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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SidewalkChalk-1

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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Allium

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.

* * * * *

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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Bear-5

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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Knitorious-majorette-mom-7

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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Knitorious-majorette-mom-5

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.

03-months-with-Jun

Three months.

05-months

Five months.

11-4-16

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!

Maddy

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.


Brambling along

I cast on the Brambling Shawl on Friday night. By Saturday night I was working with two colors.

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And on Sunday, I started the third color. So far, so good, though there is definitely more tangling/untangling now that a third color is in the mix... four ought to be a hoot!

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I'm holding the subbed Haiku double, and it seems to be working out great. I love the coppery-gold color. I wasn't sure at first, with the slate, and almost ripped it out to start with a different color/arrangement, but reminded myself that I was happy with the plan... keep going! I'm glad I stuck with it.

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I must be pretty impressed with myself, as I am taking daily progress photos!! Haha. The knitting and joins all seem pretty even and there aren't any gaping holes. I may have a few more or less stitches than I'm supposed to, sometimes getting a little lost in the direction, but it's not going to matter all that much in the end. It's not like there's a pattern repeat I need to be concerned about.

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MDK's Field Guide No. 3 arrived, and Kay just announced a KAL for Kirsten's Colorwash Scarf -- which I am dying to cast on!! It was love at first sight. I was planning on finishing Brambling before doing that, but since BS is not what I'd call portable knitting (all those sticky tangly balls of yarn)... so I'm in! Justified. Now I need to come up with some yarn. Hm.

In other news:

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I added some more bling to my WW ring last night, as I've been a member & attending meetings for 16 weeks! And I'm close to that number in pounds lost, too, so I'm happy that I'm sticking with it (doing it "my way," of course).


Plus 30

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This is one of my all-time favorite photos, taken 30 years ago today -- so just add 30 years to all of those ages.

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As promised, I made another Bunny Cake this year.

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And who was BEYOND EXCITED?? He watched as three of us lit the candles -- with some heavy breathing, as he practiced his blowing skills -- and between them, he & his mum blew out all 30 candles in one try!

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That was Ali's Birthday/Easter in 1995, the last time I made a Bunny Cake. My calculations tell me that it will happen next in 2028 (I'll be going-on-70) and then not again until 2090 (Ali will be 103)!! I'm planning to be here next time but certainly won't be the time after that, so I'm glad I did it this year.

We went out for a nice Easter brunch buffet with Kate, Ali & Rod & their kids, and Rod's parents. I don't think we've ever gone out for Easter before -- or anytime other than some Mothers Days. It was nice to take it easy and not worry about cooking a big meal, but I miss the leftovers!

It was a very nice day yesterday -- reminiscent of that day 30 years ago, if a bit breezier and not quite as warm -- and all of a sudden people wanted to do work in the garden!

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I was trying to take a panoramic photo, but it gets weird when people are moving (last week, I ended up with a photo of two-headed Gin!) -- this is the best I could do, tho Kate's a bit cut off and Ali's hands are weird, it gives a pretty good sense of the scene. The girls are digging up volunteer bleeding heart to respectively transplant, and clearing a one-time path to ready it for fresh mulch (which is to be my Mothers Day present). Works for me!

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Sweet family time -- it was great to hang out together (working off that brunch!).

I hope you had a great weekend!!


Friday!

Today was my day off this week (instead of the usual Wednesday), and did I ever have a list of things to do!! I was able to check off every single thing, including a couple of late additions, and also a nap!

  • Credit union
  • Edward Jones
  • Sewing machine repair shop
  • KC&T to visit Ali & pick up snap pliers
  • Goodwill
  • Antique mall
  • Another antique shop
  • Lunch
  • Groceries (bunny cake ingredients!)
  • Oil change
  • Nap

The big news is: Spring Has Sprung!! It could be warmer (I'm anxious to kick shoes & socks to the back of the closet), and sunnier, but we're moving in the right direction, I guess.

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Lilac buds... teensy tiny buds!! I cannot wait. That's one of my favorite flowers -- the scent is divine.

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The bloodroot is coming up, too. They're so mysterious with that leaf shroud, and so simple & pretty when they bloom!

I didn't buy anything at the antique shops (in fact, at one I was picking up some things that weren't selling), but I did bring something home.

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I'd pulled out a drawer in a small cabinet that I was mildly interested in, but something was preventing it from going all the way back in. So I fished out a few plastic file tabs, and this short piece of negative... which fell into my purse.

The world being as it is today, I downloaded an app for that and within minutes...

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Happy Weekend!!

 


Way, way back

Rusty has a couple of drawings in the 72nd Art Annual at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay and we drove up for awards night on Tuesday. While he wasn't a winner this year, we know some who were, as well as many other artists in the show.

In addition to art, the museum houses science and history exhibitions.

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So our art outing included a side of local history... starting way, way back in time!

The permanent exhibit is called On the Edge of the Inland Sea, but you enter through an "ice cave," and our kids have always just called the entire exhibit The Ice Age Cave -- and it's been a favorite since childhood.

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These pieces are part of a larger exhibit about copper and I am smitten with those shapes -- and the color. I love verdigris.

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The first thing that caught my eye in this display were the words "Speckled Touch-Me-Not" and "Bloodroot," both of which I have growing in my back yard -- and probably some of the others, too. I've actually used Touch-Me-Not for dyeing, but not Bloodroot as it is toxic. I doubt anyone would dye from knitting with Bloodroot-dyed yarn, but it can be a significant respiratory irritant and I'm not comfortable subjecting anyone to that! Natural does not always equal safe.

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There were some nice textiles on display, including some examples of bead work and a couple of cross-stitch samplers -- a past passion of mine!

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WASHKOSH FROM OSHKOSH! I can't believe I've never heard of the Washkosh Vacuum Washer!!

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There was nothing to identify this loom-ish (?) type item. Does anyone know what it's called, how it's used, what it makes?

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That chatelaine caught my eye. I was fascinated by them for a while, too, and wanted one in the worst way -- that, and a hemming bird. Once in a while I'd see them at an antique show, but they were always very expensive. I satisfied myself with a nice sterling silver needle case. I'm happy to simply admire a chatelaine when I see one and don't want to own a one anymore, but I still wouldn't mind a hemming bird -- that's something I would actually use.

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This stuff is so fascinating...

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In addition to the Green Bay Packers, paper is another thing that put Green Bay -- and surrounding communities -- on the map. Fort Howard, James River, Georgia Pacific, Neenah, Kimberly Clark, and Kleenex are names you may be familiar with.

Aren't local museums fun??


Unraveled - April 12th

Joining Kat & friends this week for Unraveled Wednesday, I am plugging away at the edging of my Summer Camp shawl!

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It's going fairly quickly -- eight more repeats of the leaf motif and a few more rows (maybe I'll finish tonight)! There it is in my tote bag, along with my Stitched by JessaLu HAMILTON wedge bag -- Angelica, Eliza and Peggy (the Schuyler sisters) showing there.

(Have I mentioned that Maddy is taking her friend Katy and me to see Hamilton in Chicago in November??? So excited!)

Then, of course, I'm ready to cast on the Brambling shawl.

I'm nearly finished listening to Exit West, and Lincoln in the Bardo is queued. I've begun reading Dark Matter, too, but wow... time has not been on my side this week.

5:45 pm UPDATE: I finished Exit West during the evening commute and Lincoln in the Bardo is downloading -- I am so excited to listen to that book! There's a Goodreads Giveaway of Exit West which ends tomorrow, if you're interested! (I loved listening to it read by the author, but I know that Kym loved reading it... it's good!)


Sorry, not sorry

Saturday was spent mostly with my nose to the taxman's grindstone. Done and dusted. Yuck.

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After that, I went upstairs and putzed a little in the upstairs bedroom -- and actually remembered to take a (360°) Before photo! I took everything off the walls and pulled all the nails, and on Sunday we took the big "bulletin board" off the wall. That board's been there since we moved in; we thought it might have been glued to the wall but, thankfully, 'twas only screwed. Maddy will likely land here for a bit in June when she returns from abroad to regroup; otherwise, it will be open to guests (and also planned storage)!

On Sunday, it was all about the kids -- so, sorry/not sorry, but this post is pretty kid-centric! (More than usual? Haha.)

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Seriously. This photo.

Jün tried to take a seat in "his" orange lawn chair the other day and we found that he'd outgrown it -- by a lot! So I picked up a new one for him last week and the orange one is now Gin's. She's wearing one of my favorite all-time kid knits -- Baby A Cardigan -- which I made 10 years ago for Mack, and has also been worn by Addy and Jün, at least. A favorite not in the least part because of how well it's held up over 10 years and four kids!

We walked over to the park (Jün on his Strider -- and there were a few little hills, which makes it super fun!) and did it all! Swings, slides, merry-go-round; I even went down the big circular slide with Gin a few times, and even once with both of them, at Jün's request. (And I can feel a few muscles today that haven't had any recent exercise!)

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Aunt Kate came over for a while and we had fun hangin' out with her!

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But, man, it sure was nice outside!! We did hopscotch and played with chalk and sat in the grass.

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Things are starting to happen in the yard! Sedum (lots of sedum!), snowdrops, rhubarb, and bleeding heart! I think the bleeding heart has grown 4" since I took these photos -- that stuff just explodes out of the earth!

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I am switching out one of the colors for my Brambling shawl with some Alchemy Yarns Haiku from stash. And it's been in there a while... a purchase from my first Rhinebeck in 2005! I'm just about to start the edging on Summer Camp, so should be casting and practicing some intarsia soon!

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It was pretty this morning, but the weather's gone decidedly downhill, and it'll be touch-and-go all week. That makes me really glad that we spent some time soaking it up yesterday.


End of the Week-ing

Oh my goodness, what a week! We are in Week 2 of a computer upgrade at work that has been complicated by every problem you can think of. Hopefully, it'll get wrapped up today... and I can't wait.

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We get The Business News of Northeast Wisconsin in the mail at work and I was happily surprised to see Ali's smiling face looking at me from the front page this week! I am certain that she told me about this at some point, but I was still "surprised."

On Wednesday, I put my nose to the grindstone and worked on taxes. I barely took a break and made really good progress... I should be able to get that off my desk & mind this weekend. YA-freakin'-HOO!

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My yarn for A Year of Techniques: Intarsia (AYoT Pattern #2) arrived yesterday from Mason-Dixon Knitting! I ordered it (the "Sterling" colorway) on Tuesday and it arrived on Thursday -- can't ask for much more than that! I'm not a total stranger to intarsia, but am not super comfortable with it, either; I'm excited to get started on this project and hopefully improve my skills. Bristol Ivy's Brambling Shawl looks interesting (like all of her patterns -- seriously)!

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I'm not sure yet how I'll arrange/change up the colors!

I won't start that project, though, until I'm finished with my Summer Camp shawl. I'm technically on the second-to-last stripe, so it's moving right along. There's plenty of yarn, and I think I'm going to add a couple more stripes.

It is going to be a stellar weekend, for a change, and I'm hoping to get started on a home project... cleaning or painting or organizing... something needs to get started! I'll probably take the kids for a while, so Ali can finish a painting project that she has underway -- and just because I like those kids! Kate's coming over for a while this evening (she's moved 20 mi/30 min away), and Ali will pop over with the kids, too. Never a dull moment.

I hope you have a great weekend!


Right Now: April Weekending

Avoiding... Income taxes. In doing so, I have been incredibly productive in other areas!

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Kate & Jun checking out the creek in Kate's new back yard!

Saturday's tactics included helping Katie move, doing Ali's payroll, and sewing a dress for Gin.

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Gin: In Threes - helping Kate move in!

On Sunday, I made runs to Target & the grocery store, had lunch with Kate, balanced a few bank accounts, and even took all of the printer toner cartridges (that have been piling up for years) to Office Max.

And I made dinner and we Skyped with Maddy.

And I sorted through a stack of tax-related papers.

It's been a pretty amazing weekend!! Perhaps we should need to file our tax returns every month! Heh.

Celebrating... April Birthdays!!! Though Alison is second-born, her birthday comes first on the calendar and this year it is also Easter. We're going to join Rod's family at a local restaurant for Easter lunch and birthday celebration, and I'm okay with not cooking/hosting this year. I will be baking an awesome cake, and have enlisted Kate's help in decorating.

And next I'll have to figure out what to do for her birthday...

And then for Maddy's, which is a little tougher since she's so far away.

Drinking... Coffee, water, iced SporTea, hot Tazo ZEN tea, Gin+Campari+OJ+Club Soda.

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Salad in a jar for lunch! I've been meaning to do this for a long time...

Eating... Pretty well, for the most part. Planning is everything!!

Itching... for some nice weather. I'm not asking for much (being April), but four days in a row of 50s-into-60s and sunshine would do wonders. Alas, April, you're known more for showers and, from what I can see, that's what it's mostly going to be about this month.

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Sewing... As mentioned above, while avoiding working on taxes, I made another Geranium Dress for Gin.

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I wasn't really even thinking about making another dress for her, but was moving some stuff around and uncovered an old pillowcase from Mom's.

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It was a reflex, thinking, "Hm. Could I make a dress from this?" And then I did. The ruffled edge of the pillowcase made a PERFECT ruffled hem -- and saved quite a bit of time.

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I've sewn three dresses for Gin and they've all been from the same pattern! I am still all about that sleeve cap. My "stitching in the ditch" could be improved.

Knitting... I am currently working on Summer Camp by Laura Aylor, using some recently dyed yarn that makes me think it might have been rather dark & stormy at camp that week. But also fun!

Listening... to Exit West by Mohsin Hamid... and am enthralled every minute.

Reading... I am committed to Homeland and Other Stories, and enjoying it quite a bit; Dark Matter is on deck for book club, though I'm certain I will not have finished it by the time we meet.

Planning... Not much, except for some vague home improvement/cleaning projects. It's only April and I already have plans for every single one of my vacation days this year plus one! Florida & New Orleans have eaten a few; Spain for sure; Auntie Camp, and a trip to TN/AL add up! Not complaining, it's a stellar year for experiences.

Watching... Rusty and I just watched Finding Vivian Maier, which had been on my subliminal list for quite a long time and he brought home from the library last week.

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Wondering... How this little fashionista is 11 months old already!!

 


FO: In Threes (a baby cardigan)

Obviously, sewing buttons on a handknit baby sweater is way more fun than working on taxes. No foolin'!

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I made this because of March Madness and Kay!! I was all set to finish in three nights, too, except that the third night was Wisconsin vs. Florida and there was no way!!

The finished sweater weighs 175 grams, so two hanks of yarn with plenty left over. I think I had four altogether, and will likely make another in a larger size -- though may overdye the yarn. I'm actually thinking INDIGO!


Dear April,

I can't wait to see you on Saturday!! There's always so much happening with you, not the least of which are BIRTHDAYS, including those of all three of my girls!! This year, you have Easter, too, which is also Alison's birthday... so I found the magazine clipping with the Bunny Cake that I made for her in 1995, and will be making it again.

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Twister!!

No pressure or anything, but March was kind of a big let-down in the weather department, and I'm hoping you'll shine a bit more. I know that spring is a transition time and it's Wisconsin and blahblahblah -- it would have been nice to just have a couple of nice days in a row out of 31. I'll bet you can do better... I know you have it in you.

After trips to Florida in January, and New Orleans in February-into-March, I'm staying put in April (and May, too). I'm looking forward to spending some quality time at home -- sprucing up, fixing up, cleaning up (and out). Change is afoot!

And I'm really looking forward to spending some time outside, watching the yard & garden come alive, and getting out with the kids.

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Speaking of whom, I watched them for a couple of hours yesterday and -- WOW -- it's nonstop fun & energy. Also, lots of following Gin up the stairs.

Anyway, after I finish the dreaded and extremely distasteful task that is taxes -- which, obviously, I've been avoiding (...sort of; I've been doing a lot of tax-related stuff for others) -- I hope to continue finding time for reading and knitting and sewing, too!

I'd like to get at least one more Gingeranium Dress made, and continue sewing/cutting the Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line Tunic that I started late last summer. And I just cast on Summer Camp with a couple of the hanks I dyed the other day.

Let's have a creative, fun, productive 30 days, shall we? With some nice weather, too??

Love, Vicki

P.S. This is my 3,000th blog post!! They're not all published posts, but still... Wow.

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


FO: Squad II

It seems like a little FO parade happening over here! I realized that never blogged these finished Squad Mitts.

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I never noticed that I screwed up the thumbs until I gave them a bath and pinned them down! My knitwear model never noticed, either, until I pointed it out. They don't feel funny or weird... I can't even explain how it happened. Kate's absconded with them and I haven't heard any complaints about it, so I haven't fixed it, either! I've one more pair of these underway, at about the half-way mark (i.e., one mitt is nearly done).


FO: Mignon

I can't even remember when I started knitting this little sweater. It's been finished -- except for the button -- for a long, long time.

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  • Ravelry Project Page: Mignon
  • Pattern: Mignon by Loop London
  • Yarn:
    • Make.Do Dream DK Superwash (I think)
  • Needles:  US 5 (I think)
  • Start to Finish:  March 26, 2015 - March 26, 2017 (that's a guess)

Whatever the yarn, it's incredibly soft and squishy! And I know I was looking for a one-skein project.

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Close up, the button isn't a perfect match, but it works from normal viewing distance!! Of course, Gin is great motivation for finishing a project like this -- and a little shrug is nice for spring! There's potential for years of wear with a garment like this.

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I promise there will be better photos at a future date, but here are the first that Ali sent me of Gin wearing her Geranium Dress.

Gingeranium

It's a perfect fit! I can't wait to make another. Li'l Gingeranium!!