Throwback Thursday #TBT

A friend posted a photo on Instagram last night of her 6th-grade son wearing his new Safety Patrol sash, and suddenly nostalgia! I knew right where to find the photo that came to mind.

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Not only was I in Safety Patrol in 6th grade, I was one of two from my school to join two from every other school in our district at the 27th Wisconsin Safety Patrol Congress in May, 1970! That's me in the middle of the front row. I can't even tell you which is the other student from my school, except that I'm pretty sure it was a boy. The only other person I can identify is Steve La Pierre, middle-row left; I didn't really know him at the time, but had a massive crush on him a couple of years later... slow dancing at Friday night YMCA dances in "The Den," Brut cologne, phone calls...

I barely remember a thing about that trip, except that it rained the whole weekend, but the Duck tour & scenery were pretty awesome.

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Still quite blonde! Growing out bangs! Chipmunk cheeks (highlighted by the length of aforementioned bangs)! Innocence...

#TBT


Premonition

Before leaving for the airport picnic on Saturday, I put some wool in the pot and tried to make some magic. It cooled while we were away, and then I rinsed it and hung it outside. It wasn't going to dry out there -- our days are too short now (boo) -- but it makes me happy to see the hanks hanging out there. I snapped some photos.

When I opened Google Photos the other day, I saw these photos in close proximity.

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Premonition much?? Late summer fields, lakes, sky, clouds... it's all there! Maybe not quite as much green, but hey...

I dyed two hanks of laceweight and two of fingering... all sort of experimental. I have another itch this season -- this KNIT ALL THE THINGS SEASON -- to knit up some laceweight, but I haven't wound anything yet. Actually, I've had that itch for a while now and it's getting harder to ignore. Haha.


Weekending: Fly

I watched the kiddos on Friday night while Ali & Rod went out for a bit. Usually they come to my house, but this time I went over there.

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They play pretty well "together" sometimes! I love listening to Junah chatter when he plays... narrating what's happening. Gin's wearing her new favorite dress!

Maddy's friend Taryn has her pilot's license and keeps her plane at a small privately owned airport in the area, where she won a raffle to host a picnic/party on Saturday. Maddy was invited and I got to tag along! There was go-carting (electric, clean, quiet) -- super fun and something I haven't done in decades; a small bowling alley (I did not bowl); airplane & helicopter rides, along with food & beverages.

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I went up with Jim in this two-seater Cessna 150. My dad had a 170, I think, when I was little; it was slightly larger -- with a back seat roomy enough for three little girls aged 4 & 3. Jim was ready to sign me up for flying lessons! I really do love to fly, but I'm not in the market for another expensive and time-consuming hobby! Haha. Sorry Jim.

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Maddy is ready for take off, complete with aviators!

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I think that was my first time in a helicopter -- the first that I remember, anyway. I sure love the shapes, colors, and textures from up there.

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While Rusty & I caught up on a little TV Saturday night, I scratched the Log Cabin Itch™ that's been plaguing me for a couple of weeks. This is the first basic recipe in the new Mason-Dixon Field Guide No. 4: Log Cabin, though I did my own thing with the colors. I think I'm going to make it just a wee bit bigger. And knit a few more... I have so much cotton!

I putzed a bit on Sunday, cleaning up a bit... and stitching.

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I'm working on a fish and giving it some bling... resembling scales, I hope. I've done a little work with sequins before, but nothing like this... learning new techniques from sites about "sewing for belly dancers"! Of course!!

And I did some laundry.

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I did something -- a few things -- really dumb the other day. First, while switching an empty bottle of olive oil for a full one, I accidentally threw away the cap for the new one -- really away, as in the big bin outside. I didn't realize that I'd thrown away the wrong cap until, second, I tried lifting the new bottle of oil by the cap... that came right off, of course, and the bottle tipped and there was a big spill on the stove. I didn't even realize until a little while later that it had also splashed on me -- a big splash! I was wearing the shirt shown above, a favorite and one of the first Alabama Chanin-style garments that I made (over three years ago!). It splashed on one side, all the way from the second row of circles to the fourth, about 2.5 inches at the widest point. Third, once discovered, I took off the shirt and set it aside... so dumb! The kids were over, the kitchen was full, I was cooking... so distracted... but I just set the shirt neatly aside in the laundry room and then the oil stain on the front of the shirt proceeded to SOAK THROUGH TO THE BACK!! Gah.

Why try to remove one oil stain when you could remove TWO??

Eventually, I got back to it and discovered what had happened... soaked it good with pre-treatment spray. Washed it. Naturally, it was still there.

A few years ago, when we'd gone to Todos Santos, I leaned over the sink there and got what I thought was water on my shirt (an Eileen Fisher shirt), but turns out it was actually oil that Rusty had spilled from a can of tuna! Um, I was not happy. He did everything he could to get that stain out, and eventually called a dry cleaner and pleaded with them to share the secret to oil stain removal. They said, as last resort, brake fluid... actually, almost any other "oily" substance would work!

Anyway, this was such a big spill, I just pulled out the big gun right away... and it ALMOST worked. I'd brilliantly posted the photo on Instagram and it was looking very promising at the time. But once dry, I could still see the stain. Among the suggestions made was Dawn dishwashing liquid of different types. I happened to have some Dawn Platinum Erasing Dish Foam at the kitchen sink, so I soaked front & back really good with that and let it sit for a while. Kate was stopping over (upon her return from Denver) to have dinner and throw in a load of wash... which I knew would be black.  :)

DONE!! It worked... 


Reigning Men (and more) in St. Louis

It was two weeks ago today that we high-tailed it down to St. Louis, so it's about time to wrap up the travelogue!

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It was Sunday morning and we took a last walk down to the Arch.

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Then we checked out of our hotel and made our way to the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM). "Dedicated to Art and Free to All."

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SLAM is located within beautiful Forest Park, along with the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri History Museum, and more.

Kate was interested in taking in the contemporary art collection but we'd also been given tickets to the special exhibition, Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015... and we managed to do both. I'll let the photos do most of the talking... it all sort of blew me away!

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I see Rod Stewart!

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I'm pretty sure my brother had this shirt.

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Amazing Zoot suit!

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Unisex Caftan, 1970, designed by Rudi Gernreich

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The fabrics and colors were amazing!

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These are tiny samples of wool knit bathing suit designs!

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I don't know why, but I've a soft spot for the Pearly Kings & Queens!

The contemporary art was also amazing...

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White Combustion, 1960, Alberto Burri

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...and also more Wayne Thiebaud pie (Cafeteria Counter, 1961)!

And then we turned the car for home. It was another fun, whirlwind trip... and I sure do hope to get back there someday!

I will leave you with this:

And a wish for a fabulous weekend! You're welcome.  :)


3 Things on Thursday: To Do List

1.. Reschedule 9/13 dentist appointment. CHECK

2.. Reschedule 9/27 hair appointment. CHECK

3.. Buy buttons for this:

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It doesn't fit me very well anymore, as predicted, but I still wore it most of yesterday, anyway. It was chilly!!

Maddy admired it, so I had her try it on and, well, it's as though it was made for her! And she loves it -- so hers it shall be. Stay tuned...

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Unraveled Wednesday: Updates

Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

Beatrice-Top

Ali snapped a few photos of Gin wearing her new Beatrice Top yesterday... This girl is rockin' it!!

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What The Fade?! Or, really, What The Heck?! I have no business contemplating another project... I have Arrows to finish, I just started a hat for Gin (by request... the girl needs a hat of her own!), Rusty's excited about the prospect of a Seeds Hat since I showed him the yarn from Knitorious, and there's a new & intriguing AYOT Project (not to mention previous projects... ahem)! I sprung for the pattern, though, and I have all this yarn... plus I occasionally dye some. I am contemplating this line up, with a different arrangement than the other day, and the addition of a speckled-y hank that I dyed the other day in place of the Noro Sock. I think I like it better.

I still read.


Weekending: Labor(s of love) Day

It was pretty great as far as holiday weekends go!

Rusty & I walked down to the farmers market on Saturday morning. On Saturday evening, we went to a friend's art opening in Oshkosh. In between:

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I contemplated a Fade.

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And I contemplated how to "bling" a fish.

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And I washed & blocked some knitting!

Ali & I had talked about taking the kids to Kites Over Lake Michigan, but it was raining by the time she was finished at the market... and also pooped.

Instead, I decided to take the kids to Mulberry Lane Farm on Sunday -- gave her a break to do a few things (including take a nap). I think it was my first solo "outing" with both of them! It was a gorgeous day.

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So much to see & do! I think that calf (above) was sniffing out some spills/crumbs in the stroller! There were chickens & chicks, a sow & piglets, a hog, cows, goats, sheep, geese, bunnies, a great hayride, pony rides (Jun wasn't interested in doing, only in watching), and a nice play area.

Ali came over afterwards and we spent a nice evening together.

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I make Weeknight Roast Chicken (even though it was the weekend) and Salt Potatoes. I had recently posted a photo of potatoes in a pot on Instagram and someone asked if I was making Syracuse Salt Potatoes... I had never eaten or even heard of Syracuse Salt Potatoes, so of course I had to rectify that situation! Oh, so good, and so EASY!

I stayed up late on Saturday night, setting in the sleeves of Gin's Beatrice Top. On a roll, I continued the sewing up on Sunday morning while I had my coffee. I found a button, crocheted a loop, and voila! It's finished, and delivered to Ali this morning.

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I love that rolled neckline, and the gathers are so sweet! I crocheted a chain for the button loop instead of making I-cord. It was really a fun little knit and I'll definitely make another... maybe a solid color. It's my first time using that particular yarn and I love it -- so soft! Also, machine wash and dry.

Bewitched by the magic that is mattress stitch, I found myself wanting to do it some more, so I pulled out...

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Oblique! This sweater is from Knitty, Fall 2007. Yes, 2007. I started in December of that year! The last time it saw the light of day was February 2010 when it was on my list of contenders for the 2010 Knitting Olympics (my event was "finishing"); I'd made progress, but it didn't cross the finish line. And it's been sitting for over 7 years! It's not going to fit me anymore, at least not buttoned up, but it's getting finished and it'll surely fit someone!!


Meet up in St. Louis

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We arrived in St. Louis late Saturday morning, and our first stop was for food!

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We landed at The Urban Chestnut (midtown), so also had to have a beer(s)! It was pretty quiet when we arrived, but then a group of bicyclists rode in and between-time wedding guests (we decided) walked over from a nearby church. The food menu was sparse but excellent, and the beer selection was pretty great too!

Next stop was Bellefontaine Cemetery. I've been wanting to visit that cemetery for a dozen years or more... and I will need to go back. Our purpose this time was to visit the family plot where some of Rusty's & the kids' ancestors & relation are buried. He visited many years ago and brought back photos and rubbings and a drawing of the plot, but I've wanted to visit in person ever since!

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The plot is oval (as many in the cemetery are) and the graves are arranged in within the oval, headstones all facing toward the center. The tall monument is for one Wilson McGunnegle, Rusty's great great uncle.

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These are Wilson's parents -- Rusty's great great grandparents -- Elizabeth Starr & George K. McGunnegle (one of a great many GKMcGs... and I thought my ancestors were stuck in a naming rut!).

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There are numerous familial military ties. Wilson was a Lieutenant in the Navy (beautiful nautical motifs decorate his monument at Bellefontaine); his son, Col. George K. McGunnegle (of course!) was an Infantryman; his sister Clara was wife of Brigadier General John Wynn "Black Jack" Davidson, both originally interred at Bellefontaine and later moved to Arlington National Cemetery.

It's all so interesting!!

The next stop was to pick up artwork -- the impetus for the trip in the first place -- but Kate swung by and dropped me at KNITORIOUS first!

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This place has also been on my list since practically forever! It wasn't long after I began this blog that I came to know Sandy. She opened a yarn shop in St. Louis and I began blogging about knitting from NE Wisconsin, both in 2004, and we both called our ventures KNITORIOUS! We've been in touch on and off ever since -- giggling over things like a Target commercial (below, from 2010, notably at the :23 mark).

She's long known of my desire to visit, and it was such a treat to finally get there!

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The space is truly wonderful -- open, well lit, and so much room! A dedicated classroom area (above), a more informal area with comfy seating beyond the magazine racks (below), not to mention a third table space near the front door, quite full of knitters while I was there!

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Panoramic view of Knitorious!

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A visit with Sandy -- on my list since 2004!

The yarn selection is lovely -- terrific product lines and plenty in stock.

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I bought some Loft, which I've never used before (in truth, it's my first Brooklyn Tweed yarn of any type!), to make a Seeds Hat or two.

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And I can't seem to pass the Unicorn Tails without snatching a few.

But this... KNITORIOUS Yarn!

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Beautiful, rare natural colors of undyed Merino wool from Missouri's own Genopalette. It's all fingering weight, the three above and the marled are 100% merino, the white at bottom left has some silk. It's really terrific and I can't wait to knit with it!

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Big whoop-de-doers that we are, our night life consisted of a walk to the Old Courthouse and Gateway Arch, dinner at nearby Caleco's Bar & Grill, watching Cardinals fans, tuning into the NFL Network from our hotel to catch a little Packers preseason football, and lights-out at 9:30pm... we were both SO TIRED!! So catching some actual nightlife & music is another good reason for returning to St. Louis!

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We managed one more pretty sweet stop on Sunday morning before heading home... I'll share all about that sometime over the weekend or early next week. I have a few "chores" over the weekend, but it's mainly shaping up to be pretty quiet. Sweet!! I hope the same for you!


Dear September,

Seriously? It's you already??

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I am looking forward to getting some of my house back this month! Kate leaves tomorrow with a vehicle full of art (that's been stored at my house), bound for Denver and the second half of Together With! I'm looking forward to having that space back.

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Maddy's also leaving tomorrow for a long weekend camping trip with some friends in the Apostle Islands area. It should be a nice weekend up there!

Both Kate & Maddy need a little "kid time" (and "sister time," too), so we'll have a little bon voyage dinner at our house tonight.

Only two weeks to go before Maddy's BFFs get married!! And we sure are looking forward to that wedding (though surely not as much as Katy & Andres).

I am really excited about taking Junah to a 6-week Wednesday morning tumbling class beginning later this month... so excited that I was ready to go already last week!!

Art openings, Labor Day, book club, knit night, the coffee shop remodel (finally!)... plenty to keep you full & interesting, September!!

Love, Vicki

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Unraveled Wednesday: Beatrice update

Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

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Scamp decided to get in the picture this afternoon! I like how my project bag coordinates with the knitting.

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I haven't decided yet whether this will be the front or the back of the dress/top. I knit to the point where I have to decide, and then started the other piece -- it depends on how the colors/pattern falls. Right now, I'm liking this for the front, but we'll see.

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Yes, leaves! Maddy and I took a little hike at our nearby State Park this morning and noticed a bit of color appearing in the trees there, too.

2017 Book Bingo

The only thing that's changed in my reading is that Home Cooking came in at the library! I've not made great progress yet, but I am really enjoying I Will Send Rain so far.


On the road to St. Louis

Last weekend's spontaneous trip to St. Louis, MO, with Kate helps the checking off of a larger "bucket list" item of mine, and that is to visit as an adult all the cities that I lived in as a child. The list also includes:

  • Milwaukee, WI (check)
  • Escanaba, MI (check)
  • Denver, CO
  • Toledo/Columbus/Cleveland, OH
  • Toronto, ON
  • Chicago/Highland Park, IL (check)

We were fully prepared to depart when I finished work at 5pm on Friday, but I was lucky enough to get off at 1 instead. Kate had an after-5 appointment to deliver some artwork in Madison, giving us time to detour to Milwaukee for a stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

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Seriously, is that not one of the most beautiful structures in the world? Even the lower-level parking is striking. Someday, I'm going to camp out and watch the "wings" open/close.

The main reason for our stop was the exhibition Rashid Johnson: Hail We Now Sing Joy

We were not there at a time when we could hear Antoine's Organ "come alive," but alive it was... relevant.

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We had time to swing through a couple of other areas.

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Refrigerator Pies, 1962, Wayne Thiebaud

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Bluffs, 2009, Tara Donovan, buttons and glue (!!!)

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Modernity Circa 1952, Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely, 2004, Josiah McElheny

From there we drove to Madison, where Kate made her delivery, and we had dinner.

Then we hit the road for St. Louis... we didn't make it that far on Friday night, though, construction & traffic making for angsty driving. We stopped overnight near Oglesby, IL, and set the alarm clock for an early start on Saturday!

To be continued, as usual... we packed a whole lot into just a couple of days!!  :)


Reading update!

Whew! I finished listening to The Shadow of the Wind yesterday afternoon! I really enjoyed the performance by Jonathan Davis. The story(s) was good and I definitely had some favorite characters. It was especially cool because I actually visited Barcelona this summer. I looked on a map for some of the streets mentioned in the book -- some of the story having taken place near the area where we stayed. It sure dragged on here and there did seem long, though. Maybe it's just me! Well, no, it is an 18-hour listen!

2017 Book BingoFor my next audio book, I've chosen I Will Send Rain, which found a place in the "Historical Fiction" square of my hopelessly Bingo-less card. (Obviously, that was never the goal!) It's a much shorter book, at only 8 hours, and maybe I'll even get another one started before the official end of 2017 Book Bingo on Labor Day Weekend.


Unraveled Wednesday: Beatrice

Late yesterday morning...

Kate: Super spontaneous but would you possibly be up for a brief weekend road trip to St. Louis? ... I know you want to check it out!

Vicki: When? This weekend? ... And yes!

That's the way things work around here sometimes! This has been on my wish list for years! It will be super-quick, but I am excited about three things: visiting Gateway Arch, Bellefontaine Cemetery, and Knitorious!!

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Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

I am still working out the Arrow situation, even stopping by my LYS yesterday to see if anything there jumped out and pointed the way. Meh, not really...

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I dumped a bunch of yarn on the bed this morning to sort and play around... it's formulating.

I found plenty of other inspiration at Iris yesterday, and realized that all of a sudden I was in need of travel knitting!

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I settled on Beatrice Top by Erika Flory for Blue Sky Alpacas. I am using Schachenmayr Merino Extrafine Color 120 (in color 502) (confusing) designed by Arne & Carlos! Those are the sleeve swatches that I knit last night. My record for actually knitting while traveling isn't that great, but I never leave home without a project!

I was happy to discover that I'd already cut the binding strips for my Alabama Chanin project, so I'll be pressing those momentarily...

In reading. Well, there's just over an hour before I'm finished listening to The Shadow of the Wind... finally! Hillbilly Elegy is on Kindle, and the going is slow... I guess I'm not finding it as compelling as others have!


When I'm not making arrows...

Well, hey. I'm going to think of that eclipse as a bit of a reset... focus, let some things go... ready, set, go!

Seriously, though, I didn't see much of the eclipse, but it was pretty cool!

I'm a little obsessed with Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows!

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This was Triangle #2 as of last Wednesday.

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I finished that and joined the triangles into an hourglass on Friday night, and then spent a lot of time over the weekend weaving in & trimming ends. Knitting resumed as of last night... I'm not sure I like what I did and may rip & re-do.

People do that sort of thing on occasion! I have done it, too, but every now and then I need a reminder. It's so freeing, and I can't say that I've ever regretted it!

The arrow-making is not portable knitting, so I did some sewing at knit night last week.

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That is a tunic-length Alabama Chanin Factory Dress! I finished sewing all the seams and couldn't wait to try it on. What a fabulous & flattering cut on this dress! I still have to press and then fell the shoulder & side seams, then finish the neck & arm openings, and probably some finishing at the hem, too. It's a single layer of printed knit fabric, quite stretchy -- and, yes, the same fabric design that I used to make a dress for Gin (hers woven, mine knit) (I really love that fabric design) (and I have more of both).

I finally re-did the seat of "my" kitchen chair last week. This is something that's needed to be done for quite while, but ... procrastinate ... also, where did I put that fabric? Well, I recently ran across the fabric, but the biggest motivator was when Gin started picking at the exposed cotton & foam.

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It's not perfect, but it's done. I could use a few more upholstery nails but there were casualties in the process, and I don't have any more of that design! I salvaged as many as I could.

Random thoughts:

  • Floor needs refinishing!
  • I need a pedi!

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I watched the kids for a while on Saturday while Ali had her hair done. We had fun with chalk + water. Kate had arrived home on Friday from a "reset" trip to Toronto/Grand Rapids, and stopped over for some kid time, too! (She started her new job at UWGB today!!)

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I captured this still from a Snapchat video that Ali shared on Sunday morning. Junah was super interested in what Grandpa was doing in the studio... pulled up a chair and had his first little art "lesson." This gives me all the feels, including the nostalgic ones when I remember all the artwork produced at that elbow by the girls over the years.

Potatoes

This isn't the first time I've cooked some of the potatoes that I grew, but it's the first time I photographed them. I think they are all represented here: Dark Red Norland, Oneida Gold, Blue Adirondack (purple), Superior, and French Fingerling. Man, are they ever good. The more I make them, the more I'm looking forward to upping my potato game next year!


Weekending: Quick Get-away

Jun has turned a corner, and is all of a sudden very engaging with and attentive to his little sister.

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He makes sure her legs are straight, (nearly strangle-)holds her on the big slide. "Isn't that fun, Gin?"

Rusty had some errands to run on Saturday and I decided to ride along; we both packed a bag with the idea that we'd stay overnight if we found a place that beckoned.

Naturally, I packed an extra bag full of yarn.

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Yes, I brought all this yarn!

After our scheduled stops in Mishicot & Algoma, we wandered. We found lunch, stumbled across some history...

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It was a gorgeous day, so we found some beautiful vistas, too.

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We decided to stop for a root beer float at Frosty Tip in Dyckesville and talk about where we'd like to end up for the evening. As we turned off the by-pass, I spotted Sunset Shores, which looked pretty good -- and here we are; I gave a call and we nabbed the last available room.

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Provisions (we weren't very prepared).

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We found a place for a light supper, then settled in to enjoy sunset at the beach. We socialized with a fellow guest, and watched the sky for meteors -- alas, I did not see a single one! I've seen quite a few "shooting stars" over the years, though, and no doubt I will see more... it was a gorgeous evening for stargazing.

We were up and out the door early. Only :45 from home, we walked through the back door at 9 a.m. and put on a pot of coffee!

After breakfast, I gave my Forest Mystery shawl a soak while I biked to the store, and pinned it out when I got back. It's HUGE -- much bigger than my blocking mat! So cozy.

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Then I did a little tidying, a little laundry, a little cleaning & tossing out... and, other than cooking supper, I took the rest of the day off!

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Got zucchini? This is Crust-less Summer Zucchini Pie*.

I'd begun knitting Larissa Brown's Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows in the Saturday sunset (above), and spent much of yesterday knitting and figuring out "where this arrow wants to go."

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The shawl begins with a couple of knit triangles. This is Triangle #1 and, after some trial & error/knitting & ripping, I think this is the palette and the direction it's going. The Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails weren't in my original pile o' yarn for this project, but they are perfect in more ways than one -- notice all the "arrowheads" on the labels? This is a fun project for play and for using up a bunch of leftovers and little skeins. I'm already thinking about Triangle #2!

*Last time I made this, I used 4 eggs instead of 2; this time I used 6; next time, I'll try 6 again but eliminate (or greatly cut back) the flour.


Catching up!

I can't believe it's been a week since we spent an evening at the ballpark!

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It's a terrible photo, but I love the goofy expressions! We had a good time... and funnel cake.

The weekend was all about family! I spent most of Saturday with Gin -- one of the happiest people on the planet!

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I did manage a little time in the garden on both Saturday & Sunday mornings -- my long-neglected weed-infested overgrown garden! It looks a lot better now.

And I began to harvest potatoes!

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Maddy already roasted a few of the reds the other day, so I had a taste (yum), the rest are curing. I will definitely grow potatoes again, but will likely try a different method/location.

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My brother came on Sunday to help celebrate Addie's 10th (!!!!!!!!!!) birthday and assist in the send-off as Ann & family make their way back to Spain.

The kids threw/burst/plopped at least 300 water balloons, and then it poured rain, so we're all a bit damp.

We tried wrangling the kids again...


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And did the best we could -- with some acceptably cute photos!!

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My re-working of the shawl worked great and, in fact, the last stitch was cast off (bound off?) last night! I'll weave in ends today and soak & block it on the weekend, then it's off to NZ -- I think it's still cool enough there that it might yet be of use this year!

The garage door opener died the day before Rusty returned... it's been sluggish & weird, but then began making a horrific noise.

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So, Welcome Home Rusty!!  ;) And thanks for so quickly installing a new and so much quieter opener!

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I took a few moments on Tuesday morning to fell a couple of seams on my Factory Dress/Tunic. Sewing & felling side seams is next, and then binding neck & armholes.

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I haven't tried yet, but my new "computer glasses" might also be great "sewing glasses." I had a follow-up appointment at the eye doc last week for some of those fancy eye photos, and all is well... but while there, I asked about options for work/computer. Everything in my work space is at a good height & distance, but I was constantly tilting my head back to get the computer screen in focus -- literally, a pain in the neck. I was ready to go for TRI-focals, if that would help (I remember my grandmother having those when she worked at the bank). Alas, the Rx ratios were adjusted (I can't wear these for distance/driving), and I was able to find some clearance frames (that I love) and take advantage of back-to-school savings of 50% off lenses. I wore them all day yesterday and it's so worth it. I LOVE THEM!!


Sing along!

I'm still reading the same books and knitting the same shawl. Next week I may have something new to share on those fronts! Today, let's talk about something else.

I subscribe to Spotify and frequently listen to music, but almost always to other people's playlists or to particular artists/songs/albums. Kate is always making playlists and I am thankful to her for bringing new artists to my attention and helping stretch my musical wings!

Anyway, the other day I was reading more about the upcoming workshop at Alabama Chanin -- particularly learning more about the included Swampette Tour -- and it finally sunk in. I mean, I've been aware of Muscle Shoals and its musical importance for a very long time and I know that Muscle Shoals is right there, but... Wow! We are really gonna be in it!!

I was inspired to create a playlist!

I'm still curating and organizing, but am so loving it; appropriately leading off with "A Feather's Not A Bird" by Rosanne Cash, which also supplied the playlist's perfect title: I'm Goin' Down to Florence.

Also, I will soon be re-watching the documentary Muscle Shoals!


Calling all sewists

...especially if you're interested in making/designing clothes to suit YOUR body.

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My Body Model is an amazing Kickstarter campaign with about 2 weeks to reach their goal.

LET'S DO THIS!

 


Dear August,

Wow. You got here fast!! Seems like only yesterday that it was the end of May and I was bidding fare-the-well to Rusty, making Big Plans for all the things I was going to accomplish while he was gone "all summer." Ya. He returns tomorrow and I didn't do a single Big Thing that I'd planned:

  • Clean/Toss the Living Areas
  • Clean/Toss Yarn/Fabric/Workroom
  • Clean/Toss Garage
  • Clean Bathroom (Top-to-Bottom)
  • Clean Bedroom (Top-to-Bottom)

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I did manage some Other Big Things:

  • Trip to Ireland/Spain
  • Long Weekend @ The Flowage
  • Auntie Camp
  • Family Time - cookouts, weddings, hangin'

And lots of Little Things:

  • Kitchen faucet repair
  • Toilet seat replacement
  • Hard water deposits removed from toilet bowl
  • Upstairs apartment drains unclogged
  • Clogged gutter/downspout cleaned out

Um, I never dreamed it would be the summer of plumbing/water-related stuff! You might guess that none of those things was exactly "elective"! The gutter has needed attention all summer, but I only ever thought of it when it was raining or I wasn't at home. And, boy, have we had rain... it's put the proverbial damper on many things. Anyway, I was upstairs yesterday to deal with clogged drains, and ventured out to do the deed. That's a panaroma from our garage to the neighbors' -- a view I don't often see!

There's nothing exciting on the calendar this month other than a 3.5-day weekend coming up, and a couple of dates with the kids/grands. I'm still hoping to get a few of those Big Things crossed off the list yet this summer/fall... now with Rusty's help!

Meanwhile, I'm feeling a little of that burst-your-buttons-Mom-pride & satisfaction thing:

  • Kate has just accepted an interim position as gallery curator at UW-Green Bay, with a little teaching too! She has about a week at the bookstore, then a short road trip, and the new job begins on 8/21!
  • Things are finally coming together for Ali & the long-dreamed-of/-planned coffee shop remodel! Fingers crossed that it's relatively quick & painless from here on out.
  • Maddy is figuring things out... doing lots of odd jobs at the moment, from painting & gardening to IT-related stuff; planning a weeks-long hike this autumn; a move to the Milwaukee area after that; and likely return to New Zealand next winter for both work & pleasure!

Life may not always go as planned, August, but I'm pretty good at rolling with the changes and it is definitely good!

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here.
To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Unraveled Wednesday

Literally, on Tuesday afternoon. Let's go to the video:

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Yes, it's still light outside, I'm wearing my PJs, and that is an adult beverage -- large, cold, sweet & tart! (Gin + Campari + Vermouth + Orange Bitters + Lemonade + Juice of a Lime + Club Soda) (1.5 oz, 1 oz, .5 oz, 5-10 drops, 1 oz, a lime, filled to the top) (more or less)

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I kept convincing myself that it was okay, but clearly it's not. I bought four balls of this yarn; 1 & 2 went together seamlessly, the 3rd not so much. The 4th is more like 1 & 2, so I've ripped back the re-wound the offender. I am underway with blending balls 2 & 4 for a several rows and then I've basically a repeat and a half to re-do and an edging. I'll blend 3 & 4 and it all ought to smooth out. It's enjoyable knitting, so I don't mind... once the ripping was done.

2017 Book Bingo

There's been no change to the Bingo card, and only a little bit of progress. It's just not happening... and that's okay. Mostly, I enjoy the opportunity to think about books and stretch my reading chops!

Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday!


Weekending

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That's supposed to be a gif -- is it moving?

Kids, corn, corny kids...

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Remember Prisma??

A little shopping, some good food & drink & tunes, water & sand, hanging out...

I even got a few things done at home!

Does it get any better?


Right Now

Anticipating... Rusty's return! He's been in California for most of the summer -- art stuff, a residency, visiting family & friends, projects. I'm looking forward to having him back in residence here!

Celebrating... A nice stretch of warm & mostly dry weather ahead! It has been an awfully rainy (and humid) summer so far, so this is quite welcome.

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Charmed by... this photo that Ann sent me last week with the caption: Casting off! Wedding dishcloth!!

Enjoying... The county fair! It opened on Tuesday, and Maddy & I went last night. I haven't been to that particular fair in many, many years... possibly since I was in junior high! I worked for my aunt during the summer between 7th & 8th grades. She was blowing glass back then and, in addition to sales, I painted/decorated the pieces that needed that sort of thing! We did the circuit all over WI & MN that summer... so much fun!

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Anyway, we didn't go on a single ride, but we did tour every barn! The judge in the photo above -- middle right, wearing jeans & plaid shirt, talking to young man with a sheep -- was talking with that young man the entire time that we watched. He was so patient and you could tell that he was genuinely interested in sheep, but even more in demonstrating & explaining to every person there how to show their sheep in the best possible way.

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I know the knitter of those 1st Place socks! I loved the whimsy of the little embroidery sampler pillow.

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Some of it was pretty impressive! (FYI: You Can Do It Afghan is a free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns.)

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I'm thinking that it might not be my last county fair of the year... there are three more within a :20-30 minute drive happening in the next month or so!

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Knitting... Forest Mystery continues to grow!!

Looking forward to... A relatively uneventful weekend and a chance to get things cleaned up at home! Auntie Camp stuff sits atop a big pile o' other stuff that needs to be put away.

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Planning... A trip!

Reading... The same stuff I've been reading.

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Remembering... Hang time with the dude at Wednesday night's concert in the park. We spent a good part of that afternoon together, too.

Sewing... My craft/free time has been devoted to knitting the shawl, but there are some sewing projects on my mind and underway (in the pile)!

Watching... Game of Thrones... I've been knitting to it... currently on Season 5.

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?


Answer: Earrings

Kim asked the question:

What is the jewelry that you feel naked without?

For me, it's earrings! And funny enough, I'm not wearing any today. I decided at the last minute this morning to take photos and then forgot to grab a pair!

Anyway, I was so happy to find this little jewelry pegboard at Target a couple of weeks ago when I was there with the boys to pick up a few extra shirts. The way I've stored most of my earrings for the past few years is jumbled in a pile on my nightstand. Every once in a while, Junah likes to play in there -- our bed is high, so it's fun to get on and off -- and I knew that one of these days those trinkets were going to catch his attention, so I've been looking for some sort of storage/display solution. This may also attract attention, but seems more manageable.

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Bingo!

It's not on the wall yet, and I'm not sure that I'll hang it. I might get a big easel and prop it on my dresser (when I get it cleaned off). (There's a disaster just about any place you look at my house right now, it's just a matter of degrees.)

I'm pretty sure I could arrange these better, and there are a few more to add, plus I'd like another hook or two, but I * LOVE * seeing them all so orderly!

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My new pair of earrings from Spain -- from La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (where the newlyweds landed today to begin their honeymoon!).

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My other new pair of earrings from Spain, which I've been wearing A LOT! They go so well with anything indigo, as well as black, and the wire design is different and fun.

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The top two in this photo are from Rio de Janeiro, purchased at the Ipanema Hippie Fair! I don't wear them because the metal is questionable and I am very sensitive -- gold or sterling, please! The dice were for Sharon on our Las Vegas trip, and the big celtic nouveau pair next to them were hers.

Souvenir earrings & souvenir yarn are interchangeable in my book!

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There's the "game day" section! What?!! You don't have game-day earrings??

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And these. All made by the same artist, whose name I do not recall, purchased over a period of several years at a gallery in Door County. I stopped into that gallery last year and didn't see anything similar. The calla lily pair on the right were a part of my regular attire for a very long time, and I had a ring (by the same artist) to match. The other two pair are quite a bit heavier, so never worn quite as often.

What about you? What is the jewelry that you feel naked without?
(Share your answer at Kim's, too!)


Love + Dancing = Weekend Wedding

My nephew Sam, Brian's eldest, married the love of his life on Saturday. He fell in love with Anna within seconds of meeting, and just "knew." He began saving for the engagement ring after their second date!

The wedding was held in the rooftop garden at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and it was lovely. Anna is gorgeous, and made a stunning bride.

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The photographer was just on the other side of that greenery while I creeped to get this lovely image of Sam & Anna dancing.

Oh my goodness, the DANCING!!

Much to their amusement, I told the boys during Auntie Camp about Sam's late-night surprise performance at my brother's wedding, 16 years ago, shocking everyone -- no one more than his father -- by dancing a joyful solo to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Sam had been as relentless in requesting the song as the DJ had been in resisting, but it was finally spun at the end of the night and I am not kidding when I say that jaws hit the floor.

The DJs on Saturday were also resistant, but Mack was collecting names and, well... Kate & I were 29 & 30 on the petition, I believe. Haha! Resistance is futile. Finally, they played the record and people crowded the dance floor -- including Sam and his brothers for a reprise.

And inspiration... the youngest of them were shy at first.

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Addie & Ann. It all starts with one move (oh, the orange socks)!!

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Addie & Dylan. A few hours later!!

There was no stopping them. Solos, trios, quartets, crowds; with their mother, aunt, brothers, cousins; they danced all night and it was delightful.

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I arrived home early Sunday afternoon and took a nap! After that, I relaxed. Perfect Sunday afternoon activities, if you ask me.

And then I made dinner. Roasted Tomatoes & Cipollini Onions with White Beans from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I nabbed last week from Ann's pile that was destined for Half-Price Books.

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It was delicious, pretty easy to put together, and so good. "I can't stop thinking about it" good!!

I hope you had a good weekend!


Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

My reading is slow, as usual, and all over the Bingo board...

2017 Book Bingo

I'm currently listening to The Shadow of the Wind, and enjoying it quite a bit; Hillbilly Elegy is on my Kindle; and for pages, I've just put a library hold on Home Cooking: A Writer In The Kitchen.

On Friday, when the boys were kayaking with Maddy in Stevens Point, I stopped by my LYS to get yarn for a special project.

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I finally cast on Sunday night and this is an up-to-the-minute progress shot; I have placed my markers and am about to commence 5 repeats of Chart C. The project is Forest Mystery by "Amanita" Agata Mackiewicz. I am using Malabrigo "Dos Tierras" in a colorway called Lettuce. It is gorgeous, and it's going to be a gift for Kiwi Mom. It may be spring in New Zealand by the time she gets it, but oh well. My mother always said that the best time to do something is when you have the time to do it... so that's my story.


Auntie Camp v.3

3rd Annual Auntie Camp commenced early Wednesday morning when Mack & Addie arrived at my back door!

It was a dreary and rainy start, so we decided to go to a movie -- something that was on our unofficial List of Possibilities, anyway. I don't think I've ever been to a 10:30 a.m. showing before!

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We saw Despicable Me 3, and I didn't even fall asleep (as I am wont to do; close, but no Zs).

Later, after lunch and some errands, we tried our hand dyeing some silk scarves using The 5-Minute Silk Scarf method from Dharma Trading Co. I'd run across this tutorial when I was shopping for tie-dye supplies, and already had everything needed for the project except the silk scarves, so added a few to my order.

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It was so easy, and really fun. Because we were using dry/powdered acid dye for this project, we needed to wear face masks -- so it felt a little science-y, too! The boys LOVED how their projects turned out.

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Jun & Gin came over for a while! Jun was wearing one of the old boys' old Brasil soccer shirts, and Gin sported my first attempt at a romper from a t-shirt! I made that two years ago (OMG, wee Jun!), using a shirt with Addie's art (still one of my favorites)!

On Thursday, we got together with Ali & the kids and headed up to Bay Beach Amusement Park -- the best little park around!

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The first thing on the list was a train ride! Junah was in HEAVEN... and didn't want to get off when it was over. Poor guy. He loves trains so much!!

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While the little kids played on the playground, Mack & Addie & I took a ride on "Elvis' favorite" rollercoaster, the Zippin Pippin!

It's been quite a while since I rode a rollercoaster. Yikes! It sure is a nice view from up there, though. We also went on the Scrambler, one of my favorites from childhood (along with the Tilt-a-Whirl and Spider/Octopus). Mack & Ali & Junah went down the Giant Slide, and everyone but me took a ride on the Merry-Go-Round.

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There were burgers & cheese fries, slushies & ice cream... everything you could want from a visit to an amusement park!!

On Friday, Maddy took the boys to Stevens Point for some kayaking.

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I ran a few errands while they were gone, including delivery of the Mini-Me Hat & Beard and a stop at my LYS, Iris Fine Yarns, to get yarn for a new project. I also did a few things around the house, such as replacing the toilet seat!

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We went to the opening of Settling the Ghost, an art exhibition curated by Kate (Young Space) at Standard Projects. There was great attendance, and I think the boys enjoyed it... though their favorite "exhibit" was on the snack table!

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Rounding off a pretty busy day, Maddy built a fire when we got home, and we made s'mores!

Saturday was Tie-Dye Day! We'd been prepping shirts here & there over the previous couple of days, so we were ready to DO IT!

I guess I didn't take any photos of the process.

They tried swirls and sunbursts, and it was all about the application of the color. I'd purchased a Tie-Dye Kit from Dharma, along with a couple of extra colors and some of their ready-to-dye shirts (and a couple of onesies), plus some other shirts (both white & colors) that I had.

After applying the dye, the shirts were wrapped in plastic wrap to sit/set.

Anticipation!!

They'd held a few projects back to dye with indigo -- because it just isn't Auntie Camp unless someone turns blue! Haha. I was a bit more stern about that this time, though, because their big brother is getting married on Saturday. The dye comes off of skin fairly easily, but takes quite a bit longer if fingernails are involved.

The "magic" of indigo is more immediate than the tie-dye, and so fun!

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I made the t-shirt for Junah, Mack dyed the tank for me. I love it, and wore it yesterday! There are more photos on Instagram.

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Ali picked us up and we went to the pool to cool off. We ordered pizza for supper, and then Maddy walked with the boys to get some ice cream. 

On Sunday morning, we were excited about the big reveal of the tie-dye projects!

There's a whole lotta water involved in that process. Wow. I unwrapped, rinsed with the hose on the driveway; the boys removed rubber bands, I rinsed with the hose again; rinsed again with warm water in the kitchen; did a rinse & spin cycle in the washer; hot/cold wash in the washer; and again. I put color catchers in with all of the machine cycles... and they caught a lot of color!

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From left to right: Swirl shirt for Junah (I don't remember who applied the color); Addy's orange shirt with a shibori technique (kind of a dud); Mack's pleated shirt; Addy's swirl shirt for his mom; Mack's swirl shirt for his mom; Mack's swirl shirt for his dad; and Addy's tri-section shirt for his dad. The color in Mack's pleated shirt is a lot less vibrant and I finally figured out that we'd forgotten to soak it in the soda ash solution prior to dyeing!

The only major things left on our List of Possibilities was making bookmarks (collage/lamination) and knitting, and the boys chose knitting!

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The boys are very different in their styles/technique -- learning/doing -- and Addie needs lots of breaks (bathroom, snack, drink, fiddling -- that gadget he has isn't even charged). And we moved a bit, from the pergola to the porch and, eventually, to the couch.

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Ann & Brian were originally due on Sunday afternoon, but were delayed by weather so the boys stayed overnight on Sunday, too. They both worked on their knitting for a while before we turned on a movie (Sky High -- kinda cute), and it was so fun listening to them talk about how knitting is "magical" and "calming." Mack's talking about making a blanket, and Brian said that Mack made sure he had his knitting when they left my house yesterday -- he forgot his hat & sunglasses, but he had his knitting!!

That's a wrap for Auntie Camp v.3! Already gathering ideas for v.4.  ;)

I am feeling much better, thank you! I was told yesterday that I sounded like Stevie Nicks... "sing something!" Haha. A bit less so today, and far less sniffly, too.


FO: Mini-Me for K & G

My friend Ellen welcomed her 3rd grandchild in the past couple of months -- a boy! We've known the family a long time, as Ali and Ellen's daughter Abbey have been BFFs since high school. I've taken many photos of the family over the years, including Abbey & Kevin's (surprise!) engagement, her brother & sister-in-law Alex & Carrie's wedding photos, and some newborn/child/family photos.

A few weeks ago, Ellen asked if I'd be able to replicate a "favorite" hat of Kevin's for the baby. Kevin had a birthday coming up and she thought it would be a fun gift... "beard optional," she said.

Hahahaha... Typing "BEARD" into the Ravelry pattern search field returns more than 350 patterns!

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I used Two by One, a pattern by Mandy Powers, as a guide for the hat. Details on Ravelry.

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And Baby Beard by Poststitch for the beard. Details on Ravelry.

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I'm being a little lazy today. We had a STELLAR Auntie Camp, but I am pooped, back at work, and was waylaid near the end by allergies or a cold. Allergy meds seem to help, so I'm going with that.


Weekending

I love lavender!

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Maddy's been doing a little yard work, and she left me this lovely bouquet after trimming back the lavender. And a note... I love notes!

I watched Jun for a little while on Saturday afternoon while his mum & Gin ran errands.

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We checked out and covered the potatoes (he calls them "tomatoes") and hung out in the back yard for a while, put together three puzzles, played ball (with two balls!), took the bears for a buggy ride down the sidewalk, and chatted with the neighbor.

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Then Ali & Gin hung out for a while, too!

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A little faucet repair was the first order of business on Sunday morning. I'd discovered a leak/drip late Saturday night and called Rusty; we decided to just shut it off under the sink (also emptying that cabinet because, of course, it was all wet, too). I took it apart and put it back together four times in the morning and it was just getting worse! I finally snapped these photos and sent them to Rusty. See that little "ring" in the first photo? That's actually two pieces that came off as one -- an inside brass piece that gets tightened with a wrench (and stops leaks!), and a decorative piece that's hand-tightened before the handle is screwed back down. Once that was determined, it was a pretty quick fix! Thank goodness for camera phones.

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I finished the stealth project I was working on! This is the inside... it's a stranded project, as you can see. That's not usually my thing, but this was fun to figure out, and I love how it turned out!! Details soon!

Meanwhile, I contemplated starting the TTL Mystery Shawl (yes, I've been peeking at Spoiler pics -- and love it), but nothing in my stash is turning me on. I decided that what I should really do is pick up my Brambling Shawl and get back on track! I've located my pattern, now I just need to figure out where I am.

Haha. Where am I???


Spain: What I Packed/What I Wore

Especially with timing & the connections we wanted to make early in the trip -- Dublin, Madrid, Barcelona -- the goal was to pack for a week abroad in ONE CARRY-ON SUITCASE + ONE PERSONAL ITEM (allowances of the airline). A new personal best!!

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I used a hard-sided suitcase that fit the measurement requirements (21.5 x 15.5 x 9.5 inches) and a large imitation leather tote. The tote had both hand/shoulder straps and a cross-body strap -- I need options with a bag like that! It had one large zip pocket on one side, which was perfect for my wallet, and two smaller zip pockets on the other side, one of which worked well for my glasses case, and the other... keys & things that I needed to have with me but wouldn't be using while away.

Knowing that I wouldn't be able to carry that large tote everywhere/everyday, I packed my new Baggallini Medium Avenue Tote inside the suitcase. It folded nice & flat and took up practically no space at all. The only downside to this (and mostly because of our nuts-o itinerary) was that I kept having to switching stuff between bags, which wasn't difficult, just a lot of back & forth sometimes.

I had also ordered a Baggallini Everywhere Bagg, but ended up returning it; even though I really loved the idea of the zipper that allows the bag to be slipped over the handle of a suitcase, I did not love the bag itself. I do, however, LOVE the Medium Avenue Tote and have since ordered the larger version (which has that luggage zipper thing) and think the two will make a great travel combo in the future. I've actually been using the Medium Avenue Tote as my regular purse since we returned.

Inside the carry-on tote:

  • A couple of small knitting projects (never used)
  • A tablet & headset (never used)
  • Cell phone, earbuds, charger
  • Wallet
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel dossier
  • Liquids
  • Ibuprofen, kleenex, hairbands
  • Shawl

Travel duds:

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I knew comfort & layers would be important. The shirt is one of my favorites, a lightweight, long (& longer in the back) knit top that I've had for a year or so. Scratchy tags drive me nuts, so I have no idea who made it. The pants are a heavy-weight knit from J. Jill that I've also had for a while; they are longer than they look -- about ankle length -- they hold up well and keep their shape. The long sweater is also from J. Jill, purchased earlier this year when we went to Florida; it is a lightweight knit with pockets and a hood. I don't usually like hoods, but this is so lightweight that it's barely there -- and, it came in handy to pull that extra fabric up around my neck (airplanes can be cold!) (I used the shawl, too!).

Pants/Skirts:

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The other "bottoms" in my suitcase were a pair of J. Jill medium-weight knit capris, a pair of Eileen Fisher knit capris, and an Eileen Fisher skirt. I have quite a few pairs of the J. Jill capris and consider them my go-to at home/work in the summertime. They were a little heavy for the weather we experienced, as they don't really breathe very well. The Eileen Fisher pieces were definitely purchased on sale, and have been in my closet for at least a year or two. I never actually wore those EF capris out of the house before, but I loved them on this trip and wore them most; they were the lightest weight of all (though not "lightweight") -- and it was HOT in Spain!! The EF skirt is made of the same material as the capris, and has a little shape to it at the bottom; I wore it once, with my new Alabama Chanin tunic.

What is definitely on my wish list for my next warm-weather trip are some lightweight "hiking" pants/capris!

A note here about PACKING CUBES!

Maddy raved about packing cubes last summer, as she was perfecting her "packing for 9 months in a backpack" technique, and I immediately ordered an Amazon Basics 4-Piece Set for myself. I've used them a few times now and pack socks & unders in the small one; layer & roll up 2-3 items at a time -- tops/sweaters & pants/skirts/dresses -- in the medium sizes; and have not actually used the largest one yet (it is pretty big). Rolling instead of folding allows SO much more to be packed and, I think, reduces wrinkles by quite a lot. The packing cubes keep like items together and a bit more organized. I even used them for our quick weekend at the Flowage; stuff doesn't end up in a jumble!

Dress up:

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I brought one dress. This was a fairly recent purchase from J. Jill, and it added some color to my otherwise (you may have noticed) very black wardrobe! I wore this dress once, on Saturday/Beach Day with (at times) the long hooded sweater; I love this dress. I brought a couple pairs of "slip shorts" along, my favorite being this pair by Maidenform (not really "shapewear" at all), as I find it makes wearing a dress/skirt much more comfortable -- especially in the heat.

Tops I wore:

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Top to bottom:

  • Eileen Fisher Knit Boatneck
  • J. Jill Tencil Top
  • J. Jill Short Sleeve (worn with a black knit cami, not shown)
  • Target/Merona Knit V-Neck (still black/neutral, but pattern!)
  • Alabama Chanin A-line Magdalena Tunic
  • J. Jill Cotton 3/4-sleeve Mesh-knit Sweater

Except for the sweater, which I wore a few times, and the AC tunic, which I wore twice, I think I wore each of these once. I'm glad I brought a mix of sleeveless & short sleeves and different necklines, as there was a lot of time in the sun and it was nice to be able to cover up a bit.

Tops I brought but didn't wear:

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Top to bottom:

  • J. Jill Linen Tunic
  • Alabama Chanin-esque Polka-dot Boatneck
  • Old Navy V-Neck

I really wanted to wear that tunic, and even put it on one morning, but I already had a sunburn and it was too rough against my skin! I love the other two tops, but realize that I prefer to wear them with more structured (woven) pants or jeans, which I did not have. I'd also packed a white knit cami... but why? White with all this black? Needless to say, I never wore that either.

Shoes:

I wore my tennies while traveling, as they were the bulkiest; I also brought along two three pairs of sandals. Footwear is tough, especially since I have a tendency to swell when flying. We walked so much, and I definitely wore the tennies most; I wasn't able to wear one pair of sandals due to swelling, was happy to have the other two to switch between.

Miscellaneous:

I stripped my toiletries case to the bare minimum for travel, and so it remains! It "helped" to have a separate bag for the liquids & pastes, and the rest of it fit into a regular size makeup bag.

In addition to everything else, don't forget that I had a box of graham crackers and a box of cheez-its in my suitcase! That actually left a nice space, when we returned, to pack the few items I bought.

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I have a few of these Brazilian Canga towels -- they are very lightweight and fold/wad up nicely. I brought this one along and it came in very handy at the beach, both for sitting upon and as a sun block.

Ann & Brian had a washer at their apartment and the girls & I did a collective load of laundry there. That wasn't absolutely necessary, but it was nice. As mentioned, it was HOT, and it was nice to freshen things up a bit!

I briefly considered bringing my big camera, but ended up leaving it at home... and I'm so glad I did. While there were some pretty amazing photo ops, it's just too big and heavy to lug around on a trip like this. Thankfully, my phone does a decent job (Samsung Galaxy S7).

