02 August 2013

Right Now... It's August!

Here's what's happening for me . . . Right Now!

WATCHING . . . Orange is the New Black. I think Netflix is figuring it out! Not only are they offering programs they way their customers like to watch, but their original programs are KILLER. Ahem. On that note, I'm sure it will surprise no one to know that instead of OITNB, I watched The Business of Being Born last night.

On the To-Watch list: Hannibal, Hell On Wheels.

READING . . . I haven't actually cracked a book in months... until Tuesday when my Amazon order arrived, consisting of Special Women: The Role of the Professional Labor Assistant and a few other books in that vein. 

Becoming a doula has been on my radar for years, and now... That Alison wants me attendant at the birth is a given. I would like to be knowledgeable as well as instinctively supportive! Who knows, maybe this is the push and start to actually pursuing certification.

KNITTING . . . Um, baby stuff? As established, I recently finished Little Heaume and am only in need of a button to finish. Imagine my delight at learning that the National Button Society will be holding their Diamond Jubilee Convention here in a couple of weeks! I just happen to have a few other items in need of buttons. I am also working on Purl Soho's Chevron Baby Blanket, using a superwash wool in 3 colors. I just made the first color change and... now I'm bored and ready for something else. It'll probably be Pull Gaspard, you know, for my "portable" knitting project; I just have to decide which size.

LISTENING TO . . . Happy! Clap along!! I was so happy when I learned that Pharrell Williams was doing the music for Despicable Me 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). I first learned of Pharrell in Snoop Dogg's Beautiful (I love visiting Rio that way)! He also made an appearance last season as a guest coach for Usher's team on The Voice. And then, of course, there's this summer's controversial number with Robin Thicke and T.I., Blurred Lines... causing a bit of a stir. Sassy. I like to turn it up loud.

I don't know what it is, exactly, but I love Pharrell's voice and the way he sings. Plus he's so boyishly cute. So, fine, I'm having a little crush. Anyway, Happy is a fabulous early-morning, start-the-day, going-to-work song. The other DM2 songs I have starred in Spotify are Fun, Fun, Fun and Just A Cloud Away. Also, the movie was cute.

DREADING . . . Katie's departure for Scotland... five (5!) weeks from TODAY. My feelings about this are multi-faceted, of course; I am also Celebrating, Itching To, Inspired By, and Delighted By... among other things.

HUMMING . . . See "Listening to..." above.

CELEBRATING . . . Did you hear? There's going to be a baby!

PLANNING . . . To pack a lot of fun into this "last month of summer." Thanks to one of the women in knitting group, I'll be catching a 6 a.m. bus next Friday for Stitches Midwest! There's a trip to Door County on the calendar, as well as a quickie to Chicago, the button convention, a rummage sale, a month of farmer markets, a writing project, and a little photo gig for some old, old friends. Someone will have to help Maddy and her friend Katy move into their first apartment this month, too!

ITCHING TO . . . Like Kym, I am (have been) itching to do some sewing! I have some things ready to sew, some clothing to take in, a quilt cut and ready, another that I'd like to make... maybe for a baby. My machine's a Husqvarna, and it's getting time to go!

DRINKING . . . Beer, coconut water, tea a la Arnold Palmer.

NEEDING TO . . . Shop around for health insurance. Yep, it's that time of year again. I'm not sure how many more years I'm going to be able to take a 20% annual increase in health insurance premiums. Next year I'll have surpassed another "milestone" birthday. This is not the area where I want to spend all my money! I don't understand and it all makes my head hurt; insurance and the medical machine make my blood boil... certainly none of this can be good for my health!

ORGANIZING . . . Yarn! Sort of. I'm working on it. It's part of the plan to clean out my workroom for the installation of French doors. Rusty's been helping Ali & Rod with a bathroom remodel project at their house, giving me some reprieve. Naturally, I've ignored my task altogether. Tsk.

INSPIRED BY . . . Relatively stable weight in July and apparently finding true balance in my diet. I have buckled down a bit, now, for August, in an effort to lose a few more pounds. I'm delighted to know that I can have my cake (ice cream, beer, the occasional potato chip, chocolate) and eat it, too, without guilt, really, or worry that I've "ruined my diet." I really "treated" myself well and with abandon in July, but am apparently doing okay on a day-to-day basis and held my own. This has to be the way I was meant to eat...

DELIGHTED BY . . . My girls. Always, my girls! Katie's preparations for attending the University of Edinburgh are so exciting. Alison, of course, is in the midst of one of the most exciting periods of her life. Maddy will soon be winding down the summer camp counselor job and amping up the school-year coffee shop manager job, in addition to continuing to work on her education degree.

My house is going to be completely empty soon, for the first time in a long time.


How about YOU?  What's going on for YOU . . . right now?


29 July 2013

Life imitates

I saw a cartoon the other day about how a knitter prepares for travel. I can't find it right now, but I think I can easily summarize.

  • A few weeks before departure, knitter figures out which project to work on while traveling and commences to assemble required materials.
  • This, of course, is in addition to the WIP/contingency/mood projects already destined for packing.
  • Knitter then casts on the new project and gets a little start... to get a feel for materials and become familiar with the pattern, etc.
  • Two days before departure, knitter casts off the last stitch of the travel knitting project!

I daresay that baby knitting works just like that! I plan to knit a Chevron Baby Blanket inspired by the always lovely and inspiring Purl Bee... so many adorable projects! (There are some adorable PB sewing projects for baby that I'd like to make, too!) A blanket gets big and unwieldy to tote around, so, of course, there must be smaller, portable project(s) underway at all times. Pictured above is Little Heaume, the baby hat that I started on Saturday morning at the farmer market for just that purpose.

And (you may already know this), I finished the hat last night, except for the button, before I even cast on the first stitch of the blanket!!

Tired as I was, I stayed up to get started on that blanket, casting on and knitting two rows!

I don't have a portable project going at the moment, though.

It may take some practice to get my rhythm going!


24 July 2013

Cat out of bag

Baby jumps in! Haha.

I know, it doesn't really work that way.       o.O

It was Mother's Day when Ali told me that she'd taken three pregnancy tests and they'd all said the same thing... and that she had a few more test sticks, just in case, but was pretty sure they'd all have the same -- positive  -- result! That was pretty awesome news to hear on Mother's Day... and I especially loved that it was mine-all-mine for a while. Delicious.

As you may recall, we had wedding planning quite heavy in the rotation at the time, so the baby news sort of took a back seat.

Until today. Ali asked me to join them at their intro visit to the midwifery practice that they'll be using, because I would like to not only be present but also useful at the birth, and...


The estimate is that Little Zim is around 16 weeks old, and the due date is early to mid January.

This is pretty much the frosting on my cake right now! I try not to hyperventilate when I think about all.the.things.to.knit... a blanket? a bonnet? a sweater? a hat? a toy? Fourteen of each? Because that's not even the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many super amazingly beautiful patterns there are for each of those things.

Deep. Breaths.

I just smile when I ask Ali how she's feeling and she says, "I am HUGE," and... oh my, isn't she CUTE? Heheh.

I simply cannot wait.


23 July 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Treats of summer

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Summertime Treats

Some of the best things about summer...

