NaBloPoMo 2021.4 - 3TT: Yesterday

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

...and today I'm sharing three photos that I took yesterday:


Photo 1:


I have a new Airbnb helper and he is doing GREAT! He's also pretty handy with things like yard work, hanging art, and general "fixing." I told him that one of these days we'll have to pretend that our house is an Airbnb (since I don't have cleaning ladies coming to my house right now). The really great thing about cleaning the Airbnbs is that there are no "piles" to deal with. No bills, no old newspapers, no crafts... oy, the crafts. (My workroom is an unmitigated disaster, and must be dealt with soon!)


Photo 2:


Being a "typical" Wednesday, it was my day off of work, and sometimes that means appointments. Last week it was the dentist, yesterday it was the doctor... for the "annual" physical that I tend to get about every three years. I had three things scheduled -- physical, blood draw, mammogram -- and that meant three different waiting rooms. This was the "Wildflower" room and, well, isn't it just so pretty?

I was astounded that I was out of there in an hour! I think the pandemic has led to some very welcome streamlining... yeah, I'm going with that. (And most of the results are in already; so far, no surprises.)


Photo 3:


Being a Wednesday, Ali & the kids came over after dance class for supper. That little rocking horse was a gift I gave to my godson-now-boss about 40 years ago! Crazy!!


NaBloPoMo 2021.3: Unraveled

Joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...


I am working out the edging for Hexie Love (Rav link) using a couple of charts from similar (free) patterns that I found -- with enhancements by Malina!


I want to "fill in" the little dips between hexagons at the top & bottom edges of the blanket so that it ends up straight on all sides.


I've already worked a single crochet up one side of the blanket... and ripped it out. So, "unraveled" is spot-on today! Now I'm working half-double crochet up the side (but started only a couple of motifs from a corner because it's the corner and the top/bottom edge that I really need to work out. I'm not crazy with how that half-hexie looks, but I'm hoping I'll refine/improve that as I go.


I think it'll work... there's a long ways to go. This is the first of at least four rounds!


I finished Stanley Tucci's memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food, on Friday night and LOVED IT! Memoir is my genre of choice, and this did not disappoint in any way. Except that I listened to it on Audible and really wish there was a download with all the recipes.

I shared the book with Kate, and we started talking about audiobooks, memoirs, memoirs read by the author... and she told me that her friend Blair was listening to Dave Grohl's new book and loving it, even though she's not a big fan of his music.

I feel the same about the music... I wouldn't recognize a single Nirvana or Foo Fighters song... but I am aware of Dave Grohl and what a cool guy he is! When his memoir, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, was announced, I purchased it straight away, so that's what I'm listening to now... and LOVING IT!


NaBloPoMo 2021.2

How it started... How it's going... My backyard through the (quite dirty) bedroom window.

April 11th:


April 25th:


May 2nd:


May 14th:


May 24th:


June 12th:


June 19th:


October 8th:


October 30th:


I snapped the first photo on a Sunday morning in April and thought that I'd take a photo from the same spot every week. Well, it hasn't happened weekly, but it's been happening consistently enough to see what I wanted to see... the changes in a year. This represents only half a year, though, so watch for an update in April!!


NaBloPoMo 2021.1

Lucky 13! Thirteen is also a Fibonacci number, a prime number, a star number, and a happy number (among other things, and thank you very much Wikipedia). That's all good enough for me as I embark on the 13th year of NaBloPoMo!

It was a pretty great weekend! We went to an art opening, put together a futon couch/bed at Ann's Queen Anne, cleaned up and pulled in plants from outside, and got a start on both Airbnbs as there are guests arriving later this week at both.


The kiddos stopped over yesterday after Trick or Treat Round 1, enjoyed sorting and eating (or trading/giving away) some of their treats, and then I took Jün & Gin out for Round 2 in my neighborhood. There weren't a lot of houses with lights on (I didn't have a single kid at my door, other than my own grandkids), but they came back with plenty of goodies. To their delight, most people said, "Take as many as you want!"


This house, a couple of blocks from mine, is probably the most decorated in the area. At night they had big swirling bats projected on the house and it was really cool.


Ginny was originally a witch but it was so windy yesterday that her big-brimmed hat kept blowing off, so she traded it for a tiara!



Here's Davy...


...who urges you to bang some blocks together because it's so damn funny!!

Ali & the kids have been coming over on Wednesday evenings after the girls' dance class for dinner & some play time, and I love having that standing date. Davy is standing up and taking one or two steps... he's soon gonna be off to the races!

He's wearing a Wee Wallaby (Rav link) sweater that I knit using Mission Falls 1824 Cotton 14 years ago for Mack*. It's been worn by Mack, Addy, Junah, Ginny, Malina, and now Davy (who will be wearing it for a couple of years, and it probably still fits Malina), and it looks amazing!

