Thursday, May 31, 2007

Women In Art

I saw this wonderful bit of art and music on Lesley Riley's blog today and I felt compelled to post it on my blog. This is breathtakingly beautiful and with the Bach Cello Concerto in the background, it is a total perfect mixture of art, music, and technology. Please take a few minutes to watch this!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How Much Is Too Much?

I have a lot of stuff! It is all good stuff, but there is a lot of it. In the past month I have really gone to town and "gathered" lots of new art supplies, books, and music. What is about these things that I can never seem to get enough of? I am so in love with books, music, vintage photographs, scrapbook paper, and rubber stamps!!! Above are two stamps that Jane brought back for me from her trip to Red Lead in St. Louis. Aren't they gorgeous?
About three weeks ago Jane and I had to go to a party downtown. Well, lo and behold, there was a scrapbook store on the way to the party. Well, actually we worked it out so there were four stores along the way! Anyway, we found these new papers by Tres Jolie. Aren't they tres beautiful???

Remeber the wonderful quilt store from a few posts ago? Well, my Mom and I went back last weekend for a few things. I bought a little bit of this wonderful alphabet fabric. I love alphabet anything.
Now for a typical Mike and Laura story. It was last Monday, Memorial Day. We drove up to Evanston (about 45 minutes away from us) to see a movie that was only playing there. First stop was Barnes and Noble, then Borders, and then we decided to keep going to bookstores instead of seeing the movie! I got the above two great magazines at B&N. I bought the totally rocking Van Halen CD at Half-Price books which is a great used bookstore chain that is just starting to come into the Chicago area.

Speaking of books, here are the books I got on Monday. They all look very interesting. I wrote down a ton of other titles that look very good too.

Book Note: Remember the previous post where I was going to read The Next Thing on My List. I could not make it through the book. It was just too light. I still think the author is a very good writer, but I just could not keep going. I am currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner. It is SO GOOD! I cannot put it down. I am really learning alot about Afghanistan and really love the main characters. In fact, I am really feeling upset about all the horrible things that were going on there and probably still are. I need to educate myself about the current happenings there.

As we were browsing I found tons of books I wanted to read. I wanted to buy 20 books and be shipped off to a cabin by a lake for the entire summer!! Anyway, here are some of the books I put on my list:

Ivy Briefs:The Tale of a Neurotic Law Student

Casting with a Fragile Thread: A Story of Sisters and Africa

The Sun Farmer

Incendiary Circumstances by Amitav Ghosh

Sharon and My Mother-In-Law: Ramallah Diaries

The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones

If Today Be Sweet by Thrity Umrigar

A Life Less Ordinary by Baby Halder

By the way, Mike found a great website. It is called LaLa. It is a CD trading site! You list all of your CDs and then you make a list of CDs that you want, and then you trade with people. It is $1.75 per trade, but so worth it! If you sign up mention that I sent you and I might get a t-shirt.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Latest Obsession (one of many)

I am in love with looking for vintage patterns! I have had great good luck finding them at antique shops for $1 to $3! The ones pictured here are from an Ebay shop and are a bit pricy, but they are all very unique and hard to find.
This weekend I hope to go through all of mine, make some copies, and start using them in round robin journals and card making.
I am just a nut for vintage ephemera! I could browse for hours through stashes of paper.

Next time I get all hepped up over something, I need to remind myself to retreat to my stash of vintage paper and photos!

What is your latest obsession????

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Home Alone

Mike had to go out of town for work. He will be gone overnight. So I felt that entitled me to toot it up! First of all I went to Barnes and Noble. I had to return two books that did not pass my 50 page test and I had a coupon, so I ended up getting these four books!!!!
They all look so good I don't know which one to start first, although I suspect it will be the one by Jill Smolinski. The subject matter of A Thousand Splendid Suns, while sad and brutal, seems very interesting. I really love reading about people in foreign cultures. So, the book below, Free Food for Millionaires, really caught my eye too. Although that one is set in American and is about Korean immigrants.
The Robert Kurson book should be really great. His first book Shadow Divers is one of the books that I highly recommend (if you have a Dad that reads, Shadow Divers would be an excellent choice for Father's Day. My Dad and brother both loved it). It is one of the best books I ever read. If you don't think the subject matter looks interesting, don't worry, I thought the same thing, and then could not put the book down.
On my last round through the store I spied the above book. The cover caught my eye, and then I thought that the author's name sounded familiar. Upon closer inspection I saw that she wrote the book Flip-Flopped. Well that was such a great and fun read that I immediately had to get this book, and I suspect I will be starting this one within the next 15 minutes!!!

Now, also since I was home alone I felt that entitled me to bring home Taco Bell for dinner. Just finished that.

You know how else you can tell I am home alone? I did not fill the ice cube tray after using it all up. I will have to deal with that one before Mike returns tomorrow, but for now, I am just really feeling like I own this place!!!! Oh, and I did not hang up my work clothes either!! Scandalous!

P.S. I did not finish the last couple of books that I had in my sidebar for one reason or another. So, now my vow is to read these four new books right in a row and also, I promised Mike I would not buy a new book until Harry Potter 7 comes out. Can I hold to this promise???? It is a good thing that I am not addicted to Jimmy Choo shoes and diamonds!!!! (although I really could get into diamonds truth be told!) However, currently my biggest addictions are stamps, music, and books!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Broadway Show Tunes and all that jazz.....

Over the last year or so I have been listening to albums of Broadway shows. I guess it all started when I went to see Wicked, which I loved!!! I bought the CD and listened to it ad nauseum. Then at work I was listening to and they had a special Broadway station which introduced me to a lot of other musicals. Head nerd reporting in sir!! Anyway, that lead to the purchase of several musicals. My current favorite is The Drowsy Chaperone!! The music is great and the plot is hilarious! I wish I could jet off to New York to see it! What Broadway show would you most like to see (present or past!!!)?????? I would love to know!

I changed around some links to other blogs in my sidebar and added a few more lists of my opinions. Please feel free to opine about any of your faves here!

Okay, tomorrow is Friday! Wahoo! Go to work, come home, feel exhausted, sleep a lot, and hopefully (as I say every weekend) get some cleaning/organizing done and stamp a lot! Usually that turns into reading and sleeping a lot!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Regular Joe

People, it is true that I try to write only positive things on my blog. I mean why dwell on the negatives in life? But I must say that what draws me close to someone and ensures my beloved devotion to my friends is because I know their weaknesses. I certainly can tell you all about their strengths, but I really like a person who has the ability to speak honestly about their humanity. Someone you can always be yourself around because you know they are a "regular Joe."

I am a Regular Joe because:

1) I spend too much money on books, music, and art supplies.
2) On Sundays, if I can get away with it, I just lay around the house all day and read and take naps.
3) I am the world's worst housekeeper.
4) My husband does the laundry and most of the cooking.
5) I desparately need a pedicure.
6) I could eat an entire medium/large pizza myself.
7) I can eat Taco Bell five times a week (except Mike won't let me).
8) I hate going to parties because I detest small talk.

What makes you a Regular Joe???

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Quilt Basket in Downers Grove, Illinois

Yesterday my Mom and I celebrated Mother's Day. We had the day planned out. We were going to Jane's house to stamp. But then Mom mentioned she wanted to make a quick stop at the The Quilt Basket so I called Jane and we decided to all go together. You know where this is leading right? We never stamped!! Toot Toot! We went to the quilt shop and then on to Jackson Square Antique mall!!! Out of control! Well, I have to show you this quilt shop. It is absolutely glorious and the owners are the best!! This is the best kind of shop, the kind where the owners are smart, friendly, vivacious, and have a sense of humor! In other words, the kind you want to return to again and again. You know I don't know how to quilt or sew, but we can use lovely fabrics in our card projects and other altered arts, so it is a great shop to check out.
These pillows made from vintage handkerchiefs were just so neato! We are going to try to make these in the future! We bought some vintage hankies at the antique store along with some cool buttons.
Isn't this just perfection??? It is still at the store if anyone wants to order it! Unless I rush over thre tomorrow and buy it!
Here I am with the lovely owners, Denise, Amy, and Connie!!! Note the book, Hooked on Hankies, in the front. I got that for my mom. It looks chockfull of great ideas! Vintage hankie quilt anyone?
Yum, yum!
Here are my Mom and Denise looking at the exquisite quilt Denise made using vintage white hankies.
Close-up of Denise's quilt.
My Mom bought a Quilt Basket t-shirt and so she fit right in with Amy, Denise, and Connie!
I always used to stay away from the color red, but lately I am loving it!!!
Reproduction vintage buttons!!!!
This is an outside shot of the Quilt Basket so that it looks familiar when you want to find it!
Amy Butler home fabrics!!! Gorgeous!
This is purse made out of the Amy Butler home fabrics. We ordered the pattern. Jane and I bought the material and we are going to make my Mom make us these!!!
Here are some samples of Russian Punch Needle embroidery. Looks fun!
Sample of a quilt made with pre-cut fabric squares. Gorgeous.
Cool skirt!
Beautiful blue fabric with birdies!

Sorry this is blurry, but is this apron not the cutest!!! It does not make me want to use it for cooking or baking though! I would just wear it as a crafting accessory!

