Faked out

'Tis the season.

Rusty took my car in for an oil change yesterday morning.

It was a beautiful (for February) sunny day, so when they called to say it was ready, I thought "Why not walk?" It's less than a half-mile.

Well, most of that half-mile was into the wind and my face nearly froze off.

Turns out, it was -3F -- feeling far colder when factoring in the windchill!

I never even thought to check the temp. It looked nice outside!

This morning it was -12F when I was getting ready for work... and is still below zero at nearly 11 a.m.

I'm not even walking out to the mailbox today.

Hint of green

C'mon SPRING!

 


Ten on Tuesday: What's up?

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I'm Looking Forward To Right Now

1. The Madison Knitters' Guild Knit InI'm going with my friend Ann and we're making a weekend of it, leaving early Friday morning, even, so we can make stops along the way. It's been a few years since I've gone to the Knit In, and I'm truly looking forward to it!

2. Annie Modesitt's Mad About Plaid class on Saturday morning (hopefully, she's feeling better by then!).

3. The Beer and Fiber Pairing on Sunday afternoon. There's a Wine and Yarn Tasting, too. Ann is doing both on Saturday!

4. I've been to the Madison area many times but have rarely eaten at a restaurant, so I'm excited about checking out the food scene! Red Sushi, Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar, Graze, and The Coopers Tavern have all been mentioned, as well as Grampa's Pizzeria.

Let's see, what else?

5. The Oscars on Sunday night. Unable to take part in the Best Picture Festival this year, I've only seen a few nominated movies. That's better than last year, though, as I'd seen none and was grateful for the BP Fest.

6. Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8th! We are currently gaining daylight at the rate of approx. 3 minutes per day and that just increases everyday from now until the Summer Solstice. Yay!

7. My 10-year Quit-iversary on March 18th!

8. My 11-year Blog-iversary on March 20th, which is better known to most as the First Day of Spring!!

9. Dyeing some yarn. It's been a while, and there are a couple of projects waiting... with any luck, that will happen later today or tomorrow.

10. NO PLANS! It's all good -- Mexico, my grandson, the Knit-in -- but the last weekend of the month is the only weekend in February that's not pre-booked.

 


Weekending: My Little Valentine

Can you believe it? Six years ago, I spent Valentine weekend pouring my heart into cleaning and spiffing the coffee shop as part of the turnover crew when Ali took over operations.

This Valentine weekend was spent with the little guy who stole my heart 13 months ago! I had him all weekend!

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Messes were made.

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Cuteness displayed.

He's walking!! We played all day Saturday and he didn't nap at all. One would think that would bode well for Saturday night, but it didn't... he had a fitful sleep, waking every hour or two and I barely caught a wink between. We both got a few good hours before happily waking on Sunday.

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Cheerios! And scrambled egg, raisins, and banana for breakfast... a little sampling of each also having made it to the floor.

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Tucked in under our respective hand-knit blankets, we had a very nice nap together on Sunday afternoon.

That was a ton of fun!!

 


Diamonds & Pearls

30th Anniversary = Diamonds (Modern)

We found some in Mexico!

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Water sparkling like diamonds.

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Diamonds in architectural elements.

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We even walked on diamonds.

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And found a refrigerator magnet souvenir!

*

30th Anniversary = Pearls (Traditional)

We weren't really looking, but found a big one in Mexico!

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I like this photo of us...

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...but this one shows the pearl better.

This was on the waterfront promenade in La Paz, filled with all sorts of sculpture! It was a fun stroll.

 


FO: Deep End The First

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Deep-End

I love this shawl, and wear it most often as a scarf! It was perfect for traveling and perfect for Mexico!

I've started another for Alison in almost all the same colors -- I've switched out (and began with) another of my Make.Do hand-dyes in place of the very similar Eden Cottage, followed by the Great South Babes (which is where I am in the project right now); I'll probably follow that with the Undyed, the Celeste Polvere, then a slash of RED, and probably another Undyed (or maybe one of the bolder colors) to finish.

Or who knows!?

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Details and a few more photos are on the Ravelry project page.

Did I mention that I love it?

Photos were taken by Rusty at Casa de Piedra, Las Tunas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. This is the home we stayed in for our week's vacation, booked via airbnb. (You may click that link to sign up and receive a $25 credit, if you're so inclined; I'll also get a credit if/when you book or host).

This was my third airbnb experience: the first was an adorable 2BR walk-up in Glasgow, second was a cute little A-frame in Door County for a cycling weekend. I'm sure there are some not-so-great experiences, but I don't even look at a listing that doesn't have at least one recent review or have a known connection to the owner.

We stayed 7 nights in Mexico at $200 night (including all fees) -- the entire gorgeous home (inside & out) to ourselves for less than a "deluxe suite with garden view" at a nice hotel in the area -- and we had spectacular views of the ocean, the desert, the mountains, the pool, and the garden. 5 Stars!!

It was SO hard to leave...

 


Ten on Tuesday: I love...

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Love

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1. Watching sunsets over the ocean.