*Click that link for a blast from the 2007 knit blogger past... holy moly. Who remembers Dish Rag Tag? The Company


Uncle Herman

I drove to Marshfield on Tuesday to attend the funeral of my Uncle Herman. Herman and his wife, Arlene, my mother's elder sister, celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary on June 23rd! That's also the wedding date of their eldest son, Chuck, my cousin Rae, my sister Karen, and my brother Mike! I remember Arlene & Herman thanking Mike & Judy for throwing them their 50th Anniversary party!


My grandparents, Andrew & Marcella, are on the left; Herman's mom on the right; his father had already passed by this time.


Aunt Carol, less than two weeks from her 12th birthday, on the left, and my mom, 13-1/2, on the right, admiring the wedding rings! I've never seen such a photo before. I am in love with the styles here, especially my mom's gloves & purse (the shoes are pretty great, too)!

I always loved "going to Marshfield!" My mom's sisters both lived there and, eventually, they both had four children -- so lots of cousins, varying in age from 6 years older than me to 10 years younger (we had only two cousins on my dad's side until I was 16!). My maternal grandparents also lived in Marshfield; Grandpa died when I was 6, and Grandma when I was 8 -- they were both only 58 -- so I don't have a lot of memories. But I have a new "memory" that I just learned on Tuesday, thanks to my cousin Kris. She said that her mom, Carol (my godmother), loved to tell a story about me at Grandpa's funeral... having just learned to write and apparently left to occupy myself for a while, I wrote my name on ALL of the offering envelopes! From Vicki, From Vicki, From Vicki... a big contributor that day!

Grandma got sick with cancer not long after Grandpa died, and eventually moved in with Arlene & Herman, occupying the master bedroom -- I can still picture her there propped up in bed. My cousin Cindy was 11 or 12 and the best nursemaid... Grandma would ring a little bell and Cindy would go running to see what Grandma needed (often, another Coke).

One of the most tragic & memorable departures of my entire life was from Aunt Arlene's & Uncle Herman's house, though the tragedy had nothing to do with them, on a Sunday night just as The Beatles were to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show! I was very young, but caught up in Beatlemania! I never quite forgave my dad for that, and sulked for a good long while.

For as long as I can remember, Arlene & Herman also had a cottage on the Eau Pleine Flowage and that meant nothing but fun -- more of Herman's relatives, more kids, a playground with a merry-go-round (that's still there) -- swimming & waterskiing & fishing in the summer (so many yucky bullheads), snowmobiling in the winter! We'd also drive through Rozellville on the way from Marshfield to the cottage, where my great grandparents lived, and my mom would always tell about sleeping upstairs at Grandma's, listening to the cars whoosh by after the nearby ballroom closed on a Saturday night, and about getting in trouble when she & Aunt Carol were swinging on the cemetery gate at St. Andrew's, across the street, and Carol gashed her lip or head or something.

I spent the summer between 3rd & 4th grades at that cottage, "helping" my Aunt Arlene with their youngest son, Chad. I don't know how much help I was, in reality... I remember getting tsk'd for picking up Chad every time he cried, and I got super chubby that summer, my aunt being a very good cook and introducing me to my new-favorite, poppyseed cake, along with a German bread dumpling or three, and I also surreptitiously devoured as many True Crime & True Romance and any other "True" rag that Herman's mother had passed along to them. We spent many a New Year's Eve there, too -- the adults bar-hopping by snowmobile, my cousin Cindy & I left to watch our younger siblings... and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (very strong memory of Three Dog Night appearing one year). There were also very memorable wedding receptions at the cottage for three of their four kids... so much fun (and a little trouble, too)!!

Eventually, both Carol & Arlene (and their spouses) gave up their "city" houses and moved full-time to the flowage, not far from each other. Arlene's cottage more than doubled in size over the years, with this addition and that.

Chad lives right next door to Arlene and it was there that the funeral lunch was held... and where I chatted with my aunt & cousins, and perused Arlene & Herman's wedding album for the first time, discovering my mother in a few photos that I'd never seen before!


This is by far the best of them... I'm not sure who the bridesmaid is -- either Herman's sister, Betty, or Arlene's best friend, "Seedy." Mom is in the middle. At 12 & 13, Aunt Carol and my mom had to have been thrilled to death with the whole thing, and I think that shows on my mom's face. I also spy my Great Aunt Loretta (Grandma's youngest sister... who was only 6 and the flower girl at Grandma & Grandpa's wedding) just to the left of Arlene's hand, holding her bonneted eldest child, my mom's first cousin, Shirley. But, by far, it's the expressions of the girls on the far right -- especially the furthest right -- that are everything!! 


I love this adorable photo of Arlene & Carol with their little cousin. I think Carol was living with Aunt Loretta & Uncle Al at this time, giving a needed hand in the same way that I stayed with Arlene for a summer.


But my mom! Lordy, I'm so happy & amazed to have found new images of her. I love her smile and the buck teeth -- she had those fixed in the late '70s/early '80s -- when she was around 40. There are a few years of photos with her mouth ridiculously clamped shut to hide her braces! 

