Saturday, July 31, 2010

Look! Up in the Tree! It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No it's...Copycat Challenge #24!

...and it just happens to be a green flying rabbit with red wings!! The inspiration for this project was actually a children's picture book with the title of The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey. The basic plot of the story is that there was a little rabbit wasn't happy just being himself - he wanted to be somebody else instead. When he saw a porcupine, he wanted to have a back full of bristles. When he saw a duck, he wanted flippers. And so on. Finally, at the wishing pond, he got his wish granted and ended up with --- you guessed it ---red wings. But here is where the story gets complicated. As always in this Copycat Challenge based upon the book Blanket Statement by Vicki Haninger, there is a twist/tweak to the construction. She makes wings for a cat, and I decided to find a pattern and make wings for a rabbit. Luckily, in my file of vintage patterns I found just the pattern needed. I enlarged Vicki's cat wing pattern a bit to fit the rabbit.
The red wings are kind of special to me as they are made from the felted wool of one of my Mom's favorite winter sweaters.
Take a look at the rabbit above front on. This is after I corrected the "whoopsy" of making the face wrong the first time...
Poor thing had no neck at all! His nose headed right down with no room for sniffing out carrots!
I made a little green wool loop for the wings to fit through when the rabbit wanted to fly with those red wings. Or not when not. (Read the book to find out more.)
Here's the vintage (from 1996 - is that truly vintage at 14 years old?) Simplicity pattern that was used.
The undersides of the ears are white felt, as is the bunny tail.
Sharing this story - and rabbit- with Miss Ellie will be coming up in the next couple of years! In the meantime, though, I will try to be true to what life gives to me and the state of being content.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Absent Chihuly Slide Show (P*S*C* #27)

Right now, you should be able to see 15 slides of our recent visit with Marny and Tracy to the fabulous Chihuly show at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. However, this slideshow is simply not working here on my blog --- drat and double drat!
In case you haven't heard of Dale Chihuly, he is an amazing artist who works with glass. We have seen his work at Garfield Conservatory in Chicago, in the Seattle vicinity, and at the Botanic Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. When we heard that Grand Rapids was going to exhibit more of his pieces, we knew we had to go there as well! A HUGE bonus of ours was going to the show with Marny and Tracy!!
Please, if you are a Facebook friend of mine, go to my home page and see the slide show as it somehow made it there.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Grand Time in Grand Rapids (Pink Suitcase Chronicles #27)

First let me introduce you to one very fine dog---meet Anakin. He's an 11 year old English Springer Spaniel. His owners are our wonderful friends, Marny and Tracy. See how obedient Anakin is that he would pose with Pink so patiently? (It did help that he loves doggie treats...) Our time in/near Grand Rapids, Michigan was filled with vibrant colors of fresh produce and flowers - and glass. More on that later. Saturday morning we visited the Fulton Street Market which was probably the best farmer's market I've ever seen! Marny had her list of produce items to buy for our dinner later that night. Oh me, oh my for all the beautiful fruits and veggies there as well as all the flowers, meat and cheese products offered.
Though rainy (check out Wes in the background with the blue and yellow umbrella) the people were out with their baskets and bags.
Beans, blueberries (more on them later), peaches.
But the true treat of the market visit was seeing the Danz team at work once they got into their very own kitchen later that night!
Wes and I sat and watched as they sliced, diced, minced, baked, seasoned and cut their way to fact, we felt like we were an audience of two on a TV cooking show --- they're that good!
On the menu: chopped salad with at least 10 different items, pork tenderloin medallions with homemade guacamole as a base and salsa as a sauce, green beans with scallions and,
for dessert, the most heavenly tart with freshly made lemon curd topped with fresh blueberries.
Is your mouth watering yet? It sure as heck should be!
Coming soon: what we did in between the Fulton Market morning and the dinner later that's pretty incredible.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Goodbye, Almond!

