Previous month:
September 2011
Next month:
November 2011

October 2011

Lunch Bunch

This month brings a new Project Spectrum color . . . TEAL.

Hmmm.  Teal.  I wear darker shades of teal from time to time.  I have some beautiful teal yarns in my stash.  But, unless you're in the Caribbean, you don't typically see teal in the landscape.  Especially not in the fall -- when everything is moving toward yellow, brown, red, or orange!

Right now, aqua (which is really a form of teal) is enjoying a "grooviness" factor -- at least in the home décor arena.  It's popping up in trendy kitchens - appliances, dishes, accent colors, etc.  But it isn't showing up in mine.

I may end up sitting out this Project Spectrum month.

But before I go on my Project Spectrum vacation, I have one recent sewing project to show you.  I actually finished it last month -- but I've saved it to post now.  Because there is teal in it!

Last month, I sewed a little lunch bag for Erin.


She hasn't had a lunch bag in a very long time, but she needs to use one now -- because she has late afternoon and evening classes this semester, and needs to take a dinner with her when she heads to campus.

I had recently picked up this book:


I'm kind of a sucker for cute bags -- and I had planned to make a lunch bag for myself.  Instead, I picked this one out for Erin.

It turned out to be much more . . . involved. . . than I had planned.


There are clever little details and handy pockets.  Like this one (for a water bottle).


And an inside pocket


that can hold a little ice pack.

I'm really happy with the way it turned out . . . but, let me assure you, there were times during the sewing process that I wanted to chuck the whole thing in the trash and run out to Target to BUY her a lunch bag!


This is not a sewing project for the faint of heart!  The instructions are complete . . . but not terribly detailed or helpful.  Very few diagrams or photos.  There are millions of rectangles -- all different sizes -- that need to be pieced Just Right.  While I was making the bag, I wondered if the authors/editors really expected anyone to SEW one of the bags from their directions -- or if it was mainly put together to be an "inspiration" kind of book.  Not terribly user-friendly!  (But the bags are adorable!)


The bag is insulated (with Insul-Bright; an insulated batting), so - especially combined with the ice pack pocket - it can keep a lunch nice and fresh.  Thing is  . . . you need to quilt the insulated batting to the outside fabric before you can even begin piecing all the millions of rectangles together!  And then -- you still need to do a lining.  And . . . don't get me started on the straps!  (They are easy -- but the placement is crucial.  And there is no photo or diagram, save the finished product photo.)


Anyway.  There it is!  I'm pleased.  Erin is pleased.  And . . . teal!

Hold On To Your Hat


Yeah.  That's right.  I joined SocktoberFest.

Hold on to your hat! 

(Or, maybe I should say. . . hold on to your socks!)

Since beginning this blog. . . I have never, ever, never shared with you one pair of socks.  Not one. 

Sweaters, mittens, hats, minions, shawls, bags, wash cloths, cowls, potholders, and scarves.  Sure.

But not one sock. 


That doesn't mean I haven't knit socks (because I have). 

It just means. . . I haven't knit any lately.

Anyway, I joined SocktoberFest.


Why?  I'm sure that's the burning question.

Because, really. . . I'm still not actually knitting . . . socks.

But.  I am knitting something kind of like socks.

But not really socks.

And I can't tell you any more. 

Because.  Well.  It's also Christmas knitting.

And most of the eventual recipients actually read my blog.

So it's all a big secret.  (For now, at least.)  But it does have to do with feet.  And I can, legitimately, be part of SocktoberFest.

But that's all I can say for now!


Virtual Visit

Because I just can't be finished with my glorious weekend, I invite you to come with me. . .


Join me . . .for a virtual walk in the woods. . . on a most pleasant afternoon in autumn. . . in Michigan.










And what happens at the end of the trail?  Well, you'll have to enjoy this virtually, too, I'm afraid!


Bottoms up!


Weekend Reprieve


Ahhh. . . Weekends.  Gotta love 'em!  Some weekends are busy-busy-busy-rush-rush-rush with chores and errands and a long to-do list.  Some weekends are just plain fun with places-to-go-and-people-to-see.  Some weekends are restful and relaxing with no real obligations.

This past weekend was one of that last kind for me. . . restful, relaxing, no obligations.  Just beautiful weather, a gorgeous backdrop, and my favorite kind of company (just Tom. . . and Jenny).


Ten Things I Did This Weekend:

  1. Took a long walk in the woods.
  2. Watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off. . .
  3. And The Big Lebowski.
  4. Sat around a campfire. . .
  5. Eating s'mores and sipping wine.
  6. Took hundreds of photos.
  7. Knit a little.
  8. Read a lot.
  9. Took Jenny for a swim in the lake.
  10. Soaked up the sun.

I gotta tell ya . . . it was delightful!


Join in the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.


First Time Ever

I was trying to calculate, the other day, just how long we've had our cottage up north.


We bought the lot when Erin was just beginning kindergarten.


And a year later, we started building the place.


We were actually able to spend the night inside (although it wasn't yet "finished") the summer after Erin finished second grade.


So, that would be. . . about 15 seasons now. . . that we've had the cottage.


And, in all that time, I've never once spent a lovely fall weekend up there!


Oh, I've spent some crappy fall weekends up there!  Weekends full of rain.  Weekends with already-bare trees.


But, mostly, I was driving a kid to hockey games all over the state on weekends in the fall.  (And winter.  And spring.  For that matter.)


So, imagine my delight, when we hit this weekend up at the cottage.


Perfect weather.  Perfect color.


For the first time ever!

Made My Day

Yesterday, I went out to my mailbox and brought in the usual assortment of stuff. . . catalogs, junk mail, solicitations, and this. . .


An informational brochure about the upcoming Family Weekend at Hope College.

I did a double-take.


It's my kid!  On the cover!  Made my day!

Best Kind of Day

Last spring, after our trip to Paris - but before leaving Michigan, my sister went out to dinner with Brian.  He got her all excited about The Pull -- and she decided to come out to see him pull this fall.


I'm so glad she was here!

It was a quick trip for her -- just a long weekend, really.  But it meant an awfully lot to me -- and to Brian.  The Pull is a long and gruelling event; very emotional; a testament to grit, determination, and strength (with a touch of crazy).  Brian felt very supported -- with his Mom, his Dad, his Nanny and Poppy, AND his Aunt Di right there with him through the whole event.  (Of course, I'm sure he appreciated all those adorable college girls on the sidelines, too!)  I felt supported, too.  (The Pull is hard on Moms. . .)

Before The Pull on Saturday, Di and I went to Saugatuck (one of those charming Lake Michigan beach towns).  It was a gorgeous fall day.




We enjoyed a cup of tea together. . . that stretched into most of the morning.


(This particular bakery featured a Bloody Mary bar!  It was hard to resist, but we just stuck with our Earl Grey. . .)

Then we headed to Oval Beach.





Thanks for coming, Di.  Thanks for Being There.  (Always.)  You made it the best kind of day.

The Calling of Your Hearts


When I first read this week's Ten on Tuesday email, announcing the topic, my reaction was. . . well, let's just say . . . less than enthusiastic.  Now, I'm not a Wedding-Scrooge or anything. . . but I haven't been to many weddings lately, and I just haven't been thinking about weddings. . . let alone what I love about them!

But I let the topic simmer for awhile.  I started thinking about my own wedding . . . 30 years ago!  It was a fairly low-key affair.  Small.  Church.  Cake-and-champagne at my parent's house afterward.  Things were simpler in 1981!  Not such big productions when it came to weddings back then.  Just the basics.

Eventually, I even got out my wedding photo album and took a little trip down Memory Lane.  I warmed up to the topic.   Here are Ten Things I Love About Weddings (inspired by my own):

1.  Music - We had this song at our wedding:


I'm sure it's not a common song at weddings these days, but back in 1981, it was de rigueur.  Last fall, Tom and I went to a wedding and there was a string quartet before the ceremony.  So lovely!

2.  Bridal Fashion - I love to see what the bride chooses to wear -- and how she dresses her wedding party.  My own wedding?  Oh-so-1981 and all coordinated and matchy-matchy!  (I made all the bridesmaids dresses.  Can you believe it?)


I love the newer trends where the bridesmaids don't all match. Several years ago, a bride I knew had all of her bridesmaids choose a navy blue dress they loved.  Any style.  Any length.  Everyone looked great; everyone had a dress that suited them.  It was perfect! 

3.  The groom's face - I'm such a sucker for romance, I just love to see the look on his face when the bride walks down the aisle. 

4.  Personal ceremonies - I love it when the bride and groom write their own vows or do something unique to make the ceremony their own.  Tom and I wrote our own vows.  At the time, it was still pretty "new" and "out there" to do that -- and we had to get permission from the minister.  (We really pushed the boundaries there, in our little matchy-matchy outfits!)

5.  Cake - I love wedding cake!

6.  Shattering expectations - I like to see a wedding with personality!  We had a Spiderman groom's cake at our reception (there's a story there. . . maybe someday. . . ).  My grandmother nearly died of embarrassment, but it was pretty cool!  I really do like to see couples doing something a little. . . unexpected.  Whether it's dancing down the aisle, having a "Man of Honor" (sometimes, the bride's best friend is actually a guy...), or having a "groomswomen" --- I like to see couples doing weddings THEIR way.


7.  Champagne - Wouldn't be a wedding without a little bubbly!  (And maybe a keg . . . out in the garage. . .)


8.  Clinking the glasses at the reception so the bride and groom have to kiss.  I never heard of this until we moved to Michigan, so I don't know if it's a regional thing or not -- but it's a fun way to play with your place setting at sit-down dinner receptions.

9.  Ritual and commitment.  When it comes to making a lifetime commitment to each other, I think the ritual of ceremony (however defined), witnessed by friends and family, is the perfect setting.

10.  Remembering.  Whenever I'm at a wedding, I think back to my own special day.  It always makes me smile!  (Especially when I look at the photos!)


 Join the fun -- sign up for Ten on Tuesday!


Winning Ways

Yeah.  It's a contest.


And, in the end, one team is declared the "winning" team.


But.  There are so many ways to win.

You win . . . when you become a part of something bigger than yourself.


You win. . . when you work together in a coordinated effort.


You win. . . when you learn to depend on others.


You win. . . when you reach deep inside yourself and find out what you got.


You win. . . when you keep going, even when you want more than anything to quit.


You win. . . when you find your friends-for-life.


You win. . . when you understand that you can lose, but still win.


You win. . . when you have no regrets.


1-4 Pull Team; Awesome Pull Team.  You left it all on the rope.  Every one of you.  Winners, all.