That's it, I think! I hope that helps those of you who are interested and have baggage-limited trips of your own coming up! I'm happy to elaborate or clarify or answer any questions you might have.

Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.
--Frank Borman


Dear July,

Are we really at the mid-way point of the year?? It's hard to believe... though June went Whoosh!! 

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We ended June and began July with a pre-4th of July trip up to the Flowage and a few days at my uncle's cabin. The forecast wasn't spectacular, but it was good enough (better than expected), so there was plenty of walking, bicycling, canoeing, Skip-Bo and Bananagramming, building with Legos, and just hanging out on the dock. We returned on Sunday, and enjoyed Monday off of work in addition to the holiday. Not a bad deal.

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Jun's first set of "little" LEGOs -- appropriately themed!

Other than Auntie Camp (commencing on Wednesday!) and a wedding in Madison later this month, it's a "normal" month... for a change. There's actually nothing huge on the calendar for the rest of the summer... another wedding coming up in September, a possible few days in Door County in October, and then some fun stuff around my birthday in November.

But here & now... what's happening RIGHT NOW??

Anticipating... A fun few days with Mack & Addy and our 3rd Annual Auntie Camp. This year, we plan to do some tie-dyeing with fiber reactive dyes in addition to indigo (because it ain't Auntie Camp until someone turns blue). The boys also want to do a little knitting, and make some bookmarks. I'm going to try to involve Junah in some of the dyeing -- even if he just wants to watch! New this year is a likely paddle/camp excursion with Cousin Maddy (pray that the weather cooperates).

Eating... Zoodles! I love them so much that I bought a Spiralizer, which will pay for itself in no time given the cost of spiralized zucchini at the store (and not as expensive as I remember)! I love how quickly they can be made, and how delicious! My favorite right now is a stripped-down WW recipe: Sautee the zoodles for a few minutes, add some fire-roasted diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a little smoked garlic, stir some more, serve with a dollop of whipped cream cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan and fresh basil. So good!

Also, I finally made my first batch of Greek yogurt in the Instant Pot! I'll be making more of that (Gin loves it), but probably in smaller batches; I didn't need to use a whole gallon of milk! In addition to perfect-every-time hard-boiled eggs in the IP, I've been working out the timing for a steamed artichoke!

Happy... to have Maddy home! She's been in & out a lot -- visiting, catching up -- but she's HOME! (For a while...)

Knitting... Currently, a stealth project with a deadline. Two colors, stripes, I can't say much more than that... I'll share when I am able!

Looking forward to... Getting some things done at home!

2017 Book Bingo

Reading... The Shadow of the Wind (audio) and And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer (pages); soon: Hillbilly Elegy. I don't know whether I'll get a BINGO this year. You'd think with all the planes, trains & automobiles that I've been in lately that I'd have made some progress... but no. I've realized that I make more progress on knitting & reading while traveling... ALONE!!

Sewing... An Alabama Chanin Factory Dress -- single layer, using a printed fabric. Fingers crossed!

Watching... American Gods. I finished it, actually, but have the urge to watch it again. It was... verrrry interesting. I never read the book, nor (shall I admit it?) any of Neil Gaiman's books. I didn't think I was "into that," but maybe I am? Things change! Also, Maddy and I just started The Handmaid's Tale!

Wondering... What's up with you?

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Spain: El fin (Days 7, 8... and 9)

We bid fare-thee-wells on Tuesday morning, sending Ann & family off to work/school. No one was too sad, though, because they'd all be state-side within a month or so! (In fact, I am gearing up for 3rd Annual Auntie Camp set to begin July 12th!)

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See ya later!!

On our way to the train station, we stopped by Dulce de Leche at Brian's suggestion.

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I had severe camnesia, and regret that I didn't take any photos inside... the bakery case was incredible!! Take a gander at Instagram for an idea. So good.

Then it was on to Madrid to begin our journey home.

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From the taxi, on the way to our Airbnb, we noticed that Catedral de la Almudena was practically around the corner! I hadn't even noticed that it was right next to the Royal Palace of Madrid.

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The cathedral was, of course, AMAZING!

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Party on the ceiling!! It was incredible, and one of my favorites.

It was SUPER HOT and very sunny, so we didn't go too far in search of food & drink.

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We found a shady spot under an umbrella at el camarote and enjoyed a nice cold cerveza and some delicious tapas. Our server seemed to take a liking to us and treated us very well!!

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Maddy hung out at the apartment, while I accompanied Kate to visit an artist-run gallery space that she'd previously connected with through Young Space. It was really fun to find ourselves in Madrid with enough time to stop in!

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Then it was back to our Airbnb to chill for a bit and then go to bed early. We are willing to admit that the "open book headboard" totally won us over when we booked this place... though it was a bit less "ruffled" in the photos on the listing!

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The next morning (Wednesday), departure from Madrid. We had a short layover in Dublin, and then were on our way to Chicago... scheduled to land at about 6:45 p.m.

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...well, that was the plan. Everything was wonderful -- we were even on course to arrive about :45 early -- but it all fell apart mostly due to weather/weather-related backups at O'Hare. We were detoured to Detroit "to refuel," but then ended up sitting on the plane for 3 hours while waiting for Dublin to make the decision about whether we would continue. Eventually, and by then, they decided that some of the crew were too close to the limit on hours (to make the one-hour +/- flight from Detroit>Chicago) and we all got off the plane. Flight cancelled.

It might not have been so bad if we'd been on another airline, but I believe this may have been the first landing of Aer Lingus at Detroit. There was much, much confusion & delay... and long-story-short, there were no hotel rooms, no other flights available until Thursday evening, the promised "buses to Chicago" never arrived (at least while we were there, and with more than one false alarm), and the little coffee shop/deli had been all but cleaned out.

We ended up booking a train in the wee hours of the morning, taking a Lyft ride to get to that station, arriving before it even opened, and having breakfast at Tim Horton next door. The coffee was good.

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We snoozed a little on the train (those seats are not very comfy), after little to no sleep overnight at the airport (those seats were even worse). We took the Metro to O'Hare to get the car, found some food, and then drove 3.5 hours home, switching off pretty frequently because OHMYGODSOTIRED.

About 24 hours after we were originally supposed to land in Chicago, we finally made it home. I was in bed by 8 and slept like a log. I'd originally taken Thursday off to run around and take care of some details with Maddy (and do laundry and recover), but instead begged off Friday morning to at least accomplish the most important of those things. Thankful for an understanding workplace and no complications!

I totally jinxed it, by the way, commenting way too early on how smoothly everything went during our trip! When you think about it, though, we had some pretty crazy connections and had purchased all of our train tickets in advance, along with our tickets to The Book of Kells and La Sagrada Familia -- any little delay along the way could have thrown a wrench into our plans. It all worked out.

I wish that O'Hare had chosen a more Detroit-friendly flight to divert instead of us, and I wish that Dublin had allowed personnel some leeway... but in the end, it all worked out. My experience on Aer Lingus up to, and even after that point, was really quite nice (there was one flight attendant who went above & beyond in Detroit -- as did all of the airport personnel we encountered), and I wouldn't hesitate to fly that airline again.

By the way, upping my organizational game, I used Tripit to manage everything (I opted for the Pro version) -- flights, trains, tickets, lodging -- including Maddy's separate flight itinerary, and it worked wonderfully! In addition to having everything in one place, easy to see and navigate, I found it extremely helpful in managing time.