1. Pedicure(s)

2. Going barefoot... or wearing cute sandals

3. The occasional hot fudge sundae


Maddy was my market mate last Saturday

 4. Farmer market fare (not every week, never all.the.things, and always shared):

  • Orbits mini-donuts
  • Eggrolls
  • Springrolls
  • Kettle corn
  • New-this-year, still-to-try, wood-fired pizza!

5. Enjoying the fruits (vegetables) of our labor

Book club gathered at Waverly Beach on the north shore of Lake Winnebago

6. Dining/knitting/socializing al fresco

7. I love the sounds of summer: kids at the pool, the crack (or clink) of a bat meeting a ball, the roar of the crowd, the nice rumble of a motorcycle, the radio...

8. Cloud-watching and (new!) summer storm-chasing

9. Lazy hazy crazy days of summer -- enjoying every day

10. Day tripping... the Lake Michigan shore is an hour away!

When you live in a climate like mine, where winter is long, dark, and very cold, almost everything about summer can be considered a treat! There is such pleasure in simply opening a window and feeling a delicious breeze...


22 July 2013

Aspire to inspire...

...before you expire.

That phrase was on a reader board at a church between my house and Mom's, so I read it at least once a day for about a month!

Sometimes those things stick.

I ran across this photo last week. It was taken last July just before Annie moved to Brazil.

I immediately thought of the photos I'd taken of Karen and me a couple of weeks ago...

What a difference a year makes!! I think we've lost the equivalent of a 6th grader between us! Inspiring? I think so. It inspires me -- we inspire each other -- to keep going!

So, I've done pretty well, considering all of the hoopla so far this summer -- a big wedding, 4th of July, Annie & her family visiting from afar. I haven't weighed myself in weeks, but feel little difference in my clothes so am confident that overall I'm holding pretty steady. I did start to feel a little icky around the 4th of July, and noticed that my ankles and feet were swelling again -- it felt awful, and it was a big reminder of where I'd been and how far I've come, and I sure don't want to go back!!

I want to keep wearing my cute shoes!!  :)

I really haven't strayed too far from the principles that helped me get here -- which says a lot, actually, about how this style of eating is definitely for me! But there is definitely room for improvement, so it's time to crack the books and get firmly back on track, back to basics. I'll be doing another Whole30 (as close as I get, anyway) in August. It's a great time to do it, with all of the fresh local produce* coming on strong, and perhaps I'll focus on exploring more sauces and things this time.

In addition to the excellent resources linked above, there's always something on sale (or even free) for your Kindle/app on Amazon.

*I plucked the first ripe cherry tomatoes from my own patio garden this morning!


16 July 2013

Ten on Tuesday: The Heat is ON

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Ways To Beat The Heat

Humid or dry, hot is hot. I have found, though, that 90F and humid here is a LOT different than 90F and humid in, say, Rio de Janeiro -- it's "hotter" here (my brother-in-law agrees)! It is humid there, of course; tropical and "moist" all the time. The sheets felt damp every night when I crawled into bed, and vertical file systems aren't used much because the papers simply wilt, but my skin never looked or felt better! In Rio, and probably most coastal areas, there's almost always some air movement, the air never gets quite as "thick" as here. Or as hot.

Let's find our cool...

1. Thanks to some big trees, I'm able to keep the house cool with a few window air conditioners and strategically placed fans. South- and west-facing windows are kept covered. Central air is always on the wish list (the window units can be noisy)!

2. Grilling out is a great way to keep the heat out of the kitchen.

3. So is eating out!

4. When I cook indoors/at home, I try to be efficient about it and make a quantity of something -- on Sunday it was Greek Meatballs. There was enough for dinner and a couple of lunches! (I made mine with goat instead of lamb because I have a convenient local source every Saturday at the farmer market -- delicious!)

5. Alongside the meatballs (both the Italian version, weekend before last, and the Greek last weekend), I made Bell Pepper Slaw. So easy! I used "broccoli slaw" for mine, and probably used fewer peppers but more tomatoes the first time -- and made it in the jar and a day ahead. We all agreed that the jar was not really necessary but sort of cool. The second time, I used even fewer peppers and no tomatoes -- because I didn't have any -- and served it immediately. It's that kind of recipe... and that time of year.

6. I'm not sweatin' the small stuff.

7. Staying hydrated is important! In addition to water, I've been drinking an Arnold Palmer or three everyday. I usually make mine with a lot of tea and just a bit of lemonade, but sometimes the other way around. Also, an ice cold beer -- oooh, I love it best in a frosty mug/glass -- is so refreshing on a hot summer day!

8. One of my favorite places to beat the heat is at the movies.

9. Dresses! I've been wearing dresses more often this summer -- easy, breezy.

10. Though I now own my first suit in nearly two decades, I'm not much of a swimmer, but the water is a great place to beat the heat! Lounging on a beach chair, under an umbrella, near enough to go wading, sipping on fresh in-the-coconut coconut water... Or something similar.  :)

According to the forecast, tomorrow's going to be the hottest day this week, followed by stormy weather on Thursday & Friday, leaving a much nicer weekend in the wake. Yeah. I'll take it!

What's your best beat-the-heat strategy?


15 July 2013


I've been taking a "Market Watch" photo every week of our set up at the farmer market. It looks pretty much the same week-to-week, but there are subtle changes. Who I'm working with, the weather... "where's Waldo," "spot the difference" puzzle type stuff. It amuses me. Anyway, last week I finally washed and blocked some banner triangles I'd made last winter from random leftovers. I strung them on some clothesline (I bought way more for the wedding than I needed) (also clothes- and safety pins) (and paper straws). Anyway... it was a bit breezy at the market on Saturday morning so they're difficult to see in the overall photo. Cute? I think so.

After last week's visit to Homeland Security for biometrics and the subsequent mailing of the student visa app, Katie is in full-on packing/moving mode! She found a good home for the chinchilla she adopted a few years ago, freeing up a corner of the upstairs apartment for organization of rummage sale stuff. I was up for some reason or other over the weekend and spotted this artifact on the floor! Do you know what it is? We never seemed to have very many, or they were difficult to find when needed, so I'm still inclined to pocket and save them when I see them.

We went to The Kangaroost for breakfast yesterday morning and it's the best breakfast out I've had in a long time... and the only breakfast I've had out in a long time. My photo isn't the greatest, but it was all quite delicious and those American fries were pure perfection, which is really great because I like to think of them as a treat.

I've been concerned about my refrigerator for a while... it seems to run constantly! It's summer and it's hot and humid, so there's that... After breakfast and before the current wave of heat & humidity came on too strong, we pulled it out and cleaned the coils, underneath, etc., and I found a woolly mammoth on one of the ledges/pans in the back. It is an old fridge, but not that old!! I'm not sure how that ever ended up there... and at first, I thought it was a dessicated mouse! Anyway, it's a 28-year-old fridge and, well, I know it's not going to last forever... though my microwave of same vintage is still going strong!

I went to not one, but TWO blockbuster action-packed movies over the weekend: Man of Steel and Pacific Rim. Having grown up with the Christopher Reeve version of Superman -- which was pretty perfect -- Henry Cavill is absolutely the new perfect Superman and I can't imagine how he'll be topped, but I sure that someday he will. We saw the preview for Pacific Rim before Superman and it was intriguing. The effects were amazing -- and I probably saw more destruction in these two movies than I've seen in every other movie I've ever seen, combined -- and I almost think I enjoyed it more.

