113 posts categorized "Ten on Tuesday"

16 December 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Christmas Letter!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 (or so) Things for Our Christmas Letter

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Seasons Greetings to Our Family & Friends!!

Since I last wrote, the girls have all graduated from high school!  ;)  Yep. I'm not quite sure how long it's been since I've written, but it's been quite a while...

Girls

Bad news first. My mother died on June 23rd. She was diagnosed with cancer in late 2012, and received her first treatment on New Year's Eve that year. She was admitted to the hospital in early June with pneumonia, partly the result of complications from side effects of a new chemo and partly the result of permanent damage from previous radiation treatment. Her condition deteriorated over a few weeks, and she died just days after Ann and family returned to Wisconsin from Brazil. We celebrated the life of our beautiful mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and wife at a memorial in August.

>>>Cosmic shift.

Kids

The girls. Katie returned to Wisconsin in August after spending a year in Scotland where she earned her MSc in the History of Art, Theory & Display from the Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh. She has happily returned to work at the book store while also completing an entrepreneurship program, developing a new business, and writing an art blog at Young-Space.com.

Ali married Rod last year, making us first-time in-laws, and became a mother this year, making us first-time grandparents! Our grandson, Junah, is an absolute delight. It'll be six years in February since Ali took over operations of the coffee shop! The shop continues to succeed and grow, thanks to a wonderful team, and they are looking toward an expansion opportunity.

Maddy worked another summer at Girl Scout camp, this time as trip leader, the highlight being a 2+ week canoe trip in the Boundary Waters (with maybe an accidental overnight on the Canadian side). She got her kayak wet as often as she could, found a new job, moved into a lovely old house with her roommates, and is getting ever closer to earning her elementary teaching degree. It won't be long now!

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Us. Rusty successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign and published a book about the imaginary places he's painted for years. He participated in some local art fairs, and spent a few weeks in Grand Rapids, MI, at Artprize, closely followed by another few weeks on the west coast. He traveled from Wisconsin to British Columbia to SoCal and back, visiting friends, family and clients, and getting the coastal recharge that's so necessary to his survival. He continues, of course, to paint, draw, read, write, and teach; he's currently working on the illustrations for a Storey Publishing "tiny houses" book.

Becoming a grandmother for the first time was the biggest highlight of my year! It's true... everything they say about how great it is to be a grandparent.

I began hand sewing, making a couple of bibs for Junah in addition to a onesie, a blanket, a top for Maddy, and a couple of tops for me. I have plans (and patterns, fabric & thread) to do much more! Sewing cut into the knitting time, but I still managed to finish a few shawls, some hats, and a number of Christmas gifts, and have started a long-term blanket project that joins an already impressive list of WIPs (works in progress).

I did very little dyeing this year, but I did do some! I was inspired after taking workshop in Grand Rapids about naturally dyeing fabric; harvested some stuffs from my own back yard and had a go with some yarn. I'm excited to do more! (There's an indigo vat in my future.) I still keep a small area within Ali's coffee shop to sell a little yarn and other supplies.

Rusty & I went to Scotland in May, flying into Edinburgh to meet Kate and then heading to the Highlands for the majority of our visit. We traveled by train to Inverness where we rented a car, and Katie chauffeured us around! From Inverness along Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle, up to Dornie and Eilean Donan Castle, through the Torridon to Croft 23, our gorgeous B&B at South Erradale in Wester Ross; over to Dunrobin Castle at Golspie; Gairloch, Poolewe, Aultbea, Kinlochewe, Ullapool; over to the Isle of Skye; revisiting Fort William and Glencoe on our way to Glasgow; over to North Ayrshire and a visit with my friend Yvette at Irvine, to Portencross Castle at West Kilbride. We then took the train back to Edinburgh from Glasgow before heading back home. That was a lot of driving! Most of it on single-track roads, sometimes dodging sheep. Though the weather was less than spectacular, it was an amazing vacation nonetheless.

I also traveled to Los Angeles with my sister Ann in July for a long weekend -- and her friend's wedding. It was a nice, touristy break: Hello Hollywood! I enjoyed my first farm-to-table dinner in August, as well as my first Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park. Kate, Ann and I participated in the 25-mile version of the Peninsula Century bike ride in September. There were trips to Chicago, Grand Rapids, and a wonderful family weekend at our old family cabin on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.

We experienced the highs and lows of life to extremes this year, and hope for a little moderation in the next.

Happy Holidays & Best Wishes to All!

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copy, paste, print... find some photos...

It might happen this year!!

 

10 December 2014

Follow up

As luck might have it, albeit a day late, Spotify has presented me with My Year In Music! Here's an infographic snapshot:

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In addition, I am informed that I listen most on Thursdays -- beating out Wednesday by a hair -- and that I am "on the go," listening via mobile 76% of the time, which makes sense because I listen a lot in the car. I also have a great little Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker that I connect to via my phone, even at home, but I also listen on my computer. I will likely be listening more at work in '15. And I just upgraded my Tivo and can stream Spotify through my new Roamio, too.

My top playlist was actually one of Kate's (as most are) called "Blast April." Lately, I've been listening to one called "Transition." I like my kids' taste in music and I like to think that I've/we've helped to inform their sensibilities, exposing them to everything under the rainbow, really, so that makes sense.

Here are my Top 10 Spotify Tracks of 2014:

  1. Take Me to Church, Hozier
  2. Arsonist's Lullabye, Hozier
  3. Cocoon, Alpines
  4. La La La, Naughty Boy
  5. Hey Brother, Avicii
  6. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show, Neil Diamond
  7. Retrograde, James Blake
  8. Busy Earnin', Jungle
  9. GMF, John Grant
  10. Like a Dream, Francis and the Lights

No.  6 -- That song is on a playlist that I created called "Nana Songs." A friend saw that list and wondered what songs I was playing for Junah! In truth, it's full of songs that are reminiscent of Mom, and it accompanied the slideshow that we put together for her memorial celebration. Neil is joined on that list by the likes of Doris Day, Simon & Garfunkel, Andrea Bocelli, Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, Henry Mancini, Janis Joplin, and some Broadway and movie soundtrack selections... it's awesome.

There is continuing controversy, discussion, and even headlines on the topic of streaming music. Rosanne Cash, the No. 1 artist on my list, has testified. I certainly don't know what the answer is... technology moves so much faster than laws/rules/contracts.

Believe me, I get it.

I listened to the radio at work about 20x more than I did Spotify; I also listen to the radio in the car, along with CDs and other digital music. Interestingly, though I didn't purchase a ton of music last year, I did buy Rosanne Cash's The River & The Thread. It resonated. We have purchased, at one time or another (sometimes multiple times) and in various forms, music from every artist on the Nana Songs list. Katie came home with a pile o' records the other day -- actual LPs -- and I know that they were all by artists on her playlists. Most CDs (on Amazon, anyway) and many new LPs also come with a digital download.

I love the accessibility of music across multiple formats; the portability of digital; the exposure to new music and artists offered by streaming, as well as the ability to "share."

I'm currently listening to a playlist that Spotify created called "Play It Forward" -- a new list of 30 songs to take into 2015 that were chosen based on what I listened to in 2014. I like that. There are only a couple of artists whose names I recognize; I've already favorited some of those new songs so I can investigate artists/albums further.

Anyway, there you have it, along with my thoughts and maybe things to ponder.

Music makes the world go 'round.

And here's how old I am: I did a search for "music makes the world go round." I saw this YouTube video, quickly scanned the titled and thought, "Huh. When did David Cassidy make a video with R. Kelly?"

Answer: Hahahahaha.

