Ten on Tuesday: Summer Bucket List

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things On My Summer Bucket List

With Gin's birth, I've been reminded of the herb garden I put in the summer that I got pregnant with Maddy. She was born in April and for the next six or seven years, I watched it transform/revert to a "wildflower" garden -- which is how I sometimes like to think of my weeds -- and I didn't even have a job outside of home for five of those years!

My friend Birdsong commented the other day that some of her hobbies have suffered since she became a grandmother, and I certainly agree. Though I wouldn't change a single thing; I know how fortunate I am to have those kids close enough that I am actively involved in their lives.

And, Robby, I have taken your comment on this post completely to heart: I would also say you get a total pass on however much you do or don't knit for your grandkids. It's great if you do, but you give them the much more valuable gift of your time, having a sense of being part of a larger family and more people who love them just because they exist. If every kid got only those things, our world would be a kinder place.

I would love to knit more and dye more (both fabric & yarn) this summer, sew and stitch and quilt more, read more, cook more, clean more... um, WHAT? No! Scratch that, I definitely don't want to clean more! Time is precious.

This summer, I want to:

1 -- Play with Junah

2 -- Cuddle with Gin

3 -- Get a BINGO!

4 -- Sew a dress for Gin (and maybe one for me)

5 -- Take a day trip to Door County

6 -- Stitch on my Magdalena A-line Tunic

7 -- Finish Romi's 2016 "Mystery" Shawl

8 -- Finish Kirsten's 2016 Mystery KAL Shawl (while it's still a mystery!)

9 -- Finish Ina's LOLA Sweater in time for late-summer/fall layering

10 -- Go to the zoo! There's a nice, small zoo not far from us, and Jün is the perfect age! This would be fun to do along with my nephews, too.

What's on your summer bucket list?


Weekending: Love & Marriage & Family, Food & Music & Dancing

I spent a blissful weekend celebrating love and marriage, kids and grandkids, enjoying food and music and dancing.

First comes love and marriage (and dancing)!

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My niece was the photographer!

We attended a beautiful lake-side wedding celebration at the Heidel House Resort & Spa in Green Lake on Friday afternoon. The daughter of long-time friends (and my current employers), there were plenty of old friends & familiar family members with which to visit & party! We had a great time... and DANCING! Even though I rolled on my left ankle real good on the path to the ceremony, and it was swollen and sore, I can't remember the last time I danced so much... because dancing is not like walking! (It's getting a little better everyday.)

Then come kids & grandkids!

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Saturday was a Gin day! Her mom & pop were working at the 2nd Electric City Experience music festival in our little city. She's still a little sleepyhead, but was awake plenty... and starting to engage. There's eye contact, cooing back and forth, and the occasional 1/8th of a smile... she's 6 weeks old today!

And Food & Music!

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We walked down to meet Ali when she was finished, grabbed some food & beverage, and listened to some tunes.

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It was hot as blazes all day long, so quite welcome to see the sun go down. At dark, for the first time in many years, there was a fireworks show! I was already in my PJs, but slipped on some yoga pants and walked to the end of my block where I had a good-enough view.

I had a quick fly-by hug with Annie & Addison on Saturday. They were in the area for soccer again, but heading right back home for Mack's 11th (and therefore GOLDEN) birthday party!!

On Sunday, I took Jün for a little while.

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STRIPE STUDY.  ;)

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Oh, there's milk on my chin? Let me show you how I do that.

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Comedian.

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Fantastic garden helper & waterer extraordinaire!

Later on Sunday, we had beverages out on the pergola and split up some planters full of succulents.

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Also evidence of my overdue first pedi of the season!

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It's difficult to process the horrors of the weekend after spending so much of it in a snuggly warm baby bubble: the nonsensical attack and murder of Christina Grimmie in Orlando, and the incomprehensible and horrific mass shooting that happened later. Truth is, they may never be "processed," and shouldn't be... you, me, we shouldn't have to.

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Kitty says: Be fierce in love. #loveisloveisloveislove


A post with no name

On Wednesday at Match Factory:

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#threeballfreestyle #robertfraher #matchfactory #matchfactoryhortonville #juggling

A video posted by Vicki Mothes (@vicki.knitorious) on

It's so interesting to watch that video in near silence after having originally experienced it with musical accompaniment. I love how you can see Kate bopping to the beat once or twice.

And, seriously, if you haven't watched the video from Robert Fraher's residency at Standard Projects last year, please do. It's not set up for mobile, so you'll have to be at a computer, and it takes a few minutes to download all the files... but so worth it.

Also, the featured film, Sign Painters, was great! Funny, beautiful, informative, a little melancholy...

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More sky: Westward toward Hortonville on Wednesday evening (peaceful).

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There was a bit of MacGyver knitting at work yesterday while getting a few rows of my TTL Mystery Shawl in over lunch... guess what wasn't in my knitting bag??

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Last night I hung out with the kids for a while. Jün is a blur these days -- I don't know how many times we went around the block, each time riding/pushing/toting a different wheeled toy, and once in the stroller (you should see him glide on the Strider!) -- so you get a photo of sleepyhead Gin.

I'm off to a wedding this afternoon! It's the first of three-in-a-row.


Looking up

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Looking south over Lake Winnebago from Fire Lane 8 - evening of Tuesday, May 31.

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Watching approaching storm from the NW on my way home - evening of Sunday, June 5.

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A beautiful night for Stitch & Pitch - evening of Tuesday, June 7.

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Tonight, the last film in the Faculty Film Series at Match FactorySign Painters. There's been an addition prior to tonight's screening, an invitation from Robert Fraher, the current resident artist at neighboring Standard Projects, to be part of a new project. Can't wait! I finally had a chance to check out his project from last year's residency and it's amazing!! I want to watch/read/listen/experience it over and over!


Weekending: 4 nearly perfect days off

I did some knitting -- a fair bit, actually -- and successfully resisted casting on that baby sweater!!  ;)

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Here's my progress so far on the TTL Mystery Shawl 2016. Those seem like some wild colors for me, but I'm so anxious to see what happens! I knocked off another clue on Romi's Not-So-Mysterious Shawl 2016, too; I think there are two clues to go!

While knitting, I was listening... and earned the Weekend Warrior badge on Audible for listening at least 5 hours on a weekend. That would be HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION! I'm to the point in the audio where Lin-Manuel Miranda is reading his footnotes... there's an accompanying PDF, but I just went ahead and ordered the book. That's something else that nephews and grandkids may enjoy -- and I certainly enjoyed it enough to order a hard copy! I'm currently listening to the soundtrack on Spotify, but I'm sure I'll soon be ordering that, as well!

I spent a lot of time with the kiddos, including my nephews who had soccer games in the 'hood on Saturday, and a cook-out at Joe's. I haven't been over there in a while. Mom's wildflower garden is... going wild.

I made a slight change to my blog header to reflect what's going on around here.

I barely took any photos all weekend! But here's one... I tried to get Jün to stand in front of my Blue Angel hosta for scale, but he was too interested in riding his bike, so you have my foot instead. Unfortunately, that doesn't show you how TALL it is!

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I made another rhubarb shrub, this time with white wine vinegar and a bit more sugar -- I think it was a bit more smooth. Cherries are going to be hitting the pot soon!

