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June 2018

The boys are back

My blog mojo went a bit missing this week, but...


Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy

The boys "got back" to the States on Saturday and have been spending some time in Madison. They came up last night and are here for the weekend, then back to Madison & off to camp & other various adventures before returning sometime next month for much more fun... including some sort of Auntie Camp!

So, the intro while looking for The Boys Are Back In Town on YouTube was a trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, and OMG, the more I see of that, the more I can't wait to see much much more of THAT!

Have a good weekend, y'all.

Weekending: Mid-July

Maddy came home on Friday for a break from camp; she's stressed out as it's been a super tough summer -- too much work and no assistance (she's supposed to have an assistant) or support. It's just truth when I say that my girls have an incredible work ethic, and if she's feeling it enough to express it... it's bad, especially because she truly LOVES camp! Her saving grace is a trip coming up... fingers crossed, along with all the good thoughts, karma & juju!!

Anyway, I had a million things to do in the pre-cleaning/reclamation department, but I knew that offering my girls some SISTER TIME was way more important -- for all of them -- so I offered to take the kiddos on Saturday. Kate, Al & Mads went out to lunch, stopped at a hobby/craft shop, ran a few errands... and then came back for drinks, games & dinner.


Malina experiences full-on fart gun a la Ginny!


These two! Gah!! Junah was sitting on the step and Ginny sat down next to him... and then scooted over to be closer. 😍


We took full advantage of my around-the-corner neighbor's invitation to help ourselves to her raspberry bushes. Junah doesn't really like them, so he gave me all that he picked, and then carried home a little handful for his mamma.


We actually had some rain on Friday, which meant a full ran barrel on Saturday!! So fun.

On Sunday, I hit the housework! I've been constantly reminding myself that it's a process... things aren't going to be perfect on Wednesday, but they'll be better and will improve each time. That's the plan, anyway!


BONUS! I found the fat quarters that I bought in Nashville last February! I've made a conscious effort to not let The Case of the Missing Fat Quarters drive me crazy over the past few months... they'd cross my mind now & then and I've even "looked" for them a little bit. Man, they were stuffed into a knitting project bag and I would never have looked for them there.

It's a normal week around here, except that Junah's sleeping over on Tuesday night and cleaning ladies are coming on Wednesday and I'll see my sister Ann & the boys (from Spain) by the end of the week! Woohoo!!


Joining Carole and friends this week for Three on Thursday...

Thing 1 - PRE-CLEANING going well. In addition to my normal Wednesday off, I also have Thursday (today) off this week and the weekend is ahead... so I'm not killing myself in this endeavour.

Thing 2 - OOPS 1

I finished TTL Mystery Shawl Clue 2 yesterday...


...or so I thought. This is an up-to-the-minute photo showing progress on the THIRD REPEAT! Gah! I'm glad I took a minute to read the intro again and count my stitches.


One of my needles was pointing backward as I came in from taking the photo above.


I kind of love it. If it wasn't so big (5 US), I'd make more. A mosquito could easily fit through that hole.

I hope you're having a good Thursday!

It's time...

I've hired someone to clean my house.


I had a regular cleaning lady for a while... before Maddy was born! My mom sent hers over on a flukey one-off several years ago; all I remember is that the woman was arguing with me about whether my bathroom floor was real wood or laminate. It's true! She flat-out declared that it was real and didn't believe me when I told her that it wasn't! Listen, lady, I helped to cut, peel and stick it down... it ain't real!!

Anyway, other than when my mother was a newly divorced, returning to college, mother of five, she always had a cleaning lady. I remember complaining about having to "clean" before the cleaning lady came... when I was actually just getting my own shit taken care of/put away so the cleaning lady could actually clean! In those "dire" times, Mom had a built-in workforce -- however unwilling -- ranging in age from 6 to 12; she would leave notes every single day with a list of jobs/chores for each of us. We did not dare ignore it, either. My mother was an EXCELLENT housekeeper, with or without the help, and she trained us all very well.

I hate housework!
You make the beds, you do the dishes
and six months later
you have to start all over again.

--Joan Rivers

Things are just slightly beyond me right now... have been for a while now. We downsized within our own home a few years ago, kids have been drifting in and out, my sister died, my mom died, grandkids have appeared and are growing in size as well as number, and I LIKE TO DO/MAKE THINGS. There's stuff associated with all of that. SO MUCH STUFF. And it's piled up in various ways.

Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility
of human self-actualization.

--Ann Oakley

I've nibbled away at it, of course, bits here and there... I've Kon-Mari'd this and Death Cleaned that... and by the time the "stuff" is dealt with (provided I haven't been interrupted by any of 1000 different things), I'm exhausted... it never feels like there's follow-through or finish.

I feel overwhelmed and I'm tired of it.

So, here's my plan. Starting tomorrow, and continuing on the weekend, I am concentrating on simply putting away or removing the crap that's in the way.

That's my job -- cleaning before the cleaning lady comes (a week from tomorrow)!

Weekending: Kate's back!

I drove down to O'Hare on Saturday to pick up Kate after her month in the U.K. We decided to stay overnight and chose the new (as in barely open a week) St. Jane for our accommodations. Formerly the Hard Rock Hotel, St. Jane is in Chicago's beautiful Carbide & Carbon Building and is named for Jane Addams.


Instead of a bible in every room, it was a biography!


