Crochet – Prayer Shawl #2

After finishing the first prayer shawl I decided that I wanted to give another pattern a try.

Again, I made a masculine shawl with a variegated yarn. It doesn’t contain any of my favorite colors, but the pattern was very easy to follow. It was a row of single crochet followed by a row of double crochet and chain stitches. Bob was jealous that Chester helped to model the first shawl so he made sure to get in on this picture.

This one had a more open weave so it wasn’t as heavy and dense as the first one.

I hope whoever receives it likes it.

Apparently I had purchased a few extra skeins, so I think that I’m going to use them in the next afghan that I crochet for Project Linus. In the latest update they said they need more boyish afghans, and I think these colors will work with a few other ones that I have in my stash. If not, I can always run to Hobby Lobby. 😉

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House Updates – New Windows!

I’ve heard that some people are lamenting the fact that I haven’t been posting every day. Now that we have good weather I spend a lot of time gardening and doing other projects that you don’t want to see pictures of every time I do them.

But if you want to see more pictures of my gardens I will certainly accommodate you. Otherwise you’ll just have to be patient.

Every year Jay and I decide on one or two major house projects that we want to accomplish over the summer. Last year it was the porch and the shed. This year we decided on new windows for the living room and family room, plus we’ll be getting to the fire pit area later this month.

This is the window I wanted to replace. It is huge. If I remember correctly it was 68″ x 72″ so I knew that it was going to be a bit pricey.

I sit by this window when I cross stitch, but in the winter it always feels so cold. Even if I’m wearing a sweater I still end up chilled. This window was original to the house when it was built in 1950 and it had the storm window on the outside that you would have to remove in the spring and put back up in the fall. We never removed it, though, because I was always afraid that we wouldn’t be able to get it back on or something would happen to it.

In this picture you can see the white of the outside storm window.

Needless to say, this window wasn’t very energy efficient.

We ordered the window back in April and they finally came to install it this past Wednesday. I took the day off of work so that I could be there during the installation.

They do everything from the outside. These guys never removed a single piece of molding from the inside. In fact, I was surprised because they had this entire window removed in about 15 minutes. While they worked on this window I shut the cats in the sewing room so that they couldn’t wander out the window.

This is the new window! I’m still getting used to it. I wanted to be able to open the window for fresh air so I didn’t want another solid pane of glass. I didn’t really want double hung windows in there because I kind of wanted the same look that the old window had. I was afraid that with double hung windows the wide bars between them would look odd.

So we decided to go with a solid picture window on the top and sliders on the bottom. Actually, the sales guy wanted to put the sliders on top and I told him no, I wanted them on the bottom. That way the cats could sit in them and enjoy the fresh air, too. Besides, if you’ve ever had a cat you know that if there’s an open window they want to sit in it. I could just see them launching themselves at the top of the window in order to sit in the open windows if they were on top and I didn’t want to deal with that. It’s going to take a little bit to get used to that wider bar in the middle of the window (the divider between the picture window and sliders). When you sit in the rocking chair it’s okay because the bar is below eye level. Sitting on the couch, however, puts the bar smack dab in your eye sight. Perhaps that just means that we need a slightly taller couch…



Due to that divider bar the window looks a bit squattier, but overall not too much of a drastic change.




That wasn’t the only window that we replaced. We also decided to change out the window in the family room.

This is the old window. It doesn’t look that bad from this distance. When you get up close, though, you see the problem:

You probably can’t tell, but this is horse hair weather stripping. Yes, HORSE HAIR. Now, if you’ve lived in an old house or worked with older furniture you know that horse hair was used as a binder in plaster or it was used for stuffing furniture. Apparently they also used it for weather stripping because not only was it used in this window, but it is also used on my front door (which I think is going to be next year’s project).

The bad thing about this window is the family room was actually built on in the ’80s so I have no idea where the stupid guy got the window because it wasn’t new in the ’80s. Most of the time we don’t see the window because we keep the drapes closed in front of it.

