Monday, October 12, 2015

For My New Master Suite

As I'm preparing to move, I find myself deciding on what pieces of this life to take and which to cast off.  That's true of mental and emotional stuff as well as the stuff of daily life that you can put your hands on and, to borrow one of my Mom's phrases, "feel the fabric."  There are items from each and every room that I'm choosing to retain or to repair and repurpose to go with new items I'm adding to the mix.

In the Master Suite, I'm retaining the color of blue that we'd started with to decorate in that room.  I'm going to tone it down to a lighter shades of that blue but I am keeping the blue.  Also the furniture, the one set of sheets that actually fits that bed, the soap dish/dispenser/toothbrush holder set, some funky little knobs to hang towels, and the outer shower curtain and rings to hold it up on the bar.  I have bath poof that's the right colors and I found cotton yarn on clearance at Walmart a couple of weeks ago that also matches and I've been making myself some luxury washcloths.

It's those washcloths I want to show you today.

If you want some for yourself, they are really very simple to make.  You only need to know how to crochet a chain (ch) and a single crochet (sc) and use a slip stitch (slst) to connect it all together.  These are the very most basic stitches and the first you will learn if you take a crochet class or get a "teach yourself how" book.  So this is a great beginner project because you use basic techniques and can quickly complete something that's both pretty and useful!

Select a 100% cotton yarn and either an F or G hook to work with.  The brand of yarn I used is Peaches & Cream.  To start, make a loop and pull a thread up through for the first stitch.  Ch 33.  In the 3rd ch from the hook, sc once then ch two, skip over the next two ch from your beginning row and sc in the 3rd ch from the hook.  Repeat this sc one, ch two process back to your beginning loop.  You should end up with a sc in the last ch.  Ch two and turn. Sc in the ch two space you made in the previous row, ch two.  Repeat across row, and for each of the next 23 rows until you have a square.

To make the edge, ch 1 and sc 3 (to turn the corner) then sc in each stitch along the edge - be sure to put 3 sc in each corner to maintain the square shape.  Connect to first sc with a slst.  Ch 1 and sc through both loops of the first st of the previous round, ch 3 and then sl st together to form a picot, sc in each of the next two sts and then make another picot.  Continue around entire edge of washcloth.  Slst together and tie off.  Use a yarn needle to tuck threads into work.

That's it!

After a couple of these, you can almost make them in your sleep.  It's that simple.

But aren't they pretty?

And you can machine wash them with like colors in a gentle cycle so the care is also very simple.  Many people use this pattern (and many others) for dish cloths in the kitchen but they are soft enough to use in the shower and even on your face.  My friend's daughter, who is a professional nail artist, uses them with the spa treatment for a pedicure to rave reviews.

These are the colors, plus a cheery apple green, I will echo with towels and bedding and curtains and artwork to make a little sanctuary for myself that's bright and happy and cheerful.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


My next door neighbor, Elizabeth, was the first real friend I made after moving to Georgia.  It struck hard and almost unbelievable when she was diagnosed with cancer this past summer.  And then when treatment went poorly and she came home with hospice care, we all thought there would be a few months to visit and let her get things in order.  While her death is not a shock, that it happened now is very much a surprise.

I know that she was in pain.  And I'm happy that she's not suffering through the special kind of hell that lung diseases so often offer to those unfortunate enough to contract one.  She's in a better place, happy and whole and reunited with her loved ones that had gone before.  It's the people left behind that are sad and lonely and walking around a little lost without her presence.  Although... her funeral is going down as the most memorable one I've ever attended.


Elizabeth and Danny, her husband, were never followers of any particular religious doctrine so as it became clear that planning this funeral was imminently needful, they asked the Chaplain from her hospice provider to lead a simple graveside service.  I'm guessing the format was Baptist with a few prayers, a few scripture selections and some short remarks about his impressions from visiting with her at the beginning of her time with hospice.

In north Georgia it's been raining for most of the past two weeks.  The red clay soil is completely saturated.  Crossing any low spots in the lawn are like walking on a soggy sponge.  And it's been raining all day today.  Mostly just an annoying drizzle, but with periods of what you'd have to call real rain.  What I'm trying to get across is the ground is wet.  And soft.  Very wet and very soft.

So picture this:  A smallish group of mourners huddled under a couple of those blue tents that funeral homes set up to protect people from the elements during those graveside moments.  The rolling countryside around the cemetery is lush and green.  The only background noise is the evening song of a few birds gathered in the nearby trees.  It's beautiful and peaceful and about as close to heaven as I can imagine.

The Chaplain is reading a passage from the beginning of Psalm 103...  He's half way through verse 4. (Please click the link and read that far before continuing on here.)  Almost on cue, one side of the grave collapses and the coffin slides partly off that scaffolding-like thing that holds it elevated over the vault and.. pit.

Almost like she's telling him "I ain't goin' yet, dammit!" it's headed right for the Chaplain.  His eyes were about as wide as saucers and there's a collective gasp of disbelief!  And the men from the grave digging company and from the funeral home leap in and are belly stretched over the astro-turf covered mound of dirt trying to keep it from sliding all the way off while the Chaplain concludes much more quickly than I think he'd planned.  And we are all sent to wait safely by the hearse while the workers got the grave walls reinforced and everything back in order before the coffin could be lowered.

Not something a grieving family needs, or wants, to see.  Terrible.  Stressful.  Surreal.  Those would all be good words for the moment.  But pretty soon the giggles set in... and we were all crying for a different reason!  Her daughter, Kari, finally choked out "I knew Momma would just have to get the last word in!!"

After that kind of ending, Elizabeth, who could ever forget you?

Rest in peace, my sweet friend... you were kind, generous, and funny in life.  And also in death!  I love you and I will miss you so very much!!

Elizabeth Karen Bryant Robinson
June 30, 1964 - October 1, 2015

At Kennestone Hospital shortly after being diagnosed with multiple
cancers in June 2015.  You didn't like that Kari snapped your picture... but I'm
sure glad she did!  This is how I'm going to remember you!!