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Busted out

Yesterday, we masked up...


...and headed down to Chicago! There's a busy month ahead before Kate heads to Scotland, and we've begun crossing a few "do before departure" things off the list.

When I recently read that The Purple Pig was opening their dining room again (at 50% capacity), the deal was sealed. I've had Bisa Butler: Portraits at The Art Institute of Chicago on my list for a while, and we got Monet and Chicago as a bonus! At first, we talked about a quick overnight trip, but instead decided on an even quicker day-trip, and on a weekday in order to avoid crowds as much as possible.

We timed our arrival to coincide with the restaurant's open and had a great lunch. It was my first time to The Purple Pig since they moved (almost two years ago!) into a larger space. We'd been visiting the old location (practically next door) on nearly every visit to Chicago since we discovered it, so I was happy to return!


From there, we walked down to the AIC, where we flashed our digital tickets, which I'd purchased in advance, including the special ticket required for Monet. Upon entry, we could join a "virtual waiting list" for the special/popular exhibits, including Bisa Butler, as the museum was limiting the number of people allowed in each at any given time. We received text updates and finally a notification that we were at the head of the line!

The Monet exhibit was great... I learned a lot about his history with Chicago and collectors there, and I took a few photos.

Bisa Butler: Portraits did it for me, though. It was absolutely stunning...


The exhibit runs until early September, and I think I'm going to have to return.


There is just so much to see in every piece!


I was struck by the man's suit, above, and how nearly every element of it was a different fabric... 


...the sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle differences in background fabric(s).

The colors!!!


And they way she uses them is just breathtaking...


I loved how each section of this striped background fabric was quilted in a different way. A couple of stripes that are intersected by the figures are quilted differently above and below.

The scale and subject of some of the prints is just crazy... in a good way!


I was fascinated with the way things were pieced...


...and how shadows would be created with piecing, or by adding a sheer layer over a print. The "movement" and dimension -- especially in the large-scale prints -- in all of it -- sort of blew my mind.

And also SHOES!


Even the bottom of this shoe... (not to mention every other little thing!)


So many details.


There were only two entrances to Millenium Park open -- on the Michigan Avenue side -- and Cloudgate was barricaded, as well...


...which was weird but also beautiful.


3TT: Malina

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... and those things are YEARS!


And now I'm going to share a lot more than three pictures.


Because she's just too darn cute!


And the sweetest.


That smile just doesn't quit.



She's funny, thoughtful, fierce, and wise... couldn't ask for more.



Unraveled Wednesday: 7 Rows In

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today (or not) to share what I'm knitting crocheting and reading!



I'm one motif shy of 7 rows complete! I started to join the last one in (top left) last night and, whoa... that's one loosey-goosey circle and way too many stitches in the end!


Often, I fudge, but this one's getting a rip & re-do.


I am listening to The Midnight Library, and I am really enjoying Carey Mulligan's performance, but I'm tiring of the story... I have about 3 hours to go, but taking a short break for this:

Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose. Kate just finished reading -- and recommending -- it, Rusty nabbed her hard copy, and I just downloaded the audio book. Looking forward to it. Kate can't stop talking about it!

An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery is still my bedtime reading. I'm slow.

What are you making and reading?

Let's build a fort!

So, Friday night's cooking class with Marcus Samuelsson was great, but what a pace! Even with a few strategic interruptions & questions, I'd never have gotten food on the table without Kate's help! She shopped and prepped -- everything mis en place -- and mixed drinks... I'd never have kept up myself! The food was delicious... a collards & radicchio salad with vinaigrette, and tamarind-glazed halibut served over Carolina Gold grits. Mmm.

Saturday was low-key. It was a lovely day for a walk... and also for a nap. Feeling like I deserved the nap that I couldn't take on Thursday, I didn't set a timer like I usually do, and slept for a little over two hours.

Early Sunday afternoon, we had a scheduled disruption with our Airbnb guests -- long-term guests that have been here since just after Christmas (originally for not so long, but they've extended a couple of times). I'd ordered a new couch & scheduled delivery before I knew they were extending their stay, and Kate also needed to get some things from storage up there prior to & readying for her UK move. It didn't take long, and I sent them a couple of gift certificates for the trouble.

Just as we were finishing upstairs, Ali & the kids came over. I'd made cupcakes in the morning & we had a few presents for a low-key birthday celebration for Malina -- she'll be THREE on Thursday!

It was another nice day, even if not as sunny, and Rusty took the three big kids for a hike down along the creek (Ginny got wet).

When they returned, Junah wanted to go into "the woods" (our ravine).


Pretty soon, everyone was down there, and Kate & Ali were helping the kids make a fort, gathering & using downed trees & limbs (of which there are plenty).


I watched from the windows, at first, because this guy was napping. When he woke up, I bundled him up (it was breezy) and we watched from a comfy seat in the back yard. (He's working on Tooth #2!)


Soon enough, I was down the ravine myself, and ushered inside the fort by the general contractor (instigator) himself to share a (log) seat!


This was the view from inside (a little panorama).


I'll see their fort everyday when I open the bedroom blinds or look out back from the Garden Room!

Meanwhile, evenings have been spent crocheting and watching TV. We've recently discovered BILLIONS (fabulous cast!), and we're loving it.


I've made enough progress that my blanket can actually serve... to a degree, anyway (coverage is not complete). Haha.

I hope you had a great weekend!


On the edge of 17

I am delighted to have been administered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday morning, but holy hell, Thursday was awful! Somehow, I stuck it out all day at work but felt like I never quite woke up. I took a snooze on the couch when I got home, went to bed early, and slept soundly, so I'm feeling much better today. I'll have to take the day after the second dose off of work, or at least have it optional. I had slight soreness at the injection site and had chills a few times, otherwise OK except totally out of it all day. Heh.

Also on Wednesday, I celebrated 16 years of the QUIT! That almost 117,000 cigarettes that I have not consumed, and loosely in the area of $30,000-37,000 saved, plus other health benefits.

That's so crazy!

I actually felt fine all day on Wednesday, and made corned beef (in the Instant Pot) for St. Paddy's Day, and Colcannon for the first time... definitely not the last, but it's only going to be a once-a-year thing with all that butter & cream. (It was SO good!)

If Wednesday couldn't have been any better, Kate also received her UK Visa! She has a 90-day window from mid-April to travel, and hopefully things will continue to improve in regard to Covid and travel/quarantine restrictions between now and then-ish.


Photo from last year, when the Garden Room was still small. Haha.

Spring begins tomorrow, and it's 17 years ago tomorrow that I published my first KNITORIOUS blog post!

That is also crazy.

We're in for some good weather & sunshine this weekend -- 60F on Sunday! I hope it'll be nice in your neck of the woods, too. Have a great weekend!


Sooo sleeeepy

BREAKING NEWS: Jab #1 is scheduled for this Wednesday!!*

_ _ _ _ _

I was enjoying daylight in the early morning! Now it's dark again when I get up and the sun doesn't even rise until I'm already at work. We're gaining daylight hours at a pretty good clip right now, so hopefully it won't be long before I'm enjoying early morning light again.


Kate & I spotted almost a dozen deer in a couple of groupings while taking a walk on Saturday at nearby Heckrodt Wetland Reserve. We were all there last weekend, too, and saw an owl! Much of the path there is boardwalk, but not all... last week it was wet & icy, this week it was even wetter, so we stuck to the wood.


I noticed some emerging tulips in the back yard yesterday, and it made me positively giddy! This little clump is very close to the foundation of the house on the south side, so it gets nice and warm. Not much of note happening out there otherwise. We did get most of the outside Christmas decorations taken down, and I noticed that happening a lot around town.

I put my head down and did some prep for our taxes over the weekend. I wasn't very organized this year. Haha. That's really not a change, but different this year is that I was downright neglectful and let even the most basic tasks slide.


Crochet continues, and there are almost two more rows ready to join! These colors made me smile, remembering that red & blue were the colors that I'd use in coloring books to color in every princess dress.

My Alabama Chanin project took a breather for a couple of days, but finally yesterday I basted the other back piece.


Ready to go!

In news from around the globe:

Australia: Maddy is very happy with this new item!

Peru: With our time changing and theirs not, our clocks now jive (at least until fall)!

*Rusty has been subbing quite a bit at our local high school and was able to get on the list there... he awaits Jab #2 next week!


Happy Friday!

It's Friday, it's sunny, Spring is springing... even though I see no visible signs of that (other than melting snow), I know it's happening! I'm not a fan of "springing forward," and having to change my clocks, but it sure has a nice ring, doesn't it?

I have my own little spring:


Amaryllis! I'm not seeing any flower buds yet, but it's still early. Green onions! I don't really care that much for green onions, but Rusty loves them, and I've heard blips about growing your own from scraps for ages, and finally decided to do it when Chef BB mentioned it during cooking class last weekend.

Speaking of cooking classes, I've signed up for yet another, having been sorely tempted by a class by Chef Marcus Samuelsson featuring recipes from his newest cookbook...

...The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, which Kate actually gave me back in November for my birthday, and she encouraged me to do it (she'll join me, too). It's a little intimidating to think of actually cooking along with a renowned superstar chef, and also, WOW, I can cook along with a renowned superstar chef!!

There's barely a post these days without a crochet update:


The motifs for Row 6 are underway!


I took a weird series of blurry photos this morning as I went outside to photo the blanket on the sidewalk -- my leg, my shoe, and two of the blanket. I liked this one!

I have other needlework to catch up on, plus taxes are beckoning... well, not exactly beckoning as in "seem to be appealing and inviting," but I sure would like to get that off my desk. I got a little start last week, and had a meeting with Ali's accountant last night, which went better than any before and I only had a couple of things to send her this morning (instead of a long list of homework)... so that's encouraging.

We shall see. Progress will be made in one area or another over the weekend!

Finally, in a recent effort to confuse/trick a neighbor boy, Ginny "dressed like Junah"!


Who can't use a little Gin on a Friday?

Happy Weekend!!



Annie & I took another online cooking class on Saturday. This time it was "Online Thai Tonight," by Sur La Table. I learned about their cooking classes from Kym, who went on an exploration after reading about our Pisco Sour adventure, and the class that we took from the New Orleans School of Cooking. I love the way this community works!


One of our recipes was for Fresh Rolls with Poached Shrimp (or Spring Rolls, as we call them) and Coconut-Peanut Dipping Sauce (a lot of Peanut Sauce). These were actually Sunday lunch, made fresh for me by Kate. In class, we also made Stir-Fried Wide Rice Noodles with Beef. We enjoyed it so much, and the food was so good, that we've signed up for Chef BB's "Authentic Fried Chicken & Sides" later in the month. Both of us were drawn in when Chef said that it was her class for Women's History Month... and that this was her women's history! 

Yesterday, for International Women's Day, I accompanied my eldest to Milwaukee where she needed to get her biometrics done in order to complete & send in her visa app for moving to the UK -- specifically, Scotland -- so that she can continue to carve out & pursue the life & career that she desires. You may recall that this move was on the table a while back, then off, then a bunch of other things were proposed/considered, and it swung back around to Scotland again. It's where she really wants to be, and she* came up with a more economical way to do it (housing-wise, mostly) (one of the biggest barriers), at least initially. It looks like she'll be heading over in 6-8 weeks on a 3-year visa.

I thought a lot about my "international" women -- Ann in Peru (formerly of Spain & Brazil), Maddy in Australia, Kate soon to be in Scotland, Ali here in Wisconsin -- celebrating all that they've already achieved for themselves, and the new pursuits that they explore... and how they all continue to inspire.

_ _ _ _ _

In other not-so-new news, I continue to crochet.


Oh boy. While waiting in the car for Kate yesterday, I worked on joining a hexagon to the blanket and ended up having to fudge -- too many stitches were left after working all the repeats. Y'know, crochet is not my "natural" craft... I'm feeling more comfortable with it, but it still feels quite awkward, and I certainly can't "read" it like I can knitting. Anyway, it dawned on me after I cut my yarn, that perhaps my count was off -- which would surprise me because I feel like I'm counting all.the.time -- but, sure enough, there were 13 repeats in that particular motif instead of 12.

Aaannnnndddd... turns out, that was not an isolated incident. Haha!


Also, continuing with the random/unplanned design of this project, I am joining the fifth row from left-to-right instead of right-to-left as I've done all the others -- and as I intended to do and THOUGHT that I was doing (though I knew there was something "different").

Guess what? I'm not re-doing any of it. I love this darn thing, warts and all.


Flower Power

I have been absolutely obsessed with this dress:


The print, specifically -- because "That Is Not My Dress" -- but everything about this! The whole vibe of this photo is bonkers. Gucci. Ken Scott. Elle Fanning. Yellow tights. Amazing shoes (those aren't my shoes these days, either). The "Fashion Gardener" even put pansies in that print... so tempting... but the least expensive item in that line is a "neck bow," and, um... no.

Florals are definitely a thing right now. Oscar de la Renta has some fabulous, colorful florals in the Fall 2021 Collection (link to TLO) (I would wear those pants!), and also CROCHET!


I am here for all of it!! I have a gigantic scale floral print that I purchased on Spoonflower a couple of years ago and I think it's finally going to be something (with pockets).

Then, this morning, I accidentally took a screen shot of my phone and noticed the icon for the Prism app, which I love but haven't used in ages, so...


...sorry/not sorry for the photo dump!

Spring is in the air. The sky is light when I wake up (though there'll be a little setback next weekend), the temp is rising and the snow is melting.


I'm looking ahead. Happy Weekend!

Also, Rusty got his first jab on Wednesday!

Edited to add: It's VIRTUAL ART IN BLOOM time at the Saint Louis Art Museum! There are free, on-demand programs available all month.



It was a long weekend for me, with Monday off this week... that always means a lot to share!

We got outta Dodge on Saturday, and drove down to Sheboygan to visit the Art Preserve | John Michael Kohler Art Center -- technically, as Beta Testers! We reserved an early time slot and practiced physical distancing, and really, museum-goers are pretty good at that in general! The museum doesn't officially open until late June, and it's still a work in progress -- also no photography allowed right now -- but it's AMAZING!


The last museum I visited was the Black Mountain College Museum, over a year ago. sigh

It was a gorgeous day and we were hungry by the time we finished, so found ourselves a nearby Culvers and ATE AT OUTSIDE TABLES! It was sunny and warm, and only occasionally a little chilly when the breeze picked up, but otherwise... IT WAS SO NICE!! We got some looks from folks in the drive-thru, but enticed another couple from inside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. I can't tell you how wonderful it was.

I discovered that my amaryllis are sprouting again.


I bought them in St. Louis in 2018, so this is the third time!

I took photos of my Alabama Chanin project on Sunday:


This piece is SO CLOSE to done. I didn't work on it yesterday (you'll see why in a minute), but surely the other side will be underway in the next day or two!

Last night, I used up all of the circles I had finished to complete the third row of JAYGO hexagons.


I can't even express how happy I am about the way this is coming together. Work at the circle factory will resume this evening. I'm also feeling the itch to knit -- it seems like I haven't knit a stitch in ages -- so might begin one of those Safe at Home pillows that I've been blabbing about.

Embroidery continues, too, another few stitches on the Bingo card. Kate's really into it, and I'll have to share a couple of the other pieces she's done/doing.


She spent quite a bit of time over the weekend untangling, sorting, and winding floss acquired from various sources. So satisfying.

That brings us to yesterday -- with kids! We had about an hour with just the girls, and then the boys came over, too.


Ginny & I put together a new puzzle -- 100 pieces, Children of the World. And then there was a ton of fun with Ninja Turtles, and a little bit with K'nex.

Also, Junah helped me put together a new end table. He was all over the assembly of things when Ali returned after our recent IKEA trip, and I decided to save this little project for him. It just makes my heart sing to see him figure it all out and, again, I was a mere helping hand!


Davy is drooling like mad... he'll be six months old in a couple of weeks!


Malina changed clothes at least three times. I found that little slap-on dragon bracelet on my Target run and picked one of up for each of the girls -- they were a BIG hit! (Velcro wrist rattles for Davy... that just barely fit on his chubby wrists! and a LEGO mini-figure for Jün.)


...and struck a pose upon departure! ❤️