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2. Watching sunrises over the mountains.

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3. Watching sunrises over the ocean... the night sky recedes. Bonus: waning gibbous moon.

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4. Watching surf, surfers, and my husband on the beach shooting waves.

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5. Watching whales! There are at least four humpbacks in this photo; there were at least six in the group that let us hang for a while.

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6. Walking to the beach.

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7. Sitting on the beach.

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8. Standing on the beach.

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9. Knitting at the beach.

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10. Travel!

 


Happy Birthday Mom

I filled many a notebook when I was in high school with copied Rod McKuen poems. I could not get enough!

His recordings? I was not a fan.

RIP Rod McKuen, 4/29/1933 - 1/29/2015

I particularly dislike hate this song (no matter who "sings" it). But I love it, too, because it's so full of memories and reminders.

My mother played this album nonstop for a while. Nonstop.

It was pure torture.

"Seasons In The Sun" was on the list of songs suggested for the playlist at Mom's memorial, but (truth be told) I was so happy that I couldn't find it.

(I may not have made every effort to find it.) 

But I love it. And I love you, Mom. Always.

Mum

Happy Birthday. And Happy Anniversary, too.

I miss you.

xo


Right now...

Watching: We've begun rewatching Seasons 1 & 2 of House Of Cards in preparation for the release of Season 3 on Feb. 27th.

Reading: Tropic of Cancer... and I cannot. I need a little more organization.

I also need a good beach read.

Suggestions welcome!!

An early start to vacation knitting -- Sophie's Rose by Michelle Bernstein (of NBC Nightly News fame!). A KAL starts Monday but I want to have a start before leaving. #knittersofinstagram #sophiesroseshawl @pdxknitterati

Knitting: Sophie's Rose Shawlette by Michele Bernstein. (You must read/watch her story about new shoes, Harry Smith, PDX, and the NBC Nightly News!) Anyway, this is part of the Hugs & Kisses KAL in the PDXKnitterati Ravelry Group; the official KAL start date is Feb. 1st. I'm getting a head start, as it's vacation knitting and I don't want to have to think too hard. My MC yarn may be too busy...

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Drinking: Cerveza! Testing, 1-2-3. Just getting myself acclimated...

Wearing: Nothing that will be packed in my suitcase.

Organizing KonMari-ing: Has taken a back seat at the moment, but I'll be refreshed and ready upon our return from Mexico. It's the annual-ish purge but so different this time -- with much more oomph and, I believe, results that will last. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo is changing my life. Yep.

Celebrating: My last workday for a little while.

Listening to: Dr. Blair's Spanish in No Time. I'm learning listening to Spanish in my car!

Itching to: GO!!!

Looking forward to: Sunday morning and everything vacation.

Needing to: Finish packing.

Delighted by: The weather forecast. Also full moon!

 


Ten on Tuesday: Foot f*tish

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Types of Footwear I Own/Love

Shoes aren't really "my thing," though I will admit that they've become more of "a thing" lately. Inflammation and often severe swelling in my ankles and feet didn't make for fun shoe shopping -- it was always a consideration when buying shoes, and adjustable was the (only) name of the game! Even with fairly significant weight gain over the past 6-9 months, I don't suffer the inflammation and swelling that I did in the past, and I can wear a lot of shoes that I wasn't able to before.

Keen Saratoga

1. Keen -- I can't remember the name of this Mary Jane style. I've had them for several years... long enough that I've employed Shoe Goo in an effort to keep them together a little bit longer. After sitting out most of last year, they're back in the rotation a bit more. I've always loved them, especially the color!

2. El Naturalista -- the shoes I was desperate to stretch & break in before our trip to the U.K. I think I ended up wearing them on the plane but mostly they were in my luggage... and they are heavy!

Garage Sale Sandals

3. Garage Sale Sandals. I don't usually buy used shoes, but these had possibly been worn once. I don't remember the brand -- maybe Bjorn -- it's a brand of shoe that usually doesn't work for me. The arch support could be a little better, so I don't wear them when I know I'll be walking a lot or on my feet all day, but I love the style and color and that leather is so soft. Like buttah.

4. Merrell Captiva Launch 2. I love, love, love these boots! They're pretty close fitting, so usually worn with tights or leggings. I haven't snagged or broke a single buckle... knocking on wood.

Keen Sandals

5. More Keen. These were purchased specifically for their flexibility and adjustability, and originally to wear while cycling (and are still my preferred footwear for that activity). They're also pretty comfortable (as I find most Keens to be, for me).

Lucky Boots

6. Lucky! I love these distressed, short boots. I bought them last year, I think. They fit great but don't have a zipper, so they can be a challenge to get on -- especially since I broke the loops in the back! (I've recently found the trick is thin, slippery socks or tights... not my usual cotton socks.)

Taos Shoes

7. Taos. These laced shoes have a tiny little heel, which is very high by my standard of the last 30 years! They are super comfortable, though an all-day walk around Edinburgh was a bit much and I ended up with a blister on my little toe!