 

09 December 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Eclectic

Ten on Tuesday:  4 Random Songs From My Spotify Playlists

1.  TALL TREES IN GEORGIA, Eva Cassidy.

2. QUIET STORM, John Legend and Smokey Robinson.

3. SONGBIRD, Eva Cassidy.

4. CRUISIN', Jessie J and Smokey Robinson.

That turned out to be not so random, choosing from only a few albums/artists. I mostly listen to other people's (Katie's) playlists, so maybe that's why it was pulling from only these.

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Continuing... 10 Songs That I've Searched/Faved on Soundhound.

Almost always, it's an unfamiliar song that I've heard on the radio while driving -- and one that I'd like to find again! I love the Soundhound app.

5. HOWLING FOR YOU, The Black Keys.

6. STARS ON THE CEILING, Jeremy Lister.

7. LOW, Cracker.

8. BLAME (feat. John Newman), Calvin Harris.

9. SAD OLD RED, Simply Red

10. BIG BLACK CAR, Gregory Alan Isakov.

11. I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE, Sam Smith.

12. BLAME, Calvin Harris.

13. LEFT HAND FREE, Alt-J.

14. IN REPAIR (Acoustic), John Mayer.

 

25 November 2014

Ten on Tuesday: I am thankful

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things For Which I Am Thankful (a retrospective)

It's harder this year. I miss my mom. The holidays were her thing and... I just really miss my mom. I'm thankful for a million things, of course -- my family, my adorable & amazing grandson, my health, my home -- but it's a big nasty cloud I'm keeping at bay this year, alternatively making menu/decorating/gift plans and trying not to get too emotional over Dancing With The Stars (or any other insignificant little thing in the grand scheme).

It's hard to believe, but this will be the 11th Thanksgiving since I began blogging. This year, I've highlighted a post from each of the past 10 Novembers and simply stated the thing about each for which I am thankful; except for last November, where I highlighted the entire month!

2004: Thanks. Secrets and surprises.

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2005: Hey, baby. Nieces and nephews.

2006: Labor Day Project is Complete! Perseverance (my own and others').

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2007:  Cheese! I am thankful for turkey... and thankful that I don't need turkey to be thankful.

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2008: Everybody jump? My husband and kids!

2009: Thankful. My siblings. (I miss Sharon, too. She hated the holidays.)

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2010: The cheesy post! Travel and knitting and inspiration and friends.

2011: Late edition. Color in my world. And the inspiration to create and explore. And knitting again.

2012: Be a quitter. Quitting is GREAT!

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2013: November 2013. Preparations for another baby! The entire month was full of all sorts of goodness.

Bonus - #11:

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2014: Where trouble melts like lemon drops. Special places, people, history, memories.

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This guy... how have 10+ months already gone by??

 

11 November 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Collection

col·lec·tion
kəˈlekSH(ə)n/
a group of things or people

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Ten on Tuesday:  10 Collections I've Had Over The Years

1. Depression Glass. D is for Depression Glass.

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Make mine green. I came to have a couple of my grandmother's pieces and spent quite a few years growing a collection. My mom collected pink, and it was fun to "hunt" together. We spent a lot of time, over the years, at flea markets and auctions! As usual, I set parameters (specific pieces or shape/pattern) and it was really fun.

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There are even collections within the collection! I've always "had a thing" for measuring cups.

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It's displayed in a few different places, mostly in the kitchen and most of it is in this cabinet (which hides my kitchen sink). Collections are meant to be together and I love how  it looks, especially illuminated!

2. Cookbooks. I have a big collection of those!

3. Sewing Baskets & Stands & Things.

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S is for Sewing! Needle cases, measuring tapes, spool holders, pin cushions... 

4. Knitting Needles.

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I like them long and straight! There are a lot of vintage Bates and Boye aluminum specimens, which I seem to favor, but I also like bamboo and the Quicksilver needles.

5. Cabinet Photographs.

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I especially have a thing for photos of babies, children, and women. And men. And wedding photos. And school room photos. And family photos, especially outside of and including the house. And... well, I guess I'm not too particular about the subject, but there's always something that speaks to me, often it's an "attitude."

6. Mice.

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R is for Rodents. I don't think I've bought a single one of these... sometimes a collection happens whether you want it to or not. My nickname as a baby was "Mouse," and my dad used it well into my adult years. So, of course! I must want to collect mice! I don't mind, really, there are some very special ones -- a few of porcelain that Grandma made for me, some that the kids made. There is not a single Mickey Mouse specimen pictured but, trust me, he's well represented!

7. Pansies. You know it, P is for Pansies!

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Pictures, pitchers, jardinieres, calendars, tiles, prints, china...

8. Poultry, apparently: Chicken- and/or duck-shaped covered glass dishes and/or ceramic planters (yellow).

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I have a collection of exactly two yellow ceramic chicken planters. They were both Sharon's and I always thought that it would be fun to add to that collection, but so far I've not found any that fit the criteria! And that's okay!

I've a number of glass "chicken dishes," a few different sizes, some clear and some opaque.

The real treasure (never before photographed, it seems) is an old bubble bath container, a covered glass duck-shaped dish. When she was a girl, my mother bought one for my grandmother as a gift; Grandma always used it to hold her bobby pins. I found one at an auction and, of course, it holds my bobby pins, too. Mom also found one, and it even had the little bubble bath scoop still tied with ribbon to the duck's neck.

9. Bowls. B is for Bowls.

I like having choices?

Bowls

10. Rubberbands. I used to have a thing for twisty-ties, but now it's rubberbands.

I have found myself feeling less and less a collector. I haven't added to any of these collections in quite some time and have even been thinning.

I've culled some of the depression glass, for instance, but it's now out of the cabinet and sitting in a box. So I still have it. There's not much demand for it, anymore, and even though I never spent a whole lotta money (or, at least, it averages out to very little per piece), it's hard to just give away something I once spent so much time looking for.

 

21 October 2014

Ten on Tuesday: FIRE!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I'd Save if My House Was On Fire

In no particular order...

1. Photos! They're all scattered at the moment, though, as we speak, there's another batch being digitally preserved at ScanCafe!

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2. A String of Pansies.

3. A few handknits. The beautiful autumn sweaters that Sharon knit; Parcheesi; Fib; Algiers; some of the baby things* I've made (heirlooms!).

4. My current project bag(s) -- sewing and/or knitting. This/these would invariably also contain needles and notions, my knitting belt, electronics (tablet/Kindle), and current "stuff" (magazines, recently printed patterns and recipes to try).

Among the year's best Christmas gifts. v.Mother: I am a fighter. v.Father: I am a dreamer. Love my Maddy Mo. #christmas2013 #kidswritemakesayanddothedarnedestthings

5. A select few books. My Grandma Blum's memoir; the books that Maddy made for us last Christmas (above) (and so awesome); the equally awesome annotated Mother that she gave me a few years ago (below).

Mother

6. A few little "decor" items. Where Maddy makes books, Katie & Ali make... other things. The tiny bleeding heart blossom that Ali pressed between some plastic wrap and inserted into an old plastic slide "frame." The 3-dimensional heart/frame (also employing great use of plastic wrap) that Katie made when she was in elementary school. The handmade cards that Rusty's made, and the "clothesline" watercolor that he painted for me. A few little things like that...

7. My Globe Wernicke bookcase. Gee, it would make sense to make sure the books I want to save are in the bookcase that I want to save, wouldn't it?!

8. Grandma Koenig's treadle sewing machine & "button bowl." Grandma's sewing machine has been "mine" for nearly my entire life -- since she died, when I was six. Mom "antiqued" it back in the day; I stripped it many years later; it was my "night stand" for many years (and would be still, if it fit). My button collection (with contributions from my mother, both grandmothers, and a great grandmother) is actually a green depression glass bowl that's part of a "console set" with a pedestal for the bowl and a pair of candleholders with painted wood "candlesticks."