It actually took these guys longer to get these three windows out than it did to get the big one in the living room out. I suppose there could be many reasons for this, but based on the knowledge I have of the guy who built the house my theory is that the guy just did a horrible job putting the window in and they had a hard time getting it out. Let me remind you that the guy who built the addition didn’t put any insulation in the ceiling below the roof and he didn’t use the correct hardware when laying the plywood down for the roof. Oh, and don’t get me started on the shed that he built…

…with the metal roofing laid on it SIDEWAYS so that the ridges caught the water and brought it INTO the shed instead of helping it run down OFF of the shed.

Back to the window…

We decided not to go with grids in these ones. Mainly because we didn’t care since we only see it from the outside and we didn’t want to pay the extra. Okay, I didn’t want to pay the extra. I’m a bit cheap on some things.

The nice thing is that we’ll be able to open these for some air flow. We didn’t open the other ones because they also had the old storm windows and we didn’t want to mess with them. Even though we have central air both Jay and I prefer to have the windows open to get fresh air in the house. In fact, when Jay got home on Wednesday he mentioned how nice the house smelled because the fresh air had been blowing through all day. It’s not good for my allergies, but then again neither are the cats and we know that I ignore that one, too.



So, these are a bit boring now without the grid, but I don’t care. As long as I don’t have to see the peeling paint on the aluminum and the dirtiness on the inside.

There you have it. Our new windows that were a bit pricey, but I was completely happy with how they were installed. The fact that I don’t have to touch up anything on the inside because EVERYTHING was done on the outside was a big plus. Also, these windows have a lifetime guarantee for any defects or problems. If we start getting condensation in them all I have to do is call up the company and tell them to get their butts over here to fix it and they will cover all expenses for fixing it. You can’t do any better than that!


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Autumn Cross Update – 5-18-17

I forgot to post an update last month so I’ll post two update pictures today.

Here is what I had completed as of 3-22-17:

I had all of the cross stitching done on this part of the cross. The next step was to do the background lettering.

This is my update as of 4-18-17:

So far so good. After the lettering is done I then go back and do the back stitching for this part of the project. I completed that on 5-18-17:

Now I get to start on the left side of this part of the cross.

In the meantime I also worked on a sewing project for my cross stitch. I was tired of dealing with all the extra fabric that is required for these crosses.

I use a Q-snap for my frame, which I love, but there’s always a lot of extra fabric to deal with. Plus I decided that I should probably make some new Q-snap clamp helpers.

That’s what I call the pieces of fabric that I use under the clamps to 1) keep them tighter on the cross stitching fabric and b) I pull on the fabric to remove the clamps when I need to move my piece in the frame.

Using some scraps from my material I cut four piece and serged along the edges. I don’t use needle minders, either. When I need to place my needle somewhere it always goes in the top Q-snap helper along the edge. This way when I pick up my frame I always know which side is the top.

Then I made what is referred to as a grime guard:

I followed a set of directions that I found online. It worked out okay, but I think next time I’m going to make it slightly wider and perhaps a little longer. This works, but it’s a bit snug. It’s doing the job of keeping my fabric under control, so that’s all I care about!

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Woodworking In Progress – Spring 2017

I have been taken to task for putting too many sewing/crocheting posts together in the recent past, so I’m trying to separate them with other posts. It’s a bit difficult to do when you don’t have many progress pictures of your current projects. I’ll give it a shot, though.

Do you remember the wooden conversation heart that Jay made me for Valentine’s Day?

This poor thing has been sitting on my work bench so that it can be finished. I finally managed to get it done!

Didn’t that turn out cute?

The lighting in the evening isn’t that great in the dining room, but you get the idea.

Then there were the hooks that Jay installed on the bottom side of the glassware shelf:

We had accumulated quite a few coffee cups so we decided to start storing them this way.

Currently Jay is working on my birthday present:

I won’t tell you what they are, yet, but hopefully soon you’ll be able to see them finished and in their new home.

