Auntie Camp 2018 - Tie Dye!

This is the first year in four that we didn't break out the indigo but don't worry, there was plenty of dye sloshing around!

The first step was to set up the garage. Thank goodness the weather improved a bit with slightly cooler temperatures and a lot less humidity. I cut open some large trash bags, taped them to the work surfaces, and made sure we had plenty of paper towels!

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Next, we had to prep all the items that we wanted to die. We used rubber bands, string, marbles, and even a bamboo tiki torch to wrap a shirt around (because I couldn't find anything else pipe-like in a pinch) to twist, fold, and bunch up the fabric as desired/hoped.

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Junah joined us this year...

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When I put aprons on the boys, one of them remarked that they looked like doctors. When I gloved them up, Addie said, "Yeah, we're doctors of art!"

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Jün wasn't really all that into the process, but he was more than content to be hanging around... riding his bike, and coming in to check on Mack & Addie from time to time. I rather left the big boys to their own devices because a) they've done this before, b) we dyed a lot more than last year, and c) I was mostly busy just wrapping things up to cure!

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There were six adult shirts, seven for Gin/Jun, three onesies in a couple of sizes, and six for Mack & Addie!

Once wrapped, it was all left to cure for approx. 24 hours.

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It's a blast to unwrap everything. I hosed off as much excess dye as I could, first just as it's unwrapped and then when unbound... and, man, there is a LOT of excess dye! Then everything is tossed into the washer...

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...I ran four cycles in hot water and with Color Catchers (lots and lots of color catchers... thankfully, Kate was running errands and brought more)! I laid it all out on my bed yesterday morning so the boys could paw through and admire their work.

Here are a couple of faves (I think I did these):

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A onesie, a swirl shirt Gin/Jün size, front & back of another Gin/Jün size.
It's almost impossible to keep track of who did what...

Then we had some modeling and photos yesterday morning before Ann & family headed to Madison for the boys' Nana's 96th birthday party!

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They're packing up and getting things done today, heading to Chicago on Tuesday to board their flight to Spain, where they'll arrive on Wednesday! We won't see them state-side again until Christmas... and I miss them already. It was a fun visit!

Ali came over later with the kiddos and they modeled, too!

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Maybe you can see Ginny where already made her own mark on the one she's wearing... after finding a spray bottle of bleach/water that I had under the sink! (Uh-oh, Grandma's obviously slacking in the childproof department.)

We did a lot more than this at Auntie Camp... another post or two or three is in the works!


3TT: One stitch at a time...

...sometimes forward, sometimes backward!

This photo was snapped last night when I was half-way through tinking a row!

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It's my Savage Heart Cardigan (1) and as of last night, the first half is finished! Next, I need to find a spare needle while I get to work on the second half!

Summer Camp II (2) has also seen the light of recent days (though not a camera) and I'm just about ready to begin the bind off!

And swatching... I went up a needle size and made another swatch for my Rhinebeck Sweater (3).

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That did the trick! Meanwhile, I think I've changed my mind about the pattern I want to knit -- same gauge, though, so whew!

 That's a little knitting update, 3TT style... visit Carole for more "Three Things on Thursday" posts!


Un- (and re-) raveled: TTL Mystery Shawl 2018

Joining Kat & the Unravelers...

KNITTING

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It's an FO and, oh, I couldn't be happier!

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There are sections of this shawl that are "true lace" -- at least what I've come to know as that, meaning that there is stitch manipulation on both wrong- & right-side rows, not just purling across the wrong side -- and my first time ever knitting "true lace"!

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It was truly a joy to knit along on this project and I think a big reason for that was the slower pace, with clues released over a period of six weeks.

I knit as usual... risky! I never used a lifeline, and didn't add stitch markers until the end -- and thank goodness because they really helped when those few stitches got away from me last week.

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There was an optional extended version for people with an extra bit of yarn, and that is what I did.

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The bind-off was a pretty little picot-like flower, and I used a stretchy (k2tbl) bind-off for the stitches between the flowers, so it blocked out quite large. I was fairly vigorous with the blocking, but I didn't take it as far as I could have. I love the shape! This would be beautiful in one color, and would make a lovely wedding shawl.

READING

Same as last time (from the slowest reader in the west): The Best Cook in the World: Tales From my Momma's Table by Rick Bragg, and getting close to the end of Calypso (audio) by David Sedaris.


Going with it...

I enjoyed a fairly productive and relatively quiet weekend. It's been a busy summer and that will continue right to the end; Auntie Camp next weekend before Ann & fam return to Spain, and a send-off for Maddy & Viv the following weekend before they set off road-tripping their way to Oregon for the vintage.

On Friday night, I noticed that my internet was super slow, so I called and spent a good half-hour on the phone with a very nice customer service rep; in the end, it was determined that I needed a new modem. I could have waited until late Saturday night for a house call, but decided to just go and do it myself on Saturday morning. I've been meaning to go in & discuss my service, anyway. So I did that... and now we no longer have a home phone! It's the end of an era. It had always been cheaper to bundle service, so we've had an active phone number, but haven't actually had a phone connected for months (we haven't had cable TV in 7-8 years), but the pricing structure has changed and now I'm saving a whole lotta money every month.

Ali asked me to come down to the market at noon and watch Malina for a bit while she closed up the Coffee Camper.

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So I got to hang out with this little chickie for a while... she enjoyed some diaper-free wiggling in the shade!

Incidentally, on Sunday, I was putting a few things away and ran across this photo of Ali:

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She must be just about the same age that Malina is now! I've sent it to her and am hoping for a recreation of this photo...

Maddy came home on Saturday afternoon to crash a wedding with friends. We made a lovely dinner together before she headed off.

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I fixed my knitting and bound off while marathon watching The Wrong Mans, which I enjoyed quite a lot! Who mentioned that program? I feel like I read about it on a blog but I can't remember whose!

So, a busy Sunday began with soaking and pinning out my 2018 TTL Mystery Shawl:

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I'll save the pretty FO photos for a separate post (I still have to take some pretty FO photos).

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There's a peek, unblocked. Let's just say that IT'S HUGE (that's a double bed up there) and I LOVE IT!

