16 November 2013

I-cord all the things!

OMG, that was so FAST and so EASY!

Wool Soakers

Gotta say, that Embellish-Knit Machine is some of the best money I've ever spent! The boys weren't quite as excited and intrigued as I'd hoped, but you should have seen Joe! My stepdad is a mechanical engineer and, well, he was fascinated by the mechanics! The Embellish-Knit recommends sport- and fingering-weight yarns, but I didn't have any problem with either of the worsted-weights I used.


I started with the smallest size and have worked my way up the sizes, knitting one of each of the first three, so far, all from the same skein of wool. I've also used some of that skein for some baby legs and I-cord, and there's still more. The first/smallest soaker weighs approx. 45g with I-cord.


 This is the second size, I-cord is made with some leftover Encore Worsted.


And this is the third size; I-cord knit with some leftover Socks That Rock Lightweight. You'll see much more of that tomorrow!

The soakers are knit all in one piece with some grafting/kitchener to finish, and two tiny little seams to sew. I did as instructed on the first but, of course, had to change it up a little... and I tried a three-needle bind-off on the other two. The binding off is perhaps not quite as elastic, but I'm thinking that if that was the designated "front" of the soaker, where stretch isn't quite as essential as in the back, it would be okay.

We'll have our verdict in a few months! And then I'll knit some more!!


Don't forget to VoteLoLa.com!


15 November 2013

Eye Candy Friday


Taking a break from the parade of finished objects, the light illuminating the flowers on my mother's kitchen table the other day was breathtaking. While the awesomeness is not fully captured in an Instagram photo, it is nonetheless quite beautiful.

The boys from Brazil (and their parents) flew in on Wednesday for an impromptu and surprising week-long visit, and I'm thinking they are just the manpower needed to crank out the yards of I-cord needed to finally call a few projects finito! (She thinks. Hopeful that the novelty lasts long enough.) I figured out the set up & operation of my Embellish-Knit Machine last night and it's ready to go!

And, with that, we're half-way through NaBloPoMo. Stay tuned!

Oh, and don't forget to VoteLoLa!

14 November 2013

Secondly - Le p'tit mousse

With perfect buttons!

Le p'tit mousse


This is another garter stitch baby sweater -- a pullover this time -- knit all in one piece and requiring only to be finished with one long side/sleeve seam on each side and, of course, buttons! In this case, the buttons are purely decorative. 


Naturally, that clever little pocket drew me in, but so, too, the flippy little sleeve detail. The pocket could easily be done in another color -- complementary, contrasting, the possibilites are endless.

This was also a very quick knit, the long pause between start & finish mainly due to procrastination about seaming up and, then, the buttons.


Yes, more to come!


13 November 2013

The first of a few -- Stitch!

To get the party started, I sewed the seams of Le p'tit mousse the other night and then couldn't find the buttons I'd bought for it a few months ago.

So, I stopped at my LYS yesterday on the way home and, of course, found buttons I liked even better! Phyllis at Iris Fine Yarns has a wonderful collection of buttons!

But we're actually not going to talk about that today. Today we're going to talk about this:

One-Stitch Baby Sweater


I put the start date on Rav as November 1, 2010, only because there's not an option for "a million years ago." I have no idea when I started this, but it's been finished for almost as long, with coil-less pins marking five spots and awaiting only buttons all this time.


Alison picked the buttons herself last week at Soutache, and they are perfect -- the light blue buttons with the pale yellow yarn gives a nice vintage-y feel.


I'm unsure of the size -- it will probably fit 9m to a year or so, depending on the baby.

Aptly named, it's knit entirely in garter stitch (my favorite stitch) and all in one piece, finished with one long side/sleeve seam on each side and, of course, buttons! Cotton Ease means easy care -- one of the best and most affordable there is. This would be perfect in all seasons.


Voila! Ooooh, I can't wait for a squishy baby!!


There's more to come... stay tuned!

* * * * *

And don't forget to VoteLoLa today (and everyday)!


12 November 2013


Local Chicks Are Better!


Locally Laid Egg Company, Duluth, MN, is in the Final Four of Intuit's Small Business Big Game contest -- the one where one small company wins a big commercial spot during the Super Bowl!

It's a great story (not to mention the BEST COMPANY NAME EVER), but I especially love the part where my cousin Gail is great friends with the owners of Locally Laid, Jason & Lucie Amundsen. Gail's sons work with LoLa on a regular basis and Gail, an architect, designs cool chicken houses for Jason and is involved in many other chicken-y projects with them.


Do me a favor, will ya? VoteLoLa.com -- once a day, everyday, thru December 1st. There's no registration necessary -- just click the link, VoteLoLa, and be done. Once a day, everyday. It would be so cool to see them win... I really want to see that commercial!!


11 November 2013


Direct from his "Vietnam and Other Tales" scrapbook, my then 22-year-old husband in Vietnam. First a company clerk, he later directed an arts and crafts program where soldiers could work on making models, jewelry and other art, instead of, ahem, enjoying other types of R&R popular at the time.

Thanks, Rusty, and all veterans! Happy Veterans' Day!


10 November 2013


So, we've used cloth napkins in our household for as long as I can remember. I've purchased some new, lots of old/vintage, have been given some, and repurposed many. You can get a lot of good napkins out of an old cotton tablecloth marred by an unremovable stain or two. I don't even hem them -- just rip along the grain and let 'em fray.

Today was "kitchen" laundry day -- dishtowels, dishcloths, potholders, and napkins. I like to fold them neatly, but I'm not too particular about wrinkles and whatnot. It helps when I hang them on the line to dry, especially on a breezy day, because the sun and wind do a good job of "ironing."

There's a particular set of 6 that were my grandma's and they seem to wrinkle more than the rest. I thought that maybe I'd bust a move and actually iron them today.

In order to do that, though, I needed to clear a path to the cupboard where my iron is... to get the iron and also to have room for setting up the board... which I did, and I'm really glad I did, but the iron wasn't in there!

There's a moral to this story, I'm sure of it...


09 November 2013


I'm not sure why it's taken so long to blog this little project.


I bought the yarn and pattern for this shawl about a year ago when I took a little birthday trip to the west coast.


It didn't take long to cast on, and I was finished in about a month.

It was a fun and very interesting to knit, with some different but very simple construction & stitch techniques, and it's completely reversible!

Marin by Ysolda Teague

I recall that when I unpinned it from blocking last year, I wished that it was slightly larger. If I knit it again -- and I might -- I'd probably go up a needle size.

I could probably block it a bit larger next time, too.

Anyway, I've been wearing it a ton this year. The color is fabulous with the knit jacket I've been wearing most, that someone recently described as being "raisin" colored. 


Originally, I was going to just post the photo above, write a few words, and call it a NaBloPoMo day. Ha. The light's not so great today -- and I may as well get used to that situation for the next six months -- but I managed a few FO photos. Progress!

Hope you had a good start to the weekend.


08 November 2013

Friday foolishness

Thor: The Dark World is on my short list for the weekend. (It's my birthday (week) and I can do what I want to!!) I recently watched the first Thor on Netflix and have been looking forward to seeing this on the big screen!

For now, how about a slumber party with Tom Hiddleston on the little screen:

Flippin' awesome.

Chicago was fun but it's been a busy week and I feel as though I've hardly even unpacked. Laundry, a little cleaning, cooking, some knitting, I have some bebe sewing projects that should get started, too.

The apartment also awaits; I sort of conveniently dropped that off my radar. I did clean up the new/used stove and ordered new drip pans. I guess I needed a break from that, and now that I'm recharged (sort of) it shouldn't take too much more. I believe the painting is finished -- even the porch -- and it looks great!

What's up for your weekend?


07 November 2013

Chicago weekend - part 2

After a short walk for coffee and breakfast on Sunday morning, we checked out of our hotel and started to make our way north!

First stop:  The Spice House. We were there a few minutes before they opened, and the aroma was amazing even out on the sidewalk! This was my first visit to The Spice House, and I had a few things on my list! Those items procured, we walked down the street for coffee. I'd checked in on FB and my friend Amy piped up about their Chicago Spiced Sugar being a favorite, so we went back for that... and more!

I seriously love that about Facebook... and my friends... when I'm in a place that's new or unfamiliar! It was SO helpful when I planned the trip Sharon & I took to Las Vegas a few years ago, and there's just nothing better than a recommendation from a friend!

Buttons! Now to get them sewn on...

Our next stop was Soutache. I learned about this shop at Stitches Midwest where they had a booth. We visited earlier this year, but I had left all of my sweaters-in-need-of-buttons at home. This time, I'd grabbed a couple of Zim's in need of closure, and Ali and I had a fun time choosing... including some cute vintage buttons. It's not as extensive as Tender Buttons, but it's as close as I've seen.