That's Weekending.

How was yours?

11 July 2013

Summer will end soon enough...

Man, it's been jam-packed so far!

Since the wedding:

  • Ali & Rod had a little honeymoon get-away
  • We started Saturday farmer markets again
  • Rusty traveled to Japan and back
  • My sister Ann arrived from Brazil for a couple of weeks, making a couple of trips to Madison, too
  • My sister Karen came from Northern WI for a quickie 24-hour visit
  • The girls left & returned on their road trip to Glacier National Park (click on over for Kate's run-down on their adventure, and picture-postcard photos!)

I've been pretty stationary through all of that... feeling not unlike a May pole, though perhaps a bit dizzier.


In addition to ice cream, there was bike-riding (Addy mastered two wheels!), a joint birthday celebration for Mack & Addy), the 4th of July, returning travelers... busy, busy, busy!

It's hard to believe that Mack turned 8 a month ago, and Addy's almost 6!


Mack - Then & Now!


Addy - Then & Now!

Departure for Brazil was set for Tuesday afternoon and my girls hadn't even seen them yet, so everyone came over and we had a little farewell dinner on Monday night at my house. I made Aunt Cece's meatballs, my new go-to that I love so much (serving pasta & sauce for those who wished it), and this Bell Pepper Slaw found on Pinterest (made a day ahead, making day-of so much easier). Annie made one of the two Pao de Queijo mixes she brought us (they turned out GREAT) (and Hm)! Ali brought a bowl of her lovely chocolate avocado pudding, also a new fave.

And here we are on Tuesday evening at Red Robin before heading over to see Despicable Me 2... Um, flight delays are a bummer, but at least they found out early enough they wouldn't make their connections that they could delay their departure by a day! Yay? YAY!


I had long planned to drive down to Milwaukee on Wednesday (yesterday) with Katie for her fingerprinting appointment at the Dept. of Homeland Security -- one more step towards Scotland! Things are falling into place... once the student visa is in-hand, the flight will be booked... the days are counting down fast. Anyway, I snuck over to Mom's early yesterday for final kisses & hugs. It was Mack -- NOT the pesky aunt always wanting smoochies -- who requested "one more" kiss & hug, honing his heart-breaker skills in the process! While not enthusiastic, Addison was not stingy with the kisses, but he withheld my hug, saying that he'll give it to me when I'm in Rio!

I guess I'll have go to Rio again, too!  :)

09 July 2013

Ten on Tuesday: All By Myself

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Things To Do When I'm Alone

Just the other day, Katie asked, "Did you get enough time alone, Mom?"

See, Rusty was recently in Japan and, overlapping by a few days, the girls were off on their first-ever road trip together -- and I stayed home alone!

O, Happy Day(s).

I love my family and I love to spend time with them, but I have absolutely, positively, no problem whatsoever in the whole entire world spending time alone. My family has always known this. When the kids were little, and especially during the time I didn't work outside the home, Rusty knew that the nicest thing he could do for me was to take the kids for an afternoon, a day, a couple of days, a long weekend... and leave me home. Alone.

So, what do I like to do?

1.  Not cook. I never (hardly ever) cook when I'm home alone. My favorite "alone" food? Cold cereal -- for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks -- especially late-night snacks (because, when I'm home alone, the nights tend to go late). Though I've all but eliminated grains from my diet, there will always be room for cold cereal! Cheerios was always my favorite, but lately I've been eating (and loving) Rice Chex more... with chopped pecans and raisins or banana or fresh berries. Yum.

2.  Clean out and organize stuff. Yarn, books, closets, cupboards. I like big chunks of uninterrupted time to spread out, make, and clean up the big mess that is always a part of this process.

3.  Take the frequent breaks that are also part of the above-mentioned process.

4.  Turn up the volume!

5.  Shop. I shop well with others, but I sometimes like to do it alone.

6.  Drive! (Usually with the volume UP!)

7.  Watch old movies. Just as with music, my taste in movies is wide and varied... and not always to the liking of others.

8.  Putz. What? It's a thing. There's just no other word for it. One of my very favorite things to do is "putz & putter." I have been known to do it all day long, often while wearing my PJs.

9.  Visit the yarn/craft store. I love to see what's new and be inspired!

10.  Knit, of course!

How about you? Do you like to be alone or do you dread it?


01 July 2013

Lavender & Lace

Ravelry-2013-06-28 00.25.51
I didn't finish them in time for the wedding. I'm sure it was because the lavender in my garden wasn't blooming then, and now it is (also, blurry little creeping thyme flowers in the foreground).

Ravelry-2013-06-28 00.30.24
Each one tied with a ribbon corresponding to the color of their dress for the wedding.

  • Project:  Lavender & Lace by Derya Davenport
  • Ravelry details here
  • Yarn:  JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 from Sarah's Yarns
  • Yarn:  Make.Do Invoke Sport (for one), using US 3 needle
  • Needle:  US 0, 1
  • Start to Finish:  May 28 - June 28, 2013

I knit the first one in the round and, while efficient, I found it tedious. I don't know that I was thinking. I've knit hundreds of small hexagons the same way and haven't complained. Feeling under the gun and knowing I knit faster on straight needles, I knit all the rest flat -- except for my sister's, but that one's much larger.

Um, yeah, so sewing up seven tiny sachets isn't tedious? Gah.

So, the tiniest one -- the first one -- I gave to Jillian because she's the youngest and it was so very sweet. I made a mistake on one, working the eyelet row YO, K1 instead of YO, K2tog, resulting in a double-ruffle -- and I left it that way and gave it to the bride.

Ravelry-2013-06-28 00.27.34
They smell divine!


29 June 2013


Thursday, June 27, 2013. The first photo was taken in the late morning, I think; the second as I left work at 5:00; the third half-way home.

Later, Kate & I went to Appleton for a bite to eat and noticed the drama in the sky as we left the restaurant. We drove north instead of home, seeking higher ground and expansive view -- straight into it, getting our storm-chaser on!

It was pretty amazing, very exciting, and also a little scary as lightning lit the sky and the clouds shifted and changed. Katie was concerned when it looked as though little funnels might be forming; I was concerned when the clouds turned a sickly yellow-green.

We snapped some pictures on our mobile devices, then it started to rain and we drove home in a downpour.

Fun times!

I'm serious!


28 June 2013

We all scream


The boys from Brazil arrived late Wednesday. My job was to stop at the store after work to pick up a few things to go with supper, ice cream being one of them... and I forgot it! Luckily, just as we headed out for an after-dinner game of ball tag, we heard the ice cream truck coming down the street!

I can't remember the last time I stood at an ice cream truck window! (Way before 4 treats cost $15.00!!) We sat right down on the grass to slurp, then burned it all off playing tag.

* * * * *


Today marks the first day of... I don't know what you call it: a 5-day weekend or a mini-vacation? Whatever it is, I'll take it!! A couple-few of those days will be free for nothing but me! Meaning, of course, that I'll be cleaning up, organizing, and throwing stuff out of my workroom...

