THE KNITTER- THAT’S ME

4 05 2012

I have already told you how terrible I am at sewing.  Well, that is nothing to compare with knitting.  I had already taken classes in quilting and while there, they were demonstrating a knitting machine.  Well, that one was for me.  I could just see myself making all these beautiful sweaters for me and all my family.  Oh, what fun it would be.  And that wonder of wonders machine just did it all by itself, almost.  All I had to do was put it together, figure out what all that instruction meant and I would be in business.

Well, I bought the machine and paid for it up front because I just knew it would pay for itself real quick.  Then I bought all the attachments.  Not very much more. And then I bought all the yarn I would need to learn.  That wasn’t just a whole lot either.  And then I hurried home to begin knitting like a pro.  That’s what the lady told me.  She was the one who had sold me the machine.

I went back for the instructions that were included with the sale.  And I learned how to thread the machine with the beautiful yarn.  That wasn’t too hard to learn.  See, I just knew I could do this one. Now, all I had to do was learn the terminology – that foreign language- that everyone else seems to be born with.

I put the thing-a-ma-jig on the machine and threaded the yarn through all the holes they had told me.  Then I ran the thing across the carriage and it worked!  Oh boy! I was really going to love this.  I practiced quite a lot on moving that thing across the needles. And it worked every time.  I wasn’t making anything yet, but I was on my way. No doubt about that.

Then I actually made a sweater for myself at the knitting machine shop.  It would have been perfect except for those little holes here and there.  But I figured I could probably repair them only I didn’t know how, so guess I will just forget that anyway.  Too busy learning other things by this time.  I suppose I could iron some flower patches on those holes and the sweater would be good enough to wear at home – if I took up painting the house.

But I moved on.  Nothing was going to stop me now.  I did make quite a few things, just nothing that was worth wearing.  I made one of the children a little dress and it was really cute.  Sort of crooked, but cute.  And I made a couple of throws, just straight knitting for that.  They didn’t look very good but hey – I’m just learning here.

The only problem was that I was always learning, still learning.   I moved the knitting machine to another room where I could see out the window while knitting.  And then in the Spring, my neighbor sat on his deck right in front of the window.  I’m sure he thought I was spying on him but I wasn’t.  I was there first, you know.  But it sort of took the fun out of reacting to my mistakes if someone could see me scream.

I kept on trying and trying and trying, but I wasn’t much smarter at knitting than I was at sewing.  I finally decided to move it down to the laundry room where I spent a lot of time every day anyway. This thing takes up a lot of room, about 8′ across the room by the time you have to have enough room to remove that thing-a-ma-jig that sometimes reaches the end of the machine.  Sometimes I have to put it back on without losing any stitches and that is almost impossible.  In fact it is impossible.  And if anyone started talking to me while I was knitting, I would invariably drop a stitch and then the conversation would be over and I would be upset and that was enough of that.

I finally moved it all the way out to the garage and took it apart.  I had all sorts of attachments by now and lots and lots of yarn.  I told a lady where I had bought some yarn that I was interested in selling it.  She just could not believe anyone would want to sell their knitting machine.  So I sold it all to her. Gladly.

Think I’ll take up gardening.  I know how to dig holes and watch dead flowers.  I can do that really well.

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MY SEWING – SO?

29 04 2012

My mother sewed beautifully all my growing up years.  My sister can sew perfectly.  I am a real mess when it comes to sewing.  Just never could manage to do any sewing or needle work of any kind.  When I finished it, it looked like I had done it for sure.  Some people just can do things and others cannot.  I tried.  I really did.  I darned my husband’s socks when we first married and he threw them in the waste basket after they hurt his feet all day at work.  I took Home Ec like all the girls did in my age group.  The teacher hated me by the end of the year.  You can read all about that one in my humorous and pure fun book entitled In The 1940’s.  Remember, all my books are $10 each plus $2 postage and they are well worth that much.  True fun and lots of living history.  Great!  Can order from me anytime at P.O. Box 2249, Benton, AR  72018.  Just send check and I will send book – gladly.  My storeroom is getting full.  Thanks.

