At the beginning of it, I had no idea that I'd be bidding farewell to my sister and her family in addition to my daughter as they moved overseas! Ann & family had about 5-6 weeks to take care of things before moving to Spain for at least 2 years. Maddy planned, worked, and saved hard over the past year or so in order to spend the next year traveling and exploring in New Zealand.
It's been a super shitty summer in many respects, not the least of which was the death of Rusty's dad, and from the beginning I've made it a point to focus on the good stuff this summer -- and on the things that I can control.
Five Best Things I Did This Summer
1 - I spent lots of time with the kiddos.
2 - I spent a few glorious days up north.
3 - I did lots of art stuff -- viewing, participating, and even making.
4 - I read books -- thanks to audiobooks, I've read more than I have in many a summer (winter, spring and fall).
5 - I made time for Auntie Camp II before my nephews left for Spain -- abbreviated, but so much fun!
Five Things I'm Looking Forward to Doing This Fall
1 - Catching my breath. It was a very busy summer and I just need some time to collect my wits.
2 - Cooking. We've been planning our weekly menus and cooking at home for most of the summer, and I'm aiming to keep that going.
3 - Reading. That will certainly continue, and I'm still aiming for a BINGO by Thanksgiving.
4 - Knitting & Sewing... and getting a grip. I just sewed some adorable ladybug buttons on a sweater for Gin (an FO post to come!), but I've somehow misplaced a cone of Habu Tsumugi Silk for another project; there's a "quick" A-line top that stalled awaiting binding at neck and arms; one thumb-less mitten for Jun that's awaiting a thumb and a mate. So much to organize. (I have been making progress at washing the knits, though!)
5 - A Getaway! I'll be spending a few days in the Hudson Valley with some friends next month -- knitting, laughing, cooking, eating, and going to a little thing called "Rhinebeck." It's been 9 years since I visited in the east and I cannot wait!!
1 -- I picked up Jün at the farmers market on Saturday morning and we ran errands together. They didn't have "car carts" at the grocery store when my kids were little, so that was a first (and I only knocked/bumped a few things!) (he was much happier and more excited than it looks). Then we hung out at my house -- reading (he's not tired of my excellent caterwauling), snacking, playing! I answered my first "WHY?" question from him... here we go!
2 -- On Saturday evening, I watched the Wisconsin Badgers vs. LSU at Lambeau Field while I wove in the ends on my Green Bay Packers Scoreboard Cowl. I ran out of yarn 2 games short of a full season, but it is plenty long... and it is what it is! The ends are all in and I'm ready for grafting!
3 -- On Sunday, Kate & I drove up to Door County for the day. We'd originally planned to do that last Wednesday, but ended up in Madison that day... doing what was supposed to be done the day the car crapped out.
4 -- In addition to having my favorite lunch at my favorite place (which, after all these years, wasn't quite up to par... so we may expand our culinary horizons next time) (change is good), we stopped at a used book shop and also visited a couple of galleries. Rusty had work at Edgewood Orchard Gallery years ago, and it's changed and expanded quite a bit, especially outside where there is a nice courtyard and a large sculpture garden. I loved the detail on the dress of the sculpture above... also pretty epic hair. The "paint" is at The Hardy Gallery, which is housed in a 130+ year old warehouse on the dock at Ephraim. It's amazing. Rusty had and sold a piece at this gallery earlier in the season.
5 -- The Door County trip was spontaneous, Sunday having originally been declared "art day." I didn't actually make anything on Sunday, but I did pull out my collection of old photos... I have a half-baked idea and am looking for some inspiration.
6 -- I started ripping out one of the KonMari'd projects while riding in the passenger seat and finished it off on Sunday night.
7 -- On Monday, I wound it into a hank on the swift, then soaked both hanks of reclaimed yarn and hung them to dry!
8 -- I also still had that small bucket of indigo outside. I refreshed it, tied & folded up a few onesies, and gave 'em a dunk or two or three. I haven't yet tired of the BLUE MAGIC!!
9 -- Did some good cooking... and eating. We've been quite diligent about making a weekly menu and sticking to it! One of the best things about it is that we almost always plan to make more, packing up leftovers right away into lunch-size containers, ready to grab in the morning. That means that I have this delicious salmon with cherry tomatoes and basil (baked in a foil packet... thanks Mark Bittman) to enjoy again today!!
10 -- I labored... purposefully and as little as possible, but one still needs clean clothes and a balanced checkbook!
4 -- Sew a dress for Gin (and maybe one for me) -- CHECK! (and working on it)! Tops instead of dresses, though I do have a dress in my sights for Gin.
5 -- Take a day trip to Door County -- not yet. But we did take a day trip to the northwoods last week, and had lunch at Little Bohemia!
6 -- Stitch on my Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line Tunic -- CHECK! I'm not setting the world on fire, but I've been stitching now and then.
7 -- Finish Romi's 2016 "Mystery" Shawl -- not yet.
8 -- Finish Kirsten's 2016 Mystery KAL Shawl (while it's still a mystery!) -- CHECK! I fell behind and didn't finish while it was still a mystery, but I didn't peek until the end, so it was still a mystery to me; and I finished in time to post in the Ravelry thread by the deadline for prizes. It felt good to meet a deadline!