* * * * *


The first time I noticed and learned about a catalpa tree must have been on a Sister Weekend in Milwaukee and from Sharon, because Karen, Annie and I all have a similar response to the catalpa.* Sharon then worked as an arborist for the city and lived across from a park where an enormous catalpa tree grew. There are a few reasons to notice catalpa trees over the course of a year, but they're especially eye-catching when a mature tree is in full bloom -- that one was, and we all noticed!

This one is down a little ways from the coffee shop. I pulled over yesterday morning to snap a pic from the car. There's another across the street and a bit further down. Oh, the sweet scent of those flowers. There used to be a catalpa two doors down from us, but it was sacrificed some years ago for a driveway. I treasure a wooden bowl that was made from the wood of that tree!

Not to be forgotten, there are a couple of volunteer catalpas in the neighbor's yard and in ours that we've spotted over the last several years. The one in our yard is sort of in a silly place, and may cause some retaining wall problems in 100 years. Or maybe not! Maybe that tree will save the retaining wall... lord knows it's not going to make it another 100 years without some help. Anyway, I love that I can see that little tree from the kitchen and the other day I noticed flowers!

It's only a few, but I think it's the first time!

The way the (social) world works these days, when a young knitting friend gives birth at a local birthing center, another friend might just end up clicking around on similar sites and pages. It was on one such page where I found posted a photo of a chalkboard on which the names and dates of recent births at the center were written, among them Alton - 4/29, Esther - 5/2, Harrison - 5/23, Richard - 5/23, and...

SHARON - 6/15**

*I posted that photo on FB and Annie wrote, "Well I think we can take that as a big HELLO! from Sharon!"

**Sharon's birthday! If that isn't a big ol' howdy-do from my late sister, I don't know what is! ~

* * * * *


Time to get moving! I've a trunk full o' junk to drop off for donation, and sleeping bags ready for the laundromat. I've finished sewing up the sachets and filled them with lavender flowers, and just this morning found the ribbon I've been looking for to finish them off! I am now free to move about the cabin on to other knitting projects!!


25 June 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Sum-Sum-Summertime!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Want To Do This Summer

We already did the big thing!

I love that smile. I love that I haven't been seeing anything but that smile on her face. So happy.

Honestly, I haven't thought about much beyond June 15th but, well, now I guess I can!

10 More Things:

1.  Have a great little visit with the visitors from Brazil (arriving tomorrow)!

2.  Clean and clean out my workroom -- a serious paring down and purging -- in preparation for...

3.  A remodeling project! Actually, it's more of a restoration project. We'll be installing three french doors in a wall where we knew there once were similar doors (probably three french doors). Originally from a house on our block, we purchased them a few months ago at the local antique mall -- the owner of which also lives on our block. That's keeping it local, folks! Heh. I can't wait.

The back porch has already been painted! Thanks Maddy!

4.  As a result of the cleaning, purging and remodeling/restoration, I will likely be rearranging a good deal of our living area. Unless it has a specific and undeniable use -- kitchen, bathroom -- the rooms in our house are always in flux and subject to change. We don't just rearrange the furniture, we rearrange the rooms! We're in serious need right now, too, as some of of them seem more like glorified storage areas with comfortable seating.

5.  A rummage sale in August!

Hm, most of this is sounding a lot like work...

6.  Day-trips to... Milwaukee and Door County, at least.

7.  An overnighter to the Lake Geneva area and a visit to Black Point Estate.

8.  Enjoy lots of fresh produce from the local markets; I'm especially looking forward to strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and celery (I hope).

9.  Dye! I've some special-order dyeing to do, and some playing around with techniques and ideas that I'd like to do!

10.  Relax. And knit. Preferably on the deck, and with a cool beverage at-hand. I finally sewed up some sachets last night -- one-and-a-half to go -- and then I plan to finish Romi's mystery shawl while figuring out what to do next... SO MANY CHOICES right now!

  • TTL Mystery Shawl (Germinate) by Kirsten Kapur
  • Lichen by Larissa Brown
  • Tripartite by Stephen West
  • A million and one baby/kid things
  • A percolating blanket

How about you? What's on your list for summer? What should I add to mine?


24 June 2013



  • Fiber Rain. The "flowers" decorating the flowerbeds have to be my favorite. It was all taken down over the weekend and I'm sad about that... I think some/much of it should have stayed for the summer -- a month, at least.
  • Some of my yarn and knitting on display along with the work of Judy Treichel, another local fiber artist for the Art Walk portion of the program.


  • Up before dawn to deliver Rusty to the airport.
  • It's actually quite amazing how many farmer market vendors set up in the rain!
  • Including us!
  • Fortunately, the rain passed before long and it turned out to be an okay morning.
  • Did a lot of shopping with Ali in the afternoon. I tried on more than I have in... maybe ever... but only loved one shirt.
  • Was happy to find BIG bottles of my favorite coconut water at Target. Also, who knew that I liked sparkling water so much?


  • Hallelujah! I slept in!!! I can't remember the last morning that I didn't have to be up early and going somewhere.
  • An enjoyable PJ Morning.
  • More shopping! This time with Kate! Another shopping trip, another shirt.  :)
  • Also groceries so that there could be...
  • Cooking! The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Ever. Leftovers make the best lunch you will ever eat!
  • A little photo shoot with Kate (outtakes above) for her UK Student Visa and U of Edinburgh ID.
  • Lots of limes. No cachaca. Something new: Rosemary Lime Cocktail.

That's weekending. How was your weekend?


21 June 2013

Right now

Wait. Where was I? What was I doing??

 I haven't knit a stitch in over a week... that's unheard of 'round here! I did weave in some ends last night, though.

A lavender sachet for my sister's birthday! This one is the largest I've knit, using luscious sport-weight alpaca-silk-cashmere leftovers from Romi's Mystery Shawl KAL (I'm on the home stretch with that project). I came close but never had the time to finish the girls' sachets for the wedding, and feel compelled to finish them all before I do anything else! (Gah. Why didn't I knit them all in-the-round, again?)

So that's what I'll be doing to fill any down-time at tomorrow's farmer market! It's the third market of the season, but our first. The weather isn't very promising (thank goodness we don't have a wedding!), so fingers crossed!

It's all kinds crazy around here right now...

  • I'll be participating in Art On The Town tonight in Downtown Appleton as part of Fiber Rain. I'll  be at In Times Past with knits and yarn (some of my knits have been on display there all week).
  • Rusty has to be at the airport at the butt-crack of dawn tomorrow (guess who gets to take him?) for a trip to Japan with a group of artists.
  • Annie & her family arrive from Brazil (surprise!) on Wednesday.
  • My girls leave next Saturday for a sisterly road trip to Glacier National Park -- reminiscent of one I took with mine in '79 to the Oregon coast and back, with stops at Yellowstone & Mount Rushmore. I'm so excited for them!
  • And Kate is counting down the days, well into double-digits now, until her departure for Edinburgh! We have a day-trip to Milwaukee coming up for Visa application!

