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November 2020

This about sums it up...


There's so much happening right now!

I'm really looking forward to our Minnesota North Shore getaway... NEXT WEEK... and with a new spin.

And, guess what? I think I'm going to NaBloPoMo for the 12th year in a row! Stay tuned.


First look!

I haven't posted anywhere else yet... this is the "first look" at something you've seen nearly every step of the way. Haha.



Rusty's so cute, offering to take my photo with the blanket a few times as the end drew near, so I took him up again for a "first look." I have something else in mind for the official FO images & post, though, so stay tuned. And, YES, if you're looking closely... those are SNOWFLAKES!

I'd shared a photo on FB on Saturday night, four corners & two sides done, with a hopeful prediction that I'd be finished by "the end of the football game tomorrow," which, to anyone who knows me, knows that meant "the Packer game."


I didn't actually say which football game, though! Ha. I was so close by the time the Packers logged their win... then the network went immediately to the end of the Detroit game and, lo, I wove in the last of the border ends just as they won with an extra point at the buzzer! Anyone who knows football knows that I'm not naturally a Detroit fan, but I could only be happy for everyone at that very moment.


There's a photo of the back... I think I've woven in & trimmed all the ends! I knit the border in sections -- four mitered corners (along four blocks each), and then each of the four sides, sewing up tiny little seams as I finished.

It was such a fun project, not only because it's for my grandson! I don't think I'll be knitting another blanket in this pattern... but I will be knitting this pattern again (if only because the "audition" project is still unfinished)!

Thanks for coming along for the ride, folks. I've appreciated every nod of approval and/or awe (or was that "are you nuts?") along the way!


Why does it always take three tries?

This is the second attempt at a mitered border:


It's way better than the first, but still a little loosey-goosey, especially at the corner.

Actually, now that I'm looking at it, I might be picking up too many stitches. So, that's what I'll try next.

We were supposed to head to a campground today after work, but it's raining and cold and it'll be getting dark by the time we get there... I could handle it without the rain. So, we're going to wait until tomorrow morning.

We picked up Ducky at the RV place on Tuesday and I'm so happy! They replaced some corroded wiring and the outside running lights all work, not to mention the brake lights! We're still going to keep the magnetic ones on and plugged in (since we have both 7-pin and 4-pin ports), because you just can't be too safe. The Explorer is such a better match than the Escape for towing, but we had to get (another) new ball mount because the hitch receptacle is so much higher!

It's only money.

Meanwhile, and apologies if you've already seen this on IG and/or FB, but we are STOKED!


Before > After. We could play SPOT THE DIFFERENCES! haha. I'll give you two that aren't discernible: all of the lens covers for the light fixtures were removed and cleaned (b-bye bugs) and the bulbs were all replaced with LEDs!


I'm very proud of my matching stripes, which was done from memory because the big seat cushion was in Ducky at the RV place when I sewed the little ones. The stripes actually match seat-to-back, too. Originally there were little strips that joined the back cushions to the seat cushions... that would have been a real pain to replicate, but I might have to come up with some sort of solution. It would help keep the cushions together when they're acting as a bed, though that hasn't been an issue we've noted.

I'm thinking out loud.

Can't wait for a long weekend... and to go.


Weekending: Screenshots



Sometimes it's good to laugh until you cry!! It's rare that we're all "together" these days, so that was a big bonus.


The cropped version of this photo was posted on IG yesterday, but I wanted to post it in full glory. The blanket colors are pretty darn true here. The border color reads as just a wee bit more black in person, but it's close. I am CHUFFED to be finished with this phase, and now trying to remember (researching) how to knit on a mitered border... it's been about 10 years since I did that.


3TT: Yesterday

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

Three photos from yesterday!

The day started with an invitation to walk along with Kate & McGregor.


He is not my dog and I'm not the primary dog-walker, but I've definitely been walking more since he joined our household. Not a bad thing!

Later in the morning, Ali popped over with Davy.


I got to cuddle him for a while so she could go to the grocery store unencumbered.

We're nearly finished watching Wild Bill on Amazon/BritBox and, of course, I'm sewing up a blanket...


