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.

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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."

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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...)

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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!?

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!!

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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.


Weekending

I was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home, but my li'l sister called and she missed me! Kate had the day off on Saturday and had never been to Annie's new house yet, so we drove up for lunch and a quick visit.

Dal

Cauliflower, potatoes & carrots, mustard & cumin seeds, mung beans; turmeric gives everything an amazing color!

Annie made Dal (recipe similar to this one) and it was SOOO good. We had fresh-from-the-oven Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, too, and a nice little visit with the whole family.

Addison's gym class is in a "tumbling" unit, so he was up-side down a lot of the time, demonstrating handstands, cartwheels, round-offs. I think he was impressed when I told him I used to do all those things and MORE! Back-bends, walk-overs, back walk-overs, and handsprings. I used to practice in the front yard... usually around the time that Jim Davis would ride around the neighborhood on his bike to deliver papers. Haha.

After reviewing S1 & S2 of House of Cards over the past few weeks, we are now about mid-way through S3. We are pacing ourselves! I'm so glad we re-watched... it's pretty amazing to see those characters develop (or disintegrate, as the case may be).

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Baby Buddha Belly

On Sunday, I had Ali bring Junah over for his 1-year photos... he'll be 14 months old in just over a week. Time flies!! He's reading our old favorite, Goodnight Moon. We had him with a few different props, in different outfits, and even in his birthday suit. So adorable.

I spent the afternoon updating Rusty's Oceans and Dreams website. It was fairly significant, too, as I'd never quite got around to doing the previous update. All spiffy now!

And I finished the knitting of Tsuwano! That was enjoyable and fairly quick. It needs a little soak and a light blocking, and some buttons!

What shall I knit next???


Weekending: Knit In

I went to a Knit In and came home with yarn... and a beer glass! My friend had an extra, so also the matching wine glass! Welcome to Wisconsin!!

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I had a great time at and around the 2015 Madison Knitters' Guild Knit In over the weekend! Ann & I made a few stops along the way. Susan's Fiber Shop -- incredibly, for the very first time* but not the last. Bradbury's for coffee and crepes -- we split one savory, one sweet. The Sow's Ear, not exactly on the way but worth the stop; we shopped and knit and sipped away the remainder of the afternoon.

On Friday night, we had dinner at Red Sushi. My nephew Dylan is on the wait staff there and it was fun to have both his guidance and Ann's, especially since I'm basically a sushi newbi. I can definitely proclaim myself a sushi lover, though, and I'm already looking forward to next time. Great cocktails at Red Sushi, and also at Merchant, where we went after dinner; I'd like to eat there sometime!

Saturday was full of classes. Ann & I both took Annie Modesitt's "Mad About Plaid" and enjoyed it very much! It was fun and informative; Annie is a great teacher, not to mention entertaining, brilliant and creative.

I also had a class in the afternoon about working with hand-dyes -- identifying techniques and patterns to help them sing to you as much when knitted up as they do when they land in your shopping cart! I thought this would be beneficial, not only as a yarn collector and knitter, but also as a sometime dyer.

Ann had both the Wine & Yarn Pairing and the Beer & Fiber Tasting events on Saturday afternoon... I'd signed on to take part in only the Beer event on Sunday.

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Each event had its own custom pattern and a mini-skein kit designed by Jimmy Beans Wool and custom dyed at Koigu. And that glass! We tasted beers from Wisconsin Brewing Company: #008 - Old Reliable, #002 - American I.P.A., and #003 - Brown & Robust Porter. I've had the I.P.A. before (I love a hoppy beer right now and can't wait to find PSYCHOPATH!) and the Amber Lager -- good brews!

We visited the marketplace between classes and during our free times. I was delighted to finally lay eyes on (and even hug) some long-time virtual friends, including Kathleen Pascuzzi who is Annie's partner at ModeKnit Yarn, and Emily Parson from Sophie's Toes!

There were same changes to the event this year -- a new, larger venue that cost a ton of money, I'm sure. That cost was passed on to attendees and vendors alike. Unfortunately, it was not very walk-in friendly and people who wanted only to shop were not too keen on paying $15 admission on top of $7 parking just to get in the door. I think some of the vendors did okay, but I'm afraid that many may have done less than okay; booth fees, travel, lodging -- and some came a ways (Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, New York) -- I'm all too familiar with this scenario from Rusty's art fair days! I hope something can be done to make vendors more accessible to the public; they're not going to come back if they're not making (or, in the end, only breaking even or losing) money, and I think they're a big attraction.

