Weekending: Kohler

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It's almost embarrassing to admit that I've never visited the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan before. That wrong was made right on Saturday.

Our first stop was the restroom:

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I've been known to take photos in the bathroom, but usually not of the bathroom. The name KOHLER + the word ART definitely puts a different spin on the subject. 

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These photos were all taken in the same bathroom, but I popped my head into ALL of them! Amazing.

The main event was Wisconsin Wild and Tame.

From Mary Nohl's Art Environment...

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To David R. Harper:

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To Jessica Calderwood and Debbie Kupinsky:

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To the Super Natural:

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It was... super!

The rest of the weekend was spent doing stuff like this:

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When Ali brought him over yesterday, he clung to her for a bit and then reached over to me after a few minutes. Soon, he was pushing his mum out the back door, waving and saying "BYE!," firmly closing the door behind her! Hilarious!!

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Sand & trucks at his house, sidewalk chalk at mine. He helped Grampa with some yard work, and also chased cats around the yard (two of ours + one of the neighbor's), asking, "WHAT YOU DOING?"

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My other big accomplishment was getting our home network figured out (again and, hopefully, for good) so we could continue watching Hinterland on Netflix! It was so aggravating on Saturday night, wanting to watch but TiVo telling me that there was no internet. TWC recently sent us a new modem and... yeah. I narrowed it down to a possible problem with our old hub -- at least I hoped -- so I ran to Best Buy for a new switch yesterday and, voila, back on track!

WHAT YOU DOING?


Weekending: A Week Behind!

I don't know how that happened... there's a lot of juggling going on around here, though, so let's chalk it up to that.

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I just love the body language in this photo. We have three kitties at our house -- and all three are pretty good at avoiding Junah! He gets so excited when he sees one, though, and Roxie is (always has been) the most tolerant of young children. (Also, wearing Grandpa's hat! He put it on and started to say, "Buh-ba? Buh-ba?")

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One thing led to another on the weekend-before-last, and pretty soon a few hours on a Saturday afternoon at Nona's house turned into a sleep-over with a bonus trip up to Annie's for a visit with the boys and Sunday brunch!

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Good (very early for a Sunday) morning with epic bed-head (the boy needs a haircut soon)!! It was our first sleep-over in about a year, and it went very well.

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Patience for photos with the cousins... not so much. The boys were so excited, though! First they built a fort on their bunkbeds and when Junah wasn't terribly interested, they moved the whole production into the living room. He's still just a bit too young for that type of play... I doubt it'll be long, though.

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Since I was in possession of our Alabama Chanin Swing Skirt kits, there may have been an ulterior motive behind my invitation to brunch! I had even started stitching on mine. Annie's is ochre-on-ochre and that color is DIVINE! Last we spoke, her plan had changed to reverse applique over most of the skirt, with couching on the bottom 6" or so. Whatever she does, it's going to be fabulous!

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It was fun to do some stitching with my sis!!

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Even though I'd practiced the negative reverse applique technique on my swatch, I couldn't wait to see how it was going to look with the actual fabric & colors that I'm using for the skirt. I haven't cut any more than that but am stitching everyday and getting closer to finishing that panel. So exciting!

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I'm also continuing my consultation with Ina Braun regarding my LOLA sweater... measurements, gauge swatch, design elements... we're getting close! My short trip to CA/OR begins on Wednesday and I hope to bring this along as my knitting project. Of course, I'll bring sewing, too.


Bullets

  • Knitting/Yarn

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What little time I've lately spent on knitting has been on the second inner mitt of my Dimorphous Mittens, and I'm so happy to have only the thumb to go! I want to knit another set of outer mitts, too. I love this set and am so happy to be this close to replacing the one I gave away a few years ago!

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I ran across this gorgeous Habu yarn a while back and couldn't recall why I bought it or when. And I still don't remember. Thanks to friends with excellent suggestions, I am developing a plan for a lace-weight boxy-type top!

 

  • Sewing

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I was reminded that my Alabama Chanin-style sewing began in earnest two years ago with my first from-scratch garment. I stenciled an old t-shirt of Rusty's cut in the shape of a favorite top, and layered it over another old t-shirt. Voila. I still love & wear this top!

 

  • Mail

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Incoming. (YIKES!!!) I half-consider this junk mail. Heh. I doubt that I'll go -- because I've never gone to any except the 5th, and because it's the day before a cousin's wedding!

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Outgoing. I managed to write two cards for Saturday's mail call. Lovin' that morning light.

 

  • Valentines

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The artist and his work! * LOVE *  Is there anything better than a finger-painted Valentine??

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These pics popped up a couple of times on various social media sites... Junah celebrating Valentine's Day two years ago with Great Aunt Karen and Aunt Maddy...

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...and Great Nana. This is the lock-screen image on my phone, too. It's one of the very few photos of my mom and Junah, and definitely one of the best. I love the expressions on both of their faces... I can just hear her talking to him... he's so intently listening. Sweetness.


Weekending: Again

What a weird week last week. I was supposed to have last Thursday & Friday off -- a nice long weekend.

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There was a much-hyped Tuesday & Wednesday snowstorm, though, and with Rusty being gone (he takes care of most snow removal), it was suggested that perhaps I'd rather have those days off to keep up. And, yeah... sort of, I guess, but other scheduling things came into play, too, so that I was ending up with most of Tuesday off and all of Wednesday and, well, that's not much different from a normal week.

I took Friday off, too, but it just wasn't the same, y'know? And, of course, the snowfall wasn't nearly as dramatic as predicted, either. Whatever.

I managed one session with the personal trainer last week, did lots of cooking, and also a fair bit of cutting, ironing, and sewing!

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I had the majority of my Color Dive Quilt (in-progress) laid out on the front room floor for a few days... until Junah was due for a visit and I realized what a disaster that could be! I have three rows sewn together so far... it's very colorful!

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Some of my seams line up pretty good and some not-so-good! I'm learning. I also found that some of my fabric combos worked better than others, and have done more fat-quarter shopping in the past week than I've done ever! I think I can live with it now... I will live with it, because no more shopping!

Annie came on Friday afternoon and spent the weekend. The plan was to introduce her to hand sewing, Alabama Chanin style, in preparation for some skirt kits that are on order. We used some stenciled fat-eighths that I'd ordered a while ago for our swatches.

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Within minutes, she was couching! She really likes the look of it and it's probably the technique she's going to use on her skirt.

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She tried some other techniques, too!

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The beads & sequins also came out, and I sent her home with a selection of all, along with some jersey rope in a contrasting color for couching.

The possibilities are endless!

I worked "negative reverse applique" on my swatch, with both layers of fabric in the same color.

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I will likely use this technique on my skirt, but the layers will be different shades of gray.

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It was a super fun and relaxing weekend -- not as long as originally hoped, but fine!

Ann is smitten with the stitching! It's going to be several weeks before our skirt kits arrive, so in the meantime (next time we get together), we'll be cutting out and sewing an interim project. She reminded me before she left that she made it as far Advanced Tailoring in high school home ec class (I remember the "muslin" suit she made from some amazing floral bedsheets)... she's going to LOVE working on a garment!


Weekending: In no particular order

I walked to the library on Saturday morning to pick up the latest addition to my Reading list: Mink River. This book has garnered lots of stars on Goodreads by some of my favorite readers; and since I've lived at (and will again soon be visiting) the Oregon Coast, it seemed like the perfect read right now.