Taos Sandals

8. More Taos. These are the sandals I bought even though I could barely even squeeze my foot inside because of the inflammation. I loved the style SO MUCH and knew that once in a while I'd be able to wear them. Well, that turned out to be hardly ever never until the inflammation and swelling were under control. They are some of my favorite shoes ever.

Wolky Sandals

9. Wolky. These, too, were purchased for adjustability. You can't see in this photo, but there are two velcro buckles on each sandal... I was at the point last summer that I was wishing I could get them tighter!

10. A brand new -- my first -- pair of Fluevog Shoes. Sandals that I purchased during a recent sale. I'm aiming to gently break these in while on vacation. Also, how did I not know that there was a Fluevog store in Chicago???

MORE:

My #1 favorite thing to wear on my feet is NOTHING! Barefoot, baby.

#2 is some short cotton athletic socks that I wear more as slippers.

#3 is a pair of slippers, usually worn over the socks because they're big.

OBSERVATIONS:

  • I have more shoes than I'd have guessed. I'm wearing some nice Merrell's (same as #7 on Kym's list!), there's a pair of snow boots, some tennies/athletic shoes...
  • I've jettisoned some old faves recently that hadn't been worn in years.
  • Red seems to be my favored color for a pedi!! Stay tuned...

 


Weekending

Weekending: A great weekend, full of family and fun! They should all be so good.

I met Ann & Brian, all four of their boys, and Joe for a lovely birthday dinner for Annie at Carmella's, one of the nicest restaurants in our area. Most of us shifted seats between the appetizer and the main course, so a good amount of visiting and catching up was accomplished, and a very good time was had by all.

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I babysat Junah afterwards so Ali could go out to celebrate her friend Abbey's birthday! He was sleeping when I arrived, but roused a bit for a bottle and then we had a wonderful snuggle and snooze together on the couch.

The Best Of Times.

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The main event of the weekend was Annie's birthday brunch, which she prepared and served herself -- it is one of her favorite things in the world to do!! A lovely baked egg dish, delicious whole grain pancakes and waffles served with syrup, fresh whipped cream, fruit and nuts. Yum.

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On Saturday afternoon, she wanted me to go with her to the mall -- stops at Williams Sonoma, a chair massage, and the Fox River Brewing Co. were on the list.

Afterwards, we met the boys for a quick bite to eat before heading to see Paddington! I wasn't going to go, at first, but Mack was very persuasive... he's almost 10 and I figured that if he wants me to go, I should go; things might be very different in a few years! I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would, and the boys LOVED it.

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On Sunday, it was the RV & Camping Show on Sunday morning! Rusty & Rod wanted some ideas for a project that they're considering; Kate, Ali & I went along for grins. This event has always been my earliest herald of spring, but it's the first time I've ever gone.

Wow, people. These are not your parents' campers! Camping is not my thing, and these mobile party modules haven't really swayed me, but... impressive.

The rest of Sunday was mine and I spent quite a bit of it knitting. Deep End has been my exclusive project since casting on, and it looks like it'll be done in time to take/wear on vacation. Yay! Pardon the last photo (late-night lamp light), I was so excited about the color pop of Stripe 5! That's a shorty, and Stripe 6 is even shorter... it's possible I'll cast off at Knit Night tomorrow!

6 Days.

 


The Baby Is 50

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Happy Birthday Annie!

With a six-year age difference and three other siblings between, we've sometimes been close and sometimes not. Lately -- the last decade or so -- close; probably closer than almost ever in the past year.

I think we're a pretty good match -- the laid-back Type B eldest and the more, um, let's say "urgent" Type A youngest.

She's the best baby sister ever, and I can't wait to see what happens -- where she goes and I get to visit -- in the next 50 years!

xo

 


Ten (x 3 = 30) on Tuesday: A Wedding Anniversary

This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is:

10 Things I'm Happy About Right Now

I'm going to riff on that today because it's our 30th wedding anniversary.
{{{ 30 Years! (?) }}}

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30 Things for 30 Years!

