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.

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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.

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


Weekending

I thought that I'd finish knitting Gin's In Threes on Friday night while I watched some basketball. Alas, the game demanded all of my attention, eventually ending in a one-point at-the-buzzer OT heartbreak for the Badgers, and by then my energy was completely sapped (plus, it was getting late).

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So I finished on Saturday night, instead, and gave it a bath yesterday. I haven't had a chance yet to root around for buttons.

I finally found made some time for dyeing on Saturday!

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I played around a bit, had a request for red, never intentionally dyed a basic black before, and love the blue-green-gold combo, so there's "Playful," "Red," "Basic Black," and "Aegean." I dropped off 2-4 hanks of each at the coffee shop on my way to work today.

I had a nice chat with Annie on Sunday morning. She said that the redbuds are blooming in Valencia; I said, "Send me a picture!"

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This is just one tree! There are rows of them lining the street in some places. We had such a dreary, gray & wet weekend, it was really nice to see some color!


Reading update

I finished listening to a book on my way to work today, and that put me back on track for hitting my Goodreads goal of reading 25 books this year!

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Finished Audio:

Finished Pages:

Currently:

On Deck/On The Way:

I tend to choose fairly long audio books (10-12 hours), but Exit West is only about 4 hours and I should be listening to Lincoln in the Bardo before too long! I fell in love with Bahni Turpin's voice, listening to her read The Underground Railroad -- so much that I looked up what other books she's read -- and added a few to my Wish List. I'm so thankful to know so many book lovers -- I'm always adding books to the list!!

I hope you have a great weekend! I'm going to try to do some reading, knitting, and dyeing. What do you have planned?


Through the window

Six years ago today, we were on pins & needles over a band of snow & flight schedules. Eventually (and determined), we gave up on catching the local connector flight and drove ourselves out of that band of snow and down to Chicago to catch our outbound flight to Heathrow... and our England-Scotland-Wales adventure!

Oh, what an adventure it was!

I'd scheduled a dye workshop at Old Maiden Aunt in West Kilbride toward the end of our time in Scotland, and looked forward to it the whole time (my one real fibery thing on that trip).

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This was the view from inside Lilith's shop. Since then, Old Maiden Aunt has relocated to a different studio! So even if I visited again, the view would be different both from her new studio and from this one.

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It's been almost 6 years since I looked out this window, and it isn't likely that it'll ever happen again -- or, if it does, it won't look exactly like this.

Ah, Scotland! 

I am currently awaiting the arrival of Lilith's new book, Coming Home! It should be here any day now.

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


FO: Hyacinthus Armwarmers (aka, Frenchy Mitts)

A Year of Techniques (#1): Helical stripes!

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These are my Frenchy mitts. I purchased the yarn in New Orleans' French Quarter at The Quarter Stitch, and did much of the knitting while watching Versailles on Netflix.

(I really enjoyed Versailles the TV show, by the way -- it's absolutely gorgeous -- and now I really want to visit Versailles the Palace! I've never had a burning desire to go visit France before.)

Helical stripes! It's the most magical, wonderful way to knit stripes in the round!

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I am very happy with these and love the neutral colorway. Now that we've crossed the threshold into Spring, though, I'd like to think there won't be reason to wear them for several months.


Weekending: Happy Spring!!

I walked up to the coffee shop yesterday morning and spotted this on a sidewalk block out front.

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Spring is in the air! And oh so very WELCOME!!

And also to you... Whether you've been more or less reading since I began this blog on the First Day of Spring 13 years ago, or just landed here today... you are WELCOME and I THANK YOU!! I never imagined that blogging would bring so much to my life, but the friends I've made because of it are some of the best of my life. I've learned, grown, traveled, laughed, cried, quit smoking, and accomplished so much more because of it. I just can't imagine what my life would be like right now if I'd never begun typing...

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I took it pretty easy over the weekend, leaving the house only once for the afore-mentioned walk and late yesterday to the grocery store. I did a little bookkeeping, helped Kate finish her taxes...

My main project was a new dress for Gin!

