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13 posts from October 2013

29 October 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Extra! Extra!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Love To Do on an Extra Day Off!

Not necessarily all of these things on any given day off. Many of these things look like regular things I'd normally do on a day off -- or any day, for that matter -- but there's just a different flavor to everything when it's an "extra" day off and I am more able to choose to do something like cook or clean or do laundry.

I like to feel that I've been productive in some way, everyday -- and sometimes (rarely) that means having a pajama day, eating cereal for breakfast, lunch & dinner, watching movies, and knitting all day long! (Best on rainy/snow days.)

1.  Go out for lunch.

2.  Shop.

How is it that still don't have smell-o-vision on this thing?? 1st batch #roastedtomatosauce 2013.

3.  Cook.

4.  Clean.

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5.  Hang laundry on the line.

6.  Organize stuff... there's always that!

7.  Watch a movie or catch up with Tivo.

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8.  Take a day trip.

9.  If it's on either side of a weekend, plan/extend a 3-day weekend away!

Woohoo! First wool nappy cover for the bebe - a 24-hour project. Love it, great pattern. #knitting #KnittingforZim

10.  Knit!

That's my first official soaker for Zim! It's the smallest size, and took all of 24 hours from start to finish. The only thing left undone is the i-cord tie and I pretty much want to poke a needle in my eye when I think about all the i-cord needed for all these pants and covers and whatnot, so something else will need to be done to keep these on the baby's bum. The second cover, in the next-up size, is underway! I'm on track to finish tonight, too, except that it's a 5th Tuesday and on those, knit night is held at a location other than the usual coffee shop -- tonight's is at a wine bar. Haha.

The pattern is Wool Soaker, Diaper/Nappy Cover by Val Turner, available through Craftsy, and I love it! Using a combination of circular and straight knitting, the pattern gives options in a couple of places for different skill levels -- do this if you're a beginner, that if you're a more advanced knitter. There are a couple of ends to weave in at the end, and two tiny little seams to sew up (or not? I'm not sure it's even necessary). I'm using Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool for these.

What's your favorite lanolin-rich wool wash?

 

25 October 2013

Sew it goes

I'm looking forward to re-watching Natalie Chanin's Craftsy class, Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, as I prepare to sew a onesie and baby blanket that I fell for. Oh yes. I fell hard. I've been looking forward to doing this for a while, now, as I loved listening to Natalie the first time, and I always knew that I'd watch again -- over & over, if I'd like (that's the beauty of Craftsy!) -- when I actually began to "love my thread" and start sewing. She speaks so beautifully about the process.

I'd like to finish the Onesie, at least, by Ali's baby shower at the end of November, and the blanket in time for Zim's arrival in January!

You can read more about Craftsy below, if you've never heard of it before, and check out the Free Craftsy Classes! Their mini-classes are top-notch -- including some great classes for knitters.

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more. 

Why online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities. Craftsy courses provide the convenience of a world-class instructor wherever and whenever you want to learn. Online education, no matter the subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons.

With on-demand online learning, learning is done at your own pace. It's a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty getting around. It also allows for watching over-and-over again, to see exactly how a troubling section is worked or how a new technique is carried out. It's easy to refer back to the class for relevant concepts and materials before beginning any new projects.

And, hey, happy weekend everyone!

 

24 October 2013

The beet goes on

First of all: ROASTING!

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Lord knows, I'd eat almost anything drizzled in oil, beautifully seasoned with plain salt and pepper, and ROASTED. Whatever it is, roasting makes it a million times better.

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I used my new* favorite cookbook, Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan, and made Belly Dance Beet Salad. The original/prototype recipe can be found here, with lots of good discussion in the comments.

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Ahem. Do as I say, not as I do: put the pistachios on the upper rack for toasting in the oven (not the lower, as shown above). Those burned, of course, and I had to quickly shell more nuts to toast on the stove (which is probably what I should have done all along).

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I think I had slightly more than 2 lbs. of beets. Most of them were VERY small, so I chopped top and bottom and roasted them whole; others were halved or quartered and there were a couple that were pretty large, chopped to make more or less uniform. I loved that I didn't need to peel!

