Previous month:
March 2019
Next month:
May 2019


Y'know how you do something and then forget about it? Such as purchasing tickets for an event months in advance?

Yeah, that.

Totally fell off my radar. Luckily, there are numerous ways to get a reminder these days -- this morning, it was Facebook, and I was almost dumbfounded. How could I forget? It's on my calendar, too, but I'm not even sure I'd have looked at that without some sort of prompt. Mondays aren't usually too busy on my social calendar.

Well, surprise! Tonight, we're spending "An Evening with David Sedaris" at the Weidner Center in Green Bay!!


I learned of this event not long after I finished listening to Calypso last year, which I loved. Can't wait!


Happy Birthday, Maddy!

This isn't the first (2004) nor even the second blog post I wrote about Maddy's birthday... from April 2006:

Oh, what a busy, busy week this is!

Fifteen years ago today, we welcomed Madeleine into the world! Some of us found her to be quite fascinating.  ; )

My labor with her was pretty quick -- and I knew better some of the things I could do to help it along. When the doc arrived at the hospital at about 8:30 and saw me still walking the halls, he mumbled something about having been called too soon, that I wasn't even close if I was still walking. I had a different doc for each delivery, and even though this was our family doctor, he didn't know much about my birthings. Shortly before 10:00, my nurse (same labor nurse I had for Ali -- and she was an elementary school classmate) allowed me to get up and go to the bathroom. Well, that did it! Maddy was delivered a few minutes later by the nurse who was telling me not to push (I had no choice, of course) while DH was hollering down the hallway for the doctor who was visiting at the nurses' station (he didn't make it in time, but did knock about $300 off his bill); the nurse handed me the little baby bundle and said, "Here, hold her; I've got things to do!"

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





My adventurer! This girl loves nature and the wilderness more than just about anything. She's winding up her latest vineyard gig in New Zealand right now. Viv's finished hers in Oz and is headed to NZ where they'll travel and visit friends for a couple of weeks before heading back to Australia. They'll be home at Christmas, so I'm looking forward to that!

Happy Birthday, Maddy!

_ _ _ _ _

I had a reminder this morning that it's my Great Great Grandmother Sarah Nutting Drake's birthday today, too.


She'd have been 173. Pictured here ca. 1916 (age 70!), with her grandchildren -- my Grandma Blum and two of her three brothers. I just love her. She scares me to death, but I love her!!

Happy Birthday, Kate!

This isn't the first (2004) blog post I wrote about Kate's birthday, but close (2005) and it's a little more interesting:

It's Katie's 20th birthday today. Twenty years ago today, I woke up at a little after 4:00 a.m. I 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 DH'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." Yep, it's a record of my contractions. They pretty much started off at 5 +/- minutes apart and stayed that way all day. I sent DH to work, and 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. 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 DH's workplace so he could take me to the hospital. At 10:00 p.m., I finally gave birth to a 6 lb. 10 oz., 20" redhead. Happy Birthday, Katherine!





Oh, that's right! We were between houses/closings and were living in a motel! Rusty (aka, DH) visited on our "tour of homes" when we were in Oregon three years ago. That was something... you do what you need to do, eh?

Kate has about another week in Portugal, then she's going on "vacation" in Scotland with her friend Shannon. After that she has gigs in NYC and in LA, and she'll land at home for a while in mid-June. You do what you need to do, eh??

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Unraveled Wednesday: Rye socks

Joining Kat & the Unravelers to share what I'm knitting and reading.


There's another FO... I think that's the opposite of "unraveled"!


  • Ravelry Project Page: Rye Socks for Ginny
  • Pattern: Rye by tincanknits
  • Yarn: Make.Do Realize Worsted
  • Needles:  US 3 & 5 DPNs
  • Start to Finish:  March 11 - April 16, 2019


I might have enough yarn to squeak out a baby-sized pair of these! The worse thing that could happen is that the toes are knit in purple or something. I'm going to try a different cast-on, suggested by Kat™, and forego the smaller needle. (I really don't mind the cuff, though.)


Ginny tried them on last night -- including the one that needed a kitchenered toe and still had needles in. She was so happy and excited, "Are they done yet?" I almost sewed it up right then, but the reality of kitchenering a toe in the middle of a 3-kid whirlwind kicked in and I resisted the urge.

