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September 2017

Dear September,

Seriously? It's you already??

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I am looking forward to getting some of my house back this month! Kate leaves tomorrow with a vehicle full of art (that's been stored at my house), bound for Denver and the second half of Together With! I'm looking forward to having that space back.

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Maddy's also leaving tomorrow for a long weekend camping trip with some friends in the Apostle Islands area. It should be a nice weekend up there!

Both Kate & Maddy need a little "kid time" (and "sister time," too), so we'll have a little bon voyage dinner at our house tonight.

Only two weeks to go before Maddy's BFFs get married!! And we sure are looking forward to that wedding (though surely not as much as Katy & Andres).

I am really excited about taking Junah to a 6-week Wednesday morning tumbling class beginning later this month... so excited that I was ready to go already last week!!

Art openings, Labor Day, book club, knit night, the coffee shop remodel (finally!)... plenty to keep you full & interesting, September!!

Love, Vicki

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Unraveled Wednesday: Beatrice update

Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

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Scamp decided to get in the picture this afternoon! I like how my project bag coordinates with the knitting.

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I haven't decided yet whether this will be the front or the back of the dress/top. I knit to the point where I have to decide, and then started the other piece -- it depends on how the colors/pattern falls. Right now, I'm liking this for the front, but we'll see.

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Yes, leaves! Maddy and I took a little hike at our nearby State Park this morning and noticed a bit of color appearing in the trees there, too.

2017 Book Bingo

The only thing that's changed in my reading is that Home Cooking came in at the library! I've not made great progress yet, but I am really enjoying I Will Send Rain so far.


On the road to St. Louis

Last weekend's spontaneous trip to St. Louis, MO, with Kate helps the checking off of a larger "bucket list" item of mine, and that is to visit as an adult all the cities that I lived in as a child. The list also includes:

  • Milwaukee, WI (check)
  • Escanaba, MI (check)
  • Denver, CO
  • Toledo/Columbus/Cleveland, OH
  • Toronto, ON
  • Chicago/Highland Park, IL (check)

We were fully prepared to depart when I finished work at 5pm on Friday, but I was lucky enough to get off at 1 instead. Kate had an after-5 appointment to deliver some artwork in Madison, giving us time to detour to Milwaukee for a stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

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Seriously, is that not one of the most beautiful structures in the world? Even the lower-level parking is striking. Someday, I'm going to camp out and watch the "wings" open/close.

The main reason for our stop was the exhibition Rashid Johnson: Hail We Now Sing Joy

We were not there at a time when we could hear Antoine's Organ "come alive," but alive it was... relevant.

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We had time to swing through a couple of other areas.

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Refrigerator Pies, 1962, Wayne Thiebaud

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Bluffs, 2009, Tara Donovan, buttons and glue (!!!)

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Modernity Circa 1952, Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely, 2004, Josiah McElheny

From there we drove to Madison, where Kate made her delivery, and we had dinner.

Then we hit the road for St. Louis... we didn't make it that far on Friday night, though, construction & traffic making for angsty driving. We stopped overnight near Oglesby, IL, and set the alarm clock for an early start on Saturday!

To be continued, as usual... we packed a whole lot into just a couple of days!!  :)


Reading update!

Whew! I finished listening to The Shadow of the Wind yesterday afternoon! I really enjoyed the performance by Jonathan Davis. The story(s) was good and I definitely had some favorite characters. It was especially cool because I actually visited Barcelona this summer. I looked on a map for some of the streets mentioned in the book -- some of the story having taken place near the area where we stayed. It sure dragged on here and there did seem long, though. Maybe it's just me! Well, no, it is an 18-hour listen!

2017 Book BingoFor my next audio book, I've chosen I Will Send Rain, which found a place in the "Historical Fiction" square of my hopelessly Bingo-less card. (Obviously, that was never the goal!) It's a much shorter book, at only 8 hours, and maybe I'll even get another one started before the official end of 2017 Book Bingo on Labor Day Weekend.


Unraveled Wednesday: Beatrice

Late yesterday morning...

Kate: Super spontaneous but would you possibly be up for a brief weekend road trip to St. Louis? ... I know you want to check it out!

Vicki: When? This weekend? ... And yes!

