Introducing Gary

Since my post wishing everybody a Happy Star Wars day I’ve had a TON of questions regarding Gary.

Gary and Bob


Who is he? Where did he come from? Why is he appearing on the blog? What is his favorite color? Plus many other questions too numerous to mention. So, without further ado I give you everything that I know about Gary.

Gary T. Nelson

Brandon in Diaper

Gary T. Nelson was born in April, but we don’t know what year as his parents weren’t good with numbers. Or names. He was named after his dad just so that they wouldn’t have to remember any additional information. To be fair, we’re not even sure he was actually born in April… that was just what his parents told him. This is also the only picture that was ever taken of him prior to embarking on his military career.

Gary feels that he had a normal childhood. He did what all boys his age did… played tag, traded football cards, and set off railroad crossing signals for fun. He didn’t really apply himself in school, though. Instead he dreamed of the day he could become a Jedi knight and wield a light saber! After all, the girls all fall for guys with big light sabers.

As he sat for the ASVABs he pictured how handsome he was going to look in his Jedi robe! He was mentally saving the day with his quick reflexes and Jedi mind tricks. Life was going to be great! He flew through the test and waited for his assignment (as that’s what happened at that time when you took the ASVABs). Pretty soon the call came in and he had been recruited by…

The Imperial Army

The Army???!! No way! He was definitely Jedi material! When the recruitment bus stopped at his house to take him to boot camp he tried a mind trick on them, “This is not the cadet you are looking for…” and waved his wand around. They just laughed and tossed him onto the bus. The Imperial Army doesn’t mess around!

Gary had no other options so he remained in the Imperial Army and graduated from boot camp:

Storm Trooper Graduation

After a few years Gary grew very disillusioned with the military service, but he was stuck. He’d signed a contract when entering the service that only released him after 25 years of service. The punishment for going AWOL, or breaking the contract altogether, was death. That really wasn’t an appealing option.

What’s a guy to do when he thinks his boss is a big jerk?

Darth Vader

What do you do when you feel like just another white-clad storm trooper in a sea of storm troopers? You do as little as possible. That’s what. A lot of people think that the storm troopers were really bad shots and that’s why they always missed whatever they were shooting at. Nope. They were missing on purpose! They couldn’t leave their job, but they really didn’t want to further the Empire’s cause, so they just pretended to be bad shots. Management had such low regard for the storm troopers that the ruse worked and the storm troopers were thought to be mindless pawns. And that’s how Gary survived until he finally reached the age when he could retire.

After he retired he didn’t want to do anything for a while. He just wanted to have fun. It was the first time he could actually dress up for a Christmas party!

Christmas Storm Trooper

Then he was excited when his favorite football team went to the Super Bowl!


Things started to go downhill from there, though. The Patriots lost the game. Then Gary started running out of money. He tried to get some part time jobs, but when people found out that he had formerly been part of the Imperial Army they refused to hire him.

He caught a break when the neighborhood bar was in desperate need of a bartender.

Bartending Gary

Unfortunately, an armed bartender tends to scare the patrons away, so he wasn’t employed for long.

Things got really bad and Gary hit rock bottom…


He was hanging out on his front porch, wearing cast-off clothes and waving his gun wildly at people as they walked by. As he looked in the mirror and realized that he was wearing a shirt with a CAT on it he broke into sobs and cried helmet-fulls of tears. What had gone wrong? Why had he ended up such a broken wreck of a person? Was it all so hopeless that this is what remained of a formerly idealistic dreamer?

Then the voice of his former boss broke into his misery, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” And that was all it took. Gary picked himself up and started working towards his dream of becoming a Jedi knight. He didn’t know how long it would take or if he would ever accomplish it, but he knew that he had to do or do not as there is no try. So he did. Do, that is. I mean, he did do and he didn’t just try to do.

Gary as Yoda

You can rent ‘Yoda’ by the hour, or by the day. He does birthday parties, family reunions, bar mitzvahs and corporate motivational meetings. He is also available as an Uber driver on the weekends. For a slightly higher fee he will wear the Yoda costume while Ubering you around town.

And that, my friends, is the story of Gary T. Nelson.

