RSS Feeds

It has come to my attention that people aren't always getting notified of new posts in their feed readers. It occurred to me the other day that I used this platform for blogging for so long, and for years before getting my own domain, that some folks might be using the RSS feed for rather than, so... the current RSS feeds are:



It's finally happening

I've been walking 3-4 blocks between house & car since late last week, as street work has intensified. I turned around & took this pic when I left the house this morning.


It's still a mess and I'm still not used to the changes. There's so much gravel everywhere, piles of dirt, branches, the terraces are all overgrown, spraypainted markings all over the sidewalk...


But they're moving in the right direction today. I'm a bit mystified at how that giant machine will make its way back once it reaches the end of the street but I'm sure there's a way.

Way back in June, I bought a large, lightweight, collapsible wagon. It sat unboxed by the front door for a while, then I unboxed it and put it in my car and it rode around for several weeks, a little voice in my head asking if it was a necessary purchase. Well, this week has already provided the answer to that question: a resounding YES!! It's been back & forth to Ann's several times, hauled groceries, vacuum cleaner, laptop, knitting, lunchbox... tomorrow it'll haul biking & camping gear as we head north for the Peninsula Century Fall Challenge.

I had another cycling-related setback on Saturday, so I'm just playing it by ear at this point. We were getting prepped for a ride and decided it would be good to pump up the tires before heading out instead of when we reached our destination. My front tire was flat as could be, I pumped & pumped but it would not hold air. I was exasperated, stressed, made a wrong move and felt that telltale twinge in my back. DAMNITALLANYWAYFRICKINGBICYCLETIRES. Unlike sometimes when that happens, I was able to move and keep moving right away (as opposed to being in the shower and having to go through quite a lot before just casually waltzing around). Needless to say, we didn't go cycling -- loaded up my bike & took it in for a new tube (the old one was pinched because of blahblahblahwhocares). Anyway, we'll see how it goes. I have no problem making a bee-line from the route to the park without finishing. There'll be food & beer.


Unraveled Wednesday: Stripe City

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


Can't stop, won't stop! The Family Temperature Blanket is getting ALL of my knitting attention these days.


The morning light is getting dimmer every day, but my phone does well with available light, so I hastily arranged all the panels on the sidewalk for a group shot. That's my panel on the left, Rusty's in the middle, and Kate's underway on the right. I think I'm into December for her "April '85 to April '86 in the Pacific Northwest" panel. I finally took the time to learn the weaving-in method that's most often used to trap floats in colorwork, and I love it... things are moving right along with much less dread. I get in a zone when I'm weaving in... but it often takes a while to work up the will & resolve to heh. Anyway, it's so great to take care of most of that while I'm actually knitting.


Still working on The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. I'm about half-way now! Maybe I'll squeak by in time for zooming.


I don't know exactly when, where, or why, but not long ago, Spotify served me up a song called Meeting the Master by Greta Van Fleet.

It's the kind of song that has me immediately cranking up the volume. Rock, vocals & guitar that immediately reminded me of HEART -- in fact, I thought, Wow, she sounds like Ann Wilson -- with a side of LED ZEPPELIN, RUSH, stadium/arena rock, hair band/glam. But modern. Turns out, it was the first single released from their newest/third album.

I was a little chuffed a couple of weeks ago when I had my "Liked Songs" playlist on while Kate & I made dinner and she was Soundhound-ing many of the songs, or asking me about them if Soundhound came up short. This was one of them. Last week, she shared another Greta Van Fleet song with me, and I said something about "her." Kate said, I'm not so sure that's a girl... I think it's a guy! And sure enough, four guys -- young guys -- from Frankenmuth, Michigan, of all places. So, like, we're practically neighbors! Anyway, I can't get enough of them and thought I'd share.

Oh, and the story of the band's name -- and namesake -- is pretty great, too!


Unraveled Wednesday: FO & Progress!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


Sonia's stocking is finished! It's my third FO of the year.




Funny story... I received a text from Sonia's grandmother, Janet, on Friday evening. "Hello Vicki!! I have to ask... would you be up for another Xmas stocking?"

I thought about it for a minute, then replied, "I'm in the groove, so hit me."

What a miracle, she wrote, and alarming... I forgot that I already asked about Sonia!!

So GREAT!! There isn't another stocking to knit after all! Whew.

I'm back to the Family Temperature Blanket! It's been sitting close for months while I've worked on the kids' 5-Point Bomber, Mack's Graduation Blanket, a Musselburgh hat, a shawl, some dishcloths, and a Christmas stocking.


I've knit about 100 rows since I picked it up over the weekend! So happy to be working on this again, moving right along...


The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. Slow as molasses... but still reading and I'm about 1/3 of the way right now.


Unraveling Wednesday: The Weaving In Commences

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


After I kitchener the toe, I'll be weaving in a bajillion ends...


I'll sew it up, give it a soak and block it, and then arrange to meet with Sonia's grandma for the hand off. I might "decorate" those trees a little, though. And still might add some eyes, at least, to the people. We'll see. I'm happy to have it almost finished!

Oh, and I think it was Vera who asked about Sonia... she is little sister to Sebas(tian) for whom I was commissioned to knit a stocking a couple of years ago. All the other grandchildren had stockings in this design knit for them by their great grandmother. Sebas & Sonia were born after she passed.


The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. Slow as molasses...


Back in business

I think so, anyway. It took a while, but the hardware store guy found a 7mm bolt that might be better than the original. The bolt's about 2" long and the original had threading on half and the other half was solid... it sheared off right where the solid part ended & the threading began. It was a substantial bolt but, still, that's gonna be a weak spot! The new bolt has a longer solid section & less threading. It seems to fit fine. I got the whole thing assembled but it still needs to be adjusted & tightened, requiring a hex driver and I didn't get that far last night.

