28 May 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Memorial Day Weekend

Ten on Tuesday/Wednesday:  10 Things I Did Last Weekend

Well, it was definitely not a typical weekend -- holiday or otherwise! We returned home on Tuesday (yesterday) from 12 days in Scotland, so the weekend was the end of a pretty great vacation.

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1.  On Saturday morning, I woke up at Croft 23 after the last of our 5-night stay. People, there is truth in advertising! If nothing else, just take a minute to watch the slideshow at the top of that page; minus the brilliant sunsets, the northern lights, and the sheep (they were apparently happy elsewhere last week), it was just that beautiful. Mark and Jan were our warm and welcoming hosts, and they were marvelous. Mark is an amazing landscape photographer and it's worth a "Like" on Croft 23's Facebook page just for the almost daily photo.

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2.  Later on Saturday morning, on our way to Glasgow, we stopped at a castle to use the facilities, and also to get coffee... and a selfie. Ha. Yeah, we really did! We'd already visited Eilean Donan Castle as admission-paying tourists several days before.

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3.  We drove through more of the never-tiring Scottish Highlands. Even after six days of driving through the Scottish Highlands, we still pulled over at almost every opportunity to take photos!

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4.  We had lunch at Crannog Seafood Restaurant -- a place I've been to before!! Fort William was as far north as we'd ventured three years ago and it was on our way to Glasgow this time, so we retraced some steps. It was kind of fun to feel a bit familiar with a place.

View-from-Glasgow-walk-up

5.  We arrived in Glasgow for the first of two nights at an adorable 2-bedroom 3rd-floor walk-up in the west end that I found on airbnb. It was my first airbnb experience and it was good; the place was just as advertised, easy to find, very clean, and well appointed. Cute enough to live in!

Vicki-yvette

6.  On Sunday, while Rusty walked about Glasgow*, visiting galleries and museums, Katie and I drove west and met up with Yvette! I've cyber-known Yvette for years -- 10 years, to be exact (through the magic that is searching the archives, I've determined that the first time she commented on my blog was May 31, 2004!) -- and had missed her move back to Scotland from France three years ago by mere weeks. It was so fun to meet!!

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7.  We drove a bit north, again on some familiar roads, to another familiar place. We'd visited Portencross Castle at West Kilbride a couple of times three years ago. I'd scattered some of Sharon's ashes there -- because she loved Scotland and had influenced our decision to go there (instead of Ireland) -- and it didn't feel right to be so close and not visit.

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8.  On Monday, we returned our rental car in Glasgow. We had one of the most uncomfortable encounters of the trip -- any trip any of us have ever been on -- when a guy from the rental company gave us a lift to the train station. He obviously didn't want anything to do with us -- because Americans? tourists? -- no greeting, no response, completely ignoring questions and attempts at conversation, or grunting a barely audible one-word response. Thankfully, it was a short drive! It was a quick train ride back to Edinburgh for our last night.

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9.  It may seem strange that our last meal in Scotland was at Wannaburger -- basically American fast-food burgers, fries & shakes -- but it is what it is, and it was really good! I'm more than a little envious of the food scene in the UK, and these weren't your typical American fast-food burgers! Wannaburger is a favorite of the American students in Edinburgh -- comfort food. Anyway, we ate very well in Scotland. If Wannaburger was the worst, then it was the best worst. Heh. I feel as though I've gained 20 pounds in the past two weeks (is that possible?). Anyway, while Rusty took one last walk-about in Edinburgh after dinner, Katie took me to a fun and gorgeous place called The Voodoo Rooms, right around the corner/behind our hotel for cocktails (mine, left, is Where The Wild Things Are, and Kate's is Mother Earth)

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10.  Finally, having learned a little bit about whisky on this trip, we enjoyed a lovely last view from the lounge at Motel One while the sun set on our visit, capping the night with a glass of single-malt... neat (eventually adding a wee bit of water to taste).

* * * * *

Vacation was quite lovely. I fully intended to blog along the way, but our days were packed and connectivity limited. Don't worry, I'll fill you in!

* * * * *

*The Glasgow School of Art was on the list but was devastated by fire just days before our arrival in Glasgow. One of Glasgow's -- indeed, Scotland's -- great treasures, firefighters took extraordinary measures to save as much of the structure as possible, well deserving of a lovely Thank You.

 

13 May 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Let's learn something

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things/Subjects I Wish I Knew More About

I don't know... this may be another less-than-10! Most of the time, if there's something I truly want to know more about, I dive in and learn. It's not usually exhaustive research and I don't become an expert, but I've always learned more and possibly enough.

There are other things that I sometimes idly wish I knew more about -- art, history, mythology, literature, politics. I've found that my desire for this type of knowledge is often greatest after a conversation with someone to whom the word "pretentious" might apply. And, really, I know enough to happily function on a day-to-day basis. I have an open mind... things fall in.

I like to learn, but I am not an academic. I do things. I learn and make and do. Make.Do.

Most recently, over the past couple of years, I've actively pursued (in varying degrees) learning about and doing these things:

1.  Being a childbirth assistant/doula.

2.  Hand sewing.

3.  What is/how to make a moulage & sloper for pattern-making.

4.  Food and nutrition.

5.  Quilting!

I've continued to learn a little more about:

6.  Photography.

7.  Dyeing yarn.

I haven't really finished learning about any of those things but, you know, the need for certain areas of knowledge waxes and wanes like most everything else in life.

I would like to learn:

8.  Web design, HTML, and CSS. I have a leg up on the HTML because of my experience years ago as a typesetter. I can make a pretty good site (just updated Oceans and Dreams last night), but I'm certain I could make both O&D and this blog better.

9.  How to predict and/or control the future and/or weather.

10.  That way, I'd be better informed in order to pack for my vacation!!

Sheepies

Haha. And with that, I believe I've just entered the giddy stage of vacation prep!!

 

12 May 2014

Four

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Four months old today!!

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It just keeps getting better and better.  :)

 

09 May 2014

New things!

On Monday afternoon, I waited knitted at a coffee shop and started something new.

She knits! That's some #NoroKureyon on 8 US DPNs... something new! Also #macromay #photojojomacro #knitting

It's Noro Kureyon cast on to a bamboo DPN, and the beginning of this:

Pop! #knitting #NoroKureyon

POP!

Meh... brown circle, black square. Trust me, it's going to get way more exciting than this because, you know, NORO! Also, I'm thinking of mashing this up with somethin' and putting a little spin on the pop. I'm not sure yet, but there's an idea rolling around. Each square is a little easier and quicker than the last; so far, three squares are done. This was started with an eye toward airplane/vacation knitting.

Then on Monday night I did this:

I had the old Husqvarna humming tonight. Opportunity knocked and I started another something new (oh, let me count how many ways of new)

A quilting class. Opportunity knocked and I started a quilt! I love quilts, always have, but was sure they'd be too tedious or time consuming. It was a quilt design that hooked me on cross-stitch, and I worked several (until sampler designs nosed in); when I was looking for a design for a mosaic table, I naturally turned to a quilting book; Parcheesi isn't a quilt design (that I know of), but it sure would make a great one! Except for a hand-pieced and appliqued pillow made at a Sister Weekend several years ago for Mom and a fairly half-assed machine-sewn high chair seat cover, I have worked quilt designs in most anything except fabric!

I haven't worked on it (or much else) since Monday night, but I plan to have the Husqvarna set up and humming again soon. You know, in my spare time.

I'm taking my TREK to the bike shop for a tune-up so it'll be ready when we're back -- the weather is FINALLY getting better! I've decided to cancel my fitness center membership; it's just not working and I can use that money elsewhere! I'll soon be hiking the Highlands, have some cycling events lined up in June, and in the meantime... I've been PLANKING! Why have I not started this sooner? Quick & easy, I can do it almost anywhere, and I can feel it.

Have a great weekend!

 

08 May 2014

Life in macro

macro n.  anything very large in scale, scope, or capability

* * * * *

That's sort of how it is these days... though there are many very large things! Ha. I'm not complaining, I am a responsible -- capable -- human being, I know my limits; it's just the way it is right now, the usual ebb and flow, not necessarily good or bad, I'm doing my best to fit it all in.

#Spring is springing in #Wisconsin and it's about freakin' time. We may even see 60F tomorrow. #macromay #snowdrops

Scilla - Macro May photo #2

I took the photo above as I left Mom's last Friday evening, using the macro setting on one of my phone's camera apps (I have a Samsung Galaxy S4).

My new Photojojo lenses were already here on Saturday! SUPER fast -- I ordered on May 1st, they shipped the same day, and were in my mailbox on May 3rd. All of the photos that follow were taken with a Photojojo lens.

Cactus flower... New toys! My Photojojo lenses arrived today! I will need to practice stillness. :) #macromay #photojojomacro

Cactus flower - Macro May photo #3

I went into the Garden Room intending to take a photo of my late- (or early-?) blooming amaryllis, but had nothing to brace against so all those photos were way too blurry. I found something to lean against and aimed at this little cactus flower instead.

Bloodroot. #Spring #Wisconsin #wildflowers #macromay #photojojomacro

Bloodroot - Macro May photo #4

On Sunday I took a walk to the back yard to check out all the bloodroot that's blooming.

Playing around! More bloodroot (I have a lot). #photojojosuperfisheye #wisconsin #wildflowers #mybackyard #spring

Playing around! More bloodroot (I have a lot). (Photojojo super fisheye lens)

The super fisheye is the only lens that doesn't fit on my phone when it's in the case. Luckily, my case isn't too difficult to remove!

She knits! That's some #NoroKureyon on 8 US DPNs... something new! Also #macromay #photojojomacro #knitting

Noro Kureyon - Macro May photo #5

Seashell... not at seashore. #macromay #photojojomacro

Seashell... not at seashore - Macro May photo #6

Thread (Button Craft, of course!). #macromay #photojojomacro

Thread (Button Craft, of course) - Macro May photo #7

Gotta say, I love them! I'm thrilled with these lenses and the quality of the photos. They could very well end up being one of my best purchases of the year! A little tripod would be next on my wish list, because being STILL is the name of the game for macro shots! A remote shutter release would be a bonus. Oh, GADGETS! I do love them... sometimes.

Calm before storm. #photojojopolarizer

Calm before storm (Photojojo polarizer lens)

Having barely reached 60F so far this year, the temp is predicted to rocket up close to 80 today, followed by storms later!

 

02 May 2014

May!

April flew right by!

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Last Tuesday was a "5th Tuesday" and that means a special night out for the Tuesday night knit group. The group alternates 1st & 3rd and 2nd & 4th weeks between two coffee shop locations, but it's a bit more festive when there's a 5th week -- this time it was Basil Cafe. Yum.

So far, May is dragging -- in the way that the days/minutes can drag but the weeks will surely fly by. Vacation time will be here before I know it and there's lots to prep for, both in terms of traveling and upcoming obligations.

I treated myself to a set of cell phone lenses from Photojojo, among them a macro lens (as well as wide, fisheye, super fisheye, telephoto, and polarizer) -- I don't have them yet, but I can't wait to play around with them! I'll be taking my Canon along to Scotland, of course, and considered taking a wide-angle lens again, but not only is that expensive ($2300+ to buy, $200+ to rent), it's also very heavy. The camera on my phone is no slouch, and this way, for about $100, I have a bunch of my favorite types of play-around lenses for always. I will use these much more.

Happy Mother's Day!

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I don't know if I'll be able to keep up for the whole month, but it's Macro May! And I don't know if anyone else is taking macro photos this month, but I can't think of May without also thinking "macro."

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Wednesday with Grandma : Sound asleep

I've signed on to do a big gig in Milwaukee next month, hiring my niece to help, and tomorrow I'll drive down with Ali & Junah to meet up and do a little reconnaissance. The event will be at Lake Park, and it's going to be a blast to shoot there!

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Wednesday with Grandma : Waking up

I'm aiming to start throwing stuff into my suitcase this weekend, too. Not officially packing, but I have so many little notes to myself floating around -- both physically and in my head -- about what to take and how to pack... I really need to start making it visual. The main goal is to pack light and that means thinking and planning. I think it's when I wait 'til the last minute, as I often do, that I end up taking way too much -- 4 pairs of pants, 6 tops, 2 cardigans, 4 pairs of shoes for a weekend; packing for every possible scenario and/or mood and just not thinking.

Have a great weekend!

 

29 April 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Coming Home

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Good Things About Coming Home From Vacation

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I do love to go places -- near or far, it's just nice to take a little break from routine. Funny, though, that it's usually the routine that I end up missing most!

United

1.  I love to see all the old familiar faces & places!

Triangulated cats in black & gray.

2.  I love sleeping in my own bed.

Bedroom

3.  I love having ALL of my clothes & shoes available (choices!).

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4.  I love being in my own bathroom.

Kitchen is a mess. #thishappens #cooking #thismaybethestartofsomethinggood

5.  I enjoy cooking in my own kitchen.

Anglesey
6.  I like having all of my stuff... as overwhelming as it can be sometimes, it's all mine.

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7.  The four-strong feline welcoming committee -- they may seem indifferent about the leaving but there's no question how they feel about the returning.

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8.  I've always loved going through the mail... even though it's about 99% junk these days.

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9.  I love driving my own car (on familiar streets).

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10.  Hands down, the best thing about coming home from the next vacation is going to be this:

15wks

15 Weeks Old!

How am I going to bear it!?

 

28 April 2014

Sooooo

We bought a house! Ha. My sister *bought* (accepted offer pending inspection blah blah blah) a house with the help of a committee.

That was so much fun!! Rusty, Ali, Junah, Annie and I drove up to meet the Realtor last Monday and spent several hours looking at houses. We each (except Junah) had a notebook and pen to jot down pros, cons, impressions, and thoughts about each house. (Don't worry, Junah had his say!) Agreeing beforehand not to get too hung up on or in discussion about any one thing while at any given house, we sat down afterwards to go over our notes and rate each property. Mostly, Annie wanted to know each of our Top 3 and the pros and cons about each one.

Let me just say that Vacationland Northeast Wisconsin has a very wide range of properties for sale, with an even greater range of prices. Ha. You have your in-town older home, in-town newer home, foreclosure, farmhouse, home with acreage, waterfront home, waterfront vacation home, cottage, and hunting/fishing shack.

I think we looked at every different type! Though it had some interesting features -- a chicken coop & silo among the outbuildings -- the farmhouse was out because it was the only place that Junah cried. It was also very remuddled and just not that great of a house. And Annie broke one of her own rules as we left one of the in-town homes, stating that it was a definite No.

After evaluation and discussion of all the rest, and considering some of the key parameters (move-in condition, timeframe), we all had the same Top 3, and mostly the same Top 1... or 2. After further discussion it was very clear which was the winner. Ann was back there for a couple of days later in the week; made an offer, it was countered, she countered again, and voila.

Remember two years ago when they sold everything to move to Brazil? Yeah, well, now they need it all back! Ha. She's hoping that their pared-down lifestyle over the past couple of years will carry over and that they won't accumulate quite so much. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I schlepped her to the airport on Saturday and after she checked her bag and had boarding passes in hand, we wondered how to kill the next hour or so! We loaded her carry-on back into my car and ran down to the mattress shop for the 45-minute sales pitch, testing out about a half-dozen mattresses, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were ordered before take-off.

Let's get out the paint and make something! Love this @alabamachanin stencil. #handsewing

I got out the paint and stenciled some fabric on Saturday afternoon. There was a bit of lightweight cotton jersey in the Alabama Chanin bag of scraps and I'm trying out a design where I can do some of the traditional applique & decorative stitching without it being an irritant to the skin. Oh, for another chemo cap. I finished the first and delivered it... and didn't take any pictures! So far, it seems that I'm better at photographing the process of sewing than I was the process of knitting, but much worse at documenting the finished sewing projects!

Decisions, decisions... black, gray, or maroon thread? #handsewing

Anyway, back to the new hat. First I had to decide on thread color!

Testing... prior to the cut (just underway). How do you like me now? #handsewing

And cut. Hm. #handsewing

That was not an easy task, nor was any of it very easy to photograph. The thread choices were gray (not as bright & contrasty as in these photos), black, and maroon. The fabric color is dark gray (first and last photos much more true to life), as is the paint. The paint has a touch of sparkle. I presented on both Instagram and Facebook and, as you might imagine, there were votes for every color, as well as votes for using all three!

I'm going for fashionable, understated, subtle, and stylish!

I have begun... slowly, because that is the only way... and I am using black thread. At this point, I think that if I use the other colors it will be sparingly. I also think that the plain stenciled fabric is really quite lovely and, well... argh! Why do I have to go to work? I want to paint and cut and sew! I don't have enough time! Send in the minions!!

 

25 April 2014

April 25th

Mads

Happy Birthday, Maddy!

* * * * *

We conclude "Birthday Week" (9 days every April) at our house, with a little #tbt.

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Random cuteness.

Three

 One of my all-time faves.

Birthdayparty

Possibly the best birthday party I ever threw, a two-fer for Katie & Ali with a cooking theme (can you tell?). I'm thinking they were 8 and 10 (Maddy would have been only 4). I cut up old tablecloths to make the aprons; they each accordion-folded their own chef hat upon arrival; they made pita pizzas, fruit kebabs, and ice cream cone cakes; we played food-themed games, and I had a blast putting together their food-themed goodie (mesh market) bags. Somewhere there's a photo similar to this but after the food prep, their aprons all smeared with tomato sauce from the pizza making... they look like a band of butchers! Heh. Anyway, it was a fun and very memorable party.

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Rusty and I joined Maddy and Ali last Saturday night as they began their birthday celebration together with some friends. Here's our selfie after a Skype chat & birthday toast with Katie in Edinburgh kicked off our evening... and ended hers (it was very late in EDI)!

XO

24 April 2014

I am...

I am... so happy that I had a day off yesterday that was about as day off-ish as it gets these days. I took care of some things that I had to do early, enjoyed a few hours with Junah* in the morning, had the afternoon to myself, made dinner, and enjoyed a relaxing evening.

*Junah! That boy!! He played his first intercontinental game of peek-a-boo with Aunt Kate during our baby-Skype chat yesterday morning and it was so fun to see his reaction! He is starting to anticipate things... like Katie popping back on screen!

I am... doing some sewing (what else is new?), mainly the summer chemo hat ideas. I'm working with fabric from the awesome Alabama Chanin Scrap Bag that I added to my last order, as well as from my own {growing} stash of jersey. It's a tricky business, these chemo hats!  It's all about softness and making sure that nothing might irritate a bald head, so lightweight & minimal stitching/embellishing. Thank goodness for printed jersey!

Coming along! #handsewing

Most of my fabrics are medium-weight range, as are these. The print is from a favorite summer dress of mine that's been too small for ages, but I couldn't quite let go. And now I know why!

I really want to try to do a piece with applique or some sort of embellishment -- something truly "Alabama Chanin" to me, and that I know my mom would like -- and have a small selection of lightweight (more summery) fabrics to play around with.

I'd certainly rather be working on another top or my dress, but this is interesting enough... challenging. I recall some immersion hat knitting for Sharon, tweaking and trying to come up with something she really liked... you know, as much as anyone could "like" a chemo hat.

I am... counting the days.

Dream drive - North West Scotland from Mo Thomson on Vimeo.

Ahhh. We'll soon be winging our way over yonder... I hope I don't drive y'all nuts in the meantime.

 

22 April 2014

April 22nd

Vi-Ka

Happy Birthday, Katie!

 

21 April 2014

Concert Tee Turned Corset

While in Point for the Taste of Wisco event last month, I scored a few t-shirts at the thrift store, among them a concert tee from the Hootie & The Blowfish Small Talk Johnson Tour 1996. It seemed like a great candidate for an Alabama Chanin Corset.

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 So I cut it up and then sewed it back together!

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The seams are on the inside, all felled; the bound armholes and neck are worked in a large cross stitch; and I left the bottom unhemmed (and untrimmed, so it's a little uneven) (and I like that).

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It was a bit snug on me, but Maddy gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up the last time she was home. So I gave it a wash and then gave it to my girl!

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I think she loves it!

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I also think it might be a little bit big on her, and the neckline could be tightened up in the front, but otherwise... it's a huge WIN!! I loved working this top and I just can't wait to start another project. But before I start anything else, I want to fashion a nice, soft, Alabama Chanin style hat suitable (and comfortable) for someone undergoing chemo.

Also, notice Maddy's newest tattoo? The pansies are a nod to me!  :)

 

17 April 2014

In other news...

Boys-brazil

A lot's been going on behind the curtain! I recently helped my sister buy a new dress and get gussied up for a week of job interviews, even schlepping her around on one of the last days -- and thank goodness because she was pooped! She was offered positions from nearly every district she visited, and settled on a superintendent position not far away.

I'll be picking her up at the airport again on Sunday, as she needs to attend a few meetings later in the week. I also get to help shop for a new house!! I'm so excited about that. It's been AGES (27+ years) since I seriously looked at a house to buy, and even though it's not MY house... heck, BECAUSE it's not my house... it's going to be so fun!

