Weekending

I let out a cheer on Friday afternoon when I got home and saw this:

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No more gaping hole covered with sheets of plywood. No more orange safety fence, cones, and flashing lights. There's still a bit of that on the next block and around the 'hood, but they are finishing up. Rusty already finessed the wonky bricks and the dirt/seed!

I had a smiley-faced visitor early on Saturday morning:

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She stayed with me 'til mid-morning. Such a delight. I don't often have just her in my care.

It was city-wide rummage sale day and, though I don't *need* anything, I couldn't resist stopping at a few that looked interesting.

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I spent a dollar and brought home three things, one of which was this sink... and the sink was FREE! It has some goofiness around the drain and may drip a bit, but I intend to use it outside and that doesn't really matter that much. I put it to work right away, re-over-dyeing an Eileen Fisher wrap in indigo that I'd just dyed the weekend before. It was originally a terrible-for-me pale peach color, but I bought it because a) I liked the shape, b) it was fabric I could "work" with, and c) it was on super-duper sale... that was quite a while ago, and I finally gave it a dunk (or three).

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I baptized myself!

On Sunday morning, I ran out with Kate to a fun little vintage market where her friend Claire had a booth. I found a sweet little bracelet made by Claire -- me, who usually wears nothing more than earrings. I'm wearing it today, along with a bracelet of similar style that was given to me a few years ago! What'll happen next?

On Sunday afternoon, Rusty & I attended the wedding of one of my coworkers at a park in Green Bay.

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It was a glorious afternoon for such a thing!

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The evening wasn't bad, either.

I hope your weekend was good! I am getting used to the idea of my daughter being on the other side of the world. Thankfully, it didn't take long for her to start blogging... and she's already had a tale or two to tell! Here's Post #1 and Post #2, and feel free to subscribe or follow along if you'd like. She will be leaving Auckland today headed for... I don't know exactly where! Hopefully, wherever it is, she'll find some wifi.  :)


A few days up north

We'd been looking forward to it for weeks! My uncle was going to be away for a few weeks and offered his cabin to us. It's been a while since we've been up north at the height of summer, and we jumped at the chance. Rusty was in CA helping a friend with a kitchen remodel, and Rod had some gigs and also continued work on the "coffee camper," so it was just us girls and Jün for five days & nights!

There was canoeing, kayaking, walking, and hiking.

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And also a little bit of running (moi!) after Jün accidentally disturbed some bees and got stung a couple of times!

Trains are the big thing occupying Junebean these days -- the old Brio track & train that was his mother's & aunts', with the addition of THOMAS and PERCY... and oh, my, does he love those engines! He also had some THOMAS DVDs, which we watched a few times, and his book bag with some of his favorite books... including THOMAS! I had a very enjoyable time one evening listening to his momma read him stories at bedtime.

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Gin & Jün are starting to interact a little bit... it's going to be so fun to watch them grow together!

There was some hammock time (who knew that was so comfortable?)!

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And plenty of playing-in-the-water time.

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There was lots of great cooking and eating, everyone pitching in and... I don't think I even lifted a finger in the kitchen 'til Day 3. We made "camp food" one night with Maddy's direction and assistance... tin foil packets of ground beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, and lots of butter... sort of like pasties without the crust. So good. I ate every crumb.

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And leaving plenty of room for s'mores! It's been ages since I've had one (so I had more than one!).

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I didn't try it myself, but in case you're wondering, the addition of the chocolate covered pretzel crisp was deemed "too crispy!"

There was even laundry. Ali uses cloth diapers most of the time, and Gin is a frequent spitter-upper, so there was need. We filled two clotheslines... plus the dog lead! Thankfully, all of those diapers have inserts and covers with snaps, so I snapped them on the line, or we'd have run out of pins for sure!

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And there was an awful lot of this... lake- and sky-watching.

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And some obvious favorite subjects & angles.

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Every day is different!

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Maddy camped out in her tent, driven in only once by thunderstorms and torrential rain! Luckily, our days were mostly dry... if a little warm (though not as warm as predicted, so YAY!).

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We came home to some surprising, gut-wrenching & scary news that isn't mine to share and that I find rather sad, desperate & embarrassing, but am afraid will be inescapable, and so I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it. Ugh. It makes for a rather worried & moody Vicki.

