Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve!

Stay Away

This picture I took at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago last week seems appropriate for this holiday. It's from the exhibit of Ron Terada's work called Being There. I'll have to do a better recap of my trip in the next few days, but for now: Happy New Year!

I thought I'd have some fun in the shop and do a coupon code for 15% off for the new year! The code is: HAPPY2012 and it's good on everything including custom orders! It will be good through the end of the day Jan. 6th, so enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Road Trip! Chicago to Ohio

Usually the highlight of the trip between my parents' house and my grandma's is the wind farm in Indiana. But this time we were traveling at night. I slept most of the way, but we stopped in Lafayette for diner. They have a brand new Chipotle! I used to work for an architecture firm that designed the stores so I tend to geek out a little overtime I eat there. This store was a very different design so there may have been some extra geeking. Cleaner, more modern and simple, there was no art in this one! Not even the burrito king, and there's one of those in every store. But I have to say it was pretty nice to see them move on from so much corrugated metal and simplified light fixtures.
Another highlight of the trip was a very lovely sunset!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Calendar Giveaway Winner


And the winner of the 2012 PDX Architecture Calendar selected using's number generator is...

Congrats to jhitomiI will be emailing you shortly to get your shipping info. And thank you so much everyone who entered!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanks Crafty Wonderland!

Crafty Booth Crafty Wonderland Cards

I had so much fun, sold well and learned a lot! Can we do it again next weekend? Well, that might be a bit much. It took me a few days to recover (hence the lack of posts the last few days, sorry about that!) and I've still got a few small bruises. Carrying all this stuff via transit can do that to ya. 

Crafty Wonderland Knits Crafty Wonderland Necklaces

I'm happy with our booth layout too. We decided to set it back so people could come in, do their shopping, and we wouldn't be staring them down from the other side of the table. We were a bit cramped off to the side, but I think it was worth it. The day went so well, I sold out of mitts and scarflettes! Right now I just have a custom listing up in the shop until I can get some more mitts knit up. That should be soon, though I might take a few more days to recover and prepare for Christmas!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway, only one more day to enter!

Friday, December 9, 2011

2012 Calendar Giveaway!

The Giveaway is now closed, thanks to everyone who entered!


This year I thought I'd do a calendar giveaway that will ship out in time for Christmas! 

The winner will get, as pictured above:
This giveaway is open to both U.S. and International people and will include shipping.

Two ways to Enter: 
Become a fan of my shop on facebook, or if you prefer Google+, and leave a comment below letting me know you're a new fan,
Visit my etsy shop and leave a comment below indicating your favorite item.
(Also please make sure I can find a way to contact you! If I can't track something down I will unfortunately have to skip your entry and you won't be entered to win!) 

I will announce the winner on December 16th, 2011!!! Thanks for entering & Good Luck!

The Giveaway is now closed, thanks to everyone who entered!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crafty Wonderland is this weekend!

The illustration for this show is my favorite yet! I'll be there, in Booth 183, next to the I Heart Art booth. I'm so excited! Come and see me, and get there early to try to get one of the Goodie bags! Oh, also you could RSVP on facebook if you plan on going. Yay!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2012 Architecture Calendar Update


I recently added a second listing of my 2012 Portland Architecture Calendar to my shop. We took some time over the weekend to make some black paperboard easels for desk display. So now all the calendars will come with this easel, a hanger, and a ribbon, all great calendar display options. The idea is that between the two listings you can get a very good idea of the display options and the contents of the calendar, more than you would have with just 5 images. Of course there's also the PDF version, for last minute gifts. You'll  have to come up with your own display for that one, but I've found the binder clip works pretty well!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Speaking of Wreaths

I wanted to have some Christmas-y-ness for Crafty Wonderland this weekend, so I made up a bunch of these knit wreaths. My grandma has been suggesting for a month or so now that I make some ornaments to sell, even going to the trouble of sending me a few really cool crocheted snowflakes my aunt made a while back. At thanksgiving I noticed a cute crocheted wreath on her tree too, and decided to do my knit version of the idea. Maybe next year I'll try to make some snowflakes if I can figure something out. For now these fit with my current enthusiasm for wreaths. I made a dozen or so, and perhaps I'll make more if time allows!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Decorations!

New Tree Topper Christmas Tree

I had a few reasons I wanted to get the tree up right away this year. First I was very excited to try out the tree topper I got at the Chriskindlmarket in Chicago, and second, I'll be out of town again soon. So all the decorating happened almost as soon as I got home. We have a little tree so it is easy for me to deal with on my own. I'm also excited to have an advent calendar this year for the first time in a while (thanks Dad!) also from the Chriskindlmarket. It's of Rothenberg, Germany, which is a Medieval town between Frankfurt and Munich. I had to look that up, I've never been...maybe someday.

Wreath Wreath

Yesterday we walked through the PSU market and picked up a wreath. It was very hard to choose. I still had a tough time once we decided which booth we wanted one from. This booth had peppers in a lot of the wreaths, and several wreaths had moss-covered twigs which I seriously considered. I really liked the one that was just moss-covered twigs, it just seemed perfectly Pacific Northwest. However we decided to go with a bit more variety. I really like the purples and reds in the one we came home with! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Crafty Wonderland Preparation: Small Preview!

Crafty Wonderland is next weekend! I have so much to do. One task I finished last week was making some pom-pom pins to sell, and packing up a few to drop off at the Crafty Wonderland Pop-up shop. These will be in about 16.7% of the 150 goodie bags that will be given away to the early birds at the door next weekend. They were packed up with some fun magnets with my shop info that I had made up recently using a coupon I had for Vistaprint

I'm so busy, but I'm having fun. Tonight I'm working on some wreath ornaments inspired by Grandma's Christmas tree, and using some cool ribbon I brought home from her collection. I'll try to take pictures if time allows. I can't believe how soon the show is, and I should really get back to work right this instant!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chicago Walk: Last hours on State St. & Wabash

I am back in Portland now after a nice long thanksgiving visit with my parents in Chicago, and other family in Ohio. The Midwest is alright, but it's just too cold. It was so nice to take a walk here last night. It was chilly, but not nearly as troublesome as Chicago winter. That being said my last day in town (Wednesday) was pretty perfect, with clear skies...and I don't need to reflect too much on the weather the day before which involved so much wind there were 20 foot waves on the lake. Yeesh.

Lightscapes Christkindlmarket

We met my Mom for a lunch downtown and some shopping at the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Dad and I also did some walking along State St. and Wacker, and could check out the progress on the Sullivan Center (formerly the Carson, Pirie, Scott Building,) the new LEED certified dorms for Roosevelt University, and the "Lightscapes" Street decoration for Christmas (pictured above. You can almost make out the purple, green, and red lights here.) I was happy to find a way to sneak in a few purchases from the market in my already packed suitcases, including snowflake ornaments, an advent calendar, and (at long last) a tree topper that fits my medium/apartment-sized Christmas tree!

Walnut Room Macy's Tiffany Ceiling

And lastly, of course, we had to drop in Macy's to see the holiday decor. The trees in the Walnut Room were my favorite. I also noticed for the first time that there seems to be a Christmas fairy that goes around the restaurant granting wishes. The decor elsewhere in the building was just as I remember. I'm not a big fan of the ornaments hanging below the Tiffany Ceiling, since that's pretty enough on its own! 

I'll be headed back for another shorter trip right at Christmas time. Between preparing for that, Crafty Wonderland, and the holiday season, I should be pretty busy through the end of the year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Architecture: Mansueto Library

This project was under construction while we lived here in Chicago, and I hadn't had a chance to see it complete. At one point Chuck toured it under construction during Grad School, and got a few nice pictures of the underground work in progress. It's an addition by Helmut Jahn to the existing 1970 brutalist building by Skidmore, Owings and Merril (SOM). The addition includes a reading room, offices, and 50 feet of below ground book storage with an automated retrieval system. (That last link is a video that explains the system)

 Mansueto Library Printer's Block

Although I was able to get in for a visit I had to leave my Dad outside. Apparently they will only allow visitors from more than 60 miles away to come in with a day pass. (Glad I finally got my Oregon ID not too long ago.) The interior seems like an attractive study space and it was certainly packed. I couldn't help but he reminded of the Seattle Public Library, although the scale of this space is much smaller. A connecting hallway was also part of the new construction and features a nice collection of lead reproductions of printer's marks including William Morris and others, by artist and architect Edgar Miller. I tried not to keep my Dad waiting too long, but I think he was entertained by taking some pictures of the elaborate collegiate Gothic architecture on the University of Chicago campus, which even includes some great gargoyles.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Museums: Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium Light Shedd Aquarium

I think the last time I visited an aquarium was in the 90s, when the Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati was brand new. When we lived here in Chicago we visited the Field Museum frequently and the Planetarium a few times on the community days for locals, but never made it to the Shedd Aquarium. The special exhibit right now is all about Jellyfish. I was particularly interested in seeing this exhibit after seeing a few types of jellies beached on the Oregon Coast this year. 

Jellies Pink FIsh

My favorite jellyfish of the exhibit were the blue blubbers from Australia, but they were very fast moving and difficult to photography. The Shedd has a video of them in action, which gives you an idea of the great colors they come in, dark and light blue, tan, white, and brown.  Much more camera friendly were the white spotted jellyfish, pictured above.

Crown of Thorns Starfish Garden Eels

Other fascinating creatures in the permanent exhibits included the Crown of Thorns Starfish, which have been known to destroy reefs with their stomach acid. I really thought the Garden Eels were cute, but when I brought my mom over to look at them she found them creepy. I have to admit they do remind me of the "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from the Little Mermaid. Of course there were lots of types of sting ray and the large, "living fossil" fish were interesting. The Arapaima was the largest. The varied textures, particularly its face, were very unusual.

Shedd Aquarium Ceiling Shedd Aquarium Light

The aquatic theme pervades all of the detailing of the 1929 building. This includes waves and fish on the exterior, light fixtures throughout the building, and fish squares on the doors and ceiling. It's a late beaux arts style building executed by a post-Burnham Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. It's very similar to the other buildings on the museum campus, like the Field, which was designed by Daniel Burnham. The museum campus is a great place to go for some of the best views of the city, but only if you can stand to be in one of the windiest and coldest parts of town, right out on Lake Michigan. I only got a few shots, one looking north and one looking south, before I had to keep moving toward the museum to stay warm. The waves are getting very high right now, and it looks way too cold out there, but Chicago is a gorgeous city.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Belated Happy Thanksgiving!

Jill & Tim Passing Food Dinner time

Hope everyone had an excellent holiday! We spent it visiting with my Grandma, Aunt and Cousins in Ohio. My family did a great job accommodating the vegans (I'll make it plural even though I was the only one. Chuck stayed in Portland, celebrating with Lucy.) this year. Look how packed my plate was! 

Last Preparations Grandma shows off the spinach

The meal included the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute, which was really good. We picked up two bags of vegan stuffing from Whole Foods (the first year I'd seen that available) and my Mom used the mix for her recipe, throwing in celery and spices. My Aunt brought spinach and brussel sprouts, which I was happy to have. Dad made two kinds of scalloped potatoes one cheesy for the cheese fans, and a vegan recipe from the Native foods blog that used cashew cheese and fennel. There was also a parsnip and apple dish, an improvised green bean dish that turned out just right, cranberries served in one of Grandma's beautiful dishes, and sweet potatoes cooked from a recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. The meat and cheese eaters also had yeast rolls, turkey, and apple pie, but those were the only non-vegan items of the day. There were also vegan pumpkin pies just to make us extra full. Us kids all decided to have sparkling apple cider in fancy glasses too.

Hello Kitty Black Friday Thrift Store Finds

We had a lot of fun other that eating too. Watching the Macy's Day parade and the dog show (why so many breeds though...ugh) but added Lady Gaga's special to this years viewing. It was better than I was expecting and I notice Grandma clapping along and enjoying "Bad Romance." This also lead to a lot of silliness over the next few days with the family trying to recreate various dance moves. We did just a little Black Friday shopping, and I made out at the Thrift Store's half-off sale. I nabbed 7 articles of clothing and a belt for under $10. We also headed to big lots where I got lots of decent yarn for very cheap. But that was enough shopping for us, mostly we just enjoyed visiting and hanging out!

Hope everyone had as great a holiday as I did this year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Home for the Holiday

Birds on it Glass Urns Candles

We've been hanging out at my parents' place most of today and yesterday. Thanksgiving food prep is well underway, ready for transport to my grandma's in Ohio. Here are my parents, working hard & chopping things:

Mom Chops Yams Dad chops apples
And Slick, our cat who is about 23, found a spot in the hall, at the edge of the kitchen, to watch it all from a safe distance. Or sleep, mostly, he's an old cat.

Ball of Slick

Monday, November 21, 2011

Art Institute: Thorne Miniatures & Modern Wing

English Entrance Hall, 1775 French Library, 1930s

I love the Thorne Miniature Room, in the basement of the Art Institute. It's a collection of miniature, dollhouse style, rooms from all over the world, and across time periods. I remember reading director Wes Anderson is also a fan. For the holidays they are decorated with tiny items appropriate to Christmas in each time and region:

Louisiana Bedroom & Christmas Ballgown English Drawing Room with Tree

The only room with a Christmas Tree was the English Drawing Room (on the right) while others, like the Louisiana Bedroom (on the left), had other types of accessories. This is a Christmas ballgown. There was also a New Mexican Feast, and a pair of clogs left in front of the fireplace in the French Provencial Bedroom.

Bertrand Goldberg Exhibit Modern Wing

There was also an extremely comprehensive exhibit on the works of Bertrand Goldberg in the Modern Wing. most famous for the Marina City Towers and several similar buildings here in Chicago. I wasn't able to take pictures in the exhibit, but a lot of them are available on the exhibition website, under selected works. It's was fascinating to learn of his early interest in mobileprefabricated structures, and very early use of computer modeling. It was mentioned as being used on a project completed in 1975. The exhibit even included some of his student work from his time at the Bauhaus. Lastly, there was also an exciting exhibit in the neighboring hall of photography taken of Marina City Residents in their homes; a few from that are also viewable online.

There's currently a 12 foot bronze sculpture in the main hall of the Modern Wing. It's called "Vatter Staat" by German artist Thomas Schutte. The title translates as "Father State." We also hung out a bit in the member's lounge and cafe, spent some time enjoying the recently re-installed Chagall "America Windows" and the Paperweight Collection, and quickly walked through the Alsdorf  Galleries (with Indian, Asian and Himalayan Art.) We saw a lot, but there's still tons more there to see could have spent another day there!