Saturday, August 30, 2008

Three Day weekend

I expect I will not be posting a lot this weekend. Chuck's parents are in town, so if anything, look for photos on my flickr page. Hopefully we will get to see a lot of the city! Enjoy the 3-day weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tinkers with Tags

I've spent some time on the blog this morning tinkering with tags on my posts. It's still a work in progress. Tagging is fun, but the challenge is coming up with tags I will repeatedly use with enough regularity for them to be useful. And then of course tagging all of my entries, which I have been lazy about. So I'm not sure if all of the tags I've set up are the most appropriate one, but there should now be a little more consistency to them than there was before. And I've added a new Tag Cloud widget on the right which should help me keep in mind which tags have been used most often (they're the big ones, neat!)

Other than that it's been so sunny and nice here in Chicago, pretty much the whole time we've been here. While I am busy looking for work this morning I spent some time pretending to be the cat. We were just sitting in the sunshine together, her on her footstool and me on my couch. It was lovely. Almost makes up for the fact that I've felt sniffly and itchy this morning...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Couch one day Transit the next

Today was all about transit. Long long rides on all of the kinds of trains Chicago has to offer (At least I think that's all of them.) Orange line to Metra, Purple and Red. I've done it all. Well...Maybe not quite all. But lots of colors anyway.

Yesterday was all about the couch, and well also finally having the portfolio document printed and bound. I've got a few interviews lined up this week finally, just the kick in the butt I needed to get the thing done! One of these interviews is what provided so much experience with many colors of transit today (yep I'm into the whole color coded route thing, it's neat. According to at least one person controlling CTA microphones it's "purpaline" BTW. All one word!)

So we've had the couch for a day. I can't tell you how nice it felt to come home to it. And the boyfriend(and cat), of course. A smaller home decor/furnishing item was delivered today, and installed by Chuck before I made it home. We have lighting! The apartment is looking extremely comfortable, organized and neat these days. Now if I can just commit, with Chuck's help, to the placement of more of the wall hangings we'll be set!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday spent way up North

Yesterday took us to the North side of Chicago, actually the neighboring town of Evanston. My parents actually live pretty close to this area, so being so far up North is not that unusual, but it was the first time we've explored Evanston at all.

At my Dad's suggestion we went to the Block Museum to catch an exhibit on Arts & Crafts in its last few days. In Grad School I had the opportunity to take an excellent class on the movement, and this was a nice refresher. Chicago certainly has a history with it and I hope to see more exhibits on the subject. Seeing William Morris wallpaper in person and Louis Sullivan's sketches for intricate Terra Cotta work will never cease to impress me and get me excited about architecture and craft. The website has a lovely slide show of some of the pieces on display I would recommend viewing.

From there we went to the American Craft Exposition, which was at my Mom's suggestion. The work on display represented amazing levels of skill and craftsmanship. There were so many impressive exhibitors, it would be difficult to list them here. One artist that impressed both my Mom and I was the work of Jeung-Hwa Park. Knitted & felted scarves with impressive shaping work that we determined must involve rocks and wires, these forms were left un-felted so the stitches were exposed.

Architecturally there were a few booths I think appealed to Chuck and I. David D'Imperio had beautiful light fixtures I'd love to design a space around. And the furniture by John Dodd presented a well crafted marriage of materials, wood and concrete. I also appreciated the wall cabinet/niches on display, the idea of a vertical linear hall piece with a mirror, light fixture and small ledge seemed useful and very beautiful.

I'll end with the booth that seemed to impress everyone at the show, and which I might have missed if Chuck hadn't pulled me into it. Walking by the worked just seemed to be very nice nature photography, and there was such a crowd I was beginning to skip over it for the next thing. Amazingly, it wasn't photography at all, instead the artist was creating "Landscape in Thread." Martha Fieber's work impressed everyone with it's intricacy. I thought the idea and the way it was executed was extremely clever and well done, and there was a certain joyfulness in applying the craft in this way. All in all, if I really had tons (and tons) of money to spend, I wish I could spend it there!

And today we get the Couch! Look for pictures of our space in the next few days on my Flickr page!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things I've learned today

Feeling very sort attention span today, so how about just a list:

I need a bigger cutting mat.
Cutting fabric doesn't make me as nervous as it used to.
Even a simple sewing project is more time consuming than I would have thought.
Sewing is addictive nonetheless.

You can use CTA cards 2x in a row for different people, it knows what your doing and charges the full amount.
It will also know your owed two transfers if you do this on the way back and only charge you 25 cents each.

Um...that was not as long as I thought it was going to be. One of the sewing projects I was talking about is done, it's little, but made me happy. The other is still in progress. And we went downtown to look at some lighting for the apartment.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Balance

of flickr, blogger, twitter, ravelry, facebook...and so on. How is that achieved?
So this weekend I joined twitter. Because I am impressionable. And I read the Slog. There was a post the other day proclaiming that twitter was no longer cool since a Seattle politician was using it. So I react by thinking, hm, one more fun silly internet thing, am I signed up for it yet? No? Well it's really easy to sign up! So now I'm doing that too. We shall see how long that lasts. And how it affects real blog entries. Yesterday my thought was that I had sort of blogged about the trip we made to the Conservatory because I twittered about it, but it's not really the same thing.

And I suppose there's some other major news that I twittered, but have not blogged about. For example we are now CARLESS, Chuck sold his vehicle Saturday morning. It didn't fair too well after hauling a trailer of our stuff & driving across the country for the second time...and costs a lot to park the car in our neighborhood. Plus Transit here is pretty much just as good as having a car, and we will be looking into joining a car-share program for larger grocery runs, etc. And we're both hoping we will be able to purchase some really nice bikes in the near future. It's exciting, but feels very odd since neither of us has really been entirely without a car our whole lives. But there are so many reasons it's a good thing. Even though we both consider ourselves to be concerned about the environment and aware of the impact of the things we do, being carless in the USA, the midwest no less is a cultural shift. I don't think it will actually be that difficult, but it may take a while to feel mentally adjusted.

Also, today is Chuck's first day as a student, he's orientating on the IIT campus as I type. After a 5 year break from school he's a student again. And I can't wait to hear about how his day goes!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I've recently had to cancel a few transactions due to non-payment/non-responsiveness on the part of the Buyers. This is pretty disappointing to have to deal with since my sales are few and far between. But as Etsy grows I suppose it is to be expected that new buyers may not fully understand how the Etsy shopping experience works. So I figure it couldn't hurt to post a link to the handy checkout and help guides available on Etsy to walk buyers through the process.

Help Guides:

So hopefully my next sale will actually be a sale, and I can again feel happy about getting that message from Etsy in my inbox instead of concerned about whether or not I'll receive payment! I've had my fill of non-payment issues for now, thanks!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Call for Reinforcements

I just posted my first alchemy request-for a winter coat. I'm in Chicago now so winter I expect is a very serious thing. So I've been scouring Nordstrom (+rack), Filene's Basement, and anywhere that might potentially have some coats since I dunno...last march or so. Actually I think that's what prompted the purchase of two lighter jackets at Nordstrom not long ago (one pictured here.) Jackets are a fun item to shop for, and if they put me on What not to Wear, I'm sure Stacy & Clinton would stop me at some point and tell me I really needed some pants. (yes, I've recent joined the wardrobe_remix pool on flickr, and realize all my pants do come from NY&Co because I just like the fit.)

Last year I (somewhat) tragically ended up wearing all too often a blue "down" poly-filled number from REI (Which I'm also sure was too light for a "real" winter) I had intended to use only for outdoors-y pursuits. This year I want to look cool. And be warm. And fantastic in every way. So I've been looking. So far, best I've got is the CK number, which is at least only 20% wool....something...but I am sure Mr. Klein has very little concern about how sheep are sheered (warning about that last link, if you watch videos, etc. it's pretty intense) But, Etsy, I've found very little in the way of acceptable vegan coat options that work and are awesome. And I love you Etsy, so Please help me!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We're Waiting....

I finally got the nerve to call and inquire about my couch yesterday. My couch was ordered way back in June and since I confirmed the color sample shortly thereafter I haven't really heard a peep from Crate & Barrel. So the last few weeks I was thinking I should really call and check on it. But I was nervous about this idea. I feared somehow the would tell me that I hadn't approved the swatch and they hadn't bothered to call or put the thing into production so I would have to continue waiting another 8-10 weeks. And it would be my own fault somehow. But I called yesterday and was told "by the end of the month." whew. Sorta...that's still a couple of weeks away.

My Dad Hypothesized yesterday that it's being shipped from China or something. I really don't know enough about how C&B operates to know. I just know I wasn't happy with my in stock fabric options of brown & white and accepted the fact that meant it might take this long. I'm still pretty happy with my choice, I think. It should be an awesome couch...if it ever gets here.

Though I should mention I had a nightmare about it a few weeks back. The color is called "loden" which was the same color name of the yarn I used in the tote I knitted recently. Which was a green. Then I mentioned the color name to my Mom, who always knows things like this, who said "well that's a green." My couch is gray though. A nice light gray. And I've woken up at 3am at least twice to check the swatch. So it'd be really nice if the couch got here so I could sleep...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

As we happened by the Zoo

Originally uploaded by emmakat79
Yesterday around closing time, we happened by the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free. (Otherwise we wouldn't have been there.) I am not entirely sure how long it's been since I've been to a was probably back in Columbus (Jack Hanna's Zoo.) They are strange places, and not a single creature looks like it has an adequate amount of space. I'm sure Lincoln Park, being free and all, is probably not the best example of recent changes in Zoo design to provide more natural habitats. From what I understand, the Zoo in Seattle (which I never saw) is one of the first examples of that kind of thinking. Even so, it seems like an outdated idea...and though I have to admit I've sorta argued with Chuck about it in the past (in which my argument amounts to remembering having fun at zoos as a kid, some of the zoos have various programs to help repopulate wildlife, but basically agreeing he's right.) seeing a bunch of kids yelling at the lions to get them to growl and no parent trying to stop them makes me wonder what exactly Zoos are there for, if not to teach kids some respect for these animals. (Fortunately a guard eventually came by and kicked us all out at closing time.)

