"Respect the earth, live in harmony with nature, spend time with your family, be good to your neighbor, and value the dedication, skill and care of the craftsman."

Nina Proudman’s Sweater

September 19th, 2017

I’ve been watching Offspring. and Nina Proudman has this sweater that I want to make. It shows up in several episodes, but I haven’t been able to find a useful picture of it.

It’s made with a space-dyed yarn in a very simple lacy stitch, openwork but with good structure. It has elbow length sleeves, an unusual little collar, and an open front.

It looks simple. I think I could recreate it if I could see one good photo. In the shot above, it appears that Patrick is trying the figure out the stitch pattern.

Non-binary Gender

September 18th, 2017

My husband refers to our vacuum robot as “him.” So the rest of us do, too. Alexa, on the basis of her name and voice, is “her.” Yesterday, when we were discussing the robot — we have very different ideas about the needs and preferences of our vacuum cleaner — as I was emptying the dust and pet hair from said vacuum with the help of the robot waste basket, and I wondered what to call it.

“It” is perfectly reasonable, of course. It is an inanimate object. It doesn’t care what we call it. It is not offended by the fact that some of our household robots get a human and therefore gendered pronoun, while it does not.

But I had seen a non-binary gendered guest on The Daily Show. So that was on my mind. I am about to say something that some people will find offensive. I have so few readers that I don’t think I need to worry about that. I’m just letting you know, hypothetical reader, so you can go read something else if you want to avoid being offended.

Personally, I think the rejection of gender is sexist. If a man says that he feels like a woman, he better be saying that he feels pregnant or that he feels like he’s about to get his period. These are definitive feelings for women. What else is a womanly feeling? Compassion? Wanting to be an engineer? Enjoying music? There really isn’t anything else besides reproduction that should be considered “feeling like a woman.” A man who feels like he wants to wear soft fabrics and make up doesn’t feel like a woman. He feels like a man who wants to wear soft fabrics and make up. He just doesn’t realize that, because he’s not a woman.

There used to be women who dressed up as men because they felt like they wanted to be soldiers. We expanded our definition of being a woman to include being a soldier. Isn’t this the more reasonable approach?

Trevor Noah’s guest said that they didn’t like “ladies’ gatherings,” but also didn’t want to carry people’s groceries or say “my lady.” This is how they knew they were non-binary. Noah responded teasingly that carrying groceries and saying “my lady” occupied most of a man’s time. We could say with equal tongue in cheek attitude that ladies’ gatherings take up most of the woman’s time.

The conversation confirmed my feeling that people, whose genders are settled by their chromosomes, should quit trying to limit their ideas of what it means to be a man or a woman. They should quit thinking that it is progressive to reject biological gender in favor of gender stereotypes.

As for robots, they have no gender. If they use a voice with an identifiable gender, as Alexa does, then I guess they get to be female. I don’t know why my husband decided the vacuum is male, but since he did, I’m willing to go along with that, too. But “it” is an acceptable pronoun to use for robots.

Master Bedroom Week

September 17th, 2017

A Before picture for the bedroom. I took it before the bed was made in order to end up with a more striking Before/After shot, but there’s actually quite a lot to do in here.

For Master Bedroom week, we empty all closets and cupboards and drawers, trying on and eliminating things as needed. We refill the closets and drawers with the culled collection in neat and logical order. We clean all the furniture, the fan, the walls and floors and artwork. We clean under the bed, arrange our nightstands thoughtfully, and wash the windows and curtains.

I’m going to work on the Baby’s layette after church, but I will also fit in some bedroom cleaning time.

This is also the week we start spending one hour a day on our handmade Christmas gifts. I haven’t put anything into the freezer yet, but I should put in a dinner and a batch of cookies. We buy extra canned goods and buy 1/8th of the gifts we plan to buy.

Busy week!

Rocking Chair Cushion

September 16th, 2017

I went to visit The Baby. #1 Son and DIL were there, along with the Little Girl and the Little Boy, who were meeting their cousin for the first time.

I came home and made a cushion for the Baby’s nursery rocker. It has buttons and bows.

I like how it turned out.

End of Summer

September 15th, 2017

It still feels like summer. Maybe summer in California rather than summer in Arkansas. But the trees outside my window are festooned with bright green leaves and the air conditioning is running.

Still, we just did the editorial calendars for October, and it is nearly halfway through September. So summer should be ending.

And what a summer it has been!

  • I went to Paris, to Nebraska, and to Kansas City a couple of times.
  • I spoke at three Word Camps and a meetup, and attended four Word Camps and two meetups.
  • One kid broke up with a live-in and another brought home a girlfriend for the first time ever.
  • One of said kids became Division Lead and the other got a teaching job at a college in our state.
  • My husband has a job after two years of unemployment.
  • There was a total eclipse of the sun.
  • Our first grandbaby was born.


Obviously, I haven’t been following my normal routines. It should be equally obvious that it is now time — now that I have had all this excitement, some personal and some vicarious — it is time to get back into healthy and successful habits.

Essentially, I’ve been off of my routines for a few weeks and then had a week or two to get back into my routines before I step outside those routines again. Naturally, I don’t get back to my good habits within a few days, but as I begin to feel good about fish and salad for lunch every day again or back to a normal sleep schedule, things change again.

I’ll have house guests again next weekend, and then of course the holidays will begin.

Maybe I need to figure out a way to make good decisions in variable circumstances instead of relying on habits? The habit of habits has served me well. I’ve been setting up my planner with checklists, but haven’t been tracking the things those lists are supposed to track.

