Saturday, August 29, 2009

obligatory post-antiques market post

first, a quick side (front?) note: the previous post was #100!

So I'd lapsed into a rather un-crafty summer, but now that I have my craft-space back and I'm back on the afternoon teaching schedule, things should get moving again.
Last weekend was used up by some activities with Nate the Great. Errands mostly; a new phone for the boy, then eye exams for us both and new glasses as well! Nate finally got some prescription sunglasses, and of course he went with the classic Ray Bans. On Sunday, we went down to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Harry Potter Exhibit, which wasn't quite up to our standards, but was entertaining for the 1/2 hour or so. I was pleasantly surprised in the chick hatchery - they had a baby turkey mingling with the chickies.
Oh right and Saturday night was girls' night. All the ladies met up at Anna's apartment for some drinks before venturing out into Wrigleyville and enjoying the 2 videos on an apparent loop (No Doubt and Michael Jackson - for real?) at Rockit.
Today, Jenny, fresh off of her first full week of Architecture schooling at UIC, came to the Chicago Antiques Market with me. Of course it was another full afternoon of ogling and haggling (not so much). Jenny found a great book on Architecture which was written by my fave Robert A.M. Stern. I bought a great little owl-shaped pillow from Blue Thimble Designs and some old books for some of my boys :-) This antiques market is really catching on too - they have a Goose Island food stand this year which obliged us with some much-needed bloody marys.
After the market we made our usual stop at JoAnn Fabrics, where they've put out the Halloween merchandise, so of course we had to try on some masks.
Tomorrow we're off to Evanston to warm up the new home of our buddy Pete who is starting Northwestern Business School this week. Go Pete!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Little Trip Home

Last weekend I went home for some quality family time. It really was about 4 days of being at my parents' homes and helping them out. Also, my sister's birthday was last Tuesday, so after she picked me up at the airport, we went out to lunch (that's becoming our tradition - she picks me up then we go to lunch at the Olive Garden) and exchanged birthday gifts.
There isn't much to say about my time at home, other than that both of my parents were doing better when I left than when I arrived. (They were both recovering from some very different health issues.)
But, since I was at home, finally, with my American Girl dolls, I got to try on their new Cubs jackets that Nate had gotten me for my birthday. I think they look pretty good in them, don't you? Unfortunately, it seems that American Girl has starting making their dolls skinnier (?!) because the sassy pre-faded jeans I got for Molly were near to impossible to get on her - I had to take off her underwear to get them on. I don't think that's sending the right message.
When I go home I fly in and out of Providence Airport (which is really in Warwick RI), so usually when mom takes me back to the airport we have a little excursion first. Often it's a trip to Newport (I love touring the mansions - I've probably seen them all over the years, but once is never enough) but this year it was a quick lunch in Watch Hill, RI and a little shopping (not that I could fit anything new in my bag - I had already stuffed it full of old sweaters that we felted). Watch Hill is a darling town, though, much like Mystic, a total nightmare to drive in during the summer due to all the tourists and beach-goers.
After a 90-minute delay, my flight took off and as usual I had scored a window seat. This is the second time that the sky looked so awesome I had to take pictures of it. The cute guy sitting next to me probably thought I was weird but if he ever reads the blog, he'll understand. Actually, he probably won't, since I've just posted pictures of my dolls, haven't I.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer Road Trip Part 4 - The Adirondacks

After Cooperstown, we took the scenic route up to Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks, where Nate's family has a cabin.
The last time Nate was at the cabin was the last (and only) time I was there - 5 years ago. But of course, not much had changed in that time. Still no running water or electricity - not my ideal vacation, but very conducive to relaxation - although we kept pretty busy while we were there.
On the first day, Nate and I went on a hike up Severance Mountain, 1 mile up, 1 mile down. We did it in about an hour, plus some time at the top to catch our breath and enjoy the view. We followed this up with some shopping in "town" mostly at the Schroon Lake town store where I found lots of excellent Christmas Gifts for my step-mother, who is a woodsy, animal-appreciating person. Hopefully when Christmas comes around I'll remember I already got her a gift!
Back at the cabin (which is only accessible by boat, across the lake from town) Nate, his dad, his sister and I took turns churning our homemade coffee ice cream. It was delicious and creamy and the perfect end to the day, along with the swim we took in the cool lake.
Day 2 at the lake was an excursion to Fort Ticonderoga, 45 minutes or so west, with Nate and his sister. We spent the morning at the Fort listening to the fife and drum corps and looking around in the barracks. There is a huge "King's Garden" on the site which was my favorite part of the visit. We got to see some very nice flowers, including some crazy large thistle (pictured).
Day 3 we had planned to go to Lake Placid, but got caught up at the cabin instead helping to put in the new dock (a momentous occasion at the old cabin where things rarely change). Well, Nate helped and I watched and took pictures. Nate's grandmother kept calling me the official photographer. Nate and I also went on a short kayak trip and I fell in love with some lily pads (shown).
We played a lot of games at the cabin (Monopoly, Boggle, Scrabble, and an American Trivia game which we bought at the Fort Ti gift shop), and did lots of reading. It was such a nice break from city life - so quiet! I hope we can make it all the way out there next summer too, although we might not drive the whole way again; more likely we will fly in to Albany and drive from there. Either way, a wonderful, long, relatively restful vacation.
And so ends the recap.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Road Trip Part 3 - Cooperstown

We continued East along Rte. 20 (which had brought us all the way from Buffalo) toward Cooperstown, NY, home to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I had made our hotel reservations at the Inn at Cooperstown, which turned out to be part of the Select Registry of Distinguished Inns of North America (as was the Packwood House in Skan.). Cooperstown is a darling little town; the directions to the Inn said that it is "three buildings north of the only traffic light in the village." We approve of one-traffic-light villages.
Nate being a beer connoisseur of sorts, we made a stop at the Brewery Ommegang, which is a Belgian Style brewery. After a nice tour, tasting, and spending of a pretty penny at the gift shop (mostly on growlers, 2L bottles which they filled for us from the tap), I made a quick stop in the ladies room and was impressed by the artwork.
Back in town, we went on a nice pre-dinner walk by Otsego Lake, then visited the Cooperstown Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum before having a nice Italian dinner. After dinner we browsed in some shops, considered buying lots of baseball paraphernalia that we didn't end up purchasing, then went back to the hotel for a rousing game of Scrabble.
Monday morning was all about the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, where we lined up just before opening with many other tourists and Little League teams. The memorabilia was endless at the museum so we worked up an appetite looking at all kinds of stuff. My favorite part was the room that had a locker of each current team, which housed items from recent feats, like the hat Kerry Wood wore during his 20 strike-out game. I also enjoyed the room that was about the women's baseball league (above - A League of Their Own is one of my all-time favorite movies).
Every day at the Baseball Hall of Fame they show a different artifact which isn't normally on display. Nate and I lucked out and got in the first row to see the ball the President Taft threw out at Opening Day in 1911 (or thereabouts - I can't remember everything, can I, but I can tell you that was the first ever Presidential Opening Day first pitch) and Eisenhower's own baseball glove.
Thanks to a local who warned us against going into the restaurant that had just seated an entire Little League team, we took her second piece of advice and got massive, amazing sandwiches at Danny's Market. So fueled by our lunch, we were ready to go back to the museum for the main event: the Hall of Fame. I myself found the museum more interesting, just because it was actual stuff and not plaques, but maybe someday when there's someone in there who I actually saw play or something, I might be interested in going back (like Greg Maddux, in a few years).
Anyway, on to the Adirondacks!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Road Trip Part 2 - Shailer's Wedding

The second main stop on our road trip was Skaneateles, NY where my friend Shailer was getting married.
The wedding was at the Frog Pond B&B, to the northwest of the town. It was a very cute stone house with a pond (and frogs), a nice outdoor spot for the ceremony, and an old barn, where the reception was held. Shailer is a very crafty person and she had done just about everything for the wedding herself, with a few forgivable exceptions:
Her wedding bouquet (and her husband's boutaineer - sorry, that's not how it's spelled but I couldn't find the right spelling on my comp's dictionary) were made of clay. They were absolutely perfect looking and she'll get to keep forever. The woman who made the bouquet posted it on Martha Stewart - my dream.
The cake was made my Shailer's cousin Stephanie. It was a blackberry cake and was absolutely amazing. I almost had the waiter bring me an extra piece. Shailer's wedding theme was Lovebirds, which showed up on the cake, of course.
It was a beautiful event, start to finish. I only hope Shailer wasn't too wiped out by it because I might want her help when my special day comes up
Nate the Great and I stayed overnight in Skaneateles at the Packwood House, a new hotel run by the Sherwood Inn (where his parents lived for a year early in their marriage - we tried to get a room there but it was all booked up already in Jan.). We got to have breakfast at the Sherwood Inn on Sunday, then spent a very nice few hours walking around downtown Skan. and looking in many real estate office windows and picking out our dream houses. There are many to choose from in Skan. and to live in that town I would put up with my not-so-dream house. Take it from me; if you're looking to live in a small town, Central New York is the place to be.
I never posted this picture before because I was afraid Shailer might read about it. The Amy Butler Midwest Modern quilt I was making early this year was Shailer's wedding gift. I posted plenty of pictures of the front of the quilt, but I never posted this one - the stuff I put on the back. This is a picture I found on their wedding website, scanned into my computer, then printed on printable fabric. I also copied their Save-the-Date (which Shailer made herself) onto printable fabric to put onto the quilt (shown).