I think I've done pretty well at switching gears from work to wedding and back to work without much breathing time in between, but I gotta tell ya, I am so looking forward to Sunday morning!! I have a few other days off coming up and am trying not to fill them up with too terribly much... other than some yarn orders to work on and some prep for a home improvement project, I'd like to just do some sitting and knitting! And maybe some bicycling if it's nice out! And wouldn't it be nice to actually cook something?


Yeah. Couldn't resist.
Happy Weekend, Everyone!

18 June 2013

Ali + Rod : June 15

We've been pinning to a Pinterest board (I love that. June 15th, 2013), making trips to Sheboygan for dress fittings, folding doilies, drawing maps, making invitations -- all of that & then some -- for months.

Hey, planning (pinning) a wedding is so much fun!

I took photos of Ali+Rod in their back yard in mid-May, when their cherry tree was in full bloom, using the photos and a Shutterfly template to create a guest book for the wedding. There's a book preview here, if you'd like to take a look.

And, for me, that's when the quickening began. Then Ali called and said that she'd been having terrible nightmares about the wedding. She said that everyone had been telling her for so long that it would just happen and it would all work out, but she was dreaming that it was wedding day and nothing was done, there wasn't a plan! We had to get together and plan something!!

The fun & games were truly replaced by work & dread when the calendar flipped from May to June. And by dread, I really mean it... I had to force myself to smile and be excited about this thing that I'd never done before! By June 1st, I just wanted it all to be over!! Cupcake tasting a week before the wedding helped, ever so slightly, to take the edge off; and the wine.  :)

* * * * *

On Thursday morning, two days before the wedding, I made the last trip to Sheboygan to pick up the finished dress. The tent was scheduled for delivery and set-up that morning at Rod's parents' farm -- site of the wedding -- and I had some questions about the tent and what we could do, so decided to stop by there on the way.

The sight of that tent as I came up the road, and then down the drive, made me feel... well, as I shared on some other platforms, "Shit's gettin' frickin' real!" I could not believe how beautiful it all looked! And excitement was in the air!!

After a day of driving/pondering, with cars & trailers loaded -- bolts of tulle, strings of lights, tablecloths, a million little things -- and a vague plan in mind for it all, we made our way out later in the day to begin setting up.


It took a village, for sure, but one of the village people stood out from all others. Friend of the groom's family, Pete was the eye of the storm -- the doer, the enabler, the troubleshooter, the rock -- and I don't know what we'd have done without him! He was everywhere, doing anything and everything that was asked of him! Always cheerful, always calm, there wasn't a single moment in four days that I was there and he wasn't. I don't know how many times I hugged and thanked him... I do know it wasn't nearly enough. Every mother-of-the-bride needs a Pete!

My first order of business was tulle and lights. Working from the top-down, Pete climbed the ladder and stapled one end of a bolt of tulle to a post, while I swagged and draped along the perimeter.

I had a plan for the lights, but when we opened the boxes and discovered that what I thought I ordered (pluggable end-to-end) and what I actually ordered (curtain lights... plug at one end only) were two very different things, well, there was a bit of an engineering pow-wow to come up with a new plan! Pete told me what was possible electrically, and we worked it out. I think it turned out even better than the original plan. It helped that those curtain lights were 32' long!

Among other things, Rusty strung clothesline between trees for quilt-hanging. We had about 10 beautiful quilts hung in a couple of locations. After testing, we realized how heavy the quilts were, so old-fashioned props were made from 2x4s to provide extra support! Rusty planned out the photo wall, too, and built/wallpapered a fabulous prop photo wall with empty frames for posing.

A giant puff-ball pom-pom and lantern assembly line appeared on the lawn!

There was only so far we could go on Thursday night, so the rest went back into the trailer.

* * * * *

Hm. I spent a good part of Friday at my computer & printer with programs and whatnot, taking time out for some relaxing fun -- manis and pedis with my girls.

By late afternoon, we were back out at the farm for more decorating!

A little something to eat.

Cheeto smiles!

And smooches.

Then it was time for rehearsal!


And more decorating!

Having never decorated even a pup tent before, nor even been in a decorated tent, I don't think we did too bad. The whole far end was filled up by a trailer that served as stage for the band and was Rod's domain, as setting up lights and sound for bands is his business, and that helped to provide some oomph & drama in the lighting department.

* * * * *

The girls all met at my house on Saturday morning and together we headed for the salon for hair & breakfast -- the girls made egg casserole, muffins and brought along champagne!

That's Kate, our favorite stylist among favorites, at Shear Chaos applying Ali's make up. Originally, Ali was going to do her own, but was so happy that she let Kate convince her otherwise -- not only for timing, but also because she didn't have to worry a single second about it all day. She looked as fresh and beautiful at 11 p.m. as she did at 11 a.m., though I imagine a good deal of that was the happy natural glow of love. (Too sappy?) (It's absolutely true, though; she glowed so hard it makes me teary to think of it.)

I had my hair done in the first round so I could dash back home to get ready and then out to the farm to oversee preparations. First, though, I dashed across the street, through the first Downtown Appleton Farm Market of the season, taking note of some lovely yarn bombing along the way, to In Times Past gift shop where a good number of my favorite handknits are on display as part of the Fiber Rain project.

With wedding prep and all, I've had to keep my blinders on about that project, but it was fun to participate in some small way! (Truth be told, while I love to see yarn bombs, I'm not too keen on spending my very limited knitting time making them.)

* * * * *

And then we had a wedding!


Ali could not custom order nicer in-laws! I think Jillian is getting used to us, too, and is a bit more comfortable when we gather-babble.

I took very few pictures, as you might imagine, almost all of them with my phone and likely the lamest of them all. But I had fun!

Cupcakes and cake pops were made by Ali's friend, the adorable Amanda Cupcake, along with a lovely little cake for cutting (possibly with a plastic knife)!

One of the (many) highlights of the evening was when my brother, Michael, joined brothers Rod (groom) and Paul on stage -- bandmates years ago, it was a delightful reunion of their band, the original Bad Haji! Karen's the groupie right by the stage taking photos.


And, hey, speaking of Karen, we threw a helluva birthday party for her on Saturday! The band played Happy Birthday and the crowd sang along. It was sweet.

Have you read Katie's Artsy Abroad post about the wedding yet? You must -- even just to look at the pictures. She took some fun photos.

* * * * *

HIGHLIGHTS and LOWLIGHTS, depending upon your point of view (heh), and (some borrowed) photos all out of order:

It was a blast helping Katie put together a playlist for the wedding. Originally, we thought it would only be played during breaks in the band, but it turned out gettings LOTS of play and it was so much fun!

Everyone looked so beautiful and/or handsome! There were 7 bridal attendants - Jillian, Katie, Maddy, friends/baristas Abbey, Janel, Kristin, and Noel; and 4 groomsmen - Rod's brothers Paul and Mark, my brother Mike, and friend Jon. Jillian wore a pretty white floral dress; Maddy, Katie and Abbey wore red dresses; Janel, Kristin and Noel wore light blue; they all carried simple white hydrangea bouquets. The boys all wore white shirts, turned up at the cuff, with simple gray vests and daisy boutonnieres.

I want to cry -- tears of happiness and joy -- whenever I think of Alison. She was simply beautiful and radiantly happy, beginning to end. My mom's dress was spectacular on her! We'd been trying to figure out a way to incorporate a "something blue" beaded necklace of Sharon's, a remembrance of her, and it was perfect to finish off the bow on the back of the dress!

