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June 2018
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I cut a wedge at each underarm last night and sewed them back up.

It isn't perfect but oh, man, what an improvement! The sleeves "feel" better and there's a lot less bulk. I may have cut just a wee bit more than ideal, but this is all totally off the cuff and, given that, I'm thrilled.


I wore t-shirts a lot back in the day (these days, not so much), and ALWAYS with a cuffed sleeve.


Those original gigantic sleeves were a challenge, but the new version works great!


I also felled/embellished the seam. I chose Laced Double Straight Stitch in two colors from Natalie Chanin's The Geometry of Hand-Sewing -- it reminded me of "sound waves," and that was just about perfect for this project. If I were to do this again, I'd consider switching the colors (LEARNING THINGS)!

And now I want to add SIDE POCKETS! It's practically screaming for them, don't you think?

Mojo rising

It's not skyrocketing, but I'm feeling a bit more "with it" and energetic!

I spent a few hours on both Saturday & Sunday mornings in the upstairs apartment, mainly here:


I took a "before" photo, too, but you'd have to look real hard to see the difference. I asked myself why I would pay someone to clean my arguably less icky bathroom/house but tackle this myself and the best answer I could come up with is that I didn't have to move stuff in order to do it. It was "cleaned out" even if it wasn't exactly hitting the "clean" standard I'd have liked. Anyway, it's fine and coming along, and I do take great satisfaction in doing a good job. (Thanks, Mom!)

Had I not made a thousand trips in/out the back door and up/down the outside stairs, I might not have noticed the extraordinary number of "bees" flying around. I don't know exactly what variety of flying things they are, but having discovered that they're flying in and out of MY HOUSE -- they gotta go! Meanwhile, apparently more aware, I found another spot with a ton of activity and... NO THANK YOU! The guy at the hardware store told me that I could totally take care of that myself and gave me some stuff. As I was reading the label/directions last night, it was all about fleas & ticks... not a single mention of anything "bee-like." Um. No. I took that as my sign to call a pro!

Ali brought the baby over after the market. I haven't had her all to myself in a while!


We took a recliner nap together.


A little while later, we were playing on the floor and I thought I'd roll her over for a bit of tummy time... and she zonked out! It was only for a few minutes, but long enough to do a row or two on my mystery shawl. (I'm more than half-way on the final border section, then it'll be fancy bind-off time.)

When Ali came to get Malina, she had Junah along.


We went out for burgers & fries, walking over to the video store afterward, where he found these awesome Groot sunglasses (also a mouthful of gumball).

In the mode (and also, clean begets clean), I spent a little time on Sunday cleaning up & organizing my workroom, and then I sat down to tackle a little project that's been on my mind for a month.

I'd spotted a perfect-for-the-venue dress at a local outdoor music event, and Kinneared a photo:


I eventually spoke with her -- I couldn't let her get away without asking about that dress! No, she said, she didn't make it... bought it in Texas or someplace. Well, I knew that someone sure as heck made that dress -- and I was sure gonna try!

I had already pawed through the stash and found a couple of likely suspects for such a garment, then ordered same size/brand coordinating t-shirts; they arrived on Saturday and I threw it all into the washer so it would all be ready when I was.


My original thought was to sew together my Frankendress by machine, but then I realized what I was doing! I bought this shirt last November when I was in Florence, AL, with Kym for the Alabama Chanin 3-Day Workshop! One of my favorite "extras" on that trip was Judy Hood's Swampette Tour of Muscle Shoals music venues, and I bought the shirt at FAME Studios. It seemed sacrilegious to put it under the presser foot -- it had to be sewn by hand!


I've since pressed that seam and it looks much better. I will eventually fell & embellish it; I found the perfect stitch in The Geometry of Hand-Sewing. AND I will cut/re-size those sleeves. Holy moly. Mine's a little more oversized than the model, but I love the super-relaxed fit, otherwise!

I hope you had a great weekend!

Off my game

Welp, this week has been all about RECHARGE, I guess! Last weekend was full & busy & fun, for sure... there's been a lot going on behind the scenes around here, as well!

Alison & her family have moved to the in-laws' house in the country. It's a good thing, overall... but now instead of a mile from my house to theirs, it's more like 10. In a direction opposite the usual. There won't be any more spontaneous "swinging by" or "running over" and, not gonna lie, I felt a wave of sadness as I made that realization. There will be some adjusting for sure. On all their parts, too, and arguably way MORE adjusting than me. We can still visit/meet up within minutes! So I'll stop whining. 

Almost five years ago, for the first time in over 20 years, we welcomed tenants -- two young women -- into our upstairs apartment. In that time, there's been one consistent tenant (even if she wasn't always physically in residence), and various roomies in and out. As of Tuesday, we have a vacant apartment!! And there's some work to do.