  1. We met through work -- the company Rusty worked for was a customer of the company I worked for.
  2. Our first date was about 3 weeks before my birthday.
  3. At the time, I was thinking of moving back to Wisconsin from Oregon.
  4. He was interesting enough to reconsider that thought.
  5. We went out to dinner at the Lake Lytle Restaurant on our first date and then took a walk on a wide, low-tide beach at Rockaway (memorable because it was beautiful, and also because I wasn't wearing appropriate footwear for beach-walking).
  6. He gave me a small jade plant for that birthday. Perfect!
  7. We cooked (both together and for each other) and played a lot of Scrabble back in the (early) day(s) at my apartment.
  8. And we got hooked on watching Reilly: Ace of Spies on Mystery and had a standing date at his house.
  9. When we'd hang out, he'd paint or draw while I knit.
  10. I enjoyed sitting out in the sun room/patio watching Rusty build a porch.
  11. Then I offered to help.
  12. We finished his house at Cape Kiwanda together.
  13. And expanded it with an addition.
  14. We got married at that house... 30 years ago.
  15. The stage was set for many years of home improvement.
  16. I'm good at demo.
  17. He's good at finishing.
  18. We're a pretty good team.
  19. There's an 11-year difference in our ages.
  20. Rusty never thought he'd have kids.
  21. Surprise! We have three amazing daughters!!
  22. And we're grandparents too!
  23. We've always given each other space.
  24. He does his thing.
  25. I do my thing.
  26. We do our thing.
  27. It works -- sometimes better than others. These 30 years have had the highs and the lows.
  28. Lately, we seem to be travelling more -- separately and together.
  29. We used to take impromptu trips -- just get in the car and go! One memorable trip was to Seaview, WA, though we didn't know that's where we were headed when we started out. We stayed at The Shelburne Inn and loved the whole area so much we went back a time or two.
  30. Our upcoming trip to Mexico is the first since we were married that we're not going with someone, or meeting up with anyone -- there's not so much as a "stopping by" to visit anyone we know. From the time we get on the plane in Green Bay until we step back off a week later, it's just us and a new adventure!!

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Never give up

It's never too late!

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  • Project:  Tasha by Leigh Spencer (at knitty.com, Summer 2003)
  • Yarn:  Aunt Lydia's Denim Quick Crochet
  • Needle:  US 6
  • Started:  June 4, 2004
  • Finished:  January 16, 2015

Through the magic of blogging, I know exactly when I started knitting this bag -- it was well before the dawn of Ravelry!

A WIP for 10.5 years, it's finally finished, and I couldn't be happier.

I have run across this WIP many times (whenever I'd "organize") in the past 10 years; I've ripped out or even thrown away other projects, but always spared Tasha. I really liked that project and wanted to finish... eventually! All the pieces were knit except for the strap, and I was about half-way on that piece.

This year, it's as much about what's taking up space as it is about anything else, and I didn't want this project taking up space anymore.

Also, wouldn't it be perfect for Mexico???

It slid right into the #1 spot in the rotation. I finished the knitting, washed and dried all the pieces. I did about half the sewing up at Knit Night on Thursday, the remainder on Friday evening at home.

And now I have a "new," perfect little bag to take on vacation. Just right for my wallet, sunglasses, keys. Serendipity at work.

 


Going off the Deep End

I've finished the knitting and have begun assembly of the 10-year-old knitting project that I recently mentioned. I did about half the sewing up at Knit Night last night, and ought to be finished within a day or two! I'm so excited to finish.

Next up will be Deep End by Heidi Kirrmaier, and I'm diving deep into the stash trying to find a 6-color combo that I like.

Here's everything I have on the table (ha ha) for consideration.

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I'm going to play around with this blue-sy (water/sand) combo in the middle left a bit more.

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Close up!

That's an actual piece of knitting on the far right that I am fully prepared to frog because the project is never going to be finished... and that color totally "goes." Some of these are my own hand-dyed, including some of the natural dyeing I did last fall. The variegated blue/green/teal is the Madelinetosh exclusive for The Village Knitter called Great South Babes.

I'm also leaning toward some purples with this gorgeous Lisa Souza green that I've been dyeing to use.

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POP! (Though there's not much contrast between the purples)

Otherwise, I'm leaning toward neutrals.

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Various shades of gray... brown, black, and white.

Or, maybe I should throw one of these into the mix and see what happens:

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Decisions, decisions.

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This one has sparkles!

Decisions will be made because casting on happens Monday! I'm predisposed to loving this shawl and there is already precedent to knitting the same thing twice or thrice, so I'm not stressing too much.

My day started out on the lousy side, but it's already improving:

  • It's Friday!
  • There's a big football game on Sunday! (Two of them, actually.) (Go Packers & Pats!)
  • Vacation is fast approaching...
  • And this morning I made reservations for a whale watching trip. That's one of two things we have scheduled for the week, and both toward the end; otherwise it goes something like this: BEACH, RELAX, BEACH, RELAX, BEACH, BEACH, RELAX... with nourishment and refreshment as needed and/or desired.

Counting.The.Days.

(16)

 


Space

1space noun

: the amount of an area, room, surface, etc., that is empty or available for use

: an area that is used or available for a specific purpose

: an empty area between things

 

2space verb

: to place or arrange (things) so that there is a particular amount of space between them

: to separate (things) by particular periods of time

 

Those are the simplest definitions of the word SPACE according to Merriam-Webster.

I have a full year to explore the full definitions and to see how I spin it... or it spins me.

I wasn't intending to choose One Little Word -- it just seemed like way more thinking than I'm willing to do right now just to come up with One -- but this one fell into my lap in short correspondence with Kym the other day, and it stayed there.

 

Pillars of Creation wtrclr

Pillars of Creation, Watercolor by Lee Mothes (with the artist's permission)

 

Stay tuned.

 


One

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It's hard to believe...

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3 Weeks

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4 Weeks

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6 Weeks

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9 Weeks

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6 Months

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10 Months

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(the light)

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1 Year!