Anyway, this post turned out to be about so much more than Uncle Herman, but it's also just exactly reflects him... he was a large man with a personality & sense of humor to match, he was also very unassuming... gentle, generous, much loved, and never in the spotlight.

Oh, two things about the service. All was well until we were graveside and the priest suggested we sing the first verse of Amazing Grace... then the chins began quivering! My goodness. All the more poignant because Herman had glaucoma and was blind for the past 15 years... but now I see.

Also, just as the graveside service concluded, Cindy said, "All I have to say is one thing: 'Alexa, when are the Brewers playing today?'" To which everyone chuckled because... it was so him.

Rest well, Uncle Herman.



The light was pretty great on Friday afternoon and I had a sudden urge to take my hexie blanket outside for a photo -- seemed like it had been a while.


As you can see, it's getting "leafy" around here. (Also that my mosaic table is returning to dust right before our very eyes.) I love how that little pink geranium blossom so perfectly matches the hot pink in the blanket!


The occasion was to celebrate finishing the half-hexies along one side. As of this writing, I'm about half-way on the other side. I'm ready to go with this baby!

Before I forget, I was going to start an Autumn/Vacation/Winter/Holiday Knitting To-do List (so I won't forget):

    • Christmas Stocking for Janet/SEBAS
    • Messy Bun hat for Ali
    • Socks for Viv
    • Wild Fields hat for Gin
    • Marl something

We'll soon be going up to the North Shore for a long weekend and that first item is Vacation Knitting Project Priority #1! When one of Rusty's customers found out that I'm a knitter, she asked if I would knit a stocking for her grandson. Her mother knit stockings from a vintage pattern for all the previous grandchildren, but passed away before she could do Sebastian's... so he's been sharing with a sibling! I don't volunteer my knitting time for others very often, simply because it's so very limited, but this one tugged at my heart. I'd like to deliver it before Thanksgiving.

Ali messaged me early on Saturday asking me to turn off online ordering for the coffee shop at 11... they were short-staffed and she had to close at 11:30 instead of 2 that day. A few weeks ago, trying to delete an item from my Make.Do category in the POS app that Ali uses, I accidentally deleted THE ENTIRE CATEGORY! So I took advantage of her early closing to go up and rescan/re-enter every single item that I have up there! It took about three hours, but it's done and I can clean up some other things because of it.


When I returned home, I was in my workroom for a few minutes and was distracted by this glowing tree a couple of doors down. A photo taken through two (dirty) panes of wavy old glass doesn't do it justice... it was a brilliant & gorgeous distraction!

Ann's Airbnb guests checked out early Sunday morning, headed to Lambeau Field early! They were aiming to do some tailgating and snag a few brats prior to the game, then planned to head right to a hotel in Milwaukee after the game in order to catch early Monday morning flights home. Anyway, I took advantage of that and went over to get a start on laundry. I threw in one load, ran to the store, went back to toss the fist load into the dryer & throw in another, watched some pre-game TV until that was finished, then loaded it all up (except for towels, which I left in the dryer) to take home & hang on the clothesline! So nice to have that chore done.

My guests drove from Michigan and checked out this morning... so more laundry is on the horizon!

Speaking of football, it was a fun game to watch and we WON! Packers now stand at 6-1 and at the top of their division.


There was a huge fennel bulb in our last CSA share (the last of the season), along with some potatoes (and apples and beets... that was a heavy bag!), so I searched for a fennel recipe and came up with one that used potatoes, too. Kym shared that the NY Times Cooking app is her favorite these days, and I second that motion! Right up there is anything Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa, and that's where I found the recipe for the Potato-Fennel Gratin pictured above. It was delicious!

All in all, it was a pretty great weekend. I hope you had a great weekend, too!



It's a mash up! Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... in combo with a belated Unraveled Wednesday post with Kat & the Unravelers.



Thing One: Gnorwen


I finished her last Friday!


I can't remember the last time I kept up with a Mystery Knit-along. This was a fun project, even with all the fiddly bits (the flower on the hat, the nose, the mittens, the braids) and interminable I-cord -- a.k.a. the things that make her so special!


I took her out for ice cream on Tuesday after Knit Night. I really wanted to take her photo with our local iconic neon drive-in sign illuminated!


I also wanted a photo with an actual ice cream cone, so I took her inside. The employees were all quite charmed.

  • Ravelry Project Page: All Work, Gnome Play
  • Pattern: All Work, Gnome Play by Sarah Schira
  • Yarn: Various fingering/sock weight scraps
  • Needles:  US 1½ (2.5mm)
  • Start to Finish:  September 21 - October 15, 2021


Thing Two: Wild Fields


I finished this cute little hat on Sunday. It's intended for Malina and I'd planned to take a photo of her wearing it last night when they were over for dinner... not only did I not get a photograph, I didn't even give it to her! So there's still a chance for a photo op.

