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June 2012

Ten on Thursday: Hot Fun in The Summertime

Ten on Tuesday Thursday: 10 Goals for This Summer

1. Continue exploring and sharing my interests and passions, and having fun.

2. Re-formulating, clarifying, and implementing my plan to recoup costs and try to make some of it pay me back a little bit.

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3. To that end, vending my Make.Do wares with KC&T at our local farmers' market -- opening day is a week from Saturday! I just ordered some MOO MiniCards for the occasion and love them more than I can say!!

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Follow this Refer A Friend link for 10% off some of your own!

4. Riding my bike! While I prefer to ride on 75F days when the humidity is low and the sun is joined in the sky by big puffy white clouds and when there's not much wind and no bugs and on roads with few hills and no stop signs... I need to stop making excuses and just get on the damn thing. Ride like the wind!

5. It's not an unreasonable expectation to lose 10 pounds by the end of summer. Minimum. I'm not buying any jeans in the next size up come fall. Period.

6. I've been thinking about it for months, so finally signing up for a 3-session package with a personal trainer at my fitness center -- whether anyone else wants to join me or not! And take it from there.

7. A very early summer goal -- like, THIS WEEKEND -- is to PLANT! I believe my front porch planter was bare naked all last year. There's a solitary weed growing in it now. It needs some pretty flowers. Also, tomatoes and basil. The planters are there. Even if the harvest is small, it's still a harvest and quite enjoyable.

Untitled8. Knit with laceweight. Kirsten's Through The Loops Mystery Shawl 2012 begins tomorrow and I'm ready... as soon as I decide on color (light green, dark green, or deep red). I've never knit with laceweight yarn before and I'm ready!

9. Go to Bay Beach and ride the rollercoaster! It's been there for a year already!!

10. Go with the flow -- that's my mantra this summer. Just keep on keepin' on and goin' with the flow... let it all just wash over me and feel the cleanse.

Something like that.


Oh, baby

How many times can I say that I've knit The Most Adorable Thing ever before it's like crying wolf?

The pattern is a free download, and is written for a few different weights of yarn and for a wide range of sizes. Fun to knit, I've been practicing and perfecting both my cable cast on and my short row technique. I tried different short rows in the hat above, and have settled on one I like best for this project.

It was a quick knit, too, and used only 25g of yarn. Granted, it's the smallest size (and so wee), but I've more than enough yarn left in the hank to knit the largest size for comparison -- and, someday, for a baby's head -- and I'm about 1/3 finished with the second hat already!

I need to hunt for a button, but may wait until the second hat is finished. It seems more daunting a task than it should, and perhaps that's a sign that I should cull the button collection.

So. It's a bonus day off today! It's been a nice, relaxing weekend with just enough activity and even some productivity.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to this:

...and I can't stop watching it -- just LOVE IT!! Also, instant eye cleanser and mood changer.

I also learned about Annie Modesitt's new project, History on Two Needles: Exploring Art History Through Modern Hand Knits on Kickstarter. SO interesting!! And now fully funded! :)

On Sunday, Maddy & Rusty headed toward the lakeshore for some kayaking and I made a big stab at cleaning out my workroom. I did a pretty good job of it, too. There's still more to do, but I'm happy with the start. I have been contemplating whether I have "too many" tote bags. One thing is certain: I have too many tote bags that contain unfinished (and even forgotten) knitting projects!! It's SCARY!

It was hot and muggy yesterday, but Kate & I loaded up bikes early-ish and headed to High Cliff State Park for a ride. I avoided it for as long as I could, but eventually had to climb the hill -- 200' and steepest at the top. There's a triathlon there in a couple of weeks and lots of people training -- going up and down that hill numerous times! I rode, then walked; rode, then walked -- probably half-and-half. I let it get to me -- part intimidation -- and realize that I also need to work on controlling my breathing. Whatever, I made it up the hill and walking it would be no picnic, either!

I have to say, cyclists are some of the nicest and most encouraging people -- almost everyone who passed me (in all my endeavors/events, not just this one), whether I was pedaling or hoofing, said something nice -- "You're almost there," "You're doing great," "You can do it." I was so out of breath I could barely grunt in response at times. It's dorky, but it really did help to hear something nice.

And, by the way, it was a blast on the way down! I had no problem with that, braking a little, but not a lot, and hitting a top speed of about 34 mph -- nine miles over the posted speed limit! We rode a little more than 10.5 miles, all told.

I'm enjoying the day today -- cooler, breezier. The kids are all coming over tonight for a cook-out/feast, which means that I'd better get to the grocery store soon!


Painter's progress

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Rusty's been painting the east (and least visible) side of the garage this week. I thought I'd go down on the path and take some photos from that angle. Our oldest boy cat, Scamp, is stalking off and just rounding the corner after squawking up a storm when Rusty (just visible "under" the ladder -- he wasn't really under it) wouldn't let him play in the paint. Or something. Who knows? That cat gets goofier and more vocal everyday. He's also getting old. Always a bit burlier than his sister, Roxie, he has really lost all finesse and "stealthy" is not a word that comes quickly to mind. But we sure do love him and all of his quirks.

Due to the lay of the land, the SE corner (where that window is being pointed out by Scamp's tail) is actually cut off at about a 20-degree angle. Luckily, my cars have fit, though the Altima is a little bigger than the Saturn and I've actually had to re-do my entry into the garage in order to get the back door open. And I've only kissed the wall with my bumper a few times. Little love taps.

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We designed the south gable to match the adjacent east gable on the house (which also needs some paint). The north-side gables are similar but different! That should all be finished today, I think, and then that back door will get painted!

The south side of the house awaits!

Floral interlude...

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Irises at the back porch.

Do you have any plans for the upcoming holiday weekend? I've suddenly realized that I've four days off and no pressing demands. It's kind of a nice feeling!


A ghost in the attic?

Over the past several weeks, the kids have all changed their living arrangements. Whether downsizing or upsizing or doing a sideways shift, they've all moved to one degree or another.

And until school starts, there are still a couple of kids under our roof. They mostly occupy the upstairs apartment, so I hardly see anyone!

Even weirder is the fact that we've gained one. Maddy's childhood (and current) BFF, former (and future) college roommate Katy will be working at the Girl Scout camp with Maddy, et al, this summer and she is living here.

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Thing is, she's like a ghost in the attic. She moved in on Saturday and I've yet to lay eyes on her!! I hear her and her car's parked outside, but I've not even caught a glimpse. Heh.

That's the ceiling in my workroom, by the way, a room of many uses over the years, including a bedroom! I love it when I turn out the light and catch a glimpse of the glow-in-the-dark sky.

* * * * *

I rode my bike to knitting last night! A 16.9-mile round trip, the time spent traveling to knitting vs. actually sitting and knitting was about 3:2.

One reason I did that is because I won't be going to the group power class at the fitness center tonight. My power partner, Ali, is currently laid up/drugged up on my couch with an ice pack on her face following extraction of wisdom teeth this morning!

* * * * *

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72!! I finished one while waiting at the oral surgeon's this morning, making 72 Hexagons in The Big Parade!! It currently measures approx. 24" x 16". I started in early-ish January, so my rate is somewhere around 18 per month right now.



I took last Thursday & Friday off for a big rummage sale at my mom's -- Thursday to prep, Friday & Saturday for the sale. We did good. It was tiring, but we were all relieved of many items and had some jingle in our pockets at the end... about $1100, all told! There's a big haul for the thrift shop, too!

The only photos I took all weekend were of my garden phlox/wild sweet william:

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The stuff spreads like a weed... I guess that's why it's now pretty much considered a weed by some! There's also some columbine and dianthus blooming; still some bleeding hearts; the irises are about at peak; my japanese and ostrich/fiddlehead ferns are so lush and gorgeous!

Yesterday, my one big chore was to help lift a new gutter into place.

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It was hardly strenuous.

