It's in the blood

I posted a photo of the kids' cardigan on FB/IG yesterday and my Aunt Arlene (who will be 93 in a few months) commented, "You knit just like your Grandma. Maybe more."

(I might have to print that quote and frame it!)


Here's Junah modeling said sweater. Lordy, it's going to be handed down to Ginny pretty quick, I think! The kids are all growing so fast.


And a better view of where I'm at. It's been super busy around here, but I managed to steam block the buttonhole band, collar, and pocket trim, and I got half a sleeve sewn in.

Ann & I shopped for buttons last week but the selection was not very plentiful nor inspiring, and I think the ones I settled for are too big, anyway. I'll be headed to BOSTON (Cambridge) with Annie next week for a long weekend -- some of it work-related for her, but all pleasure for me! It dawned on me this morning that there are probably some pretty nice shops there that have buttons. I've already added Gather Here and Mind's Eye Yarns to my list (both are within a few miles of our hotel) and would love to hear suggestions if anyone has any. Hopefully, I'll have made some progress with the sewing up by then!

We had a birthday celebration for Junah on Thursday at Ann's.


I just can't believe he's 9 already!

Yesterday, everyone came over to my house for another get together (do 'em while we can!).


It doesn't take long for the place to get trashed (in a good way) (and they clean up... eventually) and this was before Lincoln Logs were wedged in.

The girls have been finding their own spots -- Ginny favors the space under the stairs and Malina had herself pretty well set up in the cardboard playhouse.


The Garden Room was quiet enough for naptime. So sweet!

Creativity has been flowing, too.


Ann gave the girls some "crafty" gifts on Thursday and Malina sat right down to work on hers!

Ginny came in our back door yesterday, spotted something that she wanted to draw, and immediately got supplies together. She's kind of blowing us all away... she's only 6! My girls were always a bit advanced in the area of art -- IT'S IN THE BLOOD -- but this is beyond, and to that I give credit to the internet for all the amazing tutorials that are out there, and to the pandemic for super-sizing what's available.

Rusty & Addie are teaming up to build a Little Free Library to install at Ann's house! They drew up some designs, decided on a plan, and have been working on it for a couple of mornings, so far. Eventually, it'll be painted to match the house. It's going to be so cute!


Unraveled Wednesday: Grafting a Collar

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


Oh boy, it's getting exciting now!


The collar was knit with German Short Rows for shaping and it turned out great... after a couple of tries and a pause. I had to begin twice -- I was almost at the halfway point when I dropped a stitch (one of the GSRs) and couldn't recover. Fine & dandy, I was a lot more confident the second time and, of course, it knit up quicker. At the halfway mark, though, I struggled a bit with what I was reading in the pattern and how it would actually be done. I put it down and took a break -- two episodes of Ted Lasso (finally!) allowed my brain to calm down and I told myself what I always tell myself in these situations: "Just do what it says!" When I actually picked it up and DID it instead of just reading it... VOILA!

So it looks great and then the pattern said to graft the collar stitches to the picked up stitches. I went a tad further and picked up NEW stitches in the original stitches picked up for the collar because I thought it would be much easier to graft live stitches, and because I thought it would look neater... more finished. It was kinda fiddly but I did it.


I went with the flow and what felt/looked good, so there were about 9-10 fewer new stitches picked up -- the stitch markers are where I'm fudging an extra stitch so that it all evens out. 


I'm also grafting 1x1 ribbing to stockinette... and decided to do it in regular kitchener stitch (stockinette) and I think it's going to work out great! I did about 1/4 of the grafting this morning. I'm using the video from City Knitting in Grand Rapids that Kay posted the other day at Modern Daily Knitting. So smart!


I'm still reading The Miracle of the Bells, by Russell Janney, and listening to A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders. Actually, I haven't been listening much at all lately! With all the people in/out and car shuffling in the past month or so, I didn't even have my car for quite a while... and that's where I do the majority of my listening.

Hope you're having a great week! I'm off to pick up Ann and run a few errands.


Looking forward

I wish I could say we had a wonderful holiday & a great visit with Kate. It was an OK holiday, and Rusty & I are enjoying a visit with Kate... but those photos of the kids on Christmas Day? That's the only time since she arrived on Dec 11th that Kate's seen Ali & her family. Ali's household has been cycling through various illnesses since even before Kate's arrival, and by that weekend, we were making a grocery/meds delivery because Rod was so sick that Ali didn't feel she could leave him in charge!

They were all "good enough" that Christmas Day happened, and they even set some future Kate + Kiddo "dates," but Rusty was beginning to soothe a sore throat a few days prior, and over the last week he's felt a bit worse, and Kate started to not feel good, and Ali's clan relapsed -- same stuff, sore throat, then head & chest congestion, headache and fatigue.

Oh, and PINK EYE decided to drop by our house yesterday, because, y'know, WHY NOT??

I'm glad that Kate had a couple of "good" weeks -- she was able to make a quick business trip to Chicago & Madison, got together with some local friends -- so it wasn't a total bust. 

Somehow, miraculously, luckily, I AM STILL STANDING! I haven't had even a tickle in my throat. I don't know whether to be happy or afraid!

Anyway, we're all looking forward to summer and a big ol' DO OVER!!

Meanwhile, with the holiday, bad weather at Christmas, and others' scheduling needs, I've had a couple of nice, long, mostly relaxing weekends!

I got a fair bit of knitting done:


I knit both the button & buttonhole band, and pocket edgings. I wanted to block the button band before commencing with the other, to make sure it was the right number of stitches & to see how it shaped up... it's dreamy! That can be such a tricky bit, and I'm just thrilled. I had started the collar and was almost half-way when I had a little dilemma and ended up tearing it all out. I spent a couple of hours yesterday getting Annie's house ready for their return later today (mostly laundry, as usual) and got things back on track. I am truly at the half-way mark as of last night! I'm going to need to go hunting for buttons soon! So far, resulting from a query on FB/IG, I like the thought of navy, orange or "rusty-reddish... with a little touch of blue" buttons. I'll first be digging into my button stash, shopping only if I need to... I'm gonna need eight!


Kate & I ventured out to Rusty's studio yesterday and helped him remove this gigantic painting (25' long) from the wall! He's getting ready to ship it to Mexico, along with some of the supplies we'll need, because in just over a month we'll be heading down there for the install! The gallery will also be hosting an event for him, and I think he's also planning to do a demo/class. I'll be doing warm weather & sunshine!


Scotland: Stones

I've been struggling mightily with how to / what to post about Scotland... it's long overdue and I wanted to get something "on paper" before the end of the year!

Here's our basic itinerary. I used a site/app called Wanderlog to keep track of everything!

Wed, Sep 21 -- Rusty & I arrived in Edinburgh. We took the tram from the airport into City Centre, where we met Kate -- waiting for us with her suitcase near Waverly Station! We grabbed some lunch and then hopped on a train to Inverness, where we stayed overnight at a centrally located inn.

Thu, Sep 22 -- We rented a car and drove from Inverness to John O'Groats and then on to Scrabster Ferry Terminal where we caught the ferry to Orkney! We stayed at a resort-type cottage Sep 22-25.

Fri-Sat, Sep 23-24 -- Orkney

Sun, Sep 25 -- Ferried back to the mainland and drove to Ullapool where we met the ferry to Lewis & Harris. We stayed at an Airbnb in Borve from Sep 25-28.

Mon-Tue, Sep 26-27 - Lewis & Harris

Wed, Sep 28 -- Took the Tarbert-Uig Ferry from Harris to Isle of Skye, drove on to Torness on the east side of Loch Ness. We stayed at an Airbnb Sep 28-30.

Thu, Sep 29 -- Torness area.

Fri, Sep 30 - Returned rental car, returned to Edinburgh by train -- finally visited Kate's cute apartment!

Sat-Sun, Oct 1-2 -- Edinburgh area

Mon, Oct 3 -- Flight home

I had an enormous list of "possibilities" -- sites to see, hikes to hike, castles to visit -- but there's only time for so much, y'know? We had pretty hard & fast deadlines with ferry schedules, reserved tour times for some of the sites, as well, and lots of driving on single-track roads, so there's a lot that we left for future visit(s)! (Nodding to my mum with love for that notion.)

Anyway, I just have to start and today I'm going to share some "stones" of Scotland and some blue, mostly moody, skies! A late September trip was a sketchy move weather-wise, but we were quite happy (and prepared) for the most part. There can't be rainbows without rain... and I could do an entire post about the rainbows! (I just might!)




Standing stones, cairns & similar historic sites were plentiful on our list. Some of them are a bit of a hike from the car park, others were... just... right... there! "Appropriate footwear" was recommended no matter the location. The significance of Hill O' Many Stanes is unknown and may always remain so. It is, literally, a hill with many stones, none of them very big. We had to stick to a path around the stones and that was okay!



This castle ruin & its site was amazing! If you click on the link above and scroll down to photos, there's an incredible image taken from the North Sea. We were able to walk around & into parts of the castle. I found a stone that marked the unveiling of said stone "by HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, Patron of the Clan Sinclair Trust, on 1st August 2005 to Commemorate the First Phase of Preservation Works of the Castle."

On the way to this castle but not pictured, we stopped at the Whaligoe Steps and Cairn O'Get. All of these sites were on the mainland -- on the NC500 along the A9/A99 between Inverness & John O'Groats.



Incredible. The stones are part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, which includes Skara Brae, Maeshowe, and the Ring of Brodgar -- all of which we also visited. It just blows my mind that people drive back and forth to work or the store and THIS is the scenery they see on every drive.



We could see this church and graveyard, up on a little rise, from the Stones of Stenness and just had to find our way there! I could do an entire post on the cemetery "stones." I could also do an entire post on lichen & moss!



Unlike the Stones of Stenness, we could not actually "mingle" with the stones but it was no less stunning. The photo above was actually taken from the car as we approached... it's less than a mile from the Stones of Stenness... just incredible.



We had such a great hike along the coastline to visit this "stone" "castle" in Orkney. Our path was a small part of a much longer coastal trail all the way to Stromness. There are so many great hiking & biking paths!



6a00d83451eba569e202af1c965b25200d-800wiClach An Truishal was not on my list of sites to see in Lewis but we spotted a little brown roadside sign that pointed the way! There are lots of said road signs all over... and they're easy to miss.

This is Scotland's tallest standing stone, easy accessible... it's on a rise, so even more impressive. Land use & accessibility is different in the UK and in many instances, such as this one, you park and walk right past someone's house (or through their fields) -- in the US, I'd feel as if I were trespassing -- but not here. Anyway, I was charmed by the unofficial sign, likely made by the property owner, that pointed the way.



The other side of this broch (a prehistoric circular stone tower) is open, providing a cross-section, which we were able to enter and explore. It's on a hill in Lewis and the view is spectacular!



This site was stunning. We arrived after the visitor centre closed and, at first, I was unsure we'd be able to enter... but the site itself is open all the time, as many are! 



From which, if you look closely, you can see the Calanais Standing Stones almost in the center of the photo -- to the right of the big stone and just about in line with Kate's cowl. This site was on our list but we didn't intentionally seek it out... we just happened to drive by! I hate to say it, and I never thought we'd be "those people," but we did eventually start to skip by some of the standing stone sites! Terrible tourists...

Trust me, there are dozens of photos from nearly each and every stop that I could share, and I'm looking forward to sharing more from our trip -- and taking more trips -- next year!!

Thanks for coming along for the ride! I appreciate all of you and love connecting with you. It's been a weird blogging year and I hope to make some changes... make it less weird. heh.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!!


Top 9

My 2022 Top 9 of Instagram:


  1. Gnomes!
  2. The start of a Musselburgh.
  3. Jamie Lee Curtis speaks words of wisdom.
  4. Ginny gets a haircut! Malina did, too. Kate had finally made it home for a visit.
  5. New Birdie Parker earrings. (I've lost one of them, ordered a replacement but it was silver, now awaiting a mismatched copper+silver pair to have one pair of each.)
  6. The girls' dance recital!
  7. Favorite pic (so far) of Rusty & Davy!
  8. Sorting colors for the Temperature Project.
  9. Ali sold the coffee shop.


I'll have one more post for 2022 tomorrow!


Unraveling: The Year

Before I share my review of the year's knitting & reading, I have to share THIS:


The 5 Point Bomber had a bath yesterday and was pinned out to block/dry! I'm so excited to proceed -- the next step is the collar, which involves lots of German short rows, so I'm going to have to concentrate. This fun project will most likely be my first FO of 2023!

Meanwhile, I've been working on the Musselburgh hat that I started back in April.


I'll just be cruising on that one-way trip through the solar system for a while.


There was a whole lot of knitting but it didn't add up to a lot of finishes. One shawl and eight dishcloths! Details of all on Ravelry; I am knitorious.


Notable: NO GNOMES! But a lot of dishcloths and a boatload of stripes.


  • One Perky Little Hat for Ali (not shown but it's on my Rav page)
  • One Close To You shawl
  • Eight dishcloths

Started/Current WIPs:

  • Family Temperature Blanket
  • Musselburgh hat
  • 5 Point Bomber
  • (My 2021 crocheted blanket is also considered a current WIP - not shown)

The Family Temperature Blanket has been on hold since mid-November, when I started the kids' 5 Point Bomber, and will be until the bomber is finished (it shouldn't be too long now!!). I've finished Rusty's panel & mine, and Kate's is currently in progress -- nearing the half-way mark.

I love the shawl -- my second Close To You, knit in some of my hand-dyed yarn. I started it while on vacation in Puerto Rico, so it'll always be associated with that.

The summer dishcloth jag was fun! I had a bunch of Rowan Handknit Cotton and just knit my way through it all. Nai-Nai's Favorite is a great pattern!


I finished nine of an arbitrary 12 that I set as a goal.


Three of those nine books were... actual books! Three more were finished with a combo of audio & pages. And three were strictly audio.

There are several WIP books on my nightstand, including The Miracle of the Bells, by Russell Janney. This book was given to me a couple of weeks ago at book club. We've begun a tradition similar to Iceland's Jólabókaflóð and the book was given to me by Lori and had been her mother's. I believe it was published in 1947. I was intrigued, so started it right away... waiting to see what happens in the second half!

Meanwhile, I've participated in a Jólabókaflóð with some FB/knitter peeps for seven years now!


This year, Gillian sent me All The Ever Afters and Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and Connection. Both of those books have been on my TBR list for a while now, and it will be fun to dive in!


My Spotify stats came in a few weeks ago.



I'll spare you all the details... these images sum it up. The stats are pretty true, since Spotify is my main source for music and I don't listen to the radio (if I can help it).

I like being thought of as an Adventurer!


Plain Old Wednesday

It's been busy around here with one thing or another. ZERO progress has been made on the kids' sweater in the past week, but I have been doing some cleaning and even a little bit of holiday prep.

The tree is up (from the basement) and the decorations are down (from the upstairs shotgun closet) -- have been for about a week -- but the only decorations actually on the tree are a tiny wire whisk that was overlooked during de-decorating last year and one of those bulky Star Ornaments that I was knitting last December. I knit a pile of those stars, gave a bunch away, and still have a nice stack -- one of which I just gave to Kate... so now hanging on the tree.

Anyway, while I was in the upstairs closet, I noticed (again... it happens every year) a bunch of truly random stuff on the tippy-top shelf at the back -- old curtain rods, some cottony-fleecy fabric stuff, the top of a Rubbermaid tote (the bottom nowhere near) (the nearest mate is likely in the basement). The cleaning/purging mood continues...


I don't purge everything, though, especially when the stuff isn't mine. Stuffed into a far corner of that deep shelf was this little T-shirt! It had to have been last worn approx. 30 years ago by Maddy! I washed it and will put it in the small box I have marked "Baby Things."

There's also a shelf over the doorway on the inside of the closet, and that's where Maddy's American Girl Bitty Babies, Lena & Zoe, are stored with all their things. I took it all down...


...sorted & washed the clothes and put them in a sealed bag. I noticed that Zoe needs some major mending/stitches, but that's for another day. There's a hospital gown for when that day comes... we had to send one of Ali's dolls into the Pleasant Company once for repair and she came back wearing one!



I enjoy playing the NYT Spelling Bee almost every day, but I really love Letter Boxed! Have you played? "Create words using letters around the square." The letters are scrambled from two random words and the idea is not to figure out those two words (impossible with no clues, IMHO), but to use up all the letters in the making of usually four or five words -- but the consecutive letters can't be from the same side and the last letter of a word becomes the first letter of the next word (and some other rules). I feel pretty great when I can do it in fewer, but today's was also pretty great because of all the YARNY words... beginning with YARN! The most tenuous one there would be NOUGAT, but just click on that to see all of the nougat-related patterns listed on Ravelry! Ha.

I'm working today, having had Monday off this week, and I've been confused all week about what day it is. Have a great Wednesday (and every day)!


Year In Review

Here we go again Year In Review!

I do it in words (the first sentence of the first post of each month) and in pictures (a favorite posted photo from each month) -- the two are not necessarily related.

January 2022:

I finished a hat -- my first FO of 2022!


February 2022:

This is the start of my Temperature Blanket! 


March 2022:

Rusty & I had a great vacation in Puerto Rico and both got what we needed most...


April 2022:

Last time the kids were over, Junah, holding a small container of white chalk, asked me where a chalkboard was... "Why do you have chalk if you don't have a chalkboard?"


May 2022:

I lost my (prescription) sunglasses Sunday/Monday somewhere between here & there!


June 2022:

I've made some progress on my Temperature Blanket since last we met, even though I've barely knit a stitch in a week.


July 2022:

I have experienced the same photo-loading hiccups that Kym recently wrote about in relation to using Typepad as a blogging platform.


August 2022:

Continuing with the (now) near-mindless dishcloth knitting!


September 2022:

I've been working a bit on my Temperature Blanket project again!


October 2022:

An almost 2-week vacation in Scotland involving planes, trains, a car, and ferries -- and it all went off without a hitch!


November 2022:

When the kids were over a few weeks ago, Malina was drawing/writing on the big chalkboard.


December 2022:

Holiday Hoopla is approaching -- Kate arrives this Sunday, and Ann & family arrive a week later!


I say it every year: I can't quite believe the year is almost over! Thankfully, after a couple of "dud" years, I don't have incendiary feelings about it. My family was together again, we traveled, the kids started school and are loving it, 

Unraveled Wednesday: Closing in!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!



I'm about to begin armhole shaping for the right front, which is the last major piece of the cardigan! I'm excited for the blocking/taming of all those pieces because, man, are they ever curly!


That's 5 Point Bomber central right there -- all my MDK Atlas yarn & tools (more needles than I need!) in one place! I tuck my iPad in there when I go over to Ann's for laundry/knitting... very portable. This Sunday will be the last of that for a while, except for a guest booking over New Year's, because they arrive on Sunday night and will be "here" (back & forth to Madison in various configurations) until early February!


I just finished reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (pages) for book club. I'd enjoyed Daisy Jones & The Six (audio), also by Taylor Jenkins Reid, so it didn't seem like too big of a gamble! Indeed, it's a pretty easy "beach" read and I sped right through it -- not great literature but a fun diversion and I was surprised at the end!

My listening has been spotty for various reasons... currently: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders. I am really enjoying it, and love listening to George Saunders.

_ _ _ _ _

I picked up Kate last Sunday and she's here for about a month... though she just left (in my car) for a quick work-related trip to Chicago & Madison. She hasn't even seen the kiddos yet because Ginny & Ali have been sick. I think Ginny finally went back to school today after being out for a week! Everyone else is holding on over there, so hopefully we'll all get together soon.

Hope everything is good in your neck of the woods!


More weekending

Sheesh. Time flies! Holiday Hoopla is approaching -- Kate arrives this Sunday, and Ann & family arrive a week later! Thankfully, for many reasons, our holiday get-together at work is going to be between Christmas & New Year's, and that's a relief; Rusty doesn't have much going on group-/party-wise, either, and I'm not sad.

That leaves more time for stress-relieving fun (and Christmas tree avoidance)!

I set my alarm again on Saturday for another workshop with Mel Kolstad at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. This time it was gel printing. I'd been aware of this event since the previous workshop I took with Mel, but I didn't really know what "gel (or gelli) printing" was... and I stupidly didn't ask nor did I even google it. On Thursday evening, out of the blue, I came across a video on FB of one of my friends (my birthday twin, actually) doing a demo of gel printing! "More fun than a barrel of monkeys filled with a hundred barrels full of monkeys," she said! I checked my calendar and signed up for Mel's workshop on the spot.


