Thirty-five in years... married...

35-years this guy.

We're now at 50 days until Todos Santos, which is more or less a belated anniversary celebration!


Looking Ahead... Wanderlust

This photo was in my in-box this morning:


It was seven years ago yesterday that I was on my way to Rio de Janeiro! There was that unfortunate missed connection in Houston (by only :15 with the connecting gate literally right next door... that still bites!) that set me back a day, causing Annie to have to deliver this news to the boys. It turned out OK in the end, though, as I was actually able to negotiate to extend my stay! Still... this photo of these little boys (5 and 7 at the time) breaks my heart!

I finally found a calendar for work:


I love travel calendars and, these days, I love ticking off all the places that I've been! There are plenty more places yet to go...

And I am RESTLESS! I am literally counting the days (hours, minutes & seconds) until I can GO SOMEWHERE:


It's barely less than three weeks until the next #whirlwindarttripwithkate, and thank god because I don't know if I could bear the seven+ weeks until Rusty & I leave for Mexico with nothing in between... not the way I'm feeling right now!

So, the trip with Kate... we're headed back to North Carolina! And it'll definitely be whirlwind, leaving on a Thursday afternoon when we're both finished at work and returning on Monday. Last time, almost 5 years ago (!), our focus was Black Mountain, and it will be this time, too, but specifically a show at Black Mountain College Museum in Asheville. Question Everything! The Women of Black Mountain College. Though we saw plenty of art on our previous trip, the BMCM was closed for an installation; Kate's on their mailing list and she popped in out of the blue a couple of weeks ago (with some sort of Spidey sense) (when people were flying off to Europe and Australia and I was feeling extra feels) (and knowing that this is right up my alley) to suggest that we go! Besides, trips like this are good for us! We'll be staying in Asheville this time, at our first Airbnb with the "Plus" designation.

In the meantime, I'm focusing on putting my head down and getting all the things done (especially the distasteful ones) so I can truly vacate on vacay! Maybe I'll even get the Christmas tree down... heh.

I'm also thinking a lot about knitting and what I want to do this year. I don't usually set knitting goals and I have no idea what all I'm going to knit because... how many patterns are released on Ravelry each year? But I do know some things, and I'll share them next week.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!


Unraveled Wednesday: Making Arrows

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

But first... it was a crazy intense 3-day weekend of mostly doing book work + a birthday party, followed by a slightly disoriented Tuesday back at work!

I'd mentioned on Friday that I intended to sew some bat wraps and/or 'roo pouches over the weekend, but I didn't do any of that. And I'm not going to. I really should have known better!

Over the weekend it became clear that exuberant "global helpful hands" are not actually helpful to anyone in Australia; instead, likely creating an overwhelming tide of stuff that may or may not be needed, that may or may not be useful, that may or may not arrive in time, that will definitely tax & divert resources just with the handling, sorting, determining, and dealing with said stuff.

I'll admit, I got a little carried away because my very own daughter is there, taking photos of actual fruit bats in need! But no. None of that is needed from me... nor from you nor from almost anyone else outside of Australia.

What is most helpful to Australia from here is money.

If stuff has to be made, it would be best all around to check with LOCAL wildlife centers, animal shelters, and/or humane societies to see what THEIR needs might be.



Is it too early to proclaim that Rusty is Husband of The Year?? I really wanted to write an Unraveled post today, but it's so lame without a photo... and I finished the first "starter" triangle for my second We Make Our Own Arrows shawl, so I actually had something I wanted to show!

Rusty's usually home in the morning, so I decided to ask him to take a couple of photos for me. This is what he sent:


Impressed that he actually went outside to take a shot! But you can see it, can't you?

I replied: Almost perfect... do you think you could do the same but with the "right side" showing??


And he did!

I had one false start with that piece, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'm aiming for "similar but different" for the next one. I'm weaving in at least a few ends on this triangle before I cast on for the second.


I'm a bit of a jack-rabbit to start 2020! While doing aforementioned bookwork over the weekend, I did a lot of listening... I finished The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich, listened to all of Crazy Brave: A Memoir by Joy Harjo, and I also listened to all of Autumn by Ali Smith.

I am currently, happily, settling in with Tom Hanks' performance of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

Fever gets my attention at night before I turn out my light and I'm going to have to start going to bed earlier!


The smallest perfect number

It hardly seems possible, but this happened on Sunday:


Junah turned SIX!

Six is, in fact, the smallest perfect number, but as they relate to grandchildren's ages, ALL numbers are PERFECT NUMBERS.


However, I reserve the right to claim 6 as one of my most FAVORITE NUMBERS when it comes to age!

I love this photo from our session last month... there are 12 people in this image and he's the only one looking at the camera. So sweet.


Five on Friday

Clean up... I have some random stuff to share!


I was LIVE on local radio yesterday! I'd shared a post on the Kaukauna Coffee & Tea and Make.Do FB pages about the "crafty" relief efforts for animals in Australia.