After roasting, the beets were cooled a bit and chopped again to about 1/2-inch size pieces. Actually, I was a bit behind, so I chopped them so that they would cool down quicker!

Dressed with a combo of orange juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and spices, and tossed with the toasted nuts and sliced green onions, it was DELICIOUS! I don't have an aversion to beets, as do some, including my husband, but even he gobbled this up like crazy -- loved it and said they were the best beets he's ever had!

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Using another recipe in WF2, I dressed up some grass-fed ground beef and made Italian burgers. They, too, were delicious; moist and full of flavor. This book couldn't have arrived at a better time!

*One of my old favorite cookbooks is the original Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, which I have in electronic form... and would really like in physical form! That book is home to the recipe for The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Ever., which is still one of our hands-down favorites! I haven't made every recipe in that book, but I love every recipe I've made -- one of the best features in both books are the the options and "You know how you could do that?" ideas that Melissa includes for almost every recipe.

 

22 October 2013

Ten on Tuesday: That's delicious!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Foods I Regularly Eat That Were Exotic (or Unheard Of) When I Was a Kid

Hm. The foods of my childhood were mostly limited, but there were flashes of the exotic. Artichokes, for one thing; thanks to my Aunt Cece, we were introduced to artichokes quite early and we all *loved* them! They were truly exotic, as in hard to find in good shape in NE Wisconsin at any time of year -- the grocery clerk always needing to ask what it was in order to properly ring it up.

With a bunch of German farmers and wanna-be-farmers in my not-too-distant ancestry, I would occasionally hear stories about farming... and the raising & butchering of livestock. The fact that every bit of a hog, for instance, was used in some way -- that nothing went to waste -- made a big impression on me. True to her upbringing, Grandma Blum would serve her precious sulze with other cold cuts for lunch; my dad always had a jar of pickled pigs' feet in the fridge.

Dad liked smoked fish, anchovies, and sardines, too; I remember many sardine sandwich picnic lunches with my dad -- sardines, yellow mustard, white bread.

While Grandma preferred cheddar and colby, Grandpa (and also his son, my dad) had a fondness for the stinky Limburger and sharp Brick cheese.

Grandma Koenig died when I was only 8, but I remember gigantic boiled dumplings with gravy at her table -- my mother never made them, but I've had them since from the hand of my Aunt Arlene. My mother had some influence, too; there were the memorable Camembert cheese and smoked oyster phases of my youth!

Now, I didn't *love* all of these foods, but I tried them all (and did actually like most) and they were definitely a part of my childhood -- I'm sure that each one helped me be a bit more adventurous as an adult.

1.  Fresh vegetables. I'm serious. I think I grew up in the golden age of commercially canned vegetables. Thinking about it (esp. creamed corn) makes me want to hurl.

Tonight's roasting: broccoli & cauliflower. Perfect with our goat & beef burgers and a big glass of Malbec. #lastoftheweddingwine #haventmetaroastedvegetablethatidontlove #alsowine

Fresh roasted broccoli & cauliflower.

2.  Avocado. This was a very rare and special addition to a salad in my youth. For one thing, they were very high in calories & fat and that was a no-no. Not so now! I eat and enjoy avocadoes on a regular -- almost daily -- basis.

3.  Salmon. My dad was a fisherman, so we had plenty of wild lake fish at the table but never salmon; he didn't care for it, my mother didn't like its lingering aroma after cooking. I don't care for the aroma, either, but I love to eat salmon!

4.  Turkey burgers. Are you kidding? We had turkey at Thanksgiving -- whole, stuffed, roasted. Sandwiches & soup for a week after. Period.

Feeling nostalgic, or maybe it's that Thanksgiving is approaching, but all of a sudden, I've a hankering for a cold turkey breast sandwich on white bread, slathered with mayo and with a piece of iceberg lettuce!

5.  Any lettuce or "salad" green that isn't iceberg lettuce.

6.  Liver. Of course. I should clarify... BEEF liver was awful as prepared by my mom (everyone's mom); my dad would sometimes fry up chicken livers and they were great!