That's the way things work around here sometimes! This has been on my wish list for years! It will be super-quick, but I am excited about three things: visiting Gateway Arch, Bellefontaine Cemetery, and Knitorious!!

* * * * *

Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

I am still working out the Arrow situation, even stopping by my LYS yesterday to see if anything there jumped out and pointed the way. Meh, not really...

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I dumped a bunch of yarn on the bed this morning to sort and play around... it's formulating.

I found plenty of other inspiration at Iris yesterday, and realized that all of a sudden I was in need of travel knitting!

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I settled on Beatrice Top by Erika Flory for Blue Sky Alpacas. I am using Schachenmayr Merino Extrafine Color 120 (in color 502) (confusing) designed by Arne & Carlos! Those are the sleeve swatches that I knit last night. My record for actually knitting while traveling isn't that great, but I never leave home without a project!

I was happy to discover that I'd already cut the binding strips for my Alabama Chanin project, so I'll be pressing those momentarily...

In reading. Well, there's just over an hour before I'm finished listening to The Shadow of the Wind... finally! Hillbilly Elegy is on Kindle, and the going is slow... I guess I'm not finding it as compelling as others have!


When I'm not making arrows...

Well, hey. I'm going to think of that eclipse as a bit of a reset... focus, let some things go... ready, set, go!

Seriously, though, I didn't see much of the eclipse, but it was pretty cool!

I'm a little obsessed with Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows!

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This was Triangle #2 as of last Wednesday.

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I finished that and joined the triangles into an hourglass on Friday night, and then spent a lot of time over the weekend weaving in & trimming ends. Knitting resumed as of last night... I'm not sure I like what I did and may rip & re-do.

People do that sort of thing on occasion! I have done it, too, but every now and then I need a reminder. It's so freeing, and I can't say that I've ever regretted it!

The arrow-making is not portable knitting, so I did some sewing at knit night last week.

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That is a tunic-length Alabama Chanin Factory Dress! I finished sewing all the seams and couldn't wait to try it on. What a fabulous & flattering cut on this dress! I still have to press and then fell the shoulder & side seams, then finish the neck & arm openings, and probably some finishing at the hem, too. It's a single layer of printed knit fabric, quite stretchy -- and, yes, the same fabric design that I used to make a dress for Gin (hers woven, mine knit) (I really love that fabric design) (and I have more of both).

I finally re-did the seat of "my" kitchen chair last week. This is something that's needed to be done for quite while, but ... procrastinate ... also, where did I put that fabric? Well, I recently ran across the fabric, but the biggest motivator was when Gin started picking at the exposed cotton & foam.

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It's not perfect, but it's done. I could use a few more upholstery nails but there were casualties in the process, and I don't have any more of that design! I salvaged as many as I could.

Random thoughts:

  • Floor needs refinishing!
  • I need a pedi!

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I watched the kids for a while on Saturday while Ali had her hair done. We had fun with chalk + water. Kate had arrived home on Friday from a "reset" trip to Toronto/Grand Rapids, and stopped over for some kid time, too! (She started her new job at UWGB today!!)

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I captured this still from a Snapchat video that Ali shared on Sunday morning. Junah was super interested in what Grandpa was doing in the studio... pulled up a chair and had his first little art "lesson." This gives me all the feels, including the nostalgic ones when I remember all the artwork produced at that elbow by the girls over the years.

Potatoes

This isn't the first time I've cooked some of the potatoes that I grew, but it's the first time I photographed them. I think they are all represented here: Dark Red Norland, Oneida Gold, Blue Adirondack (purple), Superior, and French Fingerling. Man, are they ever good. The more I make them, the more I'm looking forward to upping my potato game next year!


Weekending: Quick Get-away

Jun has turned a corner, and is all of a sudden very engaging with and attentive to his little sister.

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He makes sure her legs are straight, (nearly strangle-)holds her on the big slide. "Isn't that fun, Gin?"

Rusty had some errands to run on Saturday and I decided to ride along; we both packed a bag with the idea that we'd stay overnight if we found a place that beckoned.

Naturally, I packed an extra bag full of yarn.

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Yes, I brought all this yarn!

After our scheduled stops in Mishicot & Algoma, we wandered. We found lunch, stumbled across some history...

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It was a gorgeous day, so we found some beautiful vistas, too.