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I just loved the little flower fabric to line the bodice, and decided to use it for contrasting patch pockets, too!

I went back and forth about snaps vs. buttons. It's been a while since I've done either, and was having a hard time remembering exactly how to do snaps... so decided on and chose some cute vintage buttons. Then I grabbed some fabric to make a few practice buttonholes and discovered that there's a problem -- some gears or cams are not quite right because it goes up on one side and down on the same side. I suppose I could have manually shifted the fabric, but that's just asking for trouble. I really wanted to finish this dress, though, so went back to the snaps and figured it out!

While there are a few sleeve variations included with the pattern, the cap sleeve is probably my favorite!

I've had the fabric for just over a year. I fell in love with it when I saw it in an Instagram post, tracked it down and located a source or two, and bought both woven and knit yardage -- this is the first thing I've made with it!

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The kids were over for a while on Sunday afternoon. Gin's hair is getting long!!  ;)

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Jun was a bundle of energy -- and imagination (with an assist from Aunt Kate)!!

How was your weekend??


Randomly on a Friday!!

ShamrockFirst of all, HAPPY ST. PADDY'S DAY!!

Secondly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother MICHAEL!!

Thirdly, HAPPY 12TH QUIT-IVERSARY to ANN, CLAIRE, my sis KAREN, and ME!!

Now then...

Remember on Christmas Eve when I did a little sewing (like you do?)?

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I finally finished the last panel on Wednesday, possibly definitely while procrastinating about another task. Whatever. I'm so happy to have that project done, and I love how it turned out!

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The -10 lb milestone was indeed achieved this week! One of the things I've found helpful is the new Weight Watchers website and app and, in particular, the recipes I've found there. There hasn't been a dud among them! I'd run across a few "soup for one" and "soup in a jar" recipes that I'd wanted to try, and finally did that this week. This one is a mash-up of a couple because of what I had...

Chicken e Pasta e Fagiole Soup for One

2 tsp. reduced sodium chicken base
2 oz. cooked chicken breast
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup shredded carrots (uncooked)
1/4 cup cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 oz. fresh fettuccine, chopped

Layer ingredients in a pint-size mason jar. Close jar & refrigerate until ready to use.

Fill jar with boiling water (about 2 cups). Stir well, until soup base is dissolved. Close jar and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

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That's a quick, make-ahead, 4 SP lunch! Actually the one you're looking at is more like 7 SP because I accidentally quadrupled the amount of pasta!! Ooops. It was hearty!

Look at THIS:

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Spring is volatile in NE Wisconsin. According to Intellicast, the record high for the last half of the month is 81F on March 27th (2007), and the low is -5 on March 24th (1974). The average is about mid-40s and we've been well below that, but thankfully there's been some sunshine (not today... gigantic flakes of snow fell on me this morning).

Last but not least (definitely the cutest)...

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After I finished sewing the curtain and going out for lunch, then finally buckling down to do the task I'd been avoiding, I spent an hour or so watching these two on Wednesday evening. Instant mood lifter!! That arm around Gin... killing me!! The emotional growth and awareness that Jun's been displaying... also killing me!! I can tell that he's starting to think about things -- cause, effect, consequence -- and modifying his behavior (trying, at least!).

One of the sweetest moments was just before I got ready to leave. Ali was changing Gin on the bed, Jun was there too, and Ali was talking to me about Gin's little rash. Jun rolls over, puts his hand on Gin's chest, and sweetly asks, "Does that hurt you, Gin? Does that hurt?"

And now killing you, too! Haha! Have a great weekend!


Who are you?

I've been pretty busy and/or under the weather and/or grumpy and/or uninspired, so didn't really think too much about today's Think Write Thursday topic about heritage -- Irish or otherwise.

Then I read this sentence in Carole's post and laughed out loud:

As a researcher once told Dale when he was trying to prove that he is a Mayflower descendant – if you look too closely into this you might find out your family story is wrong.

My comment:

Haha! Yeah. Grandma always talked about a great uncle who’d done the research and traced back to Sir Francis Drake… but, um, I acquired a copy of his research and it was Sir Barnard Drake… CLOSE but no cigar (definitely a sailor, but kin?)! I still have a soft spot for Sir Francis, tho.

I've been involved in family history research for almost as long as I can remember, more -- particularly in the years immediately following the birth of a child -- or less. The aforementioned Grandma Blum was supportive and helpful (oh, I miss her!). I had a subscription to Ancestry.com back in the days of dial-up modems and was equally excited and frustrated when things like census images began to be available for online viewing. Excited because YAY, frustrated because DIAL-UP! OMG, I would finally get a page to load and then zoom in and/or move the page and it was pure AGONY to wait while it reloaded... you had time to go to the bathroom or throw in a load of laundry while you waited!

Now it's easy -- sometimes too easy, I fear. There's a lot of inaccurate information out there with no research or sources to back it up, and people willing to accept it. I know first-hand how important it is to DO THE RESEARCH... follow the trail, don't settle. As I recently remarked to a friend who was exasperated with the repetition of given names in her research:

I have a bunch of Peters. Peter and his son Peter and his son Peter and... there was even, in one family, a son Peter who died at a young age so another son was named Peter and, just in case (?) ANOTHER son was also named Peter! I found them referred to as Peter Jr. and Peter Jr. II on land documents!! Muddying the waters even further, brothers Jr. & Jr. II's wives were SISTERS!!

I'd originally thought that Peter Jr. married Eva, then, after Eva's death, her sister Mary... NOPE. Two brothers, both named Peter, married sisters Eva & Mary.

Later, Peter & Eva's sons -- John, Paul, Jake & Peter (of course) -- married sisters Bena, Tilly, Lillian & Rose. John & Bena were my great grandparents.

Anyway, there's a lot of English and German -- I've always thought more German. I've made Grandma Koenig's Apple Kuchen recipe since I was able to slice apples, and her dumplings, as made by my Aunt Arlene... well, it's been years and I still remember how delicious they were (my mother never made them). Her mother had come from Germany as a young girl and never spoke English. I made sauerkraut and pickles with my dad, and I ate Grandma's sulze with Grandpa Blum (learning that at butchering time, nothing was left to waste!). Grandpa Blum's family arrived in New York from Germany in 1855; Grandma's family from England before the Revolution.

A couple of years ago, for Christmas, Rusty & I each spit in a tube and sent them off to Ancestry DNA.

Here's my snapshot:

Ethnicity

My ethnicity estimate shows:

  • Great Britain - 69%
  • Europe East - 13%
  • Europe West - 5%
  • Italy/Greece - 6%
  • Scandinavia - 2%
  • European Jewish - 2%
  • Finland/Northwest Russia - <1%
  • Caucasus - <1%
  • Middle East - <1%

Rusty's, on the other hand:

  • Ireland - 32%
  • Great Britain - 27%
  • Europe West - 20%
  • Scandinavia - 15%
  • Europe East - 5%
  • Finland/Northwest Russia - <1%

So, I guess, kiss HIM! He's a bit more Irish!! 

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


Right now!

Anticipating... Two weeks One week (time flies!) 'til the First Day of Spring!! I'm doubtful that it'll actually feel like spring, but we march on.

Celebrating... Major progress on a big catch-up job! I "celebrated" yesterday by clearing the Christmas detritus, among other things, off my worktable. There's more to do in both of these areas. Moving forward.

Drinking... Tea -- gigantic mugs of Tazo ZEN, and a daily SPORTea from the coffee shop. Also Campari-Orange -- with splashes of gin and club soda.

Eating... We're still cooking at home. I can't remember the last time we went out! I've found some really good recipes on the Weight Watchers site (and am also right around -10 lbs right now).

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Enjoying... This lovely African violet that Rusty picked up on a whim the other day. It's on the kitchen table cheering everyone up!

Hoping... that the tax thing isn't too brutal this year. With the political shit storm happening right now, the task is even more distasteful than usual. What am I paying for...?

Knitting... Helical stripes! I'm on mitt #2. There's also a gnome on the needles, two polar bears with one eye between them (finally getting ready to embroider some eyes). Truth be told, there's an overwhelming jumble (okay, teetering pile) of knitting on my table that's needs attention -- at least two half-finished hats, the remains of several finished projects, and I just don't even know...

Looking forward to... Spain. I'm so happy that we'll be there to help celebrate Mack's 12th birthday!! Las Fallas is gearing up in Valencia now and Ann has been posting the most amazing pictures of light displays and things happening in the city! One of these years, it would be fun to visit during that time. It's so incredibly beautiful... and it all goes up in smoke!

Planning... Guest room renovation... and whole-house shaping up/clearing out! Watch for it this summer.

 

Reading... Roughneck Grace by Michael Perry (pages), The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (ears).

Sewing... Well, my first attempt at an Alabama Chanin-style dress for Gin was a bust, but I'm ready to try again! Kym was kind enough to share a couple of inspiring Pins with me and now I'm jazzed again. Gin's 1st birthday is coming up in May, and I think I'll shoot for that.

Watching... Marcella. Intense!

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Remembering... Just last week, when I arrived for work at 7 a.m. and it was light in the sky! Thankfully, it will soon come again. (Not a fan of DST.)

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?


New tricks!

Rooting around for some travel knitting that would be suitable to take on the plane, I wasn't really coming up with anything that wasn't at a fussy stage (project-of-the-moment on long, straight, aluminum needles gets packed in the checked bag or left behind).

The first pattern for A Year of Techniques was set for release on March 1st, and though I hadn't yet signed up, all of a sudden I had a yearning for knowledge! I knew the March project required a Zauberball and a set of DPNs, both of which I already had... ready, set, go!

The pattern is Hyacinthus Armwarmers by Jen Arnall-Culliford and the technique is helical stripes -- knitting spiraling stripes in-the-round. No jog!

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That's neither the Zauberball that I had in mind nor the needles that I began with! My Zauberball was pink & green & white... great colors, but not what I want for armwarmers. Instead, I found a great neutral colorway called DOMINO while I was at The Quarter Stitch in New Orleans. Also, because I know that my knitting is tight on DPNs, I decided to go up a needle size... but my knitting is different with these stripes... so I ended up ripping it all out and beginning again with a size smaller. I like it much better.

Helical stripes! I want to knit them all day! That little bit of yarn is to hold the thumb stitches, and that's my next step. I'm just letting the yarn flow as it may, so sometimes it's more contrasty and other times there's some muddy water.

I think I'm going to use that original pink/green/white colorway to make a helical striped hat for Gin!

 


Dear March,

We're over a week in already! I spent the better part of the first week in New Orleans, having a blast with my sister. It's a good thing, too, because -- though there are some lovely things to celebrate this month -- it's mostly going to be about nose-to-the-grindstone work of one sort or another, almost all of it leading to TAXES.

I can tell you that I'm really looking forward to the coming weekend. When my day off is on a Monday instead of the usual Wednesday, it sure is a long ways 'til Saturday!

I am looking forward to Daylight Savings Time -- well, not really, but if we have to play around with the clocks, I like the "springing forward" a lot more than the "falling back."

Book Club is coming up in the middle of the month. We read (I listened to) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Heartbreaking, sad, beautiful, uplifting.

My brother's birthday is on St. Patrick's Day, my 13th blogiversary on the First Day of Spring (YAY!!), and an overdue hair appointment a couple of days later (my hair is getting super long) (and also, I've noticed, a bit more "shimmery") (you might call it "gray"). Heh.

And, March, you're also all about The Quit. I smoked my last cigarette close to midnight on March 17, 2005, then tore up the rest and threw them in the trash. The End.

I can't believe it's been a dozen years! And with numbers like those... well, let's just say that I'm more than happy to be spending that money on DOING things and GOING places these days rather than turning it into ash & trash. (And remind myself of that whenever I might begin to feel a little guilty about so much doing and going on).

And, SPRING!! I know you, March, you are volatile. Here in NE Wisconsin, I've experienced everything from blizzards and ice storms, to 70s and bare-toe days over the years. It's looking pretty chilly in the current forecast, and it sure has been windy and dramatic these past few days, but also very beautiful.

I'll take whatever you've got, March. Let's do this!!

Love, Vicki


The Big Easy

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I left Green Bay on Tuesday - Fat Tuesday - bound for New Orleans, with a stop in Chicago. It was very foggy in Green Bay and there was a lot of turbulence on the first leg of my trip. (I learned that later flights from Green Bay that day had been cancelled.) I don't know if the pilots tried to get around it, or what, but we ended up arriving at O'Hare 15 minutes late and I had less than an hour to make my connection to begin with -- others had even less time. Anyway, I wasn't the only one sprinting through the airport -- luckily, the shuttle was perfectly timed -- and I made it! The waiting area was empty, the sign said "final boarding," and I was the last one to get on the plane. Whew!

I arrived in New Orleans at around 3 p.m. and took a cab from the airport to Ann's Airbnb in the Warehouse District. It was too late to see any parades, though I did see some floats on the freeway (with people still on board) from the taxi. I had a few minutes to kill before Annie could leave her conference, so found a nice place nearby and sat down for a beer. It was 80F outside, so a little sit down with cold refreshment was quite welcome.

Back at the Airbnb, we put our feet up for a few minutes and contemplated options for dinner. We ended up at Restaurant August, on the recommendation of one of Ann's friends. It was a lovely dinner in a beautiful space. We (and everyone who dined there that evening) were served a special dish to welcome us -- the most unusual and amazing brown butter custard, topped with cauliflower puree, with a crispy/roasted bit of cauliflower on top of that, all served in an eggshell and presented in an egg cup. It was just a spoonful or two or three, and so unusual not to mention delicious. Ann & I split a hot appetizer on the recommendation of our waiter (we'd been considering only cold options) - potato gnocchi with blue crab, black truffle & parmesan (turns out, I like truffles just not truffle oil) (same thing with almonds vs. almond extract); our entrees were "breaded" flounder with wild mushrooms, shrimp & crab fat, and roasted Mangrove snapper with tasso crab rice & pepper roasted oyster; for dessert we split grapefruit Pavolva with pistachio meringues, local honey (from an apiary on the "north shore" -- of what, I asked -- of Lake Pontchartrain), and rosemary ice cream. Oh, and cocktails! Mine was The Girl from Ipanema (cachaca, oolong tea, lemon, vanilla & sparkling wine) and Ann's was La Pasion Caliente (Cabeza tequila, lime, cilantro, jalapeno & passionfruit). That's a meal to remember!

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And then... BOURBON STREET!! I don't have a lot to say about that -- it was crazy, packed, and fun. Not my normal kind of scene but, you know, when in Rome... or New Orleans!

Ann still had a conference day on Wednesday, so I had the day to myself... and a plan.

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I took a walk down Magazine Street to Stein's Deli, recommended by Mary on an earlier post, grabbing a coffee at French Truck Coffee on the way.

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Seriously, the internet -- whether a blog or Facebook or Instagram -- is just the best thing these days when a person is traveling and looking for recommendations. I was not disappointed -- Stein's was amazing. I took a number of panoramic photos on the trip, and this was the first from my seat at Stein's, awaiting my delicious turkey sandwich. Atmosphere and people watching... where it's at!

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From Stein's, it was a just a little slide to the left on my way back for a stop at the Needlework Vault. That was a fun shop -- three very chatty ladies, one of whom was formerly a policewoman and a story or two about Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street. I found a little yarn and also a small New Orleans-themed cross-stitch chart.

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On the way home, I spotted the unmistakable triangular tip of a shawl draped over the back of a chair on the monument above and, of course, needed to investigate further! Turns out, I was in Margaret Square, admiring the lovely shawl (and amazing hairstyle) of Margaret Haughery, known as "The Bread Woman of New Orleans" and "Mother of Orphans," among other things.

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Did I mention the weather? Wednesday was also 80F with the dew point at 72! I took my second shower of the day before noon!! Then I walked up a flight of stairs to the roof where I took this 360 panorama of the view. You can see the Crescent City Connection right about in the middle. The "mushroom" building that appears on each side of the photo is called Plaza Tower, and has been vacant & unused since 2002. It's a bit of an eyesore -- okay, fine, it's downright ugly -- full of toxic mold and asbestos.

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We hoofed it everywhere, as neither of us rented a car and, as established, it was 80 degrees on Wednesday & I'd already taken two showers, so I decided to explore my transportation options before heading out again, and settled on mass transit. Bus and trolley stops were nearby, plus there was an app and a $3 day pass. I hopped a trolley and set out for the French Quarter -- destination The Quarter Stitch. That's a lovely shop and, of course, I found a few more things to buy -- including a souvenir fleur-de-lis needle gauge, some 8" US 2 DPNs, and a Crazy Zauberball.

Yes! I jumped! Thanks to Mason-Dixon Knitting and A Year of Techniques, I am knitting helical stripes. (More about that later... it's so cool!)

I hopped a trolley for the return trip, but my inexperience as a user of mass transit showed as I missed my stop and, la-di-da-di-da, ended up riding to the end of the line! I hopped off and got back on and was only 40+/- stops and an hour late meeting Ann. It was a nice main-drag tour of the Garden District, though!

We'd planned to go to a concert at Lafayette Square on Wednesday evening, but nothing was happening when we showed up -- it's possible that it was cancelled due to the threat of thunderstorms. It's not like you can't find music & food in New Orleans... so we did a quick little search and ended up at Killer Poboys at Erin Rose. Hello yum.

We also did some club-hopping and dancing! I may even have had a seat on the "LOVE TRAIN" that snaked through Fat Catz...

Thankfully, Thursday dawned much cooler and less humid. We'd wanted to go on a tour of some sort, and decided on bikes. Andrew was our most excellent (and truthful) guide on the Queen of the South tour at FreeWheelin' Bike Tours - a little bit of history, a little bit of architecture, a whole lotta fun.

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From the moment I knew I was going to New Orleans, I knew I wanted to eat at Emeril's -- it makes me think of Maddy because she was such a fan of his TV show -- and that's where we had reservations for dinner on Thursday evening. It was just a bit more casual than Restaurant August, which suited us, but the service was just as fine or better -- Herman & Tim stood out and were most helpful & attentive. Ann & I shared Emeril's New Orleans BBQ Shrimp appetizer (served with a delicious petite rosemary biscuit), Ann had drum and I had swordfish, and it was free banana cream pie day, so we split that for dessert. Oh, cocktails: I had the "Grasshopper" -- not the ice cream version -- it was made with Hendrick's gin, cucumber water, lime juice, wheatgrass, and jalapeno simple syrup (yes, it had some zip!), and Ann had a Moscow Mule (she'd never had one before).

We hung out a little closer to home that night, having a beverage and then catching a free comedy show at The Howlin' Wolf.

We started slowly on Friday. Ann had to deal with a little stomach bug in the wee hours of the morning, and thankfully that's all it was. Eventually, we headed out for beignets!!

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And a really good sandwich, too, but BEIGNETS... at Cafe Beignet! We went to the Royal Street location because if it's good enough for Alton Brown... oh, so yummy.

Ann had an order from Addy in Spain for Cheez-Its, so we were in need of a grocery store... we contemplated taking Lyft to a big box store, but prices were still pretty jacked and those would be some pretty expensive crackers! We stopped and asked a pedicab driver if there were any full-size grocers nearby and we ended up getting a ride to Rouse's. She stocked up on things like peanut butter, cereal, and snacks (I'd already fulfilled an order for a couple bottles of maple syrup), and then we carried it all back to our flat -- stopping for refreshment on the way!

Our final restaurant destination was Peche on Friday evening. This was the most casual of our "fine dining" establishments. We'd been shown directly to our tables at Restaurant August and at Emeril's, and made it a point to arrive early at Peche in order to enjoy the scene and a drink at the bar. I had a delicious cocktail called Morris Day (Nolet's dry gin, thyme, grapefruit, lemon & tonic) and Ann had the Gintilly Shakedown (Hendrick's gin, ginger, cucumber, lemon & cava). Actually, I had two.

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And oysters!! I'd never had raw oysters before... so that was interesting, and good! Meanwhile, Ann had struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to her and we got on so well that we invited her to join us for dinner. Turns out she's originally from Michigan, is a knitter and omni-crafter, and her husband was our bartender! We chatted & laughed & ate the most amazing food -- a collection of shared small plates including steak tartar, caviar, snapper collar, fish sticks, and tuna spread. And also wine.

Ann and I talked about going out for a bit more music & dancing, but we were pooped by the time we got back...

And I had to be curb-side, waiting for my cab, at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning! Ann's departure was a bit later, but she had a lot of packing to do.

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When I checked in at the airport in New Orleans, there was a message at check-in that the flight from Chicago to Green Bay was overbooked and I had the option of possibly taking a later flight in return for a voucher. And that's exactly what I did. I had knitting, an audio book, and all day. I was more than happy to take a travel voucher (and a few meal vouchers) in exchange for my seat!

Too early to return? There's SO MUCH left to do!! We didn't go to a single museum and didn't hear nearly enough music!

Meanwhile, Ann informed me that next year's conference is in Nashville! And as I spent the day at O'Hare, Kate was busy booking our flights to SPAIN!!

What's that they say??   A rolling stone gathers no moss...


FO: Project Peace Cowl

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Knitting in the round on a circular needle is my least favorite way to knit. I loved the whole idea behind this project, but didn't have any "peaceful feelings" about making it until it was suggested that the pattern be modified. Of course!

I did a few calculations and ended up provisionally casting on 45 stitches, working a 3-stitch I-cord in contrasting color on each side of the 39-row pattern. I knit and knit and knit -- 210 pattern repeats, and finished with a 3-needle bind off.

It turned out quite nice. I might have made it a little wider and/or a little shorter, but it makes a nice couple of nice loops 'round my neck right now, and I love the colors.

_ _ _ _ _

Hey, it's FRIDAY!! I woke up this morning to snow mingled with "wintry mix" and a couple flashes of light followed by rumbling... THUNDERSNOW!

Tomorrow is the final day of the Best Picture Festival and I'm looking forward to that, and then the OSCARS on Sunday night! Tomorrow's line up is Fences, Lion, Arrival, Manchester By The Sea, and Moonlight (which I've already seen, so will likely skip... five movies in one day is a lot!).

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There's going to be some serious stash-busting/leftover-using pom pom making around here. So fun!

Happy Weekend!!


An afternoon out

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I picked up Jun at around noon yesterday for an afternoon outing to the park.

As, predicted, it was a crazy gorgeous day for February! 65F and sunny... and just a little bit weird because it's February! Well, I'm not in charge of the weather, so the only thing we could do was take advantage and enjoy!

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The ground is soft and wet. A truck had apparently driven to that light pole to change the lamp, leaving an enticing little furrow leading right to the playground. The playground itself is made of soft, porous rubber material enclosed by a circular concrete walkway -- CLEAN & DRY!! It's pretty ingenious stuff, and I'm guessing that it's probably recycled.

So much to explore.

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So much climbing to do!

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So much fun to be had!! (Isn't he adorable in his "basemall" cap?)

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After the playground, we went over to Culver's for some frozen custard.

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It was SO GOOD! He had two scoops, and I had an offered spoonful.  ;)

Then we went to the grocery store. He's such a great helper! He picked out some veggie chips and an orange for himself, and a Hot Wheels car!

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Change is comin'. Winter Weather Advisory from midnight tonight until noon tomorrow... wintry mix and then snow. We could get 6" - 14". I don't have to like it, but it is a bit more February-like.

Can't help but wonder when it'll be nice enough for another afternoon at the park!


Weekending

Well, it was sorta like this...

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And this...

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I picked up my new prescription sunglasses on Friday.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon & evening at the movies; Best Picture Festival, Day 1.

Sunday was busy with chores, but I spent a little time with the kiddos -- bikes, trikes, wagon rides, and walking around the block.

It was a gorgeous weekend! Hard to believe, I'm sure, if I tell you that with a high of 53F today is the "dud" in the middle of this little stretch of thaw we have going on.

Wednesday looks to be the best of the bunch and it's my day off (YIPPEE!), and then we return to the harsh cold snowy reality of February-into-March.


Procrastination

I fully admit to being a procrastinator of the highest degree!

I get the important stuff done on time -- rarely early, mind you. Heh. I work best under pressure and definitely with a deadline. Always have.

Right now, I'm knee-deep in a couple of book work-type things that I'd put off -- or maybe worked at a bit, but needed time to develop a process that worked and find my rhythm.

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Then there are things like this. Christmas presents for the kids. I didn't finish them until after Christmas, and I am okay with that because it's such a crazy time for everyone. When they were finally finished? Jun was mindlessly cuddling and fiddling with his bear rug and worked out one of the "safety eyes" in a matter of minutes. Since then? Gin managed to dislodge the other eye. Ugh. I think I've figured out how to secure them better... but it means taking apart both finished bears, making the fix, and finishing them again.

I especially hate doing things again! Those are the things that I am particularly good at procrastinating about... like dusting and vacuuming, too.

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


#yarnlovechallenge

Are you aware of the month-long #yarnlovechallenge on Instagram? You can read more about it and the people involved at @yarnlovechallenge, and there's also a Ravelry group.

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It has provided a very welcome relief from daily things, and one small yarny=happy photography-related thing to focus on/think about each day. You can find my #yarnlovechallenge photos -- and more -- on Instagram here.

Today's prompt is FAMILY and the photos are wonderful!

Girls

This is one of the photos I posted today. My mom (in the middle) taught me to knit when I was in 1st grade. My sisters all have knit at some point. Sharon was definitely the most adventurous right out of the gate. Karen knit a sweater for herself when she was in college, but it was a huge disappointment -- likely a result of poor yarn substitution, more than anything, and the resulting trickle-down of that decision. Annie has knit on and off over the years; she & Sharon knit a sweater for me one Christmas.

I had a couple of starts & stops -- in high school and as a young adult -- I learned something, though, and became a little more accomplished each time. When I picked it up again, as a young-ish mother, it was for fun. And then blogging came along and knitting became incredibly interesting and... empowering, even... all the shared creativity and knowledge and discussion... about knitting! It's been an amazing, fulfilling journey and now it's a rare day when I don't knit, at least a little, and connect in some way with friends I've made because of knitting. It all helps keep me grounded and sane.

Thank you. 

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy the distraction, too, whether or not you choose to participate.


Love Is...

Love is always bestowed as a gift -- freely, willingly, and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love.

--Leo Buscaglia

Leo.  ❤

Once, many years ago (I was still in high school), Dr. Love visited our area and my mom took us to hear him speak. I bought one of his books (LOVE) and he signed it... I am pretty sure that I still have it! It was a pretty big deal, and is a terrific memory... about which I was reminded when I read Kym's post today. Thanks!!

Happy February 14th!


Weekending: That's LIFE

knitorious.life!

Yep. After nearly 13 years of blogging, I finally have my own domain name. Flummoxed for years because knitorious.com had already been claimed by a yarn store (which I still hope to visit someday), the choices for domain names have greatly increased over the years and, well, .life seems to be more what it's about here, anyway.

Knitorious

See it?? You don't have to change a thing, if you don't want to; it's still a Typepad blog, and knitorious.typepad.com will continue to work.

Weekending... consisted of book work on Saturday, babysitting the grandkids on Saturday night, and a day-trip to the northern 'burbs of Milwaukee with the girls yesterday -- including Gin -- for some shopping!

Meanwhile, I've finished Pussyhats for my cousin (in the mail) and my hair stylist (to be delivered this week), and have begun a kittycat version for Gin.

It's another long, busy week at work... but looking forward to Friday off. And New Orleans gets closer everyday.  ;)