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There's still no rain barrel, though, and finding one locally is more difficult than I'd have imagined. I've several more places to try, though, so have not given up.

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Paint progress: maroon and blue-green are just about finished; off-white has been started; it looks like the gold door will be last. I can't wait!

I puttered at home for most of yesterday, actually making small progress on a few different fronts, and today it was back to work!

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Someone was busy today while I was away! I suspect it's Maddy's work, though could also be Al's, or maybe Kate. Heh. Obviously, I have no clue -- no one's recently mentioned that there's a mosaic project on their mind!

I'm just about finished with my Highland romance reading, and anxious to hold a real book and sink my teeth into...

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The Wilder Life! It's my Mother's Day gift from Katie and has finally arrived!

I have been knitting -- even went to knit night on Thursday -- it all seems like black hole knitting right now, but I keep at it and I'll have something to show one day!

I'm planning and prepping a new round of dyeing. I'm still aiming to get some of it listed online, but I'll also be helping Ali out at our local farmer's market and hawking my wares there, too.

The next several weekends are busy with family -- especially my sister and her boys. In two months, they will be transplanted to Rio and it will be a long while before I'm able to kiss smudged & dirty cheeks and snag hugs! Gotta get 'em while I can!!



Smoothie. With kale.

It is the most delightful green! And a little "crunchier" than when made with spinach. And SO delicious.

Oh, right... SHHHHH! It's (barely still) Wordless Wednesday!


Ten on Tuesday: To Do II

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Items On My Spring To-Do List

1. In the ongoing quest for simplification and decrapification, we're having a rummage sale this weekend at my mom's. I've actually found it much easier to put things in the donation box (or, as the case may be, to sell them en masse at Half-Price Books), so I'm not selling much, and neither is my mom... the girls are, though, and so is my sister... that happens when you move or prepare to move. I'll be happy when that's over. We'll see, maybe I'll slap some prices on a few things. One happy result of this recent focus is that I've cleaned off the top of my washer and dryer!

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2. Sort of related to #1 (and, also, Clarity), I have antiques that I'm not longer interested in looking at or dusting... mostly green Depression Glass, but also some furniture... maybe. I had a great time collecting the glass over the years, but I could wipe out half of it and still have a nice display of pieces that have meaning -- or usefulness. I'd actually keep all of the above -- I've a thing for the more utilitarian pieces.

3. Windows. I'd like to say, "I don't do windows," but I must do windows. With the painting that happening this year, I'll likely be doing some that haven't been touched in a while!

4. Vacuum. The power head on my vac isn't working, though, so I need to take it in. It's a good thing that we've mostly hardwood floors in our house!

5. Continue to focus on cleaning/cleaning out my bedroom, closet and studio!

6. Clear the deck of lingering obligations! Be diligent and selective when taking on new projects. Know Thyself!

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7. Garden & planter maintenance -- trim the espalier tree, thin out the ferns, dig out dandelions, plant stuff, etc.

8. Buy a rain barrel.

9. Ride my bike... haven't done that much yet this year. I have been going to a "power" fitness class at least once a week, though.

10. Take a few days off... with no particular place to go... or thing to do.

 Haha. I guess that would be #10 Thing To Do: Nothing!


v. to put, bring, take, give, or send back to the original place, position, etc.

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With my sister preparing to move out of the country in less than two months, more of the knits are returning home.

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Sweet memories!

Remind me never to knit a black-white combo like that again on a washable kid sweater. Except for some less-than-vivid colors in that motif, though, there's is a lot of wear left in all of these sweaters! The Wonderful Wallaby sweaters were both knit in the lovely and discontinued Mission Falls 1824 Cotton.


Happy Mother's Day!

Mine started in a tubular manner:

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Casting on the first of two sleeves. I haven't yet memorized the tubular cast on, so I have to call up my favorite online tutorial every time...

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...which I don't mind, because I love listening to Ysolda!

In the middle of the day, I worked a few hours "helping" Ali at the coffee shop. I think I'm helping... I hope I'm helping... at the very least, I'm pretty sure I'm not hindering. She's a good multitasker, thankfully, so is able to answer my questions about the salads and sandwich I'm making while concocting an entirely separate order of lattes, smoothies, and espressos.

Later, my mom and the girls will all be here for dinner... until then, I think I'm going to knit a little more on that sleeve.

Oh! It isn't Mother's Day without some flowers...

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And a fern (my Japanese fern is looking as good as ever!).

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And an ant. ;)

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Heh. Happy Mother's Day -- to you or yours.  ;)


And it goes like this...

Watching... It's May! There's so much to watch!! Currently cheering for Donald Driver on Dancing With The Stars.

Reading... A romance novel, Child of the Mist, set in 16th Century Scottish Highlands and a free Kindle download... I could not resist and it's just perfect for me right now.

Knitting... A hexagon here, a sleeve cap there, also working on a short-sleeve warm-weather pullover in a recycled cotton. I just need to finish sewing up Hemphora and I can get back to the pullover -- I found a mistake in decreases, so am set to rip back a bit.

Listening to... Young Homie by Chris Rene. I really like him and this old homie thinks the song is catchy as hell.

Thinking about... What I should do today. Maybe some dyeing -- could use some color!! Definitely some more cleaning out... Oh! I need to find the little slip of paper where I wrote the password to our fairly new wireless home network. Damn, I thought I made it simple and easy to remember... Will probably get together with Mom for coffee. Going to Group Power Fitness class later today with Al.

Dreading... Happily, I don't think I'm dreading anything right now.  ;)

Planning... To go get paint for the garage today -- as close as I can get to the original "Velvet Maroon" for the windows and shingles, and to choose a golden ochre color for the door. Yay!

Excited about... I think I'm just trying to keep an even keel, so I'm trying to keep things in check... nothing to dread and not getting too excited about anything, either.

Drinking... Trying to up my water intake.

Needing to... Throw some prices on rummage sale stuff. It's a lot easier to just give it away...

Organizing... Everything.

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Inspired by... My photography group. We had a great get-together last night -- nothing to do with nature photography, but we were outside and I took a sec to snap my Macro May photo for the day.


Saturday was busy and exhausting, so I stayed home on Sunday -- a wet and gloomy day -- and got a few things done. With all the "movement" around here, the upcoming credit union-sponsored "shred fest" next weekend and the city-wide rummage sale the following weekend are timely and welcome.

It's rather overwhelming, dealing with all the stuff, but quite satisfying when I'm able to stay focused on one specific task or in one area and see results. I was all over the place yesterday -- the living room, my office, kitchen, bedroom, laundry room...

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While I'm not selling everything and moving to South America (or, hopefully, Scotland) (fingers crossed, people, this is the month she'll find out about scholarships!!) (please & thank you!), I've definitely caught the fever to some degree. I loaded five boxes/bags of books to sell -- mostly from only one bookcase, with contributions from my stash of knitting and photography books.

Getting stuff ready to sell at a rummage sale is EXHAUSTING, so my donation pile is at least as big as my sale pile, not to mention trash and recycling...

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Rusty started it, yesterday, switching out an old cardboard file in the garden room for a nicer (smaller, brighter, sturdier) model from Habitat ReStore. He made quick work of it, having to head off to a show opening, and I got busy with the rest. I didn't quite get to sweeping down the cobwebs from the ceiling, but all the cat food is swept up off the floor, and everything that remains in that room has been wiped down... and has meaning.

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Other things... curious and interesting, that were kept in the past, did not make the cut this time around. This is a broken bit from an old planter that Maddy dug up during her summer of archeaology in the ravine behind our house. His big eyes and sad face, the cross-hatch decoration, and even the crazed and chipped glaze have been so appealing to me... but it's over now. It has to be... the photo will serve to remind me of that summer's many memories.

It's a start... an ongoing process...

Meanwhile, I fixed my left (your right) sleeve cap and, WOW, what a difference, eh? Last night, I dismantled the entire right (your left) side and will reknit the sleeve cap tonight. The sewing up works best in daylight... it'll be finished soon. I was so sorry that it wasn't ready on Saturday night to wear to a gallery party... I want it ready for next time!


Weekend update

Painting the house: It rained much of the week, so there's been no progress; however, the color situation has been decided. The colors will all remain the same -- siding : blue-green, trim : off-white, shingles & windows : maroon -- but the door will be a gold-ochre! We chose these colors for our house years ago and were quite pleased and surprised to have found that they're quite similar to colors she sported in the past, but there was also a gold in the mix and I'm delighted to add it back into the mix. I might paint a part of the front storm door gold, too.

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It wouldn't be Macro May without lilacs... but they're usually later in the month.

Fixing the sweater: One sleeve has been removed, the cap re-knit, and I've sewn it back in. It fits and looks MUCH better. I've still to do the second one.

There's so much happening around me right now -- people and changes in jobs, school, moving, relationships -- it's sometimes overwhelming. I've taken to picturing -- even feeling -- myself as being in a stream and letting it all wash over me, back and forth, going with the flow... but sometimes it's not like that at all. Sometimes I feel like I'm riding rapids and getting banged up against rocks.

This morning, I went on a 4-mile group walk to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and it felt good to just walk, follow the pack, and not have to think about where I was going. I walked and talked with Kate (she mostly talked, I mostly listened), and we caught up about half-way with Mom, Annie and Mack.


Shoulder to shoulder

Clickity, clack... this is still a knitting blog!

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This is Hemphora, a test knit I've been working on and my latest almost FO. It looks like an FO in this photo that I took yesterday, but then I met with Kassie, the local and talented designer of this sweater. We talked it over, I tried it on, and we talked over some more... almost there!

I really enjoyed knitting with the Allhemp6, but it is a little different -- the fabric skews just a bit and is also something of a shape-shifter! I "tried it on" several times during the making up and thought NO WAY is this going to fit me -- and if it did "fit," it was going to "just" fit... every bump and bulge of my torso like a glove. I had to trust that it would be okay. Of course, I'd rather be a size or three smaller, but it fits just fine; the drape is terrific!

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This is the SE corner of the back porch, not far from the pergola from which Hemphora is hanging. There was a lot of busy-ness there yesterday -- robins building a nest. It didn't look complete even this morning and I thought that perhaps I'd scared them off, but a bird flew off when I walked over to check today before leaving for work.

The cats are going to go nuts. This is impossibly close and yet impossible to reach without risking life... and I'm not sure how many are left amongst our three.

Bird brain... ha!

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Also, it's MACRO MAY!


Ten on Tuesday: Pin me!

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Items Pinned to Your Bulletin Board

I could ask which one...

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This one... two... are at work. There are two just like them on the adjacent wall. These two are the most interesting...

1. A print out of my three favorite entries from a "Typesetter Haiku" contest on a long-gone blog. Even after all this time, they never fail to crack me up. Here's one:

i shot the serif

left him there full of leading

yearning for kerning

Hysterical, right? Heh. Maybe only if you were once a geeky typesetter... and an Eric Clapton fan.

2. Confirmation(s) of registration(s) with the National Do Not Call Registry.

3. Photos of the girls, the boys, other family members, some of my friends, friends' babies.

4. Some various postcard-type artwork and photos of artwork... classin' up the joint.

5. A mmmmenu from Noodles & Company; once in a while, someone brings me lunch and it's usually from there.

6. A small sheet of smiley-face stickers.

7. Various lists of phone numbers and log-ins.

8. A print-out of postage rates and an envelope of odd stamps.

9. The memorial card I made for Sharon.

10. Reminders, such as:

Time only seems to matter when it's running out.


It's the time you have, not the time you want.

and an Important list of "I" words:

  • Intensity : Say yes
  • Inclusion : Be generous
  • Integrity : Speak up
  • Intimacy : Love more
  • Intuition : Trust yourself
  • Intention : Slow down