NaBloPoMo 2019.21

I was in an old bank vault!

 * * * 

First off, in case you didn't know, I'M A DREAMER...

...and isn't this just about the cutest little thing you've ever seen?


Ali & Rod have an accepted offer on a house and this little bank building is kitty-corner across the street. I'm not going to say any more (or at least not much) about their house until it's a completely done deal!

But the bank... can't you think of a million different things a person could do with this adorable little building?


Such promise! That clock is kind of hideous (in that it's too big and doesn't really "fit"), but that burglar alarm, the pillars, the tile!


There's even a "bullet hole" in that big arched window in front...


John Dillinger? Al Capone? Bonnie & Clyde? Did any of them pass through this little town once upon a time??


There's some work needed, for sure. It's fairly cosmetic in front, but things start to fall apart... literally... around back.

I tried to convince myself for a sec that this:


...was originally a little more like this:


...but, no. That is definitely a gigantic bulge due to water damage/poor water management from the roof. It was a really nice day yesterday, so snow was melting, and we could actually see it happening for ourselves. It's been happening, apparently unchecked, for years. And years and years and years.

And inside (on the other side of that wall)...


Apparently that back window was open for a while (years and years?), too. Rusty found and shut another open window in the basement when we were there.

That's after we'd already seen this upon entering:


I don't really think that part is from water -- or if it is, not only from water -- because the floor is not in awful shape and there aren't watermarks on those tiles. This might have been just plain old vandalism (which makes me feel a little more hopeful about the overall roof situation).

Junah was quite amazed by it all.

I was a little bit heartbroken.

There's a big front room, two smaller rooms in back (one is the vault/future bathroom), and a full basement (where the bathroom is currently located). And lots of spiders.


The little welcome chicken and the Vault Ventilator sure are cool, though, aren't they?

I could probably get this for a song, but I'm afraid it might take a symphony to get it in usable/habitable shape. I'm still thinking about it... it came immediately to mind every time I woke up last night... I'm still dreaming about it!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.19

Wailing Complaining as I have for the past couple-few months about the street work in front of Ali's coffee shop, it's only fair that I shout out...


It's Done!!


The sidewalks are a bit wider, the pedestrian crosswalk areas are roomy & visible, there's parallel parking on Ali's side of the street and angle parking on the other... it's really, really nice. There's a bit of a spatial shift that makes me feel like I'm driving down the middle of the street, but I'm sure I'll get over it.

Since some of this was finished when temps were at freezing or below (10 degrees or so below), I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the contractor(s) know what they're doing and it doesn't all fall apart next summer. Is that cement actually set or just frozen in place??


A group of kids at a nearby charter school recently decorated a bunch of coffee sleeves "with all the happy things"! On the other side of this one is THE SUN!! I love the little smiley face on the C"O"FFEE! My cup is full of the new Gingersnap Latte, using house-made syrup (and with my special request for "not too sweet"), and it was perfect! Kristin said that it's been a hit and she already had to make another batch of syrup.


NaBloPoMo 2019.17

I had a nice video chat with my sister this morning.


This was my view during part of it, as Ann was getting a chicken ready for the oven. And as soon as I hit post, I'm on my way to the store to pick up a chicken of my own!

The quintessential Sunday chicken dinner, whether in the US or Spain! Though Ann was also making roasted peppers and having a beer, and I was not (yet).


NaBloPoMo 2019.16

Officially on my list, but never actually written down until late yesterday, was "Photos for Ali." I'm embarrassed to say how long I've had her external hard drive with her request/my promise to add all the "real" photos that I've taken of the kids. It sounds easy enough, but there's sorting, choosing, editing, processing, transferring... all a big huge UGH!!

Well, I did it this morning! That means that you get to traipse down memory lane with me!











The only photo not taken with my big camera is the one of Ali holding the newborn Gin. And the only photo that I didn't take, but that was taken with my big camera, is the one that I'm in -- and Jün was the photographer!! Some of these don't represent the technical "best," but were chosen for other reasons -- GOSH DARN CUTE KIDS!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.15

Eye Candy Friday!


I was upstairs last night, readying the apartment for weekend Airbnb guests, and was delighted to find A FEW TINY BUDS when I checked the "holiday cactus." It's a fairly large plant, so there's potential for a show! These will not be blooming for a while, so I deem this one of the Christmas variety.


Another cactus in the Garden Room downstairs has had buds for a while now, and they're getting BIGGER! It's a much smaller plant, but there's promise for a BIG SHOW! And this one should be in full glory for Thanksgiving!

HOLIDAYS! Kate returns in little over a week, and Maddy & Viv will be home in less than three weeks! I think I'm going to start prepping this weekend... organizing space(s) and making room for the tree and whatnot. 

Maybe I'll even clean out the fridge!


NaBloPoMo 2019.14

So, y'know one of the main excuses reasons for our quick trip to Arizona was because Rusty's brother found more old photos, documents, and scrapbooks.


Rusty's mother was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and lived most of her life in California. For a few years in the '30s, in her late teens and early twenties, she apparently went back and forth between the east & west coasts at least a few times, including Florida (as the boys recall, though no photographic evidence), working at resorts. From the looks of it, she had a lot of friends and a lot of fun, too!


The Wianno Club is in Osterville, MA, on Nantucket Sound. We have a couple of small serving bowls from the Wianno Club, ca. 1937, I guess, with their logo on them.


Midwick View Riding Academy sounded "east coast" to us, so we were happy to find the photo above clearly identifying it as a place in California... possibly part of Midwick View Estates.

There are a few curious things about all this...

One being that this was all during The Great Depression. Yacht races, riding academies, and multiple cross-country trips... these are not things that normally come to mind when one thinks of The Depression.

Another is that I'm fairly certain the travel would have taken place on land rather than by air, but there's not a single photo of anything between the coasts.

I believe Rusty's mother's parents were very well off... but there was a scandal involving his grandfather, which disgraced the whole family, and ultimately resulted in their divorce by 1941 (and bad enough that his son & namesake legally changed his name!). And maybe, at least for some of this time, Rusty's mother was just away at these places... sent to camp, or whatever, to protect her from the scandal, and not actually working? I mean, they sure seemed to have fun (and a lot of free time) at work... There are SO MANY casual/fun photos at these places, with one or two friends, or in big groups... at the beach, on the dock, poolside, in cars, with dogs, snow skiing, horseback riding, hugging, smiling, laughing, sightseeing...

It's all so curious!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.13

I'm determined not to complain about the weather this winter... even though it's only mid-November, winter is already here (we leaped right over fall), and there's PLENTY to complain about!

While I'm not sure I can go as far as embracing my inner Norwegian (my DNA says I'm only 3% Swedish, after all), I will try to grin and (silently) bear it... or at least bear it.


This Waterlogue'd photo was taken only three weeks ago (during a gathering to consider options for that darn walnut tree)! And yay!! I've been getting used to my new iPhone, playing with apps and things, and (while slowly catching up with y'all) a recent Watercolor Wednesday post at Carole's reminded me about this app that I've iEnvied for years!

 * * * * * 

Thanks for all your good thoughts & wishes for my co-worker and friend. I haven't had any news today, but things seem to be moving in the right direction overall. There's a long way to go, with at least a week in ICU and another month in the hospital (hopefully, one closer to home?)...


NaBloPoMo 2019.12


I haven't had an update yet this morning, but my co-worker was more stable yesterday! About half of his ribs broken, and he has a broken right foot -- but it looks like he won't need heart surgery (yay!), and neurological function was good. His wife felt that things were looking up... so that's what I'm going with! I'm hopeful that things will continue that way!

It's really quite something, since they weren't sure he was going to make it at all.

