Mrs. Hill

mrs hill and me

The four Mills kids (I am #2 in the line-up) had a babysitter, Elsie Hill. She was like a cross between Mary Poppins and Mrs. Doubtfire–and she was magical! She wore floral polyester dresses, shiny, stiff laced orthopedic shoes and toted a giant satchel-style purse. Her favorite color was pink and she lived in a little pink house with a front door framed with pink climbing roses growing on an arbor.  She made you feel like you were the only one in the room when you were with her. (Except when her “story” came on and then you had to leave the room for 30 minutes, or so, to take a nap!)  Little did she, or my Mom, know she introduced me to the soaps at age 5.

(above) Thanksgiving 1975 
(below) Lunch with Mrs. Hill in her garden-1978Scan

They certainly don’t make babysitters like Elsie Hill any more and I appreciate everything she taught me. Mrs. Hill knew the name of every flower in the garden, had a knack for finding interesting rocks and had quite an impressive collection of geodes at her house. She could make the best butter and sugar sandwiches and often let us double dip our strawberries in the sugar bowl. When she took care of us at night, she would wiggle her fanny into my child-sized rocking chair and rock me to sleep. One bright winter afternoon she went out into the freezing snow with us to make snow angels despite her polyester dress and bare legs! Hollyhocks will always remind me of math. One day she found Hollyhock seeds and we  counted them, pretended they were money and I learned to make change.




This week I picked up crocheting after a long break. Trying my hand at hexagons and have no idea where this project is headed! One thing is certain, I can still hear Mrs. Hill explaining  how to make a slip knot. When I was a little girl, I spent what seemed like hours cranking out sweaty little chain stitch garlands after she showed me the ropes. Of course, I had (and still have!) the attention span of a gnat so it was probably more like minutes than hours! I miss Mrs. Hill and am thankful for the time we had together. I know she left everyone just a little bit better than she found them. 



Oh Hail


, , , , , , ,

ImageSoutheast MO woke up to wind and sleet and, at our house,  the girlie squeals of happiness as news spread that school had been called off. Despite the fact that not a single snowflake fell, the girls immediately dug out their winter gear and took off to find a hill to sled down. I love that even though it was pebbly sleet, they treated it like a foot of fresh powder.  Of course this means that my house looks like this…



With all activities cancelled today, I was able to finish blocking these hats from Purl.

SONY DSC ???????? ????????

I’m looking forward to getting them packed up and sent to their new wee owners.

Next on the list is finishing the Farm Friends Whirligig. After completing the cow, I decided to frog it. I just didn’t like how the spots looked and my tension with color work, well, sucks. It’s a tension and technique issue I really wish I were better at. The new cow is in progress and I thought I would look for some fuzzy black alpaca to add black spots in duplicate stitch once it’s completed.


Here he is laying next to the frogged version…he’s getting his leg transplant later this afternoon.

For a third project in the wings, I ordered this scarf kit from the Yarnery in St. Paul, MN.

If you ever get a chance to visit the Twin Cities, they are located on Grand Avenue in a wonderful historic area of St. Paul. I don’t get to go often enough!  Amazingly the kit came in the mail in only 3 days.

I will leave you with another photo of our biggest winter storm since 2011. Sure is pretty here in SE MO.



Rainy Day projects




It’s a rainy, cold, dreary Sunday morning. The kids are still snoozing and the coffee is hot. I love this time of the day–quiet time is the best time.

I know the quiet will be short-lived. Troy has been replacing all of our upstairs doors and doorways and helping with an elementary school framing project. Needless to say our house has become a wood shop from Hell and even the shop vac and Dyson have given up trying to combat the sawdust. Hoping after today the sawdust will be replaced by paint fumes and our long-awaited totally finished upstairs will materialize!

