Sisters, and also brothers

I spent my afternoon digging through the archives in preparation for a blog post about my great aunt Hilda whose namesake knit design I’m reworking lately, and have found myself happily reacquainting with the five siblings of the Ziegler clan.

c1920 Running clockwise from lower left, the siblings Albert (b1911), Hilda (b1898), Walter (b1906), Arnold (b1900), and my grandmother Mildred (b1901) surround mother Martha (front and center).

c1920 Running clockwise from lower left, the siblings Albert (b1911), Hilda (b1898), Walter (b1906), Arnold (b1900), and my grandmother Mildred (b1901) surround mother Martha (front and center).

From the photographs and letters I’ve found it’s apparent that the family members, shown above in their South Boston neighborhood were close and remained so throughout their lives – especially sisters Hilda and Mildred.

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Most of the correspondence I have between Hilda and Marlene had been written by Hilda when she was in her 80s. Her return addresses show her first residing on Park Drive in Boston where she lived for most of her adult life, then later in North Easton, where she moved to be near her brother Walter who looked after her. The texts of the thank you notes and hellos are a brief and unexpected chronicle of family events – events that I’d forgotten or had questions about. I discovered Dad had surgery to repair his hearing in 1981. I remember that happened but wouldn’t have guessed when. I was glad to find this in a note of hers now.

In 1979 we lost my grandparents Mildred and Harold within months of each other. Harold died in late February and Mildred followed in early August. In May of that same year Peter and I were married. I was close to my grandmother and very glad she was able to attend my reception. Her death a few months later was unexpected. I guess I hadn’t fully processed it by the time of her funeral and caused quite a stir by leaving her service in the middle, as this note highlights. Oy.

hilda letter 18AUG79.jpg

And then there’s the third paragraph above –


I keep thinking of the things I want to say to your mother [Mildred], and one of the last things I heard that she said was “I have so many things to tell Hilda.”

Oh my heart.

My top-down Hilda redesign to be republished soon.

Update: Hilda, republished 9/6/2019;

one turtle, two turtles

I spied this sweet porcelain turtle on my bureau the other day. A gift from great aunt Mitzi brought back from one of her trips to England in the 60’s, it had been sitting there for a while, but for some reason it caught my attention just then. Mitzi had brought us two – one for Marlene and one for me – but with only one in sight by now, I was certain its mate was sadly gone for good.

1 turtle.jpg

Then yesterday while steaming my new knit currently underway I glanced over at Juliet’s storage area. We have her old toys in plastic bins, and thinking our Violet and Jack will be ready for them soon I took a random look inside one.

See what I found!

2 turtles.jpg

My new knit underway has been spawned from my previously published Innamorata (shown below), a short sleeved pullover that I named for one of Marlene’s favorite Dean Martin songs.

Innamorata  c2014

Innamorata c2014

Drawn to its romantic front and back V-neckline, I went at it again, this time with new yarn and the Mock English Rib texture I’ve been exploring in At the seaside and Carousel. In addition to the change in texture, this new design has longer sleeves and is worked top down – my preference of late. I’m almost finished.

Once done I’ll revisit Innamorata to revise its knit direction, and following the lead of our turtles, I’ll offer them up as a pair.

Back then, while Marlene was listening to Dean Martin, it was Joni Mitchell for me.

Both sides now – my latest knit design, and top down Innamorata, coming soon.

Update: Both sides now, published 7/25/2019; and Top-down Innamorata, republished 8/6/2019

The circle game


Sometimes, when I'm in the area, I drive by my childhood home. 

This came to mind recently when Karen texted to tell me that our Carousel School was closing – the nursery school we had attended in the late 50’s.  There would be a farewell open house, a chance to revisit.

Karen was my first friend and we found each other again a few years ago, on twitter. 


"Do you have a mom named Tina?" I tweeted, after some online sleuthing.  "Yes!" she responded, and we simply picked up where we had left off years before – like bookends on our lives I sometimes think, appealing strangely to my penchant for neatness.

