Baby pants

It felt so good to spend some much-needed KonMari time in my workroom on Saturday. That nice new worktable is wasted if I can't even move around the room!

Over a year ago, when we cleared all of our stuff from the upstairs apartment, I came across some old t-shirts that Kate & Al painted when they were little. I put them aside. Never intending to keep them (the paint is thick, cracked, brittle), I did want to photograph them, though, before I tossed them out.

17158260540_10e1f871af_o
17158260540_10e1f871af_o

The date is right there on the sleeve of Kate's shirt -- Sept. 2, 1990! Almost 25 years ago (don't judge)! Kate was 5.5 and Ali was 3.5 and I was pregnant with Maddy, though I don't think I actually knew that at the time. We did this as a group in the back yard at Karen's house and Sharon was there, too; now and then, I run across a few photos of the weekend. Fun.

There were also these:

17343930352_77d7b7dc63_o

17158019478_dc83834f8a_o
17158019478_dc83834f8a_o

A year or two later, the last two were done at the cabin with paint and glitter (not glitter paint), and the sparkles were everywhere -- in the grass, the cabin, the outhouse, at the shoreline, on the bridge!

I photographed all of them, salvaged or tossed, then cut and traced and cut some more, celebrating the day's accomplishments by making a pair of Big Butt Baby Pants for Junebug.

17160841830_a62cd265f6_o

It's my second pair of BBBP, and the first in jersey, so I also used my walking foot for the first time (and I am in LOVE with it!).

17346669962_016a321b88_o

Everything's humming on the old Husqvarna, except that the stitch selector knob won't budge. This little workhorse will do knits even better when I can change the stitch!

As is... I made a little right-side/wrong-side error in cutting, so one leg is inside-out, but oh well; and fold-over elastic would have worked and looked better, but I don't have any. The stretch made it easier to ease in the "big butt" expansion panel without puckering, but didn't do the waistband any favors.

17162991089_2b1cfbd6d3_o
17162991089_2b1cfbd6d3_o

They were a bit of an experiment and I'm calling it a successful one! I learned a lot and Junah's got a (quirky) new pairs of pants.

Ali sent me some action shots:

11195549_10102166702165488_1434551122_n
11195549_10102166702165488_1434551122_n

They fit perfectly, and I think he likes them!!


Weekending / FO: Junebean

It was a long-overdue, really great, and very productive weekend! I'm not very good at holding back and parceling out the goods, but I thought I'd try and only post about one thing today; the danger is that I begin to think of things left for later as "old news" and/or something else comes along. I accomplished a lot, though, and I could be "Weekending" almost all week!

I'm not even going to start at the beginning. Here's the scene at my kitchen table on Sunday morning:

Junebean

One of my errand stops on Saturday was at Joann's to find buttons for Junah's sweater, and I took some time on yesterday to sew them on! That results in an FO!

Junebean_01

  • Project:  Junebean, Devan by Holli Yeoh
  • Size 2T
  • Yarns:
  • Needle:  US 2 & 3 - slightly larger than specified in the pattern
  • Start to Finish:  March 22 - May 3, 2015

Junebean_05
Junebean_05

At first I thought that stripey intarsia block at the neck in back would be too fiddly, but I'm not sure how I reasoned that THREE intarsia blocks across the bottom would be any easier? Because they were solid and not stripes?? Heh. As it turns out, I did both.

There was some operator error in the soaking for blocking process and a bit of color bled to the back -- you can see it here. It might come out or fade a bit with another washing, I haven't done that yet. It makes me a little sad, but then I look at the blocks, the stripes, turn it over and look at the front, the buttons, all those MATCHING STRIPES -- I LOVE IT!

Junebean_09

Stripey goodness. Julia's self-striping wizardry is out of this world amazing.

Junebean_08

Oopsie! There's a sneak peek at something else I did over the weekend.

 


April illustrated

I made a point to take and label (with the date) and post a photo to Instagram everyday last month. There are few things I like more than a photo mosaic! Presenting, April 2015:

Web-April-2015

1. April 1. Spring is springing. 2. April 2. Decision made; wound and ready. #romimysteryshawl2015 #sophiestoes, 3. April 3. Spent some time with spackle and a putty knife this afternoon, helping my daughter Kate get her first Young Space pop-up art show space in shape for next week's opening!, 4. April 4. "Interwoven & Twisted." Wonderful collaborative work by my friend Pat Filzen & Renee Koch at Art Space Collective. Remindeded of Ruth Asawa's work., 5. April 5. Dude is drinking from a sippy cup (with an assist for the heavy lifting)., 6. April 6. Tis quite a lovely mail day! #alabamachanin #threeirishgirlsyarn, 7. April 7. Unexpected early hour of free time this morning will be spent knitting., 8. April 8. I wanted to knit Junebug's sweater a bit oversized but this might fit him through 3rd grade., 9. April 9. It's been illuminated... and illuminating., 10. April 10. Looking in. #searchlights at #youngspace opening. #youngspaceregen #youngspacewisco, 11. April 11. Lunch with Ali, Junebug, and Ann., 12. April 12. Snowdrops in the wind., 13. April 13. It was great to see all the neighbor kids outside! #sidewalkchalk, 14. April 13. One little bird on a wire., 15. April 15. Sewing up Junebug's sweater., 16. April 16. Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter Alison!, 17. April 17 y'all. Fresh pedi, sunshine, green grass, 75F or something ridiculous like that..., 18. April 18. The bloodroot cometh., 19. April 19. Work on my worktable proceeds., 20. April 20. Hit the "ORDER" button and called a huge project finished today! Celebrating by cutting out my 1st pair of #madebyrae #bigbuttbabypants on my new worktable and hoping that "baby" pants will still fit my grandson! Using the expansion panel!, 21. April 21. Celebrating birthdays! Maddy's on Saturday, Kate's tomorrow, and Ali's last Thursday. It's a milestone year for one of them and, therefore, also for me., 22. April 22. Thirty years ago today, at 10 pm PST, I began my lifelong journey as a mother. It's the best trip ever, and I couldn't have asked for better companions! Happy 30th Birthday to my beautiful daughter Kate., 23. April 23. 1985. Kate - 1 day old. #tbt, 24. April 24. #WhoMadeMyClothes Couldn't get a decent photo yesterday, but this is what I wore. #imadeitmyself #Repost @vicki.knitorious, 25. April 25. Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter Madeleine., 26. April 26. Boys, boys, boys, and blocks!, 27. April 27. Embellished! #visiblemending, 28. April 28. Yellow tulips in bloom!, 29. April 29. Day 3 of Whole30. @paleogrubs Dill & Lemon Baked Salmon in Parchment - so good!, 30. April 30. Tonight's work at Knit/Make Night. #alabamachanin

 

I'll take photos again everyday in May, because it's MACRO MAY and I love it.

 


Cooking in parchment

Today is Day 4 of a new Whole30. I have more to say about that, but not today.

I'm not really very organized about it, at the moment, but I have a cohort who is also motivated and that's helping to keep with the program.

The internet is also very helpful. Like yesterday, away from home, when it was decided that salmon would be good for supper... with dill. So I googled "Whole30 salmon dill" and came up with Dill & Lemon Baked Salmon in Parchment from paleogrubs.com.

Salmon-1

Chop & slice some zucchini, season, drizzle with olive oil, add lemon and salmon, season a little more, seal it up in parchment paper, and bake.

COULD.NOT.BE.EASIER. And clean up is a breeze.

Salmon-2

Every time I cook in parchment, I wonder why I don't do it more often. 

Seeing the similar Paleo Shrimp Baked in Parchment Paper recipe guarantees that I'll do it again soon!


Weekending: Embellished

Saturday

Web-boys-gardenshed
Web-boys-gardenshed
Web-boys-gardenshed

Karen and Ann came to town and we gathered on Saturday to spend a full afternoon doing yard & garden clean up for Joe. It was a great day with perfect weather for such work. We filled 16 yard refuse bags! And I hauled a few more bags worth to the bottom of the ravine.

I cleaned up a lot of willow branches from the deck and wildflower garden. The wind chime that Mother's friends gave to Joe was making all kinds of noise as I made the first pass on the deck and I could hear Mom, "You're Not Doing It Right." "I'm doing it MY way, Mom!" (We had a little back-and-forth.)

As I was working in the wildflower garden (dutchmen's breeches are all but done, dogtooth violets are appearing, Virginia bluebells are full of buds), I remembered when Mom & Joe came to Oregon in May of '85 to meet Katie for the first time. Mom had just begun that project and it was the first year she could enjoy the "flowers" of her labor -- she was missing some of the show because Spring (most wildflowers put on a very short show). She remarked that the garden would bloom only 18 more times before Katie graduated from high school, and didn't that seem like... not very many?? And now it's already been 30!

The kids had a blast. We had a cookout, ate a ton of good food. I even rode my bike. And got a little knitting done to round out the day. (Clue 3 of Romi's Mystery Shawl is complete!)

Sunday

Web-20150426_144833
On Sunday, I had a hole to fix! It wasn't very big, but it was rather obvious... right at the hem of a tunic, about 2" from the side seam. It's a garment that I love and wear a lot; it could not be out of commission for long!!

From the start, I knew I would employ visible mending a la Tom of Holland, and that my experience with Alabama Chanin hand-sewing techniques would serve me well.

Web-20150426_171526

It was a round-ish hole, so I decided to repair it in a circular fashion. I pinned my circle to the back and blanket-stitched around the hole from the front.

Web-20150426_172916

Continuing with the same length of thread, I worked running stitch in circles around the button-holed repair.

Wrongside

Showing the back of my work! I was quite pleased with the repair, my plan, and how it looked.

But I could not stop.

Web-IMG_9501

I had to EMBELLISH that little patch!

"Why not?!" I chuckled to myself as I pulled out my little bins of sequins and chop beads, channeling a bit of both Natalie Chanin and Marie Kondo... loving my thread, honoring the people who made my clothes, taking good care of my things, thanking my tunic for doing its job so well and making me feel great, sewing...

Web-IMG_9508
Web-IMG_9508
Web-IMG_9508

Inspired... and thankful for all I've learned from people such as Natalie and Marie.

I love that little patch!!


April Birthday #3

DSC07034

Madeleine!

We waited at home until Mom & Joe could get there to take Kate & Ali -- they were just returning from a trip. I remember Mom being surprised at how calm I was, waiting for her, waiting through each contraction... I wasn't too worried. We probably arrived at the hospital around 7:00 p.m.

My labor with Maddy was pretty quick -- and I knew better some of the things I could do to help it along -- so when the doc arrived at the hospital at about 8:30 p.m. and saw me still walking the halls, he mumbled something about having been called too soon, and that I wasn't even close if I was still walking around.

I'd had a different doc for each delivery, and even though this had been our family doctor for four years, he didn't know much about my birthing.

Shortly before 10:00, my nurse (the same labor nurse I had for Ali -- she was also an elementary school classmate) allowed me to get up and go to the bathroom. Well, that did it!  I managed to make it back into the bed, and Maddy was delivered a few minutes later by the nurse who was telling me not to push (at that point, I had no choice!) while DH was hollering down the hallway for the doctor who was visiting at the nurses' station. Doc didn't make it back into the room in time, but did knock a few hundred off his bill. The nurse handed me the little baby bundle and said, "Here, hold her; I've got things to do!"

Happy 15th 24th Birthday, Maddy!  (My baby...)

excerpted and edited from original post on 4/25/2006

Maddy-1
Maddy-1
Maddy-1
Maddy-1
Maddy-1

Happy Birthday, Maddy Mo!

Maddy

I love you!! XO


#WhoMadeMyClothes

I did! I've made some of them, anyway, and I definitely have plans to make more!!

FRD_quote_lucy_siegle

It's Fashion Revolution Day. Two years ago today, over 1100 people were killed when a factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh -- many of those people were working at making clothing in less than ideal conditions.

FRD_quote_vivienne_westwood

I've recently written a little bit about fashion and how I am paying more attention to fashion and my own style. One of the best things I learned from Mom is that Quality matters. She made (or had made) many matching outfit sets for the twins and I, guaranteeing plenty of hand-me-downs for Annie (though Ann wasn't even on the radar then).

Fashion-chanel

Fashion-red
Fashion-red
Fashion-red
Fashion-red

Even as a single mother of five in the early '70s, driving a 1962 Plymouth, going to school to get her nursing degree, and buying groceries with food stamps, she still managed to buy good quality clothing for herself and for us -- perhaps not as often nor as much as she once had (and possibly not so much for my brother when he was growing a size every 3 months) -- but I knew from an early age that quality = longevity.

Something passed by my eyes the other day suggesting that instead of spending $X on an inexpensive and cheaply made garment, save three times that amount and buy what is almost certainly going to be a better garment -- better materials, workmanship, and maybe better overall process.

Those items were usually worth mending, too. I was never a big fan of mending, viewing it as a tedious chore, but Mom loved did it all the time -- holes in socks, reattaching buttons, sewing up rips & tears, applying patches -- she even mended underwear! My tune changed when I damaged the Alabama Chanin-style Circle Shirt that I made a year ago; it caught on a chair and there was a small hole in the right hip area... which I mended with a little visible mending, albeit a rather subtle and completely apropos circle patch:

Patch

I will soon be mending a favorite tunic that I love and wear all the time; it caught on a table at Knit Night last week leaving a nasty tear at the hem in front. I'm not quite sure how I'll do it, but it promises to be much more visible by virtue of location! I love that tunic so much that I've plans to use it as a pattern to make more this summer.

I've plans for lots of sewing this summer -- some of it by hand, some by machine -- and I was getting a little stressed about how and where I was going to layout, cut, and pin all these projects. Then I saw the most amazing ping-pong-table-turned-worktable in someone's basement while helping my house-hunting friend Ann. I couldn't get it off my mind! Even though we have an unused ping pong table, it's WAY too big for my space and needs, but I found building plans for a worktable and made some notes about desired dimensions, and asked Rusty how feasible it would be.

Sewing-Table-1
Sewing-Table-1

Turns out, it was very feasible! Almost all of the lumber was repurposed from Maddy's old dorm loft that's been in the garage rafters for a couple of years. He bought only one piece of wood, plus the laminate top (which didn't need to be laminate, but it was the same price so why not?).

I considered various materials for padding, including carpet padding, but ended up with some 2-foot-square interlocking foam flooring -- two packages covered my 4x6-foot table, with two squares left over for the floor! I covered that with 3 layers of cotton quilt batting, and then we stretched and stapled a piece of cotton duck over all.

Sewing-Table-3

I can iron on it, pin into it, and lay stuff out all over it -- it'll be fantastic for blocking knits! I've already cut and sewn up a pair of Made by Rae Big Butt Baby Pants for Junebug. I haven't inserted the elastic yet, as Ali's going to try them on him first. I made the largest size, but that kid is pretty large... I may be making adjustments to accommodate a big belly!

Have a fantastic weekend!


It Was 30 Years Ago Today

April Birthday #2

20150422_091001

Katherine!

It's Kate's 20th 30th birthday today!  Twenty Thirty years ago today, I woke up at a little after 4:00 a.m.  and started writing numbers down on a piece of paper (which I still have):  4:19, 4:25, 4:29, 4:35 -- 5:17, 5:23, 5:30 -- 6:53, 6:57, 7:03, 7:10 -- some of these were written in Rusty's hand, some of them have numbers following them, signifying duration, I think, and a couple of have the words "very mild" written after them. There's one line that reads, "Shower 3 or 4." The record of my contractions! They pretty much started off at 5 +/- minutes apart and stayed that way all day.

After I sent Rusty to work, I called my doc (the only person I know from Saskatchewan) to see if I should wait and keep my regularly scheduled appointment that day or just come in whenever. (Answer: Come in whenever!) I kept track until 11:24 when I left the motel. I drove myself -- in a manual transmission Subaru, hitting the clutch between contractions -- the 15 miles to Rusty's workplace so he could take me to the hospital.

At 10:00 p.m. PST, I finally gave birth to a 6 lb. 10 oz., 20" redhead. And I began my lifelong journey as a mother -- it's the best trip ever. Happy Birthday, Katherine!

excerpted and edited from original post on 4/22/2005

20150422_091026

20150422_091051

Yes, were were living in a motel! We'd just sold the little house that Rusty built at Cape Kiwanda and bought a larger one at Cape Meares. Though we weren't able to move into the house at Cape Meares yet, we were able to move most of our stuff there, and spent about a month in a little kitchenette unit at the The Terrimore in Netarts, OR. Katie wasn't due until after our move-in date, but I filled the basinette with some onesies, blankets and diapers, and stashed it in the closet of our motel bedroom.

20150422_091113
20150422_091113

Pretty good thinkin', eh? Kate came a little early and spent the first week of her life at The Terrimore! One of the best things about that was that the motel's laundromat was right across the way, and it was a lifesaver!

Terimore

Rusty was in the area last fall and it doesn't look much different!

20150421_182026

Happy Birthday, Katie!!

We all met last night at T-Dub's Public House in Waupaca for some celebrating. The waitress asked me if were were celebrating a birthday, and she couldn't believe it when I told her we were celebrating THREE! There was a big ice cream sundae to share.  ;)

 


Getting Our Kicks

Fair warning: This post is probably going to be nothing but Junebug news.

20150415_150812

Baby All Stars! Junah's wearing SHOES!! The most adorable things ever.

20150415_150831

He's not only walking in them, he's practically RUNNING! Also, CLIMBING STAIRS!!

20150415_151917
20150415_151917

He was over for a while on Wednesday, and discovered the playhouse for the first time!

Playhouse 1989

Same house, different location - Winter 1989 (Ali, left, just a few months older than Junah is now)

20150415_151012

I'd begun sewing up his sweater that morning and took the opportunity to try it on. It is, indeed, very very big, but also so freakin' adorable!!

20150415_151024

I did some little intarsia colorblocks on the bottom back, thinking that I wasn't going to do the stripey square at the neck... but by the time I got there, I just had to! My intarsia work is not going to win any prizes!

20150416_193548

I watched him for a while last night -- after I'd finished the sewing up at Knit Night -- so tried it on again! All that's left is the button band and to find some cute buttons. I am loving that little cardi, and cannot sing high enough praise for Julia's Striping Vesper Sock Yarn. I have plenty of the 2nd hank left, too, so watch for a hat and maybe mittens for next winter!

20150415_151803

Bloodroot! There doesn't seem to be quite as much, but it may also be early.

Have a fabulous weekend!!


April Birthday #1

Bdays-ali

Alison!!

So, 17 28 years ago today I felt twinges when I woke up, but decided to go to my preggo exercise class, anyway. That certainly got things going a bit more, but I didn't stop there! I went to work to pick up the resume that I'd been working on for my brother AND delivered it to him at his job.

Things were really going then! I called my husband (to take me to the hospital) and my mother (to watch Katie) and did my best to manage at home until they got there. I tried to remain calm -- Kate wasn't even two and I didn't want to alarm her. I recall laying on the floor while Katie played, bouncing a big ball all around me.

The troops arrived around 1:30. I continued popping Tums like candy in the labor room (as I had for heartburn throughout the entire pregnancy -- just the thought of green peppers made me gurgle), and Alison Louise arrived at 3:30. When they told me she was another redhead, I didn't believe it 'til I saw for myself! Wow!!!

And spring arrived that day! I literally watched the leaves pop out on all the trees from my hospital room. It was Easter Sunday when they let me go -- 70F and we had a picnic dinner outside! Seventeen Twenty-eight years... seems like yesterday.

excerpted and edited from original post on 4/16/2004

Bdays12

Bdays13

Chunky

Happy Birthday, Ali Lou!!


The rest of the weekend

20150411_150423

There was a beautiful sunny sky on Saturday afternoon. I spent some time under the pergola soaking up some unblocked sunshine!

Screenshot_2015-04-12-15-53-57

The first 70F of the year on Sunday (beating the predicted high of 69)!

IMG_20150412_150436

Bleeding hearts emerging... it's definitely spring! 

20150412_151451

Some chores were accomplished, too. I purchased this chair 25 +/- years ago when I learned how to cane. It had a few flaws, but I fell in love with the pressed design and it has served us very well. The other day the legs started to splay, and one of the hip rests was loose... nothing that some glue, clamping, and a screwdriver can't fix!

Inspired by an amazing work table spotted in one of the homes I recently saw with my friend Ann, I also found/marked up and shared with Rusty some plans for a cutting/ironing work table. The original was made from a ping pong table -- which we happen to have -- and tempting, but too big for my needs and especially for the space. There happens to be an old dorm bunk in the garage rafters, though, and it is now destined to be repurposed. I'm so excited to get my work room squared away.

IMG_20150411_134630

And family! Maddy drove over for Kate's opening; Annie came down, and Joe was there. This was after Saturday lunch with Annie, Ali, and Junah... a very busy boy!!

I don't know how the weekend could have been better!


Young Space: Open For Business

20150410_180144

And what a fabulous opening it was!! I ran around and took some photos before the doors officially opened -- I'm so glad I did because the place was mobbed all night!

20150410_175300
20150410_175300
20150410_175300
20150410_175300
20150410_175300

Kate wrote a round-up at Young Space: re:generation - hit the ground running

The building (or portions thereof) is/was at one time a glass company, a bakery, political party headquarters, and a beauty supply shop. This section has been empty for quite a while... and it's amazing what a coat of paint (and clean windows) can do! Katie replaced quite a few lightbulbs, and she and Rusty built some display panels and pedestals.

20150410_175453
20150410_175453
20150410_175453
20150410_175453

And artist Frank Juarez shared his thoughts on his blog, All About Frank: Young Space re:generation Exhibition in Appleton, Wisconsin (he shared a lot of great photos, I think I spotted the back of my head in one of them)

2015-04-11 15.25.38

Ali and Adam brought KC&T's new portable espresso machine for a try-out, providing coffee and espresso drinks, along with non-alcoholic sparkling drinks and punch, and helping to pour the wine. They were busy!! (That machine is a game-changer for the upcoming farmer market season!)

20150410_170507
20150410_170507

The music was fantastic! Searchlights had never performed before an audience before, and that fit wonderfully with the "emerging artists" theme of the exhibition.

Best part of the night #1: A number of people told me that they weren't sure of the exact address, so just headed down to "the avenue" to try and find it... and it didn't take long because there was a very evident flow of traffic to Young Space!

Best part of the night #2: I noticed two wide-eyed women taking it all in and approached them, wondering if they'd "organically" wandered in... and they had! Art educators from the UW 2-year colleges, in town for a semi-annual meeting!!

Check out info about the artists here.

Gallery hours through Sunday, April 26:
Monday + Tuesday: closed
Wednesday + Thursday: 4-9
Friday, Saturday + Sunday: 12-4


Happiness is...

A weekend like the one we just had! It was fantastic, start to finish. I'm still processing!

20150412_192545

Rusty and I walked down to our favorite local tavern for a burger last night, and saw much sidewalk chalk art and hopscotch boards along the way!!

(Grrl needs a pedi!)


National Sibling Day

The Howling - 1982

Per posts on Facebook today, I can see that it is National Sibling Day!

This was Christmas 1982 at Grandma & Grandpa's. Not only does the photo crack me up every single time I see it, but Mom's caption, "The Howling," is icing on the cake. Photo time has always been angsty in our family, but it was usually Sharon feeling it the most!!


Oversized vs. Too Big

IMG_20150408_110359

I soaked the pieces for Junebug's sweater yesterday morning! And, darn it, distraction led them to being soaked a bit too long and possibly in water that was a bit too warm, so a little bleeding occurred -- not bad, but there; hopefully less noticeable when dry.

Anyway, HOLY COW! I pinned out the pieces and it's HUGE! I wanted to knit this sweater a bit oversized but this might fit him through 3rd grade. I swatched/measured early on and was pretty right on; and it didn't seem too big while I was knitting... at least until I got to the back.

The front is in two pieces, and I saw no red flags. The sleeves are very roomy, but he's got big baby muscles; still, I may end up recalculating and re-knitting the upper. The back... I kept holding it up and measuring and somehow convinced myself that it wasn't as big as it looked? I don't know. He's always fluctuating size-wise in my mind's eye; sometimes he's huge and sometimes still so very wee. Anyway, this sweater will fit at some point. The worst thing right now is that I might have to knit some more!

Guess what? I like to knit!

I am completely flipping out over those awesome "Electric Revolution" Vesper Sock Yarn stripes, though. They make me so happy!


Cleaning Windows

As promised/scheduled, I returned to the site of Kate's inaugural Young Space pop-up show today to finish cleaning windows. I'd done all of the entry/vestibule windows on the weekend, saving the more important front for last, inside and out.

Web-20150408_141055

Cleaning windows generally isn't my thing, but let me tell you what a difference the right tools can make!! Have you ever seen a pro work? I spent an inordinate amount of time considering and selecting window-cleaning equipment on Saturday, settling on an Unger Pro 14-Inch Window Scrubber, a 16" Squeegee, a big bucket, and some paper towels. I used an old cleaning recipe: 1/2 c. rubbing alcohol, 1/8 c. ammonia, 1/4 t. dish soap, and enough water to make 1 quart.

  

I certainly was sloppy and I got a little wet, but it went pretty quick and was relatively painless. At one point I tried to use an extension pole that the girls were using to paint, but didn't realize that Unger has a dedicated system... and I managed just fine without!

Web-20150408_141116

Sparkle, shine, and reflect!! It's all coming together.

Web-20150408_144430

And artwork continues to arrive... this one delivered today from Greece!


This is how you start a great week

20150406_174444

Yesterday, I came home to find my birthday present from Rusty... exactly 5 months to-the-day later!! Pre-ordered back in late October, I have been patiently awaiting -- and recently stalking via USPS Tracking -- the arrival of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns!!

Natalie Chanin will be giving a lecture + book signing later this month at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and I've been trying to figure out a way to go! At 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night, it pretty much means an extra day off of work and an overnighter. So tempted...

Also in yesterday's mail was my first-ever order from Three Irish Girls -- I fell hard last month for A Hundred Thousand Welcomes. No plan yet.

20150407_070131

I was at the coffee shop this morning, as I am every morning, when my phone rang. The upshot of that call is that I had an extra hour before needing to be at work, so I took a seat at the back and had a nice hour of knitting and listening to the hubbub. The mostly all-male kaffeklatsch/welcoming committee that occupies the front everyday had a lot to say to each other about basketball this morning! And, indeed, it's a bittersweet morning. The Wisconsin Badgers didn't win the NCAA title this year, but they had an amazing run and even I (not a basketball fan) have been riveted by them during March Madness.


Weekending:

The weekend was full of many of the things I love, starting with a little road trip on Saturday morning to deliver some Make.Do/KC&T flyers to Bleating Heart Haven. There's a Fiber Frolic/Yarn Hop coming up and we weren't on the list! That'll be corrected next year, and in the meantime Cindy generously offered to help spread the word about us. It was a beautiful morning for a drive!

I picked up lunch on my way to Appleton to feed the crew at Young Space. My girls are just like me in the way that when we're all wrapped up in a project, we often forget to eat. Or just don't. It's hard to stop! The entire place got a fresh coat of paint over the weekend, and I cleaned windows. There are more windows to do, and I'm slated for Wednesday.

20150404_150631

 On Saturday night, we ran down to Oshkosh to visit a couple of spots on the Gallery Walk.

20150404_194237

"Interwoven & Twisted" is a wonderful collaborative work by Renee Koch and our friend Pat Filzen at the Art Space Collective. Renee's knit wire pieces reminded me of Ruth Asawa and the beautiful pieces I saw five years ago in San Francisco.

20150405_142840

I spent some time with this guy on Sunday while his mom & dad took advantage of the shop being closed to get some work done. Kate was working at her space. Rusty was drawing. Maddy stayed home... but we had a nice little chat (and she'll be home later this week for Kate's opening).

IMG_20150405_112802

We had a blast!

IMG_20150405_153029

After Junah left yesterday, I made my first roasted lamb... and it won't be the last. I've made chops, and that's actually what I wanted, but I relied on chance and there were none. I threw some asparagus in the oven, made some salads, popped the cork on some pinot noir, and everyone came back for some dinner!


Friday: Five Fotos

20150401_164702
20150401_164702
20150401_164702

It was so nice to take a walk around the house the other day -- a gorgeous day -- looking for signs of life! It was even nicer to find some.

IMG_20150402_182856

This was my intarsia tangle at last night's knit night! That is not something I do often, nor am I very good at it... though I think this is my best yet. I'm finished with that part now, so it's smooth sailing to the sleeve and neck shaping, then some 3-needle bind-off, a button band/collar, buttons, et voila!

IMG_20150402_160617

Meanwhile, the decision has been made and yarn wound up, awaiting release of the first clue for Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015! We're all chomping at the bit!!

Historically, the first clue of a mystery project is quick to complete, so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to devote most of my knitting time to getting Junah's sweater finished.

* * * * *

Re generation

 It's an announcement, not a sixth photo!

I'll be spending some of the weekend helping Kate whip her first YOUNG SPACE pop-up art show into shape for NEXT WEEK'S OPENING!! It's exciting; she's inspiring. So many wonderful things.


Right Now: April is upon us

Watching... Law & Order UK

Reading... Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

IMG_20150331_115439

Knitting... Making progress on Junah's Devan! Fronts and sleeves are done, the back was cast on last night. It won't be long!

Looking forward to... Starting Romi's Mystery.

20150328_121828

Drinking... trying to drink more water!

Wearing... Cropped pants and sandals. It's April. It's time. (I need a pedi, though.)

Organizing... Nothing at the moment. I'm thinking that I need a few days off at home -- a long weekend would be nice.

Celebrating... Whoa. This month!! We begin with two cousins' birthdays today, all three of my girls' coming up, an aunt, an uncle, a nephew, and finishing with what would have been my Grampa's 105th.

Listening to... All sorts of things on Spotify. Boxer Rebellions' Winter Jams playlist, the new Decemberists album.

20150330_124451

Itching to... GET OUTSIDE!

Looking forward... still... to GETTING OUTSIDE! And also (still) the new Alabama Chanin book. SOON!

Needing to... Make sure I have everything I need for an indigo dye vat -- specifically, a large enough vessel.

Delighted by... the first crocus of the season, spotted yesterday! They were yellow.

Lambs-cover

Thinking about... Wales. And Scotland and England, too, but it was four years ago today that we were in Wales. Lambs on the mound at Bryn Celli Ddu!

What's up with you right now?


Ten on Tuesday: Between two or more slices of bread

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Sandwiches

I don't eat sandwiches as often as I used to... like, hardly ever these days... but I sure do love them and sometimes it's the only thing!

4366529182_56b4c5c817_o

I began riffing on sandwiches last week when writing about cheese, whereby the Top 4 or 5 were already declared:

1. Philly Cream Cheese & Welch's Grape Jelly. On Wonder Bread, of course!

2. Butter & Honey. Mom would make these sandwiches in the morning and pack it in our school lunches. By lunchtime, the honey would have begun to crystallize along the cut edges. Oh, that was the best thing.

3. Peanut Butter & Banana. I also have fond memories of Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Creme, but am very content to leave that there in the memory department. I have, however, continued the pleasure of PB & Banana to the present day (though quite sparingly).

4. Grilled Cheese. White bread with butter, processed American cheese, grilled just so... oh yum! We didn't eat out often when I was a kid, but when we did I always ordered a grilled cheese sandwich (really hard to screw up)... until I discovered fried shrimp!

5. Ham & Swiss. This is my go-to at any sandwich shop... anywhere, anytime, on anything, with a little mayo and yellow mustard. Perhaps with pickles. I love it on all kinds of bread or as a wrap, but probably my favorite medium for consumption is a toasted bagel (plain, egg, everything).

6. Roast Beef & Provolone... warm, with mushrooms. Otherwise known as #15 at the Deli Sub Pub, favorite lunch stop of my early working days. Man, I loved that sandwich.

7. Fish Sandwich. I love fish and I love sandwiches. I haven't eaten at McDonald's in years*, but when I was a more regular customer I always ordered a fish filet.

8. Turkey & Cream Cheese with Cherry Chutney. On toasted granola bread. Served with dill potato salad and chunky applesauce. It's my favorite sandwich at The Cookery in Door County. I sometimes wish I could broaden my horizons.

9. A Classic Club Sandwich. This was a favorite from my even earlier working days -- my first job on my own in Superior, WI. I can't remember the name of the diner I'd go to, but they made a great club sandwich!

10. Reuben. Mmm, a good and very dark rye bread, just the right amount of corned beef, the tang & texture of (well-drained) sauerkraut, and the sweetness of Russian dressing.

Bonus: 11. Gyros. Also a favorite of the working girl... there was a fantastic Greek restaurant called Karras' that we went to often; oh man, the best Greek food around.

4366529296_82d3efe6e6_o

 *Actually, in desperation, we had McD's at O'Hare on the way back from Mexico; of course, I had a fish filet... and I wish I'd been more disappointed! It certainly wasn't stellar, and I won't be a regular consumer ever again, but it would probably number amongst my guilty pleasures if I ever had to make a list of such things.


Weekending

We've been in a bit of a rut and I've packed on a few pounds... opting for what's easy over what's better will do that.

I took back the kitchen over the weekend, and it felt great!!

I'll probably make a Wedge Salad tonight, too, because the thought popped into my head the other day and it's stuck.

* * * * *

Work continues on Devan, Junebug's new spring sweater. I made the fix to shoulder/neck shaping, so both fronts are finished, and I knocked off a sleeve over the weekend. The second sleeve was cast on last night, and I discovered that I mis-wound the second ball of self-striping yarn so had to stop and rewind. I should be all set now! I'm beginning to think about a slight variation to the back design!

* * * * *

I also spent some time contemplating color choices for a new shawl. Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015 begins on Friday, and there are two colors. Pictures always seem to help.

Blues

This is a combo that I dyed, and #1 contender for the project.

Indigo-orange

Until this came along. On the left is Sophie's Toe's "Indigo" and on the right, a sherbet-y, salmon-y orange that I recently dyed. It may be reminiscent of school colors to some, but not to me!

Indigo-light blue

Then I paired the indigo with the lighter blue from the first set and I like that, too.

I think it's going to be the middle one, but I have until Thursday night's wind-up to make a final decision!

* * * * *

For the past couple of weeks, I've been accompanying a friend to open houses and real estate showings. She lives in an adorable, historic, little house across from a beautiful park, but she has two young boys (5 & 6) and "little" is not working anymore!

Wow. What an education! Other than the whirlwind house-buying-by-committee expedition that I was on last spring with Rusty, Ali & Annie, it's been a long time since I was house-shopping. My friend, also named Ann, has been looking at homes within a certain school district and price range -- everything from new construction to historic, and a much larger pool to choose from that we had last spring.

One day last week, we were at a house just a few doors down from the first house that my parents ever bought! It was a brand new subdivision, then, and I lived there from 3rd to 7th grade, so a lot of growing up. It was so much fun to be in the old 'hood.

I think we dashed around to at least a half-dozen open houses yesterday and I still had that critical eye when I walked through my own back door! "This house has a really nice kitchen," I thought! I'm also very much inspired to get back on the KonMari horse... and maybe to paint my kitchen! Or something! Clean & fresh!!

* * * * *

Can you believe we're looking at the last day of March tomorrow?!


Future knitter

Junebug-1
Junebug-1
Junebug-1

Ali sent me this delightful series last night. That's in the corner of KC&T that houses my hobby shop... and I know he's not the first little kiddo to fondle and rearrange the yarn!!

Have a great weekend!


Progress report

It was all going so well. Here's a photo I took a couple of days ago of the Left Front of Junah's new sweater:

IMG_20150323_122257

I finished that and started on the Right Front. Knitting along, as one does; shaping the armhole and start of the V-neck, as one does; continuing the V-neck shaping, as one... WHAT? Argh! I totally missed that line about continuing the neck shaping every fourth row for ten times (or whatever) when knitting the Left. There's a bit of ripping in my future. At least Junah's sweaters are still fairly wee.

SLURP

Last night, for the second time in as many years, Rusty and I went to the high school to SLURP! It's a soup supper fundraiser for a few departments at school, including fine arts. Yum! I was hungry and slurped up all of the Dill Pickle Soup (I got the last of it) before I thought to take a photo. I had Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle, Cream of Potato with Bacon, Homestyle Chicken Noodle, and Tortellini with Spinach. There were many other soups to try, but I was full enough after these five -- and I had even shared some with Ali. KC&T was there to provide coffee and hot cocoa. Rod & Junah showed up, too, and I had a blast following Junah around... it's so fun to observe him in different situations.

Other than the snow (and that's all I'm going to say about it... there was some), it was a really great day off yesterday! Spring will come! I'm knocking things off my list so I'll be able to take advantage of good weather days on the way.


Ten on Tuesday: I'm in a dairy state of mind

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Kinds of Cheese

Not only is Wisconsin America's Dairyland, I live in a city known for cheese! And when I moved for a while to Oregon, I ended up in another city known for cheese!! I can't seem to escape the cheese...

A lot has changed in Wisconsin. The state used to be dotted with tiny independent cheese factories -- and I mean they were everywhere! That's sadly not the case anymore. I miss them!

C is for Cheese Curds

Goat Cheese Curds from Caprine Supreme Creamery, Black Creek, WI

1. Squeaky cheese curds. You can find fresh cheese curds at some farmer markets, every grocery, and even at gas/convenience stores. 

2. Cream cheese. I don't think there's a single thing on earth with cream cheese as an ingredient that I don't like. The one thing that immediately comes to mind, though, is the Philly Cream Cheese & Welch's Grape Jelly sandwich of my youth. Oh, sooo good. I'm sure we only had those in desperation, and if the cupboard was really bare it was a Butter & Honey sandwich in my lunch, but those are still numbers 1 & 2 on my list of favorite sandwiches! (#3 is Peanut Butter & Banana.) (I sense a Ten on Tuesday topic!)

3. Kraft American cheese, but never individually-wrapped singles. I like peeling the layers on a sliced block. I love a good ol' fashioned grilled cheese sandwich -- with tomato soup, of course! This was also the cheese on the bologna sandwiches of yesteryear, as well as many a dinner when paired with saltine crackers! The kids always loved my sister Karen's American Cheese Soup.

4. Cheddar cheese. There was a time when there was always a block of cheddar in our fridge. If the word "cheese" is on the grocery list, it means cheddar! So many varieties...

5. Colby cheese. A very smooth and mild cheese, similar in flavor to cheddar but perhaps a bit softer. A favorite variation is Co-Jack -- a swirled combo of Colby and Monterey Jack.

DSC01119

6. Mozzarella! In all shapes and sizes. I can adapt. It's the reason I grow tomatoes and basil!

7. Brie & Camembert. Thanks to Mom! A favorite lately is a bit of cherry preserves atop a smudge of brie on a thin cracker. Mmmm.

8. Bleu. Yum... I'm sort of craving a good Wedge Salad right now.

9. Swiss & Provolone. Different cheeses, but sandwich favorites for numbers 4 & 5 on my list: Ham & Swiss and Roast Beef & Provolone.

10. Limburger. (On occasion.) Thanks to Grandpa Blum!

Cream of Spinach Soup

Grated Parmesan finishes Cream of Spinach Soup.

I could go on and on. Cheese!

And this just in: As Far As Cheese Goes, We're Still America's Dairyland


Mama says, "Baby needs a new sweater!"

Junebug needs a lightweight sweater for spring. Ali thought she might still be able to squeeze him into the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi, but no-can-do! He's a burly dude.

I feel like I'm reaching into the way-back machine for this one: Devan! It's an adorable fingering-weight V-neck cardigan that was originally published in Knitty... way back in Spring 2004! And I've always wanted to make it.

IMG_20150322_130501

I ordered some of Julia's fabulous self-striping Vesper Sock Yarn in a colorway called Electric Revolution, and I'm pairing it with some of my Make.Do Be Fingering/Sock in a semi-solid called Bookworm... and I just can't wait to get started!!

IMG_20150322_171049

Hello Spring!!

All wound up and ready to go!


Baby A

I am bouncing between projects today, making progress in all areas! I have a few photo projects in the works right now, and among them is Junah's "1-Year" photos. We had him model some knits, including:

IMG_9027

Baby A

I knit that wonderful sweater in April -- and here's Mack wearing it in May -- of 2007!

Baby-a-2

It's a wonderful pattern that I've always meant to knit again. But when the longevity is this good -- 8 YEARS -- WHY?? Addy wore it, too, and it still looks fantastic.

Baby-a

Too bad that wonderful yarn was discontinued.


Eleven!

It's the First Day of Spring!! And my 11th Blogiversary!

 

Well, it's one louder, isn't it?

One louder.

 


Ten on Tuesday: Pot o' Gold

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I'd Buy If I Found A Pot of Gold!

I need a baseline. How much gold does one expect to find in a pot?

Using the calculations provided here and yesterday's price of gold ($1,154.16/oz.), it's $313,192.86. Okay, then...

1. A 1958 Corvette, red & white: $77,995.00

2. A Nice Long Weekend in NYC: $5,000.00

3. A Spring Shopping Trip: $5,000.00

4. A Mediterranean Cruise: $20,000.00

5. Rent a motorhome and take a Road Trip to The Maritimes: $7,500.00 

6. A Brand New Car for the whole fam damily: $175,000

7. Almost everything on my Amazon Wish List: $4,610.63

8. A Patterns + Alterations Studio Week at Alabama Chanin: $3,000.00 + $1,000.00

The new book will be out soon!! Rusty pre-ordered for my birthday and I've been delightfully anticipating ever since!

9. And the Classic Studio Week: $3,000.00 + $1,000

10. I'd have Margene join me: $8,000.00.

Lucky me, I'm observing the 10th anniversary of The Quit, so I have a BONUS POT OF GOLD into which I can dip:

11. So I'd bring a few more AC-obsessed friends -- Kay, KymGale, and Beverly!!

Wouldn't that be fun???

A girl can dream.

And obviously spend a whole lotta money in a very short time!


Weekending

I had a little time to kill before meeting everyone for Joe's birthday dinner, so popped over to my bike shop to take advantage of The Great Rack Upgrade. The offer (thru 3/31) is to trade in your old bike rack (any make/model) and get 20% off a new Saris rack. I've had a 3-bike Saris rack and it's been mostly okay, but we've occasionally had issues with fitting our different bike styles -- jostling handlebars, mostly. The new one has an arc design and I'm hoping it'll be a bit easier.

20150313_182525

Maddy was the first to arrive and I thought to take a selfie with her -- I have a few of us but they're not that great.

20150313_182547

Some people tried to photo-bomb us but, you know, selfie... we saw them coming!

Auspicious? Suspicious? I'd originally made reservations for 17, but after some last-minute cancellations, we ended up with 13 on the 13th! We had a great time, though no one had a match or lighter so Joe had to pretend to blow out the candle on his little cake. Haha.

IMG_20150314_105357

Saturday was Pi Day and luckily we had some pie handy! We started our day with pie for breakfast dessert.

20150314_155347

Annie and the boys came over for a while, and so did Junah!

20150314_155440

He's holding one of those little shapes from the puzzle up to his ear and "talking." The boys thought it was hilarious! They love him so much and think he's cool... I just love that.

The weather was mild, so the boys were in and out, and they also kept tabs on some college basketball games, especially the Wisconsin-Purdue game.

Annie and I got the fixings for Traditional Boiled Dinner on Saturday. My dutch oven wasn't big enough to accommodate the corned beef and the veggies, so I did the veggies in a different pot. The only pot that would be big enough is dedicated to dyeing!

And I got that dye pot out on Sunday for some coloring up -- and re-coloring -- of yarn! I am so pleased with the over-dye job for Sophie's Rose... the original color was great, but it needed just a little muddying; I've had more than a couple false starts, but I think that project is finally going to sing! The other colors were a range of blues, and then somehow a couple of corals!

I knew that the Badgers had a big game on Sunday afternoon, so tuned it at about half-time... the score was very close. At one point -- when Bucky was down 11 points (only the second time all season there was a deficit that big) -- I thought I'd jinxed it all but thankfully they brought it back to tie! And then they won in overtime -- the Big 10 Championship! So now, of course, I have March Madness fever and have even made my bracket picks. Anyone interested in a knitters' tourney?

It was a good weekend.

Thanks for all the great feedback about the new blog design! I'm pleased that the cleaner look makes it easier to read. (Still tweaking: I've made the post type a little larger.) I love that some mentioned the inclusion of my old banner into the new! For a while, I changed my banner monthly, but once Parcheesi landed up there, I just couldn't bear to change it; that was some epic get-me-through knitting, and it's one of my favorite and most-used pieces.


Ch-ch-ch-changes...

Have I mentioned that our taxes are done? Earliest finish ever. I am so relieved... and happy that I won't live the next month in constant dread of that chore. There are a few other "chores" hanging over my head, but they're more enjoyable and I'm making some progress.

Fluevogs-and-snow

Oh, it's a glorious day and the weekend is upon us!
That's the same -- much smaller -- snow pile as yesterday; the sandals are my Fluevies!

Ali & Junah joined me for a drive over to have lunch with Maddy on Wednesday, but not before I was able to get some yarn prepped for dyeing.

I have yarn to dye for Romi's Mystery Shawl, for Sophie's Rose, and for an upcoming sweater for Junah that I'm very excited about -- one that's been on my radar for a LONG time. After that stretch of nothing-but-baby knitting at the end of 2013, I've barely knit a stitch for him. I might not get to all of that over the weekend... Romi & Sophie are the current priorities!

This weekend  will see a birthday celebration, Pi Day, possibly a high school basketball game, a bike ride (or two), and a pretty darn nice weekend.

I've changed the blog design!! After playing around with different/responsive designs on "test blogs" for quite some time, I thought I'd try out Typepad's new "Nimble" design. It's supposed to be easier to read/navigate on all devices. I can always go back!

What do you think?

* * * * *

Don't forget about Craftsy's BIG Sale -- all online classes up to 50% off in celebration of National Craft Month. Sale ends Monday!