I found this photo on my computer this morning and noticed that it was taken exactly a year ago today:

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And here's one that his mom took yesterday:

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Melting hearts for over 2 years now!

Can you believe it?

Hope you had a great weekend!


Right now: June

Knitting: Too many things. But I just finished Clue #1 for Kirsten's TTL Mystery Shawl 2016, and I continue to carry on with a few WIPs... none of which is doing very well at keeping me from wanting to cast on a colorful new (tiny little baby girl cardigan) project.

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Sewing: There's some visible mending on deck: Sashiko. Rusty has a pair of jeans, I have secured supplies. My Alabama Chanin projects are still here, and I've a few other things in mind for machine sewing.

Reading/Pages: PAX(For Bingo: With an animal on the cover or in the title.) I'm reading this book on Bonny's 5-star recommendation, and am enjoying it so far! I bought this book and will likely lend it to my nephews when I'm finished, then they can give it back for Jün and Gin to read.

Reading/Audio: The Boston Girl. (For Bingo: That spans multiple generations.) Just finished that one! Hamilton: The Revolution is NOW PLAYING! (For Bingo: {About} A play.)

Watching: I can't remember the last time I turned on the TV... and that, friends, is saying something. I usually wind down with a little knitting and TV, but I've been dead-tired (in a good way) and while I've managed a few rows of knitting in recent weeks, most of it hasn't been while watching TV. That said, one of the things I've been watching lately is the Faculty Film Series at Match Factory; a series of films by current faculty at Black Mountain School, and it's been interesting! They are short films about graffiti and skateboarding, among other things; the final film, Sign Painters, will be screened on Wednesday and I am looking forward to it.

I just had notification that Peaky Blinders S3 is out, which is in my pocket for a rainy day.

Hoping/Anticipating/Dreading (rinse & repeat): First day back with my personal trainer since she had surgery early last month... and I completely blew off the entire month of May. It was supposed to be yesterday, but she was unable to make it, so we'll try again on Tuesday. Back.to.Square.One. Pray.For.Me.

Planning: A long weekend/short week with the kiddos up north after the 4th of July, and possibly a short trip with Rusty to a Canadian Isle in the late summer or early fall.

Celebrating: Weddings!! My friends' daughter is getting married on Friday, June 10th; my cousin Jody is getting married on Saturday, June 18th; and I'm helping my niece photograph a wedding on Saturday, June 25th.

Enjoying: Another long weekend; I'm currently enjoying Day 2 of a 4-Day-er! (This is to offset an extra-long week on the other side.)

Eating: Better. Getting back on track, needing to lose the extra pounds that have once again accumulated, and feeling slightly more motivated to do so. What in the heck is it with MOTIVATION?

Drinking: Shrub. I'm going to make another rhubarb today, probably with a different type of vinegar, and thinking about all the other possibilities!

Organizing: I'm actually making a little progress on getting my workroom in shape.


Ten on Tuesday: Memorial Day Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

1 -- I made Rhubarb Shrub.

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I'd never heard of "shrub" in terms of a beverage until Kat mentioned it, and then I became pretty obsessed with trying it! I'd previously made a rhubarb simple syrup and found it much too sweet, so was very interested in trying this!

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Here's how I made mine (adaptation of Kat's recipe and this one):

Rhubarb Shrub

  • 2 lbs. fresh rhubarb, cut into approx. 1/2" pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme

Combine rhubarb, sugar, apple cider vinegar and water in a pot; bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Toss in the thyme for a few minutes at the end. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour into a colander or mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and strain for about 30 minutes; stir occasionally, but do not press. Pour the syrup into a jar or bottle and allow to cool; refrigerate.

I loved this! It's a nice sweet-tart mixture, and very syrupy in consistency.

2 - I made Shrubarb Cocktails!

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It makes a very refreshing beverage; mine was made with gin, but shrub can also be used to make a non-alcoholic beverage by simply adding club soda.

Shrubarb Cocktail

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
  • 1-1/2 oz. shrub
  • ice
  • sparkling water (or club soda)

Combine gin, lime juice, shrub, and a couple of crushed ice cubes in a shaker; shake for approx. 30 seconds. Strain into an ice (cube)-filled Collins glass, about 3/4 full, and top with water/soda. Cheers!

I will definitely be making more -- and different varieties of -- shrub this summer!

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3 - I hung out with the kiddos.

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4 - I did a little shopping! I went shopping twice -- once by myself, and once with Ali & the kids.

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Junah rode a STRIDER all around one of the stores, and then right out the door. He sort of loves it. I think it will get a lot of use in the coming years.

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5 - I enjoyed some lovely weather.

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6 - I hung out in the back yard with Rusty. I watched his garden start to grow! He has some onions, spinach, lettuce, and carrots.

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7 - I helped Gin celebrate 4 weeks on this earth! Can you believe it? Four weeks ago yesterday!

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You can see her little blonde streak in this photo. It's pretty awesome!

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8 - I chose and wound colorful yarn for some projects.

The teal/dark purple-y combo is for Kirsten's TTL Mystery Shawl 2016, which I was expecting to start today... and then realized mid-morning that it is not June 1st! That means that you still have time to join, if you'd like.

The other is for Gin's Elwood. I found a hank of purple superwash worsted that I'd dyed, and love it as the main color with SweetGeorgia's "Party of Five" Snapdragon for stripes.

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9 - I hung out on the deck with my #pergolacompanions & started a quick project. It'll be a shoulder bag.

10 - I didn't do anything I didn't want to do. And still managed to make a dent in cleaning up my workroom! I have another long weekend coming up, and I have PLANS!!

I hope you had a great weekend, too.


Mojo rising

I started Romi's Mystery Shawl 2016 back in March -- not right on time, but not too far behind. Late one evening, about half-way through Clue 2, I lost a couple of stitches off my needle... and set it down to fix on another day. This week, that day finally arrived, and now I'm set to begin Clue 3.

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I'm happy to have my knitting mojo back, even just a little! For one thing, I'm trying to let a strained thumb heal, and knitting doesn't aggravate it as much as sewing. And for another, Kats' AKK Summer Knit-along -- I'm sure you've heard of it by now -- came along at just the right time with just the right kind of rules, along with the promise of cocktails & recipes.

So, here's what I'd like to accomplish this summer!

1) Romi’s Mystery Shawl 2016 (not so much a mystery anymore). Turns out, all I needed to do was tink back a couple of rows to get back on track! One must be in the right state of mind for that, though.

2) I’ve a soft spot for Kirsten Kapur's KALs, so have once again signed up for the TTL Mystery Shawl 2016.

3) The LOLA (sweater) has been languishing a bit, for various reasons, but I discovered more of the same yarn in stash (plus another option) so any concern I may have had about running out is now gone!

4) My Green Bay Packers 2015 Scoreboard Cowl needs to be finished by the start of the season (or, at least, the first cold weather game)!

5) I’d signed up for Werifesteria but it was such a busy time that I’d never even chosen yarn. I still don't have any yarn picked out, but I really like how that shawl turned out, so I think I’d like to do that.

