The Blog, The Write Stuff

Gifts Not Required!

Having decided to visit the website after a long absence, I noticed I began this blog in 2013. That means it’s been ten years of haphazard posting with no real goal in mind. Then again, this is my personal blog. I’m not trying to sell anything or influence anyone. So what if I have only one regular reader? She’s a great one!

Ten years! It’s the aluminum or tin anniversary, Both are malleable metals, symbolizing the flexibility needed to last 10 years. Granted, that refers to marriage (because heaven forbid anyone be single in our couples-oriented society), but I think it can symbolize anything in life. After all, I’ve started several blogs over the years, only to eventually abandon them. Having lasted 10 years (including at least one with 0 posts) means I’m not trying to make this one perfect. It shows all its flaws.

It’s a good time to update the design. And yes, it took me a couple of hours to decide on a theme, which took away from the hours it takes for me to write a blog post worthy of publishing. And I’m still not entirely happy with it. But it will do for now.

While gifts aren’t required, you take a look at some ideas here. I already have a cocktail shaker, so you can skip that. And after 45 years, my pierced ears started reacting to the posts. I had to give up wearing earrings (which breaks my heart) and the holes have closed, So you needn’t worry about the diamond studs. (You all realize I’m facetious here, right?)

My goal for the rest of 2023 is to post at least once a month. A couple years ago I made a goal to write for at least an hour a day. But with my screenplay and book reviews at Goodreads (it takes at least an hour to get a review in a publishable state), I didn’t have time for the blog. But the screenplay is finished and my blog-writing time may be opening up. And with 15 draft posts on my WordPress dashboard, I’ll not have to look far for ideas.

As for my other passion, I’ll be updating my yarn saga. I’ve actually finished a couple of projects (including two afghan). And all of my navy signal flag squares are done! Although I may need to rework India, I’m moving on to the finishing phase. (That’s always the least fun part of any project because it’s sewing and not knitting.)

Oh, and if you like the aluminum ring dish shown above, you can buy (and customize!) it here.


Christmas Crocheting Gone Awry, Part 2

It’s a 67% bust.

Project #2: Cat Chistmas Stocking

The fin makes it 3-D.

A Christmas stocking in the shape of a cat’s paw. You know it’s a cat’s paw, vice a dog’s because it includes a 3-D fish and not a 2-D bone.

I’ve been wanting to make this project for years, but the first row required a skill I didn’t have: crocheting around the foundation chain. My Dallas tote bag included this technique. So once I took the time to actually learn it, I was able to begin the stocking. It’s pretty damned cute.

{Too bad my cat Remmy doesn’t deserve a stocking. He’s an anxious, high-strung fellow, and not at all affectionate. Except at bedtime when I’m trying to read. That’s when he’s affectionate needy and keeps nudging my book/Kindle away.)

Continue reading “Christmas Crocheting Gone Awry, Part 2”

Christmas Crocheting Gone Awry, Part 1

When December arrived, I was ready to Crochet All the Way. I had three Christmas-themed crochet projects I wanted to try. This is surprising because I prefer knitting to crochet, but these projects interested me. I even began a post called “Crocheting for Christmas.” Obviously, being a third of the way through December has forced me to change to title—and the post.

First up: the Avent CALendar

Tom Daley shows off his 2020 Advent CALendar crochet project.
Tom Daley shows off his finished 2020 Advent CALendar project. © 2020 @madewithlovebytomedaley

For at least the last two years, Crochet Society has run a December Crochet-ALong (CAL) in the form of an Advent Calendar, or CALendar. I first learned of this event via @madewithlovebytomdaley. Last year’s blanket was gorgeous! This year’s kit included a darling “cupboard” with little drawers numbered 1-25. (See below.) The cupboard is so adorable, I just had to have it!

Did I mention Crochet Society is based in England? Hearing so much about the “supply chain backlogs” (and seeing bare shelves in some stores) I was worried the kit wouldn’t arrive in time. But it arrived in plenty of time. Did I peak into some of the drawers? Yes I did, but only a couple.

The idea behind the Advent CALendar is that each day you open the corresponding drawer to find some yarn, plus a little giftie. Then that day’s instructions post to YouTube. I love the idea of an Advent Calendar. It’s a Christmas tradition I’ve missed for many years. And at the end, I’d have something that would last throughout the year.

Then I saw a photo of this year’s completed blanket. I was not happy.

Continue reading “Christmas Crocheting Gone Awry, Part 1”
Goals, Movies, Screenwriting, Yarn!

How’Zit Goin?

The Screenplay

With only one month left to complete my 2021 goal, I’m on track. I’ve “finished” the screenplay. After much effort, it’s finally below 120 pages, currently at about 116 pages.

You’ll notice the word “finished” is in quotation marks. Is a creative work really ever finished? Generally, no, because the creator will tweak the work until the very last minute. (Eric Kripke said he continuously rewrote a key scene for the pilot of Supernatural until they filmed it. And he still wasn’t happy with it.) But my reason for not being done is less esoteric.

