Thursday, November 7, 2013

Erica and Dan's Wedding!

We were fortunate to attend 4 weddings this summer! Erica and Dan (above) had a huge, traditional church wedding, followed by a lovely reception with all the bells and whistles.  Erica has a huge family, and I think they were all there!  Dan is the brother of Matt, who is my daughter, Emily's, boyfriend. Dan and Matt have a very small family, and because of that, we were treated like family all day.  We sat in the second row in the church, right behind Dan and Matt's dad and uncles.

Matt was Dan's best man, and did a great job.  Emily looked stunning her her deep teal lacy dress - and I can't believe it but I helped her do her hair! The wedding planner at the church said she got the "best dressed" award for the day. Incidentally, they are both beautiful inside, too. :)

Not a great picture, I know, but this was Matt delivering his Best Man speech.  He spent a lot of time writing it - it was really personal and meaningful.  You can see how lovely the room was, too.  And as "family members", we were right by the head table, too!

Emily and Scott, looking cute!

Matt and me, right after we shared a special dance.
It was a great day!

Beautiful Wedding...on a Budget, and in a few weeks!

It CAN be done! The groom, Stuart, is the son of dear friends, and he is also a former piano student of mine.  Stu met his love, Tatjana, while they were both working on a cruise ship on the Mediterrean Sea.  A long-distance romance continued after the cruise job was over, they got engaged, and were married in just a few weeks' time! Tatjana is from Croatia, so there were immigration issues, and time was a factor. Bottom line is - you CAN throw a perfectly lovely backyard wedding, on a budget, on short notice.  Love their sweet flower girl, throwing rose petals, leading in the bride and groom.

The happy couple, coming down the aisle to get married.  They had white chairs and white tents set up, which was a good thing - it was a slightly cool, drizzly day, but no one seemed to mind.  It was such a happy day!

They exchanged their vows under another white tent, complete with the candle lighting ceremony.  A couple things you could not see:  the wedding was being skyped to her family in Croatia (there's a laptop on a table just to the right in the picture), and there was beautiful, live jazz music being played throughout the day, by a jazz combo just inside the house.  Stu is a professional jazz musician, so we were treated to great music.
A friend/neighbor catered the event with delicious food, the wine was flowing, smiles all around.  Congratulations Stu and Tatjana!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall recital, fall color, comfort food

Look at that concentration! I tried something new with my students - a piano trio! The girls played "Agent 003", as in secret agents...get it? Left to right, Katherine, Emery, and Ella.

We thought it would be fun if the girls dressed the part - they looked awesome, and sounded even better! So proud of them, and all of my students!

The colors this past week have been just spectacular, especially the reds.  I grabbed some of our maple leaves on the way to work, to enjoy during the day. 

Scott tried a new recipe the other day for pork tenderloin with apples (find the recipe here). It looked beautiful, and it turned out really juicy and delicious. I would definitely try this recipe again - but next time, we'll have the mustard-y sauce on the side.   

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Open House Chicago 2013 part 2

Chicago is a beautiful city! Look at that gorgeous skyline, from Lake Shore Drive! Lake Michigan, our "ocean", is just to the left of the road (past the beach). 

We chose to visit the historic Green Mill Lounge, in the Uptown area.  It is still used as one of the premier jazz performance venues in the city - and it popular with many of the mob figures back in the 1930s. 

Even though they will use this night club, it still looks much the same as it did 80 years ago.  
There are now modern townhouses in the Prairie Avenue neighborhood, but they are built in period style.  It was a beautiful, sunny day - perfect to appreciate the autumn colors.

Next, we were excited to visit the Prairie Avenue district, which is just south of The Loop (downtown Chicago).  Above is the Wheeler Mansion, one of the oldest homes in all of Chicago. It is now a boutique hotel.

You would certainly have sweet dreams in a room like this! The down comforter was so fluffy soft and thick, and every bedroom had a fireplace.  So peaceful and lovely!

Open House Chicago 2013

Scott and I had a great weekend exploring different neighborhoods of Chicago as part of Open House Chicago. Over 150 locations were open to visit, free of charge, so of course we said "let's go!"  Our first stop was the KAM Israel synagogue in the Hyde Park neighborhood.  And right across the street - is the family home of Barack Obama!  It would have been even more exciting if we could actually see it!  It is heavily landscaped, and - of course - had lots of security. (no picture taking allowed, for example)

Then we headed further south to the Pullman neighborhood.  This was a planned community from the 1800s, for the employees of the Pullman train car factory.  Those homes are now attractive townhomes. 

Also in the Pullman neighborhood - the Greenstone Methodist church. 

We resumed our touring on Sunday, in the Uptown area, at the Broadway Bank.  It had the most amazing, elegant lobby.  Look at the detail on those lamps!

And look at the size of that safe! You have to go inside to access your safe deposit box.  And - this safe was used in the 2009 movie "Public Enemies" with Johnny Depp.

Although touring Chicago was fun, the real highlight of the weekend was having Emily and Matt home (from Boston) for the weekend! They came home not just to see us, but also to attend the Notre Dame football game (Matt is an alum).  Love those cuties!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hexies can be fun?

I don't do handwork.  Oh, I know how to do handwork...I can hand piece, hand quilt, embroider, I can do all of that.  But - for the most part, I don't do any of that anymore.
So why now, am I paper-piecing hexagons?

Well - we took a looong (did I say, long? about 1200 miles!) car trip this month - and I needed a car project!
I didn't have any quilts needing binding, nothing ready to hand quilt (I DO know how to do that!) - so I gathered some scraps, assembled a quick sewing kit, printed out some sheets of hexagons (thank you google) - and voila, instant car sewing project!

Simple, really...cut a squarish scrap, trim to a hex shape leaving about 1/4" margins.  Fold edges around the hexie paper, and thread baste the edges around, folding the corners neatly as you go. 

What will I use them for? A pillow? Small quilt? Or something else? Truth is, I have no idea.  But, it's fun!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn on the farm!

Autumn on the farm! Just took a quick trip home to Minnesota, and stopped at the family farm (my grandparents used to live there, and now my aunt and uncle live there) in Wisconsin on the way home.  How picturesque is this? The sky was so blue and clear, and the air smelled so good!

My aunt Marilyn is an excellent cook, and she made us a scrumptious lunch - all homemade:  pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, tuna macaroni salad, sliced tomatoes from the garden, and...

...the world's best apple pie for dessert.  I make pies, so I am picky - and this was tremendous!  She used apples from their tree (see above, aren't they beautiful?), and a new recipe to me - you can find it here.  You make it in a skillet, and it has a caramel-like layer under this heavenly pie.  Yummmm!

Nobody uses the farm buildings anymore, except for storage.  They rent out the pastures to other farmers in the area.

Hard to see here, but we enjoyed seeing a variety of songbirds eating at their bird feeder.  Gordy had to repair the feeder a couple of times, due to damage from the bears!  This is the view from their window, so beautiful.

So glad we were able to stop for a visit:  Gordy (my dad's brother), Marilyn, and me.   Autumn in Wisconsin is beautiful!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Favorite Quilt

What is my favorite quilt? Even before I read about a linky party on the same subject here, I knew the answer:  A Portrait of Emily, shown below.  This quilt began with a photo of my daughter, Emily, taken at 6 a.m. on a high school choir tour.  She was not thrilled to have her picture taken, but I loved that picture, and just knew I had to create something with it. 

So, the idea "perkolated" around in my brain for a while...years...until one day I saw a tv show featuring Therese May, and her "Therese Quilt".  Wow, what a stunner! I knew instantly what I had to do with Emily's photo.
This was made entirely from fabric in my stash, mostly batiks, fused, appliqued, pieced, and machine quilted.
I love the quilt, and even more, I love the daughter.  She lives far away, but I get to see her face every day in this quilt.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kristin & Adam's wedding - party on! and Happy Anniversary to us!

More wedding pictures from Kristin & Adam's wedding!  Their ceremony (see previous post) was in the historic Tivoli Theater, and they took their outdoor shots out back, next to this brick wall.  I love the urban chic look of it.

The lovely bride, Kristin, and her maids:  her sister, Leah, maid of honor, on the left, and my daughter, Emily, on the right.
I love how Kristin let the girls chose whatever dress they preferred, but both in navy blue to coordinate.

The reception was at a lovely golf course near here.  Their party room was beautiful and spacious, with golf course views on 3 sides.  And the tablescape was also lovely!  (always looking for wedding ideas - I have 3 daughters...)

Do you know what it means to "get Iced"?  If someone gives you an open bottle of Smirnoff Ice, which my daughter describes as alcoholic Fresca, you have to drop to one knee and chug it.  Sounds mostly like fun for the younger generation, right?  As a matter of face, the fun-loving bride and groom were iced at the reception, and they both obliged!
Then, later in the evening, an open bottle appeared at our table, and my husband, Scott, was up to the task! Who Iced him? The bride!

My lovely daughter, Emily, and her equally lovely boyfriend, Matt. It was so great having them close by this summer, as they both had internships in Chicago.  Now they are both back in Boston for their second and final year in graduate school. The plan is to return to Chicago after they graduate in May! 

We had such a great evening! And yesterday was OUR wedding anniversary - 35 years!!! How can this be?  They say that the days go slow, but the years go fast, and boy is that ever true.
Happy Anniversary, Scott!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Third Wedding of the Summer - and it was a GREAT one!

This past Sunday was a very special day.  Our daughter, Emily's, best friend, Kristin, got married!  Emily was a bridesmaid, and Scott and I were invited - it was a day filled with joy!
Kristin is a remarkable young woman.  She is very smart, and cares deeply about her friends, and she is also very practical.  So while some of the wedding details were quite traditional, other details were uniquely...Kristin!  For starters, the ceremony was at our town's historic Tivoli theater - complete with their names on the marquee!  How cool is that???

Emily created a photo collage poster, and got the theater management to display it in their "Now Showing" glass display case.  So special!

Kristin had to convince the theater to let them have their wedding at the theater.  It was only the 3rd wedding to take place there!  The Tivoli has been totally restored, and it is BEAUTIFUL.  The organ played in the orchestra pit, and it was perfect.  The readings, the vows, even the celebrant - who was one of their close friends, Ryan.  And the seats were filled with their families, and LOTS of friends.  K & A are part of a LARGE group of fun and loving friends - partially due to Kristin! She is the glue that holds the group together.

Ryan did a stellar job - on his first wedding as celebrant!  Ryan was serious, and tender, and funny...the whole ceremony was full of love and special meaning.  They wrote their own vows.  And they both cried.

This was so fun!  After the ceremony, we all spilled out onto the brick street (did I tell you, our town is adorable?), and waited...until K & A came out, and we all threw POPCORN! How perfect is that?
Stay tuned for more wedding pics!

It was 23 years ago today...

...that my darling daughter, Hannah was born!  

She's been celebrating her birthday for over a week! My other daughter, Emily, made a fantastic cake to celebrate the birthdays of Hannah (left) and Genevieve (right).  We also had Italian food, and even belinis!

Hannah has always been cute, sunny, bright, funny...can you tell I think she's awesome?

And why be boring and dull, when you can be exciting and fun?

Hannah spreads joy wherever she goes!  She and her boyfriend, Danny, had a stay-cation this summer, finding fun things to do and places to see all OVER Chicago!

Why just smile when mugging is so much for fun?

My wish? A long, healthy and happy life for my sweet girl.

Happy Birthday Hannah! Thank you for being you! Love you lots!

Hannah and Danny's wedding shower, Walk for our Lives

   We had a pretty day in early March for Hannah and Danny's wedding shower, held at our local park district's golf course clu...