MamaT: May 2009 Archives

Pretty Pattern Tuesday Wednesday


I seem to be stuck on doily patterns these days. I am fascinated by them, and think that the women who can do them are the true artists of the crochet hook. Tension is crucial in threadwork: too loose and you get a wavy, misshapen thing, but too tight will drive you insane trying to get the hook into the teeny, tiny stitches.

I own steel crochet hooks, but I haven't used 'em much. Maybe I'll pick up a ball of thread at Hobby Lobby and give the doily another whirl.

I won't, however, start with this one. But anyone who wants to try it should come over to my house and I'll sit on the couch with them and watch!

Anyway, here's a picture of this week's pattern:


It's called the Giant Sunflower Doily, and you can find it HERE. It's over at the Crochet Memories site, and there is a lot of cool stuff over there.

Oh, and if you are still not sure about making doilies? You can take at least some of the patterns (not the most intricate ones), do 'em up in cotton yarn and use 'em for placemats or hot pads.

Happy Tuesday Wednesday, ya'll!

MamaT's Monday Tuesday Wednesday Music


This week, we have the incomparable Jessye Norman singing Give Me Jesus.

And, just because I'm late this week, I'll give you two. Ms. Norman again, singing Ride On, King Jesus.

Happy Monday Wednesday, ya'll!

Fine Art Friday

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Today I wanted to feature Marc Chagall. His work is, this probably sounds silly, light and refreshing to me. They feel buoyant. And today I could use a little buoyancy!


Flowers and Lovers

Amoureux au Bouquet

Lovers in Moonlight

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Calling LaMa!

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Oh, LaMa!

I did the crocheted headband pattern you picked out today. I think there are some adjustments that need to be made (I'll probably want to use a smaller hook than I used this time--I was one size up from pattern requirements), but the pattern is uber-easy to adjust.

It took me 15 minutes to make one. Of course, it will take you a lot longer, because you'll just be learning. But it's a good pattern to learn with, and I think the band is actually really really cute, in a Jane-Eyre-y sort of way.

I also used scrap acrylic yarn to make it, because I was testing. But I have some scrap cotton yarn that I'll bring when you want to try. It might be easier to make one with acrylic first (because it slides better, and stretches a little), then move to cotton. But whatever.

You wanna try after Mass on Sunday?

Booking Through Thursday


Interesting question today, I think:

What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Not because I think it is an especially great book. But it was one of the first "big books" that swept me away and kept me entranced as a young teenager.

I'd like to feel that swept away feeling--as a new feeling--again.

Secondarily, I'd like to read Jon Hassler's Staggerford again. Just to run into those characters as new one more time.

How 'bout you?

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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I continue to be lost in Yorkshire with James Herriot's quartet of books. Currently almost finished with book #3 All Things Wise and Wonderful. This is the book during the war years, when Herriot was training to be a pilot in the RAF. He spends a little time on what he did during the war, but he focuses mostly on his memories of Yorkshire.

There is much to love in these books. Herriot is a great writer, but at the same time, he is so self-effacing and modest, that you just want to hug him. He began his practice when there weren't any of the modern drugs, penicillin and the like, that were such a miracle when they arrived. The work was tough, and often chance had as much a role in cure as the medicine did.

He admires the Yorkshire farmers--their grit, their determination, their stoicism in the face of reverses. His vignettes paint such a lovely picture of a people I suspect are mostly gone now. And he obviously loves the animals he cares for. Since I'm not a farm girl, I had never thought about how different a "country vet's" practice would be from the more familiar (to me) small animal practice. But he's not a snob about anything. He loves them all--dogs and cats and cows and pigs and sheep and horses. He makes me like them, too.

And he's funny. He has an eye for the absurd detail, the humorous happening. And it's told with no irony, no sarcasm, no cynicism. I think that's the most resfreshing bit of all. Most of the humor is at his own expense.

After I finish the books, I am going to put the PBS miniseries discs on my Netflix queue and watch them. But I don't want anything to spoil my image of the people until I'm finished with the books.

I also continue to read Peter Kreeft's You Can Understand the Bible. I should finish it up this week. Then it's probably back to Guardini's book on prayer.

How 'bout ya'll?

Pretty Pattern Tuesday


Today is the "Everything That's Old Is New Again" edition of PPT. I am fascinated by crochet doilies--they are challenging to make, and you really feel like you've accomplished something when you're finished. But there's the problem. What do you do with 'em when you're finished? Not many of us have a need in modern homes for doilies (although I personally have several I use. But remember, I'm the OLD mama around here!). But here's a doily that I could see being right at home in even the most modern, most goth-type house. (Ignore the inset in the corner--that's just to show you how the doily will coordinate with a set of black crocheted place mats, which are awesome in their own right!):


And you can find the pattern for this at Puple Kitty Yarns. She's got a boatload of vintage patterns. Maybe you'll find something you like!

