Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunny Saturday

It's been a long and beautiful day.  Nate the Great and I were up early for a Saturday - off to the first Antiques Market of the season.  This year, I bought a season pass, so we got to skip the huge line waiting to get in at 10AM and get right to the shopping, or should I say, looking.  
Even though we saw lots we liked (and I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera) like bright blue caned dining chairs AND some more traditional wooden chairs with hot purple seats, I ended up leaving with just a red glass hand-blown christmas-tree ornament.  The guy who had made it had a set-up there where he was making some new stuff right in front of us.  Nate was happy with the purchase of an old Schwinn Unicycle.  
After we had had our fill of antiques and new crafts, our bellies were empty, so we filled them at Jerry's in Wicker Park, and after a quick shopping trip at Renegade, we topped off our sandwiches with some gelato at Caffe Gelato.  I was glad to finally have an excuse to buy something at Renegade, where I've looked before and have always been tempted.  This time we went in looking for a birthday gift for Nate's little sister, but Nate found a few things for himself, including a poster of the Andrew Bird concert we went to in April at the Civic Opera House, and a pair of lego cuff-links.
Now we're back home, baking and otherwise preparing for a cookout tomorrow!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sidewalk Chalk

Yesterday, as I pulled up to the last house for my last lesson of the day, I was greeted by a very personal message to me on the sidewalk.  As I walked toward the front door, I read "Hi Hether, Come on now, let's have a fun lesson today!  Love, Abby."  As I left, facing the other direction, it said "bye Hether!"
What a nice way to start and end a piano lesson!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nateless weekend

While Nate is off celebrating his brother Matthew's graduation from St. Lawrence University, I stayed home alone in Chicago to enjoy some beautiful spring weather on my own.  
Yesterday, my Dragbies softball team braved the mud (from some rain storms earlier this week) and trounced our not-so-worthy competitors, the B Team.  I actually played, now that I have my softball glove from 7th grade, and made contact at an at-bat, although I was thrown out at first base.  Better luck next time!  
Last night, I had tickets to the CSO, and in Nate's stead, I brought our friend Laura, who played cello with Nate in the Colgate Orchestra.  We enjoyed 2 pieces by Sibelius and the Beethoven Violin Concerto, which after a good 2 measures Laura recognized and whispered "I played this!"  We also spotted her boss in the first row of the balcony.  
Back at home, both Friday night and this morning, I've started work on a scrapbook which I'm making for Jessica of the whole wedding experience - including Bachelorette Party, Bridal Shower, some wedding planning, engagement, our road trip, rehearsal dinner, etc.  While I'm waiting for her mom to send me some artifacts, and for Jessica herself to upload some pictures, I've put together 2 spreads which I know cannot be added to 
From our road trip:

and from our trip to Disney World.

I've never scrap-booked before, so I'm kind of making it up as I go along.  I have to say, though, that the stuff I'm doing here reminds me a lot of the psych cards (little posters to get me psyched up) that Jess and our other friends used to make for me in high school when I was on the swim team.  Here's a good one, from when I made the team for the New England Championships.  Abercrombie and Fitch was the publication of choice for these, as they supplied the most bronzed bodies for us to paste our "friends" heads onto.  Memories!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

new background

My few regular visitors will notice a new layout and background today!  Thanks to Jenny, who turned me on to this blog, The Background Fairy.  Jenny wanted me to upload the newest, damask background.  I have to agree, I loved it - it reminded me of the fabric I used in the purse that I made a few months ago, but it had this pin sticking through the middle of it that I thought was kind of distracting, so I did some more searching and found this cute bees background.  Martha would be proud.  
Thanks for finding this, Jenny!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Spring Planting

This year, for the first year, Nate and I were able to go plant shopping together.  Nate is not your average guy - he knows a thing or two about plants because he worked at a nursery for one summer, just after we started dating.  This means that I trust him to help me plant the stuff in pots, but it's still more or less my word on our planting choices.  
We set off to Gethsemane Garden Center late Saturday morning and made our selections.  We picked out some of my old favorites: calibrachoa, marguerite daisies, gerbera daisies and geraniums.  We also got some new (to me) flowers: salvia, dahlias, mexican heather, bacopa and some others.  I still need to buy some morning glories, or some other climbing plant, to go on my trellis; hopefully I'll get around to that later this week.  
After a hearty lunch supplied by the Burger King drive-thru, we set to work, planting planting planting.  I gave a lot of thought to what plants should go in the same pot - height and color-wise.  All of my flowers this year are in the white and purple families, except for the gerber daisies which are light pink. It's been a cloudy couple of days since we planted, but already the plants are perking up in their new habitats.  Once the sun comes out they should really start to fill in.  
My other big purchase for the back deck this year: a new, blue Adirondack chair.   I can't wait for some more summery days to enjoy my flowery surroundings!  

Friday, May 8, 2009

Baseball Trivia

Nate the Great and I loooove trivia.  He even likes it a little more than I do, since he beats me at Trivial Pursuit every time, and I am not a very good loser.
Anyway, here is a quiz for anyone who thinks they know something about baseball.  I scored a 4 out of 10.  Tricky, tricky!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spring Finally Comes to Chicago!

And to celebrate, I spent the weekend (mostly) outside.
On Saturday morning, the girls and I were up bright and early, on our way down to Soldier Field for a massive swap meet, run by the same people as our summertime Randolph St. Antiques Market.  We were tempted by many items, including a cowboy hat chip and dip bowl and these lovely hats (above), but I limited myself to a milk-glass vase, some grab bags full of ribbon and buttons, a few lilly pulitzer
handkerchiefs, and some very old cookie cutters.
Everything I bought was less than $5 each.  
Nate the great met up with us after riding his bike down the Lake Shore Path, and found some old cigarette cards with pictures of bikes which he plans to frame.  It was a fun setting for a swap meet, in the Soldier Field parking lot, and it got us warmed up for a summer of bargain hunting at the Antiques Fairs.  
After getting our fill of vintage items and random stuff, we went to Fifty/50 in Wicker Park for a lovely outdoor brunch, and what brunch is complete without bloody marys.  These ones were decked out with bacon - I may be ruined for every other bloody mary to come; we shall see.  
Saturday evening we celebrated my friend Katie's birthday at Santorini in Greek Town.  I had Greek mac&cheese/lasagne, and thoroughly enjoyed the Taramosolata we got for appetizers.
Sunday proved to be an even nicer day than Saturday, so Nate the Great and I went for a walk around our neighborhood, stopping at the Golden Apple for a brunch outside, and Scooters for Frozen Custard.  
In the week I was down in Florida, the flowers here in Chicago really 

started to pop.  I was so glad to see some nice gardens while out on our walk today, and am even more inspired to get mine going. 
That's our project for next weekend, unless something else springs up!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jess's wedding!

Jess's wedding day started with a hangover (from the delicious and well-beveraged rehearsal dinner the night before), a big breakfast at Village Inn, which is the sister restaurant to Chicago area's Baker's Square, and mini-golfing at Smuggler's Cove. The mini-golfing was especially exciting, as the small Smuggler's Cove chain has live baby alligators that you get to feed, for a small price! Of course, we did. We golfed with Anita, my friend from high school, and her boyfriend Trevor, who tied for first place with me.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the hotel's spa/salon, where Jess and her bridesmaids were hair-do'ed and made up. It was quite the process. Finally, at 6:30, Jess's dad walked her down the aisle at the Don Cesar resort in St. Pete's Beach, FL. It was a lovely and short ceremony, which I appreciated because I had to stay on my feet in heels the whole time.
After the ceremony, all of the guests went up to the hotel terrace to enjoy hors d'oeuvres at sunset, while the wedding party walked on the beach, getting photos taken,
trying to look normal in such an abnormal and sandy setting. My favorite part was when the photographer had us all walk toward her, and then we frolicked and skipped toward her. Those should be some winning photos; I can't wait to see them.
Dinner was lovely, the bartenders didn't believe I was over 21 and kept asking to see my ID which I of course didn't have, even though my bridesmaid dress had pockets(!) The wedding band, Chameleon, played some real crowd pleasers and I got Nate to dance with me.
The cake was delicious. I would have eaten multiple pieces, but alas, the waitstaff took my half-eaten piece away when I got up to dance. Such is the way at weddings. Let this be a lesson!
Overall, I would say it was a huge success and a stunning event. I was so happy to be a part of it and I wish Jess
and Tom all the happiness in the world, of course, and even more since they're now living in Chicago and I can see them on a regular basis! So glad they changed their honeymoon plans and decided not to go to Cancun and catch Swine Flu!
What a beautiful couple!

Jess's birthday

Once we were happily down in Florida, 
we had a project: putting together gift baskets for all of the wedding guests.  I, of course, was happy to help with this on every step along the way, and it was a long way!
We started by purchasing the baskets and all of the contents back in Chicago - a long Thursday of price comparisons and bargain hunting, but we were well satisfied with our shopping efforts (Jess and I are rarely unsatisfied after a day of shopping).
The baskets contained: bottles of water, packs of pringles and gum, granola bars, blow pops, bottles of bubbles, spray sunscreen, and tissues.    Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the full finished product, wrapped in cellophane, but it looked pretty nice, if I do say so myself.  

The next day we were off to none other than the happiest place on earth.  Jess's birthday was on April 22, and we drove to Disney the night before so that we could stay at a nice hotel, get a nice dinner, then get into the Magic Kingdom (Jess got in for free) the next day.  We stayed at the Swan Resort, where we enjoyed a frozen fuzzy navel by the pool, then went mini-golfing at the Fantasia golf course, just a walk away.  I myself found the course especially nice, since each hole had a little sheet of music and description of the course at the beginning.  I also liked dancing with Hyacinth Hippo. . .
 From the hotel, we were able to take a bus into Downtown Disney.  While we were waiting at the bus stop, we made friends with a nice couple of ducks who must have thought that we had food, considering how much they followed us around.  We had a great dinner at Downtown Disney, at the Wolfgang Puck cafe, where we split a bottle of wine, a few appetizers as dinner, and I got to have a great piece of key lime pie for dessert.  
The next morning, we were off to the Magic Kingdom where we utilized the FastPass to the best of our abilities and fit in about 10 rides before we had to leave at 3pm to go pick Jess's family up at the airport.  We rode on Splash Mountain twice and got soaked both times - more so than anyone else in either of our boats.  
We were also lucky to have beautiful weather - not just that day but all week.  We worked on our tans at Disney World a bit, sporting tube tops so as not to get any funny tan lines for our strapless dresses we would be wearing on Saturday . . .