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Weekending: Fit for a Foodie

August was intense, and I was even more anxious when I realized that there was at least one event on the calendar for every weekend of the month! A baseball game, a wedding, a belated wedding reception... not to mention all of the work to get Ann's house ready (the first guests checked in last night!).

The month could not have ended on a higher note! I realize that it's not over yet, but for all intents & purposes (I'm never going to write that now without also wanting to add intensive purposes!), IT IS OVER!

I have no photos, but on Friday night Rusty & I attended an opening for an exhibition called Made To Order at the Trout Museum of Art in Appleton, featuring 55 pieces of art commissioned by museum supporters. The museum connected artists with buyers who then met to discuss the piece(s) that would be created, sometimes meeting numerous times. The artists received 50% of the agreed on price, and the museum received the other 50%. Then they had a $200/plate fundraising soiree to celebrate it all! We did not have to pay that, thank god, and it was definitely not the normal crowd that I hang with, but oh... the provisions! Champagne & specialty cocktails flowed all night; there were lobster rolls, shrimp cocktails, tuna poke bowls, tenderloin bites w/chimichurri, and a bunch of other delicious bites that I can't even remember, along with desserts that included macarons and the most adorable little crème brûlées! The catering was by Zuppas, a long-time local favorite, and they did not disappoint.


If that wasn't enough, Saturday night was the cherry on top! I have sung the praises of my CSA farm before -- starter plants & herbs, fresh chicken, not to mention the veg -- but the Farm Dinner, oh my.

I attended my first Farm Dinner at Park Ridge Organics in 2014. I remember it exactly because, as I stated in the opening to that blog post, "I've been saying 'yes' to almost every good thing that comes my way this summer..." That was the summer that my mom died and I felt an urgency to live and do things that made me happy.


At that time, Park Ridge was not my CSA farm, but it wasn't long after that I jumped on their ship and I could not be happier. I love everything about my farmer, her story, her family, her location, and especially her food!


The dinners fell off my radar or the timing wasn't good, or whatever (stupid pandemic), until this year. This year, there was no question when I saw that the meal would be prepared by Dave Swanson of Braise. I could not order tickets fast enough! I don't remember know why, but Dave and his restaurant/events/school have been on my radar for years.

Seven years ago, the farm dinner was moved into the barn because of weather. This year, weather was definitely on everyone's mind -- we'd had a ton of rain on Friday night and storms/showers were skirting the area, but we ate field-side and barely felt a drop!


All the food was prepared outside, Dave came and visited at each table a few times during the evening, as did the farmer, the farmer's daughter, and the farmer's parents, whose farm this was originally and who now live next door in "the shed."

The food!


1) Beet Gazpacho. 2) Beet & Tomato Panzanella. 3) Porchetta with Roasted Vegetables & Lentils. 4) Carrot Cream Cheese Galette with Whipped Mascarpone. (That galette looks weird because it was getting dark by that time and I had to photoshop.)

It was all amazing, but especially that panzanella... I can't stop thinking about it!

I attended again with my friend Ann, and we had lovely table-mates -- sisters from southern Wisconsin, one who owns & runs, along with her son & daughter, the Hon-E-Kor Country Club in Kewaskum (where I will definitely be going for a fish fry before too long!), and a friendly couple from Oshkosh. We had such a good time.

Seven years shall not pass before I attend another one of these. Also on my bucket list: a dinner by Outstanding In The Field! And a big outdoor dinner at my home for family & friends.

On Sunday, I did a few last-minute things at Ann's...


A little more greenery...


And situating the outside seating.

Other than that, I took the day off... except for doing the coffee shop payroll... and took a 2-hour nap!

I hope your last weekend of August was a good one, too!


Good morning from Down Under!


Viv: "Did you send the photo to your mom yet?"

Maddy: "No..."

Viv: "You have to send it! She needs to know how desperate I am! There are no socks like Vicki socks."


When I'm finally ready to turn toward knitting again, the projects await! I've been thinking that it'll be something small... mittens, socks, a gnome.

But, also, that looks like a really cute afghan!! haha.


Unraveled Wednesday: Upholstery!

Joining Kat & the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday...


It's slow going, but it's still going... Hexie Love (Rav link)! I meant to take a photo but, really, it's not changed that much since last time I posted. I usually try to do a little hookin' in the evenings, but lately we've been watching Nordic Noir and attention is divided between my project and subtitles (currently watching The Bridge on Amazon Prime).


I thought I'd use this post, instead, to show my recent upholstery/recovering job. You may recall that I'd purchased a vanity bench for $9.99 at St. Vinny's a while back, and also scored a bag full of upholstery scraps for another $3.99. Here's the "before" bench:


Turns out, that fabric was just pinned on atop an older cover.