6) and maybe 7) Lastly (but certainly not least), there’s a new granddaughter to knit for! I’d like to knit a sweater for Gin for fall/winter. I recently purchased some SweetGeorgia Yarn “Party of Five” (worsted weight, "Snapdragon") so would like to use that for something like Elwood, and maybe knit another along the same lines for my Jün. I sort of flamed out on the baby knitting for him before he was even born, but I’m ready!!

I have already read more this year than I have in quite some time, and may even have a shot at BINGO this summer for Mary's Summer Book Bingo 2016! Here's my card (I am open to suggestions):

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Audio books had been a struggle in the past, but something that I really wanted to conquer this year and, thanks to some good choices, I am now on my 6th* audio book and have even signed up for Audible!

I just finished listening to The Golem and The Jinni -- which, had I known was almost 20 hours long, I might not have done (but one continues to learn) -- and because it was so long and I finished so close to "summer," I have included on my card! Really, there is little to no hope that I'll fill the entire card and my most promising "Bingo" lines are the "B" column or the 2nd or 4th rows, anyway, each with their own problems, though!

A book "that scares you." I immediately thought of Stephen King. I've never read any of his books because... they scare me! They are also all 600+ pages, at least the ones I've seen (he's written a lot of books). Has he written any "short" books?

I seem to have a lot of pretty long books on my list.

And "a play." That is so completely NOT my genre. Any recommendations?

*I am currently listening to The Boston Girl (which may or may not be in the correct Bingo category) read by Linda Lavin -- and if ever there was a book+narrator match made in heaven, it's that one!


Ten on Tuesday: What's for DESSERT?

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Desserts

  1. Chocolate Cake! German, Devil's Food, Hersheys...
  2. Carrot Cake! Annie makes THE BEST!
  3. Cheesecake! Plain is best.
  4. Chocolate Chip Cookies! Mmmm.
  5. Creme Brulee! Sweet, crusty goodness.
  6. Lemon Meringue Pie! So fresh.
  7. La Bete Noir! So good.
  8. Hot Fudge Sundae! Simple pleasures.
  9. Chocolate Pudding! Yum, favorite since childhood.
  10. Tiramisu! "If you're worried about eating raw eggs, choose another dessert." -Ina Garten

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Here's some sweetness that won't give you cavities!


Weeking

Aaahhhhh. What a great week/weekend!

On Wednesday, I attended the first in a series of four film screenings to benefit Black Mountain School at Match Factory.

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I helped Kate with a bit of set up and some light management.

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The screening was held in "the wallpaper room." The space is still very much a work-in-progress! This particular paper remnant (there are a few) reminds me of both my grandma and my mom! At least some of the paper & old plaster will be preserved and integrated into the updated design, so it will continue to be "the wallpaper room"!

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This room was the diner's kitchen. It will continue to be a "kitchen," though restaurant operations have ceased in this part of the building and all of the restaurant equipment, save the hood, has been removed. It is very likely that yarn dyeing operations will commence here in the coming months...

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The film! The series features films by faculty of Black Mountain School, and the first was Wild Style, the 1983 film produced by Charlie Ahearn that is regarded as the first hip hop motion picture. I cracked up when Kate's friend Danny walked in toting his record player and a stack of hip-hop records... one of them with the "Breaking Moves" poster. So awesome. There were even some attempts at poppin' and a few things (not by me!).

Blondie powered my drive home after the movie!

Next up: Left On Red + PUSHThen Kate's taking a quick trip down to Black Mountain to experience for herself all they've been working toward over the past year (and more)!

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There was a fair bit of gardening over the weekend. The local Master Gardeners had their annual plant sale on Saturday and we got our (few) tomatoes, along with some other stuff. Grandpa had some "help" with the lettuce/carrot bed.

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The allium are doing their beautiful thing. I love the "erupting" stage.

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Junebean got his first haircut!!

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Little boy... (asking me to undo the buckle on my bike helmet)...

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Ready for action!

All of a sudden, he's ginormous and grown up!

I took him off Mama's hands for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, and then she came over with Gin to have supper with us and hang out.

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On Sunday morning we did some work in the pergola area -- before it got too hot!

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That glider with the red cushions looks nice but is a glorified cat bed, it seems. We're going to clean off/de-fur those cushions and devise a way to easily fold up & secure the bottom cushions, when not in use, so they're fit for human sitting upon!

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We strung some new lights that I've had for a while and had beverages on the pergola last evening. SO NICE! I'll get those cushions cleaned up and you can come join us, ok?

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I'll leave the light on for ya!


Weeking*

*Formerly known as "Weekending"

May as well call it as I see it!

I love this space, sharing and talking about projects, the interaction and inspiration; I miss the frequent postings, think often about blogging, and hope that someday maybe the energy and efficiency will all come back.

Meanwhile, a round-up...

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Macro May sort of hit the skids 'round about May 2nd, but I had to get down on hands and knees last week when I noticed a "moss forest" growing between the bricks out front. Katie generously supplied her index finger for scale! The neighbors got a pretty good view of my derriere, no doubt, scratching their heads at my behavior for not-the-first- and surely not-the-last-time! Imagine if they could see all that the crazy stuff I do in the back yard, too!!

On Friday, some of the last pieces in a long office expansion/remodel project began to arrive -- countertops and the like. There's always been a print of Rusty's in the office, but the available wall space has decreased so it was relocated to another room. I've had a beautiful watercolor hanging on the wall in the living room -- partially hidden by objects on a tall-ish piece of furniture -- and it was the perfect size for my new office.

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It was my birthday present in 1995!

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Laundry on the line has always been my thing!

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Considering that Maddy was only four in 1995, a teddy bear tea party is totally where we were at! Rusty's always been a master at whimsy and detail... or whimsical details. I'm so happy to have this painting displayed in a place where it can be fully appreciated and enjoyed!

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Friday night found us in Hortonville at the Match Factory. Kate and her friend Claire (and various family members) have been working hard for weeks... it's still not finished, but it wasn't supposed to be: Friday night was a great little "preview" show.

Kate and Claire have known each other for a while now... at least a year, maybe more. On Friday night, I was finally able to meet more of Claire's family -- we've talked about family on a few occasions, and I've met her brother on a couple of occasions. On Friday, I saw Claire talking to a woman who I assumed was her mother, so introduced myself as Kate's mom, etc.

She looked at me hard and said, "Do we know each other?" I said that I didn't think so. "Did you used to live in Appleton?" Um, yes; on & off for a lot of years. "On Durkee Street??" Nodding... "We were ROOMMATES!"

OMG. All of a sudden there was hugging and reminiscing... Claire's eyes growing wide while her jaw hit the floor, Kate looking at us as if we were aliens!! Therese and I shared an apartment for about a year in about 1981-82; we never "hung out" much, but we certainly crossed paths and were at least somewhat aware of each other's interests, though neither of us were as "deep" into those pursuits as we are now. She ended up marrying the guy that she'd begun dating at that time (so, Claire's dad!). The apartment was owned, at the time, by my BFF & her husband... a.k.a., my current employers.

It's a small, small, SMALL, SMALL world!!

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There have been cuddles and snuggles when we're able.

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And this guy seems to be handling the changes OK! I was delighted to take him for a few hours on Saturday afternoon... we had so much fun! Annie and the boys came over again, too, after soccer and, well, the kid's certainly not suffering from a lack of attention. We wound down Saturday with a big, raucous family dinner.