9. Camera stuff. There's a whole lotta that, and I really need to get it organized.

10. My purse... inside of which are always my wallet, ID/license, phone & accessories, keys, a credit/debit card or two, usually some cash, insurance cards, a hair band, some coupons, and my library card!

Weasley Sweater

*My brother-in-law told me that he caught a few minutes of a Harry Potter movie while Mack & Addy were recently watching and noticed Ron Weasley's sweater; he thought, "Hey, that looks just like the sweater that Vic made for Mack!" As well it should, made from the original Harry Potter Sweater Kit. He asked, "DID YOU KNOW THAT?" Haha. Made my day!

 

14 October 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Chicago-Grand Rapids Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

I had a 4-day weekend!

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1. I consider my weekend officially started on Thursday night when we drove to Chicago after work, arriving quite late but ready to go on Friday!

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2. Friday was, for us, David Bowie Day! (The official David Bowie Day in Chicago was 9/23, on opening day of the DAVID BOWIE IS exhibition.)

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Waiting on the steps at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art

The exhibit was fantastic, by the way, and made great use of technology: each person was given their own location- or space-sensitive device/headset, and the audio was specific to whatever part of the exhibit you were viewing at any given time. I usually opt out of the audio portion of the program, but this was super-cool.

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Waiting to be seated for lunch

3. We had a fabulous lunch at our favorite Chicago eatery, The Purple Pig! We tried a couple of new things this time: Bobota "Greek Cornbread" with Feta, Mizithra Cheese & Honey, and Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese:

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Eggplant Caponata

And we had a couple of stand-bys: Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette (a recipe that Kate spent some time replicating... we love it so much), and Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Fried Smashed Potatoes & Tzatziki. Oh yeah.

4. On Friday afternoon, we drove to Grand Rapids, MI. Forgetting about the time zone, we arrived a little later than planned. Pesky time zones!

5. Saturday morning's lovely breakfast with Maureen (Rusty's host for the previous 19+ days), Maureen's sister & brother-in-law (who also hosted an artist), and Dona (said hosted artist) was a wonderful start to a very busy day.

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Kym & I at an installation outside of BOB (Big Old Building)

6. I met Kym!! It was about as fun and enjoyable as you might expect, because Kym!

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7. We spent a good part of the day enjoying ArtPrize -- and also lunch! It's a pretty amazing thing which you can read about on their site, as well as Kym's take, and Kate's too. There sure was a lot of "art talk" over the weekend!

8. Wireless connection being somewhat testy, Kate & I escaped to Starbucks on Saturday night for a little while. She caught up on blogging, and I started knitting a hat for Junah: Fourques!

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“Intersections” by Anila Quayyum Agha - winner of the public vote; also winner of the jury's grand prize shared with "The Hair Craft Project" by Sonya Clark

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9. Sunday began with a lovely latte, waiting in line for the museum to open, more ArtPrize, and then the Seasonal Natural Dyeing Workshop that I signed up for at Have Company. I dyed two cotton hankies, one with walnut (to which I am no stranger) and the other with tansy. I love the tansy yellow!

10. On Monday, we all came home. I drove about half of the 7-hour trip, leaving plenty of passenger time during which I finished knitting the hat! I need to weave a few ends, wash it, and make a tassel (at mama's request).

It was a darn good weekend!!

 

23 September 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Baby, you can drive my car (again)

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Cars I've Had

1. 1972 Toyota Corona -- baby blue. It was my dad's car, actually, but was the first car that I regularly drove. It didn't have a radio, so there was one jerry-rigged that worked like crap. In 1976, the radio was one of the most important things!! I ran that car into a tree (by accident, and not because of the radio) and totaled it... so then it was really mine.

2. 1969 Buick Skylark -- baby poo. Ugly color, but I sure wish I still had this car! It's the first vehicle that I actually owned, I bought it from my mom. (I really wanted her 1962 Rambler with the pushbutton transmission, nicknamed the BBB -- short for Bouncing Brown Bastard -- but it didn't last long enough.)

3. 1979 Toyota Corolla -- brown w/orange & yellow stripes. My 1st brand new car! "Put in a radio with cassette player, and I'll take it!" I sold it to my sister Karen a few years later, and she drove it for many years.

4. 1982 Pontiac Firebird -- RED! This was my 2nd brand new car. It was the worst time in history to finance anything, but I'd just broken up with a boyfriend and, well, we all do dumb things. It was fun to drive, but had some problems... and could have been funner.

5. 1970- or '80-something Chevy Monza -- black. When the Firebird's warranty expired and continued to have problems, I traded it in.

6. 19-- ? Subaru wagon -- yellow-y tan. It was impossible to get a carseat in and out of the Monza, so this was our first "family car." It was the least reliable car we ever owned. It had some sort of problem starting in wet/damp weather... and we were living at Cape Meares, OR, at the time... like 2 blocks from the beach!

7. 1984 ? Buick Century wagon -- brown. Bigger family, more carseats, bigger wagon. Sharon's friend Bill, a passenger in the back seat once when I was visiting in Milwaukee, "You drive this thing like it's a sportscar!"

8. 1980-something Ford Escort wagon -- gray. I bought the Escort from my stepdad's brother and it served me well. I didn't take very good car of it, though, and it burned up in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn while I enjoyed Mother's Day brunch.

9. 2000 Saturn SW -- also RED! My 3rd brand new car, this one has taken a licking but it keeps on ticking! Nice and zippy, the engine was rebuilt once, it has inumerable body dings and dents (there may or may not be duct tape employed) (in several places), and it was "totaled" by insurance several years ago so has a salvage title. It's been Maddy's car for the past few years. 

10. 2007 Nissan Altima -- gray. Except for the Buicks, this is probably the biggest car I've ever driven. It's been good, and it's okay, but I'm not in love with it. I really miss the functionality of a wagon... and also manual transmission. But ZOOM! It is definitely a zippy one!

Oh, I think between 7 and 8 there was a yellow-ish Dodge Omni -- ugly & smelly, it didn't last long. I'm not sure how/why that ever happened.

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On the road to Ullapool, Cromartyshire, Scotland -- May 2014

At first, I didn't think I'd come up with 10 cars, but that number is just about spot-on! Not even counting "Rusty's" cars -- the Toyota pickup, GMC van, Hyundai sedan -- that are or were technically mine and that I have occasionally driven.

None of these is my "dream car" -- I'm not even sure what that would be! In my dreams, there are many dream cars!

Ha, but that was a fun little trip down memory lane. Zoom zoom.

 

16 September 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Fall upon us

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things To Get My Home Ready for Fall

1. We don't have central air conditioning, so every spring/fall we install/remove a couple of window units. So that.

2. And also putting away the strategically placed circulating fans.

3. The overwhelming majority of the windows in our 130-year-old house are the original storms and screens. So that. (Luckily, there are really only a handful of windows that are ever swapped, and only two doors.)

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4. Yard clean up. I didn't do much in the yard to begin with this year, so that should be fairly easy. I don't think it was a big year for the walnut tree, either.

5. Since the installation of my rain barrel, we've hardly used the hose... but it's out there and still needs to be put away.

6. And water to outside faucets needs to be shut off.

7. I usually do a little "spring cleaning" for fall, such as laundering afghans, blankets, duvet covers and comforters, slipcovers, and sometimes curtains and rugs. I do some of that, as needed, throughout the year, no matter the season, but make a point of it now.