Also, we have another project going on that pertains to this area of the yard:

Yikes! What a mess!

As that project progresses I will definitely share pictures with you.

Oh, and then I had to go out and buy this:

I had high hopes for this. It’s a Pooper Scooper for the cats’ litter boxes. You see, I broke their other one and wanted a sturdier model. They aren’t cheap! And I was a bit disappointed in this one after using it for the first time.

But yes, I broke their old one. Do you want to know the tally so far of the things I have broken?

(1) Pointy dirt shovel

(1) garden trowel

(1) snow shovel

(1) burger flipper

(1) Pooper Scooper

Plus I have bent a steel bar like what Jay uses at work to move heavy objects. Was I using it to move a heavy object? No. I was attempting to remove a tree root from the earth. It didn’t help that I was standing on it and jumping up and down. Ha! Wouldn’t you like to see a picture of that! Needless to say, if I buy a tool of some sort it has to be able to withstand being used by me.

Well, Chester is telling me that it’s bedtime and apparently Bob is already there.

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Crochet – Prayer Shawl #1

Since I took up crocheting I have made a few blankets for Project Linus. It’s a good excuse to sit in front of the TV while helping a charity. Right?

Well, when I was attending a meeting at church back in February I was listening to the ladies who make prayer shawls discuss some recent submissions. In the discussion it was mentioned that they need more masculine shawls for men. Most of the shawls that are donated are somewhat feminine. Well, since I don’t have enough going on *insert HEAVY sarcasm here* I decided that I might try making some masculine shawls.

So, it’s a bit thick and I won’t tell you how many skeins of yarn that I used for this shawl. I used Hobby Lobby’s ‘I Love This Yarn!’ in Stonewash. This pattern used alternating front- and back-post double crochet stitches.

It actually didn’t take me long to do because I took it with me to jury duty. As I sat there waiting to be called I worked on this shawl. We were smooshed in this room like sardines, but I had enough room to hold the yarn on my lap while working the crochet hook. In fact, a few of my fellow citizens were a bit jealous that I was enjoying myself so much. They had already bored themselves with the vast amount of information that they can get on their phones. Some people brought magazines, but we were there for about four hours so they easily finished their reading material.

So, what do you think?

Ignore the dork. However, you an enjoy the Chester. She wanted to pose in the picture with me. Isn’t she adorable?

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Spring Has Arrived!

Yesterday was the first chance that I really had to get out and work in my flower gardens. I only managed to weed one bed, but it was nice just playing in the dirt again. The last few weeks when it’s been beautiful outside I’ve been inside cleaning the house. First I threw a birthday gathering for Jay and then I had to clean in order to prepare for our Small Faith Group meeting. When I did have free time it was either raining or too cold.

I love Spring. Some people dislike it because there’s lots of mud. For me, though, Spring reminds me that Summer is on the way and there will be good things to come! Being out in the sun and pulling weeds made me think about my childhood.

I was raised on a beef farm so winter meant that we were stuck indoors most of the time. We did sled on the hill in the pasture, but most of our time was spent inside.

But when Spring came around and the temperature warmed up again we spent a lot of time outside. You can see the tire swing that our grandpa made for us and hung in the backyard. Our play area was fenced in so that when we were younger we couldn’t wander off and get hurt. Between the electric fence, the cattle, the creek across the road and numerous other things it would be easy to get hurt.

Once the last frost was pretty much done we would plant the garden. We had a big one out behind the barn where we grew broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, tomatoes, and I can’t even recall what else we planted. My mom would either freeze or can most of what came out of there.

Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money because my dad worked either 2nd or 3rd shift at a factory and spent the rest of his time farming. My mom didn’t work during the school year, but in the summer she worked in a beauty shop since she was a licensed beautician. None of those occupations rake in the dough.

This meant that if my parents needed our help we were expected to do it. Just because we were girls didn’t mean that we got out of doing things that needed to be done. For my part I did manage to get out of any kind of chores that dealt with hay because of my allergies.

As soon as I could reach the clutch I was recruited to drive the tractor when my dad was putting up fence around the meadow in the summer.

I only drove my dad’s Allis, but I did that from the time that I was about 6 years old. That’s Jorma sitting on the Allis. He was a Swedish millionaire who was dating my mom’s youngest sister. He wasn’t used to being on such a high-quality piece of equipment. 😉

So whether I was driving tractor…

or acting as a piece of the equipment, I was involved. It meant that I spent a lot of time in the pasture, fields, and woods.

Living on a farm wasn’t all work. Most of the time we had run of the area around the house. Summers were spent in the creek across the road or exploring the area of the pasture where the cattle weren’t currently occupying.

As soon as the cows calved in the spring we had to make sure we stayed far away from them. A mama cow does not take kindly to anybody messing with her baby. The only way we were allowed to get this close was if we were walking in the pasture with my dad.

If you were wondering, yes we had a pony. Despite the fact that I’m riding Flicka I really didn’t care about horses one way or the other. I was never one of those girls who was crazy about horses.

I was crazy about cats.

Frank was my second cat ever and I loved him so much. By the way, my dad named him. I had started calling him by the very unoriginal name of ‘Snowball’, but for whatever reason my dad started calling him Frank.

The same thing happened with Schwartz (my Baby Zhu-Zhu). His mother had him and his siblings in our barn, but he was really sick and we managed to catch him. He was the runt of the litter so I started calling him Squirt. I was babysitting that summer and the older kid couldn’t say “Squirt” and it came out kind of like “Squartz”. My dad latched onto that and wondered why the boy was calling him Schwartz. The rest, as they say, is history.

And even today, though I no longer live on the farm, I haven’t really changed a whole lot. I will take farm land and hills any day over a beach. And I’m still a Crazy Cat Lady.

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Egads! It’s A Spad! Part 15

(Before I get started on this post I need to set the mood. You know how in the Chick Flicks there’s usually some kind of sappy music going on during the montage where the lead girl is undergoing her Ugly Duckling to Swan change? They remove her glasses, give her better fitting clothes and add some makeup? Well, imagine that kind of music playing in the background as you continue to read…)

So there sat Chad in the buff. If his rudder had been attached it would have been wagging all over the place due to his anticipation of getting to finally get dressed up.

First he got his layer of underwear. He was worried that it was too shiny.

I told him that a little powder would fix it.

All of his parts received their layer of underwear.

Poor Chad was embarrassed by this picture, but he was kind of like a turtle on its back so he couldn’t wave me off. Look at that cute belly!

His landing gear was even given a little color and polish.

As the flight suit started to be applied Chad was nervous. What if it didn’t look as good as he hoped? What if it accentuated all of his problem parts? What if it made him look fat??

Then he was really nervous when only part of his nose was painted. He didn’t want a blemish on his face!

“I don’t know, guys… does this color make me look like an elephant? Should I have gone with a more slimming color?”

And then it was done and boy, did he look dapper!

“Don’t I look awesome?! Guess what ferocious animal I feel like!” he excitedly blabbered at me. So I guessed…

Like Bob with the white under his chin and accenting his paws??

Chad was disgusted. He actually took offense! How could you be offended by a comparison to an adorable Bobs?

I mean, it’s very hard to get more adorable than this!

“No!” he sputtered. “I’m an A-1 Skyraider. It means that I’m an attack plane! The only thing that Bob attacks is a nap! This is what I think I look like:

Picture courtesy of

Hmmm… if I squint a little I can see it. To calm Chad down a bit I agreed. Although, I know that he’s cuddly like Bob. But that will be our little secret. Shhh!

Chad was proud to show off the fact that his control surfaces were accented with a different color. He is feeling really stylish.

He even wiggled his ailerons to show me how great they looked with the accent color.

The bad part about Chad having his flight suit on is that now it’s time to get into the more expensive parts… the motor, batteries and other electronic guts. I can hear the bank account crying already.

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