We also came home to the surprising, heart-wrenching & exciting news (even if it's taken a while for the shock to subside and excitement to sink in) that my sister and her family are moving to SPAIN... in 5 weeks!!

Bitter, bitter, bittersweet.

Watch this space for a future Mediterranean vacation!


Weekending: Love & Marriage & Family, Food & Music & Dancing

I spent a blissful weekend celebrating love and marriage, kids and grandkids, enjoying food and music and dancing.

First comes love and marriage (and dancing)!

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My niece was the photographer!

We attended a beautiful lake-side wedding celebration at the Heidel House Resort & Spa in Green Lake on Friday afternoon. The daughter of long-time friends (and my current employers), there were plenty of old friends & familiar family members with which to visit & party! We had a great time... and DANCING! Even though I rolled on my left ankle real good on the path to the ceremony, and it was swollen and sore, I can't remember the last time I danced so much... because dancing is not like walking! (It's getting a little better everyday.)

Then come kids & grandkids!

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Saturday was a Gin day! Her mom & pop were working at the 2nd Electric City Experience music festival in our little city. She's still a little sleepyhead, but was awake plenty... and starting to engage. There's eye contact, cooing back and forth, and the occasional 1/8th of a smile... she's 6 weeks old today!

And Food & Music!

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We walked down to meet Ali when she was finished, grabbed some food & beverage, and listened to some tunes.

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It was hot as blazes all day long, so quite welcome to see the sun go down. At dark, for the first time in many years, there was a fireworks show! I was already in my PJs, but slipped on some yoga pants and walked to the end of my block where I had a good-enough view.

I had a quick fly-by hug with Annie & Addison on Saturday. They were in the area for soccer again, but heading right back home for Mack's 11th (and therefore GOLDEN) birthday party!!

On Sunday, I took Jün for a little while.

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STRIPE STUDY.  ;)

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Oh, there's milk on my chin? Let me show you how I do that.

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Comedian.

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Fantastic garden helper & waterer extraordinaire!

Later on Sunday, we had beverages out on the pergola and split up some planters full of succulents.

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Also evidence of my overdue first pedi of the season!

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It's difficult to process the horrors of the weekend after spending so much of it in a snuggly warm baby bubble: the nonsensical attack and murder of Christina Grimmie in Orlando, and the incomprehensible and horrific mass shooting that happened later. Truth is, they may never be "processed," and shouldn't be... you, me, we shouldn't have to.

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Kitty says: Be fierce in love. #loveisloveisloveislove


Weekending: 4 nearly perfect days off

I did some knitting -- a fair bit, actually -- and successfully resisted casting on that baby sweater!!  ;)

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Here's my progress so far on the TTL Mystery Shawl 2016. Those seem like some wild colors for me, but I'm so anxious to see what happens! I knocked off another clue on Romi's Not-So-Mysterious Shawl 2016, too; I think there are two clues to go!

While knitting, I was listening... and earned the Weekend Warrior badge on Audible for listening at least 5 hours on a weekend. That would be HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION! I'm to the point in the audio where Lin-Manuel Miranda is reading his footnotes... there's an accompanying PDF, but I just went ahead and ordered the book. That's something else that nephews and grandkids may enjoy -- and I certainly enjoyed it enough to order a hard copy! I'm currently listening to the soundtrack on Spotify, but I'm sure I'll soon be ordering that, as well!

I spent a lot of time with the kiddos, including my nephews who had soccer games in the 'hood on Saturday, and a cook-out at Joe's. I haven't been over there in a while. Mom's wildflower garden is... going wild.

I made a slight change to my blog header to reflect what's going on around here.

I barely took any photos all weekend! But here's one... I tried to get Jün to stand in front of my Blue Angel hosta for scale, but he was too interested in riding his bike, so you have my foot instead. Unfortunately, that doesn't show you how TALL it is!

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I made another rhubarb shrub, this time with white wine vinegar and a bit more sugar -- I think it was a bit more smooth. Cherries are going to be hitting the pot soon!

I found this photo on my computer this morning and noticed that it was taken exactly a year ago today:

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And here's one that his mom took yesterday:

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Melting hearts for over 2 years now!

Can you believe it?

Hope you had a great weekend!


