Yarn Organizing – Spring 2019

Rain had been in the forecast for the weekend, but by Friday night the Weather Channel was telling me that there was only a 10% chance of rain. Great! I can spend all day Saturday trying to clean up this mess:

I was at the nursery by 8:05 Saturday morning and managed to buy all of my vegetable plants, plus another rose bush (I can figure out where to plant it later). As soon as I got home I started ripping and tearing. I had just finished turning the soil where I wanted to plant the cucumbers when it started to rain! It had been cloudy, but there was only a 10% chance of rain! GRRRRR. I finished planting my cucumbers and zucchini in the soaking rain, then went in and showered. I was NOT a happy camper. The sun was bright and shining when I got OUT of the shower! Except now everything was wet and muddy.

I needed to put myself in a happier frame of mind, so as I waited for the sun to dry out the dirt I decided to tackle another mess that I had been avoiding…

Yarn Mess 5-18-19

Isn’t that horrible?! Yes, it really did look like that. I would buy yarn and just toss it on the pile. Or, once I had finished a blanket, I would toss the yarn that remained on the pile as well. Since I couldn’t work inside I decided to work in here.

I used a Jumbo Ziplock Bag for the baby yarn so that I could easily keep it separate. I love these jumbo bags! I usually buy them at Wal-Mart and then put the Project Linus blankets in them after they are washed and de-furred. Since they zip closed I feel better knowing that stray hunks of fur are not going to make it into the bag. Also, once the blankets have been delivered to Project Linus they can easily be reused.

Once the baby yarn had been separated, I used the same process that I always use to kit up more blankets. If I could get some more yarn kitted up then that should leave me with less yarn just sitting around. Right?

Kitted Blankets 5-19-19

I have 14 blankets kitted up and ready to be crocheted. I’m a Cost Accountant, so earlier I broke down the numbers as I was telling my coworker about this project. At that point she responded, “Wow. You sure can tell that you’re a Cost Accountant!” Yes, it is that scary. So, here we go…

14 blankets made up of 88 rows each, gives you 1232 rows to crochet.

On average, I get about 2.42 rows per ounce of yarn. That means I will have around 509 ounces of yarn in these blankets (which is 31.82 pounds).

If an average skein of solid yarn is 7 oz, that means I will have the equivalent of 72.72 skeins of yarn in these blankets! If you take into account that most of the yarn I use is variegated, they are typically 5 oz skeins. That would give me 101.82 skeins of yarn!

If I average out those two numbers, that gives me 87.27 skeins of yarn. Do you realize what that means?? I have around 87 skeins of yarn that are ready to be crocheted! After kitting up all of those blankets I should have very little yarn left in my cubbies, right?

Yarn Cubbies After 5-20-19

WRONG! This is the yarn that hasn’t been spoken for, yet. Theoretically I could kit up more blankets, but I’m running out of room for the bags. I had Jay pick up a few totes so that I can store the bags for now, but good grief! I think that I might need to attend a 12 step program for my problem! I think that I might be able to crochet one blanket every month and a half. That means technically I won’t have to buy blanket yarn for almost 2 years! YIKES!!

(I really hope that this post is one that Jay won’t read every word and will just skip by because it is all about yarn)

In the midst of this organizing I realized that I have a lot of partial skeins that were becoming quite a mess. So I grabbed the yarn swift that Jay made for me and my yarn ball winder. I decided it was time to give them a try as I haven’t used them at all.

Yarn Winding 5-20-19

That’s quite the basket of messy yarn, isn’t it? I also have an electronic kitchen scale so that I can mark down the weight of each yarn ball (I use that information when figuring out my blankets).

First, I started by weighing the yarn before winding it.

Yarn Before 5-20-19

0.7 oz of messy yarn.

Next, I needed to wind it onto the swift. Since these used to be skeins I couldn’t neatly place it on the swift (like almost all of the information states to do when I was looking up how to use yarn swifts earlier). I knew that I would have to guide the yarn out of the skein without it knotting and get it to stay on the swift. I solved this with masking tape.

Holding the End 5-20-19

I just needed it to hold it while I started to wind the yarn.

Winding on Swift 5-20-19

So far, so good. While I was doing this step Jay stopped by to visit. He has decided that he needs to add a stepper motor to my swift so that it can automatically wind while I guide it out of the skein. We’ll see how that goes.