Junah came over to delight and entertain for a while. The "words" are absolutely nonstop. He loves to flop/fall -- on a beanbag, on a chair, on the floor -- while saying, "Ohhh noooooo!" Hilarious. I could watch him for hours. Oh, that's right, I do!!

Kate & I went to see Brooklyn. Loved it! That brings the list of Best Picture noms that I've seen to half, joining Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and Spotlight. Unseen are The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, The Revenant, and Room -- and it's not likely that'll happen by Oscar night. I could catch two of those on Day 2 of the Best Picture Festival (I'll be in Chicago for Day 1), but I'll be okay if I don't.

I watched a quilting video by Anna Maria Horner on Creativebug.

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And I cut out a bunch of 4" and 4.5" squares for a quilt. I'd run across some fat quarters that I'd purchased recently and/or some time ago and used them as the basis for my color selection, then raided/scrounged through my meager fabric stash for the rest!

Another quilt was definitely not on my radar! I must need to prove to myself that the first effort wasn't a fluke. Heh.

(It probably won't surprise anyone to know that I've had a strip quilt cut and ready to go for years.)

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I did some more cooking. Last night it was Caprese Turkey Burgers & Sweet Potato Wedge Fries. That's the third recipe in a week that we've made from Sheet Pan Suppers.

I've had this cookbook for a while. Unimpressed with the first recipe I tried (I don't even recall which one), it was shelved for a while. Last week, Kate suggested we give it a go, and all three dishes (see Friday's post for Jerome's Chicken and Turkey Meatballs & Slow-roasted Tomatoes) have been really good. Prep is pretty straight forward, not requiring an in ordinate number of bowls & utensils, and clean up (foil- or parchment-lined pans) is a breeze!

Sheet pan cooking is not an exact science, though, as ovens can be fickle, so I'm learning some things for next time/my oven: a) if it doesn't seem like enough chicken, then use more; 2) a little oil might keep meatballs from sticking; 3) pay attention to oven rack location; and 4) turn, turn, turn!

The weather was very mild, but a looming storm was on everyone's mind. It's so sunny and warm right now, it's really hard to believe that there's a blizzard and 6-12" of snow on the way!


Weekending: Beer Town

I took Friday off last week and drove to Milwaukee to meet Annie (already there for a 3-day school board conference) to begin her birthday celebrations!

We were there for only one night and stayed at The Iron Horse Hotel, which was terrific. The lobby was so warm and welcoming (as was the welcoming beverage), and I've never felt more comfortable taking a seat and settling in for a chat. Our room was roomy, well appointed, quiet, and very comfy.

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We began celebrations with a late lunch and 4:00 tour at Lakefront Brewery. It was my first-ever brewery tour and feel fortunate that we had Brewery President Russ Klisch as our guide! That's Russ, above, at the controls of the old "Schotz Brewery" bottling machine; I got to be Laverne and wave good-bye to my glove as it made its way along the conveyor.

The brewery is currently located in a building that once housed City of Milwaukee Forestry*.

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There was a stop at "The Chalet" mid-way through the tour -- one of the original Bernie Brewer chalets from Milwaukee County Stadium.

We got together later with friends Bill & Aimee for drinks and shared-plates dinner at Odd Duck, and had a wonderful time! I had my first experiences with Uber and... they're super quick and friendly, but I had issues with the level of "air freshener" in both vehicles (man, that stuff can be nasty).

We had a nice breakfast on Saturday morning at Smyth, the restaurant within the hotel, and explored our options for doing something on our way out of town.

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We decided on touring the Pabst Mansion. It is really quite lovely and we had a terrific docent. The house is in various stages of restoration and it was interesting to see where they started. No photography is allowed inside, and Annie and I were apparently quite taken with these columns outside the Pabst Pavilion, originally part of the White City, now attached to the house (and on the slate for restoration).

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We stopped at Simma's Bakery for birthday cheesecake on the way back. Ann's husband & boys met up with us at my house where we made a nice dinner, with singing and blowing out of candles and the whole birthday she-bang. They came over again for brunch on Sunday and some play time with Junah before heading home. (I have a feeling Junah will soon have his own light saber).

It was a really great weekend, and I hope yours was too!

*Sharon worked for Forestry in that building at one time... along with Bill & Aimee!


Weekending: Breathing Room

It was a low-key, relaxed weekend and that's OKAY by me! It's been a while and, boy, I needed that.

To set the tone, Rusty & Katie both had art events to attend on Friday, so that meant a quiet evening at home alone for me... I knit and caught up on some Tivo'd programs.

Ali came over for a while on Saturday morning to go over some bookkeeping stuff. Rod & Junah swung by to pick her up and head off on some errands. She called me from the driveway, and told me that all Junah was saying was, "Nona, Nona, Nona..." Could he stay while they did their thing? Well, of course!

We have definitely turned a corner! A month ago, Junah would still have a hard time more often than not when he was dropped off. Now, he can barely get his jacket off quick enough and is nearly oblivious to his exiting parent... and HE DOESN'T WANT TO LEAVE! Makes a granny feel good.

Ali was over for a little while again on Sunday morning, working with Kate on a new website. While they did their thing, I finally started to clean up my work space -- big table, sewing table, stuff on the floor. I realized that actually finishing one of the projects on my worktable would go a long way in helping the cause, so I worked on -- and finished -- my first Stowe Bag!

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It had been idle for weeks, needing only bias tape to bind the handle edges and finishing. I was going to be clever and use some vintage bias tape that I'd picked up somewhere, but discovered that it was LAWN, and definitely not sturdy enough to bind the handles of a work bag! I had to pick up some sturdier stuff, and then Christmas, and then New Year's, and then a baby birthday...

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This is the small size. I used some sturdy woven fabric that I've had for a while (the original purpose for which is long lost) (I'm sure there was one). The Stowe Bag is probably the most structured thing I've ever sewn, and maybe only the second time I've ever worked with bias tape. The construction is interesting, and I love the interior pockets!! It's the perfect size for a knitting tote. I think the large size would be perfect for toting a sewing project.

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The weekend knitting was all Scoreboard KAL. I am now on Week 15... and I am going to run out of green yarn before the end of Regular Season. I don't have another skein of that yarn! Ack. What to do? I don't want to just end in the of the game, this close to the end; that would always bug me. On one hand, I dyed that yarn myself... though I'm nearly certain that I have no record of what I did. On the other hand, it really is the perfect Packer green and I should figure it out! (Also the gold.) It's about time the dye pot was dusted off, anyway, eh?


Weekending: Happy New Year

In addition to (or, as a set-up for) BEGIN AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON, I spent some time cleaning things up at the end of the year. One of those things was KonMari-ing my Bloglovin' feed. First, I hit "Mark All As Read," and then went through one-by-one to determine the level of JOY with each. It made me a little sad to "Unfollow" some of my favorite feeds from the old days, but after years of nothing new... it was time to realize that they are not coming back and give it up. There is no joy in a dead blog.

I spent New Year's Day morning photographing a newborn (part one), which was fun, and I believe my first-ever baby girl!! Part two of her shoot will be coming up on Wednesday. I photographed her big brother as a newborn; he turned four last fall (time flies)!

After that, Rusty & I met at Home Depot to choose and purchase a water filtration system. We live in an area with extremely hard water and a softener is an absolute necessity; unfortunately, the softened water doesn't taste that great. We've always had a "hard water" faucet to use for drinking, coffee, tea, cooking and it tastes better but isn't all that great, either, and the mineral deposits are crazy! We've been lugging gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store for a couple of years, now, and the coffeemaker makes it easy to measure the difference it makes. When using hard water from the tap, deposits would build up, slow the drip, and every couple of months we'd have to run a few cycles with a vinegar-water solution to get things flowing again. Since using filtered water from the store... I can't even remember the last time we had to do that!

