Making & Doing

On Sunday, I managed to get a batch of Vicki's* Roasted Tomato Sauce in the oven -- the first in a long while.


I used tomatoes, garlic & onions from our CSA along with rosemary, Italian parsley, basil, and celery that I grew from the starter plants I purchased from them a few months ago.


The way that recipe goes, it's all popped in the oven for 25 minutes, stirred and roasted for another :25, stirred again and roasted for :45. It's the perfect recipe for multi-tasking because... it's not cookies or a cake. Twenty-five, schwenty-five, it doesn't matter that much if the timer dings it's reminder for :05 or :10 more. I love me some char! I blended it a little with my hand-held and stuck it in the freezer for later... I am tasting it in a lasagna in January.

Over the weekend, I finished the second-to-last row of Hexie Love!


Some of these randomly plucked crocheted circles are from very early days of this project, when my crochet/counting ability was a little wonky, to say the least. It makes me laugh when I pull one of those out of the bag! So this one was re-done -- twice, actually, because apparently I'm still challenged even in the late days of this project!



Ali took the big kids to the "Eve of Destruction" on Friday night -- our local raceway's end-of-season demolition derby extravaganza -- and I took charge of the littles.


It was a late night, but Davy was a trooper! He was in such good spirits all night long, and... I witnessed unaided/unsupported squat-to-stand more than once, so it won't be too much longer before he figures out the whole walking situation.

It was Malina's night to sleep over...


...and boy, did she sleep! She wanted a sleeping bag on the living room floor, chose her pillow, and was zonked out immediately. She slept until about 10:30 on Saturday! Ali said that Malina is her "late sleeper," and she was taking advantage of an unusually quiet Saturday morning to sleep in.


She accompanied me over to Ann's and watched a movie while I did some clean-up and made up a bed for the house painter, Randy.


This was still fairly early on Saturday, and he worked all day on Sunday, too. The new siding color is just a smidge lighter than the old, and I love it.


Ducky's been parked across the street all summer and we had to move it yesterday so the owners could use the area to stage a little remodel project over there. Rusty & I are perfecting our maneuvers -- me behind the wheel and him giving directions. It took a lot of backing up & pulling forward, turning the wheel this way & that, and the across-the-street neighbor stepped out just in case we needed him (he's an excellent guide & I've joked about bring him wherever we go, but we really need to figure it out for ourselves!)... and we did it!

Rusty & I will be taking off with Ducky on Friday for a weekend in Prairie du Sac where he's teaching a weekend class. We'll be in a campground/resort for the first time, located across the river in Sauk City, so we'll see what that's like -- it's a whole new area for us. There's a yarn store, Flaxen Fleece, about a 10-minute walk away from the RV park, so I'll definitely be checking that out... along with a local brewery and nearby Wollersheim Winery & Distillery. I'll be crocheting and knitting (new project alert on the horizon!) and mending and maybe catching up on some overdue bookwork (if the internet is any good) (or maybe I'll find a coffee shop) and probably napping.

So I'm in for another busy week -- a couple of book club meetings, prepping AQA for a weekend guest, and finishing getting Ducky ready (much nicer in our own driveway instead of schlepping across the street) -- but a 5-day weekend with a little adventure is ahead.


One of the craziest weeks ever

I spun on a dime not once, but twice, and accommodated last-minute Airbnb guests at both Ann's house and mine.

On Tuesday, just as I walked into Knit Night after work, I got a weird message via the Airbnb app... which eventually became a booking request for four guests at Ann's... arriving between 8-9 p.m. Luckily, I'd prepared on Monday following another inquiry/possible booking (I originally planned on doing all of that on WEDNESDAY)! So all I needed to do was make a quick run to the grocery store, make sure everything was neat & tidy, and change the lockbox combination.


I left a few lights on when I left (it was way darker outside than it looks). It's got a nice glow. I can't wait for the new paint!

On Wednesday, I had a message from the guest that I was expecting in our apartment this weekend saying that he'd tested positive for Covid and wouldn't be able to travel (from PA). We worked through getting him rescheduled for a weekend in November... and I thought I had an unexpected free weekend.

HOLD UP! Yesterday, as I popped into my local antique mall after work, and I had another Airbnb "ding" -- right about 4:30 again -- a request for three to stay at my apartment, arriving in about an hour. I thought I was pretty prepared, so I accepted... turns out I had a little more than making a bed to do, but I did it! I met the first guest, Chase, when he arrived (they actually trickled in over about 12 hours), and turns out they work for a home improvement company. They're in the area because of a hail storm we had on Tuesday that caused some significant damage in places around here. I don't know if that's what brought Ann's guests, but I'm thinking so...


Change is afoot!

There are seven gallons of paint in the back of my car and three more to pick up after work today.

(Whoops! I never even considered that there'd be a problem getting paint, but the "deep base" needed for a couple of the colors wasn't in stock and they didn't know when -- or even IF -- they'd be getting more! Luckily, there's another store nearby and they had some on the shelf.)


If the darn weather cooperates, painting at Ann's Queen Anne (AQA) will commence next week.


It'll be AMAZING to see the exterior all freshened up! The siding & trim colors aren't changing much, but the accent colors are! These photos are skewed a little on the blue side, but you get the drift.

Also, this was in the mail yesterday:


It was addressed to the NORTH POLE! Haha. OMG, I just love it, and I can't wait for more!

Have a great weekend!


Morning glow

The computer gremlins plaguing my morning yesterday seem to have moved to the phone system at work today.



I had to run back into the house this morning to fetch something I'd forgotten and was taken by the morning glow. I just said to Rusty the other day that it seemed like the leaves were thinning a bit. It's still pretty dark now in the morning when I get up -- somewhere between "first light" and "sunrise," but I still open the blinds in the bedroom.

Catch every ray of summer!


Weekending: Fit for a Foodie

August was intense, and I was even more anxious when I realized that there was at least one event on the calendar for every weekend of the month! A baseball game, a wedding, a belated wedding reception... not to mention all of the work to get Ann's house ready (the first guests checked in last night!).

