Another Socially Awkward Dish Towel and a Story About My Neighbor the Mermaid

I finished my latest socially awkward dish towel. Doodle embroidery; still adoring it! You can read about the previous projects — May I Sniff You?, Oh Shit Oh Dear, and more — over here. For now, though, I need your help.

I just delivered The Naked Mermaid to my neighbor, Monica.

Monica, you see, is one of my heroes for several reasons.

  1. She hands me wine over the fence. Oh Dear Jesus, THANK YOU for neighbors who hand wine over the fence. Amen
  2. She never, ever, ever complains about our crappy yard. Not ever. For 13 years we’ve given her cause — you guys, the weeds have occasionally grown taller than the 6-foot fence… and stayed that way… for months — and still she’s never complained. It’s like she looks over here and knows we’re barely holding it together some days and decides loving her neighbors is more important than how crappy their yard looks. 
  3. Monica had a mermaid tail made this year. A silicone and neoprene mermaid tail made for swimming. Which she takes to our local pool. For swimming laps. In public. Because it makes her happy. Which is RAD.


I love her, is what I’m saying.

To the MOON, I love Monica.

She is weird as heck. Weirder than.

And unapologetically herself.

And utterly fierce.

So I made her a dish towel because nothing says I Love You like a socially awkward dish towel. 

It’s a mermaid.

A naked one. 

With a fierce mermaid quote by C. Joybelle C. 

“I am a siren, a mermaid;
I know I am beautiful on the ocean waves
and I know I can eat flesh and bones
at the bottom of the sea.” 




All of which brings me to my cry for help.

I need a new doodle embroidery project, and I can’t imagine better people than you to give me ideas. Here are the parameters:

  1. Must be somehow socially awkward so I can giggle as I sew in church. (I’m secretly a 14-year-old boy. Except this is no longer a secret, right?) Here’s the previous doodle embroidery post for some other examples.
  2. If there are words, there can only be a few of them. The mermaid quote is about as long as my attention span can handle.
  3. It can’t be hard to draw. I mean, I can do line drawings, but that’s about as good as it gets.

I’ve thought about sewing more quotes from my grandfather who coined “Oh shit, oh dear” which I lovingly sewed onto a dish towel for my parents for Christmas last year. “GodDamnSonOfABitchNBastard” in a lovely, scripty font seems like a strong contender. My grandfather was eminently quotable, after all. I’ve also thought about duplicating line drawings from a human anatomy book. Say, a colon? Or an esophagus? But nothing has felt quite right yet.

So, I come to you.

What do you suggest?
What quotes do you like?
What’s just screaming to be made into a socially awkward dish towel?


ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. I’m voting once again for “F**kity F**k F**k F**k , my beloved wife’s phrase. You can kind of sing variations of it to the tune of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, which is appropriate, since she says most often in the car. (Just ask my five-year-old daughter, Leigh. She’ll tell you.) So, naturally, you could embroider images of a nice old fashion car on a little country drive.

  2. Could you make me one that says ‘Garden Hoe’?? I’d really like that. Please and thank you. 🙂

  3. How about “Poo Bum Wee Fart” – there is a less sanitised version, which I can PM you if you are interested 😉 (in the interests of preserving the nice element of your blog!) May be an Australian inappropriate way of saying “well that didn’t go to plan, did it!” I’d forgotten all about it until a friend used it recently. Makes me laugh every time I think about it 😀

  4. Love the dishtowel.

  5. Just saw this on FB, loved it! Learn a lesson from your dog. No matter what life brings you, kick some grass over that shit and move on!

  6. I’ve been searching the Web and my soul for a simple craft to make me happy that didn’t entail tons of stuff (due to my 2 year old always exploring) and I think Doodle Embroidery might be it! I’ve already put that book in my Amazon cart. Thanks so much for sharing and I so wish I had a neighbor like Monica too!!!!

  7. Not sure how to work it into a kitchen towel, but for socially awkward, have you heard of Shreddies flatulence filter panties?

  8. So my dad is this amazingly cool but grumpy old geezer who has fought cancer like 5 times and beat it… And is neck deep-literally- in another battle with this effing disease ( don’t worry-God agrees with my use of profanity in relation to c$&%#r ). So- his 70 birthday is coming up and I had a temporary tattoo made for him to wear emblazoned across his chest so that he can flash it at his birthday party …it says… “Cancer is my Bitch!!” I think this would make a great hand towel for the person just coming out of a cancer battle… Feel free to borrow it!!

  9. Similar to your Grandfather’s is my Dad’s favorite – God Damn Mother Fucking Cock Sucking Son of a Bitch.

    I think I finally know what I can give them for Christmas. lol

  10. What about a line drawing of a dishtowel standing alone in one corner, with a gaggle of dishtowels laughing and sharing cocktails in the other, and a caption between them of “Socially Awkward Dishtowel”? Very meta =)

  11. My 11th grade history teacher often said, “Run to the Round House, Nellie, they can’t corner ya there!” A reference to the buildings where trains all met and turned around.

    From my mother-in-law, “Where the bear shit in the buckwheat.” Talking about exposing lies.

  12. The bus driver I had as a kid would yell into the rear view mirror at the kids in the back: Sit down or I’ll shake the shit outta ya! So effective, it was. If they didn’t listen he’d stop the bus, go back there and shake the shit out of them. Actually I think this saying would be better for a couch pillow cover.

  13. “Hookin’ the legal way” with a crochet hook and ball of yarn 🙂

  14. Beth does not realize how much she is loved! That mermaid towel made my day!!!! And we love the tall weed bc then none of us have to plant hedges…..but why would we want to….they would get in the way of passing wine over the fence and hinder kids crawling back and forth over it! We love you all!

  15. My grandmother grew up a coal-miners’ daughter (for real) in “hills” of Eastern Kentucky. It was rough around there. She had an old toothless aunt who’d sit in a rocking chair on her porch whose life had been 50 million kinds of hard. Whenever anyone asked her how she was, she’d say, “C’aint nearly stand it, but I has to.” I have loved that and repeated it often.

    1. This is my vote for the next towel. It is just so true in all kinds of ways. Love it!

  16. My mom always used to tell us girls that “A penis is not a magic wand” (pretty sure she regretted the hell out of that line when I came out to her).

  17. What my kids say when they fart on me, “You can run, but you still have my poots on ya!”……yep, that’s my life. 🙂

  18. I discovered the toddler decorating the couch cushion with a black ink pen. I went to flip the cushion over and discovered it was the same one the older child had decorated with a red pen when she was a toddler. So I had to go get the rubbing alcohol and a dish towel. Now I want to make a dish towel that says “This is for when you can’t just flip the cushion over.”

    And a slight variation of a previous suggestion, a friend of mine liked to say “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” Could be accompanied by a disembodied eyeball.

  19. My great grandfather was well known for saying that something was “as easy as shitting in bed and kicking it out with your foot”. Since we’re sharing quotes from our grandparents.

  20. I just read through the other suggestions. .. I don’t do embroidery but I think I’ve been inspired to learn!! You ladies are a fun bunch!!!

  21. I think… in light of your last post and the elections coming up… you should make a pro-penises towel and send it to your most “overly political talkie talkie” friend…

    In God’s love of course!!

  22. Might be too long but a fav of mine. “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your ulterior motive was to drain the swamp.”

  23. In keeping with quoting grandparents. My wonderful grandmother, whom I adored, had a saying that rolled off her tongue in the most lovely way whenever well, there was a cause to say it, which was quite often. “Pee Shit Hell Damn”. Just imagine it being said with such conviction, and it always flowed rather fast. Love that I have a reason to share this with you all! Not exactly sure what socially awkward picture would accompany it however 🙁

    P.s. oh how I envy having SUCH a cool neighbor as to share wine! Mine at least smile at us…. But that is about it. I tried actually talk, but I’m pretty sure they were counting the seconds until that particular torture was over. Ah well, maybe I’LL take wine to somebody 😉

  24. When my nephew and my dear friend’s kids would start arguing as kids so often do she would tell him “Fight nice call me if there is any blood.” Which often became our mantra when in the thick of things.

  25. I was at a garden center asking how to remove a stump from my yard. The guy kept saying, “have your dad do this”, or “maybe your brother can help”, and “I bet you can find a boyfriend who can do this.” When he was all done I said, “what does the penis do?”

    This line has served me well for years.

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