Nov 19
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 11 19th, 2019| icon31 Comment »

This is what nearly 20 pounds looks like off of this next picture.

I cannot tell you how much I am loving this weight loss journey. I still have 19.5 pounds to go until I reach my first goal of 130, but this is feeling more and more doable.

Nov 14

You hear everywhere that you should feel gratitude for the blessings that come into your life. This is a very good guideline to follow, because feeling gratitude just pulls more blessings your way.

But I am going to go a step further. I believe that you should feel gratitude for other people’s blessings. If you have a friend who has lost weight, be joyful for their success. Do you know of someone who has been gifted a car, or who has won a scholarship for college? Be so gleeful for their blessings that you want to dance a wee jig on their behalf.

Jealousy is one of the seven deadly sins. Let’s look at what the Bible says about jealousy.

James 3:16 (ESV) For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

This is just one of many verses, but it gets the point across. Jealousy breeds hatred, both for the person receiving the blessing, and for the jealous person as it breeds self-loathing in their heart for not having received that blessing.

But I believe that one way to receive blessings oneself, is to be thankful for others’ blessings.

Ecclesiastes 5:19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.

I think jealousy is just another way of saying selfishness. To be unselfish is something I strive for each and every day. I love it when my friends, family, heck, even strangers, receive blessings in their lives. It makes me feel so good for them, and it is as if I received that blessing as well. I just want to clap them on the back, say congratulations, and help them celebrate their own joy. No one should every be made to feel guilty at having received a blessing.

So, my message today is to take joy, be grateful for the blessings of others, have an unselfish heart and help others learn to feel that same gratitude for the blessings of others as well.

Pslams 126: 2-3 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Nov 12

Hello, my name is Benita and I am addicted to making lists. Even if I don’t follow that list, it helps me organize my thoughts and priorities.

But, I try to follow the lists. If I didn’t make these lists, nothing would ever get completed at my house. I make them days in advance, and if something cones along to derail my plans, or if I don’t manage to complete the lists, then things get bumped to the next day. I even put rest time on my to-do list. If I don’t, I forget to take time for myself.

At this point in my life, I know about what I can complete in an evening after work. The list helps me put things in the proper order so that I don’t waste time. For example, my list for tonight includes the following, in the proper order:

  1. Begin hot washing 2nd half of Merino fleece
  2. Start laundry
  3. Box next set of fleece shipments and put in car
  4. Work on next hot bath for fleece
  5. Strip Scott’s bed and remake it
  6. Begin making 51 heddles for my inkle loom
  7. Work on last hot bath for fleece
  8. Pull out next fleece to wash
  9. Feed the fish and put load of laundry into dryer
  10. Continue making heddles
  11. Put fleece in first rinse water
  12. Finish making heddles
  13. Put fleece in second rinse water
  14. Get ready for bed.

It sounds like a lot to get done in one evening, but the fleece being washed and the laundry getting done is sort of in the background since most of it is just my waiting on it. Yes I have to change the fleece water a few times, but dumping a couple of totes and refilling them takes very little time. Boxing the next fleece shipments is a matter for 15-20 minutes, remaking Scott’s bed is another 15 minutes tops, and the rest is just 5-10 minutes except for making the heddles. That will take me an hour or so.

By prioritizing items in such an order, I can be doing multiple projects at the same time. People ask me how I managed to accomplish so much. Well, here’s how. Multi-tasking to a high degree.

Nov 11

Life has been rather good to the Story household lately. Yes, we have to deal with the whole single income thing, but that aside, it’s amazing how well things are going.

For starters, I mentioned how we are losing weight. Well, one of the best side effects of that is increased energy levels. Scott has the outside work 99% done (he cleaned the gutters and got the garage to the point where both vehicles can fit in it – more work to be done, but progress has been made). I have most of the laundry caught up, including washing curtains and blankets. In fact, the laundry room hasn’t been this empty in months.