The weather was fabulous and it was great to be outside!


We had a light lunch at the Purple Pig (of course) and dinner at Catch 35 (first time). I had those gorgeous scallops and Kate had a mixed grill.


We tried to get to a couple of (way up there) roof-top bars but most were busy with private events until late; we settled for a lower-level roof-topper with exorbitantly priced pre-mixed cocktails (which we didn't know were pre-mixed until they were poured). They looked & tasted pretty good but should have been half the price (and my glass should have been all the way full instead of 2/3, too... what's that all about?). /gripe


I had a great time with my girl!

We got up, had coffee and shared a blueberry muffin, and then head home. We were on the road by 10 and home before 2.


The girls came over for a little while, and everyone else came later for supper. It was a nice evening together!

Katie went to bed fairly early and I wound down with a couple of episodes of Anne with an E (I started on Friday and am bingeing hard -- love this show) and my TTL Mystery Shawl.


The photo is from Friday night, having barely begun Clue 2; as of last night, the first of two very enjoyable repeats is finished... and Clue 3 awaits!

I'm looking forward to next weekend already!


You would think that a mid-week holiday falling on my normal day off would be a piece of cake. WRONG. I had an unshakable "Sunday" feeling all day yesterday, and it has carried over... Today is the Monday-est Thursday ever!

I attached and finished the waistband on my Gypsum Skirt on Tuesday night.


I fully intended to hem it on Wednesday morning before anything else, but there was an Hawaiian shirt calling my name.


"Make a Hawaiian shirt for Junah," they said. "It'll be easy," they said.

Well, okay, no one actually said that it would be easy... but how hard could it be???

Forty-five minutes of searching and watching YouTube videos about how to attach a collar to a shirt, while regularly re-reading the directions and trying to make out what's going on the photos, later...


I think I've got it. Now I'm attaching the back yoke facing and trying to find a method that is not "making a sausage."


Meanwhile, there are some nice details, I love the fabrics, and it's going to be a very nice shirt!

It was so great having Maddy home for a few days during her holiday break!


We went out to a pond party yesterday afternoon where Rod was playing. The kids had a blast in the water.


I love this photo with their big sis Jillian, especially the joy all over Ginny's face!


There were clouds skirting around us all afternoon and then all of a sudden... DOWNPOUR! We all huddled under cover until it passed, and at least it brought a little relief from the heat & humidity.

More Sewing

There was a good deal of time spent with the kids over the weekend, and Maddy arrived on Saturday afternoon, but I still managed to find some time for sewing -- both for the kids and for me!!

After work on Friday, I stopped by the blueprint shop to pick up printed patterns for Alabama Chanin Palazzo Pants and the new Sew Liberated Gypsum Skirt. Then I ran by Joann (have you read about the new Concept Store?) where I bought some more Mickey Mouse fabric (ahem), including another fat quarter bundle (that I couldn't find last time), and some drapey rayon for the Gypsum Skirt. I tossed it all in for a wash when I got home so it would be ready to go.

On Saturday morning, I finished the bodice lining and hem of Gin's Franken-Geranium...


With pleats & pockets!


That irresistible (to me) cap sleeve!


And pearly snaps on the back!


The fabric is made up of leftovers from the first fat quarter bundle, which I used to make a Geranium Top for Malina, along with some MM fabric that Ali had in her stash, and a random B&W print from mine (before I knew that Ali had some and when I didn't want to make the 30-mile roundtrip to the fabric store) (I never realized it was actually that far!).

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! Here's Malina's...


The cuteness is going to be off the charts with these girls and their coordinating dresses... and I just can't even imagine once Junah's added to the mix. I have plans!!

Then I got to work on my Gypsum Skirt and, boy oh boy, rayon is so slippery!! At least compared to the cottons -- both woven & knit -- that I'm used to working with. I sewed my first-ever flat-felled seam on the machine...


...and, believe me, I considered my options for the other three! That was sort of tricky, but it got a little easier with each one. Naturally, my bobbin thread ran out at the beginning of one of them and I didn't realize it until the end.

First order of the day tomorrow is to finish that skirt. I have sewn the waistband into a loop, currently draped around my ironing board, so all that's remaining is finishing & attaching that and hemming. I love those big roomy pockets... I hope they like me!

Scenes from a hot weekend

As in temperature. And humid, too.

Malina's like...



The big kids were keeping cool as they saw fit (some in undies, at most, others in head-to-toe fleece -- which seems to hold a lot of water and it was cold, so... to each his own).


Also, cool big air-bubble knees!


Ginny & I both suffered injuries when I fell after saving her from a likely bump/fall off of the retaining wall. I'm the only one to actually spill blood; Gin's Minion band-aid (and unseen crocodile plaster) are purely decorative/placebo measures. Maddy, certified in First Aid because of her summer camp job, jumped right in to fix me up. Gin was obviously quite fascinated by the procedure, but Junah made a face after the application of hydrogen peroxide and bowed out. I'm just thankful that I didn't twist anything and that it's my left knee we're looking at and not the right; my right knee won't likely fare another grinder very well. (That big scar on my shin is where I met the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet at work last year. Yep, that hurt.)


It's nice having Maddy around for a few days while camp is on break for the 4th! It's still hot but, thankfully, not as humid today... so we'll take it. I hope you're faring well, too!