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3TT: Or more

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

Actually, more than three things... and, as you shall see, with just a few more than three (out of 77) I'm practicing INCREDIBLE restraint!

Thing 1:


Yep, a picture is worth 1000 words. (More accurately, it's PRICELESS!)

(Also, I've noticed that his teeth are getting spaced out... I'm sure it's a ways off, but there's a milestone a'coming!)

Thing 2:


She had her moments, too, eventually taking up her brother's baton, but until then... utter sweetness.

Thing 3:


Pure delight.

A few more:


A good photographer? Also priceless!! We are all amazed at the magic of Mary from Fox Valley Birth and Baby! Mary also took an award-winning photo of Ali & Rod during the birth of Malina, which I think I shared here but maybe not? It's HERE > scroll down to "1st Place Color - Mary Nieland from Fox Valley Birth and Baby." And yes! The pillowcases are Ralph Lauren "Allison" -- the same design used for the kids' outfits! (Also rare and approaching priceless?!!)

Clear the deck

I had the weekend to pretty much do as I wished, but was at sixes and sevens... I was in and out of my workroom... with THIS on the table, then THAT. Nothing was clicking or feeling good. Then I realized that my space was still cluttered up with unfinished PILLOWCASES!


So I set right into making pillowcase burritos, and voila!


Four new pillowcases for the kiddos made from leftovers, remnants and/or thrift store finds (one of the local St. Vinnie's has a pretty nice craft section and the fabric pieces are all marked in terms of inches/yardage).

Clearing the deck really helped me see more clearly.


And what I really wanted to do was cut another stencil. So I did.

Macro Monday: LEGO

We had the majority of our house's exterior painted last month -- all the siding, the 2nd/3rd floor windows, and the 2nd/3rd floor gables. The lower windows & trim and the garage were left for Rusty; he got started on that job last week and has been working on the front/north side of the house.

Once upon a time, there was a big wrap-around porch, but it's been a small "Greek Revival" style porch ever since we moved in. It was well used, back in the day, our kids and the neighbor kids played with LEGOs, Barbies, American Girl dolls, and stuffed animals, among other things -- every inch of that porch would be covered with stuff some days! You could barely open the door, and our former mail carrier still talks about it! Sometimes the kids would set up on the back porch, or either of the neighbors' porches... I'm not sure what determined the location each day, but it was very fluid.

Anyway, Rusty found this yesterday in the dirt next to the front porch:


While he was working on this:


That's both the up-side and the down-side to DIY! I'm happy that he knows how to fix it and is still willing... and not even grumbling about it!


It's all looking very nice and fresh with a new coat of paint. We had a lovely weekend, too!

Auntie Camp 2019: Recovery

I will continue to do Auntie Camp for as long as they're interested, and it will likely morph into Nona Camp at some point. I've hinted to Mack & Addie that they could be participatory camp counselors!

With the boys' departure on Friday, I still had the whole weekend ahead of me... and that was so nice! There was so much going on and things to keep track of that I'd actually written an itinerary and designated Saturday as a "Day of Rest." More accurately, I'd say that Saturday was a Day of Recovery in preparation for Sunday being a Day of Rest. Ha. Those couple of days to myself, more or less, were magnificent.

I sewed a pillowcase! I hadn't actually made one, myself, so got that out of the way right away on Saturday morning. There's still another one or two in my sights. And Ginny's "unicorn" project.

I took a nap! I cooked! I knit! I did laundry!

On Sunday, we attended Brunch down the hill at 313 Dodge, which was in collaboration with Kaukauna Coffee & Tea. Janel, Ali, and Kristin did an amazing job of it and I'm looking forward to the next one, likely in October (and, hopefully, not when I'm gone)!


It was all presented so beautifully! And what a great way to spend a couple of hours on a "recovery" Sunday.


There were even lavender sugar cookies packaged up for each of us to take home. (Yum.)

Since I really can't be completely idle, even in recovery/rest mode -- and, arguably, making & doing is actually a restorative practice for me -- I'd been gathering the last few necessary materials to finally tackle something that's been on my to-do list for a couple of years now.


