Friday, February 25, 2011

"Fit for a Queen" Tablescape

There's a royal tea party going on in Blogland in celebration of the upcoming nuptials of H.R.H. William and Catherine (Kate) Middleton
and I have decided to join in on the fun! Check out the details on Laura Ingalls Gunn's blog at
This was a wedding shower tea party for a different Kate in the city of Chicago this past summer. Vintage hats were the centerpiece. The guests, upon arrival, selected their own vintage hat to wear throughout the tea party. More on that later. The wedding invitation is shown in the decorative miniature plate holder on the right.
Though hot tea was offered, the cold iced tea was the most requested beverage of choice.
Kate and her beloved are shown in the photo to the left.
A miniature cake was prepared from scratch with seven-minute frosting. The miniature china teapot on the top of the cake was purchased in China on a recent trip there. We were told that the teapot design depicted happiness and a long marriage.
Here are a few of the hat choices available for the guests to wear.
The bride is pictured on the lower left side of this photograph. I hope Kate Middleton is as blessed with dear friends as this Kate is blessed with hers. Here they pose in vintage "bridesmaids" fashions from a little runaway show at the shower.
The Mother of the Bride and the Mother-in-Law of the bride are shown here. I think the future wife of Prince William might just like that fur number, don't you?
Thanks for joining us in this little tea party!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Ties That Bind" Shower

What better place than a church shower to bring out the collection of vintage aprons I have been storing away for many years? Seeing as I have aprons from my Mom and other relatives, have been given aprons by others, and have browsed the thrift shops I now own plenty of sweet aprons! Aprons with flowers, ruffles, pockets, embroidery and my favorite of all, rick rack. (Oh, how I am a sucker for rick rack with its jaggy mountain peaks and valleys like one could find on all of Charlie Brown shirts.)

Mike G. - a good, good friend of John's since grade school - is marrying Meghan N. this coming May. The church shower was held in their honor.The old hymn, "Blest Be the Tie That Binds" was a part of the shower theme. Great words and melody to sing as a group. Then, things got a little more peppy with Mariah Carey (on CD) providing the vocals for our Fashion Show. Our oldest models were in their 80's and the youngest was a junior in high school. They did a great job - and Project Runway models better watch out!
Here's the group posing together: Just for your viewing pleasure, the models in action: God's Blessings to you, M and M!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day "I Spy"

Please play along with me as we celebrate Valentine's Day 2011 in the style of the
a game we used to play as kids when something (a color) was described and the rest of the gang had to guess what it was. Consider yourself one of the guessing gang. Ready? Here goes!
Me: I spy with my little eye something that is the color of snow when freshly fallen...
You: Is it the lacy hearts on this cute Valentine wreath?
Me: No, those little lacy hearts are actually the color of pink with touches of red and gold. Nice try, though! They were decorations where Wes and I went for lunch today in our city neighborhood.
You: Is it the napkins that are folded on the table of the restaurant called Selmarie?
Me: No, though the restaurant IS Selmarie in Lincoln Square. And it is the perfect place to go with your sweetie for a Valentines' Day lunch.
You: Is it the trays that these yummy Valentine cookies are posing upon until someone comes along to buy for their favorite teacher, preacher, child or auntie?
Me: No, but they would make a good gift for someone, that's for sure!
You: Could it possibly be the sprinkles around the edges of these special cupcakes? They are a real deal at only $2.15 each.
Me: Afraid not, honey. But they would make a great dessert on this night of nights.
You: I know! I know? Is it the shirt that the man in the background is wearing? He looks mighty familiar, by the way!!
Me: You sure are a smart one. He is getting a lot of face time on the television these days. He is running for the position of mayor of Chicago, you know. You win --- you guessed correctly!The question is now if he will win in this election. (FYI, we cannot vote in this Chicago election as we are not "legal" city voters.)
Happy Valentine's Day to one and all - even including you, Mr. Rahm Emanuel!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Local Winter Getaway!

Just before our big storm hit, my friend took me on a winter getaway day to Antioch, Illinois. We had a delightful time discovering all this small-town gem had to offer: Cafe Book for hot beverages and book-browsing, Rustique for strolling through French-inspired vignettes, a thrift store on the main drag (forgot the name), a charming lunch/tea place called Infini- Tea, the Pickard China outlet store (maker of the Presidential china), and finally to Ceramics for You where we selected and painted our very own ceramics "art" piece.
Talk about "flow" time! Once we selected our bisque bowls, we sat down to create in paint. The time zoomed by as we were planned our designs, dipped our brushes and went to town.
Neither of us had ever been to a paint-your-own-ceramics workplace. I highly recommend this to the kid in you - you're never too old to produce a mini masterpiece!
It's hard to see exactly what our finished products looked like, but here they are. Keep in mind that the colors don't really pop out until the pieces are fired in the kiln.
Yesterday was the day was the day the pieces would be ready post firing - yippee! Mine is the one on the left (I have a thing for buzzing bees) and Marti's is the one on the right.
She painted hers (left) with colorful dots of various sizes and colors. I opted for yellow and red stripes. We are both pretty durn pleased with our end results! A winter getaway (local) is highly recommended as we fight our way through snow and cold...and it's only February.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Snow Business Part Two (Chicago Style)

After surviving the blizzard in the 'burbs, it was time to go check out the situation in the streets near our little City Nest. Though we lived in the city when we were first married (and knew of the winter ritual after big snows involving saving your shoveled-out parking space with an old chair), things have changed considerably since those years! Creativity - and controversy - abound. The creativity in saving your shoveled-out space now is what you use to reserve your spot. I grabbed my camera last night as we were trying to find a parking space of our own. Please join me now as I go undercover to expose the parking artists as they protect their spot on the pavement... How about an empty wire mesh storage unit?
Or a box that once held a Hoover vacuum you think the "sucker" is still inside?
Look closely at the plastic "drum" container and you can see that someone consumed a whole lotta Open Pit barbecue sauce. One wonders if the whole idea was to have an empty container for future parking space 'dibs'.
I got a real kick out of this space-saving scenario. Two beach chairs with a cooler in the middle...
bring on the sand, waves and babes!
Just wondering... who on earth would bring a bike out in this weather???
My guess is that there are three drawers to go with this caddy and they are inside the building in use while the outer shell is outside the building in use.
Once the vehicle is tucked back into the reserved parking space, the chairs wait on top the snow mound until the next outing.
And, what is this? A seat minus the boat or tractor? Wasn't there a TV commercial a long time ago that had a driver just going around on some sort of seat like this? Maybe here we have an old stage prop?
My very favorite spot-saver is the one below:
Take a closer look. At first it looks like a walker aide, but then look again to see the potty attached to it. Puts a whole new spin to the "mess" in dealing with all this snow!!
I mentioned the controversy surrounding these space-saving techniques. It is illegal in Chicago to do so. John Kass recently wrote for the Chicago Tribune on 2/5/11 about it. Google it if you want to know more. If you want to see another viewpoint, go to The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation points out that putting out signs to put no chairs out is also illegal. We certainly live in a city like no other --- gotta love it!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Snow Business

Perhaps you have heard of our recent blizzard in the Chicago area. At first we wondered if it was all being hyped wasn't. The snow started falling late Tuesday afternoon - enough to have my evening shift at work canceled! (And the next day as well.)
Early Wednesday morning, I tried to look out the window upstairs to see how much actual snow had fallen. It wasn't possible to see out the window as shown.
Luckily, Wes headed home -instead of to Florida as planned for Wednesday morning - and he spent hours shoveling out snow to the front door and down the driveway.
Nearly two feet of snow fell, and some drifts measured about 5-6 feet!
My hero!