7.  Quiche. The eggs of my childhood were made only to be boiled, deviled, scrambled, or fried!

8.  Brown rice -- or any rice that wasn't preceded by "Minute" on the package!

#yum Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs... worth the wait! #itswhatsfordinner #onthebarbie

Shrimp on the barbie -- also unheard of in my youth (though I do recall steamed lobster)

9.  Sushi. I don't regularly consume sushi, but it was completely unheard of in my youth!

10.  Paprika... for anything other than to pretty up deviled eggs. My spice cupboard is bulging these days, thanks in part to at least three or four different types of paprika -- Hungarian, California, sweet, sharp, etc.

Bon appetit!

19 October 2013

And that's a wrap

We skipped the first two farmer markets of the season because of a wedding, one in August for a rummage sale, and another at the end of September just because; otherwise, it's where you'd find me on a Saturday morning.

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Sat., June 22 - with Mrs. Z. - our first market of the season, a rainy start!


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Sat., June 29 - with Ali - a different arrangement.


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Sat., July 6 - with Ali - a different perspective.


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Sat., July 13 - with Abbey - banner debuts (blowing under tables).


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Sat., July 20 - with Maddy - banner on tent!


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Sat., July 27 - with Abbey.


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Sat., Aug. 3 - with Maddy.


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Sat., Aug. 10 - with Ali and Abbey - and the Saturn (it almost all fit)!


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Sat., Aug. 24 - with Ali.


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Sat., Aug. 31 - with Ali.


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Sat., Sept. 7 - with Abbey - drizzly.


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Sat., Sept. 14 - with Ali - Fall Fest! Using two pour-over brewers under the tent (instead of one by the fence) - trees are planted along canal!


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Sat., Sept. 21 - with Abbey.


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Sat., Oct. 5 - with Abbey - rainy & windy - the permanent fence at the edge of the canal is installed!


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Sat., Oct. 12 - with Ali - safety fence at the canal is gone!


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Sat., Oct. 19 - with Ali - last market of the season - CHILLY!


It started off wet and ended up chilly, and other than a few other sprinkly days in between, it's been a fantastic summer in every way!

Next year the "grand canyon" will be completely finished -- a canal behind us that's been undergoing reconstruction over the past two summers! A permanent fence has been erected, the orange safety fence removed, trees have been planted, the ground is seeded, water is set to flow in December (testing), and it should all be fab and ready for picnic tables next year!

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'Til next year!

16 October 2013

Soup weather!

I made slow-cooker BBQ ribs last weekend, but the weekend before saw the first pot of soup for the season:

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Before & after adding the coconut milk.

Moqueca! Almost just as I learned to make it in Brazil. I used a little less cod and a lot more shrimp... because that's the way I like it! Maybe one of these days I'll find what I need to make farofa, which would definitely be served with this soup.

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Dinner is served!

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And lunch the next day!

It's been overcast, rainy, and much cooler here the last few days... Soup Weather is definitely here and there'll be another pot bubbling on the stove today.

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{ m e s s y  k i t c h e n }

 

15 October 2013

Ten on Tuesday: October Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

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1.  APPLES! (Hubby made a pie.) It was the second-to-last farmers market of the season on Saturday, so that's where I spent my morning. It was damp and chilly, with a sudden and unpredictable wind blowing through at times. Someone lifted my most precious hedgie, about which I am being very Zen and also Karma, baby.

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2.  I threw some ribs in the slow cooker.

3.  And took a nap.

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4.  Maddy was home since Thursday, and Ali & Rod came over for a family dinner on Saturday. I roasted butternut squash (with rosemary) and Rusty steamed some market-fresh broccoli to go with the BBQ ribs! And pie.

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5.  My friend Ann came over on Sunday morning, setting up her spinning wheel at the south end of my porch to spin some silk while I took some photos for her.

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She left me with a lovely little gift of handspun. It sure is pretty! A hat? Some little mitts?

6.  I watched the football game.

7.  Spent some time (a little bit) sorting/cleaning/tossing upstairs... even went up into the attic!

8.  Dropped a load at the Goodwill drive-thru.

9.  Gathered up & took photos of Zim-related knitting (see yesterday's post). I've since remembered a bulky knit hoodie to add to the "finishing" pile!