The month could not have ended on a higher note! I realize that it's not over yet, but for all intents & purposes (I'm never going to write that now without also wanting to add intensive purposes!), IT IS OVER!

I have no photos, but on Friday night Rusty & I attended an opening for an exhibition called Made To Order at the Trout Museum of Art in Appleton, featuring 55 pieces of art commissioned by museum supporters. The museum connected artists with buyers who then met to discuss the piece(s) that would be created, sometimes meeting numerous times. The artists received 50% of the agreed on price, and the museum received the other 50%. Then they had a $200/plate fundraising soiree to celebrate it all! We did not have to pay that, thank god, and it was definitely not the normal crowd that I hang with, but oh... the provisions! Champagne & specialty cocktails flowed all night; there were lobster rolls, shrimp cocktails, tuna poke bowls, tenderloin bites w/chimichurri, and a bunch of other delicious bites that I can't even remember, along with desserts that included macarons and the most adorable little crème brûlées! The catering was by Zuppas, a long-time local favorite, and they did not disappoint.


If that wasn't enough, Saturday night was the cherry on top! I have sung the praises of my CSA farm before -- starter plants & herbs, fresh chicken, not to mention the veg -- but the Farm Dinner, oh my.

I attended my first Farm Dinner at Park Ridge Organics in 2014. I remember it exactly because, as I stated in the opening to that blog post, "I've been saying 'yes' to almost every good thing that comes my way this summer..." That was the summer that my mom died and I felt an urgency to live and do things that made me happy.


At that time, Park Ridge was not my CSA farm, but it wasn't long after that I jumped on their ship and I could not be happier. I love everything about my farmer, her story, her family, her location, and especially her food!


The dinners fell off my radar or the timing wasn't good, or whatever (stupid pandemic), until this year. This year, there was no question when I saw that the meal would be prepared by Dave Swanson of Braise. I could not order tickets fast enough! I don't remember know why, but Dave and his restaurant/events/school have been on my radar for years.

Seven years ago, the farm dinner was moved into the barn because of weather. This year, weather was definitely on everyone's mind -- we'd had a ton of rain on Friday night and storms/showers were skirting the area, but we ate field-side and barely felt a drop!


All the food was prepared outside, Dave came and visited at each table a few times during the evening, as did the farmer, the farmer's daughter, and the farmer's parents, whose farm this was originally and who now live next door in "the shed."

The food!


1) Beet Gazpacho. 2) Beet & Tomato Panzanella. 3) Porchetta with Roasted Vegetables & Lentils. 4) Carrot Cream Cheese Galette with Whipped Mascarpone. (That galette looks weird because it was getting dark by that time and I had to photoshop.)

It was all amazing, but especially that panzanella... I can't stop thinking about it!

I attended again with my friend Ann, and we had lovely table-mates -- sisters from southern Wisconsin, one who owns & runs, along with her son & daughter, the Hon-E-Kor Country Club in Kewaskum (where I will definitely be going for a fish fry before too long!), and a friendly couple from Oshkosh. We had such a good time.

Seven years shall not pass before I attend another one of these. Also on my bucket list: a dinner by Outstanding In The Field! And a big outdoor dinner at my home for family & friends.

On Sunday, I did a few last-minute things at Ann's...


A little more greenery...


And situating the outside seating.

Other than that, I took the day off... except for doing the coffee shop payroll... and took a 2-hour nap!

I hope your last weekend of August was a good one, too!


Good morning from Down Under!


Viv: "Did you send the photo to your mom yet?"

Maddy: "No..."

Viv: "You have to send it! She needs to know how desperate I am! There are no socks like Vicki socks."


When I'm finally ready to turn toward knitting again, the projects await! I've been thinking that it'll be something small... mittens, socks, a gnome.

But, also, that looks like a really cute afghan!! haha.


Unraveled Wednesday: Upholstery!

Joining Kat & the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday...


It's slow going, but it's still going... Hexie Love (Rav link)! I meant to take a photo but, really, it's not changed that much since last time I posted. I usually try to do a little hookin' in the evenings, but lately we've been watching Nordic Noir and attention is divided between my project and subtitles (currently watching The Bridge on Amazon Prime).


I thought I'd use this post, instead, to show my recent upholstery/recovering job. You may recall that I'd purchased a vanity bench for $9.99 at St. Vinny's a while back, and also scored a bag full of upholstery scraps for another $3.99. Here's the "before" bench:


Turns out, that fabric was just pinned on atop an older cover.


The faded and stained original fabric was atop another layer that was more like muslin, and under that was... horsehair, probably a little straw, and webbing.


I had to move the whole operation outside... it was getting messy! I took a bunch of pics and sent them to Ann, picking her brain about how to proceed (she worked for an upholsterer in high school).


She suggested to get rid of the webbing altogether rather than trying to tighten it, because that's pretty difficult to do without the proper tools. And likely one reason it had such a saggy bottom to begin with is that someone had already tried to repair the webbing. I pulled it all apart and now have a lot of upholstery tacks!

Rusty cut & attached a new solid bottom under the seat frame, which I filled in with some styrofoam (plenty of that around from the dining room furniture delivery), and topped with a new piece of 2" foam. Then I stretched & stapled a remnant from the upholstery grab bag over the top.



It turned out pretty cute. There was a lot of that fabric in the bag, but turns out most of the pieces were trimmings -- 6" by 100" or in that area. There were only a few with dimensions even close to workable for this project, so almost anything else I do with that is going to have to be pieced.

I still want to make a couple of pillows, and we'll just see how that turns out.


I'm still working on The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel. Is there a reader slower than me?

I attended my first in-person book club last week, and the new book is The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore. I'm listening to that one, and just started on Monday (when I drove down to pick up chickens), so far so... good? What a story.


Scenes from a weekend

Miss Gin was here on an overnight Sunday-Monday.


She was pretty chuffed with that Sprite! I had to laugh when I saw these other inadvertent "product placement" photos. We enjoyed lots of snacks & drinks! haha.


She beaded some necklaces, and sewed a pillowcase (mostly by herself) -- modeling both, above. The necklace kit has been kicking around since Christmas, but it's hard to do that kind of thing when there's a houseful! We really enjoyed our time together.