It was finally time to replace the almond appliances we have been using for the past 26 years in our Nest. They were showing much wear and tear after all these years, though still working.
Think of how many times the doors had been opened and shut by our kids, how many pots of Kraft Mac 'n Cheese had been boiled on stove and how many holiday turkeys and hams have been cooked in the oven. Whew!
First, Wes laid new floor tiles to replace the white linoleum "squares" and he sure found his knees were sore after this experience. (About five years ago, we redid the cabinets and counters --- I gotta say that I love granite--- and Wes did all the work then, too).
We decided to go with a black refrigerator to match the black dishwasher. It was a discussion we rehashed again and again.
The stove and microwave are done in stainless steel with black accents. They pretty much are the same as what we have in our City Nest and I really like them there.
This project was squeezed in between all of our comings and goings thus far this summer. Wes took about a week off of work. Poor guy --- he would much rather have been almost anywhere else relaxing in the hot summer sun! Thanks, honey!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recipe for Saturday Night Fun

Because our friends, the Rholls, are "foodies" I thought I would turn this post into a recipe on how to make a hot, sultry Saturday night into one cool summer evening adventure. Ingredients: 1. 4 good friends 2. 2 conductors (1 for train and 1 for orchestra) 3. 1 Brown Line train 4. 1 (Jay Pritzker) pavilion 5. 1 large bunch of musicians 6. 2 squirting faces 7. 4 or 5 huge mechanical bugs from Spain Directions: 1. Board 4 friends on Brown Line train. Converse and observe fellow passengers. 2. Get off of train and walk to Millennium Park. Find seats. Sweat while conversing and watching fellow concert attendees. 3. Listen to great concert. Watch the lights on surrounding buildings come on. Applaud loudly when appropriate. 4. Leave concert and cool off in the splashing area by the two tall spewing fountains. 5. Join the hordes of people watching the debut performance of the bugs from Spain. 6. Reboard the Brown Line train and head back to go to bed, exhausted and hot from a fun evening. 7. Repeat next year as needed.
What an adventure - thank you, Carol and Mark! We cooked up quite a night, didn't we?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spotted: Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion!

This summer we have been having more fun Chicago adventures thanks to a great gift from John and Kari:
50 Adventures on Foot: City Walks CHICAGO
Here one can find 50 walks to take with points of interest listed on the card front and a clear map on the back of the card. We knew of Oz Park in the Lincoln Park vicinity, but didn't know it was actually created for the Chicago Park District thanks to a donor and in tribute to the Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum who reportedly once lived nearby. We enjoyed looking for the beloved characters - but, once again, the Wizard remained illusive here as well. However, a nice playground, tennis courts and open playing fields made up for his absence.
In a week, we have done three walking tours. As we learn more about our city and its neighborhoods, we are also managing to get a little exercise in as well.
Might I suggest this as a unique gift purchase for someone on your list who enjoys city experiences - or as something you could buy for yourself? Put on those red (walking) shoes and say three times:
"There's no place like Chicago. There's no place like Chicago. There's no place like Chicago!"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dandelion (Copycat Challenge#23)

What comes to mind when you hear the word Dandelion? Is it those pesky weeds growing in your back lot? Salad with greens? Wine? That lion storybook character? For me, it was what I just had to name the little green wooly lamb recently stitched for the ongoing Blanket Statement project (in which I make every project in the said book by Vicki Hanginer in the blogging style inspired in the book/movie about Julie/Julia). The Little Lambkin project was found on pages 66 and 67 . My "tweak" was adding about 100 textured scrap wool swirls to create a truly wooly coat for the little lamb. What a way to use up those little pieces I'd been saving since the onset of the project - and also what a way to eat up time stitching each wool coil to the body of the lamb! Surely Jake and Vienna would be married by the time I finished this stitching...but nope, they had broken up instead with nasty details in the media reports. C'mon, did you really think they had a chance??? While Dandelion appears to relish in the weedage, we did not. They are gone now. Making the dandelion chain to wear around Dandelion's little green neck was actually quite fun. It brought me back to the times on Grandma R.'s front yard patch at Senior Homes making clover chains* to wear as bracelets and crowns. Good times!! *Note to self: do this with Ellie some day!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bird Whisperer!

While still in high school and college, Wes' friends gave him the nickname of Bird. While at the Bird Sanctuary in Hong Kong Park recently, Wes had an up-close-and personal encounter with a feathered parrot friend who thought Wes was absolutely his BEST FRIEND ever!
Let me explain that this was a free-flight zone in the aviary. We saw so many birds perched on tree branches. You can imagine that the birds there were quite different (and more colorful) than those we would see here in the US.
Perhaps it was the red shirt Wes was wearing. Perhaps it was the scent of Wes. Perhaps it was just because Wes was Wes, but this one colorful parrot certainly singled him out!
First the parrot landed on the railing next to Wes. (And I started taking pictures.) Then, the bird hopped closer and closer. Up on Wes' shoulder. (More pictures when I should have been paying more attention to Wes' facial cues.) Then, finally when the parrot started going down into Wes' shirt collar I finally snapped to it and heard his pleas coming, "Deb, get this bird OFF of me!!"
Seeing as I am a non-violent sort and also in a bird sanctuary, I stalled. How does one get an exotic bird out of a shirt collar? By this time those close by are starting to give audience to the situation. I know! The umbrella I'm holding might work! I partially opened it and fluttered it near to the bird and that did the trick...the parrot flew to a nearby tree branch.
Relief for Wes. And, as today is his birthday, I wish him all the best with NO birds for Bird like this encounter in the coming year!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Colorful Night Gift (P*S*C* #26)

Our cabin faces mainly west. This is the view of it - note the windows are glowing a bit. Why? Because a beautiful sunset across the lake was going down. What a gorgeous way to end the day. First, the yellows and oranges...
...then the pinks and purples showed up. Add softly falling raindrops. Peace. Quiet.
Within minutes the soft lavenders and gray blues ushered out the hot colors and the dark sky took over. A very dark sky with pinpricks of bright stars.
To think this show was free for the taking once again proved we live in a world where certain things cannot be purchased but are right in front of our noses if we but take a pause to look for them.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Color Mindful-ness (P*S*C* #26)

The colors, ah the colors, at and around the cabin can be so breath-taking. One expects beauty in the blues of the water and the greens of the foliage, but the colors of the charred black remnants in the fire pit are beautiful as well. And a sunset? Oh my. A sight for the eyes and soul!
What color does a sparkler it white, gold or silver?
I think Oliver's copper color matches the cabin interior paneling.
Is the sundial teal? The brass underneath the paint coat seems to want to make it less so.
The old steel row boat is aged, worn silver with exclamation points made by the rusting of the bolts holding it all together.
Ellie's pink hat rests in the shade of the stroller while she rests inside the cabin at naptime.
The cobalt blue trailer, also in the pause mode, awaits the day when the speed boat is out of the water and cradled once more within its framework. Thanks to the purple noodle, I reign supreme on the raft after the two sons tussle and fall into the lake. Sweet victory!
BoldThe beige of the Grandfather's toolbox competes for tabletop space with the splashing baby in her blue bathtub...does it seem possible that before we know it she will beg to go out fishing with her Grandpa as her Mom did many years ago?
Paddling the red canoe is a relaxing way to get out on the lake with a companion. Or alone.
Right in our front yard we have the cheerful white and yellow daisies saying, "Hello! Welcome back!" No grumpiness is allowed in their presence.
Last, but certainly not least, we enjoyed this orange treat while playing a fierce game of Rook! Colors at the cabin are certainly varied and appreciated. Stay tuned for the upcoming colorful cabin finale soon to be posted. Talk about colorful!!!!