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We decided to stop for a root beer float at Frosty Tip in Dyckesville and talk about where we'd like to end up for the evening. As we turned off the by-pass, I spotted Sunset Shores, which looked pretty good -- and here we are; I gave a call and we nabbed the last available room.

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Provisions (we weren't very prepared).

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We found a place for a light supper, then settled in to enjoy sunset at the beach. We socialized with a fellow guest, and watched the sky for meteors -- alas, I did not see a single one! I've seen quite a few "shooting stars" over the years, though, and no doubt I will see more... it was a gorgeous evening for stargazing.

We were up and out the door early. Only :45 from home, we walked through the back door at 9 a.m. and put on a pot of coffee!

After breakfast, I gave my Forest Mystery shawl a soak while I biked to the store, and pinned it out when I got back. It's HUGE -- much bigger than my blocking mat! So cozy.

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Then I did a little tidying, a little laundry, a little cleaning & tossing out... and, other than cooking supper, I took the rest of the day off!

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Got zucchini? This is Crust-less Summer Zucchini Pie*.

I'd begun knitting Larissa Brown's Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows in the Saturday sunset (above), and spent much of yesterday knitting and figuring out "where this arrow wants to go."

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The shawl begins with a couple of knit triangles. This is Triangle #1 and, after some trial & error/knitting & ripping, I think this is the palette and the direction it's going. The Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails weren't in my original pile o' yarn for this project, but they are perfect in more ways than one -- notice all the "arrowheads" on the labels? This is a fun project for play and for using up a bunch of leftovers and little skeins. I'm already thinking about Triangle #2!

*Last time I made this, I used 4 eggs instead of 2; this time I used 6; next time, I'll try 6 again but eliminate (or greatly cut back) the flour.


Catching up!

I can't believe it's been a week since we spent an evening at the ballpark!

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It's a terrible photo, but I love the goofy expressions! We had a good time... and funnel cake.

The weekend was all about family! I spent most of Saturday with Gin -- one of the happiest people on the planet!

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I did manage a little time in the garden on both Saturday & Sunday mornings -- my long-neglected weed-infested overgrown garden! It looks a lot better now.

And I began to harvest potatoes!

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Maddy already roasted a few of the reds the other day, so I had a taste (yum), the rest are curing. I will definitely grow potatoes again, but will likely try a different method/location.

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My brother came on Sunday to help celebrate Addie's 10th (!!!!!!!!!!) birthday and assist in the send-off as Ann & family make their way back to Spain.

The kids threw/burst/plopped at least 300 water balloons, and then it poured rain, so we're all a bit damp.

We tried wrangling the kids again...


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And did the best we could -- with some acceptably cute photos!!

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My re-working of the shawl worked great and, in fact, the last stitch was cast off (bound off?) last night! I'll weave in ends today and soak & block it on the weekend, then it's off to NZ -- I think it's still cool enough there that it might yet be of use this year!

The garage door opener died the day before Rusty returned... it's been sluggish & weird, but then began making a horrific noise.

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So, Welcome Home Rusty!!  ;) And thanks for so quickly installing a new and so much quieter opener!

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I took a few moments on Tuesday morning to fell a couple of seams on my Factory Dress/Tunic. Sewing & felling side seams is next, and then binding neck & armholes.

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I haven't tried yet, but my new "computer glasses" might also be great "sewing glasses." I had a follow-up appointment at the eye doc last week for some of those fancy eye photos, and all is well... but while there, I asked about options for work/computer. Everything in my work space is at a good height & distance, but I was constantly tilting my head back to get the computer screen in focus -- literally, a pain in the neck. I was ready to go for TRI-focals, if that would help (I remember my grandmother having those when she worked at the bank). Alas, the Rx ratios were adjusted (I can't wear these for distance/driving), and I was able to find some clearance frames (that I love) and take advantage of back-to-school savings of 50% off lenses. I wore them all day yesterday and it's so worth it. I LOVE THEM!!


Sing along!

I'm still reading the same books and knitting the same shawl. Next week I may have something new to share on those fronts! Today, let's talk about something else.

I subscribe to Spotify and frequently listen to music, but almost always to other people's playlists or to particular artists/songs/albums. Kate is always making playlists and I am thankful to her for bringing new artists to my attention and helping stretch my musical wings, !