Instead we spent some time outside, had hot dogs, decorated a cake (sort of Jackson Pollock style), and then sang Happy Birthday and blew out candles when Ali & Rod returned from their birthday date.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Vicki Blum Mothes (@vicki.knitorious) on

I just love Ginny in that video! And Jün with his sweet "mistakes." Haha.


I'll be casting on today, and am hoping to have the baby pair done by May 5th to show as a sample. I/Make.Do have been invited to do a pop-up show at my new LYS, Casting On, on the Sunday of the local Spring Fiber Frolic (yarn crawl)! I'm so excited! And looking forward to spending some time in the dye studio over the next couple of weeks!


Same. Same. (Too bad I'm such a slow reader.)

Happy Birthday, Ali!

So I went in search of the first blog post I wrote about Ali's birthday:

It's a birthday! (April 16, 2004)

I've been humming/singing all morning: "I am sixteen, going on seventeen..." Today kicks off our birthday season with Ali's 17th. She/her friends are planning a little get together tonight -- they insist that she go to the local coffee shop (where they must have something planned) and then they'll come over to our house. Last year, they'd made a big cardboard cake out of boxes and a boy popped out -- in only his underwear! I can't imagine how they'll top that, but I'm sure they will!!

So, 17 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 -- 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. Yep, 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 'til 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 with Katie bouncing a big ball all around me. The troops arrived around 1:30, I continued popping Tums like they were candy in the labor room (heartburn all through that pregnancy -- just the thought of green peppers had me gurgling), 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 -- 70 degrees and we had a picnic dinner outside! Seventeen years... seems like yesterday.


I can do the math -- she was 17, I've been blogging for 15 years -- but WHAT??

I still remember Kate bouncing that ball around me, that terrible heartburn, and Ali's arrival... Thirty-two years, a husband and three kids of her own... and it still seems like yesterday.

Happy Birthday, Ali Lou!

Weekending: Taxing

I "enjoyed" a 3-day weekend, dampened just a bit by the onset of a cold and, of course, income taxes. Whatevs. Three days off = three naps! Taxes are done & dusted; I wasn't in the mood to agonize... it could've been (has been) worse.

We had Airbnb guests arriving on Friday afternoon, so I spent the morning readying.


A new duvet cover, lightweight cotton blanket, and decorative pillow cover were fun additions to the bedroom. I also added black-out liners to the curtains (after cutting & hemming them).

I also watched the buds on the last (surprise) amaryllis stem begin to open:


The bottom photo was taken this morning. You can still see a little snow in the back yard and ravine. We were in the middle of a blizzard at this time last year, left to deal with a couple of feet of snow... so I'm not complaining.

Otherwise, I just blew my nose a lot while I did some sewing and knitting.


I'm getting close to finishing the first sleeve of my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket. There are more photos on IG, if you're interested. And Ginny's Rye socks will be finished as soon as I kitchener the toe.

My energy & enthusiasm are still pretty low. The sun is shining and that helps! Hope you had a great weekend!

Unraveled Wednesday: On the Eighth Day

...she kept on sewing.



The main event right now is my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket project, and the minimum :15 stitching time that I've committed to for #the100dayproject. Yesterday was my 8th day of stitching and I am so happy with the progress I've made.

Day 1, April 2nd, picking up where I left off some time back:


Day 7, April 8th:


There's been applique, cutting, embroidery, and beading!

And this is what I accomplished yesterday, on the 8th day of stitching:


And what I've accomplished along the way:


Of course, 15 minutes each day is just long enough to get situated, to decide what I'm going to work on, to love my thread, to needle my thread, and to take a couple of stitches! But even only :15 each day for 100 days would equal 25 HOURS. On every day but one, I think, I've worked for at least twice that amount of time. It's a process and it's slow, but consistency is the key... and I am loving it! Again!!


I finally started listening to Daisy Jones & The Six! It has a cast, which I love (and was one of the things I enjoyed most about Lincoln in the Bardo). Jennifer Beals is Daisy, and Benjamin Bratt & Pablo Schreiber are brothers & bandmates and they are excellent. I'm only a few chapters in and I can't wait for more... I was a little mad that my bookmark got screwed up and I couldn't listen in the car this morning. I fixed that now, so I'm all set for later...


I'm still working on Ginny's Rye socks. I just knit the heel flap of the second sock, so getting there!

Pop over to see what Kat & the Unravelers are sharing today!

Part 2: Spain - Valencia & Las Falles

Las Falles is... incredible! And impossible to "sum up," but I will give it a go. I shared a few posts on Instagram along the way (there's one linked later in this post), and the hashtag #falles2019 (or #fallas2019) are pretty great.

Las Falles is the biggest celebration in Valencia, held annually March 1-19 in commemoration of Saint Joseph... and/or spring. What it actually has to do with Saint Joseph and how/what this spectacle actually commemorates/relates is beyond me.


It's a party! Pure and simple. And it has many facets, not the least of which is noise and fire. It's a slow build, hitting a crescendo during the last five days/nights. That's when the falles appear.


Valencia is comprised of many communities, also known as falles, and each one constructs two sculptures every year of papier mache (or, as I've been told, more recently of polystyrene).


Guess which image was blocked on Instagram?

Each community has a large sculpture (sometimes enormous), often political or satirical in nature, and another smaller one for children (infantil). We had the chance to page through a publication about each community's design inspiration, designers, falleras, and cost -- there were something like 395 of them! Times 2. And some costing in the neighborhood of €300,000.


The detail is incredible.

The events during Falles, according to Wikipedia (which is a pretty good article) are such:

  • La Despertà
    • "The wake-up call" each morning at 8 am when bands play and firecrackers are set off. I heard bands, but never at 8 am... and the firecrackers were going off 24/7. I wouldn't have believed it if someone told me that fireworks & firecrackers would become "background noise," but it most definitely does.


Crowd gathering for the final mascletà, as seen (and heard) from our perch at the Plaza de Toros.

  • La Mascletà
    • This is an explosive, percussive, coordinated display of firecrackers and fireworks, almost choreographed, that occurs every afternoon in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. This also seems to build each day, and pyrotechnics compete for the honor of providing the final mascletà. The crowds are huge, and I never saw this happen, but I certainly did hear it and see the smoke.


This was the major winner. It was in a distant community, so we took a bus to see it. Do you see Bo Peep?

  • La Plantà
    • All of the falles are to be finished by March 15th in order to be judged for the competition.
  • L'Ofrena de flors
    • All day long on March 17 & 18, falleros and falleras make their way to a large wooden frame in the shape of the Virgin Mary with an offering of flowers. These flowers are added to and arranged on the frame to fill in the "dress."


  • Els Castells and La Nit del Foc
    • We missed some of the earlier displays, but we definitely made our way to one of the bridges spanning Turia Park for La Nit del Foc ("The Night of Fire"), which began at 1:30 am. Wow. Seriously, Valencia during Las Falles is a pyrotechnics dream.
  • Cavalcada del Foc
    • I didn't see this, but that's okay...


Notice the flower bouquets for the Virgin Mary's dress.

  • Traditional Dressing
    • The traditional dress and costumes worn by the fallero and falleras is colorful and quite pretty. And they're all ages -- from infants (see the stroller, above, but I saw even younger) to their grandparents. I don't know the historical significance of it all, but there's a hierarchy to it all and almost nothing happens during Las Falles unless there's a fallera present to strike the match or give the signal to begin.


  • La Cremà
    • On this, the last night of the celebration, all of the falles are burned. The falla infantil are all burned first, at around 10 p.m. There are fireworks going off here and there. There's usually some sort of small mascletà and/or ground display around the falla, which are strung and stuffed with fireworks. A fallera lights the fuse and... stand back. We saw one infantil burn. The main ones begin to burn around midnight. In addition to each neighborhood's falles, there is a large "city" one in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. This year it was a nearly 9-story tall, traditional wood & papier mache structure in the shape of a seated woman, decorated with graffiti. It was quite beautiful. This one was to burn around 1 am.

Instead of watching any of the larger neighborhood falla burn, we made our way to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento for the burning of the main "city" falla. Annie knew someone who knew someone, and for €25 each, we found ourselves on a 2nd story balcony with a fabulous view, unlimited snacks & beer & wine, and arguably one of the best spots in the city.


This is part of the crowd gathered for the event.


It was very dramatic, as all the lights went out (the illuminated building in the rear is the post office!).


Then the fireworks began... it was incredible. There are a few video clips in the embedded IG post, below.

Queue the dramatic music... I'm not sure what it was, possibly the Spanish national anthem, or maybe an important Valencian piece. It was dramatic with the flames, pieces falling off, everything...


We were probably 100' from the inferno -- and I mean inferno. We all had to vacate the balcony, and I thought my forehead was going to have blisters.


The clean-up crew was standing by. Katie & I were walking down there the next day and you would never have known that a 9-story tall lady statue burned there the night before.


Every neighborhood had a mess to clean up! And they did. It was just one more amazing part of this whole mind-blowing thing we witnessed.

I think that's as good as it's going to get. There might be one more quick post about Valencia... stay tuned!

Unraveled Wednesday: Garter Jacket

Joining Kat & the Unravelers to share what I'm knitting and reading.


There's an FO to report!


  • Ravelry Project Page: Garter Jacket for Malina
  • Pattern: Happy Garter Jacket by Bev Galeskas
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Washted, colorway 722 Fortaleza
  • Needles:  US 9
  • Start to Finish:  February 12 - March 30, 2019


I had plenty of yarn left over (and still do), so decided to knit a pocket across the wider side of the asymmetrical front -- in stockinette instead of garter, just because.


I found the perfect buttons at my new LYS, Casting On, where I'd also purchased the yarn on their "soft opening" day.


Oh, those colors are just so yummy! I haven't had the pleasure of seeing Malina wearing this sweater yet. Hopefully that'll happen soon!

<rant> I am mad that I bought this pattern. First, I already have a very similar pattern that I like a lot, which is also knit in one piece but in a slightly different manner, and has less seaming. Second, while paying $6 or even more for a downloadable pattern is pretty standard these days and I've never balked at that before -- designers deserve to be compensated for their work -- what I'm used to getting for $6 and what I got are two very different things. A photo would have been nice... even a clear line drawing that was larger than a thumbnail would've been great! Just sayin'...

Harumph. Get off my lawn, too. </rant>


I've been working on a pair of socks for Ginny. This was my "travel knitting," and I actually knit while traveling for a change (jumpstarted by a 5-/6-hour delay)!


This is one-half of a pair of Rye socks from Tin Can Knits. (An incredibly detailed and well designed FREE pattern with both color photos AND drawings.) As usual, even my stretchy cast on is a bit too tight (also, Ginny has chubby legs... which I have a feeling will soon be slimming as they lengthen), so I'm just leaving the ribbing unseamed -- it's actually kind of cute turned down like a little cuff. I had her try them on the other day before I kitchenered the toe, and sock #2 will be on the needles soon! Anyway, I sure like how they're turning out.


There hasn't been very much of that lately! My Brilliant Friend is still on my nightstand.

I downloaded the audio version of Daisy Jones & The Six before we left on vacation -- because I thought I might want to listen during flights or something. But I didn't. It looks like fun, though, and I might plug it in soon! Maybe I'll listen while I work on the #the100dayproject

Weekending: Productive Procrastination

We went down the hill to 313 Dodge on Friday night for our local going-out version of Friday Night Snacks:


Janel & Kristin recently changed the menu and I had a gift card that I kept forgetting to use (third time's the charm!). Oh yum. We had/shared the Cheese & Charcuterie Platter, Asian Chicken Meatballs with Pickled Veggies, and Roasted Beet, Pesto & Burrata Salad, along with beverages... and we were too full for dessert! I almost doubled that order of meatballs... I'm glad I didn't because they were huge! Oh darn, dessert might have to be a separate trip sometime.

While procrastinating about finishing our taxes*, I spent the weekend catching on up sleep (also possibly fighting off a cold or something) and long overdue mending & sewing, finishing a baby sweater, putting together a stubborn IKEA bench, shopping & cooking, cleaning/readying the Airbnb apartment, and hanging out with kiddos!


The kids and I started out riding bikes, but ended up taking a walk down in the woods and on the trail below our house.


I thought this dead tree looked like a dragon or a gnarly dinosaur.


And was delighted to find even the smallest promise of spring (as I'm watching sn*w flying around outside my window this very moment) (they say we could be close to 70°F on Sunday - it's spring, indeed)!


This morning's sunrise was a beauty!

I've been thinking about a 100-day project for a while, stymied a bit at what I'd actually do, but it came to me just as the #The100DayProject came along. Starting tomorrow, I am committing to at least :15 of sewing each day on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket! I'd really like to finish that project... because there are so many more projects that I'd like to sew! I'm looking forward to setting up a dedicated project work space, and getting to work.

*I will get them done... I've never been late nor filed for an extension, and I don't aim to start now.