Then I ran a bunch of errands... getting a tire fixed on Ginny's bike, picking up clogged drain stuff, dropping off some donation stuff, and also taking a few boxes to the girls' storage unit. When I came home, I unclogged a couple of slow drains, did a bunch of laundry, started cleaning up the garage (site of some future Auntie Camp activities), and bleached a shirt.

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Someone had shared some photos of this discharge technique on The School of Making's FB page last week and I was excited to try it! I made a 2:1 water/bleach mixture in a spray bottle and used my Alabama Chanin Magdalena stencil. I laid my shirt out on the sidewalk, arranged the stencil, lightly sprayed, and watched the magic happen! I was working on the sidewalk right by the hose & just hosed everything off after a couple of minutes. It doesn't take long to work! Upon further reading, I might have used something to stop the bleaching action... we'll see how this fares in the long run (it is a fairly fine cotton knit). I had nothing between the layers and it did not soak through... except one little spot where I sprayed quite a bit as I got started (...is it working??). You can make out a little overspray on the inside back and even that didn't go through! I hung both the stencil and the shirt on the line and sprayed/rinsed them even more. Next time, I'll blot the stencil before moving it (there are a few drippy spots) (which I actually like)... live & learn. It was super quick to do and now I want to BLEACH ALL THE THINGS!!

And before I go...

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There was a company picnic at the baseball park on Thursday evening. This photo of Junah was shared on Friday, the "Play Ball Kid" who didn't wanna! This just cracks me up... it is SO Junah! I believe we're all looking at a coach in the dugout who was trying to coax Junah into cooperating with the promise of a baseball. Um, it didn't work. Poor kid. For a 4yo, it was a very long & boring wait to get to this moment; he did phenomenally well, but had fallen just a few minutes prior to this and skinned his knee. The rest of the evening was fabulous, though.

I hope you had a great weekend!


Unraveled / 3TT: Macrame / Eye Candy Friday

Doing an all-in-one post this week!!

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Joining Kat & the Unravelers...

KNITTING

I washed my Rhinebeck Sweater gauge swatches, and the numbers didn't really change much.

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I'm going to try going up a needle size and see what happens. Stitch count is spot on, but rows are significantly off and there's a fair bit of shaping in the sweater that I currently have in mind. I suppose I could do a little math/calculating... that takes a pretty specific frame of mind that's definitely not my normal frame of mind. Haha. Loving how that yarn is knitting up, though, and I'm determined to use it!

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The TTL Mystery Shawl is still waiting to be fixed. (I hope I can fix it!)

READING

I am still reading The Best Cook in the World: Tales From my Momma's Table by Rick Bragg, and listening to Calypso by David Sedaris, and enjoying them both quite a lot! I would say that memoir is my favorite genre, so that's really no big surprise.

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Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday...

After threatening to do it -- and wanting to do it -- for years, I finally did a little macramé! Three photos:

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I recently bought new curtains for the front room & love how much lighter & brighter & less lacey it is. I keep noticing -- and keep forgetting -- to remove the price tag from the panel on the front door! Or I could just channel Minnie Pearl...
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It's not always the most photogenic of crafts, y'know? This was very simple, completely made up/from memory, and the very best thing was Kate's reaction when I took it upstairs. You just made that? Like, just now?? 

I did, even though there are a few other things I currently vying for attention (such as fixing dropped stitches on my TTL Mystery Shawl, hemming my Gypsum Skirt, sewing up another Geranium Dress)... I might do macramé with the boys for Auntie Camp (Aug. 17-18!~) and figured I should make sure I still had the skillz.

I do. It's like riding a bicycle!

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Aside...

While I was up on Kate's porch, I noticed the pergola. I've been up there many times over the last few years, but never just hanging out, so it was cool to take in the view from a different angle.

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Not bad, I thought. Then I noticed it again after the lights came on at dusk.

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These would look good on the Airbnb listing!

Not kidding! Also, not ready for lodgers -- yet! As established, Kate's renting the upstairs apartment, but she already knows that she's going to be gone for chunks of time -- some significant -- and it actually occurred to us both, separately, that Airbnb could be an option. Now that we've found ourselves on the same page, it's a rather exciting concept, and I'm thinking about it a lot. I don't really know how much demand there is in my area, but being only 20 miles from Lambeau Field is a definite plus... and it's been interesting to think of our house/property/location in terms of "selling it." We're excited to give it a go... sometime (there are a few things that need to be done first)!

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Eye Candy Friday...

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Those are just two of some achingly sweet photos that Ali shared on Wednesday afternoon. Lordy, I'm a lucky one...

Happy Weekend!!


Weekending: Family

I helped Kate move some big stuff (specifically, her mattress) from the storage unit to the apartment, so Maddy could take over the guest room over the weekend. There are still a few big things to move, but the weather's been awful and Kate needs to return the borrowed truck... because she's leaving this week on a road trip to L.A. with a friend.

(There is no moss growing under that girl.)

(Any of my girls.)

The weekend was largely spent in the company of this crew, give or take...

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That's not the best photo, technically speaking, but the SMILES show through loud & clear... and that makes it THE BEST! We sure have fun together... and, yes, Mack is still completely smitten with that baby. He & Addie had a great week at camp, and Ann & Brian enjoyed their time away in NOLA!

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Maddy had an excellent adventure with her campers, in & around the Apostle Islands for nearly two weeks, and it was so great to see her so happy & relaxed. They had great weather except for one day, and they had three bear encounters all on one day... YIKES! Get it over with!! She's bound for Oregon in 3 short weeks!

On Sunday, Kate & Al took the boys to see Christopher Robin. (They liked it... was a bit melancholy.) It was Junah's first experience at the theater since our unsuccessful go at Cars 3 over a year ago. At one point yesterday, Ali wrote, "Two potty breaks and one drink refill so far... never got so much exercise at a movie!" Haha.

Annie & I took charge of the girls for those few hours!

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We took a walk, played with blocks, read some books... Annie napped with Malina... it was really great!

Despite the busy weekend, I managed to get a little "me" time, too.

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I cast on and started auditioning/swatching my Rhinebeck Sweater! I've finished one of two swatches and still need to block, but stitch gauge is spot on so far... not so much with the row gauge. I'll need to figure out how crucial and/or what adjustments to make on this particular sweater... or choose a different one!

Apparently over-excited about how close I am to the bind-off, I dropped a section of stitches on the TTL Shawl late last night -- too late to really even think about fixing it (I think I can fix it); hopefully, that will get back on track this evening.

I never got around to adding the pockets to my FAME dress, either, but it's on the short list for Wednesday!

Ann & family are back in Madison for the next 10 days; then return for a final few days mid-August before their departure for Spain on the 21st. WHOOSH!

 


Right Now: August

Well, after we take one last 31-second (or so) look at July, here's what's happening in August...

Anticipating... another weekend with Maddy in the house! She's returned after two weeks incommunicado while paddling & camping in the Apostle Islands, and will be home this evening in time for supper.

Celebrating... Addison's 11th birthday next week! Can you believe it??

Excited about... pre-ordering Katrina Rodabaugh's Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim & More. I've been following Katrina on IG for quite a while and have no doubt that this is going to be some book!

Inspired by... I'm not super into online groups or forums, but I was invited a while ago to a group on FB called "The School of Making Stitchalong," started/moderated by employees of Alabama Chanin/The School of Making, and it's a pretty lively group of talented & creative people!

Itching... to rearrange my workroom. Despite what I just wrote about online groups, I've also been following "Sewing Room Ideas" and, while some many of those people are way more hard-core than me (gigantic rooms, thousands of dollars in machines of various types, enough fabric/thread to start a shop), there are lots of practical tips for storage, organizing, and maximizing space. (I don't know what these people did before IKEA!) There are also enough real posts to make me feel right at home & not alone. Heh.

Knitting... I have continued to suffer from tendonitis, though feel that it's truly, slowly, improving overall -- finally! I've begun doing some specific exercises (thanks to Kim asking the question on FB and also some helpful YouTube videos) and they are helping. I've also been paying much more attention to my posture & position while knitting and, thankfully, the pace of Kirsten's 2018 TTL Mystery Shawl has been very relaxed with the clues released over a period of six weeks. Anyway, all that to say that I am knitting and have kept up, for the most part, so the finish is... still a little ways off but in sight!

Looking forward to... going to a baseball game with Junah next week!

Needing... to pack up the stuff I'd moved out to the garage and get it ready for Auntie Camp!

Planning... this year, we'll be tie-dyeing t-shirts again, and making macramé plant hangers and/or doing some simple weaving. And it might be Sister Camp, as well!

Reading/Pages... The Best Cook in the World: Tales From my Momma's Table by Rick Bragg. I just read about how to make hog jowls and collard greens. Yep.

Reading/Audio... Calypso by David Sedaris.

Sewing... I plan to sew those in-seam pockets in my FAME dress over the weekend. And possibly start another dress! The sew/vac repair shop across the street from Ali's coffee shop has another location where they sell fabric & machines -- Baby Lock is the brand they carry -- and I stopped by on Tuesday night to take a look. There are one or two contenders from the four or five in my price range. Holy cow.

Watching... did you catch the premiere of Making It hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman?? I enjoyed it, am glad I don't have to judge, and didn't expect to cry.

Wondering... What's up in your world?


3TT: The

The Wisconsin State Capitol:

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The Orpheum:

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The National:

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It was a great concert on Tuesday night, preceded by cocktails at Merchant and pizzas at Lucille. I can't remember the last time I didn't get to bed until 2:00 am, though that was the norm back in the day and I'm sure I'd easily revert to that again if I didn't have a 9-to-5 (or 7-to-4-or-5, as it were).

For more Three on Thursday posts, check out Carole and friends...


Obsessed?

Maybe.

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I cut a wedge at each underarm last night and sewed them back up.

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It isn't perfect but oh, man, what an improvement! The sleeves "feel" better and there's a lot less bulk. I may have cut just a wee bit more than ideal, but this is all totally off the cuff and, given that, I'm thrilled.

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I wore t-shirts a lot back in the day (these days, not so much), and ALWAYS with a cuffed sleeve.

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Those original gigantic sleeves were a challenge, but the new version works great!

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I also felled/embellished the seam. I chose Laced Double Straight Stitch in two colors from Natalie Chanin's The Geometry of Hand-Sewing -- it reminded me of "sound waves," and that was just about perfect for this project. If I were to do this again, I'd consider switching the colors (LEARNING THINGS)!

And now I want to add SIDE POCKETS! It's practically screaming for them, don't you think?


Mojo rising

It's not skyrocketing, but I'm feeling a bit more "with it" and energetic!

I spent a few hours on both Saturday & Sunday mornings in the upstairs apartment, mainly here:

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I took a "before" photo, too, but you'd have to look real hard to see the difference. I asked myself why I would pay someone to clean my arguably less icky bathroom/house but tackle this myself and the best answer I could come up with is that I didn't have to move stuff in order to do it. It was "cleaned out" even if it wasn't exactly hitting the "clean" standard I'd have liked. Anyway, it's fine and coming along, and I do take great satisfaction in doing a good job. (Thanks, Mom!)

Had I not made a thousand trips in/out the back door and up/down the outside stairs, I might not have noticed the extraordinary number of "bees" flying around. I don't know exactly what variety of flying things they are, but having discovered that they're flying in and out of MY HOUSE -- they gotta go! Meanwhile, apparently more aware, I found another spot with a ton of activity and... NO THANK YOU! The guy at the hardware store told me that I could totally take care of that myself and gave me some stuff. As I was reading the label/directions last night, it was all about fleas & ticks... not a single mention of anything "bee-like." Um. No. I took that as my sign to call a pro!

Ali brought the baby over after the market. I haven't had her all to myself in a while!

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We took a recliner nap together.

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A little while later, we were playing on the floor and I thought I'd roll her over for a bit of tummy time... and she zonked out! It was only for a few minutes, but long enough to do a row or two on my mystery shawl. (I'm more than half-way on the final border section, then it'll be fancy bind-off time.)

When Ali came to get Malina, she had Junah along.

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We went out for burgers & fries, walking over to the video store afterward, where he found these awesome Groot sunglasses (also a mouthful of gumball).

In the mode (and also, clean begets clean), I spent a little time on Sunday cleaning up & organizing my workroom, and then I sat down to tackle a little project that's been on my mind for a month.

I'd spotted a perfect-for-the-venue dress at a local outdoor music event, and Kinneared a photo:

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I eventually spoke with her -- I couldn't let her get away without asking about that dress! No, she said, she didn't make it... bought it in Texas or someplace. Well, I knew that someone sure as heck made that dress -- and I was sure gonna try!

I had already pawed through the stash and found a couple of likely suspects for such a garment, then ordered same size/brand coordinating t-shirts; they arrived on Saturday and I threw it all into the washer so it would all be ready when I was.

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My original thought was to sew together my Frankendress by machine, but then I realized what I was doing! I bought this shirt last November when I was in Florence, AL, with Kym for the Alabama Chanin 3-Day Workshop! One of my favorite "extras" on that trip was Judy Hood's Swampette Tour of Muscle Shoals music venues, and I bought the shirt at FAME Studios. It seemed sacrilegious to put it under the presser foot -- it had to be sewn by hand!

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I've since pressed that seam and it looks much better. I will eventually fell & embellish it; I found the perfect stitch in The Geometry of Hand-Sewing. AND I will cut/re-size those sleeves. Holy moly. Mine's a little more oversized than the model, but I love the super-relaxed fit, otherwise!

I hope you had a great weekend!


Off my game

Welp, this week has been all about RECHARGE, I guess! Last weekend was full & busy & fun, for sure... there's been a lot going on behind the scenes around here, as well!

Alison & her family have moved to the in-laws' house in the country. It's a good thing, overall... but now instead of a mile from my house to theirs, it's more like 10. In a direction opposite the usual. There won't be any more spontaneous "swinging by" or "running over" and, not gonna lie, I felt a wave of sadness as I made that realization. There will be some adjusting for sure. On all their parts, too, and arguably way MORE adjusting than me. We can still visit/meet up within minutes! So I'll stop whining. 

Almost five years ago, for the first time in over 20 years, we welcomed tenants -- two young women -- into our upstairs apartment. In that time, there's been one consistent tenant (even if she wasn't always physically in residence), and various roomies in and out. As of Tuesday, we have a vacant apartment!! And there's some work to do.

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Originally, I was just going to hire Kate to re-paint the kitchen -- this paint job is Alison's from when she was in residence up there -- but she's actually going to be our new tenant, too!

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I'll still "hire" her to do some work, including an eventual re-do of the bathroom, and even though her rent will be far lower even than what we're used to (which was already pretty low), I'm happy & relieved to have "someone I know" up there. Our experience with the last "roomies" up there was not good; let's just say that we learned a lot, but we're still feeling a sting.

Well, anyway, Kate has begun to move a few boxes from the storage unit, but will be taking a little trip over to Michigan this weekend, and I'll get my work done upstairs while she's gone. She'll be back on Tuesday, for sure, in time to head to Madison with me to see THE NATIONAL concert at The Orpheum!

Meanwhile, I've been working on the TTL Mystery Shawl and LOVING IT! I'm set to resume this evening with the final clue (probably the extended version). Maybe I'll have an FO to show next week!

I've begun listening to David Sedaris' Calypso, which I am also loving. A lot!

There is still much on my Summer To-Do List... I can't believe we're ticking off the last days of July already! Finally, the weather is a bit more reasonable, though, and it's nice to be outside.

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Weekending: Fun Fun Fun

When you feel as though you had a 3-day weekend when it was actually just the normal 2-day variety, and that said weekend was largely spent with a (clean) houseful of people, including a 4mo, 2yo, 4yo, 11yo & 13yo, along with various adults, and that the weather wasn't always great -- and not to say that I wasn't absolutely exhausted at the end of each day -- but I'd say that was a pretty darn good weekend!

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Ali sent me this photo on Friday and it's one of my favorites of the weekend -- Ann & fam gave the kids a set of superhero capes & masks and, OMG, I just love Jün's happy expression here!

And Mack...

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...and Addie, too, with the baby!! Practically baby whisperers. She did not lack attention & cuddles, that's for sure!

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I managed a moment or two, too.  :)

The kids all played together MARVELOUSLY!!! It was pretty wonderful. I might still be a little in shock.

I managed to have Saturday & Sunday mornings mostly to myself, which I'm sure saved me.

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I finished Junah's shirt -- buttonholes & buttons (from my mom's button tin). The buttonholes could be a wee bit bigger, and I'm hoping that they'll loosen up a bit. It was a complete failure of the buttonhole function that sent my machine to the shop last time and I could tell that it's still a touchy operation. I will need to seriously start looking for its replacement (it seems a daunting task).

Next step: a photo shoot with all three kids in their Mickey duds + one other wardrobe change. It's never too early to start sending good photo mojo, and crossing fingers!!

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I managed some knitting, too! I'm closing in on the end of TTL Mystery Shawl Clue 4, with Clue 5 in hand, and the 6th & final clue due to be released on Friday. The general consensus in the Ravelry spoiler thread for this project is that it's been a real pleasure to knit and is incredibly beautiful to boot! I don't think I'm spoiling too much here, given that it's all jammed onto that straight needle. I've gathered that Clue 5 is the quickest to complete, so I might even have a chance to catch up! I was admiring my Blue Angel hosta through the front door yesterday and decided that it really wanted to be a backdrop for a knitting photo. Heh.

Annie wants to do some Christmas knitting, so we looked over a few patterns, chose some yarn & needles...

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...and I gave her a refresher course! She learned to knit many years ago, but it's been a while. It was quite an interesting lesson as she knits continental and I throw, so I really had to concentrate and watch how she was forming her stitches (purls in particular) in order to iron out a couple of little problems. She took one project with her and hopes to make some progress (if not finish) before they return late next week. In the meantime, I'll wind & prep the others.


The boys are back

My blog mojo went a bit missing this week, but...

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Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy

The boys "got back" to the States on Saturday and have been spending some time in Madison. They came up last night and are here for the weekend, then back to Madison & off to camp & other various adventures before returning sometime next month for much more fun... including some sort of Auntie Camp!

So, the intro while looking for The Boys Are Back In Town on YouTube was a trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, and OMG, the more I see of that, the more I can't wait to see much much more of THAT!

Have a good weekend, y'all.


Weekending: Mid-July

Maddy came home on Friday for a break from camp; she's stressed out as it's been a super tough summer -- too much work and no assistance (she's supposed to have an assistant) or support. It's just truth when I say that my girls have an incredible work ethic, and if she's feeling it enough to express it... it's bad, especially because she truly LOVES camp! Her saving grace is a trip coming up... fingers crossed, along with all the good thoughts, karma & juju!!

Anyway, I had a million things to do in the pre-cleaning/reclamation department, but I knew that offering my girls some SISTER TIME was way more important -- for all of them -- so I offered to take the kiddos on Saturday. Kate, Al & Mads went out to lunch, stopped at a hobby/craft shop, ran a few errands... and then came back for drinks, games & dinner.

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Malina experiences full-on fart gun a la Ginny!

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These two! Gah!! Junah was sitting on the step and Ginny sat down next to him... and then scooted over to be closer. 😍

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We took full advantage of my around-the-corner neighbor's invitation to help ourselves to her raspberry bushes. Junah doesn't really like them, so he gave me all that he picked, and then carried home a little handful for his mamma.

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We actually had some rain on Friday, which meant a full ran barrel on Saturday!! So fun.

On Sunday, I hit the housework! I've been constantly reminding myself that it's a process... things aren't going to be perfect on Wednesday, but they'll be better and will improve each time. That's the plan, anyway!

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BONUS! I found the fat quarters that I bought in Nashville last February! I've made a conscious effort to not let The Case of the Missing Fat Quarters drive me crazy over the past few months... they'd cross my mind now & then and I've even "looked" for them a little bit. Man, they were stuffed into a knitting project bag and I would never have looked for them there.

It's a normal week around here, except that Junah's sleeping over on Tuesday night and cleaning ladies are coming on Wednesday and I'll see my sister Ann & the boys (from Spain) by the end of the week! Woohoo!!


3TT

Joining Carole and friends this week for Three on Thursday...

Thing 1 - PRE-CLEANING

...is going well. In addition to my normal Wednesday off, I also have Thursday (today) off this week and the weekend is ahead... so I'm not killing myself in this endeavour.

Thing 2 - OOPS 1

I finished TTL Mystery Shawl Clue 2 yesterday...

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...or so I thought. This is an up-to-the-minute photo showing progress on the THIRD REPEAT! Gah! I'm glad I took a minute to read the intro again and count my stitches.

THING 3 - OOPS 2

One of my needles was pointing backward as I came in from taking the photo above.

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I kind of love it. If it wasn't so big (5 US), I'd make more. A mosquito could easily fit through that hole.

I hope you're having a good Thursday!


It's time...

I've hired someone to clean my house.

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I had a regular cleaning lady for a while... before Maddy was born! My mom sent hers over on a flukey one-off several years ago; all I remember is that the woman was arguing with me about whether my bathroom floor was real wood or laminate. It's true! She flat-out declared that it was real and didn't believe me when I told her that it wasn't! Listen, lady, I helped to cut, peel and stick it down... it ain't real!!

Anyway, other than when my mother was a newly divorced, returning to college, mother of five, she always had a cleaning lady. I remember complaining about having to "clean" before the cleaning lady came... when I was actually just getting my own shit taken care of/put away so the cleaning lady could actually clean! In those "dire" times, Mom had a built-in workforce -- however unwilling -- ranging in age from 6 to 12; she would leave notes every single day with a list of jobs/chores for each of us. We did not dare ignore it, either. My mother was an EXCELLENT housekeeper, with or without the help, and she trained us all very well.

I hate housework!
You make the beds, you do the dishes
and six months later
you have to start all over again.

--Joan Rivers

Things are just slightly beyond me right now... have been for a while now. We downsized within our own home a few years ago, kids have been drifting in and out, my sister died, my mom died, grandkids have appeared and are growing in size as well as number, and I LIKE TO DO/MAKE THINGS. There's stuff associated with all of that. SO MUCH STUFF. And it's piled up in various ways.

Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility
of human self-actualization.

--Ann Oakley

I've nibbled away at it, of course, bits here and there... I've Kon-Mari'd this and Death Cleaned that... and by the time the "stuff" is dealt with (provided I haven't been interrupted by any of 1000 different things), I'm exhausted... it never feels like there's follow-through or finish.

I feel overwhelmed and I'm tired of it.

So, here's my plan. Starting tomorrow, and continuing on the weekend, I am concentrating on simply putting away or removing the crap that's in the way.

That's my job -- cleaning before the cleaning lady comes (a week from tomorrow)!


Weekending: Kate's back!

I drove down to O'Hare on Saturday to pick up Kate after her month in the U.K. We decided to stay overnight and chose the new (as in barely open a week) St. Jane for our accommodations. Formerly the Hard Rock Hotel, St. Jane is in Chicago's beautiful Carbide & Carbon Building and is named for Jane Addams.

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Instead of a bible in every room, it was a biography!

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The weather was fabulous and it was great to be outside!

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We had a light lunch at the Purple Pig (of course) and dinner at Catch 35 (first time). I had those gorgeous scallops and Kate had a mixed grill.

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We tried to get to a couple of (way up there) roof-top bars but most were busy with private events until late; we settled for a lower-level roof-topper with exorbitantly priced pre-mixed cocktails (which we didn't know were pre-mixed until they were poured). They looked & tasted pretty good but should have been half the price (and my glass should have been all the way full instead of 2/3, too... what's that all about?). /gripe

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I had a great time with my girl!

We got up, had coffee and shared a blueberry muffin, and then head home. We were on the road by 10 and home before 2.

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The girls came over for a little while, and everyone else came later for supper. It was a nice evening together!

Katie went to bed fairly early and I wound down with a couple of episodes of Anne with an E (I started on Friday and am bingeing hard -- love this show) and my TTL Mystery Shawl.

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The photo is from Friday night, having barely begun Clue 2; as of last night, the first of two very enjoyable repeats is finished... and Clue 3 awaits!

I'm looking forward to next weekend already!


Recombobulating

You would think that a mid-week holiday falling on my normal day off would be a piece of cake. WRONG. I had an unshakable "Sunday" feeling all day yesterday, and it has carried over... Today is the Monday-est Thursday ever!

I attached and finished the waistband on my Gypsum Skirt on Tuesday night.

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I fully intended to hem it on Wednesday morning before anything else, but there was an Hawaiian shirt calling my name.

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"Make a Hawaiian shirt for Junah," they said. "It'll be easy," they said.

Well, okay, no one actually said that it would be easy... but how hard could it be???

Forty-five minutes of searching and watching YouTube videos about how to attach a collar to a shirt, while regularly re-reading the directions and trying to make out what's going on the photos, later...

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I think I've got it. Now I'm attaching the back yoke facing and trying to find a method that is not "making a sausage."

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Meanwhile, there are some nice details, I love the fabrics, and it's going to be a very nice shirt!

It was so great having Maddy home for a few days during her holiday break!

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We went out to a pond party yesterday afternoon where Rod was playing. The kids had a blast in the water.

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I love this photo with their big sis Jillian, especially the joy all over Ginny's face!

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There were clouds skirting around us all afternoon and then all of a sudden... DOWNPOUR! We all huddled under cover until it passed, and at least it brought a little relief from the heat & humidity.


More Sewing

There was a good deal of time spent with the kids over the weekend, and Maddy arrived on Saturday afternoon, but I still managed to find some time for sewing -- both for the kids and for me!!

After work on Friday, I stopped by the blueprint shop to pick up printed patterns for Alabama Chanin Palazzo Pants and the new Sew Liberated Gypsum Skirt. Then I ran by Joann (have you read about the new Concept Store?) where I bought some more Mickey Mouse fabric (ahem), including another fat quarter bundle (that I couldn't find last time), and some drapey rayon for the Gypsum Skirt. I tossed it all in for a wash when I got home so it would be ready to go.

On Saturday morning, I finished the bodice lining and hem of Gin's Franken-Geranium...

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With pleats & pockets!

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That irresistible (to me) cap sleeve!

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And pearly snaps on the back!

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The fabric is made up of leftovers from the first fat quarter bundle, which I used to make a Geranium Top for Malina, along with some MM fabric that Ali had in her stash, and a random B&W print from mine (before I knew that Ali had some and when I didn't want to make the 30-mile roundtrip to the fabric store) (I never realized it was actually that far!).

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! Here's Malina's...

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The cuteness is going to be off the charts with these girls and their coordinating dresses... and I just can't even imagine once Junah's added to the mix. I have plans!!

Then I got to work on my Gypsum Skirt and, boy oh boy, rayon is so slippery!! At least compared to the cottons -- both woven & knit -- that I'm used to working with. I sewed my first-ever flat-felled seam on the machine...

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...and, believe me, I considered my options for the other three! That was sort of tricky, but it got a little easier with each one. Naturally, my bobbin thread ran out at the beginning of one of them and I didn't realize it until the end.

First order of the day tomorrow is to finish that skirt. I have sewn the waistband into a loop, currently draped around my ironing board, so all that's remaining is finishing & attaching that and hemming. I love those big roomy pockets... I hope they like me!


Scenes from a hot weekend

As in temperature. And humid, too.

Malina's like...

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WHUT??!!!

The big kids were keeping cool as they saw fit (some in undies, at most, others in head-to-toe fleece -- which seems to hold a lot of water and it was cold, so... to each his own).

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Also, cool big air-bubble knees!

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Ginny & I both suffered injuries when I fell after saving her from a likely bump/fall off of the retaining wall. I'm the only one to actually spill blood; Gin's Minion band-aid (and unseen crocodile plaster) are purely decorative/placebo measures. Maddy, certified in First Aid because of her summer camp job, jumped right in to fix me up. Gin was obviously quite fascinated by the procedure, but Junah made a face after the application of hydrogen peroxide and bowed out. I'm just thankful that I didn't twist anything and that it's my left knee we're looking at and not the right; my right knee won't likely fare another grinder very well. (That big scar on my shin is where I met the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet at work last year. Yep, that hurt.)

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It's nice having Maddy around for a few days while camp is on break for the 4th! It's still hot but, thankfully, not as humid today... so we'll take it. I hope you're faring well, too!


Photos on Friday

They tell the story...

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Just in time for the (latest) heat wave!

Who does she remind you of??

And doesn't she look so gosh darn happy/cute/pleased?  :)

Yes, Jün's now sporting a buzz cut, too.

Have a great weekend... stay cool!


Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat & the Unravelers...

I spent an hour and a half this morning straightening & organizing things in the bedroom -- found some stuff, tossed some stuff, put away some stuff, and set aside some stuff for the upcoming rummage sale. It felt SO GREAT to finally, really, focus on that task. Small bites.

KNITTING

Then I did another rare thing and sat down in the middle of the morning with my knitting and Netflix. I had just a little ways to go until I could bind off the latest In Threes cardigan and one more episode of Collateral to watch...

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...and my timing was PERFECT! Gift for Summer of '18 Baby #2 of 3 is only in need of buttons!

SEWING

I've been catching a few minutes here & there to sew... currently working on Ginny's Mickey Mouse Geranium.

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I love the front -- black & white with littls hits of red.

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There are side seam pockets on both sides. This is the largest size Geranium I've made so far (size 3) and, understandably, those pockets aren't even an option on the smaller sizes.

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PARTY IN THE BACK!!! I did actually stop at Joann's to see if I could find another bundle like the one I started with, but they were gone. Meanwhile, Ali gave me some Mickey fabric from her stash... so I pieced it together and this is what we've got!

READING

Not much has changed in this department. Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson is still in my ears; The Thoughtful Dresser is still on my nightstand (and I'm making some progress).


Weekending: All Kids, (almost) All The Time!

I spent a lot of time with kiddos over the weekend, but managed a little progress on a few of my projects in the "less hectic" periods. I cut out the pieces for another Geranium Dress, worked a little bit on another, and got started on my TTL Mystery Shawl!

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Friday evening, out on the pergola, with an adult beverage -- ready to go! I am currently a bit more than half-way through the fourth of five repeats for Clue #1, and it is quite enjoyable (and beautiful) so far. I'm very happy with the change of yarn so far.

On Saturday, I picked up "the big kids" to go to a Native American Dance Performance presented by the Menominee Nation at the Grignon Mansion.

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We took a shuttle bus from the library to get there... "On the buth," said Ginny with a grin. There was a demo of a few historic yard games that kids might have played in the 1850s, and we tried them all! Ginny and I joined in one of the dances, too!

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The Trapezette Dress has been seeing lots of action.  ;)

Ali filled in at work yesterday so a co-worker could attend a memorial & Rod had an afternoon gig, so I had all three!

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Junah does not willingly pose for photos very often, but when he put on the life vest that he found in the shed, I suggested that we send a pic to Maddy and he was all for it. "Junah says that he's ready to go kayaking whenever you are!!"

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Some of us (okay, one of us) napped a few times. We walked over to the park but Junah saw right away that there was no shade on the playground area, and it was hot outside, so we turned around and came home. They put on swimming suits and we had some water play interspersed with helping Grandpa with yard work, and general relaxing and goofiness.

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Jün & Gin helped me spiralize some zucchini and Rusty grilled some turkey burgers and we all had a nice supper -- with ice cream for dessert (the kids seem to like "Grandpa's ice cream" best... plain ol' vanilla!).

We decorated the wire tree for the 4th of July.

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I noticed an opportunity in the back yard and cajoled the kids (Junah) into a group photo...

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With mixed results!

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Can you believe it? Malina is 3 months old today!! All three kids have changed/grown so much!

It was definitely a high-energy, fun weekend and I wouldn't have had it any other way. This time is so brief, witness:

I hope your weekend was just as you liked it!


Found 'em!

When I posted about Mother's Day last month, I referenced a photo of my sibs & I holding my mother in a manner that my girls were attempting with me. I couldn't find them then, but I just ran across them now...

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It was Mother's Day 2006.

Even better, I found a MOVIE!!

I love all the jokes and laughing! And the paparazzi!!

Four years. I miss you, Mom. xoxo


3TT: More Prep

Joining Carole and friends this week for Three on Thursday...

Thing 1 - RHUBARB BITTERS

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Yesterday, after agitating daily for 2 weeks (plus a day - ooops!), it was time for the next step in the process -- separating the agents from the alcohol and cooking them in water for a bit. I'll be agitating that concoction for about a week. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, remember back in the day when people/knitbloggers were making their own vanilla extract, mostly as gifts? I recall that there was a particular online shop for the procurement of bottles at a very reasonable price. Does anyone remember the site?

Thing 2 - IN THREES

Since taking this photo last evening, this little project is off the needles!

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I'll give it a little bath and find some buttons. The first of three baby knits is almost done! I think I'll make at least one more of these -- it's such a quick & fun one-skein project.

Thing 3 - MORE MKAL PREP

Kirsten herself thought that the variegation in the yarn I showed yesterday might mask the stitch pattern too much and, since she's the designer, I've decided to heed her warning. Another Raveler or two expressed concern that the pattern wasn't doing the yarn justice, and that had been a niggling thought. That yarn is GORGEOUS and I love the pairing that I have, so I'm going to save it for something else.

I did a little stash dive and the current yarn on deck for the TTL 2018 Mystery Shawl is this...

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This is some of my own hand-dyed yarn -- well, one of them is undyed/natural (haha!). The inspiration for the other was a photo of some succulents.

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Not this photo. But aren't they just endlessly fascinating? We have a bunch, in the ground or in pots -- Kate's plants are all residing with us at the moment, too -- and when I spotted this one the other day, I just couldn't resist taking a photo.

Kirsten's Mystery Knit-Along starts TOMORROW! C'mon, there's still time to jump in! I'm excited!!


Unraveled: Prepping for a Mystery

Joining Kat & the Unravelers...

KNITTING

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I am hoping that the stitch pattern is visible enough? I've posted it in the TTL MKAL forum and we'll see how Kirsten feels about it!  :)

READING

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson has been my "listen," and I am enjoying it quite a bit. Marcus has a very interesting story -- Ethiopian-born & Swedish-raised, he thought he'd be a soccer star, not an accomplished chef. He reads the book himself and, though he speaks English very well, his accent is quite strong; I've heard him before on one of the cooking competition shows on TV, so I was familiar before I began the book. It's very engaging.

I haven't cracked open an actual book in probably almost a week. Summertime, man; we're busy (and then utterly exhausted)!!


Weekending: Sewing, Relaxing

Just before the kids left on Thursday night, I remembered to have Gin try on her new dress so I could measure for the hem. I took care of that little detail on Saturday morning!

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I guess I've got the sewing bug at the moment! I picked up a cute Disney fat-quarter bundle at Joann's a few weeks ago featuring Mickey Mouse -- I couldn't resist it then and it's been calling to me ever since! I had to listen...

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I had a blast putting that together -- it's a Made By Rae Geranium Top for Malina. I made the 3-6 month size because she is growing!! It's the first one I've made with the pleated skirt variation.

There was enough fabric leftover that I thought I'd try to cobble it together, along with something from my meager fabric stash, to make a coordinating top for Ginny. I've made the bodice, which looks much the same as Malina's, and here's the skirt front underway:

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I'm making the pleated skirt for this one, too, and it will also have POCKETS! The skirt back will be made entirely of the "extra" fabric. I originally wanted to use white for the "extra," but I didn't like the weight of it compared to the MM fabric, so... it's not perfect, but I think it'll be cute enough.

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Ali sent a few photos this morning. I think that Malina can't take her eyes off of her new top!!

She brought the kids over last night for ice cream cones...

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...to celebrate (Grand) Father's Day! I love how Malina's got her eyes on Ginny! Junah's all wet because he was dousing himself with a water bottle -- it was pretty hot & sticky yesterday.

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So relaxed, and too cute!!

Let's see, what else... We went to a couple of art/music things on Friday evening. We did a run for some gravel on Saturday, and also to try and find a rain barrel that I liked; didn't find one, so ordered one that I hope looks as nice in person (we shall see on Thursday!). I had my first-ever 90-minute massage on Saturday, too, during which I may have fallen asleep once or twice, but also resulting in my arm/shoulder feeling SO MUCH better! And I didn't even know that my left kneecap was in so much need of attention until she started working it... aahhhhhh. It was true bliss.

The weekend ended with this message from Al:

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A swishy & swirly one, I bet!!


TGIF: Random!

Rod's playing at a resort out of town this weekend and Ali & the kids are going along; they are leaving later today and returning on Sunday! It was all Malina for me last weekend with a shot of Gin & Jün, and I felt like I needed some time with the Big Kids before they go so took them for a few hours last night.

We decided to ride our bikes to the park. I don't know what made me think that riding my bike was a good idea... Ginny still needs a lot of assistance (she's a distracted driver!) My around-the-corner-and-down-the-block neighbors happened to be on their front porch, so we stopped to chat for a bit, and they suggested that I leave my bike there and pick it up on the return trip. BRILLIANT! (Thank you, thank you!)

We had a great time at the park!

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Ginny recently had her bangs trimmed by her mum. Guess who trimmed Junah's yesterday??? It's just a rite of passage, isn't it? Haha.

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I just love Jün's floral pants. Gin's wearing her In Threes cardigan! In other news, after the regression in potty training when Malina arrived on the scene, Gin seems to be interested once again! Yahoo! Ali cloth diapers her kids almost always, so this would bring some welcome relief in the laundry department.

Yesterday was my first CSA pick up of the season and I'm SO HAPPY to be doing this again. My farmers are Park Ridge Organics, and they use a system where I can customize my share. Right off the bat, I can go in and indicate that I generally hate arugula but love spinach and am okay with pac choi, so I'll never get arugula but lots of spinach and a little pac choi. Then they send a specific email every week telling me exactly what will be in my box -- and I can change it even then, this instead of that, or adding anything else that they might have available.

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This week, they indicated that they'd be sending me a basil plant. Well, I love basil and Rusty just finished repairs to a planter on the pergola, so I added three more plants (which Rusty planted this morning before it rained - YAY!). I also added some extra green onions and another head of butterhead lettuce this week.

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Another thing I love is an add-on of mixed mushrooms every other week. Yum. We had a great salad with dinner last night.

Our volunteer catalpa tree near the pergola is getting very big and has so many flowers this year!

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Catalpa trees remind me of Sharon. I never noticed them until one June, visiting Sharon (an arborist), I noticed an enormous flowering tree in the park across the street from her house and she told me what it was.

Speaking of Sharon...

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I miss her, of course, but especially on a day like today...

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It's the twins' 58th birthday!! Sharon on the left, Karen on the right, that amazing old playpen... no bells & whistles on those models (nor cushioning)!

And speaking of birthdays, a year ago this week we were eating paella in Spain...

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...to celebrate Mack's birthday. This year, he's 13 -- a TEENAGER!! So crazy.

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Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to Mack!! I can't wait to see them all next month.

As if that's not enough, Ali & Rod are celebrating their 5th Anniversary today!!

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WUT?? Can you even believe that?


3TT: Yarn

Joining Carole and friends this week for Three on Thursday...

If you've been blogging for a while, you might remember the day -- way back in the day -- when people would blog about yarn. Specifically, it was a huge thing to excitedly blog about acquiring yarn -- stash enhancement -- whenever & wherever you acquired it, especially if it was "occasion" or "souvenir" yarn, or from a gift or a swap. I have fond memories of a few early swaps, and some of my all-time favorite knits were made from "swap yarn." I know there are still some swaps going on, but it's all changed quite a bit and I think that Ravelry and Instagram and hashtags are much more a part of it now than blogs and... I don't know, somehow it's not as personal and fun (to me, your mileage may vary).

Anyway, while recently in NY/NJ, I bought some yarn. I took three photos of that yarn when I got home, and I thought I'd share them with you. Just like the olden days!

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From the top:

1 -- Meadowcroft Dyeworks Yarn Rehab purchased at Knitty City & Molly Girl (it glows under black light!) purchased at Yarnia

2 -- Wol met Verve minis purchased at Knitty City

3 -- Life In the Longgrass Dye Studio purchased at Brooklyn General Store

Every one of these dyers is news to me... they hail from PA, the Netherlands, and Ireland... and I don't have a plan for any of them.

Well, I didn't have a plan for any of them... that LITLG Fine Sock from Ireland is now going to be my TTL Mystery Shawl. I have some thoughts about the Molly Girl Bass Line becoming something for a couple of little girls I know, too.


Unraveled Wednesday: Trapezette

KNITTING

You know that KNITTING is my primary therapist, but SEWING is a steadfast back-up! I bought this cute pin at Brooklyn Craft Co. last weekend for Ali -- they all decorate their barista aprons with pins at the coffee shop, and this is so true for her.

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Truth is, I haven't been knitting much. There's a hat & a shawl in current rotation, but I do most of my knitting in the evening and, well, this week we've either been busy or I'm just too pooped. I think about it all the time, though. And lately, I've also become a bit preoccupied with what to knit/make for three little baby girls due to arrive in the next couple of months. I really have to use some yarn that I already have and it has to be baby/mom friendly (i.e., washable), so that's limiting (not necessarily a bad thing... parameters)... I think I'm closing in on a plan.

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I've also been considering Kirsten's TTL Mystery Shawl... it's been a favorite each time that I've participated! The only thing holding me up is my sore arm, but a few short breaks from knitting, visits to the chiropractor, and the discovery of a major knot in my shoulder (I really need to schedule a proper massage) have all been helping. And I can certainly go at whatever pace is comfortable for me. UPDATE: Pattern purchased! 

SEWING

Even though my main occupation last weekend was cuddling & caring for Malina while her parents were busy at the Electric City Music Festival (big kids were with other grandma), I still managed to prepare, cut out, and sew The Trapezette Dress for her older sister -- my first Merchant & Mills pattern, recently purchased at Brooklyn General Store.

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I have a bit of finishing to do (hemming & a button) but this is a big win and there are certainly more to be made (this is a size 3yrs, the pattern goes up to size 8yrs)! Swishy & swingy just as advertised.

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I made my first rouleau in memory! I didn't have a bodkin handy (though I know there's one somewhere), so I improvised with a pin & bobby pin to turn that little loop.

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I'm pretty proud of the more-or-less matching of zigzag stripes on the center back seam -- and I wasn't even trying terribly hard!

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It's super, super cute and I can't wait for Gin to come over and try it on so I can check the length & finish. This fabric has been in stash for a long time; I have no idea what the original intention was. I was a little hesitant to use it for this project because I thought it might be too crazy, but it was the perfect amount (of both fabric and crazy) and I love how it turned out! I used nicely matching leftovers from the backing of Malina's quilt for the facings.

READING

I finished listening to West Cork last week, and have just decided that Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson will be my next audiobook (it's downloading as we speak). The Thoughtful Dresser was just renewed for the second (and hopefully) last time (I'm enjoying the book but the reading, lately, is going much the same as the knitting), leaving Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder stuck at the bottom of the nightstand pile under Rick Bragg's The Best Cook In The World - Tales from My Momma's Table, because that is definitely up next!