It took a little planning to orchestrate Ali's arrival via Model T, which was the mother-of-the-groom's idea and a surprise to almost everyone -- especially to Rodney!

How fast do Model Ts go? We finally realized "not very fast," and had no clue how long it would take to get from our house to the farm! We decided that she'd text me when they were at the end of the road. That's when I'd queue the father-of-the bride, the groom & the bridal party to take position, and then be seated myself.

When the last of the attendants began to make their way up the aisle, I texted her, "NOW!"

Then, I watched. Everyone waited. And wondered. More watching, waiting, wondering... I heard Mom & Joe behind me, Mom asking where Ali'd be coming from, Joe telling her, "Vicki knows. Look how she's looking... watch where Vicki's watching..."

When I saw the Model T, I gave Katie the nod and she started the music.

Alison was breathtaking as Rusty helped her from the car! Beaming smile, gorgeous hair, beautiful dress, red bouquet and shoes. It was a fairly long walk from the drive, through a thicket of trees, and down the aisle to her beloved, and the last note of the song played just as they arrived!!

'Twas a very quick ceremony! It might have been the quickest in the history of ceremonies, except that when Jillian was asked for the rings... which I was given the night before to hold... but never thought about after that...


Horrified! "They're still in my purse... SHOULD I GO GET THEM?"

What kind of idiotic question was that? I still laugh. I dashed -- honestly a 50-yard dash -- back to the tent to get the rings (in my purse, under a table) -- and while I was there heard a low plane fly overhead and my first thought was, "Oh no, they're not crop-dusting today, are they??" It was a neighbor doing a fly-over tribute in his cute red & white plane (so they say, because I didn't see it)!

So I made it back and, even with the delay, it wasn't long before they were all headed back down the aisle to "Happy Together"!

Ever since Wendy The Bookish Girl told me that "Happy Together" played at their recessional, I've told my girls that they had to, too! I believe it was officially okayed at the last minute, but it was! It did! They listened!!

It was fun to visit with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. My mom did wonderfully!!

It was a pot-luck wedding (just like Rusty & I had), with a couple of roast pigs and coffee shop sandwiches for the main course. Guests filled out the menu with contributions of favorite hors d'oeuvres and side dishes. Everyone was encouraged to bring a dish and the recipe, an adorable vintage recipe box ready to receive.

* * * * *

So there it is in a very big nutshell! Now that that's out of the way, I'll share Jena's gorgeous photos when they arrive, with permission and with minimal commentary.

I am still recovering. Ali & Rod are off on a little honeymoon in Door County.

There's still a bit of the afterglow...

*Sneak peak of Ali's Mexican Wedding Shawl above! My niece, Jena, was the official wedding photographer and she took some photos of us with our shawls! I am not used to being on this side of the camera... we are all beside ourselves with anticipation for those photos!!


17 June 2013

It's official!

It's on Facebook!

Alison added a life event from June 15, 2013 to her timeline: Married Rodney.

I took the fewest and the lamest photos of all, but will eventually pull some sort of post together... it's been amazing!

In the meantime, Kate's much quicker than I and has put up a wonderful, picture-ific post about the wedding -- June 15: Ali + Rod.

Read, share, love... watch that you don't get some frosting on your nose!


15 June 2013

Married! First dance. XO #AliRodJune15 #bloop


11 June 2013

Loving my thread

I volunteer for many things at times like these, and when Ali stalled at the hand-sewing (finishing) phase of a project she was working on for her attendants... 

With sachet and shawl knitting complete (though will still some finishing to do), I picked up needle and thread last night and made a good run at the finish line -- not quite there yet, but the sewing was a nice change of pace.

I fell a little bit in love with Natalie Chanin after watching her Craftsy class, Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery. I loved listening to her speak so beautifully about sewing, and I learned so much! I smiled every time last night as I cut a length and "loved my thread" before needling it.

Craftsy Logo

I'm looking forward to watching/listening to Natalie again, sometime after June 15th (and again and again and again, as many times as I'd like, because that's how Craftsy works). I have some beautiful fabric and my pattern for the coat featured in the class, but also found some lesser "practice" materials when I recently cleaned out my closet. I feel primed and ready!

The reduction of swelling in my body due to dietary changes has really made a difference and I do not suffer the carpal tunnel problems as much or as readily. I'm sure I wouldn't be quite so excited about hand sewing if pinching a small needle for five minutes resulted in a day of tingling and aching! I did some pretty intense sewing for about 2 hours last night and feel fine today! Woo!

Oh. You want a sneak peek of those shawls?

Okay! That's my Frambuesa at the top, Ali's Mexican Wedding below. LOVE.THEM.


10 June 2013

Bachelorette #1

Heh. The Dating Game! I loved that show.

There she is, smack in the middle, flanked by the barista bridesmaids and her two sisters, Maddy and Kate, on the right -- every one of them a bachelorette at the moment.

We had a marvelous little party for Ali, but Katie's presently much better at stringing words together -- along with some lovely photos -- in this post on her blog, Artsy Abroad!

Update: I added one more sachet to the knitting list -- bigger, quicker, finished! Still the blocking and sewing up to do before filling. Sewing still waits, but the ironing is done. I over-dyed and blocked the shawls over the weekend -- am letting them get good and dry before unpinning. So excited!! Rusty finished a project, too, bringing a nice close to a busy and productive weekend. I even squeezed in a pedicure. Ali's dress will likely be picked up on Thursday, leaving only a couple million other little things to do before Saturday...

I am breathing.  :)


07 June 2013

Good Vibes

I'm feelin' 'em. Simply put, and with a few notable exceptions, the first half of 2013 just plain sucked. My mother began treatment for cancer on New Year's Eve and, well, yeah...

She's recovering and getting better, feeling stronger everyday. Yesterday, she had her first PET scan and she is CANCER-FREE!

Now I'm ready for the second half of 2013 and I'm looking for nothing but blue skies!

Who's with me?

P.S. Sachet knitting was finished last night! There's some sewing up to do now before filling, along with some other sewing, and I need to find/buy some ribbon, and there's still some ironing to do, and the over-dyeing/blocking of those shawls, a bachelorette party (with cupcake tasting) to attend, a dress to pick up, and a few million other little things...

04 June 2013

Another. So pretty. #iris #bloop


It worked! This was a test of the emergency (or not) Instagram-to-blog posting system, just in case I might want to use it someday. And, hello, I do love to technodabble.


Ten on Tuesday: I Scream!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Ice Cream Toppings

I got this! While ice cream is a very infrequent indulgence these days, I have indulged and I definitely have favorites. I love different flavors of ice cream -- Moose Tracks, Coffee -- but if it's a "sundae" or ice cream with toppings (which, in my book, is a "sundae"), it's always the same. Easy peasy!

Good vanilla ice cream with...

1.  Hot fudge.

2.  Hot fudge.

3.  Hot fudge.

4.  Hot fudge.

5.  Hot fudge.

6.  Hot fudge.

7.  Hot fudge.

8.  Pecans.

9.  Fresh whipped cream.

10.  A cherry on top!

You may say I'm stuck in a rut. Maybe so... but I think it's a delicious rut!


