Apr 29
New T-shirt Design
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 News | icon4 04 29th, 2010| icon38 Comments »

I-Spin-I-Weave-I-Dye-blackw

This is one of two new designs that Scott and I have been working on.  I am showing it to you as it would look on either the black or white shirt.

I love Latin and wanted to come up with something in Latin – fun and educational, too!  Sorry knitters, knitting didn’t exist in ancient times, so weaving it is.  Still, there are a LOT more knitting T-shirt designs out there than for weavers, so we weavers deserve this one.

Besides, I just love saying, “Tinxi!”  TINXI!!!

Apr 27

Sometime, 30+ years ago, an issue of my school newspaper came out while I was in one of my classes at good old West Washington High School.  Inside that paper was a funny little ditty that all these years later I have never forgotten.  Since there is nothing else interesting to report (except the sun is shining, which is great!), I thought I’d share it with you. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Hoboes and Tramps
Long-legged mosquitoes and bow-legged ants,
I stand half-way before you and half-way behind you
To tell you a story I know nothing about.

One bright day, in the middle of the night
Two dead boys came out to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot one another.

A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and killed those two dead boys.
If you don’t believe my lie is true,
Ask the blind man, he saw it too.

Now, why, oh why, have I never forgotten this?  Why is it I can’t remember the names of people I have known and loved for years, but this is forever etched in my brain?  Funny how memory works, isn’t it?

Apr 26

Not much of anything interesting going on at this time.  Scott and I are gearing up to my week’s vacation and our week-long bout of spring cleaning.  During this vacation, we’ll be celebrating our 25th anniversary, but we have no clue what we’ll do on the actual day (May 11th).  We want to do something, though.

I’ve been cooking, cleaning, reading and working.  See, I told you nothing interesting.  Just life.  The only “creative” thing has been knitting some face cloths as part of my evening relaxation.  Once we get the house cleaned and the reorganization done (i.e. the month of May), I will be warping up my looms and weaving.  I will be doing a lot of dyeing this summer, too. 

Oh, yes!  I am setting up a couple of extra weaving classes this summer, and Memorial Day weekend (Saturday through Monday) and the weekend of June 18-20 (Friday through Sunday) are available with students interested.  I have a couple more openings in both classes, so if you want to join in either of them, please let me know.

Apr 25

Yesterday, I was a brave lady.  I started this year’s spring cleaning by tackling my closet.  This closet hadn’t been cleaned out in about two years and was waaaay past due.  You know those pictures in closet organizing ads where it looks like a tornado has touched down in someone’s clothes closet?  Well, those pictures look organized compared to how my closet was.

On top of the clutter, I had clothes in there in different sizes – XXL, XL, L, 16, 14 and 12.  Since I’m now in 12’s and L’s, that meant lots of them needed to go.

The first thing I did was completely gut the area.  Now my closet is actually built into the west dormer of my bedroom, and there are two clothes rods and two shelving units with five shelves each.  I divided up the clothes rod up into office clothes (short rod) and play clothes, robes, night gowns, etc. (long rod).

On the shelving units are folded turtlenecks, sweatshirts and sweaters, undies, socks, bath towels and wash cloths, sheet sets, blankets, workout and grungie clothes, and shoes.  These are now nice and neat and I can actually find everything.  I’ve never been much of a shoe hound so mine fit neatly onto one shelf.  I could get rid of a couple of pairs, actually.

It took me about 9 hours of pretty solid work (I was doing laundry, too, so there were a few trips up and down the stairs), but it is all back together.  I ended up with four (yes that’s right – FOUR!) trash bags of clothes, each one designated to a different place or person (three friends and Goodwill).  I even organized my socks in such a way that I can easily see them and chose the pair that matches my outfit for any given day.  The only things that got thrown away were a pair of black, Gold-Toe knee-highs that I have had since high school (they were more holes than toes, and, anyway, I figure 30 years of use and I got my money’s worth from them), and some slacks stockings that never would stay up.

I can see one great thing out of yesterday’s work.  I see that I won’t need to buy new clothes for at least 15 pounds, and then only pants and skirts.  In fact, I have four pairs of pants that are too tight, so I can use these as a guide as I lose weight.  Once these fit me, it might be time to clean out the closet again.

So, I have a question for you ladies out there?  Do you match your socks to your pants or to your shirts?

Today, I went to the art center with Scott.  It has been raining hard, and we had a huge thunderstorm in the middle of the night and lost electricity for a while.  Today, I decided to rest.  So I sat with my spinning wheel of three blessed hours and spun.  A rather nice day.

Apr 24

As most of you know, I am the co-writer of the long-running, serial comic, Johnny Saturn.  Scott and I have been writing this together since 2004, and in 2008, we won two awards for Johnny Saturn, 1st place in the antagonist category for Dr. Horatio Synn, and 3rd place  in the protagonist category for Johnny Saturn in the 2008 Webcomic Reader’s Choice Awards.  We were up against about 14,000 other webcomics.

As you may or may not know, I also have written three novels and innumerable short stories, none of which have ever been published (except for the story “Being Johnny Saturn,” (see Saturnday 1-8 for the entire story) which can be found on johnnysaturn.com in serial format).

That being said, Scott and I have discussed a new section to the Story Studio family of websites, which include this site, Johnny Saturn, and Graphimancer – a site where people can go out and read some of the stories we have written.  Until that new site has been set up, I am going to upload some of my own short stories here on BasicallyBenita for you to read under the page “Story Story’s Short Stories on the right-hand tool bar.

I read a great quote one day.  “Bad decisions make great stories.”  My question was, do they really?  Sure, some really bad decisions have been awarded with the Darwin Awards, and other bad decisions make the nightly news in the thousands.  But do all bad decisions make great stories?  It was an interesting concept.  Then a story, fully fledged and ready to write, popped into my head.  It is called “Decisions, Decisions!” and it can be read here.

Be warned, it’s not so much a short story as it is an exploration into the concept – or a thought experiment –  of what the future can hold dependent on the decisions we make – in a narrative format.  Real short stories will be posted as I can get to them.  I didn’t include “Decisions, Decisions!” in the actual post in case you aren’t interested in reading it.  Otherwise, go read it and let me know what you think of the concept of where your decisions can lead.

Apr 19

Sandy and I spent yesterday afternoon at our LYS working on two looms.  The 50” cherry Norwood loom is all assembled and ready to go.  We laid out the yarn color choices and decided on what the warp is going to be, so, now, I need to get it measured off.  This will end up being about 7 yards on the loom because we both want throws that will be about 6 feet long after hemming and fulling.  Plus this loom is going to have more than the usual yard of loom waste.  Since it is Sugar and Cream cotton going on there, and as that is pretty inexpensive, I’d rather have a bit more than we need than be short.  Besides, I can knit the thrums up into dish rags and face cloths.

The other loom we worked on was Susan’s walnut Baby Wolf.  We managed to get the wheel package assembled to the legs, but let me tell you, that was hard to do.  I went back and forth between the instructions that came with the stroller kit and the pictures off of Dave Daniel’s site and we finally figured them out.  Some of it could have been a little better designed – like the bolts you have to take a rubber mallet to and beat into the wood so that the lock nut will actually tighten onto the bolt.  Really, a square hole for the bolt flange and a Phillips head on the bolt would have been MUCH easier to do than what we were supposed to do.  I will give them credit for one thing, though – those casters are never coming off no matter how much traveling you do with the loom.

We still have about an hours’ worth of work to do on the Baby Wolf, but that will wait until next time.  It’s a good thing there were two of us working on it yesterday, because with one person, it would have been much more difficult.

I’m on Day 8 of the cleansing and I promised my coach that I would refrain from weighing again until Thursday.  This is very hard for a curious person like me.  I can say, though, that I feel much more energetic (once I got past days 4 and 5 that is) and I am looking forward to the next phase of this diet.  I brought to work several items to put together for a salad and am trying to keep salads interesting and tasty.  I relied too much on tuna last week for my protein, so it will be a while before tuna finds its way onto my salad.

