Lazy woman washes & blocks handknits

If you're familiar with #konmari, you know that feeling "joy" is a big part of the process.

I ran across this vest/wrap as I was #knitkonmari-ing and, at first glance, not a lot of joy... mainly because it turned out a bit small/short for my liking.

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It's the Weekend Wrap by Julie Weisenberger. I bought both the pattern & yarn at Blazing Needles in SLC with Margene -- when I joined her a few years ago for the knitters' retreat at Alta -- and those memories certainly do spark joy!

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I have since re-knit the Weekend Wrap a little larger and much more to my liking. (And if I can't find that stray cone of Habu Tsumugi Silk to continue Lola, it might just be my "Rhinebeck Sweater.") But I have also kept the original because it is so very forgiving... if I just scrunch it up and wrap it 'round my neck...  voila! It's a perfectly wonderful lightweight neutral scarf. The armholes aren't even visible (can you see them?). JOY IS SPARKED!

I have also frogged a couple of projects that no longer spark joy.

From this:

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...to this.

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And this:

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...becomes this.

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There are a few (so far) more to frog, but this is a good start; these have already been washed and made into neat hanks, ready for the next thing.

I've begun the washing process for the JOY-filled knits with the items that are easiest -- those items made from superwash wool, or that requiring little or no shaping/pinning for blocking/drying.

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I really didn't intend to hang those shawls on the line, but there are no points to pin out and they're hanging so nicely!

Lazy? I certainly felt lazy. (I am lazy.) (Yes, that's my flexible blocking mat also hanging on the line with a project affixed.)

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Ooof! Repair to be made.

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These were all thrown into the machine on the "handwash" cycle, and hung to dry -- either on the line or on my wooden drying rack -- except for Parcheesi, which I threw in the dryer on the lowest of settings. I am so happy to be heading into autumn and winter with clean & fresh knits!

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Hello, 4-day Weekend!! I will be doing final prep for & photographing a wedding tomorrow evening -- my last wedding of the summer! A friend's daughter, a cousin, working an acquaintance's daughter's wedding (2nd-shooting with my niece), a co-worker, and now a former co-worker of my daughter's (working)... it's been the most wedding-est summer of my life! <3

On Saturday, I actually plan to dye some yarn. (Shhh!) The shop is in need, there are a couple of special orders hanging...

Sunday will be COLLAGE DAY! Art day was thwarted a couple of weeks ago, but that only means we've had that much longer to amass materials. OMG. I cannot wait to dive in.

On Monday... I've nothing planned yet for Monday. I might be ready to have a first look at the wedding photos by then.  ;)

And somewhere in there, time with the kiddos!!

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Do you like the larger photos? Are they too large?? What are your plans for the weekend... whether 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-day?? (Or more? Vacation?)


FO: Elwood for Gin

Don't fall off your chair... the knitting is certainly not fast & furious around here, but I have managed to finish this adorable little sweater for Gin!

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I love the button band/shawl collar combo in this pattern.

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There isn't a modeled shot yet, but you'll be among the first to know!

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I am completely in love with the ladybug buttons! When I posted on IG that I was in search of buttons, Ina Braun responded via email with photos of her extensive button selection! I mailed the sweater to her and after a little discussion, she sent it back with these and another contender... but it was these for me, all along.

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Serious cuteness... Gin's gonna blow it out of the water! I have enough leftover yarn to make a simple striped hat, and I think I'm going to do that!


Ten on Tuesday: It's a blur

Ten on Tuesday:  5 Best of Summer / 5 for Fall

Well... what a summer.

At the beginning of it, I had no idea that I'd be bidding farewell to my sister and her family in addition to my daughter as they moved overseas! Ann & family had about 5-6 weeks to take care of things before moving to Spain for at least 2 years. Maddy planned, worked, and saved hard over the past year or so in order to spend the next year traveling and exploring in New Zealand.

It's been a super shitty summer in many respects, not the least of which was the death of Rusty's dad, and from the beginning I've made it a point to focus on the good stuff this summer -- and on the things that I can control.

 

Five Best Things I Did This Summer

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1 - I spent lots of time with the kiddos.

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2 - I spent a few glorious days up north.

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3 - I did lots of art stuff -- viewing, participating, and even making.

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4 - I read books -- thanks to audiobooks, I've read more than I have in many a summer (winter, spring and fall).

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5 - I made time for Auntie Camp II before my nephews left for Spain -- abbreviated, but so much fun!

 

Five Things I'm Looking Forward to Doing This Fall

1 - Catching my breath. It was a very busy summer and I just need some time to collect my wits.

2 - Cooking. We've been planning our weekly menus and cooking at home for most of the summer, and I'm aiming to keep that going.

3 - Reading. That will certainly continue, and I'm still aiming for a BINGO by Thanksgiving.

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4 - Knitting & Sewing... and getting a grip. I just sewed some adorable ladybug buttons on a sweater for Gin (an FO post to come!), but I've somehow misplaced a cone of Habu Tsumugi Silk for another project; there's a "quick" A-line top that stalled awaiting binding at neck and arms; one thumb-less mitten for Jun that's awaiting a thumb and a mate. So much to organize. (I have been making progress at washing the knits, though!)

5 - A Getaway! I'll be spending a few days in the Hudson Valley with some friends next month -- knitting, laughing, cooking, eating, and going to a little thing called "Rhinebeck." It's been 9 years since I visited in the east and I cannot wait!!


Weekending

I let out a cheer on Friday afternoon when I got home and saw this:

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No more gaping hole covered with sheets of plywood. No more orange safety fence, cones, and flashing lights. There's still a bit of that on the next block and around the 'hood, but they are finishing up. Rusty already finessed the wonky bricks and the dirt/seed!

I had a smiley-faced visitor early on Saturday morning:

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She stayed with me 'til mid-morning. Such a delight. I don't often have just her in my care.

It was city-wide rummage sale day and, though I don't *need* anything, I couldn't resist stopping at a few that looked interesting.

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I spent a dollar and brought home three things, one of which was this sink... and the sink was FREE! It has some goofiness around the drain and may drip a bit, but I intend to use it outside and that doesn't really matter that much. I put it to work right away, re-over-dyeing an Eileen Fisher wrap in indigo that I'd just dyed the weekend before. It was originally a terrible-for-me pale peach color, but I bought it because a) I liked the shape, b) it was fabric I could "work" with, and c) it was on super-duper sale... that was quite a while ago, and I finally gave it a dunk (or three).

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I baptized myself!

On Sunday morning, I ran out with Kate to a fun little vintage market where her friend Claire had a booth. I found a sweet little bracelet made by Claire -- me, who usually wears nothing more than earrings. I'm wearing it today, along with a bracelet of similar style that was given to me a few years ago! What'll happen next?

On Sunday afternoon, Rusty & I attended the wedding of one of my coworkers at a park in Green Bay.

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It was a glorious afternoon for such a thing!

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The evening wasn't bad, either.

I hope your weekend was good! I am getting used to the idea of my daughter being on the other side of the world. Thankfully, it didn't take long for her to start blogging... and she's already had a tale or two to tell! Here's Post #1 and Post #2, and feel free to subscribe or follow along if you'd like. She will be leaving Auckland today headed for... I don't know exactly where! Hopefully, wherever it is, she'll find some wifi.  :)


Friday! Yay!!

It was a beautiful day yesterday:

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This morning, the view to the west as I walked over to the coffee shop

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Can't help but bust into the chorus for Purple Rain! It looked ominous, but didn't amount to much... and the sun is shining now.

The heavy equipment is gone, barricades are being rearranged, blacktop will be laid tomorrow! Happy Weekend!


Away she goes!

Last week, Wednesday, I drove over to help Maddy vacate her apartment and haul the remainder of her belongings back home. After a lot of hard work and saving, she was in the final stage of preparation for her year-long trip to New Zealand (and beyond).

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There was practice packing! And that is it... with the exception of hiking boots that she isn't wearing in these photos, it's all in there... clothing, shoes, toiletries, a towel, tent, sleeping bag, and cooking gear. Believe it or not!

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There was detailing of the aforementioned hiking boots, making sure they were free of any and all dirt! Toothpicks were employed. (You can lose your footwear at entry if they're not spic & span.)

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There was a weekend in Milwaukee visiting friends, then a fare-the-well gathering at home with friends and family.

Here's her quirky & hilarious first GoPro video from a few nights earlier at home when Ali & the kiddos were over. Maddy's friends & coworkers chipped in and gave her a GoPro HERO Session as a gift! (I can't wait for more!!)

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Finally, it was departure day!! Kate, Maddy, Rusty & I all drove down to Chicago on Tuesday morning.

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"Travel without limits." (Serendipitous selfie backdrop!)

We had a marvelous farewell lunch at our favorite spot, The Purple Pig*, and then drove out to the airport.

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So.Ready.To.Go.

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So.Happy!

She will be traveling, exploring, discovering, hiking, paddling, and probably working a little bit, too. Maybe on a sheep farm! She will likely travel to other places, as well, such as Australia and Thailand where she has friends. And likely to Europe (Spain!) as she makes her way home next summer. That's getting way ahead of things tho...

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For now, it's enough that she's landed. Yesterday, it was 1 p.m. CST Wednesday/6 a.m. NZST Thursday when she arrived in Auckland. A little time travel! The next few days will be spent settling, acclimating, and preparing for... whatever happens next!

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After dropping her off at the airport, we drove back into the city for a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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Kerry James Marshall: Mastry is jaw-dropping. I barely took any photos because... you have to see this work in person. It's only up until Sept. 25th... so hurry!

The Propellor Group exhibition was also fascinating (thru Nov. 13th).

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Whew! That was one long day... I won't be making a habit of day-trips to Chicago!

*We had our favorite Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Fried Smashed Potatoes & Tzatziki along with Smashed Potatoes with Sheep Feta & Oregano, and Bobota "Greek Cornbread" with Feta, Mizithra Cheese & Honey. Then we got adventurous and tried a couple of new dishes: Housemade Gyros & Pita Bread with Pickled Beets & Pickled Turnips, and Squid Stuffed with Proscuitto & Bread Crumbs with Santorini Fava Puree & Charmoula. Oh my goodness, it was all simply delicious!


Summer of...

Change? Upheaval? Transition?

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Rusty's dad passed away peacefully on Friday while awaiting heart surgery that was scheduled for Monday.

Though they were never close, there was an accord which developed over the past several years. I only met him twice, myself; once when Kate was an infant and he visited us in Oregon, and when he and his wife made a trip to Wisconsin in the '90s.

Rest in peace Smokey.

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Gunther "Smokey" Mothes
Dec. 1, 1928 - Sep. 9, 2016


Heaven!

Nothin' like a front-row seat:

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A little slice of heaven right there on a Wednesday morning. It does a heart good. The new lines are in, the shop is open... hopefully it won't be too long before the road is open, too.

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Our community is in mourning following the devastating loss on Tuesday of a 12-year-old boy who was struck by a school bus on the way home from school; he died at the hospital a short while later. Details of the accident have not yet been made public. It's heartbreaking. And very frustrating, as traffic flow/management is a real issue in our small city right now, and I feel that it was likely a huge factor in this accident -- however it actually played out. A river runs through it -- and a canal. There used to be three thoroughfares to cross those waterways. A few years ago, an application for state funding was missed for one of those spans, and it was replaced with a "pedestrian" bridge... which sort of made sense once, when the library was right there, but it largely unused these days. A second bridge has been closed much of the summer for maintenance, and will be for yet a few more months, leaving only the third bridge open... one thoroughfare in a small city of nearly 16,000. The middle school sits on an island right between the second & third bridges...


Ten on Tuesday: Labor Day Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did On The Weekend

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WHY?

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1  -- I picked up Jün at the farmers market on Saturday morning and we ran errands together. They didn't have "car carts" at the grocery store when my kids were little, so that was a first (and I only knocked/bumped a few things!) (he was much happier and more excited than it looks). Then we hung out at my house -- reading (he's not tired of my excellent caterwauling), snacking, playing! I answered my first "WHY?" question from him... here we go!

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2 -- On Saturday evening, I watched the Wisconsin Badgers vs. LSU at Lambeau Field while I wove in the ends on my Green Bay Packers Scoreboard Cowl. I ran out of yarn 2 games short of a full season, but it is plenty long... and it is what it is! The ends are all in and I'm ready for grafting!

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3 -- On Sunday, Kate & I drove up to Door County for the day. We'd originally planned to do that last Wednesday, but ended up in Madison that day... doing what was supposed to be done the day the car crapped out.

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4 -- In addition to having my favorite lunch at my favorite place (which, after all these years, wasn't quite up to par... so we may expand our culinary horizons next time) (change is good), we stopped at a used book shop and also visited a couple of galleries. Rusty had work at Edgewood Orchard Gallery years ago, and it's changed and expanded quite a bit, especially outside where there is a nice courtyard and a large sculpture garden. I loved the detail on the dress of the sculpture above... also pretty epic hair. The "paint" is at The Hardy Gallery, which is housed in a 130+ year old warehouse on the dock at Ephraim. It's amazing. Rusty had and sold a piece at this gallery earlier in the season.

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5 -- The Door County trip was spontaneous, Sunday having originally been declared "art day." I didn't actually make anything on Sunday, but I did pull out my collection of old photos... I have a half-baked idea and am looking for some inspiration.

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6 -- I started ripping out one of the KonMari'd projects while riding in the passenger seat and finished it off on Sunday night.

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7 -- On Monday, I wound it into a hank on the swift, then soaked both hanks of reclaimed yarn and hung them to dry!

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8 -- I also still had that small bucket of indigo outside. I refreshed it, tied & folded up a few onesies, and gave 'em a dunk or two or three. I haven't yet tired of the BLUE MAGIC!!

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9 -- Did some good cooking... and eating. We've been quite diligent about making a weekly menu and sticking to it! One of the best things about it is that we almost always plan to make more, packing up leftovers right away into lunch-size containers, ready to grab in the morning. That means that I have this delicious salmon with cherry tomatoes and basil (baked in a foil packet... thanks Mark Bittman) to enjoy again today!!

10 -- I labored... purposefully and as little as possible, but one still needs clean clothes and a balanced checkbook!

I hope your weekend was grand!


Labor Day Weekend Book Bingo Update

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Lookie there! Progress. And I ought to finish All The Light We Cannot See by the end of the holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, I finally made a decision about a new audio book -- one that wasn't even on the radar, of course. The Life We Bury is by Allen Eskens; it's not his first book, but it is his first novel. I'm only a few chapters in... and won't be surprised if that square also turns blue by the end of the weekend!

The book I chose to record for the "read aloud" square is Hairy Maclary's Caterwaul Caper, which Junah LOVED! He was especially tuned in and entertained by my excellent caterwauling and barking. Haha.


Woollelujah!

And now, a little shameless promotion.

Remember last year when we were given a nice fruit box gift at Christmas time from our auto repair place? Well, we may have reached the next level already this year! Gah.

Mama's gotta shake it...

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I didn't pick up the box that was delivered from Fringe Supply Co. until last night, so I didn't have to agonize over the wait!

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I stocked the shop this morning, right on time, on my way to work! Available now...

WOOLLELUJAH!! A brand new bag from Fringe Supply Co. -- and it's HUGE! $25. Limited in-stock supply.
- made and printed in USA
- available in blue
- sturdy 10 oz. 100% cotton canvas
- 1.5"-wide cotton webbing straps
- gusseted bottom sits flat
- 18" wide x 13" high x 9" deep

(There are also a few of the discontinued SHEEPMOJI bags still in stock! $20.)
(And one or two MAKING - No. 1 / FLORA magazines that are getting hard to come by. $20.)
Shoot me an email ( vknitorious @ gmail ) if there's anything you'd like... I'm happy to ship!
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#knitkonmari (1)

I gathered all of my cowls, shawls, and scarves the other day and threw them on the bed...

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...to do some sorting.

There's a Purge Pile, a Frog Pile, a Purgatory Pile, and a Keeper Pile.

A few of the Keepers have already been washed and are drying (the ones that are less intensive in terms of blocking). I have had great success using my front-loader's handwash cycle for handknits. The hard part is finding places for drying!

Here's the Frog Pile (so far):

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When you look at them this way...

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Or this way (ooo, I love this one!)...

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It might be hard to see any problems. But problems there are! I don't wear these shawls for one reason or another. I love the yarn, though, and I'd like to knit with it again! Here are the issues:

  • I'd made at least three Baktus scarves using Opal Hundertwasser yarn and had done some riffing, back in the day, with varied success. That orange-purple one, in particular, has a weird shape.

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  • I like the Argosy scarf (above), also in Opal Hundertwasser, but would like it better if it were less matchy, just a tad wider, and maybe a bit shorter -- this may be a straight-up re-do with aforementioned mods.

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  • Lakedale was knit with yarn I'd dyed at Old Maiden Aunt in Scotland. I want to like it, and I've tried, but I just can't with that super ruffly ruffle.
  • I'd knit a Simply Garter Shawl for my sister in Mountain Colors 4/8's wool. Wrong! The colors are great, but it's so... not right. Also, Sharon didn't like shawls.

Stay tuned for more #knitkonmari adventures... if I can take a break from PRISMA!


Weekending: Making Art

I went to the opening reception for multi-media artist Sara Willadsen's exhibition "Partly Heard Song" at The Draw in Appleton on Friday night; the exhibition runs through September 25th.

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Then on Saturday, I attended a workshop entitled "Deconstructed Collage" led by artist Mel Kolstad. I learned a few things four years ago when I took a collage class, and learned a few more things on Saturday morning. And I have some ideas!

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I meant to take a few more photos to show how my piece came together, but a bunch of undocumented stuff happened between the photos above and below!

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I sacrificed a ca. 1976 baby knitting booklet (blasphemy!) to the materials collection, along with what I'm guessing was a Chinese lesson book -- Rusty and I picked up a couple in San Francisco's Chinatown a few years ago.

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That's a table heaped with treasure! Napkins, magazines, labels, stamps, sewing patterns, an Italian newspaper, an old will, old prescription labels, invoices, ledgers, handwritten letters... so much wonderful stuff!

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Here's how mine ended up. It's 6" square. "Always use new and fresh yarn."

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The work space at Standard Projects is to die for. Lots of space, beautiful light -- and so much more -- housed in the former Hortonville Police Station which was built in 1952.

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This is Kate's piece; larger than mine, it's 8" square. So much to love. There's a part at top left, beneath the upside-down stag, that's a rubbing from the fire door between the work space and the garage at Standard Projects. Also BINGO!

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Kristi also used some rubbings from the door... and got caught up in a story.

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I really love the layering/weaving in Claire's piece.

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These two pieces are Mel's. She made the top one with us in class, and the bottom one was one of the very many things she made during her week-long residency at Standard Projects.

After the workshop, Katie and I found a place for lunch and then stopped at one of the larger thrift stores in the area. I haven't been in the acquiring mood lately, but a thrift store is the perfect place to look for collage materials! I bought an old pattern for $.12, and a biology book for $1. And also:

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A "Sunny Book" for Rusty... even though I was a little bit exasperated with him all weekend! This was too cute to pass up.


Bright spot

You know how sometimes you know something "bad" is coming and you brace yourself for the worst but it ends up not being not all that bad?

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A week ago last Tuesday, on Aug. 16th, the street in front of Ali's coffee shop was closed. Sewer & water line replacement means that the street will be closed/no thru-traffic for a total of 6-8 weeks.

So far, the weather has been pretty good and they seem to be moving right along. The sidewalks remain open, and the workers have been very good about keeping a public crosswalk in the middle of the block open as much as possible.

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It's dusty and dirty, but sometimes fascinating to watch. They've even dug up some treasures, including ties & rails from an old trolley system!

The most amazing thing, though (and, believe me, I'm knocking on wood), is that the impact on Ali's business hasn't been too bad. In fact, that first day, she had to deal with some not-so-good customer feedback because they were SO INCREDIBLY BUSY at lunchtime that a couple of orders got messed up. Even Rusty, whose studio is upstairs (so he's there a lot), commented on how busy they were and that people were lined up out the door!

There have been some not-stellar days, and there'll probably be more, but mostly it's been OK. She's been working for a while now on a plan for a big remodel and improvements to her kitchen -- the pieces are finally coming together -- and if nothing else, I think this shows that her business is worth the investment!

It's just so damn cool. It makes me so proud of my little city and its residents, so grateful for all of Ali's wonderful and loyal customers, and pleased as punch that she's built a business that's seemingly worth a little extra effort.

Seriously, there's a panzanella salad on the menu right now... SO WORTH IT. I could eat it everyday! It's especially delicious when Adam's making it and on his way out to the deck garden, he asks if purple or green basil is preferred. Mmmm.


Right now: August is waning

Anticipating... one more overseas departure. Maddy will be heading to New Zealand next month for a 9-month live/work adventure... emphasis on living, playing, and doing! I am so excited for her.

Itching... (still) to clean up my workroom and make progress on something... anything!

Knitting... I finished re-knitting the sleeves of Gin's Elwood sweater and they are so much better! Attention will now turn to LOLA.

Kvetching... about car/engine repairs. Bleh.

Looking forward to... Deconstructed Collage Workshop on Saturday morning. Artist Mel Kolstad will be just finishing a week-long residency at Standard Projects -- it's been fun to follow along. She is refreshed, renewed, inspired, and it ought to be a fun workshop.

Planning... a bit of travel myself. Not yet to Spain, nor to New Zealand (sadly, I doubt I'll make it to NZ at all due to time and expense... mostly time). It'll be a bit closer to home -- familiar, comfortable, restorative. More later.

Reading... I'm still reading (closing in on) All The Light We Cannot See.

I haven't had a chance yet to choose a new Audible book. I must make time for that this afternoon.

2016 BOTNS BBHere is my BINGO progress so far -- not much has changed since last time! I highly doubt I'll get a BINGO by Labor Day... so I'm shooting for Thanksgiving. (My card, my rules.)

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Sewing (mending)... I finally did a little Sashiko stitching! I'd recently re-over-dyed a couple pairs of Rusty's faded shorts to a much darker indigo and discovered a couple of small holes -- it seemed like a nice sized repair to begin with. It was cool to unfold the hank of thread, cut it, braid it, and draw out my working thread. My patching & stitching could have been better; because it's so small, I might call a re-do!

Watching... We recorded and watched some of the Olympics. It was fun for me to see a few familiar glimpses of Rio -- Copacabana, Ipanema, Dois Irmaos, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Selaron Steps -- including a little ad-segment about Cafeina! I deleted plenty of unwatched episodes on Monday, though... I'm just never gonna watch those now that it's over.

We've currently queued up STRANGER THINGS and it's as amazing as all those friends' posts on FB have recently led me to believe!

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?


Weekends, Farewells, KnitKonMari, and Other Stuff

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Weekend-before-last, we were invited to spend some time at a good friend's lake cottage. Annie & I took the boys on Sunday afternoon, and we had just the most wonderful time playing in the sand and water, going for boat and pontoon rides, eating, relaxing...

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My nephews made a couple of new friends and, with a week or less 'til departure, it was a great distraction!

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Saturday was departure day for my sis.

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I drove up to take her to the airport, but not before lots of hugs and kisses... and some photos.

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I can't believe how tall those boys are getting!

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The boys and their dad had a U-haul to finish packing, then left for Madison. They await their Tuesday departure -- and they have to be beyond excited now that Ann is in Valencia and at their apartment!

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I finished up a few projects on Sunday morning that I'd been neglecting these past few weeks, and that felt so good! I carried on and spent some time working on another long-term project, and then took a break for knitting.

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I am reworking the sleeves of Gin's little sweater. New sleeve pictured at left, old at right -- there is a VAST and VISIBLE difference in my gauge when switching from straights to DPNs, and it was driving me nuts.

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I had every size DPN in my arsenal except for US 9, so ordered a set in Majestic Wood from Knitpicks... and love how they coordinate with the sweater! I also love the pointier tips on those needles, compared to the bamboo I'd been using. 

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Though the daylight hours are shrinking, the weather has taken a decided turn for the better, and I'm anxious to get started washing my sweaters and shawls this week with the MDK Washalong.

Also, I can’t fit (stuff) any more shawls into the space where I keep them (a fabric shoe organizer in my closet). They’re not neat and orderly, oft-wrinkled, always falling out, and have begun accumulating in a couple of other areas of the house. I am sometimes having difficulty locating a desired shawl, and find that I am picking shawls up off the closet floor that I haven't worn in years. So, as I wash along, I'll also be doing a little KnitKonMari... applying to sweaters, also, as I haven't worn a pullover in I don't know how long (thanks menopause), and I just don't need the stress of keeping things I no longer use!

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It's time to vote, the polls are OPEN: Knitters' Hunk and Knitters' Chick is LIVE!


Washalong

Are you? Washing along with Mason-Dixon Knitting? Sweater season approaches! I haven't begun yet, but I certainly will. I've a cedar chest to fill!

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Last week, after Auntie Camp, we took the boys home... and hauled a trailer along so we could bring a few things back with us. One of those things was a cedar chest.

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Immediately after telling me that they're moving to Spain (which, admittedly, I met with stupefied silence), Annie blurted that I could have Grandma's cedar chest... FOR KEEPS!

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There's no contest, really... given a choice I'd much rather have my sister around than a cedar chest!

(But I did want a cedar chest and, in fact, have actively looked for one. They are elusive!)

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I "had it" when they were in Brazil... plump full of their stuff! Now it's empty, and it's mine... for keeps.

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I think it would be a good idea to wash (and mend) all of my sweaters (and shawls) before moving them to the cedar chest, don't you?

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My grandparents, Andrew & Marcella, were married in Rozellville, WI, in July 1929. It's possible that the cedar chest was my grandmother's hope chest (I'll have to see if my aunts know). If it wasn't, then I think it was given as a wedding gift. There are some similar design elements on their dining room set, and that I know was a wedding gift. I am intimately familiar with all of those dust-catching design elements, as many hours of my childhood were (unwillingly) devoted to dusting those pieces!


Abbreviated

My sister leaves for Spain a week from tomorrow, and the boys a few days later. "Crazy" doesn't even begin to describe what's been going on: cleaning out, donating, selling, storing, deciding. Does it get packed? Does it stay? Does it go?

Add in the simultaneous family farewells and at least one trip to the consulate in Chicago! Cray-cray!

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Meanwhile, Addy had a birthday last Monday! He was worried that it would be forgotten. No flippin' way! They happened to be on their way home from Madison that day, so we made plans for dinner. I set up a taco bar, which the kids loved. And baked a cake. Addy requested chocolate, so chocolate it was... one of the chocolate-iest cakes I've ever made. Seriously, the frosting looked like tar! It was so awesome. (Hershey's Special Dark cocoa is the secret ingredient -- recipe on the container. I used a 9x13 pan and baked it about :10 longer than specified. It was perfect.)

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This is 9 years + 1 hour. I'm not sure what the broom was about... something to do with Jün, though, I'm sure.

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We'd had another Aunty Camp scheduled for later in August, and the boys were both very concerned that it wouldn't happen at all. I was able to arrange my schedule a little bit, though, so they stayed overnight on Monday and we had "camp" on Tuesday morning!

We did "tie-dye" with Sharpie markers & rubbing alcohol.

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From the top: Mack's, Addy's, and a onesie that I made for Gin.

I wasn't intending for indigo dyeing to be part of this camp session, but the boys really wanted to do it. I had just enough time to mix up a quick 5-gallon vat while the t-shirts spun around in a hot dryer to set the ink.

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And then threw them into the washer on "quick cycle." They are wet, above, and the color a bit intense because of it.

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In a perfect world, I'd have let that ink set a bit longer -- or maybe set it with an iron -- because it did fade some in the washer. It's still pretty cool, though! And the boys were so happy.

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Detail of Addy's marker designs. He wasn't happy with how his name was working with the marker, but it turned out to be a wonderful element of the design!!

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They also tie-dyed a shirt for Jün!

I had previously done an experimental project on my own to get a feel for the Sharpie thing... and it turned out pretty hideous!

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Thankfully, indigo to the rescue!!

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There's already been some discussion about the next Aunty Camp! Who knows, maybe it'll be in Valencia! Based on discussion, it appears that indigo is an integral part of Aunty Camp, so I reassured the boys that we could do that anywhere! And they also request the return of knitting. LOVE!

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Fast and Fabulous!

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Nine and Eleven!
(I can hardly believe that.)


At our house

This is the scene, more or less, at our house lately.

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And down the street.

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Around the whole neighborhood, really, and even beyond. Some of the kids are having fun with it, anyway. It's all getting a bit tiresome, but that's nothing compared to what's foreshadowed by all this work. Ugh.

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They didn't dig up my Japanese fern... but it looks like *I* probably should have. Hanging in there so far.

Yeah. Me, too. Hanging in there so far...


Ten on Tuesday Update: Summer Bucket List

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things On My Summer Bucket List

Originally posted in June, let's see how's it going, shall we?

This summer, I want to:

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1 -- Play with Junah -- CHECK!
                Trains and water play are the favorites!

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2 -- Cuddle with Gin -- CHECK!
                Lots and lots. She's 3 months old today!! She's so happy and loves to smile, and to watch her big brother!

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3 -- Get a BINGO! -- not yet.
                I'm not sure whether it'll actually happen, but I've enjoyed some pretty great books while trying. I'm currently listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and loving it, and turning the pages of All The Light We Cannot See, which I am also enjoying. I'm at around the half-way mark of both books.

4 -- Sew a dress for Gin (and maybe one for me) -- CHECK! (and working on it)!
                Tops instead of dresses, though I do have a dress in my sights for Gin.

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5 -- Take a day trip to Door County -- not yet.
                But we did take a day trip to the northwoods last week, and had lunch at Little Bohemia!

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6 -- Stitch on my Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line Tunic -- CHECK!
                I'm not setting the world on fire, but I've been stitching now and then.

7 -- Finish Romi's 2016 "Mystery" Shawl -- not yet.

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8 -- Finish Kirsten's 2016 Mystery KAL Shawl (while it's still a mystery!) -- CHECK!
                I fell behind and didn't finish while it was still a mystery, but I didn't peek until the end, so it was still a mystery to me; and I finished in time to post in the Ravelry thread by the deadline for prizes. It felt good to meet a deadline!

9 -- Finish Ina's LOLA Sweater in time for late-summer/fall layering -- working on it.
                This was my project du jour at the last knit night, though, so a little progress has been made. I think it'll be my go-to project every knit night!

10 -- Go to the zoo! There's a nice, small zoo not far from us, and Jün is the perfect age! This would be fun to do along with my nephews, too. -- not yet.
                If it happens, it won't likely be with the nephews... they'll be off to Spain in 3-4 short weeks and there's lots to do!

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Meanwhile, I've also...

  • Attended two weddings as a guest and another as second photographer
  • Photographed an engagement session for a wedding coming up next month
  • Spent every Saturday morning since July 2nd at the farmer market or otherwise assisting
  • Had a nice 5-day get-away to the far north with kids & kiddos
  • Been more diligently working with Kate on menu planning and cooking
  • Come to grips with my sister's upcoming departure
  • Began weekly-ish mowing of Mom's lawn again while my stepdad is out of the country
  • Kept up with the laundry
  • Even occasionally swished the toilet bowl

FO: TTL Mystery Shawl 2016

If you think you haven't seen a finished knitting project around here in a while, you would be absolutely right. If you took a look around here, you'd think that this shawl was the ONLY finished object of 2016! In fact, it's the second*, though it is the only project so far that I both started & completed this year.

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This is my fourth Through The Loops Mystery Shawl!

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I had some issues... tinking back a few times to get back on track after dropping stitches.

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And I'm pretty sure there's an error or five to be found.

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But I loved knitting it and kept it a mystery, never peeking at spoiler photos after I fell behind -- until I got to the bind-off row, and then I took a look. I used a 5 US needle for the body of the shawl, but an 8 to bind off in order to get the stretch I wanted. I was tempted to knit a couple/few more rows of garter just before the bind off, too, but wasn't sure I had enough yarn. (Turns out, I had plenty... but I love it as is!)

*The first FO was Deep End IIwhich I began February 4th, 2015, while vacationing in Todos Santos, Mexico! I noted on Ravelry that I worked the sewn bind-off at the Madison Knit-In, which was Feb. 20-22 that year, but it took over a year to pick it up and weave in ends. I did that during the Rites of Spring Fiber Frolic, April 29-May 1. Gin was born May 2nd... and that explains both the lack of an FO post and the general lack of knitting altogether. I have been saying that the creative output so far this summer has been way down, but the cuddle quotient is WAY UP!


Yesterday

I had a hair appointment yesterday. My stylist, Kate, blew out and styled my hair so nicely... but with the temp (upper 80s) and dew point (72F -- that's TERRIBLE!), it wasn't long before the back of my neck was sweating and my hair was back in a very unglamorous ponytail! Whatever. A salon date always makes it a better day!!

The kids came over for a while in the afternoon while their momma was at a meeting.

There was some snoozing.

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Some exploring around the house and down the street.

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This is right in front of my house: DIG! Junah had fun identifying all the colors and made a game of jumping over some of the marks and lines (and getting me to jump around, too!).

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The gas line is being moved from under the street to under the sidewalk, with new connection to the meter -- it's happening all down the street, around the block, and in the entire neighborhood! It looks like I'm going to lose three nice old sidewalk blocks -- naturally, it can't be the newer ones that area already disintegrating. It's going to be a bit of a mess, but the actual work shouldn't take very long. I am assured that my plants will be OK. I know those guys with the diggers can be careful and precise when they want to be... we'll see.

There was laundry on the line.

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Someone loves it as much as I do. There'd be a breeze every once in a while, and everything would swish around -- even his hair would sort of blow up. So cute.

There's live music every Wednesday night at a park downtown. I can actually hear it just fine from my front porch, but it's nice to see it, too. Rod usually runs sound for these events, but last night one of his bands was also the headliner!

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Princess Gin was prepared! She didn't like the ear protection so much at first, but she got used to it. From glances I caught, some of the other kids in attendance seemed a little worried about what might be "wrong" with Gin that she had to wear such a weird thing.

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Just over 11 weeks old, there's absolutely nothing wrong with her!!


20 On Tuesday: Summer Camp & WI Songs

I missed last week because we were up north, but I really wanted to participate because I LOVED SUMMER CAMP! I went twice, with my cousin Gail, to a week-long YWCA-sponsored residence camp in Minnesota.

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Loved About Summer Camp

1 - Riding the Greyhound bus to camp. I did that at least once (my first solo travel!) from Appleton to Duluth, taking "the long way" (all those bus stops), and it took about 9 hours in my memory. On the return trip I forgot/lost my pillow on the bus.

2 - Horseback riding. "My" horse, both years, was a seemingly huge palomino named "Taffy." She was the sweetest & gentlest of all. I guess you'd call her a "rescue" now; she couldn't be tied up or she'd go nuts -- one can only surmise what that signaled to her. I loved learning how to saddle up and groom a horse!

2 - Arts & crafts time. Making lanyards and all that stuff.

3 - Swimming. Except that time I wandered into the weeds and had a giant leech on my leg.

4 - The kitchen staff. Not because the meals were memorable (or even all that good - I don't remember), but it was one of the cooks who ran out of the hall to save me from that leech!

5 - Archery. I was pretty good at it, too.

6 - Tetherball. It was for casual recreation, and there was always a game underway.

7 - Canoeing. That was likely my introduction to canoeing and learning how to paddle.

8 - Camp songs & campfires!

9 - Goofy games, skits & contests. I won the title of "Miss Ugly" in a pageant after my cabin-mates dolled me up... smearing toothpaste on my legs, teasing my hair to high heaven (no fun brushing that out), dressing me in all sorts of mismatched clothes... and for "talent," I sawed on my violin (which I had inexplicably brought along to camp) and shout/sang "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with no discernible tune nor key.

10 - Free time. You'd find me playing tetherball or reading in my bunk.

 

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Ten on Tuesday:  10 Songs "About" Where I Live

Hm. Well, Wisconsin...

1 - Cadillac Ranch - Bruce Springsteen (Drivin' alone through the Wisconsin night)

2a - Milwaukee, Here I Come - George Jones & Tammy Wynette

2b - or by Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton

3 - Wisconsin - Bon Iver

4 - My Cousin In Milwaukee - Ella Fitzgerald

5 - What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me) - Jerry Lee Lewis

6 - They're Not Tryin' On The Dance Floor - Jonathan Richman (Like Sheboygan or Eau Claire, they're just there)

Sure, there are a few other obscure songs that mention Wisconsin... but if you ever actually CAME to Wisconsin, say to Lambeau Field in Green Bay and attended a Packer game, you would most certainly hear these songs (among others), so by association...

7 - Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones (kick off)

8 - Bang The Drum All Day - Todd Rundgren (TOUCHDOWN!)

9 - Beer Barrel Polka / Roll Out The Barrel (start of the 4th quarter)

10 - I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas (WIN)

True, it is not guaranteed that you'd hear #10, but we certainly hope so! (How can it be that the Packers' first pre-season game is less than 3 weeks away???)


A few days up north

We'd been looking forward to it for weeks! My uncle was going to be away for a few weeks and offered his cabin to us. It's been a while since we've been up north at the height of summer, and we jumped at the chance. Rusty was in CA helping a friend with a kitchen remodel, and Rod had some gigs and also continued work on the "coffee camper," so it was just us girls and Jün for five days & nights!

There was canoeing, kayaking, walking, and hiking.

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And also a little bit of running (moi!) after Jün accidentally disturbed some bees and got stung a couple of times!

Trains are the big thing occupying Junebean these days -- the old Brio track & train that was his mother's & aunts', with the addition of THOMAS and PERCY... and oh, my, does he love those engines! He also had some THOMAS DVDs, which we watched a few times, and his book bag with some of his favorite books... including THOMAS! I had a very enjoyable time one evening listening to his momma read him stories at bedtime.

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Gin & Jün are starting to interact a little bit... it's going to be so fun to watch them grow together!

There was some hammock time (who knew that was so comfortable?)!

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And plenty of playing-in-the-water time.

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There was lots of great cooking and eating, everyone pitching in and... I don't think I even lifted a finger in the kitchen 'til Day 3. We made "camp food" one night with Maddy's direction and assistance... tin foil packets of ground beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, and lots of butter... sort of like pasties without the crust. So good. I ate every crumb.

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And leaving plenty of room for s'mores! It's been ages since I've had one (so I had more than one!).

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I didn't try it myself, but in case you're wondering, the addition of the chocolate covered pretzel crisp was deemed "too crispy!"

There was even laundry. Ali uses cloth diapers most of the time, and Gin is a frequent spitter-upper, so there was need. We filled two clotheslines... plus the dog lead! Thankfully, all of those diapers have inserts and covers with snaps, so I snapped them on the line, or we'd have run out of pins for sure!

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And there was an awful lot of this... lake- and sky-watching.

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And some obvious favorite subjects & angles.

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Every day is different!

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Maddy camped out in her tent, driven in only once by thunderstorms and torrential rain! Luckily, our days were mostly dry... if a little warm (though not as warm as predicted, so YAY!).

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We came home to some surprising, gut-wrenching & scary news that isn't mine to share and that I find rather sad, desperate & embarrassing, but am afraid will be inescapable, and so I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it. Ugh. It makes for a rather worried & moody Vicki.

We also came home to the surprising, heart-wrenching & exciting news (even if it's taken a while for the shock to subside and excitement to sink in) that my sister and her family are moving to SPAIN... in 5 weeks!!

Bitter, bitter, bittersweet.

Watch this space for a future Mediterranean vacation!


Li'l Gin's Geranium

Determined to get something made over the holiday weekend -- which, for me, was 4 days long (so what's the problem?) -- I cut out an Alabama Chanin A-line Tunic on Monday. I'd picked up the remaining yardage on a bolt of black & white printed cotton jersey with just that in mind on my one and only trip to Hancock Fabric's going-out-of-business sale. Playing it by ear, I hadn't given much thought to some of the other options and design elements, but when Ina wrote, "Calls for white armhole trim!" Well, of course it did... and, naturally, I didn't have any "white" jersey in the correct shade.

Bump in the road.

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Still... determined... I eyeballed the remainders and decided that I had enough to make a little dress/top for Gin!

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So I did!!

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It's the darling Little Geranium Dress (a free download) from made by rae!

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The pattern wasn't intended for knit fabric... but don't fret, Gin, Nona made it work!

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The bodice is fully lined, and Ali used the new snap pliers (also a Hancock score) to add some black pearl snaps at the back.

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It was finished on Tuesday, just in time to wear to her cousin's 7th birthday party!

Meanwhile:

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I've had a hard time with focus lately, but managing to move forward!


Right now: July

Anticipating... our first Farmers Market of the season tomorrow morning! It started a few weeks ago, but we've all been on leave.

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Baby Barista will likely be in tow!

Celebrating... 4th of July weekend! Well, it'll be a very low-key celebration 'round here. But YAY! The work schedule has shifted a bit, so I'll have another 4-day weekend, too.

Drinking... Iced SPORTea, coffee, water, and G&T -- St. George Terroir in the mix at the moment.

Enjoying... Summer. It's been pretty nice so far, and now that the busy-ness of June is over... I really can start to enjoy it more!

Itching... (perpetually) to clean up my workroom and make progress on something... anything!

Knitting... The TTL Mystery Shawl has been a challenge this year due to issues with time and concentration. More than a few backward steps involved in this one... but moving forward at the moment!

Looking Forward To... A few days up north, after the 4th, with the girls and the babies!

Reading... I'm reading All The Light We Cannot See in book form, so it's slow going, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit -- and hoping that above-mentioned time up north with allow some extra reading time!

I was a little surprised -- and disappointed -- this morning to already hear the end of Lab Girl... which is, sadly, now no longer my "current" Audible book. I really enjoyed that book! And I'm sad that it's over. I had an inkling that I'd like it, based on description and reviews that I'd read, but had no idea how much I'd LOVE it! I especially loved listening to it being read by the author*; born and raised in Minnesota, of Scandinavian heritage -- so familiar with the details and nuances of her speech and delivery -- it was like listening to a friend or a family member.

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Here is my progress so far -- I'm excited to be close to BINGO two ways! Next order of business: a new audio book... possibly one that is borrowed from the library!

Sewing... Oh, man... not much. I carry around the Magdalena A-line Top that I stenciled a while ago and began sewing, but it has barely seen the light of day. I will bring it up north, along with the visible mending that I'd like to in Sashiko (first and last mentioned a month ago!) (crazy June!).

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Watching... there hasn't been a lot of that lately. And when I have watched something, it's been in total ZONE OUT mode, so I don't even remember. There have been some pretty sunsets lately, though.

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?


Yesterday's Parties

 

It was a party last Wednesday when I took Jün to see the NEW Zoo Mobile at the library, and then we played with some of the fun stuff there (never even making it over to the main play area!).

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It was a party on Friday night at Match Factory for the opening of Matthew Bakkom's installation: Yesterday's Parties.

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It was a (simple, elegant & stunning) party on Saturday night when I assisted my niece in photographing a wedding; the reception held at the beautiful Warch Campus Center at Lawrence University.

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It was a party on Sunday morning when Jena came over and met her first cousin once-removed Gin for the first time!

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And later, when I took Jün to the grocery store and he spotted a balloon that looked like "Nemo!"

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It was a party when I spotted the first baby tomatoes on the deck!

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It was a party last night at Movie Night at the library. We got sprinkled on a little bit, and then this:

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It's party all the time!! Hope you had a great weekend, too!


Artsy

Way back on the 14th -- a Tuesday -- I got off of work a little early and Kate & I jumped in the car and drove to Madison. Rusty had already been there for a couple of days, and still had another before returning home.

The big event was the opening reception for "Floating On Waves," the 2016 Summer Art Showcase at Promega; a cultural exchange exhibition celebrating artistic & personal relationships forged over the past 16 years between professional artists in Japan and Wisconsin. There were 10 Japanese artists in attendance, and six from Wisconsin -- Rusty was among them. It was 11 years ago that we hosted an artist in our home, as part of this exchange, and exactly three years ago that Rusty was in Japan!

(I've re-formatted a couple of posts from the 2005 visit if you'd like to time travel. There was a kimono show and Rusty modeled! It was interesting to read my then-thoughts & feelings -- pre-Alabama Chanin thoughts & feelings -- about the time and emotion invested in selecting, dyeing, sewing, and embroidering such a garment! My work barely measures a blip in comparison, but I get it even more now!)

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Dripping 2

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Dripping 1

These etchings by Sohee Kim are my hands-down favorites, and I wonder when I'll hit upon the justification for purchasing one! My wheels are turning.

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detail: Dripping 1

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Fascinating work! Whimsical, thoughtful, I can't stop thinking about it!

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I also enjoyed the work of Nanami Ishihara.

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detail: Crisis Call - Day Breaks

And Kanako Akiyama. Mesmerizing!

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Waves

This amazing wool & mohair weaving is by our friend Pat Filzen, who primarily uses wool from her own sheep in her work!

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Beautiful view from the rooftop terrace at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center.

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I also got a kick out of the view of this lab -- from the "ghosts" to the school kids' science-art-models.

Over the days that followed, there were artist activities and tours in the Madison area, then many of them made their way to NE Wisconsin... for more activities and tours.

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We met at Pat's house on both Sunday and Monday nights. (Pat and her husband moved 2 years ago from a farmette in the country that I would die for, into this ca. 1952 treasure of a house, complete with original pink ceramic-tiled bathrooms and a new custom kitchen, that I would die for all over again!)

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The "cultural exchange" continued with things like playing croquet...

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...and sharing meals, including grilled bratwurst and a fantastic selection of Wisconsin cheeses, among other things.

We also sampled some amazing sushi made for us by one of the visitors.

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Many years ago, Rusty and I went to Artexpo New York where he was approached by a company from Japan that was interested in using some of his images for jigsaw puzzles. Eventually, terms were agreed upon and about a half-dozen puzzles were issued, ranging in size from 500 pieces to 2014! He was given a small number of each as part of the agreement and they have been slowly, carefully distributed over the years.

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A small sampling remains and the 500-piece Reading Porch was subject of another cultural exchange! And what a hoot. Everyone got in on the action, beginning Sunday night...

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...and finished by Monday night!

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The kids and I have done a few of these puzzles over the years, but Rusty had never worked on one before!

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Clean windows!

Tonight it's the Grand Opening of Match Factory with Yesterday's Parties, by Madison-based artist Matthew Bakkom, and I cannot wait! I had the tiniest of previews of this experimental installation yesterday while I did my Kate's-got-a-gallery-opening thing and cleaned the windows! I can't wait to see it.

Tomorrow, I'm second-shooting a wedding with my niece!!

Life is full and busy and good... but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to a little downtime!


Another weekend, another wedding!

Packed, dressed, waiting for our ride on Saturday morning!

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Here are two of our four travel companions (the youngest in a rare quiet moment... she was not a happy Saturday traveler).

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It was a beautiful day at Virmond Park in Mequon, WI.

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...a nice day for a wedding! My cousin Jody + Donald! We're on a very high, beautiful bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

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Virginia was introduced to her Great Grand Aunt Marilyn (mother of the bride) (and daughter of Gin's namesake) and Great Aunt Karen (cousin of the bride).

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Between the ceremony and reception, there was time to check in at the hotel (Four Points by Sheraton) and even take a pool(s) break -- indoor & out! Both were quite lovely.

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Wedding_20160618_153003
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The reception was a blast. Gin was lulled by the hum of happiness.

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And had plenty of cuddle time with her great aunties!

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Though were were seated at neighboring tables, it wasn't quite close enough to the boys for Junah... so we squeezed him in between Mack & Addy.

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Sisters! (And cousins of the bride.)

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Beautiful view at Ozaukee Country Club. If you look carefully, you'll see the bride+groom and photographer in the later photo (click for big!).

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Wedding_20160618_200122

Peaceful sleep the entire way home on Sunday.

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Jün spent a couple of hours at my house in the afternoon, making sure the plants were watered! (Best use of rain barrel!)

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Darn good weekend.


Friday!

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My lavender is doing very well this year and I'm looking forward to harvesting some for flavoring/baking, and perhaps also to make a few lavender wands. The tomatoes are sending out flowers of hope, too, and I can't wait for fresh ripe tomatoes straight from the back yard!

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A-line_20150617_101226

Timehop reminds me that it was a year ago today that I cut and began stitching my Catamount Tunic! I was pretty single-minded about that for a while... until it was done.

There's such a big difference already between last summer and this in terms of doing creative things... this summer feels off in that department. I haven't been able to get anything going, mostly because of time not being my own. I don't begrudge for a second any of the time I spend with my grandkids -- au contraire! It's other stuff -- the weather, work schedule, social schedule -- nothing's lining up in a beneficial way. I'm not sure that it will. Meanwhile, I keep practicing deep breathing, knitting a row when I can, taking a few stitches now and then.

I am reading more than I have in ages, and that's a plus... thank you Audible!

We're off to the Milwaukee area tomorrow for my cousin Jody's wedding. Karen and Ann will be there, too, and I'm looking forward to some fun!!