While Troy works upstairs, I will be working on some knitting projects that need to be finished this month. I started a baby mobile for a teacher at our Middle School. She is having a baby boy (their first). This Farm Friends Whirligig has begun with a little pig. He even has a curly tail. I am contemplating pig shorts because he looks like he needs some…

This is one of the first patterns I have written and I am excited to upload it to my Ravelry page soon. As soon as I figure out how!


From the top of the head to the tips of the toes, it is knit in one piece. The arms are stitches picked up from the sides and knitted in the round and the ears are knitted and attached at the end.  There will be a puppy, horse and spotted cow joining him on the mobile.


This yarn from Purl Soho in New York is going to turn into 3 Angora embellished baby hats! I found the pattern on and it’s called Soft and Sweet Hats.  Here is the almost finished hearts hat.


It still needs a pom pom and blocked, but I love how it turned out!

This project has inspired me to research a possible new family pet…

oui! oui!

little things


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zowie! It’s been a long time since I’ve been here. Around these parts it’s a slippery slope from buying pencils and rulers in August to the end of the year.

October was so fun with E’s and C’s birthdays and then planning for the masses of sugar-seekers Oct. 31. We had 1,400 trick-or-treaters at our door this year. Here are some shots from Oct. fun:)

Photo  I can’t believe our baby has made 9 rotations around the sun…

Photo this is a mummy dog…nitrites have never looked cuter.

Photo the morning aftermath.

And two weeks later–Claire is 11. Where does time go? At least my bittersweet feelings about my kids’ birthdays are iced in butter cream:)

can’t take credit for this cake–Pinterest 🙂

 Claire re-lit her candles several times…she’s goofy that way ❤

nothing like birthday party crafting in the morning while waiting for pancakes!

October also brought what I hope will become a new tradition…

Knit a Tit October 2012–an experience to remember

When Mom and Dad came for a visit in October, Mom and I drove to Rogersville, MO to a wonderful yarn store, One City Market It’s this great little secret in the middle of nowhere!

In honor of Breast Cancer awareness, One City Market hosts a fun event every year called Knit a Tit. The pink carpet is rolled out and people come from miles away to, well, Knit Tits! These are prosthetic breasts given to women who have undergone mastectomies. The pattern, Tit Bits, by Beryl Tsang is easy to follow and a great stash buster for a great cause. The local Cancer Center is always looking for a supply of these.

 They are stuffed, tagged with the proper cup size and labeled.

Here they are ready for someone to love:) GREAT FUN for a GREAT CAUSE

Now thoughts of turkey are running around in my head. Our family gets to cook this year so I’m sifting through articles online and pinning ideas in Pinterest. In all reality, I will probably just pull my trusty recipe book off the shelf and use recipes from Thanksgivings past–they are tried and true!

Speaking of tried and true!


Leftovers Baby Socks

I am loving these little baby socks. It is hard to find a good sock pattern that works so I am delighted that this one is a keeper. They look cute rolled down or pulled up.

They are knit on size 1 toothpicks–err um–needles in the round.

Another fave—Converse Baby Booties! Everyone should have a pair of these in their closet.

These happen to fit a 3 month old…

I paired the booties with a Magic Coffee Hat for a friend’s baby boy. They are huge Mizzou fans! I wish I had sewn a label on that hat that said, “Handknit for a Tiger by a Jayhawk.”

And finally…here is the Gaptastic cowl that was commissioned for a neighbor’s daughter:)

 Big Al is modeling the final result.

 Very wearable don’t you agree?

Almost time for UNWIND Wednesday!

My new knitting and crocheting group meets on Wednesdays! We love the Springfield Brewing Company!

Photo: Knitting at the Springfield Brewing Co. with my Unwind sistas!We think yarn and beer are a pretty good pairing 🙂



, ,

Greetings from summer at my house where the kids are playing outside until dark, baseball and softball games have started, the house looks like a craft store exploded, and aside from the occasional McBickerson routine, the sisters are loving these lazy days of summer together. Even our feathery and furry children are getting along.

