Thursday, June 30, 2011

Something to remember my students by

Over the past few weeks, I've said goodbye to all of my students.  Some of them were among my first students, when I started teaching, so it was tough to say goodbye, and interesting to think how much they had all grown in the time that I knew them.
One family, a brother and a sister, had been taking lessons with me for 6 and 3 years, respectively.  I've grown very close with both kids, and the mom, and I loved that in our last lesson, they each gave me a personal note.  The kids are pretty creative (I'm sure due in part to the mom's creativity!) and had made me some pottery.  Here is the boy's vase that he gave me, which has the circle of fifths etched into it, so I would never forget my music theory, he said.
Another family, with 3 little girls, I've known since the oldest started taking lessons almost 6 years ago.  Over that time, each girl started to take lessons with me, and the youngest likes to draw pictures for me quite often.  Here is one she gave me in a lesson just a few weeks ago, which I think is so precious that I might frame it and put it up above my piano.
This other picture, which they gave me as a going-away gift, was taken at our final recital a few weeks ago.  I think it's a really sweet gift, and this one I have already put up on my wall.  It's funny to see that the oldest girl is now taller than I am, because when she started taking lessons with me, she was smaller than her youngest sister.

It's the end of a long era, but hopefully the beginning of something equally great.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So many quilts

About 5 1/2 years ago, my paternal grandmother passed away.  She was known among her friends and family as a great traveler.  She loved to eat out.  And she had the best, most interesting clothes.  She also never liked to throw anything away that could possibly have another use someday.
Keeping these last few things in mind, when I helped to clean out her closet, I kept most of her funkiest clothes and brought them back to Chicago with me, where I cut and sewed, very sporadically, for the next 5 years.  The results were 6 quilts, for my sister and 5 cousins, each made up of about 90% of Bunny's (that's what we called her) clothes, and supplemented with a few fabrics I think she would have liked.
Figuring I should really get these done before I start grad school in the fall, I set to work throughout June and finished off all the quilts for my cousins (I finished my sister's quilt in time to give it to her for Christmas this past year).  Here they are, in all their glory, now having been sent off to each cousin:
Shari's quilt

Jenny's quilt

Chip's quilt

Josh's quilt

Gabe's quilt
The thing that I really like about making quilts for people, other than getting the chance to be creative, is that while I'm working on it, I think a lot about the people I'm giving it to, and, in this situation, I thought a lot about my grandmother.  I think she would be proud to know that we're all able to remember her in this very tangible way.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chicago Chocolate Tour

(i.e. the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon downtown)

Last fall, Katie M. and I picked up some groupons for Chicago Chocolate Tours.  She had bought one extra and nicely offered it to Ruthie, who thought it would make a good story for her newest writing gig, food blogging for CBS Chicago.  So we spent about 3 hours on Sunday being led around the Magnificent Mile / Gold Coast area, tasting some amazing and interesting chocolates.
the piano praline chocolate was music to my taste buds
The first stop was at Teuscher Chocolates, in the 900 N. Michigan mall, where we were treated to champagne truffles which are as good as you would imagine.  After a taste at each place we were given a few minutes to make purchases, if we wished.  I couldn't help but buy a "piano praline" at Teuscher, which did please my palate, but I doubt I'd buy another one at around $4 a piece!
            We also stopped in at More Cupcakes, which has a food truck which I've seen in my neighborhood.  Next time I happen upon it I will have to stop and buy something because they were soooo good.
            My other favorite spot was Sarah's Pastries and Candies, where they let us sample two treats: the delights and the crunchy peanut butter bars.  I had to buy a few of the peanut butter bars to enjoy in the privacy of my own home.  I still have one waiting for me; perhaps when I'm done writing this . . . .
            Anyway, it was a lovely use of a Sunday afternoon, enhanced by our sundresses, I must say.
three happily chocolated ladies