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Of course, the water filtration project required cleaning out under the sink to make room for new equipment. In addition to some cleaning supplies, we've always kept unused vases under there; one category that could easily be thinned out and stored elsewhere. I had just the spot in a nearby under-used cabinet that, naturally, also required cleaning out! That cabinet holds extra/holiday linens, our greeting card collection, a few craft supplies, and some old yearbooks (GAH!). The cards, especially, needed organizing and cleaning out, and I reduced that by at least a half (WHY so many card-less envelopes???). I also found my stash of "Busting-Out" newspaper/mags! Closing in on 40 years, it was just one way that my best friend and cohort helped me ("earth-tone girl") grow & get out of my shell back in the day. She was the spearhead, I did some writing. It was mostly local stuff, but there were also record & book reviews, and we did a few celebrity phone interviews, including one with a young and hot (still, IMHO) Don Johnson. What a blast we had!

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Plumbing-related projects are dead-last on Rusty's list of "favorite" things to do, but it went pretty smoothly (only three trips to the hardware store) (one of which could have been avoided). He ended up first having to replace the entire floor of the under-sink cabinet, so it took two days altogether (and I'm glad he didn't rush). Doesn't it look spiffy?

I'm so happy that there will be no more hauling water from the store, that we won't have to store gallons at a time, that we won't have to haul empty jugs back for refilling every week, and that there won't be a big water dispenser taking up space on the counter.

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Junah was over for a few hours on Friday afternoon. OMG, that kid! The words are tumbling... you can practically see and hear the synapses snapping! Can you believe he's going to be TWO next week??

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I found these gloves for him the other day -- he loves getting each finger in the appropriate place -- and these, in particular, were a big hit:

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"Tried these gloves on when we got home at 3:45. Haven't taken them off since (we even took a nap.)"

They finally came off when he was trying to peel a banana!

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I'd intended to start another pair of Trip Mitts over the New Year weekend, but did not; in fact, except for game-time knitting on my Scoreboard KAL last night (I'm still on Week 11... of 17), I didn't do any knitting. Or sewing. My arm needed a rest, I think. I also need some "smooth" yarn for working provisional cast on -- what's your favorite? I'm never using the right thing.

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Katie gave me a nice slate cheese plate for Christmas, along with a book about cheese and beer pairing, so we've been tasting! I love the little arrow cheese markers!

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Opening a carton of eggs the other day to make quiche, I was delighted by all the subtle differences in "brown eggs."

I spent some time with family. I did some photography. There was some home improvement; cleaning, organizing, laundry. I balanced checkbooks. I shopped and cooked. I took it easy, did things as they needed to be done, and didn't stress out.

How about you? How'd you start the new year?


Weekending: Ding Dong Merrily On High

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This is my only photo from our afternoon of baking... mainly because my phone was otherwise occupied playing music!

I had three recipes on my list this year. Two were tried-and-true from last year: Ina Garten's Ultimate Ginger Cookie and Granny Wallace's Shortbread Cookies. The third was new: Dark Chocolate and Guinness Cookies.

I wasn't quite on my game, it seems, because there were little problems with each one! The ginger cookies were slightly overbaked and not as soft as desired (still delicious, though, and still a favorite). The shortbread cookie dough never came together, so no shortbread cookies at all! I saved the crumbles, though, and will try to make something out of it... I'm thinking along the lines of a crust. We'll see. I had printed the same chocolate cookie recipe as linked above but apparently a slightly different version -- that didn't indicate the quantity, so I was a little blind in that respect. The bigger problem, though, was that I made a triple batch in the big Hobart mixer at the kitchen and forgot to scrape the bowl mid-way through mixing. After scooping and filling three or four trays with cookies, I began to see that there was a lot of butter/sugar stuck at the bottom of the bowl. So the last tray or two were pretty ugly -- very buttery and gross (but also very delicious!).

There were enough "good" cookies to fill my gift bags, so I'm okay with it. I wasn't the only one with problems -- hard caramels (the candy thermometer broke), spritz cookies that refused to spritz! It was about more than cookies, though, and was a fun day. And exhausting.

The kitchen is about an hour from my sister's house, and the boys drove up with us. We hardly saw them all afternoon, they were so busy shooting buckets and playing in the adjoining gym! It was fun to chat with them in the car, but best of all was the personal on-demand Christmas concert! "Stille Nacht," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," and "Ding Dong Merrily On High" with that lovely (and sometimes hilariously) drawn-out "gloria" -- in a perfect "boy choir" voice and sweet vibrato.

How did your prep go on the last weekend before Christmas?!


Weekending

Another weekend goes by and the living room still needs dusting.

A few weeks ago I cut out two Alabama Chanin A-Line Dresses. At first, they were going to be one two-layer dress, then I decided that I wanted a dress and a vest, so proceeded to baste the armhole & neckline edges of each, and even began a little sewing on the vest.

What I really wanted first, though, was the dress. I wanted to layer it under my Catamount A-Line Tunic-Dress... and I wanted to wear it to an event on Saturday night! For the millionth time, I wondered whether I could/should commit sacrilege and sew it up by machine and was once again sliding towards not when I read my daily Alabama Chanin inspirational email, saw some of their machine-made ready-to-wear, and thought WHY THE HELL NOT?!! For the most part, I intend this to have something layered over it... no one is going to care about my running stitch or how I felled my seams... and just never mind that it's my project, my fabric, my party.

So I did it, and quick... I started at about 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and we were walking out the door just before 5. The armholes and neckline are self-faced, the seams unfelled, and the hem unfinished... all apt to be revisited/worked on/finished at any time! But for now, it was a go.

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Ever since I read a comment in a thread on Ravelry about the proportion of my tunic-dress, I've questioned the length and my decision to chop it where I did. I love layering, though, and Langenlook (to a degree), so a dress-length layer to wear underneath as a styling option was one way for me to "fix" it, while also adding another basic piece to my wardrobe. And for winter wear (such as it is), the added layer and length are nice. I wore it with a cropped cardi, tights, and ankle boots. (I really need to do something about my mirror!)

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It's been the party dress of the season! I've one more for-sure holiday gathering this week on Wednesday.

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Saturday night was the ARTiculture End-of-Season Event and CSA share pick up at The Draw, with catering by Seven - Boutique Catering.

The venue was The Draw, recently finished, newly opened and pretty spectacular considering that it's "the little white building" that stood for years unoccupied and in disrepair while ever so intriguing and daydream-inducing (I'm guilty!). It's located right on the river and used to be part of a large paper mill. When the greater mill was razed (housing development now in its place), so too was the power source for this structure -- sort of a big hurdle to occupancy.

The food! Janel at Seven - Boutique Catering presented a lovely assortment of finger foods: tiny stuffed brussels sprouts, a variety of roasted fingerling potatoes (some were even hasselback), a butternut squash torte, and sweets.

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Included in our CSA share was a new -- THE BEST EVER -- knitting needle holder! Artist Melissa Siewert's modern take on vintage head vases is one of my favorites, and I think I want to eventually add one or two more! I'm thrilled with every piece of original local art we received in our ARTiculture CSA package (shares are still available!).