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I took some "me" time on Sunday and finally christened my Alabama Chanin "Magdalena" stencil, mixing up some paint and firing up the air compressor out in the garage. I definitely need more practice and experience, for one thing and at the very least, learning about paint color and how it plays with fabric color when wet vs. dry.

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The play of large scale design on a teeny-tiny dress was intentional; the paint dried to more of a gray and not terribly exciting. My first choice of pink for the underlayer is not going to work, so will re-do and choose something with more contrast -- possibly navy blue, or even black.

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I had to do more than just that little dress, so cut out and painted an A-line Tunic for myself. I strained my thumb getting my Swing Skirt done a couple of weeks ago, so don't hold your breath on this one... maybe.

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Kate brought a new cookbook home the other day and I just had to make this Roasted Chicken in Tarragon Sauce with New Potatoes, Asparagus & Peas. I had to present it exactly as in the book, too. Wow, that was delicious and relatively simple and easy to prepare, with yummy leftovers for lunch today. Win!

Oh, I took some "formal" pics of the grands the other day, too. I haven't processed them all yet, but here are a few faves.

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I hope you had a great week/weekend, too!!


Weekending: Alabama Chanin, Rosanne Cash, Mother's Day

I finished my skirt on Friday night -- sewing on the fold-over elastic waistband with patience and the help of a lot of Wonder Clips!

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It felt so great to sew in that tag!

Saturday began with an hour or so watching the boys play soccer.

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We had some lunch afterwards and then went over to meet the baby.

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Mack could hardly get enough of her!

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She is pretty irresistible, and so content!!

Then it was concert time! Rusty and I went to see Rosanne Cash with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra along with John Leventhal and her band. The concert was fantastic! We enjoyed selections from The River & The Thread, The List, Black Cadillac, and more. There were numbers performed with only John on guitar as accompaniment, with her full band, and with the symphony -- it was a nice range. I enjoyed every minute.

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As hoped-for, I wore my new skirt! Styled above with my Catamount A-line Tunic Dress, Fluevog "Sunny" sandals, and a J.Jill sweater (it was chilly!), the tunic is maybe a little long for the skirt -- I will definitely be making a shorter tunic top to show off the skirt a bit more -- but this is a combo that I've had in mind since the beginning. The single-layer tunic and the bottom layer of the skirt are both dark grey, and the red beads on the tunic play off the burgundy top layer of the skirt.

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Rosanne wore an amazing Alabama Chanin jacket, by the way -- we weren't close enough that I could tell the design, but it was WAY sparklier than anything else in the room! Stunning and perfect. I didn't take any photos 'til the end for fear of being kicked out... I am not (much of) a rule-breaker!  ;)

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Here it is on Mother's Day, worn with a shorter J.Jill top... I'm thinking "uniform"! I was so comfortable all day long -- and I am not necessarily a skirt person! I like skirts well enough, but my short, high waist and bit of a belly can make it a challenging relationship. Here are some details, more photos below.

Alabama Chanin Swing Skirt

  • Swing Skirt - pre-cut & -stenciled kit from Alabama Chanin
  • 100% Organic Medium-weight Cotton Jersey - Burgundy (top layer), Dark Grey (bottom layer)
  • Anna's Garden stencil
  • Button Craft Thread - double strand of Maroon/Burgundy throughout
  • Running stitch for construction & embellishment
  • Knots on the outside
  • Left Front Panel: Negative Reverse Applique
  • Right Front Panel: Reverse Applique
  • Back Panels: Stitched for Negative Reverse Applique but left un-cut
  • All seams inside felled
  • Fold-over Elastic Waistband sewn with herringbone stitch
  • Unfinished hem

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Mother's Day started with a funny card from Rusty, a couple of books, some chocolate...

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It continued with mimosas to accompany bacon, eggs & pancakes for a big family breakfast, more gifts, some shopping, some sewing, and knowing that people were working in my garden! Rusty & Kate tamed a bit of overgrowth in the back. I just don't garden as much since I quit smoking... and that's been a lot of years now!!

I put my new waistband skills to use yesterday, applying fold-over elastic to a couple pairs of leggings for Junah & Ginny.

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These were included (by mistake or on purpose... we will never know) as part of the Alabama Chanin fabric haul that my Utah friend scored and sent to me. There's another pair of 0-3m, two more pair of 2-3y, and a couple of in-between sizes too -- all in the same grey jersey with plaid knee patches, and pockets on the larger sizes. I haven't heard yet about how these fit. The kiddos wear mostly cloth diapers, though disposables sometimes... and these close-fitting leggings might be for wear with disposables only. Time for some more Big Butt Baby Pants!

It was truly a fun, fabulous, and memorable week/weekend.

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I hope yours was pretty good too!


Eye Candy Friday... it is Friday, right?

I have to keep reminding myself what day it is!

First, I was in a "Fiber Frolic" bubble from Friday-Sunday last week.

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It was a fabulous weekend with lots of new visitors to the shop! I had a new sign made for the window -- it's hanging in the window, instead of applied to it, because that all may yet be re-done!

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Then this happened on Monday. Tuesday & Wednesday was a wonderful blur of baby-toddler-daughters-family.

I went back to work yesterday... Thursday. Which makes today FRIDAY!!

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I wasn't sure I'd make my self-imposed deadline of Saturday night for the finish of this skirt, but after excellent progress yesterday at Make & Do Night, as well as stitching a bit into the evening at home... She's going to make it after all!

There's about 4" of a seam yet to be felled, then application of  fold-over elastic to finish the waist... and DONE!

We have tickets to tomorrow night's Rosanne Cash concert, and it's a reasonable bet that she'll be sporting some Alabama Chanin, too.

Also, HOLY COW, do I love that skirt?!! All the construction & finishing details in a post next week, for sure.

_ _ _ _ _

“Save the Flowers, Gift a Craftsy Class!” This year, give mom (or yourself) the gift of learning!


It's a girl!!

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Virginia Frances

Born May 2, 2016, at home; 8 lbs., 21"

Healthy and gorgeous...

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Just like her mama!

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 And her great great grandmother and one of her namesakes, Virginia!

LOVE.


April Birthdays!

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April is a busy month for birthdays around here, from beginning to end! This is us on Monday night at Belts' Soft Serve in Stevens Point, after celebrating Kate's (4/22), Ali's (4/16), and Maddy's (4/25) birthdays with a family dinner at Mikey's in Plover.

It's actually a composite of THREE photos, because the youngest  of the group wasn't in the mood and the second-from-eldest was making (even) goofier faces, and there were various eye closures, etc.! Heh.

Two cousins already had birthdays this month (both on 4/1), as did an aunt (4/16). My uncle's 82nd birthday would have been (4/17).

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And my granddad's 106th today!!

A nephew's is still to come (4/29).

And my new grandbaby still has time to make the cut!! His mama would love nothing more... IT'S PINS & NEEDLES TIME!

 


Right now: ??

Rites-of-spring-2016

Anticipating... Rites of Spring Fiber Frolic - a tour of yarn shops, fiber farms, coffee shops & cafes in NE Wisconsin. Make.Do and KC&T are on the map!

Locations

It'll be a fun few days... lambs, yarn, trunk shows, classes, tons of door prizes! And it could be even more fun & exciting with BFF's daughter's bridal shower and a new grandbaby's due date in the mix!! We'll see how it goes...