We went to a new-to-us park and she had fun discovering new equipment. They have a pretty great skate park, too, and it was fun to watch the skateboarders for a while.

In between all of that, we watched a couple of shows, did some puzzles... and she took a bubble bath -- with the tub & toys all to herself!

I delivered her to dance class late yesterday afternoon and then drove on to my CSA farm, about a half-hour south, where I picked up a couple of fresh chickens... one of which I roasted last night. I'm trying to remember when I last had a chicken fresh off the farm, and it's been at least a decade... when I had a coworker who raised chickens on his farmette.

On Saturday, I fluffed up Ann's house, and took it LIVE on Airbnb... she has two bookings already, and we've fielded a couple of other inquiries.

It was a busy weekend and I'm a little tuckered today!


Here's my first hint of autumn in the back yard (you sure wouldn't know it by our still hot & humid weather) -- ASTERS!


Beach day!

Ali's extended more than one invitation over the past couple of weeks for us to join them at the beach... it's been crazy-busy around here, as you know, so we've declined. (Rusty is working on some painting projects/commissions that also have deadlines.)


But yesterday, we said YES!! It helped that it was a bit more planned and a lot less spontaneous. (I love spontaneous, though, and I'm usually pretty good at it!)

We arrived at Nashotah Beach on the Lake Michigan shore at mid-afternoon and... it was wonderful. The kids made friends, ate snacks, played in the sand & water.


Rusty did, too. This is one of my favorite photos of the day!


Weekending & MacGuyvering... around the corner

We packed up the car and headed over to stay at Ann's on Friday night -- five blocks away!

I didn't waste any time setting up my work space.


Among the main events was shortening the "puddling" curtains in the living room and front bedroom. And, boy howdy, did they ever need cleaning, too! (No doubt those valances do, but that's a little beyond me at the moment.)

I'd purchased one of those 3-legged glass-topped side tables for cheap at St. Vinny's and needed a tablecloth for it. I found a design at Home Goods that was just what I was looking for -- floral, with some gold -- but it was rectangular.


I didn't have all my tools with me, but managed to cut out a circle using a tiny tape measure in place of a ruler.


I had enough excess fabric to make a just-fits runner for the table. I'd brought my Olfa cutting mat & rotary cutter, but had to use a kitchen cutting mat as a straight-edge to square it up!

I did piddly things like check the size of the furnace filter, trim the non-slip pads under the entry rugs, wash & put away some dishware, laundry (always laundry), and pot a plant.


I need a saucer under that pot! I had to improvise with plastic bag packaging from a mattress pad.

Rusty mowed the lawn, filled the recycle bin with cardboard (so much cardboard... better than plastic, though there's been plenty of that), and then hung some artwork.


More is needed, and I'm headed to the framer sometime this week with a few projects. It's all very eclectic... will surely become a bit more refined/personal in time.

We were also there to just check out the feel of the place and what it's like to BE there.


We cooked dinner and made note of a couple kitchen items still needed. The bed was great, but I'm on a mission for some soft bed pillows as the current choices are all pretty firm. The shower was amazing -- roomy with a small built-in bench, the showerhead is big and very high, nice controls. Rusty was comfy & right at home, even without curtains on the windows! (My sewing machine needle broke half-way through working on that set and I didn't have a spare... there's no MacGuyvering one of those!)

We watched a couple episodes of The Valhalla Murders on the new TV, with newly installed ROKU. The new TV is "smart" -- as is mine at home -- but wow, they've become REALLY smart! A message appeared immediately letting me know that HDMI-1 would now be known as ROKU since that's what's plugged in.


I loved this view out the front bedroom window on Saturday morning, Ann's house casting a pretty great shadow.

It was a gorgeous day, and perfect for attending an afternoon backyard wedding of a friend near Green Bay... and for visiting with friends not seen in 20 months. The last time we'd been together was at a Solstice party in December '19 -- where & when many of us first met the groom! Love grows (pandemic be damned)!!

Because I still had things to finish (curtains), I stayed overnight on Saturday, too, with more putzing on Sunday, including pulling apart the vanity bench that I'm re-doing -- but that, my friends, is fodder for a separate future post. Rusty walked over on Saturday and made dinner, and we watched the first half of the football game together before he walked back home. The place has a nice relaxed feel with good light, and I had plenty of room for working on my projects (though if it were truly mine, I'd have another table or two). Maddy dubbed it "Mom's Hideout"! Haha. We've actually been calling it "Ann's Queen Anne."

I was informed this morning that power washing will commence this week and exterior painting next week! We'll be going over later today with paint samples to narrow down the options. Morgan will meet me there, too, and possibly Crystal -- not one, but TWO lovely young women (employees of Ali's) who are interested in giving me an assist with cleaning!


Like a kid in a candy store

...except with buttons.


I've been the recipient of "sewing stuff" during the clean-out of my former boss's mother's (BFF's MIL) (current boss's grandmother's) house. Dolores is 90+ and, well, let's just say she never threw anything away.




Not only were there bins & tins full of buttons, there was another place for stashing buckles...


...another for zippers & pulls (even broken ones)...


...and for hooks & eyes cut from bras... for garter clips from garter belts & girdles, I guess. Tape measure. Pins -- safety & otherwise. Needles -- every type imaginable. Sewing patterns. I'm sure that some of it is "from the farm," i.e., her mother's!

When I got home from work yesterday, I sat down and culled the patterns and made a first pass through the buttons. They need to be cleaned, but WOOHOO there are some treasures in there. I'll be posting more about them, for sure.


This kid has ice cream and you don't! My company had their summer get together at the ballpark last night, and Ali & the kids came along. The kids had a blast -- and even watched a little baseball.

Rusty & I are staying at Ann's house tonight -- a working vacation, if you will. I'll be hemming some curtains, covering the vanity bench & whatnot, he'll be mowing the lawn, fixing the mailbox & whatnot.

Happy Weekend!


Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat & the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday...



I crocheted the last charted circle motif the other day for Hexie Love (Rav link)!

My box of colors has changed a lot since February 1st.


