Rusty & I were in Madison for a couple of days. The main event was Ann & Brian's 20+1 wedding anniversary party on Sunday, which was originally a 20th celebration planned for last year.
Y'know, I usually stay at an Airbnb when we're out of town, but I found a great hotel only two blocks from the venue!
Turns out, it was a REALLY GREAT HOTEL! Hotel Indigo on E. Washington in Madison, much of it in the former Mautz Paint Factory... and they know how to run with a theme!
The reception counter held a wonderful display of artifacts -- from office to advertising to mixing & painting.
Ann, Brian & their friend Emily met us for drinks & apps at Palette Bar & Grill in the hotel on Saturday night, which was also amazing in every way -- great food & drinks, terrific service, and very reasonably priced.
Delightful, painterly decor at every turn.
Rusty has wielded a paintbrush or two (he used to help his grandpa) and he said there were some pretty great old brushes in that display. I love how the lighting makes it look like there's paint dripping from some of them. The "dripping" mirror was in our room.
Well, it was only a day trip, but it sure was cool. I tagged along on Kate's invitation from the owners to meet & tour Camp Wandawega in southern Wisconsin -- not far from Lake Geneva and a little over two hours' drive from home.
Sorry... not sorry... there are going to be a lot of photos in this post!
Camp Wandawega has quite a history, from speakeasy and brothel to lakeside resort and church camp.
I first learned of Camp Wandawega and owners Tereasa & David because they're fellow Airbnb Superhosts (though in a league far-removed from mine!) and featured "how-to" Airbnb hosts... and their property is just plain AMAZING.
Tereasa, David & their daughter live in Chicago, but spend most weekends at Camp (and even more in this pandemic year). For the past 15 years, Camp Wandawega has been -- and continues to be -- their labor of love as it evolves and grows.
It's creative & crafty...
For real, that's the "Craft Cabin."
And don't think that I didn't think "Knitters' Summer Camp" about a million times while we toured the property!
It's an event venue (in normal times)...
Usually, there are a lot of weddings and corporate events.
It's also just a really cool place to hang out... small clusters of cabins, tents, and unique spaces. History is everywhere.
And they have their own line of Homer Laughlin diner china (among other things).
Serious plotz from this lover/collector of vintage china, especially Homer Laughlin!
It's too bad scheduling didn't work out for Kate to accept the invitation to stay overnight, but who knows what'll happen next...
Wow. It's really the 23rd of July already, isn't it?! What a crazy summer/year.
We had a great few days in Door County!
There was a whole lotta fun in the sun & surf. We stayed at a waterfront cottage near Bailey's Harbor and it was just about perfect.
The front yard was basically a sandbox with the beach beyond, so the kids were in heaven! We had a small campfire on the beach every night except one (because it was too windy) and ate lots of roasted (or not) marshmallows & s'mores. The day that was too windy for a fire was apparently perfect for para-/kite-surfing and sailboarding and it was a blast watching them go back and forth -- some were cautious & just learning, others were much more experienced & the tricks were thrilling -- often they'd be 15 or 20 feet in the air and we wondered... What if they just didn't come down?? They always did, of course, sometimes with a great big splash and/or without their board. It was very entertaining.
We were pretty hunkered down and only needed to venture out a few times -- to pick up a pizza, find some firewood, grab more marshmallows & chocolate bars, visit the local yarn shop... y'know, the important stuff! I spotted Whit's Knits on the first drive down the main drag and knew that I'd have to stop by at some point... which I did on Saturday, and I found another pink yarn that I liked! The shop owner, Whitney, was very friendly and though the yarn selection is small, it was all very good, and there were a number of other crafty items from needle-felting to portable looms and even some crafts for kids.
I had plenty of projects along, of course! I had the blanket, both crochet projects, and I was even prepared with yarn & needles for Jün & Gin, but I actually sat down only once after everyone had gone to bed to do a little knitting... a few quiet moments in my room.
I'm back at the blanket since we returned and after I knit a couple of skies and do a little sewing, Row 4 will be done!
Getting close to the half-way mark!
I hope you've had a good week. I have a lot of catching up to do!!
Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...
We kinda needed to bust outta here last week, so we took a drive out to 1) Lake Michigan. That's about an hour east of us, and it was a nice day for a drive.
It just so happens we were on a small portion of the 2) Ice Age Trail.
Yes, that's my husband wearing a jacket and knit cap... while walking barefoot on the shore.
I don't think I'd ever seen Lake Michigan so calm (panoramic view).
We stopped at 3) Cato Falls on the way home -- just because it was there and we'd never been before. It's not the most exciting waterfall you've ever seen, but we enjoyed watching two guys in short whitewater kayaks shooting in and out of the rapids. It was a nice park and not all that far from Ali's, so I'm looking forward to taking the kids there once the playground is open again.
It's chilly and a little windy, but super sunny. And I filled up my gas tank for less than $15 last week... I think we're going to go explore some other park today -- hike a trail or find a waterfall!
This exhibition includes women who are both artists and mothers. Although all the work may not specifically be about experiences in motherhood, each participant manages some degree of an art career while also mothering. Featured are women who dedicate a significant focus to the creation, promotion, and exhibition of their work with multiple works by each artist making up the exhibition.
Featuring work by: Amy Soczka, Katie Martin Meurer, Maria Amalia Wood, Jamie Lea Bertsch, Kendra Bulgrin, Megan Woodard Johnson, and Mindy Sue Wittock
Amy Soczka Suspension v.2 Hand-cut Paper, 72" x 24" x 36"
This is amazing to see in the gallery. My thoughts also quickly turned to stenciling and sewing! (It can't be helped.)
Maria Amalia Wood Una Linea de Tiempo (A Line of Time) 91 Wood Bobbins Wrapped With Handmade Paper Made With My Grandmother's Robe, Bed Linens, and Other Personal Fabric Remnants 132"
Mindy Sue Wittock
^ ^ ^
The Mother + Artist show was at the "North" gallery, we also stepped around the corner to the original space.
Tiffany Bailey Quilted Barns Porcelain and colored slip, 23" x 21-1/2" x 1"
Kim Eichler-Messmer Pivot Cotton Fabric Naturally [Dyed] With Black Walnuts, Marigolds, and Weld 51" x 51"
^ ^ ^
I had my sock!
I've made progress since this photo was taken on Friday! It's my re-do, this time using MDK Field Guide No. 11 - Wanderlust! I'm bucking trend and reworking the numbers to accommodate my worsted weight yarn, and using the "Waving Rib" panel pattern. I don't believe I've ever worked a short-row heel before, and that's next... as soon as I do the maths.
^ ^ ^
In other news, Maddy Mo is taking the midnight train to northern Australia to work at a hotel/resort for a few months! More adventure!!
And this just in:
I didn't even know how much I wanted this when we started five months ago, but here we are! I got the email this morning (wasn't expecting to hear for another week). It's such a crazy thing... so much work, but so rewarding and fun. We had our first honeymooners last weekend -- musicians/students, I think, from the Milwaukee area. I was reminded of when Rusty & I got married, we were so poor, and had a similar getaway -- we made the most of it! Anyway, guests are booked for the next three weekends (so you know what I'm doing for a few hours on my days off), and I'm looking forward to a "break" in August when we have someone renting for the whole month! And in September, our first international guest -- also an Airbnb host -- on holiday from Australia!
Let the recap begin! I may test the limits of both Typepad and my readers with the number of photos in these posts!
Our vacation was basically in three parts: Quiet - Crazy - Quiet.
Part 1 was arriving in Valencia and immediately vacating for a quick trip to Galicia, aka, the Atlantic Northwest.
Part 2 was returning to Valencia for the insane craziness that is Las Fallas.
Part 3 was a few days in Cornwall... to decompress.
Right off the bat, we were delayed about 5-6 hours when there were issues in Chicago... something about the jet bridge bumping into the plane, leaving a 1mm dent in the fuselage, and though everyone (ground crew, etc.) was OK with it, someone didn't want to sign off, so it ending up requiring approval from HQ in Toulouse, France (where it was the middle of the night, of course). So stupid -- and something that should never have happened in the first place. We were all lined up and ready to board... then we all sat down (thank god for knitting) and then the vouchers appeared. Finally underway, we missed our connecting flight in Madrid. Thankfully, we were fairly quickly booked on a train; re-bookings didn't appear to be going smoothly for everyone on our flight. We had to make our way to the Atocha Station, and I was really glad that I'd been there/done that before! I haven't been in too many train stations, but Atocha has to be among the most beautiful!
We finally made it to Valencia, hailing a cab from the train station to Ann & Brian's apartment. We all immediately ran out to look at some of the falla being constructed and to get some food & drink. Firecrackers were going off all around us -- all around the city -- day and night! Incredibly (I wouldn't have believed it), after a while, it all just becomes background noise. Anyway, much more on Las Fallas later.