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Let there be cake! Haha!

...it's been an entire year!

I just don't even know what to say... it's been amazing and wonderful.

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Addie summed it up nicely in the card he made. Boys! Who knew??

 


More unearthing...

With Kate's kickstart the other day, my annual-ish purge has begun.

It feels different this time. I'm liking the open spaces... there's room to breathe.

I haven't even got 'round to the knitting stuff yet, and I've already tossed more never-will-finish-that knitting projects than ever before.

Or donated. (I just can't bear to throw away that much Rowan Fine Cotton Chenille.)

Knittyneedles

It's a sort of knitting needle (and stitch holder/marker) reclamation project!

So far, it's mostly been pre-Ravelry stuff. I may have blogged once or twice about whatever, but mostly... as if it never happened!

I have unearthed one project from Knitty Summer 2003 and have resumed... it would be great to have it finished in time for Mexico!

Can you guesss what it is?

 


Change of plan

It began with a desire to get away to someplace warm this winter. It was two years ago that I went to Brazil in January and I have not forgotten how good that felt. Good and fun and oh, so warm.

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I realized that we'll be celebrating 30 years of marriage this month... how in the hell did that happen? And, it got me thinking...

The traditional and modern gifts for a 30th anniversary are pearls and diamonds. I already have a pearl in my wedding ring (from a ring that was my mother-in-law's), and I can count on about one finger the times in the past 30 years that I've wished I had a diamond. There must be another way...

"Diamond Head" came to mind and fits right in with the "experiences, not things" philosophy that I love more and more! It's unisex, one-size-fits-all, and HAWAII... so warm.

Pretty much decided on Maui, with a trip over to Oahu to visit Diamond Head, we could easily have booked an all-inclusive package and be done, but that's not how we roll 'round here. Personally, I can see the advantage of an all-inclusive resort, but it is so NOT Rusty! It wasn't coming together very well, and it was adding up!

Where else could we go?

Mexico had been on the table all along -- Rusty's especially wanted to visit Baja. Plus, it turns out that he'd already visited Maui -- the exact location I was looking at -- on his first-marriage honeymoon. And, well, NO... not this time, anyway.

VIVA MEXICO!!

We'll spend a week at Todos Santos. Flight - check! Car - check! House near the beach - check! And, man, what a nice, l-o-o-o-o-o-ng beach. Perfect.

I was able to book our flights with miles (thank you Brazil, Scotland, and L.A.), which leaves almost all of the budget for lodging and doing... though I'm leaning way toward not much. So excited.

I haven't found the "diamond" angle yet, but we'll get creative!

 


Intent

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Intentions for 2015

I'm having a hard time thinking about anything more than what's in front of me this year. Junah's 1st (!) birthday party at my house on Saturday, a Packer game on Sunday, hopefully another a week after that, my sister's 50th (!) birthday soon, my mother's birthday/anniversary at the end of the month, vacation, the adventure of possibly trying to find a place to watch the Super Bowl... in Mexico!

A month out is about as far as I'm willing to go.

This year, I'm all about recovery. I don't have a word. I don't really even want to think too hard... about anything... not words, not intentions, not goals, not dinner.

Live and let live. Knit and let knit. Or sew. Take it as it comes. Roll with the punches.

Enjoy my family.

In lieu of 10 Intentions, here are some messages I've jotted down on sticky notes over the years and have posted around my work area... they're all intentional; designed to help us be better.

* * * * *

Intensity : Say Yes

Inclusion : Be Generous

Integrity : Speak Up

Intimacy : Love More

Intuition : Trust Yourself

Intention : Slow Down

 

* * * * *

Something to do

Something to love

Something to hope for

 

* * * * *

Time only seems to matter when it's running out.

 

* * * * *

It's the time you have, not the time you want.

 

* * * * *


Unearthed

An email from July 2004:

Congratulations! You've been admitted to the Knitting Bloggers' Web Ring!

* * * * *

In the interest of actually being able to do some work, I've been spending some time over the past couple of months trying to clean up and organize my workroom! I've organized, I've purged, I've replaced old inefficient furniture with more practical shelving.

It was a pretty big disaster, not helped in the least by the holidays. Also, I may have too many interests... knitting, dyeing, photography, sewing... not to mention that I'm the defacto family historian/genealogist. Yarn, needles, magazines, books, dye, kettles, tubs, measuring & stirring tools, cameras, lenses, flashes, reflectors, props, sewing machine, fabric, thread, cases, bags, and totes.

I've made progress, but it's slow; and there eventually comes the point when I hit the wall. WHAT NEXT?

I was at that point yesterday when Katie walked in the back door. I asked her to come in and see my progress, "Look! You can even see the sewing machine."

It took her a few seconds, "Where??" And I had to direct her gaze. *sigh*

"Would you like me to help you for a little while?"

Um. YEAH! We discussed an overall plan and then set to work.

I'll tell you what, people. If you're having a hard time cleaning things out -- deciding what's worthy of keeping, etc. -- invite someone to help you. The answer you give when you ask yourself whether to keep something is completely different than when you're asked by someone else!!

