Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dora!

Autumn glory!

Every year, I go out and try to take pictures of the fall colors, and every year, the pictures don't do the trees justice. This maple, out on our boulevard, is spectacular in its beauty - the color is almost magenta - it just glows! and when the sun hits it, wow!

Dora was kind enough to pose nicely for me - Dora the 1-year-old doggie!!!

It's also hard to take pictures that are as beautiful as Dora truly is. Of course, part of her beauty is in her sweet disposition and expressive face, too.

Doesn't she look stylish in her new leather collar? And her coloring blends beautifully with that of our backyard maple leaves. What a pretty girl!

Dora and her best friend, Cohen. Happy birthday, Dora!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Open House Part 2

More pictures from the Chicago Architecture Foundation's (CAF) first annual Open House, from a week ago. We are already looking forward to next year's event, and might even serve as volunteers for the day.

Would you believe, I am standing in a high school's cafeteria? This is the Henry Ford Powerhouse High School, and was part of the tour due to its being built around the old powerhouse from the original Sears Tower - NOT the 100+ story-high building downtown! The original Sears Tower was only maybe 6-8 stories high, and it is in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago.
This beauty is the Newberry Library, which now houses only Humanities, including lots of geneological information, and maps.

We got a backstage tour of the Lookingglass Theatre, located in the Pumping Station of the original Water Tower - which are the only two buildings said to have survived the Great Chicago Fire.

This was one of my favorites on the tour. This gorgeous pool is located in the basement/garden level of a condo building! Built originally as apartments, it is a lovely but unremarkable apartment complex built around a central courtyard. You walk inside, down a few steps, and wow, what a surprise to see this amazing pool! It is surrounded by amazing tile work, marble columns, and it is all in excellent condition.

This is what is so cool about the CAF Open House - you would never know that this little jewel existed, if it weren't for this tour. We can't wait to see what is on the tour next year!

Fall Yard Walk

Enjoy a walk around my yard today!

A view in my front yard - love that mum's color next to the blue-green chair.

You really can't improve on nature's colors, can you? This is our backyard maple.

Not sure what kind of tree this is - it is in our neighbor's yard, by the fence - but I loved that combinations of colors!

Burning bush in the backyard - I love the bright fuscia red against the green.

Happy fall!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Open House

What a day!

Doesn't everyone have a Christmas tree constructed of green glass bottles?

Last Saturday, Scott and I attended the first annual Open House of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Over 100 locations were open to the public - all types of places: historic office buildings, residences, churches, schools, even restaurants. The spots were located in different neighborhoods, all over the city. We started early, and stopped at 14 places!

Our first stop was one of our favorites - maybe, THE favorite - Christy Webber Landscape Designs, in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago. Christy designed the amazing Lurie Garden at Millenium Park. When I saw her place was on the tour, I knew we had to stop there.

This is a view from her green (of course!) roof. Note the cool art on the right, the garden and water feature below, and the city skyline on the horizon - a little hard to see, as it was cloudy at this hour (9 a.m.).
Lucky us, we got there first thing in the morning, and got to visit extensively with Christy herself. She was so warm and welcoming, and interesting.

Don't you love the art, constructed from old lawn chair frames?

Or a lawn sculpture made of old bed springs? The outdoor art was all created by Lucy Slivinski; isn't it wonderful? Her art is a perfect complement to Christy's garden designs, which are also works of art. The whole place just filled me with such creative energy - it was a wonderful space.

After such a fun first stop - we knew that it would be a great day, because it already was.

Matt's 27th!

Last night was a night for a celebration! Emily and Matt came out for a special dinner, to celebrate Matt's 27th birthday. We always enjoy a night with "the kids". It's nice they live so close to us - in Chicago - only 25 miles away. We had a fun evening, eating, drinking, visiting, and watching the crazy dogs.

Emily and her little 27 pounds of fury, Cohen.

We kept trying to get Cohen's attention, but apparently he was distracted! Probably by Dora. Still looks cute, though, doesn't he?

Scott, Emily, and Matt, who is about to cut the cake. Our family's tradition is to allow the birthday person pick the menu. We feasted on marinated flank steak, sweet potato casserole, bread, salad, and roasted asparagus. Then, as if we weren't already stuffed enough, we had flourless chocolate cake with freshly whipped cream for dessert.

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Uninvited Visitor

Scott and I went to Chicago yesterday on an outing (more on that later), and we ended up with an uninvited visitor in our car. We had bought a new plant - a gorgeous hydrangea plant (shown in the backseat of the car - more on that later too) at one of our stops - and I think our visitor hitchhiked a ride into our car.

It is hard to see our "friend" in this outside shot -

although that is where I first noticed it. I got out of the car, and when I saw him (her?) in the window, I think I shrieked "oh my God!"

Interior view. I took this photo as close as I dared, then dashed away.

Neither Scott nor I had ever seen a praying mantis in person before, ever! It was easily 4-5 inches long! It looked so exotic! And now, in retrospect, Scott said it was pretty cool. At the time, he was more than a little nervous when he was trying to coax it back outside. He ended up using a piece of paper, and the little guy/girl just crawled onto the paper, and then he transferred it to the grass.

Definitely a memorable moment from our excellent adventure in Chicago!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Way Cool!

Yes, these are my daughters!
Who says you have to stand up to dance?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Red, Camo, and Blue

Victoria, over at 15 Minutes Play, invited members to complete a 12" block using camo fabric for part of the block. Victoria had been commissioned to make a quilt from a soldier's old uniforms, and was then making a Quilt of Valor (to be presented to another soldier) from the remaining camo fabric.

She asked us to use Red, Blue, and the camo fabric. She gave me two types of camo, a lighter, more tan print, and a darker, green print. Victoria asked us to also use made fabric for at least part of the block. I made red fabric, dark blue fabric, and light blue fabric, all from my scraps.

I used a paper piecing pattern by Carol Doak, which I found for free online. The pattern is called Cross My Heart Block, and you can find it here.

Finished block - ta da! This took way longer than anticipated! Does that ever happen to you?

Friday, October 7, 2011

My New Niece

I had the happiest moment today! I got a request from Miranda, my nephew Nathan's new wife. She wanted permission to list me as her aunt on facebook!

Do I need to say how quickly I responded with a yes?!!! I am thrilled and so happy to have Miranda as my new niece - I teared up as I typed my response. She is a darling girl, as beautiful inside as she is outside. Oh no, there go my tears again! My new niece - Miranda Heggestad!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

9-Patch Blocks - Part 1

I have been happily running to the mailbox this past week, as I have been received these lovely blocks from my on-line bee! I am in the NEW'BEE's, over at 15 Minutes Play.

It is fun to play with them on the design wall. I can't wait to get home from work today to see if another package has arrived!

I love them all! Many thanks to Cathy, Katherine, Brenda, Barbara, and Glen!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Flat Todd

Let me introduce you to Flat Todd. Todd was to be one of the groomsmen at Nathan and Miranda's wedding last week, but he is in the military and was unable to attend the ceremony. In his place, we have Flat Todd.

Here's Jean and Todd - the background and sky are so beautiful, they don't look real to me. This was just at sunset.

This is the walkway from the wedding house down to the beach, where the wedding took place. This was also at sunset - see that fuscia glow?

I had raced down to see if I could get a picture of the sun going down, and found the wedding party having their formal pictures taken. It was a good time for me to take some great candids too!

The happy couple sharing a laugh! They do lots of that! We couldn't be happier for Nathan and Miranda!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sealed with a Kiss

I just returned from a most magical weekend. We attended the wedding of Nathan (my nephew) and Miranda, with the ceremony beach-side at the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The location was even more beautiful in person. And, the sun was setting behind the couple during their ceremony. Even the minister cried!

The day was perfect, the wedding party full of their wonderful family and friends, and such a sweet ceremony. The wedding arch was created by Miranda's father, how special!

Their invitations said - "shoes optional", which is evident in this photo!

It's official! They are married! Love the expressions on Miranda's pals in the background.

Lovely couple, lovely wedding - best wishes for every happiness, Nathan and Miranda!

Best Day Ever!

What a joyous day! Our sweet daughter, Hannah, and Danny Prindle were married on Saturday, May 26! It truly was the BEST DAY EVER!  H...