01 November 2013

NaBloPoMo 2013

Day 1. I haven't officially signed on (yet), but it seems a shame not to participate in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) for the fifth straight year -- even though I'm crazy busy today and nothing is coming together on-the-fly quite as I'd like.

So, today I am relying on a few photos that sum up October around here. It was really quite lovely, but wool socks have come to the forefront, as they do at this time of year.

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I'm heading out with Ali later today on a weekend adventure. I'm not sure we -- just the two of us -- have ever done that before! Seems like a good time.

Stay tuned! I haven't quite finalized the NaBloPoMo plan, but there's for sure a big birthday, Thanksgiving, and a baby shower happening this month -- all bloggable -- and perhaps I'll even get my babble back.

 

29 October 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Extra! Extra!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Love To Do on an Extra Day Off!

Not necessarily all of these things on any given day off. Many of these things look like regular things I'd normally do on a day off -- or any day, for that matter -- but there's just a different flavor to everything when it's an "extra" day off and I am more able to choose to do something like cook or clean or do laundry.

I like to feel that I've been productive in some way, everyday -- and sometimes (rarely) that means having a pajama day, eating cereal for breakfast, lunch & dinner, watching movies, and knitting all day long! (Best on rainy/snow days.)

1.  Go out for lunch.

2.  Shop.

How is it that still don't have smell-o-vision on this thing?? 1st batch #roastedtomatosauce 2013.

3.  Cook.

4.  Clean.

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5.  Hang laundry on the line.

6.  Organize stuff... there's always that!

7.  Watch a movie or catch up with Tivo.

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8.  Take a day trip.

9.  If it's on either side of a weekend, plan/extend a 3-day weekend away!

Woohoo! First wool nappy cover for the bebe - a 24-hour project. Love it, great pattern. #knitting #KnittingforZim

10.  Knit!

That's my first official soaker for Zim! It's the smallest size, and took all of 24 hours from start to finish. The only thing left undone is the i-cord tie and I pretty much want to poke a needle in my eye when I think about all the i-cord needed for all these pants and covers and whatnot, so something else will need to be done to keep these on the baby's bum. The second cover, in the next-up size, is underway! I'm on track to finish tonight, too, except that it's a 5th Tuesday and on those, knit night is held at a location other than the usual coffee shop -- tonight's is at a wine bar. Haha.

The pattern is Wool Soaker, Diaper/Nappy Cover by Val Turner, available through Craftsy, and I love it! Using a combination of circular and straight knitting, the pattern gives options in a couple of places for different skill levels -- do this if you're a beginner, that if you're a more advanced knitter. There are a couple of ends to weave in at the end, and two tiny little seams to sew up (or not? I'm not sure it's even necessary). I'm using Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool for these.

What's your favorite lanolin-rich wool wash?

 

25 October 2013

Sew it goes

I'm looking forward to re-watching Natalie Chanin's Craftsy class, Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, as I prepare to sew a onesie and baby blanket that I fell for. Oh yes. I fell hard. I've been looking forward to doing this for a while, now, as I loved listening to Natalie the first time, and I always knew that I'd watch again -- over & over, if I'd like (that's the beauty of Craftsy!) -- when I actually began to "love my thread" and start sewing. She speaks so beautifully about the process.

I'd like to finish the Onesie, at least, by Ali's baby shower at the end of November, and the blanket in time for Zim's arrival in January!

You can read more about Craftsy below, if you've never heard of it before, and check out the Free Craftsy Classes! Their mini-classes are top-notch -- including some great classes for knitters.

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more. 

Why online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities. Craftsy courses provide the convenience of a world-class instructor wherever and whenever you want to learn. Online education, no matter the subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons.

With on-demand online learning, learning is done at your own pace. It's a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty getting around. It also allows for watching over-and-over again, to see exactly how a troubling section is worked or how a new technique is carried out. It's easy to refer back to the class for relevant concepts and materials before beginning any new projects.

And, hey, happy weekend everyone!

 

24 October 2013

The beet goes on

First of all: ROASTING!

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Lord knows, I'd eat almost anything drizzled in oil, beautifully seasoned with plain salt and pepper, and ROASTED. Whatever it is, roasting makes it a million times better.

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I used my new* favorite cookbook, Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan, and made Belly Dance Beet Salad. The original/prototype recipe can be found here, with lots of good discussion in the comments.

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Ahem. Do as I say, not as I do: put the pistachios on the upper rack for toasting in the oven (not the lower, as shown above). Those burned, of course, and I had to quickly shell more nuts to toast on the stove (which is probably what I should have done all along).

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I think I had slightly more than 2 lbs. of beets. Most of them were VERY small, so I chopped top and bottom and roasted them whole; others were halved or quartered and there were a couple that were pretty large, chopped to make more or less uniform. I loved that I didn't need to peel!

After roasting, the beets were cooled a bit and chopped again to about 1/2-inch size pieces. Actually, I was a bit behind, so I chopped them so that they would cool down quicker!

Dressed with a combo of orange juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and spices, and tossed with the toasted nuts and sliced green onions, it was DELICIOUS! I don't have an aversion to beets, as do some, including my husband, but even he gobbled this up like crazy -- loved it and said they were the best beets he's ever had!

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Using another recipe in WF2, I dressed up some grass-fed ground beef and made Italian burgers. They, too, were delicious; moist and full of flavor. This book couldn't have arrived at a better time!

*One of my old favorite cookbooks is the original Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, which I have in electronic form... and would really like in physical form! That book is home to the recipe for The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Ever., which is still one of our hands-down favorites! I haven't made every recipe in that book, but I love every recipe I've made -- one of the best features in both books are the the options and "You know how you could do that?" ideas that Melissa includes for almost every recipe.

 

22 October 2013

Ten on Tuesday: That's delicious!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Foods I Regularly Eat That Were Exotic (or Unheard Of) When I Was a Kid

Hm. The foods of my childhood were mostly limited, but there were flashes of the exotic. Artichokes, for one thing; thanks to my Aunt Cece, we were introduced to artichokes quite early and we all *loved* them! They were truly exotic, as in hard to find in good shape in NE Wisconsin at any time of year -- the grocery clerk always needing to ask what it was in order to properly ring it up.

With a bunch of German farmers and wanna-be-farmers in my not-too-distant ancestry, I would occasionally hear stories about farming... and the raising & butchering of livestock. The fact that every bit of a hog, for instance, was used in some way -- that nothing went to waste -- made a big impression on me. True to her upbringing, Grandma Blum would serve her precious sulze with other cold cuts for lunch; my dad always had a jar of pickled pigs' feet in the fridge.

Dad liked smoked fish, anchovies, and sardines, too; I remember many sardine sandwich picnic lunches with my dad -- sardines, yellow mustard, white bread.

While Grandma preferred cheddar and colby, Grandpa (and also his son, my dad) had a fondness for the stinky Limburger and sharp Brick cheese.

Grandma Koenig died when I was only 8, but I remember gigantic boiled dumplings with gravy at her table -- my mother never made them, but I've had them since from the hand of my Aunt Arlene. My mother had some influence, too; there were the memorable Camembert cheese and smoked oyster phases of my youth!

Now, I didn't *love* all of these foods, but I tried them all (and did actually like most) and they were definitely a part of my childhood -- I'm sure that each one helped me be a bit more adventurous as an adult.

1.  Fresh vegetables. I'm serious. I think I grew up in the golden age of commercially canned vegetables. Thinking about it (esp. creamed corn) makes me want to hurl.

Tonight's roasting: broccoli & cauliflower. Perfect with our goat & beef burgers and a big glass of Malbec. #lastoftheweddingwine #haventmetaroastedvegetablethatidontlove #alsowine

Fresh roasted broccoli & cauliflower.

2.  Avocado. This was a very rare and special addition to a salad in my youth. For one thing, they were very high in calories & fat and that was a no-no. Not so now! I eat and enjoy avocadoes on a regular -- almost daily -- basis.

3.  Salmon. My dad was a fisherman, so we had plenty of wild lake fish at the table but never salmon; he didn't care for it, my mother didn't like its lingering aroma after cooking. I don't care for the aroma, either, but I love to eat salmon!

4.  Turkey burgers. Are you kidding? We had turkey at Thanksgiving -- whole, stuffed, roasted. Sandwiches & soup for a week after. Period.

Feeling nostalgic, or maybe it's that Thanksgiving is approaching, but all of a sudden, I've a hankering for a cold turkey breast sandwich on white bread, slathered with mayo and with a piece of iceberg lettuce!

5.  Any lettuce or "salad" green that isn't iceberg lettuce.

6.  Liver. Of course. I should clarify... BEEF liver was awful as prepared by my mom (everyone's mom); my dad would sometimes fry up chicken livers and they were great!

7.  Quiche. The eggs of my childhood were made only to be boiled, deviled, scrambled, or fried!

8.  Brown rice -- or any rice that wasn't preceded by "Minute" on the package!

#yum Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs... worth the wait! #itswhatsfordinner #onthebarbie

Shrimp on the barbie -- also unheard of in my youth (though I do recall steamed lobster)

9.  Sushi. I don't regularly consume sushi, but it was completely unheard of in my youth!

10.  Paprika... for anything other than to pretty up deviled eggs. My spice cupboard is bulging these days, thanks in part to at least three or four different types of paprika -- Hungarian, California, sweet, sharp, etc.

Bon appetit!

19 October 2013

And that's a wrap

We skipped the first two farmer markets of the season because of a wedding, one in August for a rummage sale, and another at the end of September just because; otherwise, it's where you'd find me on a Saturday morning.

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Sat., June 22 - with Mrs. Z. - our first market of the season, a rainy start!


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Sat., June 29 - with Ali - a different arrangement.


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Sat., July 6 - with Ali - a different perspective.


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Sat., July 13 - with Abbey - banner debuts (blowing under tables).


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Sat., July 20 - with Maddy - banner on tent!


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Sat., July 27 - with Abbey.


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Sat., Aug. 3 - with Maddy.


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Sat., Aug. 10 - with Ali and Abbey - and the Saturn (it almost all fit)!


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Sat., Aug. 24 - with Ali.


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Sat., Aug. 31 - with Ali.


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Sat., Sept. 7 - with Abbey - drizzly.


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Sat., Sept. 14 - with Ali - Fall Fest! Using two pour-over brewers under the tent (instead of one by the fence) - trees are planted along canal!


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Sat., Sept. 21 - with Abbey.


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Sat., Oct. 5 - with Abbey - rainy & windy - the permanent fence at the edge of the canal is installed!


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Sat., Oct. 12 - with Ali - safety fence at the canal is gone!


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Sat., Oct. 19 - with Ali - last market of the season - CHILLY!


It started off wet and ended up chilly, and other than a few other sprinkly days in between, it's been a fantastic summer in every way!

Next year the "grand canyon" will be completely finished -- a canal behind us that's been undergoing reconstruction over the past two summers! A permanent fence has been erected, the orange safety fence removed, trees have been planted, the ground is seeded, water is set to flow in December (testing), and it should all be fab and ready for picnic tables next year!

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'Til next year!

16 October 2013

Soup weather!

I made slow-cooker BBQ ribs last weekend, but the weekend before saw the first pot of soup for the season:

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Before & after adding the coconut milk.

Moqueca! Almost just as I learned to make it in Brazil. I used a little less cod and a lot more shrimp... because that's the way I like it! Maybe one of these days I'll find what I need to make farofa, which would definitely be served with this soup.

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Dinner is served!

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And lunch the next day!

It's been overcast, rainy, and much cooler here the last few days... Soup Weather is definitely here and there'll be another pot bubbling on the stove today.

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{ m e s s y  k i t c h e n }

 

15 October 2013

Ten on Tuesday: October Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

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1.  APPLES! (Hubby made a pie.) It was the second-to-last farmers market of the season on Saturday, so that's where I spent my morning. It was damp and chilly, with a sudden and unpredictable wind blowing through at times. Someone lifted my most precious hedgie, about which I am being very Zen and also Karma, baby.

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2.  I threw some ribs in the slow cooker.

3.  And took a nap.

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4.  Maddy was home since Thursday, and Ali & Rod came over for a family dinner on Saturday. I roasted butternut squash (with rosemary) and Rusty steamed some market-fresh broccoli to go with the BBQ ribs! And pie.

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5.  My friend Ann came over on Sunday morning, setting up her spinning wheel at the south end of my porch to spin some silk while I took some photos for her.

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She left me with a lovely little gift of handspun. It sure is pretty! A hat? Some little mitts?

6.  I watched the football game.

7.  Spent some time (a little bit) sorting/cleaning/tossing upstairs... even went up into the attic!

8.  Dropped a load at the Goodwill drive-thru.

9.  Gathered up & took photos of Zim-related knitting (see yesterday's post). I've since remembered a bulky knit hoodie to add to the "finishing" pile!

10.  Caught up on some TV -- Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Sons of Anarchy (finished S1), and knit!

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Can't ask for much more from an October weekend!

14 October 2013

Knitting for Zim

Consider this a head start on tomorrow's Ten on Tuesday topic...

I've been wanting to get a handle on the state of things in the baby knitting department, and finally gathered up all that I could find.

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This pile (above & below) is knit, seamed & all buttoned up -- Ready To Wear (some of it has already been worn!).

There are a few others I could add to this pile -- Demne and Wee Weasley, for sure!

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From top to bottom:

These items are sized from newborn to about 3 years, maybe even 4. I knit Opptuna, Baby A, and both Wallaby sweaters for my nephews... I think Mack was still wearing his custom-ordered Wallaby when he was 4.

I believe I can scare up a couple of mislaid hats and probably some booties & socks, too, before January.

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The three items above are in need of only buttons:

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All of the above are in need of major work... seaming and other finishing! Two pullovers (one of them -- a preppy v-neck with pockets! -- is VERY well marinated), two cardis, Miss Dashwood (the earflaps were never secured), and a pair of just-finished baby pants.

I just remembered Le P'tit Mousse, awaiting sewing-up, stuffed in the bottom of my tote.

There's another cardigan on the needles (nearly finished with the knitting)...

Another "Vintage," too, on some other needles (not in love with it)...

And another hat in need of finishing somewhere, too.

And a blanket.

More on all of those soon before long, I hope!

 

11 October 2013

Hedgie boom of 2013

I brought all three hedgehogs with me to Tuesday night knitting and know that at least a couple are already underway by members of the group! I've been called "a bad influence," and there's been mention of a "hedgehog gang." There may be a bit of a hedgehog baby boom happening in our little corner of Wisconsin!

Cracks me up.

I have found much to humor me lately:

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Madeleine's work, just a few weeks before she turned 4.

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Alison's work, preschool.

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Katherine's interest in the world of art -- past, present, and future -- undeniably ingrained.

We've been spending quite a bit of time getting an apartment shaped up -- and cleaned out. The apartment takes up all but one room (and a couple of closets) of our second floor; 20+ years ago, we opened the door at the top of the stairs and took it over, occupying (and filling up) the entire house ourselves.

Our bedroom used to be up there, my craft room (the upstairs kitchen), the kids' playroom and bedrooms, a second full bath; we retreated/downsized within our own home a few years ago, and the girls have variously lived up there, in very much their own space.

We "retreated/downsized" but never swept the place completely clean!

I recently emptied the small anteroom off the bathroom which leads to the attic. There are drawers under the stairs leading up, as well as another floor-to-ceiling cabinet with cupboard & drawers built in on the other side. I used the cupboard for Christmas, the drawers for the girls' hand-me-downs, the under-stairs drawers for... stuff. Not to mention the floor space.

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The wallpaper scraps are from Katie's nursery in Oregon, ca. 1984-85. School stuff!! OMG, how did I think anyone would ever want to read the school newsletters from kindgarten again? or 1st grade? 2nd? 3rd? etc. I had them all!

Spelling tests, conference reports, report cards, so much construction paper and glue with everything from cotton balls and yarn to Formica and Froot Loops as decoration. etc.

The bin was full when the recycling truck came 'round on Tuesday. And I've been adding more. I'm keeping some things, of course, but I'm photographing a lot more and will make some little memento for each of the girls... and maybe for me.

Halloween is not my favorite "holiday," but I found so many cute jack o'lanterns and black cats and other seasonal artwork, that I'm going to use it all to decorate this year!

 

09 October 2013

Wednesday

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Gratuitous seasonal photo.

I still have a million things on my plate, but I practiced yoga this morning for the first time in ages and I feel fine...

I feel very, very fine.

After a brutal loss last week, I also took time this morning to shore up my fantasy football team, so I'm feeling much better about that now, too.

The best thing, though, was that I started my day at the dentist.

I know... Who knew? Going to the dentist used to be the most dreaded thing on my calendar! I credit my actual dentist and his staff for truly being The Best. The course of periodontal treatment that we've been on the past couple of years has resulted in marked improvement, and it's been phenomenal in the past year or so; I may even be able to go back to twice-yearly checkups like a normal person.

Hm. What has changed in the past year? At an appointment several months ago, it was noted that inflammation was improved and that there was much less bleeding -- a trend that has continued/improved (little-to-no bleeding today). In addition, and very obvious at today's appointment, there is less and less scraping of plaque build-up. OMG, that used to be just the worst thing ever, and I can still hear a former hygienist SIGHING, over and over, and she scraped and chipped. Yeah, I know, it's awful and I should have brushed/flossed/rinsed/whatever...

The thing is, try as I might and as good as I am in the few weeks before and after an appointment, my at-home dental routine right now is about the same as it was then -- and has been for as long as I can remember. It's admittedly not great, but it is what it is.

And, yet, improvement in the past year... since I drastically changed my diet. Now, I have not been even close to perfect in the past few months -- summertime, a wedding, a kid back to college, another one overseas, a baby to plan for, travel -- but apparently I've been good enough. Still the thing I'm most consistent about (despite the delicious Everything bagel w/cream cheese that I had today after yoga) is the near total avoidance of grain and, next to that, dairy.

In case you were wondering, because I haven't blogged about it much lately, I am still a believer and still lovin' the path I'm on. And really looking forward to this book (pre-ordered!) landing in my mailbox in the next couple of weeks:

It's fall... I feel more inclined to spend time in the kitchen and cook again! Though it's an absolutely gorgeous October day today (still no hard frost here) and I'm going to go enjoy the rest of it (and my day off).

 

08 October 2013

Hedgie here, hedgie there...

I am in love with the little hedgehog!!

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You can't knit just one!

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The first photo is prior to ears, somehow thinking that they were going to be a challenge. It took longer to choose placement than it did to knit them! They are both still in need of nose & eye embellishment.

It is the most wonderful pattern! Late last year I watched as one hedgie after another roll off the needles of another grandma-to-be, each one as adorable as the last, so when I learned that I was also going to be a grandma... well, I just knew that I'd be knitting one or two or nine of these things! It was just a matter of time!

The pattern is Whit's Knits: Knit Hedgehogs, available free on the always amazing and inspiring Purl Bee! Here's the Ravelry page, also.

They take the smallest bit of each yarn.

I've used some leftover sock yarn for the face/belly of each (similar colors, but one's from a baby cardi, the other from my red/gray/black Color Affection) (still!).

The body on the lighter one is Classic Elite Mackenzie, and on the other it's Rowan Chunky Chenille -- the softest, squishiest, chubbiest little hedgie ever! Both of those yarns are absolutely fabulous, which means, of course, that both are discontinued! I have almost two hanks of the Mackenzie, but that's about it for the Chunky Chenille, so that little hedgie is destined to be an heirloom! Enhancing their sentimental value, both of those yarns are from the small stash I inherited from Sharon.

A third is already on the needles!

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...hedgies, hedgies EVERYWHERE!!


06 October 2013

Black Point Estate

Black Point Estate is one of the Wisconsin Historical Society's sites. The only public access to the property is by boat! One of many boat tours operated by Lake Geneva Cruise Line, it also includes the scenic tour of other historic and notable properties around the lake -- titans of Chicago such as Wrigley, Maytag, Sears, and Schwinn had summer homes there, as well as many other names that you might not recognize but whose companies you certainly would! Those summer homes came in handy as refuge following The Great Chicago Fire; with easy access by train, many of those leaders moved their families to their homes in Lake Geneva and lived there while rebuilding the city and their businesses.

The house is located on a bluff and is not really visible from the lake. After climbing about 75 of the 120 steps to reach it, this was my first view:

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Being the first (with Rusty) to reach the top, I (we) was awarded with a bumper sticker to proclaim that fact! 

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Conrad Seipp made his fortune making beer, founder of the Seipp Brewing Co. in Chicago (home beer delivery? OK!). Conrad died not long after Black Point was completed, but his wife and other members of the family managed -- and even grew -- the estate for many years.

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Many of the furnishings were "hand-me-downs" from their elegant home in the city. The cherubs on this bedroom set caught my eye. What you can't see in my blurry phone photo is the large mended patch on the bedspread! Waste not, want not.

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The historical society rather scoffs at the bright green shag rug in the bedroom across the hall! I love it. While many of the furnishings are "antique" and certainly quite valuable, and much of the home is like a "time capsule," it's things like this rug that let you know it was lived in and used by many generations. The knit & lined blanket also caught my eye, of course.

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Upstairs hall: there was a closet exactly like this, mirrored on the other side of the hall.

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An enormous doll house sat at the other end of the hall, with a large cabinet full of extra furnishings standing nearby!

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Stencilled burlap wall covering in dining room. Burlap covered many of the walls.

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Exterior and gardens. The house is beautifully painted. One of the descendants of Conrad was a "collector" of trees and, according to our guide, there are 70 different types of evergreens planted on the property, along with the black oaks and other native trees.

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I found gingko!

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We'd walked the Geneva Lake Shorepath Walk in one direction on Saturday. While Rusty went in the other direction after the tour on Sunday, I did a little knitting (baby pants for Zim) at the beach. 

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And then it was time to go!

We stopped at Gooseberries on the way home for some groceries, but mostly to surprise long-time virtual friend Gretchen!

I feel recharged and maybe slightly less overwhelmed after that little break. Man, there sure is a lot to do around here... maybe it's the time of year! I'm finding myself wishing for winter ***ONLY*** because it takes a few things off of one's plate just because, you know, it's winter.

Forget I said that, and let's revel some more in autumn...

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For as long as we can!

04 October 2013

Weekend get-away

When Ali messaged me a few weeks ago that she didn't have anyone available to work the market with me on a particular Saturday, my wheels immediately started in motion.

#7 on my list of 10 Things I Want To Do This Summer was:  An overnighter to the Lake Geneva area and a visit to Black Point Estate. It turns out I was able to make it a two-nighter (so happy that I did) and the particular Saturday was Saturday last! We set out about mid-morning.

First stop:

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Bungalow Quilting & Yarn in Ripon. I see their billboard on the highway every time I head south... always on the way to somewhere else, you know? Well, what's a road-trip vacation without a little detour here and there to do things you've been wanting to do!

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It's a great shop, full of fabric and yarn, wonderful decor, and the owner was very friendly and helpful. I ended up with a book of baby knits and yarn for a baby sweater.

I just love the "stained glass" "quilt block" window on the outside sign!

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Our next stop, on the way, was at Mullen's Dairy & Eatery in Watertown.

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Walking through the door there was like entering the Way-back Machine! Holy cow. Among my favorite things: Shakes and Malts available in Light, Medium or Thick; Lily Cups; Johnson's Toasted Nuts display (I had to get some!).

We arrived at McIntyre's Resort at about mid-afternoon -- our home until Monday!

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Adorable and cozy pretty much sum up the situation there! We were in one of two cabins on the property; there is plenty of room for camping; plans are underway to add four more cabins (I think) next year. They're tiny... no real sitting room, outside of the screened porch, but we really weren't there for sitting...

We walked in the woods:

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Oh, the pines smelled SO GOOD!

Paddled around the lake:

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Went to an apple festival at The Apple Barn Orchard and Winery:

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Did some walking around Lake Geneva:

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And on Sunday morning, we went to the last Antique Flea Market of the season at Elkhorn.

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Oh my. It was HUMONGOUS! I haven't been to something like that in quite a while and it didn't take long before I was completely overwhelmed. We both managed to walk away with some treasures... mine were knitting needles & a nice book of patterns for the grand total of $2.

Which reminds me, knitting du weekend was some baby pants and the knitting is done! They need a light blocking and a little mattress-stitch seaming... oh, and a cord of some sort... but they're adorable! Colorful without being loud, they'll keep Zimmy toasty warm through winter!

Monday was reserved for the Black Point Estate tour... stay tuned!

27 September 2013

Wedding Shawls

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This is a stunning shawl, quite quick to knit on size 7 needles, and not at all difficult. Julia's pattern is wonderfully written. I have found the upper lace-to-stockinette-to-garter edge to be a bit "flippy" and would probably work out something different there -- possibly making the stockinette section a bit wider (there was plenty of yarn left over). It's lovely as a shawl, and I've also worn it wound more tightly to the neck like a cowl. Yes, it is currently in my custody.


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  • Mine is Frambuesa 
  • Make.Do BE - Merino/Nylon
  • Needle: US 6
  • Start to Finish: April 27 - June 13, 2013

Not happy with the stretchiness of my first "loose" cast-on, I ripped out the first version of Frambuesa that I knit and started again using a method by June Hemmons Hiatt in The Principles of Knitting. That resulted in a much better edge, and I'm delighted with how nicely the "points" look in these photos! This, also, was a well-written pattern and a very quick knit, also with plenty of yarn left over.

(Look for some commemorative red hexipuffs when that project is all said and done... someday!)

The patterns are available either individually, or as part of Julia's Mind of Winter Fire Collection, which also includes a beautiful pullover pattern.

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I dyed the yarn once, knit the shawls, then over-dyed the finished shawls. The color turned out rich, deep, and luminous -- and pretty darn perfect.

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Hm. I still need close-ups of my shawl!

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Can you believe it's been three months already?!

 

20 September 2013

I'll race ya!

Our nest may be empty of offspring for the first time in a long time, but there's a "new" (to us) kitty in the mix to keep things lively around here.

Porter
Porter is the first indoor cat we've ever had; declawed by his original owner, he only goes outside... when he escapes! He came to Katie through a friend, and now joins Scamp, Roxie, and Duncan to bring our total feline pet population to four! We've never had that many cats before. Two is my ideal, though it's been a long time since we only had two cats.

Relations here are touchy. Scamp is old, slow, arthritic, and possibly suffering some sort of feline dementia (if there is such a thing). Roxie is the only female in the mix; littermate of Scamp, they have the best relationship. Duncan is a wild one, a bad boy by nature with little glimmers of sweetness; he gets along best with Scamp (that's not to say great). Porter is a bad boy sort of by nurture -- super lovable, but he learned to play rough!

We had a sort of "open door policy" for the few weeks prior to Katie's departure so that Porter could become more a part of our household. Since she's been gone, we've left the door open while we work up there, leaving his food and litter box in their usual locations. Eventually that'll all move downstairs, and the door will close. (The goal being to actually rent the apartment for the first time in 20+ years!) (We sure don't need all that extra room.) (The extra $ would sure be nice.)

I'm sure Porter misses Kate, but am very happy with how well he's handling things. Other than weirdly finding his way into the basket, above, he hasn't displayed any behavior that's too off-the-wall... for him! That's not to say there hasn't been a lot of spitting, hissing, and batting of paws amongst the cats. Roxie generally keeps her distance altogether, coming in only for short periods... I sometimes close off an area for her; it's been most stressful for her, I think.

* * * * *

I had to laugh at Porter this morning-- very early morning (more like middle of the night... at a time I'd usually not be amused)...

Ever since we opened the door, Porter's had this thing about the stairs. If someone's going up, he needs to go up, too. Not only does he need to go up, he needs to go up FAST! Faster than anyone else! Let's RACE!!

It was hot & humid last night so we left our bedroom doors open for circulation. (I won't even get into the fact that I was wrapped up in blankets, wearing a sweater and socks, and even turned the heat on for one cycle just two nights before.) Of course, that left our bedroom open for other types of circulation, too!

At about 2:30 a.m., Porter came in and started dancing around my head and then over to my night table. Treacherous business, that, and he has a history of nudging things off the edge of whatever he's on. I got up and headed for the bathroom. He was tight on my heels, slinking around my ankles the whole time.

He left us alone for a little bit, but then came in again. Kate said that when he's extra persistent, it's often because his food bowl (located upstairs) is empty. I didn't want to, but thought I'd better go up and check. I was surprised that he didn't follow! I knew, though, that once he heard me on the stairs (a very old, very noisy staircase) he'd come running, and did he ever! Like a SHOT, he blasted off from our bedroom, racing through the kitchen and living areas, and beat me to the top by a footfall! It was so amusing, I almost didn't mind the time.

His food dish was not empty. I added a little more, anyway... and shut the bedroom door behind me.

 

18 September 2013

Sweater Weather

The Neighbourhood

It's too cold
For you here and now
Let me hold
Both your hands in the holes of my sweater

I mostly listen to the radio at work. Have you heard this song -- Sweater Weather? It's in pretty heavy rotation on the station that's tuned in her most.

Of course, I couldn't help but think of another favorite sweater song.

Mason-Dixon Knitting's Ann & Kay

If you knit for a friend,
Does that make it a sin?

Today's Yesterday's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Songs That Make You Want To Dance. I'll tell you what, there are about 10 million songs that make me want to dance! I am always tapping my toes, swaying to-and-fro, dancing in my seat... it makes my brain implode to think about narrowing it down to 10. I thought it might be a good time to finish this post, that I actually started it at the end of July!

I've been listening to a lot of music on Spotify lately. I love music -- all types -- and I especially enjoy my friends' playlists wherein I sometimes rediscover old favorites and always find some new (maybe only to me).

In heavy rotation lately is Kate's summerfallwinter2013 list, including: Avicii, Saint Motel, Lana Del Rey, Fitz and The Tantrums, The Boxer Rebellion, Foals, Lorde, and Deb Talan.

I honed in a little more on Deb Talan yesterday and began listening to her album A Bird Flies Out. My first thought was, "Sharon would like this," and I had an impulse to call her up! Instead, I'll call you all up and share what I'm listening to (some of it really does make me want to dance!):

1. Avicii: Wake Me Up

2. Saint Motel: My Type

3. Lana Del Rey: Young And Beautiful

4. Fitz and The Tantrums: Out Of My League

5. The Boxer Rebellion: Diamonds

6. Foals: Late Night

7. Lorde: Biting Down

8. Deb Talan: Rocks and Water

9. Nina Simone: Sinnerman (Felix Da Housecat's Heavenly House Mix)

10. Lana Del Rey: Summertime Sadness [Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais] (Cedric Gervais Remix)

What's playin' on your boom box?

13 September 2013

Coming up for air!

Ohmygod, I haven't been this tired -- bone tired but good tired -- in a long time. I've had some tossing-and-turning nights recently, but last night was NOT one of those and I am pretty certain tonight should be a repeat.

It's been taking daughters to school and to the airport -- and by that I mean, MOVING OUT and/or AWAY, and so a helluva lot more involved than just driving over with a few boxes and dropping them at the door -- farmer market days, knit nights, book club and, today, another rummage sale.

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I'm sure you will be AMAZED to learn that neither of these items sold at today's rummage sale. The sentimental packrat in me would love nothing more than to enshrine these -- the mug, at least -- but the packrat was stifled today. Stifled hard. (We still have a bowl & plate with similar -- cuter, even -- decoration.) We sold a lot of stuff -- BIG stuff, so-happy-to-get-rid-of-this-stuff -- but there was plenty left. Again. Of course. We boxed and loaded it up into my car and my husband's, and we drove DIRECTLY to the Goodwill donation center to collect our donation receipts. There's another load to go sometime over the weekend.

GONE, baby. All that stuff is GONE. I can't believe how good it feels.

And my front room. Wow. You should see how much room there is!!

Tomorrow is another farmer market -- the Fall Fest version, which means that it is quite a bit bigger, there's a lot of stuff going on, and it's on 'til 2:00 instead of noon. It was chilly today (barely reaching 60F) but will be a bit warmer tomorrow, and it should be a fun day! As tired as I am, I am looking forward to it -- and I'm bringing a lot more than just yarn.

Sunday is a birthday party and a football game. Mostly, though, I'm looking forward to sleeping until I naturally wake up on my own.

G'night!

10 September 2013

It's just the normal noises in here...

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Miss About My Home When I'm Away

1.  My own pillow and my own bed. It's not uncommon to pack my pillow when I go away -- sometimes even a nice hotel pillow is just too much -- or not enough, or too soft, or too hard (Princess & The Pea, anyone?) -- and not every place I stay has a pillow menu! I always make sure that my pillow is wearing a loud or colorful pillowcase so it doesn't blend in and is less likely to be left behind.

2.  My kitchen -- knowing what I have and where everything is!

3.  My coffee pot -- it goes with the above, but is a worthy line-item!

4.  My... um... chair... area. There's my chair, the side table, the chest a little beyond that, and all the project bags and books on the floor around it (winter's on the way... this is insulation) -- needles, scissors, tools, some yarn -- all at-hand. The whole area is actually due for a massive clean up! (Soon.)

5.  The bathroom! A creature of habit, I don't spend a lot of time fussing & primping, but I like to have my stuff just.so.

6.  My shower! (6 is to 5 as 3 is to 2) Heh.

7.  Mail! Granted, the mail isn't what it used to be -- actual cards and letters are rare -- but I still look forward to the daily delivery of the mail at home!

8.  Our pets. Scamp, Roxie, Duncan and, now, Porter! We are well on our way to being Crazy Cat People!

9.  The porches and pergola and the outdoor privacy we have at home.

10.  And just the usual, the overall things that are familiar...  the normal noises and bumps in the night that are unique to my home and to which I am accustomed. Even if they annoy me sometimes, at least I know what they are!

I couldn't find a clip with the intro... some scuffling, a bump or two, and a girl calling out: It's just the normal noises in here! One of my all-time favorites! And I love this song, too. That whole album -- Damn The Torpedoes. I'm pretty sure I still have that LP. And a turntable to play it on, too.

What do you miss most when you're away from home?

* * * * *

Wondering about Kate and how she's doing in Edinburgh? You can follow along on her blog, Artsy Abroad, and/or on Facebook (and/or on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram... look for the icons that interest you on the blog's sidebar).

(She's doing great!)

 

06 September 2013

All aboard

Kate & I went out for coffee yesterday.

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And dinner... with Rusty, Ali, Rod & Jillian.

Dinner

Missing only Maddy... already away at school.

We visited Mom.

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I picked what's probably the last of the sungold tomatoes.

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We went out for coffee again today.

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And tea and other stuff and last-minute visiting.

She finalized the final packing.

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And I took her to the airport.

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And she ought to be on-board as we speak, the plane due to lift off in about :20. She'll wing her way to Detroit, then to Amsterdam, and finally to Edinburgh tomorrow morning -- or, rather, afternoon on her clock. Either way, I look forward to hearing from her along the way. And all the time.

I can't wait!

 

04 September 2013

A post about knitting stuff

Not the least of which is the crowning of this year's Knitters' Chick & Knitters' Hunk!

I approve.

Stitchlamb
I pulled out this cute stitch marker last night to mark the beginning of my round when I picked up stitches for the first sleeve of the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi. It was a gift from Laura, organizer of the bus that delivered 50 knitters, including me, from NE Wisconsin to Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL, a month ago. I can't believe that was a month ago! I had fun meeting, talking to and/or shopping Lisa Souza, Cephalopod Yarns, The Verdant Gryphon, Zen Yarn Garden, Miss Babs... you know, the place was just plump full of gorgeousness!

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival is this weekend, but I don't think I'll make it this year. That's okay. It's not like I don't have any yarn. Heh.

Lord, I just keep knitting and knitting and knitting... it's definitely PROCESS time right now. I'm barely registering a finish -- or bothering to finish -- before moving straight on to the next thing. Baby/kid stuff. This needs buttons, those need to be sewn, that one needs some ties. The "next thing" isn't even really decided upon until it's time to cast on... but I must keep knitting... reaching into the hazy fog to pull out a pattern and some yarn... okay, let's knit THAT.

I have no idea what's next, but I've little more than a sleeve and buttonband to figure it out.

I'd like to see some sheep and wool, and have entertained a vague notion of October in New York... feeling like I deserve something like that right now. Or maybe just a little off-topic trip to NY. Or someplace.

I'm happy to learn of JC Briar's return to Yarn by Design's Midwest Masters in April. That's something to put on the calendar. Have you heard about her Stitch Map project?

Do I seem jumpy? Sending my kid off the day after tomorrow for her first day of school -- in Edinburgh! We practice Skyped (upstairs/downstairs) yesterday.

:)

 

01 September 2013

Makin' moves

It was not a bad day to be at the market yesterday.

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It was mostly cloudy, and a lot cooler and less humid than originally predicted for the weekend. Thankyouverymuch!

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I did some knitting... actually got a little carried away because, by the end of the day, I discovered that I went a bit too far. Today, I'll be ripping back a little bit and finishing that bottom edge, then picking up to finish those cute, wee sleeves. I'm not sure yet exactly what size this is turning out to be.

In other news, Maddy came home yesterday afternoon, as planned, to pack the trailer for the move into her first apartment (yay, no more dorms!). This was a change from an earlier plan, which had this all happening a week later. It's been a tough transition through the end of summer to the start of school; poor kid, she had to be at work (for the school job) two weeks ago, but her new apartment was unavailable until... NOW. She's been couch-surfing a lot, and even spent a night (with a friend) in her car. So, anyway, BUSY BUSY BUSY. She worked until 1:30 yesterday, was home by 3:00, and packing up by 3:05.

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Waiting on laundry to dry, we ordered pizza and had a nice visit over dinner with Kate -- who just returned from her LAST DAY AT WORK. At one point, with the late start, we thought we might not drive the trailer over until Sunday morning, but there was good energy (and weather), so we took off for points west right after supper.

Moved-in
The unloading goes SO much faster than the loading! Maddy's roommate and lifelong best friend was a big help on both ends and it made all the difference! They were all moved in and we were headed back home before the sun went down. Don't they look happy? It's a cute little apartment -- clean and it smelled good -- perfect for them!

Here's to another great year at school!!

 

30 August 2013

5 Words, 1 Week

I had an idea that it would be fun to write a 5 Tips from the Parent of a Student Moving Abroad post to accompany Katie's 5 Tips, but my feelings and thoughts are not that organized and I'm not up to the task of untangling them. How about 5 Words that I've been finding helpful... for life in general?

  • Beauty. Find it. If I don't see it anywhere else, I just look at my kids' faces.
  • Grace. Sometimes that means a little bit of acting.
  • Love. Unwavering. More than anything.
  • Understanding. Wear their shoes. Feel it.
  • Support. Always! Lean on me.

It's sure a lot easier now to see my kids move far away than it was in 2004, 2006, 2011... Maddy is the other one with a streak of wanderlust, and it won't be long before she's in South America, Africa, Europe... Kate's paving the way has definitely made it easier! I guess my sister's been the pioneer in our family in terms of international galavanting. So they can all thank her! Getting Maddy moved into her new apartment 100 miles away is proving to be the most challenging thing of all this year! Ali's much more of a home-body...

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...and I can totally relate to that! She did recently come along on a quickie trip to Chicago!

Kate's departure for Scotland is one week from today and, oh, I am sure going to miss her. I sometimes think that I'm only one crazy head-scarf away from being Edie --could be either one, actually, Big or Little! So, maybe it's a good thing.

Here are five more words that will be helpful in the coming year:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Spotify
  • Skype
  • blogging

Amazing. And then, of course, there's this...

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Everything's coming up baby!

 

26 August 2013

If...

Ewan
Ewan McGregor

or

Alan Rickman

???

Alan

...is the most difficult question I have to answer all day (and, believe me, it's a difficult one for me), I'll be happy.

You can vote, too! Knitters' Hunk & Knitters' Chick 2013 is underway!

Have a good weekend?

 

23 August 2013

15 minutes...

...gave me a good start. I had to set the timer for another :15 to reach my goal of cleaning off and putting away the ironing board that's been set up and heaped upon since June 14th! It's done!

One small step.

I am paralyzed by the enormity of every thing at every turn right now. Hopefully, breaking it down into bite-size pieces will result in some success and maybe even momentum. I need to get some of these projects going.

There's just a lot going on around here. I'm having trouble stringing thoughts together, finding words...

Cherrypie
We made pie! My crust was terrible to look at (there's a reason I'm not the designated pie-maker at our house) but it tasted good. The homemade tart cherry filling was AMAZING! We did everything but pick those cherries -- though I have picked cherries in Door County in my lifetime -- and it feels so great to have made something so wonderful from scratch.

Tonight, the Packer game with Mom, Joe & Katie.

Tomorrow, farmers' market in the a.m., a friend's family reunion photo shoot in the early p.m., and dinner out with my family in the late p.m.

Sunday will most definitely be a day of rest... with a few :15s thrown in!

 

21 August 2013

It's that time of year again

Kids are going back to school!

I wrote about that once: Milestones.

I think about that post every year at this time, and I still get teary when I remember.

Plus, so much as happened since then! It all changes now when I realize, too, that Sharon will be three years gone, already, in December. That Alison graduated, went to school, bought a business, got married, is having a baby! That even Maddy has graduated high school since then, and is working on her degree.

Anyway, if you've been following along, you know that we're in the "teens" now as we count down to Katie's departure to Scotland where she'll spend the next year working on her masters degree at the University of Edinburgh.

She has learned some things along the way and is sharing: What I've learned so far... 5 Tips from a Student Moving Abroad.

It's an excellent read -- not only for someone moving abroad, but for anyone who is embarking on a new adventure (even if it's only across town, because sometimes that can seem even further away...) -- and I hope you'll share it with anyone you may know who's in a similar spot.

 

20 August 2013

More summer fun

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Baby blanket knitting continues and I'm so happy that I started early on this project. There is a limit to my chevron knitting before I have to take a break! Loving how it's turning out, though. There's a glimpse of one of my finds at Stitches Midwest, an Ablet -- the Knitting Abacus row-counter/bracelet -- not necessary for the blanket project, but I've been using it for others and love it! Someday I'd like another.

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Take me out to the ball game! Last Thursday was a perfect night for baseball... and look how exciting it is when the bratzooka comes around! Crazies.

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We had a little rummage sale at Ali's over the weekend and unloaded some stuff, especially Kate... she had some really good stuff! I made heaps o' progress on Le P'tit Mousse and, in fact, have only seaming and button procurement left to do! (The Ablet was very handy for this project!)