03 June 2013


On the first of June, my irises bloomed!


Reminder to self:  Take this photo from a different angle to include the garage door.

A beautiful peony at Mom's also began to open.

Joining the allium party already well underway.


She has clumps of allium here and there. So pretty!

I was very busy all weekend...

...but obviously stopped long enough to smell photograph the flowers!

Ironing vintage tablecloths for the wedding while waiting on dye pots... "multi-tasking" is the name of the game around here!

31 May 2013


Alison's wedding is TWO WEEKS from TOMORROW, and I am now officially ready for it to happen.

Not that I'm "ready" in all senses of the word... or even any sense of the word... there is much to do, and a lot of it will be in the day or two prior.

I'm ready for the anticipation to be over... Let's get the party started!

Knitting: In lieu of the gauntlet/fingerless gloves that were my big idea a long time ago but which never quite got off the ground, I am knitting little sachets for each of the attendants. Ali made a lovely little something for each of them and this will coordinate nicely.

I've had some size 0 US needles (both straights & DPNs) in the arsenal forever, but I don't think I've ever actually used them before. This is a lovely lace-weight yarn, knitting up beautifully on those tiny needles; I'm also knitting some on 1 US, just for grins. They're actually going pretty fast -- the first one was pokey, but I've already knocked off two more and have a good start on the fourth. That's more than half-way!

I'm starting to get scatter-brained, though, because I've already misplaced sachet #1. It must be time to update and refine my To-Do List! I need to get a grip on everything.

The girls at Tuesday knit night talked me off the ledge and I will not be re-doing the bind-off on my shawl for the wedding, so that's a relief. All that's left is a little dip in the dye pot for both shawls and then blocking.

Send all your calming vibes my way... and have a great weekend!


28 May 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Weekend doings

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

Pretty much in order, and with a couple of extra for good measure... it was that kind of weekend.


1.  Skyped with (sis) Annie in Brazil.

2.  Went dress shopping with my mom (2 shops, 2 cities, 2 dresses).

3.  Dyed some yarn.


4.  Went plant shopping with my mom and Karen (sis).

5.  Planted Mom's window box and driveway planter.

6.  Did some garden clean up at Mom's with Karen, Mike (bro), and Judy (SIL).

7.  Had a cook-out.

8.  Went to a movie: (slept thru a fair bit of) Star Trek.


9.  Went to the mall and then did some more (just a little bit more) plant shopping with Mom and Karen.

10.  Had lunch with Karen at the coffee shop.

11.  Dyed some yarn.

12.  Planted my own front porch planter.

13.  Bound off Frambuesa v.2. I wanted it to be a little stretchy, but may have done it a bit too loose... and I think I'm going to re-do the bind-off.

14.  Learned to play The Settlers of Catan.


Maddy said that they played this constantly when she was camping last week and she couldn't wait to teach us! It was fun, and...


...Sheep! What's not to love about a board game with sheep cards?!

It was a bit of belated Mother's Day mashed up with Memorial Weekend, getting some planting and garden clean-up done for Mom. It sure was a busy weekend!


23 May 2013

An all-wedding Wednesday

Ali and I took a drive to Sheboygan for the last big alteration consult about her/my mom's wedding dress. The crinoline added since last time made such a difference and added the perfect poof and shaping to the skirt. Some piecing was done at the shoulders, allowing Ali to move her arms (!), and it turned out wonderfully, as well.

We needed to make some final decisons/compromises about satin and bows, and lots of pins were employed before we left, but I left feeling great, more excited than ever, and cannot wait for the final fitting.

It's getting close, now, and seemed a good time to turn attention to the Father Of The Bride! I can count on one hand... um, maybe two fingers... the times in 28 years we've shopped together for him. It actually turned out pretty well... probably helped that we had dinner first. And a moderator. Katie, with her great eye for style, consented to join us!

New pants, new shirt, new tie, new shoes. Not a new jacket; but not the one I thought it was, either. I'm not sure where it came from! Anyway, he'll be pretty dapper. (Not to self: must remind him to get hair cut... and not on the day before the wedding).


21 May 2013

May days progress

I've eaten at a few picnic tables in the past few years, but haven't planned an actual picnic in I don't know how long, so I'm skipping the official topic of today's Ten on Tuesday. I will share the first two things that popped into my head, though:

  1. Wine
  2. Corkscrew

Glasses never occurred to me until I read Kym's post, so my picnic will be the one where we pass the bottle. Heh.

How about a first-ever ToT follow-up, instead. The last Ten on Tuesday post in April was: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To In May. Let's see how that's going.

1.  Hair cut (more likely, trim) tomorrow! I will also be auditioning -- or at least discussing -- the hairstyle that I have in mind for the wedding.

A very important #1 that I was excited about and looking forward to, and I FORGOT! Happily, my girl Kate was able to squeeze me in after work a few days later. Sheesh. My hairstyle for the wedding was met with approval, and I've saved a couple similar/detailed photos to Evernote since then.


2.  Dinner with Alison's future in-laws tomorrow night!

Dinner with the in-laws was FANTASTIC! We picked them up at their house (aka, wedding venue!) and I've been out there a couple more times... and will likely be a much more frequent visitor over the next few weeks! From the photo was taken, above, I'd be looking through the tent (reception); weather permitting, the ceremony will be held in a round-ish clearing just barely visible beyond and to the left of that darkest evergreen tree.

3.  On Saturday, Ali and I will be heading to Oshkosh and the Natural Product & Organic Food Expo -- Joel Salatin and Will Allen among the highlights.

I really enjoyed the food expo -- and ran into the in-laws there, too! There were a lot of vendors and I even found authentic and local pao de queijoThe speaker schedule wasn't very tight, which was sort of exasperating, but because of that we caught a portion of a panel discussion with all of the day's speakers, led by Kyle Cherek of Wisconsin Foodie. It was very interesting and I could have listened all day but, of course, we didn't have all day! We heard Will's presentation about Growing Power, and one of Joel's two talks that day.

It was announced a couple of days ago that none other than Michael Pollan will be featured at the Country Living & Natural Health Expo in January!

4.  Visitors from Oregon, their daughter (a sometime guest at our house) graduating from Lawrence University this year and they'll be here over the Mother's Day weekend for her recital.

Visitors have come and gone. Our time together was brief -- they brought over a delightful meal of Greek take-away to share -- but they had a nice time exploring the area with their daughter.

5.  Mother's Day!

Been there! (at the Green Bay Botanical Garden)

Done that!

6.  Maddy's last day of school on the 17th!

She's home! Sort of. She left yesterday for a week of camping with friends. Next week she'll be gone for a week of orientation for her camp counselor job. And then she'll be working all summer... at camp!

The girls are talking about finally taking a summer road trip together... also involving camping... as it may never be easier than NOW. And, sadly, we are all used to high gas prices -- which have been "coming down" a bit, but are still hella lot more than they used to be. But you know that. They're talking about going to Mount Rushmore, too, and recreating the awesome photo I took of my sisters there in 1979.

7.  The Master Gardeners' Annual Plant Sale on the 18th.

Ugh! I missed it... and the heirloom plant sale on the 11th, too. I have no plants!!