We'd made the majority of basic plans & bookings during the holidays when we were together. Originally, we'd hoped to visit Bilbao and Santander, but flight schedules didn't work very well, so we shifted to westward... as far west as we could! We flew into Santiago de Compostela on Thursday, rented cars, and drove out to Cabo Touriñán -- it's the most northwestern point in Spain!
We stopped at Restaurante Leandro in Santa Comba, along the way, for lunch. Ann is a big fan of both TripAdvisor and anyplace with a menu del dia (menu of the day). Typically, it's offered for the mid-day meal, generous servings at a very reasonable price, and includes a few choices for each course, along with dessert and wine (or water). We had a very fine meal on this day, which concluded with this stellar Flan de Queso! It set the dessert bar very high for the entire trip (never quite to be reached).
This was the view from our Airbnb. Oh, what a joy that was! There's a small group of sheep right in the middle of that photo (perhaps if you click, it'll will enlarge enough to see them). Rusty couldn't stand it, and immediately took off to explore the shore!
Maria and her daughter, Alba, were our hosts. Maria greeted us, not speaking a word of English, and my Duolingo lessons didn't really get us too far! Ann & Brian were a bit behind us, for some reason... never mind, somehow we communicated the important stuff! Alba spoke a little bit of English, and the boys are quite good with Spanish these days (Ann & Brian, too, but the boys even more). I got comfy and decided to try out some of my Spanish words, Ann es mi hermana. And then I tried to say something about Brian being Ann's esposo, which garnered laughter from everyone, so I'm sure I didn't do that right... heh.
We settled right in... some following Rusty's lead, others heading into town for provisions.
We observed some very interesting things at this house in the north of Spain.
I don't know how typical it is, but there was an entire room -- bedroom-sized -- strung with clothesline for indoor drying. What is typical is the lack of dryers. Every place I've been in Europe/UK has had a washing machine -- usually small, tucked under a kitchen counter or in a small adjoining area, though I've yet to spot a dryer. Usually there are drying racks/lines outside of windows -- laundry is easy to spot! If the Atlantic Northwest is anything like the Pacific Northwest... well, there you have it! Genius, really.
The other thing was the bedding. First, there was one long pillow encased in one long pillowcase, spanning the entire width of the bed, whether twin or double. I like my pillow a bit firmer than Rusty does, and I'm also a bit of a scruncher. There was no scrunching! We weren't really fans of that situation. Second, fleece sheets! This is a step beyond flannel, people! I'd never heard of fleece sheets before, but they seem readily available on several sites, including Amazon!
On Friday, we hopped in cars and did a bit of exploring. This part of the trip was a big question because Ann & fam don't usually do "road trip" vacations, mainly because the boys get antsy and sometimes Mack suffers a bit of carsickness. Luckily, we weren't going too far!
First we headed up to Muxía. There was a street market happening, so we just parked and got out to explore. There were lots of rocks to climb on, and treasures to be found.
We hopped in the car again and drove down to Fisterra on Cape Finisterre (Land's End). Most of our stops in Galicia are points along the Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James).
These markers show the way... this one happens to be the 0 km marker at Finisterre.
We found some refreshment at the cape:
And food in Finisterre. Ann had O Pirata on her list and we were not disappointed!
Everything was super fresh, well prepared, and so tasty!! We basically had a customized menu del dia, made just for us. Plus, some of the best bread any of us have had in a while. It was cool to see a fisherman come in with his bucket o' fish to sell.
Another interesting thing we saw in Galicia were these:
They're everywhere -- in the villages, in the country -- all long and narrow, on "mushroom stilts" (that's what we called them), with ornaments at each gable end, one of them always a cross. Some were higher, lower, older, newer...
They're corn cribs!
Stunningly beautiful corn cribs. That's the light from the lighthouse visible at just right of center, above.
We all went out to the lighthouse at various times, on foot or by car. It was peaceful and lovely.
I'd definitely return... there's so much more to explore!
Santiago de Compostela was our destination on Saturday, but first we made another quick run up to Muxía. I remembered that there was a church site there that I'd wanted to visit!
Nosa Señora da Barca (Our Lady of the Boat) is sited beautifully. The church was nearly destroyed in a fire several years ago; the structure has been restored, but the interior is "representational" -- a large photo backdrop of the altar. It was the entire site the intrigued me... the church, the unusual stones (the boys really enjoyed climbing), and the sculpture.
A Ferida ("The Wound") by artist Alberto Bañuelos is in remembrance of the Prestige oil spill that poured nearly 18 million gallons of oil into the ocean off the coast of Muxía in 2002. We could still see evidence of oil on coastal rocks... that doesn't ever wash away.
We had just a quick overnight stop in Santiago -- mainly to visit the Cathedral, which was a nice walking distance from our Airbnb.
A 5-year-long restoration of the exterior was completed last summer.
Now happening on the interior! There wasn't much to see, but it was still quite fascinating and... GOLD! Very gold. Even with all the scaffolding and draping, it GLOWS! This will continue for the next year, all to be complete in time for the Holy Year 2021.
We returned cars and flew back to Valencia on Sunday!
If you'd like the CliffNotes version...
...here's our "entire" vacation in 2 minutes and 37 seconds!
Stay tuned for the spectacle that is Las Fallas -- Part 2 to come!
I didn't even finish talking about the weekend before last-- Sunday, anyway -- in which I took this:
...(plus a few more pieces) to THIS:
It took a lot longer than I'd hoped (I had a LOT more things on my to-do list) (still do), but it's done and I love it!
_ _ _ _ _
Last weekendstarted on Thursday evening with the first Christmas party of the season with the gang from work, and continued with a company-paid day off on Friday! I needed it, too, since I didn't have a regular day off last week. I did exciting things like get my oil changed & a tire repaired, picked up & dropped off packages at the coffee shop & visited with Ali for a while, went to the grocery store and Target. Woohoo! Those are all things that needed to be done, though, and I basically got paid to do them.
One of my first real jobs was as a typesetter, though I didn't even know that's what I was doing at the time, and it was the very dawn of computer typesetting, so I never actually worked with block letters/art and real leading before. I just flipped switches to get the amount of leading I wanted between lines of type, and actually typed on a keyboard (mostly) instead of plucking individual letters from a type drawer. Either way, what was being produced was not the end-game... it was all destined for the printer! And though I never printed a darn thing in my life, I was in that environment for many years... and, coincidentally, Rusty owned a print shop at one time (long before I met him), and my brother also worked in various print shops for many years.
So this experience was both very familiar and very new!
We each had our own little sign press & galley with various tools, some ink & a supply of paper, and a good selection of type and art from which we could choose. I never actually thought about what I'd actually make/print, so I went seasonal first and went from there... here are a few examples of my work:
OMG. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!
I can't stop thinking about it, so I guess that means that a full-day (at least) workshop is in my future! Time was limited, so I really didn't spend much of it away from my own press, but I did take a peek at Rusty's project:
Well, he is an artist!
Edited to add: Rusty showing off one of his prints on the Hamilton Wood Type IG feed!
Bonny referred to my "whirlwind art trips with Kate" the other day and I loved it! I've decided that it's a thing... currently, an Instagram hashtag! #whirlwindarttripwithkate
It fits like a glove. This is a photo & caption that Kate posted on Facebook the other day and I immediately made it my profile pic:
Visiting the Ruth Asawa Life’s Work show at Pulitzer and feeling all the Black Mountain College love and lore rushing back... such a stunning show, and there’s my mom because she’s such a super spontaneous fast-paced art trip copilot and it was her idea to run to STL for this show in the first place.
Haha. Kate's not always the instigator! I don't remember how I first learned about this show, but from that moment I was plotting a trip to see it. And there you see me and a big part of the exhibit... there will be more on that later. First things first.
We planned our departure for Wednesday after work, and it turns out that it was the same day that Maddy returned from her vintage gig at an Oregon winery! Kate's day was shorter than mine, so those two had a nice catch-up over lunch and hung out for a while. I was able to kiss & hug & hit the high notes while I finished packing, and then Kate and I hit the road at right about 5pm. We stayed overnight outside of Chicago and got a reasonably early start on Thursday.
When I wasn't dropping DPNs, stitch markers, or stitches, I was even able to get some knitting done on the way! (I think I'll finally finish that mitt tonight.)
Our first stop was for lunch! We were actually headed someplace else when Salt + Smoke Barbeque caught our eye. We were not disappointed with that choice!!
I'm going to post only this photo here and I love it because it shows the scale of his work. They are wild... in the best possible way. You can scroll through the rest here:
There was much more to see, of course.
This amazing covered bowl & plate set caught my eye. Does anyone else see balls of yarn in that design???
We checked in at our Airbnb -- a beautiful carriage house that I kept imagining with my own furniture and thinking about where I'd put my yarn. Those are the best... the ones that I want to move into! This was my 22nd stay at an Airbnb, and I guess you could say I'm a fan! (Join Airbnb through this link and you'll receive a $40 credit toward your first trip, and I'll get a $20 credit, too.)
The house was close enough that we walked over to check out Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch! What a fun event!! Admission is free and includes a beer (or beverage of choice).
Does it look like we had fun?? Haha. Completely out of character, we opted for not one but TWO souvenir photos... one with the LOVE BEER sign and one with the CLYDESDALE (because CLYDESDALE)!
On the way back, we stopped off at a fabulous restaurant called Frazer's and had a wonderful meal. The food was superb and the service was top-notch.
I'm thinking this is a Corgi? Christmas decoration?? Am I missing something?
Then we walked home and fell into bed, ready for Friday (our only full day in St. Louis)!
I took off from work at noon on Friday, ran a few errands, and then drove up to Fish Creek in Wisconsin's Door County Peninsula to spend a weekend with nine other members of my Book Club.
Our book club has been meeting for about 20 years. I've known, been acquainted, worked and/or socialized with some members for much longer than that, but most I know only because of the 2-3 hours when we share a dinner every couple of months and (usually) discuss a book that we've (more or less) all read (maybe).
Anyway, we've read a few books over the years by Wisconsin authors and/or set in our state, and a couple that were specific to Door County... which happens to be just not too far away... and somewhere along the line, a book club get-away was dreamed up! We found a spacious condo with plenty of room (and bathrooms).
This was our "backyard." There was still a little snow on the deck, but it was nice enough to sit out and soak up some Vitamin D on Saturday afternoon.
We were able to walk to dinner & cocktails at Bayside Tavern on Friday evening, and to breakfast at The Cookery (newly opened for the season!) on Saturday morning.
Our main event was a Door County Trolley's Wine, Spirits & Brew Tour on Saturday. We shared the trolley with another group of 10 women on their 3rd annual girls' weekend (which all began with a bridal shower), a group of three, and two couples.
They have a board at Starboard on which you can write suggestions for future brews and/or naming suggestions -- Lor Horny Hop and Hop Bop Bonino are from our group. :)
We stayed in on Saturday night, ordering take-away pizza from Wild Tomato and staying up late (again) playing games and laughing. I did less playing games and more knitting*... but still a LOT of laughing!
I'd been a little hesitant as the time approached (Inner Introvert: What did I get myself into???), but told myself it was only for a weekend (suck it up). I gave it a positive spin in my brain and decided that I would enjoy it... and I did. But I also had SO MUCH FUN! And RELAXING.
We packed up on Sunday morning and headed out of town for breakfast, ending up at The Log Den for their Sunday buffet... and what a wonderful stop that was! Family-built, -owned, and -operated, 76-year-old owner Wayne is still the head cook!
They also have a log home listed on VRBO and they invited us to go over to scout it out for next year!!
*Mixed results on the knitting... Friday's time was much better spent than Saturday's... more on that in a day or two, and probably an FO!
Last weekend's spontaneous trip to St. Louis, MO, with Kate helps the checking off of a larger "bucket list" item of mine, and that is to visit as an adult all the cities that I lived in as a child. The list also includes:
Milwaukee, WI (check)
Escanaba, MI (check)
Chicago/Highland Park, IL (check)
We were fully prepared to depart when I finished work at 5pm on Friday, but I was lucky enough to get off at 1 instead. Kate had an after-5 appointment to deliver some artwork in Madison, giving us time to detour to Milwaukee for a stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Seriously, is that not one of the most beautiful structures in the world? Even the lower-level parking is striking. Someday, I'm going to camp out and watch the "wings" open/close.
We were not there at a time when we could hear Antoine's Organ "come alive," but alive it was... relevant.
We had time to swing through a couple of other areas.
Refrigerator Pies, 1962, Wayne Thiebaud
Bluffs, 2009, Tara Donovan, buttons and glue (!!!)
Modernity Circa 1952, Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely, 2004, Josiah McElheny
From there we drove to Madison, where Kate made her delivery, and we had dinner.
Then we hit the road for St. Louis... we didn't make it that far on Friday night, though, construction & traffic making for angsty driving. We stopped overnight near Oglesby, IL, and set the alarm clock for an early start on Saturday!
To be continued, as usual... we packed a whole lot into just a couple of days!! :)
Jun has turned a corner, and is all of a sudden very engaging with and attentive to his little sister.
He makes sure her legs are straight, (nearly strangle-)holds her on the big slide. "Isn't that fun, Gin?"
Rusty had some errands to run on Saturday and I decided to ride along; we both packed a bag with the idea that we'd stay overnight if we found a place that beckoned.
Naturally, I packed an extra bag full of yarn.
Yes, I brought all this yarn!
After our scheduled stops in Mishicot & Algoma, we wandered. We found lunch, stumbled across some history...
It was a gorgeous day, so we found some beautiful vistas, too.
We decided to stop for a root beer float at Frosty Tip in Dyckesville and talk about where we'd like to end up for the evening. As we turned off the by-pass, I spotted Sunset Shores, which looked pretty good -- and here we are; I gave a call and we nabbed the last available room.
Provisions (we weren't very prepared).
We found a place for a light supper, then settled in to enjoy sunset at the beach. We socialized with a fellow guest, and watched the sky for meteors -- alas, I did not see a single one! I've seen quite a few "shooting stars" over the years, though, and no doubt I will see more... it was a gorgeous evening for stargazing.
We were up and out the door early. Only :45 from home, we walked through the back door at 9 a.m. and put on a pot of coffee!
After breakfast, I gave my Forest Mystery shawl a soak while I biked to the store, and pinned it out when I got back. It's HUGE -- much bigger than my blocking mat! So cozy.
Then I did a little tidying, a little laundry, a little cleaning & tossing out... and, other than cooking supper, I took the rest of the day off!
I'd begun knitting Larissa Brown's Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows in the Saturday sunset (above), and spent much of yesterday knitting and figuring out "where this arrow wants to go."
The shawl begins with a couple of knit triangles. This is Triangle #1 and, after some trial & error/knitting & ripping, I think this is the palette and the direction it's going. The Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails weren't in my original pile o' yarn for this project, but they are perfect in more ways than one -- notice all the "arrowheads" on the labels? This is a fun project for play and for using up a bunch of leftovers and little skeins. I'm already thinking about Triangle #2!
*Last time I made this, I used 4 eggs instead of 2; this time I used 6; next time, I'll try 6 again but eliminate (or greatly cut back) the flour.
We'd been looking forward to it for weeks! My uncle was going to be away for a few weeks and offered his cabin to us. It's been a while since we've been up north at the height of summer, and we jumped at the chance. Rusty was in CA helping a friend with a kitchen remodel, and Rod had some gigs and also continued work on the "coffee camper," so it was just us girls and Jün for five days & nights!
There was canoeing, kayaking, walking, and hiking.
And also a little bit of running (moi!) after Jün accidentally disturbed some bees and got stung a couple of times!
Trains are the big thing occupying Junebean these days -- the old Brio track & train that was his mother's & aunts', with the addition of THOMAS and PERCY... and oh, my, does he love those engines! He also had some THOMAS DVDs, which we watched a few times, and his book bag with some of his favorite books... including THOMAS! I had a very enjoyable time one evening listening to his momma read him stories at bedtime.
Gin & Jün are starting to interact a little bit... it's going to be so fun to watch them grow together!
There was some hammock time (who knew that was so comfortable?)!
And plenty of playing-in-the-water time.
There was lots of great cooking and eating, everyone pitching in and... I don't think I even lifted a finger in the kitchen 'til Day 3. We made "camp food" one night with Maddy's direction and assistance... tin foil packets of ground beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, and lots of butter... sort of like pasties without the crust. So good. I ate every crumb.
And leaving plenty of room for s'mores! It's been ages since I've had one (so I had more than one!).
I didn't try it myself, but in case you're wondering, the addition of the chocolate covered pretzel crisp was deemed "too crispy!"
There was even laundry. Ali uses cloth diapers most of the time, and Gin is a frequent spitter-upper, so there was need. We filled two clotheslines... plus the dog lead! Thankfully, all of those diapers have inserts and covers with snaps, so I snapped them on the line, or we'd have run out of pins for sure!
And there was an awful lot of this... lake- and sky-watching.
And some obvious favorite subjects & angles.
Every day is different!
Maddy camped out in her tent, driven in only once by thunderstorms and torrential rain! Luckily, our days were mostly dry... if a little warm (though not as warm as predicted, so YAY!).
We came home to some surprising, gut-wrenching & scary news that isn't mine to share and that I find rather sad, desperate & embarrassing, but am afraid will be inescapable, and so I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it. Ugh. It makes for a rather worried & moody Vicki.
We also came home to the surprising, heart-wrenching & exciting news (even if it's taken a while for the shock to subside and excitement to sink in) that my sister and her family are moving to SPAIN... in 5 weeks!!
Bitter, bitter, bittersweet.
Watch this space for a future Mediterranean vacation!
I wore sandals to Milwaukee on Saturday, and I'm wearing them again today. The temp is supposed to be 55F!
My cousin Rae is member of a group called Craft Cult and I received an invitation a few weeks ago to the Craft Cult Annual Art & Craft Sale on Nov. 8th at Art & Soul Gallery. I've been aware of this sale in previous years, but usually with not much notice. This year, realizing that it was also on my birthday weekend, I had plenty of time to make it an event!
It was a quick one -- just overnight on Saturday -- but so fun!
SW corner of the building, 5th floor, lots of light!! Fantastic kitchen!
After my walk on Saturday morning, my sister Ann and I headed south! Our Airbnb loft was located in the Walker's Point area. We found it and then headed down the street to Zak's Cafe for lunch, contacting our hosts on the way and giving them a little notice.
My bedroom... and the view. Photos taken on Sunday morning, after we'd already "moved in"!
Karen wasn't expected until a little bit later, and a little shopping was on all of our lists, so we decided to meet up at the mall. Yeah... on a Saturday afternoon.
The good news is, we all found what we were looking for! I was happy to come across a new Hanna Andersson store and bought a few things for Junebug that I know he'll wear and wear and wear. I had a brief thought about saving them for Christmas, but why?? 'Tis the season (any minute now) for cozy long johns!
We had a wonderful dinner out at Morel on Saturday night. I had quite a list of possibilities, but we settled on this one and I'm so glad we did. We didn't make reservations, but there was room at the bar and we didn't mind that... fun and casual. We shared a Charcuterie Board; we all had the Beet, Radish, Smoked Carrot, Chevre, Arugula, Pine Nut Salad (ordered at three separate times, but arriving all at once... that's great service & a great kitchen); Karen had Lamb Ragout, Annie had Ham Hock, and I had Rainbow Trout; and we shared a little Chocolate Mousse for dessert... because was also stopped off at the Purple Door on the way home!
On Sunday morning, after breakfast at Zak's, we packed up and head out of town, stopping at Rae's event on the way. Her husband Michael was spinning records*, and other members of the cult -- wow, there was some great sewing, jewelry, paper goods! Rae's a fantastic knitter, and she made both the hat that Junah modeled yesterday and another little item that I picked up for him... that I am saving for Christmas (as hard as that is!). Yes, I'm a knitter; yes, I could make those things myself... but I know that I won't!
I found some great earrings for myself.
And we had fun visit with Rae!! I'll be heading back down to Milwaukee again to a) give the cult an introduction to Alabama Chanin, and b) to possibly host an Alabama Chanin party/start a sewing circle with my sisters, cousins, and friends.
*As I passed by at one point, I overheard Michael talking to a young girl (and by that, I mean at least mid-20s), saying, "...and the larger space between the grooves is a pause between songs."
I went to a Knit In and came home with yarn... and a beer glass! My friend had an extra, so also the matching wine glass! Welcome to Wisconsin!!
I had a great time at and around the 2015 Madison Knitters' Guild Knit In over the weekend! Ann & I made a few stops along the way. Susan's Fiber Shop -- incredibly, for the very first time* but not the last. Bradbury's for coffee and crepes -- we split one savory, one sweet. The Sow's Ear, not exactly on the way but worth the stop; we shopped and knit and sipped away the remainder of the afternoon.
On Friday night, we had dinner at Red Sushi. My nephew Dylan is on the wait staff there and it was fun to have both his guidance and Ann's, especially since I'm basically a sushi newbi. I can definitely proclaim myself a sushi lover, though, and I'm already looking forward to next time. Great cocktails at Red Sushi, and also at Merchant, where we went after dinner; I'd like to eat there sometime!
Saturday was full of classes. Ann & I both took Annie Modesitt's "Mad About Plaid" and enjoyed it very much! It was fun and informative; Annie is a great teacher, not to mention entertaining, brilliant and creative.
I also had a class in the afternoon about working with hand-dyes -- identifying techniques and patterns to help them sing to you as much when knitted up as they do when they land in your shopping cart! I thought this would be beneficial, not only as a yarn collector and knitter, but also as a sometime dyer.
Ann had both the Wine & Yarn Pairing and the Beer & Fiber Tasting events on Saturday afternoon... I'd signed on to take part in only the Beer event on Sunday.
We visited the marketplace between classes and during our free times. I was delighted to finally lay eyes on (and even hug) some long-time virtual friends, including Kathleen Pascuzzi who is Annie's partner at ModeKnit Yarn, and Emily Parson from Sophie's Toes!
There were same changes to the event this year -- a new, larger venue that cost a ton of money, I'm sure. That cost was passed on to attendees and vendors alike. Unfortunately, it was not very walk-in friendly and people who wanted only to shop were not too keen on paying $15 admission on top of $7 parking just to get in the door. I think some of the vendors did okay, but I'm afraid that many may have done less than okay; booth fees, travel, lodging -- and some came a ways (Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, New York) -- I'm all too familiar with this scenario from Rusty's art fair days! I hope something can be done to make vendors more accessible to the public; they're not going to come back if they're not making (or, in the end, only breaking even or losing) money, and I think they're a big attraction.
On Saturday evening, we were joined by others, including Ann's long-time friend Lisa, caityrosey, and Java Jennie/Kitchen Counter Crafter (great bags and fun fabrics!). We went to Grampa's Pizzeria and OH MY... that's not my grandpa's pizza, but it is some of the best pizza I've had in a while! One of our pies had brussels sprouts and chunky bacon, another had pesto, and we all tasted/shared a ginger cake for dessert. Delicious. Afterwards, we made our way to Old Sugar Distillery Tasting Room for a taste and some shopping. I had a delicious and refreshing drink based on the Brazilian caipirinha but made with Old Sugar's Honey Liqueur.
I may have had two. *clink*
My main knitting project over the weekend was Deep End II. I managed to work the sewn bind-off by lunch time on Sunday! I need to weave in some ends, give it a soak, and lay it out to dry.
On the way out of town, we stopped at Jamerica for a bite to eat before heading home. That was an unexpected but delightful stop!
I was asked a few times what my favorite part of the weekend was and I really couldn't single anything out -- it was ALL my favorite part:
Friends Old & New, Fiber & Yarn, Food & Drinks!
It doesn't get much better than that.
*I have visited the large Susan's Fiber Shop booth at all three NY Sheep & Wool Festivals, as well as at WI Sheep & Wool, so not a complete stranger!
In the day, the property was quite large; located at the end of a short road, it extended to a point and also included a small island with boat house, connected to the mainland by a foot bridge. There was a lot of room for exploration! The property is still bigger than most -- and still includes the island -- even though the lot at the point was sold some years ago.
View from the south-side loft. The folks sitting on the far side are in the old porch area -- a wall with some windows (part of it remains) used to separate the two areas. There used to be an old sofa bed (most comfortable ever and my favorite sleeping place outside of the north-side loft), a few easy chairs, a rocker, a gorgeous wood-burning stove in the main area, but it was completely dominated by a red gingham oilcloth-covered dining table in the center of the room -- the center of the universe.
Bedrooms with walls, no ceiling!
The cabin had two big lofts at either end; a rustic kitchen and a bedroom under the south loft; a porch (and another bedroom) under the lake-side north loft; the lofts overlooked two more bedrooms on the middle-west side and a large dining/living area on the east.
Electricity was the only modern convenience; water was hauled, two buckets at a time, from a pump located a little ways off the northwest corner of the cabin, and heated in a big kettle on the stove; a two-seater log outhouse was located at the side of the cabin. Later, a cold water tap was added in the kitchen at the... well, let's call it the "personal care" sink, where we'd wash our faces and brush our teeth.
There used to be several poles off-shore with many martin houses -- full of purple martins. The martin population isn't anywhere what it used to be.
Deeper personal cleanliness could be accomplished in the lake or, as Grandma often preferred, by sponge bath in the "privacy" of her bedroom. Perhaps the original "open concept" design, there was only one room in the whole cabin that had both ceiling and walls, and none of them had a proper door; the center bedrooms had walls but no ceiling, the lofts had ceiling but no walls, the "bedroom" on the porch was actually created by hanging a curtain as partition, and all of the interior doorways were merely curtained.
The "porch bedroom" is now just part of the porch -- the curtain has been removed (though hardware remains) (you never know).
The cabin was sold about 20 years ago and has seen substantial "improvement" since then, the most significant of which is "indoor plumbing." The bedroom off the kitchen -- the one with both ceiling and walls -- was converted to a spacious full bath + laundry! There's a new roof, sunlights, an updated kitchen, flooring, and a partial basement, now, which houses both furnace and water heater; a windowed wall was removed between the living area and porch to open it up even further.
Other family members, both near and far along the family tree branches, still have (or had) nearby properties, and we've been well aware of all of these changes -- and have even done some window-peeking over the years -- but it was hard to tell, really, all the changes that had taken place.
We were all quite happy -- my kids beside themselves (Maddy has no memory of being there) -- when it was offered to us for the weekend in October that we planned to visit. We were warned many times that "it isn't the cabin you remember."
The center of attention from the minute he woke up!
Junah is the 7th generation to stay at the old family cabin!
Our favorite card game -- and there was almost always one in progress -- SKIP BO!
Lo, we were all quite pleased to note the "improvements," but also that there was much more that had stayed the same than had changed. It's hard to change the basic footprint and feel of a cabin made of massive native logs too much!!
It was perfect. Always was, always will be.
This photo is everything -- my great grandmother (on the left), old cars, the kitchen door, and outbuildings! Very little has changed. The building to the far left is known as "The Hoodlum" and was originally a bunkhouse on wheels, hauled around to lumber camps. It still stands, and I've slept a night or two there! Moved to my uncle's property several years ago, the old Wisconsin license plate is still visible!
Great Grandpa Sutton and me near the boathouse at the cabin, autumn 1965, Turtle Flambeau Flowage. One of my most favorite photos.
We boarded a borrowed pontoon on Saturday to motor a little ways out into the bay. I wore the fabulous autumn cover sweater from Vogue Knitting that Sharon knit years ago, we listened to Eva Cassidy sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," we disbursed the remainder of Sharon's ashes, along with some of Uncle Bob's, who'd passed in late May, to join those of a few others resting in the bay. Sharon & Bob had a special bond and it was good. Good company.
We returned to shore and feasted on steamed artichokes and smoked fish -- Sharon's favorite -- along with some BBQ ribs and potato-leek soup.
I love this photo of Annie and Junah reading.
Junah getting Bogey kisses!
It was a wonderful (if too short) weekend with lots of family time, fabulous weather, good food, fun and games, and more than a little irreverence -- in other words, SHARON PERFECT.
We were hopeful on Friday night. After securing bikes to the carrier (one in the back seat due to overcrowding) and loading our gear, we drove up to meet Annie at our airbnb lodging in Egg Harbor -- IN THE POURING RAIN -- to be ready for the morning start to our 25-mile route in the Peninsula Century.
We continued to listen during the night as the rain continued to hit the roof of our cute little A-frame.
Day dawned on Saturday and, though there were plenty of puddles, the rain had stopped and it looked pretty good. We dressed, found some coffee and breakfast, and made our way to Sister Bay.
The sky was getting blue-er by the minute! It was a bit chilly just standing around, but we donned our layers and once on our way... well, it was pretty near perfect. Mostly sunny, mid-60s, very little wind. All day long. Here we are, at Waterfront Park, ready for departure.
And here at our rest stop, about 18 miles in, at Wickman House in Ellison Bay. What a great spread for us! Beverages, fruit, granola and cookies, and there was a bike mechanic available to make adjustments (tighten my seat, lower Annie's). We had a random run-in with our high school art teacher! I had him for several classes back in the day, Sharon practically lived in the Art Dept. during her senior year, and even Katie had him for a class or two before he retired. It's been a long time, but he lives up there now, very active in the community, and is a huge pickleball advocate!
The last 7 miles of our route started with a few hills, right off the bat. Like mountains, to me, I mostly walked up the first two, but powered through the third before cruising to the finish. I love cyclists -- so many of them sharing words of encouragement as they passed me by -- I muttered once about how much I really wanted to get off and walk up the hill, but I didn't! I lagged far, far behind both Katie & Ann on that last leg, but they were able to show me right where to redeem my drink ticket!
So much yummy food. Now this is a post-ride meal: bratwurst, Al Johnson's Swedish meatballs & gravy with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce, cole slaw, beer cheese soup with cheese popcorn, chevre torte, Door County sour cherry crisp (with ice cream!), chocolate milk, and Door County Brewing Co.'s Little Sister Ale.
We've had so much rain of late that everything is quite green and lush! I was expecting to see some fall color, but there was barely any to be found. It looks more like July (except for the extra layers sported by almost everyone).
Annie headed home to spend some time with her boys (she's been very busy at her new job), while Kate & I rested up for a bit.
We drove across to the other side of the peninsula to catch a little of Charlie Parr's performance at Door County Brewing Co. What a cute place and the music was great! Kate had seen Charlie a couple of times at last year's Mile of Music.
Sunday was quite a bit more breezy. I was happy not to be on a bike, but it was a great day to drive home. We meandered a bit down the lakeshore before heading west to avoid the traffic associated with the Packers' home opener yesterday.
So, though my first ride of any note this year came at the end of the season, I couldn't have asked for better. I'm a little sore, but I made it -- and I'm looking forward to more! Maybe I'll even get a few short rides in yet before putting my bike away for the winter. While some of y'all pore over seed catalogs this winter, I'll be scoping out next summer's cycling events and hoping to participate in a few more!
I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, with the St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.
SIX - TRAVEL*
I've been fortunate over the past 10 years to do some traveling.
There have been lots of jaunts around Wisconsin -- "up north" to the lake, to visit my sister Karen, to explore Lake Superior; Madison area to visit my sister Ann; Door County for day-trips, and for bike rides & beer festivals; Marshfield, Milwaukee, Lake Geneva.
Into Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa, as well as some jaunts down to Chicago.
To Las Vegas with Sharon.
To San Francisco for my birthday.
To the U.K.
And to Rio de Janeiro.
Some of those places -- especially the U.K. and Rio -- were barely in my dreams 10 years ago! You just never know where your kids are going to end up going to school or where your sister's going to move for her job! I can't wait for the next 10 years... now that I have a passport, I wouldn't mind using it some more!
I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value.
Enter to win a Craftsy class!
*Giveaway has ended*
You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!
The sweater -- Pull Gaspard -- that I was fixing in the last post looked like this on Tuesday:
And this on Wednesday:
I did some knitting in the car yesterday while Kate took a turn at the wheel and we day-tripped up to Door County. It was a beautiful day, but other than this:
Behind the Minnetonka moccasin shop; on the shore in Ephraim
And despite taking my big-girl camera along (I haven't tripped that shutter in ages), I only took mobile-phone photos of menus and food. ;)
That's the Turkey, Cream Cheese & Cherry Chutney sandwich at The Cookery, one of my favorite places, and definitely one of my favorite sandwiches of all time! I haven't eaten an actual "sandwich" in about a year, so this was really a treat... and, oh, so worth it. I even said to Katie, while eating it, that one of the things I love about it (and I love all the things about this sandwich) is that they use RAISIN bread. I also love and look forward to the accompanying dill potato salad and chunky applesauce. I enjoyed a glass of Island Orchard Apple Cherry Cider and helped Kate with her bottle of Crispin Artisanal Reserve Honey Crisp Cider, and we shared some eggplant fries as an appetizer -- so light and crispy, better than I'd even hoped. There are many amazing eateries to choose from in Door County, but The Cookery is consistently at the top of our list.
We made our way north to Ephraim and Wilson's -- an institution up there, but to which I'd never actually been -- and enjoyed a couple of root beer floats for dessert. Second dessert, actually, as we'd found ourselves in a chocolate shop and one certainly can't leave an establishment like that empty-handed.
If that wasn't enough for a day, we ever-so-briefly cooled our jets at home before picking up Ali and heading up to the Farmers' Market on Broadway (in Green Bay) for more food and fun! That's been on the list for a while and I would certainly like to return.
It's a combo farmer market/festival -- LOTS of fresh produce and meat, arts and crafts, food vendors, live music, beer. I didn't have any beer, but I'm happy to know that it's there.
A good time (and funnel cake) was had by all!
Tonight is a company picnic at the local baseball stadium, and sometime between now and 8 a.m. tomorrow we'll be setting up for a 2-day rummage sale in Ali's driveway! Jeepers, it's a busy month.
I'm trying to keep it all together and make the most of every minute -- packing it all in while counting down the days: (1) 'til Maddy heads back to school, (6) 'til Ali's next midwife appointment, and (22) 'til Kate flies over the ocean.
I've cast on another baby sweater by a French designer! Le P'tit Mousse has been on my radar (Pinterest board) for a long time! I'm so happy to have an actual reason/baby to knit some of these sweaters!
I'm pretty sure there's more, but that's all for now!
I've eaten at a few picnic tables in the past few years, but haven't planned an actual picnic in I don't know how long, so I'm skipping the official topic of today's Ten on Tuesday. I will share the first two things that popped into my head, though:
Glasses never occurred to me until I read Kym's post, so my picnic will be the one where we pass the bottle. Heh.
How about a first-ever ToT follow-up, instead. The last Ten on Tuesday post in April was: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To In May. Let's see how that's going.
1. Hair cut (more likely, trim) tomorrow! I will also be auditioning -- or at least discussing -- the hairstyle that I have in mind for the wedding.
A very important #1 that I was excited about and looking forward to, and I FORGOT! Happily, my girl Kate was able to squeeze me in after work a few days later. Sheesh. My hairstyle for the wedding was met with approval, and I've saved a couple similar/detailed photos to Evernote since then.
2. Dinner with Alison's future in-laws tomorrow night!
Dinner with the in-laws was FANTASTIC! We picked them up at their house (aka, wedding venue!) and I've been out there a couple more times... and will likely be a much more frequent visitor over the next few weeks! From the photo was taken, above, I'd be looking through the tent (reception); weather permitting, the ceremony will be held in a round-ish clearing just barely visible beyond and to the left of that darkest evergreen tree.
I really enjoyed the food expo -- and ran into the in-laws there, too! There were a lot of vendors and I even found authentic and local pao de queijo! The speaker schedule wasn't very tight, which was sort of exasperating, but because of that we caught a portion of a panel discussion with all of the day's speakers, led by Kyle Cherek of Wisconsin Foodie. It was very interesting and I could have listened all day but, of course, we didn't have all day! We heard Will's presentation about Growing Power, and one of Joel's two talks that day.
4. Visitors from Oregon, their daughter (a sometime guest at our house) graduating from Lawrence University this year and they'll be here over the Mother's Day weekend for her recital.
Visitors have come and gone. Our time together was brief -- they brought over a delightful meal of Greek take-away to share -- but they had a nice time exploring the area with their daughter.
5. Mother's Day!
Been there! (at the Green Bay Botanical Garden)
6. Maddy's last day of school on the 17th!
She's home! Sort of. She left yesterday for a week of camping with friends. Next week she'll be gone for a week of orientation for her camp counselor job. And then she'll be working all summer... at camp!
The girls are talking about finally taking a summer road trip together... also involving camping... as it may never be easier than NOW. And, sadly, we are all used to high gas prices -- which have been "coming down" a bit, but are still hella lot more than they used to be. But you know that. They're talking about going to Mount Rushmore, too, and recreating the awesome photo I took of my sisters there in 1979.
7. The Master Gardeners' Annual Plant Sale on the 18th.
Ugh! I missed it... and the heirloom plant sale on the 11th, too. I have no plants!!
8. Hopefully, an overnighter to Milwaukee for an art opening, premiere of an animated music video (by my cousin's husband) featuring music from the Tritonics new single "Smoky Places" and after-party. Just because... it sounds like fun!
I found a great deal at The Pfister, a wonderful old hotel in downtown Milwaukee! We were able to walk almost everywhere -- to dinner at Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian Steakhouse, and to the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The highlight was the Smoky Places art opening/video premier at Dominion Gallery, and the after party at The Uptowner. Exhibiting artists included my cousin Rae and her husband Michael. Michael premiered the animated music video, below, with music from the Tritonics.
And Rae's shoes are so great!
We had so much fun. And even dancing! Home by midnight, we walked to the Milwaukee Art Museum after breakfast on Saturday.
That is one amazing place. The architecture -- including those moveable wings -- of the Quadracci Pavilion is simply breathtaking.
9. Memorial Day!
This weekend! My sister will be coming on Saturday and we'll be doing a work day on Sunday, planting Mom's window boxes, etc., sort of a belated/continuation of her Mother's Day gift.
10. My knitting goal for May will be to finish the two shawls that I'm working on for the wedding... and NOT start another baby sweater. Heh. I'm more than half-way on Mexican Wisconsin Wedding and made a good start on Frambuesa last night. Second try! There's errata, for one thing, and some wonkiness regarding stitch marker placement and repeats... I just move them around as needed and "read" my knitting -- as long as it reads correctly, I'm good. The markers are eventually removed. I already know that I'm going to LOVE this shawl!
I've finished the Wisconsin Wedding shawl! It awaits overdyeing and blocking... as soon as Frambuesa v.2 is finished. The casting on issue has been resolved, and knitting is happening -- the border is almost complete. It'll get done.
BONUS: 11. I've ramped up the dyeing a tiny bit in the last month or so, the impetus being some fun custom orders and projects! Oh, I miss it!! As things continue to improve and progress in other areas of life, I intend to be doing much more of that beginning in May.
Custom orders/projects continue... Have you seen Cara's Celestarium? It was so much fun working with her to make the color just what she wanted for this project, and then to watch the knitting progress! The shawl is amazing -- her knitting is always so beautiful -- you must read her notes and, seriously, she says that it's not difficult at all! It's just killing me that I can't wrap it around my shoulders and feel it!
We moved a lot when I was a kid -- like, at least once a year, and sometimes three. I was too young to be involved in the packing, but I do remember moving... actually being in the car, mostly at night. I loved to scan the landscape for airport beacons, watching them go around -- bright, dim, bright, dim, bright, dim -- sometimes we'd get close to the airports and sometimes we'd just skirt on by. I still get a special feeling when I see those beacons. Listening to the radio -- AM radio -- the stations fading out and twirling the knob in search of a new, clear signal. In my memory, moving time was pretty much the only time we'd eat out at a restaurant or cafe; my favorite thing was a grilled cheese sandwich and I loved ordering milk at a restaurant -- it was always Whole Milk, which we never had at home!
I'm sure that those frequent moves during my childhood is the biggest reason that Katie's lived in only three houses in almost 27 years (and, during her first week of life, one motel); Ali in two houses in almost 25; and Maddy, 21 next month, has always lived in the house we live in.
I have now lived almost half of my years in the house where we currently live.
It's not that I wouldn't move... I'm always looking at what's for sale in the area... I just haven't found anything that I like better. There are a million houses I love, but it's all about location. It really is: location, location, location!
Anyway, it's been a while since I've moved, though I've helped the girls in and out of college -- that's as close as it gets.
1. Pack books in paper grocery bags. They're a good size for carrying, and almost impossible to overload.
2. Clean out and sort while packing -- stuff to toss, stuff to donate.
3. Keep like things together -- don't mix kitchen stuff with living room stuff.
4. Start early, if you can. Pack seldom used and out-of-season items first.
5. Nest. Pack things inside of other things whenever possible.
6. Label, label, label.
7. It's especially important to identify and label the boxes that contain the last items packed, so they can be quickly located, as they're likely to be the items needed first. Personal toiletries and care items; basic cooking staples, tools, dishes, and utensils; seasonal clothes and footwear; seasonal linens and bedding.
8. Use things like kitchen towels to wrap and cushion fragile kitchen items, etc.
9. Keep tools handy -- hammer, screwdriver, wrenches, baggies or containers for parts (screws and whatnot) (don't forget to mark what they're for), markers, scissors, tape and string or twine.
10. Stay on task, but take frequent breaks -- especially if feeling overwhelmed or easily distracted. Set the timer -- 25 minutes to get in there and work, work, work; then take a 5-minute break.
The 19,000th comment was left on that post by Julia in Ontario -- with whom I've corresponded via comments before!
Congratulations! Prize packages will be shipped out tomorrow.
Thank you all so much for celebrating with me!
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I stopped at the library on my way home last night to pick up a book they were holding, and thought it was funny that I'd notice this book on the new releases shelf at the very moment that Maddy was actually having somewhat literary tattoo made. And a turtle.
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Finally, I drove up to Door County over the weekend with Katie, Mom, and my sister Ann. Annie had a job interview there... and the rest of us are always up for a trip to the Door. It's still pretty early in the season, so many of our favorite places were still closed. That's not always a bad thing, you know? We were forced to find a different place to eat and, boy, was it ever great!
I loved the artwork, too. These were printed on canvas of various size. We had a delicious salad that had goat cheese, walnuts and, of course, dried cherries, followed by a "Fun Guy" pizza -- five different mushrooms plus cheese, including cream cheese -- so delicious! Also dessert. We highly recommend Wild Tomato, if you're ever in the area.
Red Sock Yarns is just up the road and... Why, YES!! I was thrilled to find a ball of Hundertwasser, though I don't recall the colorway just now, and another ball of possibly coordinating yarn. It's the little things... and it was a very fun day!
I grabbed Kate this morning and we ran over to Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill for their Holiday Open House. It was my first time there and it was great to see what they -- and other local artisans -- had to offer.
Also, I found out that the big bag of fiber I've been lugging around in my trunk is alpaca. Kate has one, too, both given to her by a co-worker who moved a few years ago. We didn't have Kate's with us, so we don't know if it's alpaca, too, or something else. Oh, darn, we'll just have to drive out there again sometime. It would be nice to get that fiber processed!
Kate's always been much more interested in the spinning aspect of things. I threw out the idea of a beginner's spinning class for her as a Christmas gift. I may have offered to accompany her to class... you know, for moral support.
We took the long way home, made a little lunch, and settled in to watch the Packer game. It was a little tense for a bit, but they won! The Packers haven't had a 10-0 record since the early 1960s!
I loaded up my bike on Saturday and drove down to participate in "The Amazing Race" during Waterloo's Wiener & Kraut Festival.
I was having a little trouble with the front wheel of my bike. If it's just me, I usually try to wiggle the bike in the trunk of my car with the back seats down (I really miss having a wagon) -- it's tricky, but with patience it'll fit in one piece. My BIL was helping me after the triathlon last month and the next thing you know, I was taking off the front wheel -- which is easy-peasy, and it fits so much better, but I've just never done it. When I went to put it back on, it was loose. The "Clix" mechanism wasn't clicking. I stopped by the bike shop on Friday and they showed me what to do -- also easy-peasy but not working for me.
Luckily, Waterloo is TREK HQ! Also, in addition to all the wiener activities, it's also city-wide rummage sale day and there are people everywhere! I struggled for about 3 minutes and then someone who works at Trek stopped by and... voila! Back in business.
Our team (called "N/A" this year because Annie forgot to fill in that line on the registration form): Ann in the middle and me on the right; Carrie, left, was on a competing team but used to watch Addison when he was little(r) so she's okay. Heheheh. This year, the racers brought up the rear of the "Wieners On Parade" procession before collecting maps and "passports" and taking off!
Karen and her husband were the only team on a tandem bike! They came in 6th place, Annie and I in 8th. It was a fun race -- no swimming this year, thankfully, and more bar games than last year! Also new this year: riding my bike through a few cow barns (they gave us curious looks but didn't seem ruffled), shopping at the Piggly Wiggly, manning a fire hose (SO FUN!), and injury. I can't even tell you when or how it happened, but it looks like my pedal met my shin... hard!
On Sunday, I drove over to Jefferson and met my cousin Rae and her husband at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival. Thankfully, I arrived a little bit before them and took advantage by rolling down my windows and napping a bit while listening to a nearby small flock of sheep.
I went in a different direction and saw different things than last year... like lambs. There were 6 or 8 very tiny newborns -- one pair only a day old. We looked at some of the judged articles and fleeces, a quilt and rug hooking display, sampled some delicious cheese, and then finally made it to the vendor barns. I made it all the way through the first barn, but only half-way through the second before the whistle blew. Thankfully, Yellow Dog's Dixie spotted me and called out just as everyone started packing up in earnest. I haven't seen her in so long. It was good to hug her and we had a nice chat.
And, because of Dixie's sample, I cast on the third striped shawl but it has Different Lines!
Look at that! I believe this is the first video I've ever uploaded!
I dropped my car for an oil change this morning and walked over to the farmer's market while the deed was done. On the way, I passed this old building downtown -- 111 years old, in fact -- not as old as The Hardware Store, but just about as cool -- and noticed this metal hardware around most of the window and door openings on the back side. I can only imagine that they were used for shutters.
It's interesting, to me, that the colors used to paint the trim on the storefront are almost exactly the same colors I chose to paint our house. See how dirty the window?
It's been empty for quite some time. It makes me so sad that there are so many empty buildings downtown, especially on the south side (we have a north and a south, separated by the river). I'd love to open something in one of them... in this one, I could even live upstairs! It would be easy if I didn't have to worry about making an income. Heh. Meanwhile, I continue to dream and scheme...
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On Thursday, I went to Door County with Kate, Al, and my mom for the antique show held annually in Fish Creek. I believe the four of us went last year, too! That doesn't happen every year, but it's a good excuse for a trip to the Door -- my third time already this year! We drove up to Sister Bay to have lunch at Mission Grille, then back down to Egg Harbor to visit Olde Orchard Antique Mall. Mom and I used to have a booth there many years ago, and then I managed her antique mall in Appleton for a while, so we still recognize many dealers there, and in other area malls, by their merchandise, dealer code, etc., even though we maybe haven't actually seen them in years. I'd wondered aloud about a particular dealer that had booths in both our mall and Olde Orchard, and it was fun to see him face-to-face almost immediately upon entering! We're all a little older and showing a few more wrinkles... except, I guess, for my mom.
Before heading home, we backtracked just a bit to Wood Orchard Market for fresh cherries (both sweet & tart), raspberries, blueberries... oh yum! That's what I had for supper on Thursday night, with dark chocolate-covered dried cherries for dessert!
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Stripe Study is off the needles and blocking as we speak!! I'm about to wind the "blue" yarn for my July Project Spectrum project -- which should go pretty quickly. I have another scarf in mind to start. And I'm also awaiting the start of Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL (that's Knit-Along) 2011 beginning August 1st; I may be lagging behind the pack on that one, even though I can't wait to start!
The weather was fan-freakin-tabulous this weekend -- finally!! Sunny, warm, and dry -- just how I like it -- and perfect for our Sister Weekend. All I knew going in was that Annie and Karen were coming to my house, that I wanted to go to Caffe Mario for dinner, and that we'd probably head east (but not to Door County).
I prepped on Friday by gathering supplies (buying liquor, cutting rhubarb) to make a simple syrup for Rhubarb Margaritas! They were delicious. Karen didn't make it for Happy Hour, but I saved some and she was just in time for a nightcap.
Karen has become interested in wine-making (I am waiting for a bottle of her Strawberry-Rhubarb variety to come of age) and, as part of a class (so, for educational purposes), had recently visited Clover Meadow Winery. She'd found it all quite fascinating, and I'd actually had a couple of wineries fly into my radar as I was researching and contemplating what we might do together, so winery tour it was!
We had an enjoyable and educational tour of the vineyard and winery at Peninsula 44. It was a bit breezy for macro photography, but BABY GRAPES!
We were fortunate to have Steve, the owner of Peninsula 44, as our tour guide. His wife, Maria, assisted us later with our tasting, and making our purchases. It's quite lovely to have some bottled reminders of our fun day.
It was a beautiful day to enjoy the greenspace -- the last time I was there, it was raining buckets! Annie photographed this enormous dragonfly sculpture across a pond filled with lily pads -- it was pretty cool!
Using a photo and location reference (but not specific address) in the memoir our grandmother penned a few years ago, we found the house our grandparents lived in for a couple of years in Algoma. That house was the destination of my first road trip, from Milwaukee to Algoma, for Thanksgiving in 1958! We found it looking much the same as the photo in our book (ca. 1960), except for what looked to be a fairly recent garage wing addition/remodel and some minor changes in landscaping.
From there, we made our way downtown to von Stiehl Winery -- the oldest winery in Wisconsin. We didn't tour the winery, and their vineyards are in Door County, but thoroughly enjoyed the history of the place and our tasting there.
The merriment continued at Caffe Mario... with fortification. That was the artichoke bruschetta appetizer that we shared -- so delicious! Ann had a beautiful salad with grilled chicken, and Karen and I both enjoyed Mario's featured lasagna. There was Virginia's homemade tiramisu for dessert, of course.
We missed Sharon, of course, but she was with us in many ways throughout the day. We've been doing Sister Weekends for about 25 years -- the majority of them hosted by Sharon in Milwaukee, at her cabin, in Ohio or in Kansas -- there's no way she'd not be a part of it. This is us! We are family.
On Saturday, I grabbed Kate and headed up to the Door County Shepherds' Market at Whitefish Bay (so much more than a) Farm. My only purchase was some raffle tickets (and, apparently, not winners) and a niddy-noddy from a local craftsman. It's a nice little market in a beautiful setting; enough variety to keep me happy, it is very much a spinner's market and I still have my blinders on in that department.
Sheepies! We walked to the less populated side of the pen to snap some photos, taking care not to startle the sheep. Right about the time we thought we'd captured the best we could, they started munching moving in our direction and came quite close. That little white lamb was just adorable.
We'd noted some rural abandonment on the way, so stopped for some more photo fun on the way to lunch at The Cookery. I branched out and tried a new-to-me sandwich, but still with cherry chutney as an ingredient. Yum!
The trilliums are blooming -- the ground was covered with them in many wooded areas. The peak time for cherry blossoms is a ways off yet, though, and will surely be past their prime when I go back up again with Katie & Ali in mid-June to do the 25-mile Ride for Nature. Maybe I'll find a reason to go before then -- I love that such a beautiful place is an easy day-trip.
We stopped at Wood Orchard Market for cherry pie filling, and also found asparagus -- it's probably the freshest asparagus I've ever had!
It started to rain as we made our way down to Algoma and The Flying Pig -- Kate has been wanting to check it out, so we took a little diversion on the way home.
My lilacs are blooming! Not a fan of bugs, usually, my first reaction last night was to get that little bugger in focus!
They sure smell wonderful, too.
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Tomorrow, I have appointments at both the dentist and the eye doctor! They're both great, and I've already picked out my glasses (sunglasses for cycling!), but I do hope to fit in something a little more FUN than that on my day off.
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Remembering a fun few days on vacation with Sharon in Las Vegas a year ago!
1. Rockin' it out! It's a sunny 75F, the windows are rolled down, my hair's blowin' in the wind, and it's nothing short of another miracle if I get where I'm going without a speeding ticket (knocking on wood). Beep Beep!! Yeah.
2. Look at a map (or something) and take a new route, perhaps a road less traveled.
3. Read. I like to page through and catch up on periodicals.
4. Watch the sky.
5. Pay attention to seasonal changes in the landscape.
6. Play the "ABC" game. When we go up north, we often go through Minocqua -- a resort and tourist area with a DQ and plenty of pizza joints -- and I've been known to run through the ABCs twice before we're driving through nothing but forest again!
8. Find someplace fun and new to eat.
9. Stop and see some sites along the way.
10. Knit. I have a photo somewhere of my knitting on the dashboard of Ali's car, but I can't find it right now! Picture it in your mind's eye... I'm pretty sure it was a Mason-Dixon dishcloth. FOUND IT -- June 2006!
The little puppy was only six weeks old -- still incredibly soft and so very fluffy -- and he had absolutely NO IDEA what to make of the sheep, so he tried his best just to ignore them!
As for the sheep, they were easily distracted, anyway!
But gorgeous, no?
After the amazing win in Saturday "Amazing Race," Annie and I quickly showered, installed the boys' car seats in my car, strapped them in, and headed to Jefferson to meet Sharon at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival!
I'll tell ya, I jam-packed my Saturday.
This was my first-ever visit to WS&W and I was not disappointed. It was FAR smaller than Rhinebeck (I'm a three-timer there) and, as expected, the food was not as great -- though I did have a delicious, homemade piece of zucchini cake. Two very do-able barns full of a great many small LOCAL vendors, as well as some from afar, and even famliar faces -- Briar Rose Fibers, Susan's Fiber Shop (which I've only ever visited in NY before), Mielke's Fiber Arts, Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill, Yarns by Design (one of my LYSs), and more.
Ann bought a Blackberry Ridge vest kit, which is interesting to me because she used to work in Mount Horeb.
Sharon -- currently not knitting (in fact, she gave me all her needles, yarn and books) but knitter of some extraordinary sweaters (most of which Mom has permanently "borrowed") -- showed a great deal of interest in the weaving. I just happen to have a small BRIO loom that used to be Katie's and I wonder if that would work as a "starter."
I bought a little bit of yarn -- I don't really need ANY, but, you know...
Saturday was jam-packed, beginning with Wiener & Kraut Day festivities. And how could you possibly have such a celebration (in Wisconsin) (do they have these types of celebrations elsewhere?) without some Klement's Racing Sausages?? Pictured above are Italian Sausage, Chorizo, Hot Dog, and Polish Sausage (not pictured, Bratwurst; perhaps he was at another event).
Before I was hanging with the DAWGS, though, I was competing with my sister Annie in The W&K Day Amazing Race!
We rode our bikes downtown to don our t-shirts, collect our "passport" and map, and formulate our plan of attack. One of nine 2-person teams, we competed by earning points for completing a list of tasks -- stipulations being that team members must stick together and that all travel must be accomplished by bike or on foot.
Most teams hit the in-town stops first, but Annie and I decided to head out of town to the furthest location and work our way back, which meant nearly five miles out to Crave Brothers Farm (some of that route was familiar to me from last month's triathlon relay!). We earned points just for getting there (an achievement on its own) (and, in fact, we were the first to arrive, even before the attendant who drove her car!); we also earned bonus points at that stop by finding a specific phrase written on something in the room (a piece of paper placed inside a promotional folder).
In addition to W&K Day festivities, there were a million rummage sales in town and one of our tasks was to find a buy a small red Christmas ornament at a rummage sale! There were no ornaments on display at the sale where we stopped, but Annie asked and the guy in charge went inside to find some. I was a little nervous at that point because we were IN A RACE and didn't have time to wait for some guy to go crawling around in the attic or someplace to find a box of ornaments -- SHEESH! Would he even know where the Christmas ornaments are?? (My husband would be VERY hard-pressed...) (And, boy howdy, it seems that my long-dormant competitive streak has been AWAKENED this year!) Luckily, he quickly returned (I was nearly ready to bolt) with a box of ornaments and was, thankfully, amused by our goofiness and that we wanted only a small red one from the bunch.
From there, it was a short ride to a local tavern where they had a bean-bag toss -- we each needed to land four bags in the hole, or at least on the box. Ooooh, those things are SLIPPERY! And HEAVY! One must toss them "just so"!
We realized that we never had the rummage sale guy sign our passport, so quickly rode back there to take care of paperwork.
I'm a little fuzzy on how the rest all went down, but I think our next stop was at the fire department. We had to go upstairs to the equipment room and get dressed -- pants, jacket, boots, hat, and OMG that stuff is HEAVY!! And HOT! We had to go back downstairs, drag a full-size dummy for 10 feet or so (I was bobble-head top-heavy and took a header during that part) (the hot and heavy clothing was a bit like "padding") (I sort of felt like I was wearing a Sumo wrestler suit); then Ann had to roll up a 50-foot firehose and I had to unroll it (I lost my hat altogether at the end of that task). This task might be one reason why my shins are so sore -- still today!
I was also on the cusp of bitchy at this point and pulling on all that heavy clothing when I was hot and sweaty and tired was not helping. Then I thought about what it was like for a REAL firefighter -- I work with a guy who's a volunteer firefighter -- putting on those HOT and HEAVY insulated clothes and then going to fight a HOT FIRE and get all wet, besides! I shut my trap and stopped complaining. Also, they were all pretty fun at the firehouse. And Annie really impressed them with her hose-rolling abilities.
We stopped at Jim's Cheese because it was marked on the map, but it wasn't actually a stop. DRATTED WASTE OF TIME!
Next stop: Fireman's Park. We ran up and down the concrete bleachers twice, then traversed some playground equipment -- a couple of guys right on our tails. Run, run, run! This stop probably sealed the deal with my sore shins.
From the park, we made our way to K&B Auto where we were charged with changing a tire on a trailer. Neither Ann nor I had ever changed a tire on anything before! We arrived at that stop at the same time as another team, and I ran ahead and muscled in so that they could only watch and wait 'til we were done. (Hello, COMPETITIVENESS!)
I knew all along that there was a stop at the pool, but I just could not believe that we'd actually have to swim -- I was sure that there'd be some other goofy task related to water where we'd have the chance to stay relatively dry. I was wrong. I drove an hour-and-a-half in the rain to get there, ant it was still chilly and misty-damp at race time, I was wearing jeans with some layers on top... and, um, none of the layers was swimwear. I don't even own swimwear! I bought some in May but returned it (unworn) in June. I was definitely NOT going to swim in my jeans and I'd come too far to forfeit, so, with apologies to all in attendance, I did it in my underwear and a shirt. Damn.
Bowling was next. We had 15 minutes and 2 lanes to get 3 strikes between us -- and we did it! (There was a very fun crowd there, too!)
The last major stop was a tavern right across the street. They thought they'd seen us all already and had just finished cleaning up when we arrived. We would have had to dig through a small vat of kraut to find a little trinket-y thing. Yeah. I'd certainly have done it, but I'm glad I didn't have to!
Our last task was to sell raffle tickets -- one each at $20 a pop, and not to a relative or anyone we knew; bonus points if we sold more. My sister Ann has been known to sell a leaf off of a tree -- for real -- so I was not too worried... and we sold four.
We didn't earn any points for speed (or, one may argue, style), but piled up enough altogether to finish in the money!
Fifty bucks for 3rd place... that's a whole lot of Wieners & Kraut!
It was crazy!! While I saw a good number of cute wiener dogs after-the-fact, unfortunately I missed the WEENIES ON PARADE!
I did make it to Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival later in the day, though! More on that later.
I don't think I ever mentioned my second trip to Door County this summer, which came pretty fast on the heels of the first. Katie's been baking up a storm this summer and needed cherries -- and everyone knows that "Door County" is actually secret code for "cherries"! It's apparently not a great year for cherries, though, so we ended up with frozen (which we could have procured about 2 miles from home), but...
I finally visited SPIN (Rav link - no website that I can find) in Sturgeon Bay! We came into town a weird way and I didn't have directions with me and I couldn't remember the exact name, so we stopped at a very busy downtown visitors' center and I asked for directions to a yarn shop, maybe it's called PURL. Hahaha. (Wrong town.)
I found a couple of hanks of gray-black yarn that will become the border of my Parcheesi game board blanket -- oooooh, I'm so excited about that! I also found a hank of Araucania Azapa -- a bulky wool, alpaca, silk and tencil yarn that was an orphan in the sale bin and I just couldn't leave it behind. Oh my goodness, so wonderfully soft. I've actually cast OFF the piece shown above, seamed it, and woven in all the ends. It will debut here... in due time!
I loved Spin! It's in a great old bank building located on a corner with convenient on-street parking. There was a small group of people knitting and visiting, as well as some other shoppers. The staff was friendly and made it know that they were available and quite willing to help, but not overbearing in any way. Very nice. I'll go back!
We also drove up to Sister Bay to have lunch -- not at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant. Katie had a hard time resisting the call of the lingonberry, but she did, and we ended up instead (and very happily) at Mission Grille. It was a beautiful day, so we were able to sit on the patio. Mmm, very yummy. I'd love to dine inside sometime, too; it looked very intriguing!
*I felt a bit disjointed as I sat down to write this post and was expecting that to be reflected more; sometimes, somehow, things fall into place. Go figure.