Previous month:
March 2015
Next month:
May 2015

Cooking in parchment

Today is Day 4 of a new Whole30. I have more to say about that, but not today.

I'm not really very organized about it, at the moment, but I have a cohort who is also motivated and that's helping to keep with the program.

The internet is also very helpful. Like yesterday, away from home, when it was decided that salmon would be good for supper... with dill. So I googled "Whole30 salmon dill" and came up with Dill & Lemon Baked Salmon in Parchment from


Chop & slice some zucchini, season, drizzle with olive oil, add lemon and salmon, season a little more, seal it up in parchment paper, and bake.

COULD.NOT.BE.EASIER. And clean up is a breeze.


Every time I cook in parchment, I wonder why I don't do it more often. 

Seeing the similar Paleo Shrimp Baked in Parchment Paper recipe guarantees that I'll do it again soon!

Weekending: Embellished



Karen and Ann came to town and we gathered on Saturday to spend a full afternoon doing yard & garden clean up for Joe. It was a great day with perfect weather for such work. We filled 16 yard refuse bags! And I hauled a few more bags worth to the bottom of the ravine.

I cleaned up a lot of willow branches from the deck and wildflower garden. The wind chime that Mother's friends gave to Joe was making all kinds of noise as I made the first pass on the deck and I could hear Mom, "You're Not Doing It Right." "I'm doing it MY way, Mom!" (We had a little back-and-forth.)

As I was working in the wildflower garden (dutchmen's breeches are all but done, dogtooth violets are appearing, Virginia bluebells are full of buds), I remembered when Mom & Joe came to Oregon in May of '85 to meet Katie for the first time. Mom had just begun that project and it was the first year she could enjoy the "flowers" of her labor -- she was missing some of the show because Spring (most wildflowers put on a very short show). She remarked that the garden would bloom only 18 more times before Katie graduated from high school, and didn't that seem like... not very many?? And now it's already been 30!

The kids had a blast. We had a cookout, ate a ton of good food. I even rode my bike. And got a little knitting done to round out the day. (Clue 3 of Romi's Mystery Shawl is complete!)


On Sunday, I had a hole to fix! It wasn't very big, but it was rather obvious... right at the hem of a tunic, about 2" from the side seam. It's a garment that I love and wear a lot; it could not be out of commission for long!!

From the start, I knew I would employ visible mending a la Tom of Holland, and that my experience with Alabama Chanin hand-sewing techniques would serve me well.


It was a round-ish hole, so I decided to repair it in a circular fashion. I pinned my circle to the back and blanket-stitched around the hole from the front.


Continuing with the same length of thread, I worked running stitch in circles around the button-holed repair.


Showing the back of my work! I was quite pleased with the repair, my plan, and how it looked.

But I could not stop.


I had to EMBELLISH that little patch!

"Why not?!" I chuckled to myself as I pulled out my little bins of sequins and chop beads, channeling a bit of both Natalie Chanin and Marie Kondo... loving my thread, honoring the people who made my clothes, taking good care of my things, thanking my tunic for doing its job so well and making me feel great, sewing...


Inspired... and thankful for all I've learned from people such as Natalie and Marie.

I love that little patch!!

April Birthday #3



We waited at home until Mom & Joe could get there to take Kate & Ali -- they were just returning from a trip. I remember Mom being surprised at how calm I was, waiting for her, waiting through each contraction... I wasn't too worried. We probably arrived at the hospital around 7:00 p.m.

My labor with Maddy was pretty quick -- and I knew better some of the things I could do to help it along -- so when the doc arrived at the hospital at about 8:30 p.m. and saw me still walking the halls, he mumbled something about having been called too soon, and that I wasn't even close if I was still walking around.

I'd had a different doc for each delivery, and even though this had been our family doctor for four years, he didn't know much about my birthing.

Shortly before 10:00, my nurse (the same labor nurse I had for Ali -- she was also an elementary school classmate) allowed me to get up and go to the bathroom. Well, that did it!  I managed to make it back into the bed, and Maddy was delivered a few minutes later by the nurse who was telling me not to push (at that point, I had no choice!) while DH was hollering down the hallway for the doctor who was visiting at the nurses' station. Doc didn't make it back into the room in time, but did knock a few hundred off his bill. The nurse handed me the little baby bundle and said, "Here, hold her; I've got things to do!"

Happy 15th 24th Birthday, Maddy!  (My baby...)

excerpted and edited from original post on 4/25/2006


Happy Birthday, Maddy Mo!