Celebrating... April Birthdays!!!

Drinking... G&T, the occasional IPA -- so many to choose from these days!

Eating... I've reinstated my subscription to Plated, and was sent an invitation to try Blue Apron, so have had a few deliveries lately and a lot of fun cooking -- samosas, chicken, salmon, meatballs, catfish. Yum.

Enjoying... finally, some summer-like weather!

Wearing... Sandals. Yay!

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Itching... to PLAY WITH ALL THIS FABRIC. At the end of January, a "friend" from Utah shared an ad on FB by someone out there who was selling many yards of Alabama Chanin cotton jersey. My "friend" was even willing to pick it up and ship it to me. It was all just too good to pass up, so arrangements made, money transferred, parcels packed and posted, and voila! I have a ton more fabric to play with -- quite a few colors, many that I'd likely never order (minimums) but I'm happy to have/see/play with in person. My little color swatch cards are great, but there's a huge difference when you actually have enough fabric to hold and squeeze and see in so many more ways.

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Sewing... my Alabama Chanin skirt. I'm closing in on the quilting of the third panel. I am considering starting the fourth right away and possibly not cutting those two pieces (which would be the back of the skirt) -- at least not right away. I don't know... it's been a design-as-you-go project from Day 1, subject to whim!

Knitting... because of the concentrated effort on sewing, the knitting has stalled. (Where has all the free time gone?)

  • LOLA is underway, and I'm looking forward to getting back to it. In the meantime, digging through a bin of WIPs (a small bin), I discovered that I've had more of the Tsumugi silk all along, in the exact colorway!
  • Romi's Mystery Shawl is also underway, but late one night I pulled the needle out of a few stitches at the end of a row and I haven't yet returned.
  • I never got started on the Healthy Knitter KAL.

Listening... to The Golem and The Jinni. I had borrowed it on Overdrive, but holy cow it's a long book! The reading is lovely, but quite slow... combined with not a lot of listening time, I was barely past the quarter-mark when it was due! I even sped it up a bit. I was unable to renew it right away, so had to put it on hold again... not a fan of this aspect of Overdrive! I recently signed up for Audible, though, and used this month's credit for that book, so I should be safe. (I've still sped up the reading just a tad, even though I now have all the time in the world.)

Reading... The Whole Fromage. The author is a native of Wisconsin... so knows a little bit about cheese! I'd given this book to my mother a few years ago, but I don't think she ever read it.

Needing... to CLEAN UP & ORGANIZE! I know I say it at least once or twice a year: MY WORKROOM IS A DISASTER! It is worse than ever and I can't even imagine when I'm going to get to it. (Where has all the free time gone?)

Planning... June. Three weddings, three weekends in a row! And the start of our Farmer Market season (which, given new baby & etc., may take a June hiatus).

Watching... On deck: Shetland S1 and S2!

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Wondering... Whether I'll have reason to use any of these patterns in the next few years. A couple were my ;)

Shocked... To open my browser this afternoon, only to be confronted with the news of Prince's death. RIP. Man... what a year, too many gone.


Ten on Tuesday: LP Edition

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Albums that I Love

These are among the albums that come to mind when nothing else is cutting it. They're comfortable, familiar, meaningful, and/or transportational -- in that they "take me" to a time or place where I find happiness or contentment, or just wanna ROCK OUT.

1 - Twin Sons of Different Mothers - Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg

Buckingham-nicks

2 - Buckingham Nicks - Lindsay Buckingham & Stevie Nicks

3 - Flirtin' With Disaster - Molly Hatchet

4 - Tea for the Tillerman - Cat Stevens

5 - Damn The Torpedoes - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

 

6 - Jesus Christ Superstar (or Jesus Christ Superstar) (they're different!)

7 - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

8 - Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel

9 - Songbird - Eva Cassidy

10 - Stardust - Willie Nelson

What's on your turntable?


Weekending: Kohler

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It's almost embarrassing to admit that I've never visited the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan before. That wrong was made right on Saturday.

Our first stop was the restroom:

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I've been known to take photos in the bathroom, but usually not of the bathroom. The name KOHLER + the word ART definitely puts a different spin on the subject. 

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These photos were all taken in the same bathroom, but I popped my head into ALL of them! Amazing.

The main event was Wisconsin Wild and Tame.

From Mary Nohl's Art Environment...

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To David R. Harper:

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To Jessica Calderwood and Debbie Kupinsky:

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To the Super Natural:

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It was... super!

The rest of the weekend was spent doing stuff like this:

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When Ali brought him over yesterday, he clung to her for a bit and then reached over to me after a few minutes. Soon, he was pushing his mum out the back door, waving and saying "BYE!," firmly closing the door behind her! Hilarious!!

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Sand & trucks at his house, sidewalk chalk at mine. He helped Grampa with some yard work, and also chased cats around the yard (two of ours + one of the neighbor's), asking, "WHAT YOU DOING?"

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My other big accomplishment was getting our home network figured out (again and, hopefully, for good) so we could continue watching Hinterland on Netflix! It was so aggravating on Saturday night, wanting to watch but TiVo telling me that there was no internet. TWC recently sent us a new modem and... yeah. I narrowed it down to a possible problem with our old hub -- at least I hoped -- so I ran to Best Buy for a new switch yesterday and, voila, back on track!

WHAT YOU DOING?


The Power of TACOS (and The Internet)

No internet for half the day during an office move, with messages from "beyond" like I've never seen before, is one legitimate reason for having a shitty day today.

Another very legitimate reason would be this:

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It is April 8th... WTF?

But I was NOT having a shitty day. I was having NO PART OF THAT!

I was looking forward to tacos, a fundraiser that Kate held this evening in support of Black Mountain School.

OMG, TACOS!  I haven't had tacos in years -- possibly a dozen (or even more, considering that my youngest will soon be 25)! My hankering for a hard-shell taco has been steadily growing for  weeks!!

The internet issues were finally solved with a new modem/router (no thanks, really, to A T & T). And I made good progress in moving from temporary digs to a swanky new (not quite finished but well on the way) office area with storage and cabinetry the likes of which I never dared dream... all of which makes me quite happy.

And a taco for lunch! My friend & co-worker experiencing increased stress lately (for various reasons) possibly didn't quite hear me when I said that I was having tacos for dinner tonight, instead, apparently, subconsciously registering "TACOS" and bringing them for everyone at lunchtime today!

At peak hankering, I could not resist one (but did manage to resist the offer of a second...).

The snow might have put a damper on attendance at tonight's fundraiser, but the money raised is nothing to scoff at! The tacos were just as expected and quite satisfying, the beer was delicious and cold, and the company and conversation, with friends new and old, was quite lively and fun.

And so, the power of tacos (twice in one day!), restored internet, friends & good conversation... and swanky new digs.

Happy weekend, y'all!


Cheerio

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We still have Cheerio time! Lately, it involves getting out the "nilk" and a bowl, and two boxes of cereal from the cupboard. He then eats a bowl or two of Crispix, drinking the extra milk straight from the bowl or with a straw. Sometimes we don't even open the box of Cheerios!

Photography gets trickier and trickier!


Weekending

I lunched & shopped & hung out with my sister on Saturday.

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On Sunday, I FINISHED OUR TAXES (was finished with them, at any rate)! I also finished some overdue newborn photo work.

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There are some major ch-ch-ch-changes happening at my workplace! Work has been going on for a while now, but is only directly affecting my space as of today. It's like working in a beehive around here! I hope to be nicely settling into the reworked/rearranged space by the end of the week. Fingers crossed.


Sewing and Knitting and Cooking and Sky-watching

SEWING

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Oh.My.Word. I am so in love with this Alabama Chanin swing skirt project!

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I don't remember whether I mentioned it here, but I was SHOCKED when I opened my kit and found Burgundy & Dark Grey (exactly what I ordered) instead of Dark Grey & Dove (which is what I was going to order right up 'til the last minute, when I daringly changed my mind).

There was nothing to do but DO, which is exactly what I did... not only is it a work-in-progress, it is also a design-in-progress. 

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One thing's for sure: these colors are working for me!!

KNITTING

Well. I finished a pair of Dimorphous Mittens a while back (except for buttons), and still have my Scoreboard Cowl to finish, but hadn't been too inspired to knit much lately (or have been more inspired to sew). But now...

  • I am well underway with Romi's Mystery Shawl 2016. I had to find & fix a little mistake at the end of Clue 2 last night (employing all the stitch markers) to keep on track!
  • Casting on of LOLA is imminent! I will be knitting this sweater in pieces, and beginning with a provisional cast-on (keeping options open... because designing as I go seems to be A Thing). All the materials are gathered and I'm finally ready to go!

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  • I'm not sure where Werifesteria will fit in, but it's not the knitting that I'm most interested in at this point, anyway. This is the second mystery Knit-Along/Walk-Along presented by Christina Campbell and I thoroughly enjoyed both aspects of the first. A March Through Time is probably my most-worn winter knit this year! Mostly, though, I am interested in the motivation to get out and walk this spring. Let's go!! (By the way, this KAL/WAL begins tomorrow! It is automatically 20% off through 3/31 -- that's today!)

COOKING (and Eating)

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Beef & Lamb Meatballs over Green Pea Risotto a la Plated. Yum. Our box also held the ingredients for a wonderful skillet-roasted chicken with some fennel and potatoes. I was a bit unsure about the new subscription plans, so have sat out deliveries for a bit, but decided to get back in; I am in charge and can skip whenever I like (such as the next two weeks, for various reasons) or even suspend deliveries for a lengthier period of time, but I really do enjoy not having to think about what I'm going to cook sometimes -- or even having to shop for it! Plus, I get to try new things or prep methods and have reasonable assurance that it's all going to turn out fine great. I have a few  invitations available (up to $72 off with subscription); if you're interested in trying Plated yourself, let me know and I'll send you an email invite!

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I ordered Fish Tacos at Houdini's Escape Gastropub at 5th Tuesday Knit Night; also in the frame are pub fries, a grilled veggie sandwich, and tortellini with portabello mushroom. Also yum. I really need to expand my horizons beyond the tacos at this establishment, but... SO GOOD!

SKY-WATCHING

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Arriving at work - view to the east - March 18, 2016

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Arriving at work - view to the east - March 22, 2016

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Arriving at work - view to the east - March 29, 2016

The weather has been decidedly chilly, dreary, gray, and wet and looks to be that way for a while (perhaps even some snowflakes flying), so I'll just park these photos here so I can easily visit until nice weather returns.


Ten on Tuesday: Outside

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Love To Do Outside

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1 - Hanging laundry on the line. My die-hard brother-in-law does it year-round, but I just can't... it's one of my favorite things in the world, though.

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2 - Ride my bike. I've been slackin' the past few years. Aiming higher...

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3 - Soak up the sun/daydream/watch my back yard world go by from the porch/deck/pergola.

4 - Eat & drink on the porch/deck/pergola.

6 - Knit & sew on the porch/deck/pergola.

6 - Read on the porch/deck/pergola.

7 - Take a walk.

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8 - Do a little gardening/yard work now and then.

9 - Dyeing/Stenciling. At this point, much of that work is better accomplished outside where there's more room (and less stuff to be careful about accidentally dyeing).

10 - Putzing. There's no better place to putz than outside on a warm sunny day. It's like heaven.


Weekending: Easter +/-

Thursday:

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Thankfully, we didn't get as much as we could have (or as much as those a bit to the north of us got), but combined with the slippery roadways and high wind, it was enough to call it a very welcome SNOW DAY!

Friday:

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Rusty called from the vet on Friday morning with GOOD NEWS! Our lovely Roxie had been diagnosed with cancer of the mouth a couple of months ago; she'd lost an incredible amount of weight and was losing fur like crazy. Cancer treatment was expensive and results (length/quality of life) highly questionable; instead, we changed her food to something easier for her, considered her in "kitty hospice," and have kept a keen watch. Since then, she's maintained her weight (within .2 lb.), still loses fur but not as bad (I'd bought a stick vac to keep up!), and has continued to be her sweet little self! (Junah loves her... calls her "Rock-keys.") Recently, she seemed to be slightly more bothered about her mouth, and it seemed a good idea to get a read... we prepared for the worst. Turns out, the "fast-spreading cancer" had not spread at all; so, said the vet, perhaps it's not cancer but a bad infection instead! No question, we decided to try the steroid/antibiotic combo and she already seems to be improving. Please think good kittie thoughts!!

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Friday evening: Duodenum Live Performance at the Young Space "Remote View" pop-up show in Green Bay. (Everything I do, I do it for YOU!) What a hoot.

Saturday:

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I hung out with this kid for a while in the morning, playing with balls and blocks and cars & trucks of all sizes.

After that, I stopped in at a local library to do a little stitching with some crafty friends for an hour before heading to the grocery store. Um, yeah... Saturday afternoon before a gigantic holiday. Truthfully, I rather enjoy the excited energy of the grocery store on days like that. I had a thorough and organized list and the store was well staffed, so it was relatively painless.

Sunday:

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New traditions? Maybe... something(s) new, at any rate. Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake and Veggie Lasagna, recipe compliments of our friend TJ, were on the menu yesterday. That cake recipe has been on my list forever, and I'm sure it was one of the first things I ever pinned on Pinterest. TJ made the lasagna for dinner on our last night in Portland, and it was fabulous, plus, you've just gotta love a recipe that starts with "eyeball your vegetables"!

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The lasagna was nearly demolished... it was so delicious!! And the cake was half-gone before I thought to take a photo. I didn't have the size/type of pan, so there was some spilling over of batter that burned on the bottom of the oven, and my frosting turned out a bit thinner that I'd have liked, but none of that really mattered. It was so good!!

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I completed stitching on the second panel of my Alabama Chanin skirt! I'm looking forward to cutting both panels, and prepping the last two panels. I'm hoping to have this skirt finished by May 7th so I can wear it to Rosanne Cash's concert!

Lately:

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Timehop has been very good with the reminders of late!! I can't believe that our amazing trip to England-Scotland-Wales was 5 years ago.

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Craftsy - 1200x627_gallery_knitting

Sale ends tonight!


I went to Oregon (Part 4: Old Home, The End)

Completely unplanned, we ended up doing at least a drive-by of every place I'd lived during my 4+/- years in Oregon.

