NaBloPoMo 2020.17

Sharing my Freewill Astrology Horoscope today.


SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):

To convey the spirit of the coming weeks, I'm offering you wisdom from two women who were wise about the art of slow and steady progress.

First, here's author Iris Murdoch:

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats, and if some of these can be inexpensive and quickly procured so much the better.

Your second piece of insight about the wonders of prudent, piecemeal triumph comes from activist and author Helen Keller:

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

_ _ _ _ _

For whatever it's worth, every once in a while, it hits home.

Has anyone read any of Iris Murdoch's books? Recommend??


NaBloPoMo 2020.16 | Weekending



I had a fun few hours of Davy-sitting on Saturday morning. The highlight was coaxing some smiles (or reactionary smile-like expressions) from him. He's so freakin' adorable.


And just what I needed.

I had to change his diaper twice, and one of those also required a change of clothes.


Aren't those hedgie pants adorable???

All the kids came over on Sunday afternoon for some belated birthday celebrations, and they brought cake!


Kate made a "healthier" Tater Tot Casserole for supper -- something that's never been in our repertoire, but will be now (with additional notes). The kids liked the tots more than the filling, which isn't surprising. We weren't very prepared in the candle department, so just made do with was on hand... Junah arranged them. They all sang Happy Birthday, and the cake (made by Ali) was delicious!! Three layers of very moist chocolate, cream cheese frosting, chocolate chips, and a chocolate truffle on top (which was mine, all mine!).


NaBloPoMo 2020.15

I talked to my sister Ann yesterday. As Wisconsin is soaring in COVID cases, in Peru they're getting ready to re-open.


Long story, short... they won't be coming for Christmas.

We're hopeful for summer... and maybe Auntie Camp will actually involve CAMPING!! Haha.

Anyway, she'd asked me for some Thanksgiving photos... something she needed for school. I'm actually pretty awful at photographing holidays, and have never been the one to jump up and take a photo of the table with all assembled.

But I looked.

And, while I looked, I ran across a couple of other interesting photos...


That's my siblings and me (in red) surrounding my Grandpa Blum on what looks likely to be his birthday (April), and possibly an early celebration because Easter. Not Thanksgiving, but oh, this photo! It looks like Annie is getting her napkin all tucked in, waiting for a slice of that cake!! I'm guessing 1968 or '69, Grandpa would be approaching 60 (b. 1910).


This one kind of floored me. I don't remember seeing it before, though surely I must have because I chose to send it in and get it scanned. Anyway, TOBOGANNING! (It doesn't look like a lot of snow at the top of the hill, but the saucer shows evidence.) My siblings and I, again! I'm second-from-left, leaning on my Uncle Jim. Our dad is the other guy. This had to be mid-70s... '73 or '74, I'd guess.

Anyway, a blast from the past on this Sunday! I hope you're having a great weekend!


NaBloPoMo 2020.14

Someone posted a while back on FB about this blanket* that's in the Sundance catalog and I have no business thinking about another blanket...

Sundance Crochet Blanket

...yet here we are. Maybe if I just post the picture, I'll get it out of my system.

But couldn't that possibly be a most divine way to use a nice selection of, um, let's say 30 spooky mini-skeins?

*It's $425, which is a lot, but I know we can all appreciate the "hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-crocheted" aspects, since we all do one or more of those things (or related handwork), and know that it's actually worth all that and more.


NaBloPoMo 2020.13

I'd like to introduce you to Electa Quinney. She is recognized as Wisconsin's first public school teacher, opening a school near Grande Kawkawlin (where I live) almost 200 years ago. 


This new statue -- and the newly revitalized park over which she presides -- was dedicated last month. I was unable to attend the celebration, but that's okay... most days, I drive or walk by this park at least once. I think of her often! The cul de sac seen behind her is at the end of the street that bears her name, and one of the schools that my kids attended is also named for her.


She's a big deal around here -- a Native American, a woman, an educator -- and I think it's just lovely that she's been memorialized again in such a way.

The park had been in a pretty bad state for years, and was nothing short of an eyesore all of last winter and much of the spring. Work had just begun when we had some early stormy weather, then winter suddenly arrived, and it sat -- mud, orange plastic "safety" fencing, everything torn apart but nothing put back together.

The re-do was led by our high school's Civic Engagement students, who raised money for the renovation that includes a new amphitheater (which I hope we'll be able to utilize before long). Funding was also provided by a local family foundation. It was a complete overhaul! Initially, they'd  hoped to save some mature trees in the (small) park, but they were too damaged in the storm, so new "real" trees of a couple varieties join a bunch of LED trees. Unfortunately, there is nothing picturesque about this location... except at night (when those trees light up).


She's facing a bank in the photo above, but many years ago it was the location of South Kaukauna Dairy, founded by Hubert Fassbender, inventor of Kaukauna Klub Cheese! The park is named for him and there's another little monument there that I will share another time.

I love the detail on her shawl, and I can relate to that hair...


...though mine is still too stubborn to stay braided for long.

I'm thinking that Ms. Quinney might be willing to model the next shawl I make!


NaBloPoMo 2020.12 | 3TT

It's a DAY, and I got nothin'...


...except three cute photos of the newest knitwear model in the family!

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... Ali sent these photos last week while they were hanging out on the porch at home, enjoying the warm weather. The sweater is Demne, which I finished over 8 years ago! The Striped Hat for Gin was knit 3 years ago!


