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November 2019
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January 2020

Year In Review!

Here we go again Year In Review!

I do it in words (the first sentence of the first post of each month) and in pictures (a favorite posted photo from each month) -- the two are not necessarily related.

January 2019:

I started & finished 19 items in 2018, with the exception of "Habu for Me" which was started in 2009!


February 2019:

This has been the state of things all weekend, more or less, and it's currently coloring my mood.


March 2019:

There seemed to be more contrails and planes in the sky this morning than I've seen in a while!


April 2019:

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


May 2019:

We celebrated Ginny's 3rd birthday last Thursday!!


June 2019:

I arrived home last night and am back at work today.


July 2019:

[I can hardly believe it's July!] Now's the time that summer feels like it might be slipping away, especially because we've hardly had any summer weather to enjoy... so.much.rain.


August 2019:

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



08-August opt

September 2019:

This is my fourth In Threes Baby Cardigan!


October 2019:

The History of the Handkerchief presentation over the weekend was informal, full of anecdotes and factoids (of the factual type), and made most interesting by audience participation -- personal stories and memories -- and the presentation of several examples (including by one attendee who brought a box full)!


November 2019:

[Hi. I lied!] I will be posting while I'm away because NaBloPoMo, the idea of which has been drifting in & out of my consciousness for the past couple of weeks... and not with dread, so here I am!


December 2019:

Yikes, this is a crazy month.



12-December 2

I know I  say it every year: I can't quite believe the year is almost over!



It was really great to have all of my girls home for Christmas this year!


Especially great to have Maddy & Viv here for most of December. It was a super busy month! And now, "normal" is beginning to return...

Kate leaves today for Brooklyn to begin work on the three-day exhibition to benefit Art Start, opening on Friday, Jan. 3rd, at Ortega y Gasset Projects.

Originally scheduled to begin their journey back to Australia yesterday (with an overnight at friends' in MKE, closer to the airport), the tummy bug we've (most of us) all shared in the days since Christmas caught up with Maddy and they needed that extra day here to finish/catch up prior to departure.


Rusty's taking them directly to the airport today, and they stopped by a little while ago for final farewells. Ugh. It's always too soon!

Ann and her family will leave tomorrow...


Happy Holidays!!

Let the crazy begin!


This is what happens when your photographer says, "Look at your favorite person!" Hilarious!! And may the jocularity continue...

I'm working this morning, but off at noon... a quick stop with co-workers and then a stop at the grocery store. I know! I just finalized the festivities menu(s) last night... and I weirdly love the hubbub of last-minute grocery shopping.


  • 24th: Christmas Eve! Today would have been Grandma Blum's 107th birthday.
  • 25th: Merry Christmas! We'll have our immediate family celebration.
  • 26th: Rusty's enormous-number birthday! Ann & family arrive.
  • 27th: Birthday party at the bowling alley. Family gift exchange.
  • 28th: Breathe a little. But also a quick outing to the candy store with the big kids.
  • 29th: Rusty takes Maddy & Viv to Milwaukee -- first leg of their return Down Under. (sad face)
  • 30th: Kate heads to Brooklyn for the opening of MIRROR EYE...

Young Space is excited to partner with Far x Wide for a three-day exhibition at Ortega y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn, NY, to benefit Art Start. This exhibition showcases exceptional work by early-career and emerging artists, and 50% of proceeds from sales support the mission of New York City nonprofit organization Art Start in their continuing mission to identify and nurture young people through art (the other 50% to artists)!

January 3-5, 2020 at Ortega y Gasset Projects, 363 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Opening times: Friday 3 January: 1-6 (+ opening reception 6-9); Saturday 1-6; Sunday 1-4

  • 31st: New Year's Eve -- likely a quiet one!



Mother, Mother, I want another!


It was a GREAT weekend... but I sure could use another. I had Saturday to myself and spent the day in my PJs, mainly sewing and getting a little bit organized. I've been making stabs at this bag project over the past couple of weeks and finally made the push to finish them. My assembly line was humming along when it dawned on me that there was a difference between fronts & backs (including intentional position & size when I cut the pieces), and that I'd forgotten to insert the little loop in all of the backs before sewing up. I almost let them go without, but I spent some time & effort to make them all, so just buckled down and did the deed. I'm glad I did.

Rusty & I went to a Solstice Party on Saturday night... another fun evening to wear PARTY PANTS!

I putzed a little on Sunday morning, then took Kate out to Ali's so she could paint, and I grabbed the kiddos for a few hours.


It was so nice outside that we went to a park (the one with the rubber play surface). There was still quite a bit of snow and I almost nixed it, but they really wanted to give it a go... they had the place to themselves and THEY HAD A BLAST! Well, until Ginny slipped going up the slide and landed on her chin. Ouchie! There were tears and blood, but she was a trooper. We went to my house for snacks and coloring, and also watched some Christmas music stuff on YouTube... oops, and also Harry Styles!

A recent guilty pleasure... so catchy & cute! In my defense, the YouTube thing led me to believe it was Harry Styles singing a Christmas song, but it was actually from a concert AT Christmas time. Heh. Malina liked it... she was dancing!

I think it was a very good thing that I took the kids for a while because when we returned, Ali was on the couch. I think the pre-holiday hoopla + fixer upper stuff + moving has caught up with her. Maddy, too, was back & forth to Stevens Point on Friday, then to Door County on Saturday, and had intended to be out there painting yesterday, but was a little bit under the weather. Nothing serious with either one of them and thankfully they know enough to listen to their bodies!


But look what Kate was able to accomplish while we were gone!


Maddy & Viv finished trimming the tree last night!


And I did some more sewing. This is Ellen Mason's Runaway Bag, recently seen at Through The Loops' IG #giftbagalong, and I'm hoping to make a few more for giving... with gifts within! I'll wrap some of the kids' stuff with paper, but mostly it'll be this sort of thing. This was really fun to make!!



Friends + Family = FRAMILY


The wonderful Mary from Fox Valley Birth and Baby come over a couple of weeks ago to take some photos for us.

There are a bunch more photos over on Insta if you'd like to take a gander. We had so much fun.

Have a great weekend, everyone! It's the final countdown, and I could feel the tension as I drove home from work last night -- a noticeable shift from the day before. I'll be hunkered down at home, for the most part, working on some projects, though it looks like there'll be a move happening this weekend, so who knows!!


3TT: 3x3+1

Life is a little bit crazy around here on any given day, but lately... man, it's OFF THE CHARTS.

1st THREE:


Blatantly stolen from Kate's IG Stories yesterday. That's the downstairs bathroom/powder room, and we couldn't stop looking at those before & after photos last night!! Motivation!

2nd THREE:


You may have seen these three images on my IG yesterday, but even going "vertical," I couldn't fit the entire "playhouse" into the frame. You can see Junah starting to climb the first ladder... those ladders could be angled a bit, in my opinion, and also the entry holes enlarged. Ahem. I climbed to the top with him! You can see the house and one of the outbuildings/garage behind him in the second, and the other outbuilding in the third.

3rd THREE:

IMG_1888-COLLAGEDid this little girl have a premonition yesterday, sporting this particular pink hat?? Photos taken at such an angle because she's wearing tights -- very excited about wearing tights -- but wearing nothing else on the bottom half! (Brrrr.)



Three Gingers & a Blonde* walk into a fixer-upper farmhouse on a Wednesday in December... and KILLED IT (along with a couple bottles of wine).

*With a huge assist from Dad!!


Just Sharon

She hated being called "Shari" or "Shar" or "My Sharona" or anything other than just SHARON.


Nine years. I miss you so much. xoxo


Weekending: All kids, all the time*

As mentioned, I did my part in helping Ali & Rod get their house in shape by taking the kids for the weekend.

We hung out at home on Saturday... and it seems like there was a lot of eating! So many snacks.

Junah grabbed one of the bags in which said snacks were delivered and disappeared. Soon he was back, asking for another... and another... and another...

Turns out, he was bagging up all the toys, dolls, puzzles, balls -- basically everything in their small play area except the furniture -- he was pretending that he was THE GRINCH and he was STEALING CHRISTMAS! Gin was his co-hort (aka, MAX). He piled it all up by the front door. And a little while later, he brought it all back!

On Sunday, we had breakfast, watched a quick movie, and then headed to the children's museum. It opened at noon (we arrived around 12:15) and closed at 5 pm (which is when we left).


