Friday, March 26, 2010

Crafty Day with Jenny

Since Jenny's been going to UIC Architecture school, we haven't gotten a chance to have a crafty day in a looong time.  Luckily, this week was her spring break, which coincided with some of my students' spring break, meaning we both had time off at the same time.  To celebrate, we planned a little day of crafts.  Nothing as intense as some of our other crafty days, but just some Eastery fun.
            During a quick trip to Target (where we bought a frozen pizza for our lunch) we found a box of cookies ready to be decorated, and decorate we did.  It came with 4 different colors of frosting to decorate with, and sprinkles, but we thought it didn't look like enough frosting so we supplemented with some quick, homemade buttercream.  We each had a cookie and a half.  And we feel sick.
            No Easter craft day is complete without some egg-dyeing, so we got out all of my old egg-dyeing cups and dyes and set to work making rubber band eggs, "magic crayon" eggs, and some new plaid and other-themed eggs, inspired by Martha Stewart's current issue on egg decorating.  Luckily, I just happened to have some electrical tape lying around from when Jenny and I made duct tape wallets.
            These are our favorite eggs.  Both were made using electrical tape to help make the designs.  The star one is mine - I cut out stars with a star punch and taped them on (easy enough).  The city skyline is Jenny's (a true architect, eh?), which reminded us both of a really cool poster she bought at the Renegade Handcraft Fair back in August.
            Jenny isn't sure what she's up to this summer.  I for one am hoping she'll stay in Chicago and be crafty with me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Day of Spring in Chicago

            After a week of mid 60's (slash lower 70's) temps in beautiful Chicago, spring rolled in like a polar bear.  On an iceberg.  Eating a snow cone.
            I had a lovely Saturday planned and reserved - a trip to the Field Museum to finally see the Diamond Exhibit (it ends next weekend), dinner at the Chicago Firehouse Steakhouse, then walking 1 1/2 miles north to the CSO to hear and see Mitsuko Uchida conduct the orchestra and perform 2 Mozart Piano Concertos.  The first time Nate and I went to the CSO back in 2006, we heard Uchida perform a Mozart Chamber piece, as well as a piano concerto, so we were very excited to hear her play again.  And I cannot wait to tell my students how low she bows - she almost gets her head down to the floor.
            Anyway, the lovely Saturday went off without a hitch, save for the weather.  Our walk from the Field Museum to the Steakhouse was luckily not too far, but the sights chilled us a bit.  I suppose our Chicago statues are quite used to the cold winters, but they still made me feel extra freezing.
            The walk from the Steakhouse to the CSO was much more grueling.  Although our bellies were full of warm, delicious food, they weighed us down and made the whole walk seem so much longer.
            Now, Sunday night, we're home after a matinee showing of A Single Man - Colin Firth was great, and the visuals throughout were amazing.  It's time for me to really get going on a new quilt I'm working on for a friend who's getting married in just over a month.  It's a jelly roll quilt made from Amy Butler Love fabric (plus a few extras).  I keep saying that once I get going on it, it'll come together really quickly.  I suppose if that's going to be true, I'd better get a move on!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Major Magazine Purge

            Every few months, I go through my recent issues of Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living Magazines, cut out the articles and ideas I want to keep, then recycle the rest of the magazine.  I am terrible about reading magazines cover to cover; I always peruse and rarely read the articles.  So, when I am cutting pages out, I always keep the things that look interesting enough that I might want to read them someday.
            I'm considering doing a little project (a Julie & Julia, if you will) where I force myself to do as many of the projects, cook as many of the recipes, and follow as much of the advice, from those clippings, as I can.  We'll see.
            But the real point of this post this morning is to talk about Nate the Great and his subscriptions to biking magazines.  There must be at least 4 different cycling magazines that come here every month.  I call them "bike porn" because he's always so excited about them.  And for years, he has sworn he can't get rid of any of them.  So this morning, in a real effort to make some space on the shelves and the coffee table, I urged him to do as I do, and go through the magazines and keep only the good articles.  
            Well, I brought out 4 big piles of bike magazines and what does he do?  Looks at the cover of each one, then throws them in a pile on the floor, claiming he doesn't need to keep any of them!  Hallelujah!  More shelf space for crafty articles!  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Liberty comes to the Land of the Free