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May the Fourth…

… be with you!

Gary as Yoda

Gary got dressed up as Yoda to wish you a Happy Star Wars day!

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A Non-Linus Blanket

I have a friend who has been experiencing some difficult times. She can no longer crochet due to severe arthritis in her hands, but she enjoys it when I tell her my adventures in collecting yarn for the Project Linus blankets. I tell her about how I spent an hour sorting through my yarn to come up with different combinations, and then doing all of the math to make the patterns work.

Sewing Room - Yarn

As I was telling her the finished size that they end up being with the number of rows that I put in them she said, “That sounds like it might be a nice size for a lap blanket.” I know that at one point she had been looking for a nice throw that would coordinate with her living room, so I made a mental note and filed it away.

After I finished the last blanket that I made for Project Linus I gathered up the yarn colors that I knew would go with her living room. This is what came off of my hook:

Marilyn's Blanket 4-13-18

I gave it to her the other day and she said that she loved it. It’s light enough that her dog’s fur shouldn’t easily be seen on it, and it’s made out of acrylic yarn so that it can be tossed in the washer when needed. I hope that she ends up using it a lot.

Marilyn's Blanket Detail

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Spring Cross Update 4-13-18

Today was quite the day. I couldn’t wait to get home to my cross stitching and crocheting.

The last time I shared my Spring Cross with you it looked like this:

Spring Cross 3-6-18

That was on 3-6-18.

Just one month later this is how it looks:

Spring Cross 4-13-18

We’ve got some tulips, a hibiscus, and I’m not sure what the purple ones are supposed to be. Once I get them back stitched it might be a little more obvious.

That’s not bad considering I typically only get about 20-30 minutes a day on this in the mornings. I like to make my cup of coffee and then sit and stitch for a bit while listening to my favorite morning show. It’s a great way to start the day!

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An Easter Project

It all started with a picture similar to this:

Ribbon Hanging Decoration

Brandon, our choir director and church environment extraordinaire, decided that he wanted to do something similar for Easter. Could we (meaning me) do it? It didn’t look too hard so I said yes. I figured the hardest part would be finding enough ribbon as he wanted these to be tall banner-like hangings. He gave me the colors that he wanted and then turned me loose. After I had ordered what I thought would be the right colors, I had to ask Jay to make the pieces from which the banners would hang.

Banner Holders - Sanded

These are what they looked like after I did all of the sanding on them. Jay thought I should use the electric sander, but I hate the marks it leaves behind. Instead I started with 60 grit sandpaper and worked my way down. Because these had been 2×4’s there were quite a few rough cuts that had been made and blade marks that had been left behind. Using my trusty elbow grease I managed to smooth them out.

Banner Holders - Stained 1

I then did a light stain and two layers of matte polyurethane. I didn’t want them to be super shiny. I also wanted them to be able to go with almost anything that would be hung on them. After all, these can be used year round if needed.

Finished Banner Holders

Here they are sitting on top of the poles.

The next step was to figure out how long we wanted the banners, and then arrange the ribbons in a pleasing fashion. This was definitely NOT my area of expertise. I love symmetrical things so abstract art is not my style. I took the ribbons to church so that Brandon and I could arrange them together.

Easter Banner 3

We laid out masking tape at the various lengths that we needed, and then we started unspooling and cutting the ribbons. There was a LOT of ribbon.

Easter Banner 1

We started out a little on the skimpy side as we weren’t really sure where we were going with this project.

Easter Banner 4

By the end we were tired so we just threw ribbons at these hoping they would look okay. I told Brandon that I would take them home and determine if they needed additional ribbon.

This next step was actually the most difficult out of the entire process…

Karen's Pillow - Chester and Bob

… listening to the cats whine since I had placed the ribbons safely behind the closed door of my sewing room. Then listening to Bob sit outside the door crying as I worked on the banners. Can you imagine if I had allowed them in the room while I was messing with the ribbons??!

Easter Banner Tweaking 1

I actually put two hooks on the other door in the sewing room so that I could hang these and figure out if there was anything missing. I think the hooks will come in handy when I need to hang up various projects that I’m sewing. So I left them on the door after the banners were finished.

Sewn Easter Banner

Once I had finished determining placement I then sewed the ribbons onto a piece of light pink bias binding. Then I took a strip of tulle, sewed the strip of ribbons to it and made a rod pocket for them. I also had to cut long lengths of shiny tulle and sew a rod pocket at the tops to be used as backdrops to the ribbon banners. I felt that they would need the little bit of solid behind them.

They actually turned out better than I expected (despite some nay-saying that was going on when they were being placed in the church). What do you think?

Finished Easter Banner 1

Displayed Easter Banner 2

Finished Easter Banner 3

I thought that they really tied our gathering space in together with the sanctuary. Brandon used a lot of white and pink flowers.

Font Easter 2018

Altar Easter 2018

As the flowers die we can re-position the ribbons to keep the colors in the sanctuary. Now that we know what we’re doing we can use the idea for other parts of the year.

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Workshop Rearranging – Again

You would think that a person can only rearrange their workshop so many times. Of course, just as you think you have everything situated another machine comes into the house and room has to be made.

That’s what happened recently in our house. This arrived:

New Milling Machine

This is the milling machine that Jay has been drooling over since before Thanksgiving. If I hadn’t already ordered the dust collector then he probably would have received this for Christmas. Instead he had to wait to order it as an early birthday present. The poor guy!


He’s so neglected and abused!

I didn’t realize how serious the rearranging was going to be until I walked downstairs and found this:

Sump Pump

This was sitting out in the main part of the basement. It’s our sump pump that has never been hooked up because the idiot who added on the addition placed the sump pump in the highest spot of the basement. Remember, this is the same guy who put metal roofing on a shed SIDEWAYS.

Shed Area - 6-4-16

Anyway, when I turned the corner into the smaller workshop I ran into this:

Small Workshop 1

The lathe was gone. Not completely, but it was moved.

Old Bench - Small Workshop

Jay didn’t like the workbench that was there because it was too big and bulky. When we had looked at the house there was actually a rabbit hutch/cage sitting on it. Jay decided the bench was coming out and he would build something that would better suit his needs. Don’t you feel so bad for him? The poor guy… stuck with a bulky bench.

Small Tools Bench

The bulky bench had previously held the disc sander and the Uppie-Downy sander, too. I believe that he had the band saw sitting on the bench while the drill press was actually on a stand next to the bench. Either way, these three were moved out by the dust collector so that they can get connected to it, too.

3D Printed Connections

More 3D printed accessories. Although, I’ve been told that there’s another design for this part of the dust collecting system in the works.

New Small Workshop

And here is the new bench!

New Bench - Small Workshop

It’s a big improvement over the old one. This smaller bench makes the room feel more spacious, too. Which is weird because it’s not that much smaller.

Finally, I want to leave you with a warning that I know Jay will ignore:

Eye Protection Warning

… especially when operating screwdrivers and hammers.

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Dresses For Missions… Finally!

Yes, it’s been a while. It’s not for lack of materials, either. Other hobbies have taken up my time. However, I purchased some cotton batik when I was working on the chasuble for Advent that didn’t end up getting used.

Chasuble Adornment Mockup 4

It’s the pink/purple/blue fabric that I tried as stripes down the front of the chasuble. It was thought to be too feminine, but I knew it would be perfect for Dresses.

Dress #37

Dress #37 3-4-18

Isn’t that pretty?!

I didn’t add any kind of fancy decoration at the top of the dress because I felt the material was already busy enough.

Dress #37 Hem Detail

For the hem ruffle I used a solid pink that had a bit of a pattern in it with a bit of sheen. You can’t tell, but the lace I used at the bottom is a pale blue. Then I used a solid grosgrain ribbon with sparkly rick-rack.

Dress #37 Sparkly Rick Rack

Oooo… sparkly!

One thing I noticed when working on this dress is that I need to mix things up a bit. I’ve been sewing this style for a while now and I’m getting bored. Also, due to the way that I add the ruffle and trim it creates a lot of extra sewing. I need to simplify things, so I think that’s what I’m going to work on when I start on the next one.


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