I have several things I want to blog about, including getting up to date with my ABCs (err, H & I) but for now I’m jumping straight to J.


J is for JOYCE (aka Artisan Mom)

I remember when I was learning to read I made the connection that within my Mom’s name was Joy. Even at a young age I knew how appropriate that was – Mom has always brought joy to everything that she does.

This weekend she had a ‘big’ birthday. It was made even better because the whole Artisan Family was together here in Chicago to celebrate Mom. It has been several years since the four of us were all together here in Chicago – most of our family celebrations have been home in the ‘Ville. This weekend we were greatful for some wonderful respite care for Grandma that allowed for a Chicago birthday celebration for Mom.

Given the state of air travel these days, unfortunately it wasn’t that much of a surprise that their flight was about 3 hours late arriving on Thursday evening – it was almost midnight when we got to my house, so our planned Thai takeout dinner would end up being Friday lunch. The Chicago weather was perfect spring – sunny, blue skies, and lots of green grass & trees accented with lilacs and other spring blooms. We didn’t have many plans for the weekend – we just gave Mom some “dress code guidelines” for Friday & Saturday reservations. We did a little bit of shopping, a little bit of driving, a little bit of relaxing with books & a favorite musical on DVD, and a lot of just enjoying being together. On Friday evening we had reservations for dinner at A Mano – it was fun to order several things off the menu & share amongst us all; of course we saved room to enjoy their delicious gelato for dessert.

Our “big” surprise was Saturday afternoon – all Mom knew was that we had 4:30 PM reservations & we were dressing up a bit more. As we headed downtown, Mom was just glad that we were all together & didn’t seem to have a clue where we were going. It wasn’t until we turned the corner and pulled up in front of The Peninsula Chicago that Mom realized we were going to enjoy afternoon tea at my favorite tea spot. As we enjoyed all of the delicious treats on the menu we recalled the lovely afternoon tea we enjoyed in Bermuda 9 years ago this month. This “quick pic” at the end of the afternoon definitely captures the fun of the weekend.

And to celebrate a milestone birthday for a Mom who has done so much for so many I had a secret knit on the needles in the last month: “A Hug for Mom” – a simple shawl using yarn that I picked up last summer.

The Details – Pattern: Simple Yet Effective Shawl; Yarn: Brooks Farm Yarn Limited Edition III a wool and silk blend in a medium/steel blue, 2 skeins; Needles; Size 10; Modifications: Since Mom’s birthday is the 17th I had the garter stitch section at 17 ridges; the edge of the shawl had 2 stitches & then the yarn over to increase.   When I bought this yarn last summer I had a specific pattern in mind; however, as I started with the yarn and pattern it was obvious that they weren’t a match – same with the 2nd pattern. Truly, the third time was a charm by going with a simple pattern that I had knit before – the simple stitches allowed the yarn to really come to life.

The weekend trip may have been quick; however, it was wonderful to celebrate the JOY that is Mom!