TGIF!

I'm sure I've said it before, but Friday seems to take forever to get here when my day off is on Monday rather than the usual Wednesday. And I just realized that next Friday, I'll already be on Day 3 of a little vacation -- part of it at home and part of it in Door County! Yahoo! I'm especially happy that we'll have a house-/cat-sitter again while we're gone.

Anyway...

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The 16th house is done, and the 17th will be a "border" house and that spells the end of Row 3! Yahoo (again)! I'll get started on that this evening.

Tomorrow is designated "crochet day," but I have to get our taxes out of the way first (yeah, I know).

Happy Weekend!

 


3TT: Down under

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

1 -- Apparently, there's something intermittently beeping in the basement (down under)... but I haven't heard it, until last night! Apparently, it beeps every :15 or so... until last night! Gah. I was down there for a good long time... long enough to yell profanities upstairs about how of course it's not beeping NOW!

Trying to distract myself from the ick-factor of the basement while I waited, I took some photos.

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I don't even know where that chair came from or if it'll ever get fixed; whether any of that is "up to code" (or even what all that is); I do know that Rusty needs to get after a whole lotta cobwebs. Ew. 

2 -- I had a lovely little sit-down in The Garden Room last night. I was sitting in an old wicker rocking chair that Rusty dug up from another part of the basement. I don't know where that one came from, either. He cleaned it up nicely, but it needs a little repair... and some new cushions.

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It's not a brand new view, as this was an open porch for years, but it wasn't one I normally took in while seated, relaxed, with a beer. It's going to be a lot of fun to see how it changes with the seasons. The floor tile delivery has been delayed again... I can't wait to get that & the baseboards installed (I saw them in the basement, painted and ready to go!).

3 -- A cat picture. I don't post many of those! 

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I love how Duncan stretches out his front legs.

That's all pretty random, but it's all I've got! Happy Thursday.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: The 16th House

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

KNITTING:

I'm closing in on Row 3 of the Safe At Home Blanket, and started the 16th house last night.

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I think it's my favorite so far!

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That's Row 3, and this...

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...is overall progress. The knitting is almost 1/3 done! I'm telling ya, it is definitely tedious at times, but it's also getting a bit easier... and I just couldn't be happier with the whole thing.

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Colorful houses will dominate this corner of the blogosphere for a while yet.  :)

READING:

I'm closing in on Wild Game, and looking forward to the discussion. I haven't listened to a book in more than two weeks, but today I finally started So You Want to Talk About Race.

P.S. Who broke Bloglovin'? It's been my blog reader for a while, but it's lately been having some glitches and today... well, BIG glitch, as in NOTHING HAPPENING. What do y'all use these days?

 


Getting back into the groove

Well, that was a nice break... a long, hot & lazy weekend. Though, y'know, "lazy" doesn't mean I didn't get anything done!

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I gave Rusty his second haircut! I borrowed Ali's electric clippers and even did the back this time. It was my first time using a clippers -- it was only a little scary, and mostly because I was thinking about all the people I know who have ended up with mohawks or total buzz jobs because of a slip. Whew! I should have trimmed his brows, though.

I've designated Saturday as Crochet Day...

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...but I also did a little on Sunday. I wanted to finish the first square of the Rainbow Blanket, and figure out the join-as-you-go method for the hexies. So far, so good! I definitely use different hand/arm muscles when I crochet, so my appendages are thankful for a break.

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And now I'm back to houses & stripes. This is Row #3 (of 9). Still figuring out a few things...

I hope y'all had a good weekend and start to the week! I'll be catching up...

 


3TT: Dovetail, Garden, Crochet

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

1 -- I stopped at The Office after work the other day to drop something off? pick something up? I don't remember! I did take a seat for a few minutes...

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Kate was inserting goodies into the magazine, readying shipment of the premier issue of dovetailI gotta say, it was nice just to sit for a while and watch someone else work!

2 -- How does my garden grow?

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The tomatoes are all coming along. The basil is AMAZING!! (That photo-bombing succulent is also doing quite well.)

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Something is nibbling at my zucchini!

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And this is the usual raucous jumble of things.

BONUS:

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The platform rocker is out of the garage and in The Garden Room! There's a pretty good view of the lower yard/garden from there.

3 -- I'm getting the hang of crochet again! My rainbow box of yarn is only a hint... this is the bigger picture:

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As Wisconsin began its Safer At Home order in March and I awaited my stimulus check, Madelinetosh threw up a post about a Prism Pack of Unicorn Tails and, well, I've always loved those unicorn tails and... I didn't even think twice before ordering. (Ugh, pandemic times!) If I was going to be "safer at home," I was going to be surrounded by things I loved... and colorful, too. Heh.

Well, I really can't be spontaneous and throw down money like that without some sort of plan, and they were making me feel so guilty just sitting there, so I sort of had to MAKE A PLAN! The Safe At Home baby blanket was & is perfect for the baby and already in the works by then, and I knew it would never be a "portable" project... not that I was going anywhere with my knitting, but y'know... And so many people were crocheting... so, yeah, CROCHET! That could work! And even though those are little skeins of yarn, they're going to go a ways, so maybe TWO projects, somewhat simultaneously, even...

Uh, yeah, why not THREE epic blanket projects at once?! (Ugh, pandemic times!)

So my plan is to make Bear's Rainbow Blanket and also Hexie Love Actually! << FYI: Those are Ravelry links, just so you know in case the new design is problematic for you, as it is for many. (I am not in love and wish it wasn't quite so stark. I like it on my phone, but find it a bit easier to take if I enlarge my desktop display, and I've tweaked settings to remove drop shadows, etc.)

So, anyway, back to crochet. As I said the other day, it is not like riding a bicycle for me! I'm getting my feet wet and re-learning with Hexie Love Actually!

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That red & blue blob was my first effort. I thought I was doing OK, but it was supposed to have six corners/sides, and instead turned out with only four. So, basically, a SQUARE (and not even a good one)! Turns out, I did a few things wrong, and my second effort (red & orange) turned out much better. With the orange & blue hexie, I'm trying the "join as you go" method and I'm not sure that's right but will figure it out. It's really fun, but once I get the hang of it I'm going to limit my crochet time until I get the blanket done. (Did I mention that I've started Row 3? I meant to take an update photo... maybe tomorrow.)

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(It was a stellar morning for photographing yarn on the walkway outside the back door!)

Even for me, this feels a little crazy, but... pandemic times! I'm just going with it.

 


Doing my best

For months, I've had this refrain/response popping into my head on the regular: I'm not doing it right.

Whatever it is... I'm surely not doing it right.

I'm not staying home right, not going to work right, not reading the right books, not following the right people, not engaging enough, not posting the right things, not saying it right or loud enough or to the right people, not shopping right, not making enough masks... or I did the right thing but now it's not the right thing. Ugh... yes, I feel paralyzed at times!

I am constantly reminding myself -- way more than usual -- to not worry about what anyone else thinks or what anyone else is doing.

I'm doing my best. I keep reminding myself of that, too. ((sigh)) It's so obvious that not everyone is doing their best, though, y'know? Starting at the top. Too many people are being selfish, rude, and aggressively angry.

It's crushing. It's hard to feel good about Things. Anything.

One thing that helps is continuing regular, automatic monetary support to organizations that I believe in, including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Joe Biden. And donations elsewhere when I can.

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I feel like I'm doing that right! It gives me a glimmer of hope, even as we seem to be watching it all burn down around us.

OK. Well, I needed to get that out.

See you tomorrow.

 


Hello, July

My calendars are already flipped to July, so... HELLO. And, also, you're looking OK in some respects. I just realized that, with regular days off + holidays + vacation, I won't be working a "normal" week until the last week of the month (and, as always but especially in summer, that's subject to change).

I rented a "beach" house on the lake-side of Door County in the middle of the month and am heading up with Kate & Al & the kids. Rusty & I took the kiddos on Sunday and gave them a preview.

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I'm not gonna lie... it was Sunday, it was gorgeous out, and it was crowded -- sometimes, uncomfortably so -- but Ali lent us a secret weapon: a large pop-up screened gazebo! It was/we were terribly obnoxious about it, especially since the water level is high and the beach is not as big as it used to be, but hey! We muscled in, and it worked! The added benefit is that we had a place for sun breaks and didn't get sunburned!

When we dropped the kids off on the way home, I took a peek at my grandchickens!

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They're getting so big, but still sounding like chicks.

Yesterday, I took a drive across the state with Kate. Her new art magazine, dovetail, debuts tomorrow and I rode shotgun to Chanhassen (a 'burb of Minneapolis) to pick it up. It was a full day of driving and, y'know, things being as they are we had lunch in the car in the parking lot at Culver's instead of a nice cafe lunch before heading back, but it was a nice day and even with gas & food, it was a solid $200+ saved. What else would we be doing?? (Well, I might be finishing my taxes, but p'shaw... I have a couple of weeks yet!)

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There was weather! It was hot and my air conditioning was a little sketchy for a while, and there was rain, but mostly it was a lot of fun watching the sky all the way there and back.

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I had prepared a nice little R A I N B O W box of yarn to take to the beach... an idea has been percolating for a while and I just had to scratch that itch! I didn't get started on it, nor did I really do anything while in the car yesterday, as planned... it turns out that doing crochet is not like riding a bicycle (at least not for me). I got the tiniest start last night, though, and we'll see. The baby blanket is still my #1 focus (I've finished Row 2, started Row 3), but I'm going to designate one day a week for at least a little crochet action.

 


Is it really the last Friday of June?

I'm thankful that the weekend is upon us... and I have Monday off next week, so three days to hopefully unplug a bit and realign. I'll have the kids one of those days and would love to grab some toys and head to a secluded beach... we'll see. Whatever we end up doing, they never fail to recharge me!

It was lovely and reassuring to read all the comments about our Airbnb here, on IG, and on FB. I pour a lot more than just sweat into that space, and find myself channeling my mother quite often, too. We met our current guests yesterday (with appropriate physical distance), and they love the place (wondering if we have as many trees in our back yard as there are in all of Chicago...). Then I had a reservation come in last night for a long weekend next month -- our second HONEYMOONERS and I just couldn't be happier about that. I'm already thinking of all the ways to make their stay EXTRA SPECIAL!

Some random photos/thoughts:

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We recently added a few more lights to the pergola array and extended it to both the garage & the house. I also added some fabric to the top of the pergola to filter the sun, mostly; the jury is still out on that.

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Those lights really help to illuminate The Marriage Window area! Rusty made a cool hinged screen for the half of the window that opens, so we won't have to worry about bugs (hm, I still need to wash the outside of that window...)

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We spotted a really cool moth the other day. I did a very technical Google search for "black and white triangular moth," or something like that (heh, most moths are "triangular," aren't they?)... anyway, it’s haploa lecontei, or Leconte’s haploa, first described in 1832! Its range is basically east of the Mississippi, from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The markings can vary quite a bit... all gorgeous! I don't remember ever seeing one before.

Is it time for a blanket update? Haha.

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One more section of horizontal stripes and another house to go before Row 2 is finished! I'd better pick up the pace, though. It would be nice to have this done pretty close to when the baby's due. I just "confirmed" the date with Ali; she says she's pretty confident with Sept. 5th... but Mother Nature threw a curve ball so it could also be two weeks either way. 🤣

Have a good weekend, y'all.

 


Hit the ground running

There was plenty I could have done on Tuesday evening, but instead:

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We walked down the hill with intention... our local joint has resumed Taco Tuesday, complete with Mason jar margaritas through the walk-up window, but this time with a guest food truck doing the food. We were a little late, though, and most of the food was gone by the time we got there! So we took our margs home and made the first BLTs of the season, instead. Yummmm. I recently found a convenient local source for Thin-sliced Dave's Killer Bread, and is that ever good! We used CSA lettuce, Nueske's amazing bacon, a little avocado, and the only thing that would make it better is home-grown tomatoes... we're working on that!

There was knitting, of course.

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My first little pink house -- the first house block I did that has vertical stripes on both sides, so had to figure out how that would work. I love it so much!! I was tired as a dog last night, so only added one vertical stripe to this photo before I heeded the call of my pillow. Yes, there are a lot of ends, most are dealt with using Stephen West's Weavin' Stephen technique, some will be used in seaming the rows together. It might look like twice as many on my project, too, because I'm holding the yarn double! It's a fiddly project, for sure, and certainly not for everyone, but I'm really enjoying it! There's a whack of knitters figuring out different ways of doing various elements, it's worth a scroll through some of the projects and/or forum; and the designer has also released a v.crochet -- Tunisian crochet? (I don't know how that differs from "regular" crochet...)

Anyway, Wednesday (my usual day off of work each week) is usually a little busy, but yesterday was non-stop. We had an appraiser coming and I had an Airbnb to prepare! I'll tell you, my Fitbit steps are off the chart on those Airbnb prep days! I'm really happy with our work over the past few months and how it's turned out, plus our last guest just wrote the 40th review of our place... and that makes 40 5-star reviews!

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I'll be crushed if that rating ever changes! Haha.

 


Haywire

How was your weekend? Mine was OK. Good. I got a few things done, got out of the house a couple of times, including to Goodwill (continuing quest for office stuff) where I saw this:

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A big ol' rainbow right in the middle of the store... perfect for PRIDE Month!

Now that the carpet's been cleaned, I took a few more things down to The Office.

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Kate's is "the pink room." Heh. The window-less room is mostly storage/my stuff now... and even though the whole ceiling is basically a light grid, I don't think I can work in there, especially with so much light in the other two spaces, so I have a little desk in the entry/common area. It's entirely a work in progress, all subject to change.

Meanwhile, another Saturday stop was at Home Depot to get paint for The Garden Room. The first stop was for swatches and for some floor leveling stuff that Rusty needed. The second stop was for paint (which might be applied today!!!), for the 2nd bag of floor leveling stuff because I didn't see that he wrote "2," and for a couple of pairs of sawhorses for The Office that were "in stock" according to the website.

Naturally, there weren't any sawhorses where they were supposed to be, so I stood in that spot while the paint was mixed and ordered them online for curbside pickup. I didn't really need them right that minute, but just as we were about to leave the parking lot, I had notification that my order was ready... so we swung around and picked them up.

Speaking of The Garden Room...

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I do believe there will be times when sunglasses will be required. The paint we purchased is for the walls -- it'll still be yellow, but quite a bit paler than the old color.

The kids came over yesterday with their mama. We had a fun afternoon & evening, including a walk/ride to the little park at the end of our street.

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It's a very small park -- no playground or anything -- more commemorative of the old cheese factory that used to be there (with a granite crock of cheese), and soon also to remember the first school teacher in our area (with a statue). The whole park was undergoing a complete re-do last fall and right in the middle of it all, a big storm wrecked the few remaining trees in the park and then winter arrived early and never left... so it was a bit of an eyesore all winter and spring, but finally new topsoil & seed mats have been spread and trees & decorative plants planted. We had fun reading all the inscriptions on benches and circle of bricks.

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We came back and had a cookout, and then the kids had a bath. My supply of diapers was gone and Ali didn't have any with her, so I made an emergency run to Walgreens. The big kids asked if they could come along and I said yes without even thinking...

First, it took us a while to get going because I had to rearrange stuff in my car. Then, kids' booster seats installed and them buckled in, an ENORMOUS SPIDER was discovered in a little slot in Ginny's seat, followed by a little scream-crying panic (Ginny on the outside, me on the inside) while I disengaged her, and the seat, and dumped the spider out. I'm pretty sure it was a wolf spider and not a brown recluse, but to be honest I didn't examine very closely... shuddddderrrrrrr.

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Finally, we arrived at our destination and it dawned on me what I'd done! Oh my god! A total brain fart, bringing them along with me, but thank goodness I had some extra masks in my car... Ginny's could have fit a little better. Thankfully, it was late and I think there was only one other customer in the store. We got the two things we went there for, plus three bubble blowers that weren't on the list, and headed back home. Sheesh.

 


Play-by-Play

Haha. For some reason, I feel the need to share all the details of this project.

I ripped out the block of 6-row horizontal stripes and re-worked it as a 5-row block:

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And I like it MUCH better! The blanket will have (and keep) a much nicer shape and the overall texture of the fabric will be more even.

I hope to hum along with this project over the weekend... we'll see. There is lots to do, including turnover of the Airbnb -- our lovely guests formerly of NYC and soon NJ are leaving today, and we have a couple from Chicago arriving on Wednesday for almost two weeks. After that it's a couple of the more typical weekenders until August. I'm not really minding the longer stays, especially since the cleaning protocol is amped up (among other things, Airbnb has provided me with a 38-page cleaning guide/checklist) (they don't know that I learned from The Queen of Clean, aka MOM). Heh.

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It's not the greatest photo, but our little Catalpa tree is LOADED with flower buds this year!

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!


Unraveled Wed/Thu: Safe At Home

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting (reading is the same)... 

KNITTING:

Now, in addition to changing up the colors/yarn a bit, is when I begin to really put my mark on this project.

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Instead of a grid made up entirely of houses, I will be sprinkling them throughout the interior of the blanket. Not counting the border, which will be all houses, there will be two houses in each row.

The other blocks will be alternating blocks of horizontal & vertical stripes. Because I love stripes!!

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There are five colors specified for each house block, so those are the colors I'm using for the stripes... plus one more stripe, for which I'm using the color of the house two blocks before. Something like that.

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When I saw this on the sidewalk this morning, I immediately noticed the pale yellow horizontal stripe butting up to the pale yellow sky below it... and it bothered me for exactly .00001 second. That horizontal block (my first) does bother me, though, and I think I've figured it out:

  1. My bind-off is a little loose. I need to remember that I don't have to loosely work a loose bind off!
  2. I think I only need five horizontal stripes -- six is too many and I think, multiplied, they'll cause fairly significant, undesired distortion. I'm knitting the horizontal stripes onto live vertical stitches, though, so will need to figure out the best way to deal with that extra live stitch in each stripe! (Suggestions welcome.)

Safe At Home Blanket... finding my groove, figuring it out. The process is definitely my jam.  ;)

 


Mid-June Weekending

Well, it was a pretty great weekend, but man... even a 3-day weekend flies by in no time!

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On Thursday night, I assembled the FINNVARD trestle that I'd ordered a while back, and put together my (non-electric) Fiber Artist Supply Winding Station (sans meter)! Happy stimulus to me!! I'd had the ball winder and swift for quite a while, so needed only the trestle table and attachment pieces from Fiber Artist Supply, and is it ever nice to have a "station." It looks nice, too.