One small victory: the Rubbermaid "tote full of totes" is no longer a thing! There are a few remaining, but only the ones I use or really want!

I'm not sure which pile o' papers gave up the blog ring email; I don't recall ever making a conscious decision to keep it, but obviously neither had I made a decision to toss it.

Anyway, progress made... GREAT progress, yesterday!

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I've finished a few knitting projects for & since the holidays -- a couple of caps for Rusty, another hoodie for Junah (no photos of that one yet).

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Rib-A-Roni x2! Rav'd: v.1 and v.2. I used some tweedy Plymouth Galway Worsted that I've had hanging around for years.

Continuing with the "clean up" attitude, I've pulled an old WIP off the shelf to finish:

Lokken

It's the Lokken Kerchief from Knitscene Accessories 2012 that I started it on June 23, 2012. The pattern was separated from the knitting, so I had to track it down, but I'd purchased the electronic version of that publication from Interweave and it was easy to download it again! I've figured out my place and finished the actual knitting; now comes the tedious process of fringe.

I will not lose focus!

 


The sun sets

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Stevens Point, WI

A quick run with Ali to pick up a vintage Formica set for the shop.

I found some terrific glass beakers. Perhaps I should have been -- or previously was -- a chemist.

We stopped in for a visit with Maddy before heading home.

Quiet.

 


Ten on Tuesday: The Eve of Christmas Eve

Believe it or not, I actually did turn last week's topic into a Christmas letter and Rusty, much better than I at these things (for various reasons), has mailed out a bunch! I've managed to get three cards in the mail -- two of them using envelopes that were addressed a long time ago (there was one for Sharon in Kansas... that was almost 10 years ago)!

After my run to the mall last night -- traffic was awful -- I had a photo delivery to make. We ended up chatting a bit, and then I had a glass of wine in my hand ('tis the season), and next thing you know I'm sitting down for dinner! It was around 8:00 by the time I was headed home and I thought, you know, this might be an excellent time for a stop at the grocery store. And I was right. My list was mostly in my head, so naturally I forgot a few things... but still managed to spend a bundle.

It turns out, we'll be having our main family gathering/meal at noon on Christmas Day instead of Christmas Eve -- and that just happened over the weekend, so I'm not quite sure what we'll be doing tomorrow. Maybe meatballs, though probably not Swedish. There's another trip to the grocery store in my future...

Ten on Tuesday:  10 (Random) Things On My To-Do List

1. Meatballs for Christmas Eve?

2. Pick up the ham for Christmas Day

3. Carrots

4. Malbec (& gift bag)

5. "Wrap" presents

6. There's some cleaning & laundry still (always) to do

7. Roast Broccoli, Cauliflower & Carrots

8. Heavenly Hash

9. Corn Pudding

10. Try to send out a few more cards before the holidays are over!

Cookies

The weather outside is frightful! It's warm and wet, so sometimes quite foggy, and not very Christmas-y. Maddy is supposed to be home tonight, but I told her to stay put if it's icky and just come in the morning.

 


Right Now

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ReadingWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and Outlander. I don't remember who recommended the former; I've been reading the latter for months... and that will continue.

Knitting: I just finished an Entrelac Scarf (gift) and a quick hat (possible gift); will be starting another hat (gift) to pair with one I finished a while back (you guessed it, a gift!)!

Dreading: The end of year is nigh.

Humming... along with every Christmas song I hear.

Drinking: Gin & Tonic... love The Botanist right now, but also the more local Death's Door Gin and Door County Distillery's Lighthouse Gin. I used to drink gin & sour back in the day (with a twist of lemon) but, until last year, when Katie brought home some lovely Elderflower Edinburgh Gin, it hadn't passed my lips in years. So good.

Wearing: Uncomfortable jeans. There's change in the wind!!

Organizing: My workroom! Out with the old, in with the new!

Celebrating: Yes, I am.

Itching: For some time off.

Looking forward to: All three girls at my house tomorrow night for some cookie decorating! (I've one last party to attend, first.)

Needing to (and also Dreading): Go back to Macy's tonight so they can remove one of those security thingies from a sweater I purchased on Saturday. Grrr.

Thinking about... and beginning to plan: A Hawaiian vacation!

 


Cleveland maybe? #tbt

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We moved so much when I was a kid and few of the photos are identified, but I think I've straightened out the Christmas timelines -- and this is Cleveland! I'm pretty sure...

Cleveland! My first bike, Karen's Charmin' Chatty, Michael's Mr. Machine, for some reason "Thumbelina" comes to mind when I see the doll that Sharon's holding -- Madame Alexander, maybe.

Some of those ornaments are hanging on my tree! The gold glitter balls, and the striped one just to the right of Sharon.

Q is for...

Wow. What a week of get-togethers! A knitting group on Tuesday, book club on Wednesday, the last Thursday knit night before Christmas tonight, an anticipatory solstice gathering on Friday... thank goodness for a fairly normal day off yesterday!

Next week, there's only one extra-curricular holiday gathering.

We still haven't firmed up the Christmas Eve menu. What are you having?

Obviously, I've things to do, but I'm hanging in there, how about you??

 


Ten on Tuesday: Christmas Letter!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 (or so) Things for Our Christmas Letter

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Seasons Greetings to Our Family & Friends!!

Since I last wrote, the girls have all graduated from high school!  ;)  Yep. I'm not quite sure how long it's been since I've written, but it's been quite a while...

Girls

Bad news first. My mother died on June 23rd. She was diagnosed with cancer in late 2012, and received her first treatment on New Year's Eve that year. She was admitted to the hospital in early June with pneumonia, partly the result of complications from side effects of a new chemo and partly the result of permanent damage from previous radiation treatment. Her condition deteriorated over a few weeks, and she died just days after Ann and family returned to Wisconsin from Brazil. We celebrated the life of our beautiful mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and wife at a memorial in August.

>>>Cosmic shift.

Kids

The girls. Katie returned to Wisconsin in August after spending a year in Scotland where she earned her MSc in the History of Art, Theory & Display from the Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh. She has happily returned to work at the book store while also completing an entrepreneurship program, developing a new business, and writing an art blog at Young-Space.com.

Ali married Rod last year, making us first-time in-laws, and became a mother this year, making us first-time grandparents! Our grandson, Junah, is an absolute delight. It'll be six years in February since Ali took over operations of the coffee shop! The shop continues to succeed and grow, thanks to a wonderful team, and they are looking toward an expansion opportunity.

Maddy worked another summer at Girl Scout camp, this time as trip leader, the highlight being a 2+ week canoe trip in the Boundary Waters (with maybe an accidental overnight on the Canadian side). She got her kayak wet as often as she could, found a new job, moved into a lovely old house with her roommates, and is getting ever closer to earning her elementary teaching degree. It won't be long now!

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Us. Rusty successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign and published a book about the imaginary places he's painted for years. He participated in some local art fairs, and spent a few weeks in Grand Rapids, MI, at Artprize, closely followed by another few weeks on the west coast. He traveled from Wisconsin to British Columbia to SoCal and back, visiting friends, family and clients, and getting the coastal recharge that's so necessary to his survival. He continues, of course, to paint, draw, read, write, and teach; he's currently working on the illustrations for a Storey Publishing "tiny houses" book.

Becoming a grandmother for the first time was the biggest highlight of my year! It's true... everything they say about how great it is to be a grandparent.

I began hand sewing, making a couple of bibs for Junah in addition to a onesie, a blanket, a top for Maddy, and a couple of tops for me. I have plans (and patterns, fabric & thread) to do much more! Sewing cut into the knitting time, but I still managed to finish a few shawls, some hats, and a number of Christmas gifts, and have started a long-term blanket project that joins an already impressive list of WIPs (works in progress).

I did very little dyeing this year, but I did do some! I was inspired after taking workshop in Grand Rapids about naturally dyeing fabric; harvested some stuffs from my own back yard and had a go with some yarn. I'm excited to do more! (There's an indigo vat in my future.) I still keep a small area within Ali's coffee shop to sell a little yarn and other supplies.

Rusty & I went to Scotland in May, flying into Edinburgh to meet Kate and then heading to the Highlands for the majority of our visit. We traveled by train to Inverness where we rented a car, and Katie chauffeured us around! From Inverness along Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle, up to Dornie and Eilean Donan Castle, through the Torridon to Croft 23, our gorgeous B&B at South Erradale in Wester Ross; over to Dunrobin Castle at Golspie; Gairloch, Poolewe, Aultbea, Kinlochewe, Ullapool; over to the Isle of Skye; revisiting Fort William and Glencoe on our way to Glasgow; over to North Ayrshire and a visit with my friend Yvette at Irvine, to Portencross Castle at West Kilbride. We then took the train back to Edinburgh from Glasgow before heading back home. That was a lot of driving! Most of it on single-track roads, sometimes dodging sheep. Though the weather was less than spectacular, it was an amazing vacation nonetheless.

I also traveled to Los Angeles with my sister Ann in July for a long weekend -- and her friend's wedding. It was a nice, touristy break: Hello Hollywood! I enjoyed my first farm-to-table dinner in August, as well as my first Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park. Kate, Ann and I participated in the 25-mile version of the Peninsula Century bike ride in September. There were trips to Chicago, Grand Rapids, and a wonderful family weekend at our old family cabin on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.

We experienced the highs and lows of life to extremes this year, and hope for a little moderation in the next.

Happy Holidays & Best Wishes to All!

* * * * *

copy, paste, print... find some photos...

It might happen this year!!

 


Bake Day 2014

We entered the kitchen at 8:30 a.m. and didn't leave until a bit past 5:00. We measured, mixed, stirred, chopped, patted, poured, rolled, sprinkled and baked our little hearts out with varying success... mostly great!

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There were three large stainless steel work tables pushed together in the main work area and it worked perfectly for each of us to claim one as our own. There was plenty of room to spread elsewhere, and a couple of us also employed rolling carts. That's everything I brought to make the following:

An almost-double batch of Ina Garten's Ultimate Ginger Cookie.

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Each batch is supposed to make 16 cookies, and I ended up with 29. An unequivocal success, I will definitely make these again... maybe next week! Next time, though, I'll keep in mind that a double batch pushed the tilt-head KitchenAid mixer to the limit. There was a big Hobart commercial mixer available, but total overkill. I think that my bowl-lift mixer at home is just a bit larger than the tilt-head.

Paleo Fat Bomb Coconut Brownies by Caitlin Weeks. They are delicious! I used both the coconut and walnuts, but was just a little shy of the 1 cup of melted coconut oil called for in the recipe -- my fault -- so they look dry and are a little but crumbly, yet, at the same time, are also incredibly moist. I think the missing oil would help hold it all together. I would make them again, but also maybe cut them into the suggested 9 squares, rather than 16.

Sweet & Salty Fudge Bombs by Melissa Joulwan, author of my favorite Well Fed series of cookbooks. 

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I may have processed a bit longer than needed -- I don't have much experience with food processors! My able assistants helped with both rolling and garnishing, resulting in a wide range of sizes... from rabbit poop/Cocoa Puff size to shooter. I was a little distracted, and they were so happily rolling and dusting and dipping, that I just let it roll. So, they look a little wonky but they taste great! Kids love to help in the kitchen!!

Irish Coffee Brownies.

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My helpers were not only handy, but very happy, too!! These brownies looked quite different than what I was expecting. From the photo that accompanied the recipe, I was expecting a very rich, dark brownie, but they are not that at all. Variation in cocoa used? Perhaps. It made a lot, and they taste good even if not quite as chocolatey and chewy as I thought they'd be.

Lastly, I made Granny Wallace's Shortbread Cookies.

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I almost didn't make them... there's a lot of intermittent refrigeration in this recipe. Pat the dough and refrigerate; roll the dough and refrigerate; refrigerate, refrigerate, refrigerate. I was pretty exhausted by that point, and I may have skipped a couple of those steps at the end. Rolling to an even thickness has never been my forte, either, and we'll just say these are all 1/4" thick, more or less. I was able to get two pans, mostly full, into the oven and they turned out wonderfully! I didn't get anywhere near the quantity the recipe says, but these are 3" cookies, at least, rather than 2" -- I had to use cutters at-hand -- along with the aforementioned challenge with consistent rolling. But I think I'd make them exactly the same next time!

My intention was that most of this would be gifts, and I might have been more successful with some if I hadn't had to pack and travel. The cookies were by far the most successful in that department -- and all-around -- they're truly my favorites of the day!

New rule for food gifts: nothing that needs to be cut. And think twice about frosting/glaze, too. Also, packaging. Those fudge bombs would look good, four or six in a small box; just sprinkled in amongst other goodies, they just look like... not good.

What a great day, though. There were two large convection ovens at our disposal, a gas range and another oven, a walk-in freezer, large refrigerator, mixers and food processors, three sinks, plenty of work space. We love to do, and this is something we'll definitely do again!

 


TGIF!

I am never so happy to see a Friday as when I've had Monday off and worked four long days in a row -- and it seems to take so long to get here.

But, yay! Here we are!!

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I began gathering together ingredients and things last night in preparation for a day of baking with my sisters. We're spending the day tomorrow at a commercial kitchen near Annie's and we all have plans!! I have five recipes on my list -- ginger cookies, shortbread cookies, two kinds of brownies, and some little fudge balls -- at least one is a no-bake option. A fair amount of cocoa/cacao will be used.

I have no idea what Karen & Ann have planned; Annie often makes caramels, brittle, and peanut butter balls, and Karen's on a huge health kick... it could be very interesting. We've never done anything like this before, so it's hard to know how it's all going to work out. If oven logistics turn out to be too complicated, I'm perfectly fine with just visiting and knitting.

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I am working on an Entrelac Scarf -- gift knitting. I'm using 2 skeins of Cascade Tangier, a nice blend of silk, acrylic, rayon & cotton, with a long color repeat similar to Noro, but without the WOW of Noro. And maybe a little softer around the neck than some Noro yarns, which the recipient will like. I've used a provisional cast on with the intention of grafting this into a loop -- and I'm thinking that, after blocking, it's going to be the perfect length to wear as a single-loop infinity scarf or doubled for a cowl. It's going pretty quick, considering all the turning (I've not taken the time yet to learn knitting backwards) (not sure what I'm waiting for) and should be an FO next week.

I've done more gift knitting this year than I have since I was a senior in high school, when I knit color-block scarves and hats for EVERYONE. I used Red Heart yarn, which I could buy at the grocery store on my way home from school, along with the fuel for all that knitting -- lots of Coke & Lay's Sour Cream & Onion potato chips! Haha. Good times... and different metabolism.

Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend!!