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March 2014
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May 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Coming Home

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Good Things About Coming Home From Vacation


I do love to go places -- near or far, it's just nice to take a little break from routine. Funny, though, that it's usually the routine that I end up missing most!


1.  I love to see all the old familiar faces & places!

Triangulated cats in black & gray.

2.  I love sleeping in my own bed.


3.  I love having ALL of my clothes & shoes available (choices!).


4.  I love being in my own bathroom.

Kitchen is a mess. #thishappens #cooking #thismaybethestartofsomethinggood

5.  I enjoy cooking in my own kitchen.

6.  I like having all of my stuff... as overwhelming as it can be sometimes, it's all mine.


7.  The four-strong feline welcoming committee -- they may seem indifferent about the leaving but there's no question how they feel about the returning.

8.  I've always loved going through the mail... even though it's about 99% junk these days.


9.  I love driving my own car (on familiar streets).

View from planet hollywood

10.  Hands down, the best thing about coming home from the next vacation is going to be this:


15 Weeks Old!

How am I going to bear it!?



We bought a house! Ha. My sister *bought* (accepted offer pending inspection blah blah blah) a house with the help of a committee.

That was so much fun!! Rusty, Ali, Junah, Annie and I drove up to meet the Realtor last Monday and spent several hours looking at houses. We each (except Junah) had a notebook and pen to jot down pros, cons, impressions, and thoughts about each house. (Don't worry, Junah had his say!) Agreeing beforehand not to get too hung up on or in discussion about any one thing while at any given house, we sat down afterwards to go over our notes and rate each property. Mostly, Annie wanted to know each of our Top 3 and the pros and cons about each one.

Let me just say that Vacationland Northeast Wisconsin has a very wide range of properties for sale, with an even greater range of prices. Ha. You have your in-town older home, in-town newer home, foreclosure, farmhouse, home with acreage, waterfront home, waterfront vacation home, cottage, and hunting/fishing shack.

I think we looked at every different type! Though it had some interesting features -- a chicken coop & silo among the outbuildings -- the farmhouse was out because it was the only place that Junah cried. It was also very remuddled and just not that great of a house. And Annie broke one of her own rules as we left one of the in-town homes, stating that it was a definite No.

After evaluation and discussion of all the rest, and considering some of the key parameters (move-in condition, timeframe), we all had the same Top 3, and mostly the same Top 1... or 2. After further discussion it was very clear which was the winner. Ann was back there for a couple of days later in the week; made an offer, it was countered, she countered again, and voila.

Remember two years ago when they sold everything to move to Brazil? Yeah, well, now they need it all back! Ha. She's hoping that their pared-down lifestyle over the past couple of years will carry over and that they won't accumulate quite so much. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I schlepped her to the airport on Saturday and after she checked her bag and had boarding passes in hand, we wondered how to kill the next hour or so! We loaded her carry-on back into my car and ran down to the mattress shop for the 45-minute sales pitch, testing out about a half-dozen mattresses, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were ordered before take-off.

Let's get out the paint and make something! Love this @alabamachanin stencil. #handsewing

I got out the paint and stenciled some fabric on Saturday afternoon. There was a bit of lightweight cotton jersey in the Alabama Chanin bag of scraps and I'm trying out a design where I can do some of the traditional applique & decorative stitching without it being an irritant to the skin. Oh, for another chemo cap. I finished the first and delivered it... and didn't take any pictures! So far, it seems that I'm better at photographing the process of sewing than I was the process of knitting, but much worse at documenting the finished sewing projects!

Decisions, decisions... black, gray, or maroon thread? #handsewing

Anyway, back to the new hat. First I had to decide on thread color!

Testing... prior to the cut (just underway). How do you like me now? #handsewing

And cut. Hm. #handsewing

That was not an easy task, nor was any of it very easy to photograph. The thread choices were gray (not as bright & contrasty as in these photos), black, and maroon. The fabric color is dark gray (first and last photos much more true to life), as is the paint. The paint has a touch of sparkle. I presented on both Instagram and Facebook and, as you might imagine, there were votes for every color, as well as votes for using all three!

I'm going for fashionable, understated, subtle, and stylish!

I have begun... slowly, because that is the only way... and I am using black thread. At this point, I think that if I use the other colors it will be sparingly. I also think that the plain stenciled fabric is really quite lovely and, well... argh! Why do I have to go to work? I want to paint and cut and sew! I don't have enough time! Send in the minions!!


April 25th


Happy Birthday, Maddy!

* * * * *

We conclude "Birthday Week" (9 days every April) at our house, with a little #tbt.


Random cuteness.


 One of my all-time faves.


Possibly the best birthday party I ever threw, a two-fer for Katie & Ali with a cooking theme (can you tell?). I'm thinking they were 8 and 10 (Maddy would have been only 4). I cut up old tablecloths to make the aprons; they each accordion-folded their own chef hat upon arrival; they made pita pizzas, fruit kebabs, and ice cream cone cakes; we played food-themed games, and I had a blast putting together their food-themed goodie (mesh market) bags. Somewhere there's a photo similar to this but after the food prep, their aprons all smeared with tomato sauce from the pizza making... they look like a band of butchers! Heh. Anyway, it was a fun and very memorable party.


Rusty and I joined Maddy and Ali last Saturday night as they began their birthday celebration together with some friends. Here's our selfie after a Skype chat & birthday toast with Katie in Edinburgh kicked off our evening... and ended hers (it was very late in EDI)!


I am...

I am... so happy that I had a day off yesterday that was about as day off-ish as it gets these days. I took care of some things that I had to do early, enjoyed a few hours with Junah* in the morning, had the afternoon to myself, made dinner, and enjoyed a relaxing evening.

*Junah! That boy!! He played his first intercontinental game of peek-a-boo with Aunt Kate during our baby-Skype chat yesterday morning and it was so fun to see his reaction! He is starting to anticipate things... like Katie popping back on screen!

I am... doing some sewing (what else is new?), mainly the summer chemo hat ideas. I'm working with fabric from the awesome Alabama Chanin Scrap Bag that I added to my last order, as well as from my own {growing} stash of jersey. It's a tricky business, these chemo hats!  It's all about softness and making sure that nothing might irritate a bald head, so lightweight & minimal stitching/embellishing. Thank goodness for printed jersey!

Coming along! #handsewing

Most of my fabrics are medium-weight range, as are these. The print is from a favorite summer dress of mine that's been too small for ages, but I couldn't quite let go. And now I know why!

I really want to try to do a piece with applique or some sort of embellishment -- something truly "Alabama Chanin" to me, and that I know my mom would like -- and have a small selection of lightweight (more summery) fabrics to play around with.

I'd certainly rather be working on another top or my dress, but this is interesting enough... challenging. I recall some immersion hat knitting for Sharon, tweaking and trying to come up with something she really liked... you know, as much as anyone could "like" a chemo hat.

I am... counting the days.

Dream drive - North West Scotland from Mo Thomson on Vimeo.

Ahhh. We'll soon be winging our way over yonder... I hope I don't drive y'all nuts in the meantime.


Concert Tee Turned Corset

While in Point for the Taste of Wisco event last month, I scored a few t-shirts at the thrift store, among them a concert tee from the Hootie & The Blowfish Small Talk Johnson Tour 1996. It seemed like a great candidate for an Alabama Chanin Corset.


 So I cut it up and then sewed it back together!


The seams are on the inside, all felled; the bound armholes and neck are worked in a large cross stitch; and I left the bottom unhemmed (and untrimmed, so it's a little uneven) (and I like that).


It was a bit snug on me, but Maddy gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up the last time she was home. So I gave it a wash and then gave it to my girl!


I think she loves it!


I also think it might be a little bit big on her, and the neckline could be tightened up in the front, but otherwise... it's a huge WIN!! I loved working this top and I just can't wait to start another project. But before I start anything else, I want to fashion a nice, soft, Alabama Chanin style hat suitable (and comfortable) for someone undergoing chemo.

Also, notice Maddy's newest tattoo? The pansies are a nod to me!  :)


In other news...


A lot's been going on behind the curtain! I recently helped my sister buy a new dress and get gussied up for a week of job interviews, even schlepping her around on one of the last days -- and thank goodness because she was pooped! She was offered positions from nearly every district she visited, and settled on a superintendent position not far away.

I'll be picking her up at the airport again on Sunday, as she needs to attend a few meetings later in the week. I also get to help shop for a new house!! I'm so excited about that. It's been AGES (27+ years) since I seriously looked at a house to buy, and even though it's not MY house... heck, BECAUSE it's not my house... it's going to be so fun!

They'll all be here for good in June. The boys can't wait to meet Junah -- photos and videos only go so far -- and, of course, I can't wait to have them back close. They'll remember their time in Brazil forever, and I'm sure it will have some sort of influence on their lives... been there, done that... opportunities and possibilities.


Opportunities and possibilities... I'll remember my time in Brazil forever, too!! Been there, done that! So lucky.

* * * * *

We'll be in Scotland in a month! I am beginning to think about packing -- camera, clothing, footwear, yadda yadda -- PROJECT(S)? That's the real question. I brought knitting last time and didn't knit a stitch! We did the dying workshop at Old Maiden Aunt, though, so there was definitely time devoted to fiber. This time, we'll be riding the train more and we'll be spending time in a much more remote (and relaxing?) area, so... well, everyone knows that one MUST BE PREPARED! I'm not in a panic yet, but I am beginning to think about it -- craft, difficulty, prep, logistics.


Ten on Tuesday: Peas & Carrots

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Foods That Belong Together

1.  Cream of Tomato Soup & Saltine Crackers

2.  Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwich

3.  Cream Cheese & Grape Jelly Sandwich

4.  Honey & Butter Sandwich

5.  Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich

6.  Peanut Butter & Raisins on Celery (Ants On A Log)

7.  Cheerios & Bananas

8.  Cottage Cheese & Peaches

9.  Bratwurst & Mustard

10.  Liver & Onions w/Bacon

Once I started on the soup & sandwich track, it was hard to get off... and most of these I haven't had in ages, if not years, and some not since childhood.

This post brought to you by free association.


Eye Candy Monday



In case you've forgotten, it's the Comfy Hooded Jacket by Lion Brand, which I've Ravel'd as the Chunky Hoodie.


12 Weeks. Can you believe it? His hair is definitely coming in on the red side; not anywhere near the red of his mum and Aunt Kate (there was never any debate), but it sure seems more reddish than brownish!


In case you missed the update, it did happen! My finished and modeled transformed tee! All of a sudden, I've become so crazily interested in sewing -- more for how and why it all works, and for fit -- that I'm learning about how to make a moulage and a sloper! Two things I'd never even heard before last week.


The 2-week Tee Transformation

From a man's 4X pocket tee to a woman's boatneck swing top.


I love how my first top turned out, and was a bit more careful with the traced chalk line this time around. I used two tried-and-true tops from my own wardrobe as a pattern template: the same boatneck that I used for the previous project as a guide for the top of this shirt and a favorite swingy A-line for the bottom. I had the fabric and it's a favorite shape, so why not?


I fell in love with some tone-on-tone polka-dot tops at Alabama Chanin and had those images in mind when I drew a chalk-line grid on the front of my shirt. I used the top of a spice jar to trace 2" circles and cut them out. My first inclination was to cover the front with dots... that's a lotta dots! I decided to space them out more, figuring that I could add easier than subtract.


I attached the dots with blanket stitch; seamed and felled on the outside; used a vertical stitch to apply the binding to neck, armholes, and hem.


There are "those moments" in sewing just as in knitting. More black thread wouldn't be hard to get, but I had only the one spool and no more at hand! It was SO CLOSE.


It's not easy to photograph a black-on-black top! The photos above and below are when sewing is finished and before I threw it in the washer. My chalk-line design guides faded but remained visible throughout the process.

I purchased the 4X t-shirts on Wednesday, March 18th and finished on Wednesday, April 2nd -- the sewing up was complete the day before, but Wednesday is when I pulled it out of the dryer and over my head, ready to wear!

I'd have finished a bit earlier if I hadn't forced myself to put it down after the applique was finished in order to finish knitting a hat. I couldn't pick it up again until the hat was done!


And after washing. It softened up beautifully.



I absolutely LOVE IT!



From that to this.

This is not the last of that!

Edited to add:


 Finito and a modeled shot! New haircut, too!!