10.  Caught up on some TV -- Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Sons of Anarchy (finished S1), and knit!

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Can't ask for much more from an October weekend!

14 October 2013

Knitting for Zim

Consider this a head start on tomorrow's Ten on Tuesday topic...

I've been wanting to get a handle on the state of things in the baby knitting department, and finally gathered up all that I could find.

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This pile (above & below) is knit, seamed & all buttoned up -- Ready To Wear (some of it has already been worn!).

There are a few others I could add to this pile -- Demne and Wee Weasley, for sure!

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From top to bottom:

These items are sized from newborn to about 3 years, maybe even 4. I knit Opptuna, Baby A, and both Wallaby sweaters for my nephews... I think Mack was still wearing his custom-ordered Wallaby when he was 4.

I believe I can scare up a couple of mislaid hats and probably some booties & socks, too, before January.

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The three items above are in need of only buttons:

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All of the above are in need of major work... seaming and other finishing! Two pullovers (one of them -- a preppy v-neck with pockets! -- is VERY well marinated), two cardis, Miss Dashwood (the earflaps were never secured), and a pair of just-finished baby pants.

I just remembered Le P'tit Mousse, awaiting sewing-up, stuffed in the bottom of my tote.

There's another cardigan on the needles (nearly finished with the knitting)...

Another "Vintage," too, on some other needles (not in love with it)...

And another hat in need of finishing somewhere, too.

And a blanket.

More on all of those soon before long, I hope!

 

11 October 2013

Hedgie boom of 2013

I brought all three hedgehogs with me to Tuesday night knitting and know that at least a couple are already underway by members of the group! I've been called "a bad influence," and there's been mention of a "hedgehog gang." There may be a bit of a hedgehog baby boom happening in our little corner of Wisconsin!

Cracks me up.

I have found much to humor me lately:

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Madeleine's work, just a few weeks before she turned 4.

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Alison's work, preschool.

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Katherine's interest in the world of art -- past, present, and future -- undeniably ingrained.

We've been spending quite a bit of time getting an apartment shaped up -- and cleaned out. The apartment takes up all but one room (and a couple of closets) of our second floor; 20+ years ago, we opened the door at the top of the stairs and took it over, occupying (and filling up) the entire house ourselves.

Our bedroom used to be up there, my craft room (the upstairs kitchen), the kids' playroom and bedrooms, a second full bath; we retreated/downsized within our own home a few years ago, and the girls have variously lived up there, in very much their own space.

We "retreated/downsized" but never swept the place completely clean!

I recently emptied the small anteroom off the bathroom which leads to the attic. There are drawers under the stairs leading up, as well as another floor-to-ceiling cabinet with cupboard & drawers built in on the other side. I used the cupboard for Christmas, the drawers for the girls' hand-me-downs, the under-stairs drawers for... stuff. Not to mention the floor space.

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The wallpaper scraps are from Katie's nursery in Oregon, ca. 1984-85. School stuff!! OMG, how did I think anyone would ever want to read the school newsletters from kindgarten again? or 1st grade? 2nd? 3rd? etc. I had them all!

Spelling tests, conference reports, report cards, so much construction paper and glue with everything from cotton balls and yarn to Formica and Froot Loops as decoration. etc.

The bin was full when the recycling truck came 'round on Tuesday. And I've been adding more. I'm keeping some things, of course, but I'm photographing a lot more and will make some little memento for each of the girls... and maybe for me.

Halloween is not my favorite "holiday," but I found so many cute jack o'lanterns and black cats and other seasonal artwork, that I'm going to use it all to decorate this year!

 

09 October 2013

Wednesday

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Gratuitous seasonal photo.

I still have a million things on my plate, but I practiced yoga this morning for the first time in ages and I feel fine...

I feel very, very fine.

After a brutal loss last week, I also took time this morning to shore up my fantasy football team, so I'm feeling much better about that now, too.

The best thing, though, was that I started my day at the dentist.

I know... Who knew? Going to the dentist used to be the most dreaded thing on my calendar! I credit my actual dentist and his staff for truly being The Best. The course of periodontal treatment that we've been on the past couple of years has resulted in marked improvement, and it's been phenomenal in the past year or so; I may even be able to go back to twice-yearly checkups like a normal person.