Ten on Tuesday: Memorial Day Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

1 -- I made Rhubarb Shrub.

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I'd never heard of "shrub" in terms of a beverage until Kat mentioned it, and then I became pretty obsessed with trying it! I'd previously made a rhubarb simple syrup and found it much too sweet, so was very interested in trying this!

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Here's how I made mine (adaptation of Kat's recipe and this one):

Rhubarb Shrub

  • 2 lbs. fresh rhubarb, cut into approx. 1/2" pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme

Combine rhubarb, sugar, apple cider vinegar and water in a pot; bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Toss in the thyme for a few minutes at the end. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour into a colander or mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and strain for about 30 minutes; stir occasionally, but do not press. Pour the syrup into a jar or bottle and allow to cool; refrigerate.

I loved this! It's a nice sweet-tart mixture, and very syrupy in consistency.

2 - I made Shrubarb Cocktails!

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It makes a very refreshing beverage; mine was made with gin, but shrub can also be used to make a non-alcoholic beverage by simply adding club soda.

Shrubarb Cocktail

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
  • 1-1/2 oz. shrub
  • ice
  • sparkling water (or club soda)

Combine gin, lime juice, shrub, and a couple of crushed ice cubes in a shaker; shake for approx. 30 seconds. Strain into an ice (cube)-filled Collins glass, about 3/4 full, and top with water/soda. Cheers!

I will definitely be making more -- and different varieties of -- shrub this summer!

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3 - I hung out with the kiddos.

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4 - I did a little shopping! I went shopping twice -- once by myself, and once with Ali & the kids.

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Junah rode a STRIDER all around one of the stores, and then right out the door. He sort of loves it. I think it will get a lot of use in the coming years.

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5 - I enjoyed some lovely weather.

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6 - I hung out in the back yard with Rusty. I watched his garden start to grow! He has some onions, spinach, lettuce, and carrots.

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7 - I helped Gin celebrate 4 weeks on this earth! Can you believe it? Four weeks ago yesterday!

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You can see her little blonde streak in this photo. It's pretty awesome!

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8 - I chose and wound colorful yarn for some projects.

The teal/dark purple-y combo is for Kirsten's TTL Mystery Shawl 2016, which I was expecting to start today... and then realized mid-morning that it is not June 1st! That means that you still have time to join, if you'd like.

The other is for Gin's Elwood. I found a hank of purple superwash worsted that I'd dyed, and love it as the main color with SweetGeorgia's "Party of Five" Snapdragon for stripes.

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9 - I hung out on the deck with my #pergolacompanions & started a quick project. It'll be a shoulder bag.

10 - I didn't do anything I didn't want to do. And still managed to make a dent in cleaning up my workroom! I have another long weekend coming up, and I have PLANS!!

I hope you had a great weekend, too.


Weeking

Aaahhhhh. What a great week/weekend!

On Wednesday, I attended the first in a series of four film screenings to benefit Black Mountain School at Match Factory.

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I helped Kate with a bit of set up and some light management.

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The screening was held in "the wallpaper room." The space is still very much a work-in-progress! This particular paper remnant (there are a few) reminds me of both my grandma and my mom! At least some of the paper & old plaster will be preserved and integrated into the updated design, so it will continue to be "the wallpaper room"!

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This room was the diner's kitchen. It will continue to be a "kitchen," though restaurant operations have ceased in this part of the building and all of the restaurant equipment, save the hood, has been removed. It is very likely that yarn dyeing operations will commence here in the coming months...

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The film! The series features films by faculty of Black Mountain School, and the first was Wild Style, the 1983 film produced by Charlie Ahearn that is regarded as the first hip hop motion picture. I cracked up when Kate's friend Danny walked in toting his record player and a stack of hip-hop records... one of them with the "Breaking Moves" poster. So awesome. There were even some attempts at poppin' and a few things (not by me!).

Blondie powered my drive home after the movie!

Next up: Left On Red + PUSHThen Kate's taking a quick trip down to Black Mountain to experience for herself all they've been working toward over the past year (and more)!

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There was a fair bit of gardening over the weekend. The local Master Gardeners had their annual plant sale on Saturday and we got our (few) tomatoes, along with some other stuff. Grandpa had some "help" with the lettuce/carrot bed.

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The allium are doing their beautiful thing. I love the "erupting" stage.

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Junebean got his first haircut!!

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Little boy... (asking me to undo the buckle on my bike helmet)...

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Ready for action!

All of a sudden, he's ginormous and grown up!

I took him off Mama's hands for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, and then she came over with Gin to have supper with us and hang out.

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On Sunday morning we did some work in the pergola area -- before it got too hot!

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That glider with the red cushions looks nice but is a glorified cat bed, it seems. We're going to clean off/de-fur those cushions and devise a way to easily fold up & secure the bottom cushions, when not in use, so they're fit for human sitting upon!

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We strung some new lights that I've had for a while and had beverages on the pergola last evening. SO NICE! I'll get those cushions cleaned up and you can come join us, ok?

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I'll leave the light on for ya!


Weeking*

*Formerly known as "Weekending"

May as well call it as I see it!

I love this space, sharing and talking about projects, the interaction and inspiration; I miss the frequent postings, think often about blogging, and hope that someday maybe the energy and efficiency will all come back.

Meanwhile, a round-up...

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Macro May sort of hit the skids 'round about May 2nd, but I had to get down on hands and knees last week when I noticed a "moss forest" growing between the bricks out front. Katie generously supplied her index finger for scale! The neighbors got a pretty good view of my derriere, no doubt, scratching their heads at my behavior for not-the-first- and surely not-the-last-time! Imagine if they could see all that the crazy stuff I do in the back yard, too!!

On Friday, some of the last pieces in a long office expansion/remodel project began to arrive -- countertops and the like. There's always been a print of Rusty's in the office, but the available wall space has decreased so it was relocated to another room. I've had a beautiful watercolor hanging on the wall in the living room -- partially hidden by objects on a tall-ish piece of furniture -- and it was the perfect size for my new office.

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It was my birthday present in 1995!

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Laundry on the line has always been my thing!

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Considering that Maddy was only four in 1995, a teddy bear tea party is totally where we were at! Rusty's always been a master at whimsy and detail... or whimsical details. I'm so happy to have this painting displayed in a place where it can be fully appreciated and enjoyed!

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Friday night found us in Hortonville at the Match Factory. Kate and her friend Claire (and various family members) have been working hard for weeks... it's still not finished, but it wasn't supposed to be: Friday night was a great little "preview" show.

Kate and Claire have known each other for a while now... at least a year, maybe more. On Friday night, I was finally able to meet more of Claire's family -- we've talked about family on a few occasions, and I've met her brother on a couple of occasions. On Friday, I saw Claire talking to a woman who I assumed was her mother, so introduced myself as Kate's mom, etc.

She looked at me hard and said, "Do we know each other?" I said that I didn't think so. "Did you used to live in Appleton?" Um, yes; on & off for a lot of years. "On Durkee Street??" Nodding... "We were ROOMMATES!"

OMG. All of a sudden there was hugging and reminiscing... Claire's eyes growing wide while her jaw hit the floor, Kate looking at us as if we were aliens!! Therese and I shared an apartment for about a year in about 1981-82; we never "hung out" much, but we certainly crossed paths and were at least somewhat aware of each other's interests, though neither of us were as "deep" into those pursuits as we are now. She ended up marrying the guy that she'd begun dating at that time (so, Claire's dad!). The apartment was owned, at the time, by my BFF & her husband... a.k.a., my current employers.

It's a small, small, SMALL, SMALL world!!

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There have been cuddles and snuggles when we're able.

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And this guy seems to be handling the changes OK! I was delighted to take him for a few hours on Saturday afternoon... we had so much fun! Annie and the boys came over again, too, after soccer and, well, the kid's certainly not suffering from a lack of attention. We wound down Saturday with a big, raucous family dinner.

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I took some "me" time on Sunday and finally christened my Alabama Chanin "Magdalena" stencil, mixing up some paint and firing up the air compressor out in the garage. I definitely need more practice and experience, for one thing and at the very least, learning about paint color and how it plays with fabric color when wet vs. dry.

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The play of large scale design on a teeny-tiny dress was intentional; the paint dried to more of a gray and not terribly exciting. My first choice of pink for the underlayer is not going to work, so will re-do and choose something with more contrast -- possibly navy blue, or even black.

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I had to do more than just that little dress, so cut out and painted an A-line Tunic for myself. I strained my thumb getting my Swing Skirt done a couple of weeks ago, so don't hold your breath on this one... maybe.

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Kate brought a new cookbook home the other day and I just had to make this Roasted Chicken in Tarragon Sauce with New Potatoes, Asparagus & Peas. I had to present it exactly as in the book, too. Wow, that was delicious and relatively simple and easy to prepare, with yummy leftovers for lunch today. Win!

Oh, I took some "formal" pics of the grands the other day, too. I haven't processed them all yet, but here are a few faves.

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I hope you had a great week/weekend, too!!


Weekending: Alabama Chanin, Rosanne Cash, Mother's Day

I finished my skirt on Friday night -- sewing on the fold-over elastic waistband with patience and the help of a lot of Wonder Clips!

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It felt so great to sew in that tag!

Saturday began with an hour or so watching the boys play soccer.

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We had some lunch afterwards and then went over to meet the baby.

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Mack could hardly get enough of her!

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She is pretty irresistible, and so content!!

Then it was concert time! Rusty and I went to see Rosanne Cash with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra along with John Leventhal and her band. The concert was fantastic! We enjoyed selections from The River & The Thread, The List, Black Cadillac, and more. There were numbers performed with only John on guitar as accompaniment, with her full band, and with the symphony -- it was a nice range. I enjoyed every minute.

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As hoped-for, I wore my new skirt! Styled above with my Catamount A-line Tunic Dress, Fluevog "Sunny" sandals, and a J.Jill sweater (it was chilly!), the tunic is maybe a little long for the skirt -- I will definitely be making a shorter tunic top to show off the skirt a bit more -- but this is a combo that I've had in mind since the beginning. The single-layer tunic and the bottom layer of the skirt are both dark grey, and the red beads on the tunic play off the burgundy top layer of the skirt.

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Rosanne wore an amazing Alabama Chanin jacket, by the way -- we weren't close enough that I could tell the design, but it was WAY sparklier than anything else in the room! Stunning and perfect. I didn't take any photos 'til the end for fear of being kicked out... I am not (much of) a rule-breaker!  ;)

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Here it is on Mother's Day, worn with a shorter J.Jill top... I'm thinking "uniform"! I was so comfortable all day long -- and I am not necessarily a skirt person! I like skirts well enough, but my short, high waist and bit of a belly can make it a challenging relationship. Here are some details, more photos below.

Alabama Chanin Swing Skirt

  • Swing Skirt - pre-cut & -stenciled kit from Alabama Chanin
  • 100% Organic Medium-weight Cotton Jersey - Burgundy (top layer), Dark Grey (bottom layer)
  • Anna's Garden stencil
  • Button Craft Thread - double strand of Maroon/Burgundy throughout
  • Running stitch for construction & embellishment
  • Knots on the outside
  • Left Front Panel: Negative Reverse Applique
  • Right Front Panel: Reverse Applique
  • Back Panels: Stitched for Negative Reverse Applique but left un-cut
  • All seams inside felled
  • Fold-over Elastic Waistband sewn with herringbone stitch
  • Unfinished hem

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Mother's Day started with a funny card from Rusty, a couple of books, some chocolate...

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It continued with mimosas to accompany bacon, eggs & pancakes for a big family breakfast, more gifts, some shopping, some sewing, and knowing that people were working in my garden! Rusty & Kate tamed a bit of overgrowth in the back. I just don't garden as much since I quit smoking... and that's been a lot of years now!!

I put my new waistband skills to use yesterday, applying fold-over elastic to a couple pairs of leggings for Junah & Ginny.

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These were included (by mistake or on purpose... we will never know) as part of the Alabama Chanin fabric haul that my Utah friend scored and sent to me. There's another pair of 0-3m, two more pair of 2-3y, and a couple of in-between sizes too -- all in the same grey jersey with plaid knee patches, and pockets on the larger sizes. I haven't heard yet about how these fit. The kiddos wear mostly cloth diapers, though disposables sometimes... and these close-fitting leggings might be for wear with disposables only. Time for some more Big Butt Baby Pants!

It was truly a fun, fabulous, and memorable week/weekend.

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I hope yours was pretty good too!


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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Grainline-Studio_Fringe-Supply-Co_Stowe-Bag_3

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!