It's going to be hotter than hell again this weekend, but I think we can have a couple of comfortable rides if we get going early.

Meanwhile, this was in my IG feed yesterday:


Made me laugh so hard!

I got to work this morning and saw this:


If you've been on the receiving end of my annual Jólabókaflóð gift, you will have received a box of Wilmar's Chocolates -- a much smaller box than this one! They're my favorite local chocolatier. I thought, Damn you, BFF!! I didn't even look or get close enough to get a sniff... too tempting! Then she called and she told me that it's filled with some old jewelry she's getting rid of & thought the girls might like. haha. Whew!


Weekending 8/28

It's hard to believe it's the last Monday of August! Ann's month-long guests will be departing Thursday and it'll be back to the ol' double Airbnb grindstone again. haha.

Kate & I went to the last preseason football game (i.e., the last affordable football game) on Saturday. It was cool, cloudy & sprinkly, but eventually the sun came out (I have the sunburned forehead & nose to prove it). It was a good game, and we won! I had last-minute Airbnb guests upstairs from Chicago, also here for the football game... but rooting for the Seahawks. We met & chatted for a minute on Friday night and I said, "Oh, so you really appreciate all my Green Bay Packer decor up there!" They were super young & super sweet -- she'd bought tickets for his birthday present and had a place booked but the host cancelled on them (last-minute), and I was glad to pick up the slack. I know how that is (which is why I only book with Superhosts, myself). Plus, it was her first Airbnb experience, so doubly grateful to give a good impression. Anyway, a few Saturday scenes.


They make snow on Ariens Hill in the wintertime for tubing. In the summertime, people just like to climb up & run or roll down.

As planned, we headed out for a bike ride on Sunday morning. Neither of us was all that motivated but it helps to remember how energized & recharged we were after the last ride. Unfortunately, I had a little bicycle malfunction...


I stood in the shade of a telephone pole while Kate rode back to get the car. She was riding off when I realized that I didn't give her the key! Thankfully, she was still within shouting distance... she may or may not have responded to a call or text. A guy in a pickup truck turned around to make sure I was OK and not in need of help, which was nice. Another guy driving a milk truck waved at me. I supposed I'd have looked a little less relaxed if I was in need... and my phone was in my hand most of the time.


Corner of County Highway S & Section Line Road. In Wisconsin we have a Township, Range & Section land system -- basically, the entire state is a grid (with exceptions, of course). It's wonderful for bicycling in the countryside, as there are often intersecting roads at least every mile, and the "Town Line," "Range Line," and "Section Line" roads are usually as straight as an arrow and go for quite a ways. It's also one of the reasons that Wisconsin is such a great state for cycling -- there are farms along those country roads! There used to be many small family dairy farms, and they all needed to transport milk daily, so those roads were kept in very good condition. Most of them are still in pretty good shape. Anyway, I think I first learned about that land system when I went to classes 30+ years ago thinking that I might want to be a Realtor, and it's served me well in researching family history and locating family homesteads & cemeteries.

Our local bicycle shop did not have a replacement bolt, nor did the hardware store. I got a lead on another hardware store -- the one with the best selection around -- that I'll check out on my way home today. There are a couple of other cycling shops that I'll hit up if that doesn't pan out. There's only three weeks until the Door County ride!


I enjoyed a fabulous fruit smoothie when we got home. We made a royal fruity mess in the making, but it sure tasted good.


New tricks!

Kate told us about a great new board game last year when she was home... WINGSPAN (link goes to WI Historical Society). She was very enthusiastic & encouraging, so I bought it (at the previous link, they also have the European expansion pack). Then she went back to Scotland and, well, it's been very busy. I watched an online tutorial or something and thought that maybe I'd get an inkling, but... busy. Finally, 15 months later, we cracked open the box on Wednesday night, assembled & sorted all the pieces, and Kate wracked her brain trying to remember how it goes... and we played one round!


There are some sample/practice sheets to get a feel for it, and that was helpful. There can be quite a bit of "action" on a play sometimes, and other times it's just one thing.

It started to click, and last night we played a full game -- four rounds. There's a lot to it -- a thinking game, a learning game, a strategizing game -- but it's fun, and beautifully designed. More than one person I know has called it an obsession!

Rusty & I have an art event to attend this evening, Kate & I are going to the Packer game again tomorrow afternoon, and plan a bike ride on Sunday morning (the weather/air is finally improving again), but I see more feathers & eggs in my future.

Have you played WINGSPAN? Heard of it before?


I got up a little on the early side this morning to shower -- at the "first light" stage of the morning -- and it was very dim but I opened the blinds anyway. By the time I returned to the bedroom to get dressed, there was light in the sky. Things are getting a little bedraggled in the garden but the zinnias & cosmos are still doing their thing. I even spotted a luminous volunteer purple morning glory.

Hope you have a great weekend!


Unraveled: The kids are all right

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


Where it started:


Where it's been:


Where it's at:


Whew!! I stuck a fork in it and moved on to the Santa portion of the stocking! I may or may not embroider/duplicate stitch facial features on them later... TBD (Santa, too). I ended up knitting the kids from the original pattern chart, with a couple of tweaks: the faces are longer & rectangular (instead of skeletal), there's a neck, and the girls have flippy little hair-dos. I also knit the girls' clothing in different colors -- those are MDK Atlas leftovers from the 5-Point Bomber -- Pear & Mallard, and the boys' shirts are in Lapis.

There are a ton of wonky stitches to straighten out, and you do not want to see the back of my work right now!! Lordy, I may have to take a moment and weave in some ends because it's anxiety-inducing! I'm so glad to be moving forward, though.


The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. There hasn't been much reading going on.

_ _ _ _ _

I was going to drive over to Marshfield today with Ali & the kids to visit my Aunt Arlene -- my mom's elder sister -- she's 93 years old and currently residing at an assisted living facility where she's recovering from a fall/ankle injury. I had to cancel. The kids are still recovering from whatever they had, so there's that; my car is in the shop getting a new wheel bearing (oh yay) (not); and it's going to be 10,000F degrees outside (minus 9900). The temp & humidity both rose so fast this morning that all our windows fogged up inside! Not a great day to go anywhere! So, anyway, I sent some flowers to Arlene and talked to her this morning. Someone usually takes her home most weekends for an afternoon, so we'll probably plan to visit then -- it would be a lot better for the kiddos (& everyone) there, anyway.



It was a pretty great weekend, starting with winning two games of SEQUENCE on Friday night!


I had to message Maddy to tell her that Rusty forgot to pick up a card in the beginning of first game… begged us to let him, and we relented, but told him that Maddy would never let him do that!! 🤣😍  I know of which I speak... it took me a couple of times for that lesson to sink in! I think he forgot to pick up in the second game, too, and either didn’t notice or decided not to press his luck! Maddy said that her game is all packed up -- she & Viv are moving next weekend! Bigger house, bigger yard, more room for chooks, and ability to have other pets. I can't wait for the video tour.

On Saturday morning, Kate & I hauled the bikes out for a 10-mile ride.


There was a breeze -- not to our advantage most of the time -- but we persevered. Ten miles is better than zero.

I decided to frog the Christmas stocking children again on Saturday afternoon and have begun again with a mash-up of the original chart & my earlier interpretation. I should have something worthwhile to show on Wednesday... after a spate of actual unraveling. Hopefully, third time's the charm (as it often is) and the kids turn out!

Then it was game time!


We parked a few parking lots + Titletown away from the stadium, but it was fun to walk through & see everything going on before the game.


New bling, new koozies, and large beers! It was such a gorgeous evening and so exciting to be there after so long that we booked tickets for this week's game before kick-off. It was fun, our team did OK -- new QB and all -- but ended abruptly early in the 4th quarter with a scary injury to one of the Patriots after he collided with one of his teammates and was carted off the field. The teams mutually agreed to end the game at that point and, thankfully, the player was released from the hospital after observation.

We were going to go for a walk yesterday, but it was so hot & sticky, even in the morning -- and we'd walked a lot on Saturday (not to mention pedaling) -- so took it easy, instead, other than running a few errands. Ali was out with the kids in the afternoon and stopped over for a couple of hours. I took no photos! The kids were supposed to go to school today to deliver their supplies, visit their classrooms, and it's Picture Day, but Ali said that they're all under the weather today. Ginny complained of a sore throat once yesterday, and it must have spread (hopefully, not this far!).

Oh, and yesterday we booked tickets for Thanksgiving in Peru! Woohoo, Machu Picchu!



It's all psychological, I know, but the weeks when I have Monday off seem to be sooo looonnnnngggggg. So, TGIF!! Starting next year, I'll be going down to a 3-day work week instead of 4-, and I won't have a problem with that at all.

My book club met last night to discuss Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal, which was my pick, also meaning that I got to pick the venue. Naturally, a supper club seemed ideal and, lucky for us, we live in Wisconsin and have plenty to choose from... some are even lake-side. I decided on The Red Ox Seafood & Steakhouse (not on a lake). I can't believe I've never been there before, but now that's fixed and I'll certainly return!


The bar is cozy & quite lively, as is usually the case at a supper club, and appetizers were 1/2 off during happy hour. I should have had an old-fashioned, but I had a beer instead because it's been a while!

Almost everyone read the book and enjoyed it for mostly the same reasons that I did... it's so very familiar! Supper clubs are a part of the culture here, everyone has their favorite (and not-so-favorite), so we did talk a little about the book, but mostly shared recommendations.


Many supper clubs have a signature dish or special, and Haddock One of 14 Different Ways is the Red Ox's! I had a seafood combo, which included haddock, but I might try that Haddock Trio someday. It's an extensive menu, though, so lots to choose from tempt.

In other news... this happened on Sunday:


Estoy aprendiendo español.

I haven't received the weekly road construction update email yet, but I've noticed new equipment being staged this week, all marked with Something-or-Other PAVING COMPANY! I've noticed one new piece of machinery every morning since Wednesday... and I'm trying not to get too excited. Oh, man, I can't wait for that step, though. We seem to have reached an acceptable deal with the City regarding the driveway apron & parking, thank goodness.

The weekend plan is to not wake up to an alarm clock tomorrow morning, but not to sleep in too late because I want to go on a bike ride. It's warming up again for the weekend, and air quality is also an issue -- I spoke to soon about the HAZE! I hope it won't be too bad. The folks staying at Ann's Airbnb this month are doing Race The Lake on Sunday -- 88 miles around Lake Winnebago -- and it's gonna be HOT. Whew. Tomorrow night, we're going to a Packer game -- the preseason opener at Lambeau Field -- against the Patriots. It was a good game last week and it should be fun... it's been a while. And Sunday, well, no plans

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer

Well, not so much with the LAZY, and the HAZY isn't currently an issue, but the CRAZY?? Yeah, got that one covered!! How in the world is it August 16th?

My parking spot in the garage is currently occupied by a table full of broken china and stoneware that I finally sorted & cleaned in prep for making new mosaic tables for the pergola. The way they ramped up from the street to the driveway makes it difficult to park my car in the garage, anyway.

My worktable is currently covered with reclaimed fabric from some old sample books that I acquired. I cut them all out of the books and now I'm working on getting all the paper off the back of each sample, and then the plan is to make a patchwork picnic blanket or two. After I zigzag and wash them all...

I'm not in love with that sock that I'm making for Maddy/Viv, so might rip and start over with a hat. Instead, attention has turned back to the Christmas stocking... and it seems like I'm doing as much ripping as I am knitting.


I knit the children twice... first, at top, was similar to the way the kids were knit on the previous stocking. I couldn't find my chart for the Santa that occupies the next section of this design and, in my online search, I found the original chart for the children. I wasn't happy with the boots in the first version, anyway, nor my ideas to "fix" them, so rrriiiiippppp! Now I'm thinking that those faces look downright frightening, but should get better when ends are woven in & the stitches settle down with blocking. Argh.

Kate & I had a fun day last Saturday at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. It was Kate's first time working with the wood type, ink, and press! There was a seed-swap theme, so we printed seed packets to exchange seeds with other attendees.


It was a challenge to work so small. It was my first time using metal type, too -- just a little, the "ANDs" and the umlaut. Blum, pronounced with a long U (or an umlaut, like my cousin uses), is my maiden name, so I went with that... inspired by my Aunt LaFae who liked to say, "Bloom/Blum where you are planted!" Seemed fitting.


This is Kate's design. Fun with COLOR!!


And these are examples from all in attendance. I'm dreaming of a private freeform full-day family workshop next summer when everyone is here.

I want to thank you all for your input regarding the spectacles! I really liked one of the Kliik frames but they're too small for my face, and I don't LOVE any of the others, so I'm still shopping. A friend recommended her eye care place... several locations, none of them very local... I'm thinking road trip.

Oh, one last thing!! I wanted to share Kate's new blog with you: Katie in the Wilderness!


Unraveled Wednesday

Wow, peeps, August has been TOUGH so far! This stupid street construction continues to aggravate in so many ways, most recently a tangle with the city about our terrace, driveway apron, parking. To make a long story short, we moved in 36 years ago and the entire terrace in front of our house (area between sidewalk & street), was graveled parking. Our house sits closer to the street than any other on the block and there was no front yard, especially until a few years ago when there were giant ash trees where grass might have been (and that's more on the sides of the front porch than the front, anyway). It was when the people across the street starting parking in that area in front of our house -- when they had their own driveway & garage (we had neither at the time) -- that was the last straw. We reclaimed more than half of the terrace, planted it, made a cute brick walkway from the sidewalk to the street, and it's been that way for I don't know how long. When we needed a bit more parking (for our kids/tenants), we took a little back, and the city even blacktopped it at one point after some of the preliminary work leading up to the current project. Well, now they're saying that the apron can only be as wide as the driveway, and I'm not having it! Our house was built in 1885, before cars were even invented, we've lived here for 36 years with no one EVER raising an eyebrow about parking, we're at the end of a dead-end and on the edge of ravine, and we sacrificed what little side yard we had when we put in our driveway & garage, which at least got our cars off the street for the most part. I have no problem with street parking, but we can't do it for half the year because of snow/snowplows. There really needs to be some allowance for special circumstance -- which I believe this is -- and, even more, I believe that they need to replace what was removed (especially since it was their blacktop). Harumph. Awaiting a call back. On to happier things...

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


I knit a Sinkmates dishcloth.


I knew I had a small stash of Rowan Handknit Cotton, so dug it out and cast on. It's a little small and a little wonky -- I think I need to try going up at least one needle sizes for the "body," and two for the i-cord.

Maddy's/Viv's sock is coming along.


I had to put it down for a while because I was a little confused by the short-row heel. I guess I've only ever knit socks with a heel flap before! After a while I decided that I just had to TRUST -- that's how I've approached knitting from the very start and it usually works out. I think I prefer a heel flap, though.


There hasn't been much of that in any form lately, but occasionally I crack open The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida.


I've been stepping up the bike riding. We're lucky to have a lot of local walking/cycling paths, so have been discovering more of those. Last week, Kate & I went over to Two Rivers and rode a path that goes right along Lake Michigan. We didn't really have a plan but ended up riding all the way to Manitowoc -- where we decided we'd earned a nice cold beer -- and then rode back. About 10 miles. Today we're heading up to De Pere to a path that we've ridden before but it's been a few years.


We've been taking better care of ourselves, overall, and eating better... and earning STICKERS! Yesterday, I pasted that big honkin' sun on the day because I successfully avoided BIRTHDAY DONUTS at work! I never even peeked into the box. Big ol' sunny sticker for me. haha.

It's just been busy. Rusty was in Door County teaching at The Clearing for a week, I had the kiddos overnight last weekend, Kate's been house-/dog-sitting in Appleton and will be going on a couple of camping trips in the next couple of weeks... oh, and we're going to an all-day printing workshop on Saturday at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. It's been a while since I got inky, so I'm looking forward to it!

Hope all is well with you. I'm a bit behind in the blog reading department, but will catch up soon!


Your Mission...

...should you choose to accept, is to tell me what you think about these specs!


Calvin Klein




DKNY (I'm way happier than I look!)


Klink 1 (I think it's Klink!)


Klink 2






I don't know the brand - purple & blue & gold


Ray Ban - rose gold


Ray Ban - tortoise

Kate met me after work yesterday and we went a) to the lighting store to shop for a new living room fixture, b) to the eye doc to shop for new frames, and c) out to dinner at a new-to-us place!

I like my current frames but they are really getting worn out and I'm not sure they'd last another round -- they're most similar to the Longchamp & Prada styles, and I've had frames very similar to DKNY before. I can't clearly see more than 6" in front of me, and don't trust just anyone to tell me what looks good, so it was nice to have Kate along -- and she took pictures! There sure are a lot of stickers on those frames... and the glare!

Anyway, what do you think? Is there one you LOVE? One you HATE? Should I go back and try again??


Transform, Refashion, Repurpose

It felt so good to clean up my workspace last weekend and to clear a little space to work... SO good that I dove right into a new project, fast & furious, and didn't really think things through or properly prepare... or even measure much or cut straight or sew very well.

That said, it turned out "good enough," and I am CHUFFED with my new top!! (I kept telling myself that both the pattern & the fabric would be very forgiving -- this is not a tailored piece of clothing, and the busy print would hide a multitude of sins!)


Here's the story. I ordered a tunic & a dress from Gudrun Sjödén* a while back. I didn't like the dress, so I sent it back in exchange for a pair of pants... that I thought were black linen. Turns out, it was a floral pattern on a black background. I tried them on & they fit okay, but there's no way that I could style those voluminous floral pants in a way that I'd feel comfortable leaving the house (and I prefer knits for PJ/house pants). I loved the print, though, and thought, "I'd wear a top in that print!"

"Voluminous" is a keyword, as are One-Yard Minimalist Top. I don't know if I'd have called them palazzo pants, but the legs were very wide and almost straight. It seemed like a good gamble to try transforming them. As I mentioned the other day, I cut off the legs, matched the side seams and cut straight up the middle on the wider side of each, then squared up for front & back -- one leg for the front, the other for the back. The shoulder pieces are rectangles that I cut from the remainder.

The pattern is written to utilize both hand- and machine-sewing; I started to fell seams by hand but my heart wasn't in it & I needed a fix -- so I did the entire thing by machine.


Measurements: It's basically a square -- 28" wide (56" circumference), and 29" long from shoulder to hem, utilizing the original hem. The side slits are 5", and the armholes are a generous 10".


Modifications: I scooped the front neckline. As written, the front & back are both square -- in fact, as written, there's no difference between front & back. I like a square neckline, but it was just a bit high. I think I'd imagined that it would drape a little, sort of like a cowl, but it didn't. So, I cut it to make a scoop about 2" deep and I like it so much better.

I wore it all day yesterday and loved it! Next time? I'd take my time, zigzag the fabric edges right away (if needed), and be more precise in sewing -- especially seam allowance -- I was all over the place and it was sometimes difficult to do the finishing. If possible, I'd adjust the width of the pieces -- make the back just a bit wider than the front and adjust the shoulder pieces to suit. I think the fit/look on the front would be improved with slightly less "bunching" in front, and the "sleeves" would look a little better. Definitely not a deal-breaker, though. The pattern/project is quick & satisfying!

*Boy, I sure do love that Swedish aesthetic -- colors, layering & quality of those clothes (Hanna Andersson for the kids) -- but this girl, with a great love for "neutral," has to be careful and filter!


Hotter than heck

It's 86F, feels like 93, on our way to a high of 92 (not sure what that will "feel like") -- which is down from the 98 predicted a few days ago! Dew point is at a steamy 72. Hopefully, there'll be some thunderstorms beginning to roll through this evening.

It was pretty hot yesterday, too. Ali & the kids came into town because one of Rod's bands was playing this week at our city's Wednesday night outdoor concert series. I did not want to sweat anymore, having had enough of that getting two Airbnbs into shape yesterday, so I invited her up (the venue is maybe a block away as the crow flies)... "I have ice cream sandwiches!"

Junah & Ginny walked up on their own, using the uneven decrepit stone path that I think was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp back in the day (it has seen better days)! I had them drink some water & rest for a few minutes -- even spritzed their faces with some moisturizer spray (so refreshing!) -- before digging into the freezer. Ali & the other kids came up a little while later. It was a fun, quick visit.


Malina & Davy had some fun making gravel & mud concoctions -- there's gotta be some benefit for someone with the huge mess on our street (that I can't stop complaining about). Rusty's been burying the downspout out front to connect it to the new storm drain (we've never had one of those before).

Look what happened when I said, "Strike a pose!"


I can't get over Davy's cock of the head and little smile!

I'll be back tomorrow to show off my NEW TOP and to share some details!


More Weekending

Obviously, none of us checked the BARBIE movie rating...


...which I did only just this morning. PG-13. I'd say we dodged a bullet. The words "vagina" and "penis" were said, as in Barbie's & Ken's lack thereof (those are neither new nor naughty words to the kids); thus, there wasn't any sex & only a little inuendo. Barely a kiss. Most of the movie went over the kids' heads, but it was colorful and there was action... not to mention buttered popcorn, sodas & Slurpees, etc. A good time was had by all! We adults agreed that it was good but one viewing is probably enough.

We had one more family get-together on Friday night with Ali & all the kids. Sadly, we bid farewell & safe travels to Maddy in the parking lot after the movie on Saturday, when she started her long trek back to Australia. 


She had a relaxing Sunday in Milwaukee with BFFs Katy & Cito, and Katy took her to O'Hare to board her first flight... 16.5 hours! Her visit went super fast. All we can do now is practice patience until next summer, when Viv will come again, too! (Just had to share that gif that Google thought I'd like... they were correct.) (It should be animated.)

I took Annie to the airport last Wednesday, as she had to be back in Lima for work. Brian & Addie (& maybe Mack) will be coming up for the day this Wednesday, and then B&A fly out on Sunday.

I miss everyone already!

The only thing to do is dig in... there's been some neglect on the homefront lately, so Kate spent yesterday morning giving the kitchen a deep-clean, and I spent some time doing the same (not quite as deep) in my workroom. The worktable was a disaster, and it felt so good to make some space!


The main motivation was to make a top... there are plenty of other things that could occupy that space, but at the moment, it's this. I'd ordered a pair of wide-leg linen pants that I thought were going to be black... turns out it was an amazing floral design on a black background. I love the print... but not as pants (at least, not for me)! Perfect for a top! I've had Karen Stevens' One-Yard Minimalist Top pattern for a while... and it seemed like a perfect match. I cut off the legs, matched the side seams and cut straight up the middle on the wider side of each, then squared up for front & back. I left the machine-sewn hem at the bottom, and the two leg seams are in the "princess" area on the top, though not shaped... they go from hem to shoulder. I cut the shoulder pieces from the butt, and I have enough fabric for a pocket or two, if I wish.


So far, so good. I was so excited to actually be cutting & sewing something, that I rushed a bit... I should have taken more time to really read the instructions, prep the pieces, and sew! Some of my seams are a little wonky. It'll be fine. I think it's a pretty forgiving design. I have side seams & some finishing to go.

Hope you had a great weekend!


Right now

Looking... pretty in PINK!


Anticipating... a super-fun family movie date tomorrow to see BARBIE! Everyone's in a tizzy about what to wear. Barbie would wear a Pussyhat, wouldn't she??

Cooking... tonight it will be Sloppy Joes & corn-on-the-cob, along with a salad, for one last family meal & get-together with Maddy. She'll begin her journey back to OZ right after the movie tomorrow. (I already took Annie to the airport on Wednesday morning.)


Enjoying... the third orchid blossom!

Excited about... jumping on my bike! Thinking of doing Just signed up to do the Peninsula Fall Challenge in Door County again this September.

Feeling good about... making some lifestyle/nutrition changes, which will make ^^ a lot easier.

Knitting... well, let's see... I have a pair of socks underway, a Christmas stocking, a blanket, and will soon be working out/casting on a skirt!

Sewing... not much, but I did get the machine threaded up so I could do some mending/hemming the other day. That's a start.


Wanting... that glass panel (or similar) but not in that $600 trellis! I've been unable to find anything about the artist, but I have made a couple of fused glass pieces in the past... so maybe there's a workshop in my future.

Watching... not a whole lot, but I have been delighted to catch a couple of Murphy Brown reruns in the past week or so, both with Murphy's mother -- played by Colleen Dewhurst, who is one of my favorite actors in the history of acting.

Wearing... Crocs. haha.


Took a quick Door County trip on Wednesday with my girls -- for cherries & lunch!!

Wishing... that Australia and Peru weren't so far away.

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

Happy Weekend!!


It's a First and a Last!

I don't even know how long I've had this orchid. Generally, my track record with orchids hasn't been very good. I receive them as a gift when they're blooming & lovely, and then I try to keep a pot of leaves alive... until I don't.

Last year, I was excited to see a flower stem emerge. I don't know what happened, but the buds never developed and it looked like the end of the stem was rotting, so I removed it.

I've been pretty good with houseplants lately -- better than I've ever been -- an incidental upshot of the pandemic. This year, another stem emerged -- and it was healthy! I've been watching it like a hawk...




There are a few more buds getting fat, making me very happy!


Kate repotted & rearranged a bunch of plants in the Garden Room the other day. They've all been improving since I began watering with water from the rain barrel! I didn't realize how "caustic" our city water is to my plants -- it's extra-super hard and we have to treat & filter it. Now I'm figuring out how to store the many gallons of rainwater I'll need over the winter!

In other news...

7-10 1

...we hauled the old Barcalounger to the curb on Monday night for Tuesday's "big & irregular" pick up day. It's my old chair... used to be my mom's old chair. It's been hanging in the corner of the living room and months since anyone's used it. I reclined one last time and enjoyed a margarita. Farewell, old chair, you were never as comfortable at my house as you were at Mom's, anyway...

You get a glimpse of the state of my street -- dirt & gravel, very little pavement remaining after the sewer work, and it was a big ol' muddy mess in yesterday's rain. I'm awaiting the latest project update to see if the pavement removal is still slated to begin next week. The big piles of bark are where there used to be huge shady maples. I keep thinking that this is probably what it looked like when these houses were new... almost 140 years ago. Ugh. I'm still just stunningly bereft.

Send tequila! haha.


Unraveled Wednesday: Mack's Blanket

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


It's officially an FO! The blanket has been finished for a few weeks, and I was finally able to give it to Mack on Sunday @ his graduation party.


  • My Ravelry Project Page: A Light in the Window for Mack for Mack's high school graduation!
  • Pattern: A Light in the Window by Kay Gardiner was the inspiration
  • Yarn: 10g dye test skeins from Alanna Wilcox, supplemented with a couple of extra "blues," and undyed sock yarn
  • Needles: US 4
  • Start to Finish: February 6-June 21, 2023

Mack - hanks
Mack - hanks

I really had fun knitting this blanket, using up all those mini skeins, and riffing on Kay's pattern. I took it to Mexico... twice, and posted about it quite a bit on FB/IG. Mack follows me on IG and hilariously "liked" almost every post about the project, never knowing that it was destined to be his from the very beginning.


By the second trip to Mexico, I was working on that crazy (wonky) personalized square... it went through quite a few design variations, and a similar number of false starts! It settled down a bit after washing (I never took a photo afterwards), but it's always going to be wonky. That's life!

Boys knitting 2017
Boys knitting 2017

I taught the boys to knit at Auntie Camp in 2017. Mack stuck with it more than Addie, pictured above in 2019 having had a refresher. He's even knit some dishcloths for gifts!


So, he gets it!! And you all know what a pleasure it is to make something for someone who truly appreciates it.


And I pulled a print on my Provisional Press to make his graduation card!


I've been reading Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal -- LARGE PRINT EDITION (by accident, but it's working out OK).


What day is it today??

I will never not welcome a 4-day weekend, but WOW... that was a busy one!! 


We capped it off in All-American style with a baseball game on the 4th of July! Kate & I grabbed Junah & Ginny to join Ann & her family at American Family Field in Milwaukee to watch the Brewers take on the Cubs. Boy, was it hot! We were so grateful to be on the shady side of the field. The kids enjoyed hot dogs, soda, Red Vines, and frozen custard (which instantaneously melted).

There was a "beat the cheese" race, the Johnsonville sausage races, and a hot dog eating contest -- I'm guessing the former two are "only in Wisconsin" type things. haha.


We took off a little early because we had to drop J&G at a campsite (the Zim family is camping until Friday) and wanted them to have a little daylight, so we missed the excitement of bases loaded and a Brew Crew come-from-behind to tie up the game... we didn't miss going to 11 innings and ending up with a loss, though!

Maddy's been in & out, and that will continue, but we're all enjoying our time together. Last Wednesday we had a "crafternoon" at Ann's -- Ali brought her sewing machine, Maddy had a bunch of WIP stitching projects, Ann put together photo boards for Mack's party, I was hopeful that I'd cast on a sock, but didn't, and instead ended up helping Ginny & Malina with a couple of projects (until they decided that they'd rather watch a movie). Mostly, I just visited & chatted, as did Kate when she joined us after her camping trip.


I recently ran across Sharpie Fabric Markers, which worked perfectly to decorate some small canvas bags I had in my "kid crafts" stash.


The girls knew just what to do!

We've also been playing a lot of SEQUENCE! Maddy introduced us to the game last summer -- she loves to play games, and it's one of her favorites. She'll be around for a couple of days, then taking off for a reunion with some college friends, meeting back up with her again in Madison on Sunday for Mack's graduation party (finally!).



We had some much-needed rain yesterday (and it continues today)!


As you can see, it did not dampen our fun. A very small thunderstorm went through early, giving Addie the opportunity to check a couple of items off his Summertime Bucket List (100 things) that he's been working on -- a challenge between a few friends (each with their own list).


Everything went pretty much as scheduled... I picked up Ann & Addie at the airport on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, Maddy drove up from Milwaukee where she'd been hanging out (in jetlag recovery) for a few days; Brian & Mack drove up from Madison; Ali came in with the kids; Kate went out to set up camp with Ducky but came back to hang with us for a while. We were a happy and raucous bunch yesterday!

Note to self: Need photos of girls (and everyone else)... more of them & less awkward (but they sure make me smile).

Plenty more of that to come in the next month or so. ❤️


Unraveled Wednesday: A day late!

I had a stellar day off yesterday, beginning with a 9 am dentist appointment. I continue to use my water flosser about 99.9% of the time, and it shows!

Though I questioned past-me for that 9 am appointment, yesterday-me decided to roll with it... I contemplated a nap but it never happened! Instead, I focused on organizing & cleaning out my workroom.

  • I tossed a couple of things, including a Christmas wreath that my sister Karen & I made for our mom... in 1991. It featured the handprints of the five grandchildren to-date; there were three more to come! I took some photos and tossed it in the bin.
  • I sorted, counted & listed 11 bags of yarn that I'd purchased for dyeing but know I'll never get to!
  • I filled a box of books to send to Ziffit -- the second in as many weeks. Kate used that service in Scotland when she was cleaning out & paring down for the move back to the US. You use the app to scan the ISBN and get an instant valuation -- some are pretty low, some they don't want (right now), and every once in a while there's a surprise -- then box up the books, print out a FedEx shipping label, and drop the box at a nearby pick-up location (mine happens to be Walgreens)! They pay the shipping, review the books for condition/final value, and send you cash. It's kind of fun, and I've averaged about $30/box.
  • I rearranged some things to take advantage of all the newfound space, reducing some clutter along the way.
  • I took a bunch of aluminum cans to the recycling center (reducing clutter in the garage)!
  • I played around with an idea for a handmade/handprinted graduation card.
  • I charted the name/date for another Christmas Stocking... the kind I said that I'd never knit again. haha. The kids' grandmother is very charming, and also very appreciative; apparently, I can't resist.

I also washed & dried Mack's blanket!! Official FO post will occur after his graduation party, which is in about two weeks!


Meanwhile, there's a different FO to report! I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday Thursday...



This was my travel/carry-along knitting when the blanket(s) were too unwieldy. I have two more hanks of this yarn in the "Colour Study: Colourwheel" colorway, and the plan is to make a hat & a pair of socks for Maddy & Viv!


Oops, not sure why that second photo is so small. Editing photos a little differently, so I'm sure it's operator error!


We're in the middle of a stretch of 80º+F-degree days, so no need for a nice warm hat right now, but Kate will be very warm in about 5-6 months!


Honestly, I've barely cracked a book other than the ones I've put into a box to send away! Things are about to go a little crazy around here and I feel like I won't have a "free" day/minute for anything until sometime in August! We'll see. Ann & Addie arrive on Saturday and stay over at my house because theirs is occupied until Sunday @ noon, which is when Brian & Mack will be driving up from Madison; Maddy arrives on Sunday (SQUEE!!) (she's currently in Milwaukee!); and I pick up Rusty on Wednesday after his month-long trip to CA.


Ten Years!

Happy Anniversary!


It's been fun over the past few days to see my FB memories -- picking up & delivering the altered/repaired dress, quilts on the line, decorating the tent, stringing up the lights -- it was a magical wedding.


Ten years and four kids later, they're still cute, having fun, and in love. I recall more than a few people raising questions about their 20-year age difference and, well, I think it's working out okay!


Ali+Rod : June 15th -- all you every wanted to know about the wedding, the dress (which was my mom's), the wedding shawls, etc.


Making a book

I don't really have much to share in the way of knitting, though I have finished weaving in all the ends on Mack's blanket (HALLELUJAH!!), so I'm not joining Kat & the Unravelers today... but scootch on over and see what everyone's making!

I have been mildly interested in recent months (okay... watched tutorials, obtained materials and dabbled a bit) in making a book by hand. Lucky for me, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum offered a workshop a couple of weeks ago. And I wrangled Kate & Ali to come along, and we sure had fun!


There was a fair bit of advance work done for us -- seven of the eight signatures had been cut & folded -- because we sure didn't need to spend precious workshop time folding paper! We did make the last signature, though, and then chose leather for the cover & closure, punched holes (Ali & I both broke our awls) and sewed them up!


Though I had watched tutorials and took a stab at making a book, there really is nothing like the experience & assistance one gets at a hands-on workshop! We were sailing along in no time... haha, well, the workshop did go about a half-hour over!


We cut the covers for our books from the same piece of leather -- I really liked the idea of that -- but the girls chose to flip their pieces around so the suede side was out. We each used a different color of waxed linen thread for binding, and we all did something a little different for the closure.


Our lovely instructor, Stephanie, took the photo above -- didn't she get a great angle? haha.


It's a lovely, lay-flat book... with some flaws, but HEY, I MADE A BOOK! We're all really looking forward to making more and experimenting with different papers and cover ideas. I don't know if we'll have an opportunity for Auntie Camp, but making a simple(r) book would definitely be among the choices offered this year!


Unraveled Wednesday: The Endless Weaving-in

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


Actually, it's going better than I realized! I thought I was about half-way with the ends, but the photo I took this morning tells the tale!


Might I dare to dream that it'll be an FO at this time next week?!


It's still somewhat daunting, even at this stage, but I just keep plugging away.

The recipient & his dad were supposed to fly from Lima on Thursday but have been delayed because, as a minor, Mack needed written permission from his mom! Ann's not too sad about it all, and the boys will wait until after Mack's 18th (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) birthday* next week, meanwhile getting paperwork/permission together for Addie... because he'll need permission from his dad to fly in a couple of weeks with Ann.


I haven't quite finished Trespasses yet. Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and Connection is excellent bedtime reading... and I'm in no hurry.

Kate & I went to Minneapolis last weekend and, besides food, books became a focus... she's been percolating a project in which books play a part, and we had just attended a very successful workshop with Ali where we MADE our own books. One of the best shops we visited was Magers & Quinn Booksellers. There are so many, though, we didn't even scratch the surface. I came away with a great book about making books, and a nice little haul for the kiddos, too!

*Somehow, I also have a daughter celebrating 10 years of marriage this month! How??


Catching up

The kids' official last day of school was Friday. Kate & I went out to sort some things with Ducky, so were there when they got home!


We also enjoyed a campfire and s'mores... I like Davy's "marshmallow baton," and chimney sweep look! It's going to be a fun summer!


On Saturday, we drove down to Sheboygan Falls for an estate sale that almost seemed to good to be true... and it was. There were a couple of red flags in the description but ya never know, so we took a chance. The whole place should have been donated to the local fire department for practice. BUT, we traveled a bunch of roads and saw lots of stuff that we've never seen before. We have seen the sign for JOHNSONVILLE before, but never made the turn... until Saturday. Oh my goodness, what a surprise to drive up & see BRAT, a sculpture by Robert Indiana (though amid some controversy). We were a bit overwhelmed in the Johnsonville Marketplace -- so much merchandise (all impeccable quality) -- but we did bring home some summer sausage, fresh bratwurst for supper (Johnsonville is hands-down my preferred sausage), along with Sheboygan brat buns from Norman's Hi-Lo Bakery (amazing), and beer... and a beer koozie. We're all about the koozies lately. Potosi Brewery, on the other side of the state, brews some beer exclusively for Johnsonville.

There's a ton more going on around here and I'll try to get back ASAP. Tonight, I'm racing home (so to speak) to pick up Kate, then stopping by to grab Ali, and we're making our way to Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum for a book-making workshop!


We have a graduate!

This just in...


Malina graduated 4K yesterday!

I remember when Kate finished preschool -- there might have been a cap made of construction paper -- and we mothers all hummed Pomp & Circumstance during the procession. This actual cap & gown? Crazy... but so darn cute! I asked Ali if they moved the tassels: "They moved them, half of them were not where they should be by that time which just made it cuter!"

The kids' last day of school is tomorrow, and it's basically an all-day picnic at a nearby county park. It's just been an amazing year for all of them -- the whole family!


Maddy said, "It looks like everyone else is posing for their band's album cover and then there's the preschool graduate 😂🥰🥰 !"

Happy Weekend!!


Workin' For The (Long) Weekend

I don't really have much to update in the knitting & reading departments. I've finished knitting the border on four corners of Mack's blanket, and now I'm filling in -- straight garter stitch with no miter-shaping increases, so it should go pretty quick... and then there are a lot of ends to weave in.

There are lots of other things vying for attention these days, though, especially NICE WEATHER!! It's been amazing this week -- a little cooler today & tomorrow (not unwelcome), and then warming up for what could be a stellar Memorial Day Weekend. I get an early start this week, with Friday off! Yay!!


Kate & I drove down to my CSA farm on Saturday to pick up starter flower, veg & herb plants. We "looped the lake," driving down to Fond du Lac on the east side and returning on the west; stopping at a couple of thrift stores and for lunch, too.


We also picked up some mulch, soil & seeds and have been busy in the yard ever since... well, mostly Kate. I love gardening but only have so much time in a day, so it's GREAT to have my personal gardener here and she is grateful to have a yard & garden at her disposal after living in a flat in the city for the past two years! I spread the mulch around the rescued hostas -- I've been calling it my hosta sanctuary. haha.


Rusty's been busy, too. I caught him from the bedroom window just as he finished cleaning up the little brick patio and along the edge where the yard meets ravine.

Also very loosely on the docket is repainting the kitchen & living rooms. The kitchen will revert to deep red/maroon-ish with white trim -- the balance in that room is off with white walls & gray trim.


Swatches (unedited) at different times of day. One of those colors is called "Rejuvenation." Before anything much happens here, we'll be tearing into the wall where those switches & controls are to reconnect currently idle wiring for a new ceiling light, removing the April Aire control that we no longer use, and patching it up. I'm looking forward to better light in that room.

Hope you all have a great weekend!!