Anyway, getting back to my lack of sewing ability, I have all these wonderful kids and by the way, I am also a great cook and can do just about anything else except sew – So?

So I decided to make each of them a quilt.  Now, I know that most people don’t decide to make quilts, but I did.  I figured I could do that one easy enough.  I bought 2 flannel sheets,  each one twin size.  Then I drew a picture on one of the sheets.  This was all free hand drawing.  Starting with a big clown and balloons, I painted the picture. Then I joined the two flannel sheets together.  After putting on the binding, I embroidered around the picture.  This attached the two flannel sheets to each other with the padding in the middle making it a quilt.  It was really pretty and I was duly proud.  By the way, that quilt is still in use today and it is really old so must have done a pretty good job.

Then the Fair came to town and I decided I would enter it just to see what happened.  I carried it proudly to the judging booth and presented it.  The lady looked at me and looked at the quilt and then she fingered it all over and looked at me again and asked me what I wanted to do with it.  I told her I wanted to enter it in the Fair.  She said, ‘But honey, it’s not quilted’.  I just looked at her and started to sputter a little bit and then the lady in charge of the booth came by and said ‘take it anyway.’  So the lady did.

Now I was so excited.  I had actually made something and it was entered.  Hot Dog!  Then when the judging was over.  I somehow missed out on the judging part, probably by intent as I didn’t want anyone to know that it wasn’t really quilted like everyone else’s.  But I didn’t care anyway.  That evening, my husband drove me to the fairgrounds and I hurried inside to pick up my quilt.  Sure enough, there was a ribbon on it.  An actual ribbon.  Of course it wasn’t first place by any stretch of the imagination.  But I still got a ribbon.  I think I still have it somewhere.  And I also had an envelope with $.40 in it which was my prize money.

After that, I was so proud of my quilt forever.  And I continued to make  a total of 16 over the years.  Each one has a different picture on it. Everyone still uses them.   I had kindergarteners who took theirs to show and tell.  Some have taken them to camp.  Others wouldn’t dare spend a night without their quilt.  One of my daughter-in-laws suggested I make them and sell them.  She said I could sell all I wanted to. But that would defeat my purpose.  I just wanted to make something that I could be proud of and I have done that.  It was fun but I sure wouldn’t do it for the money.   It is a lot of work and takes a long, long time to make one.

But, it was fun.  And I would do it all over again if I had a reason.  But all my reasons already have a quilt.  And besides, it isn’t quilted.  That lady at the Fair just didn’t know that I had made new rules about quilting.  Mine was quilted just fine.  Wasn’t my fault I didn’t know how to really quilt.  My way works o.k. anyway.   I have proof of that since all those quilts are still being used today.

 





STILL BEING GOOFY

27 04 2012

I am always having goofy things happen to me.  Not my fault either.  No way!  Just happens to me when I’m not looking.  Anyway, I washed my everyday sneakers and put on another pair out of the closet.  Some of them are very old.  I have been buying the same kind for years and wear them for everyday stuff.  It doesn’t matter which two I pick out because they all match.

Anyway, after I washed the shoes I put them in the garage to dry as usual.   Then I went on about my business.

After a few days, I began to notice that things just weren’t right with me.  I stumbled around a few times.  And dragged one foot occasionally.  I noticed this but didn’t put much emphasis on it.  Then I had some pain in my heel and the ball of my foot, not anything spectacular, just a small twinge now and then.  I also had some pain in my ankle.  This disturbed me a little more because I really began to notice it.  When I was a kid, I was always turning my ankle when I played outside.  This felt pretty much the same.