On Saturday evening, we were joined by others, including Ann's long-time friend Lisa, caityrosey, and Java Jennie/Kitchen Counter Crafter (great bags and fun fabrics!). We went to Grampa's Pizzeria and OH MY... that's not my grandpa's pizza, but it is some of the best pizza I've had in a while! One of our pies had brussels sprouts and chunky bacon, another had pesto, and we all tasted/shared a ginger cake for dessert. Delicious. Afterwards, we made our way to Old Sugar Distillery Tasting Room for a taste and some shopping. I had a delicious and refreshing drink based on the Brazilian caipirinha but made with Old Sugar's Honey Liqueur.

I may have had two. *clink*

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My main knitting project over the weekend was Deep End II. I managed to work the sewn bind-off by lunch time on Sunday! I need to weave in some ends, give it a soak, and lay it out to dry.

On the way out of town, we stopped at Jamerica for a bite to eat before heading home. That was an unexpected but delightful stop!

I was asked a few times what my favorite part of the weekend was and I really couldn't single anything out -- it was ALL my favorite part:

Friends Old & New, Fiber & Yarn, Food & Drinks!

 It doesn't get much better than that.

 

*I have visited the large Susan's Fiber Shop booth at all three NY Sheep & Wool Festivals, as well as at WI Sheep & Wool, so not a complete stranger!


Weekending: My Little Valentine

Can you believe it? Six years ago, I spent Valentine weekend pouring my heart into cleaning and spiffing the coffee shop as part of the turnover crew when Ali took over operations.

This Valentine weekend was spent with the little guy who stole my heart 13 months ago! I had him all weekend!

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Messes were made.

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Cuteness displayed.

He's walking!! We played all day Saturday and he didn't nap at all. One would think that would bode well for Saturday night, but it didn't... he had a fitful sleep, waking every hour or two and I barely caught a wink between. We both got a few good hours before happily waking on Sunday.

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Cheerios! And scrambled egg, raisins, and banana for breakfast... a little sampling of each also having made it to the floor.

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Tucked in under our respective hand-knit blankets, we had a very nice nap together on Sunday afternoon.

That was a ton of fun!!

 


Weekending

Weekending: A great weekend, full of family and fun! They should all be so good.

I met Ann & Brian, all four of their boys, and Joe for a lovely birthday dinner for Annie at Carmella's, one of the nicest restaurants in our area. Most of us shifted seats between the appetizer and the main course, so a good amount of visiting and catching up was accomplished, and a very good time was had by all.

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I babysat Junah afterwards so Ali could go out to celebrate her friend Abbey's birthday! He was sleeping when I arrived, but roused a bit for a bottle and then we had a wonderful snuggle and snooze together on the couch.

The Best Of Times.

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The main event of the weekend was Annie's birthday brunch, which she prepared and served herself -- it is one of her favorite things in the world to do!! A lovely baked egg dish, delicious whole grain pancakes and waffles served with syrup, fresh whipped cream, fruit and nuts. Yum.

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On Saturday afternoon, she wanted me to go with her to the mall -- stops at Williams Sonoma, a chair massage, and the Fox River Brewing Co. were on the list.

Afterwards, we met the boys for a quick bite to eat before heading to see Paddington! I wasn't going to go, at first, but Mack was very persuasive... he's almost 10 and I figured that if he wants me to go, I should go; things might be very different in a few years! I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would, and the boys LOVED it.

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On Sunday, it was the RV & Camping Show on Sunday morning! Rusty & Rod wanted some ideas for a project that they're considering; Kate, Ali & I went along for grins. This event has always been my earliest herald of spring, but it's the first time I've ever gone.

Wow, people. These are not your parents' campers! Camping is not my thing, and these mobile party modules haven't really swayed me, but... impressive.

The rest of Sunday was mine and I spent quite a bit of it knitting. Deep End has been my exclusive project since casting on, and it looks like it'll be done in time to take/wear on vacation. Yay! Pardon the last photo (late-night lamp light), I was so excited about the color pop of Stripe 5! That's a shorty, and Stripe 6 is even shorter... it's possible I'll cast off at Knit Night tomorrow!

6 Days.

 


Weekending

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The weekend began with a company party at a local restaurant called Gather Americana. I've eaten there a few times before and it's always quite nice.