Still...the animals are very beautiful, there's no denying. And the way each of them were perched on their own rocks was adorable. Comparisons to my own cat must be drawn!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Help me I'm blogging my feet feet
Originally uploaded by emmakat79
What have I done? Uploading my big old feet onto flickr, posting pictures of them on Ravelry, Blogger....I think my knitting habit is official out of hand. Or perhaps this is part of why I haven't done much sock knitting so far. I will say that despite the fact that I'm basically knitting with toothpicks (aka US size 1.5 needles) it's coming along quickly enough. K. That's all for now. Just wanted you all to know I've lost it. Sad part is you know there are more photos to come since this is just an early wip shot.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Look! My Cat! (...again)

Lucy & Concrete Floors
Originally uploaded by emmakat79
My cat is skinny(er)!

Sorry...I know I do go on about Lucy a lot. It's just that I snapped some shots of her again, in her rollie-pollie position and that prompted me to compare her belly with a photo from last summer.
We knew from visits to the vet that she was doing well toward the weightloss goals we'd set for her (when we got her she was pretty fat!) but the belly photo was the first time I could really see it. Though she did feel lighter!

In other news I'm slowly listing some new stuff in the shop. Yesterday we met my Mom for lunch downtown & I stopped in the Dick Blick's on the way back. Picked up some boards and some art paper and pasted the two together for a new backdrop. Then did some photography...realized there's a huge difference between my point&shoot (though it is new) and Chuck's fancy SLR. And then finally got some photos I'm somewhat satisfied with. Whew! It's a lot of work!

That and I getting ready for the ravelympics on ravelry. I have from tomorrow morning to the end of the real olympics to finish the projects I signed up for, enrolled in the "sock put" and the "sweater sprint." Just what I need, excuses to knit....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Watching what we eat.

Macaroni & (cashew) Cheese
Originally uploaded by emmakat79
Actually, more like watching what I cook. I have found a new (to me) use for my flickr account in documenting food dishes I make. I tend to cook kinda fancy, and in the past that has meant sporadically. Cause fancy means quite a bit of effort. But recently I've found it a little easier to cook, I guess I'm getting used to it, and motivating to snap a shot or two and actually look at what I've done. I figure in addition to the sense of accomplishment, this will be a great way to keep a sort of visual diary on the subject. I've actually been meaning to keep a regular diary to make notes ("more spices, less, not good at all") on recipes I've tried, rather than going through the process of making it again to find out these things. I'm hoping at least a visual reference will give me an idea of how successful I felt each dish was. So look for more meals to come!

EtsyRain turned One!

And there's a great article about what they are up to in Etsy's Storque today!

Congratulations up there in the PNW!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Look! the sky is doing things!

Originally uploaded by 2:19
The sky was up to some pretty cool things last night here in Chicago. Chuck captured this image with droplets of rain on our window. Again we're unaccustomed to this kind of thing. The cat seems to have figured out that the flashes of light and the noise are related and ran to hide as soon as she spotted a few flashes...and I think I jumped a few times. And Chuck ran for the camera of course.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Amused to find out that

My Mom shares a birthday with Barack Obama.

Previously, We knew she shared a birthday with the Queen Mum. I'm not sure if we knew that she shared the day with Louis Armstrong.

And due to the fact I just heard it was also Obama's b-day, I've found this neat page from the biography channel.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mom's Birthday!

Birthday Cake 8-3-08
Originally uploaded by emmakat79
Tomorrow is my Mom's Birthday! It's also her first day at her new job. So we celebrated over a Sunday Lunch at my apartment with Cake, pictured. Posting here this weekend has been a little light since we've been up in my parents neighborhood trying to help them get settled. They arrived Thursday, their stuff arrived Friday and we've seen them everyday since then! That's a big difference from the 2 or so times a year we've been doing the last few years.

Anyway, they took the Red Line to our place from their neighborhood, which I believe must run slower on weekends or wasn't quick. Hopefully the purple line Mom's planning on taking to work tomorrow morning runs faster! Well, they got the tour of the apartment and our building. We're still waiting on that couch so our seating options are limited, but we had food! I improvised a pasta salad for lunch that ended up turning out pretty well, after chuck's suggestion to add more oil. I was working off a recipie I used last week for black bean salad And as always the carrot cake from Vegan with a Vengance was fantastic, I owe all the credit to the great recipie.

We ended the visit with a trip to Sam's Wine & Spirits near the station my parents were already headed toward. I used their cool computer bar encyclopedia thing to look up a drink to make with leftover pineapple juice from the carrot cake recipie. I ended up printing out the recipie for a Beach Bum. Hopefully sometime this week my parents will stop by again and we can mix up some drinks!