With carpools on hiatus and more time in the day, I decided to try my hand at this fishy hat pattern. The yarn I chose from my stash is a combo of 100% cotton Bambini (Lang Yarns) and Mandarin Petit (SandnesGarn) cotton yarn. It’s knit entirely in the round on size US 3 wooden double point needles. With a cast on of only 90 stitches it’s crazy off-gauge for a hat, but that’s ok. I have plans to turn this into a fish toy/baby gift. After searching the internet for the perfect fish toy pattern, I just couldn’t find anything that measured up to this hat’s “fishy cuteness.” It’s a bit of an experiment so I will have to see how it goes. So far I love the color combo and the pattern is well-written, super fun and quick. This is two nights of Late Night here on the needles:)

The other great summer news is that I finally finished Mom’s Lorna’s Lace’s socks that I have been working on since February.  I decided to switch sock patterns and use the one that my Mom has used a thousand times. It’s a free pattern and it can be found here. Good thing I didn’t knit them for my model! After a trip through the handwash and some blocking, they will be ready for winter action in Kansas.

I hope to be adding another project soon! My goal this summer is to work through some of my stash yarn…famous last words from the world’s biggest yarn hoarder! Hopefully you are enjoying your summer as well and you will share your WIPS with me!

One step forward two steps back…

Houston–we have a problem! This yarn striped beautifully when I was making the first sock. The second sock took on a je ne sais quoi  of its own. This is fine if you don’t need them to travel together…

Houston we have a Problem with our socks!

The solution:

In order to have the stripes where I wanted them to show, I continued to knit with the non-striping ball (see above photo–it’s the one on the left) until the heel flap. I clipped the toe of the finished sock, (shown below) attached the yarn and continued knitting with the striping yarn.

Here is the finished sock with the non striping yarn at the top and the striping yarn beginning at the heel and continuing throughout the foot and toe. (This is an unblocked sock so not too pretty yet!)

Hopefully there will be no more surprises on this project because I have a long list of new projects I want to start!


Here is a follow up on the red hooded sweater that I finished while knitting at stop lights one day. This is little Wilson wearing the sweater at the park! I was happy to hear from his Mom that it fits perfectly. It’s rewarding to see my knitted gifts in action 🙂




A new sock

Just cast on the socks I intended to make for Mom at least 5 years ago…maybe longer! This is beautiful yarn I purchased from Lorna’s  Laces so many years ago.

I just learned how to do long tail cast on thanks to Susan B. Anderson’s tutorial which makes a much nicer edge than cable cast on. These are being knit on size 1 bamboo double point needles as you can see 🙂  I am using Susan Anderson’s sock pattern for the first time.

I am hoping to have these finished this weekend so I can start shopping for yarn for the next project. Luckily I won’t be knitting at stop lights today!

Knitting at Stop Lights

Hi Friends,

As I was drifting off to sleep last night thinking about all the undone errands I needed to attend to today, I knew it was going to be one of those days when I spent more minutes looking at traffic signals than anything else. I don’t care for these kinds of days! But today I made errand running more fun by taking my current knitting project along for the ride. I have this great little hooded sweater on the needles that is about twenty-five rows from being completed. It’s for a dear friend’s “new baby” who was born 6 months ago…hmmmm. I wondered if I could actually finish knitting a project if I took it along for the day. My experiment seems to have worked–and I didn’t lose my mind which is a good thing.  A few loose ends to weave in, sew on buttons, wash it, block it, and it will be as good as shipped! 

Before I go, i have to share this amazing sight I saw today on my way home from the store. Spring has officially sprung when you see this many crocus–or is that croci? Either way ENJOY!

corny hearts


When I was a kid, my mom used to make the most delicious cornbread muffins with jelly in the center. With the cold snap we had this week plus Valentine’s Day,  I made these cornbread squares for our Valentine’s Day dinner.  I used strawberry spoon fruit in the center and I think they came out as good looking as they were tasty.