I started with 35 and not only have I run out of some colors, but I've also dumped the box too many times to count... so lately the chart is just a suggestion, and I work with whatever feels right.


Now I have two stitch holders full of circles to join/make into hexies, and a pile of extras -- because every other row is a short one (not reflected in my chart of squares). So there will be one non-charted row, and at least a few more after that. At least.


I guess it's been a while since I wrote an Unraveled post! I have finished An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery (pages) and Sinéad O'Connor's memoir, Rememberings (audio). The quilt story was... missing something; it wasn't quite as dynamic and engaging as I'd hoped. I really enjoyed listening to Sinéad read her book, but I'm sure it's not for everyone. I was eye witness to the event that changed her life and it was interesting to hear the back story...

I just finished listening to Unsettled Ground this morning! It's a full month until the book club discussion (unheard of!), and I'm looking forward to that. On my nightstand is The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel, which I am enjoying.



I had a long weekend, so I can do that on Tuesday!

Much of Saturday was spent at Ann's, assembling dining chairs (8 of them!), doing laundry, getting one of the beds made up. Rusty helped me with another small piece of furniture and hanging artwork on Sunday -- it's a VERY eclectic mix that will undoubtedly change over time, but something's gotta be on the walls!

On Sunday afternoon I drove out and picked up Junah for an overnight. Man, did we have fun! Among other things, we played with LEGO and K'nex, had burgers on the grill, watched Despicable Me (he'd never seen it!), and learning to sew!

At first he wasn't too keen on the idea, but it didn't take much cajoling to get him to agree. Naturally, our first project was a pillowcase using the burrito method.


Smiles all around... he sure chose the perfect fabric! He told me that he'd done some sewing before, by hand, but it was his first time on a sewing machine. He did great, and really enjoyed unfurling the "burrito"! Lots of credit to the speed control on my Baby Lock; he also used the Start/Stop button instead of the pedal.

I see more pillowcases in the future -- possibly as soon as two weeks, when Ginny gets her turn for an overnight!

We also made an unplanned trip to the laundromat when my Airbnb guest showed up unannounced at my back door with an armful of bedding -- sheets, blanket, mattress pad, and topper -- and said that he spilled milk on the bed and it soaked through. Sheesh, I would normally have been at work. Anyway, that's a lot of unplanned laundry for an afternoon and the topper would never fit in my washer, so off we went. The topper is supposed to be "spot cleaned" but how do you spot clean a soaked-through spill... especially of milk? Yuck. It's lumpier than before, but should settle down. I do have extras of everything but the topper, but I wouldn't want all that stuff sitting around, anyway... did I mention SPILLED MILK?? haha. It's not all fun & games!

Ali brought the girls in yesterday afternoon and I took them to ballet & tumbling class!


It's been a minute. Ginny's a much better listener at 5 than 3, and Malina did great at her first-ever class! Adorable


Does anybody know what time it is?

Lordy, what a week.

I can't believe that Brian & the boys departed only three days ago!


We were able to get the kids together one last time prior to departure. I love everything about these photos.

The boys saw the progress on their house, too, and approved. Next time, it'll be Christmas!


I don't think I ever showed you. I remember this house being transformed about 14 years ago. It had been painted a very dark gray and was a 2-family residence with an outside stairway (on the other side). The stairway was removed, there was a little reconfiguring of windows, painted this nice green, and completely transformed inside.


Many walls were removed, so the first level is basically open concept now -- behind me in this photo is the kitchen, to the left is a dining area, and to the right a full bath with walk-in shower; there's a nice big laundry room off the kitchen, and the back entry with basement access off of that. You can tell a lot about the original configuration of the first floor by the ceiling, and that post in the middle of everything... I would have done most of that differently (but, as my mother would say, "No one asked me!"). All of the systems were replaced then, too -- it's basically a brand new (14yo) house inside a 100+ year old shell. The siding & trim on the outside is original, and they used all the original flooring in the main room downstairs.

There are three bedrooms upstairs (all on the small side, two with nice walk-in closets) and a full bath with clawfoot tub.


This is the side porch & door off the kitchen. The whole house will get a repaint sometime this fall!

I've had a blast helping get things settled... taking deliveries, unpacking boxes, getting stuff set up, shopping! The house was immaculate inside and came with all appliances, so "we" could literally just move in. It's been ages since I had to set up internet & wifi -- it took a couple of tries, but I got it. I had just set up the TV & antenna when I snapped the interior photo above -- basically to send to Ann for scale, she was worried that the 55" TV would be too big.

Yesterday, Rusty helped turn some of this...


...into this:


He helped assemble the table because it's so big & heavy, but I'll do the chairs myself. I really love putting stuff like this together!

So, I've been doing a ton of shopping -- besides my favorite big box & online stores, I've been stopping at rummage/moving sales, and going to all my favorite thrift shops again! "Thrifting" was a favorite activity that Kate & I did together, and I hadn't gone in the three months (!!!) since she moved to Scotland. It's great to have a list and be on a mission...


I found lamps, including a floor lamp, for $5-$15 instead of $50-$200, all with shades, and some even came with light bulbs! Nightstands, side tables, and decor, too. She'd been looking at luggage rack type things, but I found this old vanity bench for $10...


...along with a huge bag of upholstery remnants, mostly in this pattern that I just love, and even with new padding material for the seat, it's still going to be way less than a new luggage rack -- with a million times more character!

Now I'm on the lookout for at least one more!

Of course, I also find things that I can't live without.


Like this desk! It came with a cute chair, too.

Speaking of cute...


Ginny with flowers in her hair when we were at an outdoor concert (featuring her dad & uncle as band members)... I had flowers in my hair, too, as did her mom and sister and other grandma!



My dad died on Saturday night, just a couple weeks shy of his 86th birthday.


There were some very good times, there were some very bad times, and lots in between. The photo above is from 2016 when Rusty & I drove up the Oregon coast... my first Oregon experience was with my dad in 1979 when we caravanned down the same coast. I don't think he really knew who I was on that visit... Alzheimer's... and he definitely didn't know who I was the last time -- a little over a year later -- though there was an inkling of recognition when he was writing down my name. "Vicki... oh, Vicki-toria!"