Once the yarn was on the swift I threaded it onto the ball winder and started cranking away.

Winding the Ball of Yarn 5-20-19

Holding the yarn with my left hand helped to keep tension and to control the yarn a little better as it came off of the swift.

This ball winder makes center-pull balls, which are what I prefer.

Finished Ball of Yarn 5-20-19

It’s so neatly wound!

After I removed it from the winder I weighed it again to confirm the original weight.

Yarn After 5-20-19

Cutting the yarn color and description off of the label I would also include the yarn brand and weight. The label then gets stuffed in the middle and I go onto the next ball of yarn. Currently I have three down… a bunch more to go.

I am really pleased with how nicely the swift and winder work. The only bad thing about the set-up is that I have to bend over quite a bit. It would be nicer if the table was a bit higher. If I would clean off my kitchen counter I might be able to use that surface. That would be the ideal height.

So I guess all I need now is for you to wish me luck. It’s going to be a full time job just to use up all of that yarn and feel like I’ve regained some control over it!

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Hard-to-Finish Projects

I have to admit that I’ve had a few projects on my finishing table that I’ve had absolutely no motivation to work on. Probably because they don’t involve yarn, fabric, or flowers. *sigh*

Do you remember these:

Paper Plate Holder 4-1-19

Cord Organizer 4-1-19

I have made a tiny bit of progress on them. The dumb thing is that I would like to start using them… but I can’t until they are finished. You would think that would be enough motivation for me. Nope.

Kerry Asleep

Yes, I was actually sleeping!


Here’s where these projects stand as of today:

Paper Plate Holder 5-16-19

This one needs two more coats of poly and it should be done.

Cord Organizer 5-16-19

This one has been primed. Now it needs a final coat of paint.

Speaking of paint, guess what else I picked up?

Mary Statue

I decided that since we’re Catholic we need a Mary statue in one of my gardens. I think I’m just going to paint her gray and then age her a little bit. After all, I’m not good at painting eyes. They either look psycho or some other kind of mentally unstable.

I’ve been working on this guy for two years:

Civil War Soldier and Fat Cat Statues

I just can’t seem to get him right! Oh, and then there’s the fat cat that I have to paint, too. That is, when I’m bored and have nothing else to do. lol

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Blankets, Blankets, Blankets!

Recently I’ve been on a bender. Every time I go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army I make a bee-line for the linens. It seems to be my never-ending quest to find the really nice sets of flannel or fleece sheets so that I can make blankets.

Sheet for Blankets

I use the flannel to make receiving blankets for my Dresses for Missions ministry at church. The blankets are included in the Baby Boxes that are given out at parenting programs in Haiti. Not only does this give the newborn a safe place to be placed, but the program also includes diapers, receiving blankets, hats, and other baby necessities. The receiving blankets that I’ve been making will be placed in those boxes.

One reason why I’ve been doing more of these lately is that they are quick and easy to make. They don’t all have to be the same size, either. I try to make them large enough to be really functional (around 36″ x 40″ or so), but I try not to make them any smaller than the receiving blankets that can be purchased in the store.

On my last trip to Goodwill I found a twin and a full sized sheet. I washed them, cut them into various sizes, and rounded the corners. Then I sat down to serge the edges. That’s the easiest way to finish them:

Finished Blankets 5-13-19

Some might not think that the serged edges look nice. Yet, at Goodwill I bought a blanket that I thought somebody else had made and yet when I looked it had a major manufacturer’s tag on it. After seeing that I no longer feel like I’m slacking off by only serging the edges. I was happily serging along last night when I ran out of thread on one of my bottom loopers (of course!).

Empty Thread 5-13-19

I pulled out the box where I have quite a few cones of thread… but I don’t have any white left! I have lots of black, some red, one off-white, and a pink cone. But no white! *sigh* I guess that I will be running to Wal-Mart sooner than expected. (That will make the birds happy because I need more bird seed, too.)

Once I get more thread I can finish up the remaining blankets that I had cut to size.

Unfinished Blankets 5-13-19

Earlier I had mentioned that I’ve been buying fleece sheets, too. When I was looking at the Amazon Wish List for the local cat shelter I noticed that they had fleece blankets listed. It hit me that I could easily make those instead of buying the pricey brand new ones. After all, these will just get covered in cat hair and other things. For less than $10 I managed to purchase these at Goodwill:

Fleece Sheets

I’m not sure how many blankets I can get out of them, but I know that I managed to get 12 decent sized blankets out of an extra set of king size fleece sheets that I had in my linen closet. I really only need two sets of fleece sheets, and I could really use the extra room in the closet. These were dropped off last week.

Fleece Blankets for Cat Shelter

Again, they are just for cats so I didn’t really care how the edges looked. I left the hems and serged around the edges that I had cut. Being able to get so many items completed in such a short amount of time really gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

The biggest down side to all of this is that I am now seeing visions of an over-flowing cart when I head to the Goodwill-by-the-pound this summer with my sister.

Thrift Shop

Jay will not be impressed.

At least it’s not yarn!

Posted in Blankets, Cats, Charity, Sewing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Real Life – 5-10-19

Do you need a pick-me-up? Do you feel like you never make any progress on any of your projects, but people all over social media are somehow able to get their projects completed perfectly? Well, I’m here to make you feel better about yourself! We must all try to keep perspective. Yes, on my blog it appears as if I am very efficient and manage to get a ton of stuff done. However, let me show you what I am letting fall to the wayside in order to work on those projects.

It is the beginning of May and I have yet to even start to work in my flower gardens. Every morning when I walk out to my car I see this:

Fence Garden 5-9-19

You can’t tell where the lawn ends and the flower bed starts.

Fence Garden Weeds 5-9-19

Look at all of the vegetation that needs to be pulled.

More Garden Weeds 5-9-19

Not to mention that I really need to get out there and do some trimming on the rose bushes. Oh, and the burning bush needs a haircut, too.

Burning Bush 5-9-19

Look at all of those spikes! *sigh*

And those aren’t the only gardens that need tending. I have to figure out what I’m going to do in this area this year:

Back Deck 5-9-19

I have no idea where I’m planting any of my vegetables this year. I know the cucumbers didn’t really care for where they were placed last year, so I need to move them somewhere else. *sigh* I just don’t know where.

As I walk around the front of the house I take stock of my corner rose garden. Everybody is in bad need of a trim, but then I look and it appears that one of my rose bushes died.

Rose Bush Lives 5-9-19

Or did it? I see a little bit of growth down near the bottom. *sigh* I guess I will be trying to nurse this one back to health. I really am not good with roses! At least, not the hybrid tea roses. They are so delicate.

My other roses seem to be doing okay, but they need attention, too.

Porch Roses 5-9-19

The bird bath will go in this garden once it’s been fixed, but I have no idea what else I’m going to do with this area. As you can see, I need to clean out all of the dead leaves that blew there this fall.

Plus, I have to do something with my bird feeder area because it’s looking horrid.

Bird Feeder Area 5-9-19

The landscaping fabric has started to flop in the wind because the birds scatter the pine bark nuggets that I use under there when they look for seed. If I leave it with just dirt then I’m constantly weeding it. I don’t want to put a border around it because then it is more difficult for Jay to mow. Oh!! And this is still happening:

Bird Feeder Poop 5-9-19

POOP!!! I think it’s from the possum. I chased it out of there Saturday morning, but Jay wishes that I would get dressed first before running out on the porch yelling at the possum to get out of my bird feeder. He also thinks that I should use something other than the Swiffer to chase it out, too.

Now that I have bared all of my unkempt gardens, do you feel better about yourself? Or at least feel that maybe you’re not the only one falling behind on the yard work? If that hasn’t made you feel better, let me try one more thing…

I have been trying to clean up my office for over a year now. Just when I think I’m making progress, I get behind again. I have a TON of paperwork that I need to shred. This is the sight that greets me:

Office 5-9-19

And that is an improvement compared to how it looked two weeks ago! I have two and a half garbage bags of shredded paper that need to go up to my dad for use in the barn.

I hope that helps you out today. Whenever you need to feel better about yourself just come back to this blog post and be glad that these areas aren’t screaming for your attention. You’re welcome!

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Front Porch Swing!

Last Fall my mom asked me if I wanted the swing that she had purchased many years ago for my older sister, Boogart. Of course, I said yes! It was a porch swing that Boogart used to love. I love a good porch swing, too, so I brought it home. That’s when I informed Jay that he would need to build me a frame for it.

Front Porch - New Concrete - 6-3-16

When we redid our front porch three years ago (it’s been that long already?!) we had to pay extra to get the support beam fixed. The previous owners were supposed to do it, according to the contract, but they just pretended like they had fixed it. We knew that anything in that roof was not going to be able to handle the weight of a porch swing plus me on it.

