So Pajama Day was a success. I was very happy with the way everything turned out. But, I do have to confess that I did cheat and picked up my needles towards the end of the day. Ah, well…..

il_570xN.849541589_e4toWhile I was busy loafing, Phillip was busy putting his Etsy shop together with some of his new artwork. It’s fun and whimsical, satirical in many ways.

IMG_1939I did have a couple of “eurekas” while lounging on the couch. I’m going to be doing a lot more video blogs. I think those would be interesting. I also want to put together a legitimate pattern book of my bears with pictures and (when formatted in kindle) video links to help out with some of the instructions. I wanna redesign this blog so that has archives of patterns and tips and techniques. I also wanna sell ads on my blog :) There is so much my little head keeps conceiving oh and I’m looking forward to getting all of that in shape and put together before February. So! look for some interesting things coming up in November. Now that I’ve had some rest, I’m ready to thrive. :)

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There are Good Days, Bad Days, and Pajama Days

We all know that life is full of good days and bad days. And you have to be mindful of them constantly. You have to thank yourself for the bad days, just so you can be reminded of how truly great good days are. But, in the interim, every once in a while, you have to make sure to respect what I call, “Pajama Day.”

I don’t take enough of them as I should. I’ll be in this chair knitting day after day and life around me will pass me by. I wake, I knit, I eat, I knit, I bathe, I knit, I sleep…..thinking about what I’ll be knitting the next day. Every once in a while I decide to take Pajama Day. It’s an easy holiday to observe. But, it is a little self absorbed and selfish,  which is exactly why it was designed. You self pamper in all manner possible, you disregard life around you for a moment, as you put on your favorite pajamas and allow yourself to recharge. I woke up this morning, and before I even had my first cup of coffee, I realized I needed to take a Pajama Day. I knew no cup of coffee was going to motivate me, so why fight it? So, today I’m playing a much needed hooky. No news programs, no documentaries.

IMG_2325Once the little bears in my shop are sold, I’m gonna head to Publix, throw some black eyed peas in the crock pot, put on my pajamas, plop on the couch, and watch a ton of “Marple” on Hulu. I’m gonna turn my phone and laptop off and not feel guilty about it. I’m not going to knit, I’m going to rest. I’m not even gonna write. Phillip is off to do some artwork in his own little space, and I’m sure Mario will crawl up in her own little hidden hole somewhere and tend to herself. (She likes to open cabinets and crawl inside….and yes, sometimes she closes the door behind her). So, I’ll be left alone for a day to just….relax in the best possible way. I’ll get a chance to recharge and break the daily routine that I do so adore, but should I hold onto it so strictly, I’m likely to not enjoy myself. And I do so enjoy this life I’ve been crafting. So, it’s been decided. I’m having Pajama Day. Just a day with me, some peas, a couple of grizzly Agatha Christie murders, and a soul quietly being recharged for the week ahead.

Woo hoo!

Love you all, talk to you tomorrow :)


Let Them Eat Pâté….

So, I’m nearly done with all of the bears from a few months ago when the Yahoo Makers article came out, and I have to say I have had the best time being creative. I’ve done everything from a Pyrenees dog, to a purple striped tiger, to a dark teal bear for a sports fan. It was cool to get to try different things for a while. So, with those almost nearly finished, we’ll be heading into November with a slew of bears with sweaters. Sure! This wonderful, delightful darling named Hope sent me a massive stash of yarn, perfect for knitting up teddy bears with sweaters, hats and scarves. Perfect for winter. I’m going to be busting out quite a few of those to save up the money to get my teeth fixed.

I’ve been eating a lot of soft foods. LOTS of eggs and grits, beans, sauteed okra and squash and tomatoes, hummus by the spoonful (the pita is too tough to eat) cottage cheese with salt and pepper, and I recently discovered that yes, I can eat pâté!

:) Ok, so it’s probably not something I can eat an awful lot of, because it is expensive, but truly, a nice chunk of it was less than $5 and lasted me a good two meals. Funny….a poor man and his pâté. I have been looking into maybe supplementing my diet with some Boost or Ensure, for my weight has dipped back down to about 120.

So, keep looking for new bears (and other beasts) in my shop. I’ll be listing them there as I complete them. I’m also working on the elephant pattern to list, too. Hopefully, I’ll be able to raise the money to have my teeth fixed by Thanksgiving. But, even if I can’t, I’ll still look forward to sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and I’ll just shift my goal to the end of the year.

Man, I just made myself hungry….What I wouldn’t give to have RIBS right now. Man….RIBS!!!!

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Hands One Way, Mind Another

Sorry that I haven’t blogged very much lately. My hands have been busy knitting up a storm, and while the fingers while away the wool into teddy bears, my mind has been somewhere else completely.

The first thought is of Peni. I often get a little quiet about this time of October. Peni’s birth and death are both memorialized in my heart in the same week. She passed a few days before her 40th birthday. So, perhaps I shut up for a minute about this time so I can just listen to her in my heart, spend a few days with her, and yes, laugh out loud and out of context thinking of something she would say.

The other thought that has been on my mind is this idea of how to solve homelessness. Kara and I boldly decided while sitting on the steps outside of my apartment that the answer might be found in monasticism. Now, it should be no surprise to many of you that have read this blog for a while that I have a deep fondness for monasticism, and at one point in my 20’s attempted to become a monk. Obviously, that path did not suit me, but the structure of the monastic life has served me well in my own particular way.

I don’t want to say too much on it at the moment, for I’ve been writing my ideas down, hoping to make a plausible argument for how homelessness could be approached by the monastic structure. But, I want my thoughts to be clear and concise, and even compelling enough to hopefully catch wind and get things moving in the right direction.

I just know that I have to do something. I have to. What that something is has been eluding me, so while knitting my teddy bears, I’ve been taking great moments to reflect on what I can do, what I can say, how I can do something of benefit when it comes to this problem.

But, in the meantime, I wanted all of you to know that I was well, busy knitting, trying to keep in touch, and……thinking an awful lot about what I can do to make whatever talents I have of benefit to help. And I just might think that monasticism is the key. I’ll explain more later!

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

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As Autumn Releases the Inner Knitter

That must be one of the coolest things about autumn…..errr, pun intended!

As the temperature slowly drops to allow the relief of crisp air, we start getting cozy, don’t we? We start baking, we start heading for the couch to collapse under a comfy afghan to binge watch, and we start knitting like crazy. Maybe it’s a nesting thing, maybe its the idea that we need to start busting out Christmas gifts for loved ones, or maybe it’s just because we’re gonna need warm socks for the coming winter. Whatever the reason, autumn is definitely the knitter’s season.

IMG_2309I’m going to be busting out teddy bears until well into December so I can get my teeth fixed before the new year. Others start knitting up sweaters and socks, or scarves and cowls. Everywhere you step, you start to see the inner knitter in many people begin to show themselves. In cafes, park benches, and bus stops, Fall calls to the nesting crafter to start your projects for the season. And the best part? New knitters emerge, ready to embrace this meaningful craft in innocent ways: they want to give out handmade Christmas gifts, and are ready and willing to learn the stitching and purling needed to make that happen.

So, let’s all make sure to knit more and more in public as the Knitter’s Season approaches. Say hello to your fellow knitters, and encourage new ones that ask questions. Make new knitting friends along the way, and share your needles with those in need of a lesson. And above all else, smile and remember our craft is one of giving :)

Now, go grab a cocoa and cast on!

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Knitting With the Papacy

I was quite excited for the Pope’s visit last week. I think even non-Catholics felt a truly overwhelming sense of peace and compassion pervading the air. I believe it was being called The Frances Effect. And on some of the pundit, talking head shows, they even somberly posed the question, “Will this lifting sense of joy fall away when the Pope leaves?” The question was probably asked because once the Holy Father leaves the States and heads home we’ll all go back to our normal lives….and sadly, I think our daily routines don’t often hold as much peace and compassion as they often should. That must be why the religious use icons and scapulars and rosaries, as constant reminders of sacrifices made, sacrifices given, and the reward and joy that only comes from being connected to the heart.

Once the Pope made it to Washington and started giving speeches, I was glued to the radio. I grabbed my knitting and sat perched on the edge of this chair of mine and dutifully listened to what he had to say. I know that many of us were dead set on trying to categorize and classify the Pope’s message as either right leaning, or leftist. Which somehow bothered me. It was as if they weren’t taking what he had to say to heart…they were just listening for code words to politicize his statement. Can you imagine tolerance and grace being only afforded to one political party? Nonetheless, I was sitting with my knitting, hearing what he had to say, and (always looking for signs), I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard the Pope address congress and not only mention, but quote one of my most beloved heroes, Thomas Merton. What a wonderful, delightful surprise!

And with a big smile, I looked down to my knitting and remembered my teddy bears. It is to those I owe my daily remembrance of compassion, not only received, but also given. I reminded myself that every time I pick up my needles and knit a teddy bear, that I was connecting to the compassion in daily life.

So, I feel like I’m on the right path, so to speak. If the best of life is born of quiet humility, then I think we should all consider ourselves blessed. If the smallest of actions brings joy into the world, then let the simple smile of contentment on your face fervently bring peace and compassion to our daily lives long after the Frances Effect is gone.

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Too Many For My Liking

Phillip and I were out running about yesterday. It wasn’t so humid, wasn’t too hot, so we grabbed our bikes and went to get supplies. Yarn, poly fill, boxes, groceries….We hit Joann’s first, and on our way back, rode through Colonial Plaza to run into Staples and Hobby Lobby. I saw about 5 homeless guys lingering about. I see them often and have learned to hold my heart tight. Then we headed to Publix and I saw 3 more sitting outside. And as we moved towards home, I noticed another 3 or 4 more walking down Colonial. But, the clincher was when we decided to hit the library. (Been looking for Thomas Merton books-harder to find than I thought). We passed through Lake Eola on the way and the entire park was filled to near capacity of homeless men. And outside the library, probably a good 10 more. Then, inside the library, practically every chair was filled with another one. By all estimates it seemed throughout our day we had seen more than 50 (50!) homeless men in a one mile square area. 50!

Now, keep in mind I made notice of how other people reacted. They behaved as though they didn’t see them. As though they didn’t even exist. These men were no more impressive than street signs or shrubbery…..or a floating piece of discarded trash, hovering close to the curb and gutter. And then I saw some reacting with disdain, clearly sneering with a word bubble over their head as they turned up their noses as if to say, “There are too many for my liking.” And that same phrase popped into my head. But, for such a different reason. Yes, there are far too many for my liking. Does anyone else not see how MANY homeless there are in this one square mile? Don’t you find that incredibly strange? There is a real problem here!

I see them often, I notice them daily, but it’s usually only 1 to 4. Nothing more. And I lower my head and think, “I can’t help you right now, buddy. But, I will be able to someday soon. I promise you. I’ll be able to help someday soon.” However, I have NEVER seen more than 50 in a day and in such a small area. What happened? Did it happen overnight? Or was it gradual? One more person made homeless per day….And what happens now? What do we do?

The mayor of Orlando is announcing his budget today. Included is a huge chunk of money to help combat homelessness in Orlando. But, what does that mean? Combat how? More shelters? More programs? That doesn’t work as much as prevention. Homelessness is a symptom to a much deeper problem. And it must be taken case by case. Some of those guys are addicts. Some are mentally ill. Some slid into debt and expenses like they hit an oil patch, couldn’t hold on, and just collided with real life. So, we can’t just treat this problem AFTER it’s happened, it must be dealt with well before it has someone on the streets.

We, as individuals with kind hearts are the ones that must do that. We shouldn’t wait for government programs. We shouldn’t wait to see a man sleeping on a bench, or a woman crouched beside her shopping cart. That’s too late. We offer kindness, assistance, hope, prayer, and yes, money.

I was asked recently if I had any advice for someone about to face homelessness and I erupted with, “If I knew someone headed that direction, there is NO WAY I would let it happen. I’d offer a space on my floor, share my meals with them, do something, anything to keep that from happening. I could not IMAGINE knowing someone about to become homeless and simply ALLOW it to happen and THEN offer advice.”

We are a good hearted species. We don’t allow things to happen, then correct them. We prevent them from happening first, with our understanding and our prayers and our selflessness.

Someday I will be able to do something. For myself? It starts with teddy bears. I’ve always wanted to be successful financially so I could a lot more philanthropic. I would pay back to the good world what it has blessed me with. I may not be able to help now, but I can surely write about it. Discuss it when I can, and bring attention to the need for prevention, rather than a cure. And never forget, when it comes to the human soul, human needs, not one size fits all. People are individuals, each with their own hearts and minds in need of a greater compassion that comes from a true understanding of who that individual is, and what pains them distinctly.

We should remember that before we start grouping them into a category as simple as “The Homeless.”


willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

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8PM Bliss

First? I can’t thank all of you enough for the support and prayers. That means so much to me. The outpouring of encouragement is enough to humble someone. And trust me, I could definitely feel it.