Stencil cutting! I've had a stencil cutting tool kit for years and opened the package on Sunday for the first time. I'd ordered some stencil designs from The School of Making at Alabama Chanin, and had them printed. And, finally, a big roll of 10 mil mylar was delivered last week... ready, set, go!


I forgot that I'd actually intended to do the very straightforward Variegated Stripe Stencil for my first attempt at cutting, and instead randomly chose Paisley! Look at all those curves! Trial by fire, I guess... I certainly didn't think I'd get it cut in one session, but what did I know! It was fun & so rewarding! And I only singed myself a couple of times. :/ It's far from perfect, but it looks pretty darn good in the photo and I'm certain that once the fabric is painted, stitched, cut, and assembled into a garment, the flaws will disappear.

Speaking of Alabama Chanin... while my Car Coat project has not seen much action lately, I'm planning to continue working on it, and have cajoled Annie into having some virtual sewing sessions together! She still has a Swing Skirt project to finish. I'm also planning some other projects... another pair of Palazzo Pants, another skirt, and possibly another skirt. It hasn't all completely gelled yet... some of these will be big in physical size, but perhaps not so big/intense in the actual making.

Well, anyway, that's a wrap!


Until next year... Auntie Camp 2020!

Auntie Camp 2019: Day 3

On the last day of Auntie Camp, we SEWED! I'd pre-washed all the fabric and, during less active times, I'd go into my workroom and cut it all to size for our PILLOWCASE projects! I'd watched a wonderful Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial on YouTube and just needed to jot a few notes for myself... measurements and the order of things.

Each pillowcase requires up to three fabrics -- main, cuff, and a little trim piece. I'd had each of the kids choose only two fabrics at the store on Wednesday, and chose the third/trim piece for each at my discretion... and in order to preserve my sanity!

Junah didn't really want anything to do with sewing, so was happy to get a little TV time while Mack & Addie & I started to pin and sew.


Assembly line!


The boys did GREAT!! My new sewing machine is a Baby Lock Jubilant and one of the great features is speed control!

Luckily, Ann popped by and she took over the sewing while I started to rinse tie-dyed t-shirts on the driveway. They had to leave by early afternoon, and I was a bit rushed so I'm not thrilled with how they turned out (I'd have rinsed a bit more, washed at least one more time), but I have very little photographic evidence of the boys' shirts, anyway.


Those are some of Ginny's & Junah's, above (and more below), which I finished up in the afternoon.

You can tell what's seasonal at the fabric store by most of the kids' choices for their pillowcases:


Addie's is a less seasonal with the big checks. Ginny's is pink with llamas & cacti -- adorable! (She also chose some unicorn fabric...) Mack's is dogs in costume! And Junah's is just straight-up Halloween. The pillowcases were all finished with French seams, and they turned out so great! The boys loved sewing and I can't wait to scout some more projects for next year.

And then it was time for them to go... but, first, a pic!


Junah was photo-uncooperative again, but I snapped this one of all five kids as he made his exit (action shot)!


And, yes, Mack was just as smitten with Malina this year as last. So sweet.

Auntie Camp 2019: Day 2

It's a bit more of a challenge the past couple of years with the addition of Junah last year and Ginny this year, and the age difference between them and the boys. We make it work, but my documentary skills have fallen off a bit.

I threw t-shirts in the wash on Wednesday night, so we were ready to tie-dye right away on Thursday morning!


Oh my... this girl is growing up!!


Junah gets a little self-conscious sometimes and wanted to be away from the main action while he worked. He was very intent!


I had a panel set on some sawhorses for staging, a folding metal table that Mack & Addie used as their worktable, and had two perfectly sized small tables in the playhouse that I brought up for Junah & Ginny to use.

The boys had 10 shirts between them and the kiddos each had four... so 18 shirts we dyed! I'm still using many of the main supplies from the Dharma Trading Tie-Dye Little Group Kit that I bought a few years ago.

After cleaning up and lunch, Kate joined us and we met up with Ali & Malina to head up to Green Bay.

First stop, Bay Beach Amusement Park!


Junah's not much of a daredevil, but that worked out just fine! Ginny loved the Tilt-a-Whirl with Ali, Kate & Addie; Addie, Kate & Ali rode the Zippin' Pippin' roller coaster; some of us jumped on the carousel, and also on the longer of the train rides. Admission is free and ride tickets at this city-run amusement park are $.25 each, with most rides needing 1-2 tickets... the roller coaster requires all of 4 (so, $1/ride)! Seriously, it's the best deal in all the land. This year, someone handed us a fistful of tickets when we arrived, so I think I spent $5 (plus some concessions).

After Bay Beach, we headed over to Titletown, a park & development near Lambeau Field.


There are events & activities everyday, all year long, and on Thursday evenings in the summer it's a Night Market. Ali's been a few times and really enjoyed it, so we've had it on our list all summer. By the time we arrived, 1.5 hours after opening, her favorite food vendor was already sold out! We had to make do...


Hinterland accommodated us nicely... and refreshingly!

Then we headed over to the park for a bit...


The play area is AMAZING. There's equipment for all ages and abilities. And beyond that fence is a full-size football field open to all.

Ali took Ginny from there, so it was just the boys overnight at my house! We stopped at the store on the way home to get some Color Catchers in readiness for the reveal/conclusion of tie-dyeing on Day 3! We attempted to watch a Spiderman movie, but didn't get too far when Junah got a little scared... and then landed in our bed in the wee hours because of it! Holy cow, that boy is a flip-flopper and all arms & legs! Haha!

Auntie Camp 2019: Day 1

Priming for Wednesday's start, Mack & Addie slept over on Tuesday night. After breakfast, I gave them a knitting refresher. I had an engagement to talk to a bunch of kids about knitting at the coffee shop later in the morning and thought that perhaps the boys might assist (but zero expectation/pressure to do so).

I thought they were middle school kids, but turns out they were high schoolers -- about 15-16 of them, only one of whom already knew how to knit. It was the last outing/activity of their summertime class, and they were there for lunch, knitting, and journaling.


Mack & Addie laid low inside. Annie snapped a photo of me "teaching," but I look like I'm picking my nose, so you get a relaxed, knitting Mack instead.

I'd gathered needles over the past few months, wound yarn, made & printed a resources handout, and assembled a little bag of supplies for each person there... and cast on for each of them, too. I told them that knitting can be very relaxing, as was mentioned when I was introduced, but that learning to knit can be extremely frustrating (hence the casting on for them... we only had an hour and I didn't want to spend all my time on that). I did a little project show & tell so they could see possibilities other than sweaters, hats, slippers & mittens. I brought one of the Knitted Polar Bears I made for the kids, my Parcheesi afghan, my Bijouterie, and the recently completed Pineroot Wall Hanging, which was recently attached to a great stick that Rusty brought back from CA. Anyway, it went amazingly well with some successes, relatively few frustrations, and one "deserter" who said he'd rather crochet (something he used to do with his grandma) (ta-da, I had a hook for him). The coordinators sent feedback to Ali later in the afternoon and more than half the kids said it was their favorite event of the summer. Maybe there's a new knitter or two to emerge!

Right after knitting, we had an appointment with a photographer for family photos!


It was overcast but bright and the photographer had the kids close their eyes and then OPEN... except Ginny didn't get the memo. :)


Oh boy. Junah insisted on wearing his hat, and was generally uncooperative most of the time... which then rubbed off on Ginny, more or less. It was an adventure! I haven't seen any official photos yet, but here are some that Annie took...


And shutterbug Addie:


After photos, I took the kids and we went fabric shopping! Yes, I was the one at Hobby Lobby* with 3-, 5-, 12- and 14-year-olds! They chose fabrics for a sewing project I'd planned for a later camp activity, and we escaped with relatively little else (a couple of bandanas, some slime, a couple of stress balls). Junah was enthralled by the fabric cutting, and very complimentary of the cutter and her talents/experience! (It was adorable.)

We headed home, I tossed all the fabric in the wash, we got dinner going, and then it was a sleepover plus 2! Ginny ended up in our bed for a bit in the morning, but otherwise went off without a hitch.

*I would have preferred going to Joann's but I'd been there a day or two earlier and could not wait to get out -- the awful, awful scents for candles (or something) permeated the entire store and were so strong that they drove me out. I can't imagine working there. Addie is even more sensitive to that kind of thing than I am, and he'd have surely emerged with a killer headache (not to mention nausea).

Macro Monday(s)

First of all, HELLO!! It seems a lot longer than six days since I've been here, but WHAT A WEEK!! Auntie Camp v.5 was fabulous, and I have a ton to share about that in the next week or so. But first, it's MACRO MONDAY!

Water droplets nestled in a succulent near the garage door caught my eye.


And these are amaranth microgreens atop some lovely roasted potatoes from yesterdays Kaukauna Coffee & Tea/313 Dodge collaboration brunch. What a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a Sunday.


It was about as perfect a five days off as one could ask for -- family, food, and tons of fun! I had the weekend mostly to myself for Auntie Camp recovery, and I accomplished a few things, too. I hope you had a great weekend, as well!

Start your engines!

The 5th Annual Auntie Camp begins (slowly) (with a sleepover) tonight!


AC1 - 2015



AC2 - 2016



AC3 - 2017



AC4 - 2018


There's also been knitting, macramé, drawing, and kayaking, along with visits to an art show, the pool, the movies, and an amusement park.

This year, along with more dyeing (the de facto signature event) (tie-dye for sure, indigo maybe), we will be knitting and sewing, for sure, and other things TBD/nailed-down.

Snapshot: Janet

Rusty returned last week from a two-month trip west. He left in June bound for Arizona and a visit to his brother Dave's new place in western Arizona, just over the border from Nevada. One of the purposes of that get together was for them to go through a box of old photos that Dave (a bit of a packrat) finally uncovered in the moving & unpacking.

The photos belonged to their mother, Janet, who took her own life in 1978. When the boys cleaned out her house after her death, it was a job that just needed to get done. Things like photos were relegated to storage, which is where they've been for the past 40+ years.

Rusty was so excited to see these old family photos again! He took a few snaps with his phone and sent them to me while he was there, and brought some more home for scanning. After he departed Arizona for points in California, Dave uncovered more photos and documents! Rusty suggested that before too long we take a trip out there together, and we just confirmed flights, car & hotel for an early November (birthday!) visit, which will also include a visit (my first) to the Grand Canyon.

Anyway, it's been a bit of a nut house over here and we finally sat down over the weekend to look at the photos Rusty brought back.

This one.


I'd hastily edited (her face is in deep shadow in the original photo) and posted on Instagram, but have taken a bit more time here with the dodging & burning... and looking.

I didn't even notice the knitting or Rusty's brother in the playpen, at first; Kate pointed those out the other day! Originally thought the photo was taken at the beach (her favorite place to be), but in considering what those dark blips at the top of the photo might be, I now realize that it's more likely in the backyard -- that's laundry on the line (very likely diapers)!

I didn't meet Rusty until 1983, so obviously I never had a chance to meet Janet. I always like to think that we'd have gotten along -- especially because I know she didn't get along at all with Rusty's first wife -- and he always thought that we would have, too. I've decided that this photo is undeniable proof!

  • She was a knitter! I never knew that before, though I did know she had a crafty streak and liked to make things.
  • She was a smoker! She was a chain-smoker, in truth, and is the #1 reason why her sons have never smoked. Even though I've been quit for 14+ years, I can still relate to putting down my knitting for a smoke break.
  • Laundry on the line!

She had quite a colorful life and there are mysteries to be solved -- investigated further, at the very least! I'm so looking forward to our trip out west in a few months!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

3TT: Sky view

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

1 -- Saturday sky.


From a pontoon ride on the Upper Saint Croix Lake... this is just before we turned around and headed back to the dock. Threatening!

2 -- Sunday sky.


Again on the Upper Saint Croix, that's my cousin driving and Mack waving from the boat. Birthday Boy Addie is on the knee-board behind. Can you believe he's 12 today?

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

3 -- Wednesday sky.


More threatening weather late yesterday. I took this photo as I was getting into my car after work. I missed a downpour during a well-timed stop at the grocery store. Another deluge hit after I got home. There was a confirmed tornado in Green Bay, about 20 miles away; Ali's much closer and snapped a dramatic photo of her own.

Unraveled Wednesday: Wanderlust

Joining Kat & the Unravelers today, sharing what I'm knitting and reading.


There's an FO... it's for Christmas, even!



These originally started as another pair of Tin Can's Rye Socks, but I discovered that I was knitting an adult/toddler mash-up using two sets of numbers... not at all what I was going for!

Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 11 - Wanderlust had recently been published, and I decided it was time to try something a little different. The patterns in Wanderlust are all written for fingering/sock yarn and I still wanted to use worsted, so I adjusted needle size, numbers, and the panel pattern repeat accordingly.


These were my first short-row heels, too, and I like them!


Since I was going up north for a couple of days -- driving up on Saturday and back on Monday, 4.5+ hours each way -- I brought four knitting projects. Haha. (I'm not kidding.) I pulled my knitting out only twice -- socks both times -- on Sunday night and Monday morning when it was just my cousin Gail and I, and I knit the entire foot while we chatted.


In the elements. I forgot how pine-y it smells up there.

And, yes, I'm happy that I went. I took a 20-minute car nap on the way up, and wove in and out of downpours all the way home, but in between we had a great time. Good company, good food, boating, lots of yapping.


Since I last checked in...

The Summer Walkers is still on my nightstand.

I finished my second listen of Lincoln in the Bardo, and enjoyed it just as much if not more the second time around.

On my long drive last weekend, I listened to most of Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb. I'm less than an hour from finishing and there are definitely some things I like/relate to in the story, but there are also some things that I'm not crazy about (not quite eye-rolling, but close...)


Macro Monday

Last week, I completely forgot about Macro Monday and I never found the time (or maybe inspiration) (or possibly energy) to do it on another day.

I just returned from a weekend with two cousins, a cousin-in-law, two first cousins once-removed and the girlfriend of one of them, my sister, my brother-in-law, and two nephews. (A good time was had by all!)

There was a parcel on the porch upon my return, and this week, I'm very excited about the possibilities presented/promised by this:


Three photos of three new colors of embroidery floss from Alabama Chanin. Charcoal, Slate, and Eggplant. I'm not sure the Eggplant will work with my Car Jacket, but the other two most definitely will. I'm ready to get back to that project for another 100-200-300 however-many-hundreds-of-days it'll take to finish it.

I hope you all had a great weekend, and a good Monday (macro or otherwise)!

Weekend ahead

I'm in a slump. Trying hard to dig out...

Here are some good things:


I took Ginny to dance class on Wednesday. She was the only one in class that day, and Junah had an open invitation to join... but he still will not! And that's fine, even humorous at this point. He loves to watch, though.


Earlier that day, I'd made Junah's vest to coordinate with the girls' dresses. It turned out GREAT... except that I will never make another thing for any of those kids without first taking measurements. This size 7 vest barely fits my 5.5 yo grandson! I had him try it on for button placement and, well, they'd be purely ornamental!


Since she was here, I had Ginny try on her dress, too. And same! Size 4 dress is a bit snug around the bodice on this 3yo. I may do a loop closure for the button...


We decided to go to the drive-in and pick up supper... ice cream first!!  There's a reason that vest turned out too small!  ;)  They acxtually did an OK job with the hot dog & chicken tenders that followed.


We headed out back and they tossed branches and walnuts down the hill, and this is what happened when I asked for a photo. Awwww.


Little sis was helping her dad with some stuff at home, but I still need to share her sweet face.

I am at sixes & sevens this weekend... torn between making a huge solo drive to NW Wisconsin for a gathering of cousins or staying home to get some stuff done. I keep reminding myself that I've regretted not going to these types of things before. My cousin Gail who organized it all is very excited, and I'd really feel bad letting her down. I haven't seen her or her brother in quite a few years. It's a drive (5-hr one-way) I've made a lot over the years, but not for quite some time and even longer since I did it alone. I've downloaded some audio books (I finished the second listen of Lincoln in the Bardo this morning), and I'm thinking of taking a different route, maybe scoping out some new-to-me yarn shops on the way just to keep it interesting. I made and shared this Knitting, Yarn, and Fiber in Wisconsin Google Map almost 12 years ago to the day in the On Wisconsin! board on Ravelry, and it's been a while since I actually used it myself. I keep getting update suggestions & thanks from people who do use it, though.

Well, I'm feeling a little better about going having just laid it out there. I have Monday off, so I don't have to rush back (though I do have that option).

Heh. Have a great weekend, all!