I’m trying an alternate beginning, based on feedback from my screenplay course instructor. It’s still exposition-heavy, but I see no way out of that because the sci-fi world has to be set up quickly. The alternate would just get into the action a bit more quickly. The downside is that some lovely prose that Dark Space author Lisa Henry wrote would be lost.

But my biggest struggle is the ending: it’s pretty weak. I didn’t mind the book’s ending (although a few reviewers on Goodreads did), but it won’t do for a movie. For one thing, it violates the first commandment of Robert McKee‘s 10 Commandments of Screenwriting: Thou shalt not take the crisis or climax out of the protagonist’s hands (or, no “deus ex machina” endings). So now I have to come up with an ending where Brady is the master of his own destiny, or rather, gets himself out of the jam the other main character put him in.

Continue reading “How’Zit Goin?”
Mindset, Mistakes Happpen, Yarn!

Damn the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy!

There is a reason I don’t finish my yarn projects, and it is this: I get discouraged when I make mistakes. Especially mistakes that I continually repeat, or those I don’t notice until too far along to easily fix.

My boxy t shirt top as it looked last week.
My Boxy T— a few days ago

The additional yarn for my Boxy T Top finally arrived. Yay! 1 So I took a break from the nautical signal flag afghan to finish knitting the sweater. And I did finish knitting it. Now to join the pieces and weave in the ends.

I recently came upon instructions for changing to a new ball of yarn when the current ball runs low. It said to change the yarn at the end of the row. Otherwise, if you change yarn in the middle of the row, you run the risk of creating a hole in your fabric Now, I’ve been knitting for a long time (off and on) and have added a new ball of yarn mid-row many times without ever creating a hole. Sure, I had to take care when weaving in the loose ends, but it wasn’t rocket science.

Continue reading “Damn the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy!”
Memes (Sunday 7), Yarn!

Sunday Seven Afghan Update

How about an update on the nautical flags afghan?

First: Charlie (C) is finished. It’s done in seed stitch. (Ignore the little dot in the top white stripe. It’s a stitch marker to denote the right side. Of course I photographed the wrong side! It’s Murphy’s law. But both sides are the same. It’s just that my yarn tails are woven in on the wrong side.

Nautical signal flag for Charlie (C).
Charlie – seed stitch
Continue reading “Sunday Seven Afghan Update”
Goals, Yarn!

All Stop!

I’ve hit a snag in my knitting. In fact, I was working on a post detailing the extent of my frustration, but that’s going to have to wait. Just like my projects are going to have to wait. Because last night the yarn for my first original design project arrived!

Several years ago L.L. Bean had a quilt of Navy signal flags. I didn’t buy it. Why? I ask myself! Perhaps I thought I would buy it from the next catalogue, but as far as I know, it was only offered the one time. I’ve regretted not buying it ever since. Could I make one myself? Nope. I’ve never quilted nor had the desire to. Quilting seems like a time-consuming process and an awful lot of work. I just don’t have the patience.

I thought about asking a childhood friend (Sam, if you’re reading this!) who loves quilting to make one for me. But she’s got her own stuff to make.

Continue reading “All Stop!”
Around the Web, Home, Yarn!


The tote is done! I announced it last week on my Instagram and half of my followers liked it! (I have only two followers, one of whom I think forgot she even has an Instagram account.)

As you can see from the photo, I fixed the stripe situation. I unraveled only about 10 rows (vice the planned 24) . When I got to the top stripe this time, the they aligned properly. I have no idea what I did differently, so, sadly, I cannot learn from my mistake.

The Dallas tote is finished!
(Not sure what the purpose of this “rounded” pic style is, but WordPress gave me the choice, so I used it.)
Continue reading “Ta-Daa!”
Goals, Memes (Sunday 7), Yarn!

Sunday 7: STILL on My Needles

At the end of his weekly YouTube videos, Tom Daley (yes, I’m still a wee bit obsessed) answers questions posted in his comments and asks for new questions. One question I’d like to ask: Does he completely finish one knit or crochet project before he starts another? I recently went through my stash and found many unfinished projects. Here are just seven of them. (Yes, there are more!)

Seven Unfinished Knitting (& Crochet) Projects

(“Crochet” is in parenthesis because only one project is crochet—the first one shown here.)

Dallas tote bag, making progress.
Dallas tote bag

1. Dallas Tote Bag: from Lion Brand. The yarn is called “Jeans.” I love me some denim, and I love this yarn. It’s soft and stretchy. Of course, I need another bag like I need another hole in my head, but who cares? I’ve made great progress since this picture was taken, finishing the first panel Friday night. Yay!

2. Boxy T-Shirt Top: another Lion Brand project with Jeans yarn. I’ve made good progress on this, too. Took it to the auto dealership on Thursday and knitted while waiting for my car to be serviced. (Knitting is easier for me than crochet.) I also finished listening to a favorite book from Audible—a paranormal gay romance mystery. But that’s subject for another time.

The beginnings of a cute boxy sweater.
The beginnings of my boxy T-shirt sweater.
Continue reading “Sunday 7: STILL on My Needles”