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I spent the entire morning on Saturday with Junah. He came over bright and early (I was still in bed because, you know, party... and his mom never confirmed the actual time with me) and we had a blast. He discovered some needles and I let him play with some wool... in a few years we'll get that all working together.

He's wearing a 12m onesie that I embellished with some reverse applique stars -- and it's too small. Those cloth diapers/covers are so much bigger than disposable, it's tough finding a onesie that fits. He'd had a little blow-out and no extra clothes in the diaper bag. I threw what he was wearing in the washer, but this was all I had that was even close to fitting!

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We did a little of this, too. So sweet.

Rusty & I drove out to the east coast of Wisconsin on Saturday evening for another party! 'Tis the season!!

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Zipper dee doo dah!

My big accomplishment on Sunday was sewing in the zipper on a hoodie for Junah. It's been on the list, with wires inserted, for quite a while now. The yarn is super bulky, so the stitches very large, and one of the problems/reasons for procrastinating was that my original zipper had a fairly narrow tape. I liked it better, because it had heavy duty teeth instead of a coil, but I needed something easier to work with for my first zipper install. I used some Button Craft thread, Splityarn's Zipper Tutorial, and did my best. It's not going to win any awards, but it zips.

Finishing baby knits... MAN, they can be a lot of work! I love Caro's tutorial and will definitely use that method again on a finer gauge project. Next time I make that hoodie (and I already have the yarn), though, I'm going to try Techknitter's No-Sew Method (video here).

Anyway, that phase is done and now I just have to seam up the sides and arms.

My day off this week is TODAY rather than Wednesday. I have some plans, and I guess it's time to get to them!!

 


Weekending  Eye Candy Monday

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I have loved that blue-green, teal-y water and those pink, blue, purple, and yellow-green apples from the moment I "watercolored" this photo of apples awaiting bobbing at Annie's Halloween party.

Thank you, Margene, for the introduction to the SketchGuru app!

On Thursday, I had 1.5 hours between work and knit night, and some yarn that could soak for not one minute longer, so I mixed and stirred, poured and squished, rolled and steamed.

Ahhhh, that yarn makes me feel pretty happy right now. I used three different types of yarn and three similar but slightly different techniques. Chances are quite good that it'll all look like clown barf once knitted up -- that's a lot of strong color -- but (right now) I don't care.

 


Weekending

I woke up on Saturday morning and my first thought was: Camelot (where it only rains at night). It rained hard most of Friday night (again), making for a cold and wet market morning, but the rain had pretty much stopped by dawn and the day would only improve. Ali let me sleep in a bit, knowing it wouldn't be busy early, and then I was able to swing around and pick up the things she forgot to pack!

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And, indeed, it did get better.

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And BETTER!! Junah came to visit.

My new favorite thing is the pudge wrinkle on his knees -- good padding for the crawling that's going to happen very soon!

His favorite new thing on Saturday was playing with my Stitched by JessaLu box bag, so squishy and grabbable.

His favorite new thing on Sunday was playing with the rug under Greatest Gran's dining table, and trying to pull himself up on a chair -- no doubt soon adding climbing to his repertoire!

On Saturday afternoon, Kate and I decided to see a movie. The Drop stars James Gandolfini (the last movie he made), Tom Hardy (we love him to pieces), and Noomi Rapace (The {original} Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). We talked about it and were kind of ho-hum after watching the trailer on Friday evening, but whoa... it's just that sort of deep, dark movie that slowly builds. It was great.

I'd watched every single clip in 11 Films That Already Have Oscar Buzz on Friday, getting me into movie mode... and all of a sudden very excited about the next Best Picture Festival!

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We stopped on the way home for ingredients: Coquilles St. Jacques, Monteil a la James Beard had been decided upon. Mostly Kate's doing, I helped by making my first bouquet garni in ages, and my first ever beurre manié (as magical as making roux, but without the heat).

It was very good, and very, very rich.

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On Sunday, I actually took some photos and updated my Ravelry Stash! Nine new items and I'm looking forward to doing more. That's one of two gorgeous skeins of Lisa Souza's BFL Sock that I bought last year at Stitches Midwest -- obviously not yet knit up and joining many other like it in my stash, which is the main reason that I didn't go to Stitches last month, nor Wisconsin Sheep & Wool earlier this month. Not usually too bothered, the stash is making me feel a little nutso right now.

Haha, yeah, it's gotta be the stash that's making me nutso!

