Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blogging and Time

Tax time again... I don't know why I tend to put it off for so long, when I could just take the bull by the horns and tackle it on February 1st... or 15th... or even at the end of the month.  But... I wait until March rolls around... and rolls... and then before I know it, there's only a couple of weeks to the deadline!  And I am feeling stressed.  There really aren't many reasons for me to be stressed these days.  I'm retired!  And it's the best job I've ever had.  I can do what I want to do when I want to do it and for as long as I want to do it... or not.  I can work on a project until 4:00 a.m. and sleep until I wake up (or the phone wakes me).  Retirement can lead to a lack of scheduling altogether, and perhaps that isn't such a positive thing.  It's far too easy to put things off.  When I was working, I was forced to make better use of my time.

Now I have time... time to write a blog and read others' blogs. One blog that really caught my eye today is Michele's "With Heart and Hands".  Today's blog was especially appropriate, I thought... Coloring Outside the Lines:
Too often we restrict ourselves by staying inside the lines, and it's good to give ourselves permission to stray outside occasionally.  And while you're at her site, read about her  Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.  The quilts can be no larger than 9" by 12", and they are auctioned off to support  Alzheimer's research.  Hers is a very moving story, and introduces us first-hand to an extremely worthy cause.  All that's needed is the time it takes to sew a lot of love and hope into a little bit of fabric.  There are pages of photos of quilts that have been donated.  Michele's site also links to a  lot of free block patterns.

Another blog that I enjoyed today was Laurie's KniceKnitties:
Laurie's blog today teaches you how to crochet Scrunchies... so colorful, cute and easy!  Both of these blogs link to other pages, as well.

Blogging might be seen as a waste of time to some, but for me it's a lifeline to the outside world.  Moving from the small town of Chisholm on Minnesota's Iron Range to the big city of Cincinnati, Ohio, I missed my friends of over 40 years terribly!  My telephone and computer keep me in touch with most of them.  And unlike years past when we had only snail mail or expensive telephone bills if we wanted to communicate with friends and family, today we can be in touch in an instant.  With Skype, we can even see our loved ones while we talk to them.

If you like making use of your time by multi-tasking, try crocheting these nylon net Scrubbies while you watch TV or visit.  They have many uses:  my youngest daughter says they are great for scrubbing foot callouses.  My youngest son loves them for cleaning his white-wall tires.  Most of us find them nearly indispensable in the kitchen or bathroom.

Cut 1 ½” strips across the width (72”) of stiff nylon net.   I usually get 2 yards of each color and put cut ends together to make a 1-yard piece.  Fold in half lengthwise, and again, in quarters, so you have a piece that is 1 yard long and about 5” wide when folded.  It works well to use a rotary cutter and ruler.  Each 2 yard piece makes 4 or 5 scrubbies (depending on how wide you cut your strips), with a few extra pieces leftover, which can be put together with other colors to make “scrappy scrubbies”.   Each scrubbie takes 8 strips.  Size J crochet hook.
Tie 8 lengths together with tails about 6” to 8” long.  If the net isn’t really stiff, I tie longer tails so it is more firmly stuffed when finished (the tails provide stuffing for ball).  Wind them loosely into a ball before beginning, if you choose.  I usually cut and wind all the balls before I begin to crochet the scrubbies.  Place them all in a bag and you are ready to go whenever you need some “pick up” work. 

Chain 3.  Join with slip stitch. Chain 1 (1st single crochet); Work 2 single crochet in the top of each chain (6 stitches). Row 2 & 3:  Work 2 single crochets in each stitch around for 2 more rows (24 stitches around). 
Rows 4 and following rows:  1 single crochet in the top of each single crochet around. 
When 6 tails (7 strips) have been used, turn right side out and using 8th strip, begin to decrease, working one single crochet in the top of every other single crochet until top is closed.   End with slip stitch in last stitch.  Pull remaining end through to knot and hide in center of ball.

When I was visiting my son and his family last year, his cats got into my tote bag of nylon balls waiting to be crocheted... and there were bits of colorful nylon net shredded all over the floor!  What fun they had!!!  I'm glad I could put some joy in their life, however unwittingly.  Gabriella and Griffin helped me clean up the mess, all of us laughing hilariously while we worked.  The cats sat innocently on the sidelines, pretending not to notice us.


  1. What a fun blog! You help me realize that messes (see paragraph above about cats & nylon netting) can add joy to life! What a lovely person you are. This blog will be fun to follow. :-) ~TMJ

  2. SOOOO nice to hear about you again. I so enjoy this blog..I enjoy retirement, too, but at times feel disconnected from fiends at work. Luckily we can have lunch occasionally. They tell me what's going on at work (I'm their!!) I go home and tell Hubby, "I'm sooo glad I'm retired". Thanks for the Blog, Alaena. Missed u. Josie

  3. Thanks for the sweet comments, my friends. I enjoy keeping in touch!

  4. Ah, thank you so very much, Alaena! It's been a delight to meet another energeticly connected and creative woman with similar interests and abilities! Love it when the Universe connects me with others I should meet that way!

    And a big thanks for the heads up on my favorite charitable cause. I truly hope you will consider making a little quilt for us...I would just love adding it, and you, to my group!

    Big hug as you enter and face the still have to's this week...but keep that spirit of expansion and having fun! You've got it woman :)

  5. I would love to make some of these scrubbies, but for the life of me, I cannot visualize how to put the strips together before starting.

    How do you put the strips together to end up with 5" across? Are you sewing 5 strips together along the long side of the piece?

    Sorry to be so dense.

  6. I think you are confusing the folding of the net before cutting with tying the strips together. I buy 2-yard pieces of the net, and I think it's about 2 yards wide. Fold it in half, then in half again, lengthwise, to get it to a size that can easily be cut with a rotary cutter. I also put the cut ends together, so I am cutting double strips with each cut. Hope this helps explain it to you.

  7. Yes, this helps a lot. Thank you!