Monday, September 27, 2010

Don't let your presents get cold

Thanks again Michaels!  I think that Michael's craft stores officially have the best selection of dollar goods (well, I don't shop at Dollar General or anything, so I don't have too much to compare it to, but I can imagine).  I went in today to get a picture frame and left with . . . . deep breath . . . . lots of Christmas stuff.  Don't worry, all the xmas stuff was from the dollar section, and this is too good to pass up.  Some of my faithful readers probably know that I loooove sweaters, so this may be the best wrapping paper I've ever seen.  It looks like sweaters.  I got a roll of red, a roll of green, and a roll of blue (for my Jewish gift recipients).
As if I weren't already looking forward to the xmas season.  Another thing I got was some Halloween lollipop molds.  I give Halloween candy to the kiddies in my building, and this year I might make it myself.  The families eat the Christmas cookies I give them, so I think they'll trust my Halloween candy as well.  I can't wait to try recipes from the candy cookbook I got at Hancock Shaker Village.  

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wall Hangings

Earlier in the summer, I went home to CT to stay with my mom for a few weeks, and since it was such a long visit, we finally had the chance to go on a long put-off trip to the Berkshires.  I went to high school just south of the Berkshires, in the northwest corner of CT, and we had always said we would go on a trip someday, and now, 10 years after I graduated from high school, we finally made it.
           It was a great 3-day trip, which we packed with sight-seeing, and drove home with a list of 3 more days' worth of things we'd like to see and do.  Maybe in 10 or 15 years we'll make it back up there.  Anyway, our first stop in the Berkshires was Hancock Shaker Village, and that's the inspiration for the projects I'm blogging about today.  Mom and I love Shaker style furniture.  The very simple designs are totally classic and timeless, and in many ways the Shakers were ahead of their time.  One of their big things was putting pegs on every wall so you could hang stuff - coats, hats, buckets, even chairs - up and out of the way.
             When I got back home, I decided to do some redecorating, and I used this idea in a little bit updated fashion in my bedroom and my (new) craft room.  In my bedroom, I used navy blue 3M command hooks to hang purses under the cutest little canvas art work that I found at Michael's for $1 each.  You can't really beat that; I put this whole wall together for probably less than $20 (not counting the gross amounts of money I've spent on the purses over the years).
            In my craft room, I used the 3M command sticky-tape to stick clothespins to the wall, which I spaced out 5" apart, so that I could display stuff: mostly pictures of past projects, but also a few of my prints from my screenprinting class.  I'm probably going to get some more clothespins soon so that I can have another row or two of wall-hangings.
            The last project isn't inspired by the Shakers, but belongs under this post-heading nevertheless.  I went out and bought a queen-sized (excessively large) piece of batting so that I can lay out my quilts on a vertical surface.  The only problem with this system is that I won't be in such a rush to sew the quilt together since it's already nicely out of the way, unlike when I used to lay it out on the floor and then sew it together quickly to get it out from under foot.  But, the quilt blocks make a pretty nice piece of art on the wall, so all in all, it's not a bad situation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a match made in Old Town

My high school friend, Jon, set me up on a blind friend date with a girl he met after college.  She moved to Chicago back in November and he thought we might get along, so we played email-tag for a while, and finally managed to set a date for lunch today.
            Mariann and I met in Old Town, which I have visited at times (The Spice House is one of my favorite spots to get hostess gifts for people, when I'm visiting homes outside of Chicago) and checked out some places new to both of us.  We had a nice sandwich for lunch at 33 Club.  We didn't save room, per se, but managed to fit in a cupcake after lunch at The Twisted Baker.  (I saw a sign there that they sell their frosting by the pound for $5.  Must keep that in mind!)
            After we had gorged ourselves thoroughly, we wandered north on Wells St. and found some great little shops.  I was tempted by many cards and things at Greer, and really almost bought the flower pin (pictured) which I may end up going back and buying someday.  I ended up leaving with some good ideas for upcoming crafts - including stationary with fabric.  Hard to describe well, but you know if I make it someday, I'll post pictures.  We also looked in at Fabrice, which was a neat little store having a crazy sale on everything.  It's hard to believe I came back home with no new stuff.
            Overall, it was a nice way to spend one of my final summer Thursday afternoons.