Hm. What has changed in the past year? At an appointment several months ago, it was noted that inflammation was improved and that there was much less bleeding -- a trend that has continued/improved (little-to-no bleeding today). In addition, and very obvious at today's appointment, there is less and less scraping of plaque build-up. OMG, that used to be just the worst thing ever, and I can still hear a former hygienist SIGHING, over and over, and she scraped and chipped. Yeah, I know, it's awful and I should have brushed/flossed/rinsed/whatever...

The thing is, try as I might and as good as I am in the few weeks before and after an appointment, my at-home dental routine right now is about the same as it was then -- and has been for as long as I can remember. It's admittedly not great, but it is what it is.

And, yet, improvement in the past year... since I drastically changed my diet. Now, I have not been even close to perfect in the past few months -- summertime, a wedding, a kid back to college, another one overseas, a baby to plan for, travel -- but apparently I've been good enough. Still the thing I'm most consistent about (despite the delicious Everything bagel w/cream cheese that I had today after yoga) is the near total avoidance of grain and, next to that, dairy.

In case you were wondering, because I haven't blogged about it much lately, I am still a believer and still lovin' the path I'm on. And really looking forward to this book (pre-ordered!) landing in my mailbox in the next couple of weeks:

It's fall... I feel more inclined to spend time in the kitchen and cook again! Though it's an absolutely gorgeous October day today (still no hard frost here) and I'm going to go enjoy the rest of it (and my day off).

 

08 October 2013

Hedgie here, hedgie there...

I am in love with the little hedgehog!!

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You can't knit just one!

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The first photo is prior to ears, somehow thinking that they were going to be a challenge. It took longer to choose placement than it did to knit them! They are both still in need of nose & eye embellishment.

It is the most wonderful pattern! Late last year I watched as one hedgie after another roll off the needles of another grandma-to-be, each one as adorable as the last, so when I learned that I was also going to be a grandma... well, I just knew that I'd be knitting one or two or nine of these things! It was just a matter of time!

The pattern is Whit's Knits: Knit Hedgehogs, available free on the always amazing and inspiring Purl Bee! Here's the Ravelry page, also.

They take the smallest bit of each yarn.

I've used some leftover sock yarn for the face/belly of each (similar colors, but one's from a baby cardi, the other from my red/gray/black Color Affection) (still!).

The body on the lighter one is Classic Elite Mackenzie, and on the other it's Rowan Chunky Chenille -- the softest, squishiest, chubbiest little hedgie ever! Both of those yarns are absolutely fabulous, which means, of course, that both are discontinued! I have almost two hanks of the Mackenzie, but that's about it for the Chunky Chenille, so that little hedgie is destined to be an heirloom! Enhancing their sentimental value, both of those yarns are from the small stash I inherited from Sharon.

A third is already on the needles!

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...hedgies, hedgies EVERYWHERE!!


06 October 2013

Black Point Estate

Black Point Estate is one of the Wisconsin Historical Society's sites. The only public access to the property is by boat! One of many boat tours operated by Lake Geneva Cruise Line, it also includes the scenic tour of other historic and notable properties around the lake -- titans of Chicago such as Wrigley, Maytag, Sears, and Schwinn had summer homes there, as well as many other names that you might not recognize but whose companies you certainly would! Those summer homes came in handy as refuge following The Great Chicago Fire; with easy access by train, many of those leaders moved their families to their homes in Lake Geneva and lived there while rebuilding the city and their businesses.

The house is located on a bluff and is not really visible from the lake. After climbing about 75 of the 120 steps to reach it, this was my first view:

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Being the first (with Rusty) to reach the top, I (we) was awarded with a bumper sticker to proclaim that fact! 

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Conrad Seipp made his fortune making beer, founder of the Seipp Brewing Co. in Chicago (home beer delivery? OK!). Conrad died not long after Black Point was completed, but his wife and other members of the family managed -- and even grew -- the estate for many years.