9 -- Finish Ina's LOLA Sweater in time for late-summer/fall layering -- working on it. This was my project du jour at the last knit night, though, so a little progress has been made. I think it'll be my go-to project every knit night!
10 -- Go to the zoo! There's a nice, small zoo not far from us, and Jün is the perfect age! This would be fun to do along with my nephews, too. -- not yet. If it happens, it won't likely be with the nephews... they'll be off to Spain in 3-4 short weeks and there's lots to do!
Meanwhile, I've also...
Attended two weddings as a guest and another as second photographer
Photographed an engagement session for a wedding coming up next month
Spent every Saturday morning since July 2nd at the farmer market or otherwise assisting
Had a nice 5-day get-away to the far north with kids & kiddos
Been more diligently working with Kate on menu planning and cooking
Come to grips with my sister's upcoming departure
Began weekly-ish mowing of Mom's lawn again while my stepdad is out of the country
I missed last week because we were up north, but I really wanted to participate because I LOVED SUMMER CAMP! I went twice, with my cousin Gail, to a week-long YWCA-sponsored residence camp in Minnesota.
1 - Riding the Greyhound bus to camp. I did that at least once (my first solo travel!) from Appleton to Duluth, taking "the long way" (all those bus stops), and it took about 9 hours in my memory. On the return trip I forgot/lost my pillow on the bus.
2 - Horseback riding. "My" horse, both years, was a seemingly huge palomino named "Taffy." She was the sweetest & gentlest of all. I guess you'd call her a "rescue" now; she couldn't be tied up or she'd go nuts -- one can only surmise what that signaled to her. I loved learning how to saddle up and groom a horse!
2 - Arts & crafts time. Making lanyards and all that stuff.
3 - Swimming. Except that time I wandered into the weeds and had a giant leech on my leg.
4 - The kitchen staff. Not because the meals were memorable (or even all that good - I don't remember), but it was one of the cooks who ran out of the hall to save me from that leech!
5 - Archery. I was pretty good at it, too.
6 - Tetherball. It was for casual recreation, and there was always a game underway.
7 - Canoeing. That was likely my introduction to canoeing and learning how to paddle.
8 - Camp songs & campfires!
9 - Goofy games, skits & contests. I won the title of "Miss Ugly" in a pageant after my cabin-mates dolled me up... smearing toothpaste on my legs, teasing my hair to high heaven (no fun brushing that out), dressing me in all sorts of mismatched clothes... and for "talent," I sawed on my violin (which I had inexplicably brought along to camp) and shout/sang "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with no discernible tune nor key.
10 - Free time. You'd find me playing tetherball or reading in my bunk.
5 - What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me) - Jerry Lee Lewis
6 - They're Not Tryin' On The Dance Floor - Jonathan Richman (Like Sheboygan or Eau Claire, they're just there)
Sure, there are a few other obscure songs that mention Wisconsin... but if you ever actually CAME to Wisconsin, say to Lambeau Field in Green Bay and attended a Packer game, you would most certainly hear these songs (among others), so by association...
7 - Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones (kick off)
8 - Bang The Drum All Day - Todd Rundgren (TOUCHDOWN!)
With Gin's birth, I've been reminded of the herb garden I put in the summer that I got pregnant with Maddy. She was born in April and for the next six or seven years, I watched it transform/revert to a "wildflower" garden -- which is how I sometimes like to think of my weeds -- and I didn't even have a job outside of home for five of those years!
My friend Birdsong commented the other day that some of her hobbies have suffered since she became a grandmother, and I certainly agree. Though I wouldn't change a single thing; I know how fortunate I am to have those kids close enough that I am actively involved in their lives.
And, Robby, I have taken your comment on this post completely to heart: I would also say you get a total pass on however much you do or don't knit for your grandkids. It's great if you do, but you give them the much more valuable gift of your time, having a sense of being part of a larger family and more people who love them just because they exist. If every kid got only those things, our world would be a kinder place.
I would love to knit more and dye more (both fabric & yarn) this summer, sew and stitch and quilt more, read more, cook more, clean more... um, WHAT? No! Scratch that, I definitely don't want to clean more! Time is precious.
This summer, I want to:
1 -- Play with Junah
2 -- Cuddle with Gin
3 -- Get a BINGO!
4 -- Sew a dress for Gin (and maybe one for me)
5 -- Take a day trip to Door County
6 -- Stitch on my Magdalena A-line Tunic
7 -- Finish Romi's 2016 "Mystery" Shawl
8 -- Finish Kirsten's 2016 Mystery KAL Shawl (while it's still a mystery!)
9 -- Finish Ina's LOLA Sweater in time for late-summer/fall layering
10 -- Go to the zoo! There's a nice, small zoo not far from us, and Jün is the perfect age! This would be fun to do along with my nephews, too.
I'd never heard of "shrub" in terms of a beverage until Kat mentioned it, and then I became pretty obsessed with trying it! I'd previously made a rhubarb simple syrup and found it much too sweet, so was very interested in trying this!
Here's how I made mine (adaptation of Kat's recipe and this one):
2 lbs. fresh rhubarb, cut into approx. 1/2" pieces
1 cup sugar
3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
Combine rhubarb, sugar, apple cider vinegar and water in a pot; bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Toss in the thyme for a few minutes at the end. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour into a colander or mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and strain for about 30 minutes; stir occasionally, but do not press. Pour the syrup into a jar or bottle and allow to cool; refrigerate.
I loved this! It's a nice sweet-tart mixture, and very syrupy in consistency.
2 - I made Shrubarb Cocktails!
It makes a very refreshing beverage; mine was made with gin, but shrub can also be used to make a non-alcoholic beverage by simply adding club soda.
2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
1-1/2 oz. shrub
sparkling water (or club soda)
Combine gin, lime juice, shrub, and a couple of crushed ice cubes in a shaker; shake for approx. 30 seconds. Strain into an ice (cube)-filled Collins glass, about 3/4 full, and top with water/soda. Cheers!
I will definitely be making more -- and different varieties of -- shrub this summer!
3 - I hung out with the kiddos.
4 - I did a little shopping! I went shopping twice -- once by myself, and once with Ali & the kids.
Junah rode a STRIDER all around one of the stores, and then right out the door. He sort of loves it. I think it will get a lot of use in the coming years.
5 - I enjoyed some lovely weather.
6 - I hung out in the back yard with Rusty. I watched his garden start to grow! He has some onions, spinach, lettuce, and carrots.
7 - I helped Gin celebrate 4 weeks on this earth! Can you believe it? Four weeks ago yesterday!
You can see her little blonde streak in this photo. It's pretty awesome!
8 - I chose and wound colorful yarn for some projects.
The teal/dark purple-y combo is for Kirsten's TTL Mystery Shawl 2016, which I was expecting to start today... and then realized mid-morning that it is not June 1st! That means that you still have time to join, if you'd like.
The other is for Gin's Elwood. I found a hank of purple superwash worsted that I'd dyed, and love it as the main color with SweetGeorgia's "Party of Five" Snapdragon for stripes.
9 - I hung out on the deck with my #pergolacompanions & started a quick project. It'll be a shoulder bag.
10 - I didn't do anything I didn't want to do. And still managed to make a dent in cleaning up my workroom! I have another long weekend coming up, and I have PLANS!!
These are among the albums that come to mind when nothing else is cutting it. They're comfortable, familiar, meaningful, and/or transportational -- in that they "take me" to a time or place where I find happiness or contentment, or just wanna ROCK OUT.
1 - Mink River by Brian Doyle. I've been reading this book because it was recommended by goodreads/blog friends, had very good reviews, is published by Oregon State University Press, Tillamook is mentioned in the credits... and when I learned that it was set on the Oregon coast (which I'll soon be visiting) and that the author's birthday is Nov. 6th (same as mine)... well, okay then!
The other night I read a passage in the book and was dumbfounded to find myself reading a near-perfect description of Rusty & I... or at least how I have always felt and wished I could describe but have never been able to put into words... this is pretty much it.
Maple Head walks over to the doctor's house, cutting along the beach in the moonlight, the tide is low, thinking about her husband, about all the hours and days and weeks and months and years they have spent together, about all the arguments they have had, all the laughter, all the exhausted moments with the baby, and then raising a girl and then a young woman . . . you do the best you know how at the time, and we never really had any money, and I made more money than he did for the longest time, and that was hard for him, that was a small wound between us, and he had all these wild projects, and I love that, because he is his dreams, and without his dreams he'd be empty and tired, but those dreams were crazy sometimes, all the projects, all the stuff in the house, all the machines, and all the thousands of hours he could have been doing something for money, but he is who he is, a dreamer, impractical and practical, I know that, and I love him for who he is, I know that, and I am not perfect either, a dreamer too, I always wanted to open my own school and never did, never never never had the money, but it wasn't the money I sometimes think, it was the leap, I never took the leap, but how could I?
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2 - Marina City by Bertrand Goldberg. While we lived in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park when I was in first grade (1964-65) and my dad worked in The Loop, I don't recall any family trips into the city. By the time I was in third grade, we'd moved to NE Wisconsin, but there was a very memorable trip to Chicago with my mom and Aunt LaFae, who drove, and my Uncle Bob stayed and watched my siblings at home, and I don't really know where my dad was or why this trip happened -- all I know is that we drove into Chicago at night and the Morton Salt Girl was lit up and sprinkling salt like nobody's business as we approached downtown, and I may or may not have seen Marina City...
Whenever it was they first came into view -- likely the first time I ever really noticed "architecture" -- those buildings were seared into my brain. I guess you could say that they started my list of favorite architecture at #1 and there they remain. I was always alert for glimpses during the opening of The Bob Newhart Show every week!
I saw this fabric in an instagram post the other day and located it online within seconds; within minutes, there were orders placed! A bit of woven cotton and jersey are both scheduled for delivery today. Heh. That's my kind of floral/print. And color!
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4 - That "getaway glow" after spending a weekend in Chicago with my girls!