* * * * *

I had a dream on Sunday night -- the first I can remember in a long time -- about losing half of my right foot. It's a long, weird story (because DREAMING), but I'm not surprised after looking up possible meanings for such a dream... To lose body parts in a dream can often signify that you have a fear of losing something important in life.

* * * * *

Thanks for all the good mojo!


NaBloPoMo 2019.11

Hug your people.

One of my coworkers was involved in a head-on collision late Saturday night as he made his way home from his long-time moonlighting theatre gig. He's in critical condition in a Madison hospital, where he was taken by ambulance because weather conditions had grounded all the helicopters.

I just had an update that he is more stable this morning and is doing well neurologically... "so things are looking up!"

Prayers, mojo, karma, good wishes, whatever your jam... any & all are needed for him, his wife, and their son.

He's one of the good ones.


Hug your people.


NaBloPoMo 2019.10

Game day!


Junah is spending the afternoon with me. We made a 4x4 with K'nex, then spent some time perusing the internet for other K'nex sets, which led to watching associated videos... which led to watching videos about Legos and remote control cars and transformers, and writing a few things down on a Christmas wish list!

That tired us out, so we took a :15 "nap." Junah rested his legs, I rested my eyes. He watched the timer on my clock count down because, y'know, "I like to watch stuff."

He lasted :03 watching the 🏈 game with me! Now watching Green Eggs & Ham on my computer...

NaBloPoMo 2019.9

Isn't it grand...


I was able to borrow a wide-angle zoom lens (Canon EF 17-35mm 1:2.8 L), so I brought the big camera!

The Grand Canyon was amazing! We were warned that it's usually at least 30 degrees cooler at the canyon, but it was not a usual day... we kept shedding layers and, at most, it was maybe 10-15 degrees cooler. And even 15 degrees "cooler than 85" is... well, just not that bad! Haha! Not bad at all.

The vapor trail is from a jet formation that flew over! They were so incredibly close together, it looks like one but there were at least 5 or 6 in formation, plus one off to the side (slightly) and another a little further back, bringing up the rear.


NaBloPoMo 2019.8

Alison posted the cutest series of photos of each of the kiddos on my birthday. Here's a peek, one of each:


They're all coming over this evening for celebrations! I can't wait... seems like ages since I've seen/hugged/kissed them!


NaBloPoMo 2019.7 / 3TT

Joining Carole & friends for Three (Throwback) Things on Thursday...

Pardon me for another fly-by... re-entry is a bitch on so many levels, not the least of which is adjusting to a 60-degree temperature difference. And snow.

As you may recall, one of the things that spurred this trip was Rusty's brother's discovery of more family photos...


1 -- Dave (aka, Wavey Davey) & Rusty (aka, Big Eyes) perusing an old scrapbook and sharing stories & remembrances. That's a large acrylic painting on the wall in front of them that Rusty painted for Dave -- a SoCal surfer back in the day -- several years ago. When Dave wasn't able to surf anymore, he took photos, and it's one of those that inspired this painting.


2 -- "Mother - Jean - '32." That's Rusty's & Dave's grandmother, Florence, and their Aunt Jean -- one of my favorites among the photo discoveries! Happy times!! Life was rocked by social scandal and things got rough a few years later, and Flo was divorced from their grandfather by 1941. She must have recovered, though, and lived until she was 101!


3 -- I don't remember ever seeing this photo before! It's summer 1988 and we're visiting our friends, TJ & January and their son Elliott, on Vashon Island, WA. This photo was taken as we were saying/singing our good-byes, captured both in photos & videos -- it was the video of me walking toward the camera to turn it off that sent me signing up for WW immediately upon our return home! Heh.


NaBloPoMo 2019.6

I'm "cheating" a little here. We're leaving Laughlin at 7 a.m. and driving up to Vegas to catch our mid-morning flight home, via Phoenix, which doesn't land in Milwaukee until after 6 and we won't likely get home until about 9 tomorrow night. So, I'm posting early.


Happy Birthday to me!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.5

Free hotel wifi is the worst hotel wifi. I'm cheap and didn't spring for "enhanced" wifi, even for a day, because we weren't here for more than a few hours in the morning or evening, or were fast asleep.

I had a great vacation... and I felt as though I truly vacated... but I am anxious to get home and back into the regular swing of things. If, for no other reason, a real computer (using the tablet sucks as much as hotel wifi). We're winging our way tomorrow!

Today, we visited again with Rusty's brother & sister-in-law, and we drove with them out to Oatman, AZ, which is... a place I won't ever have to visit again. It was a great visit with the relatives, though, and Rusty & Dave put their heads together to nail down some family history details. Rusty brought his laptop along so he could make a record.

I'm also looking forward to my own bed and pillow.  ;)

NaBloPoMo 2019.3

Yesterday was quite the day. We drove over to visit with Rusty's brother, Dave, and sister-in-law, stopping for a brunchy breakfast on the way.

I don't even know how many photos of photos I took... lots! And mostly of Rusty & Dave's mom, from scrapbooks, envelopes, folders, and stacks.


On the beach, the slopes, at the pool, the tennis court, on horseback, with cats and dogs... so many photos with dogs! I'm surprised that Rusty's not more of a dog lover.

Today we're headed to Lake Havasu -- to the closest Packers bar we could find (also London Bridge)! Tomorrow, we're up EARLY to head to the Grand Canyon, so I won't likely be posting until evening.


NaBloPoMo 2019.2

We flew out of Milwaukee yesterday and landed in Las Vegas, where we rented a car and drove south to to Laughlin, NV.


Today, we'll get together with Rusty's brother, Dave, and take a look at the old photos and documents he found since Rusty visited last summer.


This is Dave, ca. 1960, with their cat, Speedy.

--- Posting from my tablet, not ideal but it's all I have right now! I hope it isn't wonky. And YAY to the other NaBloPoMoers! I won't have much time while we're away, but I will catch up with you all when we return!!



NaBloPoMo 2019.1

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! I may be the only person on the planet still doing it the way it's always been done, but whatever. I'm OK with marching to my own drummer.


Random seasonal photo (imagine snow).

I have a question or a few for y'all. As you know, I recently got a new phone... my first iPhone! (It's my only iThing!) I'm getting things figured out and set up, but I'm curious to hear any tips & tricks you might have to share.

Here goes:

  1. When you upgrade or get a new phone, what are the first things you do... which settings do you tweak?
  2. What are your favorite PHOTO apps?
  3. What photo collage app do you use?
  4. What are your favorite other apps?


3TT: Random

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



It's snowing! I don't know what that's going to mean tonight... but I don't have any candy, anyway! That's what happens when Halloween candy is promoted on the heels of "back to school," and I think I have all the time in the world. I don't want to buy too soon because, y'know...

There was a collaborative effort in making the Halloween decorations for the coffee shop this year. I just love that smiley pumpkin. And that's a preschool Kate as Raggedy Ann!




The plants have all been moved inside, including the ones that were on the porch of the apartment. Airbnb guests really seem to enjoy the plants! (See the snow on the porch roof? You can see just a bit of the kids' playhouse, and the lights on the pergola, too.)


Among the amenities we provide are tiny jars of Bonne Maman preserves (to go with the English muffins). When I remember, as I'm cleaning up, I pull them from the recycling bin and... lookie there, they're the perfect size for a couple of tablespoons of the Alabama Chanin Silver Fox beads+sequins mix to go a'travelin'! I forgot that I had that mix and I think I want to use some of those elements (probably not the gold) on my Car Jacket.

3 -- READY, SET...


I can't believe it's only going to be 77F tomorrow when we arrive in Arizona. Hahahahaha!

I may or may not be blogging while we're away... we'll see! If not, I'll be back on track a week from today for another 3 Things on Thursday.


Unraveled Wednesday: What's up

Joining Kat & the Unravelers today, sharing what I'm knitting and reading.