My first residence was a tiny furnished house, rented for me by my dad & his wife, on Latimer Road in Tillamook. It was super cute -- part of a little complex of tiny houses connected by shared carports. I especially loved the spacious kitchen there. The place hadn't changed a bit!

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View toward Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda.

When I met him, Rusty was living in his house at Cape Kiwanda but working in Tillamook. As we began to spend more time together, we decided to rent a house in Tillamook. Pickings were very slim, but we found a small house on First Street. It had been abandoned by previous tenants and the power had been shut off... with food in the fridge... for months. I don't remember much about the landlord situation, but I'm sure that Rusty negotiated the rent wherein we got rid of the ghastliness in the fridge and did some other cleaning & fixing up. I remember turning one of the two bedrooms into a huge closet (as neither bedroom had any other type of closet), and the small-ish kitchen had wooden countertops. That house hadn't changed a bit, either!

After a little while, having two places got to be a drag and we decided the drive wasn't all that bad (unless stuck behind a motorhome or eight), so gave up the First Street house and moved to Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City. As we worked at doing some adding on and finishing, I discovered that I was pregnant! That house had been built for one person and the addition helped for two, but adding a baby to the mix... just wasn't going to work!

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Near the beach, Cape Meares.

We sold that house and bought one at Cape Meares, but first... homeless for a month between closings, we rented a small unit at the Terimore Motel in Netarts. We were able to move most of our belongings into the house, but I decided to stash the basinette and a few baby things in the closet at the motel. Good thing!

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NOW and THEN.

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SAME yet DIFFERENT. Close but NO CIGAR!

Clearly, we don't remember exactly which unit we lived in. I was going to say that this place hasn't changed a bit, either (and I'll bet it hasn't!). Both Rusty and I have made this mistake... I think our unit was actually behind this one! Ha.

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Effects of prevailing wind (at Cape Meares State Park).

Finally, when Kate was about a week old we moved to a nice little house on Meares Ave NW, Cape Meares. We did a lot of work there, too, including replacing the deck, painting the exterior, and building a driveway/patio and enclosed porch. The house is completely unrecognizable now with a second-story addition!

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Gorgeous ocean view from Cape Meares State Park.

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The Octopus Tree.

We had a nice visit with my dad and his wife while we were in Tillamook, and with my cousin Gordy and cousin-in-law John who were out from MN to do some steelhead fishing.

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On Sunday, we headed inland...

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We stopped near Salem for a lunch date with Rusty's ex-wife, her husband, and a few of their friends. This is a view from the living room -- there are sheep out there -- you can't see them, but I know they're there (beyond the little building, just behind the hedgerow).

Finally, to Portland for dinner* & overnight with our good friend TJ and her husband Les. We had such a good visit with them and our friend Bill -- it was so great to see them/hug them in person!

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Fly away home. New PDX carpeting.

*I'm making TJ's yummy & not-too-soupy veggie lasagna recipe for Easter!

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Craftsy - 1200x627_gallery_knitting


I went to Oregon (Part 3)

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Compared to Shore Acres, the ocean scene at our little cottage just south of Yachats was quite serene! It was just after sunset, but still a lovely glow in the west.

Our northerly trek along the coast continued the next day, though at a more leisurely pace. We stopped in Newport and took a walk along the boardwalk and bayfront.

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The unmistakable sound of sea lions reverberated throughout. We could see them along some rocks out in the harbor, and then discovered a large (noisy) gr0up right at a small pier.

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 This is just a small sampling of the many murals of all sizes and ages that we saw.

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We eventually made it to our Airbnb lodging just south of Pacific City, where we plunked down for two nights. We couldn't have asked for better -- up a hill and with a command view of a wild ocean and dramatic, ever-changing sky -- and we loved the different view of Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda.

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We'd barely landed before we were off to do a little peekin' (and maybe even a little trespassing) at the house that Rusty built (ca. 1983) and that I helped to enlarge & finish (ca. 1984) and where we were married (in 1985). A lot has changed in 31 years. We weren't able to check out the house from the inside (we tried!).

We used to have a terrific view of Haystack Rock from the kitchen & bedroom windows at that house... but no more! There are so many more houses (and they're so close!).

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A photo app on my phone stitched together this awesome pano (with wavy ocean) from some photos that I took at the beach near the cape. That's Rusty at water's edge.


I went to Oregon (Part Yarn... um 2)

Arguably, there are more yarn stores per capita in Portland, OR, than any other U.S. city, but I knew that I wouldn't have time during my trip to visit even one! So I did a little research and made a short list of coastal shops.

My Yarn Shop - Coos Bay, OR

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Unfortunately, I wasn't able to shop at this store. The lights were on and OPEN sign was lit, but the door was locked and there was a "Will Return at 4:30" sign in the window... it was 4:45, closing was posted as 5:00, and we didn't have time to wait (time to shop, yeah, but not to wait). I tried the door a few times, and then once or twice more (I really wanted in), before we moved on. I include it because it looked like a great shop!

Yarn For All Seasons - Newport, OR

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This one was a little trickier to find, tucked into a larger tourist-y shopping center, and the GPS pin was just a bit off. It was worth finding!

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Twisted Sisters "Happy Kids" yarn + onesie: There's a baby on the way!

Noro Silk Garden: for an entrelac scarf (the one I made for Mom in similar colorway has never turned up). My LYS doesn't carry Noro yarns anymore (supply chain frustrations), but I'm hopeful that they will again.

Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails: I wanted them ALL!

In The Wind Yarns - Lincoln City, OR (Gleneden Beach)

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This is a lovely shop, located right across from Salishan. The shop owner was working on a shawl by French designer Cailliau Berangere called Bryum -- it was at least the third or fourth she'd done, all in different combos -- and I fell in love!

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I bought some Noro Silk Garden Sock and Malabrigo Sock for the task.

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PDX shops are on the list for our next visit!


First Day of Spring!!

Spring

I found a little spring on the West Coast last week. Sadly, no photos of the flowering trees that I saw now and then, nor of rhodies. The only other place I've seen rhododendrons so marvelous and huge was in Ohio when we visited Sharon there once. We had a giant red rhodie outside our house at Cape Meares back in the day. Gorgeous.

The 1st Day of Spring means it's the anniversary of the blog! Twelve years ago, I typed some words and hit "publish now." Since then, I've written 2850 posts and received nearly 25,000 comments.

Various pages hereon have been viewed over 1,050,000 times, mostly from within the U.S., but also from Canada, U.K., Australia, Germany, France, Netherlands, Japan, and Norway. People land here by searching for "knitorious," "roasted tomato sauce," "red are strawberries song," and "Alabama Chanin." They also land here from other blogs, such as Mason Dixon Knitting, ZeneedleCarole Knits, and January One; from blog readers and other sources such as Feedly, Bloglovin', Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more.

Blogland certainly has changed in 12 years!!

I've changed, too. I quit smoking (11 years as of last Thursday), my kids have grown up; I became and aunt again (x2), a mother-in-law and a grandmother; and I've lost loved ones, including my mother, sister, grandmother, uncles and cousins.

I've knit like crazy, sewn as I never dreamed I would, dyed yarn & fabric, and even made a quilt with my daughter (and started another on my own).