We had a marvelous time! I got a new pair of shoes out of the deal, too. Thinking that I'd "pack light" by packing only one pair of shoes (boots, in this case), by Saturday afternoon I was in DSW desperately searching for something anything!
The weather was mahvelous! More on Chicago to come...
Last night, for the first time, I made Roasted Beet & Orange Salad with Pistachios & Feta on a sheet pan and, wow, was that good -- both at room temp for supper last night and out of the fridge today for lunch. My only mod next time will be more beets! I also think a softer, milder goat cheese in place of the feta would be a delicious variation. The main dish, which I've made a few times in recent memory, was Ina Garten's Chicken With Shallots (another fave in that book is Lemon Chicken Breasts). I have become pretty good at boning chicken breasts as it seems you can get either skin-on/bone-in or skinless/boneless in the grocery store and these call for skin-on/boneless. Kate has a new office/work space that's right across the street from a butcher, though, so maybe I'll utilize their services a bit more -- and personal home delivery! Heh.
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6 - Cooked. Michael Pollan's new 4-part series on Netflix. I watched over the last two nights as I prepared dinner and otherwise puttered in the kitchen. I will no doubt watch it again... have already recommended it to Ali, and now to all of you. ;)
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7 - A TV in the kitchen. We used to have a TV in the kitchen for a lot of years. I don't recall what happened to it, exactly, but we haven't had one in a while and it came up often enough lately that I decided to get one -- prices are fairly low for a little flat screen (and I saved a bit more by using my Target debit card, too).
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8 - With Chromecast. Yes, I'm a little bit of a TV/electronics junkie. I like doodads, I love technology, I appreciate convenience and ease of use. We already have TiVoon our main TV because we don't have cable and a DVR is essential for how we view, but we aren't going to be watching the kitchen TV enough to justify adding a "Mini." It's super easy to stream Netflix (and more) with Chromecast, the doodad was very affordable, and the app is free!
I did some swatching on size 6 US, 7 US and 8US needles.
Then washed and dried... and, oh my, is that a marvelous fabric!! I'll be going with the 8s, doing some measuring and comparing with other garments, then putting my head together again with Ina Braun. Meanwhile, stopping at my LYS to see if they happen to have another cone of the tsumugi... as you may recall, I know where I bought this yarn, but don't remember why or when!! Another cone of the tsumugi would give me some more options, but it's not crucial.
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10 - My new Scrappy Boho Bag by Ali! I've had my eye on this bag for a while. It'll be a great little knitting bag (which I definitely do not need, but most certainly did want). Those fabrics make me so happy.
Since the quilt is finished, Ali has time for other sewing projects! Well, as much time for sewing as she can carve out of a busy day. She has a good thing going with my mom's old Singer 500 Slant-O-Matic - The Rocketeer!
Family & friends got together at the bowling alley for a little birthday celebration on Sunday. Did you know that lanes these days have programmable "bumpers" that go up and down automatically depending on each particular bowler's preference? Also, there are little ramps to use if a bowler is unable to lift and swing a ball? Just aim and send the ball on its way!
Junah enjoyed watching other bowlers, and was really interested in bowling himself for about 5 or 6 frames (he was playing a game -- WINNING -- with Mack & Addy), but with no real concept of the game he was, of course, soon distracted by other things... going up & down the stairs, eating cake, opening presents, and watching the ball return!!
While I would never be described as a big "fan" of David Bowie, I was certainly always interested and aware! I was shocked and saddened yesterday to read of his death. There's absolutely no denying that he was an amazing creative influence in the world and that the world just wouldn't be the same without him. It was a little over a year since Katie & I saw the DAVID BOWIE IS exhibition in Chicago, and I'm so glad we did.
In lieu of my 10 favorite songs, I share David Bowie's 10 Biggest Hits -- some great videos there, as well as "5 Things You Might Not Know About David Bowie"! RIP.
1 - Got out of my English-speaking comfort zone and traveled to Mexico to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary!
2 - Helped my daughters with their various creative, adventure, and business ventures.
3 - I did more sewing this year than I've done in the last 30 years combined, and a good deal of it by hand! Endless Summer Tunic Dress, Upcycled T-shirt to Tunic, Catamount Tunic Dress, Bolero, Stenciled & Upcycled Wrap Skirt, a simple A-Line Dress, a few rompers for Junah, quilting w/Ali.
4 - I also tried indigo dyeing for the first time.
5 - And incorporated indigo dyeing as part of the first and very successful Auntie Camp. It will likely be an annual event! (And, if the boys have anything to say about it, even semi-annual.)
6 - I taught my nephews to knit during Auntie Camp, as well!
I was tickled to open my Book & Chocolate Exchange package from Sandy, which included a book for my grandson from her grandchildren! And Sweet Sloops! I've been on a Michael Perry bender, having recently finished Coop and currently reading Visiting Tom; The Jesus Cow will be next!
9 - I also participated in another year of Macro May and NaBloPoMo; Kim's Traveling Scarf project; Slow Fashion October; and the 1st Annual Book & Chocolate Exchange organized by Susan! I would/will participate in any/all of those things again next year!! So much fun.
10 - I possibly made a new Christmas Eve tradition when I made my first whole tenderloin! It was just Katie, Maddy, Rusty and I for Christmas Eve and I wanted to make something special. I nearly fainted at the butcher case when I priced 4-5 lbs, as called for in my recipe, but then realized that my recipe was to serve 8-10. Whew! Still, no small expense there, but so worth it. The girls and I had fun cooking together -- braised kale, roasted potato stacks, and sauteed mushrooms were accompaniments -- and Rusty insisted that we cut into one of the pies he'd made for our Christmas Day gathering! We even whipped the cream.
Here's to new adventures and accomplishments in 2016!
This is a great topic and at first I wasn't sure I'd come up with 10 desirable items that one could pick up at the grocery store (never really thought about it before), but it's been a great exercise. There's something for everyone, a grocery store in almost every town, and never an excuse to arrive anyplace empty handed!
1 - I don't know about your grocery store, but every single one of mine has a little end-cap with Green Bay Packer, Wisconsin Badger, and local high school sports team paraphernalia. Everything from stickers, magnets and window clings to flags, hats, gloves, bottle openers, glasses (both to wear and to drink from), and more.
2 - Paperback books and/or Collector Edition magazines -- sometimes a selection of hardcover books, especially at this time of year.
3 - Wine or Beer. There's a pretty good selection of basic wines, and the beer selection seems to be always expanding; included are varieties from local wineries and breweries.
4 - Booze. Ditto, with local distilleries. Not every grocery store carries wine, beer and liquor, but the bigger ones certainly do (gas stations, too... gas station gifts... perhaps a topic for another Tuesday!).
5 - Fresh Fruit Basket.
6 - Meat, Cheese & Cracker/Bread Basket or Tray.
7 - Candy -- our store usually has a selection of handmade candy canes and boxed specialty chocolates from a very good local confectionery.
8 - Flowers or Plant -- or some seasonal gifty thing from that department (such as an ornament).
9 - Gift Certificate/Card -- either for the grocery store, or from another store (you can buy all kinds of them).
10 - Ingredients for all manner of "make your own" gift baskets: Everything one would need to make brownies or cookies, let's say, or a spaghetti dinner -- they could even be presented in a suitable baking pan, bowl or colander also available for purchase at the grocery store.
1 - Maddy's coming home tomorrow! I'm looking forward to her help in the kitchen, and just hanging out.
2 - Kate's been a willing walking buddy (when schedule permits)! Those steps are so much more enjoyable with company!
3 - Ali's gonna have another baby! She's due in early May and, same as last time, barring some unforeseen circumstance, we won't know whether it's a girl or a boy until then.
4 - Junah's going to be a big brother! That's sort of blowing my mind.
5 - Rusty's work will be featured at a gallery at Todos Santos, which means that...
6 - I could/might go to Mexico again this winter!
7 - Right now, I am thankful for good and patient friends.
8 - Right now, I am thankful for a family that cuts me some slack.
9 - Right now, I am thankful for a good job.
10 - Right now, I am thankful for tickets to Thursday night's game at Lambeau Field! Brett Favre, having already been inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame and his number retired, will be honored during half-time. Maddy will be with us, and I've never been to a game with her! I'll also be thinking a lot of Mom... she'd eat this up. #TH4NKFUL
1. - HOME. Truly, there's no place I'd rather be. Whether the house is full or I'm home alone, it's where I'm happiest.
2. - IN THE KITCHEN. We hang out in the kitchen a lot. I like to cook, and eat, and it's Command Central.
3. - IN MY WORKROOM. I love being in here. It's getting to need a good cleaning out, as it's sort of the catch-all, too, whenever something needs to be stashed or is on hold for whatever reason. I'm so happy to have a place for all most of my stuff and for that fabulous work table.
4. - IN MY CHAIR (LIVING ROOM). This is where I spend many an evening, knitting or sewing, watching TV or a movie.
5. - OUTSIDE (YARD, PERGOLA, FRONT PORCH). In the milder months, obvs.
6. - AT KC&T. I stop every morning on my way to work. Usually, I just get an iced tea; sometimes (when the fridge at home is bare), I need something for lunch. Two or three times a month, I meet up with friends for Knit Night.
7. - AT MOM'S. I don't hang out at Mom's as much as I used to and, of course, things are a lot different now, but it's still one of my favorite places to be.
8. - ON A PLANE...
9. - IN A CAR...
10. - WHEREVER MY PEEPS ARE! Wisconsin, California, North Carolina, New York, Michigan, Vegas, Brazil, Mexico, Scotland, England, Wales... who knows where I'll end up hanging out next! Because second only to HOME, my favorite place to hang out is with my family and friends... wherever they are!
I can't not do it, having done it every year since 2009. I am not and have never been much of a planner when it comes to blogging... I almost always blog by the seat of my pants! That said, I usually keep some ideas in mind for NaBloPoMo!
1. Daylight Savings Time! DST ends on November 1st this year... maybe there are some thoughts to share about that.
2. Photos! A good photo is sometimes all that's needed (though I am certainly guilty of posting a not-so-good photo at crunch time). "Saturday Sky" and NaBloPoMo are a match made in heaven.
3. My Birthday! Lucky for me, my birthday is in November and that's always good for a post or two.
4. Weekending! A few photos along with some words on a Monday morning to share weekend doings -- there are five Mondays in November.
5. Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving -- planning, prep, cooking, decorating, celebrating -- can be good for a few (or more) posts.
6. Holidays! Fast on the heels of Thanksgiving, there's planning, prep & decorating to do!
7. Knitting! Most of us are knitters, so there may be a recent FO to share, some holiday knitting, a WIP that's seeing some action.
8. Ten on Tuesday! Also perfect for NaBloPoMo! 4 Tuesdays + 5 Mondays + 4 Saturdays = 13 fairly stress-free days of blogging.
9. Throwback Thursday!Add 4 Thursdays and over half the month is taken care of!
10. Don't Stress. I try not to agonize over NaBloPoMo. Not every post is going to be stellar (guaranteed). I don't have to write a daily dissertation (I don't even have to write). And I try to be flexible (which is easy to do when the planning is loose to begin with) and open to whatever comes along!
1. Slept In. I had an early morning message from Ali on Saturday: No market! She is busy forwards and backwards and combined with a few other things happening in her world, it just wasn't going to happen. So I went back to bed! I didn't really sleep much more, but it sure felt cozy under the covers.
2. Watched the sun rise.
3. Cleaned out the garage. Overtaken by art displays and indigo dyeing apparatus, my car hasn't seen the inside of the garage since spring! I hate to mention it, but snow is on the way! We still have to move the indigo vat before there's room for the car (maybe tomorrow).
4. Did some thinning/cleaning out at Mom's. I decided to be productive with my "extra" time on Saturday. There's still plenty of extraneous stuff at Mom's that she loved and tended, but to which my stepdad doesn't really have an attachment. The Royals, for one thing. Have a thing for The Royals? Mom did! I thought I'd give it a couple of hours... five hours later... (so.much.stuff).
5. Marveled at some of the things I found. A few tugs at the heart.
6. Watched Junah for a while. (Impossible to photograph that boy lately!) He's wearing his Great Uncle Mike's sweater, which I found in a drawer at Mom's. I had possession of it for a while when my girls were little, and I'm pretty sure that Annie had same when my nephews were younger. It's probably a size 5-6 (the sleeves are rolled twice in these photos). The tag is gone, so I have no idea of manufacturer, origin, or content. It's almost 50 years old, though, so most likely U.S.-made and not likely wool. Heh. The buttons were nabbed from one of my dad's old Air Force uniforms. #slowfashionoctober #handmedowns
7. Watched the sun set.
8. Watched the sun rise again. Kate, Ali and I were on the road by 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, bound for Reedsville, WI...
9. We went to Fermentation Fest! Ali & I took a class: Kombucha 101 presented by Vanessa + Alla, founders of NessAlla Kombucha in Madison. We both bought starter kits; everything is there: a 1-gallon jar, oolong tea, organic sugar, a (genius) laminated recipe/instruction card, a cotton square & rubber band to tightly cover, and a SCOBY! Kombucha will be happening!
Fermentation Fest, an initiative of The Wormfarm Institute, is FAB! It's been on my radar for a year or two. My sister Karen went last year and took a class or two; this year, I think she took four or five! In fact, she was so busy that we didn't even have a chance to meet up. (We'll see each other again soon!) This was my first year and that was my only class... definitely not the last.
10. Farm/Art DTour. Katie took in part of the tour while Ali & I were in class, and we drove through the rest afterwards. Incredible. Obviously, one of my favorite installations was Monday is Wash Day by Brenda Baker. I wish I'd taken more/better photos of that. AMAZED!
2. Soup. Nothing says "warm me up" like a bowl of soup!
3. A Roast. Any kind. With carrots, parsnips, and potatoes.
4. Lasagna. It's always been my go-to in any season, but particularly as it gets cooler outside. And made with some Roasted Tomato Sauce? Divine.
5. BBQ Ribs. KC&T just began selling my favorite BBQ sauce, Howling Wolf! (And will soon feature the Cranberry Orange sauce on a panini.)
6. Apples. Worth the wait.
7. Roasted Veggies. Any and all!
8. Cranberries. In bread (sparingly). In sauce. I love their tartness!
9. Zucchini Bread. Also sparingly, but it seems every year I somehow have one (large) zucchini that I just don't know what to do with except make bread!
10. Pumpkin Pie. This is the realm of my husband. He *loves* pie... pumpkin and apple, in particular, so this is definitely pie season around here. I can protest 'til the cows come home... there will be pie.
* * * * *
Wisconsin Weather (Fall)
3 Days ago I posted: "I am having warm thoughts about my furnace." It was mid-60s in my house. In spring that feels amazing, in fall... not so much.
Today I posted: "It was a little warm at work today. We had the door open and a fan going but, really, it was warm enough for A/C. We just couldn't do it! It felt as though we'd have been closing the door right in summer's face... (sad face)."