I love you!! XO


I did! I've made some of them, anyway, and I definitely have plans to make more!!


It's Fashion Revolution Day. Two years ago today, over 1100 people were killed when a factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh -- many of those people were working at making clothing in less than ideal conditions.


I've recently written a little bit about fashion and how I am paying more attention to fashion and my own style. One of the best things I learned from Mom is that Quality matters. She made (or had made) many matching outfit sets for the twins and I, guaranteeing plenty of hand-me-downs for Annie (though Ann wasn't even on the radar then).



Even as a single mother of five in the early '70s, driving a 1962 Plymouth, going to school to get her nursing degree, and buying groceries with food stamps, she still managed to buy good quality clothing for herself and for us -- perhaps not as often nor as much as she once had (and possibly not so much for my brother when he was growing a size every 3 months) -- but I knew from an early age that quality = longevity.

Something passed by my eyes the other day suggesting that instead of spending $X on an inexpensive and cheaply made garment, save three times that amount and buy what is almost certainly going to be a better garment -- better materials, workmanship, and maybe better overall process.

Those items were usually worth mending, too. I was never a big fan of mending, viewing it as a tedious chore, but Mom loved did it all the time -- holes in socks, reattaching buttons, sewing up rips & tears, applying patches -- she even mended underwear! My tune changed when I damaged the Alabama Chanin-style Circle Shirt that I made a year ago; it caught on a chair and there was a small hole in the right hip area... which I mended with a little visible mending, albeit a rather subtle and completely apropos circle patch:


I will soon be mending a favorite tunic that I love and wear all the time; it caught on a table at Knit Night last week leaving a nasty tear at the hem in front. I'm not quite sure how I'll do it, but it promises to be much more visible by virtue of location! I love that tunic so much that I've plans to use it as a pattern to make more this summer.

I've plans for lots of sewing this summer -- some of it by hand, some by machine -- and I was getting a little stressed about how and where I was going to layout, cut, and pin all these projects. Then I saw the most amazing ping-pong-table-turned-worktable in someone's basement while helping my house-hunting friend Ann. I couldn't get it off my mind! Even though we have an unused ping pong table, it's WAY too big for my space and needs, but I found building plans for a worktable and made some notes about desired dimensions, and asked Rusty how feasible it would be.


Turns out, it was very feasible! Almost all of the lumber was repurposed from Maddy's old dorm loft that's been in the garage rafters for a couple of years. He bought only one piece of wood, plus the laminate top (which didn't need to be laminate, but it was the same price so why not?).

I considered various materials for padding, including carpet padding, but ended up with some 2-foot-square interlocking foam flooring -- two packages covered my 4x6-foot table, with two squares left over for the floor! I covered that with 3 layers of cotton quilt batting, and then we stretched and stapled a piece of cotton duck over all.


I can iron on it, pin into it, and lay stuff out all over it -- it'll be fantastic for blocking knits! I've already cut and sewn up a pair of Made by Rae Big Butt Baby Pants for Junebug. I haven't inserted the elastic yet, as Ali's going to try them on him first. I made the largest size, but that kid is pretty large... I may be making adjustments to accommodate a big belly!

Have a fantastic weekend!

It Was 30 Years Ago Today

April Birthday #2



It's Kate's 20th 30th birthday today!  Twenty Thirty years ago today, I woke up at a little after 4:00 a.m.  and started writing numbers down on a piece of paper (which I still have):  4:19, 4:25, 4:29, 4:35 -- 5:17, 5:23, 5:30 -- 6:53, 6:57, 7:03, 7:10 -- some of these were written in Rusty's hand, some of them have numbers following them, signifying duration, I think, and a couple of have the words "very mild" written after them. There's one line that reads, "Shower 3 or 4." The record of my contractions! They pretty much started off at 5 +/- minutes apart and stayed that way all day.

After I sent Rusty to work, I called my doc (the only person I know from Saskatchewan) to see if I should wait and keep my regularly scheduled appointment that day or just come in whenever. (Answer: Come in whenever!) I kept track until 11:24 when I left the motel. I drove myself -- in a manual transmission Subaru, hitting the clutch between contractions -- the 15 miles to Rusty's workplace so he could take me to the hospital.

At 10:00 p.m. PST, I finally gave birth to a 6 lb. 10 oz., 20" redhead. And I began my lifelong journey as a mother -- it's the best trip ever. Happy Birthday, Katherine!

excerpted and edited from original post on 4/22/2005



Yes, were were living in a motel! We'd just sold the little house that Rusty built at Cape Kiwanda and bought a larger one at Cape Meares. Though we weren't able to move into the house at Cape Meares yet, we were able to move most of our stuff there, and spent about a month in a little kitchenette unit at the The Terrimore in Netarts, OR. Katie wasn't due until after our move-in date, but I filled the basinette with some onesies, blankets and diapers, and stashed it in the closet of our motel bedroom.