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No stranger to head vases here at knitorious, that little lovely in the background with the gigantic cactus hat was my first and long-time avatar here. It's only natural! I love that the new one can wear earrings, too. It's the perfect place for Bijouterie!


Weekending

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I drove to Waupaca on Saturday to pick up a store display fixture and, by then, was 2/3 of the way to visit Maddy. She happened to have a break in her day, so I met up with her at work -- enjoyed an on-tap Point Root Beer in a frosty glass while I waited -- and she took me out to lunch!

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They were decorated to the hilt at Sentry World! I loved this tree inside the restaurant, PJ's, adorned almost entirely in knits!

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After a slow start and a very relaxed morning on Sunday (reading the paper, even), I went to the shop in the early afternoon to rearrange some displays.

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I finally sat down with some mending on Sunday afternoon. I've been walking around with a badly torn seam in my coat for who knows how long (and it was worse than I thought), and also fixed and reinforced the bottom zipper area that was coming apart on one side. I moved some buttons around on another jacket after one broke a while back. The buttons look vintage and I doubt they're original... there's no way I'm going to find a match, so I just relocated the rarely used bottom one.

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We hauled our own tree up from the basement! There are some strings (half-strings) not working -- though as I fluffed the branches, some were magically illuminated! I made sure all the plug connections were secure. Still, I balled up one non-working half and stuffed it in the middle of the tree. (Yes, I did.) I remembered that I'd picked up two add'l strings last week and I suppose I'll put them on (at least one of them) to fill out the middle area. And perhaps I'll psyche myself up for a complete re-do next year. It's been a while. It's just... darn, that job takes a whole day and a sacrificial pair of leather gloves.

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All weekend, we munched on Jordan Almonds (a yummy little present from Margene!) (we love that they're from the Salt Lake Film Society!) and local chocolates that were part of a gift from Friday night's Christmas party.

Oh, and another movie! We saw SPOTLIGHT on Saturday night and, while one doesn't exactly "enjoy" a movie with that type of subject matter, it was very well done.


Weekending: Kombucha

I bottled my second batch of kombucha yesterday -- which I think turned out way better than the first, by the way -- and brewed the third!

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The one class session Ali & I attended at Fermentation Fest last month was Kombucha 101 presented by Vanessa & Alla of NessAlla Kombucha! We both came home with a kit that included everything we needed for our first batch of kombucha:

  • A one-gallon glass jar w/cotton cover & rubber band
  • Organic sugar
  • Organic black tea (loose leaf)
  • SCOBY and starter tea
  • Laminated instruction card

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Sugar dissolved; tea stirred in. Let it steep and cool; strain into jar.

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Add starter tea and SCOBY.

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1st Ferment!

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Bottles procured; bottled and ready for 2nd ferment (bubbles!).

I am terrible at record keeping, and my timeline is a little fuzzy! I really need to start a Kombucha Log...

I know that the Batch #1 sat a little longer because birthday and lack of bottles.

Batch #2 was brewed with organic black tea (in bags) and its first ferment was a bit shorter, so the booch is sweeter (so much better than Batch #1, which is borderline vinegar!). I'm looking forward to tasting Batch #2 after the second fermentation (maybe by Thanksgiving).

Yesterday's Batch #3 was made with some PG Tips (tea bags) that I found in the cupboard.

I'm getting a bit more comfortable with the process. The "log" will help keep me on track. I'm not even thinking about flavors yet... it was suggested in class that we make five or six plain batches to get comfortable, and that's advice I've taken to heart.

SCOBY is  weird, but also very cool.


Weekending

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I spent much of Saturday in my work room -- basting armholes & necklines on both garments, sewing & felling seams and finishing edges on the vest; there's more of all the above yet to do! Every once in a while I consider using the sewing machine...

Rusty & I took a walk after the football game yesterday in search of another geocache (his first). The first one we searched for is in the area of the river, above, but we couldn't find it (we think we know where it is but need to wait for less water). We easily located another that was nearby, and also stopped by my first "find" so I could write in the log (I brought a pencil with me).

I'm still working on Week 9 of my Scoreboard KAL Cowl... those predominantly yellow weeks (losses) are hard to take, and that was an especially high-scoring game! Yesterday's was awful, too, though at least only 34 total points/rows vs. 66! I don't know what happened during the Week 7 BYE; every game before it was a win, every game since has been a loss. Boo.

My other KAL, A March Through Time, is right on track! I love it so far and can't wait to start on the new section released today!


Weekending

I lied.

I wore sandals to Milwaukee on Saturday, and I'm wearing them again today. The temp is supposed to be 55F!

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My cousin Rae is member of a group called Craft Cult and I received an invitation a few weeks ago to the Craft Cult Annual Art & Craft Sale on Nov. 8th at Art & Soul Gallery. I've been aware of this sale in previous years, but usually with not much notice. This year, realizing that it was also on my birthday weekend, I had plenty of time to make it an event!

It was a quick one -- just overnight on Saturday -- but so fun!

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SW corner of the building, 5th floor, lots of light!! Fantastic kitchen!

After my walk on Saturday morning, my sister Ann and I headed south! Our Airbnb loft was located in the Walker's Point area. We found it and then headed down the street to Zak's Cafe for lunch, contacting our hosts on the way and giving them a little notice.

On the way back  to the loft we stopped in at Indulgence Chocolatiers and picked up a few truffles for later. We stuck our noses in at Purple Door Ice Cream, too.

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My bedroom... and the view. Photos taken on Sunday morning, after we'd already "moved in"!

Karen wasn't expected until a little bit later, and a little shopping was on all of our lists, so we decided to meet up at the mall. Yeah... on a Saturday afternoon.

The good news is, we all found what we were looking for! I was happy to come across a new Hanna Andersson store and bought a few things for Junebug that I know he'll wear and wear and wear. I had a brief thought about saving them for Christmas, but why?? 'Tis the season (any minute now) for cozy long johns!

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We had a wonderful dinner out at Morel on Saturday night. I had quite a list of possibilities, but we settled on this one and I'm so glad we did. We didn't make reservations, but there was room at the bar and we didn't mind that... fun and casual. We shared a Charcuterie Board; we all had the Beet, Radish, Smoked Carrot, Chevre, Arugula, Pine Nut Salad (ordered at three separate times, but arriving all at once... that's great service & a great kitchen); Karen had Lamb Ragout, Annie had Ham Hock, and I had Rainbow Trout; and we shared a little Chocolate Mousse for dessert... because was also stopped off at the Purple Door on the way home!

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On Sunday morning, after breakfast at Zak's, we packed up and head out of town, stopping at Rae's event on the way. Her husband Michael was spinning records*, and other members of the cult -- wow, there was some great sewing, jewelry, paper goods! Rae's a fantastic knitter, and she made both the hat that Junah modeled yesterday and another little item that I picked up for him... that I am saving for Christmas (as hard as that is!). Yes, I'm a knitter; yes, I could make those things myself... but I know that I won't!

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I found some great earrings for myself.

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And we had fun visit with Rae!! I'll be heading back down to Milwaukee again to a) give the cult an introduction to Alabama Chanin, and b) to possibly host an Alabama Chanin party/start a sewing circle with my sisters, cousins, and friends.

*As I passed by at one point, I overheard Michael talking to a young girl (and by that, I mean at least mid-20s), saying, "...and the larger space between the grooves is a pause between songs."


Weekending

The big news of last weekend isn't mine.

