap blanket for a friend. Then I made this lap blanket with a ruffled edge. LOVE the ruffled edge. The yarn is Simply Soft Paints Yarn in Rose Garden.


I loved the yarn so much (and overbought), so I made a scarf and sent it to a friend who needed a scarf. Now I’m working on another scarf for another friend.

I’ve been reading, too. Just finished Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (very good) and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (excellent). Here’s how I turned out with the Summer Reads 2015:


What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

All but two done, but I made up with two others. Not bad.

I’m getting ready to start sewing again. I have to make my Halloween costume for Howl-O-Ween at the shelter. And I have a new pattern to make a dress. Just need to pick up the fabric and I’m ready to go.

How about you? Can you believe summer is over and we’re well into autumn already?