Spain: Valencia (Day 4)

This is a stitched-together photo to show the wonderful view from the window in Addy's room, which he kindly lent me during our visit.

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And this was my view from bed -- the window is really more like a door. No screens, only the iron railing.

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It was gorgeous... and also LOUD!! In the big city, they don't empty the dumpsters between 7 am and 5 pm, they do it at 2 am!! Most buildings are tall -- 4, 5, 6 stories and more -- so there's also AN ECHO IN THERE!! Yikes. I live on the end of a dead-end street in a sleepy little city, and I'm sure not used to that! I tried to liken it to Rio and the "joyful noise" emanating from Rocinha, but this was not that at all. I resorted to earplugs after the first night.

On Saturday morning, we walked to Mercado Central. Wow.

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The food!

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We watched a fish vendor shuck some oysters and then had them for a mid-morning snack... along with some champagne!

Meandering back, we found the narrowest house in... the world? Europe? Spain? certainly in Valencia!!

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Orange trees line many streets! But they are not Valencia oranges and apparently are bitter and not very good to eat.

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They sure are pretty though!

In the afternoon, we packed up and hopped a bus headed for the beach.

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It was a gorgeous day!!

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Between Saturday & Sunday, despite being under cover practically the whole time, I managed to get a pretty good sunburn!

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And day is done. It was so great to have a more relaxing day after the frantic pace of those preceding!


In other news: Weekending

Let's take a break from the travelogue, shall we?

I started a new knitting project on Friday night: a wee hat on DPNs. Somehow, I lost a needle while casting on, and then a second went missing. I searched around and under my chair & ottoman, and then had a look "inside" my chair. Gah! Right off the bat, I spotted a couple of crayons and stitch markers, some food (a veggie straw, an M&M, some nuts), and a DPN -- a bigger one that I didn't even know was missing!!

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Hungry, Hungry Recliner

I decided that one of my Saturday projects would be pulling that chair apart to clean and reclaim some of that stuff!

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I turned it over on its side, and ended up propping it up on a box for ease of access. I pulled out a bunch of staples along the edge and, handily, found that a couple of super-size paperclips had also fallen in there, so I used them to hold back the fabric while I then wiggled & shook everything out!

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I almost dislocated a shoulder! It's a heavy chair.

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There's the "good stuff"! Haha. (I found the other missing DPN under a nearby chest.)

The kiddos were over for a while on Saturday, too.

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Gin is walking as if she's been doing it for weeks! She toddled in carrying my bike helmet.

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She was suffering a case of the summertime sniffles and/or teething... and took the rare (short) nap at Nona's house!

Maddy ran in & out again yesterday -- she's "home," but she's been very busy reconnecting & visiting with friends, so I haven't seen her much. A little downtime is forthcoming...

What else? It was a fairly low-key weekend at home -- kids & grandkids in & out, some knitting, some cleaning out & organizing, and a new sewing project cut out.

How about you? How was your weekend??


Spain: Valencia (Day 3, Part 2)

We left Barcelona for Valencia on the 4 pm train, arriving at about 7. Ann & Brian met us at the station and we walked to their apartment. The boys were happy to see us, but also pooped after the school week and ready to hunker down for a bit.

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So we took off with Ann!

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Surprise! We visited another church!

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We found a delightful spot for tapas, and I tried a yummy local beer.

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We got our bearings a little bit...

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And took off for the park. Jardin del Turia (Turia River Gardens) is a huge garden/park located in what was formerly a riverbed. There are, indeed, gardens...also foot and bike paths, soccer fields, a children's playground called Parc Gulliver, and more, all leading to the City of Arts and Sciences.

We happened upon an Alternative Craft Fair in the park, just before closing time.

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Maddy & Annie found some amazing handmade shoes, and each came home with a pair!

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I found an adorable dress for Gin (modeled by Jun, below).

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And some lovely earrings for myself.

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Made by Anna Panyella Joies. I can't stop wearing them!

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And we walked, enjoying the park and admiring a few of the beautiful bridges overhead that cross over it. We made our way to the City of Arts and Sciences and, once again, found ourselves agape.

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It's gorgeous, day (this photo taken a few days later) or night! Hi-tech, sci-fi, modern... very Star Wars-y. And the whole thing -- everything -- is covered in mosaic tile, almost all of it white. Incredible.

By then it was about midnight and it had been a long, busy day. We head back to the apartment and to bed. Mack kindly gave his room & trundle bed up for the girls, and I slept in Addy's room. We were on the 6th floor, had a tiny shared balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows -- it's really a cute apartment! The boys were thrilled to camp out in a fort they'd made in the living room, so it all worked out.

It was nice to know that we'd be there for a few days/nights, too! To be continued...


Spain: Barcelona (Day 3, Part 1)

We checked out of our Airbnb early Friday morning and hailed a cab, stopping at Locker Barcelona on the way to once again stow our bags. These places are great! Just as at the airport, there were a variety of locker sizes (we needed only one each time) and the cost is very reasonable!

We caught another cab and headed to Basilica De La Sagrada Familia. Those were the other advance tickets we purchased; we needed to choose a time to visit, and also a time to ascend one of the towers -- and, unlike The Book of Kells, they were quite particular about the timing!

It is an amazing place -- still under construction (always and forever?) (at least until 2030 or so!).

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And, indeed, men were working and those cranes were moving!

Breathtaking, is all I can say...

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Everywhere you look, there's something to see... and then something else catches your eye, and something more... Parts of the ceiling looked as though giant millefleur beads were embedded.

And the color!

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We visited the Nativity Tower.

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We ascended by lift and then walked up, across, and down. The views were amazing... that spiral staircase seemed endless!

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The reflection was terrible, but this model of the cathedral was fascinating!

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It looks a little bit like a drip sand castle from afar, doesn't it?

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We grabbed a bit to eat, then headed back to explore the area near Locker Barcelona.

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Including another church and a fabulous children's shop!

I wish we'd had time to visit some of the other amazing Gaudi sites, such as Casa Batllo, Casa Milo, and Park Guell -- and a whole bunch of other things -- but, as my mother always said, it's good to leave something for when you return.

We retrieved our luggage, hailed another cab and headed to Barcelona Sants to catch our train for Valencia. Stay tuned for Day 3, Part 2!

* * * * *

Mom

Missing you every single day, Mom. I can't believe it's been 3 years. xoxox


Ireland to Spain: Madrid > Barcelona (Day 2)

We checked out of our Dublin Airport hotel at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday and hopped the shuttle for the airport. Our flight to Madrid departed at 6:15 a.m. * Yawn *

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We arrived in Madrid at around 10, and the plan was to meet Maddy, who was flying from Sydney, in Barcelona later that day.

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Kate & I had already booked our tickets from Madrid > Barcelona on the high-speed AVE train, and that entitled us to a free train ticket from the airport to the city. I'd printed out all the information about that and how to retrieve those tickets from a ticket vending machine, which really came in handy, except that it wasn't working for some reason and we ended up standing in line at Customer Service, anyway. Turns out, those tickets are only valid 4 hours prior to the main departure time -- and we were too early!

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We sat and waited an incredibly long 4 minutes... I took a photo of the airport ceiling... and then it worked perfectly and we were on our way!

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The Atocha station in Madrid is beautiful -- and huge! We had a few hours in Madrid before we needed to catch the train, and I had done a little research ahead of time, so we headed toward that sign on the bottom right that reads "CONSIGNAS" to stow our suitcases in a locker and took the short walk from the terminal to Museo Nacional del Prado -- Prado National (Art) Museum.

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We walked past the Royal Botanic Garden on the way, but couldn't see much as they were having some work done. On the list for next time!

We rushed through Prado, finding the locations of the most important (to us) pieces/artists -- of course, seeing plenty more as we made our way through -- and leaving enough time for a bite at the cafe and a visit to the museum gift shop.

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There was quite the garden/atrium at Atocha station!

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We retrieved our bags and then went to catch our train, which turned out to be a little hairy, as we hadn't printed out the actual tickets... I had them on my phone, but they wanted paper! Kate rushed over to a machine to try and figure it out, while I held a spot in line at Customer Service; she was finally successful and we rushed to (successfully) make our connection!

The train ride was very nice, and oh how I wish we had a train system like that here! It was non-stop from Madrid to Barcelona, and I saw top speed of 299 kph (186 mph). Maddy's flight had been late arriving in Doha, but she was able to make her connection, and we found each other within minutes at Barcelona Sants!

Our Airbnb was located in the Gothic Quarter and, according to Google Maps, was about a 40-minute walk from the station. I figured, after all the planes & trains, that we'd like a good walk; called our host and let her know we were on our way.

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It took us a bit longer than 40 minutes, as we made our way through unfamiliar territory and took a couple of wrong turns looking for the "pedestrian street" on which our apartment was located. Luckily, our host was patient enough... and offered me her fan when we arrived! She was utterly dismayed that we were staying for only one night, having previously sent me a list of things to do in Barcelona that we'd have trouble completing had we stayed a month!

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Gorgeous basilicas & cathedrals everywhere!

We had a wonderful evening together, traipsing around a bit, finding a spot to enjoy some delicious tapas & drinks...

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Smiles! (And terrible lighting.) (But SMILES!)

...and went to bed "early" as we had another busy day on tap!


On the way to Spain: Ireland stopover (Day 1)

I'm back!! Everything went smoothly until the very last bit of the last flight home. Weather was a problem, causing back-ups and delays at O'Hare, and the powers-that-be diverted us to Detroit. It all went south from there for a bunch of reasons and, after several (overnight) hours of waiting, we ended up taking a train to Chicago and making our way from downtown to O'Hare to fetch the car and drive home. Soooo tired. It was a struggle, and we frequently switched drivers; we arrived home at 7 pm and I was in bed by 8!

I ended up taking half the day off on Friday to do the things I'd intended to do on Thursday (fetch Maddy's vehicle, reinstate insurance, reactivate mobile phone, unpack, do laundry, etc). I did some other errands on Saturday, and on Sunday I had an unplanned but well deserved Pajama Day! I didn't even venture outside far enough to see if the paper had arrived... I found it this morning in the driveway.

Anyway, here's the total of my luggage for a one-week international vacation! The tote was my "personal item" while traveling, and the suitcase is carry-on size; I checked the suitcase only on the return flight home, as Maddy had to check her backpack, anyway. I folded & packed my new Baggallini Medium Avenue Tote inside my suitcase for my everyday running around purse (so many ways to carry that bag, including cross-body). I plan to do a more detailed post about What I Packed (used/didn't use), but this is the lightest I ever packed for a trip of any length in my life!

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Our flight departed O'Hare on Tuesday evening. Kate & I both worked until noon that day and she picked me up right from work; we arrived with plenty of time to spare, and that's always better than the stress of rushing!

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There was a 24-hour layover in Dublin on our itinerary, and we took advantage of that! (I got a new stamp in my passport, too.) We'd booked a room in a hotel at the airport, took the shuttle over and they allowed us to check in upon arrival on Wednesday morning. We freshened up and changed clothes, and then hopped a bus into the city.

There was a little panic & confusion and we ended up getting off the bus a bit too early, so there was a metro ride involved, too! Haha!

Our first destination was the Irish Museum of Modern Art to see the exhibitions As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics and IMMA Collection: Freud Project.

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The museum is housed in a portion of the former Royal Hospital Kilmainham, which is an astounding property. It was interesting to imagine the gallery rooms as hospital rooms (they were quite nice, with lovely windows!).

This was one of my favorite exhibition pieces:

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Hilma af Klint, Altarpiece, No 1, Group X, Series Altarpieces, 1915 , Oil and metal leaf on canvas

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But these! All this!! This was an installation outside of the museum by Brazilian artist Stephan Doitschinoff (you can see the panels in the photo of the building above).

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He speaks about the work in the video about the exhibition below (at about 4:23).

We sort of rushed through this art museum (in what turned out to be a recurring theme) because we had tickets for The Book of Kells. Turns out we needn't have rushed, as they weren't particularly strict about the time at TBoK -- as long as our ticket was dated that day, we could have gone at any time. Oh well.

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We were positively agape in The Long Room, but pulled ourselves together for a selfie.

We weren't far from the National Gallery of Ireland, so walked over there, too. They were "between" things, preparing for the opening of a Vermeer show (which would have been wonderful to see), but we did enjoy the Margaret Clarke exhibition. 

I didn't realize, until it began to rain, how lucky we were that it wasn't raining as we made our way about Dublin, as that had been the forecast.

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We ducked out of the rain and into a pub for some grub and beer. Kate had Irish stew and I had shepherd's pie -- it was delicious!!

We made our way back to the hotel. I had a message from Norma, who was also in Dublin that day (life is so weird sometimes)!! And we were up super early on Thursday to catch our shuttle for the flight to Spain!

Stay tuned for Day 2!


Bags are packed

Well, I was up at about 4:15 this morning... not by design, but because instead of popping up every 5 minutes to write things down so I wouldn't forget, I decided to just get up and do.the.things!

Maybe that means I'll get some good sleep on the plane tonight.

I never did get a chance to pick up the book I had on hold at the library, so will surely finish Barbara Kingsolver's "Homeland." I have a few hours left listening to Wallace Stegner's "Crossing to Safety," so have downloaded "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon... it's set in Barcelona, so it seems fitting!! I also have a book downloaded to Kindle called "Illustrated Valencia Noir" by Isis Sousa & Ove Neshaug.

My small carry-on is packed and once I deliver the boxes of graham crackers (for the crust of Mack's requested cheesecake birthday cake) and Cheez-its (for Addy), I'll have room to bring a little something home with me, too!

Besides PJs, socks & underwear, I've packed a handbag, two pairs of sandals, two capri pants, a skirt, a dress, eight tops, a cropped sweater and a long cotton sweater. I'm wearing a pair of cropped pants, a top, a long lightweight sweater -- and will be switching out to a pair of tennies and compression socks when we're at the airport.

I found a nice, not-too-big tote for my "personal item." I have my dossier including schedules, tickets, boarding passes, maps, etc., wallet w/passport inside (it's been there for a couple of weeks -- since I woke from a dream that we were at the airport and I'd forgotten it!) (I got up right then and put it in my wallet), tablet, phone, chargers, tissues, antacid, ibuprofen, and liquids.

And -- because I had so much time this morning -- even some knitting! I've packed the third pair of Squad Mitts, wherein mitt #1 is about 3/4 finished, and a bag full of scraps for hexipuffs! Seems like good, carry-on, portable, small knitting...

Think good thoughts for Maddy. She's flying Qatar Airways and called in a bit of a panic last night after the news. Everything should be OK, from what I've seen. She's a wonderful traveler, except when it comes to actually traveling (flying, in particular)!!

Kate & I are heading to the airport in about :30. So excited.


Sew, the weekend...

Actually, it's more like "Sew, the month..." as I haven't done anything but sew since I finished knitting my Colorwash Shawl!

First it was the Tom Petty Corset; all put together and awaiting binding (and the loss of a few pounds)!

I still wanted a Corset, though, and found some Batman t-shirts on clearance at Macy's. I love the fabric, but the design of these things is hiddy:

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I'd already chopped & sliced that one up, but yuck. I had an XL and an XXL, the backs gave me enough fabric for the body and there was more than enough on the fronts to cut binding.

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It's a little bit wonky. The fabric is 100% cotton, but much finer and lighter in weight than I'm used to -- medium weight is what I usually order from Alabama Chanin, often heavy weight in the thrifted t-shirts.

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I checked a couple of times to verify that it was 100% cotton and not some combo with bamboo or something. It was slippery, more difficult to control, and it took a while to get it all sewn up. I like it well enough, though!

Since then, I've been working on the Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line that I'd begun a year ago, in the hopes that perhaps I'd finish in time to bring it along on vacation. But first...

I "fixed" some sleepwear that I also want to take.

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The heavy embroidered design was replaced with this:

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It's a little swatch from when I was contemplating ideas for Catamount. I'm so glad to have found a use for it! That one little sequin makes me inordinately happy.

And voila! I finished all the seaming of the A-line on Saturday night, so yesterday was all about binding.

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That dress form isn't anywhere near my size, but you get an idea.

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Cretin stitch... always a bit of a challenge for me, but I think I'm getting better!

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Originally, I'd stenciled pieces for the back, too, but I've left the back a single layer and plain for a number of reasons... besides time. One is that the technique used on the front is "lighter" than some. Another is that I'd placed the stencil on all four pieces in almost exactly the same manner, and have decided that I'd prefer some variation. I'm hoping to use those other pieces to make something for Gin!

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Anyway, here it is. I used a couple of different colors of thread for the sewing. The cutting (negative reverse applique) was CRAZY INTENSE with all those knots & tails on the outside, but I don't think I accidentally snipped short a single one of those tails!

It's crunch time now!! One more sleep at home, another sleep on the plane, and then our first stop: Dublin!


Friday!

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Photos by Lauren Kirsch, LK Photography.
Check out her beautiful IG, too. (I love her work!).
Lauren & Ali have been friends for years.

In celebration of Gin's 1st birthday, the kids had a family photo session last month, and Rusty & I snuck at the end for a few photos with Gin & Jun. SO FUN!! It occurred to me just now that we should have done a big group photo, too! But you know... in the thick of it, and especially when there are kiddos involved, it's incredibly difficult to remember and do all.the.things.

The photos are FABULOUS! This is in the kids' back yard, cherry tree in full bloom providing a lovely background.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I'll be doing laundry and starting to pack my (very small) suitcase!


Dear June,

Yeah, well, I'm glad you're here. You've always been a pretty awesome month, no matter what's been going on!

The last half of May sort of kicked my ass. The "springtime cold" and "major sniffles" I was experiencing are most certainly allergy related... it's been two weeks, so obviously not a cold. Dumb. As a result, my energy level has not that great (when's the last time I slept for 12 hours?) and I haven't been moving all that fast. I really hope to see some improvement there!

And there's plenty to look forward to. After all, it's SUMMER!!

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This year, I'm doing some traveling. It'll be a quick trip and jam-packed, but should be an awful lot of fun. Kate & I are traveling together to Spain, via Ireland, where we'll join up with Maddy and then visit my sister Ann & her family for a few days!

Kate & I have a 24-hour layover in Dublin, and plans to visit #1) a pub and #2) Trinity College to see The Book of Kells. (In that order.)

The next day, we'll fly to Madrid and hop a train for Barcelona to meet Maddy, who is flying from Sydney, Australia! We've booked an Airbnb overnight there, and our host sent a list of things to do so long that even if we were there a month, we'd barely make a dent! (For the Future File.) We've purchased advance tickets to visit La Sagrada Familia, and will have a few more hours to explore before we catch a train to Valencia.

Other than paella, Mack's birthday cheesecake, and a visit to Albufera National Park, paella, we don't really have any firm plans for our 3+ days in Valencia! But we have plenty of ideas, and whatever we do will be amazing.

The girls and I will head back to Madrid on the train, where we've booked another overnight Airbnb, and our flight for home departs the next morning.

I won't have my computer, but maybe a tablet, and of course my phone... we'll just see how it works out for posting. Keep an eye on Instagram!

Maddy will be home!!

Later in the month, we'll all be heading up north to my uncle's cabin for a few days.

In between is my twin sisters' birthday, my niece is coming for a quick visit before she packs up & moves to Florida next month, and I have a million projects that I want to finish/do, including some new mosaic tables for the pergola. I'm pretty busy, both at work and at home, trying to get everything done that will need doing while we're away. Whew.

It's always so nice to see you!

Love, Vicki

P.S. I think Jun & I are going to have a sleepover tomorrow!

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Day off

Yesterday was my usual day off of work, and I decided to do a literal interpretation for a change. No dentist appointments, no banking or bill-paying, no grocery shopping, no dusting, no, nothing, nada.

I didn't get dressed until noon -- and, really, only then because there'd already been two delivery men at the door, and also because I'd be warmer. It was overcast and cool outside and... well, just not the kind of day that energizes me!

I never put on shoes and never left the house.

I never woke up my computer nor turned on the light in my workroom.

I watched TV and sewed.

Between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, I'd watched all of The Keepers on Netflix.

I basted the binding on the Alabama Chanin Corset over the weekend but that's not what I've been working on. What's been in-hand lately is the Magdalena A-Line Tunic that I stenciled about a year ago.

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This crazy thought popped into my head: Wouldn't it be fun to wear this in Spain?

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I doubt that I'll finish in time. This is the state of the front -- a bit of sewing yet to do, and a lot of cutting -- and I'll have to locate the back!

But... I'll never say "Never"!!


Book Bingo!

I had an OK weekend, despite aches & major sniffles from a springtime cold. We finished booking most of the transportation and lodging for Spain. We had some family time. I went to bed early...

I'm looking forward to an extra-long holiday weekend and the chance to catch up on some of the other things I'd planned to do last weekend!

Meanwhile, I'm feeling much better today, and am revving my reading engine!! Here's my 2017 BOOK BINGO card and ideas so far:

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The green-shaded squares are books that are currently underway. I'm nearly finished with Dark Matter, so am making progress with Homeland and Other Stories while I bide my time until the start of Memorial Day Weekend to finish (just a few more days!). I have to determine which of the others will be begged, borrowed, or stolen (haha, not really) (purchased: new or used), and which will be audio, if not already designated by category.

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That's what I'm thinking as of now! I have multiples for a number of squares and definitely reserve the right to switch things around. The one that's stumped me so far is "ABOUT POLITICS," because ew. Would The Handmaid's Tale work for that one? (Can you believe I've never read it??)

I am open to suggestions!!

Ready readers? Are you working on your BOOK BINGO card? There's plenty of time to pull it together. Mary has all the details, rules, and a link to the card generator!


Scenes

It's been a busy week! We had an impromptu get together & cookout on Wednesday... it was so nice outside!

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Rod and his brother came over and began cutting up some fallen trees in our ravine. And while they did that, Rusty did this:

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Two 30-gallon garbage bags full of garlic mustard... and I wish I could say that was the end of it. Terrible stuff.

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Meanwhile, there's so much blooming right now: lilacs, allium, wild geranium, lilies of the valley, some sweet narcissus from out of nowhere!

I'm hoping to get a handle on my knitting this weekend. All of my projects are so "needy" at the moment -- and I refuse to cast on something new! I've been tempted, but instead I've been sewing...


Mother's Day Gardening & Crafts

...or Mother's Day Garden Crafts!! I chuckled pretty hard on Friday when I read about making a Garden Spicer! I didn't really have any intention to make one myself, until I was touring the back yard with Rusty on Saturday morning and spotted the old wooden star ornaments that Kate nixed from my garden. (And high time, too.)

I knew exactly how to repurpose those!! And I made two!! I had a date to take family photos for friends on the occasion of Mom's birthday, and I knew she's love a Garden Spicer!!

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There's mine in the barberry bush in front of the house. He's not sitting quite as I'd like, and I rearranged several times before deciding that maybe I should just try another spot... a barberry bush has thorns, y'all!

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Here he is popping up behind the vinca!

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Scamp's not too concerned...

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So damn funny.

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We've had some rain; he's starting to run.

* * * * *

On Sunday, Rusty and I got the potato patch ready.

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And then I picked up our potato planter.

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Seriously, other than some spacing issues, the kid has it down!! He was straddling the rows like a champ and loved watering, too.

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On Saturday morning, I finally scratched a little itch I've had for a few weeks and cut out an Alabama Chanin Corset.

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I'm using a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers concert tee (US Tour 2005) that I picked up at a thrift shop a while ago. I've only finished one other Corset, so far, and that was also from a concert tee (Hootie & The Blowfish)! I made a little modification on this one to raise the neckline about a half-inch.

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I accidentally snipped a hole on the back when I was cutting, but used this detail from the sleeve to patch it.

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The pieces were sewn together by machine, finishing is being done by hand. I think the felled seams give Tom a sort of Franken-petty look!

It's a little snug, but I love it... incentive to keep collecting those "5" stickers at WW! I've got three, so far, and even though I was up a bit last night... still going down! Ali spent two days (and sent countless exasperated Snapchats) making an Opera Cake for Mother's Day... what kind of mother would I be if I didn't have a piece or three?? That's over now, and I'd like to hit -20 by the time we depart for Spain.


FO: Christmas Polar Bears

Given that it's taken until Mother's Day to finally finish what were intended to be Christmas presents, you'd think that perhaps there was a real big snafu or difficulty with the pattern.

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  • Ravelry Project Pages:
  • Pattern: Knitted Polar Bear by Louise Walker in Mollie Makes, Issue #72
  •  Yarn:
    • Plymouth Yarn Encore Mega - Ecru, Natural, Black
    • A bit of leftover fingering yarn for eyes
  • Needles:  US 13
  • Start to Finish:  October 26/November 7 - May 14, 2017
  • Mods:
    • Embroidered eyes rather than safety eyes.
    • Rather than knitting 12 individual 3-stitch claws for each bear (I'd rather stick a needle in my eye), I cast on 9 stitches for each paw and used it as a base from which to knit them. It was still fiddly knitting, but I think it was easier to position and sew in the end.
    • Ooops! I just remembered that I knit collars for each bear. The head of each bear is filled with polyfil and I couldn't imagine that it would stay there with playing/cuddling/wrestling, so I "sewed" them closed at the neck... and knit a collar for each bear to a) distinguish one (Jun's) from another (Gin's) and b) hide the sewing.
    • Whatever. I'm still calling them FOs!!

The were very quick and quite fascinating to knit. The sewing up... well, that's never my favorite thing, but the finished pieces are so adorable, it's definitely worth it! The fact is, I've already "finished" once but that was quite short-lived as Junah dislodged a "safety eye" in all of three minutes while absent-mindedly cuddling/fiddling with his bear!

Ho-hum. I dithered over that situation for a while. I really loved the way those big fat round safety eyes looked, but they were obviously not so safe when used on a gauge this big and a toy intended to be played with.

They hung around my house for a while -- quite comfortably on my footstool, actually -- and in the course of the kids coming over, Gin eventually worked out another couple of eyes! They were so big that they weren't really a choking hazard, but still... ARRRGGGHHHH!

The wisdom of blog readers led me to embrace the embroidered eye... I was a little reluctant, but my other solutions involved a lot of un-doing & re-doing, and I hate that, plus I wasn't certain it would solve the problem.

So finally the other day, I sewed a rough outline of the eyes.

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They were sitting on a side table by my chair when Junah saw them yesterday and lit up... They have EYES!! He grabbed them and cuddled up on the couch, hugging one in each arm, and I decided that it was TIME!! (How terrible a grandmother can I be??)

I finally located some leftover black yarn and set to work.

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Bear-6

They're not perfectly smooth & round, but they are EYES and the job is done... so perfect.

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And also loved!

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I don't know why it takes so long to get around to things like this sometimes. My mom would say that I get that from my grandmother!

Speaking of mothers, I had such a wonderful weekend full of so many good things -- sewing, crafting, gardening, building, celebrating -- not to mention cooking, eating, and drinking! A couple of projects are underway... details to follow!

I hope you had a great weekend, too.


Majorette Mom

The other day I read this great piece in The New York Times: Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them. I've read it three or four times now.

I'd already been thinking about my mom, of course, and even thinking about her being a Majorette when she was in high school... before I knew her. I decided that this was the year of Majorette Mom! There aren't a lot of photos of her before I knew her/she became a mother, but of them, most are as a Majorette.

I think this is the only "pro" shot, probably taken for the yearbook or a program.

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There are a bunch of photos, in different outfits, that were taken by my grandpa around their home in Marshfield.

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One of the cutest things I remember my mom saying about being a cheerleader is that she'd shout "FIRST & TEN, DO IT AGAIN!" but had absolutely NO IDEA what it meant... having zero interest in the game (it was all about the BOYS) (of course).

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I remember those boots. She'd kept them a long time, for whatever reason, and they were in the cedar chest (now mine) that was at the foot of her bed (along with her wedding dress) (most recently worn by Ali). They were EVERYTHING... with TASSELS!

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I am reasonably certain that my mother's affinity for all things ROYAL began here. And also the attitude.

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She used to give lessons to the little girls in the neighborhood for 25 cents.

There was a scar on one eyebrow from a wayward baton.

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I'm not sure whose idea it was to climb onto the ridge of the garage... probably not Grandma's!

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But it resulted in one of my favorite photos of all time! I think Grandpa wasn't a half-bad photographer, though I know of no other photos he made.

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And when the tables were turned, he wasn't a bad subject, either! Haha!

What springs to mind about your mother... before she was a mother?


FO: Colorwash Scarf

It's official!

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Isn't she lovely? Kym deserves credit that this is even a thing! I was this >< close to frogging after barely getting a start; she was the lone voice cautioning, "not so fast, see what happens." And I listened!

We seem to be forming a Mutual Encouragement Society!

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I love how it turned out. It was really fun to knit and watch it develop; the more I knit, the more I liked it.

It's bright and bold -- and a bit outside of my comfort zone. It will "go" with almost anything, though, and will certainly provide a pop of color to my normally dark and neutral wardrobe.

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I think there are a couple of reasons this worked so well, despite the super-colorful and super-saturated yarn.

One is that Kirsten's brilliant pattern was designed for WILD YARNS, and this is certainly that!

Another is that the distribution of color was very even throughout. Each color was given equal billing, so to speak, and they all play nicely together -- there are no spotlight-hogging (pooling or flashing) divas!

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I'm on the fence about the yarn, which I've never used before. It's very soft and there's a fabulous halo; I'm not sure how it will hold up over time, especially in terms of pilling. It's also very hard... it's difficult to describe, but it makes a "hard edge" that I sometimes find uncomfortable to wear, and I wonder if that might be slightly less an issue without the silk element. It might be partly design; I find it tricky to comfortably wear any shawl that has a really taut edge. It's definitely a thing with me, though, because it's not just shawls -- this is something that happens with all types of garments, whether commercial or handmade. I don't know what it is, but if it doesn't sit "just so," it can hurt my neck, back, shoulders.

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It sure makes me so happy, though, and it looks fabulous on the form. I will fuss 'til it feels right!

Meta moment with Kate... she's posting about me taking pictures to post about my knitting. (She'd also been working in the garden!)


Unraveled: unofficial FO

Joining Kat & friends again this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

I'll save the official FO post for later, when I can take some photos, but unofficially it's a finished Colorwash Scarf!

I gave it a soak yesterday afternoon and pinned it out on my blocking mat atop my bed. Then realized that the "guest room" could easily be my "blocking room," so carried it up to the guest bed!

I unpinned it from the blocking mat this morning and took a quick selfie outside the garage before I got in the car...

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You might notice that I added a few stripes... couldn't help myself. I have a couple of things to say about this project, so stay tuned.

I began listening to Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner last week. It's been a little busy around here, so even when there was quieter time when I could have been listening to my book, I opted instead for silence. I'm at a part in the book that's set in Madison, though, so it was kind of fun to visit as I'd just read about it... albeit 80 years difference. (You cannot drive your car down State Street toward the Wisconsin State Capitol anymore! Since it was turned into a pedestrian zone in 1974, the only wheeled vehicles allowed are fire, police, delivery, buses, and bicycles.)

And Dark Matter is still the book on my nightstand. I am making progress. It may have turned a little weird(er) last night... or I was just really tired (which I was). Progress is slow, but it is progress. I should start thinking about the next nightstand book!


Sunday Shenanigans (Weekending, cont'd)

I let a couple of participatory things slide this month.

In the past, I've enjoyed doing Macro May (even if I was the only participant!), but I let that slide this year in favor of another photography-related challenge which I shall share in good time.

Actually, I don't think I ever fully participated in #memademay, but I've been a fan and it was on my radar. On Sunday, I fired up my newly repaired sewing machine* and did a little mending... #memendedmay!

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This is one of Kate's book bags from when she was a Master's student at University of Edinburgh... and obviously used well beyond! The fabric began to fray at one of the handle attachment points, and I wanted to fix it for her. The bag is worn, ink-stained and, some might argue, really not worth the trouble. (Kate may even have replaced it on her most recent trip.) That ink stain, though! I reinforced the frayed areas with stitching, then added another layer of fabric inside -- scrap from Mom's old pillowcase that I used for Gin's most recent Gingeranium dress.

That project under my belt, I mended the failed handle (and reinforced the rest) of a Tyvek tote bag from Rio de Janeiro, repaired a couple of the canvas grocery bags that we've used for years, and even repaired a pair of underwear where the elastic had come away from the fabric.

Oh, I was channeling my mother BIG TIME!! She mended everything, including more substantial underwear repairs (but that's where I draw the line).

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I patched a hole, by request, in this favorite paint-spattered flannel shirt of Rusty's. (Yes, I did use a piece of pink & white gingham -- it's the only flannel that I could find in my stash!) It's not beautiful, but it'll do... I also reinforced a button that was barely hanging on.

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And I made towels! I've had a length of this fabric for years, always with this intention. It finally dawned on me that it might have been from one of those hand towel rolls (that you rarely see anymore). Anyway, I cut it (none too carefully) into kitchen towel-ish lengths and hemmed both ends... voila! Three new towels, plus a little extra for the rag bag.

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POTATOES!! I am so excited, you just can't imagine. We drove out to the local farm** on Sunday morning and I bought a little of everything. All Certified Organic, I have Dark Red Norland, Oneida Gold, Blue Adirondack (purple), Superior, and French Fingerling.

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Here's the view of my little potato patch from they bedroom window. I'll be able to check on it everyday! There's nothing there yet; next on my list is manure and hay/straw. I may build up the soil just a bit, too, because there's a black walnut tree a little ways away.

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Family photo shoot! I helped wrangle and cajole, and then Rusty & I had a few frames snapped with the kiddos.

Whew! I had yesterday off and spent most of it at home... quietly and mostly alone. Ahhh.

*The old Husqvarna is still humming, but my repair guy says that parts are getting harder and harder to find, and I might want to start looking around for its replacement. Boo.

**We chatted while bagging potatoes and when she told me that they also give horseback riding lessons... ding-ding-ding. I realized that I'd been there before! Ali & her friend Abbey used to take lessons there when they were in high school; Abbey's mom still keeps her horse out there.


Weekending: Together With / Madison

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Brian Prugh . (title to be updated) . Nylon tulle . 2017

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Tobias FikeDraco (left) and Puppis . Solar-burned canvas. 2017

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Laura ShillRun So Far (from the Absent Lovers series) . Cyanotype . 2017

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Amber CobbHeld, Hugged, and Stroked . Silicone on bathmat. 2016

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Esau McGhee . (titles to be updated) . Collage. 2017

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Ian FisherAtmosphere No. 85 . Oil on canvas . 2017

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Ashley Williams and Sarah Williams (collaboration) . Necessary Language: Berlin/Doi Saket . Clay, wire, foam, and paint . 2017

Those are a few of my favorites pieces from TOGETHER WITHThe show will be up in Madison for a few weeks, then packed away & stored until September when it heads for Denver!

It was late, we were hungry, and Rusty was mightily suffering the allergies, so the only other Gallery Night venue we visited was right across the street at the Overture Center for the Arts, where The Fairytales of Grimm & Litherland was my favorite exhibit by far!

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Gerit Grimm

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Gina Litherland

Path of Needles . Oil on Masonite . 2009
Three Spinsters . Oil on panel . 2015

For anyone interested who lives in or around Madison, Gerit Grimm will be giving a demo @ UW-Madison Art Lofts on Thurs., June 8, 6:30-8:00 pm.

Our Airbnb -- with an app for the garage door and an app to unlock the door -- was really pretty great. We were literally in & out -- went to bed when we arrived, and got ready to leave when we got up! We had breakfast at a new-to-us diner in Madison called The Curve (a whole area of Madison over there that I seem to have never visited before!). 

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It was so lovely, we walked down by the water. I took a panorama photo and then Rusty decided to move and this is what was captured -- it's always weird when something moves!

We were home by early afternoon and I watched the kiddos for a while before getting ready to go to hear the Fox Valley Symphony. It was the finale of their 50th season, and as part of the anniversary celebration, they asked a few local artists to create works of art for the pieces they would perform -- Saturday's piece was A Sea Symphony, and Rusty was asked to create the artwork! Imagine that.


Dear May,

Well, we've already celebrated Gin's first birthday, May the Fourth (Be With You), and now Cinco de Mayo!

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Where can it possibly go from here??

For starters, we're heading to Madison this evening for Gallery Night and the opening of TOGETHER WITH, curated by Kate and showing at The Bubbler at Madison Public Library! We're staying at a new and contemporary Airbnb with the most techy host ever -- apps for everything! It'll be a fun get-away. Quick... but FUN!

Mother's Day is there in the middle. Memorial Day at the end.

Really, though, compared to just about every other month this year, you are rather quiet and I'm not going anywhere. Except for the quick trip to Madison, I am staying put!

I'll continue working on projects...

  • Rusty's nearly finished with his part of the guest room re-do, so I'll be furnishing, decorating, and sprucing up a few things. I'm excited for it to come together!
  • I'm not much of a "harvest" gardener, but I'm going to attempt potato farming for the first time! I found a local source for organic seed potatoes -- and many organic other things -- it's not too far from home and I'll be heading there soon.

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My newest assistant!

  • My second shawl in as many months is almost finished, with another (three) (at least) still on the needles and I'm hankering to get back to them! A couple have been in time-out for crimes not their own, and I'm ready to set them free -- figure it out & finish!
  • I am feeling overwhelmed by possibilities, stifled by WIPs, and really need to KonMari my stash and projects; Memorial Day Weekend is earmarked for that task. (I even put it on my calendar.)

And... prep for SPAIN will begin!! I'm so excited to see Annie & the boys, and Maddy!!

Love, Vicki


FO: Summer Camp

More like "Spring Camp!" I actually finished this a couple of weeks ago. I've been wearing it a lot, too.

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It's quite long, and wraps generously around my neck. I never blocked it, and think perhaps the knitted-on leaf edging might benefit from it. But I'm in no rush.

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It "goes" with just about everything, but I especially love it with black, gray (my basics), or light blue.

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It's all garter stitch, which I love, and the pattern was truly easy to memorize! I would consider making another one -- it's a great pattern for speckled or variegated yarn.


Unraveled: closing in

Joining Kat & friends again this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

I've been exclusively working on my Colorwash Scarf, and here's where it's at as of this afternoon:

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I noticed a silly but large & noticeable mistake late last night, so took a little time this afternoon to rip & re-knit a few rows before taking it outside for a photo.

Here's a close up:

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Um, yeah. This is one colorful Colorwash. I'm so glad I didn't rip it! It's probably one of the happiest things I've ever knit.

The plan is to finish & block this, then return to & finish the Brambling Shawl, and ONLY THEN will I begin to entertain notions of possibly knitting an adorable mouse... though first I should probably finish knitting the adorable rabbit that's been underway for a couple of years now... oh, and polar bear eyes (I'm getting closer).

Too many things + a little procrastination.

I finished listening to Lincoln in the Bardo just this morning. I am certain that I will be listening to it again, and I also desire a hard copy (my bookseller is on it).

It was just incredible -- one of the most unusual books I've ever read/heard, and also one of the best. I truly laughed out loud (while driving in my car, possibly being given a wide berth by fellow travelers), and also cried. The performances are stunning. I highly recommend this book (5 stars!) -- in whatever format you prefer (I believe it takes a little while to get comfortable with either).

I've listened to a little music and downloaded a new audio book today... but I'm not quite ready to move on, so will start it tomorrow.

What's it? Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner.

My interest was piqued after reading Carole's review and a few others. I'm always interested in good books with a Wisconsin angle, too!

Dark Matter is still the book on my nightstand!

What are you knitting & reading?


It's another birthday!

In fact, it's a FIRST birthday!!

01-months

One month.

02-months

Two months.

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Three months.

05-months

Five months.

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Six months.

Almost-01

Last week.

Happy 1st Birthday to my darling granddaughter Gin!


Weekending: From Bizarre to Bazaar

In the bizarre, I assisted with some unplanned car buying last week. Kate's 2005 Subaru Forester took a crap on her late last week (thankfully, waiting until after our return from Chicago!). There's already been a pile o' money sunk into that vehicle with, it seems, only the promise for more of the same. She decided to cut her losses, and once that decision was made, she began doing the legwork involved in finding a replacement. She ended up spending most of the week with us -- in a half-painted room with drop-cloth-covered furniture -- which made car-pooling and -sharing a little easier. By Friday (my day off), I schlepped her around to sign many of the things, and by noon on Saturday, after signing all the rest of the things, she drove a new-to-her (one previous owner, less than 90,000 miles) 2010 Subaru Forester off the lot! It's newer, nicer, and has a few more bells & whistles. Also, little things that make a girl happy... like an AUX jack!

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I watched the kids on Saturday afternoon while Ali readied the KC&T Coffee Camper for it's longest & busiest gig so far!

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It was pretty chilly on Saturday night -- which is just what you want, I guess, if you're offering mostly hot drinks at the first Bazaar After Dark of the year! They were busy -- working their butts off busy -- all night! I was even put to work for a few minutes.

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Two streets & and alley were closed to traffic for the event, with lots of really great craft, food & drink vendors (which I happily did my part to support), music & entertainment.

The bazaar served to kick off a Habitat for Humanity Rock the Block event happening this week, right in my 'hood. One of the main items on the agenda is the rehab of a small park down the street that's seen better days (like, once upon a time, when the fountain was still working). I am anxious to see the re-do!!


Remember the time...

I did a quick Facebook search last Saturday morning to find out the date of our local Master Gardeners' sale, which I'd previously neglected to note. (It's May 20th.) While on the Master Gardeners' page, I noticed that someone had posted about the Fox Valley Embroiderers' Guild's biennial show... and I decided to hop in the car and go!

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What a lot of great work -- all types! And everyone was super friendly. The show included demonstrations and a marketplace, and I especially loved the part of the exhibit devoted to works-in-progress... I am a "process" girl, after all.

I wasn't inspired to buy a kit or start anything new (nor did I take any photos), but it did get me thinking about my long-languishing "Mothers Tree" cross-stitch project.

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Remember the time that I first (and last?) blogged about this project?

No??

It was in 2006, part of the very fun ABC-Along -- E is for Embroidery!! That was back in the stone age of blogging, or at least the age of Ringsurf age. Haha. Remember THAT? And way before Ali became a mother!

I think it might be time to dig that out and get to work.

I'd sure like to find out more about Mary Bauer's mother, too (and I may have picked up the trail!)

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


Unraveled: Colorwash

"Wild yarn," you say? I've got it.

A few years ago, I photographed a washtub full of (bobbing-for-) apples at my sister's Halloween party for the kids.

At the time, I had lamented the absence of a "watercolor" app for Android, as iEveryone and their iSister were Waterlogue-ing everything (iEnvy). But! My wonderful friend Margene had just pointed me in the direction of an app called SketchGuru, which had a "watercolor" feature... I loved the result! In fact, that manipulated photo was hanging in my kitchen until very recently -- and I only removed it because someone in the vicinity was on a cleaning jag and I didn't want anything to hinder progress.

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Anyway, a week or two later, inspired by that photo, I dyed three hanks of yarn -- saturated, colorful, and as WILD as they come!! I loved them then and love them now, but they are WILD (i.e., challenging).

It was this yarn that immediately came to mind when I saw the title of the MDK Field Guide No. 3 was "WILD YARNS."

Oh, also a Colorwash Scarf KAL?? I'm so in...

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I'd used three different bases when I did that dying, and the one pictured above is a merino-silk single, similar to the yarn Kirsten used when she designed the pattern. I hadn't dyed any other color and... well, what color would even go with this? I decided to try pairing it with a natural/undyed hank.

I wound it up and set to it on Friday morning.

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I posted on Instagram:

This is two repeats. I had a feeling that the contrast would be too much, and I think it is. I love that crazy dyed yarn but, among other things, it is SUPER saturated! I think it would rather be paired with a dusky light purple-gray. #frogginginchicago

Then Kate messaged that she was on her way to pick me up, so I stuffed it in my bag and we headed home.

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A tiny little voice whispered that maybe 2 repeats was not enough to let this pattern & yarn combo develop -- and I listened. (Because how many times have I ignored whatever that voice was saying -- even when it was practically SHOUTING -- and kept on going with something that was just.not.right??) (Countless!) (It's a fine line...)

On Saturday:

I lied... did not frog this yesterday. I liked how it looked in the photo better than in person... that and some encouragement from Kym @awayfromtheedge made me keep going. It's looking like a rainbow, bright & happy. For now, onward! This is into the 6th repeat.

That was basically the point of no return.

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This morning. I am currently on nearly finished the 13th repeat, and I like it more and more. It's happy. It's bright. It's colorful. It reminds me of fun times and special people, and also of a rainbow.

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Close up!

If it turns out I don't like it in the end, I can a) give it away or b) over-dye the whole thing!

I'm anxious for the finish -- border, blocking (it'll open up quite a bit), and wearing!!

READING? Same...

Joining Kat & friends again this week for Unraveled Wednesday!


26

It's an "even year" in terms of the girls' ages -- odd year on the calendar = even-year ages.

My baby is 26.

I've shared day-after birthday posts/photos this year. Today is technically Maddy's birthday... right here & now. But in NZ, where she is, it was yesterday!

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I've shared this photo before, but it bears sharing again -- another favorite! Katie & Ali were obviously in the charge of my mother, as they are super dolled-up for their first visit with little sis! And look at them... Ali's leaning in, pretty interested in what's going on there; Kate's like, "Okaayyyy...." A little foreshadowing?

Maddy's working awfully hard, but celebrating a little, too. I saw a photo of her celebrating with Kiwi Family -- wearing birthday hats & taking pics with adorable little bro & sis! She sent a photo of the "Stitch" cake they made, with Ohana Means Family written below. Maddy's camp name was Stitch (and her BFF was Lilo), and she met Nicole -- of Kiwi Family -- when Nicole worked there one summer.

It's a small world... full of love and beautiful people! ❤️


Weekending

It was a long weekend, as I took Thursday & Friday off last week, and I spent a couple of those days in Chicago!

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My only view of Marina City (my favorite) on this trip was from the car!

Kate was over a few weeks ago, doing some "planning out loud." She needed to make a trip to Milwaukee & Chicago to pick up work for Together With, a show she's curated, opening soon in Madison (and later in Denver). It could have been done in a day if all she did was drive & pick up work... but she wondered if maybe I'd like to go along and make it an overnight pre-birthday trip with a little time for some fun stuff, too!

Well, she didn't have to ask me twice... days off secured, our Airbnb was booked!! Our apartment was on the 38th floor at Presidential Towers -- a slightly different area of the city than we've stayed before. Cozy, and with a great view... but no corkscrew!! (And, yes, I mentioned it in my review.)

We had to book parking separately, which I did via a new-to-me app called ParkWhiz. I used another parking app on a previous trip, but ParkWhiz had a better rate this time around. We couldn't check in until 3 p.m., so used the app to find parking for lunch. Turns out, the lot was over-sold; there were already illegally parked cars -- which we briefly considered doing -- but we drove around the lot for a while longer until someone left. ParkWhiz was very anxious for my feedback, and when my rating for this particular incident wasn't very high, they gave me a $10 credit. Unfortunately, I didn't do that until we were home, so I guess we'll be saving it for the next trip (not a bad thing... it will happen)!

Though we considered trying a new spot for lunch, there's nothing like an old favorite! We ended up at The Purple Pig again -- I've been there on every trip to Chicago, save one, since we discovered it 5 or 6 years ago. We had Bobota "Greek Cornbread" with Feta, Mizithra Chese & Honey and Deviled Egg with Arugula & Capers (new), Smashed Potatoes with Sheep Feta & Oregano and Housemade Gyros & Pita Bread with Pickled Beets & Pickled Sweet Potatoes (new). So good!! I never knew until last week that capers were available any way other than tiny & pickled, but the ones that came with the deviled egg were large enough to slice!

We made a stop at Eataly before heading to our apartment. I've been to Eataly a couple of times now, but still find myself pretty overwhelmed! Other than a bottle of wine (which we were unable to open) and a 4-pack of local beer, all we bought was a jar of salt-cured capers and a tote bag.

Lucky for us, The Art Institute of Chicago is open late on Thursday evening, and there were some interesting exhibits! We took a walk...

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The Chicago Picasso at Daley Plaza.

...stopping often to photograph art & architecture.

And through Millenium Park, with an obligatory stop at Cloud Gate.

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And, of course, a selfie.

We were fortunate to see some of each of the solo performances by Eiko & Koma. Koma's "tango" was mesmerizing (I couldn't stop watching his feet).

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This is Eiko "descending" the stairs. I was struck by her feet, too! There is a page of videos on their website, if you're interested in seeing what they're all about (some interviews, too).

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We visited a few of the current exhibitions, including Whistler’s Mother: An American Icon Returns to Chicago, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, and Saints and Heroes: Art of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. I was drawn in by the lovely countenance above, and also sword.

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Of course, we visited The New Contemporary.

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I have my favorites.

There was plenty more that we'd liked to have seen, but there is only so much slow-walking a person can do! A few hours is all I can take in even my most comfy footwear.

Prior to arriving in Chicago, we'd scoped out some possible restaurants in our "new neighborhood." But it was a bit of a trek back and we were hungry NOW, so we checked out The Dearborn, which we'd passed and noted on the way to the AIC. When I saw HAMILTON: THE COCKTAIL on the drinks menu, I knew we were in the right place. It was delicious, as was our dinner! Service was fantastic. Kate had fish & chips, and I had gnocchi -- which included the first morel mushrooms I've ever eaten, hopefully not the last.

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This may be our pre-theatre stop when Maddy takes her friend Katy and me to see Hamilton! (By the way, there's a new post from our intrepid traveler!)

 While Kate ran out to make a pick up on Friday morning, I sipped coffee in the apartment and cast on the Colorwash Scarf. Though here the yarn is just admiring the view with me.

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I'll share more about this project in a day or two.

Thwarted by parking issues (so many signs, too many apps, valet?) in addition to being a little bit hangry, we drove out of the city center to find some lunch, and ended up at Staropolska Restaurant -- a hankering for Polish food -- also available on-street parking!

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Most of the menu was in both Polish and English, there were restaurant patrons conversing in Polish, our waitress was bilingual (at least), and even the posters at the video store across the street were in Polish!

Kate had one stop in Milwaukee at The Pitch Project, which happens to adjoin Brenner Brewing Co., and I was happy to sample a new local beer while she conducted her business.

Home by Friday evening... dinner & a movie... and everyone came over on Saturday to celebrate Kate's birthday!


Plus 32 (are you serious?)

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Here's another all-time favorite photo, taken 32 years ago today at Tillamook County General Hospital in Tillamook, OR.

Oh me, oh my.

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Ali & the kids came over to help celebrate. (Gin doesn't look too pleased with that extra-tight squeeze from her brother!)

We had dinner and I made birthday brownies. We sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY and Jun helped Kate blow out the candles... this time, I had some re-light candles in the mix and was that ever fun!!  :)

 

A post shared by Vicki Mothes (@vicki.knitorious) on

We (I) sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY again with dancing/singing Gin!!

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It was a fantastic evening and so fun to help Kate celebrate her birthday!


Unraveled - April 19

Joining Kat & friends again this week for Unraveled Wednesday!

The current knitting (and plans) having been established yesterday, here's an update on another project we've got going around here.

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Priming has been completed since I took this photo the other day, and paint colors have been chosen & purchased!

My inspiration for color is the pastel drawing by my sister Sharon that you can see in the middle foreground.

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She really was the most amazing artist.

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I always wished she'd done more of this type of work. We have very few pieces, which are treasured beyond measure... as you might imagine.

That piece is rather cool, but this bright north-facing room needs warming up, so I gathered a bunch of paint chips and tried to pick a warm coordinating yellow. I'm going to do some deco painting on the dresser (blue)... and that's about as far as I am in the process.

READING

Pages: Dark Matter, and I'm enjoying it a lot more than expected! Book club was postponed 'til next week, but I'm already booked to babysit the kiddos so their parents can have a night out. As much as I'm enjoying it, my actual book reading goes pretty slowly and it's doubtful I'd be finished even with the extra week.

Audio: Lincoln in the Bardo. OMG, I am LOVING this book!! I am grateful to Margene's concise review on Goodreads recommending the audio version -- I bought it without even sampling (unheard of)! I did do an image search because I needed to see a page, though. It is unusual but mostly it is genius; heartbreaking, sad, witty, bawdy, hilarious. I am listening at every opportunity.