A tip for winners, Covid vaccine update: 2 weeks and 1 day later, Birthday season

Today’s Tip for Winners: In order to get everything done, simply stop eating and sleeping. It’s easy! Just don’t! See how easy that is?

Covid-19 vaccine update: I am cautiously optimistic that I am not dead, although, if it’s you, you’re probably the last to know.

I will say though that if it turns out I’ve used all my ghosthood potential sitting here writing checks or running around doing laundry like some kind of still-alive chump, I am going to be really mad.

It’s birthday season at our house. My older son wanted pie.

I’m next.


My version of Hansel, a pattern by Gudrun Johnston.

This is another of my older projects, still, I haven’t even blocked it yet. It looked so comfy and cozy I wrapped it around myself and have used it just like it came off the needles.

I have folded it into a triangle because it’s large, but it’s really an entire square blanket/shawl. I love having beautiful, socially acceptable blankets to hide in, if need be, when I am out in public; they’re portable blanket forts. You can’t exactly carry your bedspread around, but this? No one bats an eye.

It’s all merino wool, so it’s warm with the two layers. I used one of my favorite yarns, Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, in the following shades: Antique Lace, Luster, Olivia, and Flour Sack. I can’t remember the name of the darker brown color! I’ll update* if I remember it.

*Update: Was it Dust Bowl? I think it may have been.


Years ago, I listened to this recording as I went to visit the woman who was a second mother to me. It’s entertaining and pretty in-your-face. Compelling little bits kept bringing me back from my thoughts, which was good, because I was on the highway.

She was in the hospital, and she was dying. I didn’t know she was dying, and it’s possible she didn’t know, either. It was the last time I saw her.

I haven’t felt like listening to Bellérophon since, but suddenly, the other day, needed to hear it. I’m enjoying it very much.


Just started it.


Before Covid, I had a plan for this. What in the world could it have been?

Atelier Nani Iro Dress O

I plan to disassemble this one. It’s not working for me. However, I’ve held off because I like looking at it, which prompted me to take a photo before I do the deed:

This dress illustrates some of the skills I need to improve, such as making gathers, using interfacing when I’m supposed to rather than stubbornly refusing for no reason, and choosing a pattern which is not a sack.

I would describe this as ‘large sack,’ if we’re keeping track of sack varietals, which I think we should,considering the current proliferation of sacks.

The pattern came from this book:

Here it is, in a couple versions, on models:

Of course, the fabric I chose was not the right fabric for this dress, but I was trying to get only a rough idea of how it would look in real life. It wasn’t meant to be the final version. Since I made it, I’ve decided I’m not in love with this shape at the moment, so I’m not going to try it in a better fabric.

I love the model in it, though. Isn’t she so pretty?

Little lights

Continuing with older projects…

The year we got our cats, our first pets (!), I realized our previous Christmas decorating plan wasn’t going to work at all. I think this kind of realization happens or doesn’t happen depending on what sort of cat you get. We got this kind:

This is her, in the garbage, proving a point.
Vibrating. Somehow.

The other two cats are mellow, but she has a lot of points to prove, and I felt sure at least one would be about the Christmas tree. It was.

Even though I have a take it or leave it (mostly leave it) attitude toward Christmas trees as a concept, if I have the opportunity to cover something in delicate glass objects and the odd inappropriately placed, worrying, actual candle (because worryingly-placed candles make me laugh) I will rethink my position. So, I had a tree covered in glass: birds, pine cones, icicles, that kind of thing. Plus the odd candle.

Very chewable, very breakable.

Guess who has a tree covered in paper ornaments now?

I did some paper cranes, some small puffy origami stars, and these:

Based on others’ reactions to my tiny lanterns, you love them or hate them. I love them.

They’re great if you have a cat hell bent on eating only what will kill her, if you have a small child who behaves similarly, if you have an adult who clumsily knocks the tree over periodically, or if you just like them.

I made them by folding origami water bombs from plain, off-white paper. After they were folded, I drew pictures on them with a black pen. So simple.

Black with off-white/ecru/similar shades is my favorite color combination. I find it quiet and peaceful. I use it a lot, alone or with another color or two thrown in. For Christmas, I add dark green and brown, mostly from evergreens, and maybe a little gold leaf here and there. I like it to look natural.

Okay, here’s how to fold the water bombs:

The little hole at the top of the folded water bomb is where you stick it on the Christmas light, just poke the light right in there, and you’re done.

There’s so much potential here, and I know I saw a kit for sale with patterned paper to use for the water bombs. Alternatively, you could do silhouettes, either drawn with pen, or punched out of dark paper with one of those paper punches that does fancy shapes. You could use a pin to poke constellations into the paper, or maybe glitter the inside of the water bomb and punch tiny holes so the light would be extra bright and shiny. You could do letters to spell out names or words. I meant to try some of these ideas last Christmas, but I found myself not quite in the mood for a bunch of extra work. Some years are like that, what can you do? I think we all had enough going on; I know crafts were at the bottom of my list. Spring and summer are sometimes a better time to get stuff ready for the holidays, anyway.

So! That’s my tree now. It’s relaxing to look at, and I like it. I don’t even miss my old ornaments. Well, except for my collection of slightly off-putting ones, but that’s something for a different day.

we ate the poison

The police have killed someone.

The police have killed someone again.

The police have killed a Black someone again.

The police have killed a Black someone who was a child. Again.

It’s unacceptable. It’s evil. Not one person should accept this. There is no excuse.

Existing in pieces

Speaking of ripping things out so they can become other things…

Oh my, I feel like I should start talking about something important about life right here, but it’s only going to be about dresses.

I worked for years to learn to make clothing for myself. I worked until my wardrobe was almost one hundred percent handmade by me. Now I’m over what I know how to make; really, really over it.

Okay, wait, no. There’s one style of dress I’ve worn a bit this spring. But other than that. And, let’s face it, it’s not an attractive style of dress. I just still happen to like it for reasons of my own.

Okay, no, that’s not true. I don’t like it, it’s that I can’t face ripping everything out, which is what I’m going to do.

I am going to have so much fabric to work with. Wow, that is a positive thing.

A problem: I have no idea where to go from here, no idea what to make. If I am offered one more dress that looks like a damned sack, I am going to start shrieking. Even Target is selling sacks. What the hell? This is what we were all locked up for? To emerge as duvets? And even the sleepwear is…one piece? No. No. What. What is happening?

I will stop now.

But I keep wondering, where do I go from here, as far as sewing is concerned? It seems the choices are: get a lot better, or make the largest, most crooked quilt the world has ever seen.


I realized I hadn’t posted this sweater I finished more recently than the other things I’ve been cataloging.

The pattern isn’t new, but I didn’t get around to trying it until last year.

It’s Ranunculus, by Midori Hirose.

This was such a quick, easy, fun sweater to make. I’ve intended to do more, but, well, what happened was that I finished this right before Covid really hit, and I had Big Plans. Then, everything went bonkers and I forgot all about plans to make anything ever again, pretty much.

I need to snap out of it.

Anyway, I made this out of small quantities of a variety of yarns I had leftover from other projects, and from a shawl I made that it had become clear I was never going to wear. I ripped it out and did this sweater instead and that was the best thing that could’ve happened to the shawl.

What do we have here? There’s Madelinetosh Vintage in Antler, Madelinetosh DK in Mansfield Garden Party, Madelinetosh Tosh Merino in both Rosewood and Gossamer, and Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica in a shade which I believe was called Cameo.

It uses surprisingly little yarn, at least, I thought so. I cannot stress enough how quick this was to make. Very satisfying.

You can see the sweater is pretty loosely knit, which, as it turns out, is an excellent quality, because it would be way too hot for me to wear otherwise. The weight of the sweater pulls the little flowers open so they’re more visible than when it’s laying flat.

I love it. Definitely need to make at least one more. When I snap out of it.