The host of a local radio program, who also happens to be a patron at KC&T, saw the post and got in touch with me about doing a short segment on the show. Did I mention LIVE? Yikes. I don't know anyone who actually heard it... I'm sure I rambled a bit.

I'd planned on making some Bat Wraps -- and I'll still make a couple -- but the need for those isn't as great as it was, so I think I'll make some cozy hanging pouches! I absolutely love that there's a daytime pouch (so little joey can look around) and a nighttime version (you should be sleeping little joey!!).

For more info: Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild (FB Page) and (FB GROUP). I find the GROUP page to be a bit more helpful, especially the links on the left for Announcements (current info & updates from admins) and for Files (where you can find patterns, tutorials & specs for knitting, sewing, and/or crocheting all the items they need). Casting On, my local yarn shop in Appleton, is collecting items and will be sending a big box (I hope) to Australia on the 27th!


Coincidentally, after telling Maddy that I was going to sew up some BAT WRAPS, she sent me a message (she'd posted on IG a day or two earlier about fruit bats, including one caught in a fence):

THANK YOU for the bat wraps!!! The lady who came to save our bats definitely used them, it was amazing! They cling onto the little stuffed pillow part and then you wrap the rest of it around them to hold their wings and claws down. Dang they're adorable.

I'm certain that not everyone shares feels that way about fruit bats (they're huge!), but many do... and I love that she does!


This photo was awaiting me in Snapchat this morning. She told me yesterday that the smoke had cleared up considerably where they were, though there were still fires around... and now (then) a dust storm!


In unrelated news, we built this a day or two after Christmas:


All the toy soldiers had a fun time on the motorized K'nex Ferris Wheel!! That was quite the project -- Ali started it, and Annie & I chipped in to help. The kids LOVED it!


I took some detail shots of the laundry bag that I made for Kate:


1) Overall/flat. 2) French seams! 3) Hanging loop -- which she really appreciated.


We are currently hosting our first Airbnb guests of 2020. Packers fans, they arrived from Seattle last night and are here for Sunday's NFL Playoff game in Green Bay between the Seahawks (coincidence!) and the Packers. It seems like ages (though only a month) since the last time we had Airbnb guests up there...


So I watered all the plants and fluffed/cozied up the bedroom.


Since Maddy cleared out the storage unit when she was here, there was another bed available, so we're transitioning to an actual full-time second bedroom. I have a nice queen-size air mattress that I would put in here, when needed, and had sort of resisted the idea of a permanent second bedroom... until I was recently searching for Airbnb accommodations for an upcoming #whirlwindarttripwithkate and realized that I prefer to book two beds/two bedrooms when we're traveling, so why not? In a lot of ways, it would be easier... and why not just TRY IT! I can always change my mind. Since I took this photo, we've added an actual bedframe (I'd initially ordered the wrong size - duh), and it will continue to evolve...

And also, this again today:


I've earned Superhost again for the third time in a row! Yahoo! Come and see me! Tell your friends!  :)  The Artist's Perch.


2019: The Sewing

The first sewing I did last year was to re-vamp a long waffle-knit cardigan.


There had been ribbing at the bottom, creating an unflattering bubble-butt look, and also at the wrists. If I recall correctly, I'd picked it off the "clearance" rack at Goodwill for $1. It was so much better once I cut off the ribbing and I've worn it a lot! I'd wear it more if I ever got around to adding pockets.

The second thing I sewed was for my seldom-used BuJo.


I may begin using it again to track my soon-to-be-resumed DuoLingo Spanish practice. I was also pleasantly surprised to find some other forgotten notes, so who knows...

I spent well over 100 days sewing on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket... and not just at home. I stitched on trips to NYC, Nevada/Arizona, Michigan, and in the car.


There is still so very much to do. My last attempt at 100 days was thwarted by... everything! Life, the holidays, and Ali & Rod buying/fixing/moving into a new house -- to name a few. I am currently in the process of cleaning up my workroom/worktable (Kate noticed, so progress!) and wish to resume this practice, as well.

I bought a new sewing machine in spring of 2019, but it was mid-summer before I even got it out of the box. I really loved my old machine, a Viking Husqvarna (which was already old when I received it in the early 1980s), but had been warned by my service guy that the plastic cams were wearing out and it was getting very difficult to find replacements. I found working cams to be indispensable in the making of buttonholes!

My new machine is a Baby Lock Jubilant, and I am learning new tricks! My favorite things about the new machine are the needle threader, see-thru bobbin case, speed control, that it always stops with the needle in the fabric, that the needle can be raised with the push of a button, that it's lightweight but sturdy, and making buttonholes is a breeze. I also like the free-arm sewing capability. I only bought two accessories right off the bat: an extension table and a walking foot.

My first projects were outfits for a family photo shoot -- matching dresses for Ginny & Malina and coordinating vest & bow tie for Junah -- using a sheet and old curtains, both fabrics closely associated with my mother.


Malina ended up wearing a romper, instead, that Ali had made when Ginny was a baby -- from the same sheet design! (There were numerous sets! Some are still in use!)


Oh Junah! He was just not into it that day...

The speed control feature of my new machine was very useful during Auntie Camp when the boys learned to sew and made their own pillowcases!


Those pillowcases were so much fun that I made a few more after they all left!


And I'd still like to make a few more!

I found some great fabrics at Field's when I visited with Kym in Michigan last fall, including some with a "world" design that made me think of all the travelers in my family. I bought a few yards with the very vague idea of making travel laundry bags. I found a pattern/tutorial that I liked, though as with so many online tutorials, there's an ad between every paragraph, a bazillion enormous photographs (which can be helpful, of course, but also t.e.d.i.o.u.s, and it's all so awkward to navigate and utterly impossible to print. So I used another favorite website/service -- Print Friendly -- to whittle it down, export it to a Word document, resize & rearrange the remaining photographs, and make a manageable, usable, savable, printable PDF for my own use.

I made some modifications -- no stencil, and fabric proportions were different in order to maximize the motif of the "travel" fabric, french seams -- and I made SIX laundry bags!


That's three photos of the same bag, which belongs to Kate, and which just returned from it's first trip -- to Brooklyn! Two other laundry bags are in Australia, and three more are in Spain! They are approximately 15" wide by 20" long, with a drawstring, and also a loop for hanging. I used scrap fabrics in b&w prints that I had for the "coordinating" pieces -- some worked better than others -- but they're laundry bags...

The real beauty of making/giving these at Christmas is that they doubled as GIFT BAGS!! They were extremely well received and appreciated. I love it when I hit the mark!

But that's not all... I also made actual, intentional GIFT BAGS!


OK, well, one gift bag was made in time to actually use for Christmas gift-giving -- the "fruit" bag was used for some of Rusty's gifts. The other three had been cut, but I finished them just last weekend (part of the clean-up effort in my workroom)! A few more photos & details about those are on Instagram here and here.


2019: The Knitting

I didn't knit a lot last year, but SOCKS made a big return... in big yarn! 2019-knitting

I finished 14 projects last year... and there's not a mystery* among them!

  • One hat
  • Four pairs of socks
  • Two baby/toddler sweaters
  • One wall hanging
  • One infinity scarf
  • Two pairs of mitts/mittens
  • Three cowls...


...which I hadn't added to my Ravelry page before I made the collage! They're there now.

So far this year, I've finished a pair of Woodland Slippers, and last night I started another "Arrows" scarf.

The scarf is by request from the person to whom I gave the first! She has proven herself to be very knit-worthy, and requested the same scarf but in more neutral colors. This is a terrible photo taken late and in lamp light (thanks, winter!), but these are the colors so far (surprisingly accurate given the situation)... let me know if there's anything here that makes you cringe.


*I would have done Kirsten's Shawl MKAL, but I don't think she ever had one -- am I wrong? I recall an announced delay and then I either missed it or it just never happened.


2019: The Reading



I read 10 books in 2019... and had a goal of 20 (down from 25 in 2018, of which I read 15).



My favorites were Fox 8, The Summer Walkers, Blood, Uncommon Type, and Daisy Jones & The Six.

My least favorite (to put it nicely) were The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and Daughters of the Lake.

In truth, I didn't actually finish "lemon cake" until last night... it was a struggle.

I am currently 3 hours from finishing the 14-hour listen that is The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II... and that'll be a big one under my belt to begin 2020!

Ready to crack open tonight: Fever for the book club hosted by Kym, Bonny & Carole!

_ _ _ _ _

Have a good weekend! I'll be doing more catch-up stuff and not taking down my Christmas tree.


Begin as you mean to go on...

Everyone seems to be where they want to be, or are on their way, or are making plans.


Maddy & Viv had a rough start to their journey with a long delay in Milwaukee, but made Monday's last flight out of Minneapolis to Seattle on stand-by, and their tight connection at LAX just before midnight (CST) last night, and are now on their way to Sydney! From there, they'll eventually make their way to Margaret River in Western Austrialia, where jobs await!

Kate's Monday flight from Green Bay was flat-out canceled at the last minute (she was at the gate), and though Tuesday's connections were a little hairy, she made it and is settled in Brooklyn -- a few hours (and a day) late, but there! She'll be back for a few days next week, then off to London for a quick visit, then a road trip with me (see below), then a few days in Prague, and then spending most of March house-/pet-sitting for friends in Edinburgh!

Ali has been happily nesting in her new home. The girls all wished they could have gone out at least one more work day, but illness through us all a curve ball. Rusty spent the entire day there yesterday and every little bit helps. It looks amazing in photos and I can't wait to go out there myself again soon!

Ann & her family are in Madison for a few more days before heading back to Spain on Sunday, where they'll begin preparing for a summertime move to... LIMA, PERU!!

I am content at home, at the moment, catching up on (and cleaning up) all the little things, and doing a little vacation planning... a #whirlwindarttripwithkate will be happening next month, a trip to Mexico with Rusty in March, and now, obviously, Peru is on the list of possibilities (maybe even in fall!).

Begin as you mean to go on... and for us, I guess the key word is: GO!


Year In Review!

Here we go again Year In Review!

I do it in words (the first sentence of the first post of each month) and in pictures (a favorite posted photo from each month) -- the two are not necessarily related.

January 2019:

I started & finished 19 items in 2018, with the exception of "Habu for Me" which was started in 2009!


February 2019:

This has been the state of things all weekend, more or less, and it's currently coloring my mood.


March 2019:

There seemed to be more contrails and planes in the sky this morning than I've seen in a while!


April 2019:

We went down the hill to 313 Dodge on Friday night for our local going-out version of Friday Night Snacks.


May 2019:

We celebrated Ginny's 3rd birthday last Thursday!!


June 2019:

I arrived home last night and am back at work today.


July 2019:

[I can hardly believe it's July!] Now's the time that summer feels like it might be slipping away, especially because we've hardly had any summer weather to enjoy... so.much.rain.


August 2019:

I'm in a slump. Trying hard to dig out...



08-August opt

September 2019:

This is my fourth In Threes Baby Cardigan!


October 2019:

The History of the Handkerchief presentation over the weekend was informal, full of anecdotes and factoids (of the factual type), and made most interesting by audience participation -- personal stories and memories -- and the presentation of several examples (including by one attendee who brought a box full)!


November 2019:

[Hi. I lied!] I will be posting while I'm away because NaBloPoMo, the idea of which has been drifting in & out of my consciousness for the past couple of weeks... and not with dread, so here I am!


December 2019:

Yikes, this is a crazy month.



12-December 2

I know I  say it every year: I can't quite believe the year is almost over!



It was really great to have all of my girls home for Christmas this year!


Especially great to have Maddy & Viv here for most of December. It was a super busy month! And now, "normal" is beginning to return...

Kate leaves today for Brooklyn to begin work on the three-day exhibition to benefit Art Start, opening on Friday, Jan. 3rd, at Ortega y Gasset Projects.

Originally scheduled to begin their journey back to Australia yesterday (with an overnight at friends' in MKE, closer to the airport), the tummy bug we've (most of us) all shared in the days since Christmas caught up with Maddy and they needed that extra day here to finish/catch up prior to departure.


Rusty's taking them directly to the airport today, and they stopped by a little while ago for final farewells. Ugh. It's always too soon!

Ann and her family will leave tomorrow...


Happy Holidays!!

Let the crazy begin!


This is what happens when your photographer says, "Look at your favorite person!" Hilarious!! And may the jocularity continue...

I'm working this morning, but off at noon... a quick stop with co-workers and then a stop at the grocery store. I know! I just finalized the festivities menu(s) last night... and I weirdly love the hubbub of last-minute grocery shopping.


  • 24th: Christmas Eve! Today would have been Grandma Blum's 107th birthday.
  • 25th: Merry Christmas! We'll have our immediate family celebration.
  • 26th: Rusty's enormous-number birthday! Ann & family arrive.
  • 27th: Birthday party at the bowling alley. Family gift exchange.
  • 28th: Breathe a little. But also a quick outing to the candy store with the big kids.
  • 29th: Rusty takes Maddy & Viv to Milwaukee -- first leg of their return Down Under. (sad face)
  • 30th: Kate heads to Brooklyn for the opening of MIRROR EYE...

Young Space is excited to partner with Far x Wide for a three-day exhibition at Ortega y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn, NY, to benefit Art Start. This exhibition showcases exceptional work by early-career and emerging artists, and 50% of proceeds from sales support the mission of New York City nonprofit organization Art Start in their continuing mission to identify and nurture young people through art (the other 50% to artists)!

January 3-5, 2020 at Ortega y Gasset Projects, 363 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Opening times: Friday 3 January: 1-6 (+ opening reception 6-9); Saturday 1-6; Sunday 1-4

  • 31st: New Year's Eve -- likely a quiet one!



Mother, Mother, I want another!


It was a GREAT weekend... but I sure could use another. I had Saturday to myself and spent the day in my PJs, mainly sewing and getting a little bit organized. I've been making stabs at this bag project over the past couple of weeks and finally made the push to finish them. My assembly line was humming along when it dawned on me that there was a difference between fronts & backs (including intentional position & size when I cut the pieces), and that I'd forgotten to insert the little loop in all of the backs before sewing up. I almost let them go without, but I spent some time & effort to make them all, so just buckled down and did the deed. I'm glad I did.

Rusty & I went to a Solstice Party on Saturday night... another fun evening to wear PARTY PANTS!

I putzed a little on Sunday morning, then took Kate out to Ali's so she could paint, and I grabbed the kiddos for a few hours.


It was so nice outside that we went to a park (the one with the rubber play surface). There was still quite a bit of snow and I almost nixed it, but they really wanted to give it a go... they had the place to themselves and THEY HAD A BLAST! Well, until Ginny slipped going up the slide and landed on her chin. Ouchie! There were tears and blood, but she was a trooper. We went to my house for snacks and coloring, and also watched some Christmas music stuff on YouTube... oops, and also Harry Styles!

A recent guilty pleasure... so catchy & cute! In my defense, the YouTube thing led me to believe it was Harry Styles singing a Christmas song, but it was actually from a concert AT Christmas time. Heh. Malina liked it... she was dancing!

I think it was a very good thing that I took the kids for a while because when we returned, Ali was on the couch. I think the pre-holiday hoopla + fixer upper stuff + moving has caught up with her. Maddy, too, was back & forth to Stevens Point on Friday, then to Door County on Saturday, and had intended to be out there painting yesterday, but was a little bit under the weather. Nothing serious with either one of them and thankfully they know enough to listen to their bodies!


But look what Kate was able to accomplish while we were gone!


Maddy & Viv finished trimming the tree last night!


And I did some more sewing. This is Ellen Mason's Runaway Bag, recently seen at Through The Loops' IG #giftbagalong, and I'm hoping to make a few more for giving... with gifts within! I'll wrap some of the kids' stuff with paper, but mostly it'll be this sort of thing. This was really fun to make!!



Friends + Family = FRAMILY


The wonderful Mary from Fox Valley Birth and Baby come over a couple of weeks ago to take some photos for us.

There are a bunch more photos over on Insta if you'd like to take a gander. We had so much fun.

Have a great weekend, everyone! It's the final countdown, and I could feel the tension as I drove home from work last night -- a noticeable shift from the day before. I'll be hunkered down at home, for the most part, working on some projects, though it looks like there'll be a move happening this weekend, so who knows!!


3TT: 3x3+1

Life is a little bit crazy around here on any given day, but lately... man, it's OFF THE CHARTS.

1st THREE:


Blatantly stolen from Kate's IG Stories yesterday. That's the downstairs bathroom/powder room, and we couldn't stop looking at those before & after photos last night!! Motivation!

2nd THREE:


You may have seen these three images on my IG yesterday, but even going "vertical," I couldn't fit the entire "playhouse" into the frame. You can see Junah starting to climb the first ladder... those ladders could be angled a bit, in my opinion, and also the entry holes enlarged. Ahem. I climbed to the top with him! You can see the house and one of the outbuildings/garage behind him in the second, and the other outbuilding in the third.

3rd THREE:

IMG_1888-COLLAGEDid this little girl have a premonition yesterday, sporting this particular pink hat?? Photos taken at such an angle because she's wearing tights -- very excited about wearing tights -- but wearing nothing else on the bottom half! (Brrrr.)



Three Gingers & a Blonde* walk into a fixer-upper farmhouse on a Wednesday in December... and KILLED IT (along with a couple bottles of wine).

*With a huge assist from Dad!!


Just Sharon

She hated being called "Shari" or "Shar" or "My Sharona" or anything other than just SHARON.


Nine years. I miss you so much. xoxo


Weekending: All kids, all the time*

As mentioned, I did my part in helping Ali & Rod get their house in shape by taking the kids for the weekend.

We hung out at home on Saturday... and it seems like there was a lot of eating! So many snacks.

Junah grabbed one of the bags in which said snacks were delivered and disappeared. Soon he was back, asking for another... and another... and another...

Turns out, he was bagging up all the toys, dolls, puzzles, balls -- basically everything in their small play area except the furniture -- he was pretending that he was THE GRINCH and he was STEALING CHRISTMAS! Gin was his co-hort (aka, MAX). He piled it all up by the front door. And a little while later, he brought it all back!

On Sunday, we had breakfast, watched a quick movie, and then headed to the children's museum. It opened at noon (we arrived around 12:15) and closed at 5 pm (which is when we left).


There was a sensory area for a while where the kids played with "fake snow" -- baking soda + shaving cream. Junah & Ginny loved it... especially Gin.


One of the highlights of our local museum has always been the water play area, complete with rain coats!


This area has had a slight revamp since my last visit, with lightweight plastic "stones" replacing torn foam. It's a vast improvement! The big kids were busy loading up all the dump trucks, and later the hard hats, to move all the stones into one big pile. They did pretty well, too, and even recruited other kids who came into the area.


I love how fashion-y Ginny looks in these photos. Malina's just... Malina!


The tree house with bridges and ramps made of rope & otherwise, and with portholes and cubbies, has also been a long-time feature. And favorite!


There's a nice big area for artistic pursuits, as well. I love love love this photo of Ginny.

When the museum closed, we headed out to the new house... and then back to my house for dinner.

We're planning a Sisters + Viv + Dad + Mom (later) Day on Wednesday! Finally... painting will happen! And lots of it. I have a couple of appointments, or I'd be there earlier. Can't wait!!

*Except while sleeping... Nona needs a little downtime!



TGIF: Welcome Home!!

It's a done deal.


Ali & Rod closed on their new old house yesterday.


Rusty will load up his tools and spend the weekend out there, helping with a few things that need to be done before they will actually move in. Fresh paint, correctly applied, will do wonders, but there's a bit more than that needed in some areas.

I'll do my part by taking the kids!