8. The Big Sweep -- I like to sweep the porch ceilings, walls, and floor clear of leaves and spider stuff.

9. Wash a few windows... also the mailbox, porch light fixtures, and probably some of the siding (spider stuff).

10. Decorate freshly swept porches with pumpkins and gourds!

 

29 July 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Let's Do It Again

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Patterns I Could Knit Again

As I perused my Ravelry Projects, I was surprised at how many patterns I've already repeatedly knit!

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Sometimes I knit the same pattern two or three times, each in a different size: Soakers, Cloche Divine, Wallaby, Aviatrix.

Circles in wool & cotton; the desert (with purple mountain's majesty) and the forest

Sometimes I knit the same pattern multiple times because I was working out specific modifications: Afghani  Cap, Log Cabin Slipper Socks.

Oddfellow

Sometimes it was gift knitting: Sachets, Duffers, Oddfellow, Calorimetry.

Baktus scarf

Sometimes it was all about the yarn/color (which also comes into play with gift knitting, you know, to keep those multiples interesting): Different Lines, Stripe Study, Baktus, Noro Striped Scarf, Mitered Mittens, Shape It.

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And sometimes, it truly is a pattern that I just love: Ragtops, Vintage Baby Cardi, Cabled Pullover.

I think it's safe to say that I'd knit almost any of those patterns yet again!

For the sake of this exercise, though, I thought I'd concentrate less on patterns that I've already knit more than once, and look ahead a bit more... while also looking back, I guess! Heh.

Ragtop 1+2

1.  Ragtop. Yes, I've already knit at least four pair, but I love them and wear them and I will definitely knit them again!

2.  Foolproof. This was a fun knit and, to me, one of those "blank canvas" types of patterns. The design is great, but the yarn/color choices make it.

3.  Entrelac Scarf. I love the texture of this scarf, and anything Noro keeps it interesting -- amazingly entertaining, actually. (I know I'm not the only one.) Also, the Noro Striped Scarf.

4.  Fib. I love that sweater, but I would knit it a bit narrower and longer the next time. Maybe take some accurate measurements and stuff, you know?

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5.  Parcheesi. I've actually already started one... the colors are more muted and I'm not sure I love it and it's also fingering weight again. I'd love to knit it bed-size and in worsted.

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6.  Demne. This was such an interesting little sweater to knit, I've been threatening to knit another since it came off the needles. And I will!

7.  Pull Gaspard. I *love* this design; my gauge was a little off on the first and yarn choice probably not the greatest. I'll definitely be knitting another, larger size.

8.  Little Monster. The cutest kiddo pants ever! Junah needs a pair, don't you think?!

9.  Garter Yoke Baby Cardi. Fantastic pattern.

Finished!

10.  Dimorphous Mittens. These make so much sense! Genius, really.

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There's lots to catch up on... my trip to L.A., not to mention the last of Scotland, and a great Farm-Field Dinner.

Meanwhile, Junah had his first overnighter at Grandma & Grandpa's last weekend!

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Fun times in the kitchen sink!

For reference: He's one week old in the "Soakers" photo; 6.5 months in the sink!

 

15 July 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things About My Bookcase

1.  I moved from NW Wisconsin back to NE Wisconsin in 1978 to start a new job, and I lived at home for a short time while I saved money for a car and whatnot. I didn't have any furniture of my own, to speak of, but I did have books and I decided that I needed to buy some shelves.

2.  I didn't have a lot of money, and I didn't need a very big shelf unit, but I wanted something nice so I thought a resale shop would be my best bet. You know, maybe I could find something suitable for around $20.

3.  I went to literally every resale shop in the area and came up with absolutely nothing.  The last place on my list was more antique shop than resale, but I was desperate.

4.  I recall that the shop owner showed me a few pieces, but there was only one that caught my eye.

Livingroom2

5.  It was tall -- much larger than I actually needed -- and fancy. It was good wood (mahogany) and had lift-up glass doors on most of the shelves, and nice hardware.

6.  And it was sectional! The sections stacked one upon the other and, except for the base and top, they could all be rearranged! One section was about twice as big as the others and had sliding doors. The base section had a drawer.

7.  It cost $450! According to one online inflation calculator, that equates to over $1600 today!

8.  The shop owner was an older man and, I don't know, I guess he could tell how much I loved that bookcase, even though it was way -- way, way, way -- out of my price range. Maybe I was young and innocent and fell hook, line & sinker, but I believed him when he told me that he thought it was important for young people to have quality furniture, too. He reduced the price and offered to let me make monthly payments. He even let me take it home right that very day.

9.  I have hauled that thing up stairs and down, across the country and back again, from one room to another. One of the things I like best is that I can easily move it myself! Once, lazily, I tried to move it without emptying it and taking it apart, and can still hear that distinctive "crack" of breaking wood -- stopped me in my tracks. A few small inappropriate nails toward the bottom on one side attests to both my carelessness and my lack of repair skills at the time.

10.  But, oh, how I love and cherish that thing to this day! It was made by the Globe-Wernicke Company (most sections still have a label affixed) and I'll never ever part with it.

 

01 July 2014

Thirty of One Hundred plus Ten

First30of100happydays

The First 30 of 100 Happy Days*

I decided to begin #100happydays on June 1st because I knew that it would be a tough summer. I knew that my mother was failing and that this summer could be her last. I knew that it would be good for me to find some happy everyday. I could not have known that Mom would end up in the hospital on the 4th day. I couldn't have imagined -- sometimes still can't quite believe -- that she died on the 23rd.

Fourth

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Ideas for July 4th

The 4th of July was one of my mother's favorite holidays. She loved decorating. (Period.) And patriotic decorating was especially fun! We always had a BBQ, and we will this year, too. We'll do our best in the decorating & hospitality department, but no one does it better than Mom.

1.  Fly the flag(s)!

2.  Use all the patriotic tableware!

3.  On the grill:  burgers, brats, and hot dogs

4.  On the side:  salads (potato, fruit, three-bean, quinoa, etc.), baked beans, potato chips

5.  For dessert:  homemade from-scratch cherry & apple pie

6.  With ice cream!

7.  Also for dessert:  Karen's famous chocolate caramel bars**

8.  Lots of outside fun -- be it soccer, softball, or just lounging in the sun

9.  Fireworks!

10.  Or, for those of us who don't care to do battle with mosquitoes and/or traffic, A Capitol Fourth and The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular!

* On Flickr:  1. Ta-da! This is the best of 6, 2. Mom's house, 3. Oh, gorgeous 3rd of June, 4. My garden... , 5. Home, 6. Sunshine makes me happy, 7. Half Way North, 8. Let there be grass, 9. A busy Vicki is... good, 10. So be it, 11. These three, 12. I love making job site deliveries on beautiful summer days, 13. Knitting break, 14. #thiswouldnthappenwithmargarine, 15. Happy 1st Anniversary to Ali & Rod!, 16. Japanese fern, 17. June 17, 2014, 18. Quick lunch & iced tea break, 19. Tough day, 20. Cousins (first, once removed) meet for the first time. WELCOME HOME to my sister & her family!, 21. Helped this gorgeous happy couple & their families by capturing memories of theitlr amazing wedding day, 22. Gonna have to latergram today, 23. June 23, 2014, 24. My sister & her family closed on their new house today, 25. So happy to have these boys back close to home again, 26. 4th of July shopping, 27. I drove straight home from work today, 28. My first week at the Farmers Market, 29. Prepping for the Fourth, 30. Mom.

**She has threatened promised a "healthier" version... and I sure hope it measures up. (IMHO, some things just shouldn't be messed with.)

 

28 May 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Memorial Day Weekend

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

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

Breakfast-croft-23-wester-ross-scottish-highlands

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

Selfie-eilean-donan-castle

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

Scottish-highlands

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

Crannog-seafood-Fort-William

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

View-from-Glasgow-walk-up

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

Vicki-yvette

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

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

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

Voodoo-rooms-cocktails

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

Sunset-view-edinburgh

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

 

13 May 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Let's learn something

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

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

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

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

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

1.  Being a childbirth assistant/doula.

2.  Hand sewing.

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

4.  Food and nutrition.

5.  Quilting!

I've continued to learn a little more about:

6.  Photography.

7.  Dyeing yarn.

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

I would like to learn:

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

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

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

Sheepies

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

 

29 April 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Coming Home

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

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

United

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

Triangulated cats in black & gray.

2.  I love sleeping in my own bed.

Bedroom

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

Ca-coast

4.  I love being in my own bathroom.

Kitchen is a mess. #thishappens #cooking #thismaybethestartofsomethinggood

5.  I enjoy cooking in my own kitchen.

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

Wales

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

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

London-fam

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

View from planet hollywood

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

15wks

15 Weeks Old!

How am I going to bear it!?

 

08 April 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Peas & Carrots

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Foods That Belong Together

1.  Cream of Tomato Soup & Saltine Crackers

2.  Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwich

3.  Cream Cheese & Grape Jelly Sandwich

4.  Honey & Butter Sandwich

5.  Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich

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

7.  Cheerios & Bananas

8.  Cottage Cheese & Peaches

9.  Bratwurst & Mustard

10.  Liver & Onions w/Bacon

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

This post brought to you by free association.

 

11 March 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Short straw edition

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Can Do Myself But Get My Husband/Someone Else To Do Instead

Well, I'm pretty much of the mind that I can do anything, it's a question of whether I want to do a particular thing. And maybe I've been there, done that (installed a dishwasher) and see no need to do it again if there's someone else who can! Heh. I'm always sometimes happy to assist!

1.  Anything plumbing related.

2.  Ditto electrical.

3.  If I can, I'll pass on any painting projects, too.

4.  I have dug a trench for footings, helped with framing, sheathing, shingling, roofing -- I've a pretty good grasp of construction from start-to-finish -- but I have no pressing desire to do anything more now than occasionally assist in the short-term. That goes for any project needing a saw, hammer, or shovel.

5.  Cat care. Food, water, pills, puke, poop. I will feed and water if there's no one else to do it. I'd prefer not to clean up the puke, but sometimes I have to... because I sure hate when I step in it!

6.  Shovel snow. I do it when I have to (when Rusty's gone), but otherwise... No, thank you.

7.  Ditto raking leaves.

8.  And mowing the lawn. I am more likely to mow my mother's (much bigger) lawn!

9.  Cleaning gutters.

10.  Dishes.

* * * * *

TEN MORE THINGS...

Hey, guess what!??? I'll be celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, which is why I hardly ever forget! The St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) will be along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

ONE - KNITTING

Let's start with that, since knitting is the reason I started writing this blog 10 years ago. Oh, the knitting! As of right now, there are 209 entries on my Ravelry project page. Here are 10 of my faves, in no particular order:

Puerperium-4

1.  Puerperium

I dyed this yarn as part of Project Spectrum. It was back to Basics with Lolly that year -- so much fun. And that is truly one of my favorite sweater patterns for a newborn.

Web-IMG_9836

2.  Garter Yoke Baby Cardi (bonus Aviatrix)

Demne

3.  Demne

I also dyed the yarn for the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi, Aviatrix, and Demne. Junah has worn both of those cardis quite a bit. The process for knitting Demne all in one piece makes it one of the most interesting things I've ever made.

 4.  Hero Quimby's Sweater & Hat

These were made for Cara's first-born! It, too, was an interesting sweater pattern to knit but it was the yarn I loved most! The divine Handmaiden Casbah and utilitarian Baby Ull made a fine match.

5.  Habu Birthday To You!

This is so perfect for Mom, and she wears it a lot!

JSchleis_1155

6.  Wedding Shawls - Wisconsin Wedding for Ali, Frambuesa for me. LOVE!

 7.  Williamsro

The yarn was an early reward for the Quit, the sweater was my project for the 2006 Winter Olympics as part of the US Cable Team. Gold!

8.  Fib

A personal best in the Leftovers category. It will always be special in that the yarn was my sister's.

 9.  St. Brigid

Oh, for the love of cables and Alice Starmore! Preferring cardigans these days, I haven't worn it in a while but it'll always be special. I consider it one of my greatest knitting achievements.

10.  Parcheesi

Parcheesi is another accomplishment in the area of Leftovers & Oddballs. Folded diagonally, I wear Parcheesi as a shawl when it's chilly (almost every evening), and also spread it out on my bed most nights. If my house was on fire and I could only save one of my projects, it would be Parcheesi. Lots of love and memories knit into those stitches.

Ha, well, thanks for hanging in there -- this turned out to be a VERY long post! Tune in tomorrow to see what I come up with for #2 as the Ten-for-Ten Blogiversary party continues!!

 

04 March 2014

Marching on

It's a ToT/BPF mash-up this week!

Ten on Tuesday:

Best Picture Festival Wrap-up / Thoughts on This Year's Oscars

I saw the final five of nine Best Picture nominees on Saturday, and let me just say that a five-movie marathon is just about one too many for me! I was pretty restless during that last show; needed to stretch out and move!

Nutshell reviews:

1.  I loved Philomena -- Dame Judy Dench played her beautifully. I thought the supporting cast was terrific. It was so sad that "Phil" wasn't able to meet her son again, but I'm glad she didn't give up her quest to learn more about him, and the ending was heartwarming... if not a bit surprising.

2.  Her was the only movie in this batch that wasn't based on a true story (at least some of it!)... though perhaps it is foretelling? I was a little lost in time, missing whatever reference there was to that (learning later that it's 2025), and I sure hope that if anything about this movie comes true, it's not the return of HIGH-WAISTED PANTS! Haha. While not one of my favorite movies, I thought Joaquin Phoenix did an amazing job in the role.

3.  12 Years A Slave was amazing, and PERFECT casting! I had a little problem with time -- keeping track of passing time -- in this movie, also. (It's me.) Heart-wrenching. I think it was definitely deserving of the Best Picture award, and am also quite happy that Lupita Nyong'o won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Patsey.

4.  One of the things I was looking forward to in American Hustle was the late '70s fashion review! Oh, I could relate!! It was a great story, I loved how it was told, and every single actor was perfectly cast; I can't imagine another actor in any of those roles. Christian Bale's ability and willingness to transform himself is amazing.

5.  Dallas Buyers Club definitely grew on me. Having lived through the scary time that was 1985 and remembering the fear, uncertainty, desperation, prejudice... I don't remember who referred to it in their acceptance speech, that young people who have always known a world with HIV and AIDS don't realize what that was like... so true.

6.  In doing a little pre-Oscar research, I was delighted to learn that June Squibb and I share a birthday... and with Sally Field (and some other people)!

7.  A Scorpio trait? June and Sally appear to be women willing to "age gracefully," if not define the term. I don't mean to be snarky -- I'm not the plastic surgery police and it's certainly a personal freedom and preference -- I just know that when I'm 80, I'd like to look closer to 80 than an indeterminate age obviously passed a long, long time ago. I'd also like to be able to move my face. Sometimes it looks so painful!

8.  I loved Bette Midler's performance of Wind Beneath My Wings. And Pink's Somewhere Over The Rainbow, though the entire Wizard of Oz thing threw me for a loop -- timing again (later to realize that it was the 75th anniversary). It's no secret that I'm a fan of Pharrell and Happy, and I'm disappointed that it didn't win Best Song.

9.  I thought that all of the acceptance speeches were genuine, heartfelt, and concise. I don't recall hearing too many people "played off" the stage, even if their speeches seemed to run a bit longer than 45 seconds.

10.  I enjoyed it all, and I'm happy that I saw all of the BP movies! It was fun to discuss them with my fellow movie-goers, and share our take on the awards, too. I'll most likely do that marathon again next year, if need be.

 

26 February 2014

Ten on Tuesday: I feel...

Ten on Tuesday:  "I feel..."

1.  I feel cold. Wisconsin, winter, blah blah blah; we're in record-breaking territory for below-zero temps, or something ridiculous like that, so BLAH!

2.  I feel pretty. Haha. Well, I don't actually feel pretty at this very moment, but that keeps popping into my head, and sometimes I do; this time:

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3.  I feel satisfied, surprised, accomplished, and amazed that I've finished sewing my Alabama Chanin style top! (I may wear it tonight to book club and, if so, will see about getting a photo; if not, it will happen soon.)

4.  I feel so motivated to do more handsewing... I can hardly believe it. I've been gathering materials!

5.  I feel pleased that I didn't completely frog my Follow Your Arrow shawl, and even found some knitting mojo, picking it up again to do some work during Closing Ceremonies. Obviously, I veered completely off course with that project in terms of completing it during the Olympics!

Junah-n-me

6.  I feel so happy that I'm able to spend some regularly scheduled one-on-one Grandma time with Junah every week... sometimes I even let Grandpa hold him. Heh.

7.  I feel a little overwhelmed by things... and I'm glad I'm feeling it "a little" and will take steps to make sure I don't feel it "a lot."

8.  I feel as though I've let some balls* drop. Big time.

9.  I feel bad that I didn't write a single letter in February. Not even to my daughter who lives far, far away. I'm a terrible mother. (I do enjoy our weekly Skype chats, though, and I'm SO looking forward to visiting her in May.)

10.  I feel the sun!! Do you? Our bedroom faces south and on sunny days the solar gain is AMAZING. Usually, though, once the sun goes down the room cools right down, but lately it's stayed warm well past sundown. So even though I'm feeling cold (#1), I am well aware of (searching out) all of the signs of the coming warmth.

SPRING WILL COME.

 

18 February 2014

Ten on Tuesday: The Olympics

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Thoughts On The 2014 Winter Olympics

1.  In regard to any Olympics on NBC, I hope they never change the theme. I never tire of hearing it.

Bugler's Dream by Leo Arnaud

2. We don't have cable, so the only televised coverage at our house is on plain old over-the-airwaves NBC. I record everything and then FF through a lot of it. Sometimes I'm sorry that I'm not forced to sit through and learn all the ins and outs of, oh, let's say BIATHLON or LUGE.

3. I've been known to delete entire "afternoons" of competition. The Tivo only holds so much! And I only have so much time to watch. And while I may have some interest in one cross-country ski race, subsequent contests are far less riveting (and that may not even be proper use of the word); if I'm paying attention during the FFing, though, I'll stop and watch any finish in any sport.

3. I love love love Mary Carillo! I love her energy, her humor, her wonderful people/place/travel stories. I always stop FFing for those.

4. I'm a big sap. I love the athlete profiles and stories, clips from childhood, awkward stages. I stop for as many of them as I can, too. Athlete profiles have always been one of my favorites parts, even when I was a young girl. They are all regular people, except that they are not... they are extraordinary in their focus, dedication, and determination. Gee, wouldn't that be cool? I think I always wished that I might feel so driven... about anything.

5. Don't you love short-track speed skating!? Actually, almost all of the speed skating, and possibly because I'm from Wisconsin, having agonized and cheered every race with the likes of Dan Jansen, Eric Heiden, and Bonnie Blair.

6. I really enjoyed Tom Brokaw's "Space Race" piece. It re-awakened some feelings and memories that I'm still processing and about which I can feel quite emotional. When I watch the film of those old Apollo missions, I still feel the same excitement of LIFT-OFF that I felt as a 5th grader when our teacher would bring her portable TV to school for every launch so we could watch them live. (Never mind a TV in every classroom, there wasn't even a TV in the AV Room, land of mimeograph machines and filmstrip projectors!) I remember my parents waking us up to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I remember that we won; we beat the Russians to the moon! I remember knowing astronauts' names -- at least some of them -- they were heroes! A present-day astronaut was shown in that story and I was sad, almost embarrassed, that I didn't have a clue what his or any current astronaut's name was.

7. Also, because of that piece, I think I've fallen a little bit in love with Tom Stafford and Alexei Leonov. I find their friendship/relationship (more like family) incredibly heart-warming and so very full of hope for us all.

8. Alexei. Olga. Irina. Sergei. Ludmila. Ekaterina. The Olympic games of my childhood were every-4-year glimpses into another world! Russia, East Germany, were... Communist. Enormous. So very Mysterious! Sometimes I miss the tension and drama. Katarina Witt!

9. Figure skating is one of my favorite Winter Olympics "sports." For only about the third time since cutting the cord, I am missing cable for the live commentary of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, which I hear is among the best, and especially because while Tom Hammond and Scott Hamilton are okay in my book, I cannot stand Sandra Bezic and don't feel any chemistry there at all.

10. I love a little pomp & circumstance, and the spirit of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies -- very different from one another! My mother was a student of Russian history in the mid-'60s, and she even had the opportunity to go to Russia in the mid-'70s; I'll never forget her taking me to see Doctor Zhivago and the history lessons she whispered in my ear throughout the whole movie! I'm grateful, not only for the fond memory but also for the knowledge; I am certain that I knew more about Russia -- some recent history, at least -- than any of my classmates (or teachers) or friends, and I was interested, too. I thought they handled their less than popular history during the Opening quite well. It certainly wasn't an easy thing... and, to critics, wouldn't it be interesting to see how the U.S. handled some of the unsavory bits of their own history in a similar exercise.

Demne

So, I'm off to do some more of the sewing to which the knitting has succumbed. Photo of baby modeling Demne (one of my favorites)... because I can, and because BABY!

 

11 February 2014

Ten on Tuesday: I'm seeing red

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Things That Are Red

Vi-Ka

1.  My daughter Kate's red hair.

Ma-Al-Ju

2. My daughter Ali's red hair.

2.a. My daughter Maddy's decidedly not-red hair. (It's not her fault that she doesn't have red hair, and I just can't leave her off of this list when the other two are on it!)

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3. My grandson Junah's red hair. He doesn't really have red hair, either, but EVERYONE insists that they see red, so I decided today that, by popular demand, Junah's hair is red. Okay? Is everybody happy now??

Aviatrix-1

4. The red Aviatrix that I made... from yarn that I dyed... one of my favorite hat patterns!

Puerperium-3

5. The red Puerperium that I made... from yarn that I dyed... a favorite newborn sweater pattern!

6. A red enamel bowl that I hardly ever use but have had since the beginning of time (or so it seems).

7. A set of red cotton napkins that are in heavy rotation in my kitchen.

Tomatoes-for-sauce

8. Red, red, red tomatoes for Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce.

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9. My bike -- a Carmine Red TREK FX. I can't wait for spring!

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10. The red Saartje's bootees that I made.

 

04 February 2014

Ten on Tuesday: I Am

Ten on Tuesday:  I Am...

1.  I am conflicted on which way to go with this post, so it's probably going to be all over the place!

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2.  In case you haven't heard, I am a grandmother! It's hard to believe he's 3 weeks old already!

3.  I am looking forward to my first babysitting gig.

4.  Not altogether happy with my current knitting project, I am considering casting on for Ysolda's Follow Your Arrow Mystery KAL.

5.  I don't know if it's a thing anymore, but I am considering knitting it, start-to-finish, during the games that start later this week.

6.  If that doesn't get my knitting mojo going, I am not sure what will.

7.  I am still quite interested in handsewing & embellishing, and exploring more of the techniques of Alabama Chanin.

8.  In fact, I am anxiously awaiting delivery of some new materials for a couple of small projects I have in mind that will also make use of some old materials -- re-use and recycle, if you will. This could definitely mess up the knitting plans.

9.  I am at the beginning of another Whole30. There was a birthday celebration over the weekend and a big football game, which means cake & pizza around here, but I didn't over-indulge and was already prepping.

Chocolate-chili_well-fed

10.  That means that I am cooking! Over the weekend I made a pot of Chocolate Chili (rave reviews from everyone) (from Well Fed, one of my favorite cookbooks), an Italian Pork Roast (in the oven instead of slow-cooked) (to DIE for) and Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup (both from Well Fed 2) (yep, I'm a fan). I also roasted a spaghetti squash and a few whole sweet potatoes. And, finally, MAYO! I made homemade mayo only once before; I was in high school and had run across the recipe... and was so intrigued by the idea of a recipe for mayonnaise. Who knew you could make it yourself? I sure didn't. So, anyway, that's given us plenty of food to start the week. I had the last of the chili with a dollop of spaghetti squash, above, for lunch today. Yummm.

 

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

--Helen Keller

 

28 January 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Accentuate the Positive

As I sit here in the middle of the 2nd Polar Vortex of the year, which, in simpler terms, means that it's fucking freezing here right now (again), Carole tests with her ToT topic.

Today

Screen shot this morning.

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Like About Winter

1.  Gigantic snowflakes.

2.  Deep fluffy snow.

3.  Snow days!

4.  Christmas!

5.  Wearing my handknits... and more knitting!

6.  It's the best time of year to make & eat soup.

7.  It's also a great time of year to snuggle in and catch up with TV shows & movies. A friend is taking it one step further and holding an informal (but themed and quite organized) Film Festival at her house on Wednesdays in February & March.

8.  A frosty landscape.

9.  Sometimes the light... I love the "blue period" at dusk, when the sky and the snow -- everything glows BLUE! Also, sunny days. Sunny days are usually crisp and cold but, hello, LIGHT! It reflects everywhere and, at this time of the year, the sun is slowly rising and feeling warmer. Slowly, slowly, the days are getting longer.

Rio

10.  Vacation -- either going on one (to someplace warm, which I've only ever done once) (definitely not the last) or planning one (Scotland in May)!

 

21 January 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Breakfast of Champions!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Breakfast Foods

1.  Eggs. I have an egg for breakfast almost everyday.

2.  Corned Beef Hash (with an egg). I haven't had this in ages, and hardly ever actually had it at breakfast... and I think this is what I want for supper TONIGHT. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since it popped into my heard earlier today.

3.  Bacon. Self-explanatory. Goes with everything.

4.  Leftovers. Fish, some steak, half a bratwurst, a meatball, veggies of all sorts... yummy for breakfast (along with an egg).

5.  Cereal with fruit & nuts. Cheerios with bananas & pecans. Rice Chex with raisins & walnuts. The barest minimum of milk. Liberal sprinkles of cinnamon.

6.  Oatmeal. Good chewy stuff, with raisin and pecans, lots of cinnamon.

7.  Greek yogurt. Plain, with honey, pineapple, and peach were my faves.

8.  Toast. Regular or french. Good bread, good eggs, good syrup.  :)

9.  Pancakes with maple syrup & sausage links.

10.  Waffles (ditto).

I mostly only eat #1, 3 & 4 for breakfast, lunch or dinner these days; the occasional #5 for a supper on my own or a late-night bite.

I get to smell toast regularly and, like fresh baked bread, it still smells good.

One of my favorite things about making pancakes & waffles were the stray little drips and bits that would get super done & crispy -- little pancake or waffle chips.

I like things crispy.

Speaking of breakfast (food), it's been a while and I could use a system reset, so I'm thinking about and gearing up for a Whole30 in February, I think. I ran across Melissa Joulwan's "food plan" and that's a good jumping off point. As has been previously documented here, I love her recipes!

 

08 January 2014

Ten on Tuesday: 2013 Favorites

Ten on Tuesday Wednesday:  10 Favorite Moments from 2013

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1.  Rio in January!

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2.  Chicago in March... and August... and November!

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3.  Mother's Day with my girls.

4.  And Mother's Day when Ali confided to me (and me alone!) that I was going to be a grandmother! Such a great present... and I loved holding that little secret for a while.

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5.  That moment on June 15th when I became a mother-in-law.

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6.  Visits with the Boys from Brazil -- in January (here and there), in July, and in November!

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7.  A couple of get-aways with Rusty -- to Milwaukee in May and to Lake Geneva in September.

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8.  Ali's baby shower and furthering the fun with a big family get-together afterwards.

Garteryoke

9.  Knitting production! Totally amped up and motivated by the notion of a January baby, I didn't stop until I heard the words, "There might be enough sweaters." (It may be true.)

10.  The installation of French doors in the living room by Christmas, just as I'd wished for! There's a little finish work to be done on the non-living room side... no biggie.

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11.  Savoring everything about becoming a grandmother for the first time and helping my daughter in her journey to motherhood. From listening to the baby's heartbeat for the first time (and each time), to attending childbirth classes, to reading everything I could about being a doula/good support person for Ali. I feel both blesssed and honored that they want me so involved in the event that's undoubtedly going to be #1 on this list for 2014!!

* * * * *

Katie's still here 'til Sunday... which is Ali's due date. Maddy was home over the weekend, Ali's not scheduled at work, and we've been having lots of fun -- visiting, shopping/thrifting, taking in some shows (art, museum, movies), and checking in at all of our favorite restaurants!

Did I say it was cold outside? Holy crap.

I have yet to knit a stitch this year. There are a couple of projects underway and I'm sure I'll get to them but the sewing bug has definitely bit. I've done two bibs so far, giving me the confidence to tackle the onesie -- and that may be finished tonight.

 

10 December 2013

Ten on Tuesday: To Do!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things On My To-Do List Right Now!

1.  Yoga! Tomorrow morning right before hair appointment? Maybe. Thursday evening & Sunday morning with Ali, for sure! I really need to get back in the groove.

2.  Mail call! There are two or three packages to ready for mail pick up.

3.  Book club! Party tomorrow night.

4.  I need a book for the gift exchange at aforementioned party.

5.  Knitting group! Party next Tuesday night.

6.  I need a gift to exchange at that party, too; it probably won't be a handknit!

7.  Shopping! Maybe? I think there are a few things I need to buy... It's another nontraditional holiday season around here, and it's sort of hard to wrap my head around it and get a grip on everyone's timeline. There might be one day after the New Year when all three kids are here, so I guess I need to figure that out and plan around it.

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8.  Finish our little remodeling project! Framing is done, drywall is up, plastering is underway. Unfortunately, circumstances (ductwork) dictate that there will be only two doors, not three as I'd hoped and dreamed. If there's one thing I've learned in all these years of old house remodeling, it's how to roll with the punches and understand limitations and pick my battles. That's more than one thing. It could probably be done... ductwork can be moved... but in this particular instance it's not worth it. You can't always get what you want. Don't worry, be happy.

9.  Baby stuff! The childbirth classes are over, the baby shower is over, and now all that's left is the waiting... knitting, waiting, knitting, waiting... it's a HUGE DISTRACTION! I wouldn't trade it for the world... already the world is revolving around this baby!

10.  There will be life after Zim and, as much as I hate the thought of being away from him/her, there's a vacation to the Scottish Highlands to plan! Spring or summer? I'm leaning toward spring... later than our last visit to the UK, but not yet full-on summer tourist season. Oh, I do love to plan a good trip.

03 December 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Hit the high spots

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Housekeeping Shortcuts

This may seem like a silly topic to some, but it occurred to me late last week when I was in the throes of cleaning my house, coming down to the wire with a million things to do, and feeling desperate... so I suggested it to Carole.

You see, not only did I throw a baby shower on Saturday, I had the BRILLIANT idea to invite all of the families up to our house afterwards -- most of them for the first time!

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Though I grumbled and wondered how I could do such a stupid thing, I realized that it actually was quite brilliant because now my house is clean and spiffy and ready for the holidays! We'll dirty it up a little tomorrow when we bash through a wall, but the dust will soon settle (and, plus, that's so exciting!!).

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My house is actually cleaner and more put together now than it's been in years. We've had an extended period where the kids -- and their stuff -- have been fluid and unsettled, shifting between living situations, and a whole lotta stuff landed in temporary storage at our house. With only so many places to go, a fair bit ended up invading our living space and, well, it didn't look that great.

Nor did it inspire.

My mother keeps an immaculate house -- with help; at one time "the help" was my siblings and me -- so I've been very well trained. That training has served me very well over the years, but I use it as seldom as possible. I love a clean house, and sometimes get in the groove, but I generally hate housecleaning.

Even with a house that to most of us would seem ready for a House Beautiful photo shoot at any given moment, there were (and are) times that my mom's house was less than perfect, so every once in a while, when company was on the way and time was limited, she'd give us each a room and say...

1.  Hit the high spots! We'd do a quick pick up & dusting of the things most visible -- only the tops of the tables, not the bases or legs.

2.  Clean off & wipe countertops. I've been using Meyer's or Watkins spray cleaner -- wonderful scents!

3.  Load the dishwasher.

4.  Sweep/vac the floor and shake the rugs. We have mostly hardwood and four cats. Regular furball battles are a given.

5.  Gather up everything in a room that doesn't belong. Part of my battle was/is finding a place for everything. We've removed some storage in readiness for wall-bashing and, while I'm a firm believer in "a place for everything and everything in its place," getting there can be torture.

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6.  Related to the above, if I pick something up and have to think too hard about it, I get rid of it!! My constant companion has been a bag/box/basket designated for giving away, and we've made a ridiculous number of trips to various donation sites. I also took a load of books to Half-Price Books and walked away with some cash!

7.  Multi-task. After a morning flush, I squirt in the toilet cleaner. I wash up & brush my teeth, apply powder/blush/mascara. Before leaving the room, I swish the toilet bowl and flush again -- hardly any extra effort.

8.  I've also been wiping the bathroom sink & mirror with more regularity. It seems to help.

9.  Oh, I'm exhausted!

10.  I think my next shortcut is going to be hiring some regular help!! I've had it in the past, but it's been ages. Now is the time!

* * * * *

CONTEST HERE!

* * * * *

26 November 2013

Ten on Tuesday: To Be Thankful

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things For Which I Am Thankful

1.  I am thankful that I have a husband who can -- and likes to -- do things... and who indulges (most of) my little whims, even when it means bashing a big hole through a wall. We have been do-ers together from Day 1!

One of my goals for today, getting the soon-to-be-installed French doors from the other side of the wall to this. They'll need some time in the basement before all is said and done, but this is good for now. #remodeling

There will soon be a hole in the wall where those doors are leaning -- for those doors to be installed!

2.  I am thankful that Katie is able to follow her dreams (and earn her Master's at the same time) in Scotland. And that she'll soon be home for a visit. And that the possibility of visiting her there next summer is still very real.

3.  I am thankful that Alison is a happy married lady and soon-to-be mum. To see and feel her happiness is... always amazing.

4.  I am thankful that Maddy has found her path. It's a little longer than she'd like and there have been some bumps, but she is getting it done. Her excitement about teaching is infectious.

5.  I am thrilled -- and thankful, of course -- that I will not only become a grandma as the new year begins, but that I will have (hopefully) helped & supported Ali and Rod through the process, and that I will be part of Zim's welcoming committee.

6.  I am thankful for ALL of my family -- parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Due to the natural ebb and flow of relationships, there are various measures of connectedness at any given time, but we are connected to the core and I wouldn't be the same without every last one.

7.  I am especially thankful for the makers among them, and for their inspiration. I am grateful that from an early age I had a full arsenal of tools at my disposal for making all sorts of things -- and people willing to teach me how. Sewing, embroidery, knitting, cooking, painting, quilting, basket-making, furniture building... the list goes on.

8.  I am thankful that my mother taught me how to knit. Where in the world would I be without knitting? I bought an Elizabeth Zimmermann "Quote Tote" from Schoolhouse Press a few years ago: Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises. It is so true! My tote is a little different from the current version, and I think quite a bit bigger, so I only use it for big projects -- but those are exactly the types of projects I choose when there's a crises to knit through!

9.  I am thankful for blogging, which stems directly from knitting, and all that it's brought to my life. I am thankful for you, dear reader. Thank you for following along... reading, writing, and often encouraging me with whatever my whim-of-the-day, including spatchcocked turkeys!

10.  I am thankful for my hearth and home. I have been wrangling quite a bit lately with stuff and trying to reconfigure things -- not easy -- but I am grateful that I have a home that I love, near to so many of the people that I love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

19 November 2013

Ten on Tuesday: 5 + 5

Ten on Tuesday:

5 Favorite Sweater Patterns +
5 Favorite Yarns To Use 10 Things!

SWEATERS

Here are the last 5 sweaters I pinned to I Don't Have Enough On My Plate:

1.  Firth o' Forth by Kate Davies

2.  Maude by Carrie Bostick Hoge

3.  Sweatrrr by Asa Tricosa

4.  Spaghetti by Valentina Cosciani

5.  Faro Pullover by Amy Christoffers

YARNS

I'm not really trying to match yarn to project, but I'm dreaming and it just so happens that...

6.  My Kate sent me about 1750 yards of Belle Epoque lace-weight yarn for my birthday! On a clear day, she can see the actual Firth of Forth from her kitchen window, and it's just natural to my mind that this yarn and that pattern would make a wonderful pairing. I'm about 350 yards short but there are options:  a) I could make the sweater a wee bit shorter, b) I could make the sleeves shorter or possibly even eliminate them, c) see if Kate can pop over to K1 Yarns to see if there's one more hank in this color/lot.

7.  I like the idea of unpretentious Cascade 220 for Maude. After my weekend of moving stuff around, I am quite familiar with some aspects of my stash -- worsted-weight being one of those aspects -- and don't think I have quite enough of any one color. I love the everyday comfy vibe of this sweater!

8.  Low Tide is ready to rip. I ran into it over the weekend, tried it on, and it hasn't magically shrunk... it's still too big! That background color could be interesting for Sweatrrr... and there is no shortage of scrap fingering-weight yarn 'round here. I'd play around with making it a cardigan, though.

9.  For Spaghetti, I like the idea of saturated color... Tosh Merino or something similar.

10.  And for Faro, I have a cone of aran-weight yarn that could be anything at all!

Wow, perusing my Pinterest board beyond those five... there are SO MANY great sweater patterns out there! How does one even decide anymore?

 

05 November 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Zzzzzzz

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Thoughts on Daylight Savings Time

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SATURDAY:

1.  Remember to set the clock back!

SUNDAY:

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)!

MONDAY:

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

10.  I hate this.

 

29 October 2013

Ten on Tuesday: Extra! Extra!

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

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

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

1.  Go out for lunch.

2.  Shop.

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

3.  Cook.

4.  Clean.

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5.  Hang laundry on the line.

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

7.  Watch a movie or catch up with Tivo.

Sandcastles

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?

 

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