Riverwest Garden Walk

Back in July, Nick and I met up with some people we met at the Milwaukee vegan potlucks to take a tour of gardens in Riverwest. We saw lots of lovely flowers, got lots of cool ideas, got to sample some delicious raspberries and made some new friends. It was great!

Here are some of the highlights:

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One of several fairy gardens we saw

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Mmmm, raspberries!

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Cute potting table made from a recycled door

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One of the gardens had several cute wagon planters that were handmade by the owner

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Looking forward to next spring when I can put some of the ideas I saw into play in my own yard!

Sunrise on Lake Michigan

Last week Nick helped me get the green machine up and running again. I got her new tires and tubes, he lubed up my chain, helped me install the tires and checked my brakes and I was good to go!

My green machine, a.k.a. my vintage Schwinn Varsity

My green machine, a.k.a. my vintage Schwinn Varsity

It had been over a year since I’d ridden it, so we took it out for a spin around Humboldt Park and while I was pleasantly surprised to find I could still ride, the idea of riding it on major streets between 9am – 1am freaks me out. I never was fully confident on streets, so I’ve decided to build up to it with early morning rides along major thoroughfares to enjoy those precious little things in life we often miss, like sunrises, while building confidence by learning to deal with traffic (minimal, of course), road hazards, etc. without all the stress. Kind of like how I learned to drive in an empty church parking lot and slowly worked my way up to the highway with all the zooming cars and distractions. I was able to master that with minimal scares and accidents, so hopefully I’ll be able to master this as well.

The first of these rides happened this morning at 4:30. Nick and I woke to a grey dawn full of chirping birds, dragged ourselves out of bed totally confusing the dogs since their internal clocks don’t wake them up until 6, groggily put on our gear and rode along Division Street (since it has bike lanes) to North Avenue beach in order to try to catch the sunrise at 5:15. We didn’t quite make it to the lake to see the sun break the horizon, but what we saw was pretty nonetheless.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip. Can’t wait ’til our next one!

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Chess Pavilion

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king queen copy

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Metaphoto: Partners in crime documenting each other documenting

Metaphoto: Partners in crime documenting each other documenting

Overall it was a lovely way to start a lovely day and I made it to and from the lake with almost no incident (I almost ran a pigeon over as I turned onto my street, but managed to avoid him and stay on my bike at the same time – win!)

Rekindling My Love of Photography via Boots

Whatcha doing mom?

Whatcha doing mom?

Uploading lots and lots of pictures, baby girl!

I’ve been picking my camera up a lot more lately. Like with every other hobby I have, I go through phases and spring and summer tend to mean more photos. There’s just something about sunny days and green trees that makes me want to capture moments, people and things.

This was the shot that inspired me to start taking pictures regularly again. It’s the first picture I’ve taken that I really, really like in a while.

Boots

Boots – Hammond, IN 2014

It’s a shot of my band, Boots (in which I play keyboard), wearing our boots outside of a punk house in Hammond, IN where we did some of our recording. Hopefully it will end up on the insert of our demo tape. My favorite thing about it is that it captures all of our personalities to a T and if you know us, it’s pretty easy to pick out who’s who.

We’re playing our second show and recording vocals for our demo tape next week! The ladies in the band are strong, smart and inspiring and I can’t wait to spend more time hanging out with them and playing shows this summer!

Throwback Thursday: The Unloved

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m notorious for pouring hours into making things for myself because they look cool in a magazine, wearing them once, deciding I don’t like them for some reason and then giving them away.

Here are a few of those things:

jumper

Completed: February 2, 2009

Project: Cabled Jumper from the now defunct Knit 1 Magazine.

What Went Wrong: Cute in theory, but so tight you could see the hem of my shirt through it and due to my body shape it would shift up as I walked, bunching around my waistline.

Lessons learned: I learned how to make cables, which is handy. I also learned that just because something looks nice on a model in a magazine doesn’t mean it will look nice on me or be functional.

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Completed: November 17, 2009

Project: Flouncy skirt from one of Interweave’s Knit Scene magazines.

What Went Wrong: I wasn’t a big fan of the stripes. Also I followed the pattern without measuring myself first and I didn’t check length along the way so it ended up being too short for me to wear comfortably.

Lessons learned: Steer clear of variegated yarns when it comes to large clothing items unless you really, really like stripes and/or surpises! Don’t bind-off on a skirt until you’re sure you’re comfortable with it’s length.

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Completed: February 27, 2011

Project: A crocheted A-line skirt; yet another item from Knit 1 Magazine.

What Went Wrong: The waistband ended up being loose and saggy. I also had no idea what I was doing when I installed the zipper. Out of all of these, this got worn the most, though, (3 times) with tops that covered the waistband issue.

Lessons Learned: Always remember knits stretch and modify patterns to your body size. Also unless you want a lot of frustration and a lumpy zipper, do not attempt to install a zipper on your own if you have no idea what you’re doing! That’s what YouTube is for.

 

Throwback Thursday – Watkins Glen, NY

Last October Nick turned 40, so we packed the dogs up in the car, drove to Buffalo to pick up Nick’s family and spent a few days down in Watkins Glen, NY. We visited Farm Sanctuary; hung out together at the 3 bedroom house we rented that had a gigantic yard, which the dogs had a ton of fun running around in/exploring and we put together a giant puzzle. Here are some of the highlights from that trip.

 – Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY – 

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Nick feeding the turkeys

Nick feeding the turkeys

Cabins for Farm Sanctuary's overnight guests

Cabins for Farm Sanctuary’s overnight guests

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– Puppies Running Free in Watkins Glen, NY –

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Let it Snow

As much as I hate the ice snow eventually melts into, I love the calm, quiet beauty after it’s just snowed and those cold snowy days give me an excuse to stay indoors and work on crafts! Lucky for me we’ve had a snowy December in Chicago.

Life has been a little nutty lately thanks to the upcoming holidays, but I’ve managed to finish a few projects I had in the works and start some new ones that I’m pretty excited about.

Here’s some of what I’ve been working on lately:

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Sitting on my little wooden chair at my sewing machine for hours can get a little uncomfortable, so I bought some teal fabric to match the craft room’s accent wall and made myself the cushion/pillow you see above, so I can either sit on it or use it for back support depending on what I’m working on.

I made the blanket draped over the back of the chair back in early November at one of The Needle Shop’s mitered blanket classes. It’s baby blanket size, but since I wasn’t completely happy with my top stitching on it, I decided to keep it as a lap blanket for myself when I sit in the craft room since it can get pretty chilly in there, rather than having other people see my botched work. It just so happens that the fabrics in the blanket match my accent wall AND pillow and the little elephants just make me smile every time I see them. Next I’m planning on making some placemats to practice my new mitering skills.

Mitered Blanket

Here’s a shot of the blanket I took, right after completing it in class!

We’ve been dropping into negative temperatures a lot lately, so I recently bought myself these fabrics from The Needle Shop to turn into blouses and shorts for the spring/summer, as a reminder that after this weekend the days will start to get longer and warmth and sunshine are just around the corner.

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Finally, since I love stitching AND photography, I recently decided to purchase WinStitch so I can turn my photos into cross-stitch patterns. First up, I’ll be stitching up this adorable picture of my dog, Ian MacKaynine.

ian pillow

I’m on the fence as to whether I should turn it into a throw pillow or frame it and hang it up somewhere – it all depends on how much time I end up putting into it and what the finished product looks like.

We’re supposed to get a big snowstorm in Chicago this weekend, so hopefully I can use it as an excuse to stitch to my heart’s content.

Hope everyone has a Happy Solstice!