I was in my jammies, ready for a full day of relaxation today, until Crafty Jenny talked me (well, we talked each other) into heading out to Target to pick up all the Liberty merchandise we could.  A lot of choice items had already been snapped up, but I found the storage bins I was looking for (and lots of other stuff) and Jenny found the last set of prep bowls that she wanted.  Our cart was almost 100% full of Liberty when we rolled up to the checkout.
Here's a pic of most of my loot at home:

And one of me (please forgive my Sunday hair), trying on the dress that I didn't try on at the store, because the line for the fitting room was too long.  It fits pretty well, but I might try it in a size smaller, if they have it in stock, next time I'm at a Target.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hi! Monkey! continued

I'm getting ready for a long day of St. Patty's-ing tomorrow.  As we have for the past few years, we're heading down to our friend Jon's apartment, which overlooks the Chicago River, to catch a glimpse of the river being dyed green.  It's a great yearly affair, with bagels and beer.
I am contributing a snack this year of Lucky Charms treats.  I basically followed a regular Rice Krispy treat recipe, added some green food dye to the melted marshmallows before adding the cereal, then used Lucky Charms instead of Krispies (obviously).  I followed a normal recipe, but I wish I had found these lovely step-by-step set of instructions before I made my treat!
I should look for my pipe cleaners, because Hi Monkey also has a nice, easy St. Patty's day craft.

Hi! Monkey!

My aunt put a link to this site on facebook.  I think she actually knows the person who does the website - I will investigate more, but after only a couple of clicks I knew this was a site that needed to be noted on my blog.  Craftiness and monkeys!  What could be better?
Hi! Monkey!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trip to Arizona

Ack!  I went a whole month without blogging!  Well, it's not because I wasn't doing anything interesting, that's for sure.
            Actually, I can't remember what was doing before last week, because the awesomeness of my vacation washed all other memories away.  On Saturday, Feb. 20, Nate the Great and I flew off to Arizona for a week's long vacation.  We spent 2 nights and one day in Tucson, where I visited my mom's cousins and uncle - we had a nice home-cooked meal, and we checked out some great museums.  We spent the morning at the Pima Air and Space Museum, looking at old planes.  We continued on to the Sonora Desert Museum where we saw some friendly little critters who were happy to pose for pictures.  We also spent a few hours at Old Tucson Studios, where I went as a kid when we would go out to visit family.
            On day Monday, we headed way north, up to Flagstaff, through Sedona.  The routes I had planned kept us off of the main highways for the most part, so we had a beautiful, snow-covered drive up to Flagstaff.  Going up to about 6000 feet, we took a lot of windy roads and enjoyed the scenery.
            On Tuesday, we stopped at Meteor Crater (no "the!") on our way out to Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "shay").  If it hadn't been for the stop at Meteor Crater, it would have been a 4.5 hour drive of nothing (pretty nothing . . .) but then again Meteor Crater is just a big hole, so it pretty much was anyway.  At Canyon de Chelly we hiked down to the bottom to see the White House Ruins.  It was a really nice hike, even though it was only in the mid-30's.
            After spending the night with Nate's aunt in Ganado, and checking out the Hubbell Trading Post, we drove south, again off the highway, through the Petrified Forest, then down to Scottsdale, our final stop.
We spent 3 nights and 2 full days in Scottsdale.  We visited Taliesin West (Frank Lloyd Wright's home and teaching campus) and went on a great gallery tour around the town.  On the second day, we ventured over to Phoenix and checked out the Heard Museum of Native American Art and the Phoenix Art Museum, both of which we loved.
I will try to do another post or two on the trip, specifically about the art in Phoenix and Scottsdale, when I feel up to it.  For now, just enjoy the pictures!