Amy Artisan

Family | Travel | Craft | Life | Books

Month: April 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Currently…April

April showers…seem to be very prevalent this month…the month is closing today with rains of biblical proportion, to quote the radio announcer on the drive home – it sure seems like it has been a pretty wet month. Although, there was that one weekend of early summertime that yielded some much needed patio time. So what was I into throughout the month?

Reading…quite a bit, as I shared in my twitterature link-up and continue to work through more books. On the nightstand right now, a childhood throw back “Little House in the Big Woods” as I join in a blog-based book club (post coming)

Watching…Sabrina (one of my faves); The Great Gatsby; Heat; enjoying the new Fargo series on FX; the whole family thoroughly enjoyed seeing “God’s Not Dead” while I was home in the ‘Ville.

Listening…I finally downloaded Pink Martini’s new album with The Von Trapps (indeed, from “that” family). As with all Pink Martini albums, it’s a winner! And how can you not help but smile when listening to great arrangements of “Lonely Goatherd” & “Edelweiss” sung by the Von Trapps. It has been way to long since I’ve seen Pink Martini in concert – hopefully one of these days their tour schedule and my schedule will align again.

Crafting…recording the Brewers baseball season in stitches (& contemplating how to use this approach for some other sporting fun); needing to finish up on the baby knit since the baby has arrived

Painting with an Amy Artisan Twist

Painting with an Amy Artisan Twist

Painting…a work team outing to Painting With a Twist was to paint a beach scene with a palm tree & beach chairs – I just wasn’t feeling the palm tree & chairs…so, I googled “Door County Beach Sand Dunes” on my phone, found a couple of pictures for inspiration & instead turned my canvas into an interpretation of my preferred beaches. Thanks to my friend Melissa for being another renegade beach dune painter – we were both very happy with our outcomes.

"Go To" Recipes

“Go To” Recipes

Cooking…Spring Simplicity = Roasting shrimp & asparagus and pairing with homemade citrus curry aioli; Baked oatmeal for breakfast (raspberries in the mix brighten it up for spring!)

Sipping…it’s time to keep a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge all the time again; while I enjoy iced coffee year round it’s time to order more of one of my warmer weather favorites: Blueberry Cobbler from Door County Coffee & Tea Co.

Warm Weather Fireplace Screen

Warm Weather Fireplace Screen

Greening…now that the fireplace is not in use, I’ve picked up a fun plant to provide a bit of color in front if it.

Styling…a long overdue haircut has really brought out the curly in my hair that is now the longest it has been since high school…My 20% off everything at Ulta coupon was a catalyst for a spring makeup refresh – the Pur Minerals CC cream is perfect coverage, a bright new lipstick, a makeup palette inspired by Capri…

Easter Sunday Family Selfie

Easter Sunday Family Selfie

Traveling & Celebrating, Part I…it was great to be home in the ‘Ville for Easter with the family – I’ll never be too old to enjoy wearing an Easter orchid corsage from Dad!

Will's First Communion

Will’s First Communion

Traveling & Celebrating, Part II…a favorite kid’s first communion was the perfect opportunity for a long weekend in Marinette! When he woke up on Sunday morning, his first words to me were “You can call me First Communion Boy today, Miss Amy!” So many fun moments with my WI family during my days back with them – cheering on a cousin as she hit a home run in her final college softball game on a very chilly Saturday afternoon and having some roadtrip fun on our way there & back; lunch at my fave Marinette restaurant where the owner greeted me with “Good to see you again, Amy”; watching the Brewers on TV; prepping all the food for the family party after church; general silliness among us all…and so much more… We are all counting the weeks till they head my way for some summer vacation fun…

Looking Ahead…planning what patio gardening I will do this summer…summer vacation planning…adding to the never ending “to read” list…

Linking up with Leigh Kramer for the monthly “What I’m Into” round-up. What are you into these days?

P.S. A bit late to the game…I’m finally claiming my blog through Bloglovin – so pardon the extra code…Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Batter Up!

Another sure sign of spring – the return of baseball! I remember first getting into baseball when we moved to the Kansas City area as I started 6th grade. We arrived there in time to get caught up in the Royals frenzy of the “I-70 Show Me State World Series.” Less than a year later, we became friends with a young player on the Royals team & his wife when they started attending our church – from then on, baseball was a more engaging sport. Even when Mike was traded away & then we moved away from Kansas City, we always enjoyed going to games when his team was playing our local team.

Living in Georgia in the 90s, Braves fever was hot – although I never really became a fan. Most Braves games I saw were “chosen” because our friend Mike and team were in town. While interning in Houston, I was able to see several games at the old Houston AstroDome when Mike’s team was in town – what an odd sensation for your feet to be cold while watching the game on an extremely hot day because of the AC in there. When I moved to Chicago, I became a bit of a Cubs fan – because that’s what you do when you are in your mid 20s and live on the north side of Chicago. Games at Wrigley Field are quite an experience – no matter the outcome of the game.
In the last couple of years, as I was essentially living in Marinette, I became a Brewers fan and have enjoyed a couple of games at Miller Park with my WI family. It has been fun to see the kids run the bases after a game and of course the sausage races are a fun in game entertainment. Last summer, heavy rains moved into the area during the game but the roof was quietly & quickly closed before rain drops descended (now, getting from the stadium to the van in the parking lot was different, soggy story).
Fun times at Miller Park

Fun times at Miller Park

So, why am I rambling about baseball on the blog today? Because this year I’m charting the Milwaukee Brewers season in a scarf – the exact color sequence will be determined by their record: Home Win = Blue; Home Loss = White; Away Win = Yellow; Away Loss = Gray. I stumbled across Stacie’s Crackerjack concept just before opening day so I thought it would be fun to do. Of course, I’m hoping this scarf will be predominately blue & yellow. But, after selecting my colors and sequence I realized that the loss colors are in line with the Brewers adorable new mascot, Hank. No matter the outcome, it will be fun to see how the stripes evolve.
Current progress...

Current progress…

I have my spreadsheet setup to record the wins & losses. And I even formatted it to color code corresponding to my yarn choices. Because, yes, I’m a geek like that.  I’m not going to stress about knitting each game result on a daily basis – my goal will be to never be more than a week behind the schedule. And of course, I hope that my scarf ends up even longer than currently planned because of post season play. (Ravelry Project Details)
Keeping track of their record...er, the knit evolution...

Keeping track of their record…er, the knit evolution…

Later this summer I’ll be seeing my 3rd Brewers game at Miller Park – I’m thinking that I might need to add a metallic thread to the rows that chart that game.

What are your baseball memories? Who do you root for? What sport and craft connections do you have?

Recently Read – April 2014

Reading seems to come in waves around here recently – but with the return of patio weather, I look forward to many “happy hours” of reading in my chair on the patio to end the day. Over the weekend, we jumped past spring into some summer-like weather – so of course I was on the patio reading. (Never mind the “return to winter” temps that then marked this week – those weekend hours were bliss.)

A favorite reading spot

A favorite reading spot

In the last 2 months, I’ve consumed several books…with varying degrees of enjoyment in the read…
  • Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) – I “finally” finished this one in March. Overall, I enjoyed it – a clever detective story. I think my problem was that I put it down back in October in favor of other reads and then had a tough time getting back into it. When the next one comes out, I’m pretty sure I need to “read it straight through.” As I was in London, it was fun to go past locations and recall a mention in this book.
  • The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson – A fascinating Pulitzer prize-winning fiction set in North Korea. Indeed, the life story of the son of an orphan master who was raised in an orphanage, started his military service on tunnel patrol, was pulled into “secret” missions, becomes a prisoner and reinvents himself out of a prison camp.
  • The Anatomist’s Apprentice by Tessa Harris – (audio) Meh. The first in a series about an American anatomist in England in the 1780s. An attempt at CSI meets the splash of the Pink Carnation series. Not sure if I’ll continue this series.
  • Death by Cashmere by Sally Goldenbaum – The first in a “quick read” knitting mystery series. After the “heavy” reading of Orphan Master, a light read seemed in order. The setting reminded me of a fall weekend near Cape Cod, the fun of Door County and Harbor Country and the yarn shop reminded me of some of my favorite yarn shops of years gone by. It was a breezy read but I’m not sure I’ll seek out the rest of the series.
  • The Expats by Chris Pavone – An espionage tale mixed with a ‘home life/domestic’ story with a bit of whiplash from how the chapters move between present & past & further past & back & forth all at once. I snagged this after reading a review about the author’s newest book & seeing that the library offered this. I’m still not sure my thoughts on the book – the story was a clever “twist” on spy thrillers but the structure seemed distracting.   #whiplash
  • My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (audio) – After enjoying a a delightful evening at the theater seeing Wooster & Jeeves in London, I knew I needed to add this series to my reading (or listening). As I listen to the stories, I must admit that instead of the voice of the audio book narrator I hear Jeeves dialog as portrayed by Matthew MacFayden and I see Wooster’s expressive face as portrayed by Stephen Magnan on stage.
  • Active reads/listens to be included in future reviews: The Apple Orchard; The Romanov Prophecy; Moonwalking with Einstein and more…
  • Hold requests at the library include Laura Ingalls Wilder & Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The kindle is recharging in advance of a couple of (stateside) flights “for fun” this month…so plenty of reading time awaits…

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s monthly twitterature review. (Which of course leads to many more books being added to my “to read” list…)

What are you reading these days?

Business Trip Tourist: London

The last week of March, I had a couple of days of business meetings in London. In addition to productive meetings, I managed to insert a few touristy activities to make the most of my first trip to London.
I arrived to Heathrow on Monday morning. After collecting my luggage and passing through Border Patrol, as I walked through the doorway of the passenger arrivals area to a sea of people waiting for friends & family it was a given that “God Only Knows” would be the ear worm that filled my head.
London Scenes
Since my meetings didn’t start until Tuesday, I had Monday for exploring. Before arriving, I had grand plans to explore a couple of museums; however, those plans were sidelined by a blister (all that DC walking) & the reality that I would be doing a fair bit of walking to/from the meetings each day. After a quick rest at the hotel, I mapped out a new plan with the help of the concierge – I had a ticket for one of the on & off tour buses and away I went.
London Scenes
It was a sunny & crisp afternoon – sitting in the open air of the upper level of the bus was perfect for keeping me awake when my body was saying “just let me sleep.” The tour guide was a delightful fount of information – I could have easily stayed on the bus for the entire route. But, at the Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey I hopped off the bus so that I could achieve my one goal for the afternoon: enjoy a proper afternoon tea.
London Scenes
While web-planning things I wanted to do in London, I had stumbled across the website for a cafe on the grounds of the abbey that seemed like a perfect option for tea. Indeed, the afternoon tea at The Cellarium was a lovely recharge for my very tired self.
Tea Time
After tea, I hopped back on the bus for a bit more sight seeing before heading back to the hotel.
London Scenes
Once our meetings concluded on Wednesday afternoon, I had the evening free since I wasn’t flying home till Thursday morning. I caught a cab to Leicster Square and went to the TKTS booth to see what shows had “special” tickets for the evening. I had decided that I didn’t want to see a big musical or something that was “easy access” back home. I picked up a 2nd row ticket to the new play “Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense” based on the works of P.G. Wodehouse. I’ve been a fan of the actor Matthew MacFadyen since I discovered the MI-5/Spooks television series on Netflix several years ago – it was a treat to see him originate the role of Jeeves and be very comedic after mostly seeing his dramatic roles. To complete the tourist experience for the evening, my dinner before the show was fish ‘n chips & a pint at a pub around the corner from the theatre.
Taking in a show in the West End
While the trip was quick…the work meetings were worthwhile & the moments of touring were a lovely first introduction to London. Needless to say, I will not be disappointed if I have another meeting there in the future.
One the flight home, I looked out the window & saw Iceland

One the flight home, I looked out the window & saw Iceland

In 17+ years of business travel, I’ve managed to find all sorts fun moments in the midst of work. This trip was no exception!

One Community: April 2014

The words chosen for One Community to celebrate the start of April are perfect for this time of year – they celebrate the arrival of spring and the promise that the new season holds: SPRINGFLOWERSPURPLERISE

Now that all the snow is finally (!) gone from around here, signs of spring are starting to appear. Among all of the downed trees and limbs from the winter, there are glimpses of green and buds pushing through the dirt an onto limbs. The most evidence so far is the light coating of pollen on my dark colored car. In the absence of grabbing local pictures, I’ll pull some pictures from my March travels to Washington DC & London.


Spring | While enjoying some sight seeing via double decker bus on a Monday afternoon, I saw numerous green parks in London that just seemed to “scream” spring is here – the lush green lawns, the bright yellow of daffodils in bloom, people out & about in the parks.


Flowers | My quick trip to Washington DC last month was just ahead of when the famous cherry blossoms are in fully bloom explosion. While walking past the Native American museum, we saw this bit of bloom starting to emerge.


Purple | The only purple in this travel collection is a blurry shot of huge orchids in the Conservatory at the National Botanic Garden.


Rise | Amelia Earhart’s plane at the National Air & Space Museum. Pretty much every where you looked in the museum, “rise” was an appropriate word.

Connecting with One Community – to learn more about this monthly photo blog link-up, Sarah’s host entry has all the details.

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