The faded and stained original fabric was atop another layer that was more like muslin, and under that was... horsehair, probably a little straw, and webbing.


I had to move the whole operation outside... it was getting messy! I took a bunch of pics and sent them to Ann, picking her brain about how to proceed (she worked for an upholsterer in high school).


She suggested to get rid of the webbing altogether rather than trying to tighten it, because that's pretty difficult to do without the proper tools. And likely one reason it had such a saggy bottom to begin with is that someone had already tried to repair the webbing. I pulled it all apart and now have a lot of upholstery tacks!

Rusty cut & attached a new solid bottom under the seat frame, which I filled in with some styrofoam (plenty of that around from the dining room furniture delivery), and topped with a new piece of 2" foam. Then I stretched & stapled a remnant from the upholstery grab bag over the top.



It turned out pretty cute. There was a lot of that fabric in the bag, but turns out most of the pieces were trimmings -- 6" by 100" or in that area. There were only a few with dimensions even close to workable for this project, so almost anything else I do with that is going to have to be pieced.

I still want to make a couple of pillows, and we'll just see how that turns out.


I'm still working on The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel. Is there a reader slower than me?

I attended my first in-person book club last week, and the new book is The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore. I'm listening to that one, and just started on Monday (when I drove down to pick up chickens), so far so... good? What a story.


Scenes from a weekend

Miss Gin was here on an overnight Sunday-Monday.


She was pretty chuffed with that Sprite! I had to laugh when I saw these other inadvertent "product placement" photos. We enjoyed lots of snacks & drinks! haha.


She beaded some necklaces, and sewed a pillowcase (mostly by herself) -- modeling both, above. The necklace kit has been kicking around since Christmas, but it's hard to do that kind of thing when there's a houseful! We really enjoyed our time together.


We went to a new-to-us park and she had fun discovering new equipment. They have a pretty great skate park, too, and it was fun to watch the skateboarders for a while.

In between all of that, we watched a couple of shows, did some puzzles... and she took a bubble bath -- with the tub & toys all to herself!

I delivered her to dance class late yesterday afternoon and then drove on to my CSA farm, about a half-hour south, where I picked up a couple of fresh chickens... one of which I roasted last night. I'm trying to remember when I last had a chicken fresh off the farm, and it's been at least a decade... when I had a coworker who raised chickens on his farmette.

On Saturday, I fluffed up Ann's house, and took it LIVE on Airbnb... she has two bookings already, and we've fielded a couple of other inquiries.

It was a busy weekend and I'm a little tuckered today!


Here's my first hint of autumn in the back yard (you sure wouldn't know it by our still hot & humid weather) -- ASTERS!


Beach day!

Ali's extended more than one invitation over the past couple of weeks for us to join them at the beach... it's been crazy-busy around here, as you know, so we've declined. (Rusty is working on some painting projects/commissions that also have deadlines.)


But yesterday, we said YES!! It helped that it was a bit more planned and a lot less spontaneous. (I love spontaneous, though, and I'm usually pretty good at it!)

We arrived at Nashotah Beach on the Lake Michigan shore at mid-afternoon and... it was wonderful. The kids made friends, ate snacks, played in the sand & water.


Rusty did, too. This is one of my favorite photos of the day!


Weekending & MacGuyvering... around the corner

We packed up the car and headed over to stay at Ann's on Friday night -- five blocks away!

I didn't waste any time setting up my work space.


Among the main events was shortening the "puddling" curtains in the living room and front bedroom. And, boy howdy, did they ever need cleaning, too! (No doubt those valances do, but that's a little beyond me at the moment.)

I'd purchased one of those 3-legged glass-topped side tables for cheap at St. Vinny's and needed a tablecloth for it. I found a design at Home Goods that was just what I was looking for -- floral, with some gold -- but it was rectangular.


I didn't have all my tools with me, but managed to cut out a circle using a tiny tape measure in place of a ruler.


I had enough excess fabric to make a just-fits runner for the table. I'd brought my Olfa cutting mat & rotary cutter, but had to use a kitchen cutting mat as a straight-edge to square it up!

I did piddly things like check the size of the furnace filter, trim the non-slip pads under the entry rugs, wash & put away some dishware, laundry (always laundry), and pot a plant.


I need a saucer under that pot! I had to improvise with plastic bag packaging from a mattress pad.

Rusty mowed the lawn, filled the recycle bin with cardboard (so much cardboard... better than plastic, though there's been plenty of that), and then hung some artwork.


More is needed, and I'm headed to the framer sometime this week with a few projects. It's all very eclectic... will surely become a bit more refined/personal in time.

We were also there to just check out the feel of the place and what it's like to BE there.


We cooked dinner and made note of a couple kitchen items still needed. The bed was great, but I'm on a mission for some soft bed pillows as the current choices are all pretty firm. The shower was amazing -- roomy with a small built-in bench, the showerhead is big and very high, nice controls. Rusty was comfy & right at home, even without curtains on the windows! (My sewing machine needle broke half-way through working on that set and I didn't have a spare... there's no MacGuyvering one of those!)

We watched a couple episodes of The Valhalla Murders on the new TV, with newly installed ROKU. The new TV is "smart" -- as is mine at home -- but wow, they've become REALLY smart! A message appeared immediately letting me know that HDMI-1 would now be known as ROKU since that's what's plugged in.


I loved this view out the front bedroom window on Saturday morning, Ann's house casting a pretty great shadow.

It was a gorgeous day, and perfect for attending an afternoon backyard wedding of a friend near Green Bay... and for visiting with friends not seen in 20 months. The last time we'd been together was at a Solstice party in December '19 -- where & when many of us first met the groom! Love grows (pandemic be damned)!!

Because I still had things to finish (curtains), I stayed overnight on Saturday, too, with more putzing on Sunday, including pulling apart the vanity bench that I'm re-doing -- but that, my friends, is fodder for a separate future post. Rusty walked over on Saturday and made dinner, and we watched the first half of the football game together before he walked back home. The place has a nice relaxed feel with good light, and I had plenty of room for working on my projects (though if it were truly mine, I'd have another table or two). Maddy dubbed it "Mom's Hideout"! Haha. We've actually been calling it "Ann's Queen Anne."

I was informed this morning that power washing will commence this week and exterior painting next week! We'll be going over later today with paint samples to narrow down the options. Morgan will meet me there, too, and possibly Crystal -- not one, but TWO lovely young women (employees of Ali's) who are interested in giving me an assist with cleaning!


Like a kid in a candy store

...except with buttons.


I've been the recipient of "sewing stuff" during the clean-out of my former boss's mother's (BFF's MIL) (current boss's grandmother's) house. Dolores is 90+ and, well, let's just say she never threw anything away.




Not only were there bins & tins full of buttons, there was another place for stashing buckles...


...another for zippers & pulls (even broken ones)...


...and for hooks & eyes cut from bras... for garter clips from garter belts & girdles, I guess. Tape measure. Pins -- safety & otherwise. Needles -- every type imaginable. Sewing patterns. I'm sure that some of it is "from the farm," i.e., her mother's!

When I got home from work yesterday, I sat down and culled the patterns and made a first pass through the buttons. They need to be cleaned, but WOOHOO there are some treasures in there. I'll be posting more about them, for sure.


This kid has ice cream and you don't! My company had their summer get together at the ballpark last night, and Ali & the kids came along. The kids had a blast -- and even watched a little baseball.

Rusty & I are staying at Ann's house tonight -- a working vacation, if you will. I'll be hemming some curtains, covering the vanity bench & whatnot, he'll be mowing the lawn, fixing the mailbox & whatnot.

Happy Weekend!


Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat & the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday...



I crocheted the last charted circle motif the other day for Hexie Love (Rav link)!

My box of colors has changed a lot since February 1st.


I started with 35 and not only have I run out of some colors, but I've also dumped the box too many times to count... so lately the chart is just a suggestion, and I work with whatever feels right.


Now I have two stitch holders full of circles to join/make into hexies, and a pile of extras -- because every other row is a short one (not reflected in my chart of squares). So there will be one non-charted row, and at least a few more after that. At least.


I guess it's been a while since I wrote an Unraveled post! I have finished An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery (pages) and Sinéad O'Connor's memoir, Rememberings (audio). The quilt story was... missing something; it wasn't quite as dynamic and engaging as I'd hoped. I really enjoyed listening to Sinéad read her book, but I'm sure it's not for everyone. I was eye witness to the event that changed her life and it was interesting to hear the back story...

I just finished listening to Unsettled Ground this morning! It's a full month until the book club discussion (unheard of!), and I'm looking forward to that. On my nightstand is The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel, which I am enjoying.



I had a long weekend, so I can do that on Tuesday!

Much of Saturday was spent at Ann's, assembling dining chairs (8 of them!), doing laundry, getting one of the beds made up. Rusty helped me with another small piece of furniture and hanging artwork on Sunday -- it's a VERY eclectic mix that will undoubtedly change over time, but something's gotta be on the walls!

On Sunday afternoon I drove out and picked up Junah for an overnight. Man, did we have fun! Among other things, we played with LEGO and K'nex, had burgers on the grill, watched Despicable Me (he'd never seen it!), and learning to sew!

At first he wasn't too keen on the idea, but it didn't take much cajoling to get him to agree. Naturally, our first project was a pillowcase using the burrito method.


Smiles all around... he sure chose the perfect fabric! He told me that he'd done some sewing before, by hand, but it was his first time on a sewing machine. He did great, and really enjoyed unfurling the "burrito"! Lots of credit to the speed control on my Baby Lock; he also used the Start/Stop button instead of the pedal.

I see more pillowcases in the future -- possibly as soon as two weeks, when Ginny gets her turn for an overnight!

We also made an unplanned trip to the laundromat when my Airbnb guest showed up unannounced at my back door with an armful of bedding -- sheets, blanket, mattress pad, and topper -- and said that he spilled milk on the bed and it soaked through. Sheesh, I would normally have been at work. Anyway, that's a lot of unplanned laundry for an afternoon and the topper would never fit in my washer, so off we went. The topper is supposed to be "spot cleaned" but how do you spot clean a soaked-through spill... especially of milk? Yuck. It's lumpier than before, but should settle down. I do have extras of everything but the topper, but I wouldn't want all that stuff sitting around, anyway... did I mention SPILLED MILK?? haha. It's not all fun & games!

Ali brought the girls in yesterday afternoon and I took them to ballet & tumbling class!


It's been a minute. Ginny's a much better listener at 5 than 3, and Malina did great at her first-ever class! Adorable


Does anybody know what time it is?

Lordy, what a week.

I can't believe that Brian & the boys departed only three days ago!


We were able to get the kids together one last time prior to departure. I love everything about these photos.

The boys saw the progress on their house, too, and approved. Next time, it'll be Christmas!


I don't think I ever showed you. I remember this house being transformed about 14 years ago. It had been painted a very dark gray and was a 2-family residence with an outside stairway (on the other side). The stairway was removed, there was a little reconfiguring of windows, painted this nice green, and completely transformed inside.


Many walls were removed, so the first level is basically open concept now -- behind me in this photo is the kitchen, to the left is a dining area, and to the right a full bath with walk-in shower; there's a nice big laundry room off the kitchen, and the back entry with basement access off of that. You can tell a lot about the original configuration of the first floor by the ceiling, and that post in the middle of everything... I would have done most of that differently (but, as my mother would say, "No one asked me!"). All of the systems were replaced then, too -- it's basically a brand new (14yo) house inside a 100+ year old shell. The siding & trim on the outside is original, and they used all the original flooring in the main room downstairs.

There are three bedrooms upstairs (all on the small side, two with nice walk-in closets) and a full bath with clawfoot tub.


This is the side porch & door off the kitchen. The whole house will get a repaint sometime this fall!

I've had a blast helping get things settled... taking deliveries, unpacking boxes, getting stuff set up, shopping! The house was immaculate inside and came with all appliances, so "we" could literally just move in. It's been ages since I had to set up internet & wifi -- it took a couple of tries, but I got it. I had just set up the TV & antenna when I snapped the interior photo above -- basically to send to Ann for scale, she was worried that the 55" TV would be too big.

Yesterday, Rusty helped turn some of this...


...into this:


He helped assemble the table because it's so big & heavy, but I'll do the chairs myself. I really love putting stuff like this together!

So, I've been doing a ton of shopping -- besides my favorite big box & online stores, I've been stopping at rummage/moving sales, and going to all my favorite thrift shops again! "Thrifting" was a favorite activity that Kate & I did together, and I hadn't gone in the three months (!!!) since she moved to Scotland. It's great to have a list and be on a mission...


I found lamps, including a floor lamp, for $5-$15 instead of $50-$200, all with shades, and some even came with light bulbs! Nightstands, side tables, and decor, too. She'd been looking at luggage rack type things, but I found this old vanity bench for $10...


...along with a huge bag of upholstery remnants, mostly in this pattern that I just love, and even with new padding material for the seat, it's still going to be way less than a new luggage rack -- with a million times more character!

Now I'm on the lookout for at least one more!

Of course, I also find things that I can't live without.


Like this desk! It came with a cute chair, too.

Speaking of cute...


Ginny with flowers in her hair when we were at an outdoor concert (featuring her dad & uncle as band members)... I had flowers in my hair, too, as did her mom and sister and other grandma!



My dad died on Saturday night, just a couple weeks shy of his 86th birthday.


There were some very good times, there were some very bad times, and lots in between. The photo above is from 2016 when Rusty & I drove up the Oregon coast... my first Oregon experience was with my dad in 1979 when we caravanned down the same coast. I don't think he really knew who I was on that visit... Alzheimer's... and he definitely didn't know who I was the last time -- a little over a year later -- though there was an inkling of recognition when he was writing down my name. "Vicki... oh, Vicki-toria!"

RIP, Dad.