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September 2012

Kate's Affections

I dyed some yarn for my friend Kate a while back for a Color Affection. She talked about some summer Caribbean-ish colors and I came up with these:

image from
Making Waves

image from
Cool Blue

She chose a yellow-gold to go with, and voila!

Of course, she had some unused yarn and thought it would be fun to make a coordinating CA for her daughter, so she chose some other colors and knit up a second version:

And, you know, because this is potentially one of those stories that never ends...


These were all knit using the hand-dyed sock/fingering yarn base that I call "BE." It's a soft yet durable 75% superwash merino/25% nylon blend.

I was the lucky recipient of a little leftover ball of the brown... enough to make a hexipuff (minus the puff)! I love those kind.

Have you made your guess as to how many hexis I've made? There are only a few more hours...

Ten on Tuesday: Beachy

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things To Do at The Beach


  1. Watch the waves
  2. Watch the people
  3. Watch the birds
  4. Take a walk
  5. Take some pictures
  6. Take a nap (or a swim)
  7. Read a book
  8. Read the tide tables
  9. Read your palm
  10. Have fun!!

* * * * * *

Just in time for our latest little heat wave, I took delivery yesterday of about a half-bushel of tomatoes, leeks, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs with Roasted Tomato Sauce in mind. Yes, friends, it's about that time of year! I'd originally intended to get them this weekend, but there were plenty of tomatoes ready right now! Unless I get up super early tomorrow and get this done while the kitchen is still cool, I'll be chopping and freezing for delayed roasting.

I need outbuildings! I'd sure love a summer kitchen/studio.

That photo was taken six years ago (!) for the ABC-Along; the farm is right on Hwy. 53 in northwestern Wisconsin toward my sister's house. I haven't been up there in a while, but hubby and I are planning a little road trip to the North Shore -- Duluth, Grand Marais, likely as far as Nipigon, ON, Canada. We thought of a bunch of possibilities -- all the way around the lake, or around another Great Lake, or to Toronto -- but I think we'll go up and explore some of the south, west, and north shore of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee.

Anyway, I think we'll go up and then double-back, but return home along a slightly different route -- via old stomping grounds, visiting cousins, and my sister's -- and maybe even see my nephew play some football (or wam the bench, depending on injuries and depth).

All suggestions for yarn, art, food and lodging around the western half of Lake Superior are certainly welcome!

Web-2012-08-25 07.36.36
Look who joined us at the farmers' market last weekend! Ozzie had a nice, cushy spot in there with the felted wool dryer balls.


Mine, mine, mine! All mine!

This is it, so far. The project is Low Tide Cardigan, one of the projects in the upcoming e-book from Tin Can Knits called Pacific Knits.

I didn't exactly knit a swatch for this one, but calculated and extrapolated my gauge from another (hexagon-shaped) project that I've done in this yarn and decided to go up a couple of needle sizes. I think it's going to work wonderfully.

The yarn is mine; the color "All Mine."

I will likely work the bottom differently, at the very least a hem or something to avoid the curly stockinette edge.


Random Friday

  • Yep, one of those days.
  • I've finished knitting the bodice pieces for the sweater that I think I'm going to like.
  • Katie seems to like it, so there's that.
  • The hexi hiatus was on hiatus in the meantime... an' a one, an' a two!
  • There's still a week before the end of the month.
  • I love counting and stacking the hexagons.
  • Yes, simple pleasures and I'm easily amused!
  • Whole30 "practice" continues.
  • I chopped up a whole head of cauliflower and a couple bunches of broccoli to steam for last night's dinner.
  • Due to the hazards of multi-tasking and a lack of designated workspace, I found a piece of cauliflower in the Eucalan bath with the sweater pieces.
  • The pieces have been de-vegefied, washed, blocked and dried, and I'm ready to proceed.
  • This is one reason (two) why I'm so happy about the Whole30.

Web-2012-08-23 10.13.22

  • Ankles.
  • Also? Those sandals. People. This is one of two pair of sandals I bought earlier this summer, and it is the pair that I coveted on my neighbor.
  • Yesterday, I was able to wear them for the second time -- the first time being the previous day.
  • I have only been able to stuff my swollen sausage feet into them from time to time all summer.
  • Looking ridiculous -- like fat sausages stuffed into sandals -- I'd take them off and hope for a better day.
  • Hallelujah! Better days have come!
  • Is it Dairy?
  • Is it Grain?
  • Is it Sugar?
  • Who the hell cares?
  • Actually, I do care and I do intend to do the Whole30 and find out.
  • But right now: MAMA'S WEARIN' HER NEW SHOES!!
  • Happy dancin' in them, too.  ;)

Web-2012-08-23 06.55.51
Web-2012-08-23 06.55.51

  • And who doesn't love random photos? Especially of the sky (yesterday morning... it looks worse than it was).

Happy weekend y'all.


Let's get real

It Starts With Food.

It really does.

I am slightly short of doing the Whole30, at this point, but I am practicing for it. I think of it as prepping, in the same way that I prepped to quit smoking 7+ years ago. You know? I'd set a quit date and thought I'd just smoke like a chimney right up to the last minute, but I didn't. As I prepared to quit (figured out my main triggers and how I would respond), I just naturally cut back and, well, not that actually quitting was a breeze, but it was maybe a little bit easier. I was aware and prepared.

So I don't know exactly when I'll go whole hog on the Whole30, but for about the past two weeks I've all but eliminated dairy, grain, and added sugar from my diet. It's very "paleo" and "caveman," and it sounds quite drastic; yet, I am very Well Fed.

The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Ever. is the best chicken I've ever eaten! It drew raves from the family, as well.

Dairy. I still have a splash of half & half in my coffee in the morning. And if I don't have anything planned or prepared, it's my stand-by Chobani yogurt for breakfast.

Grain. I'd been having a hard time finding bread that I like for quite a while. I've been gradually cutting down on sugar and most commercially made breads and buns have added sugar, of some sort, and are too sweet. I tried a gluten-free bread a while back and "akckakekckkakkaka" pretty much sums it up.

I think of my grandmother. Slicing a thin piece of cheese for each of us, she told me that she'd rather eat a small amount of "good" cheese once a week than the other stuff everyday. Right on, Gram.

So it hasn't been too difficult giving up bread. I had my tuna salad as a salad the other day, on a bed of spinach and with halved cherry tomatoes, and it was delicious! Rusty eats a lot of rice, but I could take it or leave it.

I did have a big bowl of Cheerios for a snack a few nights ago = grain + dairy. I'm practicing!

Sugar. As I said, I've been watching sugar consumption for a while now. I put a little bit of sugar -- 1/3 to 1/2 of the usual -- in my morning coffee with the half & half. I'll still have a bit of dark chocolate at lunch time and, what can I say, husband made oatmeal cookies the other day. I've only had a few, and at least I know what's in those oatmeal cookies and who made them. One of the local vendors at the farmer market had the most wonderful little peaches last weekend, and I've been enjoying them for "dessert" on occasion.

Why all this? Well, because I want to feel better and maybe even look better. I've quit smoking, I've quit soda, I've been eating better food, consuming more water... and with each change I've felt better, in one way or another. But still... almost always with the edema in my legs, swollen ankles (swollen everything to some degree, it seems), and great difficulty losing any weight at all.

The quality of the food I eat has been on my mind for quite a while and an awareness of what exactly "food" is -- REAL FOOD.

What about y'all? Has anyone done something like this?

Web-2012-08-06 12.52.38
Web-2012-08-06 12.52.38
Enough rambling. How about more random photos? One from our trip to the lake a couple of weeks ago, and the other is the sky after knit night on Thursday.


Hexi hiatus

"All hexagons all the time" can only go on for so long. They'll be my carry-around knitting for forever, it seems, but I just had to cast on and knit a while on something else yesterday.

Because none of the in-progress projects I have around here will do, I guess.

Not when startitis strikes! Behold:

Hm. I might have the knitting upside-down or sideways there. Oh well. Details soon... as soon as I figure out whether I'm going to like it. It's a little cardi-vest in fingering weight. I'm using my own Make.Do "Be" yarn in a color I called "All Mine." Heh, and it will be.

Random cat pic. LOL. It's our crabby ol' boy Scamp, and we love him so much. Look at that face!


School days

I didn't think I'd be doing a "back to school" post this year.


Vicki (back row, middle) with her first grade class and beloved teacher, Mrs. Kelly, at Wayne Thomas School in Highland Park, Illinois - 1964-65.

Katie's deferred her acceptance to The University of Glasgow until next year (and will likely be applying to some other UK universities in the meantime... why not?), so will continue working for the next year, and diligently saving.

Just what it says.

Ali's busy running a small business -- which, by the way, is good for everyone's health around here! She has employees returning to school, so has just hired two new people -- one of them, a young man in high school, I believe (I met him ever-so-briefly yesterday), is a knitter! Yay!!

Class of '76.

Maddy just wasn't sure this year. Well, truthfully, she was on a bit of a rollercoaster -- it's been quite a year. She'd taken steps toward returning, but I thought she'd decided not to go when, sometime last week, I got a frazzled call. I talked her down, and we (sort of) calmly discussed the pros and cons -- good reasons for putting off school vs. really? because of that? reasons -- enlarging the frame and looking at the big picture and, well...

Boys in Brazil, on the way to school, August 8th (Addy's 5th birthday).'s back to school! The next two weeks will find us all in transition mode once again!

* * * * *

There's also still two (busy) weeks of knitting... have you made your guess?

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Bon appetit!

"This is the way to live!"

"Freshness is essential; that makes all the difference."

"Bring on the roasted potatoes!"

I've never kept it secret that I love Julia Child! Today would have been her 100th birthday, and PBS did this terrific mash-up in celebration.

I've been making some small changes, already, in preparing for a big shift in my diet, and the thing that resonates with me more than anything from these words of Julia's is the part about freshness. If it's fresh, it's most likely real and less processed -- that's one of the things I'm striving for most. Real food.

Happy Birthday, Julia!!


Ten on Tuesday: Get the TV trays*

Ten on Tuesday: 10 93 Favorite TV Shows From Your Childhood**

I tried. I really did. I grew up around The Golden Age of Television... and I HAVE LOVED, DO LOVE, and WILL CONTINUE TO LOVE television. It would be pure torture to have to limit this list to 10.

Every time I'd think of a show, I'd think of another... or two... or three!! It was a lot of fun, too, and I'm glad that I have this list.

It's not like I've seen every episode of any of these shows -- I may have only seen one -- but they all evoke a feeling, a memory, and, usually, a smile. I remember watching (fighting over) TV with my sisters and brother, and sometimes with my dad, but rarely with my mom... at least not when I was a kid. I am pretty sure she was busy.  ;)

Also, there was that whole summer between 6th and 7th grade when we didn't even have a TV (and still)! Seems like it was the first day of summer vacation when smoke started coming out of the back and Mom & Dad didn't replace it. It was probably one of the best summers of my childhood!

  1. ABC's Wide World of Sports
  2. Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet
  3. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
  4. All In The Family
  5. American Bandstand
  6. Baretta
  7. Barney Miller
  8. Batman
  9. Ben Casey
  10. Bewitched
  11. Bonanza
  12. Charlie's Angels
  13. Dark Shadows
  14. Dragnet
  15. Family Affair
  16. Flipper
  17. Gilligan's Island
  18. Good Times
  19. Green Acres
  20. Gunsmoke
  21. Happy Days
  22. Hawaii Five-O
  23. Here Come The Brides
  24. Hogan's Heroes
  25. Hollywood Squares
  26. I Dream of Jeannie
  27. I Love Lucy
  28. Ironside
  29. Julia
  30. Lassie
  31. Laverne & Shirley
  32. Leave It To Beaver
  33. Let's Make A Deal
  34. Little House On The Praire
  35. M*A*S*H
  36. Mannix
  37. Marcus Welby, M.D.
  38. Mary Tyler Moore
  39. Maude
  40. McHale's Navy
  41. McMillan & Wife
  42. Medical Center
  43. Mister Ed
  44. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom
  45. My Favorite Martian
  46. My Three Sons
  47. One Day At A Time
  48. Password
  49. Perry Mason
  50. Petticoat Junction
  51. Police Woman
  52. Rhoda
  53. Rock Concert
  54. Room 222
  55. Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
  56. Saturday Night Live
  57. Soul Train
  58. Star Trek
  59. The $10,000 Pyramid
  60. The Addams Family
  61. The Andy Griffith Show
  62. The Andy Williams Show
  63. The Beatles
  64. The Beverly Hillbillies
  65. The Big Valley
  66. The Bob Newhart Show
  67. The Brady Bunch
  68. The Carol Burnett Show
  69. The Courtship of Eddie's Father
  70. The Dick Cavett Show
  71. The Dick Van Dyke Show
  72. The Ed Sullivan Show
  73. The Flintstones
  74. The Honeymooners
  75. The Jeffersons
  76. The Jetsons
  77. The Midnight Special
  78. The Mike Douglas Show
  79. The Mod Squad
  80. The Monkees
  81. The Munsters
  82. The Phil Donahue Show
  83. The Red Skelton Hour
  84. The Rockford Files
  85. The Six Million Dollar Man
  86. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
  87. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour
  88. The Tonight Show
  89. The Twilight Zone
  90. The Waltons
  91. This Is Your Life
  92. Welcome Back, Kotter
  93. Wonder Woman

*We may have had TV trays, and I may have a VAGUE memory of eating while watching TV; if it actually even happened once, it was definitely an isolated incident! I always thought they were cool, though.

**Childhood = Until graduation from high school.



This is 105 knitted hexagons:

I meant to have a little give-away at 100.

I also took a different photo at 105 and meant to post right away, but since then...




And I wasn't even trying very hard. After fooling around with a couple of other projects for a few days, and even knitting a four-color corrugated rib mitten cuff, I settled on hexis for knitting during the Olympics. They're fairly mindless, and easily put down when there's a compelling performance to watch or an exciting event final demanding my attention.

The black yarn is leftover from the border of my Parcheesi. I still remember buying it at Spin in Sturgeon Bay, and how perfectly it finished that blanket. I love scrappy projects for the memories!

Anyway, I still want to have a give-away, but let's do it this way...

How many hexagons do you think there'll be by the end of the month?

It may or may not help to know that I started in early January; the photo above was taken and posted on May 23rd when there are 72 finished hexagons. As of right now (Saturday, August 11, 5:30 PM CST), there are 107 finished hexagons.

There'll be at least 108 by the end of the day, likely 109 or even 110. They are all that I'm knitting at the moment. As we all know, that can change at any time (hey, look, there's a new issue of Twist Collective!). But for now, hexis are it and we are exclusive.

  • Leave a comment on this post for your best guess as to how many finished hexagons there will be at the end of the day on Friday, August 31st (CST), at which time the contest will close.
  • The winner will have the closest guess; in the event of a tie, we'll leave it to to decide.
  • There will be a second winner randomly drawn from all entries.
  • A lovely prize package will likely include some Make.Do hand-dyed yarn!

Time to catch up... and knit some hexagons! Good luck!!


Green: Day 2

While August weather can be brutal -- Dog Days of Summer and Hot August Nights -- the oppressive heat and humidity have taken a break for now. Saturday morning dawned delightful in terms of market day and I was thinking that perhaps I could finally set the kettle on the stove and do some dyeing! Alas, it was considerably warmer by the time the market was over.

Sunday, however, was one of the most perfect days of the year! It's been a while since any dyeing's been done, and I had green on my mind.

Playing around and easing in, I dyed four different hanks of yarn that I currently have, each slightly different in color. Above, on the left, is the springy-sproingiest sport-weight superwash merino that I call REALIZE.

It's the yarn I used for all three Aviatrix hats, and I just love it!

On the right is a baby alpaca, silk and cashmere blend that I call INVOKE -- sooooo soft and drapey.

I took these photos after we returned on Monday, right after I harvested my first-ever home-grown summer squash! I can't believe I've never grown squash before, especially considering how much we like it; I planted two summer squash plus a zucchini, though I think only the one plant will actually produce anything. As already (exhaustively) established, it's been a brutal summer, but also... would deer eat squash blossoms or any other part of the plant? We spotted and exclaimed over a doe in the back yard the other day, and I later realized that she was just inches away from one of the more skimpy of these plants.

Not to be outdone, and also claiming a spot in the yarny limelight, yesterday I harvested my first non-cherry tomatoes of the season! The cherry tomato plant has been producing for a while, but the harvest never even makes it into the house -- I pluck one or two ripe tomatoes every few days and pop 'em right into my mouth!

These please me to no end, and were delicious on our Taco Tuesday table last night. I lost the marker for the yellow variety; the other two are Black Prince heirloom and I love them so much! There should be more soon, with the Black Prince being more prolific than the other.

The yarn on the left (pictured here with recent stash enhancement) is DREAM, a fingering-weight merino, cashmere and nylon blend that both Rachel and Margene have used for Color Affection.

The other yarn (also under consideration with stash) is BE, a sturdy but very soft fingering-weight merino/nylon sock yarn. I used it for my Color Affection; Rachel used it for another; and my friend Kate used it for THREE (photos coming soon)!

Yummy in my tummy!

* * * * *

I must take a moment to say Happy Birthday to Addy! It's hard to believe it's been five years since I first smooched those cheeks. I hope he has a terrific day today, eats a BIG piece of cake, and takes his scooter for a ride. XOX

Communication with the Brazilian contingent is still quite spotty, as getting them set up with internet (and furniture -- still!) doesn't seem to be a big priority to whoever is supposed to be doing the work. I'm sure the beach is more inviting... no doubt.  ;)


Green: Day 1


Most of our summer has been ungodly hot and dry, and that's resulted in some very brown grass. In recent weeks, though, we've enjoyed some refreshing rain and that has made a "fresh" and "lush" green landscape we're not generally accustomed to seeing in August.

My day-off-of-the-week was yesterday, instead of the usual tomorrow, and we'd planned a trip to the lakeshore to visit a couple of Door County Land Trust preserve locations for an invitational art project that Rusty's a part of; bonus for us is that the weather was simply gorgeous!

On the way, we came across this beauty that I'd never seen before:

It's spooky, even in broad daylight! I've discovered that The Maribel Caves Hotel is also known in these parts as "Hotel Hell," so obviously I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Along the way, we also stopped in Denmark at The Mill Art Center, located in a former flour mill and grain elevator, where owner Molly Johnson gave us a tour! The place is still undergoing renovation, and will be for some time, but this sort of thing is right up my alley and I was *squee* at every turn... so much history and so many stories... I was so enthralled and engaged that I suffered camnesia!

We stopped in Algoma for lunch, and eventually made it to the lake!

Web-IMG_3103 Web-IMG_3103

To be continued...


FRANKIE!! A fixture at the coffee shop for almost as long as this has been a coffee shop... 13 years and counting. This is his favorite place to be... the place, he reminds me every morning, where he always has fun ("You know that!")... doing the things he most loves to do: sitting outside, drinking coffee, waving to everyone driving by, sometimes complaining about the loud and/or fast trucks, but mostly just loving life every gosh darn day, and chatting up all who sit down to share his table during the morning.

I'm pretty sure the paint is still wet in this photo. The final wrap up is yet to come. I just had to share this as soon as possible. It makes me so happy.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Warm Hands

As I searched through the stash for something the other day one of the things (not THE thing) briefly acknowledged as it quickly passed in and out of my hands was a bag holding chosen yarn and a pattern for mittens.

I thought I bought it during one of my visiting days at Knitting Camp in the past few years, but I may also have purchased it in Door County, or even in Jefferson. Who knows? The receipt was in the bag, but was not dated.

They are Esme's Mittens by Sandy De Master (impossible to find online). The pattern specs the mostly mohair yarn which comes from Wisconsin's Goat Hill Farm (some of it is blended with wool, or with wool and alpaca).

Soft and fuzzy... oh, so fuzzy!

These mittens have been in the back of my mind ever since that day.

The warm months of summer are perfect for knitting small things, such as mittens, that you'll really appreciate come December. My friend Sandy knows this and that's why, once upon a time, she started the Warm Hands Knit-Along. The desire for warm hands has struck Sandy once again, and there are now Warm Hands group pages on both Facebook and Ravelry, if you are so inclined to join!

What's one more project on the needles? It's one more project on the needles! Well, sort of; I started last night while watching Tivo'd women's team gymnastics for the second time (with Ali), but colorwork always being a challenge for me, I'll be starting again this evening. I'll also change up the color order. Blue will be the background color, with the "waves" in lighter neutral (there's a twinge of green), red, and darker neutral (in that order, I think) -- the two neutrals are beautiful together, but they blend.

Anyway, I love the excitement about the mural and I can't wait to show you when it's finished. Rusty signed off on his part yesterday, but we're welcoming a week of on-and-off showers and thunderstorms and that limits other painters' progress. Don't worry, you will definitely be among the first to know!