What does your head have in common with a gallon of milk?

(I also shared this information in the Piece O’ Cake newsletter.)

They both weigh around 8 lbs. Your head may actually weigh more.

Now, stop and think about your sewing posture. When you sit at the sewing machine, is your head balanced over your body or is it thrown forward, facing down? What about when you applique? Are you hunched over your lap, or are you sitting upright?

Now, imagine that your head is a gallon of milk that your poor neck is trying to support. Just the idea makes the back of my neck hurt and my shoulders sore.

I started talking about this in class a few months ago and then I ran across this image and the related article, What Texting Does To Your Spine, from The Atlantic.


The article is eye-opening, reporting on a study published in the journal, Surgical Technology International. In short, the farther you bend your head over, the more pressure is put on your neck. The same texting posture shown is often a quilter’s posture. Is it any wonder that your upper body feels so bad after you’ve been sewing?

So, hold your head high—or at least, hold it in a more balanced position over your body. Fix the height of your sewing machine chair and/or table. Find a good chair to applique in. Put your light in position so that you are not bending sideways toward it. Put your feet up if that helps you to maintain good posture as you applique.

I’m going to post this same information on my blog, so that you’ll be able to find it again if you ever need to. Did you know that there is a search option on my blog? Look in the menu bar for the area with the spyglass. Type in a search topic and you can find all sorts of things.

So what if the parents-to-be live someplace else!

Our friends, Karen and Hunt, are about to be grandparents. Nan, a friend, and I wanted to host a baby shower but the parents-to-be live on the coast and could not come back. What to do?

If you can let go of the idea that the parents-to-be have to be in attendance at the baby shower, you can have a shower for the grandparents who are, after all, your actual friends. And, since we are all grown-ups and kids are nowhere in site, it can be a grown-up party! I decorated with toys. Cars, blocks, etc. were all over the place…


Since the actual baby was not in attendance, and since we thought Karen and Hunt might need some baby-holding practice, we gave them a baby doll to hold during the shower. They had fun with the ‘baby’ and even shared her!


Notice the hats? Hunt made them from tissue paper from the gifts :-).

We didn’t play baby shower games because no one we know likes baby shower games and we didn’t want to inflict them our friends. I did make up some pages for attendees to write parental advice on that were later spiral bound for the parents along with blank pages for them to write on if they want to. Here are some of the pages…


There was food and drink! Did I take photos of it all? No, I did not. I did take a pic of the coconut cupcakes…


All in all, it was a terrific baby shower!

Sometimes you just need a box…

I just read that cats love boxes. How did I miss this important fact!

We have 3 cats: Emma (gray, female, sort of delicate) has been with us 12 years or more. Dave (male, black, kind of aggressive) joined us a few years later. Last winter, Belle (female, small) showed up between ice storms. She was bony, obviously homeless.

For a while the cats co-existed in the house. This is the one and only picture I have of them together…


And then all hell broke loose. Belle decided that she was the boss and she started fighting with the other two cats. I tried putting different cats in cat carriers. I tried closing them off from each other. No dice.

Emma fled first, to the back yard. We finally put a cat door in the shed. I got her a kitty kabin and a heat lamp for winter. She seems happy in her new home. Every now and then she flirts with the idea of coming inside the house, but then she turns tail and runs.

Dave (big, tough Dave!) is back to being a mostly outside cat. I set up a warm spot (with a heat lamp) in the garage for cold nights. He actually snuck into the house the other night to sleep in front of the fire, but he skedaddled first thing in the morning, before Belle saw him.

Belle is now the queen of all she surveys. The house is hers. We are her people. Steve is not crazy about Belle. He doesn’t appreciate the fact that she has run the other 2 cats outside. The funny thing is, though, that he was not crazy about the other 2 cats either. He (says he) would be happy if they all went to heaven.

I wish the 3 cats were happy together; instead I have 3 happy cats who thrive in their own separate spaces. Keeping them separately fed and watered is a small hassle but other than that, it’s not that bad. I’m not unhappy that Belle is our inside cat because I like her personality. She’s perky! She is also sometimes pointy—but not usually. Sort of like me :-).

I am, however, going to remember about the cardboard boxes. Maybe, if I could somehow get them all in the house at the same time—with boxes aplenty—they could each go to a box and think about getting along.