Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm back!

Just a quick note to say hello. I had a great time in Minnesota and will post about my trip soon; however, I will tell you a little something about my flight back to Chicago...

I've never been on a flight and seen someone famous in first class. Once I saw Al Franken at a marketing conference, I'm told I saw Gary Coleman when I was very young (He was born in Zion, IL and I think his family lived there for a while, maybe they still do. I went to kindergarten in Zion before we moved, which is around the time I saw him.) But yesterday as I was standing in the aisle of the plane waiting for the line to move so I could get to my seat, I heard someone speaking and I knew I recognized the voice. I looked around and saw Fred Savage sitting nearby talking on his cell phone! Cool! No one else really seemed to notice him.

My mother-in-law said he's in Chicago to do an Oprah show to promote his new show or something like that.

On all my flights to California I didn't see one famous person. On a flight from Minneapolis to Chicago, Fred Savage. Go figure.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rose quartz pendant.

I had this rose quartz for another project. It was one I'd seen online and I bought all the supplies and didn't pay attention to the sizes of the gemstones. Big mistake. I can't believe I did that! If I made the necklace with all of these large rose quartz pieces it would have been really heavy and most likely would have given me a headache.

So, onto Plan B: design your own. Because the teardrop stones are so large I made one into a pendant. The cut of it is interesting; it's sort of cut in a spiral down the front. The smaller stones are rubies and everything else is sterling silver. I'm happy with how it turned out. Not sure yet what I'll do with the remaining large rose quartz stones.

Tomorrow I am heading to Minnesota to stay with my friend Andrea for a few days. I'm so excited. We always have a great time together. Her daughter has just turned one; a fun age! It brings back memories of N. at that age. We don't have much planned yet, but that's fine with me. It's nice just to hang out and take the days as they come. One thing we're thinking of doing is going to a train shop. N. LOVES trains; I should be able to find him something there! I usually start my Christmas shopping around this time, so hopefully I can find some things there for him.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. I'll be back here on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sunshine swap.

Hooray! My swap partner received her package. Now I can share the contents with you.

Let's take a closer look, shall we? We'll start with the container.

The flowers are wool felt. Each of the flowers and leaves have bead work on them in different designs.

The contents of the yellow and orange box! A product of the continuation of my ring basket obsession!

Some fun yellow and orange note cards. I've never made cards before, so this was a fun project. My mom helped me out with ideas and showed me what to do.

A pretty little china plate with yellow and orange in it. Also some yummy cookies.

A recipe for Summer Berry Pie and a fork with an "L" engraved on it. My swap partner's name is Linda. I curled up the prongs to make a recipe card or photo holder.

And a nice orange notebook from Target. The flowers have a little bit of sparkle. As far as I'm concerned, everyone needs some sparkle!

And at the bottom of her box I included a cottage decorating magazine as a little extra.

Participating in this swap was loads of fun and I'm looking forward to receiving my package!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tree necklace.

Last week I was playing around on Etsy and came across the imogeneANDannie shop. (Does anyone else find that they can lose hours in their day browsing Etsy?) Even though I make jewelry, I buy a fair amount of it as well when I see something I like. Annie's designs are really pretty and fun. As I told you earlier, lately birds seems to be overtaking my house, so at first I was seriously considering one of her bird necklaces.

But then, I fell in love with this.

Annie was kind enough to let me use the photo from her shop. I received it today and I think it's the sweetest little tree. It's inspiring me to doodle and maybe pull out my sheets of silver and the ol' jeweler's saw.

She also has a wonderful blog. Check her out!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer days and ring baskets.

Recently, I revisited my ring basket obsession. They're nice to work on because once I get one started I can work on it from practically anywhere in the house and it doesn't take a lot of concentration. In the photo this one looks a little blue, but it's actually more purple. It has chartreuse flowers with pink centers. I love how it turned out.

For some reason, to me, it seems slightly Victorian.

As you can see, my Black-eyed Susans are blooming. They're such a bright pop of color in front of our grey house. Lovely.

Busy, busy weekend ahead. Mark and I are hoping to see Harry Potter.

We're also going to a Cubs game tomorrow. N. is in love with the Cubbies right now. They were the first team he saw play in person. He has no idea what's going on during the game. He likes to go for the peanuts, cotton candy, trip to Chicago, and the usual visit to my brother's family who close to Wrigley.

Life doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wait a minute, Mr. Postman.

I've been working feverishly to finish up my last project for the Summer of Fun: Bucket of Sunshine Swap from Sweet Goodness Swaps. The color theme for this one is orange and yellow, which was a hard combo for me. I've come to appreciate both colors a little more after this swap.

I can't tell you yet what's in this box or what I'm sending to my swap partner. It's a surprise! Now I just have to wrap everything and get the package ready to go to the post office.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Feeling blue.

Every once in a while I like to do these little quizzes just for fun. Here is the result of one I did this morning. I am a blue girl.

You Are A Blue Girl
Relationships and feelings are the most important things to you.You are empathetic and accepting - and good at avoiding conflict.If someone close to you is in pain, it makes you hurt as well.You try to heal the ones you love with your kind and open heart.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

For the birds.

So, after my last post about the bird teacup I gave my mom, I started noticing that I am accumulating a lot of bird things in my house. I would say this is the result of being influenced by both Etsy and reading others' blogs! It wasn't that I didn't like birds before, but really, I felt no need to have anything with a bird on it in my house.

Suddenly I seem to feel that need. My first bird is my most special; a clay turkey made by N. in kindergarten. Recently he wanted to look at it. He did what any 6-year old would do; he climbed up on the counter to have a peek. And probably any mother could tell you what happened next. He dropped it! I heard the crash and asked him what happened. "Nothing!!" Right. The beak was broken off with a clean break, so it was repairable. The other bird in the photo is from Sweetnellie's Etsy shop.

Next up we have Clive. He hails from Smith & Hawken. He never tires of hanging out with a Sid Dickens tile and lovely vase from Anthopologie.

Speaking of Sid, here's another tile that's on my bookshelf...

...along with a glass bird from Pottery Barn.

And finally we have Clover the Dove. She joined the roost this weekend. She is a vintage concrete reproduction. I love concrete things and like to keep them indoors. Right now Clover is on my kitchen counter. I have to buy some felt pads for the bottom so she doesn't scratch it. Right now she's sitting on a folded up paper towel.

I even have the bird Post-it Notes I sent to Jenn recetnly. I guess I should just embrace the current bird phase. So far I haven't made any jewelry with bird themes. I wonder if that will be next.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pretty things.

Last week I bought this leather cuff bracelet from one of my favorite local shops. It's made of rose quartz and garnets.

And I gave my mom this pretty little teacup and saucer that I found while thrifting a while ago. It was one of those times where the teacup was in one place and the saucer in another. She likes hummingbirds. One side has a hummingbird...

...and the other has a parrot or parakeet or some such bird. Obviously, I'm not well-versed in birds. I can identify a Cardinal (I should, since it's the Illinois state bird!) Blue Jay, Hummingbird, and Red-Winged Blackbird. That's probably about it. Though, I did see a Pheasant crossing the road the other day! Wait a minute, I've also seen hawks around here. Maybe I know birds than I think I do!

Anyway, as soon as I gave the set to her my mom had to have a nice cup of Earl Grey. If you know what the yellow and blue bird is on the cup, please leave me a comment.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I needed something simple that would go with everything. The clear crystal quartz is stunning. It's micro-faceted, giving the stones a lot of depth and dimension, not to mention sparkle. I'm thinking of redoing it with a different clasp.

This weekend my friend Andrea and her husband and daughter are in town from Minnesota. We're looking forward to seeing them on Saturday. On Sunday we have plans to go to the zoo with several friends and their children.

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Free of tarnish.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. I followed your advice and polished the small silver bowl. I think I need to work on it some more, but it's looking great! I like it even better now.

N. and I plan to check out our local farmer's market tonight. I'm not sure what will be in season; it seems a little early yet to me. I'm hoping I'm wrong and there will be some sweet corn and maybe even some tomatoes. N.'s plants are doing great, but only producing a couple of plum tomatoes at a time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More thrift finds.

I'm so excited about this little silver bowl I found. I love the shape of it. I keep going back and forth about cleaning it up; I like the patina, but I'd probably really like all spiffed up, too. What do you think?

And look at this sweet teacup and saucer! You can't tell from the photo, really, but it's actually quite small. First I found the four teacups and then, with a bit of scrounging around, I found the four matching saucers as well!

I'm not sure what I'll do with them. I had planned to give them to my niece, but she may have outgrown playing "tea time."

I haven't found any beads or jewelry I wanted to take apart yet while thrifting. I might have to go to the bead store today. I'm in the mood to look at pretty sparkly things.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Adding a little color to the mix.

Previously I showed you my sweet little white Pyrex bowls. Today I have to show you that I do have some glass things in color; not everything is white! All of the bowls below were found at Goodwill. I seem to have good luck there with glass items.

Out of nowhere I seem to be collecting Pyrex now. Funny how these things sneak up on you.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The best sort of Sunday.

It was hot, hot, hot here today. I started off the day by making lemon-blueberry muffins while it was still semi-cool outside. Sorry, no recipe; they were from a box.

N. worked hard at staying cool by playing in the kiddie pool with neighborhood friends.

We enjoyed a snack of fresh lemonade and homemade peanut butter cookies (I was in a baking mood after making the muffins!). If only we had a porch to enjoy them on.

Then it was back into the [by now somewhat muddy] kiddie pool for N.

As for me...I sat outside in the blazing sun doing some beading and some reading while drinking cold lemonade and watching all the kids play. I'd show you what I was working on, but it was for my swap partner. I liberally put sunscreen on N. all day, but forgot to sunscreen myself and got a minor sunburn on my upper arm. I was wearing a tank top today and now half my arm is tan and the other half is pink. Ah, the joys of having a farmer's tan.

I made tacos for dinner, so we checked N.'s tomato plants for tomatoes...

...and found some to have on our tacos.

All in all a lazy, relaxed sort of day. Well, except for having to break up the periodic fights between all boys in our backyard. And this post was looking so idyllic before that dose of reality!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Circle earrings

These are made with chalcedony and sterling. I love the little silver circles on the end. I don't think they're visible in this photo, but there are little flowers stamped in the circles.

And, just for fun, a photo of our cat Season. I took several photos of her, all of which turned out very blurry except for this one. I think she looks like I am trying her patience—which I was!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

From the Windy City to the Big Apple: Sunday

We slept in a bit on Sunday and then went to find some breakfast at Starbucks and McDonald's. Then it was time to head out for big event of the day: a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mark has been a Yankees fan since he was a small boy, so this was a dream come true for him.

When we rented our car, a sweet little Mustang, we also got a GPS unit. It worked great for getting from White Plains to New York City, so we didn't think about getting directions to the stadium from the hotel in Manhattan. Bad move on our part. We got in the car and Mark started to drive while I entered the address into the GPS. Unfortunately, the tall buildings blocked the satellite reception. Mark was driving aimlessly waiting for me to get things going and by the time I knew it wasn't going to work we were lost; no idea where we were or how to get back to the hotel. We parked near a large bridge to figure out what to do and I jumped out of the car to ask a woman walking by if she knew how to get to the stadium. She didn't know driving directions, but she did know where we were: in Queens next to the Queensboro Bridge. Wrong borough; we needed to be in the Bronx. I called the hotel, but the gentleman who answered didn't know how to get to the stadium by driving, either. He found someone who gave us rather vague directions and we headed in the general direction. Luckily, the GPS unit came on and we were able to find our way.

We had perfect weather for the game. Sadly, the Yankees lost, but it was still fun.

Then it was time to head to Connecticut, where Mark would attend his work training.

I even took a picture of a church off in the distance in Stamford.

And, for Andrea and Rachel, I took a picture of the Thomson building to remind us of our days at West Group (though, it looks like the name has changed).

We had a leisurely dinner at SBC Brewery, which was very good. Then it was back to the hotel for me to get ready to fly home the next day.

This concludes the 10-year anniversary celebration. We've been together for 16 years and I look forward to many, many more years.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July

Look at the pictures I just found in N.'s backpack.

I love how he spelled July as "GLIY." Too cute.

From the Windy City to the Big Apple: Saturday Afternoon and Evening

Let's see...where did I leave off? Oh yes, with lunch. After lunch we walked around for a bit. In looking at my pictures, I see that I took a lot of photos of churches. I took several of St. Malachy's.

And St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Sadly, my indoor photos didn't turn out well, even though the camera was on the correct setting.

And two whose names I do not know.

We also saw Radio City Music Hall during our long, long walk.

And our long, long walk ended at Central Park. I was surprised by how pretty and how big Central Park is. For some reason, in my mind Central Park was about the size of a football field, flat, surrounded by trees, with a few benches scattered here and there. That was way, way off! Instead, it's quite large, very lush and green, and has nice paths to walk through the park. Thank goodness for the water and ice cream vendors. By this time we were ready to rest on a large rock with a cool refreshment.

We took a cab back to our hotel (thank goodness, because I'd gotten a blister from all the walking!) and got ready for our evening out. We ate dinner at a small Italian restaurant called Da Mario. The food was wonderful and the murals on the walls were very quaint.

Then it was off to see Phantom of the Opera at Majestic Theatre. I'd never seen it and it was fantastic.

I'll tell you about Sunday tomorrow. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!