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End of August Weekending

The new cushion foam arrived, tightly rolled & compacted into a box, which we then set free! It was recommended to unpack it within two weeks of receipt, and to let it fully re-expand over a few days. These are the cushions for the "sofa bed."


We have fabric for that part, so I set to work on Saturday... dismantling the old back cushion, first.


You can see how dirty that old foam is, and it was never wrapped in anything at all. I'm so glad we're doing this... even if I'm a bit out of my comfort zone.

I removed the zipper and decided that it really needed a wash, so I carefully secured the ends and threw it into the washing machine along with the other one I'd already removed.


I cleaned off both my work table and sewing table better than they've been in months! These cushions are 75" on the long end, so I need ROOM!


It was pretty genius to buy fabric with a built-in grid along which to measure, cut, and sew -- everything's so straight! I've reached a pretty futzy part and decided to stew on it for a little bit... watch a video or two before I dive back in.

It was a "payroll weekend" for the coffee shop, and I told Ali that I'd drive out and pick up the checkbook. It was a gorgeous day yesterday with nothing much planned, so Kate came along and we grabbed the kids to give Ali a little break. We took them to Lower Cato Falls, a park that we visited in early April when we needed to get out of the house. The water was a bit lazier than in spring. Junah & Ginny led us through the woods, following a trail (for the most part), though I'm pretty sure we forged at least part of the trail back!


It's not the easiest path, full of roots & rocks, steep in places, but the kids did great... and they were so encouraging! "You can do it!" "C'mon, Nona!" "C'mon, Kate!" Even little Malina, in her tiny voice... so cute! When she fell or tripped, she'd get up and say, "I'm OK!" Anyway, they played for a while on the ancient playground equipment and we had a little snack (I actually thought ahead) before returning them home.

It was a pretty great weekend... hoping it was the same for you!


3TT: Loose Interpretation

First Thing: SAFE AT HOME - 7 Rows


Last night, I took the photo that I'd hoped to take in the morning, and got started on Row 8!

Second Thing: AT HOME - Let There Be Light (and Space)


We finally strung some lights in The Garden Room. Rusty had put an outlet near the ceiling and it's controlled by a switch, so PERFECT. All three strings have different types of bulbs, but whatever... let there be light!

The ceiling in the new part is going to get painted at some point... thought we could live with it (the exterior trim color) but nope. I'm thinking the palest of sky blues. The floor (and a million other things) are more of a priority, though, so who knows when this might happen.


There will be some major sewing projects happening soon and I'm going to need some room! I managed to clear off that little bit of my worktable the other day. Heh.

Third Thing: DUCKY - It's All Ducky, All The Time!

One of the biggest changes we're making in Ducky is replacing all the "soft goods." Fabric for new window coverings is in the house (washed, dried, and ready for cutting & sewing).

We've purchased new fabric for the "couch," and samples are on the way for the "dining area," and new Dacron-wrapped foam to replace all of the cushions is arriving today!


B'bye 1980s brown plaid!

I'm planning to re-use the zippers from all of the cushions, along with the flannel-backed vinyl that's on one side of every cushion except one.


The zippers are 33 years old, but hardly ever (if ever) actually used, so they're in pretty great shape -- and they're metal. Thankfully, they were super easy to remove & save. The vinyl is also in great shape, with only a few minor dings & tears that will be easy to repair. The upholstery fabric itself has some yucky stuff on the inside that's just deteriorated into a dusty mess, so I'm happy to be getting rid of that. I took a bunch of detailed photos of the taking apart of my practice cushion to hopefully aid in getting it all back together!

Meanwhile, I found a mini bar!


It's a Trav-L-Bar! The whisky is our addition, and the "Tin Cup" could not fit in better.


It came with this hilarious "barguide" from 1976 -- the year I graduated high school! Maybe you'd like to try your hand at ranking the Top 15 Best-selling Drinks of 1976!

In the Let's Be Practical Department, I am nixing the inspection at the local RV place. We have instead hired a freelance RV inspector who will come and spend a day with Kate & I. He will not only do an inspection, but will also give us an intensive lesson on the care & feeding, as it were, of our vintage travel trailer! That day will be this Wednesday, and the process begins with a phone call this evening to make sure we'll have everything prepped and ready. This is a lot more expensive, of course, but more hands-on and educational and... well, practical. I think it will be a fun day, and I'm really looking forward to it!