On Friday morning, Kate & I picked up keys to The Office, and then drove down to Kenosha to pick up some mailing supplies; we made a quick stop at IKEA on the way back, and then returned to The Office to drop it all off.

We've signed a lease on a small office space just down the hill from home -- located in a cool mid-century building that was originally the Farmers & Merchants Bank (where I had my first savings account!). It's two rooms + a large entry area + a private bath. Kate will definitely be utilizing the space for an office; I'll be using it for additional work space -- for specific projects, for things that I just don't have room to randomly set up/tear down at home (namely, knitting machines), and for some storage/organization. Subject to change.

On Saturday, we went up to De Pere for another 8+ mile bike ride on the trail. Kate is pretty motivated these days, and I'm glad... it rubs off.

We headed back to the office and assembled her new SKARSTA adjustable sit/stand desk and, wow, is that ever slick (and, BTW, at a much better in-store price).

Sunday was a busy day, beginning with washing the windows in the expanded Garden Room/Porch project -- especially outside, while the scaffolding was still there. Originally, I was going to do it all, but then I stepped upon the decidedly-not OS*A-approved scaffold... and it was a little springy, and then I looked down, and then I needed to turn a corner, and...

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...there's Rusty doing the outside!

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AFTER! I did the inside. We're inching closer!

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Rusty finished up a little painting and then took the scaffold down. All that's left do do on the outside are the cedar shingles on the porch-side wall, which I expect he'll finish up today. He can move on to finishing the interior, then, and it should all be in good shape by the time the flooring arrives.

Around lunch time, I ran out to Ali's and grabbed the kids for a picnic at the park!

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Junah picked the spot -- a sunny area at the top of a little hill -- and we had chicken tenders, carrots w/dill dip, lots of fruit snacks, and chocolate graham crackers. They had a blast playing on the playground and crossing bridges. Ginny & Malina fell asleep on the way back to our house and had a nice (needed) snooze, and then we headed over to my neighborhood park! And after supper, we went on a little bike ride! I think I broke my Fitbit record for "steps" yesterday!

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Junah lost his second tooth! And this time he didn't swallow it. :)

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Gin & me... just because. <3

In the evenings, I continue knitting houses, and have begun the second row:

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I was pleasantly surprised to find some nice sidewalk art this morning to help show it off.

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I hope you had a good weekend, too!

 


"Congratulations on being Liberal!"

So, our fabulous long-term Airbnb guests, Tara & Chris, are here for another week.

It's a long story (and not mine), but last weekend, quarantine complete, the couple traded places with her parents and headed to the remote (no internet) rural family farm to hang with their kids, while her parents had a weekend respite here.

Tara & Chris are a very friendly couple and we've chatted quite a bit so I knew that her mom had just retired after 35 years of teaching. There was a little overlap on Friday night when both couples were here, giving us the opportunity to meet the parents. The first thing I did was congratulate Tara's mom on her retirement, to which her dad responded by saying, "Congratulations on being Liberal!" and it just cracked me up.

Still cracks me up!

They live in one of the most conservative counties in the state (voting for the Republican presidential candidate in 19 of the last 20 elections), so he was unabashedly delighted to be among friends -- even if was just at the end of our street, because our county is also quite red (voting Republican in 17 of the aforementioned elections).

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And I was going to share this Waterlogued photo of my first tomato blossoms for Eye Candy Friday... but it's only Thursday. It's Friday to me, though, so there you go.

Happy (early) weekend!

 


Little Pink Houses for You & Me

Well, I haven't actually knit a pink one yet (but I will)...

...and they're neither for you nor for me, but they are LITTLE HOUSES and they're so freakin' cute.

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

KNITTING:

Safe At Home Blanket... I'll be knitting this for a while, but I'm finding my groove and loving it. I wish it was portable, and I need to find a way to manage/wrangle the 12 colors (many of which have multiples), but otherwise good.

So excited was I to share today that I took an up-to-the-minute photo this morning!

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I don't mind knitting these skies at all!

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READING:

Pretty much the same as last week! On audio: Between The World and Me, which should be finished soon. Pages: Wild Game, which is definitely a bit of a page-turner.

 


Oh, Monday...

A do-over of this morning would be not unwelcome. Thankfully, I had a pretty good weekend upon which to reflect.

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I've started riding my bike again! Kate's doing much more (her schedule is a bit more flexible and conducive), but I've been going along when I can. I went for my first real ride in ages a week ago, riding just over 6 miles on a level paved nearby trail. It was nice, but there were a fair number of streets to cross, so a bit of starting & stopping. On Saturday, we took to the road, parking at Lost Dauphin Park* which is located a little east of home. It was a nice ride along the river in an area with lots of very nice homes (so a little bit of lollygagging). That ride was a little over 7.5 miles on mixed pavement with some tiny little hills. Rusty planned to join us on Sunday to check out the Fox River State Trail, and I almost didn't go because that "mixed pavement" on Saturday did a number on my shoulder... and I was really tempted by a couple of hours "home alone," but I went. And I'm glad I did. It's a wonderful trail and just what I needed after Saturday -- back in the saddle, but nice 'n easy, and my shoulder felt better afterwards! Those are my stats above. We stuck together for about the first half of the ride, then Rusty fell off behind and Kate zoomed off ahead. We'll definitely be doing that again, and checking out other parts of the trail, too.

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Rusty works on the Garden Room expansion for at least a few hours everyday. He's re-used some of the already re-used bead board under the windows -- you can see the turquoise-y green paint that had covered the ENTIRE WRAP-AROUND PORCH, back in the day, and everything in it! I'm super excited that he's also re-re-using the last remaining part of the original windowsill. It was shaped from one big board, and we just love the wabi sabi quality gained in over 100 years.

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I neglected to share that Kate & I drove up to Door County last Wednesday. We missed peak cherry blossoms by a few days, but it was a gorgeous day! We spent a little time in Peninsula State Park, and found a handy "selfie station" at one of the overlooks -- the ledge was a little crooked, but it turned out cute, even if the sun wasn't doing us any favors. Ha!

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The water is super-high! This is an old fish house, more recently art gallery, but it's sand-bagged all around!

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It's a very popular place to leave your mark, as you can see. And on EVERYTHING nearby, too. I love how colorful it is!