There was a sensory area for a while where the kids played with "fake snow" -- baking soda + shaving cream. Junah & Ginny loved it... especially Gin.


One of the highlights of our local museum has always been the water play area, complete with rain coats!


This area has had a slight revamp since my last visit, with lightweight plastic "stones" replacing torn foam. It's a vast improvement! The big kids were busy loading up all the dump trucks, and later the hard hats, to move all the stones into one big pile. They did pretty well, too, and even recruited other kids who came into the area.


I love how fashion-y Ginny looks in these photos. Malina's just... Malina!


The tree house with bridges and ramps made of rope & otherwise, and with portholes and cubbies, has also been a long-time feature. And favorite!


There's a nice big area for artistic pursuits, as well. I love love love this photo of Ginny.

When the museum closed, we headed out to the new house... and then back to my house for dinner.

We're planning a Sisters + Viv + Dad + Mom (later) Day on Wednesday! Finally... painting will happen! And lots of it. I have a couple of appointments, or I'd be there earlier. Can't wait!!

*Except while sleeping... Nona needs a little downtime!



TGIF: Welcome Home!!

It's a done deal.


Ali & Rod closed on their new old house yesterday.


Rusty will load up his tools and spend the weekend out there, helping with a few things that need to be done before they will actually move in. Fresh paint, correctly applied, will do wonders, but there's a bit more than that needed in some areas.

I'll do my part by taking the kids!


December Weekending, Part II

One thing I really wanted to do this month, while Maddy was home, was to have some family photos taken -- because she wasn't here for the session last summer.


I hired Mary, again, to come over and take various group shots, some decorating the tree shots, and some under-the-mistletoe shots. I haven't seen anything official yet, but here's one that I snapped of Ali & her family from the back porch. Junah was MUCH more cooperative than he was last summer.


My tree is still scarcely decorated because, knowing it would be a little crazy, I put out a selected assortment (of mostly nonbreakable) ornaments for the photo ops.


We finally remembered that building gingerbread houses and decorating gingerbread houses are two distinctly different things... needing some time in between. I found a really great kit at Target that had four SMALL structures instead of one big house.


Brilliant on so many levels.


Only three shown because littlest sis apparently thought it would be fun to see what happened when she flung one across the table. She's so FAST!!


After photos and decorating -- the tree & gingerbread houses -- it was time to settle in and watch a little football!!

And (now that it's Thursday) that was our weekend.

Crazy week, month, season...


December Weekending, Part I

Honestly, with the first & busiest week behind me, I think it's mostly a downhill slide from here until Christmas! That's not to say there isn't anything to do between now and then... there's plenty!

We took the kids to the parade last Tuesday and they had a blast.

Junah's mouth was literally agape a few times, and they collected as much candy as they did on Halloween (if not more).

Kate & I drove down to Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon to collect Maddy & Viv! That was a long day, but totally worth it.

On Thursday, I popped in at Knit Night -- only because I'm the host. I had a particular project that I wanted to finish, which I did, and then took my leave to spend some time at home with the newly landed.

Friday was my company's employee party... and the debut of PARTY PANTS!


That's a terrible photo -- my bedroom mirror is very old and it doesn't not photograph well. Heh. Anyway, those are my single-layer Alabama Chanin Palazzo Pants, stenciled with a metallic/pearl paint. I'm wearing a shimmery top from H&M, and a cropped J. Jill cardigan that I've had for a while.


My earrings are handmade by my new custom jeweler: Glass Brick Beadwork. That's Kate's newest (and it's very, very new) endeavour!

Our party began when we all met at an Escape Room. We split into two groups and spent an hour putting our heads together to try and solve clues! It was WAY more fun than I expected -- the room I was in was in the "film noir" genre, a murder mystery whodunnit (SO up my alley), and I was most surprised by a) how quickly an hour went by and b) that there was a second room! We'd barely entered and surveyed the second room when it was over... so, obviously, Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade were not being channeled by any of us, but it was a great time! We finished with a nice catered dinner at a local brewery.

Oh, did I mention that we had weekend Airbnb guests for yesterday's football game? Also, that dates changed and signals crossed... and that Maddy & Viv arrived about a week earlier than I initially thought. Long-story-short: When I finally realized (less than two weeks ago) that there was a conflict, I ended up booking an Airbnb for Maddy, Viv, and their friends Katy & Andrés!! (I'm thinking of it now because it happened to be kitty-corner from the brewery where our party was!)


Our Airbnb guests were among the best we've had... and not just because they brought me a gift from Florida! We've been in pretty close contact from the moment they booked, and I wouldn't be surprised if that continued. It was a pleasure to assist them in fulfilling a dream...

On Saturday, I saw a Facebook ad for the "last estate sale of the year" from a local company and cajoled Kate into coming with me. Oh, what a treat that was... in an early '70s time capsule of a house. Here's Kate in the bathroom:

Seriously, I almost took the same photo. We found a couple of treasures, too!

Stay tuned for December Weekending, Part II!


Right Now...

I think about writing a post like this almost every month, but I haven't actually done it since February! What?? Taking my cue from Bonny, here we go for December...

Anticipating... a trip to Milwaukee tomorrow afternoon to pick up Maddy & Viv!!


Cooking/Eating... we did really well with Thanksgiving & leftovers! Rusty made a great turkey soup (he's been doing soup so well, he's now the default soup maker). We also inadvertently enjoyed one last delivery of Plated! I'd received notification that they were ending subscription deliveries and considered having one more delivery -- it was my first meal delivery service and has always been my favorite. In order to see all the menu selections, I had to click on the "unskip" for the week... I didn't actually see anything that I was dying to try, so clicked away. Next thing you know, I had an email a few days later about my upcoming delivery! I'd forgotten to re-click "unskip." Oh well, they sent some good chicken dishes (we are just about poultry'd out around here). Now their meals are available in stores -- but currently none close to me.


Enjoying... a brighter living room! We've lived in this house for over 30 years and, for most of those years, I've had off-white ruffly/lacy curtains. It's an old house, I have old stuff & antiques, and they fit (more or less)... but they were looking tired and dated (in other words, I was sick of them). It was long past time for some updating and brightening! Last year, I replaced the curtains in the adjoining "front room" with simpler white sheers, and did the same in the "living room" a few weeks ago. The color is the same but the curtains in each room have a different/complementary woven design. Kate sent this photo one morning last week -- so much light!!! Even in the dark hours, those white curtains make everything look brighter. I'm getting ready to retire/replace/update some of the stuff on the walls, too. (I have a nice, light gray canvas cover for my circa 1985 "tulip" sofa but it was in the wash. I wouldn't mind replacing the sofa, too, but it has such good bones!)

Excited about... our local Christmas parade tonight! Turns out the big kids don't want to be in the parade, so Ali will drop them off and we'll walk down to see it. New this year, a "sensory sensitive section" on the parade route where the sirens and horns will be silenced and the music will be quieter. I think we might go see another small parade on Saturday night so Viv can experience the joy!

Knitting... I haven't started anything new since I finished Junah's mitts. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head, but... see "Sewing."

Looking forward to... a springtime vacation! It's not until March, but we firmed up plans and booked it last week... I like having things like this to look forward to! We'll be returning to Todos Santos. It's been five years since we were there together (for our 30th anniversary), though Rusty's been there for work a couple of times since. He'll be working a bit on this trip, too, with a special gallery event in the works... but not working too much! I found a great Airbnb super close to the beach... and I'm already feeling better about winter (and the light begins to return in less than three weeks!).

Organizing... is on my to-do list! I really need to get a grip on the gift situation.

Planning... Christmas dinner... we're thinking Beef Wellington! I made one with my mom several years ago and it turned out great.

Sewing... my worktable (my entire workroom) is a complete disaster so there hasn't been much happening in there. I have a couple of small sewing projects that I'd like to do for Christmas, though.

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?


Hello December!

Yikes, this is a crazy month. Right now, though, I'm focused on TWO MORE SLEEPS 'til we see Maddy & Viv!!

The kids were over yesterday. If you follow me on IG you may have seen some video of playing in the snow, and also this:


Um. I'm just thinking that those truffles really are made with silky smooth chocolate...

There was also this:


Malina (another little fashionista!) is so cute when she "reads"! And there's Junah, randomly sporting his finished mitts! He was so happy to get them and even modeled for me.


But this image (a video still) is blowing my mind:



That's not all!


I have a new pom pom maker!! He made TWO!