Ali's CSA box was full of juice-ables on Saturday, so she made us a WONDERFUL apple, lemon, cucumber, carrot, parsley, cilantro, beet, ginger, cabbage & kale juice. Rod's whole family -- brothers, parents -- have been into juicing for quite some time, and got my brother and his wife into it a while back, too. They all juice everyday, or almost everyday.

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Kate & I bought a pail of tart cherries in Door County last week. Here we are having a pity pitting party over the weekend. (Rusty certainly looks pitiful, doesn't he?) Kate wants to make a farewell cherry pie to take to work, as one does. I want to make one, too! I've never made a cherry pie from scratch and I'm looking forward to it. That's a tomorrow project, after the midwife appointment with Ali & Rod.

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Countdown to Kate's departure: 18 Days!

 

15 August 2013

Packing it all in

The sweater -- Pull Gaspard -- that I was fixing in the last post looked like this on Tuesday:

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And this on Wednesday:

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I did some knitting in the car yesterday while Kate took a turn at the wheel and we day-tripped up to Door County. It was a beautiful day, but other than this:

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and these:

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Doorcounty-fishcreek-moccasinshop
Behind the Minnetonka moccasin shop; on the shore in Ephraim

And despite taking my big-girl camera along (I haven't tripped that shutter in ages), I only took mobile-phone photos of menus and food.  ;)

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That's the Turkey, Cream Cheese & Cherry Chutney sandwich at The Cookery, one of my favorite places, and definitely one of my favorite sandwiches of all time! I haven't eaten an actual "sandwich" in about a year, so this was really a treat... and, oh, so worth it. I even said to Katie, while eating it, that one of the things I love about it (and I love all the things about this sandwich) is that they use RAISIN bread. I also love and look forward to the accompanying dill potato salad and chunky applesauce. I enjoyed a glass of Island Orchard Apple Cherry Cider and helped Kate with her bottle of Crispin Artisanal Reserve Honey Crisp Cider, and we shared some eggplant fries as an appetizer -- so light and crispy, better than I'd even hoped. There are many amazing eateries to choose from in Door County, but The Cookery is consistently at the top of our list.

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We made our way north to Ephraim and Wilson's -- an institution up there, but to which I'd never actually been -- and enjoyed a couple of root beer floats for dessert. Second dessert, actually, as we'd found ourselves in a chocolate shop and one certainly can't leave an establishment like that empty-handed.

If that wasn't enough for a day, we ever-so-briefly cooled our jets at home before picking up Ali and heading up to the Farmers' Market on Broadway (in Green Bay) for more food and fun! That's been on the list for a while and I would certainly like to return.

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It's a combo farmer market/festival -- LOTS of fresh produce and meat, arts and crafts, food vendors, live music, beer. I didn't have any beer, but I'm happy to know that it's there.

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A good time (and funnel cake) was had by all!

Tonight is a company picnic at the local baseball stadium, and sometime between now and 8 a.m. tomorrow we'll be setting up for a 2-day rummage sale in Ali's driveway! Jeepers, it's a busy month.

I'm trying to keep it all together and make the most of every minute -- packing it all in while counting down the days: (1) 'til Maddy heads back to school, (6) 'til Ali's next midwife appointment, and (22) 'til Kate flies over the ocean.

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Meanwhile, Saltires are popping up.

I've cast on another baby sweater by a French designer! Le P'tit Mousse has been on my radar (Pinterest board) for a long time! I'm so happy to have an actual reason/baby to knit some of these sweaters!

I'm pretty sure there's more, but that's all for now!

 

08 August 2013

Remember the good old days?

The lights flickered on and the fridge started to hum again when power was restored. The only thing left to do was run around and reset the clocks. Not spending hours trying to figure whether it's your printer that's fried, or the network, or WTF... who unplugged that cord?

Tree
We had a bad storm blow through the area on Tuesday night -- they've now confirmed that it was actually 5 tornadoes. We lost a big tree in the ravine at home (above), and a few branches, but no structural damage or loss of power. There was no power at work, though, until mid-morning today and the main route I take to-and-fro has been closed for the last couple of days and will likely remain so for a few more... snapped off power poles and dislodged roofs take time to clean up and repair.

And wow. I am utterly exhausted from all of that. And so completely humbled by and in awe of the many thousands who have gone through the devastating tsunami, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes of recent years. Incredible.

Zim
I'm also very grateful that I'll be hopping on a bus at 6 a.m. tomorrow for a ride down to Stitches Midwest. I've never been and am looking forward to a day of fiber and fun with friends. Fff. I'm not really too crazy about the 6 a.m. part, but do plan on taking a nap. I'll also continue working on Zim's Pull Gaspard. I dropped down a few stitches yesterday to fix a split stitch. I've just begun a sleeve. Very exciting!

Last but not least...

Addy
Addy is my new favorite 6-year-old! Can you believe it? Six today.

Will Zim zoom to 6 just like that, too? Crazy kids these days, they grow like weeds!

 

06 August 2013

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Words

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Words to Describe Myself in an Interview

I'd just like to say that when I read the topic for today, I wanted to puke. That pretty much sums up how I feel about going on a job interview! I immediately closed the email and my first reaction was to just skip it altogether.

Then I accepted the challenge.

Maybe it's not a JOB interview; maybe it's another type of interview -- a newspaper story or magazine feature!

(Did you feel that? It's like the earth moved. Change in thinking = immediate relief.)

Well, then, in no particular order:

1.  Creative

2.  Efficient

3.  Confident

4.  Positive

5.  Responsible

6.  Dependable

7.  Independent

8.  Easy-going

9.  Quick-learner

10.  Hard-worker

11.  Loyal*

I'm not sure I'd use the majority of those words in anything other than a job interview, but they came SO much easier when I didn't think of it that way.

*Loyal was actually one of the first words that came to mind, but I'm pretty sure that's just me showing my age.

 

05 August 2013

Weekending

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2013-08-03_1375540575
2013-08-03_1375540575

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free short rows knitting class at craftsy.com
Online Knitting Class
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Member since 03/2004
Victoria Mothes (knitorious) participates in affiliate advertising programs. Some of the links herein are designed to provide a means to earn a small percentage in advertising fees.