Friday, April 29, 2011

A big day for Kates (and Katies)

This morning, after finished my breakfast, I didn't feel well for approximately 15 minutes, which was just enough time to convince myself not to go to the gym.  But instead of staying home just to watch the royal wedding, I set to work making a birthday gift for my friend Katie.  I like to do these things last-minute, I suppose, and all in one sitting.  I actually would have finished this bag in one sitting, really, if my needles hadn't kept breaking.  I'm going to have to figure out what the deal is - is it something I'm doing wrong with the machine, or am I just cursed?
            Anyway, here's what I whipped up.  I think this is officially the last bag I can make with red canvas, but don't worry: I have plenty of other colors to work with . . .
            And I did tivo the royal wedding, so I'm watching it in stages.  I do think that perhaps the plaid that I chose for the bag was a little appropriate for the day, since it does strike me as British-y.  Plus blue, red, and white are our colors, aren't they?
            Also, I was able to use the embroidery setting on my machine to do Katie's initials in the bag, then put my mark on the inside.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Easter Bunny Strikes Again

Sorry I've been away from my computer.  I was off in Los Angeles last week being fabulous with my old friend Mary.  If you're interested in what all I did in LA, check out my other blog, futurearchitectwicky.
             But anyway, back to Chicago and normal pianoteacherwicky things.  After flying home late late Friday night (you might even call it Saturday morning) I was greeted with a package from Mama Wicky, my original Easter Bunny.  She sent the best of Connecticut in a box: Munson's chocolates.  And she included a cute little Nantucket basket which I think I'll have to use for non-Easter purposes because it's too sweet to be put away.
             On Sunday I hosted my 5th annual Easter Pot Luck Brunch.  We were 16 strong again.  This year, instead of baking a ham as I have for the past few years, I stopped in to the Bleeding Heart Bakery, just a mile west of me on Belmont Avenue and picked up a few cupcakes and some french toast cake balls.  And boy, did they go like hot-cake[ball]s.  They are basically like an amazingly yummy donut hole.  While picking out food at the bakery I also tried a jelly bean cake ball, which was scrumptious.  I still have one carrot cupcake and one "pretty pink princess" cupcake left, which I will eat over the next few days.
            Some other welcome, new additions to the brunch menu were a mimosa bar, supplied by my friend Abby:
A beautiful fruit salad from my friend Katie (okay this isn't anything new, but putting the fruit on skewers made it way more exciting to eat!)
And some homemade macaroons (chocolate with salted caramel filling) by my friend Brittany.
            It was a beautiful day, so we enjoyed a post-brunch chat on my back deck, and some of us went for a little walk around the neighborhood.  As I gear up for architecture school in the fall, I wonder if I'll be able to host some more parties like this in the future.  I think that as long as they're pot lucks, I should be able to squeeze in a few here and there.
Otherwise, I will sure miss these lovely gents.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Princely Pez

I promise this won't become a major theme at the PTW blog, but I have to mention the Prince William and Kate Pez dispensers that just sold on ebay for 13,370 US dollars.   I had bookmarked the auction on ebay (to watch; not to bid!) so I was keeping tabs on it every day or so for the last week.
Since I don't have an extra $13K burning a hole in my pocket, I decided to make a little set of my own for a lot less money.  Here they are, in all their paper and scotch-tape glory (thanks for the idea, Ruthie!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Man Who Ate EverythingThe Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In definite contrast to the Ruth Reichl book that my "Food Lovers Book Club" read last, this book was (I hate to say it) not so enjoyable, but it made up for the missing fun with a lot of information. Steingarten clearly loves food, although his writing shows his love more from a scientific aspect than a gastronomic aspect. I think that Reichl's book allowed me to be in the restaurant with her so often, enjoying the dishes with her, whereas Steingarten keeps me in the kitchen (or the factor he is touring, etc.) The recipes are all interesting, though a bit daunting. I was often inspired to get into the kitchen myself (especially after reading his opening essay on perfecting the bread recipe) but rarely felt daring or patient enough to actually try his recipes.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An Old Obsession Rears Its Ugly Head(s)

About a week ago I was going through a big, big closet purge and happened upon some stuff my step-mother sent out to me in the fall, while she was purging my bedroom back at home of all my childhood crap.  The main item of interest was a ziploc baggie filled with a small portion of my PEZ dispenser collection.
            Yes, back in junior high/early high school I went through a crazy pez-collecting phase.
            Anyway, thinking I should keep right on going with my closet purge by getting rid of these little guys, I posted a question on facebook: "pez collection: keep or toss?"  The response was overwhelmingly "keep" (although a few friends suggested I donate the pez to them, but I will count that as a "keep").  So, once my interest in the subject was piqued, you might say for the second time in my life, I called up my mom and asked her if she knew where the rest of the collection was.  Yes, in the attic.  So, she has sent out my collection, and as of yesterday evening the gang is all back together.  Here they are, set up on my living room mantel, until I can think of something more adult to do with them.  I've pictured the more interesting ones.  I have over 50 total.

My personal favorites are: the Pink Panther, Asterix, Yosemite Sam, and Woodstock.
I guess this is another example of how you can never fully outgrow your high-school self.  It's good to have you back, guys.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Today was one of those really good days of teaching where I think "why am I quitting this job again?"
            At the end of a particularly good lesson with a student, who has taught herself most of the A section of Fur Elise, I told her how great she was doing and she said "yeah, I finally got interested in reading music."  That was a direct quote because I walked back to my car and wrote it down.  What a little cutie.