We had a wonderful day tooting around. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful and loving Mom! Thanks for everything you do for me Mom! I love you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

If I were Queen.......

Well, if I were Queen: Of course, the first things I would do away with would be war, poverty, and mean people! So assuming the general population was taken care of, I would then decree the following:

1. Issuance of big diamond rings (tastefully done) to all who would so like.
2. Each person would have 3 vacations a year: one to somewhere exotic (Japan, Europe, Africa), one to somewhere in the USA (New York city, Rocky Mountain National Park, Bainbridge Island, San Francisco), and then one with their extended family to a place with several cabins on a lake.
3. Every Friday after work each person would go to a bookstore and pick out a new book and several magazines. Then Friday night would be extended by four hours and you would not be tired at all after the work week.
4. Taco Bell would taste the same, but have no calories. The same with pizza, bread, cheese, and chocolate.
5. For all those who are passionate about their hobbies; an allotment of free supplies would be coming your way. For example, for me there would be 3 free stamps a week!
6. I would decree that a full-time job would be 30 hours a week. I think that is plenty! Also, everyone would be paid a real living wage!!
7. A new car!!!! (said in a game show announcer voice!)

8. Cool purses and shoes for everyone! Vera Bradley! Coach! El Naturalista shoes! Etc.
9. And lastly, (and this one won't make sense to any but Mike, my Dad, and I), there will be no IRL, and all of my favorite drivers will be back to Champ Car and they will be way more popular then Nascar.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Stamping at Camp Trixie - co-starring Bella The Wonder Cat

Here is the output of cards that Trish and I did this weekend at her house. She has a perfectly organized, clean, and lovely stamp room! It is De-Luxe!!! We had a great time, as we always do when we are together.

Trish and I met in 1985 when we both worked in the psychiatric unit of the local hospital. She worked with the teenagers (I don't know how she did it!) and I worked with adults and did screenings in the ER. We had lots of fun then because most of the time we worked together we worked the 3-11 shift and there was lots of going out after working and dancing!!! Oh, and a few cocktails too, I cannot lie. Anyway, we have been friends for a long time, and I am so thankful for her friendship! Trish is the definition of a true friend! She is funny, easy to hang around with, generous, and a real caretaker!
Here is a close-up of some of our cards.
Trish has a really cool collection of religious icons.
Neither of us is Catholic, but after the Pope died we were on our way up to Wisconsin for some stamping related hoo-ha, and we stopped at a Walgreen's where they were selling these commemorative Pope John Paul candles. We felt we should get one.
Trish got a new computer that has a special software program that makes producing collage sheets from our vintage photos a snap!!! I hope we can turn this into a little business someday cause we have some totally cool pictures people! (Note the Starburst addiction making its way into this picture!)
Here I am madly at work on something!
Trish Challenge: We each had to make a card with this beautiful girl image. Trish's card is on the left and mine is on the right.
Here are some of the cool stamps Trish has!!!! Inspiration!
Here is Miss Trish standing at her new stamping station! Very cool piece of furniture!
One time when we were antiquing we came across this very weathered piece of cabinetry. Perfect for showing off stamps! Trish had her wonderful husband Dave go back with his truck and she got it for her birthday!
Here is Trish's cat, Bella! She is a super sweet and loving young miss! I just love her!!! Such a great cat she is!
Here is the view from the stamping room! Trish lives "out in the country" and her house is on a large lot with tons of trees!! It is so peaceful! Those bushes are peonies! One of my favorite flowers! They should be blooming in a few weeks.

We had a wonderful time!!!!! Wish all of you could have joined us!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wow! Getting back into the swing of things is so hard! I have been home for two weeks and I am still reading the same book! It is a really fast read and so well written, and I still am having trouble finishing it! I am working really hard at my new job, trying to prove my worth I guess. I am still enjoying the new job and working with my buddy Jane.

Mostly, I have been working and then coming home and hanging with Mike. However, recently I had the great thrill of meeting Anjali of Lotus Reads!!!!!!!
She was in town for a literary festival and we got to meet briefly during a break in the action there. I drove her up and down part of Lake Shore Drive because if you are in Chicago you have to see that! Anjali is so cool and so smart!!! She is really interesting to talk to and a total sweetie!!! I wish she lived closer!

I have not been in my stamp room in a month!! Scandal!! I am planning on driving out to my friend Trish's house this Saturday for some stamping therapy! Hopefully I will have something cool to post on my blog!

Wish I had some more exciting news to report, but for now I am just living life, having a good time, drinking Tab, and eating Starburst candies (one of the gals in the office has them on her desk and I am now addicted! Sheesh!).