Amy Artisan

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Category: Project Spectrum (page 3 of 5)

Hanging Out with the Folks…

Instead of heading to the airport to fly back to Chicago on Friday I picked up a rental car (a slick new Azera which the family has dubbed Hank) merged south onto I-75, set the cruise control & headed down to the ‘Ville to hang out with Mom & Dad. It was a fun weekend – filled with playin’ in the dirt, grillin, chillin’ & knittin’.

Playin’ in the dirt…

Saturday was a gardening day for Amy Artisan & Dad Artisan. I definitely inherited my green thumb from him and since I didn’t do my deck plantings or flowerbed this summer since I’m traveling it was fun to ‘play in the dirt’ for a bit & help get everything planted at home.

The first thing we did was plant the zinnias in the front flowerbed. (Zinnias are an Artisan Family favorite flower.) As Dad lifted up the turtle statue to move it out of the flowerbed he discovered a Mama Skink had nested & was watching over 6-8 eggs. So, the turtle statue will stay where it is & Mama Skink now has a lovely flowered & mulched home for her babies.

Skinks Home

We also planted up several color pots for the front entry to the house as well as the back deck. I think my favorite planting was the red & white coleus in the red pot – look closely & you’ll see a familiar “As Seen on TV” item – that’s right, the coleus are in the “Pasta Pot” from several years ago. The pot had outlived it’s usefulness in the kitchen & was such a pretty color that we thought it would be fun to plant into it – the red coleus leaves are a perfect match for it. Next year I vote for basil in the pasta pot – how fun would it be to grow “pasta herbs” in the pasta pot?

Pasta Pot Coleus

The other color pots indeed contain a lot of different colors: zinnias, coleus, petunias and more!

Flower Pot Color



Dad & I cleaned up the grill & made use of it for dinner on Saturday & Sunday. Saturday got the grill going for the season with turkey mignon, Vidailia onion slices and yellow squash slices. Sunday was yummy marinated steak. The meals were rounded off with super sweet canteloupe and Mom’s homemade strawberry pie. Having Mom’s home cooking is always great but I appreciated it even more this weekend since I’m eating out ALL the time while on the road.



A couple of fun movies that we watched over the weekend: Nanny McPhee & Glory Road. Both were fun flicks & good entertainment!



On Saturday afternoon Dad & I went to Hobby Lobby & spent the vast majority of time in the yarn section. There were several ‘new to me’ baby yarns that look like they would be so soft & cuddly for baby blankets – I have to make 2 baby boy blankets this summer so I think I will try some of these yarns instead of reaching for my “standard” Bernat Cotton Tots.

While browsing through the yarn at Hobby Lobby on Saturday I found a good selection of my favorite Sugar’n Cream for dishcloths – including several colors that I haven’t seen in store before. So, even though I had some SnC yarn in the suitcase for hotel knitting I picked up 5 balls of summertime colors. Saturday evening I got started on 1 “Grandma’s favorite” & kept on going all Sunday afternoon & evening. I’ll be finishing up the 5th dishcloth later this evening. Since suitcase space is a premium 4 dishcloths stayed in Georgia for my mom & sister to enjoy.

Summer Flavor Dishcloths
(L to R: Cherry Swirl, Swimming Pool, Key Lime Pie, Creamsicle)
These colors just seem to capture the vibrant fun of summertime!

Also…a bit of hotel knitting…Last week was fairly busy in the evenings here in Chattnooga – the annual Riverbend Festival was in full swing so our project team checked out the events on a couple evenings. I still managed to get 2 small knit projects completed: a simple dishcloth & a scarf.
Hotel Knitting

Project Spectrum: Blue Hydrangeas

As I was taking pictures of our flower plantings last night & Dad was watering the plants he asked if I needed any more blue pictures for this month and suggested that I take some pictures of the hydrangeas along the side of the house. So this Project Spectrum digital collage is from Amy Artisan & Dad Artisan.

Blue Hydrangeas


All in all it was a great weekend – it was a treat to hang out with my Dad on Father’s Day!

Blue Crayons from nature’s crayon box

Ah Capri!

As a kid, the blue crayons in a Crayola box of 64 meant blue skies and blue waters in my drawings. One year ago this week was the start of the fabulous summer vacation to Italy  & Greece. As I look through the hundreds of pictures that we took in 8 days I am amazed at how much blue pops out of the pictures – skies and waters. As a Project Spectrum blue digital collage I’ve pulled together some of the bluest pictures from our trip. The blues in these pictures are the perfect backdrop for the great sites we saw – natural and manmade.

Blue Italy & Greece

A few details about the pictures…

The picture at the top of this post is my favorite one from the trip – I Faraglioni off the coast of Capri. Since I returned from the trip it has almost continually been the wallpaper on my work laptop – with several different clients I’ve had to project presentations from my laptop in meetings & the picture never fails to start a conversation.

Other scenes from the trip: the Pope’s apartment & St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City; looking across the Forum from the Coliseum in Rome; Lots of Capri – including waiting to go in the Blue Grotto; Sorrento; Pompeii ruins; views coming into Greece via ferry; along the coast of Greece; ancient Delphi; the Acropolis & original Olympic Stadium in Athens…

Sock it to me…sorta…

This week I had my 2nd (of 2) Socks on 2 Circulars class at Arcadia. I haven’t finished the sock & actually won’t finish it to actual size. Why? Because this skein of Sassy Stripes is defective. Saturday morning while waiting at the car dealership I was knitting round & round. Then I came to this:

Sock Progress

That’s right…one strip of the yarn didn’t get dyed. I decided that would be a good point to start the heel flap so that I would get to the heel turn in class. When I went into the shop on Sunday they gave me a replacement skein. I am going to finish this sock for practice & then it will be sent back to the yarn distributor. So far I’m enjoying this technique for socks & look forward to casting on with some of the lovely handpainted yarns I’ve picked up this year.

I haven’t done a Project Spectrum Green scavenger hunt around the house yet – there will be plenty of items to capture for this – green is one of my favorite colors. Until then, here is a bit of green from the past weekend.

Derby Day

An official Kentucky Derby class from a friend’s annual party. It was a fun afternoon of traditional Derbiness – including a true southern spread of goodies & 2 minutes of us all cheering on the horses we selected in the pool. Yeah Barbaro!

During our summer weekend in Michigan last year I picked up some tulip bulbs in Holland. I planted them in my backyard flowerbed last fall & hoped for the best – the upstairs dog has a penchant for digging up stuff in there & the tulips were no exception. Thankfully, a few bulbs managed to survive & I have been enjoying the blooms over the last 10 days. Here are the beautiful blooms.

Tulips in my yard!

In the mail this week was a Happy God-Mother’s Day package from Miss Butterfly & Miss Doodlebug (thanks to Mom for the rename idea for the little one). Inside, a Miss Butterfly original that is on my fridge, a paper “ripper” for making fun edges while scrapbooking & a great knit project tote.

Happy Godmother's Day!

The timing of this gift is great – starting next week I will be a road warrior for 8-10 weeks & so will need to be transporting projects – I think this will fit nicely in my suitcase & I will be sure to have plenty of craftiness with me. I will be in Chattanooga on an assignment – on the weekends when I don’t fly back to Chicago I’ll drive down to Atlanta to spend time with the family. Are any of you in Chattanooga? If so, drop me a line & maybe we can meet-up while I’m down there.


* Yellow & Orange @ Home

Before April slips away from us I thought I’d post some yellow & orange scenes from around my house.

The March colors of pink & red weren’t too common in my house – I felt like I was really on a scavenger hunt to find things to put in the collage. This month was much easier. In fact, as I’m writing this entry I’m thinking of several other things that I forgot to capture & include.

The “biggest” orange thing in my home is also the hardest to capture. The walls in my entry, living room & dining room are a terra cotta color. When I was first looking at this apartment I asked the landlord “Now you’ll repaint the walls before I move in” (because the color didn’t go with the previous tenants decor so it looked horrible) – the response was “No, I like it.” When I got back to my other apartment I started looking at my things & realized that they all would work perfectly with the colored walls. When people come to my place for the first time they are often amazed that I didn’t have to buy any new things to make my stuff work with the terra cotta walls. The color on the walls give my space a cozy feeling & seem to pull everything together. (Sidenote: Several months after moving in I was scrapbooking & using the color wheel – I noticed that orange makes the 3rd to green & purple…as I have been creating my home style I had been picking a lot of sage & eggplant in my decor – so the terra cotta truly was a great fit for me.)
Yellow & Orange @ Home
Looking at this mosaic of yellow & orange I find that several of my collections are represented in it:
Sunflowers: Being a Kansas gal I’ve always enjoyed sunflowers, although just because something has a sunflower on it doesn’t mean that I like it (a bit of a sunflower snob). The pillow is a needlepoint done by Artisan Dad.
Salt & Pepper Shakers: I don’t have a specific theme to my collection – some are vintage, some are new.
Vintage Brooches: Such a fun way to accessorize & add a bit of color to any outfit!
Cool pottery: Fiestaware (these are new pieces), a bit of McCoy, other cool vintage pieces – I really like California pottery.

That’s all for April here at Amy Artisan – looking forward to being in the green in May!

Artisan Dad & Mom are flying in this evening – this weekend we road trip to Ohio for my aunt’s birthday. See you next month…

Easter, Etc…

Easter Weekend!

I spent the weekend in Dallas with close friends who moved from Chicago last fall. They have 2 adorable daughters that will be known in this blog as “Miss Butterfly” (my adorable 34 mo. old goddaughter) & her little sister, “Miss Mouse.” The weekend was a lovely blend of “on the go activities” & just hanging out at home – the perfect anecdote to a stressful week at work.

Dallas Arboretum
On Friday “the girls” ventured to the Dallas Arboretum to enjoy the beautiful flowers & take some pictures of the little girls. It was a lovely day to enjoy a picnic on the main lawn after taking pictures of the girls. (Notice the handknit, an Amy Artisan blanket, that the girls are sitting on.)

Girls in the Garden
We were not the only ones with photo plans for the day – many families were there taking pictures & we saw at least 12 brides having portraits done & 2 girls taking quinceanera portraits – Miss Butterfly called each of them Cinderella. There was a piano player by the main lawn so Miss Butterfly had a fun time dancing & twirling to the music. As Miss Butterfly & I wandered around while Miss Mouse was being fed we managed to get a good self portrait of the two of us. (see below)

M'Amy & Butterfly

On Saturday after Miss Mouse’s morning nap the girls headed to McKinney for a bit of shopping and lunch. With two girls in strollers we didn’t wander through too many shops; however, we enjoyed a yummy lunch at Spoon’s Cafe. We anticipate future visits to McKinney to visit more of the cute shops.

Easter Girls

Sunday was a whirlwind day: Early service & pancake breakfast at church; opening Easter baskets; taking the requisite Easter pictures (above); Easter dinner with family & friends in Lewisville – 16 adults & 4 kids made for a fun afternoon. Even in the 90+ degree weather the Easter Egg hunt was a lot of fun – the adults had fun hiding the eggs & then watching the oldest 3 hunt for them. One dozen confetti eggs also added to the fun. As we left all the girls/ladies were given lovely spring mini-bouquets that included roses from the hostess’ garden – I managed to get the bouquet home to Chicago without any damage. The flight home was a bit delayed – but that did nothing to lessen the fun weekend in the Big D.

In addition to these snapshot moments from the weekend there were so many other fun times with Miss Butterfly & Miss Mouse – the countless smiles from them both, storytimes, playtimes & just the joy that is both of them. And of course, catching up with Maya & Matt – including lovely dinners on the patio while enjoy yummy grill creations (tuna one night & pizza the next). While I don’t have another trip booked yet I can’t wait until the next time I see them all!


Thanks to everyone for your leaving your Ramona (& Beverly Cleary) memories on my last blog entry. On Sunday’s flight back to Chicago a little girl (about 8 years ago) in the row behind me was reading Ralph S. Mouse the entire time. I just had to smile at seeing BC in action.

I’ve mentioned previously that I enjoy knitting for others – baby blankets have been the most frequently gifted item in recent years. Last Thursday I had another “joy of knitting” experience in the form of a voice mail & phone conversation from my vice president at work. His daughter was the recipient of the grape & mint “Baby Maggie” blanket. Unknowingly I had made her blanket in her nursery colors so the blanket has been used from the start. Now that Maggie is starting to squirm more in the crib they had decided that this blanket is the perfect one to use because the “holes” in the knit mean that she can’t suffocate in it. Mike & his wife have decided that this is a “perfect” baby blanket & I should open a side business to make & sell them. I had to chuckle at the “side business” – Mike said there was no way he would let go of me at my day job but he would help me market the side business. Of course I was flattered by the compliment but I told Mike what I’ve mentioned to others before – I enjoy knitting for others for the sheer pleasure of doing it & I wonder if it (or any of my other artistic endeavors) became a job would I still find the same joy in it? (And even with the occasional stressful weeks, I really do enjoy my day job.) What are your thoughts on knitting, crafting, art for pleasure vs. making those same activities your source of livelihood?

In addition to the yellow flower pics from the Dallas Arboretum, I have Project Spectrum blooms in my front yard now. Here is one of my daffodils.
1st Daffodil

More knitting content in coming days & weeks. I continue to make progress on the lap blanket for my Aunt (must finish by next weekend), I need to start start on some other projects that won’t be discussed while in process, the felted tote needs to be picked up again & oh there are so many other projects that I want to tackle! Let’s not even talk about all the scrapbooking that I need to do!

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