I met Ali over at Mom & Joe's so I could watch Junah while she mowed the lawn and gave Joe's hair a trim, and we all watched football!

And, on the last day of summer, Rusty & I took the air conditioners out. We still haven't switched the screens for storms, and thank goodness because this week is going to be stellar in the weather department.

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While Rusty finished up his preparations prior to departure for ArtPrize, Katie and I played a fun game of Monopoly. I haven't played in a long time, and it was so much fun! And I'm not saying that just because I won (by a mile)!

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Hello! Just because... I love this photo from a couple of weeks ago. That's my modified Hug Me Pullover he's wearing... nice and roomy, and so darn cute.

 


Weekending

Ms. Madeleine was here for a couple of days and on Saturday we went early birthday shopping!

TOOLS

She'd mentioned her desire for a basic "tool kit" a while back, and was also interested in a new bookcase. So on Saturday we went to the local home improvement store and set her right up!

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Ta-da!! Put together and organized later that evening!

It's done... again! It was too big & I had to re-do the crown. So hard to photograph a black hat! #knittingformum

It's such a cool pattern - Cloche Divine by Meghan Jones. Knit in the treasured & discontinued Rowan Calmer.

I finished a hat -- twice! The third Cloche Divine that I've knit, this is the largest size and even so I made it TOO big. It was a quick fix to re-knit the crown on Saturday, ripping back and starting the decreases earlier, and it was finally delivered on Sunday.

My sister Karen was also here, attending the state Master Gardeners' convention. We met for dinner afterwards, along with another of her friends. Gather Americana is a new restaurant featuring local, organic and, oh my goodness, delicious! They'll soon be adding a deli. Though I'm certain I'll return before then, it will also be the location of our company Christmas party this year!

You can't plan these things too soon.

On Sunday night, I did something I've never done before.

BINGO

Sunday night BINGO in the church basement! And it was all that. I even have my own Bingo dawber. (Only one.) My friend Ann has been talking about doing this for months. We didn't win a dime between us, but we sure had fun. It was only our first night but we were already coveting some of the AWESOME Bingo bags... especially the ones in BINGO FABRIC! You just know how that would speak to us!!

Otherwise, I did some sewing and a few other things here and there...

Good words.

Yeah!


Weekending

Friday night began with the stenciling of the Alabama Chanin style boatneck top that I'm making. I could not be happier with how it turned out! 

Thrilled with the stenciling but having to wait for it to dry, I took that good mood into the significant ripping of Follow Your Arrow. I didn't frog the whole thing, but went to about the mid-way point of Clue 1.

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Maddy, my sister Karen, and nephew Daniel were all here for one reason or another so we invited Junah and his parents over, too, and had a little brunch on Saturday morning. My mom came over and we all played Pass The Baby!

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Karen instigated a little after-brunch crafting hour and while they (Karen, Ali, Maddy) embossed some drinking glasses, I pulled out my boatneck and did some basting. Then I contemplated thread colors.

 


Weekending

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There's been a three-panel french door leaning against a pillar in the living room for months. It was a "summer project" to get it installed. Ahem.

It seemed an overwhelming, almost insurmountable, project to begin at times; bookcases -- five of them -- and all of their contents needed to be shifted around in order to clear the space. I guess it's a testament to just how much I want those doors restored that I finally began the process over the weekend! Annie & her crew were visiting family in Madison and, well, if I want them in by Christmas (which I do), it has to happen now. Also, the place where they were leaning is sort of right where I like to put the tree!

Anyway, a move like this is like busting open the archives. I have found a bunch of stuff that I no longer need, stuff that tugs at my heart, and stuff like the knitting patterns shown above. Ripped from Woman's World magazine, I knit both the sweater and the girl's dress, ca. 1984, sitting in my little apartment on the Wilson River in Tillamook, OR.

They were both very interesting knits -- the dress, in particular, with pleats, ruching, bobbles and lace! That little dress had it all and I learned so much! When I think of my early projects, and my progress as a knitter, it's this little dress that made me a knitter.

Annie's still here 'til Wednesday, I took an extra day off today, and we're having the first "Thanksgiving" of the season tonight, so I'm in the middle of this epic project that's just going to have to sit for a little. And that's fine. The hard part is over!!

 


Weekending

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

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

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

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

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

That's Weekending.

How was yours?


Weekending

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Friday:

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

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Saturday:

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

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Sunday:

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

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That's weekending. How was your weekend?