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

MamaT's Music for your Monday!

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Tomorrow is PapaC's and my 30th anniversary. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, 30 years! Yay, us!

So, to celebrate, here's a little number from the movie Let's Dance, with Betty Hutton. Love her!

And here's a little something else, too. Let's just call it my anniversary present to all of you. Go grab your sweetie and dance in the kitchen to this one. Blame it on me and PapaC.

Happy Monday, ya'll!

Pretty Pattern Tuesday



OK, I've shown you lots of patterns for bigger things. Let's look at the opposite end of the crochet spectrum. This one is a corner bookmark, done in bedspread cotton with a steel hook. Folks, this is a different animal altogether. Cotton does not slip off your hook the way yarn does, and it doesn't "give" either. That makes it more challenging to crochet with.

Try a little bookmark like this, and you will have WAY more appreciation for those huge crocheted tablecloths (which I LOVE) than you did before.

You can find the corner bookmark pattern here.

And I've got a steel hook you can borrow.

If you decide you like it, how 'bout crocheting me this little number, the pattern for which can be found here. I've had a little mercy on you, because this cloth is actually done in one piece, instead of being thousands of tiny motifs that then have to be crocheted or sewn together! Aren't I NICE?


You can find the pattern for the tablecloth here.

Both of these patterns come from The Yarn Lover's Room, which is a wonderful site with lots of great patterns. Check it out!

Happy Tuesday, ya'll! And get to crocheting!

Had to share!


McKid made me a Mother's Day card and gave it to me yesterday:

You shine like sparkleing teeth.
But you are the best.
I love you more than eney other Grandmother!

I love you too, baby!

(And I guess all the harping I do about teeth-brushing is making an impact!)

MamaT's Monday Music


This was the first Mother's Day without my sweet mom. Here's one of her favorite songs:

I miss you, Mom!

Happy Monday to the rest of you!

MamaT's Monday Music Double Dip

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First a little gem I found cruising Youtube. And don't ask me how this came up. Did YOU watch the A-Team back in the day?

My only question about this? Who got him to wear those shorts?

Not his mom. I'm telling you THAT.

.....the second edition is now out.

Go. Read. Especially the piece on Terri Schiavo by our own dear Bill Luse.


Go on, what are you doing wasting time with lesser lights like us?

Go read The Christendom Review.

UPDATE: Here is some info on the artist! AND I've been to his website before. It takes a lot to make it click for me these days.

Timothy Jones received a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art in 1984 from Arkansas State University,and earned his Master of Fine Arts in 1987 from the University of Arkansas. He was selected as a finalist in the Art Renewal Center's 2005 International Salon and most recently for participation in the 2008 Eastern Regional Competition of the Oil Painters of America. He has been blessed to be a working artist his entire adult life. He and his wife, Martha, have been happily married for 25 years and have two children. His other interests include the Catholic faith, Hiking, Camping,Brewing, Bread Baking, Cheese Making, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S.Lewis and other Dead British Guys. Tim blogs at Old World Swine - - allows us to peek at works in progress at his Daily Painting blog - - and sells his work at his online store -

You know, it helps if you read the information about the contributors to a ezine.


All three pieces of art featured in today's FAF entry are by the same artist. His name is Timothy Jones, and if you go over to The Christendom Review website, where the second edition has just been posted, you can see these pictures, plus several more.

I don't know anything about him, but I think this work is SPECTACULAR, and I'd like to meet him and tell him so.


Persimmons and China Vase


Pommegranates and China Dish


Bleu Cheese and Beer

Happy Friday, ya'll!

7 Quick Takes for Today!

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Did you ever see Lonesome Dove? If you haven't, I highly recommend it. But at the moment, I feel like Tommy Lee Jones at the end of the movie, dragging a dead body all over creation.

I'm not actually doing that, mind you. But we have had one hassle after another about getting my father's body handled the way he wanted after his death. It was such a simple thing: cremate him and place him next to my mom in the columbarium space by the rose garden at the cemetary. Think that'd be easy, wouldn't you. I mean, he even bought the space next to her, his urn, and paid for opening and closing the space.

But here in the Great State of Texas, if you have not signed ONE piece of paper, or purchased a COMPLETE pre-need package, all your "next of kin" must agree to the cremation. And, unfortunately, I have a homeless, hobo, "not quite there" half brother who has denied his permission. So, we have to bury my dad. And move my mother's ashes over to the new space. And there are wrinkles even in doing that.


FIVE WEEKS after my father's death, we may be seeing the light at the end of this tunnel. If nothing ELSE comes up, we may be able to finally get this done in the next couple of days.

Praise God.

It's time.

This has easily been the most hurtful and stressful event I've been through in the last 20 years of my life.


Consequently, following the events of #1 above, my house is a WRECK! I have been unable to move forward in any sort of constructive way, although I have managed to wash a few loads of clothes and go to the grocery store once.

Maybe some of that will begin to change today, since last night I slept well for the first time in 5 weeks. I'm so far behind on sleep that it will take me awhile to catch up. And I'm smart enough to know that I need to be careful about this or I will crash and burn big time.

So today I'm trying to finish laundry and put it away. Bag up trash and get it ready to take out tonight. Unload and reload the dishwasher. And sit and rest a little.


It has helped, in an odd way, to have so many weddings, showers and parties to which we are invitied this month and next. Yes, it's a pain (and a squeeze!) to purchase the gifts and cards and stuff. But it is a powerful reminder that there is still joy left in the world. Joy to be had, grasped, felt, and enjoyed. I am so happy for my friends with these happy things in their lives--I'm glad to celebrate with them. And it's good to see that this is what life is--a grand mixture of happy and sad. And that it's possible to be both at the same time!


McKid: Do you know that song, "Puff the Magic Dragon", Mama?

Me: singing the song--you don't want to hear!

McKid: Mama! You know it!

Me: Yep. It's an old song. I used to play it on the guitar, too.

McKid: Isn't it awesome that dragons live forever?

Me: Yes, baby, it is.

McKid: Well, but that's really just fantasy.

Me: Really? Why?

McKid: Well, first because they aren't really real. But second, because they always have to get sword dead by a guy in armor.

Me: Really? What about today? What if there aren't any guys in armor?

McKid: I'll have to think about that.


I have found the perfect read (other than Georgette Heyer) when you are in a funk. James Herriott's series of books, starting with All Creatures Great and Small. Each chapter is a complete little story, and you can put the book down anywhere. It takes you to a completely different place: Yorkshire. (Well, unless you are from there. Texas is about as far as you can get from Yorkshire.) And he's a really good writer! I finished a reread of the first book. I'm glad I have three more in line.


Zman's girlfriend, TBC, has a birthday on Monday. I don't know what to get her. What would you suggest for a 20 year old?


I still hate Dolphin Habitat projects. McKid made the dolphins, painted the background (the shoebox) and made some seaweed and coral to put in the box with the dolphins. Today she has to start painting all this stuff.

And I have to start figuring out how to help her mount it all.

School's out in 4 weeks. Yay!

I like this!


For him that stealeth a Book from this Library, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with Palsy, and all his Members blasted. Let him languish in Pain crying aloud for Mercy and let there be no sur-cease to his Agony till he sink in Dissolution. Let Bookworms gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final Punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye.

----------------------------------Curse Against Book Stealers, Monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona

Quote for Today


The richest person in the world - in fact all the riches in the world - couldn't provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.

------------------------Malcolm Forbes

Booking Through Thursday

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This is an old BTT question, because we haven't done one in a while, and I'm stressed!

How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

I use the public library probably once or twice a month. To check out books for McKid or for myself. But I'll admit that I use 1/2 Price Books more often than I ought to, instead of the library.

I went to the library ALL THE TIME as a kid and teen. Probably at least once a week. It was my goal to read every book in the children's section of the Abilene Public Library. According to my mother, they could have built an addition on, just with my late fees. Late fees remain an issue with me, even today. I am congenitally unable to return a library book on time, even with the help of Library Elf.


I like dark and cozy libraries better than libraries with blaring noise. My current library is like trying to read in the middle of a shopping mall. Which I can do, by the way, but would prefer a smooshy chair and a mean librarian whispering HUSH to the kids running through the building.

I think that means I'm old.

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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This is not the prettiest of the colorways I've seen this done in (though I LOVE the pink!), but this picture shows off the cool pattern the best.

The nice thing about this pattern is that you can use any kind of yarn you want (adjusting the hook to the right size to handle the yarn), and make it any SIZE you want. Once you "get" how the pattern works, you just keep on keeping on, increasing in the right places, until you get it the size you want.

It's called the Serafina Shawl, and you can get the directions here.

And here's the picture:


I am currently using some of my stash yarn to make one of these. Mine is very fuzzy, so the detail is not showing up very well, but it is keeping its wonderful batwing shape. And it's so soft and squooshy! I'm going to try several of these with various yarns I've got stashed away and see what happens. I can see them morphing into my "Eighteen Things" Christmas gifts for next year if it works up as fast as I think it will.

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

MamaT's Monday Music


Should I worry if Monday morning starts out with the blues? The inimitable Janis Joplin singing Little Girl Blue. Man!

Fine Art Friday

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Since we are all about the ocean habitat, for McKid's project (see below), here are three lovely Monet images with the ocean in them. Enjoy!


Path Through the Corn at Pourville




Fisherman's Cottage on the Cliffs at Varengeville

Happy Friday, ya'll!

The Quick Takes




The first of the bags of clothes left my parents house this week. I lived through it. I am still overwhelmed by the stuff, but the first little piece is gone.


Make sure your funeral plans are set in stone, if you care what happens to you. Do whatever legal forms are necessary, and don't rely on common sense. In a litigious society like ours, there are a myriad of rules and regulations that have been put in place to "safeguard" us. But those rules are really places where you can trip up and get exactly what you don't want. Because of a stupid law meant to protect us, our family is having to do exactly what my dad DIDN'T want to have done after his death. I'll say more about this later, but it is a heart-rending situation causing a lot of anguish all around. Bleah.

Moral of the story? If you have any complications in your life, make sure your prepay your funeral and make your arrangements ahead of time. If you live in Texas, you need to pay for the WHOLE THING, not just part, or your wishes can be set aside. Don't do this to your remaining kids. Take care of it before you go.


Swine flu apparently runs rampant here in Tarrant County, with 4 confirmed cases in Fort Worth and 12 more being monitored. This has led to the closure of the entire school district in Fort Worth, and cancellation of Mayfest, Cinco de Mayo, and a bunch of other stuff. I talked to a friend who thought this was a good idea--"to keep kids from coughing on each other".

Well, maybe. But then i asked, "Won't they just cough on each other at day care?" She looked at me like I had two heads. "They shouldn't BE in day care! The day cares should close immediately!"

I wonder what world she lives in. Oh, yeah, I forgot. She is a college professor.

Maybe she can miss a day (or a week! or more!) off work. Can the lady who is a maid at the Quality Inn miss a week?

And the health department is stunned, absolutely stunned that children would be congregating at the mall while school is out. Are they considering ordering the closing of the malls? What about the baseball stadium? What about the museums? What about the libraries?

Well, did they REALLY think they would stay at home and not GO anywhere?

Perhaps it would have been better to have them in school where you could sanitize everything, have them wash their hands and use sanitizer often, and SEND HOME THE SICK KIDS. Maybe even close schools on a case by case basis.

But to send 88,000 kids home--what did you think would happen?

It's a difficult situation. Wrong if you do, wrong if you don't.

But I wonder about this precedent. 36,000 people die every year from seasonal flu and flu related causes. Will we shut down the schools every flu season? How will this work?

I'm not a scientist, but I get the whole "this flu might be really different" theory. But per our doctor (PapaC happened to have his annual check up on Monday), it responds to current antiviral flu medications (Tamiflu and something else), and the death rates as reported so far are not a great as the last regular flu was.

You know what I think it is? We are just crisis'ed out. This crisis was the proverbial straw. And it was one that we thought we could do something about. So boy, we have.


I started a really cute baby afghan last night, but it starts with "crochet 88 squares". I crocheted for a couple of hours and I have 8 squares done. This is going to take a long time. Should I rethink this project?


I have to go buy a wedding present for an older bride and groom today. What can I get someone who already has everything they need for a house? Younger couples are so much easier. Do I get really good wine? Do I get a certificate for a swanky restaurant? It just seems so un-weddingy!


PapaC is addicted to the television show Burn Notice. Last night when I was finishing up the last square for the evening, I flipped the channel on the TV, and there was a rerun of Burn Notice--he stopped dead in his tracks, "OH!" And that was all she wrote.

It apparently doesn't even matter how many times he's seen them before.

Kind of like me and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.


Can I tell you how much I hate school projects? McKid's last one is due on May 11. She has to make a display of dolphins in their habitat--no larger than shoebox size.

I have to go to Michael's to get clay for dolphin sculpting today.

Honestly, I don't think she learns much from this, other than how to push MamaT's buttons.

"Please can we put glitter paint on the dolphins? They would look AWESOME!"


And that's 7 things for today!



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by MamaT in May 2009.

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