Perhaps that’s the best starting point for getting back on track for the fall: tracking what I ought to track.

New Baby

September 10th, 2017

#1 daughter had her baby, a beautiful little girl.

Nicolette was born September 10th, 2017, at 5:05 p.m.

She looks like she’s yelling, but it’s actually a big yawn.

Grandpa talking to the baby.

Foyer Week

September 10th, 2017

It’s Foyer Week on the Holiday Grand Plan. We must clean our entryways (for me, that includes the coat closet) and do these holiday chores:

  • Make one batch of Holiday Goodies and put it in the freezer.
  • Make one extra meal for freezer labeled HOLIDAY MEAL.
  • Buy two canned food items from Menus (get 2 of each item, one to use and one to donate to food drive).
  • Keep 2 boxes in a pantry area or storage place to put these in so that they are not used in everyday cooking – make sure to label them so that when food drives start your holiday supply stays intact and the food drive gets the food purchased for it.
  • Buy all supplies for homemade gifts. Package each project with directions and other information in zipper food storage bag and place in a basket or box in craft/sewing area.
  • Buy film, camera batteries, blank videotapes. Hide them; write yourself a note

I’m planning to clean out the freezer and to make chili — some for us to eat, some for #1 daughter’s freezer, and some for the HOLIDAY MEAL. I’ll bake muffins for #1 daughter, too. I plan to do that this morning before I go up there to visit her, in fact. I may also make ginger cookies for the freezer.

I have three meetings this week, though, so there is a limit to what I can accomplish this week.

At least I don’t have to buy film.

Actually, the big job for me this week is settling on the gifts I’m going to make and getting the materials into ziplock bags. I’m thinking about scarves, slippers, and duffle bags. Last year I think I did mostly hats. Unfortunately, I don’t remember. I should have made notes.

Another Urban Hike

September 3rd, 2017

Still without my Fitbit to record it, I went on another urban hike today, for another three hours… with a break for an apple tart and a big cup of Earl Grey.

I went to Barnes & Noble. There I found a kit that included a crochet hook so I can finish the Basque Pull, the remaining souvenirs for my family, tea since I am about to run out of what I brought on this trip, and a couple of paperback novels.

The novels were a bit of a declaration of independence. I usually have so many to review that I don’t feel able to choose my own. But now that I am no longer in Vine, I have my pick. I was about to pick up the new Leslie Meier when I remembered NetGalley. I’m seriously behind there, but I cam home and donwloaded the Meier novel that I had passed by plus a forthcoming one, and another 14 cozy mystery novels from my pre-approved list.

I quickly wrote three reviews. I’ll do three a day and get caught up and keep that source of free books, at least. I’m used to getting so many things for free I’m afraid that I’ll feel a pinch. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have bought myself an embroidery machine or a robotic vacuum, but I don’t usually buy shampoo or skincare products or cables or cleaning supplies or…

Anyway, I enjoyed buying the books — Janet Evanovich and M.C. Beaton, two favorites of mine — as well as the apple tart. I strolled most of the way back to the apartment, puffing like a grampus up the final fiendish hill, took the dog for her walk, and then settled in to a solid day of knitting and reading that new Meier novel.

Tomorrow Craftsy is streaming all classes for free, so I will certainly be taking the day off and knitting some more.

So I am still enjoying the pleasures of free stuff. I’m also enjoying the complete irresponsibility involved in being in someone else’s home. No one wants anything from me, so I can loll about as much as I like.

Apart from work, of course, but tomorrow is Labor Day, so I feel fine about taking a three day weekend.

Thoughts in a Museum: Part 2

September 3rd, 2017

Labor Day weekend is traditionally a PSD or series of PSDs for me, and I had planned on completing my teal and taupe SWAP. I probably don’t have time to finish it or to make a fall SWAP either, but I’ve been thinking about it.

At the museum, I kept seeing this color combination.

This picture quite reminded me of the print, shown below.

I also kept seeing blue green shades with other colors. Particularly red-oranges, of course.

But sometimes also with lavender and pink.

I saw teal, jade, and other blue greens in every room. Is it frivolous of me to look at them and be reminded of my blue green fabrics?

Or is it the proper response — surely fashion is influenced by the fine arts? And perhaps the splendor of great art can properly encourage us to make satisfying things for our humble lives.


Question Week

September 3rd, 2017

It’s Question Week for the HGP, time to decide on our gifts and decorating.

I have handmade gifts planned for about half my family right now. I have some toys in th closet, too, and a few stocking stuffers I bought at the museum gifts shop yesterday.

I have plenty of decorations, though I might do something a little different this year if I see a good idea.

We should also ask ourselves these questions:

  • Do I see Christmas time primarily as a time for entertaining friends and renewing long lost acquaintances or as a time for family? For me, definitely it’s family time.
  • How much emphasis do our Christmas activities place on the spiritual side of Christmas? For me, this is very important, but I think I’m alone in this,
  • How involved is my family in the Christmas preparation? We’re all grownups now, so they’re doing their own preparations.
  • What activities are particularly important to our family at Christmas? To myself? We talked about this recently. Christmas Eve’s variation on the Reveillon and the Christmas morning stockings were the winners, along with our board game marathons.
  • Why do we observe the traditions we do in our house? Fun? Tradition for tradiation’s sake?
  • How important is an elaborately decorated house, homemade gifts or food, to my feelings about Christmas? Very important.
  • What would my ideal Christmas be like? Having everyone home together. It could happen.


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