Paris-France

After months of planning (not mine) and secrecy, I delivered Kate to the airport in Green Bay on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning she landed in Paris! SURPRISE!! She was invited, along with another couple, by her friend Blair's husband to a surprise 30th birthday celebration for Blair... in Paris (swoon). There's at least one other surprise for Blair before they return home to Edinburgh, where Katie will also spend about a week before she returns home (here). It's been a lot of fun to see it all unfold. It was so secretive, though, that Katie didn't even tell the credit union that she was going!! (I called this morning and hopefully she'll be able to use her debit card now.)

* * * *

I had a very quiet and relaxing weekend, myself.

* * * *

The previous weekend was a bit more "exciting" for us all. We all had or took the day off on Friday and left bright and early for a 3-day weekend "up north."

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Originally, my sisters and at least one cousin were going to join us, but they fell off one by one and so it ended up being just us at the old cabin, with my uncle at his a couple doors down.

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The weather was kind of crappy until about mid-morning on Saturday and then it was just lovely -- brisk and fall-like -- not as warm and delightful as last year, but certainly pretty enough!

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There were plenty of walks.

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We explored some of the remains of the old Hiawatha Resort.

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We goofed around.

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Goofed around some more.

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It was gorgeous... super low-key, fun, relaxing.

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I started a new knitting project on the way up and this was my progress as of Saturday night. I took some photos of an FO, too!

We played games and ate great food, including a fish fry on Saturday night... there's nothing like pan-fried walleye!

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A darn good time was had by all!!


Weekending

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Opening weekend for Fox Valley Found + Collected at Standard Projects in nearby Hortonville. There's a lot happening there! (Kate's been doing a series about The Residents at Standard Projects at Young Space.)

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A rare find at any local farmer market: artichokes! Our season isn't usually long enough. These were tiny, and also delicious.

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Harvest Festival at Grignon Mansion. House tours, good food and beverages, pie eating contests, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating and carving, face painting, blacksmithing and spinning demonstrations, live music, and more! It was chilly (October!) -- we served up every last drop of hot cocoa -- but not so cold that it kept people away. In fact, it was quite well attended for a first-ever event.

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It's an amazing little house & property. Once upon a time, before soccer took over, this was the site of an annual Civil War Encampment. We attended it once before it ended, watching the cavalry thunder over that hill. Kate was probably 8 or 9, and was quite impressed (traumatized?) by the realistic acting of a wounded soldier about to have a leg amputated...

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Built in 1837, the house was brought back from the brink some years ago and beautifully restored.


Weekending: Music & Art

The third Mile of Music festival, aka Mile 3, was the happening thing around here over the weekend, with around 700 performances by 200+ original musical acts from Thursday to Sunday.

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I attended the performance of Son Little on Thursday evening, already very familiar with his music thanks to Kate... I've been listening for quite a while now! You may have read/heard about his music in The New Yorker or on NPR. It was a great show and I'm so glad I went! (And wore my new dress).

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Saturday morning was a farmer market morning, as usual, and the highlight of every market morning is a visit from Junah! Not only did he dump out all three snack containers, he took great pleasure in walking over it... the sound and sensation!

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Later on Saturday, we made our way down to The Alley Project (that link will take you to Kate's YoungSpace blog with lots of behind-the-scenes/before-after photos, etc.). We participated in a Drawing Rally -- I volunteered and Rusty made art!

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Artists made as many pieces as they wanted in their time period to help raise funds for community arts initiatives.

Some very talented artists participated:

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And some enthusiastic community members also took part!

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It was a blast and the place was hoppin'!

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Weekending: Baseball, Wedding, Weeding, Sewing, Knitting

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It was a beautiful night for a baseball game on Friday!

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As it turns out, it was MINION NIGHT! Annie and I -- not the 8 & 10 yo boys -- were the only ones interested in the photo op. Heh. Fun times.

* * * * *

My first thought when I woke on Saturday morning and noticed the sky through the window:

Red sky at morn, sailor take warn!

Soon there was a severe thunderstorm warning issued. The wind picked up right on cue, followed by thunder, lightning, and rain. There was a flurry of texts with Ali regarding the market and we eventually decided to skip it. Some vendors set up after the storm had passed -- maybe around 9 a.m. -- but it's not really worth it to set up & tear down our rig for 3 hours. Not to mention that it was still oppressively hot and humid, because the storm did nothing in that regard.

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I was thankful to turn over and sleep in on a Saturday for the first time in over a month! It also meant that I wouldn't need an after-market nap, could shower right away instead of waiting until after the after-market nap, and had a few unscheduled hours at my disposal! Laundry, lunch out with Kate, and a little bit of sewing time took care of that!

I accompanied Annie to another wedding reception on Saturday evening. It was at The Marq, and I knew right were it was... we pass it every time we head up I-41 to Green Bay or beyond. We pulled in to the parking lot and I remarked that it didn't seem very full, but people were obviously arriving and Annie thought she recognized someone's truck.

We walked toward the door and a man came stumbling out; he laughed and said that he was staggering already and hadn't even had a drink yet! He offered his hand to Ann and said, "Hi. I'm Mary's dad."

Puzzled, Annie said, "Mary?"

"The bride!"

"Um, Kayla's the bride... maybe there's another wedding here?"

"No, just the one."

OOPS! Wrong venue. I didn't even know there was another MARQ! The invitation (not to mention all the venue signage) said "The Marq on Lineville Road." But I didn't even pay attention to what road we were on... I knew right where it was! I think that if one location is distinguished by address, then the other should be too!

We GPS'd, hopped back in the car and headed to the other side of town, battling a bit of traffic due to road construction in combination with the Brett Favre hall of fame induction that was also happening in Green Bay on Saturday night!

We made it, had a great time, and even danced a bit (Annie more than me!). We were reminded of a wedding we attended together at this time last year... in L.A.!

* * * * *

On Sunday morning, we all met at Joe's for a late breakfast -- gluten-free pancakes (with optional pecans) a la Ali & Jillian. Mmm, they were delicious!

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We spent a few hours hanging out -- alternating between working (weeding, trimming, cutting back, cleaning the deck) and playing with the kiddos. Junah was introduced to the old Little Tikes Mower that Addy used to play with... so cute! The big boys found a never-opened/never-used gigantic styrofoam model airplane in the garage and we all had fun playing with that! The power of suggestion? Today is the opening day of this year's EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, and there were noticeably more real planes than usual in our airspace yesterday.

For much of the evening I sewed... until my (middle) finger nearly bled... I'm getting so close to finishing the embellishment of my Alabama Chanin A-line Tunic! I finally put on a soft thimble, but my impulse, then, is to avoid that finger and use another! I've never regularly used a thimble, even when I was cross-stitching all the time (and sometimes it would really hurt then, too); I'll just have to get used to it.

The rest of the evening was spent knitting -- the first time all weekend that it came out of my tote bag! I'm on row 45 of 97 of the knitted-on edging... almost half-way!

* * * * *

How was your weekend?


Weekending

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Saturday was a Market Morning, of course. I squeezed a lot of lemons! I don't think our set up has ever been the same two weeks in a row... always moving and, hopefully, always improving.

I accompanied my sister Annie to a wedding reception/dinner in Green Bay on Saturday evening. Her husband the the boys met her here later in the evening, and on Sunday morning we all went to see MINIONS! Did you know that they show movies like that as early as 9:15 am? We went early, but not that early!

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I watched Junah on Sunday afternoon while his mom did catered beverages for a family reunion. He played some with the boys, but mostly we cuddled.

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His hair is really growing!

And slept. He hadn't been feeling well earlier in the week, and a couple of big molars are coming in... making life pretty miserable at times. He had fun with the boys, though; I never tire of their doting on him. It's something special.

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I finally sat down and took a little "me" time on Sunday night. I've finished the mesh (3 repeats) and have begun the knit-on edging for the TTL Mystery Shawl. The darker contrasting color surprised me by being a little electric in areas (not a bad thing), and I love how it's making the more subtle lavender-blue in the main color pop... I hadn't really seen it as "blue" before.

* * * * * Catch up! * * * * *

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Maddy brought us a fun little colander bowl from her Appalachia trip. It's fairly small, maybe 5-6" across, perfect for a bunch of grapes or some berries. She enjoyed talking about pottery -- especially her Aunt Sharon's work -- with the maker.

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Last Wednesday, after checking in with Maddy and dealing with the car situation, I met my sister Karen in Wausau for lunch (including one alcoholic drink & dessert) in trade for the the 7 lbs of tart cherries that I'd picked & cleaned for her the Sunday before. We met at Red Eye Brewing Company and had a wonderful meal together! Karen had their Red Eye Chicken Mac, I had Woodfired Grassfed Meatballs (enough to save some for Thursday's lunch), and we both had a brownie with vanilla custard for dessert. So. Good.

* * * * *

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I need some sewing time!


Weekending / FO: Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015

I found myself on Saturday morning with just enough time to soak & block a shawl before running off to meet Annie for lunch.

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I used three blocking wires, threading one down the center of the shawl, and the other two at the top. I folded the shawl in half, anchored the sides with the wires, and pulled out and pinned the points.

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For one thing, it's a big shawl and wouldn't fit on my Block 'n Roll mat; for another, it's arguably a little less work this way; and, lastly, both sides turn out the same!

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Rusty took the glamorous FO photos modeled by yours truly. (Dirty garage door!)

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Isn't it a beautiful design? I love it. Here's another photo...

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...I'll upload the rest, including some more detailed shots, to the Ravelry project page.


Ten on Tuesday: Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

1. Rusty & I took a 7-hour RT drive on Saturday to attend my nephew's graduation party.

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The chocolate fountain was a hit... look for it next at a summer birthday party!

2. We stopped on the way to visit Maddy at work and have lunch!

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We managed one not-so-goofy picture.

3. My niece took some pictures of my goofy sisters and me.

4. I slept in until 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. That's crazy! (Obviously, I needed it.)

5. I did some finishing/fixing on my indig0-dyed Endless Summer Tunic dress -- all that's left now is some handwork (felling seams).

6. Junah came over for a delightful few hours. He is unmistakably communicating his wants and desires, both vocally and by pointing. The boy loves to point! He is also officially running now.

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7. On Monday, I decided that it was time to make another tunic! This time, I used an existing garment as a template to make a pattern and cut up another men's 4X t-shirt for fabric -- it was the perfect size. It's a very simple design, and I did some of the sewing by machine, but it still took all day! The learning curve in figuring out a mitered-corner finish on the square neckline would account for a great deal of that.

8. Ali rode her bike over with Junah in the trailer. The weather was iffy all day -- clouds, rain, sun, rinse & repeat -- but they found a good weather window and it was good to be outside. Junah loves it outside!!

9. I helped with supper last night, made a run to pick up trip supplies, and watched the last episode of North & South.

10. No knitting! It will definitely be coming on the trip, though... both the current sweater and shawl. We leave this afternoon!

And that's that. I hope you had a great weekend!


Weekending: Sunday Blues

Oh, was it ever a blue Sunday... so blue. And I'm not sure I could have been any happier about that!

It was one of those stellar weekends all around -- the perfect balance of time together vs. time alone, time with my grandson, time for garden/yard stuff, and definitely time for creative stuff (though I haven't knit a stitch in at least a week!). I was mindful of and grateful for it all, because it'll be a while before there's a chance at another.

When last we met, I'd stirred up an indigo flower.

I've slowly collected supplies over the past few months. Following their instructions for using Pre-Reduced Indigo Crystals, I ordered all of my dye supplies from Dharma Trading Co. I already had a selection of cotton onesies to play around with, as well as some yarn, but the big thing I was aiming to dye was 2 yards of Limited-edition Lime Organic Cotton Jersey from Alabama Chanin. It's a fabulous color, but it is so not my color... nor any of my people's!

I wanted to dye the fabric all in one piece, so decided on a 20-gallon plastic trash can with a cover for my vat. On Saturday, I mixed and measured... and due to miscalculation, didn't have quite enough Thiox, but proceeded anyway (and ordered more!), and then let it sit so the magic could happen.

On Sunday morning, I put the onesies and fabric in the washer for a rinse+spin cycle to dampen, and spread a large plastic drop cloth between the back door of the garage and the clothesline -- the vat is located just inside the garage door.

But, of course, I started with yarn!

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One hank of Merino-Cashmere-Nylon. It took a lot of rinsing to remove the excess dye!

The onesies didn't seem to soak up as much dye, but I'd also practiced some shibori/tie-dye technique on all but one of them.

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6-month Onesie. Folded and tied with string.

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6-month Onesie. Dunk-dyed, unbound.

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6-month Onesie. Gathered and bound with rubber band.

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6-month Onesie. Folded and tied with string.

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12-month Onesie. Gathered and bound with rubber bands.

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24-month Onesie. Folded and tied with string.

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24-month Onesie. Folded and tied with string.

I don't have a photo of the lime fabric before dyeing... or really much of the after, either. I was alone and there's really no way one can dye and document at the same time! I do have a video, though.

All the onesies, a peek at the fabric, and a quick glimpse of the pre-rinsed yarn. I rinsed the fabric pieces on the line with the hose, and then washed everything (with color catchers). The fabric, being large and not bound in any way, also held a lot of dye.

But wait! There's more!!

Inspired by several finished pieces I've seen lately, I purchased and pieced together the pattern for an Endless Summer Tunic (dress) by A Verb for Keeping Warm and...

Well, I had 2 yards of freshly dyed fabric!

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I cut and sewed on my freshly serviced machine, using my spiffy new walking foot for the second time... until a piece flew out of it, it fell apart, and then my needle broke! But I carried on with a regular foot and stretch stitch, using Maxi-Lock thread, and it worked!

I have a new dress! With pockets, even. I don't think I've ever sewn anything with pockets before. This thing is awesome! The shot above was taken late on Sunday and, because the weekend, I am lacking a good "foundation," and my mirror is permanently ick (but I love it)... I couldn't wait! With the girls in position and properly supported, it's clear that I'll have to stitch up that V-neck another inch (or wear a layer underneath).

Look at that drape! There's still some finishing & fixing to do: I want to fell all the seams and finish the V-neck edge by hand; I need to take it in just a bit under the arms, and also bind the arm edges (I missed that part in the directions). You can certainly expect to see more of these in varying lengths this summer.

And also blue. It's going to be a very blue summer. We're going to have the blues awful bad around here!


Weekending: Saturday

It was quite amazing to realize on Saturday that it had been 39 years since I graduated from high school! It just simply cannot be, and yet the math says otherwise. Heh.

* * * * *

Saturday morning found us at the Outagamie County Master Gardener Association's annual plant sale, where this was a common sight.

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We mainly bought tomatoes; by the time we arrived, they were out of basil and parsley, but had a very good supply of hostas and daylilies (most of which they were practically giving away, and if you have a hosta garden, I'm sure you can relate). They had a good selection of perennials, all very nicely organized, but I have few needs right now in that department. We stopped at a nursery on the way home to pick up a few annuals for planters.