NaBloPoMo 2020.11

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share another FO!




This is the second hat I've knit at the request of my cousin Gail; the first was one of the several Pussyhats that I knit in 2017. She sent me a photo of this hat/pattern several months ago and asked if I could knit her a "messy bun" hat, and I was happy to do it for her! She lives in Duluth -- a place where a person needs a hat!

I wasn't intending for these to be my "official" photos, but had Kate & her bun try it out when she was at our cottage one day last week. I'd hoped to (safely) meet & deliver the hat to Gail in person on our way home from the North Shore, and get a photo then, but she called the day before to say that her husband had COVID and that she was awaiting results of her own test. She turned out to be negative, but still... IT'S IN THE MAIL, GAIL!!


It's been quite a while since I knit cables -- and it was fun! The pattern wasn't all that fun, though. I mean, the end product is great, but the pattern is not written very well -- this, coming from a person who prefers to knit from a written pattern! A chart would have been very helpful.


I knit to pattern until the final decreases -- I'm sorry that I didn't count, but stopped short when there was about a 2.5-inch stretchy hole left at the top (after about 6-7-8 decrease rounds), and knit a couple more rounds before loosely binding off.


I tacked down the turned-up brim in four places evenly spaced around the hat.


I tucked an actual book into my basket when we were packing for our little vacation; Plantation Slave Weavers Remember: An Oral History by Mary Madison, which I'm pretty sure I ordered in late August after noticing that Beverly Army Williams' gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. So far, my rating will be the same or better!


NaBloPoMo 2020.10



Well, you know what they say about that -- and I don't even go back to work until tomorrow! So here's a photo of me, Rusty, and Split Rock Lighthouse from last Thursday.

That sure was a nice trip.


NaBloPoMo 2020.9

We had a lovely hike yesterday at Tettegouche State Park. There are so many great state parks in this area, and we were happy to visit a few.


Today is the first cloudy day of our visit, and rain is expected... it's also departure day! We'll get ahead of the weather at some point on the way home, it's supposed to be sunny & 73°F there today!

The next time we see this kind of weather in the Upper Midwest will likely be in May or June!


NaBloPoMo 2020.8

Good morning!


There was way too much excitement around here yesterday! Celebrating with Joe & Kamala, finishing the hat for my cousin, a lakeside wedding to "oversee." And then I ended up taking Rusty to urgent care for 9+ stitches at the end of his nose after he tripped & fell on some rocks at the shore! He's doing fine... nothing is broken and there were no other injuries outside of a few other scratches (and a very scratched phone). His poor nose is red & swollen, but it doesn't really hurt, and he slept very well last night. Whew.

Today is our last full day on the North Shore, and it's going to be GORGEOUS!!


NaBloPoMo 2020.7

A sigh of relief today!


Continuing a long tradition of handmade cards, Rusty painted this for my birthday. I shared it on IG this morning, and wrote, "I feel like I am pretty calm and laid-back about things, but sometimes I need a reminder! #optimism"

A few hours later, it was announced that Joe Biden & Kamala Harris would be our new President & Vice-President!!


NaBloPoMo 2020.6(2)

I turn 62 today! That's pretty weird (along with the fact that the day I was born was also a Thursday), so I'm going to share a few photos from yesterday.

1 -- Seconds before sunrise.

2 -- Split Rock Lighthouse.

3 -- About an hour before sunset.

Today we're heading up to Grand Marais for a quick meet up with one of Rusty's cousins, who moved there a few years ago. The weather has been incredible!


NaBloPoMo 2020.5

Our house is 135 years old and, as you might imagine, there've been changes over the years.

This photo is from a booklet published by the Chamber of Commerce in the early 1910s, taken from the east.


I would kill to have that wrap-around porch and all that gingerbread again! The upstairs sleeping porch is now enclosed (but still mostly screens & windows) and is the entry to the apartment. The kitchen, in the back, was only one story, but was replaced with a 2-story addition in the 1930s, which gave us most of the upstairs apartment.

I would love to see what it all looked like in/from the back at that time.

This photo is from 1977, taken more from the west, and was found on the Wisconsin Historical Society website, documenting local architecture.

425 - 116421

All white (or very nearly so)! With black shutters! Other than paint, elimination of the shutters, and landscaping, not much has changed from this angle.

The photo below was taken not long after we moved in... in 1987.


That's a wee Kate at bottom right! We had renters then, but a few years later we opened the door at the top of the stairs and took over the whole house for quite a few years while the kids grew up.

A lot has changed on this side of the house, and some has even changed back! Beyond the fence, right above the trash cans, you can see a big ol' maple tree that was growing right next to the house... like! Why in the world it was left to grow is beyond me... but that came out. There's also a bushy-tree on this side of the front porch that I remember now would get tent caterpillars REAL BAD. Ugh! They were so gross... so that wasn't long for this world, either. The main thing, though (and it took a few years), was the addition of the garage on this side.

We're getting used to another monumental change right now.


We've known the days were numbered for those two ash trees since we moved in... and it's way past the "due date." The streets & sidewalks in our neighborhood will be completely re-done within the next few years and, even without the dreaded ash borer, they'd never survive that. Most of the other mature trees on our street are on the terrace and will be taken down by the City when the time comes, but ours are firmly rooted on our property, so we're responsible.


The trunks came down just as I got home from work on Tuesday. I took this pic as we headed out on Wednesday morning.


And now it looks a lot more like our "Little House" illustration. It'll take a while to get used to it, but we're already thinking up some landscaping ideas. And I won't miss worrying about branches coming down in a storm.

The kids are happy with a little extra firewood in the shed!


Also, I'll have a much better view when the International Space Station flies over!


NaBloPoMo 2020.4 - Safe At Home

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share my latest FO! (Though possibly not linked up because... writing in advance & timing.)


Before giving the blanket to Davy, I wanted to take a few more photos... similar to the ones I took at a local sculpture park when I finished Parcheesi! This park is just a few doors down from Kaukauna Coffee & Tea, but timing/daylight has not been on my side. After work on Mondays, I pick up & deliver an order to the coffee shop, and this week I made sure to grab my camera & the blanket on my way out the door.

I was so excited to take these photos, I didn't even notice that the blanket was upside-down at first!


  • Ravelry Project Page: Safe At Home - Baby
  • Pattern: Safe at Home blanket by Margaret Holzmann
  • Yarn: Various Fingering/Sock yarns - held double throughout
  • Needles:  US 7
  • Start to Finish:  May 27 - October 25, 2020


Modifications! First was in the choice of yarn, I guess, using fingering/sock held double instead of worsted. I did not want to buy more* yarn and that's what I have most of... so I made it work. A color card helped me sort it all out and keep track -- most colors had multiples to choose from and/or to blend, and I made lots of combos while I knit, making subtle differences & variations in some of the colors.

*BUT OF COURSE I BOUGHT MORE YARN!! I had a lovely mini-skein of pink -- actually, it was orchid from Backyard Fiberworks -- and it quickly became my go-to for pink, so I ran out. Because of timing, I had to find something to match locally as best I could, and actually ended up buying TWO in order to get it close. That orchid, though... it was one of four or five mini-skeins that I'd picked up at Indie Untangled 2018, I think... and I might need to treat myself to a full hank!

And while I love the rows-upon-rows-upon-rows of houses in the original design, I just could not see myself knitting them all. Each house is basically a square, and that led me to think of a patchwork quilt... Parcheesi was also on my mind, of course, and outside of a few actual squares, the main feature of that design is stripes... and I really love stripes (plus, they're quick to knit), so...


...I started to play around. Margaret provided a "coloring page" to aid in planning, and that's where I started. I knew the whole thing would be bordered in houses, so that left the interior -- 7 x 7 squares. I made alternating blocks of horizontal & vertical stripes, and then added some houses -- I settled on two extra houses per row, which I placed using a random number generator!

For the striped blocks, I used the same combo of colors that would have been used if they'd been houses, but each had one more stripe than colors specified, so I made some sort of "rule" where I used the "house color" from the block two before... something like that. Heh.


And just as with Parcheesi, I knew I wanted a border. It would help to hide a few of the cut ends around the edges, for one thing, and I love how it makes a frame around the whole thing. I used a blue-ish black. First I knit along four houses at each corner with a mitered garter stitch border, then picked up and knit along the remaining five houses on each side, finishing with several short seams to bring it all together.

At one time, I'd toyed with doing some crazy border stuff -- a different color for each house -- but I really like how the single color works. As my sister Sharon would say, "The eye needs a place to rest."


Speaking of Sharon, I thought of her a lot while I knit this blanket. Rarely have I remained so focused on a single project, start-to-finish, but Parcheesi was one. I wasn't even quite this focused when I knit Parcheesi -- it took two months longer, and I remember a long break while I mustered the strength to begin sewing up! Anyway, that was 10 years ago, and Sharon was dying. I didn't even realize, at the time, how important that project was in helping me get through all that. I had similar focus on a shawl when my mom died. And now, this blanket... so aptly named for THESE TIMES, and definitely helping me to get through...


And that's a wrap!

_ _ _ _ _

We're on our way to the North Shore of Lake Superior for a few days. Rusty & I are staying at a lovely lakeside cottage, and Kate will be camping in Ducky about 20 miles north. There might be a little leftover snow on the ground when we arrive, but the weather is going to be gorgeous... for November in Minnesota! We'd actually sort of hoped for some weather -- big waves and all that -- but we'll survive. There's a heater for Ducky, so Kate should be fine... and a fold-out in our cottage if things take a sudden turn.

See you tomorrow!


NaBloPoMo 2020.3

Did I tell you about my Biden-Harris signs?

A few days after my across-the-street neighbor's disgusting political sign went missing, the TWO Biden-Harris signs in my yard were also stolen. So I put up another one, adorned with little flags, and with a message about an extra donation if it's stolen.


I had another in reserve, so did the same thing (with added "DO NOT STEAL" and "PRIVATE PROPERTY" messages), and put it down on the very eastern edge of our property (very, very far right and out of view in the photo above). It's wooded and down a hill, so I can't see it from the house, but it has GREAT visibility from a busy intersection and recreational trail.

One day, I decided to "take the long way" home and check on my sign. I was just starting to build up some steam because it wasn't where I put it... and then I noticed that SOMEONE HAD MOVED IT! Not only did they move it, they moved it FRONT & CENTER... unfortunately, that's public property and I knew that wasn't right, so I moved it back.