Pretty good thinkin', eh? Kate came a little early and spent the first week of her life at The Terrimore! One of the best things about that was that the motel's laundromat was right across the way, and it was a lifesaver!


Rusty was in the area last fall and it doesn't look much different!


Happy Birthday, Katie!!

We all met last night at T-Dub's Public House in Waupaca for some celebrating. The waitress asked me if were were celebrating a birthday, and she couldn't believe it when I told her we were celebrating THREE! There was a big ice cream sundae to share.  ;)


Getting Our Kicks

Fair warning: This post is probably going to be nothing but Junebug news.


Baby All Stars! Junah's wearing SHOES!! The most adorable things ever.


He's not only walking in them, he's practically RUNNING! Also, CLIMBING STAIRS!!


He was over for a while on Wednesday, and discovered the playhouse for the first time!

Playhouse 1989

Same house, different location - Winter 1989 (Ali, left, just a few months older than Junah is now)


I'd begun sewing up his sweater that morning and took the opportunity to try it on. It is, indeed, very very big, but also so freakin' adorable!!


I did some little intarsia colorblocks on the bottom back, thinking that I wasn't going to do the stripey square at the neck... but by the time I got there, I just had to! My intarsia work is not going to win any prizes!


I watched him for a while last night -- after I'd finished the sewing up at Knit Night -- so tried it on again! All that's left is the button band and to find some cute buttons. I am loving that little cardi, and cannot sing high enough praise for Julia's Striping Vesper Sock Yarn. I have plenty of the 2nd hank left, too, so watch for a hat and maybe mittens for next winter!


Bloodroot! There doesn't seem to be quite as much, but it may also be early.

Have a fabulous weekend!!

April Birthday #1



So, 17 28 years ago today I felt twinges when I woke up, but decided to go to my preggo exercise class, anyway. That certainly got things going a bit more, but I didn't stop there! I went to work to pick up the resume that I'd been working on for my brother AND delivered it to him at his job.

Things were really going then! I called my husband (to take me to the hospital) and my mother (to watch Katie) and did my best to manage at home until they got there. I tried to remain calm -- Kate wasn't even two and I didn't want to alarm her. I recall laying on the floor while Katie played, bouncing a big ball all around me.

The troops arrived around 1:30. I continued popping Tums like candy in the labor room (as I had for heartburn throughout the entire pregnancy -- just the thought of green peppers made me gurgle), and Alison Louise arrived at 3:30. When they told me she was another redhead, I didn't believe it 'til I saw for myself! Wow!!!

And spring arrived that day! I literally watched the leaves pop out on all the trees from my hospital room. It was Easter Sunday when they let me go -- 70F and we had a picnic dinner outside! Seventeen Twenty-eight years... seems like yesterday.

excerpted and edited from original post on 4/16/2004




Happy Birthday, Ali Lou!!

The rest of the weekend


There was a beautiful sunny sky on Saturday afternoon. I spent some time under the pergola soaking up some unblocked sunshine!


The first 70F of the year on Sunday (beating the predicted high of 69)!


Bleeding hearts emerging... it's definitely spring! 


Some chores were accomplished, too. I purchased this chair 25 +/- years ago when I learned how to cane. It had a few flaws, but I fell in love with the pressed design and it has served us very well. The other day the legs started to splay, and one of the hip rests was loose... nothing that some glue, clamping, and a screwdriver can't fix!

Inspired by an amazing work table spotted in one of the homes I recently saw with my friend Ann, I also found/marked up and shared with Rusty some plans for a cutting/ironing work table. The original was made from a ping pong table -- which we happen to have -- and tempting, but too big for my needs and especially for the space. There happens to be an old dorm bunk in the garage rafters, though, and it is now destined to be repurposed. I'm so excited to get my work room squared away.


And family! Maddy drove over for Kate's opening; Annie came down, and Joe was there. This was after Saturday lunch with Annie, Ali, and Junah... a very busy boy!!

I don't know how the weekend could have been better!

Young Space: Open For Business


And what a fabulous opening it was!! I ran around and took some photos before the doors officially opened -- I'm so glad I did because the place was mobbed all night!


Kate wrote a round-up at Young Space: re:generation - hit the ground running

The building (or portions thereof) is/was at one time a glass company, a bakery, political party headquarters, and a beauty supply shop. This section has been empty for quite a while... and it's amazing what a coat of paint (and clean windows) can do! Katie replaced quite a few lightbulbs, and she and Rusty built some display panels and pedestals.


And artist Frank Juarez shared his thoughts on his blog, All About Frank: Young Space re:generation Exhibition in Appleton, Wisconsin (he shared a lot of great photos, I think I spotted the back of my head in one of them)

2015-04-11 15.25.38

Ali and Adam brought KC&T's new portable espresso machine for a try-out, providing coffee and espresso drinks, along with non-alcoholic sparkling drinks and punch, and helping to pour the wine. They were busy!! (That machine is a game-changer for the upcoming farmer market season!)


The music was fantastic! Searchlights had never performed before an audience before, and that fit wonderfully with the "emerging artists" theme of the exhibition.

Best part of the night #1: A number of people told me that they weren't sure of the exact address, so just headed down to "the avenue" to try and find it... and it didn't take long because there was a very evident flow of traffic to Young Space!

Best part of the night #2: I noticed two wide-eyed women taking it all in and approached them, wondering if they'd "organically" wandered in... and they had! Art educators from the UW 2-year colleges, in town for a semi-annual meeting!!

Check out info about the artists here.

Gallery hours through Sunday, April 26:
Monday + Tuesday: closed
Wednesday + Thursday: 4-9
Friday, Saturday + Sunday: 12-4

Happiness is...

A weekend like the one we just had! It was fantastic, start to finish. I'm still processing!


Rusty and I walked down to our favorite local tavern for a burger last night, and saw much sidewalk chalk art and hopscotch boards along the way!!

(Grrl needs a pedi!)

National Sibling Day

The Howling - 1982

Per posts on Facebook today, I can see that it is National Sibling Day!

This was Christmas 1982 at Grandma & Grandpa's. Not only does the photo crack me up every single time I see it, but Mom's caption, "The Howling," is icing on the cake. Photo time has always been angsty in our family, but it was usually Sharon feeling it the most!!

Oversized vs. Too Big


I soaked the pieces for Junebug's sweater yesterday morning! And, darn it, distraction led them to being soaked a bit too long and possibly in water that was a bit too warm, so a little bleeding occurred -- not bad, but there; hopefully less noticeable when dry.

Anyway, HOLY COW! I pinned out the pieces and it's HUGE! I wanted to knit this sweater a bit oversized but this might fit him through 3rd grade. I swatched/measured early on and was pretty right on; and it didn't seem too big while I was knitting... at least until I got to the back.

The front is in two pieces, and I saw no red flags. The sleeves are very roomy, but he's got big baby muscles; still, I may end up recalculating and re-knitting the upper. The back... I kept holding it up and measuring and somehow convinced myself that it wasn't as big as it looked? I don't know. He's always fluctuating size-wise in my mind's eye; sometimes he's huge and sometimes still so very wee. Anyway, this sweater will fit at some point. The worst thing right now is that I might have to knit some more!

Guess what? I like to knit!

I am completely flipping out over those awesome "Electric Revolution" Vesper Sock Yarn stripes, though. They make me so happy!

Cleaning Windows

As promised/scheduled, I returned to the site of Kate's inaugural Young Space pop-up show today to finish cleaning windows. I'd done all of the entry/vestibule windows on the weekend, saving the more important front for last, inside and out.


Cleaning windows generally isn't my thing, but let me tell you what a difference the right tools can make!! Have you ever seen a pro work? I spent an inordinate amount of time considering and selecting window-cleaning equipment on Saturday, settling on an Unger Pro 14-Inch Window Scrubber, a 16" Squeegee, a big bucket, and some paper towels. I used an old cleaning recipe: 1/2 c. rubbing alcohol, 1/8 c. ammonia, 1/4 t. dish soap, and enough water to make 1 quart.


I certainly was sloppy and I got a little wet, but it went pretty quick and was relatively painless. At one point I tried to use an extension pole that the girls were using to paint, but didn't realize that Unger has a dedicated system... and I managed just fine without!


Sparkle, shine, and reflect!! It's all coming together.


And artwork continues to arrive... this one delivered today from Greece!

This is how you start a great week


Yesterday, I came home to find my birthday present from Rusty... exactly 5 months to-the-day later!! Pre-ordered back in late October, I have been patiently awaiting -- and recently stalking via USPS Tracking -- the arrival of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns!!

Natalie Chanin will be giving a lecture + book signing later this month at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and I've been trying to figure out a way to go! At 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night, it pretty much means an extra day off of work and an overnighter. So tempted...

Also in yesterday's mail was my first-ever order from Three Irish Girls -- I fell hard last month for A Hundred Thousand Welcomes. No plan yet.


I was at the coffee shop this morning, as I am every morning, when my phone rang. The upshot of that call is that I had an extra hour before needing to be at work, so I took a seat at the back and had a nice hour of knitting and listening to the hubbub. The mostly all-male kaffeklatsch/welcoming committee that occupies the front everyday had a lot to say to each other about basketball this morning! And, indeed, it's a bittersweet morning. The Wisconsin Badgers didn't win the NCAA title this year, but they had an amazing run and even I (not a basketball fan) have been riveted by them during March Madness.


The weekend was full of many of the things I love, starting with a little road trip on Saturday morning to deliver some Make.Do/KC&T flyers to Bleating Heart Haven. There's a Fiber Frolic/Yarn Hop coming up and we weren't on the list! That'll be corrected next year, and in the meantime Cindy generously offered to help spread the word about us. It was a beautiful morning for a drive!

I picked up lunch on my way to Appleton to feed the crew at Young Space. My girls are just like me in the way that when we're all wrapped up in a project, we often forget to eat. Or just don't. It's hard to stop! The entire place got a fresh coat of paint over the weekend, and I cleaned windows. There are more windows to do, and I'm slated for Wednesday.


 On Saturday night, we ran down to Oshkosh to visit a couple of spots on the Gallery Walk.


"Interwoven & Twisted" is a wonderful collaborative work by Renee Koch and our friend Pat Filzen at the Art Space Collective. Renee's knit wire pieces reminded me of Ruth Asawa and the beautiful pieces I saw five years ago in San Francisco.


I spent some time with this guy on Sunday while his mom & dad took advantage of the shop being closed to get some work done. Kate was working at her space. Rusty was drawing. Maddy stayed home... but we had a nice little chat (and she'll be home later this week for Kate's opening).


We had a blast!


After Junah left yesterday, I made my first roasted lamb... and it won't be the last. I've made chops, and that's actually what I wanted, but I relied on chance and there were none. I threw some asparagus in the oven, made some salads, popped the cork on some pinot noir, and everyone came back for some dinner!

Friday: Five Fotos


It was so nice to take a walk around the house the other day -- a gorgeous day -- looking for signs of life! It was even nicer to find some.


This was my intarsia tangle at last night's knit night! That is not something I do often, nor am I very good at it... though I think this is my best yet. I'm finished with that part now, so it's smooth sailing to the sleeve and neck shaping, then some 3-needle bind-off, a button band/collar, buttons, et voila!


Meanwhile, the decision has been made and yarn wound up, awaiting release of the first clue for Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015! We're all chomping at the bit!!

Historically, the first clue of a mystery project is quick to complete, so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to devote most of my knitting time to getting Junah's sweater finished.

* * * * *

Re generation

 It's an announcement, not a sixth photo!

I'll be spending some of the weekend helping Kate whip her first YOUNG SPACE pop-up art show into shape for NEXT WEEK'S OPENING!! It's exciting; she's inspiring. So many wonderful things.

Right Now: April is upon us

Watching... Law & Order UK

Reading... Case Histories by Kate Atkinson


Knitting... Making progress on Junah's Devan! Fronts and sleeves are done, the back was cast on last night. It won't be long!

Looking forward to... Starting Romi's Mystery.


Drinking... trying to drink more water!

Wearing... Cropped pants and sandals. It's April. It's time. (I need a pedi, though.)

Organizing... Nothing at the moment. I'm thinking that I need a few days off at home -- a long weekend would be nice.

Celebrating... Whoa. This month!! We begin with two cousins' birthdays today, all three of my girls' coming up, an aunt, an uncle, a nephew, and finishing with what would have been my Grampa's 105th.

Listening to... All sorts of things on Spotify. Boxer Rebellions' Winter Jams playlist, the new Decemberists album.


Itching to... GET OUTSIDE!

Looking forward... still... to GETTING OUTSIDE! And also (still) the new Alabama Chanin book. SOON!

Needing to... Make sure I have everything I need for an indigo dye vat -- specifically, a large enough vessel.

Delighted by... the first crocus of the season, spotted yesterday! They were yellow.


Thinking about... Wales. And Scotland and England, too, but it was four years ago today that we were in Wales. Lambs on the mound at Bryn Celli Ddu!

What's up with you right now?