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Speaking of color, here's how my first (bottom) row of Safe At Home is going. These were taken on Saturday, I guess, because I was mid-way through the last roof when I put it down last night. I've been using Stephen West's Weavin' Stephen technique to manage my ends, though I forget once in a while when I'm concentrating on something else.

I hope you had a good weekend, too!

*The Curious Case of Wisconsin's Lost Dauphin Park


3TT: House & Home Edition

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

1 -- Our re-remodel/reclamation project is one of the things giving me life these days.

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Subfloor! I'm going to have to go shopping for floor tiles soon.

2 -- The old porch railings were salvaged and re-purposed/installed as a safety railing in the kids' playhouse.

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For some reason, that side had nothing. Junah actually jumped from there one day! (So far, Ali's avoided any trips to ER!!) (Knock on wood.)

3 -- Pastoral scenes from a Sunday afternoon at Ali's.

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That's not their horse (there are actually two), but the field butts right up to their rear lot line.

BONUS: They may not have horses, but they've recently acquired...

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Two kittens... the one pictured above is called Slippers, and the other was originally Claire, but Ginny changed it to Bounceball, which Ali says suits the kitty better -- and it may be a boy instead of a girl, anyway.

The chicks are all named Max. If they're boys, Maxwell or Maximilian; if girls, Maxine... and their cute little coop.

All subject to change.

And bonus-bonus... a couple other photos in my camera roll from that day.

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Unraveled Wednesday

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

READING:

On audio:

Between The World and Me is a pretty short listen. This one is in the queue:

So You Want to Talk About Race is by Ijeoma Oluo, her IG account linked in yesterday's post. This book is narrated by Bahni Turpin, so the audio was a no-brainer (I didn't even have to sample it).

On my nightstand:

I've picked up Centering again, having finished Sarah Read's The Bone Weaver's Orchard (you may recall that Sarah is a knitter-neighbor-librarian friend), which I enjoyed quite a lot... it was "horror," but I could sleep at night. Heh.

Wild Game is on the way... it's the Bonny, Carole & Kym's READ WITH US summertime read. It sounds like a page-turner and ought to be interesting. I expect to see some (maybe a lot) of my mother in the story, and likely a little of myself, too.

KNITTING:

I finished Romi's Mystery Shawl last week.

More details on my Ravelry project page.

And then I plunged into my "baby blanket" version of the Safe At Home blanket.

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A row of roof-less houses right now. I made a mistake with the windows of the first two houses (on the right), making them a stitch too short, but I'm leaving that. So far, the hardest thing is remembering to wind off some extra for under the windows before I begin knitting a new house. I'm excited to finish this row (including roofs & skies) because Row 2 is where I really begin to make it my own, and I can't wait to see whether it works.

 


Forward

I have purchased books and donated money. Tomorrow I will do more. And the next day, and the day after that, and... I will do better.

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Forward. Black Lives Matter.

 


The Great Silence

It's sometimes a little ridiculous, but I've long received Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter email every Tuesday morning. And every once in a while, it really strikes and chord and/or makes me think. The last three weeks have been pretty darn good, each provoking on its own, but I also feel a thread, a slow build.

Two weeks ago, he wrote about Count von Count:

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): On the kids' TV show *Sesame Street*, there's a muppet character named Count von Count. He's a friendly vampire who loves to count things. He is 6,523,730 years old and his favorite number is 34,969—the square root of 187. The Count was "born" on November 13, 1972, when he made his first appearance on the show, which means he's a Scorpio. I propose we make him your patron saint for the next four weeks. It's an excellent time to transform any threatening qualities you might seem to have into harmless and cordial forms of expression. It's also a favorable phase for you to count your blessings and make plans that will contribute to your longevity.

Last week, he wrote about Paul Valéry:

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In the course of his 73 years on the planet, Scorpio author Paul Valéry (1871–1945) wrote more than 20 books. But between the ages of 25 and 45, he passed through a phase he called the "great silence." During that time, he quit writing and published nothing. Afterwards, he returned to his life's work and was nominated 12 times for a Nobel Prize. Although your own version of a great silence is less extreme than his, I'm happy to announce that you will emerge from it sooner than you imagine.

And this week, about John Cleese:

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio comedian John Cleese does solo work, but many of his successful films, albums, stage shows, and TV programs have arisen from joining forces with other comedians. "When you collaborate with someone else on something creative," he testifies, "you get to places that you would never get to on your own." I propose you make this your temporary motto, Scorpio. Whatever line of work or play you're in, the coming weeks will offer opportunities to start getting involved in sterling synergies and symbioses. To overcome the potential limitations of social distancing, make creative use of Zoom and other online video conferencing. (Here's more from Cleese: "The way an idea builds as it careens back and forth is so unpredictable. Sometimes it depends on people misunderstanding each other, and that's why I don't think there's any such thing as a mistake in the creative process. You never know where it might lead.")

_ _ _ _ _

I am definitely feeling "the great silence" right now. In fact, this post -- with nothing but the title -- has been in my drafts since last Thursday. There are things going on, I'm posting here and there on IG and sometimes even FB, but I just don't feel like talking about any of it right now. I'm having a hard time concentrating at times, and it often feels like everything is going in slow motion -- one or two rows on a shawl every night, one chapter away from finishing a book (just read it already), plodding one foot in front of the other... I am desperately trying to not even let the word "depression" enter my thoughts, even though I am surely feeling that way. It's extraordinarily hard for someone who thrives on making plans for the future -- big trips, little trips, day trips -- to not be making any plans at all. It doesn't make me feel better that we're all in the same boat, more or less.

Here are a bunch of pics mostly of cute kiddos from over the weekend, guaranteed to bring smiles... and you just can't help but feel some hope!

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Kate took some video & photos of Rusty and I setting The Marriage Window in place the other day... and the un-/re-remodel is coming along fantastically! It's been a super fun project for all of us.

xo


3TT: I ain't got much

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

It was a gorgeous day yesterday and here are three photos!

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I drove down to my CSA farm again to pick up plants and soil that I'd ordered a few weeks ago. Mostly herbs (mostly basil), but also a few tomatoes and a zucchini. I've never grown zucchini but we sure do eat a lot of it, so we'll see how it goes. I'd also placed an order to pick up at the farm store -- asparagus, spinach, and radishes again, but this time some local eggs, too.

What a gorgeous day for a drive! Today is much the same and the weekend will be warm, too, but with a chance of some rain. I have a day-off switcheroo next week, Tuesday instead of Wednesday, so a nice long weekend to enjoy it!

 


Putzing along

We put together a couple of puzzles a while back and I've been meaning to glue them together.

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This one is the Yoro Park Puzzle from Slowdown Studio, and it is destined for the Airbnb. The box that it came in is super cute (and a lot smaller) and resides on a shelf in our living room, so we also get to enjoy the image. The puzzle was harder than it looks! I'd never heard of Yoro Park before... it looks very interesting! Anyway, my Mod Podging skills won't be winning any awards, but it's done... now I need to find a frame.

The other puzzle is much bigger, so I'm glad I got my feet wet with this one.

After almost 10 weeks without an Airbnb guest, and my will-they/won't-they waffling with resulting scramble on Friday to get ready, we pulled it off. He sent the sweetest message on Friday night:

Saturday was gorgeous and they took a day-trip up to Door County. It's a little early for cherry blossoms, but it sure was a great day for a drive.

I got a little goofy and tried on some sunglasses that were delivered for Kate on Saturday.

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Tom Ford and Fendi! That's around $900 of designer shade right there, that she scored on super super super sale. They look 900% better on her, but I had a laugh.

Well, I probably won't ever have a Hills Hoist of my own, but I do love hanging my laundry out, and was able to do that on Saturday.

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Rusty's been moving right along with the project.

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It was a wet dreary mess yesterday (and today, improving tomorrow), so he was in the basement painting some windows.

I think I have all the yarn wound up for the Safe At Home Baby Blanket!

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I've moved the middle of "E" down to "I." They're both Kool-aid dyed yarns that I made specifically with this project in mind. I wouldn't mind one more darker/richer option for "G," and may toss the stash once more to see what I can come up with; otherwise, I'm happy with these colors. I'm determined not to buy anything new, and I don't really want to dye anything new, either.

I do want to finish Romi's Mystery Shawl before I begin this, though, and I finally started on the final clue last night while watching TV.

We're watching "The Great" on Hulu... have you heard of it?

Well, we didn't actually watch it last night because of a glitch, but it's good! We like it better than we thought we would.

As mentioned, RAIN yesterday...

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So, we finally rearranged the living room.

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A few pieces of furniture are (or will be) gone. It'll take a little while to "settle in" but I think I like it... there will be some rearranging on the walls, at some point, too.

I can't wait to see the kids' reaction!! (Our cat is a little confused...)

 


TGIF!

What a(nother) week! Let's catch up.

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On Monday, I took delivery of a delightful package from the UK. I've been following the work of Suraya Hossain at Mahliqa for a while, and recently ordered the limited edition set of Thistle Stitch Markers that were produced for the 2019 Edinburgh Yarn Fest. I've never been to EYF, but I have been to Edinburgh and, in fact, it was just about 6 years ago (as my social media timelines are beginning to remind me)! I look forward to the day when I can possibly return, and I sure wouldn't be sad if it was to attend EYF.

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Rusty's been working on the remodel/un-remodel/re-remodel of the back porch most afternoons. I took this photo on Tuesday afternoon and yesterday, he had the other wall framed and outside window sills in place! We'll get all those windows installed and then eyeball placement of the "marriage window" before he can frame that in... there's a lot going on there and we're just going to "have to see."

I'll tell you one thing, it's getting more exciting every day -- the prospect of doubling the "garden room" space and have it actually usable has us all feeling a little giddy!

During a recent Zoom-chat with Cara & Ann, Ann asked me to ask Maddy about the Hills Hoist, which I did, "...have you or Viv ever heard of it?"

Maddy replied by saying, "Hahaaa! Viv is very proud of this! They are everywhere. Pretty sure every one of Viv's family members' houses have one!"

And then on Tuesday, she sent me photos of theirs (at Viv's mom's, where they've been quarantined) in action!

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Have you ever heard of Hills Hoists? (Also, can you buy hummus in a bucket... with a handle... one large enough that it can repurposed to hold clothes pegs?)

I had Wednesday off of work -- my usual day off every week. I won't say that my mojo returned, but I sewed up the pile of masks anyway.

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Part of my slowness is due to the fact that, though not resistant to wearing a mask, I sometimes feel resentful about having to wear one, no matter how beautiful, cute, cheeky, or fun. I get mad (at no one in particular, and everyone!) that we're in this situation, I feel sad, and then I find something else to do...

Change the scenery/task a million times a day so as not to dwell on the clusterfuck happening all around me. Wisconsin is nutso right now.

On a brighter note, I had an inquiry on Wednesday for a weekend stay at the Airbnb -- Thu-Sun. I started pulling it together on Wednesday night, but didn't want to "go all the way" unless I knew for sure (so many queries have fallen through or were bogus to begin with), and still didn't have a firm booking confirmation, when I went to bed around 10... early (for me). I checked my phone when I got up at 4 a.m., and sure enough there'd been a reply to confirm at closer to 11 (my usual early bedtime). Then I tossed & turned for an hour before getting up at 5 to finish before heading to work. Kate did all the last-minute stocking and fluffing -- and, oh yeah, she & Rusty had to break into the lock box! Ha. Anyway, it feels good to have people up there. And, there's a couple from NYC arriving the following Sunday to quarantine for two weeks before going to visit her parents in Green Lake. The bookings don't make up for all the cancellations, but at least it's something, and we love having a nice place to offer.

It's an absolutely gorgeous day today, and tomorrow holds promise, too! I hope you have a good weekend.

 


Monday!

I don't know why the exclamation point, I'm not all that excited about Monday(s).

I hope you had a good weekend! Mine was good. I had watched the kiddos on Friday evening so that Ali could do her baking to fulfill Mother's Day orders at the shop. (Rod needed some relief, having already had them all day! And most of the days that Ali is working!) So, because of that, she let me off from my "volunteer" stint at the shop on Saturday. I took that opportunity to drive down to my CSA to pick up a farm store order that I'd placed online. It's almost an hour away, but the drive is one of my favorites along nearly the entire east side of Lake Winnebago.

Lake-winnebago-mapIt was nice & sunny! I didn't see a soul at the farm when I plucked my order from the fridge. OMG. Baby Beets. ASPARAGUS!! Spinach. Radishes. I'm not sure I've had fresh-from-the-farm asparagus before... it was so good. They were big stalks, but so tender.

I also took a really great nap on Saturday!

Ali & family came over again on Sunday for Mother's Day brunch... pretty much all provided by Ali. She made the best quiche I've had in a while, as well as some coffee cakes, and her specialty and favorite, the French Opera Cake.

Junah & Ginny hopped on their bikes and I walked along -- it was so chilly, but felt good to be outside. We went to the local park, where the playground is closed, but they had fun riding around on the softball field. I'm sure that would be frowned upon in "normal" times, though, in "normal" times it would likely have been in use for its intended purpose. There are a couple of other ball diamonds within view/earshot of home and it's so weird to have them quiet... usually, the field lights would be on until 11 p.m. most nights and we can hear cheering, traffic, and sometimes even the crack of a bat.

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Anyway, Ginny picked flowers for her mom and for me... these were for Ali. It was cold and I needed my hands free so I could put them in my pockets; she picked dandelions for me and stuffed them in her own. I looked at this photo for quite a while this morning... I'd posted it on IG yesterday, but the view on my desktop... WHOA. There are some new lines! Well, I guess I won't be accused of "having work done." Heh. By this age, my mother had already had a facelift. There was only 20 years difference in our age to begin with, and a youthful appearance was always very important to her, so we were frequently mistaken for sisters -- which she absolutely loved, as you might imagine. A few weeks ago, during a Saturday "volunteer" shift with Ali, a customer came into the shop and during conversation learned that Ali and I were mother/daughter. He was surprised and exclaimed that he was sure we were sisters. It's the first time that anyone has ever said that about me and any of my daughters. I almost cried... not because I was "happy" about it (grain of salt, there was also quite some distance between us), but because it made me think of my mom... and I would have loved to share that bit of news with her!!

Meanwhile, back at home...

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...maybe I should have my photo taken through the playhouse window! I might have popped the contrast on these photos when I posted them to IG, but they're otherwise untouched and they sure have a lovely glow, don't they? The spiderwebs and dirt make a pretty good filter! Haha.

I unraveled and reclaimed some yarn for the Safe at Home baby blanket over the weekend, played around with some design ideas, and started organizing my yarn for the project. I even wound up a few hanks (my winding set up is not very ergonomic, but that will soon change).

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I'll be holding the yarn double and am using multiples for almost every color (some are leftovers from other projects and quite limited).

 


Friday things & more house stuff

EYE CANDY FRIDAY - MACRO MAY!

I almost let Macro May slide by this year, being out of sorts and all that, but decided to jump in again and I'm so glad I did. So, here's a little Eye Candy for your Friday.

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Bleeding hearts. Fiddlehead ferns. Hens & chicks. All from my own back yard!

 

SAFE AT HOME

I've begun knitting the skies on my Safe At Home audition:

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And there's a shot of the back. I meant to try a mitered sky between the 2nd & 3rd house, but forgot. Heh. It's a quick little seam to sew up, at least (and I can "use an end").

I mentioned in reply to a few people yesterday that I ran across a knitter who was using this house motif AS A BORDER on more of a patchwork-knit blanket, which I think is brilliant! I wasn't enamored with either the patchwork pattern or the colors she was using, but I could easily jazz that up and make it my own -- my brain is thinking along the lines of a Safe-at-Home+Albers-y+Parcheesi-ish mash-up -- stripey, colorful, fun, and mostly square! I was sharing this idea during a chat with Cara & Ann and Cara suggested/we riffed on random houses, "their" house, "my" house, "meaningful" houses, paths to connect them. Oh boy oh boy oh boy... some of that might be a path too far, but who knows?! I might actually plan this thing... and I think I'll be winding & organizing yarn this weekend.

P.S. This is SUCH a great use for my Briar Rose Fibers leftovers from Nightshift! Still planning on making a pillow with this.

 

MORE HOUSE STUFF (which turned into a bit of a story!)

Rusty & I have been dreaming/doing "house stuff" since we met.

He was in the process of finishing the house at Cape Kiwanda when we met, and sometimes I'd help; other times, I'd sit and knit and watch. Eventually we added on (I dug the trench for footings!), and we even got married in that house.

We'd rented a house "in town" (Tillamook) together for a while before we officially "moved in together," and did a lot of work there (it was pretty awful).

Not long after we were married (and our family was growing), we bought a house up the coast at Cape Meares, and did a lot of work in that house, too, including rebuilding a huge deck, adding a sun room and patio, and a re-do of the kitchen -- which I never fully enjoyed because, by then, we were moving to Wisconsin.

We rented a house in Appleton and left our mark there, when Rusty rebuilt the back steps.

Finally, in 1987, we bought our current house, where, as you might imagine, we've done a.lot.

Back in the '80s, when Rusty built the house at Cape Kiwanda, he frequented a place called "The Other Lumber Company." It sold used lumber and stuff -- before it got classy and started to be called "architectural salvage"! The windows, doors, greenhouse panels, etc., he used in that house had all been previously owned. This was something I totally got into, having always had a thing for "fixer-uppers" and antiques.

So, backing up to somewhere between our meeting/renting/finishing/getting married, we would occasionally take a trip to Portland and end up at places like Hippo Hardware and antique shops. We bought a few things that we needed & intended to use right away, but we also bought things that we just plain fell in love with and had to have, thinking... we'll find a place for it! We bought a pair of stained & leaded glass doors from Denmark in that manner, which we never did find a use for and sold 15-20 years later at my mother's antique shop. Her shop had an entire floor rented to a fledgling architectural salvage outfit -- Urban Evolutions -- which is still in business today, having grown and changed quite a bit since then -- and, incidentally, where we bought the huge "science room" cabinet for our kitchen that had been salvaged from a local high school.

Anyway, the very first thing we ever bought together in the "we will use it someday" vein -- before we were even married, so a commitment, if you will -- was a leaded/pressed glass window. We never did find a use for it, but we could never bring ourselves to get rid of it, either... it was meaningful! So it's been stored in the basement for all these years... recipient of loving, reminiscent glances from time to time.

Kate calls it "the marriage window."

Though we've not bitten off any big new projects in recent years, we still do plenty of dreaming. A few years ago, there were some sketches done with the idea of adding a second bathroom in the laundry room, but that never really went anywhere. Last year, Kate had an idea to add a "funky addition" to the porch... which was super cool in theory and on paper, but maybe next to impossible to actually execute. Recently, she & Rusty brainstormed an idea to make that funky addition an actual addition to the garden room -- pushing it out to and reclaiming a mostly-unused corner of the back porch. They approached me with the idea as if they had something to sell, but I was on board right away, and the brainstorming continued... re-work (again) the old porch windows, use the extra windows (salvaged, of course) from the garage project, should we add a door out to the porch...??

I won't bore you with the entire jagged thought process, but eventually *** LIGHTBULB MOMENT *** the "marriage window" finally found its place!

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It's dirty and heavy (I've helped Rusty flip it a few times already) and needs some TLC, but it's so damn cool and I'm so freakin' excited that it has found a place -- that it will finally be part of our home...

That's a terrible photo, and I'd certainly have taken a better one had I realized that this post was going to take a turn! There will be plenty of opportunity in the weeks ahead... Rusty is making the first intentional trip to the lumber yard today for 2x4s. Stay tuned!

 


3TT: Grasping

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

Grasping at straws, I am...

Today I am sharing THREE ROWS OF PICTURES IN A GRID ON A WALL.

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As you may know, Kate has worked on & off (currently off) at a used/buy-sell book store for quite a while. Occasionally, a really awesome book would come in but it was bound for the dumpster because it was damaged in some way (and therefore not sale-able)... and, occasionally, such a book would be rescued!

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Such was the case with Wooden Houses, which had a broken spine. She's had it for a while and, upon picking it up recently, had a little thought bubble about hanging some of those photos on the wall. We ordered some record album mounting things, Rusty mounted them all for us on foam-core, and we did the deed yesterday in the still-vacant Airbnb*. She did most of the eyeballing, figuring, marking, and pounding; I juggled pencil, level, hammer, and nails.

The photos are so cool! There's so much to look at and examine in each one. And today I saw The Wooden Architecture of Russia, which made me think of my mother (these few days before Mother's Day), so naturally it's on the way to my mailbox. My mom visited Russia on a "school trip" in 1974, while a nursing student & single mother of 5 teens/pre-teens. She would have loved this book!

*The Packers schedule is released this evening and we had more than a few bookings within minutes of the announcement last year... it will be interesting to see what happens tonight. So many events have already been canceled or postponed...

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Building Houses

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

KNITTING

I keep plugging away at Romi's Mystery Shawl 2020, but last night I decided to make some roofs instead.

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I haven't picked that project up in a few days... my mojo is not where I need it right now! But I think I've come up with the yarns for the baby blanket version of this, and we'll just see how it goes.

SEWING

I have the same lack of mojo in the sewing department, but, once it's located, there are at least 7 face masks ready to sew up.

READING

I have finished The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here. I didn't enjoy it as much as her memoir (because memoir), and I even speeded up the playback toward the end. I will re-listen to the last part about all the things we can actually do.

I'm occasionally listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter, and enjoying it very much. Yesterday I downloaded Seamus Heaney's translation/reading of BEOWULF, which I read in high school (in Old English, because that's how our English teacher rolled for senior year), and it's great to hear... but I want to listen and read along at the same time, so will need to resolve that soon.

On top of the stack on my nightstand most recently is Sarah Read's The Bone Weaver's Orchard, recent winner of The Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Now, horror is NOT usually my genre, but Sarah... Sarah is a knitter, a librarian, and a neighbor! Well, she lives across town, but I KNOW HER! She used to live in CO with her husband and two sons, and worked at Interweave and at The Loopy Ewe, and she still does a lot of freelance writing/editing... and even some knitting. I bought the book ages ago for Rusty (who attends the writing workshops at our library led by Sarah) (now online), and am finally getting around to it myself. IT'S GOOD... and not too scary (yet).


Four

Ginny turned 4 on Saturday!

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We had a "distanced" celebration yesterday at their house. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day (though very windy) and there was lots of room for everyone outside.

Among Ginny's gifts was the DVD for Tangled -- aka, Disney does Rapunzel.

When she opened it, she exclaimed, "It's Rapunzel... with another man!!"

Apparently, she's been watching a Barbie version and the heroine's must look similar, but the heroes do not.

😉 🤣

 


Come What May

Well, April flew right on by, didn't it? March was such a slog. I have no idea what this month will be like... COME WHAT MAY.

I do know that there will be flowers.

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I love these pale yellow tulips in the back yard.

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The bleeding hearts are almost there! My garden is full of them (and I'm not sad).

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Rusty brought Pan out to the garden yesterday. (Not really Pan, but that's what we've always called him... actually more like Daphnis or Dionysus -- especially with the grapes.) He's around 30 years old now! Maddy was pretty little when she and our neighbor Luke tossed the original "flutes" (made of plastic tubing) down the hill. Rusty replaced them with these copper pipes that are ever-so-much-better than the original.

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The Kool-aid yarn got the vinegar spa treatment the other day, so I'm ready to proceed with loosely sorting my colors. I want to make sure I have a pretty good range and balance of light/dark, warm/cool. I think I'm there...

I hope you have a great weekend!

 


Shrinky Dinks

Once upon a time, the kids & I made Shrinky Dinks. Remember those??

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They were in a Toy Story mood, but there was also a purple My Little Pony (Ginny) and a pretty cool key (Junah). Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of their projects, but we sure had a blast!

Ali supplied the sheets we used:

 

Afterwards, I ordered more for future, including some with patterned sheets, which might work well for the kids in a free-form way.

I couldn't resist doing a couple myself, and used designs from the Anni Albers book I'd purchased at Black Mountain College Museum when Kate and I visited Asheville in February.

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It's been decades since I made a Shrinky Dink, and there was a bit of a learning curve. That's what came out of the oven, and I learned two things: 1) an insulated pan might not have been the best choice, and 2) whether insulated or not, preheating the pan is probably a good idea.

I have to admit that I sort of loved them all curly like that, but I stuck them back in the oven...

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I was able to flatten out the bigger piece (1-7/8″ x 2-1/4″), but the smaller one wouldn't come apart!

It was really fun!!