  • Ravelry Project Page: Wild Fields
  • Pattern: Wild Fields by Beth Ashford/Kaleidoscope Knits; free pattern at
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Rios from Flaxen Fleece in Sauk City, WI
    • Queguay (headband/brim)
    • English Rose (body of hat)
  • Needles:  US 6 (4.0 mm) DPNs
  • Start to Finish:  September 18 - October 17, 2021

I found myself flipping pages back & forth a lot while knitting this hat, and the abbreviations are all on a separate page... a little annoying, especially because I started this while camping and internet was not great. The flower stitch was fun to do, once I figured out how to pull the last "petal" through without losing the previous two, and it looks great!

These two FOs are not only the first FOs since the wave of knitted gnomes that got me through Covid in December/January, they're also the first actual knitted items since the gnome wave... and one of them isn't a GNOME!

And I've started another hat, reversing the colors, for Gin! I bought enough yarn for four hats, so...


Thing Three: Half-hexies


(It's so dark in the morning.) I did a lot of research to see how people finished and/or squared off the edges of crocheted hexagon blankets! I've decided on half-hexagons for the sides, and will likely use some longer stitches to fill the smaller divots on the ends.


Those are the three most recent hexagons and the best, so far. There are some wonky ones at the beginning, but that totally fits with the vibe of this blanket. I think there are only four more on this side, then up the other (and they go pretty quick), and then -- FINALLY -- the border. I've ordered two more skeins of the natural color. Hopefully, I'll only need one, but regardless, this is probably one of my most costly projects ever.



I've recently finished Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore by Patric Richardson & Karin B. Miller. It was a quick, entertaining, and informative read! I'd previously (slowly) begun changing up a few things in my laundry practice, but I'm on the way to changing it quite a bit more.

I've put 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 on pause.

I've just begun listening to Stanley Tucci's memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food, and it's delightful... as is he, and his Instagram, with plenty of cooking & cocktails (with recipes). I'm adding one of his cookbooks (or two) to my Christmas Wish List*! And need to queue up his Emmy-nominated show, Searching for Italy, on Hulu.


*Speaking of Wish Lists... I'm sure one or two of you has recently received Amazon's "Ready, Set, Play" toy catalog in the mail. Ali did, too. She said that the kids grabbed it, circled all but five things, and put it back in the mailbox thinking that Santa would be by to pick up. I love the way those kids think!


Museum of Me: Welcome!

Last month, Kym introduced her Museum of Me and that kind of stuff is right up my alley, so I'm joining in (and doing a little catching up)!



The inaugural exhibit is:

The Oldest Thing From My Childhood Still In My Possession


I'm pretty sure that would be my Lefton piggy bank! Have you ever seen a sweeter face? She's never had a name because she wasn't really a "toy"... she's just "my Lefton piggy bank."

Like Kym, the backstory is fuzzy... I know she was a gift, and I think it was for my 6th birthday, but I don't remember from whom.


I do know that she was maimed almost immediately! Like, within minutes. It could have been me that dropped her, but the depths of my memory tell me that it was one of my three (at the time) siblings and the fireplace hearth also plays in that memory.


So, y'know, she's never been very good at holding money. I did keep the rubber stopper in there for YEARS, even though any money deposited could (and often would) fall right through her missing leg.


She's always been sure-footed, though, even with only three legs. And from some angles, you can't even tell that she's damaged.


I gave her a bath for these photos, as I've done from time to time, and I'm always very careful to preserve the Lefton sticker. There are little felt disks on the bottom of each foot, too.


Some of her floral decorations have been damaged, but none is missing altogether.


The curl of the tail, the iridescent glaze...


...those amazing flowers.


A quick search on eBay and Etsy resulted in a few very similar -- sometimes much more decorated (either originally or after-market), but I will always like mine the best!


And here she is in situ on the top of a bookshelf next to some of my dad's turned wood vessels, a sideways Big Ben/Parliament cookie tin that was Rusty's mom's "sewing basket," a ceramic pumpkin that my Grandma Blum made, and on the shelf right above a photo of Viv & Maddy, and one that I took 10 years ago in Scotland. (There is much museum fodder on those shelves!)


That face, though (even in a blurry photo).


Camping 2021.2

I am pretty chuffed, having managed this entire camping trip by myself. I've never backed up the camper without a spotter before... it helped that I was familiar with the site, had a little practice with a spotter under my belt, and there was only one big tree to worry about (haha, it wasn't even very close). Also, being Sunday afternoon, there were very few "witnesses." There were only 4-5 occupied campsites in view. I'd have been much more self-conscious & nervous if we'd had close neighbors! I spent quite a bit of time streamlining & organizing my camping set-up/tear-down checklist before last month's trip, and it makes all the difference.


I look pretty pleased with myself, don't I? haha. I'd just finished leveling, supporting, chocking, turning on the propane, and hooking up the electrical... I had backed in just far enough to reach the box!*

Oh! Look at this! More teeth have been lost...


Turns out, the "backyard" playground wasn't as big a perk as I imagined.


That's the extent of Junah's playground action. I was informed that it was for little kids and he didn't like that type of swing. Oh well.

It was a little breezy, but we got a fire going with little trouble. Roasted hot dogs & s'mores were on the menu!


There was a lovely sunset.


Junah was inside, working on a LEGO 3-in-1 dinosaur set that I'd picked up for the occasion, and I couldn't help taking a couple of stealth photos through the window. He was working on the T-rex! Before we decamped, T-rex gave way to Triceratops. Oh yeah, he also brought a few cars & trucks!! He's obsessed with Monster Trucks at the moment!


It was a little walk to facilities. There were a couple of "stinky" pit toilets nearby, which Junah used exactly once! Flush toilets, sinks & showers a little bit more of a walk. I exceeded my "steps" goal three days in a row, and walking to the bathroom was a big part of that, I'm sure!

After dark, we did inside stuff... activity & workbooks, crafty stuff, toys. We both slept pretty well that first night; I had five days off of work and five days of meeting my sleep goal, too! The second night it was lightly raining and that woke me a few times.


More truck play in the morning, and then we set out to try and find some nearby geocaches. We tried to locate three that were right along the shoreline... and we didn't find a single one! It was fun to look for them, though, including a lot of climbing on & peering around & under rocks.

We regrouped and had ham sandwiches lunch, then set out on a hike to try again. There were three more that I'd identified on my app as "kid friendly," had good hints, and all three had been located by others within the last couple of months. It was a little trek up the escarpment -- there used to be a ski hill there and we hiked up where the old lift used to be, the remnants are still visible (big poles with pulleys attached).

For our first geocache, the hint told us that it was an "ammo can" and "there shouldn't be too many fallen timbers that can accommodate an ammo can." The app doesn't take to you the pinpoint location -- it's within 15-20 feet or so -- so we were looking at a lot of "fallen timbers," not really having a sense of the size of an "ammo can." We're looking and looking, feeling as though we were running out of options, when Junah said, "Hey look! I found a box!"



It was a pretty great find! We didn't have anything to trade for goodies within, but we did sign the log and maybe someday we'll return with some loot.


I wish I'd taken a better photo of Find #2. The hint for that one was to follow the rock line, and "in the 'mouth' of the alligator rock." It truly looked like a gator!


We were getting a little frustrated trying to find the third. The hint was "base of tree," and, well, we were in the woods... but they'd also described the canister, and when I finally spotted a deliberately placed chunk of wood at the base of a tree and saw a hint of brown duct tape, I realized that we'd scored again!

The order in which we found the geocaches was their order in size, from largest to smallest, and in quality... not that any were bad, but that first one was WOW! So glad it was Junah's first-ever find.

The weather could have been a bit better... but it could have been a LOT worse! It was prime for mushrooms...


We saw quite a few varieties, but these were my favorite.


He made quite a few of the crafts that came with the library's fall fundraiser promotion, and we also filled out a nature scavenger hunt page. I will admit that Junah spent a little bit of time each day playing with some "driving" apps on my phone... flying firetrucks and whatnot. It allowed me to take a quick nap one day, and to get to a few tasks... like dishes.

On Saturday night we had a taco/Frito bowl with shredded cheese & sour cream... it was pretty tasty! We built another fire without much difficulty, especially considering that it was drizzly on & off all day, so more s'mores!


Breakfasts were cereal, though this was a second breakfast... he'd made himself a ham sandwich when he got up!


I even took my knitting out of the bag a couple of times and managed maybe a half-dozen rows in all. Ha. Better than nothing.

All in all, it was a fantastic excursion, and I can't wait to do it some more next summer.

Junah's favorite thing about going camping was the HIKING.
His least favorite thing was HIKING BACK!!

*Other notes:

  1. We didn't have water hook-up, but I brought a couple of 2.5-gallon spigot jugs... making a mental note by the end of the trip (and now a real one) that 1-gallon jugs are a lot more practical for use in Ducky. The bigger ones are harder to move/stash and also take up half the available counter space!
  2. I heated water on the stove, which was OK, but an electric kettle would have been more efficient in a couple of ways.
  3. On a quest for a small dishpan or something that can be used as such. The tiny camper-size draining rack is fab.
  4. It's official: Ducky's maximum capacity is exactly TWO people, no matter their age/size. I'd once considered taking both Jün & Gin on this excursion, but there's no way that would have worked!



How are we almost a week in already??


Pictures of this tree/these colors are never as spectacular as when you see it in person... but I keep trying, year after year. Leaves are starting to drop!


And it's definitely darker in the morning. There was no one behind me yesterday morning as I left the coffee shop, so I stopped in the middle of the street for a photo. An old sign blew off in a storm on the upper left, leaving just a small remnant. Pretty soon, the whole upper level south & west sides will be sided, and I think the front will get cleaned up a little, too.


I've been keeping up with the All Work, Gnome Play - Gnome MKAL 7  pretty well! She sat in front of me last night while I started on more fiddly bits... knitted braids! And also a nose (we think it's a nose) from way back in Clue #1 that I'd apparently overlooked (thanks to Deb @ Knit Night for cluing me in).

I've been super busy with home & kids & Airbnbs...


...painting at Ann's progressed a bit last week. I'm afraid there's a bunch that's going to have to wait until Spring, but at least the front & back screen doors have been painted the new/darker color. And I'm loving it!

Rusty's just about finished putting a fresh coat on our garage, having just done the back door last night (there was a "wet paint" sign when I got home).

I had the boys for a few hours last Saturday, and then the three big kids stayed overnight. We had a blast, making some decorations for Halloween and eating Oreos with breakfast, among other things!


At long last, we had football fans!! They've been among my favorite guests since the beginning because they're always SO excited & SO happy to be here... as you can see! This couple was split -- she's a massive Packers fan and he roots for the Steelers -- so he went home disappointed in the game's outcome, but STILL SO HAPPY!! haha.

This weekend, there's a couple at Ann's from the Baraboo area to do some weekend hiking, and I have a woman & her two daughters coming from the NW part of the state to explore coffee shops & restaurants in our area -- they didn't even realize that they'd be catching the tail end of Restaurant Week!

I have an extra-long weekend coming up and it's going to be fairly nice, so I'm going camping with Junah! Camping with the grands is something I've dreamed of since the beginning of this travel trailer adventure, so here we go! I've reserved a campsite for two nights at Calumet, where Kate & I did our maiden voyage last year, in a spot very close to where we were then -- a playground will be in our "backyard"! I've also downloaded a geocaching app again, having discovered that there are quite a few in the park. And yesterday, our public library posted a "Fall Colors 5K Fundraiser" with a craft & activity kit (craft supplies, scavenger hunt, maps, etc.) and the timing couldn't have been better!! In addition to those activities, I'd already planned to do a "nature weaving" project with him, and we won't be far from LaClare Family Creamery so might go visit the goats if we need an excursion. Wish us luck (and good weather)!!

What's up with you this early October?


3TT: Update in three screenshots

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

Being in different countries/hemispheres/time zones, the girls often communicate & share day-to-day updates via Snapchat or some other social media...

1: Kate


If you're not following Kate on Instagram, I'd like to recommend... and keep an eye on her Stories, especially on days when she takes a hike. Lordy, Scotland is a gorgeous country.

1: Ali


Kid shenanigans are the best shenanigans!

1: Maddy


With daughters in both UK and Australia, I get more than my share of sheep shots!

I am showing great restraint in sharing only one shot from each!! haha.


To the border!

As hoped, I worked the last two motifs for Hexie Love and, unlike any of the others, they were truly JAYGo'd (Join As You Go).


I imagine that once I figure it out, the border will go fairly quickly because there won't be all the color changes.

Or will there?

Then I finished knitting the headband portion of Wild Fields... still have to sew it up. The kids will be over tomorrow after dance class, so I'll see how it fits the girls then, and decide (or let one of them decide) whether to add the crown on this one.

It must all have been a bit too much because I went to bed last night without setting my alarm... and weirdly woke up this morning right about the time I'd normally be getting dressed. Rusty's teaching in Door County all week, or he'd most likely have roused (me) a bit earlier. I hurried with the brushing & washing & making up (it takes longer to curl my eyelashes than to actually apply any makeup), and added a cup of coffee to my usual KC&T order instead of making it at home... and actually made it to work on time!



Warning: All Work, Gnome Play - Gnome MKAL 7 spoiler ahead. (Are any of you doing this?)

There's a story my mother used to tell about a Thanksgiving meal early in my parents' marriage -- for Dad's boss or for family, I don't remember that detail. The important thing was that Mom asked Dad to go to the kitchen and get the cranberry sauce, which she'd forgotten to "decant," and she was mortified when he proudly presented the perfectly can-shaped specimen.


I saw this at an estate sale on Friday afternoon and... maybe it wasn't all his fault!

I'm not sure what got into me, but I got up close & personal with my kitchen & bathroom floors on Saturday in a way that I haven't done in a very long time. First, I've had cleaning ladies for the past few years (but not right now) and, second, Rusty does not mind scrubbing floors! I bought a steam mop to use at Ann's house, though, and decided to give it a whirl at mine... it was awesome. It did edges pretty good, but not corners... so that's where we got close again!

Ann had ordered some pillows with the furniture for her house, and I got the call that they were ready for pick up, so I drove up to Green Bay on Saturday afternoon. I stopped at St. Vinny's, where I bought a half-dozen pair of Susan Bates long straight knitting needles; Target, where I walked the perimeter of the store and ended up with two items that I'd picked up right in front (for a total of $6); and the Packers Pro Shop, to pick up some football goodies for guests arriving this weekend for football! I'm so happy to welcome football fans again.

Ann & I both had guests last week that were here for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler. Golf is not my thing but I actually tuned in on TV for a few minutes on Sunday and even I was awed by a couple of shots... they looked pretty impressive/impossible to me! Ann's people left yesterday, so I stopped over a couple of times to get laundry going. I actually brought sheets home to hang on my clothesline! My guy left today, so... rinse & repeat.


I've been working on Hexie Love... slowly, but getting there! I've attached all the motifs at-hand, and need to make two more before I move on to the border. I am aiming to do that tonight. I'm afraid I might be a little short of yarn for the border, but I guess I won't know for sure until I dive in.

I haven't worked at all on the headband/hat that I started while camping, because I've been knitting a gnome hat!


That is through Clue 4, in which I knit nearly a foot-and-a-half of 3-stitch I-cord! Had that little detail been disclosed at the beginning, it would have been a hard NO on this for me, but... who knew? (NO ONE! It's a MYSTERY!) Turns out, I can knit about 6" of I-cord per quarter of football. I can't wait for tomorrow's clue!



...this is a frame from a super-cute Snapchat yesterday. Ginny could feel the kitten's heartbeat, and Malina... well, she's just all over it!


We're back!

We packed up, hooked up, and took off on Friday -- almost right on time! It was about a 3-hour drive to Sauk City/Prairie du Sac, and we had a very scenic drive a la Google Maps and the "avoid highways" feature.

We checked into the campground and set up Ducky, and then I drove Rusty over to the art center so he could set up his teaching space.


We borrowed Ali's pop-up gazebo, which expanded our "living space" by quite a bit! haha.


It was the first time hooked up to water other than in our own driveway, and only the second time hooked up to electrical. I finally used some equipment that I've had for over a year (surge protector, white hose, pressure regulator), and then some newer stuff (water filter, sewer hose).

We had cold water only (but brought an electric kettle), and there's a still-unpatched leak in the black water tank so we didn't use Ducky's toilet. We were roughing it just a little. There were toilets & showers very close by, though.


Other than Sunday, which was a scorcher, and a rain shower as we were making our departure/emptying the gray tank, the weather was great. Cool at night, breezy, clear skies... we watched ISS for a full 6-minute pass overhead and an almost-full moon rising on Saturday night while sitting by the campfire.

I made coffee & Rusty made breakfast every morning, then I took him to the art center. I diddled around, went to the grocery store, visited an antique mall, a cheese store, and most importantly...


...a YARN STORE! My only opportunity to stop at Flaxen Fleece was on Saturday, and by then I'd realized that I had everything I needed to work on finishing by blanket...


...except the actual blanket!! So it was a CRUCIAL stop. I had a pattern in mind that I wanted to shop for, and brought needles along, too, so at least I was prepared for something.


The photo was taken this morning before work... it's already pretty dim at that time of the morning! (My headlights were on the entire way to work this morning.) Anyway, the colors are a bit more vibrant IRL. It's the start/headband portion of Wild Fields, just published in Knitty worked in Malabrigo Rios, purchased at Flaxen Fleece. I bought a few hanks (thinking headbands/hats for the girls), and a couple of mini-skeins just because. It's the first actual knitting I've done in MONTHS (it's like riding a bicycle).

Anyway, back to our adventure. I had lunch "in" by myself everyday, and then we'd find a restaurant for dinner -- a brewery fish fry on Friday, Mexican on Saturday, BLTs at a pub on Sunday. I never made it to Wollersheim... it just wouldn't have been that fun on my own and they were only open 12-5, anyway. I thought the campground was close enough to the art center that Rusty could walk, but it wasn't, and had I known that I'd be driving every morning I might have chosen a more remote spot -- in a state park or something. It was "ok" -- right on the Wisconsin River, the facilities were clean, the owner was very responsive (to a complaint about a squeaky swing that needed oil) -- but there were no trees in our part of the RV park and it was very close to a busy highway (the only time it was quiet was for about 20 minutes around 4am). There were a lot of established "seasonal" sites further into the property and, oh boy, some vintage travel trailers that were fun to see!

It was a lot of fun, and kind of shame that it might be our only outing with Ducky all year! I felt truly relaxed and that I had an actual vacation!


Making & Doing

On Sunday, I managed to get a batch of Vicki's* Roasted Tomato Sauce in the oven -- the first in a long while.


I used tomatoes, garlic & onions from our CSA along with rosemary, Italian parsley, basil, and celery that I grew from the starter plants I purchased from them a few months ago.


The way that recipe goes, it's all popped in the oven for 25 minutes, stirred and roasted for another :25, stirred again and roasted for :45. It's the perfect recipe for multi-tasking because... it's not cookies or a cake. Twenty-five, schwenty-five, it doesn't matter that much if the timer dings it's reminder for :05 or :10 more. I love me some char! I blended it a little with my hand-held and stuck it in the freezer for later... I am tasting it in a lasagna in January.

Over the weekend, I finished the second-to-last row of Hexie Love!


Some of these randomly plucked crocheted circles are from very early days of this project, when my crochet/counting ability was a little wonky, to say the least. It makes me laugh when I pull one of those out of the bag! So this one was re-done -- twice, actually, because apparently I'm still challenged even in the late days of this project!



Ali took the big kids to the "Eve of Destruction" on Friday night -- our local raceway's end-of-season demolition derby extravaganza -- and I took charge of the littles.


It was a late night, but Davy was a trooper! He was in such good spirits all night long, and... I witnessed unaided/unsupported squat-to-stand more than once, so it won't be too much longer before he figures out the whole walking situation.

It was Malina's night to sleep over...


...and boy, did she sleep! She wanted a sleeping bag on the living room floor, chose her pillow, and was zonked out immediately. She slept until about 10:30 on Saturday! Ali said that Malina is her "late sleeper," and she was taking advantage of an unusually quiet Saturday morning to sleep in.


She accompanied me over to Ann's and watched a movie while I did some clean-up and made up a bed for the house painter, Randy.


This was still fairly early on Saturday, and he worked all day on Sunday, too. The new siding color is just a smidge lighter than the old, and I love it.


Ducky's been parked across the street all summer and we had to move it yesterday so the owners could use the area to stage a little remodel project over there. Rusty & I are perfecting our maneuvers -- me behind the wheel and him giving directions. It took a lot of backing up & pulling forward, turning the wheel this way & that, and the across-the-street neighbor stepped out just in case we needed him (he's an excellent guide & I've joked about bring him wherever we go, but we really need to figure it out for ourselves!)... and we did it!

Rusty & I will be taking off with Ducky on Friday for a weekend in Prairie du Sac where he's teaching a weekend class. We'll be in a campground/resort for the first time, located across the river in Sauk City, so we'll see what that's like -- it's a whole new area for us. There's a yarn store, Flaxen Fleece, about a 10-minute walk away from the RV park, so I'll definitely be checking that out... along with a local brewery and nearby Wollersheim Winery & Distillery. I'll be crocheting and knitting (new project alert on the horizon!) and mending and maybe catching up on some overdue bookwork (if the internet is any good) (or maybe I'll find a coffee shop) and probably napping.

So I'm in for another busy week -- a couple of book club meetings, prepping AQA for a weekend guest, and finishing getting Ducky ready (much nicer in our own driveway instead of schlepping across the street) -- but a 5-day weekend with a little adventure is ahead.


One of the craziest weeks ever

I spun on a dime not once, but twice, and accommodated last-minute Airbnb guests at both Ann's house and mine.

On Tuesday, just as I walked into Knit Night after work, I got a weird message via the Airbnb app... which eventually became a booking request for four guests at Ann's... arriving between 8-9 p.m. Luckily, I'd prepared on Monday following another inquiry/possible booking (I originally planned on doing all of that on WEDNESDAY)! So all I needed to do was make a quick run to the grocery store, make sure everything was neat & tidy, and change the lockbox combination.


I left a few lights on when I left (it was way darker outside than it looks). It's got a nice glow. I can't wait for the new paint!

On Wednesday, I had a message from the guest that I was expecting in our apartment this weekend saying that he'd tested positive for Covid and wouldn't be able to travel (from PA). We worked through getting him rescheduled for a weekend in November... and I thought I had an unexpected free weekend.

HOLD UP! Yesterday, as I popped into my local antique mall after work, and I had another Airbnb "ding" -- right about 4:30 again -- a request for three to stay at my apartment, arriving in about an hour. I thought I was pretty prepared, so I accepted... turns out I had a little more than making a bed to do, but I did it! I met the first guest, Chase, when he arrived (they actually trickled in over about 12 hours), and turns out they work for a home improvement company. They're in the area because of a hail storm we had on Tuesday that caused some significant damage in places around here. I don't know if that's what brought Ann's guests, but I'm thinking so...


Change is afoot!

There are seven gallons of paint in the back of my car and three more to pick up after work today.

(Whoops! I never even considered that there'd be a problem getting paint, but the "deep base" needed for a couple of the colors wasn't in stock and they didn't know when -- or even IF -- they'd be getting more! Luckily, there's another store nearby and they had some on the shelf.)


If the darn weather cooperates, painting at Ann's Queen Anne (AQA) will commence next week.


It'll be AMAZING to see the exterior all freshened up! The siding & trim colors aren't changing much, but the accent colors are! These photos are skewed a little on the blue side, but you get the drift.

Also, this was in the mail yesterday:


It was addressed to the NORTH POLE! Haha. OMG, I just love it, and I can't wait for more!

Have a great weekend!


Morning glow

The computer gremlins plaguing my morning yesterday seem to have moved to the phone system at work today.



I had to run back into the house this morning to fetch something I'd forgotten and was taken by the morning glow. I just said to Rusty the other day that it seemed like the leaves were thinning a bit. It's still pretty dark now in the morning when I get up -- somewhere between "first light" and "sunrise," but I still open the blinds in the bedroom.

Catch every ray of summer!


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!