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May 2018

Weekending: Book Club Getaway

I took off from work at noon on Friday, ran a few errands, and then drove up to Fish Creek in Wisconsin's Door County Peninsula to spend a weekend with nine other members of my Book Club.



Our book club has been meeting for about 20 years. I've known, been acquainted, worked and/or socialized with some members for much longer than that, but most I know only because of the 2-3 hours when we share a dinner every couple of months and (usually) discuss a book that we've (more or less) all read (maybe).

Anyway, we've read a few books over the years by Wisconsin authors and/or set in our state, and a couple that were specific to Door County... which happens to be just not too far away... and somewhere along the line, a book club get-away was dreamed up! We found a spacious condo with plenty of room (and bathrooms).


This was our "backyard." There was still a little snow on the deck, but it was nice enough to sit out and soak up some Vitamin D on Saturday afternoon.

We were able to walk to dinner & cocktails at Bayside Tavern on Friday evening, and to breakfast at The Cookery (newly opened for the season!) on Saturday morning.

Our main event was a Door County Trolley's Wine, Spirits & Brew Tour on Saturday. We shared the trolley with another group of 10 women on their 3rd annual girls' weekend (which all began with a bridal shower), a group of three, and two couples.


There was a lot of singing and laughing, and our driver/guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. It was a great way to spend the day with a group! We stopped at Door County Distillery, Starboard Brewing Company, and Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery, with a delicious lunch stop at Crate.


They have a board at Starboard on which you can write suggestions for future brews and/or naming suggestions -- Lor Horny Hop and Hop Bop Bonino are from our group.  :)

We stayed in on Saturday night, ordering take-away pizza from Wild Tomato and staying up late (again) playing games and laughing. I did less playing games and more knitting*... but still a LOT of laughing!

I'd been a little hesitant as the time approached (Inner Introvert: What did I get myself into???), but told myself it was only for a weekend (suck it up). I gave it a positive spin in my brain and decided that I would enjoy it... and I did. But I also had SO MUCH FUN! And RELAXING.

We packed up on Sunday morning and headed out of town for breakfast, ending up at The Log Den for their Sunday buffet... and what a wonderful stop that was! Family-built, -owned, and -operated, 76-year-old owner Wayne is still the head cook!


They also have a log home listed on VRBO and they invited us to go over to scout it out for next year!!

*Mixed results on the knitting... Friday's time was much better spent than Saturday's... more on that in a day or two, and probably an FO!

3TT: The stuff of life

1 -- I'm not sure how my baby is 27...


...but it's true! Maddy's birthday was yesterday -- and we were even able to have a quick video chat (I think it was still her birthday there, though it might have already been Thursday!). Her contract at the vintage has ended -- a bit early due to harvest, but that gives her a chance to get out and enjoy some of the natural beauty that drew her to NZ in the first place, especially since she basically started to work the day after she arrived. It's hard to believe we'll be picking her up at O'Hare two weeks from today!!

2 -- There'll be a few short weeks in May when all the girls are "here." There'll be a lot of running around, packing up, and schlepping of stuff from Points A & B to Point C and/or our house and/or a rummage sale at Ali's!

By the end of May, Maddy will be heading up north for her summer job at camp. Kate departs in early June for a month in the UK (I'm trying to keep the green monster down).  And SUMMER! Rusty will head to CA again. The local farmer market will begin again in June -- Ali will man the coffee camper there (likely with a wee barista!) and, though I'm not sure of particulars, I'm sure I'll help out in some way. After which, we'll have that rummage sale in July so everybody can get rid of some extra stuff.

3 -- It's one of those years and I'm rolling with it all because... by August, Kate will be moving to Denver. Or Menver as we've been told and can't stop laughing about (also Mentana). But Denver!! As luck would have it, there's a non-stop United flight from Appleton to Denver resuming in June! There's also the option of a sometimes more economical Southwest flight out of Milwaukee, or even a leisurely Amtrak ride from Milwaukee or Chicago, or ROAD TRIP.

She's not even there yet and I'm already scheming all the ways I can visit!

Also, Rocky Mountain Knitter Meet-up??

Joining Carole and friends this week for Three on Thursday...

Unraveled Wednesday

It's been a while!


I picked up my knitting needles last night for the first time in weeks and cast on a new project! I knew the minute I saw it that the Cockleshell Cardigan from the new MDK Field Guide would have to be made. From the looks of things, I'm going to have enough yarn to make one for each of my granddaughters!


The knitting & construction are pretty cool, knit in two pieces from the cuff to the center and then joined/seamed in the back with a 3-needle bind-off. I'm knitting the largest size, using Cascade 128 Superwash, and that was last night's progress (with a few breaks so I don't overdo it).

It's gonna be a quick one!


I love the sleeve/cuff detail.

My book club is going on a field trip this weekend to Door County and I thought this would be a good project to bring along!


I finished the Alabama Chanin Fingerless Gloves. And, this afternoon, I will be binding Malina's quilt! I'm so excited.


Oh my goodness, the reading. Since last we met, I finished listening to Mustard Seed... and Sing, Unburied, Sing... and Wait Til Next Year! I am currently listening to Unfu*k Yourself. For some reason, Audible wasn't working on my phone for a few days but I was finally able to press PLAY yesterday! Onward. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder is still on my nightstand, but so too is The Thoughtful Dresser. Reading time has been SO limited.

Thanks, I needed that!

It was so great to have a relaxed, drama-free weekend! There was plenty going on, but it was all fun & no stress. I even took a nap on Saturday.

First, we celebrated Kate's 33rd birthday!


From the top:
Kate - April 22, 2018
Kate & Rusty - April 23, 1985
Panpake & Mimosa Birthday Brunch Helpers
"Holy crap! Open the flue!!" 33 (Kate) + 31 (Ali) = 64 Candles!!

Most of the time on Kate's birthday, which is also EARTH DAY, there's some time spent in the woods picking up trash and whatnot, but not this year... not with all that snow.


I shoveled a bit so I could hang out some laundry, anyway. Crazy weather.


Jün & I took a little bike ride/walk around the neighborhood. He discovered a dip in the sidewalk a few houses down -- probably 8-12" deep (deeper than it might look in this photo) -- in one of the patches from last year's water/sewer work. I made a call to the city's engineering department this morning! We had to climb over some snowbanks at unshoveled intersections, but we also noticed plenty of water running in the gutters.


There was plenty of other kiddo cuteness -- screen-grabs from Ali. Malina was 4 weeks old yesterday, and Gin is quickly closing in on 2... she sure loves her little sister!

Oh, and our little dinner with friends on Saturday evening was a success, and I'm even thinking about doing it again! I made a last-minute change to the entrée, at Rusty's suggestion, making Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs, and they were perfect (my only change is that I use only one piece of bacon). I made the fabulous Oma's Green Mountain Salad again (without the ramps/garlic and with slightly less mayo). Ina Garten's Decadent (Gluten-Free!) Chocolate Cake was for dessert and... it was okay. I thought I'd try something new, but if I go that route again, it'll definitely be La Bete Noir!

The weather is FABULOUS! It's sweater weather!! Yahoo!


This has been a week. That freaky snow/blizzard weekend combined with the intensity of taxes really threw me for a loop. We were supposed to get a few more inches of snow earlier this week but thankfully it missed us; we've had a few days of blue sky & sunshine & warming temps and the snow is melting. There are still some very high piles, but diminishing by the minute. My steering wheel felt hot to the touch yesterday! So great.


I still haven't picked up my knitting needles, and have decided to continue resting/exercising and concentrate on finishing two sewing projects first.

I bought a couple of bias tape makers and the binding for Malina's quilt is underway -- and probably enough for another quilt, besides! I got kind of carried away cutting those bias strips...


I'm also finishing up a pair of Alabama Chanin Fingerless Gloves. The stitching & cutting were finished at Knit Night yesterday, and all that's left is seaming the second glove. I still may add a tiny bit of embellishment, but that can be done anytime.

We're having friends over tomorrow evening, which is outside of our usual M.O. but something I've thought about for years. I always thought that "entertaining at home" or "having a small dinner party" once a month would be a good New Year's Resolution... y'know, if I did that sort of thing.

On Sunday, we're having a "Panpake Birthday Brunch" for Kate & Al, and maybe we'll be able to video chat with Maddy, too.

That's how Junah says "pancakes." He also still says "nilk" instead of "milk." That affects the family lexicon, as you might imagine. I can't wait to hear what Gin comes up with... she is starting to TALK and, man, she has THINGS TO SAY!

Can you believe Malina will be 4 weeks old on Sunday???

Have a great weekend!!

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I just don't know what to say! I had an unexpected and somewhat surreal 4-day weekend.

Winter arrived.

In April.

It was a blizzard, actually, called Evelyn, and she howled from Friday night 'til Sunday night, laying down 20-24" of snow/ice/sleet in my area.

I had two solid Pajama Days in a row -- unprecedented!

We got a few things done. Taxes, for one. Some quilting, some sewing... and I think I'm almost ready (arm feeling well enough) to try some knitting! Rusty even Kon-Mari'd his closet -- which is actually an antique knock-down walnut wardrobe -- and who knew you could fit so much unneeded stuff in there???

He's also continued working on the above-the-fridge cabinet -- he painted the interior last week and installed the doors on Saturday morning.


Door catches and a rack for vertical storage are all that remain!

The kids all managed to make their way over on Saturday evening for dinner. I think... did we have dinner together (this is where it started to get a bit surreal). Ali had come by earlier in the day to drop something off and (bonus!) Jun was with her, and I'd kept him for a while!


The baby's sleeping! So exciting!!


Crafting with Gin! Dancing to her own drummer, and definitely working outside the box -- and behind her back!

But travel for even a short distance was nearly impossible on Sunday. Not to mention just getting out of your house. Though my husband did venture out onto the roof to shovel off some snow!


The view out Kate's door.

I had a snow day yesterday, as did most -- at least for part of the day as we all dug out. Venturing out later to go to the grocery store, etc., with a stop at the coffee shop & Rusty's gallery.


Something new!


Then went over and watched the kids for a while so Ali & Rod could run a couple of errands.

So now I'm rearranging the rest of this week, and dreaming of warmer weather...

4-17-87 it was on this day, 31 years ago, when Ali was brand new! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALISON!! It was around 70°F and I watched leaves pop out on the trees from my hospital bed. As of now, our best hope is next Tuesday and 60°F... and I'll take it!

Head-to-Toe Red

I had a little outing with these two today:


Malina is wearing all the red handknits! From the top:

All have been worn by at least Junah & Ginny before her, and the booties by Addie, too!! Practically vintage...

Keep 'er movin'

On Friday, Rusty & I went to a fundraiser for local youth baseball... a good cause, certainly, but not one we've been involved with since Kate & Ali were on teams over 20 years ago.

The big draw for us was an appearance by Charlie Berens, creator of something called Manitowoc Minute, a YouTube series that Maddy hilariously introduced us to last summer. We like to laugh (often at ourselves), and we are fans! If you are from Wisconsin, or know someone from Wisconsin, or have ever been to Wisconsin...


By the time we purchased tickets, it was standing room only... but we had a great time and the show was fun. It was especially fun to share photos with Maddy!

I did some quilting on Saturday... tax avoidance. But don't worry, I spent plenty of time on taxes, too. (So depressing.)

On Sunday, I helped Rusty carry the new above-fridge cabinet from the basement!


Thankfully, it wasn't a half-inch wider or it would never have made it... we ended up having to pop the hinges from a couple of doors the way it is!

He has since applied and painted the replacement crown molding and is inserting shelving; soon doors, and we're back in business!


Last night, I met Ali at Target. She needed a few things/to get out of the house, and I just happened to have a new pair of specs to pick up... with the most adorable sleepy-headed helper. (She's wearing the Garter Yoke Cardi that I made for her big brother, also worn by her big sister -- it's held up well. I love a long-lasting well-wearing item!)


I feel so fortunate that I am close and can be available... whether it's to pick something up at the drug store or to pop over and watch the kids for a few minutes. I'm so grateful that I've been able to cuddle my grandkids -- "old" and "new" -- almost every day since the newest arrived. (And also verklempt at being witness to that!)

This was on Tuesday after making a stop at Target for some things that her mama needed, and also stopping at City Hall to vote. She was more alert than I've ever seen her, and... OMG, such big eyes she has!!


Ali asked me to pop over last night, too, after Knit Night so she could go check something at the shop...


...the baby was catching up on sleep! I had the best opportunity, so far, for some selfies with the kids -- and my first with all three. They're not perfect photos, and yet they are.

I've actually not been knitting much because of lingering tendinitis (it finally feels like it's getting better), and instead worked on some sewing at Knit Night.


This is one of a pair of Alabama Chanin Fingerless Mitts with the Magdalena stencil design. Side one is stitched & cut, and I made good progress on stitching the second side.

At home, I've been working on a quilt project... not a portable project (but, believe me, I considered packing it up).


A new machine-made Alabama Chanin dress found its way to me, thanks to a recent sale of discontinued pieces. I've always loved the shape and had meant to check it out/try it on when I was there last fall... somehow, that item slipped off my list, but now it's mine after all. I love the handwritten tag, and any qualms I might have had about ordering this ready-made dress (when I've spent plenty of money on materials & learning how to make it myself) disappeared when I saw that it was "Made By VM." Seriously, what are the chances? It was surely destined to be mine.

And, anyway, I showed the dress to Kate and she loved it... but longer?? So, oh yeah... I'll be using this dress as a pattern to make another one or two.

You know, someday when I have some spare time nothing else to do. Haha. NEVER... that won't happen until I'm dead. Meanwhile, I go when & where spirit & inspiration lead... with a trail of needles, thread, yarn, UFOs, and some spills (water, dye, tea, gin) in my wake.

This is what we woke up to this morning:


And I sure hope we can be done soon. Hello, Moon!

Oh, I almost forgot... there's a pretty good sale at Craftsy happening now through Sunday:

Up To 60% Off Hundreds Of Classes at 4/6-4/8/18. No coupon needed.

Happy Weekend!!


Did you have a good weekend/holiday? We did!

I had a long one, with Friday off... when I started our taxes. And also went out to lunch and ran some other errands and took a nap.


I laughed 'til I cried over a Snapchat thread with Kate & Maddy... and, you know, laughter is good no matter what!

Ali & Rod & the kids and Kate came over yesterday for Easter brunch and did we ever have a nice day. Our menu was pretty subdued -- even more when I made the decision to skip the potatoes! Trust me, we had plenty. It was fresh & light... spiral-cut honey ham, Oma's Green Mountain Salad, my mom's Heavenly Hash (fruit salad), Grapefruit Spritz, and Banana Cream Pie!

The linked recipes are from Food & Wine magazine and they were hits!! I made a few changes to the salad -- I used no ramps or scallions or garlic; I didn't have "Little Gem" lettuce or "baby" turnips or "French Breakfast" radishes, so I just used (good) lettuce, turnips & radishes!! Haha. I also didn't have fresh dill, so used dried. Whatever. It met with raves and maybe I can make salads after all!? Ann is known as the Salad Queen (also of Brunch)... perhaps I'm the Princess.

Kate made the fruit salad, Rusty made the pie, and it was all just perfect. The kids even sat with us (not always easy) and they gobbled up that ham!

We had a group video chat with Maddy -- her first meeting with Malina! It was very early on Monday morning in NZ and Maddy was just waking up for work, so we didn't keep her long (she hadn't even had coffee yet!)... but it sure was fun!

Rusty took the big kids for a walk down by the creek again, and I attempted to take some photos of our one-week-old!


Get ready for some overload! (I've tried to post some different photos here than I did on IG.)



It took a few tries before she finally fell asleep deep enough that I could wiggle her around a bit. And then I left here there sleeping on our bed, snuggled up on the lamby and under Parcheesi... and without a diaper... and that's how we ended up with freshly laundered bedding last night! She was so peaceful...

I really wanted a few snaps of all three kids together before they left and was delighted that everyone was fairly cute and cooperative.  ;)


Wiping off kisses ^^^. Haha!


The little sleeper that Malina is wearing was one of mine -- possibly worn by her eldest aunt and her mother, certainly by her youngest aunt! She's also snuggled into a little cocoon I knit maybe 10 years ago, and Parcheesi of course!

Gin is wearing a dress I made in about 1983! The pattern was from Woman's World magazine (I still have it) and I had no one in mind when I cast on -- with cheap acrylic yarn from the variety store -- but I was bored out of my gourd in Oregon and this looked like an interesting project. Was it ever! Bobbles, lace, pleats, tucks... I was not a very experienced knitter, but I just followed the instructions and learned a bunch!

You also get a peek at the quilting project I've been working on for Malina -- more on that when it's finished!