I posted cropped versions of all three of the photos above on IG, and I just want to point out a few things. They just hosted a 3-day event called Wayzgoose, which draws participants from all over the world, so there were a lot of fresh posters! I love how even the signs on the recycle & trash bins are hand-pulled prints! There are five cabinets/cases full of wood type in that middle photo -- there are two more to the left and one to the right that are not shown -- and that's just the "public" type!


Turns out, it is more fun than a bunch of monkeys in a barrel! Mel is an enthusiastic and generous teacher, and it was a fun group of 10 women. I did nothing but experimental gel printing in the morning -- oh, man, there's so much possibility! You can see some of that work on IG! In the afternoon, I set up a Showcard press and did some printing. You can't see any of that work because I think some of it might become gifts.


I can't wait 'til the next one, either, Mel!

_ _ _ _ _

In other news, I'm grappling with holiday decorating... or, rather, decorations... in that I have too much. And as much as I'd rather not, I think I'm going to put up the big tree, as usual, haul it (the trimmings) all out this year, and do the deed. Trust me, I've considered a bunch of other -- easier -- options, but the thought of all that STUFF up in the closet for another year is actually making me sick.

This whole mood started with the kitchen cupboard/cake stand situation a few weeks ago, continued with cleaning off the Depression Glass cupboard, cleaning out the pantry cupboard, and now the utility cupboard that I did on Sunday morning -- those accomplishments have provided momentum & will to tackle the holiday STUFF.


I didn't really want to clean out that closet, but it's so great to have it done. I was on a mission, so it didn't take that long, either.

When's the last time I used Spic & Span from a box -- might have only been once because it was pretty full. And cat STUFF? Stain & odor STUFF, hairball remedy, flea & tick powder. Our last cat died during the pandemic! There was so much pet-related STUFF in there I didn't need anymore. (I was able to find new homes for most of the STUFF I cleaned out.)

I know now that I don't need to buy drain cleaner, Armor All, ant killer, 40W light bulbs (could use some 60s, tho), hand soap refills (the dish soap supply is fairly good, too), or any type of floor cleaner for a very long time. But now, if I do buy something that goes in this cupboard, there's room for it!

After that, I packed up the kids' sweater again and hauled it over to Ann's for the afternoon to work on while I did laundry and watched the football game. The second sleeve was bound off on Monday night, leaving only the right front & back pieces to complete, and then it'll be time to soak/block so I can assemble/finish!!



On Saturday morning, I wound most of the rest of the MDK Atlas for the kids' sweater.


Then I hauled it all over to Ann's, where I spent the afternoon doing laundry and a little cleaning -- but mostly laundry -- along with knitting, sipping peppermint tea, and watching a little TV. There'd been seven guests there for the Thursday night football game, and to visit family (the parents grew up on the same street in the '40s & '50s, and Grandpa's old house is just at the end of the block)... there was a boatload of laundry!


The main knitting goal was the striping on the left sleeve. The original design for the 5 Point Bomber (Rav) has a series of narrow stripes in the contrast color separated by wider stripes of the main color. I wanted more color, of course, and ended up doing slightly narrower stripes of six colors separated by narrow stripes of the main color.


I really like how it turned out. And as of last night, that sleeve is finished!

The bright blue cuff is straight from Malina's design. Interestingly, Malina & Ginny made the stripes a contrasting color, but Ali is the only one who used more than one color, and Ginny is the only one who needed the symmetry of stripes on both sleeves! You can revisit all their designs here. I am considering stripes on the right sleeve, but on the upper arm instead? So many questions... the same sequence? reversed? mixed up? all the colors? wider stripes of just a couple-few colors?


Anyway, I spent the entire afternoon at Ann's and it was glorious!

On Sunday I was thinking about the upcoming week and cooking and cleaning. I started by cleaning the sink with the intention of doing a deep clean of the counters and the top of the "Depression Glass Cupboard" that is one of a few catch-all spots in the kitchen. I ended up doing a deep clean of one of the upper shelves in the kitchen to put away the cake stand I'd taken down for my birthday cake. It's been sitting on one of the counters for a couple of weeks now, because that shelf & everything on it was filthy... I just couldn't put it back, even though no one would ever know if I did! I even washed some of the glass panes. I'll tackle another shelf or two next weekend. It's just not fair that the inside of a mostly closed cupboard can get so dirty!

I did the top of the cupboard, too, but never got around to the counters. There's still time... and that's a lot easier in comparison!


I only broke two things in my frenzy, one of which made me sad... the smaller of a couple of nesting bowls that Kate found in Fife. I happened to talk to her yesterday, and it happens that she needed an excuse to visit that shop again, and she'll find a replacement for me.

Tomorrow night I'm meeting Ali at Ann's to prepare for guests arriving for Thanksgiving. At this point, I have a few quiet weeks at my Airbnb, though I really know enough by now to be prepared for last-minute arrivals... especially now that I've said that aloud a couple of times. Anyway, the plan is that she'll come over for a little crafting time sans kiddos, too.

Unraveled Wednesday: Color My World!

For the first time since September, I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!


This is the colorbox of MDK Atlas yarn that I'm working with for the kids' sweater. I have enough of the main colors (Navy & Clementine) that I could knit this 5 Point Bomber in two colors per pattern specs but, based on preliminary discussion with the kids about their favorite colors, I also threw in Barn Red, Citron, Pear, Seaglass, Mallard, Lapis, and Tutu.

(Watch for coordinating hats & mittens with the leftovers!)

SNEAK PEEK JUST FOR YOU!! I played around in Photoshop (to the best of my limited ability) (see left sleeve cuff, front view) to color in Holli's sketches per my plan -- subject to change! 


In fact, there's already been a small change. And there will definitely be more stripes -- somewhere -- and maybe bigger. I've incorporated every color -- the kids' favorites -- and I don't know how it's going to end, but this is a great starting point.

It's certainly not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I love it!! 

You may have seen my recent post on IG showing progress as of Monday night*. So far, there are two pieces started and I'll be casting on a third today. Rather than hunt around for stitch holders for all these bits & bobs, I just culled a few of my US5 needles from my collection! haha.


*Lately, and especially now that the days are short, I've been heading straight over to Annie's on Monday nights after work to get laundry started. Laundry is the most time-consuming part of running an Airbnb; it's not so bad at my house/Airbnb, where the laundry room is conveniently located where I live, but I was stopping over at Ann's in the evening (once or twice, depending), again in the morning on the way to work, and again after work. So much stopping! I decided a few weeks ago to just stay. One night, I watched the first episode of the first-ever season of The Great British Baking Show... and wished I had my knitting. Another night, I watched Dancing With The Stars (almost live), and had some knitting but didn't get much done (lost a DPN... rearranged my stitches... and then found it again just as I was leaving). This week, I packed up my slightly-more-portable (than the temperature blanket) 5 Point Bomber, and then spent almost all my time trying to find/watch Yellowstone S5. Good lord. We don't have cable TV, it wasn't on Paramount Plus (to which I subscribe), and who the eff knew that Paramount NETWORK was an entirely separate thing? (I didn't.) I ended up watching E1 (free) on my iPad, and I don't know what I'll end up doing for the rest. Will probably just have to put that out of my head until it becomes available on another platform. So dumb.

But I'm really happy with the sweater!!!!


Rainbow - my new favorite letter

When the kids were over a few weeks ago, Malina was drawing/writing on the big chalkboard. She was showing me and saying, "D - O - and the letter RAINBOW!"


It's my new favorite letter! I smile every time I think of it.

In related (colorful) news... There's a big new project in the works! For Modern Daily Knitting's new I Made It with Atlas series (previously here and here, so far), I'm knitting a sweater for the kids... NOT a sweater for each kid, as some might be thinking (at least that's not the plan right now), but one that'll fit Junah right now (with a little room to grow) and that all the rest will eventually grow into. There's nothing quite like seeing all the knits I've made for one cycle through all the others -- sweaters that I made for Mack (graduating-high-school-this-spring Mack!) that Davy's wearing now!

The pattern I've chosen to make is Holli Yeoh's 5 Point Bomber (Ravelry). I considered a few others, but kept coming back to the Bomber because of what other makers had to say about it (all links to Ravelry project pages):

As of today, there are only 17 Bomber projects on Ravelry, and 14 in the Project Gallery -- to read such positive comments on nearly half of those made it a pretty easy decision! I have made one of Holli's patterns before, the very colorful JUNEBEAN from her Devan pattern, which I love.

I bought the 5 Point Bomber pattern three months ago today and have been mulling over ideas ever since. I knew I wanted more color, and probably more stripes, but exactly how... that's eluded me. I finally emailed Holli and told her of my grand plan, asking if she might have some sketches that I could use to help solidify my ideas. She sent me PDFs of her original design sketches in a few different sizes -- and suggested that the kids color some, too!

We did that on Sunday when they were over for my birthday (64!) and, well, it's a RAINBOW world!!


They had a blast! And they're SO FUN!!


Ali has always loved fashion and color, so she did some, too!


She also understood the brief and asked pertinent questions about how the knitting is done (is the button band separate, etc.).

So many great ideas! I've already knit a swatch and will cast on as soon as I decide which way to go! haha. I'll keep you posted!

_ _ _ _ _

Things are still crazy at work but beginning to settle a bit. My trip to London was SUPER fun! My birthday was great, too. Obviously, I'm not doing NaBloPoMo this year... I thought of it at the end of October and then again on the 2nd or 3rd and considered "catching up," but it's not happening. Oh well, 13 years is a damn good run! Hope all is well with you. 

A Bit-O-Random

Not like Bit-O-Honey... that was one of the worst "treats" I could find in my Halloween Trick or Treat bag.

It's been a coupla weeks, y'all. Big disruption/change at work, the extent of which I've/we've not all yet been fully apprised... I believe there's a bit of hashing out yet to be done.

My Happy Jetsetter Birthday Vacation set to begin in (checks phone) 3 days and 1 hour could not come at a better time. I need a breather (and I'm glad it's going to be short)... some fun museum stops, fabulous food, shopping (holiday or otherwise), and London!

Meanwhile, back at home...


I washed my kitchen windows! It's so satisfying. I hung up some cafe curtains, too. I need sturdier rods, but I think they're going to be nice. I was afraid I'd meet some spousal resistance about those, but he actually likes them!

We have fairly roomy windowsills in there and all manner of stuff gathers...


...including my "I'd Rather Be Knitting" license plate frame, which I believe I bought at my first Rhinebeck. Anyway, it's been sitting on my windowsill since we got rid of the Saturn, which Maddy drove for quite a few years, and never even made it onto my Nissan, and finally after two years it's on my Explorer. heh.

Well, I guess that's all the photos Typepad is going to let me upload today. It took hours to get the log-in page to load. Change is comin'.


Better late than never

It took about a week for blog readers to pick up my feeds! I'm pretty sure it was a Typepad thing... I'm about over it/them.

My NC500 medal came in the mail last week!


It's pretty hefty -- the actual medal is bigger than my palm.


I love the unicorn on the reverse! I AM UNDEFEATABLE.

Like Bonny, I don't think I'll be signing up for any more of these challenges. I don't really need a collection of medals. heh. It was very interesting to know, though, that I walked 500 miles between April 5th and September 30th -- just normal everyday steps, though my "normal" day can sometimes include cleaning an Airbnb or two, chasing after a grandchild or four, and/or beating the pavement/grass for 4-8 miles a day in Denver or around standing stones in Orkney or someplace.

We finished buttoning up the house over the weekend -- switched out the rest of the screens for storm windows, brought in tender plants/pots/garden decor. I still have "wash kitchen windows" on my to-do list... it looks like we're in for a mild weekend (after seeing snowflakes fall on two of the last four days), so I'm putting it off until then. Lordy, they're so dirty, and now that the leaves are falling, the sunshine is beginning to blaze through the trees, shining a spotlight right on all that dirt. heh.

I noticed my window of daylight closing yesterday and ran outside with my Temperature Blanket to take a decent progress photo.


Rusty saw me testing this weathered old chair (my laundry basket holder when hanging on the clothesline), which I had deemed worthy for getting an angle on my Temperature Blanket progress (or at least worthy of carefully trying) 🧐… when just as I was about to climb aboard, he popped his head out the back door and asked if I would like him to bring me a step stool. Well, okay, if you’re gonna bring it to me!

I've finally built up a bit of steam for this project, after not knitting a stitch for weeks. As of this time yesterday, I was about 60 rows from finishing my panel and it's even less now!


The next panel will be Kate's. My original idea was that Rusty's panel & mine would flank the girls', but in a waking up/falling asleep dreamy state sometime last week, it occurred to me that since the girls' will all be pretty similar, that maybe we'd break them up! Instead of Rusty-Kate-Ali-Maddy-Vicki, it might go Kate-Rusty-Ali-Vicki-Maddy!

We shall see!


We're back!

An almost 2-week vacation in Scotland involving planes, trains, a car, and ferries -- and it all went off without a hitch! The weather was... Scotland-in-September-like, but we were prepared and had "drama" when & where we wanted -- missing weather-related ferry cancellations by a day on more than one occasion. We all fared very well during the 1.5- to 2.5-hour ferry crossings.

We are feeling charmed.

Perhaps you've followed along on IG or FB -- #vrkscotland2022. I won't likely rehash all of that here but do plan a follow-up (wordier) post or two and to share a few more photos at some point.

Meanwhile, re-entry has been a bit bumpy but IT'S FRIDAY!! And the kids are coming for a sleepover!


Upon arrival home, I found a few clues that the kids had been there -- earrings in disarray in the bedroom, and these "love notes." I haven't met a kid who didn't love a pad of sticky notes!!

I did a quick check of the garden at first opportunity (Tuesday after work) and loved that the zinnias were still blooming their little hearts out. There's an overnight frost warning, so thought I'd share while I still can!


They're not as spectacular or showy as dahlias, but who cares... all flowers are magical!

I haven't had a chance to catch up and, truthfully, I might just have to mark all as read and start anew... I hope not, but just in case (and if you're willing), I'd love a comment with the CliffsNotes version of what's been going on with you!

Have a wonderful weekend!


The baby is TWO!

I spent a good chunk of Saturday with Ali & the kids in one combination or another.

Yesterday, I drove out to their house with pizzas for lunch to celebrate Davy's second birthday!


There's a video clip on IG wherein I finally captured Davy's adorable infamous cheeky side-eye grin. He does it a lot but it's never been recorded before! Ali made zucchini cake with some zukes from my garden... cream cheese frosting & sprinkles... mmmm!


Ginny showed me some of the changes that have taken place at her Fairy House. I'm in love with that half-log!! Pinecone-on-a-stick is also quite charming.


I couldn't pass up a Flo photo op! First of all, chickens never (hardly ever) stand still... and Flo least of all. Or so it seems... that feather hat she wears is rarely ever still!

It was a great weekend. I won't see the kids until we return from Scotland, and I've already promised a sleepover! Plus goodies from Scotland!!

We leave tomorrow! It's hard to say whether I'll pull off an actual post while we're gone. The best place to keep tabs would be IG!


Zucchini hunter

He came up empty-handed last night.


What are the chances he missed a whopper? I'd say they're pretty good, based on experience! haha.

Things are beginning to look a little bedraggled.

Oh my goodness, what a difference a nap makes! I left work an hour early yesterday and slept for an hour-and-a-half... later than I usually like to take a nap, but I still went to bed early, too!

I'm a new woman this morning. Thank god.



I set my alarm for Saturday morning -- a rare occurrence these past few years -- so I wouldn't be late for the workshop with Mel Kolstad at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, where I letterpressed my heart out for six hours!


As predicted, I didn't glue down/collage a darn thing, but I have so much fodder for future work/play/inspiration. I was super into circles, guitars, chickens, and a particular dancing girl. The illuminated letter blocks are mine that I brought from home, along with some old tissue/pattern paper, and the photo postcard that now has a big chicken in the yard.

I snagged a couple of old card catalog & library cards, a receipt from a coffee shop in Taiwan, part of a map, and an image of some "underwater fairies" or something -- material that spoke to me. I also have a big bin of ephemera that I collected after my first workshop with Mel and, to be honest, take a bunch of the same to the curb every two weeks in the recycle bin!


I have a feeling there may have been one or two of these bad boys right under my nose back in the late '70s/early '80s when I worked as a typesetter for a local shopping guide & print shop, along with some old wood type. No one cared! I came in at the beginning of "computer photo-typesetting" with dedicated computers for the task, fonts on film strips, paper that was processed with developer & fixer. There are a number of these at Hamilton, along with plenty of bigger & smaller models -- and the museum itself is full of historical machinery!


I was assessing my printed materials yesterday and stumbled upon a starting point for next time! 

Also yesterday, Rusty & I got our 3rd Covid booster shots. I didn't get a nap, didn't sleep well last night, it's chilly & raining today (and yesterday), I didn't dress properly... and I'm FREEZING (even with the space heater at my feet on HIGH)!! And so tired. All related, I'm sure.

I better get myself used to it, as we're likely to experience the same in Scotland. I do hope we'll see some occasional sunshine, too. I've often read that it's typical to experience "all seasons" & "all weather" in a day!


What's up?

RIP, Queen Elizabeth II.

King Charles* just doesn't roll off the tongue like Prince Charles has for my entire life! I remember a period of time when it was rumored that Queen Elizabeth would skip him altogether in the line of succession. I don't know if she could really even do that, but such was his not-so-great standing for a while!

As is often the case these days, I'm thousands of miles away but broke the news to Kate, who was in a bit of a work bubble and unaware of what was going on in her own backyard! So to speak.

My mother would have been enthralled. A teenager when Elizabeth became queen, my mom was a "royal watcher." She watched (live) every possible second of Charles & Diana's wedding, Diana's funeral, William & Kate's wedding. She'd have loved George, Charlotte & Louis, the Platinum Jubilee!

It looks like we'll be arriving in Scotland just after the funeral. I'm okay with that.

Charles ... “to my darling mama.”
“I want simply to say this: Thank you. Thank you for your love, and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

I'm misty!

OK. So, besides that... WHAT'S UP??


Yesterday, we met Ali & the kids at Ledgestone Vineyards & Winery for a fun evening of music. Rod's band was playing... he's the purple dude on the left.


The grapes must be getting close!

Tomorrow, I'm heading over to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers to exercise some creative chops at a workshop called "Cut & Color - Creating Collage with Vintage Cuts." I know the instructor, Mel Kolstad, and took a collage workshop from her several years ago. I may not have an actual finished project at the end of the day, but I'll be printing my little heart out and soaking it all in!


Rusty continues painting "56 miles of ocean and sky..." which I still have not seen in person. I may get to accompany it to Mexico on the install trip, though. Hopefully in winter!!


Kate is up to her eyeballs with work, but by the time we arrive she'll have finished the gallery gig on Calton Hill and work will be 100% virtual for various organizations... but totally on vacation while we're there. She tries to take a "nature day" once a week or so, and last week it was in the Pentlands!


I'm looking forward to an Airbnb cleaning date with Ali next week, followed by lunch! It will be nice to have an undistracted visit with only her!! So far, the kids are doing great in school. Davy misses the kids during the day -- especially his big brother and sticks to him like glue after school! On Wednesday she shared the following about Malina: "The first thing she reports to me after school has been how many times she has cried 🥲. Today was ZERO!" Ginny is making loads of friends. Junah doesn't like doing homework. NO SURPRISES!!


Maddy is settled back home in Australia... and planning an epic hike with Viv! The "little" 4-day hike at Pictured Rocks while they were here was just a primer for hiking the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia. That's 1000+ km/623 miles and coming up in just a couple of weeks!

*As I'm writing this, multitasking in a bunch of different ways, including chatting with Kate, she writes: Just saw a tweet where someone was like “I’m not going to be able to say King Charles without adding Spaniel I’m afraid” 😂

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Unraveled Wednesday: Temperature Rising!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...


I've been working a bit on my Temperature Blanket project again! I posted this photo on IG last night:


I've been knitting some rows in the color ZINNIA (= HOT!) and had just picked a vase of my own zinnias, so photo op!

Bonus photos for the blog (possibly later on IG):


These photos make me so happy! I'm currently heading toward the end of August, in terms of time, and the days (if not the nights) are HOT, but getting shorter. I have around 150 rows to go on this panel.


By the time I received the paperback copy of The Lewis Man, I was already nearing the end, so only read a few pages from the actual book! I dove straight in to Book #3 of The Lewis Trilogy -- the paperback is in hand but proving a bit challenging as the chapters do not align. I'm making progress, though, as I had a few hours of listening in the car yesterday. I expect to finish by the time we depart for Scotland (13 days!), and will likely take This Golden Fleece: A Journey Through Britain's Knitted History for vacation reading (if any).

_ _ _ _ _

I switched my day off this week so I could go to Madison yesterday for the funeral of Brian's mom, Doris. She died last month, just a few days after celebrating her 100th BIRTHDAY! She was born & raised in Maine and enjoyed a lovely birthday lunch of lobster rolls with some of her kids & grandkids. I really only met her a few times, but she's always felt like part of my extended family, too. She broke her hip about six months ago, which seemed to signal the end, and until that time had been in her own home. Cheers, Doris! RIP.


Unraveled Wednesday: Darning done

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday (though not exactly linked because this post was scheduled in advance)...


Viv's socks darned, done & dusted!


Maddy's, too!


Both pairs packed in Maddy's luggage, beginning the journey back to Australia today. Now summer really feels over! What a great time we've had!!


Now that the mending is done...


I have this back in my lap! This is my panel and I just turned the page to August... about three-quarters done!


I'm still awaiting the paperback copy of The Lewis Man, second book in The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May, so am currently only listening! Since I'm awaiting "pages," I've picked up This Golden Fleece: A Journey Through Britain's Knitted History again. I just finished a chapter about Scotland and the Highlands. Perfect timing. We're on our way in three weeks!


First Day = Best Day

"It was the best day of my life!"


Everyone was smiling at the end of the day! They all made friends! Most of them remember their teachers' names!

Can't ask for more than that. We had a lovely get together last night to hear about the kids' (and mom's) day. It was nice enough to eat outside -- flies were a nuisance, but we didn't let them ruin it. It was lovely (as captured above).


1st Day of School!!

This just in:


The only tears shed were by Ali when she was riding her bike back home after dropping them off. (I was worried about Malina!) (Not a morning person!) I can't wait to head out there tonight so we can hear all about it!!



Yay! It always seems like such a long week when I have Monday off...

Is Flashback Friday still a thing? Remember this from two years ago?


Safe At Home... for Davy, but it was still a few weeks before he was born!


Making progress through my modified (of course) chart.


I hadn't begun sewing up the rows yet.

That was such a great project. I still have a couple of Safe At Home pillows on my To-Do List. Ducky was a mere 10 days old at this time, too! I was measuring cushions & windows, and buying new foam & fabrics.

What a crazy time. There was little discernable change in my day-to-day home/work bubble (other than an epic knitting project and a travel trailer in the driveway), but the "outside world" was certainly different.

Anyway. My mammoth sunflower bloomed!


You may have seen it on IG, but I couldn't get the entire photo to fit! Here it is in all its glory... Rusty thinks at least 9' tall. (I'm terrible at estimating height, length, distance... you name it.)


Maddy's taking off for Stevens Point this evening with her friend Katy to attend a wedding this weekend.

Rusty continues work on a 25' long commissioned painting -- I haven't seen it yet in person but hope to make it up to his studio this weekend. He's posted some progress pics on IG.

I will be darning the last sock, soaking & blocking a new swatch, and hopefully doing some sewing.

Have a wonderful weekend!!


Unraveled Wednesday: FO

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...


I've finished the dishcloths! The photos were taken in this morning's pale light... it's changing; I'm seeing a few colorful leaves and even some falling leaves, too.


I had seven hanks of Rowan Handknit Cotton and knit a cloth from each, plus a scrappy willy-nilly Log Cabin-inspired cloth to use it all up.

  • My Ravelry Project Page: Nai-Nai's Favorite 
  • Pattern: Nai-Nai's Favoriteu by Ali Crockett
  • Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton (Aubergine, Raspberry, Sea Foam, North Sea, Feather, Slate, Blushes)
  • Needles: US 7
  • Start to Finish: July 16-August 23, 2022

The Aubergine cloth was already given away to Maddy's friends Katy & Andrés.


I'm going to send a couple home with Maddy, take a couple to Scotland for Kate, and give a couple to Ali, and that leaves one for me!


I finished The Blackhouse and immediately started the second book in The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May, The Lewis Man. I'm both listening and reading again -- or will be as soon as the used paperback arrives (by the end of the week, I hope). There are some familiar characters but already very different story(ies).



I had a long weekend because of a schedule change at work. And today I'm staring at the calendar in disbelief... are we really only a week + a day away from the end of August??



I had three big kids over on Sunday night for the last (ugh) sleepover of the summer!


I delivered them home in time for orientation & pics at school. Ali had packed their backpacks on Sunday night, and they took all their stuff to school yesterday. We plan to head out there with pizzas next Monday, after their official First Day, and so that they can bid farewell to Maddy... I take her to ORD a week from tomorrow (ughhhhh!).

In other weekend news...







That job took ALL DAY! We figure it's been 30+/- years since our major bathroom overhaul (there have been a few minor overhauls since then), and that brass faucet has looked awful for 25 of those years... I'll spare you the close-up. It started dripping a week or so ago and was deemed "unfixable," so I got to go shopping for a replacement!

Rusty ended up doing a lot of sawing to remove all the old stuff, but the sink came through unscathed, and there was only one incidental trip to the hardware store!


One of my favorite features is that the faucet swivels! It's also taller and that makes it easier to fill my Waterpik*. The faucet handles also sit a little higher (and they're not so pudgy), so it's easier to turn on the cold water without knocking the soap into the sink.

I was so excited that I didn't even wipe out the sink before taking photos and had to do a little "cleaning" with Photoshop!

Next up: I was also authorized (by the guy who'd rather do almost anything other than plumbing) to buy a new kitchen faucet! That'll be a project for another day -- not today, but soon. Very soon.

*A couple of dentist appointments ago, my hygienist suggested a Waterpik after I complained (once again) about how difficult it is to floss: crooked/jammed together teeth, a small mouth. I go to the dentist more frequently than most because of periodontal maintenance... I have deep pockets (not the kind I'd really like, unfortunately) and I know that flossing would be very beneficial. Anyway, I bought a Waterpik that day... and used it a few times. When I 'fessed up at my next appointment, she said that adding just a little bit of mouthwash might jazz it up a little, but my dentist said something that really stuck with me; he said to 'use it until you can't live without it.' I vowed then to use it every day until the next appointment. I offered myself a little reward of new sandals if I kept it up... which I purchased in advance so I could wear them in Denver! Then I really had to make good on my "vow," and I DID! #1, I definitely got to the point where I couldn't live without it -- I even took it to Denver! My teeth never felt so polished for so long between actual polishing. #2, At my appointment last month, my "pockets" improved -- every single one -- by at least 1mm, and some even more. So I continue to use it every day and plan to take it to Scotland, too!


A busy day off

Laundry on the line. Helping Rusty with a home improvement job. More laundry (eventually also on the line). Weeding and pruning. Mending some of Rusty's jeans. Cleaning out some crap (i.e., filling a bag for donation). Ironing. Kiddos over for haircuts. More laundry (at Ann's). Knitting. Other than missing nap time, it was a pretty good day off!


I shared this photo with Kate yesterday and she responded, "This vacation is BYON -- Bring Your Own Napkins!" You might recall that she chose some fabric at Fancy Tiger Crafts when we were in Denver so I could make her some "housewarming" napkins, and I plan to make delivery next month! I expect to get about eight napkins from each piece that we bought -- this white w/black lines and coordinating black w/white lines -- so she should be set! I bought a tablecloth on clearance ($4) at Target last year and plan to make a few napkins from that to replace some worn ones in my own drawer!

I'm planning to make them with mitered corners and there are a ton of videos out there, but if anyone has a FAVORITE method for mitered corners, I'm all ears.


My sister Ann wanted to buy the kids backpacks for starting school. Malina's & Junah's arrived yesterday... and I just had to giggle when Malina put hers on. Is she wearing the backpack or is it wearing her?? haha. Ginny's ought to be here by the time they're here again on Sunday for a sleepover (I have Monday off next week instead of Wednesday).

It was gorgeous yesterday, so a lot of time was spent outside, and the kids' haircuts were done on the driveway in the shade of the garage. We weren't always outside, though, and I had to laugh when I walked through the living room and saw this scene on the couch...


...they're usually on a bookshelf in the front room.

And then I absolutely did laugh aloud when I walked into the bedroom and saw this:


Ginny had asked me earlier in the day about wearing earrings... that she knew how to do it even though she didn't have holes in her ears... so I suspect that she was behind this!

(I'm on the second-to-last chapter of The Blackhouse... about an hour of listening time. I expect to finish tonight!)

Finally, there was plenty of chalk art on the driveway yesterday.


It's Spongebob... with TWO HANDS (on each side) and lots of legs... à la Malina!


May all your weeds be wildflowers

There's another round of weeding in my future, particularly in front of the house where one of the ash trees was removed a couple of years ago and where I haven't done much since.

I can't be sad about some of the "weeds" in my garden, though.


But the ugly weeds have to go -- some of them even have pickers!

I patched Ali's sock heel last night.


Ali & kiddos will be over tomorrow afternoon -- after Ginny's school orientation -- for off-to-school hair trims. Picture day is Monday already! And the first day of school is a week later. The kids are SO excited. It'll be nice to give Ali her sock (I hope she hasn't misplaced its mate).

Anyway, I did the prep work for one of Viv's heels last night, too, so darning will commence this evening!

Update: Monday's mood improved late in the day, and Tuesday started a-okay!


A Monday-est Monday

It started out not-so-great and, despite a glimmer or two, it's not getting better... yet!

Back in my more verbose days of blogging -- much more stream-of-consciousness days of writing -- the very act could sometimes turn a blue mood around. Maybe that's still true. Let's find out!

Maddy returned from Milwaukee with another friend in tow -- Genie traveled from Ireland to the States to attend a reunion of Girl Scout Camp counselors. They took off yesterday for a few days of fun -- this time as camp attendees. I hope they all have a blast!


Maddy also delivered her cross-stitch pillows to their recipients over the weekend, so I can show you the fronts!


And a back! She was happy to show me her neatness... which she learned from me, and I from my mother, and my mom from hers! Mom, Grandma & Great Grandma are/would be pleased.


Here are a couple of close-ups of the fronts, plus an action shot!

I started my sock mending project over the weekend, first by working duplicate stitch over a worn spot on one of Maddy's heels -- it wasn't a hole yet, but it wouldn't be long. Preventive maintenance, let's say. These are all 100% superwash merino worsted-weight socks which I'm mending with doubled 75%/25% superwash merino/nylon fingering-weight (sock) yarn; all yarns dyed by me. Hopefully those patches will hold up.

(I won't be knitting 100% wool socks for anyone again!)


Then I tackled an actual hole.


The black patch is the "preventive" stitching. The multi-colored patch was done using Swiss Darning, which is also sort of duplicate stitch -- it's worked the same, even if there isn't an existing stitch to duplicate. I watched a few YouTube videos and didn't really find a favorite, but I got the gist of it. I think for the first time ever, I used one of my darning eggs for its intended purpose!


Both of Viv's socks have quite large holes and will take some concentration. First, I'm tackling a small repair on one of Ali's socks. I was intimidated by that repair, which is why it's been sitting for a while (months), but it's pretty small in comparison and piece o' cake!

Well, I'm not sure that I feel better... but I don't feel worse, so I guess that's a win! Hope you're having a good Monday!!



Our trip to Scotland is coming up in about 5 weeks, and preparations continue!


Our Historic Scotland membership materials arrived yesterday. As members, admission to many of the places we want to visit will be free -- and we've already booked entry times for the most popular sites. I bought memberships for Rusty & myself, and also for Lady Kate! (I couldn't help myself when that title was presented in the dropdown menu options!) I have coordinates for her 10x10 plot -- it's not too far off our main route, and I really hope we'll have time to visit.


I added over 5 miles to my North Coast 500 virtual walk yesterday and am approaching Scrabster, where we'll catch the ferry to Orkney! We booked all the ferries and finalized accommodation last weekend. I might be a little short of closing the loop before we depart, but I'm okay with that. I think it would be cool to log a few miles in actual Scotland! (Also, doesn't Glengolly sound like a fun place to visit? I might have to poke* around.)


Three-point-two of yesterday's miles came from a morning hike along the Niagara Escarpment on the Red Bird Trail at nearby High Cliff State Park. We wanted to go early in order to beat the heat/humidity, and I'm sure glad we did! I was trying out new hiking shoes and poles, and I'm happy to say that they both passed! I got used to the poles without any problem and with few adjustments (turns out my left pole needs to be a little shorter than the right). We'll be doing a lot of driving in Scotland, but there will be plenty of opportunity for some hikes, too.


We found a few interesting fungi specimens on our hike yesterday. This photo reminds me of a rugged, mountainous landscape in miniature.

After a shower and a nap, I helped Maddy make a couple of cross-stitch pieces into pillows! I just happened to have the correct size/shape pillow forms, and the backing is material leftover from making cushions for Ducky.


I measured, cut & sewed, and Maddy did the stuffing & final stitching. They are gifts for a couple, and though the stitched designs are quite different, I love that they'll coordinate. I'm under strict orders not to post the fronts until they've been delivered to recipients later this week!

*Have you ever used Pegman in Google Maps to have a look around? If you click on Pegman (bottom right) you can drag him to an area that you want to explore. You're looking to drop him on a blue line, or a blue 0r orange dot -- places where the Google car has been, or where people have shared photos. When you're finished, click "back" at the top left.