Originally, I was just going to hire Kate to re-paint the kitchen -- this paint job is Alison's from when she was in residence up there -- but she's actually going to be our new tenant, too!


I'll still "hire" her to do some work, including an eventual re-do of the bathroom, and even though her rent will be far lower even than what we're used to (which was already pretty low), I'm happy & relieved to have "someone I know" up there. Our experience with the last "roomies" up there was not good; let's just say that we learned a lot, but we're still feeling a sting.

Well, anyway, Kate has begun to move a few boxes from the storage unit, but will be taking a little trip over to Michigan this weekend, and I'll get my work done upstairs while she's gone. She'll be back on Tuesday, for sure, in time to head to Madison with me to see THE NATIONAL concert at The Orpheum!

Meanwhile, I've been working on the TTL Mystery Shawl and LOVING IT! I'm set to resume this evening with the final clue (probably the extended version). Maybe I'll have an FO to show next week!

I've begun listening to David Sedaris' Calypso, which I am also loving. A lot!

There is still much on my Summer To-Do List... I can't believe we're ticking off the last days of July already! Finally, the weather is a bit more reasonable, though, and it's nice to be outside.

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Weekending: Fun Fun Fun

When you feel as though you had a 3-day weekend when it was actually just the normal 2-day variety, and that said weekend was largely spent with a (clean) houseful of people, including a 4mo, 2yo, 4yo, 11yo & 13yo, along with various adults, and that the weather wasn't always great -- and not to say that I wasn't absolutely exhausted at the end of each day -- but I'd say that was a pretty darn good weekend!


Ali sent me this photo on Friday and it's one of my favorites of the weekend -- Ann & fam gave the kids a set of superhero capes & masks and, OMG, I just love Jün's happy expression here!

And Mack...


...and Addie, too, with the baby!! Practically baby whisperers. She did not lack attention & cuddles, that's for sure!


I managed a moment or two, too.  :)

The kids all played together MARVELOUSLY!!! It was pretty wonderful. I might still be a little in shock.

I managed to have Saturday & Sunday mornings mostly to myself, which I'm sure saved me.


I finished Junah's shirt -- buttonholes & buttons (from my mom's button tin). The buttonholes could be a wee bit bigger, and I'm hoping that they'll loosen up a bit. It was a complete failure of the buttonhole function that sent my machine to the shop last time and I could tell that it's still a touchy operation. I will need to seriously start looking for its replacement (it seems a daunting task).

Next step: a photo shoot with all three kids in their Mickey duds + one other wardrobe change. It's never too early to start sending good photo mojo, and crossing fingers!!


I managed some knitting, too! I'm closing in on the end of TTL Mystery Shawl Clue 4, with Clue 5 in hand, and the 6th & final clue due to be released on Friday. The general consensus in the Ravelry spoiler thread for this project is that it's been a real pleasure to knit and is incredibly beautiful to boot! I don't think I'm spoiling too much here, given that it's all jammed onto that straight needle. I've gathered that Clue 5 is the quickest to complete, so I might even have a chance to catch up! I was admiring my Blue Angel hosta through the front door yesterday and decided that it really wanted to be a backdrop for a knitting photo. Heh.

Annie wants to do some Christmas knitting, so we looked over a few patterns, chose some yarn & needles...


...and I gave her a refresher course! She learned to knit many years ago, but it's been a while. It was quite an interesting lesson as she knits continental and I throw, so I really had to concentrate and watch how she was forming her stitches (purls in particular) in order to iron out a couple of little problems. She took one project with her and hopes to make some progress (if not finish) before they return late next week. In the meantime, I'll wind & prep the others.

The boys are back

My blog mojo went a bit missing this week, but...


Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy

The boys "got back" to the States on Saturday and have been spending some time in Madison. They came up last night and are here for the weekend, then back to Madison & off to camp & other various adventures before returning sometime next month for much more fun... including some sort of Auntie Camp!

So, the intro while looking for The Boys Are Back In Town on YouTube was a trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, and OMG, the more I see of that, the more I can't wait to see much much more of THAT!

Have a good weekend, y'all.

Weekending: Mid-July

Maddy came home on Friday for a break from camp; she's stressed out as it's been a super tough summer -- too much work and no assistance (she's supposed to have an assistant) or support. It's just truth when I say that my girls have an incredible work ethic, and if she's feeling it enough to express it... it's bad, especially because she truly LOVES camp! Her saving grace is a trip coming up... fingers crossed, along with all the good thoughts, karma & juju!!

Anyway, I had a million things to do in the pre-cleaning/reclamation department, but I knew that offering my girls some SISTER TIME was way more important -- for all of them -- so I offered to take the kiddos on Saturday. Kate, Al & Mads went out to lunch, stopped at a hobby/craft shop, ran a few errands... and then came back for drinks, games & dinner.


Malina experiences full-on fart gun a la Ginny!


These two! Gah!! Junah was sitting on the step and Ginny sat down next to him... and then scooted over to be closer. 😍


We took full advantage of my around-the-corner neighbor's invitation to help ourselves to her raspberry bushes. Junah doesn't really like them, so he gave me all that he picked, and then carried home a little handful for his mamma.


We actually had some rain on Friday, which meant a full ran barrel on Saturday!! So fun.

On Sunday, I hit the housework! I've been constantly reminding myself that it's a process... things aren't going to be perfect on Wednesday, but they'll be better and will improve each time. That's the plan, anyway!


BONUS! I found the fat quarters that I bought in Nashville last February! I've made a conscious effort to not let The Case of the Missing Fat Quarters drive me crazy over the past few months... they'd cross my mind now & then and I've even "looked" for them a little bit. Man, they were stuffed into a knitting project bag and I would never have looked for them there.

It's a normal week around here, except that Junah's sleeping over on Tuesday night and cleaning ladies are coming on Wednesday and I'll see my sister Ann & the boys (from Spain) by the end of the week! Woohoo!!


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

Thing 1 - PRE-CLEANING going well. In addition to my normal Wednesday off, I also have Thursday (today) off this week and the weekend is ahead... so I'm not killing myself in this endeavour.

Thing 2 - OOPS 1

I finished TTL Mystery Shawl Clue 2 yesterday...


...or so I thought. This is an up-to-the-minute photo showing progress on the THIRD REPEAT! Gah! I'm glad I took a minute to read the intro again and count my stitches.


One of my needles was pointing backward as I came in from taking the photo above.


I kind of love it. If it wasn't so big (5 US), I'd make more. A mosquito could easily fit through that hole.

I hope you're having a good Thursday!

It's time...

I've hired someone to clean my house.


I had a regular cleaning lady for a while... before Maddy was born! My mom sent hers over on a flukey one-off several years ago; all I remember is that the woman was arguing with me about whether my bathroom floor was real wood or laminate. It's true! She flat-out declared that it was real and didn't believe me when I told her that it wasn't! Listen, lady, I helped to cut, peel and stick it down... it ain't real!!

Anyway, other than when my mother was a newly divorced, returning to college, mother of five, she always had a cleaning lady. I remember complaining about having to "clean" before the cleaning lady came... when I was actually just getting my own shit taken care of/put away so the cleaning lady could actually clean! In those "dire" times, Mom had a built-in workforce -- however unwilling -- ranging in age from 6 to 12; she would leave notes every single day with a list of jobs/chores for each of us. We did not dare ignore it, either. My mother was an EXCELLENT housekeeper, with or without the help, and she trained us all very well.

I hate housework!
You make the beds, you do the dishes
and six months later
you have to start all over again.

--Joan Rivers

Things are just slightly beyond me right now... have been for a while now. We downsized within our own home a few years ago, kids have been drifting in and out, my sister died, my mom died, grandkids have appeared and are growing in size as well as number, and I LIKE TO DO/MAKE THINGS. There's stuff associated with all of that. SO MUCH STUFF. And it's piled up in various ways.

Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility
of human self-actualization.

--Ann Oakley

I've nibbled away at it, of course, bits here and there... I've Kon-Mari'd this and Death Cleaned that... and by the time the "stuff" is dealt with (provided I haven't been interrupted by any of 1000 different things), I'm exhausted... it never feels like there's follow-through or finish.

I feel overwhelmed and I'm tired of it.

So, here's my plan. Starting tomorrow, and continuing on the weekend, I am concentrating on simply putting away or removing the crap that's in the way.

That's my job -- cleaning before the cleaning lady comes (a week from tomorrow)!

Weekending: Kate's back!

I drove down to O'Hare on Saturday to pick up Kate after her month in the U.K. We decided to stay overnight and chose the new (as in barely open a week) St. Jane for our accommodations. Formerly the Hard Rock Hotel, St. Jane is in Chicago's beautiful Carbide & Carbon Building and is named for Jane Addams.


Instead of a bible in every room, it was a biography!


The weather was fabulous and it was great to be outside!


We had a light lunch at the Purple Pig (of course) and dinner at Catch 35 (first time). I had those gorgeous scallops and Kate had a mixed grill.


We tried to get to a couple of (way up there) roof-top bars but most were busy with private events until late; we settled for a lower-level roof-topper with exorbitantly priced pre-mixed cocktails (which we didn't know were pre-mixed until they were poured). They looked & tasted pretty good but should have been half the price (and my glass should have been all the way full instead of 2/3, too... what's that all about?). /gripe


I had a great time with my girl!

We got up, had coffee and shared a blueberry muffin, and then head home. We were on the road by 10 and home before 2.


The girls came over for a little while, and everyone else came later for supper. It was a nice evening together!

Katie went to bed fairly early and I wound down with a couple of episodes of Anne with an E (I started on Friday and am bingeing hard -- love this show) and my TTL Mystery Shawl.


The photo is from Friday night, having barely begun Clue 2; as of last night, the first of two very enjoyable repeats is finished... and Clue 3 awaits!

I'm looking forward to next weekend already!


You would think that a mid-week holiday falling on my normal day off would be a piece of cake. WRONG. I had an unshakable "Sunday" feeling all day yesterday, and it has carried over... Today is the Monday-est Thursday ever!

I attached and finished the waistband on my Gypsum Skirt on Tuesday night.


I fully intended to hem it on Wednesday morning before anything else, but there was an Hawaiian shirt calling my name.


"Make a Hawaiian shirt for Junah," they said. "It'll be easy," they said.

Well, okay, no one actually said that it would be easy... but how hard could it be???

Forty-five minutes of searching and watching YouTube videos about how to attach a collar to a shirt, while regularly re-reading the directions and trying to make out what's going on the photos, later...


I think I've got it. Now I'm attaching the back yoke facing and trying to find a method that is not "making a sausage."


Meanwhile, there are some nice details, I love the fabrics, and it's going to be a very nice shirt!

It was so great having Maddy home for a few days during her holiday break!


We went out to a pond party yesterday afternoon where Rod was playing. The kids had a blast in the water.


I love this photo with their big sis Jillian, especially the joy all over Ginny's face!


There were clouds skirting around us all afternoon and then all of a sudden... DOWNPOUR! We all huddled under cover until it passed, and at least it brought a little relief from the heat & humidity.

More Sewing

There was a good deal of time spent with the kids over the weekend, and Maddy arrived on Saturday afternoon, but I still managed to find some time for sewing -- both for the kids and for me!!

After work on Friday, I stopped by the blueprint shop to pick up printed patterns for Alabama Chanin Palazzo Pants and the new Sew Liberated Gypsum Skirt. Then I ran by Joann (have you read about the new Concept Store?) where I bought some more Mickey Mouse fabric (ahem), including another fat quarter bundle (that I couldn't find last time), and some drapey rayon for the Gypsum Skirt. I tossed it all in for a wash when I got home so it would be ready to go.

On Saturday morning, I finished the bodice lining and hem of Gin's Franken-Geranium...


With pleats & pockets!


That irresistible (to me) cap sleeve!


And pearly snaps on the back!


The fabric is made up of leftovers from the first fat quarter bundle, which I used to make a Geranium Top for Malina, along with some MM fabric that Ali had in her stash, and a random B&W print from mine (before I knew that Ali had some and when I didn't want to make the 30-mile roundtrip to the fabric store) (I never realized it was actually that far!).

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! Here's Malina's...


The cuteness is going to be off the charts with these girls and their coordinating dresses... and I just can't even imagine once Junah's added to the mix. I have plans!!

Then I got to work on my Gypsum Skirt and, boy oh boy, rayon is so slippery!! At least compared to the cottons -- both woven & knit -- that I'm used to working with. I sewed my first-ever flat-felled seam on the machine...


...and, believe me, I considered my options for the other three! That was sort of tricky, but it got a little easier with each one. Naturally, my bobbin thread ran out at the beginning of one of them and I didn't realize it until the end.

First order of the day tomorrow is to finish that skirt. I have sewn the waistband into a loop, currently draped around my ironing board, so all that's remaining is finishing & attaching that and hemming. I love those big roomy pockets... I hope they like me!

Scenes from a hot weekend

As in temperature. And humid, too.

Malina's like...



The big kids were keeping cool as they saw fit (some in undies, at most, others in head-to-toe fleece -- which seems to hold a lot of water and it was cold, so... to each his own).


Also, cool big air-bubble knees!


Ginny & I both suffered injuries when I fell after saving her from a likely bump/fall off of the retaining wall. I'm the only one to actually spill blood; Gin's Minion band-aid (and unseen crocodile plaster) are purely decorative/placebo measures. Maddy, certified in First Aid because of her summer camp job, jumped right in to fix me up. Gin was obviously quite fascinated by the procedure, but Junah made a face after the application of hydrogen peroxide and bowed out. I'm just thankful that I didn't twist anything and that it's my left knee we're looking at and not the right; my right knee won't likely fare another grinder very well. (That big scar on my shin is where I met the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet at work last year. Yep, that hurt.)


It's nice having Maddy around for a few days while camp is on break for the 4th! It's still hot but, thankfully, not as humid today... so we'll take it. I hope you're faring well, too!