RIP, Dad.


What's for dinner? Zucchini, Carrot & Turkey Burgers!

I was a huge fan of Plated, the now defunct meal delivery service. I've tried quite a few services, and Plated was, by far, my favorite in terms of ingredients, flavors, and recipes. I still miss them!

We have a separate folder in our recipe file for meal service recipe cards, which we often revisit, because we have a lot of favorite & go-to recipes! I also have a folder in Google Drive where I keep all of the downloaded recipe cards -- I made sure I had them all before the website disappeared -- and this works great for when I'm wandering the grocery store aisles, aimless & uninspired, trying to find something for dinner.


One of our absolute, all-time, most often made recipes is Zucchini, Carrot, and Turkey Burgers with Lemon-Basil Aioli. We riff on this sometimes, or change the side veg, and (except for the first time) we never serve it on buns. The only steadfast rules is that we NEVER EVER EVER make it without the aioli. This is also a great recipe for using frozen grated zucchini that you might have in the freezer! Just thaw, drain, and squeeze out all of the liquid. More recipe notes below.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Turkey Burgers with Lemon-Basil Aioli

8 oz. haricots verts
⅛ oz. basil
2 cloves garlic
9 oz. zucchini
2 tsp. butter at room temp
¼ c. shredded carrots
12 oz. ground turkey
½ oz. grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 brioche buns
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

The original recipe is for 2 very large burgers! You'll need a baking sheet and a 12" pan with a lid.

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Rinse all produce. Trim the beans, finely chop the basil leaves, and mince the garlic. Grate approx. 1/4 cup of zucchini using the large holes of a box grater. Cut the remaining zucchini crosswise into approx. 1/2" slices.

In a medium bowl, combine carrots, grated zucchini, half the garlic, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper. Rub a little olive oil on your hands, and add the turkey, mixing it in well with your hands, then forming into two patties, approx. 1" thick. Using your thumb, create a dimple on top of each burger (to prevent them from puffing up during cooking - it works). Place the burgers on a plate, and chill in the fridge for at least 5 minutes.

While the burgers chill, arrange the beans & sliced zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet, dot with softened butter, and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, stirring after 5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan.

While vegetables roast, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the burgers and sear until browned on bottom, 5–6 minutes. Flip them, cover the pan, and reduce heat to medium. Sear until cooked through and no longer pink (5–6 minutes more). Transfer the burgers to a plate and set aside to rest for at least 5 minutes.

If serving with buns, reserve the pan, off heat, for toasting them.

In a small bowl, stir together mayo, basil, a squeeze of lemon juice, remaining garlic, 1/8 tsp salt, and pepper. If you want to infuse even more flavor, use the zest of up to 1/2 a lemon. Set aside. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges for serving.

If using, arrange halved buns, cut-side down, in the pan and place over medium heat. Toast 2-3 minutes until light golden and warmed.

Meanwhile, divide roasted vegetables between serving plates, with lemon wedges for squeezing over. Layer buns with turkey burgers and lemon-basil aioli.

NOTES: This seems like a lot of juggling, but after I made it a couple of times, I found a flow. Turkey comes in 1-lb. packages, so I usually buy that and make at least four patties, increasing/eyeballing the other ingredients. Sometimes I forget and use the small holes of the grater, or I have more zucchini than carrot (or vice versa)... it really doesn't matter! I'm astounded every time at how much flavor is in this turkey burger by adding only some veg, salt & pepper!

Let me know if you try it!

PSA: With tomatoes ripening, don't forget about Vicki's* Roasted Tomato Sauce (with bonus recipe for Oven-Fried Eggplant)!


Right Now: Continuing To-Do (Update!)

I published a pretty ambitious To-Do list three months ago... how's it going??


  • Ginny's 5th Birthday / Kate's Going Away / Mothers' Day Extravaganza!
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  • Finish Hexie Love Actually
    • I'm getting close! (See embedded IG post, above.)
  • Assess remaining yarn (Unicorn Tails)


  • New tires (because one is flat-flat-flat)
  • Measure, order & replace at least one amber marker light assembly (LED?)
  • Measure, order & replace at least one tail light lens/assembly (LED?)
  • Figure out water/plumbing situation
  • New! Figure out electrical situation before September trip


  • Re-do caulk in bathroom/tub
  • Put down new rug in bedroom (pad)
  • Desk/chairs/floor mats?
  • New tub mat
  • Storms/screens & air conditioner

NEW CATEGORY: Ann's Airbnb

  • Take deliveries
  • Unbox, assemble & arrange stuff
  • Spend someone else's money
  • Coordinate calendars
  • Start hosting!


  • Continue cleaning/purging of laundry/computer room in order to...
  • Lay new floor in laundry/computer room
  • Reconfigure computer desk/area (especially modem/router locations)
  • Elevate washer & dryer/bins below
  • Get some estimates for refinishing the kitchen floor
  • Have the bedroom carpeting cleaned
  • Clean my workroom
  • Measure kitchen windows for rods/curtains
  • Kitchen curtains


  • Compost, topsoil, mulch where needed
  • Repair pergola planter & ready for the Snowcicle Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Ready garden areas for veg/herb plants (picking up 5/20)
  • Stump grinding scheduled (date TBD)
  • Kill the snow on the mountain (death by a thousand cuts) Move on...
  • Plant all the other plants/veg/herbs on order!
  • Paint garage & back door (Rusty)
  • Hide the trash/recycling receptacles
  • New: Plan landscape minus trees/stumps, plus stupid snow on the mountain


  • Finish them!

Spring Fall (maybe?) Cleaning

  • Refrigerator (continue)
  • Recessed lights in kitchen
  • Upper cabinets in kitchen
  • Windows
  • Wash bathroom walls
  • Clean out dresser/cedar chest/closet/under the bed
  • Clean out upstairs linen closet/bedroom


  • Start the remaining Safe At Home pillows
  • Make a sweater?
  • Teach Junah & Ginny to knit
  • Gnome MKAL
  • Advent


  • Dye some yarn!
  • Tie-dye / Indigo w/Boys & Kids (Auntie Camp)


  • Make a Molina Tunic for me (no tie) (deeper V) (compare to A-line)
    • Cut pattern
    • Iron fabric
    • Cut fabric
    • Sew!
  • Sew up Alabama Chanin Cropped Pants (kit)
  • Sew up Alabama Chanin Keyhole Dress (kit)
  • Continue working on AC Car Jacket... maybe finish in this lifetime
  • Make a couple of dresses for the girls (florals!)
  • Make tote bags or pillowcases/teach Junah & Ginny to sew


  • Mom's Log Cabin
  • Cheater Quilt for Junah
  • Wedding Ring (kit)
  • Figure out what to do with: Black & White w/a little Red


  • Spit for 23andMe
  • Mani (1 DIY Olive & June, so far)
  • Pedi (2 at the salon, so far)

I'm not beating myself up over lack of progress in any area! There are even some new items. It's been a fun & fulfilling summer so far... more to come! Obviously, I like to be busy, but I also need to recharge. The Olympics are perfect right now for winding down (while crocheting) in the evening. Prior to that, especially while the boys/kids were/are here, we're into LEGO Masters (catching them up on S1 when there weren't new S2 episodes), LOKI, MasterChef, and Gardener's World.

Mail call!

I received two parcels from Edinburgh in the past week!

One was my long-awaited (and, I feared, lost forever) order from Ysolda's final merch sale.

The other was from Kate!


In addition to soap (two bars, one of which was for Ali) and yarn, there were some cards, including an anniversary card for Ann & Brian. It arrived the day before Annie left, so perfect timing!

Here's my card:


Here's the Glaswegian Dictionary if you need it. haha!


And the back. Do you look at the backs of cards that you receive?

Anyway, here's the exciting bit!


It is Pentland Skeins' Aran Jacob from Travelling Basket.

Where to begin. Kate has known the couple behind Travelling Basket (@travellingbasket) for quite a while. They are Nathalie Holbrook (@aspenflorals_) and photographer Jacek Hübner (@jacekhubner) and, let me tell you, you can get beautifully lost for a long, long time on those & associated accounts. The Travelling Basket has a lovely brick & mortar shop that is On.My.List of places to visit when we can finally get over there.


Anyway, the yarn is from sheep raised in the Pentlands (on the outskirts of Edinburgh). The sheep are wards of Nathalie's sister (a shepherdess!), and the wool is spun at a mill in The Borders! Isn't it lovely?

I'm thinking Antler Mittens (Rav link) from Tin Can Knits.

And I'm sure happy to be staring down the end of this work week! I work four days just like any other week, but the ones with Monday off instead of the usual Wednesday (or Friday) always seem soooo loooonnnnggg. (Two more coming up next month.) I'm looking forward to sleeping in on the weekend. The days will be busy, as there will be deliveries at Ann's house (they've already begun!) and I have my own Airbnb to ready for EAA guests arriving on Monday.

I hope you have a great weekend!


3TT: First Farewell

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... 

My sis departed for Lima on a 5:30 am flight today, and I was up at 3:30 am to give her one last hug!

Here are three photos from last night when we all went out to Dick's Drive-In for ice cream -- one of the things Ann wanted to do before she left.




It was so great to have them here for such a good part of the summer! Regular Zoom chats shall resume in the very near future!

I didn't tell you that they ended up buying a house here, after all. Final walk-through was yesterday. Closing is tomorrow. The new (old) house is still in my neighborhood -- even closer than the previous one -- and it needs a lot less work. Like, ZERO work on the inside -- just furnishings and BOOM! All set for Airbnb & future visits. We're looking forward to a fun Christmas this year! The house does need painting on the outside and that will get taken care of in the next few months. I'll soon have another Airbnb to manage! We'll try it out for a while and see how it goes.

(I had a hot fudge sundae and it was real good.)


21 in 21: Part 2

Ann & Brian's party at The Brink Lounge wasn't until the afternoon, so we had some time to do something on Sunday morning. It was going to be hot & muggy, so if it was going to be something outside, we needed to do it early.

We decided on a visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Ann & Brian used to live very close to Olbrich (so we had a nostalgic drive through their old neighborhood), and Rusty had done an art fair or two there back in the day, but it had been ages since we just visited.


It's so beautiful -- even the duckweed pond! One of my favorite things in the whole garden was three big copper balls floating in a small pool. They were about the size of a bowling ball, with wonderful patina and even a few dents from knocking into each other or bordering rocks.


I loved these mason bee houses! Rusty might even have been inspired to build one himself.


And someday I'd like a huge planter like this... just like this! Maybe two. hehe.

One of the biggest attractions at Olbrich, though, is the Thai Pavilion & Garden.


It is stunning! The site, the structure, the craftsmanship... I've never seen so much gold leaf in my life! And there's not a nail or screw holding it together... all done by joinery.

It was starting to really heat up around noon, so we went back to our hotel... and had a nap. Then it was party time! We took our nice short walk down the block, and it was so great to see people -- friends, family, in-laws -- that I haven't seen in ages. I spent a lot of time talking & catching up with people... not much taking pictures.


This is the only party photo that I'm going to share... (l to r) my cousins Kris, Claire, me, Aunt Arlene (who turned 91 in April) & Ann, with cousin Russ behind her, cousins Rae & Cindy on either side of my sister Karen.


21 in 21: Part 1

Rusty & I were in Madison for a couple of days. The main event was Ann & Brian's 20+1 wedding anniversary party on Sunday, which was originally a 20th celebration planned for last year.

Y'know, I usually stay at an Airbnb when we're out of town, but I found a great hotel only two blocks from the venue!

Turns out, it was a REALLY GREAT HOTEL! Hotel Indigo on E. Washington in Madison, much of it in the former Mautz Paint Factory... and they know how to run with a theme!


The reception counter held a wonderful display of artifacts -- from office to advertising to mixing & painting.

Ann, Brian & their friend Emily met us for drinks & apps at Palette Bar & Grill in the hotel on Saturday night, which was also amazing in every way -- great food & drinks, terrific service, and very reasonably priced.