This morning, I read this article on the web and found it to be very interesting and educational.  I already avoid most of the items on the list like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, HFCS, MSG, have never had Olestra, etc.  But I had never thought about artificial colors and flavorings before now.  Of course, they are chemically derived and I can’t believe I had not considered that.  It’s a good thing that most of the food I eat anymore is made from fresh or frozen ingredients from scratch, but there are still several pre-made items I buy and I will be looking closer at the labels for these ingredients.

Just in case this article disappears from the web, I have made the chart they included into a pdf file and will put it at the right under the 10,000 Step Club.

Speaking of the 10,000 Step Club, does anyone need the Excel spreadsheet I created for monitoring your steps?  I can easily email it to you if you want it.  I’m still trying to figure out how to set it up so you can download it whenever you want it.  Also, don’t forget that you can order your T-shirt to let everyone know that you are walking 10,000 Steps on a regular basis and doing your part to become more fit and healthy.

Apr 17

Today, we woke to sunny skies, cool temps and wind.  Since it was nice and cool, I decided to spend a few hours working on different areas of my yard.  Mowing has become a challenge due to over grown bushes, trees that need trimmed and dead plants that need to be removed.

So, once it warmed up a bit, I took my handy-dandy loppers and handsaw and went out to work.  I took several before and after shots of some of the things I worked on (the ones that show the most difference) to show you.  So, let’s start the tour.

small-crabapple-b4-&-aft

I started with this poor little crabapple tree that was pretending to be a bush.  Mowing around this was pretty difficult as you can see by the taller grass where the suckers were growing.  Also, I trimmed up the branches to give it a nicer shape and to keep them from slapping me in the face while mowing around it.  Not having my face slapped by stinging branches is a major reason for all I did today.  Another reason was just to clean things up and make them look nicer.

hummingbird-bush-b4-&-aft

I wish I knew what this bush is.  It has trumpet shaped flowers in three shades of pink and the hummingbirds just go nuts over it each year.  Scott and I call it the hummingbird bush because of that.  A couple of years ago, we had a water line burst, and this bush was in the path for the repair.  The plumbers whacked the heck out of it, and with half of it dead and the rest so over grown as to be down-right ugly, I decided to just cut it back as far as I could and see what happens with it.  There is a lot of green in the branches, so it might survive, but I won’t be terribly heart broken if it croaks.  If it does survive, I will keep it trimmed back to a descent size from now on.

redbud-there-&-gone

The dead redbud tree should have been removed last fall, but I never got around to it.  It bloomed last spring, but then died during the summer.  So, I took my handsaw and cut it down and hauled it to my growing brush pile on the piece of property you see behind these trees.  This tree was only about 4″ in diameter, so it wasn’t hard to cut.

redbud-trim-untrim

Once I had the dead tree removed, I started trimming the remaining redbud tree.  See that low limb on the right of the first image?  That limb was so low, that even ducking as low as I could on the tractor, I would get banged on the head from it.  Bye-Bye!!  Besides, it gives the tree a much nicer shape.

maple-there-&-gone

During one of the fierce wind storms we got last summer, this sugar maple tree snapped off.  I really hated that because I liked this wee tree.  I also hated it because the trunk at the base was about 7″ in diameter and it took a lot of sawing with the handsaw to get it cut through.  But it’s gone and I can now mow there.

hedge-messy-&-clean

We have a Wall of China hedge on two sides of our property – the south and west sides.  Over the past couple of years, limbs have grown out and have made it difficult to mow.  While we had a mowing crew mowing our yard (for five years up until last summer), I didn’t pay too much attention to these, but now that I’m back to mowing my own grass, I decided it was time to do some clearing.

I managed to get about one-half of the south side done before I tuckered out.  Scott didn’t help me much here – as I was cutting some thicker branches with my handsaw, he walked up behind me (I thought he was in the house all safe and sound) and he scared the crap out of me.  I was concentrating pretty hard and when I turned around, there he stood.  I was scared speechless for a few seconds, then I shouted out some choice language at the top of my lungs (it’s a good thing my neighbors are far away).  I was so scared, I think I repeated the choice language before I could stop my heart from pounding.  He felt really bad about it, I will give him credit, but still!

big-crabapple-bloom

And my big crabapple tree finally bloomed!  Isn’t it lovely?

What I didn’t take pictures of was simply some minor trimming here and there, some sucker removal and raising some limbs to make mowing easier on my noggin’.

I did discover something today, though, about myself.  Scott and I never wanted children, but, today, I found myself wishing I had a couple of teenagers to pull brush as I trimmed and haul it away.  I think the hauling away of the branches wore me out more than the cutting did because I had quite a bit from the first crabapple and that hummingbird bush to carry off.

But it was quite a bit of fun being outside and soaking in some sunshine.  It would have been nice if the wind had calmed down so I could have done some mulching and spreading some grub control, but those will wait until another day.

Now, I have a comic page to letter and a Wolf Pup loom to warp.  And Prairie Home Companion comes on soon.  Today has been a nice, productive day, and I am a very happy lady for it.

Apr 16

One of my favorite things to do is to go to all the many blogs I read, and click on their favorite links to people of whom I have never heard.  And I steal the ones I like, send links to my desktop, read them for a while, then, if I really like them, I add them to my links for others to find them.

Thank you for posting links to your favorite blogs!  I have learned so much and been so fascinated by the talents, personalities and stories I am reading.  As one who has always loved autobiographies, diaries and journals, blogs feed a need in my life to see how others live in their own words.  Historical documents are difficult to find, but aren’t these blogs nothing but history as it is happening now?  As much as we enjoy reading about past lives, think how much more there will be available for future generations to read?

With this being said, I just updated my links lists on the right sidebar.  Some I deleted (Sorry, but if you don’t regularly update your blogs, I lose interest), but I added quite a few more.  Mostly I seek out blogs that are about my own favorite interests, weaving, spinning, dyeing, knitting, etc., but I also seek out those that I find inspirational like homesteaders, vintage sewers, and creative and talented people of all sorts.

I wish I could comment on everyone of the blogs I read, but I depend on the Name/URL feature to do this.  So if you are on my list and I am not commenting, this is why.

So, keep adding links to your sites so I can keep finding cool site to read, please!  And if you have a blog that you think I would enjoy, send me a link.

Apr 15

I mowed my grass for the first time this year on Tuesday night, and it should have been done a week sooner.  It was very tall and very thick in places.  As I was mowing (and singing) to myself (no one can hear me over the mower – thank heavens!), I watched the green, moist, spring grass coming out of the side of the deck.  Really, I thought, this is such a waste.  When I was a kid on the dairy farm, Granny’s mower had a bagger and we’d empty the bag of fresh grass into the stall in the barn where Ramrod (his real name) the bull lived.  He loved it as you can well imagine.

What I really need to do is get several movable fence sections, make mini pastures out of my yard by moving them each day to a new area, and rent a couple of Shetland sheep for the summer.  I would benefit by the constantly mowed grass and free fertilizer, and they would benefit from the abundance of free, fresh grass.  But I don’t know anyone who rents sheep out, so I’m out of luck at the moment.

Also, I noticed I have grubs again, at least there are places in the yard that look like it.  This means Japanese beetles and moles, so I will be doing something about it – soon.  I put down milky spore about 10 years ago, and it worked wonders.  I’m thinking I need to do it again.

I had every intention of putting out a garden this summer, but I can see there is no way I have time to do it right, keep it up and harvest it.  So, I’ll keep a few of the local farmers happy this summer and buy my veggies at some of the farmer’s markets.  One day when I don’t have to be away from home 11.5 hours a day for five days a week, I’ll put in the garden of my dreams.

I have gained back a couple of my lost pounds, so I decided to do a 10-day cleansing and started it on Monday.  I’ve already lost 2.6 pounds and am nearly down to my 10-pound mark.  And I am learning a lot about myself while I am doing this.  The habit eating has been hard to break, but breaking it I am.  Also, the boredom/tired eating of the afternoons is becoming a thing of the past.  The bank I go to gives out Hershey kisses whenever you do a transaction through the drive-through.  When I got mine Tuesday night, I stared at it, then placed it on the seat next to me.  The next morning, I placed it on Sandy’s desk.  I did not eat it, and I wanted it very badly.  The chocolates in the conference room have called out to me, especially yesterday because I was HUNGRY yesterday, but I have ignored them.

Once I go off the cleansing, I am going to follow a very strict diet that a friend told me about.  She lost her pregnancy fat in record time and is currently a size smaller then she was before she got pregnant.  It includes tons of fresh veggies and fruits, complex carbs like brown rice and oatmeal, and lean meats such as fish, chicken and turkey breast, and lots of water (a gallon a day).  I’ll go on this next Thursday.  I like that it doesn’t expect me to “decide” what to eat each day, but tells me what to eat each day.  I need that.  If I just wing it, it is too easy to lose my way.  A regimented plan works better for me.

Of course, breaking my bad eating habits is just the beginning.  Once I get below 150, I want to start adding in more exercises than just the treadmill and crunches.  I’ve been reading Shelley’s blog and about all she does at her gym twice weekly.  I see that I’m not pushing myself hard enough (I mean, who likes to work out hard and sweat profusely).  I know I have to be careful because of my heart, but I could start trying to run on the weekends around the block as well as add in some strength training.  I’m still thinking on this area and will let you know as things unfold.  By that time, I should be past my stress test at the hospital and can get my heart doctor’s input.

The creative front has come to a halt for the time being.  I plan to spend Saturday evening spinning, I need to warp up a loom this weekend for a weaving demonstration next Tuesday night (the warp is all ready to go) and Sandy and I are going to play with the Norwood loom on Sunday.  Gosh, am I looking forward to that!!!  The first warp is going to be us using up all the rest of the Sugar and Cream cotton we bought a couple of years ago when Hobby Lobby had it on a great sale.  We both want to weave simple throws and this will give us the chance to fine-tune the loom before heading into something with finer yarns.

It has been absolutely lovely here this week – highs in the 70’s and low 80’s, sunshine, cool nights (for good sleeping) and low humidity.  The guys who rent the land around our place have started working in the fields and I expect to see them planting soon.  We are supposed to have thunderstorms tomorrow and a colder, but still sunny, weekend (highs in the 50’s), but such is spring in Indiana.

Apr 12

The weather here in Central Indiana has been lovely lately.  The trees are beginning to bud out and bloom, there are flowers everywhere and the birds are all busy building nests and courting potential mates.

Here are some of the scenes of the season in our neck of the woods.

april-colors1

At the Indianapolis Art Center looking toward White River.

april-colors2

Still at IAC.  The daffodils are beginning to look weary, but…

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…the tulips were making up for them.  Aren’t they lovely?

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Overall, The Indianapolis Art Center is welcoming spring in with celebration in its heart.

And at home,…

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…a long line of peonies are making their presence known.  These are actually on the land next to ours of which we are nearly 50% owners.  I’d love to transplant them, and I tried to, once, but found out there is a lot of poison ivy mixed in and I spent a miserable couple of weeks afterwards.

april-colors7

These are baby sweetpeas that also are on the property next to ours.  These, on the other hand, are destined to be transplanted this weekend, if the weather behaves.  I have a lovely bit of iron work that they would look lovely climbing all over.

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One of my two redbud trees that are in bloom.  This tree, like the Hawthorn tree behind it, were just short sticks 15 years ago when I got them from the Arbor Day Foundation.  Unfortunately, the redbud tree just to the left of it died and I need to cut it down and haul it away.  The other blooming redbud is on the other side of the yard next to the driveway.

april-colors-9

I wanted to show you my crabapple tree in full, snowy bloom, but it is being stubborn.  See how close it is?  I’ll bet it’ll be all covered with flowers by the time I get home from work tomorrow night.

And speaking of tomorrow night, I’ll be mowing my yard for the first time this year.  It could have been mowed last weekend, but, oh well.  I love mowing this time of year.  I love the smell of the fresh grass, the birds flying past me on their busy ways, the spring breeze and the joy of being outside.

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