Also, I worked on my studio. As Scott has been cleaning out the attic, anything that is mine has just been stuffed into an already overstuffed room. I worked on it most of Saturday and managed to get the cedar chest moved to its new home in the east dormer, the desk almost into its new home under the north-facing picture window, cleaned out the knitting yarn from its plastic shelving unit, removed said unit to the attic, cleaned out a deep bookcase, moved it to where the plastic shelving unit was and reorganized the yarn. Boy, do I have a lot of sweater quantities of yarn with which to make things. Some I will knit into sweaters, but some is going to go onto the loom.

On top of laundry and studio cleaning, I hot washed two lovely Icelandic fleeces.

This is a sweet, but small lamb fleece. I love the two-toned quality of it.
This is a very fluffy, lamb fleece from a ewe lamb named Sister. I look forward to carding and spinning this one.

Yesterday, I created the meal plan for the week, bought groceries, and spent most of the day cooking for the week. I still have two more things to cook, which I will do tonight. Also, I continued laundry and hot washed 1/2 a rather large Merino fleece for the second time. The first time just didn’t get it clean and it still had a lot of lanolin. I had it for sale, but decided to keep it, rewash it, and dye it later for processing into top. Right now I am thinking of dyeing it in quarters – red, orange, gold, yellow – and having the colors blended. I think it will be a nicer color with the four different colors together than just one solid color. I am hoping it will give a heathered look to the resulting yarn.

At the end of the cooking session, I took two chicken carcasses (one I had previously frozen) and added celery, carrots, onions, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, parsley, and basil and set it to cooking in the slow cooker. After 4 hours, I reset it for 10 more hours and went to bed. While it made about 15 cups of a lovely, rich, golden-brown stock, smelling it all night was torture. It smelled so lovely!!!

And I completed the body of the sweater I am knitting for a co-worker’s Christmas gift. On to the first sleeve today! Woohoo!!

I love productive weekends. I love having the energy to be productive better.

Nov 7

There are several changes going on in the Story household – past, present and future. Let’s start with the past.

Back in July, Scott interviewed with General Truck Sales who was putting in a new showroom and repair center at our exit. I mean, this place is 5 minutes from our house. He passed the interview and drug tests for a position in the parts department, so he gave his 2-week notice to Menards and was set to begin his new job on the 29th. He was to report in to the Muncie branch for training with the promise that he’d move to the new center once it opened.

His first day was a disaster. They had him take test after test with no studying and no warning. They told him that he would be permanently at the Muncie branch (a 45-minute drive, each way). They told him that rather be in the parts department, he’d be working with hazardous materials and that any barrel or box that he labeled as hazardous waste would be his responsibility for the remaining existence of that container. If, months down the line, a semi with that container had an accident and that container was damage and the hazardous materials were spilled, Scott would be fined up to $50,000 and could spend 5 years in prison. All because he slapped a label on the container.

After 6 hours of dealing with the lies told to him in the interview process, Scott decided this job was not for him, and he quit. He immediately called Menards, since he had left on good terms, and reapplied for a position there. In order to do so, he had to go through the whole hire process just as someone who had never worked there before had. This included a drug test. Since he had passed the drug test at GTS, we had no worries about him passing one at Menards. He was rehired, worked a day and a half when he was called into the office and told that THC had been found in his urine and that he was not rehirable.

THC. He had been taking CBD oil to deal with the pain in his left foot from when a shelving unit fell on it while working at Menards. The foot never really healed properly and caused him a lot of pain and issues with swelling since he walked on concrete all day at work. He was taking 4 ibuprofen several times a day, which had us worried about the side effects of so much of it. I had heard of CBD oil and how well it managed pain. It was available at our grocery store, bought him the 10 mg capsules and had him start on it. Within a couple of weeks, his foot was no longer swelling up and he was able to walk all day with very little pain. Yay! Or so we thought.

I had read several reports on CBD oil online and all had said the CBD didn’t contain enough THC to show up on drug tests. Those reports were wrong. It does. And Scott lost his job because of trying to have a healthier way of dealing with pain management for an injury he sustained while at his job.

So, I took this as a sign that, maybe, just maybe, God wanted him to stay home and work on the house. I make enough money that we can survive on my income alone. We have to watch every penny, but we can survive. So, Scott became my “estate agent.”

We had money in savings, and have been using some of it judiciously to do home repairs. The front deck (4′ X 8′) was 25 years old and rotten enough to be dangerous. Scott tore it out, we sprayed the grass to kill it (1 gallon vinegar, 1 cup salt, 2T dish soap), laid the landscape fabric, and ordered pea gravel. Scott has spent the past month shoveling nearly 15 tons of stone; first into the area for the new deck (12′ X 10′), then in an area 3′ out from the house across the front of the house, around the deck and with an area to extend the downspout and move any rain water away from the foundation. We are using 1″ X 6″ boards as edging for this, but need to use 2″ X 6″ for the rest as the stone pushing against it is too much for the 1″ width.

And we have a new front deck. He interviewed contractors, he and I designed the deck and had the materials delivered, and he supervised the building of the new deck, although the man he hired really needed no supervision, just a couple of questions answered now and again.

Scott has cleaned out the garage (okay after I removed 120+ fleeces) and is in the process of organizing the many tools and supplies. I can park in the garage, now, which is something that hasn’t happened in years.

Scott has repainted the front door, inside and out, repaired the door frame, repaired the service door to the garage, replaced trim in the living room, sealed every entry point that a mouse might be able to use to gain entry into the house, patched holes in the 25-year-old vinyl siding, worked on the attic, reorganized his studio and the music equipment in the living room. He has kept the kitchen cleaned (and with all of the from-scratch cooking I am doing, that’s no mean feat). The myriad of things around the house that had gone for a long time neglected due to both of us having day jobs, my having Dyed in the Wool, his doing free-lance art (book covers mostly) and us being so busy on other things, are being done. He even lets me leave him a honey-do list each morning.

On top of this, he has been working on two written creative projects (one is nearly ready for the e-book publication), two art projects for long-term customers, and has been editing on my novel, which at nearly 130,000 words is a daunting task.

Now to the present. I love having him home. It has meant so many changes in our home, but all of them have been for the good. Funds, like I said, are tight. The savings we had has dwindled due to unforeseen things coming up (new dishwasher is to be delivered and set up today), as well as us way under budgeting another necessary repair to the house, but I am still happy with the situation. As long as we are wise with our spending, we should be just fine. My cooking everything and doing no eating out has helped. One meal eaten out can cost 20%-25% of our entire weekly food budget, so we just don’t eat out anymore. But that’s okay. It’s easier to stick with a healthy eating plan this way.

And, on top of all of this, Scott has dropped 24 pounds to date. He is healthier, has more energy, and is happier than I have seen him in many, many years. He is loving doing all of the work on our home. The skills he learned while working at Menards have come in very handy, and his confidence level at being able to tackle most jobs has grown. Just seeing him tired, but happy, at the end of the day is a blessing. I love coming home to a happy Scott.

And to the future. And there will be more changes coming. We have so much more to do on the house, and with the outside work 95% complete, we can now concentrate on the inside. We have a hardwood floor to finish installing (started years ago, but never completed), we have cabinets to redo to make them more useful, we have rooms to clean out and reorganize, we have so much that has just not been done. But he’s home and his “job” is seeing that they are checked off the list.

We already know what we want to accomplish next summer.

Change can be scary, especially when it comes to losing a job and having a reduced income. But change can be good if you are willing to see it as such and work within the parameters of that change. And sometimes change can be freeing. This one is all three – scary because our income has been reduced by a third, good because Scott is able to work on the house, and freeing for Scott to make our house a lovely, safe, and easier home in which to live.

I’m loving this change.

Aug 4

Sandy and I started this business almost 10 years ago selling tie-dyed clothing and accessories, with the intent of moving into selling fiber from a wide variety of breeds and types. From the get-go, we wanted to help sheep owners with the problem of what to do with the fleeces that must be sheared from their flocks each year. Most had no idea how to get them out to a spinning public who really wanted them. And that’s where Sandy and I came in.

We became the connection from those flock owners to the public. We helped advise them on how to better their flock’s fleece quality and make those fleeces worth more. We learned all about the processing that it takes to make those raw, dirty fleeces into luscious roving, top and yarn for you, the end user. We spun, knitted and learned all we could about each breed and fiber type, educating ourselves as best we could so we could help makers choose the best fiber for their creations. And we have had the time of our lives doing so.

Because of these years working with wool, spinners, knitters, sheep breeders, etc., our knowledge base has increased 100 fold, and the people we have met and worked with along the way has been nothing short of amazing. Not for the world would we have missed this experience.

But, and you knew there was a but coming, times have changed, our personal situations aren’t the same, and Sandy and I, as much as we hate to admit it, have come to the conclusion that it is time to close Dyed in the Wool and move on to other things in our lives. For me, it has been the experimental and education videos on The Fiber Pusher. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time, but the constant work behind Dyed in the Wool has prevented me from beginning this new venture.

Also, nearly all of our vacation days have been used vending at fiber festivals, and Scott and I now want to travel and do things together that have been put off for almost a decade. None of us are getting any younger and checking some things off all our bucket lists is becoming more and more of a priority.

Having said this, we have taken 40% off the costs of everything in the shop. When items sell out, they will not be restocked, so get them while you can. We will be vending at Michigan Fiber Festival on August 16 – 18, and all inventory will be 40% off there as well. Also, at Michigan Fiber Festival, we will be selling fixtures, out Patrick Green Big Batt Drum Carder, our blending board, and many more things we no longer will need for our business.

Thank you for making this last decade one of the most fun and fulfilling times in our lives. Sandy and I are humbly grateful for your support and we look forward to seeing you as fellow fiber artists rather than as a vendor.

Jun 25
Apr 2

What a change!

Kaala then and now

Apr 1

This past week was very busy, again, and the weekend even busier.  Still there are things to share with you, so here goes!


This is me at 155.5.  I weighed 154 on Friday, but we tried another non-Keto weekend and I gained a pound and a half back.  I will not be trying another non-Keto weekend again for a long while.  The payback today of diarrhea is just not worth it.  Still, I love how thin I am looking.  Here’s to the next 10 pounds (plus the pound and a half I gained back).

Last week we were up in the upper 60’s-low 70’s.  Scott and I took an amble around the yard looking at what needs to be done, and it was so pretty out that neither of us wanted to go back into the house.  Then, Saturday night, we heard sleet on the north window of my room and woke up Sunday morning to this:


Sigh…  There was a layer of ice beneath that snow, too.  And lots of standing water all over the place.  It didn’t stop us, though, and Scott and I got everything ready for friends to come and pick up the 9-foot, stainless steel prep table, and a prep sink that we have been wanting to rehome.  I got to play with a 10-week old baby girl (sorry, I was so enamored that I forgot to take photos) while the guys took apart  part of the big table (took the bottom shelf off) and got the two tables loaded onto their trailer.  My dining room is now all open!  This weekend, we plan to finish replacing the kitchen and dining room lights, clean and set up the dining room table.  I cannot wait!!!


Scott and I watched a documentary of the Gough map ( and I ordered a copy of the map for Scott.  We took the map into JoAnne’s on Saturday and picked out the frame and mats for it and it is being framed.  It was expensive, but this is going to be a treasured item for Scott’s portion of the new museum (room at the top of the stairs), so it is worth it.  I cannot wait to get it back and hung in its new spot.


This is for both Scott and me.  I love studying the history of textiles and this will help both my researches and Scott’s Medieval Book of Lists.  I’ll let you know more about this and another book as I read and study them.

Tonight is a Pacers’ game for Sandy and I.  I can’t wait.

Feb 21
Short update
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 02 21st, 2019| icon31 Comment »

This past weekend was hard on me.  For starters, I have started the Keto diet, and, on Thursday, the Keto Flu hit me hard.  Getting through Thursday and Friday at work were difficult and Saturday I was down for the count.  The only thing I accomplished Saturday was working on my embroidery.


I’m still enjoying the work on this and getting to choose which color and section to work on next.  And it is pretty relaxing. which is what I needed on a weekend when I just needed to rest.

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