I went online and found some examples of frames that I thought might fit on our front porch. I wanted it to go on the end, to the right of our front window. It’s an awkward space that I haven’t really known how to use in the summer. So last week I made Jay his annual To Do list and placed the porch swing frame on it. I want to be able to enjoy it once the weather is nice enough. Luckily, it was one of the projects that Jay decided to start. He cut and assembled it in the basement, then brought it up to the front porch for final assembly.

Porch Swing Frame 1

I thought it would look cute if we could place it on an angle.

Porch Swing Frame 2

After double-checking the dimensions, though, we realized it wouldn’t fit because of the extra support 2×4’s that had been placed on the outside of the frame.

Porch Swing Frame 3

We ended up putting it at the end, but that’s okay. It’s a better use of that space.

Porch Swing Frame 6

Doesn’t it look so comfortable?!

Porch Swing Frame 5

Jay was trying it out. He wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t tip easily.

I kept having to explain to him that a porch swing is for leisurely swinging and that you’re not supposed to try to break world records for how many times you can flip the porch swing around the top beam.

Porch Swing Frame 4

I might have to keep an eye on him, though. I can tell that he’s itching to see how fast he can get it swinging. I might have to teach him the fine points of Front Porch Swinging. I come from a long line of Front Porch Sitters with a strong leisurely style. It’s coded deep in my genetics to be ready to relax at a moment’s notice. Jay is just the opposite. It’s what keeps me on my toes.

Jay hated that I wanted him to use pressure treated wood because it’s “ugly”. I told him that I was NOT going to refinish it every year just because he wanted to make it out of regular pine. Once the pressure treated wood weathers for a year I’ll be able to use an outdoor stain and make it prettier.

Posted in Garden, Wood Work | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Happy Star Wars Day! (2019)

Happy Star Wars Day!

Star Wars Day 2019 edited

May the Force be with you!

(and with your spirit…)

Posted in Gary, Humor, Penny | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Clocks

I know that I posted about these in parts and pieces, but I thought I would write one post with all of the pictures in one place. It’s more fun that way.

At my previous job one of my coworkers had seen the cat clock that Jay had made me years ago.

My Cat Clock - 2015

Teasingly, she told me that Jay could make a dog clock for her. Then she added, “As a retirement gift!” I chuckled, but tucked that thought in my mind’s filing cabinet.

Well, today is her last day of work before she retires. Technically she was supposed to retire a month ago, but her boss talked her into staying for another month. This worked out perfectly for me because I had asked Jay to make her a clock.

First he found a picture online and, using SketchUp, he drew out all of the tiny little details. He then fired up the CNC router and produced the clock.

Dog Clock 1 Sanded

We ended up making two because his mom saw it and loved it. Not a big deal. Twin dog clocks were now on the docket.

I wanted to stain it, but I had to be careful. I wanted the lines to really stand out without the rest of the wood being too dark and obliterating the lines.

Dog Clock Stain Difference

Here you can see the difference between the non-stained and stained clocks. Quite a difference! I couldn’t decide between two of the colors, so I used them both. Each dog is a different color.

Dog Clocks Stained 3-25-19

Since this is a clock I wanted to be able to easily tell the time when glancing at it. That means the hour ticks have to be made more visible than what they were at this stage. Jay and I decided to deploy the use of acrylic paint. First, however, you have to lay down a base coat of poly so that if you color outside the lines it’s easier to clean off of the wood.

Dog Clocks Poly'd 4-1-19

(You can’t tell, but these have one coat of poly on them)

Then it was time to do some painting. I like sparkle so I found some metallic-ish paint with a hint of shine to it. There were two colors of this paint, so keeping with the theme, I used one per each dog.


Dog Clock 1 Finished


Dog Clock 2 Finished

I think the colors worked out really well with the stain.

After the paint was dried and cleaned up, I added two more coats of poly to the front and back. They were then handed over to Jay for installation of the clock mechanisms.

Dog Clock 1 Done

I had him color the hands of the clock black because I was afraid the gold wouldn’t stick out well enough to be able to tell the time. I’m really glad that he did because I like the look of it.

Dog Clock 2 Done

A hanger was also added to the back and they were done!

Posted in CNC Router, Wood Work | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment