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Ten on Tuesday: Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

1. Rusty & I took a 7-hour RT drive on Saturday to attend my nephew's graduation party.

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The chocolate fountain was a hit... look for it next at a summer birthday party!

2. We stopped on the way to visit Maddy at work and have lunch!

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We managed one not-so-goofy picture.

3. My niece took some pictures of my goofy sisters and me.

4. I slept in until 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. That's crazy! (Obviously, I needed it.)

5. I did some finishing/fixing on my indig0-dyed Endless Summer Tunic dress -- all that's left now is some handwork (felling seams).

6. Junah came over for a delightful few hours. He is unmistakably communicating his wants and desires, both vocally and by pointing. The boy loves to point! He is also officially running now.

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7. On Monday, I decided that it was time to make another tunic! This time, I used an existing garment as a template to make a pattern and cut up another men's 4X t-shirt for fabric -- it was the perfect size. It's a very simple design, and I did some of the sewing by machine, but it still took all day! The learning curve in figuring out a mitered-corner finish on the square neckline would account for a great deal of that.

8. Ali rode her bike over with Junah in the trailer. The weather was iffy all day -- clouds, rain, sun, rinse & repeat -- but they found a good weather window and it was good to be outside. Junah loves it outside!!

9. I helped with supper last night, made a run to pick up trip supplies, and watched the last episode of North & South.

10. No knitting! It will definitely be coming on the trip, though... both the current sweater and shawl. We leave this afternoon!

And that's that. I hope you had a great weekend!


Right now: On the cusp of summer

Watching: For the first time ever, North & South (any version). (I don't understand how this has flown under my radar for so long.)

Reading: Olive Kitteridge. It's been on my nightstand for ages! There are a lot of books on my nightstand (because it's actually a small bookshelf) and I'm going to read the books I've been collecting there or get rid of them! Maybe I'll hit a BINGO along the way! (And check Mary's post for a fun contest!)

Knitting: Prickly Poppy (see yesterday).

Dreading: I've been to the dentist and have already paid the piper for new tires... I guess there's some work on the brakes to be done soon; other than that, I see nothing too dreadful on the horizon!

Humming: Florence + The Machine - Delilah from the upcoming new album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

Drinking: Lots of fresh citrus in sparkling water, over ice. So refreshing! I mix it up -- sometimes all one fruit, sometimes a combo. Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit... I love the tartness! Occasionally, I plop in some frozen raspberries for color and yum.

Celebrating: My nephew's high school graduation! We'll be making a day-trip drive north on Saturday for the party.

Listening to: Birds in the morning. I love waking up to birds singing.

Itching to: Finish & wear my AVFKW Endless Summer Tunic (dress)! Fixing & finishing are fiddly (totally my own doing) but progress is being made!

Looking forward to: a short road trip with Kate to visit Black Mountain, NC. She has larger purpose, I'm going along for the ride, as I've never been to that part of the country. I've heard there's a great yarn store in Black Mountain, and lots of great shops and things to do in and around Asheville.

Needing to: Pack my bags! The project + camera bags threaten to far outnumber those for clothing + toiletries.

Delighted by: The new & aligned tires on my car! It's the little things...

Inspired by: Makers and Doers.


Something new!

Prickly

Not long ago, an image for Berroco's Prickly Poppy passed before my eyes (while reading my weekly email from The Village Knitter, no doubt) and I was immediately in love. I was reminded of an old favorite reverse stockinette cardigan (two of them, actually) that I wore to death, but Prickly Poppy had some cute details, too.

Pattern procured, I emailed Ann & Katy to order the yarn. Berroco Indigo -- made of 100% recycled fibers. I don't have the tag with me at the moment, but I think I ordered either "Faded" or "Relaxed." Either way, I think I'm going to end up with another favorite.

Cast on occurred last night... and away we go!


Weekending: Sunday Blues

Oh, was it ever a blue Sunday... so blue. And I'm not sure I could have been any happier about that!

It was one of those stellar weekends all around -- the perfect balance of time together vs. time alone, time with my grandson, time for garden/yard stuff, and definitely time for creative stuff (though I haven't knit a stitch in at least a week!). I was mindful of and grateful for it all, because it'll be a while before there's a chance at another.

When last we met, I'd stirred up an indigo flower.

I've slowly collected supplies over the past few months. Following their instructions for using Pre-Reduced Indigo Crystals, I ordered all of my dye supplies from Dharma Trading Co. I already had a selection of cotton onesies to play around with, as well as some yarn, but the big thing I was aiming to dye was 2 yards of Limited-edition Lime Organic Cotton Jersey from Alabama Chanin. It's a fabulous color, but it is so not my color... nor any of my people's!

I wanted to dye the fabric all in one piece, so decided on a 20-gallon plastic trash can with a cover for my vat. On Saturday, I mixed and measured... and due to miscalculation, didn't have quite enough Thiox, but proceeded anyway (and ordered more!), and then let it sit so the magic could happen.

On Sunday morning, I put the onesies and fabric in the washer for a rinse+spin cycle to dampen, and spread a large plastic drop cloth between the back door of the garage and the clothesline -- the vat is located just inside the garage door.

But, of course, I started with yarn!

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One hank of Merino-Cashmere-Nylon. It took a lot of rinsing to remove the excess dye!

The onesies didn't seem to soak up as much dye, but I'd also practiced some shibori/tie-dye technique on all but one of them.

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6-month Onesie. Folded and tied with string.

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6-month Onesie. Dunk-dyed, unbound.

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6-month Onesie. Gathered and bound with rubber band.

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6-month Onesie. Folded and tied with string.

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12-month Onesie. Gathered and bound with rubber bands.

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24-month Onesie. Folded and tied with string.

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24-month Onesie. Folded and tied with string.

I don't have a photo of the lime fabric before dyeing... or really much of the after, either. I was alone and there's really no way one can dye and document at the same time! I do have a video, though.

All the onesies, a peek at the fabric, and a quick glimpse of the pre-rinsed yarn. I rinsed the fabric pieces on the line with the hose, and then washed everything (with color catchers). The fabric, being large and not bound in any way, also held a lot of dye.

But wait! There's more!!

Inspired by several finished pieces I've seen lately, I purchased and pieced together the pattern for an Endless Summer Tunic (dress) by A Verb for Keeping Warm and...

Well, I had 2 yards of freshly dyed fabric!

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I cut and sewed on my freshly serviced machine, using my spiffy new walking foot for the second time... until a piece flew out of it, it fell apart, and then my needle broke! But I carried on with a regular foot and stretch stitch, using Maxi-Lock thread, and it worked!

I have a new dress! With pockets, even. I don't think I've ever sewn anything with pockets before. This thing is awesome! The shot above was taken late on Sunday and, because the weekend, I am lacking a good "foundation," and my mirror is permanently ick (but I love it)... I couldn't wait! With the girls in position and properly supported, it's clear that I'll have to stitch up that V-neck another inch (or wear a layer underneath).

Look at that drape! There's still some finishing & fixing to do: I want to fell all the seams and finish the V-neck edge by hand; I need to take it in just a bit under the arms, and also bind the arm edges (I missed that part in the directions). You can certainly expect to see more of these in varying lengths this summer.

And also blue. It's going to be a very blue summer. We're going to have the blues awful bad around here!


Weekending: Saturday

It was quite amazing to realize on Saturday that it had been 39 years since I graduated from high school! It just simply cannot be, and yet the math says otherwise. Heh.

* * * * *

Saturday morning found us at the Outagamie County Master Gardener Association's annual plant sale, where this was a common sight.

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We mainly bought tomatoes; by the time we arrived, they were out of basil and parsley, but had a very good supply of hostas and daylilies (most of which they were practically giving away, and if you have a hosta garden, I'm sure you can relate). They had a good selection of perennials, all very nicely organized, but I have few needs right now in that department. We stopped at a nursery on the way home to pick up a few annuals for planters.

And it all got planted on Saturday afternoon! We may yet have a few iffy nights in terms of frost, but we'll keep a close eye on the situation.

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I stood by with phone in hand, ready to dial 9-1-1, while Rusty did a little trimming of one of the old ash trees at the front of our house. Yikes! There are a lot of small, straggly dead branches in those trees, but there was just a major one or two larger ones that really needed to be taken care of -- and were "in reach."

* * * * *

We also went to an open house at the former retreat center owned by the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, commonly known as Monte Alverno. The property is now owned by the Fox River Environmental Education Alliance (FREEA) and on Saturday local son Cory Chisel was named vice president of FREEA. He presented plans, hopes, and dreams for the property... which may become known simply as The Refuge (if my vote on the subject mattered in any way).

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It's a beautiful property... with many bedrooms -- over 50!! I've always known it to be there but have never been until a few weeks ago when Kate was on a panel of judges for a local photography group and they had their meeting and dinner there. "Monte Alverno" is synonymous, in my mind, with "marriage retreat" because that's the only thing I ever knew of that happened there!

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Not any more. Though, if you wanted to have a marriage retreat there, I'm sure you'd be welcome! Or any other kind of retreat... and, yes, of course I've thought of that!

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Cory and his wife, Adriel, were joined in the chapel area by their son as they sang, and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra looked on; the baby was adorable, watching his daddy play guitar. The sound in that space is amazing! It'll be fun to see how things unfold and develop there over time.

* * * * *

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Junah came over for a while in the evening. I took him for a long walk in the stroller. He spent a lot of time going in and out through the back door (he likes to hear it slam!), going up and down the porch steps... always busy and moving!

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He has some favorite cupboards at my house, but this one is probably the favorite... and also the noisiest! I can't think of a more fun way to spend a Saturday night.

* * * * *

I also made this on Saturday:

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Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

My cauldron is a 20-gallon trash can, which I stirred with an actual broom handle, and the bubble is called the indigo flower... sitting atop my indigo vat!

More on that tomorrow!!


Weekending

Kate had a meeting on Saturday morning and I decided to tag along to Appleton and meander The (College) Avenue until she was finished.

I wandered into Blue Moon Emporium, a great little shop with an emphasis on locally made goods, and into Studio 213 LLC, which features a mix of art and antiques, etc. I found a little something at each shop and was quite happy.

My eye was caught by a large corner (probably sectional) sofa in the window of Gabriel Furniture. I bought Rusty's Barcalounger recliner there a whole bunch of years ago, but it had been ages since I'd been in an actual furniture store and was compelled to turn around and go in to have a look around.

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This is actually the back entrance, around the corner. Gabriel's has grown over the years, expanding into several neighboring shops along both College Avenue and Morrison Street, visually tying it all together with some of the ugliest facade work ever (the original multi-story building was gorgeous). One of those shops along The Avenue was Shirley's, where I remember shopping with Mom for school clothes... specifically, Polly Flinders smocked dresses come to mind, and the fairly hiddy coat that I had to have in 5th or 6th grade because it had this cool chain belt, and also a dress Mom bought for Sharon but said "Don't tell your dad," so Sharon was scared to death of wearing for fear that Dad would ask her where it came from. (As if.)

I wandered through the store and stepped through a doorway into the part of the building that's pictured above, and it immediately struck me... this was Beverly Lemke's School of Dance! I took ballet, tap, and tumbling there until the piano and violin came along and appealed to me more. I think of it sometimes when I drive by -- that big red section of the wall on the right was actually about that same color then, but was made of huge ceramic tiles and a beautiful ballerina in arabesque was painted in silhouette to fill the area. There was nothing inside Gabriel's that said "ballet" to me as I stood there, but there must still be an aura or something! I can't remember a single detail about my lessons there, though I do have memory of a production of The Wizard of Oz in which I was both a mouse (tumbling) and some sort of dancing fairy (ballet -- frothy pink dress) and Sharon & Karen were bumble bees (ballet) -- but I know that I loved it and have warm fuzzies about it all.

A little sneaky grief, as Carole calls it, crept up on me there and I got a little teary with the feels of remembering all that -- Shirley's, Beverly Lemke's, Mom.

The salesman at the store told me that way in the back, their work area, there's still a ballerina painted on the wall. I might someday ask for a peek.

* * * * *

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Ann & her family were here and later on Saturday we got together at Mom's & Joe's and had a cookout. Mum's wildflower garden is pretty spectacular right now -- just the way she liked it -- with Virginia bluebells, forget-me-knots, bleeding hearts all blooming, not to mention the flowering trees, especially the redbud (one of which is struggling a bit).

We had a wonderful brunch on Sunday, too, complete with mimosas! (I took a bit of a Whole30 hiatus for Mother's Day...)

* * * * *

I finished Clue 5 of Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015 on Friday night, so cast it off on Saturday!

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I wove in all the ends on Sunday, but just didn't have the time for soaking and blocking; however, I did have time to begin contemplating combinations for my next mystery shawl!

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Combo #1.

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Combo #2.

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Combo #3.

The cast-on for Kirsten Kapur's Through The Loops Mystery Shawl 2015 is set for June 1st, and I think it's going to be Combo #1 -- both are Malabrigo Sock.

But there are weeks before the knit-along begins, so who knows!?

* * * * *

In the meantime, I am carrying on with Michele Bernstein's Sophie's Rose Shawlette, having just completed Row 240 of 360 for the main section; then there will be the edging and that amazing ruffle to work. I need to take an updated photo for my Ravelry project page, but I love how it's all working out so far!

I've also been giving some time to the sewing, and have both the front and back pieces of my Alabama Chanin corset top completely sewn; next step is felling the seams. I think I'll assemble the top and apply the binding, and then the beading! This slow fashion is fun... but slow.

But my sewing machine is ready to pick up and the stitch selector knob is moving, and there'll soon be some faster fashion happening (in all sizes)!


Eye Candy Friday

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We took a drive out to Calumet County Park at the end of the day on Wednesday. It wasn't the most spectacular sunset in the history of the world, but it was pretty... it's a pretty park.


TBT: Before knitting...

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Before knitting -- or, rather, I should say "between" -- I did a lot of cross-stitch embroidery! I ran across these projects the other day. The stitching is finished but they've never been framed or "finished" in a way that allows them to be used or enjoyed.

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My first "hobby retreat" was in early December 1992: "Christmas In Williamsburg," sponsored by Just CrossStitch Magazine. The main event was "The Dorcas Haynes Christmas Sampler," a reproduction sampler designed and taught by Darlene O'Steen. It was the first time I'd flown by myself in years, rented a car, drove from Norfolk to Williamsburg... I arrived a day early and remember going to see "A River Runs Through It" that night. It was a lovely retreat.

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I liked kitchen-y designs such as this fruit piece; I also stitched a fun "herb" design for my sister Ann. (And a quilt design for Sharon, a Santa for Karen, duck stamps for my brother-in-law, commemorative wedding and birth pieces, Christmas stockings, ornaments... so much stitching!)

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Sometimes a little whimsy! I love this goofy angel, and I left this piece out the other day with the intention of finishing it... very soon. A small bolster pillow? A hanging? I'm not sure yet...

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I don't recall the story behind these pieces. I'm certain that they were for my mom... but there's already a finished/framed trillium exactly like this one hanging in her dinette. They match designs that were etched into the glass transom windows in that room.

Ha. Obviously, I was as much a process stitcher as I am a process knitter!

I haven't stitched in years, or looked at new designs. It was quilting designs that first caught my eye and interested me in stitching -- I have no idea what's "new," if anything. I still love samplers to death. If I ever take it up again, though, I'm going to need a magnifier lamp!


Baby pants

It felt so good to spend some much-needed KonMari time in my workroom on Saturday. That nice new worktable is wasted if I can't even move around the room!

Over a year ago, when we cleared all of our stuff from the upstairs apartment, I came across some old t-shirts that Kate & Al painted when they were little. I put them aside. Never intending to keep them (the paint is thick, cracked, brittle), I did want to photograph them, though, before I tossed them out.

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The date is right there on the sleeve of Kate's shirt -- Sept. 2, 1990! Almost 25 years ago (don't judge)! Kate was 5.5 and Ali was 3.5 and I was pregnant with Maddy, though I don't think I actually knew that at the time. We did this as a group in the back yard at Karen's house and Sharon was there, too; now and then, I run across a few photos of the weekend. Fun.

There were also these:

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A year or two later, the last two were done at the cabin with paint and glitter (not glitter paint), and the sparkles were everywhere -- in the grass, the cabin, the outhouse, at the shoreline, on the bridge!

I photographed all of them, salvaged or tossed, then cut and traced and cut some more, celebrating the day's accomplishments by making a pair of Big Butt Baby Pants for Junebug.

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It's my second pair of BBBP, and the first in jersey, so I also used my walking foot for the first time (and I am in LOVE with it!).

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Everything's humming on the old Husqvarna, except that the stitch selector knob won't budge. This little workhorse will do knits even better when I can change the stitch!

As is... I made a little right-side/wrong-side error in cutting, so one leg is inside-out, but oh well; and fold-over elastic would have worked and looked better, but I don't have any. The stretch made it easier to ease in the "big butt" expansion panel without puckering, but didn't do the waistband any favors.

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They were a bit of an experiment and I'm calling it a successful one! I learned a lot and Junah's got a (quirky) new pairs of pants.

Ali sent me some action shots:

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They fit perfectly, and I think he likes them!!


Weekending / FO: Junebean

It was a long-overdue, really great, and very productive weekend! I'm not very good at holding back and parceling out the goods, but I thought I'd try and only post about one thing today; the danger is that I begin to think of things left for later as "old news" and/or something else comes along. I accomplished a lot, though, and I could be "Weekending" almost all week!

I'm not even going to start at the beginning. Here's the scene at my kitchen table on Sunday morning:

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One of my errand stops on Saturday was at Joann's to find buttons for Junah's sweater, and I took some time on yesterday to sew them on! That results in an FO!

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  • Project:  Junebean, Devan by Holli Yeoh
  • Size 2T
  • Yarns:
  • Needle:  US 2 & 3 - slightly larger than specified in the pattern
  • Start to Finish:  March 22 - May 3, 2015

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At first I thought that stripey intarsia block at the neck in back would be too fiddly, but I'm not sure how I reasoned that THREE intarsia blocks across the bottom would be any easier? Because they were solid and not stripes?? Heh. As it turns out, I did both.

There was some operator error in the soaking for blocking process and a bit of color bled to the back -- you can see it here. It might come out or fade a bit with another washing, I haven't done that yet. It makes me a little sad, but then I look at the blocks, the stripes, turn it over and look at the front, the buttons, all those MATCHING STRIPES -- I LOVE IT!

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Stripey goodness. Julia's self-striping wizardry is out of this world amazing.

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Oopsie! There's a sneak peek at something else I did over the weekend.

 


April illustrated

I made a point to take and label (with the date) and post a photo to Instagram everyday last month. There are few things I like more than a photo mosaic! Presenting, April 2015:

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1. April 1. Spring is springing. 2. April 2. Decision made; wound and ready. #romimysteryshawl2015 #sophiestoes, 3. April 3. Spent some time with spackle and a putty knife this afternoon, helping my daughter Kate get her first Young Space pop-up art show space in shape for next week's opening!, 4. April 4. "Interwoven & Twisted." Wonderful collaborative work by my friend Pat Filzen & Renee Koch at Art Space Collective. Remindeded of Ruth Asawa's work., 5. April 5. Dude is drinking from a sippy cup (with an assist for the heavy lifting)., 6. April 6. Tis quite a lovely mail day! #alabamachanin #threeirishgirlsyarn, 7. April 7. Unexpected early hour of free time this morning will be spent knitting., 8. April 8. I wanted to knit Junebug's sweater a bit oversized but this might fit him through 3rd grade., 9. April 9. It's been illuminated... and illuminating., 10. April 10. Looking in. #searchlights at #youngspace opening. #youngspaceregen #youngspacewisco, 11. April 11. Lunch with Ali, Junebug, and Ann., 12. April 12. Snowdrops in the wind., 13. April 13. It was great to see all the neighbor kids outside! #sidewalkchalk, 14. April 13. One little bird on a wire., 15. April 15. Sewing up Junebug's sweater., 16. April 16. Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter Alison!, 17. April 17 y'all. Fresh pedi, sunshine, green grass, 75F or something ridiculous like that..., 18. April 18. The bloodroot cometh., 19. April 19. Work on my worktable proceeds., 20. April 20. Hit the "ORDER" button and called a huge project finished today! Celebrating by cutting out my 1st pair of #madebyrae #bigbuttbabypants on my new worktable and hoping that "baby" pants will still fit my grandson! Using the expansion panel!, 21. April 21. Celebrating birthdays! Maddy's on Saturday, Kate's tomorrow, and Ali's last Thursday. It's a milestone year for one of them and, therefore, also for me., 22. April 22. Thirty years ago today, at 10 pm PST, I began my lifelong journey as a mother. It's the best trip ever, and I couldn't have asked for better companions! Happy 30th Birthday to my beautiful daughter Kate., 23. April 23. 1985. Kate - 1 day old. #tbt, 24. April 24. #WhoMadeMyClothes Couldn't get a decent photo yesterday, but this is what I wore. #imadeitmyself #Repost @vicki.knitorious, 25. April 25. Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter Madeleine., 26. April 26. Boys, boys, boys, and blocks!, 27. April 27. Embellished! #visiblemending, 28. April 28. Yellow tulips in bloom!, 29. April 29. Day 3 of Whole30. @paleogrubs Dill & Lemon Baked Salmon in Parchment - so good!, 30. April 30. Tonight's work at Knit/Make Night. #alabamachanin

 

I'll take photos again everyday in May, because it's MACRO MAY and I love it.