Anyway, the other day I was reading more about the upcoming workshop at Alabama Chanin -- particularly learning more about the included Swampette Tour -- and it finally sunk in. I mean, I've been aware of Muscle Shoals and its musical importance for a very long time and I know that Muscle Shoals is right there, but... Wow! We are really gonna be in it!!

I was inspired to create a playlist!

I'm still curating and organizing, but am so loving it; appropriately leading off with "A Feather's Not A Bird" by Rosanne Cash, which also supplied the playlist's perfect title: I'm Goin' Down to Florence.

Also, I will soon be re-watching the documentary Muscle Shoals on Netflix!


Calling all sewists

...especially if you're interested in making/designing clothes to suit YOUR body.

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My Body Model is an amazing Kickstarter campaign with about 2 weeks to reach their goal.

LET'S DO THIS!

 


Dear August,

Wow. You got here fast!! Seems like only yesterday that it was the end of May and I was bidding fare-the-well to Rusty, making Big Plans for all the things I was going to accomplish while he was gone "all summer." Ya. He returns tomorrow and I didn't do a single Big Thing that I'd planned:

  • Clean/Toss the Living Areas
  • Clean/Toss Yarn/Fabric/Workroom
  • Clean/Toss Garage
  • Clean Bathroom (Top-to-Bottom)
  • Clean Bedroom (Top-to-Bottom)

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I did manage some Other Big Things:

  • Trip to Ireland/Spain
  • Long Weekend @ The Flowage
  • Auntie Camp
  • Family Time - cookouts, weddings, hangin'

And lots of Little Things:

  • Kitchen faucet repair
  • Toilet seat replacement
  • Hard water deposits removed from toilet bowl
  • Upstairs apartment drains unclogged
  • Clogged gutter/downspout cleaned out

Um, I never dreamed it would be the summer of plumbing/water-related stuff! You might guess that none of those things was exactly "elective"! The gutter has needed attention all summer, but I only ever thought of it when it was raining or I wasn't at home. And, boy, have we had rain... it's put the proverbial damper on many things. Anyway, I was upstairs yesterday to deal with clogged drains, and ventured out to do the deed. That's a panaroma from our garage to the neighbors' -- a view I don't often see!

There's nothing exciting on the calendar this month other than a 3.5-day weekend coming up, and a couple of dates with the kids/grands. I'm still hoping to get a few of those Big Things crossed off the list yet this summer/fall... now with Rusty's help!

Meanwhile, I'm feeling a little of that burst-your-buttons-Mom-pride & satisfaction thing:

  • Kate has just accepted an interim position as gallery curator at UW-Green Bay, with a little teaching too! She has about a week at the bookstore, then a short road trip, and the new job begins on 8/21!
  • Things are finally coming together for Ali & the long-dreamed-of/-planned coffee shop remodel! Fingers crossed that it's relatively quick & painless from here on out.
  • Maddy is figuring things out... doing lots of odd jobs at the moment, from painting & gardening to IT-related stuff; planning a weeks-long hike this autumn; a move to the Milwaukee area after that; and likely return to New Zealand next winter for both work & pleasure!

Life may not always go as planned, August, but I'm pretty good at rolling with the changes and it is definitely good!

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here.
To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Unraveled Wednesday

Literally, on Tuesday afternoon. Let's go to the video:

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Yes, it's still light outside, I'm wearing my PJs, and that is an adult beverage -- large, cold, sweet & tart! (Gin + Campari + Vermouth + Orange Bitters + Lemonade + Juice of a Lime + Club Soda) (1.5 oz, 1 oz, .5 oz, 5-10 drops, 1 oz, a lime, filled to the top) (more or less)

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I kept convincing myself that it was okay, but clearly it's not. I bought four balls of this yarn; 1 & 2 went together seamlessly, the 3rd not so much. The 4th is more like 1 & 2, so I've ripped back the re-wound the offender. I am underway with blending balls 2 & 4 for a several rows and then I've basically a repeat and a half to re-do and an edging. I'll blend 3 & 4 and it all ought to smooth out. It's enjoyable knitting, so I don't mind... once the ripping was done.

2017 Book Bingo

There's been no change to the Bingo card, and only a little bit of progress. It's just not happening... and that's okay. Mostly, I enjoy the opportunity to think about books and stretch my reading chops!

Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday!