Why does it always take three tries?

This is the second attempt at a mitered border:

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It's way better than the first, but still a little loosey-goosey, especially at the corner.

Actually, now that I'm looking at it, I might be picking up too many stitches. So, that's what I'll try next.

We were supposed to head to a campground today after work, but it's raining and cold and it'll be getting dark by the time we get there... I could handle it without the rain. So, we're going to wait until tomorrow morning.

We picked up Ducky at the RV place on Tuesday and I'm so happy! They replaced some corroded wiring and the outside running lights all work, not to mention the brake lights! We're still going to keep the magnetic ones on and plugged in (since we have both 7-pin and 4-pin ports), because you just can't be too safe. The Explorer is such a better match than the Escape for towing, but we had to get (another) new ball mount because the hitch receptacle is so much higher!

It's only money.

Meanwhile, and apologies if you've already seen this on IG and/or FB, but we are STOKED!

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Before > After. We could play SPOT THE DIFFERENCES! haha. I'll give you two that aren't discernible: all of the lens covers for the light fixtures were removed and cleaned (b-bye bugs) and the bulbs were all replaced with LEDs!

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I'm very proud of my matching stripes, which was done from memory because the big seat cushion was in Ducky at the RV place when I sewed the little ones. The stripes actually match seat-to-back, too. Originally there were little strips that joined the back cushions to the seat cushions... that would have been a real pain to replicate, but I might have to come up with some sort of solution. It would help keep the cushions together when they're acting as a bed, though that hasn't been an issue we've noted.

I'm thinking out loud.

Can't wait for a long weekend... and to go.

 


Weekending: Screenshots

Yesterday.

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Sometimes it's good to laugh until you cry!! It's rare that we're all "together" these days, so that was a big bonus.

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The cropped version of this photo was posted on IG yesterday, but I wanted to post it in full glory. The blanket colors are pretty darn true here. The border color reads as just a wee bit more black in person, but it's close. I am CHUFFED to be finished with this phase, and now trying to remember (researching) how to knit on a mitered border... it's been about 10 years since I did that.

 


3TT: Yesterday

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

Three photos from yesterday!

The day started with an invitation to walk along with Kate & McGregor.

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He is not my dog and I'm not the primary dog-walker, but I've definitely been walking more since he joined our household. Not a bad thing!

Later in the morning, Ali popped over with Davy.

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I got to cuddle him for a while so she could go to the grocery store unencumbered.

We're nearly finished watching Wild Bill on Amazon/BritBox and, of course, I'm sewing up a blanket...

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...which is now big enough to actually serve as a blanket! I began the second-to-last seam last night, joining Rows 3+4 to 9-to-5. It's going to be warm!! Parcheesi is pretty comparable in size, but it's knit with a single strand of fingering-weight throughout... this one is fingering held double!

For grins, the 3 projects I need to finish before casting on anything new:

  1. Davy's Safe at Home Blanket
  2. Messy Bun/Braids & Bobbles Hat for My Cousin Gail
  3. Making More Arrows Scarf for Peg (the one in Neutrals)

Well, for sure I have to finish the first two... any deadline for #3 is purely self-imposed.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Sewing up!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.

KNITTING:

I have half a blanket almost sewn up!!

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From the top, that's Rows 9 to 5... a few little sections still need to be sewn between Rows 6 & 7, and I'll probably be moving on to joining Rows 3 & 4 by this evening.

Adding on two rows at a time really makes it grow! The end is truly in sight.

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Here's a view of the back. I'll be using most of those long ends for sewing up.

READING:

I've actually started "reading" again, listening to The Women of Brewster Place, which I am enjoying very much. I haven't been turning any pages yet, though.

 


Weekending: New wheels

I can't say that I was actually in the market for a new car, but it was pretty clear that it was either a new vehicle or no Ducky! Not an option. "Goldie," my Escape, was just not up to the task.

Meet "Magneto"!

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It's a 3yo Ford Explorer XLT, and will make a fine match with Ducky!

I've gone most of my life without naming my vehicles, but it's not unprecedented in my lifetime... my mom had a 1962 Plymouth (with pushbutton transmission) that she called "The BBB"! That was Bouncing Brown Bomb for the youngsters, Bouncing Brown Bastard for the rest. Hehe.

I feel like I spent most of Saturday driving around -- not a bad thing when getting used to a new vehicle! I had a few errands and my timing was a bit off, so had to rearrange and then circle around.

I figured that I might as well run out to the RV place to grab a cushion from Ducky. There are only two small cushions yet to re-do; one of them was still in the trailer and I needed to reclaim & wash the zipper. I didn't actually get around to cutting fabric or sewing over the weekend, but I now have both (clean) zippers and I'm ready to go. We've reserved three nights at Bay Shore Park Campground for the weekend after next and that job should be complete by then!

On my first errands circle, I'd noticed an "Estate Sale" sign in a very intriguing neighborhood... I was with an angsty hangry Kate, so didn't stop, but made a point to do it on the second loop (why not?). The sale had been pretty picked over by the time I stopped, but the turn-of-the-century house (I'm guessing) was very interesting and fun to see. I did find some silver plated serving pieces that I liked, and some knitting stuff... lots of junk, but there were some "keeper" needles and an intriguing tool:

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I did a cursory quick search and didn't come up with much on that item! I'm hoping to dig a little deeper soon. I don't have a clue about how one would use that... DO YOU??

I wandered into the Garden Room yesterday morning (aka, the Sunday NY Times Reading Room) and it was just lovely.

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The leaves are turning, falling... it won't be long before the trees are bare. And we're gonna need some curtains in there! Ha. We'll need something on the lower half at least those four in the corner.

As lovely as it started, the day was actually mostly overcast and chilly -- the perfect kind of weather for Chili All Day! (Oh darn, I had to get in the car again.)

Ali & family came over late in the day and stayed for supper. I didn't get any good pics of the girls, but here's what's new with the boys:

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They're both growing crazy-fast!

As is Davy's "Safe At Home" blanket:

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Well, it's maybe not growing "crazy-fast," but it is growing! So far, I've joined Rows 1+2, 3+4, 5+6 and 8+9, and last night I started joining Row 7 to 8+9. Lordy, it's a a lot of sewing up, it's a little fiddly, there are a bajillion-zillion-and-ten ends to weave in or anchor or trim, but my nose is to the grindstone and it is so worth it to see this thing begin to really take shape. I don't think I'll be finished by the time we go camping, but I should at least be into the border!

How was your weekend?

 


Eye Candy Friday

I'm loving how the Lambstrings Spooky October Advent Calendar is coming along!

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Days 1-7:  "Lady Baphomet," "There's a razor blade in my apple," "Seance," "Dorian Gray," "Spookshow," "404," and "Phantom."

I was busy picking up & learning about my new-to-me vehicle last night, so didn't get a chance to open Day 8 until it was way too late for a photo, but here it is:

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"Strange and unusual."

There's nothing strange and unusual about my happiness with these!

And I'm very happy that the weekend is nearly upon us! I plan to spend it mostly at home, catching up on some things (laundry is looming large). I hope you have a great one!

 


Camping: Big Lake

Our trial run to Calumet was made with a longer trip in mind, and a couple of weeks later we packed up and headed 3.5 hours north to the "rustic" Big Lake Campground at Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.

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Kate had gone tent camping up here a few times earlier in the summer, and this was her favorite campground. We gave our site a good look upon arrival to determine how best to situate Ducky. Let me just say that we are newbies, and we're gonna be newbies for a long time... we learned a lot on this trip, too!

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Most trailer campsites are either "back-in" or "pull-through." Well, we pulled right in to our back-in site, which we determined would work best given the lay of the land and the layout of our camper. We realized later that the better thing for us would have been to move the fire ring and the picnic table in order to back in, as that was the most level spot and would have given us a lot more privacy. Not that we were exposed or anything, we were in a nice hollow and there were lots of trees around us and between sites. And, obviously, we were able to maneuver my Escape around to the other side and, eventually, we (Kate) backed OUT of the site. That was surprisingly easy! We are both getting more comfortable and confident with the backing-up-a-trailer thing with each excursion.

You can see that our stabilizers are atop some levelers in the front (four, I think, under each), and there was barely room for the stabilizers alone in the rear. It was level and stable and it felt okay.

And then it rained. I'd mentioned that it only rained at night?  It did, but oh my goodness, DID IT EVER RAIN!! (And thank god for earplugs!) It came down so hard, so fast, so much on that first night that there were rivulets through our site... right under Ducky... right where those levelers and stabilizers are. It rained the second night, too, though not QUITE as hard. We still needed earplugs; both admitted later to middle-of-the-night thoughts of being washed away!

Oh the drama! We were fine, but these are lessons that will never be forgotten.

We only saw the sun on our last afternoon, but it was certainly comfortable enough to spend almost all of the daytime outside... the bugs weren't even bothersome.

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We were there for peak autumn color -- you can see the difference between arrival on Thursday and departure on Monday.

We spent a lot of time building and tending campfires (and running to procure more firewood)... not the easiest thing when it's been rained on all night, every night! But we managed.

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And we had McGregor!!

Our timing was perfect for a meet-up on Friday with my Uncle Jim and his friend Pat at the Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters where he was picking up a bat monitor to record activity near his place for a few days. It was great to see him, even just for a little while, and to meet Pat!

The campground was a bit more woodsy and interesting than Calumet, but I didn't hike much other than trips to the toilet with an occasional detour to the beach on the way back. It sure was gorgeous.

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And, similarly, I spent most of my time working on the Safe At Home blanket for Davy... weaving in ends and seaming.

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Lots of ends (that's a drop in the bucket)! It took a few tries to get the seaming method/look that I wanted, finally settling on backstitch and it's moving along -- I feel like the end is in sight.

So, Big Lake Campground is "rustic," meaning there are no hookups of any kind; there are vault toilets and non-potable water available at a pump. So we were truly on battery & propane power the whole time, and had to haul in our own drinking water! Ducky's "plumbing" isn't functional right now, anyway, so we didn't even miss it... though we did spring for a "luggable loo" type of setup (which we perched in the bathroom shower area) because there's no way I'm hauling my ass to a vault toilet in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night! And, you know, at least for me, having to GO in the middle of the night is an unavoidable fact these days!

We did some more campfire cooking:

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Chicken & veggies in foil packets, foil-wrapped potatoes to have with a yummy smoked pork chop from Nueske's. Those coals were HOT, and I'm still learning/perfecting my campfire cooking techniques, so the potatoes got a little singed (okay, burnt) on one side, but they were amazingly good. Yeah, okay, the chicken & veggies were also a little singed... I'm the type that likes my s'mores marshmallows FLAMING, so obviously I'm okay with some burned-y bits. Haha.

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It was really lovely and, though not completely unplugged from everything... we were unplugged enough and it was great to take a break for a few days!

We cleaned Ducky up on Monday when we returned, then hauled him over to an RV service center to have a few things fixed/checked out. We're thinking of taking one more short 2- or 3-night trip in a couple of weeks, before it gets too cold, at a campground less than an hour from home.

 


Camping: Calumet

I scrolled through the blog looking for my post about our first camping outing for reference... and there isn't one! I never even wrote one because all of a sudden (though not unexpectedly... heheh) there was a new baby and it's been a little chaotic and nonstop since then (except for our second camping outing) (coming soon).

So, first things first!

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We hitched up on a Tuesday afternoon and hauled Ducky over to Calumet County Park, only 20 miles from home, for a two-night stay.

Newbies, we did our best backing in and setting up under the observant (but not intrusive) eyes of our neighbor a couple of sites away. A little nervous, perhaps, and wary of site conditions (level), we ended up about 8 feet short of being able to plug in our power cord. I'd had a fleeting thought about throwing the extension cord in the car when we were packing up, but didn't do that... so we were on battery power! We also had to remember how to turn on the propane power for the fridge.

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This was before replacing all of the interior lamps with LEDs that use a lot less power. We also have at least four small portable LED lanterns and headlamps, so we are not lacking for light!

Also at this point in time, I'd only replaced the "living room" couch cushions and the "dining room" area still had the originals from 1987. I slept in the living room and Kate slept in the dining room, and we could have held hands if we'd wanted. It's very cozy.

We made quesadillas for supper and didn't dally much that evening, but I do recall talk of dogs, and my photo roll supports that because...

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...while searching for "Scottish boy dog names" or somesuch, I came across this photo of Ewan McGregor and his adorable dog and, well, the rest is history.

I had coffee on Wednesday morning in my new insulated and practically indestructible camping mug from KC&T!

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I posted this photo on IG and ended up shipping two mugs to the east coast for friends who had to have one themselves!

We made a run on Wednesday for a few supplies, including an extension cord exclusively for Ducky! Otherwise, I spent a lot of time knitting that day and finished the strips!

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The little blue marker is holding a dropped stitch and was a reminder to pick it up when I picked up stitches for the roof.

We were close enough to home that Rusty came out late in the afternoon for a hike and to have supper with us.

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The park is located on the Niagara Escarpment, and it's pretty cool.

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It's also home to a few effigy mounds, of which Wisconsin has many.

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A few leaves were starting to turn... and it was just a nice walk.

While Kate and Rusty stoked the fire, I prepared fish & veggie packets to cook over the coals.

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They were overcooked a little bit...

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...but delicious!

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Not a bad day.

Day 2 began with coffee and pancakes (or panpakes, as the kids say) for breakfast!

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We cooked 'em on Ducky's little stove and dined at the picnic table.

Playing tourist a little bit, we drove down to LaClare Cheese Factory. We are no strangers to the area, as we prefer traveling on that side of the lake whenever we're pointed south -- Milwaukee or Chicago or beyond -- but in "travel mode," we rarely stop anywhere.

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We greeted some goats, and bought some great cheese and sausage!

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I took a photo of these cheese wheels through a window, aren't they gorgeous??

After that outing, we de-camped and headed for home. It was a great little first trip and gave us a little more confidence to head a further afield and for longer. More on that outing soon!!

 


Weekending!

It was a busy & fun weekend. One very exciting thing was taking a brand new Ford Explorer for a test drive! I'm in the market for a different vehicle and, while it most certainly won't be A Brand New Car, it will be newer than what I have. (And, hey, that was fun... did you know that there's an option for a rotary dial shifter?) Anyway, I'm looking to accommodate grandkids, for better towing capability, and for a few features that are lacking on my older car... Bluetooth, rear-view camera, remote starting, heated seats (and maybe even a heated steering wheel... that is the bomb!). I'd really like a sun/moon roof, too, but am willing to forego that for a few other must-haves.

Anyway.

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I enjoyed cuddles with Davy on Saturday when I drove out to pick up the big kids, and again on Sunday when their momma came to get them. He was sleeping both times!

I had all three of his older siblings for another overnight -- from about noon Saturday until mid-afternoon on Sunday. The kids camped out on the living room floor and I took a turn on the couch (which used to be a lot more comfortable, I have to say... it could use a Ducky-style re-do or replacement, too!). Despite the couch having seen better days (I've had some epic naps there), I had a really good night's sleep!

We had a fun hour or so decorating t-shirts with puffy paint on Saturday afternoon!

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I helped Malina with hers... her attention span isn't quite there (not to mention ability), but she helped hold the bottles and we worked together until she declared, "I'm done."

While my focus was on helping Malina...

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Ginny was VERY BUSY... and a little heavy-handed! But OMG, isn't that little guy cute?? The hair and use of color just slay me! There were a few more, um, decorative BLOBS applied toward the top of the shirt after this photo was taken. The directions say "four hours" to dry... Ginny's might be more like four MONTHS! Haha. (Also, anatomy... a bit more refined than the sidewalk chalk art of a few weeks ago. Haha.)

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Junah was very intent on his lines-and-squiggles design, and then experimented a bit with some printing/transfer using a foam paintbrush.

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My kids decorated a fair number of shirts back in the day -- and Kate got very excited about the prospect of puffy paint, too! (I love this photo.)

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There was a bit more added after I took this photo, but you get the idea.

After we found a place for the shirts to dry undisturbed (temporarily, anyway), there was a performance... and lesson.

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Haha. You can see how that went down!!

We didn't have the greatest weather over the weekend... it was gray and drippy on Saturday. There was the smallest of breaks when Rusty took the kids on a walk to a nearby park, and Kate & I took McGregor around the block.

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The wet leaves looked amazing!

The kids & I picked up a drive-thru lunch on Sunday and headed over to another city park. It was a little bit nicer, still chilly, so we found a spot with as much sunshine as we could while we ate. Then we headed up to the playground area, where we noticed a gathering of people... turned out they were getting ready for a drive-by baby shower for one of Ali's former employees! She saw Ali's van pull up and the kids pile out and thought, Wow, Ali's here early... It was nice to see her and to wish her well!

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It was a fun park that I'd never really been to before (not the playground part, anyway). There were two double-sided climbing walls and both Junah & Gin climbed to the top a couple of times (once they were bug-, spider-, and spider web-free, that is!). Some of those little hand-holds were full of water (and stuff), too, which let to some cute little screeches on the ascent.

There was all the usual play, plus fun with McGregor. We also watched a few movies: 101 Dalmations, James and The Giant Peach, Frozen, and Toy Story 4 (yay, Disney+)!

My delight at opening a little surprise parcel of yarn everyday continues...

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I haven't opened today's yet (because morning darkness), but here are the four so far.

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They are "Lady Baphomet," "There's a razor blade in my apple," "Seance," and "Dorian Gray." There are 30 mini-skeins in the Lambstrings Spooky October Advent Calendar, and a full-size skein on Day 31, so the possibilities are plentiful and I have lots of time to ponder them.

I hope you had a great weekend!

 


Frrrriday!

I'm worn out. I've never slept better than I did last week... six days in a row with green stars on my Fitbit (meaning that I met my sleep goal), scores in the high 80s. Since? Not so much. I think I need to go back to the woods.

Here's some random stuff for a chilly Friday.

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Color in the back yard.

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Color in the car. It's not the best photo, but I loved the sunlight on my orange chenille collar. Wearing this amazing sweater/jacket is always like getting a big warm hug from my sister. (I love you and miss you, Sharon Jean!)

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Color on the sidewalk. This morning. In the dark. I had to adjust the color balance a bit, but wow... I wonder how long I'll be able to take early dark-morning photos? Anyway, this is Rows 5+6, which I finished sewing up last night while watching an episode of LONG WAY UP!! We really loved Long Way Round and Long Way Down, so this was a no-brainer... plus, I finally get to use the Apple TV subscription that came with my phone! If you like Ewan McGregor, adventure, Ewan McGregor, beautiful scenery, or Ewan McGregor, I think you'll like any of these shows. (Ewan McGregor.) (Charley's cute, too.)

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Color everyday in October! I was so happy yesterday morning when I realized that it was SPOOKY OCTOBER ADVENT CALENDAR time, and looked forward to getting home and opening Day 1. This is really going to help get me through the month...

Happy Friday! I hope y'all have a great weekend!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Safe at {our Campsite}

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.

Kate & I returned on Monday from our Northwoods camping trip. I had yesterday off, too, during which I got a lot of my "day off" stuff done, and we dropped Ducky off at an RV service center to have a few things done and/or checked out.

We also had an early morning visit from a certain young gentleman, and had breakfast with his mom.

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I took a few photos... he wasn't interested in sleeping, and it's difficult to get a good capture of an awake baby when they're so young, but I managed a few. There's a history in our family of not having knitted gifts done on time, and draping the pieces upon the recipient with a lick & a promise. Heh. Davy is probably the youngest person subjected to this tradition. Also, suddenly, there's some scale to this project!

KNITTING

It took a few tries to find just the right way to sew up these rows. I tried "mattress stitch" a couple of times/ways, whipstitch, crochet... I finally settled on backstitch.

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Approved by McGregor!

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It's a little stretchy, not too fiddly, and I know how to do it (I could do that and running stitch in my sleep thanks to Alabama Chanin!). I managed to sew up Rows 1 + 2:

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And Rows 3 + 4:

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I'm showing the back of my work!

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A lot of the ends had already been woven in & trimmed, many were woven in but awaiting a trim, some of the longer ends are coming in handy for the sewing up (and I sometimes wish I'd left more and/or longer ends).

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Ope! There's that cute pup again!

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And another (selfie) with Kate! He was a pretty good camper, considering everything... other campers, kids, other dogs, loads of busy chipmunks. Kate's started knitting him a sweater! And there's a plan formulating for another.

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I'll definitely post more about camping soon. We saw a little blue sky & sunshine on Sunday afternoon (pictured above), had a lot of rain (but only at night), and burned through lots of wood! A good time was had by all.

I still haven't read anything lately... except for my absentee ballot.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Mini = Maxi

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.

KNITTING

As previously mentioned, I've finished knitting houses for the baby blanket! I sorted through & organized all of the remaining yarn -- happily noting that I used up quite a few odds & ends -- in preparation for sewing up. I plan to work on that while camping for 5 days/4 nights beginning TOMORROW!

I am so ready for some time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The weather looks like it'll be pretty good, and there should be some fall color on display. I'm also happy that we'll have a physically distant meet up with Uncle Jim, my dad's youngest (and only remaining) brother. It's Jimmy's cabin which we are often invited to use for a week or long weekend most years, but as we all know, this isn't "most years." And that's also why we now have a travel trailer!

Anyway, my cousin Gail sent me a very timely reminder inquiring about the "messy bun hat" that she asked me to knit a while back. She had sent me a photo of the Braids & Bobbles hat (Ravelry link) and I've always wanted to knit that hat, plus it seems like a good time for texture. I dug out some dark green Cascade 220 (I think) and started on Sunday night. I'm not crazy with the layout of the pattern. Others have complained about the lack of a chart, but that doesn't bother me as much as just the way it's written and having to flip pages back and forth. I finally cut & separated parts of the pattern to eliminate some of that. Anyway, I'm getting into the groove of cables again and it's looking great. I intend to deliver it when Rusty & I head up to the North Shore of Lake Superior just after Election Day, so need it finished by then.

Meanwhile, I took delivery of this the other day:

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Apparently, 2020 is the year of the mini-skein for me! I had ordered a bunch of Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails way back when this pandemic mess all began (a crocheted blanket or two underway with that), and also found their 12 Days of Madelinetosh to be irresistible, AND was bewitched by Lambstrings Yarns' Spooky October Advent Calendar! A little present to open every day in October might help keep me sane... and occupied while I consider what I might do with them. I adore Shanna's color sense, and I'm sure I'll be very happy.

READING

I don't know what my problem is -- perhaps too preoccupied with babies and big kids and blankets and hats and travel trailers and camping -- but I am just not reading or listening to anything right now! Maybe those few days in the woods will give me a chance to slow down and dive into something. I certainly have titles on my list!

IN OTHER NEWS

I gave Rusty his third haircut.

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He was pretty shaggy! It wasn't my best (some of the attachments were missing in the clipper set that I borrow from Ali), but it'll do.

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I had him take a "for the record" shot of my Covid hair... it's crazy long!

I'm sure you've noticed the shortening days.

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This was last night as I came through the garage after watching ISS streak across the sky for the second time this week. Let there be light!

JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH

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I'm not sure I'll be blogging while we're up north, so this might have to tide you over.  :)

 


Life is... overflowing!

I'm having to process and grieve the recent, devastating losses of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Cat Bordhi a little differently than most right now. I feel it all, but I cannot dwell...

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Davy on Friday and yesterday. He's already growing! Ginny is utterly smitten... "Can I hold it?"

I went out on Friday, of course, and then again on Saturday with Rusty & Kate.

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Junah had left his skateboard at our house and the safety gear I'd ordered arrived at his house... so they were all finally united!

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Is that a happy face or what? I love that new {{BIG}} gap in his teeth! That's the first one on top.

We brought THREE BIG KIDS home on Saturday for an overnighter.

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They played and played and played -- K'nex, dolls, puzzles -- watched a couple of movies, carved pumpkins with Grandpa, and Malina had a nice time all by herself in the playhouse, and...

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...walking & playing with the dog! I gained both a grandson AND a granddog on Friday!! This is McGregor (or Ewan McGregor if you want to be formal about it) and he's sort of amazing, blowing us all away with how well he's fit in from the get-go. He's a smart, inquisitive, playful 9-month-old rescue, terrier/schnauzer mix... fantastic with the kids, and they with him.

And just a few more random shots from our busy and chaotic weekend:

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I spotted Oswald hanging out in the kitchen at Ali's! I just checked Ravelry and he's over 14 years old!! I've knit four little Odd Fellows, but Oswald was the first and favorite. He even came to the UK with us.

And we continue to outfit Ducky... the sink & stove covers add much-needed countertop work space. We're heading up north in a few days!

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And a parting bathroom mirror selfie w/Davy!

 


Introducing...

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Davy Arliss*
b. September 18, 2020, 7:05 am, at home
8 lb. 5 oz.

Does that look like a happy big sister, or what?? Junah is thrilled... I just can't even imagine how disappointed he'd be if Davy'd been a girl (at first, anyway). Malina is sticking close to Mom.

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And here's the state of his blanket! I finished the knitting while camping on Wednesday. Last night, I sorted through all the yarn and the next step is sewing up!!

Safe At Home... indeed. Welcome baby boy!!

Edited to add the middle name! Ali says, "... from Old Yeller, he’s a stinker and this one peed on me already so it’s a perfect fit 😅 Like to name my boys from movies I guess!"

 


Weekending: Still No Baby!

Ali & the kiddos stopped over yesterday.

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Here's a new thing: Skater Boy! (He's so adorable!!)

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And another new thing: Ginny's drawing anatomically "correct" portraits. That's Rusty. Malina is giving him the "pandemic hair" treatment. (A haircut for Rusty is on my list!)

I had a long, relaxing, and productive weekend!

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While I finished the last of the curtains...

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Kate finished the floor in Ducky, and Rusty did the same in The Garden Room. It was SO NICE to read the Sunday paper in there yesterday morning.

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I laughed out loud when I spotted the rug in this ad from a flyer in said paper. We are SO ON TREND! Heh.

We made a shopping trip and started to pack up Ducky for our little mid-week trip, and I sewed up the seat cushion for the couch. I still need to do the button tufting, but that'll be quick and easy! That seat cushion was the largest & most unwieldy, by far, so I'm really happy to have it done.

Someone asked about Ducky sleeping arrangements: the couch at the front slides out to make a bed, and the narrow table in the kitchen is removed and that seat also slides out to make a bed. There's also a little fold-down "loft" over the couch that would be big enough for a kid (it will be storage 99% of the time). It's all very cozy!!

We all had a nice chat with Maddy over the weekend. They are leaving tomorrow (I think... was it my Tuesday or hers??), taking their time and a leisurely scenic route from Northern Territory to New South Wales. Hopefully, they'll have secured housing by the time they get there!

Ann called yesterday and wondered if we were watching the football game. They weren't having any luck tuning in from Peru, so she wondered if I could prop up my phone in front of the TV... and we watched the last quarter together that way. (Go Pack Go!) Malina was nearby and sort of fascinated by Ann. Mack popped in, similarly fascinated by Malina (you know how he is with the babies!)... and I was gobsmacked by the change in his voice! That should be no surprise, given his age and, well, it's only natural, but c'mon... my first "practice grandchild" is getting so old!! He's as tall as Ann and, well, next thing you know... it'll be Addie, too. Haha.

It's not official yet, but likely that Annie & family will depart Peru in early December and quarantine with us/in the apartment for a few weeks, then back and forth to Madison over the holidays and into January. They'll still be working & going to school for some of that time, and the apartment would be perfect for them!

I have finished all the houses and roofs on the baby blanket, and have started the last of the skies. (Note: I have trimmed ZERO tails in this row... it's pretty shaggy right now!)

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It was awfully dim when I took this photo on the back sidewalk this morning... it was dark enough that the solar motion step lights illuminated when I took a bag to the trash can just moments before.

I hope y'all had a good weekend!


Unraveled Wednesday: The Clock Is Ticking

NO BABY NEWS YET! Alison is running out of things to clean, organize and/or redecorate. In the past week: sewed baby bonnets, deep cleaned their van & the kids' car seats (along with installation of the infant seat), repainted the lower kitchen cabinets, finished the upstairs bathroom (Rusty & Rod had big roles in that job), Marie Kondo'd Rod's dresser drawers, and installed missing cabinet doors in their bedroom.

C'MON BABY, COME OUT! COME OUT!!

Meanwhile, the kids were over a couple of times over the weekend.

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Experienced Big Brother & Big Sister in waiting (blowing bubbles)...

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This one is about to become a Big Sister for the first time... and forever!

Here's a quick Ducky update!

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I finished the first of the cushions, then put that project aside momentarily while I made curtains! We've decided to make a trial run close to home before we head way up north. A week from today, I'll be waking up in Ducky at a little lake-side county park campground less than 20 miles from home. Anyway, curtains jumped to the top of the To-Do List, and I was able to finish all but the kitchen & bathroom curtains... those windows are very small and can be easily covered.

While I did that, Kate wallpapered the bathroom!

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This photo is actually taken through the bathroom window.

And we've added some artwork.

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Kate found this tiny Bob Ross-esque original oil painting for 50¢ and it's just perfect.

But that's not all...

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She also started putting down the new floor! It's the same tile that we're using in The Garden Room...

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...speaking of which, Rusty started the prep for that!

And now, for the main part of this program!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.

KNITTING

...progresses.

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It won't be long before it's too dark to take photos before I go to work. Thank goodness, my phone camera does pretty well in low light! That's the 9th & final row in-progress, with the 8th row for (more) visual interest. I guess I have three houses to go, then roofs & skies... it seems reasonable that sewing up should begin sometime over the weekend!

I'm sure hoping we have a baby by then!

READING

I haven't been reading anything except the New York Times on Sunday mornings. That's about to change, though. I used languishing Audible credits to acquire The Women of Brewster Place, the next "Read With Us" selection from CaroleBonny and Kym, and Hamnetwhich has been highly recommended by both Bonny & Carole in recent posts.

One of these days, I'll turn some pages, too. The stack on my bedside table is nearly obscuring my alarm clock.

 


Happy Friday Eye Candy!

From Maddy, Down Under:

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A little Wallaby! That first image is a screen shot from a video, and that little guy/girl practically crawled right into her lap!

"Have you seen anything cuter?" she asks.

Well, here's a contender:

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The hairdo! The amazing dress! The hand on the hip! The hipness of it all!!

Happy Weekend, Friends!

 


3TT: It's Not All Ducky All The Time

It is all Ducky a lot of the time (lately)!

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

I have three photos to share.

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Roger the RV Inspector came yesterday and spent most of the day with us... inspecting, testing, teaching, advising. In the past week, we've acquired a valid propane tank and a working battery, along with a few other little things he needed to check operations (and that we just needed). And, lo, THERE IS LIGHT! We have one burnt-out light bulb inside, but otherwise SQUEEEEE! The refrigerator works, the stove & oven work, there are no gas leaks, and the electrical is good. There are a couple of little water issues, and the water heater appears to be cracked, but the tanks had all been replaced at some point and the pump is good. We need to clean off & re-seal the roof and all the outside joints, but our little Ducky is in remarkable shape overall for a 33yo travel trailer! The To-Do List is long, but not one single thing on that list (except perhaps the sealing, if it looks like rain) is holding us back from hitching up and taking off right this very minute. He's encouraged us to do so... drive for an hour to some little park, stay overnight, come home.

More likely, we'll be hitching up and driving to an empty parking lot again to practice backing up and parking and stuff like that.

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So far, Kate's been the only one behind the wheel. I give directions (we're figuring out how to communicate) and run around with the level, levelers, and wheel chocks. I found this absolutely genius leveling/chock system and I just can't get over how easy it is to use!

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I forgot to take a photo, so did a little Photoshop doctoring to show how close I'm getting to the end of this project!! I've knit the last block with horizontal stripes (yay! those were not my favorite)... I have a roof & sky to knit, a block of vertical stripes, two more houses to finish Row 8, and then the final row of nine houses (which I am really looking forward to).

Hopefully, with the holiday weekend ahead, I can finish the two cushions for Ducky that I'm working on, and also find plenty of time for knitting! Correction: I will take plenty of time for knitting. I've also a three-day weekend coming up after this one... though I expect there will be a new baby by then, and some much of my time will be taken up with things related to that!

 


End of August Weekending

The new cushion foam arrived, tightly rolled & compacted into a box, which we then set free! It was recommended to unpack it within two weeks of receipt, and to let it fully re-expand over a few days. These are the cushions for the "sofa bed."

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We have fabric for that part, so I set to work on Saturday... dismantling the old back cushion, first.

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You can see how dirty that old foam is, and it was never wrapped in anything at all. I'm so glad we're doing this... even if I'm a bit out of my comfort zone.

I removed the zipper and decided that it really needed a wash, so I carefully secured the ends and threw it into the washing machine along with the other one I'd already removed.

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I cleaned off both my work table and sewing table better than they've been in months! These cushions are 75" on the long end, so I need ROOM!

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It was pretty genius to buy fabric with a built-in grid along which to measure, cut, and sew -- everything's so straight! I've reached a pretty futzy part and decided to stew on it for a little bit... watch a video or two before I dive back in.

It was a "payroll weekend" for the coffee shop, and I told Ali that I'd drive out and pick up the checkbook. It was a gorgeous day yesterday with nothing much planned, so Kate came along and we grabbed the kids to give Ali a little break. We took them to Lower Cato Falls, a park that we visited in early April when we needed to get out of the house. The water was a bit lazier than in spring. Junah & Ginny led us through the woods, following a trail (for the most part), though I'm pretty sure we forged at least part of the trail back!

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It's not the easiest path, full of roots & rocks, steep in places, but the kids did great... and they were so encouraging! "You can do it!" "C'mon, Nona!" "C'mon, Kate!" Even little Malina, in her tiny voice... so cute! When she fell or tripped, she'd get up and say, "I'm OK!" Anyway, they played for a while on the ancient playground equipment and we had a little snack (I actually thought ahead) before returning them home.

It was a pretty great weekend... hoping it was the same for you!

 


3TT: Loose Interpretation

First Thing: SAFE AT HOME - 7 Rows

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Last night, I took the photo that I'd hoped to take in the morning, and got started on Row 8!

Second Thing: AT HOME - Let There Be Light (and Space)

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We finally strung some lights in The Garden Room. Rusty had put an outlet near the ceiling and it's controlled by a switch, so PERFECT. All three strings have different types of bulbs, but whatever... let there be light!

The ceiling in the new part is going to get painted at some point... thought we could live with it (the exterior trim color) but nope. I'm thinking the palest of sky blues. The floor (and a million other things) are more of a priority, though, so who knows when this might happen.

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There will be some major sewing projects happening soon and I'm going to need some room! I managed to clear off that little bit of my worktable the other day. Heh.

Third Thing: DUCKY - It's All Ducky, All The Time!

One of the biggest changes we're making in Ducky is replacing all the "soft goods." Fabric for new window coverings is in the house (washed, dried, and ready for cutting & sewing).

We've purchased new fabric for the "couch," and samples are on the way for the "dining area," and new Dacron-wrapped foam to replace all of the cushions is arriving today!

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B'bye 1980s brown plaid!

I'm planning to re-use the zippers from all of the cushions, along with the flannel-backed vinyl that's on one side of every cushion except one.

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The zippers are 33 years old, but hardly ever (if ever) actually used, so they're in pretty great shape -- and they're metal. Thankfully, they were super easy to remove & save. The vinyl is also in great shape, with only a few minor dings & tears that will be easy to repair. The upholstery fabric itself has some yucky stuff on the inside that's just deteriorated into a dusty mess, so I'm happy to be getting rid of that. I took a bunch of detailed photos of the taking apart of my practice cushion to hopefully aid in getting it all back together!

Meanwhile, I found a mini bar!

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It's a Trav-L-Bar! The whisky is our addition, and the "Tin Cup" could not fit in better.

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It came with this hilarious "barguide" from 1976 -- the year I graduated high school! Maybe you'd like to try your hand at ranking the Top 15 Best-selling Drinks of 1976!

In the Let's Be Practical Department, I am nixing the inspection at the local RV place. We have instead hired a freelance RV inspector who will come and spend a day with Kate & I. He will not only do an inspection, but will also give us an intensive lesson on the care & feeding, as it were, of our vintage travel trailer! That day will be this Wednesday, and the process begins with a phone call this evening to make sure we'll have everything prepped and ready. This is a lot more expensive, of course, but more hands-on and educational and... well, practical. I think it will be a fun day, and I'm really looking forward to it!

 


Two rows to go

This is the seventh row:

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I'd hoped to lay out all seven rows this morning for an overview, but I had to get ready for the cleaning ladies coming today and that took priority!

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Only two rows to go, and I'm so excited to finish this thing. My friend Ann just became a Grammy again, and I've been brainstorming middle names with Ali, and it's all just becoming a bit more real... as much as anything can feel "real" this year.

I'm just gutted over what happened to Jacob Blake in Kenosha... what is happening. I watched one of the videos and it's horrifying!

Borrowed from a friend:

Looting isn't part of protesting,
just like murder isn't part of arresting.

My heart is heavy at a time when it should be light. I think about my BIPOC counterparts who are awaiting the birth of a grandchild and how their hopes and dreams and concerns and worries for their grandchildren are so different from mine...

 


Introducing Ducky*!

It may seem impulsive to have all of a sudden become 33% owner of an RV with my daughter Kate, but it's been a weekly (if not daily) topic around our kitchen table for a long time... and especially since March.

For me, it actually goes back to May 2019 when I realized that the vehicle I bought came with a "towing package," and suddenly I had the desire to tow a camper into the woods. (This is NOT NORMAL!)

For Kate, it goes back a few more years, having witnessed her friend Shannon (with the help of their friend Claire & her family) completely gut and re-do an Airstream trailer, and take it on the road. Plus, Kate has The Wanderlust even worse than me!

So when everything 2020 started to fall apart six months ago, the idea of a camper came up again -- big -- as a project to keep occupied while stuck at home and, also, as a means for escape. We bought a trailer hitch and magnetic tail lights so we'd be ready to go when the right thing came along.

Well. A whole bunch of people had that same idea! We'd call the minute we saw something interesting to us and already be 14th on the waiting list. It was very discouraging and deflating, so we were sometimes more into the search than others, and the whole idea was even temporarily shelved once or twice.

Kate's been going tent camping for 3-4 days at a time over the past month or so, and loving it. The weather's been great, for the most part, but rain has been an issue a couple of times and, well, it's really no fun at all to be in a tent in the rain. Thus, a resurgence of interest and determination last week to look for a camper and, on Saturday night, Kate found a 1987 Mallard Sprinter travel trailer in Wisconsin Rapids that seemed pretty great. By miraculous stroke, she was the first to call! Our Sunday plans spun on a dime. But first! It was a cash only sale, so we counted what we had on hand, ran out to withdraw our daily ATM limits from whatever accounts we could to get as close as we could... and thankfully, those limits are "daily" and not "24 hours," because we needed to withdraw just a little bit more on Sunday morning. We were on the road at a little before 6 a.m. to make the 1.5-hour drive and be there at 7:30 as arranged.

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I'll have to qualify the following statement by saying that we truly don't know what the hell we're talking about, but IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR for in terms of size (15') and condition. The lady counted our cash, we hooked 'er up, and we were home by noon!

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The interior is very, um, let's say vintage '80s! It all seems in shockingly good shape considering that it's 33 years old. Most of what's "wrong" is due to sun damage -- faded paneling in places (I'm sure the walls & cabinets were originally much closer to the same color), deteriorated (brown plaid) upholstery & curtains, some plastic elements that have become discolored and/or brittle.

A lot of that will stay the same. We have no interest in a complete overhaul, nor in making it into a (gag) "glamper." A lot will also change... is already changing.

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Curtains are down, tools are emerging!

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Always the simplest and least expensive "upgrade" with the biggest impact -- changing the hardware!

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The exterior was dirty but cleaned up SO GREAT (well, the one side so far). I think there are a few missing covers, there are a few little dents, and some of the decorative decals/painted stripes are a little worse for wear, but no sign of major water problems -- so zero complaints -- all fixable and/or waiting to be made-better-able.

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Things like this fiberglass window flap/shade... which will likely be the canvas for a seascape painting. With a mallard flying over. Haha.

Now the bad news. Not really bad, but definitely a wake-up call and illustration of how much we have to learn. As mentioned, my vehicle came with a towing package and we acquired a hitch & ball, and an emergency towing light kit. When we were getting things ready to tow, the guy said, "You need a 2" ball." So we ran off to get one -- along with something else we needed, I don't remember what -- but I noticed that we already had a 2" ball. We got everything hooked up and hit the road for home. There was a little play in the ball/hitch, noticeable when we'd start/stop, but otherwise the camper towed beautifully behind my car. Turns out, what we actually needed was a 2-5/16" ball, so we looked for one when we went to get the beautiful new hardware. We couldn't find one with the properly sized shaft for our hitch... because, it turns out, I have a Class II towing package, and a 2" ball is the maximum. Ay yi yi. So now, a Class III package is on order and will be installed sometime next week. Once that's done, we'll get a properly sized hitch & ball. **

And, when THAT'S done, we'll tow it over to a local RV Service Center to have it/systems checked out. We already know that the obsolete heater doesn't work and that replacement parts are unavailable. This will give us a Ducky* To-Do List and we can figure out our priorities.

Meanwhile, we are RESEARCHING & LEARNING, LEARNING, LEARNING... and not thinking about just wallcovering, flooring, and fabrics. As much.

It's going to be a work-in-progress for a while, but usable. Adventure awaits! And I aim to go camping at least once or twice yet this year.

Thanks for your interest & cheerleading & coming along on this crazy ride! Hints and tips and things you love about RV'ing are more than welcome!

*Our travel trailer/camper/RV is a 1987 Mallard Sprinter. The TV series NCIS has been our go-to for a while now (many seasons & episodes, not requiring much commitment/attention, entertaining) and one of the characters -- the medical examiner, played by David McCallum -- is Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (pronounced mal-LARD). Who knows if it will stick, but for now, we have a Mal-LARD Sprinter that we (it's maybe only me) call DUCKY!

**Turns out... the 2" ball is the correct size. LEARNING STUFF EVERYDAY.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: 2nd-to-last House in the 7th Row

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.

KNITTING

On the right...

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I knit these rows from right to left, so that house on the left is the second one I've completed but it'll be second-to-last in the end. THE END! It's (almost) in sight!

READING

I haven't been reading a thing. Well, except for all kinds of information about vintage campers.

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It would be really great if I could find an owner's manual, but so far nothing. There's not much out there about this little baby at all! Luckily, there are lots of similar Prowlers and Jaycos and, boy howdy, there are websites and forums and groups galore. I haven't even dared peek at Pinterest. Ha. It's a crazy week, but I'll fill you all in, and I'm starting a new category: 1987 Mallard Sprinter Travel Trailer

 


Big downer

I can't believe the photo I recently posted of Malina & Duncan was less than a week ago! I'd mentioned that we feared Duncan was fast approaching the Rainbow Bridge...

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I didn't mean that fast. While we waited to take him to our appointment with the vet yesterday, he passed away quietly at home. We could never remember his age, but 17 is a good guess. Ali referred to him as the "Peter Pan" of cats in one of our recent family chats, and it was so true... it was only a year ago that one of our Airbnb guests told me that he'd met Duncan and thought he was only about a year old!

Rest in peace, little squitten. We're going to miss you.

 


Middle of August

That's crazy, isn't it? By this time next month, I'll already have held a new grandbaby at least a few times!

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Since this photo was taken yesterday morning, the last house on the left is underway... walls are up, windows & door are in, just the roof and sky remain.

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And that'll be the wrap of Row #6! Two more random rows to go and then that last row of houses -- I'm really looking forward to that! Oh, and then the sewing up and the border. I'm planning to do something a little different -- crazy, colorful & fitting -- with the border. Stay tuned!

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I had all three kids overnight on Tuesday. This is Wednesday when their mom came to pick them up. Ginny's doing a show (do you want me do do one dance or three?) wearing one of the dance costumes for the spring recital-that-never-was, and is obviously not happy about sharing the dance floor with her sister -- and her brother's sprawled on the floor behind, too. That's a family of singers & dancers!

We had a great time! I picked them up and we swung through a drive-up window to pick up supper, played a bit, then watched a movie. I kept my Disney+ subscription because I knew they'd love it. They had to agree on the Tuesday night movie pick, and chose The Peanuts Movie. Oh my gosh, did they ever love that! On Tuesday, we had breakfast and they played a bunch, and then they could watch a morning movie -- Ginny's pick this time, and they didn't have to agree! She chose Frozen 2, which, of course, Junah declared to be his favorite even though he'd never have picked it nor would he have agreed to that pick. Then it was time for lunch, lots more play, picking zucchini & flowers, journaling (oh my goodness, their journals are so great!), and Junah chose the afternoon feature... The Peanuts Movie again! It was super hot outside, so we never did get out to ride bikes or anything that took more than a few minutes.

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CHEESE!! This one is an absolute peach right now. Every little thing she does is cuter than the last.

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And she's a little sweetheart... our little Duncan is really slowing down these days (gaining tolerance along the way) and she's very attentive.

(In fact, we fear he's fast approaching the Rainbow Bridge.)

I mentioned the other day that I'd spotted Junah & Ginny from the Garden Room when they were picking flowers for me. Ginny headed out the door with Malina to do the same... "But don't look, Nona, OK?"

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These had some stems, at least, so I could put them in water! Not shown: two orchid blossoms.

Lastly, I am anxiously awaiting delivery of my Ruth Asawa Stamps!

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I pre-ordered the moment I saw the announcement, and I hope they're in my mailbox today.

I'm counting the hours till the start of a 3-day weekend... I'm ready! Maybe I can find some time to get caught up in blogland. Oh, that reminds me... y'all know that I'm not exactly stellar in the replying to comments department, but when I don't even get notification of comments, well... that's what happened earlier this week. I think it was the "Hello" in the title (I need to remember that there are trigger words).

 


Hello, Monday

It's a darn good weekend when I feel like I accomplished stuff and took a good nap. I might have been fighting something last week (likely the same low-grade depression that our former First Lady is suffering, and that most anyone reading these words is probably feeling these days), as I took 1.5-hour naps on both Wednesday and Saturday! I've also not been sleeping quite as well as I normally do. By mid-morning, both days, I was looking forward to obligations being met so I could just go take a nap. I barely moved a muscle on Saturday, could easily have rolled over and slept for at least another hour. (But I didn't.)

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Meanwhile, Kate helped me turn some of this into four loaves of zucchini bread on Saturday morning. We worked on one and froze three. I made another four loaves on Sunday afternoon -- Kate took one camping, I gave Ali two, and there's one left for me -- and froze about 14 cups of shredded zucchini for future use. There's still zucchini coming in the garden... I had spotted that one in the middle from the bedroom window, two stories up, on Friday morning! The zucchini fairy might soon be making some calls.

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Ali & the kiddos came over yesterday for supper. I was sitting in the Garden Room and saw Junah & Ginny picking flowers down on the path. They ran up the stairs and into the house, each with a little fabric bag full of toys 'n things that all got dumped on the table. That photo just kind of sums up the randomness of everything right now, and that little owl is so darn cute!

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Jün got into the Knex and asked me to help him build an ATV. While I was trying to decipher some of the component builds and muttering about poor quality of the printed plans, he took a motor and started fooling around, making comments about his superior eyesight, eventually coming up with this:

Haha. The kiddos are all coming for a sleepover tomorrow night, and I know there will be plenty more of that! Plus dolls and coloring and stickers and who-knows-what-all!

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I made a little progress on the blanket over the weekend. Only three more blocks left on Row 6!

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Some of the color & pattern combos make me so happy.

Another thing that makes me happy is getting a photo like this in my in-box:

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I'm going to guess that it'll make you happy, too. Who couldn't use a little dose of Ginny's particular brand of sunshine today... or any day?!! She's one of a kind (also singing these days like there's no tomorrow)!

Happy Monday, folks. I hope y'all had a great weekend.

 


Right now... August

Anticipating... Kiddos sleeping over next week! All three for the first time! This is more or less a practice run for after the baby comes (due a month from yesterday), though I'll likely only have the two big kids then, with the current "baby" at other grandma's.

Celebrating... (with sadness but also excitement) Addison's 12th birthday on Saturday! He & his family are usually here at this time of the year -- August is usually Auntie Camp time. Boo.

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Cooking/Eating... We tend to frequently cook meals at home, but like many, we've been cooking a lot more the past few months! We've always revisited favorite recipes from Plated (our favorite but now defunct delivery service), and have been doing so even more. I have a couple of favorite places for take-away, though. And 313 Dodge is at the top of the list (and also so darn close); Janel put together a gorgeous charcuterie box for me last night, which I paired with a Lemon-Basil Gin Smash from the walk-up window.

Excited about... getting my passport renewal. Not that I'll be using it anytime soon, but I'll be ready... the next big trip will be to Peru, I'm sure! I noticed today that the check's been cashed, so it's obviously been received at the Department of State and is at least partially processed. I had planned to send it in March, right after we got back from Mexico, but they ceased all but emergency operations and didn't even want people to mail them in. Maddy was in a little pickle in Australia, too, but thankfully operations have also resumed there (and she's all set).

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Knitting... I started Row #5 #6 of my Safe At Home Blanket last night after taking this photo. It's pretty wild... and I'm really loving it. Four more rows to go!

Looking forward to... a birthday get-away to Lake Superior's North Shore. That's three months away (from today!), of course, but I took advantage of a booking promotion and nabbed a sweet lakeside cottage. Plus, I just needed to plan something!!! Anything can happen in early November from dining al fresco to building snowmen, so we'll just have to see what Mother Nature serves this year. There's a possibility of physically distanced visiting with cousins, both mine & Rusty's; otherwise, it'll be just us for a few days. Knitting, reading, sky- and lake-watching, etc.

Planning... Nona (Granny) Camp in place of Auntie Camp this year. Junah & Ginny participated last year and really enjoyed it. I think we'll do some fabric painting on t-shirts (instead of dyeing), and weaving, for sure.

Reading: Pages/Audio... I'm still not.

Sewing... I really want to sew a couple of things for the girls, and also have an itch to make a quilt. My room's a mess, though I have been plucking away at it... in the end, it's just that most of my creative energy/time right now is going to knitting that blanket. (My neglected Alabama Chanin Car Jacket is still on the table.)

Watching... Well, now what?? I just finished watching Schitt's Creek and I don't know what's next. Suggestions? I was watching an episode or two sometimes three on Netflix most nights before bed, but WHAT?? They only have Seasons 1-5! So I sprung for Season 6 yesterday and binged the entire thing. I never do that, but it worked out (and a good bit of knitting was done, too). It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. (No lie, I went through a lot of tissues... I always cry at weddings, even when they're on TV!)

Wondering... What's up in your world?

 


Wandawega Weekending

Well, it was only a day trip, but it sure was cool. I tagged along on Kate's invitation from the owners to meet & tour Camp Wandawega in southern Wisconsin -- not far from Lake Geneva and a little over two hours' drive from home.

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Sorry... not sorry... there are going to be a lot of photos in this post!

Camp Wandawega has quite a history, from speakeasy and brothel to lakeside resort and church camp.

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I first learned of Camp Wandawega and owners Tereasa & David because they're fellow Airbnb Superhosts (though in a league far-removed from mine!) and featured "how-to" Airbnb hosts... and their property is just plain AMAZING.

Tereasa, David & their daughter live in Chicago, but spend most weekends at Camp (and even more in this pandemic year). For the past 15 years, Camp Wandawega has been -- and continues to be -- their labor of love as it evolves and grows.

It's rustic...

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It's cool...

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It's peaceful...

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It's adventure-y...

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It's creative & crafty...

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For real, that's the "Craft Cabin."

And don't think that I didn't think "Knitters' Summer Camp" about a million times while we toured the property!

It's an event venue (in normal times)...

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Usually, there are a lot of weddings and corporate events.

It's also just a really cool place to hang out... small clusters of cabins, tents, and unique spaces. History is everywhere.

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And they have their own line of Homer Laughlin diner china (among other things).

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Serious plotz from this lover/collector of vintage china, especially Homer Laughlin!

It's too bad scheduling didn't work out for Kate to accept the invitation to stay overnight, but who knows what'll happen next...

 


Update - Landed!

This is not a very exciting photo, but Ann sent it last night from Lima!

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They've arrived!! They were tested for COVID and all passed, then were quarantined at a hotel for the night and today will continue quarantine at their new house.

 


Another chapter: Spain > Peru

My sister & her family are moving from Valencia, Spain, to Lima, Peru, today! They had about a week's notice, though they've been preparing (purging) for a good long while, and all she knew when I last spoke with her (on Saturday) was that they were leaving from Madrid... she didn't even know what time or flight or airline, just that they'd be flying out of Madrid on Friday.

Yesterday, at work, I had to restart my computer and this was my start screen:

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I almost always love these shots -- recently, I had one at home that was sheep going through a hedgerow in New Zealand or Australia. Anyway, the blurb in the middle of this one says, "Lonely lighthouse on some remote sea-swept shore? Not at all -- we're visiting the edge of a capital city..."

LIMA, PERU!

I sent it in a message to Ann and told her that I can't wait to go find that lighthouse with her... someday, when I can safely travel again and be welcome in another country hopefully soon. I'm pretty sure that Peru will be my next big destination. I have no idea if they've arrived or en route or even if they got on a plane in Spain. They're troopers, though, and if nothing else they've learned to roll with the punches and pop right back up -- their first expat experience in Brazil was the best training ground for that!

 


Do you want to download your Ravelry files?

So, Ravelry is a problem right now and they're not doing anything to substantially address or fix it for users who are having problems with the redesign of the site. I'm a long-time Raveler (user #208!), so I'm very sad about that... I have a lot of information stored over there, and have made a lot of pattern purchases over the years.

There is enough concern over the future of the site that it's been suggested that people might want to download their files. That might be a knee-jerk reaction, but after the recent Bluprint/Craftsy scare...

I took the suggestion. And it was DAUNTING to face 25 pages of downloaded pattern files!

This morning, I learned about a Chrome extension called Download Them All that makes it much easier & faster to download a lot of files. Check out @kralalien on Instagram -- she has an IG highlight with some information, and this post was also informative:

There are some other downloading options mentioned in the comments of that post, if the Chrome extension is not for you.

Meanwhile, I downloaded all 25 pages of pattern files (even all the foreign language versions) in minutes.

One note of caution, however: Make sure you don't have Chrome configured to "ask every time" about where to save downloaded files. Because it.will.ask.you.every.single.time. I didn't see that at first... and shutting down my computer didn't even work to stop it, so I had to uninstall and reinstall the extension. I opened in tabs & downloaded 5 pages the first time (after learning my lesson), then 10 and 10. So fast.

Edited to add: An informative article by Silvia Maggi - How Rebranding Cost Ravelry the Trust of Their Community.

Edited again to add: A blog post today from Jess, one of Ravelry's cofounders: A Letter from Jessica.

Hoping for the best!!