I've traveled! Often within WI and the U.S., twice to U.K., to Mexico, and even to Brazil. I've had the craziest good times meeting up with other knitters/friends in various places.

Mostly, I feel that I've been empowered by blogging (reading blogs as much as writing a blog) to explore more, to be more adventurous -- it comes from here, a knitting blog, but spills into all areas of my life.

Though I've been a bit scarce of late, it's sure been fun! We'll see how Lucky 13 turns out!!

Thanks for reading and dropping a line now and then.  ;)

P.S. Though I haven't been doing much knitting lately, either... it's SPRING and that means time for Romi's Mystery Shawl! The first clue was released last Friday and, while I have my pattern, I still haven't decided on yarn... but I will. Also, still planning my Habu boxy top!


I went to Oregon (Part 1)

I flew out to Arcata, CA, a week ago to meet Rusty and accompany him on the last leg of his West Coast trip before he turned the car for home.

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I arrived on Wednesday evening, and we hit the road on Thursday morning.

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First stop, though, was the World's Largest Totem Pole (not tallest) in McKinleyville, CA.

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Second stop was breakfast at the Seascape Restaurant & Pier at Trinidad; Rusty's mother used to like this place and there's an old photo of her standing by a whale-shaped sign that pointed the way. We happened to be among the first customers to enjoy first-ever major renovations! It was pretty spiffy, and the staff was giddy.

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We also visited the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse.

Our destination by day's end was Yachats, OR -- 5.5 hours away -- and lots to see along the way!

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Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA! There are a few Paul Bunyans in WI and I just had to see this one (plus, it was right on the way).

I was expecting nothing but gray skies and rain on this trip, so imagine my delight at this:

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I even had to wear sunglasses!

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It was wonderful! The sky & clouds were ever changing, even when it was raining. Sometimes we'd experience all the weather in a very short timespan/distance.

One of our favorite stops -- and Must See on Rusty's list, especially since there was surf -- was Shore Acres State Park at Coos Bay.

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It was dramatic, moody, broody, amazing, and utterly gorgeous! Those rocks -- the angle of those rock ledges jutting toward the sea, and other formations -- blows my mind.

We stopped in Florence, too. Rusty's dad is considering a fishing/canning operation there. It's a cute and historic town, with lots of fishing and shopping -- and antiques! I didn't recall that there were so many antique shops/malls along the coast.

We finally made it to our cozy cottage near Yachats just as the sun went down, and then went in search of dinner. I highly recommend Luna Sea Fish House if you're ever there -- the food was great, the service spectacular! We were lucky to nab one of the last servings of marionberry cobbler. Mmmm.

To be continued.


Weekending: A Week Behind!

I don't know how that happened... there's a lot of juggling going on around here, though, so let's chalk it up to that.

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I just love the body language in this photo. We have three kitties at our house -- and all three are pretty good at avoiding Junah! He gets so excited when he sees one, though, and Roxie is (always has been) the most tolerant of young children. (Also, wearing Grandpa's hat! He put it on and started to say, "Buh-ba? Buh-ba?")

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One thing led to another on the weekend-before-last, and pretty soon a few hours on a Saturday afternoon at Nona's house turned into a sleep-over with a bonus trip up to Annie's for a visit with the boys and Sunday brunch!

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Good (very early for a Sunday) morning with epic bed-head (the boy needs a haircut soon)!! It was our first sleep-over in about a year, and it went very well.

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Patience for photos with the cousins... not so much. The boys were so excited, though! First they built a fort on their bunkbeds and when Junah wasn't terribly interested, they moved the whole production into the living room. He's still just a bit too young for that type of play... I doubt it'll be long, though.

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Since I was in possession of our Alabama Chanin Swing Skirt kits, there may have been an ulterior motive behind my invitation to brunch! I had even started stitching on mine. Annie's is ochre-on-ochre and that color is DIVINE! Last we spoke, her plan had changed to reverse applique over most of the skirt, with couching on the bottom 6" or so. Whatever she does, it's going to be fabulous!

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It was fun to do some stitching with my sis!!

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Even though I'd practiced the negative reverse applique technique on my swatch, I couldn't wait to see how it was going to look with the actual fabric & colors that I'm using for the skirt. I haven't cut any more than that but am stitching everyday and getting closer to finishing that panel. So exciting!

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I'm also continuing my consultation with Ina Braun regarding my LOLA sweater... measurements, gauge swatch, design elements... we're getting close! My short trip to CA/OR begins on Wednesday and I hope to bring this along as my knitting project. Of course, I'll bring sewing, too.


My Kind of Town Chicago Is

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Way back before Christmas, it was decided that while Rusty was traipsing around the west coast, we'd have a girls' weekend in Chicago. Maddy's never been with us on previous trips, and we all looked forward to a fun few days together. We put our heads together and came up with a pre-baby, pre-spring-craziness date that would work for all of us and booked an Airbnb 44th-floor corner apartment with FABULOUS views of Chicago, including Marina City and Sears Tower, and within walking distance of everyplace we'd want to be. (I know it's not called that anymore, but I can never remember... Sears Tower it will always be to me.)

Two weeks ago tomorrow, we hit the road and pointed south. Arriving just after noon, we parked the car and headed off for lunch at The Purple Pig. There's only one time since we first discovered that restaurant that we haven't eaten there -- we love it, and it's definitely a treat!

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The weather was fantastic!

We checked into our apartment after lunch and then hit a couple of shopping spots that the girls like -- Nordstrom Rack, TJMaxx, etc. We stopped at Eataly on the way home and stocked up on meats, cheeses, bread, olives and beverages, and had a relaxing night in on Friday night. We've watched (and anticipated) Eataly in Chicago for a while now and it did not disappoint. Next time, we'll definitely have a meal there! Shopping was a real treat with so many terrific choices.

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Selfie City @ Cloudgate!

On Saturday morning, we walked through Millennium Park on our way to the Art Institute of Chicago. One of the big draws at AIC was the Van Gogh's Bedrooms exhibit (and not just us, the exhibit is drawing record-setting crowds!).

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There was a lot to see, and I'm sure we didn't see half of it.

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It was fascinating (if a bit crowded) to see the paintings together, of course. Ali posted the comparison, above, on Instagram; and there was a great video as part of the exhibit that zoomed in to the same place on each painting at once to closely compare the differences in each. Those paintings are "all the same" and yet so very, very different.

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Apparently Vincent kept a small red lacquered box full of wool (replica, above) that he used to play around with color while he worked.

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We were also very excited to see The New Contemporary.

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It's a wonderful exhibit! I was apparently quite focused on color and texture as presented by Mark Rothko, Joan Snyder, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg (sock!). Ha.

Kate also wrote about our visit to AIC on the Young Space blog, if you're interested. (And more pictures!)

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See? Beautiful weather!!

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We lunched and shopped our way back to the apartment, then walked to Cantina Laredo for a lovely dinner. There was a selection of menus in the apartment's welcome binder and this one had a 5-star rating, so we decided to give it a try. It was delicious, and we loved the guacamole made table-side.

We had a fun stop at IKEA on Sunday as we made our way home, including lunch for the first time ever -- Swedish meatballs! Kate's Subie was packed to the gills.

Yeah Chicago. 'Til next time...