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Many of the furnishings were "hand-me-downs" from their elegant home in the city. The cherubs on this bedroom set caught my eye. What you can't see in my blurry phone photo is the large mended patch on the bedspread! Waste not, want not.

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The historical society rather scoffs at the bright green shag rug in the bedroom across the hall! I love it. While many of the furnishings are "antique" and certainly quite valuable, and much of the home is like a "time capsule," it's things like this rug that let you know it was lived in and used by many generations. The knit & lined blanket also caught my eye, of course.

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Upstairs hall: there was a closet exactly like this, mirrored on the other side of the hall.

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An enormous doll house sat at the other end of the hall, with a large cabinet full of extra furnishings standing nearby!

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Stencilled burlap wall covering in dining room. Burlap covered many of the walls.

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Exterior and gardens. The house is beautifully painted. One of the descendants of Conrad was a "collector" of trees and, according to our guide, there are 70 different types of evergreens planted on the property, along with the black oaks and other native trees.

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I found gingko!

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We'd walked the Geneva Lake Shorepath Walk in one direction on Saturday. While Rusty went in the other direction after the tour on Sunday, I did a little knitting (baby pants for Zim) at the beach. 

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And then it was time to go!

We stopped at Gooseberries on the way home for some groceries, but mostly to surprise long-time virtual friend Gretchen!

I feel recharged and maybe slightly less overwhelmed after that little break. Man, there sure is a lot to do around here... maybe it's the time of year! I'm finding myself wishing for winter ***ONLY*** because it takes a few things off of one's plate just because, you know, it's winter.

Forget I said that, and let's revel some more in autumn...

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For as long as we can!

04 October 2013

Weekend get-away

When Ali messaged me a few weeks ago that she didn't have anyone available to work the market with me on a particular Saturday, my wheels immediately started in motion.

#7 on my list of 10 Things I Want To Do This Summer was:  An overnighter to the Lake Geneva area and a visit to Black Point Estate. It turns out I was able to make it a two-nighter (so happy that I did) and the particular Saturday was Saturday last! We set out about mid-morning.

First stop:

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Bungalow Quilting & Yarn in Ripon. I see their billboard on the highway every time I head south... always on the way to somewhere else, you know? Well, what's a road-trip vacation without a little detour here and there to do things you've been wanting to do!

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It's a great shop, full of fabric and yarn, wonderful decor, and the owner was very friendly and helpful. I ended up with a book of baby knits and yarn for a baby sweater.

I just love the "stained glass" "quilt block" window on the outside sign!

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Our next stop, on the way, was at Mullen's Dairy & Eatery in Watertown.

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Walking through the door there was like entering the Way-back Machine! Holy cow. Among my favorite things: Shakes and Malts available in Light, Medium or Thick; Lily Cups; Johnson's Toasted Nuts display (I had to get some!).

We arrived at McIntyre's Resort at about mid-afternoon -- our home until Monday!

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Adorable and cozy pretty much sum up the situation there! We were in one of two cabins on the property; there is plenty of room for camping; plans are underway to add four more cabins (I think) next year. They're tiny... no real sitting room, outside of the screened porch, but we really weren't there for sitting...

We walked in the woods:

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Oh, the pines smelled SO GOOD!

Paddled around the lake:

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Went to an apple festival at The Apple Barn Orchard and Winery:

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Did some walking around Lake Geneva:

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And on Sunday morning, we went to the last Antique Flea Market of the season at Elkhorn.

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Oh my. It was HUMONGOUS! I haven't been to something like that in quite a while and it didn't take long before I was completely overwhelmed. We both managed to walk away with some treasures... mine were knitting needles & a nice book of patterns for the grand total of $2.

Which reminds me, knitting du weekend was some baby pants and the knitting is done! They need a light blocking and a little mattress-stitch seaming... oh, and a cord of some sort... but they're adorable! Colorful without being loud, they'll keep Zimmy toasty warm through winter!

Monday was reserved for the Black Point Estate tour... stay tuned!

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free short rows knitting class at craftsy.com
Online Knitting Class
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Member since 03/2004
Victoria Mothes (knitorious) participates in affiliate advertising programs. Some of the links herein are designed to provide a means to earn a small percentage in advertising fees.