I normally don’t have much in the way of aches and pains so I really began to notice all this.  And then I started having trouble with my balance.  I was getting very concerned and felt like old age had finally crept up on me.  But surely not.  I am not that old and wouldn’t be having all these things relating to old age.  But, as I said, I was getting just a little bit concerned.  I never related any of this to each other though, so didn’t see any pattern specifically.

Then my sock slipped down into my shoe and I sat down in a kitchen chair and pulled my shoe off to straighten the sock.  When I did, I noticed that I had written in big letters on the inside of the shoe – 9-1/2.   I normally wear a size 9. I remembered getting the wrong size a long time ago.  I guess this was one of those shoes.  I thought I had given them  away.  But here was one that says clearly 9-1/2.

Then it dawned on my goofy brain that I had been wearing a shoe too large and that was why I was dragging my foot, having trouble with my balance and stumbling around.  It was also the reason for the aches and pains I had been having.  I was very relieved and glad I had written in my shoe.  I guess that was to tell me not to wear it as it was the wrong size.  Wouldn’t think that a little thing like that would make me so lopsided that I would have all those seemingly unrelated problems.

Oh well, never know with me.  Just another of those goofy things that seem to lurk around the corner and jump on me when I’m not looking.  Really not my fault you know.  Never is.  Don’t know who to blame it on but I’m sure I’ll think of someone.  Meanwhile, another goofy thing out of the way in this life of mine.

I’ll put that one size 9-1/2 shoe in the rag bag and I’ll just bet that anyone who gets that will wonder why in the world there is one size 9-1/2 shoe.  They will think someone is goofy for sure.  And I usually am.

 

 

 





GET A JOB!

4 11 2011

Well, I’ve tried to stay out of the political situation.  Been sitting on my hands a lot these days.  But things do sort of get to me.  I grew up always being taught I was responsible for myself and whatever I did each day in my life.  I raised all my children in that same way.  Every single person in this world is responsible for whatever it is he or she does every single day of their lives.  Now people can choose to be ugly or mean.  They can choose to rob and steal and pilfer all their lives away.  Or they can  choose to be nice, pleasant, and honest in their daily lives.  I have chosen to be nice and pleasant and honest every single day.  Sometimes I have fallen from grace in my life.  Everyone does that now and then.  But then I have picked myself up, brushed off the bruises, and been responsible for   my daily life.  I think that is what people should do today also.

I am not a politician.  Nor am I too smart for my own britches.  But it would seem to me that these protestors such as they are today, would realize they are their own worst enemies.  If they wanted to work, they would be out trying to find a job.  No one is ever going to hire someone who does not know how to get up off the street and present themselves in an orderly manner.  For instance, if you were running a company, would you hire someone who did not bathe, nor wash their hair, nor get a haircut, nor shave, nor dress properly for a job interview?   I would not.  Neither would any company that I know of.

So, if they are out protesting and cannot get a job, then I would say that was their problem.  Not everyone else’s.  Not Wall Streets nor Main Streets.  Their fault.  Their responsibility to look nice and to present themselves in an orderly manner.  If they wanted to work, they would be dressed nicely, standing in a line to wait their turn at the next job opening, and being pleasant to everyone around them.  Otherwise, then, they are welcome to live on the street, forage for food, and hope for the best – from the government.  This is all they want anyway.  Free life with no responsibility for their own actions.





BIRTHDAYS AT MY HOUSE

20 09 2011

Hi again:  We have a lot of fun with birthdays at my house.  We also have a good time celebrating Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and all other necessary celebrations.  There are a lot of people in my family and so we really enjoy the visits with one another.  Everyone has such a good time just laughing and teasing and talking and visiting about everything from politics to old times.

We only celebrate birthdays every 3 months.  And it doesn’t have to be any particular time during that three months.  We might have it on the first weekend or the last weekend.  Never know.  We just try to do it when the most of us can come.  And then comes the presents.  And those are some presents, too.  We trade gifts back and forth.  I usually give the kids some money, but it isn’t much.  Then everyone usually gets some candy or treats of some kind.  After that, it is ‘hold the buggy, betsy!’  You just never know what might be in that sack.

For instance, one of my daughters and I trade a cheap, ugly statue back and forth, so we are going to get that if it is our turn.  That’s for sure!  Another child and I have been trading an ugly puzzle that no one could possibly work.  It is all in shades of black and gray and not even a good picture.  He originally got it at the dollar store, but we trade it every birthday.  Then, one son gave me a bag of plastic balls and said, ‘have a ball’.  Another time, I got a gold brick.  I have also received a stimulus check in the amount of $2 million.  I am still trying to cash that.  It came from one of my grandsons.

So, as you can see, presents are just for fun.   There is no great expense to this.  No one has to spend much money.  Sometimes they even make their own birthday cards with cutouts from magazines.  Always fun stuff.   We don’t usually put a limit on the money for birthdays.  No need to.  No one is going to spend much anyway.  And it is well known that not everyone has to get a gift for everyone.  Sometimes we have a lot of birthdays and there is no reason for anyone to be obligated.  It is all just for fun anyway.

I buy a cake at WalMart and put everyone’s name on it  Then we all sing, Happy Birthday to Everyone.  After that, we enjoy visiting some more and have our ice cream and cake or ice cream cones or whatever all those kids want at the time.  We have colas or tea or coffee to drink.  And a great time is had by all.

We do this same thing on other holidays.  Only we usually have a limit of $5 for gifts.  When my own children were younger, there was a limit of $1 for presents for Mother’s Day.  No reason to spend more.  I didn’t want anything anyway.  I usually got typing paper or envelopes or something in that range.  One year, my daughter who had grown up and was working went to get me a present for $1.  She saw a mirror that stood up in the bathroom.  It said, ‘Hi Gorgeous’ so that was what she wanted to buy for me.  When the clerk took her money, my daughter was laughing and saying that she was buying it for her mother for Mother’s Day.  This made the clerk mad and she said my daughter had no respect for her mother and made my daughter feel really bad.  I thought that was truly ridiculous.  Since when did the amount of money spent for a gift have anything to do with respect.  I treasured that mirror for many years.  It was always one of my favorite gifts.

So, next time you are thinking of giving a family party, you might want to bring out some of these ideas and use them.  Makes for a lot of fun and a very close family.  Have a Happy Birthday and make it fun this year.





MORE GOOD MEMORIES

4 09 2011

Hi again:  when I was growing up which has of course been quite awhile ago, we did not have shampoos as such.  I guess there was something around because there were beauty shops but I don’t know what they used.  At our house, we used a bar of ivory soap and rubbed that in our hair and then scrubbed with our fingers until we were clean.  This was done in the kitchen sink.

Then we rinsed until we were sure all the ivory was gone.  After that, we rinsed our hair with a combination of vinegar and water.  Probably about 1/3 vinegar to a cup of water.  Then we rinsed more with water and we were through.  The vinegar worked like a combination  of conditioner and rinse.  Anyway, it worked beautifully.

To this day, I have used many a shampoo in my time and  some I liked and a lot I did not.  But in the last few years, I have gone back to the soap, using liquid dawn most of the time.  Then I scrub my head with my fingers just as I have always done.  Then I rinse with that same combination of vinegar and water.  Then I rinse again with plain water and I’m done.  Not expensive, not hard to do and my hair always turns out o.k.  Don’t have a lot of tangles and never have any oily or fine type problems.

When shampoos first became popular, it was advertised on the radio every Sunday night with the girl singing of the shampoo.  I am sure you have heard the jingle many times.  My grandmother who lived with us believed in all the commercials.  So she insisted my mother pick us up some of that new, wonderful shampoo.  But don’t think any of us liked it much.  My grandmother went to the beauty shop every week anyway, so didn’t matter to her.  When she went to the beauty shop, she usually came home with blue hair.  But we all told her how nice she looked so she was happy with blue hair.

I hated beauty shops because I only got to go there to get that terrible, awful permanent wave every year before school started.  The last one I got was so fuzzy that my date called me fuzzy bear when he picked me up to go to the movies.  After that, I was permanently through with fried permanent waves.  But then home permanents came out and that was a whole new story.

Meanwhile back at the shampoo story, earlier in the century, my husband’s grandmother lived in the country and she combed kerosene through her hair to make sure there were no bugs.  At that time, women washed their hair in soft rain water which was caught in a cistern.  Didn’t want to use that hard well water.  So, see, things really aren’t so bad after all in this world of today.  At least we don’t have to worry about having our hair catch on fire because we have just combed through it with kerosene.

If you like this sort of story, you will love my books.  #2503 (my address when I was growing up) tells of growing up in the 30’s & 40’s.   In The 1940’s is the name of the next one and tells all about those War years and living at that time and  The Wonderful 1950’s is all about that time.  Each book is $10 with no postage or order all three for $25.  Just send check or money order to BET   P.O. Box 2249, Benton, AR  72018    You will love them!

 





PANTYHOSE

3 09 2011

Back in the 1950’s, there were no pantyhose.  In fact no one had even heard of such a thing.  Here I go back to old times.    But anyway, we women wore garters and they were truly awful.   Especially if you had skinny legs like I did.  Nothing was going to hold those baggy hose up anyway. But that ring of elastic was the best we had at the time.  And it was either too loose and the hose fell down or it was too tight and the veins in your legs quit working.  Take your choice.

And if it was hot weather and those hose stuck to your sweaty legs, then all was lost anyway because the wonderful marvelous hosiery probably had a run in it or maybe even two or three.  Then you had to start all over again, trying to pull those horrendous hose up your legs with that garter attached.  What a mess!  Of course you could pull on the hose first and then put the garter over them, but that was a massive operation in itself.  If you had a run, you could put nail polish on it and it wouldn’t run anymore, but then gossipy people might start talking about the red spot on your leg.  Have to watch out for all those kinds of people you know.

Then garter belts came along and they were a wonderful improvement if you could get the things to work right.  First you had to either pull it up over your body and make it fit right or clasp it in the front and turn it to the back.  By the time you were finished with that, you felt like you were playing in a band somewhere what with all the clacking and zinging going on.  But, when you once got all that straightened out, then and only then could you put the rest of our clothes on.  Then you attached the hosiery to that wonderful zinging garter belt and you were in business.  Of course by this time, the hose might have acquired a run or two considering all that you had been through.

Several years later, those wonderful pantyhose came onto the market.  At first of course they were just considered tights for little girls, but then someone – probably Mr. Swiffer- thought up the pantyhose using nylon hosiery and that was a marvelous invention – just like the Swiffer is today.  Not that you can compare the two of course, but I have written a blog you might like entitled Dear Mr. Swiffer.   and then another one about having a household blower to blow the rest of the dirt out of my house.

But back to the subject of the pantyhose – could get dressed in a zip and a zing and ready to go.  Great improvement over all those other massive problems.  And then, then, then came the knee hi’s.  Now that was a real step in the right direction.  But of course no one ever  owned pants or could wear pants even at home until the middle and late 50’s.  We all wore skirts before that so we had to wear the full length hose.  Period.   Was required.  Even in hot summertime,

But now with the pants suits and the ‘allowing’ of wearing pants outside the home, we were free to use the knee hi’s.  And today, I wear something called socks which I think I started out wearing when I was born.  But you know what they say – the more things change, the more they remain the same.

How about the no shampoo days.  Will tell you about that one next.  Meanwhile, you might really like my books about the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  Each of my books is $10 no postage.  Or 3 for $25.  Look them up on my website booksbybet.com and order straight from me.  You will really like them.  Great reading, great fun and lots of living history.