8.  Hopefully, an overnighter to Milwaukee for an art opening, premiere of an animated music video (by my cousin's husband) featuring music from the Tritonics new single "Smoky Places" and after-party. Just because... it sounds like fun!

I found a great deal at The Pfister, a wonderful old hotel in downtown Milwaukee! We were able to walk almost everywhere -- to dinner at Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian Steakhouse, and to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The highlight was the Smoky Places art opening/video premier at Dominion Gallery, and the after party at The Uptowner. Exhibiting artists included my cousin Rae and her husband Michael. Michael premiered the animated music video, below, with music from the Tritonics.

And Rae's shoes are so great!


We had so much fun. And even dancing! Home by midnight, we walked to the Milwaukee Art Museum after breakfast on Saturday.


That is one amazing place. The architecture -- including those moveable wings -- of the Quadracci Pavilion is simply breathtaking.


9.  Memorial Day!

This weekend! My sister will be coming on Saturday and we'll be doing a work day on Sunday, planting Mom's window boxes, etc., sort of a belated/continuation of her Mother's Day gift.

10.  My knitting goal for May will be to finish the two shawls that I'm working on for the wedding... and NOT start another baby sweater. Heh. I'm more than half-way on Mexican Wisconsin Wedding and made a good start on Frambuesa last night. Second try! There's errata, for one thing, and some wonkiness regarding stitch marker placement and repeats... I just move them around as needed and "read" my knitting -- as long as it reads correctly, I'm good. The markers are eventually removed. I already know that I'm going to LOVE this shawl!

I've finished the Wisconsin Wedding shawl! It awaits overdyeing and blocking... as soon as Frambuesa v.2 is finished. The casting on issue has been resolved, and knitting is happening -- the border is almost complete. It'll get done.

BONUS:  11.  I've ramped up the dyeing a tiny bit in the last month or so, the impetus being some fun custom orders and projects! Oh, I miss it!! As things continue to improve and progress in other areas of life, I intend to be doing much more of that beginning in May.

Custom orders/projects continue... Have you seen Cara's Celestarium? It was so much fun working with her to make the color just what she wanted for this project, and then to watch the knitting progress! The shawl is amazing -- her knitting is always so beautiful -- you must read her notes and, seriously, she says that it's not difficult at all! It's just killing me that I can't wrap it around my shoulders and feel it!

20 May 2013

The Rest of the Story: Stretchy/Loose Cast-on

There is some great discussion in the previous post's comments about loose cast-ons, and I learned a thing or two. There's nothing like hearing others' experiences to help inform a decision.

I'd all but decided on the Knitted Cast-on as demonstrated by Nancy Bush because, well, Nancy Bush. And Estonian lace knitting. It seemed logical. I've used that method before and rather like it, but also felt that I'd still need to carefully watch my tension to keep it loose.

Then Cheryl left a very thoughtful comment in which she mentioned June Hemmons Hiatt and The Principles of Knitting, and her general thoughts about the other options.

I happen to have that book, though Cheryl linked to a PDF of the Double Needle Cast-on that she suggested, as well as to a video demonstrating the method (aka Rolled Double Needle Cast-on). I'm not sure what I'd have ended up with had I not had the video, which effectively demonstrated the "rolled" part of the equation; I did not get that from the written instruction. I needed both in order to get it.

The method calls for using two needles -- it's unwritten, but I guess assumed that the working needle would be the same as for the project, and the second a size smaller. Not wanting to be stung again, I decided to cast on a test swatch using a needle a few sizes larger than the working needle, then knitting on to the proper size needle as I worked the first row. I cast on 20 or so stitches and proceeded to work several rows of the pattern. The bottom edge was definitely looser and able to be stretched.

I'd mentioned to Cheryl that I'd upped the needle size and she replied that she never had... so before committing to 300 +/- stitches, I thought I'd also try with the proper size. Lo and behold, it was still very loose and looked much nicer; in contrast, the previous attempt looked a bit too loose and even sloppy.

Now, I had saved those little swatches to show, but due to an unfortunate tangle in my knitting bag... um, there's not much left to show. I will do them again, though, and will also show the new cast-on edge compared to the original before it's frogged to reclaim the yarn.

There's a marked difference already in v.2 and how wavy the edge; that wasn't nearly as evident as I knit v.1.

Once I got the rhythm, the casting on went quite smoothly, and I even did it in the car on the way to Milwaukee! (More about that in a day or two.) The only thing I'd do differently is to work from both ends of the ball -- or wind off the generous amount I thought I'd need, and then a fair bit more! It took a little more than an hour, and I ran out of yarn with 281 of 321 stitches, but I can live with that! The small shawl is 221 stitches and the large is 321 stitches; my shawl will be a medium-sized hybrid!


16 May 2013

Halp! (Multiple choice)

You are *loosely* casting on 321 stitches for a bottom-up, crescent-shaped shawl; which cast-on method do you use?

a.  e-wrap

b.  Jeny's Stretchy Slipknot Cast-on

c.  Helene Rush's Stretchy Cast On

d.  Knitted Cast-On, demonstrated above by Nancy Bush

e.  Another method not listed above.

I must get knitting but have been paralyzed over this question! I've already knit the smaller version of this shawl (221 stitches) and unsuccessfully used a not-loose-enough long-tail cast on on a needle 3 sizes larger than the working needle.

Does anyone have some experience, wisdom, or tips to share?


14 May 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Oh, Mother!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite TV Moms

In no particular order, and with a couple of extra for good measure. Can you have too many TV mothers? They're all favorites for different reasons!

1.  Olivia Walton:  The Waltons. Well, for one thing, I always loved Miss Michael Learned's name, and I also loved her voice. She was the epitome of "calm," perfectly conveyed through the tone and timbre of her voice. I wanted to be a Walton.

2.  Ann Romano:  One Day at a Time. I could relate!! My mother was also a divorced, single mom (of five!), and Barbara & Julie were about my age.

3.  Edith Bunker:  All In The Family. Those Were The Days!

4.  Julia Baker:  Julia. Oh, she was so pretty and no one's ever more elegantly worn a nurse's uniform!

5.  Florida Evans:  Good Times. She was dyn-o-mite!

6.  Roseanne Conner:  Roseanne. Talk about keepin' it real.

7.  Clair Huxtable:  The Cosby Show. Smart.

8.  Kitty Forman:  That '70s Show. Giggles erupt the minute Kitty appears.

9.  Sophia Petrillo:  The Golden Girls. Sophia makes me laugh out loud!

10.  Marion Cunningham:  Happy Days. Who didn't love Mrs. Cunningham??

11.  Caroline Ingalls:  Little House On The Prairie. I always wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder, so it makes sense that Ma would be my ma!

12.  Maude Findlay:  Maude. Not exactly the maternal type, I loved Maude -- and her daughter, also a mom, Carol!

13.  Victoria Barkley:  The Big Valley. Pretty sure I just had a big crush on Barbara Stanwyck.

Who'd I miss? Mrs. Partridge, Mrs. Brady, Mrs. Addams, Mrs. Munster, Mrs. Cleaver, Mrs. Simpson, Mrs. Jetson, Mrs. Flintstone and Mrs. Rubble, Mrs. Ricardo...


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