So, after I wrote my post on Monday, I got my antibiotics and started taking them at noon. Here we are two and a half days later and I feel a LOT better. I can’t eat massive solids, but the pain is definitely withering down to almost non existent. I’ve been eating a lot of soup. Tried to move up to crackers, but eh, not so fast. So, I just let them dissolve into the soup. Tried some cheese, and that works better, but for now? I’m ok with exploring the nifty world of soup. (I pureed the lentil soup to make it easier and man, that was delicious). Been drinking lots of chamomile just to mellow out, and that with a hot bath, while reading Calvin and Hobbes is one knitter’s bliss. Now, all we have to do is wait to have the extractions, which the earliest will be next Wednesday….. or the Wednesday after, depending on how finances go. Then? Then it’s denture time. Wow…..

Oh, well. Time to pony up, be a man and accept it. It’s amazing to me that of all the hardships I have stared at and conquered, this whole business with my teeth terrified me to no end. Not so much anymore, not since I’ve accepted the inevitable and decided to embrace it. I keep thinking on the positive side. That’s what I do best. I do my best to remain optimistic. Within a month my mouth will be repaired enough to have a steak dinner…..and all the Jelly Bellys I damn well please.

And speaking of knitting, my productivity has been a lot better, too. Without the distraction of a nail being hammered into my jaw, I actually have gotten a LOT more knitting done. Got lions and tigers and bears, oh everywhere.

So, just wanted to thank all of you for the prayers! Just wanted to let you know that they were heart felt. Thank you!

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

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3AM Eternal

For a good week now I’ve been going to bed at the usual time, somewhere around 11. But, at 3am, I seem to wake, moaning, quietly screaming from tooth pain. I’ll get up, get to knitting and do what I can to ease the pain. And I have tried everything. Prayer, meditation, garlic cloves, onion bulbs, hot baths, humorous distractions (laughter), and acupressure under the chin bones. Nothing worked. Nothing at all.

Then tonight I woke up at midnight instead of 3am. I snuck out of bed and headed towards my yarn. A snoring Phillip left behind, sprawled in bed. (and he’s huge, so trust me, when he sprawls….well, he conquers all available space). I lit my candles (sacred hearts-more on that on another post), fired up some Absolutely Fabulous, and started to knit.

But, the pain is just amazing. It is relentless. And some of you may ask, why haven’t you taken any drugs for this? Because it’s a holiday weekend. Simple. Before? Yeah, no problem. I’ll take the pain, focus on something else. When you’ve been poor and without, you learn to take the pain.

But, tonight? Or this morning, rather? It’s driving me crazy. It is sharp, concise, and distinctly ripping my face with a stabbing detail.

So, I thought I’d just ask for your prayers. I haven’t had my teeth extracted yet, because….well, because I’m terrified. It’s an acknowledgement of a poorly lived life that I can’t escape. But, here we are, and as days progress, it’s just gets worse and worse…..

Even Phillip is now cross with me, citing often, “I am SO tired of seeing you in pain. I won’t have it anymore. YOU WILL get this corrected.”

So, while I wait for my appointment, and watch the world cease for a few days to shrug off labor, I’m here in pain, knitting my little heart out, and trying to remain distracted with hot baths while reading Calvin and Hobbes. (honestly, that’s when I feel the best).

I’ve been clinging to my new rosary (again, more on that later), but hope while the hours scream by with stabbing pain that you’ll just pray for me. All of you always make me feel so much better, so thoughts of you holding me, comforting me, and praying for me would make me feel so much better.

It’s now 6am. Gonna try and crash for a minute.

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

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i am reminded that my spiritual journey is on going.

….And Don’t Forget His Dyer, Tyler.

IMG_1990Jonathan Berner sent me some yarn a few months ago from his company, MJ Yarns. You see? Another fella with his hand on yarn. Love it! See? We are everywhere :) Jonathan (…and don’t forget his dyer, Tyler!) work up, wind up, dye up this yarn themselves. And I was anxious to get my hands on it.

The minute it arrived, I pulled it out of the box and fell in love. In LOVE! This yarn was awesome, blending a soft love affair between wool and silk in strands that slipped through my fingers as I knit up teddy bears with it. Their little faces grew quietly and quickly, with a softness that was akin to the real meaning of the word “plush.”

IMG_2257So, if you’d like one of the bears I made up with Jonathan’s yarn, click here. Now, each of those bears was done using my pattern for “The Teddy Bear That Saved Me,” in both my Ravelry and Craftsy shops. And if you’d like to make this bear yourself with MJ Yarns, snag a hank here. It’s quite nice seeing so many fellas with yarn in their heart…..Yeah! Each bear is ready to ship with a signed card by me. Enjoy!

Next blog…I wanna talk about my rosary….

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate!