31 March 2014

Weekending

Ms. Madeleine was here for a couple of days and on Saturday we went early birthday shopping!

TOOLS

She'd mentioned her desire for a basic "tool kit" a while back, and was also interested in a new bookcase. So on Saturday we went to the local home improvement store and set her right up!

BOOKCASE

Ta-da!! Put together and organized later that evening!

It's done... again! It was too big & I had to re-do the crown. So hard to photograph a black hat! #knittingformum

It's such a cool pattern - Cloche Divine by Meghan Jones. Knit in the treasured & discontinued Rowan Calmer.

I finished a hat -- twice! The third Cloche Divine that I've knit, this is the largest size and even so I made it TOO big. It was a quick fix to re-knit the crown on Saturday, ripping back and starting the decreases earlier, and it was finally delivered on Sunday.

My sister Karen was also here, attending the state Master Gardeners' convention. We met for dinner afterwards, along with another of her friends. Gather Americana is a new restaurant featuring local, organic and, oh my goodness, delicious! They'll soon be adding a deli. Though I'm certain I'll return before then, it will also be the location of our company Christmas party this year!

You can't plan these things too soon.

On Sunday night, I did something I've never done before.

BINGO

Sunday night BINGO in the church basement! And it was all that. I even have my own Bingo dawber. (Only one.) My friend Ann has been talking about doing this for months. We didn't win a dime between us, but we sure had fun. It was only our first night but we were already coveting some of the AWESOME Bingo bags... especially the ones in BINGO FABRIC! You just know how that would speak to us!!

Otherwise, I did some sewing and a few other things here and there...

Good words.

Yeah!

28 March 2014

Five for Friday

1.  I had a bad, bad head cold. Ugh. Seems as though people everywhere are sick! The weather is hideous and I'm sure that's not helping. Except for a bright spot on Sunday (maybe into Monday), when it's supposed to reach 50F, we'll be back into the 30s for the first week of April.

April, for crying out loud!

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2.  I'm itching to get back to this new sewing project! I finished the applique and can't pick it up again until I finish knitting a hat that I started a while back. It took a while and, eventually, some ripping out to find my place! I'm on track now, ready to start the crown decreases. It ought to be done tonight. (Then back to sewing tomorrow!)

3.  Beth in Seattle recently penned the 22,000th comment here! Amazing.

4.  There have been ups & downs this week. I need a vacation. (47 Days) (I'm counting).

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5.  Oh. There's the bright spot!

Have a Happy Weekend!

 

21 March 2014

Well, that was fun

Keeping Random.org busy today...

I'm very happy to announce that Therese G. is the winner of the Craftsy class giveaway. Therese, Craftsy has sent a link for you class directly to you. Thank you!!

The winner of the second Craftsy class is Margene!! I may have squealed out loud this morning as I counted and landed on her name, and I couldn't wait to send her gift! Since she recently expressed her interest in Alabama Chanin style sewing, I'm pretty confident that I know which class she'll choose.

Thanks for all the 10-year fun. I've written over 2500 posts in the 10 years I've been blogging and shortly -- very shortly -- someone will leave the 22,000th comment on one of those posts. The milestones just keep coming!

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I scored some new 4XL men's t-shirts the other day -- so much fabric! I couldn't wait to start deconstruction and am already busy making another top! This one is a mash-up of two favorite styles for summer.

I can't stop!

This weekend, though, I really need to finish knitting a hat I've had on the needles for too long!

And work at getting rid of a cold. Yuck.

Maybe it's the world telling me that it's House of Cards S2 weekend at my house. heh.

 

20 March 2014

10 Years!

TODAY!! It's the First Day of Spring (yahoo!) and my 10th Blogiversary! Here's the last installment of TEN for TEN.

TEN - YOU!

I'm not altogether sure I'd have kept this up for 10 years if it wasn't for you.

You've offered advice and support through some bad times, and you've celebrated the joys and triumphs of many good times! You've certainly encouraged, enabled, and influenced me. I wouldn't be half the knitter I am if it weren't for blogging. And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't presently have my foot stuck in the rabbit hole of hand sewing, either, if it weren't for blogging.

It's not always easy writing this blog and, in glancing back these last 10 days over the past decade, I can see how much things have changed -- what I share, how I write, and the pictures. Sheesh! There are certainly some cringe-worthy photos, but I did what I could with what I had (P.S. I still love you, Sony DSC-85!). What struck me most was the size! I recall bandwidth being an issue at times, back in the day, but postage stamp photos -- I guess everyone just "clicked to make big" the photos they really wanted to see. Because, wow, TINY. (I fixed some of those as I ran across them.)

But holy cow, 10 years! 

Thank you!! Thank you for reading, laughing, crying, encouraging, enabling, and just for being there. It's always comforting to know that there's a big collective shoulder here, and someone willing to listen.

* * * * *

So, all week I've posted the link for the Craftsy Class Giveaway and I think I'll be ready to announce the winner tomorrow. That giveaway doesn't really have anything to do with me, I've just given it some space and airtime, so I've decided that I will give away another Craftsy Class and probably some other presents, too! Because, holy cow, 10 years!

I'll randomly draw winners from all who leave or have left a comment on any of the Ten for Ten posts, including this one, through midnight CST tonight.

*Giveaways have ended*

Thanks again!

* * * * *

Previously:

That's Ten for Ten!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value -- only 1 more day to enter. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the Craftsy classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's much to choose from!

NEW ON CRAFTSY!!
Clara Parkes' Know Your Yarn: Choose the Perfect Yarn Every Time!

19 March 2014

Sheep & Wool

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

NINE - SHEEP & WOOL

That's what it's all about, isn't it? It is for me, at least; wool being the fiber I knit with most. There are fiber festivals everywhere -- I think the Events page at Knitter's Review is probably the most complete yet very concise list. Probably one of the biggest and well known is New York Sheep & Wool Festival (or Rhinebeck), which I've gone to three times; Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival isn't too shabby, and I finally made it there a few years ago (and a couple of times since).

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Rhinebeck 2005.

My first and, man, was it wet! Flight delays, traffic delays, juggled plans... it's a wonder I made it at all. St. Brigid was my sweater that year.

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Rhinebeck 2006 -- Rhinebeck Bingo!

We had a soundtrack! So much fun that year -- I met so many people (Carole, it was 2006!). My sweater was Fib.

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Rhinebeck 2007.

I don't think I had a sweater that year, it was the year of the cowl (for me)!  If I'm not mistaken, it was fairly warm that year, anyway.

Besides the people -- the people are always the best part of these things -- and the wool, the next best things about Rhinebeck are definitely Artichokes French and chicken pot pies! People, Wool, Food... in that order. Or People, Food, Wool? I guess it depends on how hungry I am.

image from www.flickr.com

image from www.flickr.com

WI Sheep & Wool - 2010.

My first time! Sharon had just rented her apartment there, but didn't move in for another month. Compared to Rhinebeck, this festival is a lot smaller, but the quality of vendors is right up there -- many of the same! In fact, Susan's Fiber Shop is located in Wisconsin but I've only ever shopped there at festivals!

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WI Sheep & Wool - 2011.

I met my cousin Rae and her husband in Jefferson for a fun wooly day in 2011. I still have that mohair... still really love it! Ha.

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WI Sheep & Wool - 2012.

I went to Wisconsin Sheep & Wool in 2012 to assist Dixie in her booth for Yellow Dog Knitting. In return, she gave me some space to display and sell a few of my wares. I hadn't worked as a vendor at a festival in a long time... it was fun!

Slightly abbreviated today (compared to some of the other posts in this series) because it's Junah Day! Tomorrow promises to be much the same as I'll be away for most of the day.

* * * * *

Previously:

There's more to come... One to go!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value -- only 1 more day to enter. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the Craftsy classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's much to choose from!

NEW ON CRAFTSY!!
Clara Parkes' Know Your Yarn: Choose the Perfect Yarn Every Time!

 

18 March 2014

Have (knitting) needles will travel

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

EIGHT - BLOG FRIENDS & TRAVEL

One of the best things to happen in 10 years of blogging is connecting with other like-minded people. I discovered a small (& growing) group of people blogging about knitting 10 years ago. Knitting initially drew us together, of course, but as time has passed and life happened, some of those people are blogging about other things (instead of or in addition to knitting), they're occupied by caring for their families or busy at work, they aren't blogging at all, or maybe they're more often found on less time-intensive social media such as Twitter or Facebook or Instagram -- more or less (like, I'm on Twitter, but I'm hardly ever on Twitter). Some people have dropped out altogether over the years and, sadly, some have passed.

And blogging has exploded... there's a whole galaxy of blogs out there beyond the knit-blog system. There are new and interesting blogs on all kinds of subjects to discover all the time.

I've often felt that the curse of the internet is that we are able to make connections with all these people that we'd love to maybe sit down and have coffee & knit with... except that they live 1000 miles away, in another country, or over an ocean! It's only natural that there would be a desire to connect one-on-one with some of those like-minded people and I have been fortunate to do so, with knitters both near and far.

I like to think that I'd be a Quitter by now, no matter what, but I know that I'm 9 years Quit right now because of Ann & Cara. I'd never met them -- they hadn't met each other yet -- we barely even knew what each other looked like when Ann & I decided to quit smoking together in March of 2005! I think most people were still in the "shy" stages of blogging back then.

My recollection is that a few weeks in, Ann & I briefly mentioned taking a celebratory trip where we would actually meet each other -- maybe half-way, like someplace in Ohio -- and maybe after a year.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK!

Soup

Lo, my husband had an opportunity to participate in a New York show just three months after the Quit and I jumped at the chance to go along! New York 2005. It was only my second time visiting in NYC, and one of the best little get-aways ever! I met Cara, Ann, Katy, Nancy, Cassie, and others. 

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We stayed at The Benjamin and I had fun making choice from the pillow menu!

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We shopped for buttons and at yarn stores galore; knit at the library; ate bagels, NY pizza, and burgers in the park; had so much fun making virtual friends real.

RHINEBECK

If that wasn't enough, I found myself in NY again in the Autumn of 2005 (and 2006 & 2007) to visit Ann & Cara and go to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck!

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Sheep & Wool Festivals merit a post of their own (coming up), but here's a teaser photo -- Peggy, Cara & Ann at The Fold's booth, Rhinebeck 2005.

YARN HARLOT IN EAU CLAIRE

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In September 2006, I helped Dixie at Yellow Dog Knitting spread the word that Stephanie would be spending A Sunday in Eau Claire on a book tour stop.

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It was a fun day and I met face-to-face with even more knit-blog friends from Wisconsin & Minnesota.

Rings

One of the many highlights of that day was meeting Joyce Williams again. I'd taken a class about a year and a half earlier that she'd given with Lizbeth Upitis. I just loved her spirit! I love this KNIT POWER photo of Joyce, Dixie & I wearing our knitting rings!

WISCONSIN

In December 2006, after seeing an amazing Elizabeth Zimmermann exhibit in Madison, I waxed poetic about how wonderful Wisconsin is... for knitters.

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1st meet up with Angie - 2007

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A few undocumented meet-ups before and since this photo - 2012

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 Knitting (looks like a Parcheesi square) in Luck with Kathy - May 2010

I've met/met up with numerous knit-bloggers around the state -- Madison & surrounding area, Marshfield, Luck, and locally -- both on purpose and accidentally (Bobbi - as our daughters began college at the same school!), and of course knitting almost weekly with my local knitting groups! I've visited blog friends/campers at Knitting Camp, and at the Knit-In.

MINNEAPOLIS

March 2008. After about a year delay, I hitched a ride with Katie and finally made it to Minneapolis for a visit with Deb! I also met (for the first time or again) Kathy, Chris, Brenda, CursingMama, and Renee; visited a couple of wonderful yarn shops and, really, just had the most wonderful time.

NJ/NY - MoMA - LONG ISLAND

An exhibit at MoMA that Katie wanted to see was the spark that led to another fun trip in August 2008 with Maddy, too! We visited with Cara in NJ, Ann in NY, drove out to Montauk, and also were able to meet up with Terry & her family, Katy, and Claire.

BERKELEY

A mutual interest in both knitting and photography, not to mention some other similarities in our lives, led to a most enjoyable trip to Berkeley and the San Francisco area to visit Celia in October 2010.

Among the many highlights of that trip was dinner and a Parcheesi mash up (mine still in pieces) with Janine (pattern info here), Rachael and Lala, and more!

I was able to meet up with Celia again in November 2012 when I traveled to San Francisco to meet Rusty for a long birthday weekend.

UTAH!

Margene

In September 2011, I flew out to Salt Lake City for the Rocky Mountain Knitters' Retreat at Alta. But, of course, the real reason the opportunity to spend time with Margene (we'd previously met at Rhinebeck) and visit Silver Lake. I also met Cheryl at the retreat, and a chance meeting with Mim later!

Those are most of the highlights -- I'm sure I've missed something! I've not been spending a ton of time nor exhaustively researching any of these topics... it's all been by the seat of my pants, just the way I've always blogged! (I have learned that I could make better use of Categories in my blog posts. Heh.)

Anyway, it's  unlikely I'd have met most, if not all, of these people had I not started blogging 10 years ago, much less traveled to meet with them, knit with them, laugh and drink and take pictures and make merry with them!! The $21K I've saved by not buying cigarettes over the past 9 years has certainly helped to fund some of this travel... it's all connected. It's all pretty wonderful. And I am definitely looking forward to more.

* * * * *

Previously:

There's plenty more to come... Two to go!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value -- only 2 more days to enter. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the Craftsy classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's much to choose from!

If you just can't wait, there's a sale! Save up to 50% off all classes during Craftsy's Endless Creativity Sale -- sale extended through midnight (MT) TODAY.

Craftsy

 

 

17 March 2014

9 Years Quit

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

SEVEN - I QUIT!

According to a website that's not Quitnet (I can't get them to recognize me!):

I've been smoke free for 3287 days!

That's 65,739 cigarettes NOT smoked (at least).

$21,365+ saved!

502 days lifetime saved (approx. 1 year, 4.5 months).

That's 502 days more I get to spend with this guy:

9weeks

9 Weeks.

As always (well, for the past 9 years), I congratulate my fellow quitters, Ann, Claire, my sister Karen, and thank blog readers for their support and encouragement, especially Cara.

Leprechaun

Sleepy Leprechaun wishes you a Happy St. Paddy's Day!

* * * * *

Previously

There's plenty more to come... Three to go!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the Craftsy classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's much to choose from!

If you just can't wait, there's a sale! Save up to 50% off all classes during Craftsy's Endless Creativity Sale -- sale ends TODAY at midnight (MT).

Craftsy

 

16 March 2014

Go with all your heart

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, with the St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

SIX - TRAVEL*

I've been fortunate over the past 10 years to do some traveling.

There have been lots of jaunts around Wisconsin -- "up north" to the lake, to visit my sister Karen, to explore Lake Superior; Madison area to visit my sister Ann; Door County for day-trips, and for bike rides & beer festivals; Marshfield, Milwaukee, Lake Geneva.

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Into Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa, as well as some jaunts down to Chicago.

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To Las Vegas with Sharon.

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To San Francisco for my birthday.

San Fran

To the U.K.

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And to Rio de Janeiro.

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Some of those places -- especially the U.K. and Rio -- were barely in my dreams 10 years ago! You just never know where your kids are going to end up going to school or where your sister's going to move for her job! I can't wait for the next 10 years... now that I have a passport, I wouldn't mind using it some more!

* * * * *

Previously

There's plenty more to come... Four to go!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the Craftsy classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's much to choose from!

If you just can't wait, there's a sale! Save up to 50% off all classes through Monday, March 17th at midnight (MT) during Craftsy's Endless Creativity Sale.

Craftsy

 *Non-blog-related travel -- that deserves a post (or two) alone!

15 March 2014

Home

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, with the St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

FIVE - HOME

DSC03634

Our house is almost 130 years old and we've been working on it -- maintenance, repairs, improvements -- since we bought it 27 years ago. A rebuilt retaining wall, reconfiguring a wrap-around enclosed porch into more useable space, a complete exterior paint job, a new roof, a new driveway & garage, bathroom updates, refurbished floors, a new kitchen... that was all in the first 17 years! In the 10 years I've been blogging, we've even seen updates to previous updates!

Door-after

One of the first I blogged about was a re-do of our stairway and upstairs hall -- a While You Were Out gift from my family for Mother's Day 2004.

BED-8

I reciprocated on Father's Day with While You Were Out II and a re-do of our bedroom!

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DSC00359

The Pergola -- a project for Labor Day Weekend 2006 -- was finished on November 1st of that year!

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There have been bathrooms. Upstairs.

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Down2

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Downstairs.

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A big hole punched into a bedroom ceiling to reveal an attic loft. Heh.

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Most recently, the French door project!

I do love my house. Our biggest achievement over the past few years has been downsizing in our own home. "Closing the door" at the top of the stairs and turning the majority of the second floor back into an apartment makes it feel more manageable, at least on the inside!

* * * * *

Previously

There's plenty more to come... Five to go!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's so much to choose from!

If you just can't wait, there's a sale! Save up to 50% off all classes through March 17th at midnight (MT) during Craftsy's Endless Creativity Sale.

Craftsy

 

 

14 March 2014

We are family

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, with the St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

FOUR - FAMILY

Kiddos

We've experienced tragedy and devastating heartbreak in 10 years, as I imagine almost any family could say.

Celebrate Michael Day came and went without much fanfare two weeks ago. I actually forgot until his wife wrote a small post on FB. It's not a day he really cares to remember or "celebrate," but I reminded him that it's a little different for the rest of us. He has a birthday in a few days!

Illness and fucking cancer have reared their heads.

Sharon

Sharon -- 1960-2010

Besides my sister, my grandmother, cousins, a stepbrother, aunts, and uncles have also passed away in the last 10 years.

As heartrending as the hurdles and losses are, the never-ending circle of life continues... and there is overwhelming joy... BABIES!

Web-IMG_0256

Mack, Addy, Junah

Love and happiness... and goofiness.

* * * * *

Previously

There's plenty more to come... Six to go!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's so much to choose from!

If you just can't wait, there's a sale! Save up to 50% off all classes through March 17th at midnight (MT) during Craftsy's Endless Creativity Sale.

Craftsy

 

13 March 2014

Where are they now?

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, with the St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

THREE - THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

Three-1

One of the things that freaks me out about doing this for 10 years is my kids and, well, that they were actually kids when I started blogging! They're definitely not kids anymore; in fact, one of them now has a kid of her own!

Maddy

Maddy was still in middle school when this all began! She's in college now, working on her education degree. It took a little while to find her path, but she's definitely found her footing and her enthusiasm for teaching is infectious. I'm so happy for her.

Maddy-2

Maddy-moo's new tattoo -- "adding to the garden," she likes to say -- a big bee, and pansies for her mum!

Spring Break is next week and she's heading over the pond. First stop is London, where she'll visit friends and also attend the Country To Country Music Festival -- a lucky fluke! Not generally a huge country music fan, the line-up is incredible and we're giddy over it: Brad Paisley, Dixie Chicks, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, The Band Perry. Music festivals are always fun. In London? She'll hop the train to Edinburgh and spend a few days there with Katie, then they'll both head back to London before Maddy catches the plane back home. We'll see her again at the end of the month when she's here for practicum.

Ali

Ali was in her junior year at high school. She's now married, owns a coffee shop, and is a brand new mama!

Yeah! 'Nuff said!!

JSchleis_471

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8 Weeks Old!

I'm already enjoying the change in our relationship now that she's a mother. I see her even more often and we do more together. And that little grandson... it's no secret how I feel about him!

Kate

In the Spring of 2004, Katie already had a semester at Humboldt State University under her belt (and the only one at that school). She returned to school in the Fall of 2004, the same one that Maddy's attending now, studied a semester abroad, and eventually earned her BA from UW-Madison. Working for a few years as a book seller while figuring out the next step, she's currently working on that in Edinburgh, earning her Master's in Art History -- enjoying every minute and sharing many of them!

Vi-Ka

We share a lot of interests -- travel, food, cooking, music -- and I'm so looking forward to exploring a few of those things again with her this May in Scotland!

I'm so proud of my girls and can't wait to see what happens next!

Skirts

Three

Mothersday

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I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win the class by Natalie Chanin that I love so much, Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery -- or another class of your choice, up to $59.99 value!

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

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Previously:  One - Knitting, Two - Sewing

There's plenty more to come... Seven to go!

 

12 March 2014

Alabama on my mind

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, with the St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

TWO - SEWING

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Alabama Chanin Baby Bib
1. My first @alabamachanin project, needing all the scissors!, 2. There will be no cutting on this one, 3. I cut one!, 4. Cut.

While I've always sewn -- there's never been a time when I've not had a sewing machine -- and I've even done some sewing in the past 10 years (skirts, a bag), it's never something I've been passionate about. I've had fun over the years sewing up curtains, making a few pieces of clothing for myself, and sewing some things for the girls, but mostly "sewing" has always been more like "mending" and that's not something I've ever enjoyed. Part of the problem is that I've never had the ideal location for sewing and set-up/tear-down of the machine was always a chore.

It's funny that hand sewing has never crossed my mind. I'm a cross-stitcher from way back, working plenty of reproduction samplers on tiny-count linen, and I've even done some (a very little) hand piecing and quilting, but I never thought to join to pieces of fabric together by hand to actually make clothing.

Enter Alabama Chanin. I'm pretty sure my introduction was via Kay, as I read all of the Alabama Chanin-tagged posts at Mason-Dixon Knitting and this one, in particular. I didn't hesitate for a second when Craftsy introduced Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery.

I purchased Natalie's class last March and watched straight through. After agonizing over which one of the three AC books to make mine, I finally bought Alabama Studio Sewing + Design in April. I had the brilliant idea to actually send the link to my Amazon Wish List to my family this year, so between birthday and Christmas, my book collection was completed!


The rest of spring and summer was busy with wedding details, and then baby prep! In my case, that meant months of non-stop baby knitting!

On the first of the year, though, things changed and in the spirit of "I begin as I mean to go on," knowing that I wanted to make it a priority this year, I began... to sew. There's a very real possibility that I suffered a little knitting burn-out as a result of all those baby projects and, as it turns out, there's been a LOT more sewing so far this year -- hand sewing -- in the knitorious Making and Doing departments.

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Alabama Chanin DIY Onesie + Baby Blanket
1. Alabama Chanin Baby Blanket, 2. Stitched by me!, 3. One of these is not like the other, 4. Onesie.

The bibs were practice for the DIY Onesie + Baby Blanket. I lucked out with the fabulously printed fabric for the bibs, and the Onesie + Blanket came already stenciled. There's a lot to these projects, start to finish, and having a few steps already done was a great way to begin without feeling overwhelmed.

The bib pattern is available for download in the DIY Resources section of the Alabama Chanin website, along with a few other patterns, artwork for all of the stencil designs, and background images for your cell phone or computer.

I'm all for Slow, but I also know a few things about myself. For instance, I know that I don't want to cut a large stencil by hand. I don't even want to cut a small one. After agonizing over the choices, I ordered the pre-cut all-over stencil for Angie's Fall during a recent promotion. I intend to use it instead of the Paisley design for the coat pattern that's part of the Craftsy class... and much more.

I made my first Alabama Chanin-style top using a favorite boatneck to cut the pattern and stenciled with Angie's Fall! I rushed in and made a couple of mistakes -- not cutting the armholes and neck as close as I should have (figured out in time to fix) -- and it was just a wee bit wonky overall. I cut a white t-shirt for the front & back, and rummaged around in Rusty's closet until I found a tan t-shirt I liked for the underlayer. An experimental piece in many ways, I only doubled up the front; the back is a single layer of fabric, left plain.

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Boatneck Top in the Alabama Chanin Style
1. Cutting. New project..., 2. I'm pretty sure there was an involuntary audible gasp, 3. Basted, 4. Decisions, decisions, 5. More than a little bit thrilled, 6. The best way to spend a Wednesday morning..., 7. The sewing is done!, 8. Maddy snapped a couple, 9. Boatneck

For the stenciling, I mixed acrylic paint with fabric medium that I found in my craft cupboard, and thinned it with water to fill a small pump spray bottle. I used the dogwood-colored thread for the reverse applique stitching, leaving all of the smaller shapes and the stems unstitched. I very crudely worked a large cross-stitch for the armhole and neck binding.

I am THRILLED with the result. I love this wonky little top!

I mentioned that I found some t-shirts while thrift shopping over the weekend. Fascinated by the construction of the piece, while not at all certain it's actually going to work for me style-wise, I have begun to sew the Corset Top from the Alabama Stitch Book. After one false start -- lessons learned and a trashed t-shirt -- I'm on my way with an old Hootie & The Blowfish concert tour tee.

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As it so happens, Craftsy contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I'd be interested in hosting a giveaway. The timing couldn't have been better! Follow the link below and you could win the Craftsy class by Natalie Chanin that I love so much -- or any other Craftsy class, your choice, up to $59.99 value!

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and my 10th Blogiversary! Craftsy will use Random.org to choose the winner and will email the free-class link directly to them!

* * * * *

Previously:  One - Knitting

There's plenty more to come... Eight to go!

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In the interest of redundant disclosure -- it's always on the sidebar -- I participate in Crafty's affiliate program and generate occasional income by doing so. I pay to host this blog and if I can help to offset that by linking you up with things I like, use, and believe in... well, I'm okay with it.

 

11 March 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Short straw edition

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Can Do Myself But Get My Husband/Someone Else To Do Instead

Well, I'm pretty much of the mind that I can do anything, it's a question of whether I want to do a particular thing. And maybe I've been there, done that (installed a dishwasher) and see no need to do it again if there's someone else who can! Heh. I'm always sometimes happy to assist!

1.  Anything plumbing related.

2.  Ditto electrical.

3.  If I can, I'll pass on any painting projects, too.

4.  I have dug a trench for footings, helped with framing, sheathing, shingling, roofing -- I've a pretty good grasp of construction from start-to-finish -- but I have no pressing desire to do anything more now than occasionally assist in the short-term. That goes for any project needing a saw, hammer, or shovel.

5.  Cat care. Food, water, pills, puke, poop. I will feed and water if there's no one else to do it. I'd prefer not to clean up the puke, but sometimes I have to... because I sure hate when I step in it!

6.  Shovel snow. I do it when I have to (when Rusty's gone), but otherwise... No, thank you.

7.  Ditto raking leaves.

8.  And mowing the lawn. I am more likely to mow my mother's (much bigger) lawn!

9.  Cleaning gutters.

10.  Dishes.

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TEN MORE THINGS...

Hey, guess what!??? I'll be celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, which is why I hardly ever forget! The St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) will be along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

ONE - KNITTING

Let's start with that, since knitting is the reason I started writing this blog 10 years ago. Oh, the knitting! As of right now, there are 209 entries on my Ravelry project page. Here are 10 of my faves, in no particular order:

Puerperium-4

1.  Puerperium

I dyed this yarn as part of Project Spectrum. It was back to Basics with Lolly that year -- so much fun. And that is truly one of my favorite sweater patterns for a newborn.

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2.  Garter Yoke Baby Cardi (bonus Aviatrix)

Demne

3.  Demne

I also dyed the yarn for the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi, Aviatrix, and Demne. Junah has worn both of those cardis quite a bit. The process for knitting Demne all in one piece makes it one of the most interesting things I've ever made.

 4.  Hero Quimby's Sweater & Hat

These were made for Cara's first-born! It, too, was an interesting sweater pattern to knit but it was the yarn I loved most! The divine Handmaiden Casbah and utilitarian Baby Ull made a fine match.

5.  Habu Birthday To You!

This is so perfect for Mom, and she wears it a lot!

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6.  Wedding Shawls - Wisconsin Wedding for Ali, Frambuesa for me. LOVE!

 7.  Williamsro

The yarn was an early reward for the Quit, the sweater was my project for the 2006 Winter Olympics as part of the US Cable Team. Gold!

8.  Fib

A personal best in the Leftovers category. It will always be special in that the yarn was my sister's.

 9.  St. Brigid

Oh, for the love of cables and Alice Starmore! Preferring cardigans these days, I haven't worn it in a while but it'll always be special. I consider it one of my greatest knitting achievements.

10.  Parcheesi

Parcheesi is another accomplishment in the area of Leftovers & Oddballs. Folded diagonally, I wear Parcheesi as a shawl when it's chilly (almost every evening), and also spread it out on my bed most nights. If my house was on fire and I could only save one of my projects, it would be Parcheesi. Lots of love and memories knit into those stitches.

Ha, well, thanks for hanging in there -- this turned out to be a VERY long post! Tune in tomorrow to see what I come up with for #2 as the Ten-for-Ten Blogiversary party continues!!

 

10 March 2014

Taste of Wisconsin Weekend

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Well, it was a pretty good weekend, starting with the "Taste of Wisconsin" at UW-Stevens Point on Friday evening -- showcasing food & beverages made in Wisconsin -- from beer, wine, and potato vodka to cheese, sausage, and pizza. So much fun.

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It was a fund-raising event, we're just doing our part! I picked a spot with terrible lighting to take a photo (complete with toothy, blurry photobomb) but no matter, it's safe to say that a good time was had by all.

Karen & I spent a fair amount of time on Saturday morning at a Call It New/Call It Antique. An enormous but clean, well organized, and well lit combination thrift store/antique mall. I found a few interesting cotton shirts to cut up and use for future Alabama Chanin style projects, and Karen came away with a tacky treasure or two.

We stopped by Maddy's apartment, which I hadn't seen since move-in day, then drove out to Crafter HQ: Herschnerr's Outlet Store before heading north to Wausau.

We visited Black Purl, and if you'd have told me that it's been almost 9 years since I was last at that shop -- in a completely different location -- I'd never have believed it. Man oh man. The shop I originally visited was a second-story downtown location. Now (for the past 4.5 years) it's a little further north in stand-alone and very interesting shop -- quite lovely!

I haven't been knitting much lately (though I am back on track, following and making progress with my Arrow), nor feeling terribly inspired, but I really couldn't resist when I saw the POP Blanket shop sample. I've had the pattern since it was released... and I think it's time. Mine will be a little different than most. Surprised?

We stopped into a bunch of other thrift/vintage decor shops, clothing/shoe stores, a co-op, and then it was time for food! The Great Dane Pub was on the way back to our hotel, and they were one of the vendors at the Taste of Wisco event.

On Sunday, we took Maddy to breakfast at The Wooden Chair, a fun little restaurant that I've already been to a few times over the years. We walked down to Call It New/Antique so Karen could purchase the jardinere that she spotted on Saturday. After much consideration and "sleeping on it," it was meant to be! We also stopped in at the Stevens Point Area Co-op before dropping Maddy off. It's tiny but fab, in a great historic building and so cute. Karen has begun working part-time at her local co-op, so she/we were a bit more tuned in!

A weekend away with my sis and a little time with one of my girls... just what I needed, I think!

 

07 March 2014

Eye Candy Friday

Oh. Hi. Have we met?

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I can't write a blog post to save my life. I've been trying.

I'm off to spend a Sister Weekend with Karen; there'll be some visiting with Maddy, too.

 

04 March 2014

Marching on

It's a ToT/BPF mash-up this week!

Ten on Tuesday:

Best Picture Festival Wrap-up / Thoughts on This Year's Oscars

I saw the final five of nine Best Picture nominees on Saturday, and let me just say that a five-movie marathon is just about one too many for me! I was pretty restless during that last show; needed to stretch out and move!

Nutshell reviews:

1.  I loved Philomena -- Dame Judy Dench played her beautifully. I thought the supporting cast was terrific. It was so sad that "Phil" wasn't able to meet her son again, but I'm glad she didn't give up her quest to learn more about him, and the ending was heartwarming... if not a bit surprising.

2.  Her was the only movie in this batch that wasn't based on a true story (at least some of it!)... though perhaps it is foretelling? I was a little lost in time, missing whatever reference there was to that (learning later that it's 2025), and I sure hope that if anything about this movie comes true, it's not the return of HIGH-WAISTED PANTS! Haha. While not one of my favorite movies, I thought Joaquin Phoenix did an amazing job in the role.

3.  12 Years A Slave was amazing, and PERFECT casting! I had a little problem with time -- keeping track of passing time -- in this movie, also. (It's me.) Heart-wrenching. I think it was definitely deserving of the Best Picture award, and am also quite happy that Lupita Nyong'o won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Patsey.

4.  One of the things I was looking forward to in American Hustle was the late '70s fashion review! Oh, I could relate!! It was a great story, I loved how it was told, and every single actor was perfectly cast; I can't imagine another actor in any of those roles. Christian Bale's ability and willingness to transform himself is amazing.

5.  Dallas Buyers Club definitely grew on me. Having lived through the scary time that was 1985 and remembering the fear, uncertainty, desperation, prejudice... I don't remember who referred to it in their acceptance speech, that young people who have always known a world with HIV and AIDS don't realize what that was like... so true.

6.  In doing a little pre-Oscar research, I was delighted to learn that June Squibb and I share a birthday... and with Sally Field (and some other people)!

7.  A Scorpio trait? June and Sally appear to be women willing to "age gracefully," if not define the term. I don't mean to be snarky -- I'm not the plastic surgery police and it's certainly a personal freedom and preference -- I just know that when I'm 80, I'd like to look closer to 80 than an indeterminate age obviously passed a long, long time ago. I'd also like to be able to move my face. Sometimes it looks so painful!

8.  I loved Bette Midler's performance of Wind Beneath My Wings. And Pink's Somewhere Over The Rainbow, though the entire Wizard of Oz thing threw me for a loop -- timing again (later to realize that it was the 75th anniversary). It's no secret that I'm a fan of Pharrell and Happy, and I'm disappointed that it didn't win Best Song.

9.  I thought that all of the acceptance speeches were genuine, heartfelt, and concise. I don't recall hearing too many people "played off" the stage, even if their speeches seemed to run a bit longer than 45 seconds.

10.  I enjoyed it all, and I'm happy that I saw all of the BP movies! It was fun to discuss them with my fellow movie-goers, and share our take on the awards, too. I'll most likely do that marathon again next year, if need be.

 

28 February 2014

So long, February

PicMonkey February Collage

Thank goodness I have hobbies and interests and family, not to mention a sense of humor, to keep me engaged and occupied during months like the one we've just had!

This morning, our below-zero Fahrenheit temperature landed us tied in the record book for the most number of below-zero Fahrenheit days in a winter. People. That's not the kind of record we're interested in even meeting, never mind beating.

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So, arguably, the thing about a Best Picture Festival is that there's hardly a dud in the bunch... one might find reason to complain more about a movie that's not on the list than one that is! Sometimes a movie doesn't find it's place for a while, but it is what it is: 9 movies nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars!

Here are my nutshell reviews of the movies we saw last weekend:

I loved Nebraska -- Bruce Dern is amazing -- it is relevant and relatable; it could be called Wisconsin or Rhode Island. Some of the characters are over the top (okay, the shrew... I mean wife), but I think everyone can relate to that, too.

I enjoyed Captain Phillips a lot more than I thought I would... again, the actors/characters, and there was a lot of action! One of my fellow movie-goers got a little seasick, though (just a heads up for y'all).

I wasn't really looking forward to a 3D movie -- the only other 3D movie I've seen was Beauty and The Beast with the girls (meh, why mess with stuff like this?) -- but if you're going to see a movie in 3D, Gravity would be the one. The story is so-so/predictable, but the scenery... WOW! And, okay, Clooney.

And The Wolf of Wall Street. Leo just knows how to play those fellas, doesn't he? That was a wild, debauched ride. I didn't count, myself, but trust that whoever's job it was to count the f-bombs was accurate at 506!

Except for Nebraska, none of these were really on my To-See list. Tomorrow's Best Picture Festival line-up is the one I really look forward to:

  • Philomena
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Dallas Buyers Club

I'm so happy that I'll have seen them all by Sunday night -- The Oscars with Ellen!!  :)

 

26 February 2014

Ten on Tuesday: I feel...

Ten on Tuesday:  "I feel..."

1.  I feel cold. Wisconsin, winter, blah blah blah; we're in record-breaking territory for below-zero temps, or something ridiculous like that, so BLAH!

2.  I feel pretty. Haha. Well, I don't actually feel pretty at this very moment, but that keeps popping into my head, and sometimes I do; this time:

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3.  I feel satisfied, surprised, accomplished, and amazed that I've finished sewing my Alabama Chanin style top! (I may wear it tonight to book club and, if so, will see about getting a photo; if not, it will happen soon.)

4.  I feel so motivated to do more handsewing... I can hardly believe it. I've been gathering materials!

5.  I feel pleased that I didn't completely frog my Follow Your Arrow shawl, and even found some knitting mojo, picking it up again to do some work during Closing Ceremonies. Obviously, I veered completely off course with that project in terms of completing it during the Olympics!

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6.  I feel so happy that I'm able to spend some regularly scheduled one-on-one Grandma time with Junah every week... sometimes I even let Grandpa hold him. Heh.

7.  I feel a little overwhelmed by things... and I'm glad I'm feeling it "a little" and will take steps to make sure I don't feel it "a lot."

8.  I feel as though I've let some balls* drop. Big time.

9.  I feel bad that I didn't write a single letter in February. Not even to my daughter who lives far, far away. I'm a terrible mother. (I do enjoy our weekly Skype chats, though, and I'm SO looking forward to visiting her in May.)

10.  I feel the sun!! Do you? Our bedroom faces south and on sunny days the solar gain is AMAZING. Usually, though, once the sun goes down the room cools right down, but lately it's stayed warm well past sundown. So even though I'm feeling cold (#1), I am well aware of (searching out) all of the signs of the coming warmth.

SPRING WILL COME.

 

21 February 2014

And the Oscar goes to...

We won't know until The Oscars are presented on Sunday, March 2nd, and I'll be better informed about the Best Picture nominees this year than ever!

I love awards shows, especially The Oscars, and I love movies! I've gone to a fair number of movies in the past year but, incredibly, not a single movie on the list of nominees for Best Picture!

This year, beginning tomorrow and continuing next Saturday, I'll be attending a Best Picture Film Festival at our local movie theater. I have never done anything like that before and I'm pretty excited.

I really have to get a simple knitting project on the needles because I don't know if my hands can be still for that long. I don't usually knit when I go to the movies, but don't usually see four (or five) at a time, either!

It sounds a little crazy.

Here's the line-up for tomorrow:

  • Nebraska
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity - 3D
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Next Saturday:

  • Philomena
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Dallas Buyers Club

It is a little crazy.

 

20 February 2014

Current Obsessions

I took one look at my Instagram profile and, well, that pretty much says it all.

Obsessions

My grandson and Alabama Chanin, which sometimes intersect, a little bit of knitting, the occasional observation about the weather, and musing on getting the empty toilet paper roll into the wastebasket... a shot that, even after 27 years of practice from that specific Point A to B, I still miss most of the time.

I am closing in on the quilting and reverse applique of the Alabama Chanin-style top I'm making. I'll have to do some careful cutting of my pieces prior to sewing up, due to rushing in at the beginning and the more careful reading of the directions not happening until later. The whole concept of "slow" is going to be a work-in-progress... a practice, if you will. That's what this piece is all about, anyway, and I can't wait to... slowly... finish and make another. I've made large format copies of all the pattern pages in the books and I'm ready!

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It was a great day off yesterday, beginning with my early morning Junah time. I took my mom to the lampshade shop later in the morning, and it was so nice to get out and actually go somewhere with her; a quick trip to Target with Ali after Junah's (approx.) 6-week check up; chiseling away at odd chores in between, making dinner, and then some sewing while catching up with the day's Olympic action... It's all pretty darn good.

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11 lbs. 1 oz.!!

 

18 February 2014

Ten on Tuesday: The Olympics

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Thoughts On The 2014 Winter Olympics

1.  In regard to any Olympics on NBC, I hope they never change the theme. I never tire of hearing it.

Bugler's Dream by Leo Arnaud

2. We don't have cable, so the only televised coverage at our house is on plain old over-the-airwaves NBC. I record everything and then FF through a lot of it. Sometimes I'm sorry that I'm not forced to sit through and learn all the ins and outs of, oh, let's say BIATHLON or LUGE.

3. I've been known to delete entire "afternoons" of competition. The Tivo only holds so much! And I only have so much time to watch. And while I may have some interest in one cross-country ski race, subsequent contests are far less riveting (and that may not even be proper use of the word); if I'm paying attention during the FFing, though, I'll stop and watch any finish in any sport.

3. I love love love Mary Carillo! I love her energy, her humor, her wonderful people/place/travel stories. I always stop FFing for those.

4. I'm a big sap. I love the athlete profiles and stories, clips from childhood, awkward stages. I stop for as many of them as I can, too. Athlete profiles have always been one of my favorites parts, even when I was a young girl. They are all regular people, except that they are not... they are extraordinary in their focus, dedication, and determination. Gee, wouldn't that be cool? I think I always wished that I might feel so driven... about anything.

5. Don't you love short-track speed skating!? Actually, almost all of the speed skating, and possibly because I'm from Wisconsin, having agonized and cheered every race with the likes of Dan Jansen, Eric Heiden, and Bonnie Blair.

6. I really enjoyed Tom Brokaw's "Space Race" piece. It re-awakened some feelings and memories that I'm still processing and about which I can feel quite emotional. When I watch the film of those old Apollo missions, I still feel the same excitement of LIFT-OFF that I felt as a 5th grader when our teacher would bring her portable TV to school for every launch so we could watch them live. (Never mind a TV in every classroom, there wasn't even a TV in the AV Room, land of mimeograph machines and filmstrip projectors!) I remember my parents waking us up to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I remember that we won; we beat the Russians to the moon! I remember knowing astronauts' names -- at least some of them -- they were heroes! A present-day astronaut was shown in that story and I was sad, almost embarrassed, that I didn't have a clue what his or any current astronaut's name was.

7. Also, because of that piece, I think I've fallen a little bit in love with Tom Stafford and Alexei Leonov. I find their friendship/relationship (more like family) incredibly heart-warming and so very full of hope for us all.

8. Alexei. Olga. Irina. Sergei. Ludmila. Ekaterina. The Olympic games of my childhood were every-4-year glimpses into another world! Russia, East Germany, were... Communist. Enormous. So very Mysterious! Sometimes I miss the tension and drama. Katarina Witt!

9. Figure skating is one of my favorite Winter Olympics "sports." For only about the third time since cutting the cord, I am missing cable for the live commentary of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, which I hear is among the best, and especially because while Tom Hammond and Scott Hamilton are okay in my book, I cannot stand Sandra Bezic and don't feel any chemistry there at all.

10. I love a little pomp & circumstance, and the spirit of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies -- very different from one another! My mother was a student of Russian history in the mid-'60s, and she even had the opportunity to go to Russia in the mid-'70s; I'll never forget her taking me to see Doctor Zhivago and the history lessons she whispered in my ear throughout the whole movie! I'm grateful, not only for the fond memory but also for the knowledge; I am certain that I knew more about Russia -- some recent history, at least -- than any of my classmates (or teachers) or friends, and I was interested, too. I thought they handled their less than popular history during the Opening quite well. It certainly wasn't an easy thing... and, to critics, wouldn't it be interesting to see how the U.S. handled some of the unsavory bits of their own history in a similar exercise.

Demne

So, I'm off to do some more of the sewing to which the knitting has succumbed. Photo of baby modeling Demne (one of my favorites)... because I can, and because BABY!

 

17 February 2014

Weekending

Friday night began with the stenciling of the Alabama Chanin style boatneck top that I'm making. I could not be happier with how it turned out! 

Thrilled with the stenciling but having to wait for it to dry, I took that good mood into the significant ripping of Follow Your Arrow. I didn't frog the whole thing, but went to about the mid-way point of Clue 1.

Kar&Jun
Kar&Jun
Kar&Jun
Kar&Jun

Maddy, my sister Karen, and nephew Daniel were all here for one reason or another so we invited Junah and his parents over, too, and had a little brunch on Saturday morning. My mom came over and we all played Pass The Baby!

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Karen instigated a little after-brunch crafting hour and while they (Karen, Ali, Maddy) embossed some drinking glasses, I pulled out my boatneck and did some basting. Then I contemplated thread colors.

 

14 February 2014

Right now...

In a nutshell.

WATCHING:  The Olympics...

READING:  The Paris Wife. I'm actually going to finish it on time for book club! It's like a miracle or something.

KNITTING TINKING:  Follow Your Arrow. I had a mishap with some extra stitches and the pattern's off in one part now. Blech.

LISTENING TO:  Rosanne Cash, among other things, but this a lot lately.

THINKING ABOUT:  Taxes... two returns down, two to go.

CELEBRATING:  Two finished tax returns!

PLANNING:  Scottish Highlands vacation.

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ITCHING TO:  Sew. Stencil and sew and cut and maybe even do some beaded embellishment.

DRINKING:  Beer. Spotted Cow at the moment. Well, not at this very moment, unless you're reading at beer o'clock.

NEEDING TO:  Dust my house.

ORGANIZING:  A lot of the stuff I "downsized" out of the upstairs apartment.

INSPIRED BY:  Spoilers. I have taken a peek at the Follow Your Arrow FO spoilers and may change the tinking to an all-out frogging for a re-start.

DELIGHTED BY:  Room to grow!

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Happy Valentine's Day!

 

11 February 2014

Ten on Tuesday: I'm seeing red

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Things That Are Red

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1.  My daughter Kate's red hair.

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2. My daughter Ali's red hair.

2.a. My daughter Maddy's decidedly not-red hair. (It's not her fault that she doesn't have red hair, and I just can't leave her off of this list when the other two are on it!)

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3. My grandson Junah's red hair. He doesn't really have red hair, either, but EVERYONE insists that they see red, so I decided today that, by popular demand, Junah's hair is red. Okay? Is everybody happy now??

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4. The red Aviatrix that I made... from yarn that I dyed... one of my favorite hat patterns!

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5. The red Puerperium that I made... from yarn that I dyed... a favorite newborn sweater pattern!

6. A red enamel bowl that I hardly ever use but have had since the beginning of time (or so it seems).

7. A set of red cotton napkins that are in heavy rotation in my kitchen.

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8. Red, red, red tomatoes for Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce.

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9. My bike -- a Carmine Red TREK FX. I can't wait for spring!

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10. The red Saartje's bootees that I made.

 

10 February 2014

Updates

There was a big hole, a big pile of dirt (and snow), and a big digger outside my front door when I left this morning -- same as when I got home on Friday night (no action over the weekend) -- and I'm hopeful that all will be taken care of when I get home tonight.

On Saturday, after 20 years of occupancy, I officially declared the upstairs apartment CLEANED.OUT! We are ready to welcome actual tenants again, which we will do in just a few days. If "downsizing" in my own home is any indication of what it's going to be like to someday completely move out... I'd better get started!

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That's my Ravellenic knitting as of noon-ish today. I'm mid-way through the first row of the 3rd clue (a 12-row repeat), at the moment, and so far I've chosen to do clues B-B-B. I missed an instruction about changing colors in the last clue, but since I'm using two lots of the same color, I don't think it's going to be noticeable at all. I'd probably be ripping a big chunk if I was using two truly different colors. We'll see what happens! The last of the 5 clues was in my mailbox this morning, so I'm set to sail to the end.

Just take a look at how our fella is growing!!

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One Week Old

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Four Weeks Old

He looks like he's getting a bit more comfortable with life. Our babysitting date went very well on Friday night. I went to a local baby expo with Ali & Junah yesterday, with a little stop to see Great Grandma on the way home.

 

07 February 2014

Workin' it

One day last weekend, walking into the house through the back door, I detected a little whiff of gas in the air. Later, I noticed that the gas company was working on a "gas thing" down the hill at the end of our road.

As I left for work on Tuesday morning, I noticed yellow flags and all kinds of paint lines in the snow in front of our house... immediately calling home and Rusty confirmed that the lines had been drawn in front of our house, the neighbors', and at the house across the street. They were unable to find a leak they were looking for, so had to move up the hill... and in front of my house.

When I returned on Tuesday, a hole had been dug and there was a small machine parked out front.

On Wednesday, there was a larger hole and a boring machine was brought in.

Yesterday:

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Well, actually, I snapped the photo this morning, but the scene is the same.

Everyday I come home and there's a bigger hole, a bigger pile of dirt, and a bigger piece of equipment (or two) in my front yard... not to mention a bigger chunk of my garden torn up. Bye-bye lovely brick walkway and Blue Angel Hostas, I'm really going to miss you!

Most people just have grass in the little terrace area between the sidewalk and the street, but I had a garden -- lots of hostas, astilbe, coral bells, a bunch of stuff that I didn't want, and plenty of weeds. It'll be interesting to see how it's all redistributed and what grows where.

If anything.

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This in yesterday's mail was a bright spot! (As was Knit Night last night -- big group, new faces, lots of fun & gabbing.)

I took advantage of a recent Alabama Chanin promotion to purchase an all-over stencil (only one, and which one was an agonizing decision) (Angie's Fall), some thread, and color cards -- in preparation for next time, Charm Bundle(s). The stencil is still on the way and I can't wait! I have plans: a few more onesies, some tops for me (I have boatneck-on-the-brain), and eventually the Donna Karan coat from Natalie Chanin's Craftsy class, Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery (which I believe is on sale right now!).

In other news, Junah & I have our first official date tonight -- my first official babysitting gig while his daddy works and his mom enjoys a little girl time.

 

06 February 2014

All wound up

...and ready to go! The official start time here in CST Wisconsin is 10:00 a.m., though I may be able to cast on earlier!.

Meanwhile, I've accepted Terry's invitation to join Team Doozer for the Ravellenic Winter Games 2014.

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I haven't done any competitive team knitting in a while and, now that I've joined up, I'm really looking forward to it! I'm way way over on the laid-back side of it all, but I enjoy the energy and spirit of the games -- I hope it stays fun!

I had a great day off yesterday, beginning with a dentist appointment and ending with a relaxing massage, with a good dose of daughter & grandson in between.

The report at the dentist was that my gums (pockets) have either stayed the same or improved -- and that -- again, my friends -- is fabulous news. She asked if I'd made any changes to my dental routine and, well, the answer is still No. I admit that I'm sputtering a bit as I embark on my second Whole30, but whether I'm 100% true or not, the bottom line is that permanent changes to my diet were a result of the first, and those changes have made a significant difference in my overall health and well-being. Ya.hoo.

Ali & Junah finally made it to a breastfeeding support group and I met up with them afterwards. We went to lunch at Zuppas, one of my favorite places, and then made stops at the book store, the spice store, and a clothing store before heading home. Junah was a champ!

Massage was FABULOUS! Oh, my, I guess it had been a while... so much tension in my calves! It all felt great. (Thanks to Ali for the birthday gift certificate!)

No post these days is complete without grandson photos:

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First wearing of the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi! One of my faves...

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Topped with an Aviatrix, he's all ready to go... helping daddy & mommy figure out why her van wouldn't start yesterday!

 

05 February 2014

Follow Your...

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This is the yarn I'll be using for my Knitting During The Olympics 2014 project -- Ysolda's current mystery KAL, Follow Your Arrow. I'm intrigued by all the different variations possible, all completely dependent on the choices made... which arrow is followed.

It's Malabrigo Color 850-Archangel. Ysolda suggested fairly solid colorways -- and one of those hanks is definitely "fairly solid." The other is not too terribly crazy & out there with the color variations, and I think it'll be cool to knit them as two colors and just see how it turns out.

I'm also not knitting this completely blind. All but the last clue has been released and I admit to have taken a peek (or seven) at pics in the Ravelry spoiler thread all along. I haven't studied all the choices, so I don't know what it all means, but I do have some definite ideas about shape.

Casting on tomorrow at Knit Night!

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My first selfie with grandson. #lovegrows

04 February 2014

Ten on Tuesday: I Am

Ten on Tuesday:  I Am...

1.  I am conflicted on which way to go with this post, so it's probably going to be all over the place!

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2.  In case you haven't heard, I am a grandmother! It's hard to believe he's 3 weeks old already!

3.  I am looking forward to my first babysitting gig.

4.  Not altogether happy with my current knitting project, I am considering casting on for Ysolda's Follow Your Arrow Mystery KAL.

5.  I don't know if it's a thing anymore, but I am considering knitting it, start-to-finish, during the games that start later this week.

6.  If that doesn't get my knitting mojo going, I am not sure what will.

7.  I am still quite interested in handsewing & embellishing, and exploring more of the techniques of Alabama Chanin.

8.  In fact, I am anxiously awaiting delivery of some new materials for a couple of small projects I have in mind that will also make use of some old materials -- re-use and recycle, if you will. This could definitely mess up the knitting plans.

9.  I am at the beginning of another Whole30. There was a birthday celebration over the weekend and a big football game, which means cake & pizza around here, but I didn't over-indulge and was already prepping.

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10.  That means that I am cooking! Over the weekend I made a pot of Chocolate Chili (rave reviews from everyone) (from Well Fed, one of my favorite cookbooks), an Italian Pork Roast (in the oven instead of slow-cooked) (to DIE for) and Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup (both from Well Fed 2) (yep, I'm a fan). I also roasted a spaghetti squash and a few whole sweet potatoes. And, finally, MAYO! I made homemade mayo only once before; I was in high school and had run across the recipe... and was so intrigued by the idea of a recipe for mayonnaise. Who knew you could make it yourself? I sure didn't. So, anyway, that's given us plenty of food to start the week. I had the last of the chili with a dollop of spaghetti squash, above, for lunch today. Yummm.

 

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

--Helen Keller

 

30 January 2014

Updates!

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I'd been going a little bit crazy for a while at home, looking for a pile of baby sweaters & knits. With the remodeling and other changes at home, they were moved... someone moved my cheese! (I'm sure it was me!) I even ran across them not too very long ago and thought to myself, Aha! Remember this location!!

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Among them were hand-me-downs I'd made for Mack & Addy: Wee Weasley, a couple of Wallaby sweaters, Opptuna, Baby A.

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Also among them were the baby knits that I'd made/began before I even knew there was a baby on the way (the ones not given at the baby shower): Fiddlehead, Puerperium, Boy-O-Boy, Hug Me, Demne, Vintage Baby Cardigan, along with some hats, a bib.

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Not an insignificant number of handknits!!

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I finally spotted the bin last weekend and pulled out a few items for Junah -- Aviatrix and Puerperium, for sure, because they're perfect for a newborn!

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Big bonus for this knitting grandma is the opportunity to update Ravelry project pages! So far, Parcheesi, Soakers, Aviatrix, and Puerperium! Some of these knits -- years old -- have never been worn by a baby!!

Oh, how things change: There were two photos of Junah & me to choose from, he looked good in one and I looked good in the other... heh. LOVE!

 

28 January 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Accentuate the Positive

As I sit here in the middle of the 2nd Polar Vortex of the year, which, in simpler terms, means that it's fucking freezing here right now (again), Carole tests with her ToT topic.

Today

Screen shot this morning.

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Like About Winter

1.  Gigantic snowflakes.

2.  Deep fluffy snow.

3.  Snow days!

4.  Christmas!

5.  Wearing my handknits... and more knitting!

6.  It's the best time of year to make & eat soup.

7.  It's also a great time of year to snuggle in and catch up with TV shows & movies. A friend is taking it one step further and holding an informal (but themed and quite organized) Film Festival at her house on Wednesdays in February & March.

8.  A frosty landscape.

9.  Sometimes the light... I love the "blue period" at dusk, when the sky and the snow -- everything glows BLUE! Also, sunny days. Sunny days are usually crisp and cold but, hello, LIGHT! It reflects everywhere and, at this time of the year, the sun is slowly rising and feeling warmer. Slowly, slowly, the days are getting longer.

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10.  Vacation -- either going on one (to someplace warm, which I've only ever done once) (definitely not the last) or planning one (Scotland in May)!

 

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