Another planned stop was at The Container Store. We'd spied it on our way out of town last time and immediately put it on The List. Ali was looking for some baskets for shelving in her new bathroom -- and if you can't find something like that at TCS... 

Lunch break:  Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine. Delicious. It was nice enough that we were able to eat al fresco. I also had my first San Pellegrino Grapefruit -- yummy! Like Fresca, but not Fresca.

Our last stop before heading home was Bellybum Boutique. I have a feeling we were at that store before, but Ali thinks not... that it's the one that was closed that day. I dunno. Cute shop, lots of great stuff for babies, their mums, and even their grandmums-to-be!

* * * * *

Thank for all the wonderful birthday wishes!

No cake, make mine gelato! Also, nice books. #happybirthdaytome !!

I had a great day! No cake, but gelato works (Talenti Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip). Phone calls, Skype chats, both lunch & dinner away, hearing Zim's heartbeat at Ali's midwife appointment (next one in two weeks!), a couple of new books from my Wish List, a video "Happy Birthday" sung in Portuguese from Mack & Addy! Really. How could it be better?


06 November 2013


Here are 55 amazing(ly) random things because...

1.  Today, I am 55!

2.  I was born at 11:26 a.m. on a Thursday.

3.  That's a long clip, but quite entertaining.

4.  David Bowie.

5.  Thursday's child has far to go.

6.  I just discovered/realized that my birthday falls exactly 7 weeks before Christmas.

7.  Always has.

8.  That means Christmas is on a Wednesday this year.

9.  "Hump day" is a great day.

10.  Except when it's also Christmas Day.

11.  Wednesday is one of the dumbest days for any holiday.

12.  It's a great day for a regular day off, though.

13.  Never thought I'd like it, and then I tried it.

14.  Wednesday's been "my day" for almost 10 years.

15.  Staggering.


16.  My birthday present from Kate arrived in the mail yesterday -- some lovely hand-dyed 80/20 BFL/Silk laceweight from Scotland -- 1600 m/1750 yds!

17.  It's a bit more blue than gray in real life.

18.  Sanderling has been on my radar (and in my library) for a while... Wray.

19.  I'm leaning toward a garment.

20.  I'm not averse to a shawl/stole.

21.  I do love my one & only laceweight shawl.

22.  Hwy. 55 goes right through my town. It's also one of my favorite routes to take in a southerly direction. That side of Lake Winnebago is gorgeous.

23.  State & county highways are so much more my style these days.

24.  55 is also the speed limit on many of those roads.

25.  A Bugatti Type 55 drives square into "dream car" territory.

26.  Today is the 3-week appointment with Ali & her midwife!

27.  Soon they'll be 2-week, and then every week appointments.

28.  So far, The Birth Partner is the best book I've read on the subject, and the one I'd recommend to a "birth partner." (I have the third edition, shown/linked below; the text link is to the fourth).

29.  Hard to believe my first grandchild will be here in only two months!

30.  I'm still pretty focused on baby knitting -- just finished my third soaker, and started a pair of leggings/baby legs.

31.  The first leg was knocked out last night. I'll knit one or two pair in worsted weight, but can't wait to pick some fingering weight from the stash to knit some of Ruth's Baby Leggings.

32.  0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55. Fifty-five is the 10th number in the Fibonacci sequence.

33.  I still have another "Fibonacci" project on my mind.

34.  It may be time for an epic project.

35.  Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises. --Elizabeth Zimmermann

36.  That's two Ns.

37.  And it's a religion!

38.  Forgive me, Mother, for I have sinned...

39.  I have knowingly started a project without enough wool to finish...

40.  What do you suppose would be the penance for that?

41.  Kitchener the toes of two pairs of socks...

42.  Knit one Baby Surprise...

43.  Teach a muggle to knit.


45.  The oak leaves are falling hard right now.

46.  It's also raining.

47.  A few leaks have been discovered in our roof.

48.  Buckets have been employed.

49.  Plural. I did not make further inquiry.

50.  Because, thankfully, that is not my domain.

51.  So, 55.

52.  On track to be an unforgettable year.

53.  The year I become Grandmother.

54.  Schmandmother. (In a good way.)

55.  Schfifty Five. (You're welcome.)

05 November 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Zzzzzzz

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Thoughts on Daylight Savings Time


1.  Remember to set the clock back!


2.  Did my phone automatically "fall back"?

3.  Reset the alarm clock, living room clock, kitchen clock, stove clock, water softener clock, set-back thermostat clock...