Two rows to go

This is the seventh row:


I'd hoped to lay out all seven rows this morning for an overview, but I had to get ready for the cleaning ladies coming today and that took priority!


Only two rows to go, and I'm so excited to finish this thing. My friend Ann just became a Grammy again, and I've been brainstorming middle names with Ali, and it's all just becoming a bit more real... as much as anything can feel "real" this year.

I'm just gutted over what happened to Jacob Blake in Kenosha... what is happening. I watched one of the videos and it's horrifying!

Borrowed from a friend:

Looting isn't part of protesting,
just like murder isn't part of arresting.

My heart is heavy at a time when it should be light. I think about my BIPOC counterparts who are awaiting the birth of a grandchild and how their hopes and dreams and concerns and worries for their grandchildren are so different from mine...


Introducing Ducky*!

It may seem impulsive to have all of a sudden become 33% owner of an RV with my daughter Kate, but it's been a weekly (if not daily) topic around our kitchen table for a long time... and especially since March.

For me, it actually goes back to May 2019 when I realized that the vehicle I bought came with a "towing package," and suddenly I had the desire to tow a camper into the woods. (This is NOT NORMAL!)

For Kate, it goes back a few more years, having witnessed her friend Shannon (with the help of their friend Claire & her family) completely gut and re-do an Airstream trailer, and take it on the road. Plus, Kate has The Wanderlust even worse than me!

So when everything 2020 started to fall apart six months ago, the idea of a camper came up again -- big -- as a project to keep occupied while stuck at home and, also, as a means for escape. We bought a trailer hitch and magnetic tail lights so we'd be ready to go when the right thing came along.

Well. A whole bunch of people had that same idea! We'd call the minute we saw something interesting to us and already be 14th on the waiting list. It was very discouraging and deflating, so we were sometimes more into the search than others, and the whole idea was even temporarily shelved once or twice.

Kate's been going tent camping for 3-4 days at a time over the past month or so, and loving it. The weather's been great, for the most part, but rain has been an issue a couple of times and, well, it's really no fun at all to be in a tent in the rain. Thus, a resurgence of interest and determination last week to look for a camper and, on Saturday night, Kate found a 1987 Mallard Sprinter travel trailer in Wisconsin Rapids that seemed pretty great. By miraculous stroke, she was the first to call! Our Sunday plans spun on a dime. But first! It was a cash only sale, so we counted what we had on hand, ran out to withdraw our daily ATM limits from whatever accounts we could to get as close as we could... and thankfully, those limits are "daily" and not "24 hours," because we needed to withdraw just a little bit more on Sunday morning. We were on the road at a little before 6 a.m. to make the 1.5-hour drive and be there at 7:30 as arranged.


I'll have to qualify the following statement by saying that we truly don't know what the hell we're talking about, but IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR for in terms of size (15') and condition. The lady counted our cash, we hooked 'er up, and we were home by noon!


The interior is very, um, let's say vintage '80s! It all seems in shockingly good shape considering that it's 33 years old. Most of what's "wrong" is due to sun damage -- faded paneling in places (I'm sure the walls & cabinets were originally much closer to the same color), deteriorated (brown plaid) upholstery & curtains, some plastic elements that have become discolored and/or brittle.

A lot of that will stay the same. We have no interest in a complete overhaul, nor in making it into a (gag) "glamper." A lot will also change... is already changing.


Curtains are down, tools are emerging!


Always the simplest and least expensive "upgrade" with the biggest impact -- changing the hardware!


The exterior was dirty but cleaned up SO GREAT (well, the one side so far). I think there are a few missing covers, there are a few little dents, and some of the decorative decals/painted stripes are a little worse for wear, but no sign of major water problems -- so zero complaints -- all fixable and/or waiting to be made-better-able.


Things like this fiberglass window flap/shade... which will likely be the canvas for a seascape painting. With a mallard flying over. Haha.

Now the bad news. Not really bad, but definitely a wake-up call and illustration of how much we have to learn. As mentioned, my vehicle came with a towing package and we acquired a hitch & ball, and an emergency towing light kit. When we were getting things ready to tow, the guy said, "You need a 2" ball." So we ran off to get one -- along with something else we needed, I don't remember what -- but I noticed that we already had a 2" ball. We got everything hooked up and hit the road for home. There was a little play in the ball/hitch, noticeable when we'd start/stop, but otherwise the camper towed beautifully behind my car. Turns out, what we actually needed was a 2-5/16" ball, so we looked for one when we went to get the beautiful new hardware. We couldn't find one with the properly sized shaft for our hitch... because, it turns out, I have a Class II towing package, and a 2" ball is the maximum. Ay yi yi. So now, a Class III package is on order and will be installed sometime next week. Once that's done, we'll get a properly sized hitch & ball. **

And, when THAT'S done, we'll tow it over to a local RV Service Center to have it/systems checked out. We already know that the obsolete heater doesn't work and that replacement parts are unavailable. This will give us a Ducky* To-Do List and we can figure out our priorities.

Meanwhile, we are RESEARCHING & LEARNING, LEARNING, LEARNING... and not thinking about just wallcovering, flooring, and fabrics. As much.

It's going to be a work-in-progress for a while, but usable. Adventure awaits! And I aim to go camping at least once or twice yet this year.

Thanks for your interest & cheerleading & coming along on this crazy ride! Hints and tips and things you love about RV'ing are more than welcome!

*Our travel trailer/camper/RV is a 1987 Mallard Sprinter. The TV series NCIS has been our go-to for a while now (many seasons & episodes, not requiring much commitment/attention, entertaining) and one of the characters -- the medical examiner, played by David McCallum -- is Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (pronounced mal-LARD). Who knows if it will stick, but for now, we have a Mal-LARD Sprinter that we (it's maybe only me) call DUCKY!

**Turns out... the 2" ball is the correct size. LEARNING STUFF EVERYDAY.


Unraveled Wednesday: 2nd-to-last House in the 7th Row

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.


On the right...


I knit these rows from right to left, so that house on the left is the second one I've completed but it'll be second-to-last in the end. THE END! It's (almost) in sight!


I haven't been reading a thing. Well, except for all kinds of information about vintage campers.


It would be really great if I could find an owner's manual, but so far nothing. There's not much out there about this little baby at all! Luckily, there are lots of similar Prowlers and Jaycos and, boy howdy, there are websites and forums and groups galore. I haven't even dared peek at Pinterest. Ha. It's a crazy week, but I'll fill you all in, and I'm starting a new category: 1987 Mallard Sprinter Travel Trailer


Big downer

I can't believe the photo I recently posted of Malina & Duncan was less than a week ago! I'd mentioned that we feared Duncan was fast approaching the Rainbow Bridge...


I didn't mean that fast. While we waited to take him to our appointment with the vet yesterday, he passed away quietly at home. We could never remember his age, but 17 is a good guess. Ali referred to him as the "Peter Pan" of cats in one of our recent family chats, and it was so true... it was only a year ago that one of our Airbnb guests told me that he'd met Duncan and thought he was only about a year old!

Rest in peace, little squitten. We're going to miss you.


Middle of August

That's crazy, isn't it? By this time next month, I'll already have held a new grandbaby at least a few times!


Since this photo was taken yesterday morning, the last house on the left is underway... walls are up, windows & door are in, just the roof and sky remain.


And that'll be the wrap of Row #6! Two more random rows to go and then that last row of houses -- I'm really looking forward to that! Oh, and then the sewing up and the border. I'm planning to do something a little different -- crazy, colorful & fitting -- with the border. Stay tuned!


I had all three kids overnight on Tuesday. This is Wednesday when their mom came to pick them up. Ginny's doing a show (do you want me do do one dance or three?) wearing one of the dance costumes for the spring recital-that-never-was, and is obviously not happy about sharing the dance floor with her sister -- and her brother's sprawled on the floor behind, too. That's a family of singers & dancers!

We had a great time! I picked them up and we swung through a drive-up window to pick up supper, played a bit, then watched a movie. I kept my Disney+ subscription because I knew they'd love it. They had to agree on the Tuesday night movie pick, and chose The Peanuts Movie. Oh my gosh, did they ever love that! On Tuesday, we had breakfast and they played a bunch, and then they could watch a morning movie -- Ginny's pick this time, and they didn't have to agree! She chose Frozen 2, which, of course, Junah declared to be his favorite even though he'd never have picked it nor would he have agreed to that pick. Then it was time for lunch, lots more play, picking zucchini & flowers, journaling (oh my goodness, their journals are so great!), and Junah chose the afternoon feature... The Peanuts Movie again! It was super hot outside, so we never did get out to ride bikes or anything that took more than a few minutes.


CHEESE!! This one is an absolute peach right now. Every little thing she does is cuter than the last.


And she's a little sweetheart... our little Duncan is really slowing down these days (gaining tolerance along the way) and she's very attentive.

(In fact, we fear he's fast approaching the Rainbow Bridge.)

I mentioned the other day that I'd spotted Junah & Ginny from the Garden Room when they were picking flowers for me. Ginny headed out the door with Malina to do the same... "But don't look, Nona, OK?"


These had some stems, at least, so I could put them in water! Not shown: two orchid blossoms.

Lastly, I am anxiously awaiting delivery of my Ruth Asawa Stamps!


I pre-ordered the moment I saw the announcement, and I hope they're in my mailbox today.

I'm counting the hours till the start of a 3-day weekend... I'm ready! Maybe I can find some time to get caught up in blogland. Oh, that reminds me... y'all know that I'm not exactly stellar in the replying to comments department, but when I don't even get notification of comments, well... that's what happened earlier this week. I think it was the "Hello" in the title (I need to remember that there are trigger words).


Hello, Monday

It's a darn good weekend when I feel like I accomplished stuff and took a good nap. I might have been fighting something last week (likely the same low-grade depression that our former First Lady is suffering, and that most anyone reading these words is probably feeling these days), as I took 1.5-hour naps on both Wednesday and Saturday! I've also not been sleeping quite as well as I normally do. By mid-morning, both days, I was looking forward to obligations being met so I could just go take a nap. I barely moved a muscle on Saturday, could easily have rolled over and slept for at least another hour. (But I didn't.)


Meanwhile, Kate helped me turn some of this into four loaves of zucchini bread on Saturday morning. We worked on one and froze three. I made another four loaves on Sunday afternoon -- Kate took one camping, I gave Ali two, and there's one left for me -- and froze about 14 cups of shredded zucchini for future use. There's still zucchini coming in the garden... I had spotted that one in the middle from the bedroom window, two stories up, on Friday morning! The zucchini fairy might soon be making some calls.


Ali & the kiddos came over yesterday for supper. I was sitting in the Garden Room and saw Junah & Ginny picking flowers down on the path. They ran up the stairs and into the house, each with a little fabric bag full of toys 'n things that all got dumped on the table. That photo just kind of sums up the randomness of everything right now, and that little owl is so darn cute!


Jün got into the Knex and asked me to help him build an ATV. While I was trying to decipher some of the component builds and muttering about poor quality of the printed plans, he took a motor and started fooling around, making comments about his superior eyesight, eventually coming up with this:

Haha. The kiddos are all coming for a sleepover tomorrow night, and I know there will be plenty more of that! Plus dolls and coloring and stickers and who-knows-what-all!


I made a little progress on the blanket over the weekend. Only three more blocks left on Row 6!


Some of the color & pattern combos make me so happy.

Another thing that makes me happy is getting a photo like this in my in-box:


I'm going to guess that it'll make you happy, too. Who couldn't use a little dose of Ginny's particular brand of sunshine today... or any day?!! She's one of a kind (also singing these days like there's no tomorrow)!

Happy Monday, folks. I hope y'all had a great weekend.


Right now... August

Anticipating... Kiddos sleeping over next week! All three for the first time! This is more or less a practice run for after the baby comes (due a month from yesterday), though I'll likely only have the two big kids then, with the current "baby" at other grandma's.

Celebrating... (with sadness but also excitement) Addison's 12th birthday on Saturday! He & his family are usually here at this time of the year -- August is usually Auntie Camp time. Boo.


Cooking/Eating... We tend to frequently cook meals at home, but like many, we've been cooking a lot more the past few months! We've always revisited favorite recipes from Plated (our favorite but now defunct delivery service), and have been doing so even more. I have a couple of favorite places for take-away, though. And 313 Dodge is at the top of the list (and also so darn close); Janel put together a gorgeous charcuterie box for me last night, which I paired with a Lemon-Basil Gin Smash from the walk-up window.

Excited about... getting my passport renewal. Not that I'll be using it anytime soon, but I'll be ready... the next big trip will be to Peru, I'm sure! I noticed today that the check's been cashed, so it's obviously been received at the Department of State and is at least partially processed. I had planned to send it in March, right after we got back from Mexico, but they ceased all but emergency operations and didn't even want people to mail them in. Maddy was in a little pickle in Australia, too, but thankfully operations have also resumed there (and she's all set).


Knitting... I started Row #5 #6 of my Safe At Home Blanket last night after taking this photo. It's pretty wild... and I'm really loving it. Four more rows to go!

Looking forward to... a birthday get-away to Lake Superior's North Shore. That's three months away (from today!), of course, but I took advantage of a booking promotion and nabbed a sweet lakeside cottage. Plus, I just needed to plan something!!! Anything can happen in early November from dining al fresco to building snowmen, so we'll just have to see what Mother Nature serves this year. There's a possibility of physically distanced visiting with cousins, both mine & Rusty's; otherwise, it'll be just us for a few days. Knitting, reading, sky- and lake-watching, etc.

Planning... Nona (Granny) Camp in place of Auntie Camp this year. Junah & Ginny participated last year and really enjoyed it. I think we'll do some fabric painting on t-shirts (instead of dyeing), and weaving, for sure.

Reading: Pages/Audio... I'm still not.

Sewing... I really want to sew a couple of things for the girls, and also have an itch to make a quilt. My room's a mess, though I have been plucking away at it... in the end, it's just that most of my creative energy/time right now is going to knitting that blanket. (My neglected Alabama Chanin Car Jacket is still on the table.)

Watching... Well, now what?? I just finished watching Schitt's Creek and I don't know what's next. Suggestions? I was watching an episode or two sometimes three on Netflix most nights before bed, but WHAT?? They only have Seasons 1-5! So I sprung for Season 6 yesterday and binged the entire thing. I never do that, but it worked out (and a good bit of knitting was done, too). It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. (No lie, I went through a lot of tissues... I always cry at weddings, even when they're on TV!)

Wondering... What's up in your world?


Wandawega Weekending

Well, it was only a day trip, but it sure was cool. I tagged along on Kate's invitation from the owners to meet & tour Camp Wandawega in southern Wisconsin -- not far from Lake Geneva and a little over two hours' drive from home.


Sorry... not sorry... there are going to be a lot of photos in this post!

Camp Wandawega has quite a history, from speakeasy and brothel to lakeside resort and church camp.


I first learned of Camp Wandawega and owners Tereasa & David because they're fellow Airbnb Superhosts (though in a league far-removed from mine!) and featured "how-to" Airbnb hosts... and their property is just plain AMAZING.

Tereasa, David & their daughter live in Chicago, but spend most weekends at Camp (and even more in this pandemic year). For the past 15 years, Camp Wandawega has been -- and continues to be -- their labor of love as it evolves and grows.

It's rustic...


It's cool...


It's peaceful...


It's adventure-y...


It's creative & crafty...


For real, that's the "Craft Cabin."

And don't think that I didn't think "Knitters' Summer Camp" about a million times while we toured the property!

It's an event venue (in normal times)...


Usually, there are a lot of weddings and corporate events.

It's also just a really cool place to hang out... small clusters of cabins, tents, and unique spaces. History is everywhere.


And they have their own line of Homer Laughlin diner china (among other things).


Serious plotz from this lover/collector of vintage china, especially Homer Laughlin!

It's too bad scheduling didn't work out for Kate to accept the invitation to stay overnight, but who knows what'll happen next...


Update - Landed!

This is not a very exciting photo, but Ann sent it last night from Lima!


They've arrived!! They were tested for COVID and all passed, then were quarantined at a hotel for the night and today will continue quarantine at their new house.