They'll all be here for good in June. The boys can't wait to meet Junah -- photos and videos only go so far -- and, of course, I can't wait to have them back close. They'll remember their time in Brazil forever, and I'm sure it will have some sort of influence on their lives... been there, done that... opportunities and possibilities.

Rio

Opportunities and possibilities... I'll remember my time in Brazil forever, too!! Been there, done that! So lucky.

* * * * *

We'll be in Scotland in a month! I am beginning to think about packing -- camera, clothing, footwear, yadda yadda -- PROJECT(S)? That's the real question. I brought knitting last time and didn't knit a stitch! We did the dying workshop at Old Maiden Aunt, though, so there was definitely time devoted to fiber. This time, we'll be riding the train more and we'll be spending time in a much more remote (and relaxing?) area, so... well, everyone knows that one MUST BE PREPARED! I'm not in a panic yet, but I am beginning to think about it -- craft, difficulty, prep, logistics.

 

16 April 2014

April 16th

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Happy Birthday, Ali!

 

08 April 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Peas & Carrots

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Foods That Belong Together

1.  Cream of Tomato Soup & Saltine Crackers

2.  Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwich

3.  Cream Cheese & Grape Jelly Sandwich

4.  Honey & Butter Sandwich

5.  Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich

6.  Peanut Butter & Raisins on Celery (Ants On A Log)

7.  Cheerios & Bananas

8.  Cottage Cheese & Peaches

9.  Bratwurst & Mustard

10.  Liver & Onions w/Bacon

Once I started on the soup & sandwich track, it was hard to get off... and most of these I haven't had in ages, if not years, and some not since childhood.

This post brought to you by free association.

 

07 April 2014

Eye Candy Monday

Snugbug

Seriously.

In case you've forgotten, it's the Comfy Hooded Jacket by Lion Brand, which I've Ravel'd as the Chunky Hoodie.

12wks

12 Weeks. Can you believe it? His hair is definitely coming in on the red side; not anywhere near the red of his mum and Aunt Kate (there was never any debate), but it sure seems more reddish than brownish!

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In case you missed the update, it did happen! My finished and modeled transformed tee! All of a sudden, I've become so crazily interested in sewing -- more for how and why it all works, and for fit -- that I'm learning about how to make a moulage and a sloper! Two things I'd never even heard before last week.

 

03 April 2014

The 2-week Tee Transformation

From a man's 4X pocket tee to a woman's boatneck swing top.

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I love how my first top turned out, and was a bit more careful with the traced chalk line this time around. I used two tried-and-true tops from my own wardrobe as a pattern template: the same boatneck that I used for the previous project as a guide for the top of this shirt and a favorite swingy A-line for the bottom. I had the fabric and it's a favorite shape, so why not?

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I fell in love with some tone-on-tone polka-dot tops at Alabama Chanin and had those images in mind when I drew a chalk-line grid on the front of my shirt. I used the top of a spice jar to trace 2" circles and cut them out. My first inclination was to cover the front with dots... that's a lotta dots! I decided to space them out more, figuring that I could add easier than subtract.

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I attached the dots with blanket stitch; seamed and felled on the outside; used a vertical stitch to apply the binding to neck, armholes, and hem.

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There are "those moments" in sewing just as in knitting. More black thread wouldn't be hard to get, but I had only the one spool and no more at hand! It was SO CLOSE.

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It's not easy to photograph a black-on-black top! The photos above and below are when sewing is finished and before I threw it in the washer. My chalk-line design guides faded but remained visible throughout the process.

I purchased the 4X t-shirts on Wednesday, March 18th and finished on Wednesday, April 2nd -- the sewing up was complete the day before, but Wednesday is when I pulled it out of the dryer and over my head, ready to wear!

I'd have finished a bit earlier if I hadn't forced myself to put it down after the applique was finished in order to finish knitting a hat. I couldn't pick it up again until the hat was done!

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And after washing. It softened up beautifully.

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I absolutely LOVE IT!

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From that to this.

This is not the last of that!

Edited to add:

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 Finito and a modeled shot! New haircut, too!!

 

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. 

Pillows

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

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Ny3
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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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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.

Down2
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

* * * * *

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!

* * * * *

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!

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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!

 

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