December Weekending, Part II

One thing I really wanted to do this month, while Maddy was home, was to have some family photos taken -- because she wasn't here for the session last summer.


I hired Mary, again, to come over and take various group shots, some decorating the tree shots, and some under-the-mistletoe shots. I haven't seen anything official yet, but here's one that I snapped of Ali & her family from the back porch. Junah was MUCH more cooperative than he was last summer.


My tree is still scarcely decorated because, knowing it would be a little crazy, I put out a selected assortment (of mostly nonbreakable) ornaments for the photo ops.


We finally remembered that building gingerbread houses and decorating gingerbread houses are two distinctly different things... needing some time in between. I found a really great kit at Target that had four SMALL structures instead of one big house.


Brilliant on so many levels.


Only three shown because littlest sis apparently thought it would be fun to see what happened when she flung one across the table. She's so FAST!!


After photos and decorating -- the tree & gingerbread houses -- it was time to settle in and watch a little football!!

And (now that it's Thursday) that was our weekend.

Crazy week, month, season...


December Weekending, Part I

Honestly, with the first & busiest week behind me, I think it's mostly a downhill slide from here until Christmas! That's not to say there isn't anything to do between now and then... there's plenty!

We took the kids to the parade last Tuesday and they had a blast.

Junah's mouth was literally agape a few times, and they collected as much candy as they did on Halloween (if not more).

Kate & I drove down to Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon to collect Maddy & Viv! That was a long day, but totally worth it.

On Thursday, I popped in at Knit Night -- only because I'm the host. I had a particular project that I wanted to finish, which I did, and then took my leave to spend some time at home with the newly landed.

Friday was my company's employee party... and the debut of PARTY PANTS!


That's a terrible photo -- my bedroom mirror is very old and it doesn't not photograph well. Heh. Anyway, those are my single-layer Alabama Chanin Palazzo Pants, stenciled with a metallic/pearl paint. I'm wearing a shimmery top from H&M, and a cropped J. Jill cardigan that I've had for a while.


My earrings are handmade by my new custom jeweler: Glass Brick Beadwork. That's Kate's newest (and it's very, very new) endeavour!

Our party began when we all met at an Escape Room. We split into two groups and spent an hour putting our heads together to try and solve clues! It was WAY more fun than I expected -- the room I was in was in the "film noir" genre, a murder mystery whodunnit (SO up my alley), and I was most surprised by a) how quickly an hour went by and b) that there was a second room! We'd barely entered and surveyed the second room when it was over... so, obviously, Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade were not being channeled by any of us, but it was a great time! We finished with a nice catered dinner at a local brewery.

Oh, did I mention that we had weekend Airbnb guests for yesterday's football game? Also, that dates changed and signals crossed... and that Maddy & Viv arrived about a week earlier than I initially thought. Long-story-short: When I finally realized (less than two weeks ago) that there was a conflict, I ended up booking an Airbnb for Maddy, Viv, and their friends Katy & Andrés!! (I'm thinking of it now because it happened to be kitty-corner from the brewery where our party was!)


Our Airbnb guests were among the best we've had... and not just because they brought me a gift from Florida! We've been in pretty close contact from the moment they booked, and I wouldn't be surprised if that continued. It was a pleasure to assist them in fulfilling a dream...

On Saturday, I saw a Facebook ad for the "last estate sale of the year" from a local company and cajoled Kate into coming with me. Oh, what a treat that was... in an early '70s time capsule of a house. Here's Kate in the bathroom:

Seriously, I almost took the same photo. We found a couple of treasures, too!

Stay tuned for December Weekending, Part II!


Right Now...

I think about writing a post like this almost every month, but I haven't actually done it since February! What?? Taking my cue from Bonny, here we go for December...

Anticipating... a trip to Milwaukee tomorrow afternoon to pick up Maddy & Viv!!


Cooking/Eating... we did really well with Thanksgiving & leftovers! Rusty made a great turkey soup (he's been doing soup so well, he's now the default soup maker). We also inadvertently enjoyed one last delivery of Plated! I'd received notification that they were ending subscription deliveries and considered having one more delivery -- it was my first meal delivery service and has always been my favorite. In order to see all the menu selections, I had to click on the "unskip" for the week... I didn't actually see anything that I was dying to try, so clicked away. Next thing you know, I had an email a few days later about my upcoming delivery! I'd forgotten to re-click "unskip." Oh well, they sent some good chicken dishes (we are just about poultry'd out around here). Now their meals are available in stores -- but currently none close to me.


Enjoying... a brighter living room! We've lived in this house for over 30 years and, for most of those years, I've had off-white ruffly/lacy curtains. It's an old house, I have old stuff & antiques, and they fit (more or less)... but they were looking tired and dated (in other words, I was sick of them). It was long past time for some updating and brightening! Last year, I replaced the curtains in the adjoining "front room" with simpler white sheers, and did the same in the "living room" a few weeks ago. The color is the same but the curtains in each room have a different/complementary woven design. Kate sent this photo one morning last week -- so much light!!! Even in the dark hours, those white curtains make everything look brighter. I'm getting ready to retire/replace/update some of the stuff on the walls, too. (I have a nice, light gray canvas cover for my circa 1985 "tulip" sofa but it was in the wash. I wouldn't mind replacing the sofa, too, but it has such good bones!)

Excited about... our local Christmas parade tonight! Turns out the big kids don't want to be in the parade, so Ali will drop them off and we'll walk down to see it. New this year, a "sensory sensitive section" on the parade route where the sirens and horns will be silenced and the music will be quieter. I think we might go see another small parade on Saturday night so Viv can experience the joy!

Knitting... I haven't started anything new since I finished Junah's mitts. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head, but... see "Sewing."

Looking forward to... a springtime vacation! It's not until March, but we firmed up plans and booked it last week... I like having things like this to look forward to! We'll be returning to Todos Santos. It's been five years since we were there together (for our 30th anniversary), though Rusty's been there for work a couple of times since. He'll be working a bit on this trip, too, with a special gallery event in the works... but not working too much! I found a great Airbnb super close to the beach... and I'm already feeling better about winter (and the light begins to return in less than three weeks!).

Organizing... is on my to-do list! I really need to get a grip on the gift situation.

Planning... Christmas dinner... we're thinking Beef Wellington! I made one with my mom several years ago and it turned out great.

Sewing... my worktable (my entire workroom) is a complete disaster so there hasn't been much happening in there. I have a couple of small sewing projects that I'd like to do for Christmas, though.

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?


Hello December!

Yikes, this is a crazy month. Right now, though, I'm focused on TWO MORE SLEEPS 'til we see Maddy & Viv!!

The kids were over yesterday. If you follow me on IG you may have seen some video of playing in the snow, and also this:


Um. I'm just thinking that those truffles really are made with silky smooth chocolate...

There was also this:


Malina (another little fashionista!) is so cute when she "reads"! And there's Junah, randomly sporting his finished mitts! He was so happy to get them and even modeled for me.


But this image (a video still) is blowing my mind:



That's not all!


I have a new pom pom maker!! He made TWO!


NaBloPoMo 2019.30

And that's a NaBloPoMo wrap! What a month!!

It started with a little vacation, returning on my birthday; there was knitting, sewing, football, food, some snow, fun & games with kiddos, Thanksgiving, and more.

I love that I get to announce the person who left the 30,000th comment on the last day of a successful NaBloPoMo -- and on my 3,446th post overall in nearly 16 years of blogging! The comment figure is legit, as I delete/unpublish spam comments; the number of posts is actually more like 3,379 because there are 67 posts unpublished posts saved as "draft." (I've tried to go in and clean those up, but I get emotional and just can't.)


drumroll, please............................................


I love that!! Thank you so much, Carole, for being you! I'll be sending along a token (or two) in appreciation to mark the occasion.

Thanks to EVERYONE who stops by to read this ol' blog! I couldn't/wouldn't do it without you. xo

NaBloPoMo 2019.29

After yesterday's hullabaloo, it felt great to take it a little easy today... but not TOO easy.

I don't know about you, but it only dawned on me in the last few days that there's only a week between Thanksgiving and the first weekend in December instead of the more usual two! That Thanksgiving-to-Christmas snowball usually happens pretty fast, but this year... it's gonna get going even faster!

Our local parade is on Tuesday (Ali & the kids & the coffee camper will be in it!), I pick up Maddy & Viv on Wednesday, Maddy's BFFs Katy & Andrés are coming on Friday, my first party of the season is on Friday, we're all planning on going to another parade on Saturday (so Viv can experience it and the kids can watch it), we're having a family photo shoot... and/while decorating the tree on Sunday.

One of the things I did today was start clearing out the area where the tree will go, and that felt great. I tossed & recycled some stuff, and also added to my donation pile. There's a storm coming and travel might be limited over the weekend, so we chucked it & more into the car and took a trip to the thrift store drop it off.

Then we parked and went inside... ha!


Kate scored big time! Among her findings was this vintage-y cotton velvet jacket... similar to a big coat of my sister Sharon's that she's recently been wearing.

And now Rusty's making turkey soup! My favorite day-after-Thanksgiving meal.

_ _ _ _ _

Tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo 2019! It is almost certain that someone will be leaving the 30,000th comment on this post, or at least after I hit "publish" (that milestone could happen on any recent post), which I didn't think would happen until closer to the end of the year, so stay tuned to see who it is... MAYBE IT'S YOU!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.28

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I had a nice, fairly relaxed morning running a few errands, doing some chores around the house, prepping the turkey, and even doing some sewing. Ali & her family came over in the mid-afternoon to share a lovely meal.

Kate put together a lovely charcuterie/appetizer platter to begin... and even the kids loved it!!

I made Spatchcocked Roast Turkey & Gravy, Hasselback Butternut Squash, Smashed Red Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli. Rusty made both pumpkin and apple pies. It was all really good... plentiful and filling, but not too much.

A spatchcocked turkey cooks quickly (relatively speaking) and evenly, and I had a nice-sized bird, just under 10 p0unds. I love making a turkey that way! The Hasselback Butternut Squash was delicious (even though I forgot the chopped pecans to finish) and is definitely a keeper; it got raves. Junah willingly tried pumpkin pie for the very first time... and LOVED IT! Ginny was content with ice cream topped with whipped cream for dessert. Ha.


There were Bananagrams! "What does this say, Nona??" I read every "word."

I hope you had a great day, too.


NaBloPoMo 2019.27

Things are just not happening in a timely manner lately... or least not how I've come to expect.

Anyway, better late than never, I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting and reading.



The knitting is slow going, too, but I'm THIS >< CLOSE to finishing the fingerless Maize Mitts for Junah. I had him try on the one that was finished the other day and, he was SO EXCITED!! That kid is knit-worthy in spades!! I picked up a couple pair of "magic" mittens and gloves to go along with, just in case he needs to double up sometime.


I continue listening to The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich (audio). It's so good, but it's long and there's a lot of "stuff," so I'm glad I'm giving it space.

I finished The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs on Monday night. It was the topic of book club last week (and was my book choice) and I hadn't even finished it myself (I was SOOOO close). It was a good book and made for some great discussion...

It's just that this one was un-put-down-able:

Blood: A Memoir was compelling. It's an incredible story of love... difficult to even know what to say about it. Allison & her sister Shelby are incredible humans.

 * * * 

Sadly... and I'm a little bit stunned... as I finished The Bright Hour, I learned that another young mother of two, Kate (35), was very recently diagnosed with breast cancer and that it has already spread to her liver, which severely limits the traditional medical options available to her. I met Kate & her husband, from Australia/New Zealand, at cooking class in Rio de Janeiro! I've followed her on IG since then, including her journey to motherhood (twice) after being told that she was infertile. She's overcome a few "impossible" things already. So, I've given to her campaign to raise money in order to seek other treatment options, and just thought I'd mention it in case you had a spare dime or two, too.


NaBloPoMo 2019.26

A quick & random catching up of a few things...

It's a little weird that I'm writing a "random catch-up" post in November during NaBloPoMo, when I'm blogging everyday, but what a November this is... in a good way, there's good stuff happening, but my free time is... mostly not really "free."


This is the tiniest portion of an epic spread for a buffet brunch/pop-up shopping event that my friend Peg & I attended last weekend at 313 Dodge. There were mini quiches, scones, almond-stuffed/bacon-wrapped dates... it was amazing. With a mimosa. (I never even had a share of that delectable looking brie!)


We were a bit more low-brow last night, with pizza delivery at home. Junah figured out/decided to raise a leaf on the drop-leaf table, and it turned into an impromptu kids' table! Malina wasn't originally in the mix, but she got her booster and started pushing it in that direction, so...


As established yesterday, Kate's taken up beading, and Ali was inspired to try making a little bead lizard like she used to make in high school. She remembered! This one's tail was cut too short, but there were two others... and a little hunt, with the help of three cell-phone-flashlights, when one went missing in the living room. Astonishingly, we found it!!


I'm not stitching nearly as consistently on this particular project during the current attempt at 100-days, but I am sewing... and also knitting... almost everyday.

I might even have some real stuff to talk about for Unraveled Wednesday tomorrow!


NaBloPoMo 2019.25

I've had a pretty good day off, getting a few things knocked off my list... some bookkeeping stuff, banking, some cleaning (including a car wash), a bit of organizing, and the Airbnb ready for holiday guests. The kiddos will be over soon to spend some time with Auntie Kate!

Speaking of whom, she's experimenting with something new...


...and these might go just fine with my new party pants!


NaBloPoMo 2019.24


Or, more accurately, Alabama Chanin / The School of Making Palazzo Pants.


I finished sewing them up and attaching the elastic last week, but today is the first opportunity to shoot them with both daylight & willing photographer (Katie's home!)!

They are made from a single layer of Alabama Chanin Organic Cotton Jersey in Navy Blue, painted using the Large Paradise Stencil (which I cut myself), in a custom pearlized paint mixture. It's impossible to capture, but the paint has a slight sparkle to it... LET'S PARTY!! I had some random silver fold-over elastic and used that to finish them off.

I declare, from here on out, all my party pants will be palazzo pants!! I'm SO happy with how they turned out, and they are SO comfy... they will easily transition to PAJAMA PANTS when their party days are over.


(I have no idea what I'm doing in this photo.)

For full-on party mode, I have a sparkly shirt to wear but need another layer... and shoes.


NaBloPoMo 2019.22

Well, I gotta say, I'm so glad that so many of y'all are also dreamers... and/or really good cheerleaders!


TGIF! I'm really happy that the weekend is upon us, and even more since I also, unexpectedly, have Monday off!

P.S. Update on my coworker: Nearly two weeks later, it's still a bit of a roller coaster, but I actually spoke with him yesterday! Though the breathing tube had been removed several days earlier, his throat was still extremely raw and it was difficult to understand all that he said.... but YAY!!