And it all got planted on Saturday afternoon! We may yet have a few iffy nights in terms of frost, but we'll keep a close eye on the situation.

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I stood by with phone in hand, ready to dial 9-1-1, while Rusty did a little trimming of one of the old ash trees at the front of our house. Yikes! There are a lot of small, straggly dead branches in those trees, but there was just a major one or two larger ones that really needed to be taken care of -- and were "in reach."

* * * * *

We also went to an open house at the former retreat center owned by the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, commonly known as Monte Alverno. The property is now owned by the Fox River Environmental Education Alliance (FREEA) and on Saturday local son Cory Chisel was named vice president of FREEA. He presented plans, hopes, and dreams for the property... which may become known simply as The Refuge (if my vote on the subject mattered in any way).

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It's a beautiful property... with many bedrooms -- over 50!! I've always known it to be there but have never been until a few weeks ago when Kate was on a panel of judges for a local photography group and they had their meeting and dinner there. "Monte Alverno" is synonymous, in my mind, with "marriage retreat" because that's the only thing I ever knew of that happened there!

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Not any more. Though, if you wanted to have a marriage retreat there, I'm sure you'd be welcome! Or any other kind of retreat... and, yes, of course I've thought of that!

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Cory and his wife, Adriel, were joined in the chapel area by their son as they sang, and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra looked on; the baby was adorable, watching his daddy play guitar. The sound in that space is amazing! It'll be fun to see how things unfold and develop there over time.

* * * * *

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Junah came over for a while in the evening. I took him for a long walk in the stroller. He spent a lot of time going in and out through the back door (he likes to hear it slam!), going up and down the porch steps... always busy and moving!

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He has some favorite cupboards at my house, but this one is probably the favorite... and also the noisiest! I can't think of a more fun way to spend a Saturday night.

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I also made this on Saturday:

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Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

My cauldron is a 20-gallon trash can, which I stirred with an actual broom handle, and the bubble is called the indigo flower... sitting atop my indigo vat!

More on that tomorrow!!


Weekending

Kate had a meeting on Saturday morning and I decided to tag along to Appleton and meander The (College) Avenue until she was finished.

I wandered into Blue Moon Emporium, a great little shop with an emphasis on locally made goods, and into Studio 213 LLC, which features a mix of art and antiques, etc. I found a little something at each shop and was quite happy.

My eye was caught by a large corner (probably sectional) sofa in the window of Gabriel Furniture. I bought Rusty's Barcalounger recliner there a whole bunch of years ago, but it had been ages since I'd been in an actual furniture store and was compelled to turn around and go in to have a look around.

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This is actually the back entrance, around the corner. Gabriel's has grown over the years, expanding into several neighboring shops along both College Avenue and Morrison Street, visually tying it all together with some of the ugliest facade work ever (the original multi-story building was gorgeous). One of those shops along The Avenue was Shirley's, where I remember shopping with Mom for school clothes... specifically, Polly Flinders smocked dresses come to mind, and the fairly hiddy coat that I had to have in 5th or 6th grade because it had this cool chain belt, and also a dress Mom bought for Sharon but said "Don't tell your dad," so Sharon was scared to death of wearing for fear that Dad would ask her where it came from. (As if.)

I wandered through the store and stepped through a doorway into the part of the building that's pictured above, and it immediately struck me... this was Beverly Lemke's School of Dance! I took ballet, tap, and tumbling there until the piano and violin came along and appealed to me more. I think of it sometimes when I drive by -- that big red section of the wall on the right was actually about that same color then, but was made of huge ceramic tiles and a beautiful ballerina in arabesque was painted in silhouette to fill the area. There was nothing inside Gabriel's that said "ballet" to me as I stood there, but there must still be an aura or something! I can't remember a single detail about my lessons there, though I do have memory of a production of The Wizard of Oz in which I was both a mouse (tumbling) and some sort of dancing fairy (ballet -- frothy pink dress) and Sharon & Karen were bumble bees (ballet) -- but I know that I loved it and have warm fuzzies about it all.

A little sneaky grief, as Carole calls it, crept up on me there and I got a little teary with the feels of remembering all that -- Shirley's, Beverly Lemke's, Mom.

The salesman at the store told me that way in the back, their work area, there's still a ballerina painted on the wall. I might someday ask for a peek.

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Ann & her family were here and later on Saturday we got together at Mom's & Joe's and had a cookout. Mum's wildflower garden is pretty spectacular right now -- just the way she liked it -- with Virginia bluebells, forget-me-knots, bleeding hearts all blooming, not to mention the flowering trees, especially the redbud (one of which is struggling a bit).

We had a wonderful brunch on Sunday, too, complete with mimosas! (I took a bit of a Whole30 hiatus for Mother's Day...)

* * * * *

I finished Clue 5 of Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015 on Friday night, so cast it off on Saturday!

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I wove in all the ends on Sunday, but just didn't have the time for soaking and blocking; however, I did have time to begin contemplating combinations for my next mystery shawl!

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Combo #1.

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Combo #2.

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Combo #3.

The cast-on for Kirsten Kapur's Through The Loops Mystery Shawl 2015 is set for June 1st, and I think it's going to be Combo #1 -- both are Malabrigo Sock.

But there are weeks before the knit-along begins, so who knows!?

* * * * *

In the meantime, I am carrying on with Michele Bernstein's Sophie's Rose Shawlette, having just completed Row 240 of 360 for the main section; then there will be the edging and that amazing ruffle to work. I need to take an updated photo for my Ravelry project page, but I love how it's all working out so far!

I've also been giving some time to the sewing, and have both the front and back pieces of my Alabama Chanin corset top completely sewn; next step is felling the seams. I think I'll assemble the top and apply the binding, and then the beading! This slow fashion is fun... but slow.

But my sewing machine is ready to pick up and the stitch selector knob is moving, and there'll soon be some faster fashion happening (in all sizes)!


Weekending / FO: Junebean

It was a long-overdue, really great, and very productive weekend! I'm not very good at holding back and parceling out the goods, but I thought I'd try and only post about one thing today; the danger is that I begin to think of things left for later as "old news" and/or something else comes along. I accomplished a lot, though, and I could be "Weekending" almost all week!

I'm not even going to start at the beginning. Here's the scene at my kitchen table on Sunday morning:

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One of my errand stops on Saturday was at Joann's to find buttons for Junah's sweater, and I took some time on yesterday to sew them on! That results in an FO!

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  • Project:  Junebean, Devan by Holli Yeoh
  • Size 2T
  • Yarns:
  • Needle:  US 2 & 3 - slightly larger than specified in the pattern
  • Start to Finish:  March 22 - May 3, 2015

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At first I thought that stripey intarsia block at the neck in back would be too fiddly, but I'm not sure how I reasoned that THREE intarsia blocks across the bottom would be any easier? Because they were solid and not stripes?? Heh. As it turns out, I did both.

There was some operator error in the soaking for blocking process and a bit of color bled to the back -- you can see it here. It might come out or fade a bit with another washing, I haven't done that yet. It makes me a little sad, but then I look at the blocks, the stripes, turn it over and look at the front, the buttons, all those MATCHING STRIPES -- I LOVE IT!

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Stripey goodness. Julia's self-striping wizardry is out of this world amazing.

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Oopsie! There's a sneak peek at something else I did over the weekend.

 


Weekending: Embellished

Saturday

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Karen and Ann came to town and we gathered on Saturday to spend a full afternoon doing yard & garden clean up for Joe. It was a great day with perfect weather for such work. We filled 16 yard refuse bags! And I hauled a few more bags worth to the bottom of the ravine.

I cleaned up a lot of willow branches from the deck and wildflower garden. The wind chime that Mother's friends gave to Joe was making all kinds of noise as I made the first pass on the deck and I could hear Mom, "You're Not Doing It Right." "I'm doing it MY way, Mom!" (We had a little back-and-forth.)

As I was working in the wildflower garden (dutchmen's breeches are all but done, dogtooth violets are appearing, Virginia bluebells are full of buds), I remembered when Mom & Joe came to Oregon in May of '85 to meet Katie for the first time. Mom had just begun that project and it was the first year she could enjoy the "flowers" of her labor -- she was missing some of the show because Spring (most wildflowers put on a very short show). She remarked that the garden would bloom only 18 more times before Katie graduated from high school, and didn't that seem like... not very many?? And now it's already been 30!

The kids had a blast. We had a cookout, ate a ton of good food. I even rode my bike. And got a little knitting done to round out the day. (Clue 3 of Romi's Mystery Shawl is complete!)

Sunday

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On Sunday, I had a hole to fix! It wasn't very big, but it was rather obvious... right at the hem of a tunic, about 2" from the side seam. It's a garment that I love and wear a lot; it could not be out of commission for long!!

From the start, I knew I would employ visible mending a la Tom of Holland, and that my experience with Alabama Chanin hand-sewing techniques would serve me well.

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It was a round-ish hole, so I decided to repair it in a circular fashion. I pinned my circle to the back and blanket-stitched around the hole from the front.

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Continuing with the same length of thread, I worked running stitch in circles around the button-holed repair.

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Showing the back of my work! I was quite pleased with the repair, my plan, and how it looked.

But I could not stop.

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I had to EMBELLISH that little patch!

"Why not?!" I chuckled to myself as I pulled out my little bins of sequins and chop beads, channeling a bit of both Natalie Chanin and Marie Kondo... loving my thread, honoring the people who made my clothes, taking good care of my things, thanking my tunic for doing its job so well and making me feel great, sewing...

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Inspired... and thankful for all I've learned from people such as Natalie and Marie.

I love that little patch!!


Happiness is...

A weekend like the one we just had! It was fantastic, start to finish. I'm still processing!

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Rusty and I walked down to our favorite local tavern for a burger last night, and saw much sidewalk chalk art and hopscotch boards along the way!!

(Grrl needs a pedi!)


Weekending

We've been in a bit of a rut and I've packed on a few pounds... opting for what's easy over what's better will do that.

I took back the kitchen over the weekend, and it felt great!!

I'll probably make a Wedge Salad tonight, too, because the thought popped into my head the other day and it's stuck.

* * * * *

Work continues on Devan, Junebug's new spring sweater. I made the fix to shoulder/neck shaping, so both fronts are finished, and I knocked off a sleeve over the weekend. The second sleeve was cast on last night, and I discovered that I mis-wound the second ball of self-striping yarn so had to stop and rewind. I should be all set now! I'm beginning to think about a slight variation to the back design!

* * * * *

I also spent some time contemplating color choices for a new shawl. Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015 begins on Friday, and there are two colors. Pictures always seem to help.

Blues

This is a combo that I dyed, and #1 contender for the project.

Indigo-orange

Until this came along. On the left is Sophie's Toe's "Indigo" and on the right, a sherbet-y, salmon-y orange that I recently dyed. It may be reminiscent of school colors to some, but not to me!

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Then I paired the indigo with the lighter blue from the first set and I like that, too.

I think it's going to be the middle one, but I have until Thursday night's wind-up to make a final decision!

* * * * *

For the past couple of weeks, I've been accompanying a friend to open houses and real estate showings. She lives in an adorable, historic, little house across from a beautiful park, but she has two young boys (5 & 6) and "little" is not working anymore!

Wow. What an education! Other than the whirlwind house-buying-by-committee expedition that I was on last spring with Rusty, Ali & Annie, it's been a long time since I was house-shopping. My friend, also named Ann, has been looking at homes within a certain school district and price range -- everything from new construction to historic, and a much larger pool to choose from that we had last spring.

One day last week, we were at a house just a few doors down from the first house that my parents ever bought! It was a brand new subdivision, then, and I lived there from 3rd to 7th grade, so a lot of growing up. It was so much fun to be in the old 'hood.

I think we dashed around to at least a half-dozen open houses yesterday and I still had that critical eye when I walked through my own back door! "This house has a really nice kitchen," I thought! I'm also very much inspired to get back on the KonMari horse... and maybe to paint my kitchen! Or something! Clean & fresh!!

* * * * *

Can you believe we're looking at the last day of March tomorrow?!


Weekending

I had a little time to kill before meeting everyone for Joe's birthday dinner, so popped over to my bike shop to take advantage of The Great Rack Upgrade. The offer (thru 3/31) is to trade in your old bike rack (any make/model) and get 20% off a new Saris rack. I've had a 3-bike Saris rack and it's been mostly okay, but we've occasionally had issues with fitting our different bike styles -- jostling handlebars, mostly. The new one has an arc design and I'm hoping it'll be a bit easier.

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Maddy was the first to arrive and I thought to take a selfie with her -- I have a few of us but they're not that great.

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Some people tried to photo-bomb us but, you know, selfie... we saw them coming!

Auspicious? Suspicious? I'd originally made reservations for 17, but after some last-minute cancellations, we ended up with 13 on the 13th! We had a great time, though no one had a match or lighter so Joe had to pretend to blow out the candle on his little cake. Haha.

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Saturday was Pi Day and luckily we had some pie handy! We started our day with pie for breakfast dessert.

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Annie and the boys came over for a while, and so did Junah!

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He's holding one of those little shapes from the puzzle up to his ear and "talking." The boys thought it was hilarious! They love him so much and think he's cool... I just love that.

The weather was mild, so the boys were in and out, and they also kept tabs on some college basketball games, especially the Wisconsin-Purdue game.

Annie and I got the fixings for Traditional Boiled Dinner on Saturday. My dutch oven wasn't big enough to accommodate the corned beef and the veggies, so I did the veggies in a different pot. The only pot that would be big enough is dedicated to dyeing!

And I got that dye pot out on Sunday for some coloring up -- and re-coloring -- of yarn! I am so pleased with the over-dye job for Sophie's Rose... the original color was great, but it needed just a little muddying; I've had more than a couple false starts, but I think that project is finally going to sing! The other colors were a range of blues, and then somehow a couple of corals!

I knew that the Badgers had a big game on Sunday afternoon, so tuned it at about half-time... the score was very close. At one point -- when Bucky was down 11 points (only the second time all season there was a deficit that big) -- I thought I'd jinxed it all but thankfully they brought it back to tie! And then they won in overtime -- the Big 10 Championship! So now, of course, I have March Madness fever and have even made my bracket picks. Anyone interested in a knitters' tourney?

It was a good weekend.

Thanks for all the great feedback about the new blog design! I'm pleased that the cleaner look makes it easier to read. (Still tweaking: I've made the post type a little larger.) I love that some mentioned the inclusion of my old banner into the new! For a while, I changed my banner monthly, but once Parcheesi landed up there, I just couldn't bear to change it; that was some epic get-me-through knitting, and it's one of my favorite and most-used pieces.