Keeping My Hands Busy

This is a free week at Four Foxes, One Hound. Normally I’d tell you about the books I’ve read from my TBR list, but this month I haven’t managed to read ANYTHING! Reading has been pushed aside in favor of two other passions: writing and crafting. So I guess I’ll have to tell you about those.

Three French Inns mockOn the writing front, I finally managed to finish my annual Christmas novella. Since I had such positive feedback from The Partridge and the Peartree as well as its sequel Two Tutor Doves, I decided to continue the theme with Three French Inns. For some reason, this story was difficult to write, even though I had a basic plot and (what I thought to be) a major conflict. But after several false starts, a couple of meetings with what I’m calling my Brainstorming Buddies and some great advice from a history professor who was gracious enough to answer my email – even though we’ve never met – the story finally got off the ground and was submitted to a publisher this month. Now it’s on to the next project – which is also running into roadblocks!

bag long handleI often brainstorm while sewing or crocheting. There’s something about keeping my hands busy that helps my mind to sort things out better than sitting in front of a blank screen. I always have a project in my hands when I’m watching television, because otherwise I feel like I’m wasting time. Also, I’ve discovered that if I keep my hands busy I’m less likely to snack – and snacking is what caused me to grow larger and larger until health concerns demanded that I make some lifestyle changes.

Last fall, I found a project that is so simple I don’t have to check the instructions any more – and the best part is, it costs NOTHING to make!

bags assortedIf you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen pictures of the tote bags I make from plastic grocery bags. I’ve sold a few, but most have been given to family and friends. The other day I made a list – so far I’ve made almost 40 of these totes. It usually takes me around four or five days to finish a bag, but during the Olympics, my hubby and I watched a lot of television together and I finished five of them during the two weeks of events. I’m trying to finish a bunch of them so that my mom can give them to relatives in Japan when she goes next month.

bag ChristmasEach tote bag takes between 80 and 100 plastic sacks. At first it was a challenge to collect enough to keep me busy, but now my friends and family who’ve received the totes keep my bag supply healthy by saving their bags for me. I can always count on getting several on Tuesdays when I go to my quilting group and scrapbooking club. Our grocery store has bins where people put their used bags for recycling, and my husband often stops to empty it out for me. So I have NO shortage of raw material!

bag susan

I filled this bag with a beach towel as a gift for a friend who moved to Florida.

Last winter I happened to mention my hobby on author Vicky Batman’s blog and she asked me to do a guest how-to blog post about it. I was happy to oblige and I even gave away a bag to one of her readers. You can read the how-to HERE.

So that’s basically how I spent my summer: writing, crocheting, and a little bit of performing (the community band plays concerts in the park once a month). I’m hoping to get back to reading and reviewing books written by authors I know (or have met online) very soon – just as soon as this current writing project is done!

How did you spend your summer?


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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13 Responses to Keeping My Hands Busy

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Hmm. Well, I started to say that while I’m watching TV I don’t do anything else… but then I realized for 10 years, 3 times a week, I’m as the ‘Y’ exercising while watching TV.
    But, at home, in the relatively few hours each week I’m in front of the TV, my hands are idle. I sometimes take a tablet downstairs with me, so I can fiddle with an outline or something during commercials, but I rarely follow-thru.
    My dad, however, was like you in that regard: I don’t recall ever seeing him just sit and watch TV, he always had a never-ending game of solotaire going (you know the kind with real cards).
    Love the bag idea… am trying to get Denise to do that with the 2000 bags we have in our garage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen these, Patty, and I think the idea is wonderful.Most that I have seen are small and purse-like, but I think larger ones, to be used for shopping, would be perfect. Good for you!
    I did a post here a few years back on the things I have done while doing marathon-watching TV with my husband,who manages to read or play a computer game while watching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      The tote bags are nice for going to the beach. My daughter likes hers because it stretches. I can’t imagine reading while watching television!


  3. Helen Pollard says:

    The bag idea looks great, Patricia. I would have had a go as we always had hundreds of plastic bags even though we tried to reuse them, or at least use them as bin bags. Now, shops have to charge 5 pence by law here in England for them, so everyone reuses them till they are worn out and we no longer have such an excess. Guess I missed the boat on that one!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      By “bin bags” do you mean waste basket liners? I can’t imagine paying for these plastic bags! I guess I’d reuse them too – or take along my own tote bags.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Pollard says:

        Yes, I meant waste basket liners 🙂 It seems a pain paying for them but the idea is that it will put people off and make people reuse them or buy sturdier ones, and it really has made a difference to the environment here in terms of how many end up at the dump/littering the streets 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Patricia Kiyono says:

        I can imagine it would make a great difference in the amount of waste! Here, most stores have reusable cloth bags available for purchase – and we have several – but we forget to take them into the stores with us!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dana M says:

    Your bags are just the cutest.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joselyn says:

    Those bags are so fun! I love making something out of something else. I can’t sit and just watch tv either. Sometimes I ‘write’ but it really ends up being occasionally glancing at my computer. Lately I’ve been doing Sudoku puzzles which is problematic for me because 1) they are addictive and I don’t get anything else done and 2)I don’t pay close enough attention to the puzzle and have to start over.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am really looking forward to Three French Inns.

    Those bags are cute. I’ll be stopping at that other blog to see how you do it. Crocheting is something I decided to try this winter.


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