April 2003 Archives

Painting from the Wild Heart

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Date: April 2003.

(Closeups are below, accompanied by discussion of each painting.)

These paintings were done in a "creative painting" class called Painting from the Wild Heart. I was intrigued by the description:

Experience the joy of painting with passion and intensity by learning to trust your intuition. Be supported in using the process of painting as a tool for self-discovery, healing, and renewal, rather than painting for outcome. Painting in this natural way gently allows you to let go of the inner critic that keeps you from experiencing your full aliveness and creativity. Regardless of what you think about your talent, skill or experience, you can paint like you never have before. All you need is the desire to paint and the courage to express yourself.

The class was on Saturday, April 19. I signed up on April 16 and was very excited! I wanted to do something abstract, colorful, with line and form and shadow and balance. Something that wasn't realistic, that didn't look like a photograph. I wanted to break free from my box.

I discovered that I'm not in my box as far as I thought. Which is good. But, I also discovered that I don't have many demons or dreams or whatever that want to be expressed - at least not through painting. (They seem to come out more freely when writing in a paper journal!)

It was freeing just to put color on the paper and not be concerned about making a mistake or making something not look right. After all, in the abstract world, what is a mistake? what doesn't look right? It is all a jumble...at least to me. A balanced, colorful jumble.

We used a water-based paint the woman leading the workshop called tempura on thick, smooth white paper. We could use as much paint and as much paper as we wanted. There were no assignments.

It was a 4-hour workshop. The first 30 minutes or so was spent introducing ourselves and discussing how the workshop would flow. No one was to comment on anyone's work, not even a compliment. We were told to ignore our inner critic - the one that tells us we aren't good enough, the one that prevents us from following our desires.

Then, we put on smocks and setup our painting space. I got 2 large cups of water (to rinse the brushes with), several brushes from large and puffy to small and narrow, some great sponge brushes in different sizes, and placed dabs of whatever colors grabbed my attention onto a tray the size and shape of a cafeteria food tray.

The workshop was held in the woman's living room. There is a tall table in the middle of the room and an old couch placed in front of the large window from which a lot of light shined. The 3 walls of the room (not the window wall) were covered with floor-to-ceiling boards that had paint splattered all over them (from top to bottom). Each of us used push-pins to tack the 4 corners of our first sheet of the thick white paper onto the board in front of us and then...we painted. For just over 3 hours. The last 20 minutes was spent cleaning up and talking about how the workshop went for each of us.

I enjoyed watching the paint slide off the end of the paint brush onto the white paper, making streaks of color across the page - especially, the first stroke onto a clean sheet. It reminded me of riding a jet ski at Hogan's Lake in the early morning when the water is still...the wake created by the jet ski, the ripples forming and spreading across the water, the freedom, the peace, the feeling of making my mark.

I especially liked working with the dry sponge brushes. They left a rough, textured appearance of paint on the paper. The second and fourth paintings exclusively used the sponge brushes, except of course for the hand-prints on the second one.

I'm not sure I'll take another class like that, since I prefer some direction, but I'm glad I took the class - I would have wondered and wondered about it if I hadn't.

I think I'm going to take another Bob Ross "Joy of Painting" class in May. I really liked working with the oil paints.

Basketweave Lap Blanket - Aran

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Size: 33 inches x 43.5 inches
Colors: Aran (taupe/light beige with spots of brownish colors)
Pattern: Basketweave
Book: Snuggle-Up Baby Afghans - Leaflet 3205 - Designs by Carole Rutter Tippett - Copyright 2000 - Leisure Arts
Date: April 2003

Two copy paper boxes of yarn were donated to me from Alice, a woman I met at Kaiser, who now has rhematoid arthritis and cannot do much craftwork anymore. One of the boxes had 5 skeins of this wonderful yarn.

I decided to use it for this basket weave pattern from a baby blanket book. The basket weave pattern made a heavy blanket. My gauge is different from the original pattern so I ran out of yarn but was able to pick up another skein that matched perfectly from Michaels Craft Store to finish the blanket.

This blanket was well-liked by people at work. It is heavy and warm. And it is a perfect design, texture and color for a man.

Spiderweb Lap Blanket - Navy


Size: 35 inches x 47 inches
Colors: Navy
Pattern: Spiderweb (spider web)
Book: Snuggle-Up Baby Afghans - Leaflet 3205 - Designs by Carole Rutter Tippett - Copyright 2000 - Leisure Arts
Date: February 2003

I really like this navy blue lap blanket. The pattern is from a baby afghans pattern book. By using regular yarn (i.e., not baby yarn) the pattern makes an excellent adult lap blanket. It is rare that I have enough yarn to make a blanket all the same color.

This blanket has also been well-liked by the people I've shown it to at work, so I know it'll find someone who will enjoy it.

Size: 32.5 inches x 46 inches
Colors: Yellow, Cyan
Pattern: Basic Granny Square
Book: None
Date: February 2003

I had so much yellow yarn leftover from the Yellow Lace Swirls blanket. It was the same type of yarn as some leftover cyan yarn, so I decided to make a lap blanket using this unusual combination of colors. I don't necessary like the combo, but someone else might.

The pattern is a basic granny square. Each square is unique. I tried to place the squares in a pattern that was balanced overall for the entire blanket.

Lace Swirls Afghan - Yellow

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Size: 48 inches x 62 inches (stretchy)
Colors: Yellow
Pattern: Style No. 3007-132, page 29 - Designer not indicated
Book: Bernat Afghans, Contemporary and Traditional Styles - Book No. 132 - Copyright 1975
Date: Started sometime in 1991 (estimated); finished February 2003

This is the second in-progress blanket discovered in the "Cheryl's Yarn" box in our garage attic in December 2002. It is a full-size blanket, more decorative than it is warm since it is so lace-like.

When it was found in the box, 3 of the strips were connected, many of the small circles were done for those strips, and large circles for another strip were already done. So, I made the rest of the large circles and the remaining small circles and crocheted it all together, following the pattern book which had been conveniently stored with the yarn.

During the putting-the-blanket-together process, I reviewed the pattern and discovered why I had so much leftover yellow yarn! The pattern says to use double strands of yarn. Oops. I didn't. That explains why the edges of the circles curl up (see it on the right side of the last closeup photo?). Ah, well.

I used some of the leftover yellow yarn for the yellow-and-cyan lap blanket and the rest of it on several 7-inch x 9-inch rectangles I made to donate to the homeless blanket project sponsored by Michaels Craft Store. I still have the 17 rectangles I made from navy yarn and the yellow yarn because Michaels was so disorganized that they didn't know what time the project was supposed to begin the day before it was supposed to happen. I'll just hang onto the rectangles for now. 45 of them are needed to make a complete blanket for the homeless project.

(large, 800 pixels wide version)

Date: January 2003.

My first painting (other than paint-by-number sets when I was a kid)!

I took a Bob Ross "Joy of Painting" class at Michaels Craft Store - it was fun!

I had fun playing with the paints and learning what strokes the different brushes can do. The names of the paints are much more fancy than Blue, Red, and Green. Apparently the Bob Ross-type paints are specially-formulated oil paints that allow the painter to paint on top of wet paint so there isn't a need to wait for an underlying color to dry before painting on top of it.

Everyone in the class did the same painting, but each person created the painting in their own style. One woman in the class used thick strokes of paint. I was being careful not to use too much paint since I was very new to the whole thing.

Size: 34.5 inches x 44 inches
Colors: Navy, Royal Blue, Sky Blue, White
Pattern: Clay's Choice Afghan (pattern modified to lap blanket size)
Book: Patchwork Grannys for Afghans, Pillows & Bedspreads - Leaflet 267 - Designs by Diane Marie Goff - Copyright 1983 - Leisure Arts
Date: January 2003

In December 2002 when my husband was looking for Christmas tree decorations in the "attic" of our garage, he came across a box marked "Cheryl's Yarn." Lo-and-behold! Guess what was in it? 2 unfinished blankets I had started in the late 1980s or early 1990s before I stopped crocheting due to tendonitis in both wrists in March 1992.

There were 99 3.5-inch squares for this blanket in the box. The original afghan pattern needs 176 squares. I redesigned the pattern to be a lap blanket size (about 35 inches x 45 inches) requiring 130 squares and made the additional squares. 2 squares from the original 99 didn't fit into the redesigned pattern so these will be taken apart and used for scrap blanket yarn.

When I was putting together the blues-and-white "found" blanket, I discovered that I didn't have any more Royal Blue or Soft White yarn needed to stitch together about half of the squares. Using the Light Navy or Baby Blue on the Soft White and Royal Blue seams wouldn't look good. So, I stopped by Michaels Craft Store, compared the squares I'd brought as samples with the yarn they had and bought just what I needed! The Royal Blue matches exactly. The Soft White is just a little off, but good enough. Fancy that - matching yarn that is 10+ years old!

The first photo above is the blanket after I laid it out on the kitchen table. I managed to get the rows organized before any of the cats decided to "help" me.

I will probably never do another blanket like this - it has entirely too many small squares which means entirely too many ends to hide and too many squares to sew together. Although I do like the detail provided by smaller squares. Hmmm, maybe one day I'll feel like doing a small square blanket again.

Granny Stripes Lap Blanket - Scraps

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Size: 34 inches x 44.5 inches
Colors: Navy, Scraps
Pattern: Granny Stripes
Book: Scrap Happy Afghans - Leaflet 2750 - Designs by Judy Bolin - Copyright 1995 - Leisure Arts
Date: December 2002

Mom let me borrow several of her scrap blanket pattern books. I fell in love with this easy and fast pattern. It is so different from the squares and rows usually found in pattern books. The strips are made using scrap colors alternating with a base color (in this case, navy blue). Then, when the strip is the right length, you add a border all around it in the base color. Then all the tall strips are connected to form the blanket.

I tried to balance the colors and to not arrange colors next to each other, either side by side or diagonally. I missed one in this blanket - can you find it? (Answer: On the right side in rows 2 and 3 are 2 medium pink strips next to each other diagonally.) Hmmm, Mom says it's lucky to have a mistake. Thank goodness for that since I usually make at least one mistake in each blanket.

Size: (Unknown) (donated in December 2002 to the convalescent home where my grandfather stayed; estimate 35 inches x 45 inches)
Colors: White, Baby Yellow, Baby Light Yellow, Baby Pink, Baby Light Pink, Baby Blue, Baby Light Blue
Pattern: Diagonal Rainbow - Design by Pat Gibbons
Book: Over the Rainbow Baby Afghans - Leaflet number not indicated - Copyright 2001 - Leisure Arts
Date: November 2002

I will probably never do something like this again! Each color change requires 2 yarn ends, one at the start and one at the end. There were so many yarn ends to hide (tuck back into the stitches) that it was daunting. But I did it! I like the pattern - except for the triangles of white in the lower left and upper right corners.

This pattern came from a baby blanket crochet pattern book, which is where a lot of the patterns I use for lap blankets come from. I had so much pink and blue and yellow and white yarn left that it made sense to do something with those colors, even though the target audience for the lap blankets are not babies. I thought a woman might like the color combination.

Size: (Unknown) (donated in December 2002 to the convalescent home where my grandfather stayed; estimate 35 inches x 45 inches)
Colors: Rose, Pink, Light Pink
Pattern: 6 patterns make up this lap blanket: (1-light pink) #51 Star Stitch, (2-light pink) #55 Parallel Post Stitch, (3-pink) #27 Block and Offset Shell Stitch, (4-pink) #62 Basket Weave, (5-rose) #12 Open Ridge Stitch (which I modified to not have a ridge), (6-rose) #32 Aligned Cable Stitch
Book: 63 Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches Combine To Make An Heirloom Afghan - Leaflet 555 - Designs by Darla Sims - Copyright 1987 - Leisure Arts
Date: November 2002

The colors are a little off: they are light pink, medium pink, and a deep rose.

The patterns for this lap blanket are from a book of 63 crochet patterns. If you follow the directions properly to get an accurate gauge, the squares should all be the same size. I had some problems with gauge so one of the squares is loose and stretchy, and other squares were too small so I had to add a single crocheted border of 1-3 rows around those to make them an appropriate size. If I had used the same pattern for each square, each would have been the same size. Ah, well, live and learn.

Size: (Unknown) (donated in December 2002 to the convalescent home where my grandfather stayed; estimate 35 inches x 45 inches)
Colors: Navy, Green, Purple (fuzzy soft yarn - Lion Brand Homespun)
Pattern: (Unknown)
Book: (Unknown)
Date: November 2002

I was so tired of the colors of the yarn I had in my collection. So I went to Michaels Craft Store to see what I could find for inspiration. I saw this really soft, fuzzy yarn in these colors, so different from the colors I had been working with. So, I bought the yarn, which was expensive compared to the prices of regular acrylic yarn. Ah, well, it was nice to work with something different.

The strand of soft yarn is twisted with a strand of thin, narrow cord-like string/yarn, which makes it a little difficult to see where stitches are. The blanket felt so good to cuddle with when it was done!

Size: (1) 36 inches x 45 inches, (2, 3) 36 inches x 54 inches
Colors: Mixed Rose/Pinks, Mixed Blues, Mixed Purples, Mixed Yellows, White, Navy
Pattern: (Unknown) (Mom thinks she may have the pattern somewhere though so I may get that info here someday.) [Update May 2, 2004: I wrote down the pattern by studying the squares and posted it here.]
Book: (Unknown)
Date: Squares started sometime in 1990; completed October 2002; donated in December 2002 to the convalescent home where my grandfather stayed.

The colors are a bit off - that is not red or dark orange in the multicolored blanket; it is supposed to be a deep rose.

In late September 2002, I went through the yarn, crochet books, and crocheted squares for the king-size bedspread blanket I was making in 1991 before my wrists problems started. Because we have 3 cats now (we had only 1 then) and because there were so many more squares to make (that I didn't want to do) to finish the king-size blanket, I decided to make 3 lap blankets with the 68 squares instead.

Each square is 9 inches x 9 inches, so that makes the 20-square blue-and-purple blanket about 36 inches x 45 inches and the 24-square multicolored (blue, rose, yellow and purple) blankets about 36 inches x 54 inches.

Hmmm, can you spot the mistake in the blue-and-purple blanket? Hint: No 2 squares alike should be adjacent to each other, including diagonally.

I started planning the king-size blanket in 1990 or 1991. The colors are great! Each square has 3 coordinated colors with a navy blue border. There are 4 sets of colors, with 3 colors in each set (13 colors total). I bought all the yarn, made a plan for how many squares I'd need, and began making a lot of squares.

I stopped working on the king-size blanket (and cross-stitch crafts) in March 1992 after being diagnosed with repetitive stress in both wrists/arms.

The notes I found with the blanket squares indicate that I made some more squares for the blanket in January 1993. It bothered my wrists so I stopped working on it and put all my craft stuff away again.

In September last year, about 10 years later, I dragged it all out out again. I'd been thinking about it off and on since at least early June but hadn't actually done anything about it.

There were about 50 skeins of unused yarn in a variety of colors, most of was bought for the king-size blanket. A lot of the lap blankets I've created use this left-over yarn.

Crocheting is relaxing and I can listen to TV or talk while doing it. So, I can be doing something more useful while I watch TV and hang out with my hubby in the living room. I've been enjoying crocheting again - I used to enjoy doing a lot before I had to stop. It was a destressor and a creative pursuit. It's even better when there's a purpose for what I'm making - such as the lap blankets for the convalescent home or a gift for a baby.

Date: Late 2000.

(OK, the finger tips in the photos bug me. I may try to take these photos over again - without finger tips in the way. Or maybe not.)

I took a book-making course as part of the requirements for the Digital Graphics option of my undergraduate degree. This was my final - and best - project.

It is an accordion book containing a poem called "New Beginnings" I wrote in April 1999.

The front and back covers are 1/8-inch illustration board covered with Garden Fern paper (purchased at The Art Store in Berkeley). The images are rose petals scanned into Photoshop (the rose petals came from roses a neighbor let me cut from her rose bushes). Overlaid on top of the rose petal images are binary 1s and 0s of the words in the poem. I printed the pages onto Rives BFK Off-White paper using the Epson Stylus 600 Color inkjet printer I had at that time.

The poem is:

New Beginnings

An empty nest
is natural.
Growing up
to be
on your own.
My job
is done.
Another life
for me.

A note inside the back cover says:

The poem is about new beginnings after my son went to college. The imagery represents the merging of my technical and creative talents in the new phase of my life.

I made 16 limited edition copies of the book to give to family and friends. The book photographed above is number 5 of 16.

Woman Drawing in pastels

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Date: Late 1999, early 2000.

This drawing was created in the last drawing lab course I took for the Multimedia option of my undergraduate degree.

We chose from several small black and white images of women in different poses that the drawing lab instructor provided. I chose this one because she looks introspective.

I got into this drawing and really enjoyed the process of using a variety of unusual colors to create a uniquely colored version of the black and white image. (The drawing lab instructor gave us a list of colors to use to break us of the desire to use realistic colors.)

This drawing has been hanging next to the Cleo drawing in our "gym" (which I hope to convert to a craft room) since June 2000. The drawing was probably made in late 1999 or early 2000.

Cleo, Cat Drawing in pastels

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Date: Late 1999, early 2000.

For the Multimedia option of my undergraduate degree, I had to take 2 drawing courses and 3 drawing labs (these were not courses I would have chosen to take if I had a choice since drawing isn't my "thing").

This drawing of my favorite cat Cleo was made in the last drawing lab. For reference, I used a photograph of Cleo (above right) taken when she was a small kitten as a model. The shapes are a little off, but overall it works for me.

The colors are unusual because the drawing lab instructor gave us a list of colors to use (he wanted to break us of the desire to use realistic colors).

This drawing has been hanging next to the Woman drawing in our "gym" (which I hope to convert to a craft room) since June 2000. The drawing was probably made in late 1999 or early 2000.

Date: Completed 1999; photos taken December 2002.

This framed set of digital images was a final project for a digital art class I took in 1999 as part of my undergraduate degree. I made it as a gift for my mother and kept the colors of her home in mind.

One of my neighbors has a beautiful garden of a variety of rose bushes. I got her permission to cut many roses from the bushes. I then pulled the petals off the flowers and layed piles of petals of assorted colors on the glass of my scanner and scanned them. Using Photoshop, I enhanced and altered the colors and used a multitude of filters and other Photoshop techniques to get the images to be the brightness and texture I wanted. I cut the mat, purchased the rose-colored frame and glass, and framed it myself.

Clowns cross-stitch designs

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Tramp Clown (also Hobo Clown)

4-Tone Clown (also Sad Clown)

Patterns: Tramp Clown 1, 4-Tone Clown
Book: Rosene Patterns & Graphs - Book No. 1 - Designs by Rosene Needlepoint and Edna Looney Products - Copyright not indicated (estimate early 1980s) - Hill-Looney, Inc.
Date: Completed 1980s; photos taken December 2002.

I made these two clowns years ago for my Mom from patterns in a cross-stitch pattern book. There were 6 clown patterns - these are the best two (besides, Mom likes sad clowns!). I must have made them sometime during the 1980s. They are hanging on her hallway wall.

Patterns: Here Comes Santa (2172), Santa's List (2171), Snoozin' Santa (2173), Musical Santa (2170), Friendly Santa (2164)
Kits: The Creative Circle - Kit Nos. listed after pattern name - Price not indicated - Designs by Russell Bushee - Copyright 1982 (first 4 listed) and 1981 (5th)
Date: Completed early-mid 1980s; photos taken December 2002.

I made a set of 5 counted cross-stitched Santa Claus ornaments many years ago (probably sometime in the early 1980s). These are all on 22-count cloth (very tiny squares). Closeups below.

Pattern: Boston Bull Terrier
Book: "Dogs - Dogs - Dogs" - Leaflet SUM-210 - Designs by Mary Ellen - Copyright 1982 - Summit Designs
Date: Completed early-mid 1980s; photo taken April 2003.

I made this cross-stitch Boston Terrier for Grandma Dorie (my Mom's mother) in the early 1980s. The pattern book was published in 1982 and Dorie died in late April 1986, so it was done somewhere between 1982-1986. About 20 years ago...it doesn't seem that long.

Buster was the Boston Terrier my Mom had early in her marriage to my father. When they got stationed in Guam (I think it was), she gave Buster to her mother and father. Buster was Dorie's constant companion and baby. He died before I created the cross-stitch design for her.

After Dorie died, Grandpa Paul (my Mom's father) hung the framed design in each of the houses he lived in. It hung on the wall of his room at the assistive living facility where he lived for months before he died in March 2002.

My Mom now has Buster hanging in her computer room of her home. This photo was taken in April 2003 at my Mom's home.



What will you find here? Photographs of crocheted lap-size and other blankets I've made, as well as cross-stitch designs, paintings, and digital images I've created. Maybe other art projects as time goes on. I have not included my photography in this website, but I do have photography websites at:

I began creating digital art in late 1998 when I transferred to California State University Hayward and changed majors from Computer Science to a Multimedia option in Art. I soon added both the Digital Graphics and Photography options. My natural style leans heavily toward realistic scenes, such as those provided by photography without fancy filters and toning.

Painting is new for me. My first painting (other than paint-by-number kits when I was a kid) was made in January 2003. I took a Bob Ross "Joy of Painting" class at a local Michaels Craft Store. It was fun! I learned how to use a few different brushes and mix oil paints.

On April 19, 2003, I took a creative painting class, called "Painting from the Wild Heart" given by a woman painter in Oakland. We used tempura paints (which are water-based) on thick sheets of paper. The object of the class was to let go and and listen to your creative self, not to your inner critic. This is part of my attempt to break free from my realism box.

I've been crocheting since I was a little girl. I learned from my left-handed mother - I'm right-handed so I did what she did backwards. I've made quite a few blankets throughout my life, but have photographs of only a few of those I made years ago. I've been taking digital photos of my recent crocheted creations.

I also did embroidery as a kid, but grew to like counted cross-stitch more and more. I created my own cross-stitch 16" x 20" design of a man riding a stand-up Kawasaki jet ski for my then boyfriend (now my husband) for a Christmas gift in 1987. I have photos of only a few of my cross-stitch projects.

In March 1992, I was diagnosed with repetitive stress (tendonitis) in both wrists and required physical therapy twice a week for 6 months while I continued to work full time. At that time, it was prudent to choose to stop working on my crafts to give my wrists time to rest. So, I put all my crochet and cross-stitch projects away in 2 large plastic containers and placed the containers in the hallway coat closet where I wouldn't be constantly reminded about them.

In 2001 or early 2002 before my grandfather died, my mother made a very colorful crocheted lap blanket for him to keep his legs warm while he was out and about in his wheelchair. It was a big hit at the convalescent home: The colors were eye-catching, the hand-made blanket was a homey touch, and the smaller size (about 35" x 45") of a lap blanket is less likely to get caught in the wheelchair when it moves.

In late September 2002, I dragged out the 2 plastic containers and started crocheting again. I began making lap-size blankets (aka lap robes or lapghans) with the intent of donating them to the convalescent home that had cared for my grandfather. My mother joined me in this effort and together we shipped 11 lap blankets to the convalescent home in Wisconsin. The blankets were distributed during the December 2002 holidays by the managers of the home to residents who did not have much family contact.

I continue to make lap blankets and intend to donate them to a local convalescent home or other care facility in the Fall. I have completed 6 lap blankets and 1 full-size so far this year, each with a different design and different color scheme (since using the same pattern and same colors would be boring!).

I've worn wrist splints on both arms at night since early 1992. I've learned to compensate and work around my wrist problems, as well as a lower back problem that began in August 1996 as the result of a rough small boat ride with my son on Lake Tahoe.

As long as I don't overdue it and pay attention to how my wrists and lower back feel, I've been able to continue crocheting and cross-stitching. They touch something inside me that's been missing for 10 years.

I hope you enjoy viewing these projects as much as I enjoyed creating them. Many are projects I did a long time ago and gave to family members. Others I created when I was completing my undergraduate degree between June 1998 and December 2000. I'm also including my recent projects, including the lap blankets and my attempts at painting.

Sketch of Cheryl

About Cheryl

Enjoys crocheting, gardening, cats, NASCAR (especially Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch!), reading, photography, snorkeling in Kailua-Kona with sea turtles, Sizzler's Mega Bacon Cheeseburgers, hot and iced decaf coffee, dark chocolate, color (yarn, fabric), playing around with web technologies - not necessarily in that order! Still very much a beginner with quilting, knitting, and sewing. Donates crocheted lap blankets.

List maker, detail-oriented, organized, leans heavily toward perfectionism. ISTJ. Libra.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2003 is the next archive.

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Cat playing with strand of yarn.


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