I lived on Temple Road during my formative school years, from the age of four through my high school graduation when my parents felt finally free to spread their wings, forcing me to spread mine.  They moved six times after that, the last after Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – his last selfless act to ensure Mum would be near to me.  Thinking of you today and always Dad, Happy Father's Day.

I used to check the open house listings in the home sales section of our Sunday paper to see if I'd find my old address there.  I hoped only for a walk through, to see my bedroom again and retrace my steps. I've lived longer by far in my current residence, and yet my childhood home still calls to me.  I know it would be different now, with its new occupants and the passage of time, but I’m sure there'd be hints of us still.  Dad had built on an addition back then and we had dug our initials in the new cellar's wet cement.  I'd definitely find that.  And with luck and some magic, maybe I’d find that missing puzzle piece on my closet floor – that dragonfly inside the jar. 

 Carousel – my latest knit design, coming soon.

Update: Carousel, published 6/20/2019.

At the seaside

When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up
Till it could come no more.

As usual, my sweater name search yields unexpected finds, such as this poem At the Seaside, by Robert Louis Stevenson from A Child’s Garden of Verses – a tattered book by now, given to my mother as a child by her aunt Hilda, and these “a day in the life” family photos – interesting to me both visually and historically, from the archives.

On July 29, 1922 the Stieg clan enjoyed their day at the seaside.

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img154 v2.jpg

In the photo above, my great great grandmother Johanna stands in the center of the back row, with great aunt Hilda on her right side and great great aunt Hattie on her left.  Hattie’s husband William kneels in front of her holding one of their 3 sons born by this time – it’s most likely Paul at 2 years old given the dates I know. Paul was my godfather. Their oldest, William Jr., is the 5 year old wearing the sailor top with the dark tie, and their youngest, Donald, is the infant in Hattie’s arms.  Donald died too young during WWII at the age of 23. 

Taking a deep dive into my family tree, the rest of the children likely belong to my great great aunt Flossie, the younger woman wearing glasses.  She had 6, and among the 5 born by this time, 3 were girls – matching the number of those unidentified in the photos, some wearing bows in their hair.  Flossie’s first marriage to Joseph ended with his death after only one year.  I don’t know what happened. Their son William, the 9 year old in the photo above, was later adopted by James, her second husband, and took his name. 

Knowing bits of how their lives turned out makes me stop and wonder what’s in store – but I guess it’s best not to dwell.  Why spoil the surprise.


The weather’s getting warmer in the northern hemisphere these days, and I’m surely ready for it. My yarn’s lighter and my needles are thinner.
Summer knitting has begun.

At the Seaside – my next sweater design, coming soon.

Update:  At the Seaside, published 5/29/2019.

Shawl collar v-neck

I’ve been working on a new knit design lately, coming back slowly and surely from the mysterious injury of my knitter’s elbow. The project is nearing its end and soon I’ll be needing its name, but so far none have come to me. Last night I went looking through the family binders for inspiration with no luck. So today I decided to focus on my hard drive – where by now I’ve been for a while.

Before it was all knitting all the time for me, I enjoyed making books and boxes for my printed photo collections. I came across one while name searching – a project I worked on in 2007. I had been taking a photography class at NESOP and self portrait was the assignment.

The photos were taken on my birthday that year – a coincidence for sure, but I like the added autobiographical emphasis. And 12 years later a self portrait series by me that includes my Bill still rings true – though sadly by now, same love, different kitty.

A while after these were taken I reused the photos in a new collection, as the basis for one that now featured the pattern instructions for the purple knit I’m wearing throughout,

and one that I bundled all up in its own paper cover, for posterity.

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I was glad to have found all the files for this project on my hard drive stored in a folder of its own – even though it was named tragically as Shawl collar v-neck.

Needless to say, my name search continues. I’ll report back.

Time trackers

I discovered twelve wristwatches while taking stock of Mum’s possessions after we sold her condo. There’s no doubt she saved things. Of the find, nine of the watches were hers (that included Windfall), two belonged to her mother Mildred, and one was my Dad’s – the last one he wore. Although I was able to find homes for most of her things after she passed away, the watches were personal and too meaningful to me, so I kept them. I felt they deserved a place of HONOR.

Later, while integrating her things with my own, I found fifteen more watches stored away. As my mother’s daughter I tend to save things too. Five were mine, seven were Juliet’s, and the last three were Peter’s – a total of 27 family wristwatches in all, and my Watch Box project was born.

That was back in 2010 just after I retired from my day job and my new found time was my own. The Watch Box had all my attention and my project had a healthy start. Over those few weeks I built 27 - 2” boxes to contain each watch and wrapped them with silver paper. Then I found and scanned 27 photos of the watch owners in their representative time and place. It was a healthy and strenuous start for sure – that stalled out pretty soon after due to my indecision and project fatigue, I’d say, and also because my knitting was calling to me.

So I packed it all up and stored it neatly in a clear plastic bin – just to make sure it could be easily resumed and stayed within my sight – and I promised myself I’d get back to it soon.

Fast forwarding to now, 2019, and as luck, or fate, would have it (though I tend to go with fate) – for the past few weeks I’ve been nursing a tennis (knitter’s) elbow that’s forced me away from my needles. And it’s been during this knitting drought, in an uncharacteristic bout of housekeeping, that I came across that neatly packed, clear plastic bin containing my project, still underway.

Taking advantage of serendipity, I went at it again, this time with fresh energy, and this time I finished.

Introducing my Watch Box – a collection of wristwatches


with those who wore them, where and when.


Peter and I have a daily ritual of watching Leave it to Beaver each morning over coffee. It’s really kind of embarrassing. Initially we just wanted to get away from the news – we’re up at 6 each day and by the time Beaver comes on at 8 we’re toast – but by now we watch because, well, we like it. Jerry Mathers, the actor who plays Beaver, is about my age and it’s set in the late 1950’s early 60’s – the time of our childhood. June Cleaver is his stay-at-home mom, and a homemaker who does housework wearing a dress and pearl necklace. She doesn’t drive (at least I don’t think she does – otherwise wouldn’t she have been able to take the boys to the track meet in the episode when Lumpy’s car broke down?), and she defers to her husband Ward on all matters of importance.

It’s an idealized view to be sure, but the series makes me think. Although Marlene often allowed Dad to take lead, not much of the rest rings true for me. Mum had a job and went to work each day while I attended nursery school, elementary school and so on. She drove. Was she ahead of her time?

I recently updated a knit design named for my great-grandmother Martha, once again giving me the opportunity to dive into family records, this time for a closer look at her story.

Martha Steig c1893

Martha Steig c1893


Martha Theresa Louisa Steig (b. 1877 in Germany) migrated to the US with her family in 1887 when she was 10.

At the age of 20 she married Albert Ulrich Ziegler (b. 1874). They had 5 children: Lillian Hildegarde (b. 1898), Arnold (b. 1900), Mildred (b. 1901), Walter (b. 1906), and Albert (b. 1911). The oldest, Lillian Hildegarde (Hilda), contracted polio as a child that left her handicapped.

Martha and Albert c1905

Martha and Albert c1905

Martha and Albert c1916

Martha and Albert c1916


Sadly, some years later Martha and Albert had discord and divorced, caused primarily, as the family story goes, by their disagreement over Hilda’s college attendance. Huh?

I have confirmed that they were divorced at some point between 1920 and 1930 since the 1930 census indicates Mrs. M T Ziegler’s status as such and shows them living separately. Divorce was spoken of in whispers during the time of my childhood, never mind 2 full generations before that – and undertaken for reasons of a female child attending college?! Just wow. Although the messages were mixed – Martha feared that Hilda would not find a husband to support her financially – I’m struck by Martha’s obvious innovation, and courage. There was likely more to the story, but she wanted Hilda to attend college and Albert did not.

Fast forwarding to the end, college was attended and Hilda became an MIT librarian where she worked until her retirement in 1969. Thanks in part to mother Martha, she lived independently for all of her days.

Martha and Hilda c1925

Martha and Hilda c1925


Circling back to the beginning of my post, I like to think that the variation in Marlene’s 1950’s lifestyle might stem in part from something in her DNA, something maybe from Martha, that hopefully I got a bit of too. I’m going with that.

Martha, my latest knit redesign, just republished 3/27/2019.

Delicious toast

My grandparents Mildred and Harold (My Valentine), aka Nanny and Gramps, were fresh on my mind as I searched recently for the name of my latest knit design. We were close throughout my life, and they were often present, but it’s a few early memories that got me smiling, and as a new grandmother myself, began to resonate.

me and nan c1957.jpg
me and tarpee c1957.jpg

Sometimes when my parents had a late night out I would be lucky enough to have an overnight with Nanny and Gramps. It didn’t happen often and I was too young then (or maybe too old now) to remember too many details, but the experience based on early impressions was a good one.

There was the black alligator-printed valise just big enough for a 3 year old’s pajamas and tooth brush, a dinner stand-out of white rice with ketchup, and sleeping in the middle of a huge-to-me double bed. And in the next day’s sunny morning, I would eat Arnold Brick Oven white bread toasted and spread with margarine. Bliss.

I’m grateful for these memories, and all the rest from my loving and supportive home that shaped my filter on the world. This I don’t take for granted – which brings me next to my young occasional charge.

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Whatever will this ladybug remember of her visits with me, Ninny, and her grandfather, Bop.

Perhaps this.


Delicious Toast, my latest knit design, just published 2/25/2019.

My valentine

I’ll be digging through my family photo archives soon in search of a name for my next design, currently in the works. What I find there is always a surprise. I wasn’t intending to post on my blog today, but on this Valentines Day something prompted me to take a peek into the folder labeled with my own name, where I discovered this small envelope, yellowed with age.


I do love that Marlene saved things. This was my valentine to my grandfather Harold (Gramps – a name I gave him) Welch, c 1961. And since most of my posts highlight the women in my family due to my feminine knit designs, I’m pleased to take a moment and say hello to Gibby (soft G), as my grandmother Mildred called him – her rock of Gibraltar she was fond of pointing out, and that I love remembering.


This was me then, posing in one of the few sweaters Marlene made for me, beside my parakeet Pete. Coincidences abound as I married Peter 18 years later – ya, not the parakeet :).

Undoubtedly Mum knitted this drawstring top using Hattie’s needles, on which she later taught me – one of the rivers that runs through my life. (They’re there if you look for them as I tend to.)

Marlene and Harold ( Gramps, Gibby ).

Marlene and Harold (Gramps, Gibby).


Sometimes brushing my teeth in the morning I see him looking back at me. Marlene and I tend to favor his lineage. It’s usually a sign that I should get my eyebrows done – reported lovingly.

Happy Valentines Day Harold-Gramps-Gibby. I’m thinking of you.

Hattie's needles

I relaunched a renovated Hattie pattern over the weekend. She’s top down now and reknitted in a worsted yarn, replacing the DK that had been discontinued. My only regret is that required new photos now replace the originals of my girl. See? Alas.

My Hattie pattern was published initially in January of 2011 – the fourth design in my newly formed Deb Hoss Knits endeavor, released after Marlene, Mildred, and Martha, (named for my mother, grandmother and great grandmother, respectively). Hattie deserves this prominence in my lineup as she was an early champion and mentor of my interests. It was on Hattie’s needles that Marlene taught me to knit after all. I gathered them up for this writing and was pleased to find so many – my old friends.

Sticker decorations courtesy of my Violet.

Sticker decorations courtesy of my Violet.

Harriet (Hattie) Stieg was born in 1888 in South Boston, the second youngest sister of my great grandmother Martha and 11 years her junior, nearly overlapping generations. I never got to meet Martha, who died when my mother was in high school, but I did meet Hattie. One summer day in the 60’s her son drove her out to our Waltham house. She would have been in her 70’s around then, and I would have been around 10. After birthing 4 sons, Hattie was likely delighted with my sewing interest and, no longer knitting herself, with finding a home for her fabrics and tools.

In researching for this post I came across these fun photos of Hattie’s crowd on a Florida vacation back in her day, c.1908.


Happily, as luck, or fate, would have it, Hattie had many, many days. She died in August of 1980 at the age of 92, overlapping 1 month with the life my daughter, her great great great niece Juliet born in July of that year. Amazing right?

Thank you Hattie, for your motivation and support. I carry it with me still.

For our wild child

Highlighting November activities – I’ve recently updated and relaunched the pattern for my Gussie design, a sport weight lace pullover.  Originally published in 2011, I reformatted the instructions and schematics, and added metrics with a row tracking tool – just to save knitters the step.

Gussie  c 2018

Gussie c 2018

While I was at it, I re-imagined her as Chunkie Gussie, recalculated stitches for aran weight yarn, and launched that pattern too. 
It’s fun to see how a simple change in the yarn effects the overall character of the design.

Chunkie Gussie  c 2018

Chunkie Gussie c 2018

Which brings me next to their namesake – my aunt, my great great aunt, that is, and according to legend, our family’s wild child – Augusta Elisabetha Steig, aka Gussie.

In these photos taken around 1905, she would have been about 19 years old, and since the only images I have of her are at this age, there she stays for me.

I’m thinking of her now, forever young – and wonderfully wild. 

You go girl.

Mrs. Donahue

Peter received a gift from a friend recently of carefully packaged vintage newspapers where headlines highlighted historic sports events.  It’s a fun keepsake for sure, and one that our babies Violet and Jack might well enjoy too, someday… but knowing my penchant for neatness, and tendency to too quickly recycle (guilty as charged), he decided to store his treasure box deep in the bottom drawer of his bureau, where, come to find out, he puts other special items to ensure their safety – like our old address book, newly discovered.

address book1.jpg

Judging from its contents this is circa 1990s, right about the time I was keying our family data into my new apple computer – moving us too quickly into the future for my husband’s comfort I guess, hence its stashing. He came clean and revealed the find, expecting me to rip out the pages and uncoil the wire binding as prep for the recycle bin, but I couldn’t – at least not yet.  This was a time capsule and I needed a closer look.

address book2.jpg

Area codes were just then being assigned and required for calling.  I’d forgotten that transition.  I found addresses of friends and family who had moved away, or passed away, phone numbers for old employment, business contacts, and service people.  We were immersed in Juliet’s world then – her classmates and their parents, summer camp, her orthodontist.  My parent’s page had been erased and rewritten several times as evidence of their multiple moves since my high school graduation years before.  I kept them in my hometown too long, and they were like a clock wound too tightly that needed release.  And there were some names I don’t recognize at all, such as Mrs. Donahue, that honestly would freak me out a bit, except that Peter doesn’t remember them either.  It’s nice, at least, to have company on that front. 

I’ve lost track of many – no, most – of the people on these pages.  It happens, life goes on.  But remembered or not, as thank you to all the people who have participated in and enriched our lives along the way Mrs. Donahue will be the name of my next soon-to-be-published sweater design.

Let the recycling begin. 

Update:  Mrs. Donahue, my latest knit design, just published 9/15/2018. 

I know that look

I found this from my great aunt Hilda while rummaging about for my next sweater name.  She was big on thank you notes, sometimes even thanking us for a thank you note we had sent to her – that admittedly made us smile.  The year was 1983 and by this time Hilda resided in an assisted living facility.  Predating the internet, her letters to us were her lifeline and Marlene reciprocated.  I'm grateful for that.  This thank you from her was sent in response to shared photos of our recent Easter that year.  M kept Hilda in the loop about family news, particularly about my daughter Juliet, then just 2 1/2 years old and changing daily. 

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Reading through, Hilda's handwriting is warmly familiar and I can hear her voice.  As a retired librarian she wrote well.  I find I even enjoy how it looks visually on the folded page – most definitely a futile plea for reviving this disappearing letter writing practice.

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This exerpt got my attention. 

In the picture that shows Juliet alone she has a totally different expression from any others that I've seen.  In fact it's an expression I have just recently seen on the face of your cousin Martha McKee (Arnold's daughter).  And what's more, Walter made the same observation before I did (an independent thought for each of us).  That expression we first saw on the face of our mother, Juliet's great great grandmother!

As background – Hilda, Arnold, and Walter (mentioned above) and my grandmother Mildred were siblings.  It was in the face of my baby girl that both Hilda and Walter had found a familiar look, one that they had seen before in their own mother Martha, 4 generations before my girl.  How delightful that in Juliet's exponentially enhanced gene pool, Martha revealed herself to us this way.


Will my grandchildren's children's children find me in a sideways glance?  It's fun to think about.  Frankly, I'm planning to be there, in one form or another, whether they know it or not.

I Know That Look – my next sweater design – coming soon.


Update:  I Know That Look, my latest knit design, published 8/13/2018.

Paid in Full

While searching out a name for my latest knit design I serendipitously came across this delight – an ID card for my then 11 year old daughter Juliet from the Fafa/Mar Loan group, an agency founded by her grandparents, Bern (aka Fafa) and Marlene.

It seems that funds in the amount of $17.50 were needed by the young one and a teaching opportunity was hatched. This was so like my Dad, who delighted in all things Juliet.  At that time her emerging affinity for math, that likely originated from the gene pool of both him and Juliet's paternal grandmother (middle school math teacher) Lavalie, resulted in many happy after-dinner conference calls over homework assignments.  


In this lesson, he drew up the contract as she calculated principle and interest amounts for a 6 month repayment plan. 


It's noteworthy, that the loan was forgiven after month 1 – that was like him too. 

Bern and Marlene, proprietors of the Fafa/Mar Loan group

Bern and Marlene, proprietors of the Fafa/Mar Loan group

Thinking of my Dad on Father's Day.

Paid in Full – my next sweater design – coming soon.


Update:  Paid in Full, my latest knit design, published 6/29/2018.

Walk this way

Still smitten with the lace of Windfall, and especially its silk wool blend, I'm conjuring up a turtleneck now in the same knitted fabric, one that's sleeveless.  It's definitely something my chic Marlene would have worn.  Though our styles often differed, Mum taught me to love clothes, buy good ones, and take chances with fashion.  She walked that walk, and usually more bravely than I.  

Those who knew us both say we looked alike and I tend to agree.  I see her staring back at me in the mirror every morning as I brush my teeth.  And sometimes I hear her too – her words, her laugh – coming from me.  Our resemblance has given me curious benefits – of checking out hairstyles she wore that might work for me too (okay, joke), and seeing in advance how I'll likely look as the years go by (joke, not).   

Some years after we lost Dad she was lonely and feeling ready to venture out into the dating world.  She had some cosmetic work done to boost her confidence and was happy with the result.  "What do you think Doe?" she asked.  She called me Doe.  "I don't know M," I responded, "I don't really see a difference," a response that at the time was likely accompanied by an eye roll.  Well, I'm near to the age that she was then, and although I'm not entertaining the idea for myself, her motivation is now crystal clear.  I’m sorry Mum.  I should really have been more supportive.

Mother's Day is this weekend and I'll be visiting her soon – my semi-annual pilgrimage to Maine where she rests.  I'll fill her in about Violet and our new baby boy on his way, though I suspect by the manner she guides me each day, in some cosmic way she already knows.   

Marlene's Christmas card, 2008

Marlene's Christmas card, 2008

Walk this way – my next sweater design – coming soon.

Update:  Walk This Way, my latest knit design, published 6/14/2018.


Marlene's watch died recently.  I've been wearing it for the past few years, putting my own aside.  Hers was special – because it was expensive, and it was engraved with her initials and date of her purchase, but most notably because it was hers. I checked into its repair and was told $1,200 would cover it, so...

Ms watch.jpg

Here's the back story.  Marlene had always wanted to invest in the stock market, but Dad wasn't game for it.  Family chatter had it that Uncle Don had made some serious money in his day on the blue chips and Marlene wanted in on that.

Years later, on her own then and independent, she revisited that dream and asked her son-in-law, my husband, Peter for advice.  He had been interested himself, enough to see what was going on but without investments of his own, and the bubble was underway.  "Amazon," he advised, "put some money in that."  So she did, $10,000 – more than she should have risked probably, but they'd be watching and he wouldn't let her lose it, at least not all of it.  They watched it then as it climbed higher than anyone expected, for 6 whole months – HOO HA!  Then watchful Peter advised her to sell, which she did – begrudgingly.  It climbed a bit more after that before it fell back to earth. 

Mum walked away with $150,000 and one of the biggest thrills of her life.  We likely got some of her winnings, I'm forgetting, which at the time would certainly have gone to Juliet's college fund.  And Mum bought a $5,000 Rolex – the wristwatch of her dreams.  

After she died I had it stored away with her things for a time, but its value, both monetary and sentimental, gnawed at me, so I made it my own.  Admittedly it's super pretty, although with my aging eyesight it's hard to read the gold hands on its gold face (and that's the last time I'll admit to that).  One year I even ponied up the $400 (annual?) maintenance required to keep it running right. 

But lately it had been losing time and I now had a quandary I'm sure Marlene never intended.  The jeweler pointed out logically that if I fixed it I'd have a $5,000 Rolex for $1,200 after all – hmm.  So I asked Juliet how she felt about it.  If she wanted I'd keep it going, for her and conceivably for Violet too.

"It's not something I would wear Mum,"  she responded, putting the matter finally to rest.

So I'm storing it back away with her things, that we'll take stock of from time to time and remember this story.

In its (her) honor, Windfall will be the name of my next knitwear design – currently underway.  At least there's that.

Update:  Windfall, my latest knit design, published 5/9/2018.

My paper toys - taking stock of Hoss holiday fun

I've always loved New Year's Day and its promise of a fresh start – my annual bugle call to take stock and make plans.  This year I thought I'd begin by tidying up a bit, finally cataloging my paper toys:  the holiday ornaments announcing Hoss gift giving assignments.  

They started out as pure fun – fanciful experiments in paper mechanics.  I enjoyed making boxes and pop-up books at the time and these were an extension of that.  It's interesting to see how they've changed.  Over the years they've become richer, I'd say, by commemorating our family events, and for the last 10 years especially, creating an inadvertent historical record.  They've found their calling. 

20 years of Christmas Pick paper toys... where ever did the time go.

Happy New Year, everyone.

For A Good Egg

This was the lone egg cup I retrieved from my grandmother's kitchen years ago.  Though there were likely 4 once – a mum, a dad, a girl, and a boy, for their family – I had only known of 3, no girl cup, and by the time of my retrieval, only the dad cup remained.


Turns out these were Cleminson ceramics, made in California in the post WWII 1940s, "a time after the war when society breathed a collective sigh of relief and went out looking for a bit of fun."  Who knew. 

Years later, aiming to recreate my childhood memory, I took a stroll on ebay and found my egg cup a friend. 


And then more friends.


Uh oh.


Help me.


But wait, before you do – I think there's just one more I might need...

I won't stop until I find you.


Thinking of you Mildred, my Nan.


For a Good Egg, my latest knit design, published 11/21/2017.

Paper toys 2017

We had Sunday dinner at Ellie and Mark's yesterday and its end-of-summer timing was just right for distribution of Hoss holiday gift giving assignments – our annual event.

This gift pick toy commemorates a year of special generosity and selflessness, as we witnessed our Sheryl's kidney donation to her aunt Dianne.  Approaching their 6 month anniversary, both are doing well and we're grateful.