A few days later, I took the long way home again, and the same or maybe even another determined person HAD MOVED IT AGAIN! I just laughed... pulled in to take the photo above, and left it there.

Naturally, it was gone after another day or two... possibly even removed by the police. I'm sure a lot of people saw it, though, and for that I'm glad. And an extra donation was made to the Biden-Harris campaign!

Here's hoping for a Big Blue Wave to wash over us all!


NaBloPoMo 2020.2

I opened the final installment of my Lambstrings Spooky October Advent Calendar on Saturday!


I now have 3,223 (more) yards of yarn! Yikes. I didn't really need that addition to my stash, but it sure was fun to open a little packet of yarn every day in October! And to contemplate the possibilities... I've been gathering ideas into a Advent Minis Bundle on Ravelry, and I'm open to any suggestions that you might have!


NaBloPoMo 2020.1

In which we embark on the TWELFTH year of NaBloPoMo-ing! That's so crazy.

We had some Halloween doings around here yesterday... and even this morning, I was finding wrappers and half-eaten candy! Malina likes to unwrap and test. :)


Little stinker. She also got her first hair cut yesterday! Bangs & a bob. She looks older now!

I bought matching Halloween PJs for the kids and we tried to take some photos.


Some turned out better than others!

I also nabbed the baby for a couple of blanket shots.


Starry starry night!

Safe At Home will eventually go home with him, but there's not a grandchild of mine that doesn't get photographed with Parcheesi! I can't believe it's almost 10 years since I finished that blanket!


This about sums it up...


There's so much happening right now!

I'm really looking forward to our Minnesota North Shore getaway... NEXT WEEK... and with a new spin.

And, guess what? I think I'm going to NaBloPoMo for the 12th year in a row! Stay tuned.


First look!

I haven't posted anywhere else yet... this is the "first look" at something you've seen nearly every step of the way. Haha.



Rusty's so cute, offering to take my photo with the blanket a few times as the end drew near, so I took him up again for a "first look." I have something else in mind for the official FO images & post, though, so stay tuned. And, YES, if you're looking closely... those are SNOWFLAKES!

I'd shared a photo on FB on Saturday night, four corners & two sides done, with a hopeful prediction that I'd be finished by "the end of the football game tomorrow," which, to anyone who knows me, knows that meant "the Packer game."


I didn't actually say which football game, though! Ha. I was so close by the time the Packers logged their win... then the network went immediately to the end of the Detroit game and, lo, I wove in the last of the border ends just as they won with an extra point at the buzzer! Anyone who knows football knows that I'm not naturally a Detroit fan, but I could only be happy for everyone at that very moment.


There's a photo of the back... I think I've woven in & trimmed all the ends! I knit the border in sections -- four mitered corners (along four blocks each), and then each of the four sides, sewing up tiny little seams as I finished.

It was such a fun project, not only because it's for my grandson! I don't think I'll be knitting another blanket in this pattern... but I will be knitting this pattern again (if only because the "audition" project is still unfinished)!

Thanks for coming along for the ride, folks. I've appreciated every nod of approval and/or awe (or was that "are you nuts?") along the way!


Why does it always take three tries?

This is the second attempt at a mitered border:


It's way better than the first, but still a little loosey-goosey, especially at the corner.

Actually, now that I'm looking at it, I might be picking up too many stitches. So, that's what I'll try next.

We were supposed to head to a campground today after work, but it's raining and cold and it'll be getting dark by the time we get there... I could handle it without the rain. So, we're going to wait until tomorrow morning.

We picked up Ducky at the RV place on Tuesday and I'm so happy! They replaced some corroded wiring and the outside running lights all work, not to mention the brake lights! We're still going to keep the magnetic ones on and plugged in (since we have both 7-pin and 4-pin ports), because you just can't be too safe. The Explorer is such a better match than the Escape for towing, but we had to get (another) new ball mount because the hitch receptacle is so much higher!

It's only money.

Meanwhile, and apologies if you've already seen this on IG and/or FB, but we are STOKED!


Before > After. We could play SPOT THE DIFFERENCES! haha. I'll give you two that aren't discernible: all of the lens covers for the light fixtures were removed and cleaned (b-bye bugs) and the bulbs were all replaced with LEDs!


I'm very proud of my matching stripes, which was done from memory because the big seat cushion was in Ducky at the RV place when I sewed the little ones. The stripes actually match seat-to-back, too. Originally there were little strips that joined the back cushions to the seat cushions... that would have been a real pain to replicate, but I might have to come up with some sort of solution. It would help keep the cushions together when they're acting as a bed, though that hasn't been an issue we've noted.

I'm thinking out loud.

Can't wait for a long weekend... and to go.


Weekending: Screenshots



Sometimes it's good to laugh until you cry!! It's rare that we're all "together" these days, so that was a big bonus.


The cropped version of this photo was posted on IG yesterday, but I wanted to post it in full glory. The blanket colors are pretty darn true here. The border color reads as just a wee bit more black in person, but it's close. I am CHUFFED to be finished with this phase, and now trying to remember (researching) how to knit on a mitered border... it's been about 10 years since I did that.


3TT: Yesterday

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

Three photos from yesterday!

The day started with an invitation to walk along with Kate & McGregor.


He is not my dog and I'm not the primary dog-walker, but I've definitely been walking more since he joined our household. Not a bad thing!

Later in the morning, Ali popped over with Davy.


I got to cuddle him for a while so she could go to the grocery store unencumbered.

We're nearly finished watching Wild Bill on Amazon/BritBox and, of course, I'm sewing up a blanket...


...which is now big enough to actually serve as a blanket! I began the second-to-last seam last night, joining Rows 3+4 to 9-to-5. It's going to be warm!! Parcheesi is pretty comparable in size, but it's knit with a single strand of fingering-weight throughout... this one is fingering held double!

For grins, the 3 projects I need to finish before casting on anything new:

  1. Davy's Safe at Home Blanket
  2. Messy Bun/Braids & Bobbles Hat for My Cousin Gail
  3. Making More Arrows Scarf for Peg (the one in Neutrals)

Well, for sure I have to finish the first two... any deadline for #3 is purely self-imposed.


Unraveled Wednesday: Sewing up!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.


I have half a blanket almost sewn up!!


From the top, that's Rows 9 to 5... a few little sections still need to be sewn between Rows 6 & 7, and I'll probably be moving on to joining Rows 3 & 4 by this evening.

Adding on two rows at a time really makes it grow! The end is truly in sight.


Here's a view of the back. I'll be using most of those long ends for sewing up.


I've actually started "reading" again, listening to The Women of Brewster Place, which I am enjoying very much. I haven't been turning any pages yet, though.


Weekending: New wheels

I can't say that I was actually in the market for a new car, but it was pretty clear that it was either a new vehicle or no Ducky! Not an option. "Goldie," my Escape, was just not up to the task.

Meet "Magneto"!


It's a 3yo Ford Explorer XLT, and will make a fine match with Ducky!

I've gone most of my life without naming my vehicles, but it's not unprecedented in my lifetime... my mom had a 1962 Plymouth (with pushbutton transmission) that she called "The BBB"! That was Bouncing Brown Bomb for the youngsters, Bouncing Brown Bastard for the rest. Hehe.

I feel like I spent most of Saturday driving around -- not a bad thing when getting used to a new vehicle! I had a few errands and my timing was a bit off, so had to rearrange and then circle around.

I figured that I might as well run out to the RV place to grab a cushion from Ducky. There are only two small cushions yet to re-do; one of them was still in the trailer and I needed to reclaim & wash the zipper. I didn't actually get around to cutting fabric or sewing over the weekend, but I now have both (clean) zippers and I'm ready to go. We've reserved three nights at Bay Shore Park Campground for the weekend after next and that job should be complete by then!

On my first errands circle, I'd noticed an "Estate Sale" sign in a very intriguing neighborhood... I was with an angsty hangry Kate, so didn't stop, but made a point to do it on the second loop (why not?). The sale had been pretty picked over by the time I stopped, but the turn-of-the-century house (I'm guessing) was very interesting and fun to see. I did find some silver plated serving pieces that I liked, and some knitting stuff... lots of junk, but there were some "keeper" needles and an intriguing tool:


I did a cursory quick search and didn't come up with much on that item! I'm hoping to dig a little deeper soon. I don't have a clue about how one would use that... DO YOU??

I wandered into the Garden Room yesterday morning (aka, the Sunday NY Times Reading Room) and it was just lovely.


The leaves are turning, falling... it won't be long before the trees are bare. And we're gonna need some curtains in there! Ha. We'll need something on the lower half at least those four in the corner.

As lovely as it started, the day was actually mostly overcast and chilly -- the perfect kind of weather for Chili All Day! (Oh darn, I had to get in the car again.)

Ali & family came over late in the day and stayed for supper. I didn't get any good pics of the girls, but here's what's new with the boys:


They're both growing crazy-fast!

As is Davy's "Safe At Home" blanket:


Well, it's maybe not growing "crazy-fast," but it is growing! So far, I've joined Rows 1+2, 3+4, 5+6 and 8+9, and last night I started joining Row 7 to 8+9. Lordy, it's a a lot of sewing up, it's a little fiddly, there are a bajillion-zillion-and-ten ends to weave in or anchor or trim, but my nose is to the grindstone and it is so worth it to see this thing begin to really take shape. I don't think I'll be finished by the time we go camping, but I should at least be into the border!

How was your weekend?


Eye Candy Friday

I'm loving how the Lambstrings Spooky October Advent Calendar is coming along!


Days 1-7:  "Lady Baphomet," "There's a razor blade in my apple," "Seance," "Dorian Gray," "Spookshow," "404," and "Phantom."

I was busy picking up & learning about my new-to-me vehicle last night, so didn't get a chance to open Day 8 until it was way too late for a photo, but here it is:


"Strange and unusual."

There's nothing strange and unusual about my happiness with these!

And I'm very happy that the weekend is nearly upon us! I plan to spend it mostly at home, catching up on some things (laundry is looming large). I hope you have a great one!


Camping: Big Lake

Our trial run to Calumet was made with a longer trip in mind, and a couple of weeks later we packed up and headed 3.5 hours north to the "rustic" Big Lake Campground at Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.


Kate had gone tent camping up here a few times earlier in the summer, and this was her favorite campground. We gave our site a good look upon arrival to determine how best to situate Ducky. Let me just say that we are newbies, and we're gonna be newbies for a long time... we learned a lot on this trip, too!


Most trailer campsites are either "back-in" or "pull-through." Well, we pulled right in to our back-in site, which we determined would work best given the lay of the land and the layout of our camper. We realized later that the better thing for us would have been to move the fire ring and the picnic table in order to back in, as that was the most level spot and would have given us a lot more privacy. Not that we were exposed or anything, we were in a nice hollow and there were lots of trees around us and between sites. And, obviously, we were able to maneuver my Escape around to the other side and, eventually, we (Kate) backed OUT of the site. That was surprisingly easy! We are both getting more comfortable and confident with the backing-up-a-trailer thing with each excursion.

You can see that our stabilizers are atop some levelers in the front (four, I think, under each), and there was barely room for the stabilizers alone in the rear. It was level and stable and it felt okay.

And then it rained. I'd mentioned that it only rained at night?  It did, but oh my goodness, DID IT EVER RAIN!! (And thank god for earplugs!) It came down so hard, so fast, so much on that first night that there were rivulets through our site... right under Ducky... right where those levelers and stabilizers are. It rained the second night, too, though not QUITE as hard. We still needed earplugs; both admitted later to middle-of-the-night thoughts of being washed away!

Oh the drama! We were fine, but these are lessons that will never be forgotten.

We only saw the sun on our last afternoon, but it was certainly comfortable enough to spend almost all of the daytime outside... the bugs weren't even bothersome.


We were there for peak autumn color -- you can see the difference between arrival on Thursday and departure on Monday.

We spent a lot of time building and tending campfires (and running to procure more firewood)... not the easiest thing when it's been rained on all night, every night! But we managed.


And we had McGregor!!

Our timing was perfect for a meet-up on Friday with my Uncle Jim and his friend Pat at the Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters where he was picking up a bat monitor to record activity near his place for a few days. It was great to see him, even just for a little while, and to meet Pat!

The campground was a bit more woodsy and interesting than Calumet, but I didn't hike much other than trips to the toilet with an occasional detour to the beach on the way back. It sure was gorgeous.


And, similarly, I spent most of my time working on the Safe At Home blanket for Davy... weaving in ends and seaming.


Lots of ends (that's a drop in the bucket)! It took a few tries to get the seaming method/look that I wanted, finally settling on backstitch and it's moving along -- I feel like the end is in sight.

So, Big Lake Campground is "rustic," meaning there are no hookups of any kind; there are vault toilets and non-potable water available at a pump. So we were truly on battery & propane power the whole time, and had to haul in our own drinking water! Ducky's "plumbing" isn't functional right now, anyway, so we didn't even miss it... though we did spring for a "luggable loo" type of setup (which we perched in the bathroom shower area) because there's no way I'm hauling my ass to a vault toilet in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night! And, you know, at least for me, having to GO in the middle of the night is an unavoidable fact these days!

We did some more campfire cooking:


Chicken & veggies in foil packets, foil-wrapped potatoes to have with a yummy smoked pork chop from Nueske's. Those coals were HOT, and I'm still learning/perfecting my campfire cooking techniques, so the potatoes got a little singed (okay, burnt) on one side, but they were amazingly good. Yeah, okay, the chicken & veggies were also a little singed... I'm the type that likes my s'mores marshmallows FLAMING, so obviously I'm okay with some burned-y bits. Haha.


It was really lovely and, though not completely unplugged from everything... we were unplugged enough and it was great to take a break for a few days!

We cleaned Ducky up on Monday when we returned, then hauled him over to an RV service center to have a few things fixed/checked out. We're thinking of taking one more short 2- or 3-night trip in a couple of weeks, before it gets too cold, at a campground less than an hour from home.


Camping: Calumet

I scrolled through the blog looking for my post about our first camping outing for reference... and there isn't one! I never even wrote one because all of a sudden (though not unexpectedly... heheh) there was a new baby and it's been a little chaotic and nonstop since then (except for our second camping outing) (coming soon).

So, first things first!


We hitched up on a Tuesday afternoon and hauled Ducky over to Calumet County Park, only 20 miles from home, for a two-night stay.

Newbies, we did our best backing in and setting up under the observant (but not intrusive) eyes of our neighbor a couple of sites away. A little nervous, perhaps, and wary of site conditions (level), we ended up about 8 feet short of being able to plug in our power cord. I'd had a fleeting thought about throwing the extension cord in the car when we were packing up, but didn't do that... so we were on battery power! We also had to remember how to turn on the propane power for the fridge.


This was before replacing all of the interior lamps with LEDs that use a lot less power. We also have at least four small portable LED lanterns and headlamps, so we are not lacking for light!

Also at this point in time, I'd only replaced the "living room" couch cushions and the "dining room" area still had the originals from 1987. I slept in the living room and Kate slept in the dining room, and we could have held hands if we'd wanted. It's very cozy.

We made quesadillas for supper and didn't dally much that evening, but I do recall talk of dogs, and my photo roll supports that because...


...while searching for "Scottish boy dog names" or somesuch, I came across this photo of Ewan McGregor and his adorable dog and, well, the rest is history.

I had coffee on Wednesday morning in my new insulated and practically indestructible camping mug from KC&T!


I posted this photo on IG and ended up shipping two mugs to the east coast for friends who had to have one themselves!

We made a run on Wednesday for a few supplies, including an extension cord exclusively for Ducky! Otherwise, I spent a lot of time knitting that day and finished the strips!


The little blue marker is holding a dropped stitch and was a reminder to pick it up when I picked up stitches for the roof.

We were close enough to home that Rusty came out late in the afternoon for a hike and to have supper with us.


The park is located on the Niagara Escarpment, and it's pretty cool.


It's also home to a few effigy mounds, of which Wisconsin has many.


A few leaves were starting to turn... and it was just a nice walk.

While Kate and Rusty stoked the fire, I prepared fish & veggie packets to cook over the coals.


They were overcooked a little bit...


...but delicious!


Not a bad day.

Day 2 began with coffee and pancakes (or panpakes, as the kids say) for breakfast!


We cooked 'em on Ducky's little stove and dined at the picnic table.

Playing tourist a little bit, we drove down to LaClare Cheese Factory. We are no strangers to the area, as we prefer traveling on that side of the lake whenever we're pointed south -- Milwaukee or Chicago or beyond -- but in "travel mode," we rarely stop anywhere.


We greeted some goats, and bought some great cheese and sausage!


I took a photo of these cheese wheels through a window, aren't they gorgeous??

After that outing, we de-camped and headed for home. It was a great little first trip and gave us a little more confidence to head a further afield and for longer. More on that outing soon!!



It was a busy & fun weekend. One very exciting thing was taking a brand new Ford Explorer for a test drive! I'm in the market for a different vehicle and, while it most certainly won't be A Brand New Car, it will be newer than what I have. (And, hey, that was fun... did you know that there's an option for a rotary dial shifter?) Anyway, I'm looking to accommodate grandkids, for better towing capability, and for a few features that are lacking on my older car... Bluetooth, rear-view camera, remote starting, heated seats (and maybe even a heated steering wheel... that is the bomb!). I'd really like a sun/moon roof, too, but am willing to forego that for a few other must-haves.



I enjoyed cuddles with Davy on Saturday when I drove out to pick up the big kids, and again on Sunday when their momma came to get them. He was sleeping both times!

I had all three of his older siblings for another overnight -- from about noon Saturday until mid-afternoon on Sunday. The kids camped out on the living room floor and I took a turn on the couch (which used to be a lot more comfortable, I have to say... it could use a Ducky-style re-do or replacement, too!). Despite the couch having seen better days (I've had some epic naps there), I had a really good night's sleep!

We had a fun hour or so decorating t-shirts with puffy paint on Saturday afternoon!


I helped Malina with hers... her attention span isn't quite there (not to mention ability), but she helped hold the bottles and we worked together until she declared, "I'm done."

While my focus was on helping Malina...


Ginny was VERY BUSY... and a little heavy-handed! But OMG, isn't that little guy cute?? The hair and use of color just slay me! There were a few more, um, decorative BLOBS applied toward the top of the shirt after this photo was taken. The directions say "four hours" to dry... Ginny's might be more like four MONTHS! Haha. (Also, anatomy... a bit more refined than the sidewalk chalk art of a few weeks ago. Haha.)


Junah was very intent on his lines-and-squiggles design, and then experimented a bit with some printing/transfer using a foam paintbrush.


My kids decorated a fair number of shirts back in the day -- and Kate got very excited about the prospect of puffy paint, too! (I love this photo.)


There was a bit more added after I took this photo, but you get the idea.

After we found a place for the shirts to dry undisturbed (temporarily, anyway), there was a performance... and lesson.


Haha. You can see how that went down!!

We didn't have the greatest weather over the weekend... it was gray and drippy on Saturday. There was the smallest of breaks when Rusty took the kids on a walk to a nearby park, and Kate & I took McGregor around the block.


The wet leaves looked amazing!

The kids & I picked up a drive-thru lunch on Sunday and headed over to another city park. It was a little bit nicer, still chilly, so we found a spot with as much sunshine as we could while we ate. Then we headed up to the playground area, where we noticed a gathering of people... turned out they were getting ready for a drive-by baby shower for one of Ali's former employees! She saw Ali's van pull up and the kids pile out and thought, Wow, Ali's here early... It was nice to see her and to wish her well!


It was a fun park that I'd never really been to before (not the playground part, anyway). There were two double-sided climbing walls and both Junah & Gin climbed to the top a couple of times (once they were bug-, spider-, and spider web-free, that is!). Some of those little hand-holds were full of water (and stuff), too, which let to some cute little screeches on the ascent.

There was all the usual play, plus fun with McGregor. We also watched a few movies: 101 Dalmations, James and The Giant Peach, Frozen, and Toy Story 4 (yay, Disney+)!

My delight at opening a little surprise parcel of yarn everyday continues...


I haven't opened today's yet (because morning darkness), but here are the four so far.


They are "Lady Baphomet," "There's a razor blade in my apple," "Seance," and "Dorian Gray." There are 30 mini-skeins in the Lambstrings Spooky October Advent Calendar, and a full-size skein on Day 31, so the possibilities are plentiful and I have lots of time to ponder them.

I hope you had a great weekend!



I'm worn out. I've never slept better than I did last week... six days in a row with green stars on my Fitbit (meaning that I met my sleep goal), scores in the high 80s. Since? Not so much. I think I need to go back to the woods.

Here's some random stuff for a chilly Friday.


Color in the back yard.


Color in the car. It's not the best photo, but I loved the sunlight on my orange chenille collar. Wearing this amazing sweater/jacket is always like getting a big warm hug from my sister. (I love you and miss you, Sharon Jean!)


Color on the sidewalk. This morning. In the dark. I had to adjust the color balance a bit, but wow... I wonder how long I'll be able to take early dark-morning photos? Anyway, this is Rows 5+6, which I finished sewing up last night while watching an episode of LONG WAY UP!! We really loved Long Way Round and Long Way Down, so this was a no-brainer... plus, I finally get to use the Apple TV subscription that came with my phone! If you like Ewan McGregor, adventure, Ewan McGregor, beautiful scenery, or Ewan McGregor, I think you'll like any of these shows. (Ewan McGregor.) (Charley's cute, too.)


Color everyday in October! I was so happy yesterday morning when I realized that it was SPOOKY OCTOBER ADVENT CALENDAR time, and looked forward to getting home and opening Day 1. This is really going to help get me through the month...

Happy Friday! I hope y'all have a great weekend!


Unraveled Wednesday: Safe at {our Campsite}

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.

Kate & I returned on Monday from our Northwoods camping trip. I had yesterday off, too, during which I got a lot of my "day off" stuff done, and we dropped Ducky off at an RV service center to have a few things done and/or checked out.

We also had an early morning visit from a certain young gentleman, and had breakfast with his mom.


I took a few photos... he wasn't interested in sleeping, and it's difficult to get a good capture of an awake baby when they're so young, but I managed a few. There's a history in our family of not having knitted gifts done on time, and draping the pieces upon the recipient with a lick & a promise. Heh. Davy is probably the youngest person subjected to this tradition. Also, suddenly, there's some scale to this project!


It took a few tries to find just the right way to sew up these rows. I tried "mattress stitch" a couple of times/ways, whipstitch, crochet... I finally settled on backstitch.


Approved by McGregor!


It's a little stretchy, not too fiddly, and I know how to do it (I could do that and running stitch in my sleep thanks to Alabama Chanin!). I managed to sew up Rows 1 + 2:


And Rows 3 + 4:


I'm showing the back of my work!


A lot of the ends had already been woven in & trimmed, many were woven in but awaiting a trim, some of the longer ends are coming in handy for the sewing up (and I sometimes wish I'd left more and/or longer ends).


Ope! There's that cute pup again!


And another (selfie) with Kate! He was a pretty good camper, considering everything... other campers, kids, other dogs, loads of busy chipmunks. Kate's started knitting him a sweater! And there's a plan formulating for another.


I'll definitely post more about camping soon. We saw a little blue sky & sunshine on Sunday afternoon (pictured above), had a lot of rain (but only at night), and burned through lots of wood! A good time was had by all.

I still haven't read anything lately... except for my absentee ballot.


Unraveled Wednesday: Mini = Maxi

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.


As previously mentioned, I've finished knitting houses for the baby blanket! I sorted through & organized all of the remaining yarn -- happily noting that I used up quite a few odds & ends -- in preparation for sewing up. I plan to work on that while camping for 5 days/4 nights beginning TOMORROW!

I am so ready for some time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The weather looks like it'll be pretty good, and there should be some fall color on display. I'm also happy that we'll have a physically distant meet up with Uncle Jim, my dad's youngest (and only remaining) brother. It's Jimmy's cabin which we are often invited to use for a week or long weekend most years, but as we all know, this isn't "most years." And that's also why we now have a travel trailer!

Anyway, my cousin Gail sent me a very timely reminder inquiring about the "messy bun hat" that she asked me to knit a while back. She had sent me a photo of the Braids & Bobbles hat (Ravelry link) and I've always wanted to knit that hat, plus it seems like a good time for texture. I dug out some dark green Cascade 220 (I think) and started on Sunday night. I'm not crazy with the layout of the pattern. Others have complained about the lack of a chart, but that doesn't bother me as much as just the way it's written and having to flip pages back and forth. I finally cut & separated parts of the pattern to eliminate some of that. Anyway, I'm getting into the groove of cables again and it's looking great. I intend to deliver it when Rusty & I head up to the North Shore of Lake Superior just after Election Day, so need it finished by then.

Meanwhile, I took delivery of this the other day:


Apparently, 2020 is the year of the mini-skein for me! I had ordered a bunch of Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails way back when this pandemic mess all began (a crocheted blanket or two underway with that), and also found their 12 Days of Madelinetosh to be irresistible, AND was bewitched by Lambstrings Yarns' Spooky October Advent Calendar! A little present to open every day in October might help keep me sane... and occupied while I consider what I might do with them. I adore Shanna's color sense, and I'm sure I'll be very happy.


I don't know what my problem is -- perhaps too preoccupied with babies and big kids and blankets and hats and travel trailers and camping -- but I am just not reading or listening to anything right now! Maybe those few days in the woods will give me a chance to slow down and dive into something. I certainly have titles on my list!


I gave Rusty his third haircut.


He was pretty shaggy! It wasn't my best (some of the attachments were missing in the clipper set that I borrow from Ali), but it'll do.


I had him take a "for the record" shot of my Covid hair... it's crazy long!

I'm sure you've noticed the shortening days.


This was last night as I came through the garage after watching ISS streak across the sky for the second time this week. Let there be light!



I'm not sure I'll be blogging while we're up north, so this might have to tide you over.  :)