Delightful, painterly decor at every turn.


Rusty has wielded a paintbrush or two (he used to help his grandpa) and he said there were some pretty great old brushes in that display. I love how the lighting makes it look like there's paint dripping from some of them. The "dripping" mirror was in our room.


Just gotta jump!

After a bit of an absence, a post such as yesterday's 3TT is a great way to jump right back in, and today I'll continue with a little bit o' random.

Ann & her family vacated the Airbnb almost three weeks ago already, and I've had two other guests since then. They returned for an overnight last week so Mack could take his last behind-the-wheel driving lesson -- now he has to wait to take the final test when he's eligible/they return in December! So crazy. Anyway, it worked out great to utilize the couch and an additional air mattress, along with the upstairs bedroom... I wouldn't want to do that long-term, but it's fine for an overnight. I can't believe Ann will be back to work in Lima a week from today! The boys will be around (mostly Madison) for another couple of weeks, though, as they're still off of school. I'll see them all prior to departure for an overnight, as they have crack-of-dawn flights out of Appleton.

I don't think I ever showed the engineer's print I had made at Parabo Press.


I'd been wanting to do something like this for a while, and their visit/residency spurred me on. They're all photos from our 2019 trip to Spain & England, pretty much in order, and I put it in the Airbnb for their stay.


A cool poster of Valencia is hanging in the second bedroom up there, visible through the doorway. It was so fun to do, and while I don't intend to leave it up there forever... I am going to leave it for a little while. There's a lot of travel-related stuff up there and it just fits!

Parabo has a lot of great stuff, from prints of all sizes to photo books to calendars -- I've made so many personalized gift calendars, I can hardly count! If you've never used Parabo Press before, you can use referral code AHMKGG to receive $10 off your first order (and I get $10, too!). They have a lot of pretty great promotions throughout the year.

And speaking of prints, a few months ago I was remembering how much I loved going through photos & albums at Grandma's when I was a kid... there's nothing like holding them in your hands! So I decided to take Google Photo up on their monthly print service. I choose & receive 10 prints each month -- my photos are already automatically backed up there (so no uploading or downloading) and they send me a reminder email, so it's super simple, plus I can do simple edits if needed. There are other services that offer free photos each month, but I really like the quality of these and the limit actually makes it easier. Pick 10 photos. Every month. No prob.


3TT: Tie dye finale!

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... 

While I photographed all of the kiddos' tie-dyed shirts, I get a case of blogger's block when I think of formatting & posting all of those photos like I did with Mack's & Addie's! I'll make it easy, though, and embed the Instagram posts here... and it just so happens that I have three posts to share!

No. 1 - Malina's (with a little help from her sibs & Nona):

No. 2 - Ginny's:

No. 3 - Junah's:

They did so great and had so much fun!!

Apparently, tie-dyeing 40+ shirts in a two-week timeframe with kids ranging from 3 to 16 kind of knocks me off my game! Lordy, it's been a busy month and a half -- even without all that!


July already?

June was really great, for the most part! I think my head is still spinning, though!

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I made the mistake of deleting all the backed-up photos from my camera the other day, which meant that I had to re-download a bunch of photos & videos to include in my 1 Second Everyday video for the month. Ugh! I've done that at least once before and it's a pain... you'd think I'd have learned.

The month ended with some pretty shitty news/family drama regarding my dad. It's been a strained relationship for most of my life, with some OK parts, but eventually degradation led to estrangement, which doesn't even matter now because his Alzheimer's is so bad that he doesn't recognize anyone. Distance (in every definition of the word) complicates things, as do other strained relationships, but at least he's physically safe and being cared for now.

The month also ended with a wonderful family video chat -- Kate from her new digs in Edinburgh, Maddy from their place in Orange NSW, Rusty from the California coast (literally, he was showing us the waves), and Ali from our back yard, while I sat in the Garden Room.


Auntie Camp 2021, Part 2

The tie-dye parade continues with Mack's creations!


The two above are for his dad. The top one was kind of scrunched/gathered on the diagonal and sectioned off for dye application. The bottom one was swirled, of course. The yellow seems especially vibrant this year!

I should mention that we used Dharma Trading Co.'s Fiber Reactive Dyes, as always. I purchased Dharma's Little Group Kit a few years ago and we're still working with that, plus some extras. In the past, I've ordered some of their dyeable clothing, too, and also indigo. I have been extremely pleased with it all! This year, I purchased & pre-washed a variety of t-shirts -- all were 100% cotton, but there were a few different brands and I think there are subtle differences in how they took the dye.

Our colors were: Fuchsia, Lemon Yellow, Turquoise, Deep Purple, and Cobalt Blue.


This kind of "minimal swirl" is for his mom. I didn't turn it over, but I think it might be a bit more saturated with dye on the back!


These two are Mack's size. The one on top is his attempt at "crystal wash," and the bottom one was a pleated from the bottom to about the armpits and then rolled.

He used a lot more dye for his "crystal wash" shirt than Addie did, and also used more of the dark colors. I just love all the variations & differences!


The top shirt, above, with the patriotic feel is for Junah, and the lower one with the swirl was also intended for him... but more likely Ginny's size!


This is Ginny's tie-dye tank a la Mack...


...and this is Malina's. Malina ended up with two very vibrant, saturated shirts... they were so tiny, it was difficult to go "light"!

Similar to how Addie's shirt for Malina reminded me of the northern lights, Mack's "crystal wash" shirt gives me a very "nebula" feeling.


I feel like I could get lost in there!

There's another whole batch of shirts for Junah, Ginny & Malina to make for their mom & dad, Mack & Addie, and for themselves! I'm not sure I'd have been able to keep up if they'd all done it together. (My hair sort of stands on end just thinking about that!) I'm not sure it'll work out, but I think it would be super fun for the boys to be "camp counselors" at Nona Camp... if not this year, then definitely next!

I've already had a request for socks & other types of clothing/items for next year! You might have noticed that there wasn't anything for Davey in the boys' piles... lordy, can you imagine the number of tie-dye hand-me-downs that boy will already be subjected to??!!!


Auntie Camp 2021, Part 1

It's a little different this year -- they're all here earlier than usual and still working/in school, for the most part, plus passport renewals, vaccinations & haircuts, and Mack is doing his behind-the-wheel both with an instructor & with his dad -- but we're doing what we can, and squeezed in some tie-dyeing over the weekend!

We're happy as clams with whatever we get since we didn't even have a chance last summer!


We tried a new technique using the measuring cups/bucket, but mostly swirls and pleats and sections... and a lot of shirts!


I might have left them set longer if we hadn't had a lunch date yesterday along with rain in the afternoon forecast, but at least I remembered to correctly mix the dye and to soak everything in soda ash solution.


One of our biggest challenges over the years is remembering who tied & dyed what, so this year, for better or worse, I devised a system... putting a staple in the hem of each of Mack's shirts. I'm sure there's a better way (and I'd love to hear about it), but at least we were able to keep track of which shirts were Addie's & which were Mack's.


It was all official when Addie rubbed his ear...


...since the first Auntie Camp (indigo), it isn't official until someone (usually Addie) turns BLUE! Haha. (For the record, I have a very pink thumbnail!)

I photographed every shirt they made this year, so let's get started with Addie on parade!


Two shirts for his dad. The first is gray and was done using the "crystal wash" method in the bucket. Basically, it's soaked in soda ash, scrunched up and stuffed into a container, and squirted with dye. The other one looks like a combo swirl/scrunch.


A shirt for his mom, above (I think I bought a size too small, but it'll "work") that was scrunched & sectioned.


These are both his size. The first one was swirled from the bottom/side instead of the usual chest area, and it turned out pretty great (I'm sure that will be done again in the future!). The second was also done using the "crystal wash" method in a 4-cup measure... the dye is sparse but interesting.


These two were done with Junah in mind, though I think the bottom one will be a bit small, so Ginny's!


This one is definitely Ginny's.


And, finally, Malina's. Parts of this remind me of the northern lights!

I love tie dye because there's always a little bit of surprise and it's really hard to make a dud!

Stay tuned for Mack's parade, coming up tomorrow.  ;)

3TT: June 17th

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... 

Thing 1:

The lavender is beginning to bloom.


It's one of my favorite flowers and is, absolutely, my favorite floral scent. I spent a good while in the garden yesterday morning, and it felt good -- trying to keep up to the standard of Kate's excellent work earlier this spring -- except that all my great work in the garden must have really aggravated an already sore hip. (I reintroduced myself to my chiropractor on Monday and will see her again next week.) It was incredibly painful last night and I had a hard time falling asleep... resulting in a pitiful 4 hr 10 min of sleep recorded by my Fitbit last night.

But there's lavender!!

Thing 2:

Our accidental catalpa tree is putting on a glorious show!


Even at night, illuminated by only the pergola lights, it's pretty spectacular... so many flowers.

Thing 3:

I am really enjoying my current Airbnb guests. wink:wink


The feeling is mutual... Ann shared this photo the other day, starting her day with coffee in bed (we have the most eclectic collection of mugs up there!).

My sis & her family might possibly be more frequent guests in the future, since the local house purchase turned into a clusterfuck and the deal is off. There was some miscommunication -- in the form of NO communication -- which came to light a week ago after a conversation with one of the new neighbors. He remarked that there were 40+ families "involved," which led to Annie asking a few questions of her agent, eventually learning that the sellers' lawyer had JUST sent out the certified letters to those 40+ interested parties, to which they each had 30 days to respond, followed by another month before the title company needed to do their thing. Not only was this the first mention of all of this "involvement" (from the neighbor), but the closing -- having already been postponed once "because of the title company" -- was supposed to be TOMORROW! Tradespeople were lined up -- not an easy thing these days (especially since they were all "postponed" once already, too) -- and Ann had planned to be somewhat involved in renovation, at least overseeing in the beginning stages, and had also planned on staying there next month (roughing it, no doubt) prior to returning to Peru. The revelation of this new, previously undisclosed timeline made it clear that they'd be lucky even to close before departure. It's so incredibly disappointing to so many people on so many levels... I just can't even.

So, anyway, because of the layout & configuration of our house & the apartment, I've basically opened it all up and it's more of a house-share situation! They have their space and I have mine, but there's a lot of common area and we've been cooking & having most evening meals together. Sometimes we even share a little coffee in the morning before things get going. It's really nice and will be weird when they're gone and things are back to "normal" after next week.

Who am I kidding? WTF is "normal"? There's always something... it just remains to be seen!


Weekend cuteness

I love a good trend along with the best of 'em!


Cartoon yerself... I doubt I'll keep this app on my phone for long, but for now I'm in, and they're so darn cute -- not to mention spot-on! (FYI: An article on Wired.)

3TT: Good news edition & randomly related photos

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... 

Thing 1:

Kate found a fabulous flat-share in Edinburgh -- lots of room (both private & shared) and a great location! Occupancy as of July 1st, but possibly sooner (her current Airbnb term is up on the 22nd).


The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is about a 40-minute walk from the new flat. She was there today and had to share the rhododendrons with me. They're spectacular! One of my favorites, and I've never seen rhodies as big & lush as in Edinburgh.

Thing 2:

She also found a part-time gig at an art space with a fantastic view!


(This is not the view.) I assembled this collage with stills nabbed from a video that Kate took as she walked through an enormous hedge at the Royal Botanic Garden. It's like an X-ray in the middle. So cool.

Thing 3:

Maddy is also starting a new part-time job next week -- at a brewery! It's very close to the winery where Viv works -- a half-hour drive from where they currently live -- and perhaps they'll relocate if all goes well.

The current scene in Maddy's backyard:


Maddy said while snow isn't unusual, they're not used to it sticking/sticking around so much!

Meanwhile, we're in a heatwave that doesn't appear to be letting up anytime soon! I am looking at 80F predicted for Tuesday and thinking of it as a relief! We are/have been hovering more around 90F and there's ZERO precipitation... and it looks like it will continue for as far as I can see.

Time for a Dilly bar.