4.  Is that all of them?

5.  Reset the clock in the car -- at the next stop light -- with one hand.

6.  Compare and contrast every clock I see:  Has its owner set it back yet?

7.  This is such a pain...

8.  And I don't even have a watch(es)!


9.  Aaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh! I'm so... discombobulated. And tired. And look at that, it's practically "night" at 4:00 already.

10.  I hate this.


04 November 2013

A weekend away - Chicago

Having last left Chicagoland with a few things still on our to-do list, Ali and I took off on Friday afternoon with an aim to cross them off.

And we did.

And then some.


We stayed at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Chicago for a pretty good rate via Hotwire, and had a great view from our room on the 27th floor. Parking kills ya, but it's not like it's a surprise; I like to mosey my way out of town, so this works best for me/us.

I never made it over to The Palmer House where Vogue Knitting Live was happening. I'd just been to Stitches Midwest in August... had almost a half-dozen projects in various stages of finishing with me, as well as one on the needles, and plenty of yarn at home. Someday, maybe.


We bundled up on Saturday morning and took a walk to Navy Pier. Had we been looking for something to do all day, SOFA would have been fun -- the only other time I visited Navy Pier was years ago for Art Chicago -- but we just enjoyed the walk and the scenery and that was that.

It's changed a lot since I was there, by the way; and is very family-oriented in terms of shops and attractions.


From our hotel room, the Navy Pier ferris wheel was visible to the naked eye there between those buildings. Oh, I do love those tall buildings. Having never lived in the big city, someday -- in this life or one of the next -- I'd love to, even if just for a while.


On a whim, having never done it before, Ali and I walked through American Girl Place (and what a place!) on our way out of Water Tower Place. I nearly plotzed when I spotted JULIE ALBRIGHT - 1974! That's me... us... a mash-up of all of us -- me, my sisters, my friends. Crrraazy! I had a lot of those outfits. Heh. Ali was looking for some of her faves... Felicity, Samantha, Kirsten are all "in the archives" now, and another (Molly?) will soon be joining them.

We closed out Saturday by going to the movies! We saw Ender's Game. I enjoyed the movie more than Ali, but she read the book about a thousand times in middle school and I had no expectation since I haven't read it even once! It was entertaining enough; I was quite captivated by the young lead actor/character and how much he reminded me of my nephew Mack!

To be continued...

03 November 2013

The suspense is killing us


Taos Women's Jive Pump -- in the photo posted yesterday, there's a brown pair right at my feet and the very helpful saleswoman was at that very moment getting the black pair that I eventually bought. Oh, I did love a few of the others, but one at a time suits me fine.

I went in for a pair of black flats and, while not quite that, I think it's closer than the time I went in for sandals and came out with Mary Janes!


02 November 2013

Something I don't do very often

But when I do... and I found a winner!

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.


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.


5.  Hang laundry on the line.

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

7.  Watch a movie or catch up with Tivo.


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!

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.

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.

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).

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!

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.


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


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


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


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


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


Sat., July 27 - with Abbey.


Sat., Aug. 3 - with Maddy.


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


Sat., Aug. 24 - with Ali.


Sat., Aug. 31 - with Ali.


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


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!


Sat., Sept. 21 - with Abbey.


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


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


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!

'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:


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.

Dinner is served!

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.

{ 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

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.

2.  I threw some ribs in the slow cooker.

3.  And took a nap.

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.

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.


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!

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.

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!

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.

The three items above are in need of only buttons:

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:

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

Alison's work, preschool.

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.

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


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!!


You can't knit just one!


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!

...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:


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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

I found gingko!

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. 

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...

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:

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!

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!

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

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!

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:

Oh, the pines smelled SO GOOD!

Paddled around the lake:

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


Did some walking around Lake Geneva:

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

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



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.


  • 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.


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.


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

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 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.


My Photo

My Other Accounts

Facebook Flickr Google Plus Instagram Follow Me on Pinterest Rav_link
free short rows knitting class at craftsy.com
Online Knitting Class
Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 03/2004
Victoria Mothes (knitorious) participates in affiliate a d v e r t i s i n g programs. Some of the links herein are designed to provide a means to earn a small percentage in fees.