Without photographic evidence, I have finished a pair of Maize Mittens for Junah... that fit Ginny! He actually wanted fingerless mitts (as he reminded me), so I've begun again... sized up this time!


That kid has paws, so these are Adult S! I added a few rows between the ribbing and the start of the thumb gusset on this pair... I think they'll fit the hand better.


I'll get at least another couple of pair of these from the hank I'm working on... it'll be my travel knitting!


The beading has begun...


Every once in a while, I realize the enormity of this project... and, before I'm paralyzed by that thought, I quickly shift my focus to THE.THING.I'M.WORKING.ON.RIGHT.NOW. In this case, one of the back pieces. This will not be travel sewing. For that, I've grabbed the pockets, pocket flaps, and collar.


Still somewhat stalled, partly because of getting a new phone! I've finally downloaded The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich (audio), and really need to reacquaint myself with my Audible queue! I hope to have some listening time while on vacation.

I like to bring an actual book along, too. I'm about 20 pages from the end of The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs and, even if I don't finish before departure, I'll want to bring something else along... and it'll be this:


I became aware of Allison Moorer because of mutual friends & interests... namely: Kay Gardiner, Alabama Chanin, and music. I followed on IG for quite a while before I realized there was much more to her story... so heartbreakingly inconceivably much more. Kay wrote a wonderful post about Allison and her new book & music the other day, and there was a lovely story yesterday on CBS This Morning. Anyway, Blood: A Memoir landed in my mailbox yesterday and will be coming to Arizona. (TBH, it was all I could do to NOT start it yesterday.)


Signs of the times


A favorite picturesque tree, located across the street from work... in a very non-picturesque location. I can see it from my desk, and sometimes it GLOWS.

One of my hostas... I love that plant at every stage!

Heavy wet snow overnight was stuck to everything this morning.


It was long and late and the kids got restless, but for the most part, THEY LOVED SWAN LAKE! Ginny fell asleep just minutes before the ballet ended.


And did swan dances (on tippy-toes) all weekend. Junah seemed very intrigued by the sets, the crossbow, Baron Von Rothbart (who reminded me of a former tenant)... the costumes were incredible! We were in the second and third rows, Right Front Orchestra, so the kids really had a pretty good view. And they would go to a ballet again (Ginny said that she wanted to go "every morning")!

Our high school is doing Peter Pan this year, and we'll go to that for sure!

The kids (and their mama & papa) were over quite a bit this weekend. I had an abundance of celery & leeks from our CSA, so Ali helped me slice & dice and we made a double batch of homemade Cream of Celery Soup. Mmm, it was SO GOOD! The kids even ate it... after some cajoling.  :)


I'm just waiting for Ginny to decide that she doesn't want her picture taken anymore (like her brother). Malina is wearing a pullover that I made almost 8 years ago! She's the third to wear it and it's held up pretty well, considering that the yarn was fairly inexpensive -- but washable and that's my priority for kid stuff!


She also modeled some mitts that I made a while back, but I guess I never added them to Ravelry. I'm sure I made them for Junah or Gin...


I was surprised -- and delighted -- to notice my little "holiday cactus" is all of a sudden loaded with buds! I'm not even sure where this one came from. There's another upstairs that's healthy but there's not even a glimmer of a bud... I'm so excited!


Especially since it sounds like the scene in this photo will be whitewashed this evening... snow is on the way. yuck.

Four more sleeps and we'll be on our way to Arizona... 80F and sunshine!! I know we'll have to come back, but... lalalalala... I'm not thinking about that right now.

Making memories

My earliest memory -- it's not even a complete memory, just little blips -- is from when I was about 3, on a train with my mom, going to see a ballet. Swan Lake, I think. Or possibly The Nutcracker. But I really think it was Swan Lake.

Tonight, along with their mother, I'm taking my 3yo granddaughter and 5yo grandson to the ballet... SWAN LAKE! I hope they will hold on to some memory of it... little blips would be just fine.


We were talking to them about it the other night, and Junah (a little worried?) declared:


3TT: Thursday Things

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

1 -- This is the last photo taken with my old phone, a.k.a. Rusty's new phone!


The way it works around here is that when someone wants an upgrade, that usually means me! Rusty had a pretty basic phone and, since he's become more active on social media, mainly wanted a better camera to take photos of artwork.

Anyway, I had a hair appointment yesterday and, nope, I wasn't ready to think about going shorter. Thinned and trimmed and curled! I love a good hair day... especially when the sun is shining!

It's been awful/so rainy around here and, I know you're sick of hearing about it, but the stupid street/sidewalk project in front of the coffee shop is still not finished! It's been dismal, disheartening, depressing... weekday sales are down anywhere from 30-70%... they're trying some new things/promos... chin up & fingers crossed! 

2 -- This is one of the first photos taken with my new phone!


Portrait mode, even. I've got some learning to do!! I've been a Samsung girl for about as long as I've had a cell phone... but that ultra wide angle camera, ease of traveling and connecting with certain family members, more functionality in some apps... led me to go with an iPhone for the first time!

Rusty & I will be on our way to Arizona a week from tomorrow! That trip includes a tour to the Grand Canyon, and it sounds like we'll be driving out to Oatman with Rusty's brother & sister-in-law. I wanted a little time to get used to the new phone/camera before the trip. The Grand Canyon seems like the perfect place to use the ultra wide!

3 -- Autumn.


We had quite a storm on Monday -- sideways rain and wind from the east, then from the south -- it was crazy. Lots of leaves fell, as has the temperature since then. It's inevitable, of course, but the temps are definitely on the downhill slide toward winter. Right around the time we hit our first "high in the 30s" day, we'll be heading south...

_ _ _ _ _

Just a quick housekeeping note. The current Make.Do website expires tomorrow and I've decided not to renew. I will keep the domain and... we'll see. Many good things happened in the past year because of that site, and I thank everyone who ordered yarn or totes or Field Guides or 'zines (there are still some listed, including the sold-out "Florida" issue of Nomadic Knits). Truthfully, it turns out that it's just a bit more than I am able or willing to juggle. When it comes right down to it, given the choice of dyeing yarn/updating the website or hanging out with my kids/grandkids... um, there's no contest! I'll continue to dye yarn now & then, and sell goods at the Make.Do space within Kaukauna Coffee & Tea... you can find me there! I'll also offer up some yarn here on occasion before taking it to the shop, if you'd like.

The Weekend!

My girlie took off early Saturday morning for a long road trip.


She's in Upstate NY now --  not far from Rhinebeck, actually -- and will soon be headed to Brooklyn for the Friday night opening of Paradeisos (art by Yulia Iosilzon, curated by Kate) at Carvalho Park.

After she left, I finished prepping The Artist's Perch for guests arriving later in the day.


Football fans, y'know.

And after that, it was time to play!! There were a couple of things that I didn't get to when I was in Michigan.


Rusty helped me set up a work surface and we brought an old desk up from the basement for all the stuff. Next time, I'll arrange this differently... for better flow and in an effort to avoid this:


The second time in as many weeks that I smashed a jar of paint on a garage floor. The first time it was on Kym's floor, with "white gold" paint... and much less of it. This time it was on mine, with a nearly full 4-oz jar of "black gold." Yep.


It sure is pretty, though.

My goal was to paint a couple pairs of Palazzo Pants. I wasn't intending to make two pair, but my paint swatching revealed that my initial plan for ochre & navy -- while a gorgeous color combo -- wasn't going to work for me for a number of reasons.


I decided to make a single-layer pair of PP from the navy blue fabric (which was already cut because... navy & ochre was the plan), painted with a dark-silver color. I am calling these my Holiday Party Pants, because I intend to have them finished for wearing to all (one or two) of the holiday parties I'll be going to this year! Haha. All I need to do is sew the seams and attach the elastic... and they'll be done! If I'm inspired and/or have time, I may do the tiniest bit of embellishment, but I don't have to do a thing if I don't want to.


The ochre layer, already cut (ahem), were painted with the ill-fated & re-mixed black gold. Those pieces will eventually become a double-layer pair of PP, with ochre on top and black (which needs to be cut) on the bottom, worked in negative reverse applique (in which all of the ochre/top layer, save a 1/8- to 1/4-inch border around each motif, will be cut away).


I also made another "rag" piece, and used up paint on other pieces/sections -- the silver on black may be used on the Car Jacket project (that's what I had in mind, anyway).

Speaking of the Car Jacket:


There were a few days in Michigan, and a few since I returned, that I didn't work on it at all; but there were other days when that's all I worked on, so things are progressing. Typepad is being a jerk today, occasionally timing out when I try to load photos, but you can see on IG as well as here (if you look closely) that I tried another new color of floss. I'd ordered both Eggplant and Teal a while back, thinking that they might find a place here. The colors were a little overwhelming, looking at a whole spool of floss, but Kym shared a tip for matching thread to a project that I thought would also apply here, and that is to unwind a bit of the thread so you can better see its true color in relation to the fabric.



I packed up my car last Wednesday -- knitting, fabric, stencils, a few patterns, paints, airbrush, air compressor... some clothes (including my winter coat & some woolens) (just in case!) -- and headed 'round the bottom of the lake to MICHIGAN and Kym's house for our own stitching retreat! 

My departure was a little later than I'd hoped, mainly because had to paint some more swatches before I left.


I ran into some slow traffic in Chicago on the way... it never actually stopped, so I guess that's okay? My calf muscle sure got sore from going back & forth between the brake & accelerator pedals! Michigan is in another time zone, so I lost an hour on the way, and arrived in Kym's driveway at right about 6 p.m.

On Thursday, we headed north to the cabin.


Fields full of pumpkins!


We walked down to have a look at the lake, and on the walk back up (100 steps!), I photographed some mushrooms.


They'd both seen better days (or hours), but they're super intriguing popping up through all that autumnal texture. We took a little walk through the woods, too. That little nature break was really great.

And there was stitching...


I was a little obsessed with my swatches, trying to figure out a plan for my project(s)...

We drove up toward Traverse City and over to Cedar and Glen Arbor for a little tour of the northern lower peninsula and a glimpse of the lake (through raindrops) from the other side! One of our stops was at Wool & Honey... what a nice little shop. I didn't need any yarn, but I found some anyway. They had a lot of cute notions & things -- especially enamel pins -- and I sort of hit overload and had to back.away.from.the.pins! Besides a couple of hanks of yarn, I found some beautiful note cards and a small glass vial with metal hexi-shaped stitch markers. (I love that little vial.) And we had a great lunch at Art's Tavern.

We headed back to Kym's on Saturday, and on Sunday we got serious...


It was time to cut some of the things we planned to paint! Kym's kitchen island also makes a darn good cutting table.

Meanwhile, I was also working on my Car Jacket.


Trying new things, such as COLOR! An entire spool full of Eggplant embroidery floss is a bit much, but a few strands... works pretty well. (Thanks, Kym!)


I'd focused a lot on the top third of this project at first, but it's starting to fill in all over!

On Monday, we took a trip to Field's Fabrics.


Oh my, that was fun! I can't remember the last time I was at a fabric store like that -- the focus was about 100% on fabrics and sewing. I found some great fabrics for (next) summer dresses for the girls, and for Christmas gifts for the some of the travelers in my family. And other stuff.




That's a skirt under the Abstract stencil that I recently cut, and Kym is working on a dress panel with her June's Spring stencil.

Everything was going great and just as we stopped for a break, my compressor died. It overheated, I think, and the (inaccessible) automatic reset button never reset, so...


...we went shopping for a new one! Kym got one, too!! This is a "pancake" model, where my other one was a "hot dog" << new random knowledge, and it has some nice features (quick connect hose, a place to wind the cord, a velcro strap for cord/hose management. I'm not sad.


We did more than this, big & small, but just for an idea... some of the stenciled panels for my skirt, and the front of a t-shirt for Kym. I love that Peace stencil!!


I'll be dreaming up some ideas for this "rag," too, inspired by some t-shirts I saw online at Alabama Chanin (but that I can't find right now). It's a fairly large piece of black fabric that was in a lot of AC fabric that I purchased from a private party a while back, but it's not actually AC fabric -- close, but there's some spandex in there, too. Anyway, we used it to clean excess paint from the stencils and I love the way it looks!

On Tuesday morning, I packed up all my stuff again and headed home! It was a great drive back, and I didn't even have to slow down through Chicago.


It was THE BEST combination of relaxation + creativity + productivity + wonderful people + also great food & beer (photo above at Bell's Brewery). I met Tom, of course, though he was in & out all weekend with a curling tournament. He's as friendly & easy going IRL as he looks in pictures! Speaking of pictures, Kym & I spent the better part of 5+ days together and didn't get a single photo!


Well, we haven't change a whole lot since we met for the first time, exactly 5 years ago, at Art Prize in Grand Rapids!

ETA: As of this post, I am exactly 300 comments away from 30,000 received on this li'l ol' blog (299 now, with Mary's, and 298 with Carole's). I am sorry that I do not/cannot acknowledge every single one, but I do make an effort to thoughtfully reply when I'm able to or am asked about something specific -- not saying that things haven't slipped through the cracks now and then. Please know that every comment and interaction is truly appreciated. Anyway, that's a long way of saying that there will be FABULOUS PRIZES (tbd) for the person who leaves the 30,000th comment, possibly by the end of the year!!! Stay tuned! And, as always, thank you for reading.

Re-entry... going OK. I had a GREAT time in Michigan and have lots to report, but I also have lots of work to catch up on and that takes priority, of course!!

Well, until this arrived, and I just have to share:



Hitting The Road

It's been almost two years since Kym & I met in Nashville and drove to Florence, AL, to attend a 3-Day Alabama Chanin Workshop. We've been talking since January* of meeting up again, and in April, we started to firm up plans.

Lemme tell ya, it would be a whole lot easier to do this if it wasn't for the big puddle in between us!


As the crow flies, there's about 200 miles/3 hours between us.
As the car drives, it's closer to 350 miles/7.5 hours + Chicago craziness.

We talked about "meeting in the middle," but that sort of means "Chicago," and while I LOVE Chicago, there would be challenges in finding a place that would be suitable for our activities... such as, oh, painting a bunch of fabric with stencils and an airbrush... which means using an air compressor and needing space! Heh. It could get a little noisy and/or a little messy. How do you do that at a hotel? I don't mind doing that in my own back yard or garage, but it would be tricky to find an accommodating short-term rental house, especially since we've never taken this show on the road and who knows?? (As an Airbnb host, myself, I would love to field a request like that!)

Not be thwarted, we decided to meet in Michigan; Kym's suggestion of a trip to their cottage was great enticement! We decided on dates in October... and here we are!

I would fly if I wasn't bringing a bunch of over-sized stencils, a box of paints, and an air compressor, not to mention fabric yardage and sewing supplies, along with my suitcase and pillow. I thought of driving around the north end of Lake Michigan instead of south, and even though it's a much "easier" drive it's also much longer -- 9 hours of straight-up drive time!! There are a couple of ferry services between WI & MI, but they are a) pretty pricey, b) seasonal, and c) have very limited arrival/departure times at each port.

So, driving it is. I'm on my way this morning, and hopefully my timing through Chicago will be spot-on for stress avoidance. Wish me luck!

Stay tuned for updates.

*This makes me laugh a little. Apparently, we are long-term planners... Our workshop & lodging in Alabama were booked over a year in advance!