...which is now big enough to actually serve as a blanket! I began the second-to-last seam last night, joining Rows 3+4 to 9-to-5. It's going to be warm!! Parcheesi is pretty comparable in size, but it's knit with a single strand of fingering-weight throughout... this one is fingering held double!

For grins, the 3 projects I need to finish before casting on anything new:

  1. Davy's Safe at Home Blanket
  2. Messy Bun/Braids & Bobbles Hat for My Cousin Gail
  3. Making More Arrows Scarf for Peg (the one in Neutrals)

Well, for sure I have to finish the first two... any deadline for #3 is purely self-imposed.


Unraveled Wednesday: Sewing up!

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


I have half a blanket almost sewn up!!


From the top, that's Rows 9 to 5... a few little sections still need to be sewn between Rows 6 & 7, and I'll probably be moving on to joining Rows 3 & 4 by this evening.

Adding on two rows at a time really makes it grow! The end is truly in sight.


Here's a view of the back. I'll be using most of those long ends for sewing up.


I've actually started "reading" again, listening to The Women of Brewster Place, which I am enjoying very much. I haven't been turning any pages yet, though.


Weekending: New wheels

I can't say that I was actually in the market for a new car, but it was pretty clear that it was either a new vehicle or no Ducky! Not an option. "Goldie," my Escape, was just not up to the task.

Meet "Magneto"!


It's a 3yo Ford Explorer XLT, and will make a fine match with Ducky!

I've gone most of my life without naming my vehicles, but it's not unprecedented in my lifetime... my mom had a 1962 Plymouth (with pushbutton transmission) that she called "The BBB"! That was Bouncing Brown Bomb for the youngsters, Bouncing Brown Bastard for the rest. Hehe.

I feel like I spent most of Saturday driving around -- not a bad thing when getting used to a new vehicle! I had a few errands and my timing was a bit off, so had to rearrange and then circle around.

I figured that I might as well run out to the RV place to grab a cushion from Ducky. There are only two small cushions yet to re-do; one of them was still in the trailer and I needed to reclaim & wash the zipper. I didn't actually get around to cutting fabric or sewing over the weekend, but I now have both (clean) zippers and I'm ready to go. We've reserved three nights at Bay Shore Park Campground for the weekend after next and that job should be complete by then!

On my first errands circle, I'd noticed an "Estate Sale" sign in a very intriguing neighborhood... I was with an angsty hangry Kate, so didn't stop, but made a point to do it on the second loop (why not?). The sale had been pretty picked over by the time I stopped, but the turn-of-the-century house (I'm guessing) was very interesting and fun to see. I did find some silver plated serving pieces that I liked, and some knitting stuff... lots of junk, but there were some "keeper" needles and an intriguing tool:


I did a cursory quick search and didn't come up with much on that item! I'm hoping to dig a little deeper soon. I don't have a clue about how one would use that... DO YOU??

I wandered into the Garden Room yesterday morning (aka, the Sunday NY Times Reading Room) and it was just lovely.


The leaves are turning, falling... it won't be long before the trees are bare. And we're gonna need some curtains in there! Ha. We'll need something on the lower half at least those four in the corner.

As lovely as it started, the day was actually mostly overcast and chilly -- the perfect kind of weather for Chili All Day! (Oh darn, I had to get in the car again.)

Ali & family came over late in the day and stayed for supper. I didn't get any good pics of the girls, but here's what's new with the boys:


They're both growing crazy-fast!

As is Davy's "Safe At Home" blanket:


Well, it's maybe not growing "crazy-fast," but it is growing! So far, I've joined Rows 1+2, 3+4, 5+6 and 8+9, and last night I started joining Row 7 to 8+9. Lordy, it's a a lot of sewing up, it's a little fiddly, there are a bajillion-zillion-and-ten ends to weave in or anchor or trim, but my nose is to the grindstone and it is so worth it to see this thing begin to really take shape. I don't think I'll be finished by the time we go camping, but I should at least be into the border!

How was your weekend?


Eye Candy Friday

I'm loving how the Lambstrings Spooky October Advent Calendar is coming along!


Days 1-7:  "Lady Baphomet," "There's a razor blade in my apple," "Seance," "Dorian Gray," "Spookshow," "404," and "Phantom."

I was busy picking up & learning about my new-to-me vehicle last night, so didn't get a chance to open Day 8 until it was way too late for a photo, but here it is:


"Strange and unusual."

There's nothing strange and unusual about my happiness with these!

And I'm very happy that the weekend is nearly upon us! I plan to spend it mostly at home, catching up on some things (laundry is looming large). I hope you have a great one!


Camping: Big Lake

Our trial run to Calumet was made with a longer trip in mind, and a couple of weeks later we packed up and headed 3.5 hours north to the "rustic" Big Lake Campground at Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.


Kate had gone tent camping up here a few times earlier in the summer, and this was her favorite campground. We gave our site a good look upon arrival to determine how best to situate Ducky. Let me just say that we are newbies, and we're gonna be newbies for a long time... we learned a lot on this trip, too!


Most trailer campsites are either "back-in" or "pull-through." Well, we pulled right in to our back-in site, which we determined would work best given the lay of the land and the layout of our camper. We realized later that the better thing for us would have been to move the fire ring and the picnic table in order to back in, as that was the most level spot and would have given us a lot more privacy. Not that we were exposed or anything, we were in a nice hollow and there were lots of trees around us and between sites. And, obviously, we were able to maneuver my Escape around to the other side and, eventually, we (Kate) backed OUT of the site. That was surprisingly easy! We are both getting more comfortable and confident with the backing-up-a-trailer thing with each excursion.

You can see that our stabilizers are atop some levelers in the front (four, I think, under each), and there was barely room for the stabilizers alone in the rear. It was level and stable and it felt okay.

And then it rained. I'd mentioned that it only rained at night?  It did, but oh my goodness, DID IT EVER RAIN!! (And thank god for earplugs!) It came down so hard, so fast, so much on that first night that there were rivulets through our site... right under Ducky... right where those levelers and stabilizers are. It rained the second night, too, though not QUITE as hard. We still needed earplugs; both admitted later to middle-of-the-night thoughts of being washed away!

Oh the drama! We were fine, but these are lessons that will never be forgotten.

We only saw the sun on our last afternoon, but it was certainly comfortable enough to spend almost all of the daytime outside... the bugs weren't even bothersome.


We were there for peak autumn color -- you can see the difference between arrival on Thursday and departure on Monday.

We spent a lot of time building and tending campfires (and running to procure more firewood)... not the easiest thing when it's been rained on all night, every night! But we managed.


And we had McGregor!!

Our timing was perfect for a meet-up on Friday with my Uncle Jim and his friend Pat at the Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters where he was picking up a bat monitor to record activity near his place for a few days. It was great to see him, even just for a little while, and to meet Pat!

The campground was a bit more woodsy and interesting than Calumet, but I didn't hike much other than trips to the toilet with an occasional detour to the beach on the way back. It sure was gorgeous.


And, similarly, I spent most of my time working on the Safe At Home blanket for Davy... weaving in ends and seaming.


Lots of ends (that's a drop in the bucket)! It took a few tries to get the seaming method/look that I wanted, finally settling on backstitch and it's moving along -- I feel like the end is in sight.

So, Big Lake Campground is "rustic," meaning there are no hookups of any kind; there are vault toilets and non-potable water available at a pump. So we were truly on battery & propane power the whole time, and had to haul in our own drinking water! Ducky's "plumbing" isn't functional right now, anyway, so we didn't even miss it... though we did spring for a "luggable loo" type of setup (which we perched in the bathroom shower area) because there's no way I'm hauling my ass to a vault toilet in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night! And, you know, at least for me, having to GO in the middle of the night is an unavoidable fact these days!

We did some more campfire cooking:


Chicken & veggies in foil packets, foil-wrapped potatoes to have with a yummy smoked pork chop from Nueske's. Those coals were HOT, and I'm still learning/perfecting my campfire cooking techniques, so the potatoes got a little singed (okay, burnt) on one side, but they were amazingly good. Yeah, okay, the chicken & veggies were also a little singed... I'm the type that likes my s'mores marshmallows FLAMING, so obviously I'm okay with some burned-y bits. Haha.


It was really lovely and, though not completely unplugged from everything... we were unplugged enough and it was great to take a break for a few days!

We cleaned Ducky up on Monday when we returned, then hauled him over to an RV service center to have a few things fixed/checked out. We're thinking of taking one more short 2- or 3-night trip in a couple of weeks, before it gets too cold, at a campground less than an hour from home.


Camping: Calumet

I scrolled through the blog looking for my post about our first camping outing for reference... and there isn't one! I never even wrote one because all of a sudden (though not unexpectedly... heheh) there was a new baby and it's been a little chaotic and nonstop since then (except for our second camping outing) (coming soon).

So, first things first!


We hitched up on a Tuesday afternoon and hauled Ducky over to Calumet County Park, only 20 miles from home, for a two-night stay.

Newbies, we did our best backing in and setting up under the observant (but not intrusive) eyes of our neighbor a couple of sites away. A little nervous, perhaps, and wary of site conditions (level), we ended up about 8 feet short of being able to plug in our power cord. I'd had a fleeting thought about throwing the extension cord in the car when we were packing up, but didn't do that... so we were on battery power! We also had to remember how to turn on the propane power for the fridge.


This was before replacing all of the interior lamps with LEDs that use a lot less power. We also have at least four small portable LED lanterns and headlamps, so we are not lacking for light!

Also at this point in time, I'd only replaced the "living room" couch cushions and the "dining room" area still had the originals from 1987. I slept in the living room and Kate slept in the dining room, and we could have held hands if we'd wanted. It's very cozy.

We made quesadillas for supper and didn't dally much that evening, but I do recall talk of dogs, and my photo roll supports that because...


...while searching for "Scottish boy dog names" or somesuch, I came across this photo of Ewan McGregor and his adorable dog and, well, the rest is history.

I had coffee on Wednesday morning in my new insulated and practically indestructible camping mug from KC&T!


I posted this photo on IG and ended up shipping two mugs to the east coast for friends who had to have one themselves!

We made a run on Wednesday for a few supplies, including an extension cord exclusively for Ducky! Otherwise, I spent a lot of time knitting that day and finished the strips!


The little blue marker is holding a dropped stitch and was a reminder to pick it up when I picked up stitches for the roof.

We were close enough to home that Rusty came out late in the afternoon for a hike and to have supper with us.


The park is located on the Niagara Escarpment, and it's pretty cool.


It's also home to a few effigy mounds, of which Wisconsin has many.


A few leaves were starting to turn... and it was just a nice walk.

While Kate and Rusty stoked the fire, I prepared fish & veggie packets to cook over the coals.


They were overcooked a little bit...


...but delicious!


Not a bad day.

Day 2 began with coffee and pancakes (or panpakes, as the kids say) for breakfast!


We cooked 'em on Ducky's little stove and dined at the picnic table.

Playing tourist a little bit, we drove down to LaClare Cheese Factory. We are no strangers to the area, as we prefer traveling on that side of the lake whenever we're pointed south -- Milwaukee or Chicago or beyond -- but in "travel mode," we rarely stop anywhere.


We greeted some goats, and bought some great cheese and sausage!


I took a photo of these cheese wheels through a window, aren't they gorgeous??

After that outing, we de-camped and headed for home. It was a great little first trip and gave us a little more confidence to head a further afield and for longer. More on that outing soon!!



It was a busy & fun weekend. One very exciting thing was taking a brand new Ford Explorer for a test drive! I'm in the market for a different vehicle and, while it most certainly won't be A Brand New Car, it will be newer than what I have. (And, hey, that was fun... did you know that there's an option for a rotary dial shifter?) Anyway, I'm looking to accommodate grandkids, for better towing capability, and for a few features that are lacking on my older car... Bluetooth, rear-view camera, remote starting, heated seats (and maybe even a heated steering wheel... that is the bomb!). I'd really like a sun/moon roof, too, but am willing to forego that for a few other must-haves.



I enjoyed cuddles with Davy on Saturday when I drove out to pick up the big kids, and again on Sunday when their momma came to get them. He was sleeping both times!

I had all three of his older siblings for another overnight -- from about noon Saturday until mid-afternoon on Sunday. The kids camped out on the living room floor and I took a turn on the couch (which used to be a lot more comfortable, I have to say... it could use a Ducky-style re-do or replacement, too!). Despite the couch having seen better days (I've had some epic naps there), I had a really good night's sleep!

We had a fun hour or so decorating t-shirts with puffy paint on Saturday afternoon!


I helped Malina with hers... her attention span isn't quite there (not to mention ability), but she helped hold the bottles and we worked together until she declared, "I'm done."

While my focus was on helping Malina...


Ginny was VERY BUSY... and a little heavy-handed! But OMG, isn't that little guy cute?? The hair and use of color just slay me! There were a few more, um, decorative BLOBS applied toward the top of the shirt after this photo was taken. The directions say "four hours" to dry... Ginny's might be more like four MONTHS! Haha. (Also, anatomy... a bit more refined than the sidewalk chalk art of a few weeks ago. Haha.)


Junah was very intent on his lines-and-squiggles design, and then experimented a bit with some printing/transfer using a foam paintbrush.


My kids decorated a fair number of shirts back in the day -- and Kate got very excited about the prospect of puffy paint, too! (I love this photo.)


There was a bit more added after I took this photo, but you get the idea.

After we found a place for the shirts to dry undisturbed (temporarily, anyway), there was a performance... and lesson.


Haha. You can see how that went down!!

We didn't have the greatest weather over the weekend... it was gray and drippy on Saturday. There was the smallest of breaks when Rusty took the kids on a walk to a nearby park, and Kate & I took McGregor around the block.


The wet leaves looked amazing!

The kids & I picked up a drive-thru lunch on Sunday and headed over to another city park. It was a little bit nicer, still chilly, so we found a spot with as much sunshine as we could while we ate. Then we headed up to the playground area, where we noticed a gathering of people... turned out they were getting ready for a drive-by baby shower for one of Ali's former employees! She saw Ali's van pull up and the kids pile out and thought, Wow, Ali's here early... It was nice to see her and to wish her well!


It was a fun park that I'd never really been to before (not the playground part, anyway). There were two double-sided climbing walls and both Junah & Gin climbed to the top a couple of times (once they were bug-, spider-, and spider web-free, that is!). Some of those little hand-holds were full of water (and stuff), too, which let to some cute little screeches on the ascent.

There was all the usual play, plus fun with McGregor. We also watched a few movies: 101 Dalmations, James and The Giant Peach, Frozen, and Toy Story 4 (yay, Disney+)!

My delight at opening a little surprise parcel of yarn everyday continues...


I haven't opened today's yet (because morning darkness), but here are the four so far.


They are "Lady Baphomet," "There's a razor blade in my apple," "Seance," and "Dorian Gray." There are 30 mini-skeins in the Lambstrings Spooky October Advent Calendar, and a full-size skein on Day 31, so the possibilities are plentiful and I have lots of time to ponder them.

I hope you had a great weekend!



I'm worn out. I've never slept better than I did last week... six days in a row with green stars on my Fitbit (meaning that I met my sleep goal), scores in the high 80s. Since? Not so much. I think I need to go back to the woods.

Here's some random stuff for a chilly Friday.


Color in the back yard.


Color in the car. It's not the best photo, but I loved the sunlight on my orange chenille collar. Wearing this amazing sweater/jacket is always like getting a big warm hug from my sister. (I love you and miss you, Sharon Jean!)


Color on the sidewalk. This morning. In the dark. I had to adjust the color balance a bit, but wow... I wonder how long I'll be able to take early dark-morning photos? Anyway, this is Rows 5+6, which I finished sewing up last night while watching an episode of LONG WAY UP!! We really loved Long Way Round and Long Way Down, so this was a no-brainer... plus, I finally get to use the Apple TV subscription that came with my phone! If you like Ewan McGregor, adventure, Ewan McGregor, beautiful scenery, or Ewan McGregor, I think you'll like any of these shows. (Ewan McGregor.) (Charley's cute, too.)


Color everyday in October! I was so happy yesterday morning when I realized that it was SPOOKY OCTOBER ADVENT CALENDAR time, and looked forward to getting home and opening Day 1. This is really going to help get me through the month...

Happy Friday! I hope y'all have a great weekend!