Finished Crocheted Turtles, Fancy Knit Mitts

I’m excited to write today.  So much is happening that I’m spending more time doing and less time reporting and reflecting.  To compensate, I’ve turned off the television for most of every day so that I can think and plan while my hands are busy.  Ongoing concerns:

1.  House clean out.  Gonna purchase heavy brown wrapping paper today for artwork and family photos.  Slowly getting those books sorted out.

2.  Etsy store.  More involved in the Etsyknitter and Etsyfast groups.  I’m getting to know some group members, and we’re sharing more business concerns and wisdom.  Lately there’s a big effort to share updates and information on our craft, as well.  Etsyknitter’s Through the Back Loop is a weekly forum showing new work from all members: posted several items.

     New things in my store include these lacy mitts with the giant violet handmade button.  I actually posted another pair of mitts in my store this week, too.  Of all the things I knit, they draw my attention the most right now.  I love designing them, and knowing that they can bring instant relief to cold, sore hands.  I love wearing them.  I feel a series of summer designs coming up, because nothing makes hands colder than frigid air conditioning.  It’s awful to not be able to get warm in your own house.  If you’re like me, you have been pushing the limit.  My thermostat’s at 65. 


And here’s the finished turtle, feet and all.  All of the custom turtles are complete, and ready to mail.  I’m going to keep producing for the store if there is demand. 


Apparently my turtles eat bamboo. 


3.  Weight loss:  this is a good week.  I’m following my Weight Watchers, forcing myself to vary my meals so that I can use up some of the stuff in my pantry.  It’s a good exercise in learning new ways to put together good nutrition.  Last night I made my Mexican W.W. version of spanikopita:  frozen spinach, fat free Greek yogurt, eggs, shredded low-fat cheese, and thin strips of corn tortillas.  It is delicious. 


4.  Lupus:  do I still have that?  just kidding, it tells me “yes” daily in that grumpy wolf voice.  Right now I’m having painful, slow-starting mornings followed by decent afternoons and evenings.  I’d love to just be on an even keel for a while. 


5.  Family:  do I still have that?  Major kidding – they are all around!  My dad’s wobbly signature on my birthday card, my mom needing a reminder as to whose voice is on the phone, one sister’s frequent calls with her cheery news…another sister reports someone’s death with every phone call -“and Essie, she was your age, and just dropped dead!”


6.  My pleas to the Force for this week:  I need to be healthy enough to go to knitting group.  My daughter needs some healthy time.  I’d love a few months with no med changes.  A big Lotto win wouldn’t hurt.




Use Your Words Debuts with Bizarre Sh*t

Want to know how I feel this morning?  It’s all right here:  Been there, done that, wrote about it in my blog. 


I am, once again, suffering through the awful withdrawal of discontinuing Cymbalta.  It’s just as bad.  Maybe worse, because I know that I can’t go back this time.  A $118 per month medicine just isn’t possible for me right now.  It would interfere with my crafting budget.  It would cramp my Weight Watchers fees.  It would piss me off so badly that I couldn’t enjoy the medicine. 


For some reason, I thought that withdrawal wouldn’t be so bad this time.  After all, I’m coming off half the dose I was on last year, and replacing it with Prozac as I go.  But it is bad.  I’m reminding myself of the quote attributed to Einstein:   “insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  I don’t expect to find myself restarting Cymbalta and then having to go through this again. 


So, here I sit, hands too sore to pick up needles or hook, waiting for pain medicine and optimism to kick in.  For some reason, what comes to mind is something I can only call “Bizarre Sh*t from My Past, Part I”.  Here goes.


Several times in my college history I had to schedule a weekly lab on a Friday afternoon.  Like most other schools, the weekend at Vanderbilt started as early as possible, and academic areas of campus were deserted by 5 p.m.  on Friday.  One such day I came out of my lab, one of the last to finish the experiment, and sat on the steps of the building.  That’s a habit I’ve had for decades – finishing up a difficult day, and escaping the building only to be stalled on the front steps, where I have to sit down and collect myself.  Another story.


This particular day, I was sitting on the steps, readjusting myself to nature, enjoying the nonchemical smells and crisp air, when a squirrel approached me.  I sat very still, knowing that a tame campus squirrel might come as far as the steps and entertain me for a moment.  It approached, sat still for one long moment, looking at me, then lunged.  The bright brass buttons on my coat had caught its eye, and it grabbed one and hung on.  I screamed, struggled out of my coat as quickly as I could, grabbed my books, and ran.  I returned much later for the coat.  I no longer think squirrels are cute.  They are maniacally aggressive little monsters. 


Whew.  I can feel the pain medicine kicking in.  It’s too late for knitting, but I can pick up my sticks and work on the cotton tape shirt and the fun wool mitts that won’t require a rigid grasp.  I can also show you some cool stuff from this week.  dsc03635

Meet my new model.  I don’t have a baby in my house, and the ones down the street all have jobs.  I made myself a strip of canvas with hand-drawn faces.  I can wrap it around a toilet paper roll and fit on a baby hat and take photos for the store (   This particular hat has two cables just over the left ear (or where there would be an ear if my model didn’t have a slight congenital deformity).  I love it.  Here’s another:  dsc03644  Meet Henri, wearer of a green beret knit from recycled cotton.  Speak to him wiz zee French accent. 


On another note, in my grownup store ( I have a new collection of cards.  The Use Your Words greeting cards are individual pieces of original art, mounted on card stock and left blank for you to send a message.  The artist is someone very dear to me, a young woman who has been very shy about sharing her artwork.  I hope this is just the beginning.   




 Lovely words to leave you with on this Valentine’s Day.



As I Was Saying…

If you read my post from last night, you know I was angry and hurt by my neighbor’s letter of complaint about my dog.  He had a legitimate complaint, but a typed letter instead of a face-to-face was not copacetic. 


So, today, I put on my big-girl panties, marched up the sidewalk, rang the doorbell, and…had a lovely visit with my neighbor’s wife.  She was apologetic about her husband’s cold letter and explained his work pressures and attempts to be “efficient”.  We had a longish visit while the kids came back and forth to interject complaints about each other.  There was a lot of catching up on family stuff and some good laughs.  I came home feeling reassured that “neighborly” is still a relevant word, and that I do have some nice, caring, but very busy, young folks around me.


A little while later, my phone rang.  The number was unfamiliar.  It was my neighbor.  He gave a heartfelt apology and chatted for a few minutes.  I love it when people turn out to be better than I thought.


I spent the early part of the morning posting items to my store.  They were things that I’ve talked about as they were in process.  They have been blocked, photographed, measured, and entered into my store.  The posting itself takes me about 30 minutes.  First I edit the photographs, deleting any that cannot be used.  I try to have at least three photos of each item, properly sized and displaying the item to best advantage.  Then I fill in the Etsy “add a new item” form.  It includes a title, detailed description of the piece, price, materials, shipping cost, section of the store, and uploading the photos.  Finally, it shows me a preview of the listing to approve.  I did four items this morning, saving my lace scarf for last.  I felt a swell of emotion as I saw how beautifully it draped, and the simple lace stitches that were my own creation. 


I have done some sprucing up in the store.  I changed the banner.  I opened the store in November, 2006.  The banner photo came from a multi-coloured blanket knit from Noro Silk Garden.  I was ready for something sharper and at the same time, more simple.  You can see it (and the newly posted products) at  I also cleared some unloved merchandise out of the store.  Only seriously cool stuff from now on.  If you take a look and have suggestions for improvement, PLEASE tell me.  And now for more knitting.  I’m psyched.



Brain Glitch number 1 (of probably a dozen-zillion)

Well I am laughing this morning!  Mary Z has uncovered a total brain glitch on my part.  The photo of a red tote bag that I showed yesterday was not at all the item I meant to show, but somehow when I was scrolling through my photos I chose the first felted bag I saw.  That photo features a red bag from a variety of colored wools, I think from Knitpicks.  On the other hand, the bag that I had in mind, this green one,

 gianttotelimeorangered.jpg       gianttotelimeorangeredc.jpg

is made completely of burly spun and is the most rugged tote I’ve ever made.  It’s huge, about 16 x 15 x 5 inches, and it’s probably my favorite of the felted totes that I’ve created.  I was in love with the colors and striped them around the top and to make the flat bottom.  Anyway, their listings had expired from my store, and I had to relist them, so now they’re both available on  How hard is it to sell stuff that isn’t even listed?  So…big thanks, Mary Z!

Now for the four things lists that Tut-tut tagged me with..

4 movies I’d watch again:  Moonstruck (with Cher and Nicholas Cage), Juno, The Empire Strikes Back (I’ve alredy watched it 10 times), Monster’s Ball (Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton)

4 TV shows I watch with regularity:  NCIS, Today Show (can you get more regular than every day?), the Ellen Show (for things like this– and because the marshmallow game just makes me scream) , and reruns of Murder She Wrote.

4 places I’ve been:  Meridian, Mississippi; Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Opp, Alabama

4 things I like to eat:  avocados, Greek strained yogurt (current obsession), home-baked bread, tomatoes (lifelong love)

4 places I’d rather be:  swimming, baking bread, at a Vance Gilbert concert,  and Seaside, FL without my sun sensitivity)

4 places I’ve lived:  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Stuttgart, Germany; Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri; Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Okay, the people have to bathe now.