For the record, it's 7 p.m. and still 83F outside.
Tomorrow (day off) is supposed to be much like today. (Yay!)
I also like Klondike bars, ice cream sandwiches, a plain old ice cream bar, fudgsicles, creamsicles (orange), push-ups (orange), Dilly bars (chocolate), drumsticks... there are probably a million new "licensed" ice cream treats on the market these days, but I like the tried-and-true.
We've lived in our home for over 28 years! There are things that I've loved from the beginning (that basically sold the home to me); things that we've improved so that some other feeling has now become love; and there are many things that we just outright created, helping to make our house a home that we truly love.
1. The front door. I didn't have to do much more than step through that door 28 years ago, take it in along with the oak staircase and the colonnade between the two main living areas on the main floor, and I was in deep, deep love.
2. The colors. It's sided with wood clapboards and shingles, so there's a lot of upkeep and maintenance, but I sure do love it. The house was light blue with white trim when we bought it, and there were black shutters on all of those windows.
3. New windows! Not all of them... Most of the windows are original with wooden storms/screens that we remove and replace with the seasons (but not all of those, either). There were only a few windows in the house that had "modern" combination storm windows when we moved in and they were all replaced with new last week. (The three 2nd-story windows in the photo above, among them; they're a different color than the painted ones, but I'm okay with it.)
4. The garage & driveway. We built the garage from scratch and designed it to match the architecture of the house. We didn't have a driveway or a garage for about the first 10 years we were here.
And sitting on that driveway is my car, on which I made the last payment today! I've already spent a little bundle on some repairs, rather than buying new... fingers crossed that it was the right decision! (No car payment... YAY!)
5. The gardens! Once upon a time, the gardening got a lot more attention around here. The beauty of perennials is that they keep on giving. I learned to love hostas, and one of my favorites is the enormous Blue Angel (on the right in the photo above) (there used to be two, until the gas company dug up half the terrace).
6. The playhouse. Rusty built it when Kate & Al were little, and we moved it down the hill when we decided to build the garage. Junah's been in there already this summer, but he'll use it much more over the next few.
7. Our kitchen. One of the things I love most are the reclaimed cupboards. The big one once did duty in the science department of a nearby high school. We had enough height to lift the top off of the base and hang it, leaving room for a counter atop the base. The base has a few drawers, as you can see, as well as four pull-out cutting boards; we use the lower cupboards to hold recycling bins. The smaller one, my "depression glass cupboard" (with one light out) helps to block the view of the sink area from the front door (it's a straight shot!). (I'd like to replace those hot halogen lights with some LED tape.)
8. The hardwood floors. Some are new (-ish), some were uncovered and refinished, and some were always here; there's only one room in the house that is carpeted, and that's our bedroom.
9. My workroom. It's an organized mess... which is what happens when multiple projects are underway! The paper tube set across the sewing machine are a couple more Alabama Chanin patterns that I just picked up from the blueprint shop (the least expensive place I've found to have large-format prints made... cheap, really... I email the files and pick them up when ready... SO EASY). But I digress (about Alabama Chanin stuff... what a surprise.)
10. The deck and pergola. It's very private and I love it! I agree with Katie, though, I think it's time to grow something on it... wisteria?
Bonus: The top step leading to the playhouse. Maddy was one and "squished" her little fingers into the concrete!
Oh boy, there are so many things and most of summer still sits before us...
1. Dyeing. I've quite a few things in mind to throw into the indigo vat. I'll be doing a dye day with my sister and nephews one of these days, too.
2. Sewing. An Alabama ChaninA-Line Tunic is going to get underway tomorrow, I hope. I have plans to embellish! I have already begun making the pattern for another tunic, and want to make & refine at least one more square-neck. In addition to some lovely fabric, I've an overflowing bin of t-shirts and scraps to play around with -- making things for Junah is in mind for some (but definitely not all) of that.
4. Day-tripping... a visit to Door County will be coming up sometime this summer; it may wait just long enough 'til those blossoms are ready-to-pick cherries! I haven't actually gone cherry picking since I was in about 6th grade.
5. Baseball! I've already been to one Wisconsin Timber Rattlers game for Stitch 'n Pitch, there's a company picnic coming up in August, and we're working on a family outing next month!
6. Cycling. I really want -- and need -- to get on my bike and ride for more than a mile at a time! We'll miss the Door County ride/beer festival out of Baileys Harbor this weekend, but plan to do the fall ride out of Sister Bay again later this summer.
7. Cooking. I've been trying some new recipes lately, with inspiration from the Whole30Recipes Instagram feed... and I'd like to continue that!
8. Tidying. Life has been busy, but I need to get back to the life-changing magic!
9. Reading. I've printed off a Bingo card, but expect it will last me far longer than the summer. I'm really looking forward to some of those squares! Currently on my nightstand is The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, which I am enjoying quite a lot, but may have to take a break to read Still Alice by Lisa Genova for book club!
10. Time off-ing. I've arranged a couple of extra days off next week, to start... I am SO looking forward to it, and to using that time to accomplish some of the above!
We listened to a fair bit of music on the way to Black Mountain, NC, and back, and all of it was on Spotify. The playlist we listened to most was BOXER SUMMER JAMS by The Boxer Rebellion. (I've been listening to that playlist since it was called WINTER jams!) It was perfect for a road trip.
1. Rusty & I took a 7-hour RT drive on Saturday to attend my nephew's graduation party.
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!
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.
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!
I don't eat sandwiches as often as I used to... like, hardly ever these days... but I sure do love them and sometimes it's the only thing!
I began riffing on sandwiches last week when writing about cheese, whereby the Top 4 or 5 were already declared:
1. Philly Cream Cheese & Welch's Grape Jelly. On Wonder Bread, of course!
2. Butter & Honey. Mom would make these sandwiches in the morning and pack it in our school lunches. By lunchtime, the honey would have begun to crystallize along the cut edges. Oh, that was the best thing.
3. Peanut Butter & Banana. I also have fond memories of Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Creme, but am very content to leave that there in the memory department. I have, however, continued the pleasure of PB & Banana to the present day (though quite sparingly).
4. Grilled Cheese. White bread with butter, processed American cheese, grilled just so... oh yum! We didn't eat out often when I was a kid, but when we did I always ordered a grilled cheese sandwich (really hard to screw up)... until I discovered fried shrimp!
5. Ham & Swiss. This is my go-to at any sandwich shop... anywhere, anytime, on anything, with a little mayo and yellow mustard. Perhaps with pickles. I love it on all kinds of bread or as a wrap, but probably my favorite medium for consumption is a toasted bagel (plain, egg, everything).
6. Roast Beef & Provolone... warm, with mushrooms. Otherwise known as #15 at the Deli Sub Pub, favorite lunch stop of my early working days. Man, I loved that sandwich.
7. Fish Sandwich. I love fish and I love sandwiches. I haven't eaten at McDonald's in years*, but when I was a more regular customer I always ordered a fish filet.
8. Turkey & Cream Cheese with Cherry Chutney. On toasted granola bread. Served with dill potato salad and chunky applesauce. It's my favorite sandwich at The Cookery in Door County. I sometimes wish I could broaden my horizons.
9. A Classic Club Sandwich. This was a favorite from my even earlier working days -- my first job on my own in Superior, WI. I can't remember the name of the diner I'd go to, but they made a great club sandwich!
10. Reuben. Mmm, a good and very dark rye bread, just the right amount of corned beef, the tang & texture of (well-drained) sauerkraut, and the sweetness of Russian dressing.
Bonus: 11. Gyros. Also a favorite of the working girl... there was a fantastic Greek restaurant called Karras' that we went to often; oh man, the best Greek food around.
*Actually, in desperation, we had McD's at O'Hare on the way back from Mexico; of course, I had a fish filet... and I wish I'd been more disappointed! It certainly wasn't stellar, and I won't be a regular consumer ever again, but it would probably number amongst my guilty pleasures if I ever had to make a list of such things.
A lot has changed in Wisconsin. The state used to be dotted with tiny independent cheese factories -- and I mean they were everywhere! That's sadly not the case anymore. I miss them!
Goat Cheese Curds from Caprine Supreme Creamery, Black Creek, WI
1. Squeaky cheese curds. You can find fresh cheese curds at some farmer markets, every grocery, and even at gas/convenience stores.
2. Cream cheese. I don't think there's a single thing on earth with cream cheese as an ingredient that I don't like. The one thing that immediately comes to mind, though, is the Philly Cream Cheese & Welch's Grape Jelly sandwich of my youth. Oh, sooo good. I'm sure we only had those in desperation, and if the cupboard was really bare it was a Butter & Honey sandwich in my lunch, but those are still numbers 1 & 2 on my list of favorite sandwiches! (#3 is Peanut Butter & Banana.) (I sense a Ten on Tuesday topic!)
3. Kraft American cheese, but never individually-wrapped singles. I like peeling the layers on a sliced block. I love a good ol' fashioned grilled cheese sandwich -- with tomato soup, of course! This was also the cheese on the bologna sandwiches of yesteryear, as well as many a dinner when paired with saltine crackers! The kids always loved my sister Karen's American Cheese Soup.
4. Cheddar cheese. There was a time when there was always a block of cheddar in our fridge. If the word "cheese" is on the grocery list, it means cheddar! So many varieties...
5. Colby cheese. A very smooth and mild cheese, similar in flavor to cheddar but perhaps a bit softer. A favorite variation is Co-Jack -- a swirled combo of Colby and Monterey Jack.
6. Mozzarella! In all shapes and sizes. I can adapt. It's the reason I grow tomatoes and basil!
7. Brie & Camembert. Thanks to Mom! A favorite lately is a bit of cherry preserves atop a smudge of brie on a thin cracker. Mmmm.
8. Bleu. Yum... I'm sort of craving a good Wedge Salad right now.
9. Swiss & Provolone. Different cheeses, but sandwich favorites for numbers 4 & 5 on my list: Ham & Swiss and Roast Beef & Provolone.
10. Limburger. (On occasion.) Thanks to Grandpa Blum!