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Category: Crafty (page 2 of 3)

Still Picture Perfect


The first weekend of this month, it was once again time to leave the city & journey to the Indiana Dunes for a weekend of scrappin’ & more. Within a week or so of returning from the weekend last year, we coordinated calendars among the group and picked our fall 2008 weekend. When I started a new purse calendar in January, this was one of the first entries in it.


On Friday morning, after picking up coffee & loading up the car Jen & I headed out of town, across the Skyway bridge and into Michigan City to begin our weekend away. After a quick spin through Meijer’s we grabbed a quick lunch at Culvers (yum – pumpkin shakes!) & actually met up with most of the other gals there at the counter. At noon we were unlocking the doors to the cottage & immediately unloading our cars and setting up our individual work spaces. While I have lots of recent pictures to yet get into albums, my goal for the weekend was stepping back in time to do an album of my senior year of high school. Several years ago, while home in the Ville I found a “high school specific” album at a local scrapbook store so I picked it up & put it away for “one day.” It didn’t take me long to get my table set up & start walking through my senior year in pictures, letters, programs, dried flowers & more.

On Saturday afternoon, I took a break from scrappin’ and headed up the Red Arrow Highway to my favorite winery – since I was so close & didn’t know if I’d make it back over there before the holidays I wanted to pick up some wine from Round Barn. One of the gals came along with me & we had a lovely time enjoying the scenery & tasting several delicious options. Heading back down the highway, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand & I picked up a basket of apples for applesauce & more.

As sunset approached on Saturday, several of us walked down to the beach. We had picked up some bubbly at Round Barn & planned a sunset toast. It was a beautiful day to see the sunset from the beach. In fact, the weather was so clear that you could actually see the Chicago skyline across the lake from us.

Saturday Sunset

By the time my car was repacked with our gear on Sunday afternoon, I had finished about 80% of my album and also had enjoyed some knitting & reading moments. We each had different “goals” for the weekend and as the weekend ended, we all agreed that they had been met. As is tradition, we have already reserved our weekend for next fall’s retreat!

Picture Perfect

This past weekend out of town capped off several weeks of fun activities. The title of this post sums up the weekend in so many ways: Picture Perfect!

Picture Perfect

On Friday morning I headed over to Michigan City, IN for a scrapbooking getaway weekend with friends. We had seen the website for the Picture Perfect cottage a couple of years ago & hoped that sometime we would be able to pull together a group for a weekend of scrapbooking fun. Late this summer we started planning & were originally booked for a weekend next May. Through some scheduling mix-ups we were lucky enough to end up with a fall weekend.

Picture Perfect

If you’ve ever scrapbooked, you know that you have a lot of supplies involved with it. My car was loaded up with supplies for 3 gals & then Jen & I headed over across the Chicago Skyway (Kristy would be coming later in the afternoon). Just after noon we all descended on the charming cottage & immediately said ‘Wow’ – it had a great layout for everyone to be working. Once everyone unloaded our bags & bags of supplies we “set up shop” and got to work.

My project for the weekend was completing the Mexico Mission Trip 1988 album that I had started planning 2 weeks ago. It quickly came together. It was fun to read through my “journal” entries from the trip & then expand on them as I built out the pages.

While the focus of the weekend was scrapbooking, everyone was free to do what they wanted. A couple of women brought their bikes and also did some Nordic walking. Others strolled through the charming development & over to the beach. Naps were taken as needed. I have a secret knitting deadline so I was able to make great progress on that. I had thought I might go to a few of my favorite Harbor Country shops but found the pull of this charming house was too great.

Picture Perfect

As we shuffled through our assorted iPods on the great sound system in the house (talk about an assortment of musical styles…) the conversations among us flowed from one topic to another. While pictures were cropped and pages completed, stories and anecdotes were shared. As we looked through our own albums and the albums of the others we were reminded of truly how blessed we each were – with family, friends, experiences and fond memories.

Picture Perfect

During the days, the autumn sunshine through the trees streamed in through an abundance of windows. In the evenings the overhead lights were well placed and ensured we didn’t have to work in poor lighting. In addition to the great space for working on our scrapbooks the rest of the house was well thought out to meet our needs. The five bedrooms & 3 baths comfortably accommodated the 10 of us. A full kitchen had everything we could need & the catering package supplied us with more than enough food for all of our meals (at the end we brought a lot of leftovers back to Chicago).

We joked that the time change meant that we would have an extra hour to work on our albums. Turns out it wasn’t a joke for some of us – 5 of us were up and sitting at our tables before 6AM on Sunday, sometimes you just wake up & can’t get back to sleep.

Picture Perfect Gals

Much too quickly it was time for us to pack up our cars, take out the trash and set the alarm code before leaving this charming getaway and returning to real life. We all agreed that it was indeed a Picture Perfect weekend and are already looking at when we can come back.

(more pictures here)


In the last couple of years I have noticed that my October calendar always seems to fill up with assorted fun – this year is no different. In fact, this weekend was close to non-stop fun.


Amy Grant Reading

On Thursday afternoon Jen & I left work a bit earlier and headed up to Milwaukee for an evening with Amy Grant. Just this week she released a memoir, Mosaic. A book store in Milwaukee hosted her for this event at Alverno College. It was an incredible evening of her reading passages from the book, telling stories, singing songs, taking questions & song requests from the audience. When I received an email notice about this event I knew it would be a perfect birthday gift for Jen – we have both been Amy Grant fans since elementary school days. The evening didn’t disappoint. Once I’ve finished reading the book, I’ll do a longer post and include more pictures from the evening.

Jen & Amy

True, Create Memories has renamed this Great Gatherings but we still call it Croptoberfest. I spent all day Saturday with friends focused on scrapbooking. I have lots of albums in progress so what did I do? Start on something new. I took a photo album I made from a missions trip to Mexico in 1988 and began to journal and organize to transfer it to a new Picfolio album. It was fun to read through my simple “journal” from the trip and flesh out the stories around the pictures.

Today was the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. It indeed was a beautiful day along the Chicago lakefront for this walk. Stay tuned for a detailed post tomorrow about this event.

Making Strides 2007

Last year I had visions of participating in Soctoberfest – and of course they didn’t go anywhere. This year, different story. In between all of the busyness this month I have managed to finish the first of my MTM socks and start on the 2nd one.

First MTM Sock

This if my first “detailed” pattern & I love how the beautiful yarn knit up with it. This weekend I’m heading to Dallas for another round of “How Tall This Fall?” with Miss Butterfly & Miss Doodlebug – so socks on the needles will be the perfect travel projects.

As we move towards the end of October, what ‘Toberfest fun are you having this year?

Routine Things

I find it interesting how quickly we can slip into routines. Initially some “new thing” may seem odd and then before you know it, it is “your” routine and any change to it causes you to pause.

While work travel might seem like a big distruption to routine, in reality a new set of routines emerged for me while on the road…a Sunday evening flight to Chattanooga…Tatum, the shuttle driver, waiting at the airport to take us to the hotel…the barista at Starbuck’s starting to make my drink every morning as soon as I walked into the store…the 2 block walk from the hotel to the office…These routines helped to bring some normalcy to the “un routine” when work was extremely busy.

Now that I’m back home routines are shifting and some old routines are once again new…making coffee each morning with the french press & listening to NPR on the kitchen radio while getting ready…the daily commute on the bus & el (including darting across 4 lanes of traffic on Western Ave. from the bus stop on the way home each evening)…etc…

A routine that is never routine is having a birthday. With the travel of the last couple of months, mine seemed to sneak up on me last week. The first Saturday of this month was a delightful afternoon tea at The Peninsula Chicago with my friend Elaine – her birthday is in late October so every year we try to celebrate our birthdays together with something fun. On my birthday, I met Jen & Kristy at Bin 36 after work and we each enjoyed a wine flight and splitting an appetizer. Jen’s husband, Greg, picked us up and then we all enjoyed a yummy dinner at Francesca’s Bryn Mawr. The day was also filled with emails, e-cards, instant messages, cards, and calls wishing me well. All in all, a lovely celebration!

A long standing routine has been my bookclub, The G.I.R.L.S. When I moved to Chicago in the fall of 1999 this was one of the first things that I joined – my friend Maya invited me to “her group” and the first book I read with them was “A Widow for a Year” by John Irving. Last week I was able to participate in a gathering for the first time since May – it also marked 7 years since my first meeting. We were a smaller group than some months; however, that didn’t diminish the good conversation. Our book was “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell – as is always the case, we talked about the book for a bit and that conversation spurred many other conversation topics.

A newer routine (since 2003) is scrapbooking – I host a quarterly “crop club” for friends to get together and spend a morning working on albums and catching up on life. This past Saturday was the last one for this year and it was great fun to have everyone back at my house for the morning (In Sept. a friend graciously hosted us at her place because of my travel) Since it was a chilly autumn morning it was the perfect weather to make some yummy fall goodies – a pot of spiced cider simmering on the stove, warm applesauce and a pumpkin cranberry coffeecake (using one of my favorite shortcuts, the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread mix).

As I’ve mentioned, knitting is once again (finally) part of my routine. This weekend I finished up several felted bowls from Oneskein. These are a quick knit and it was fun figuring out which bowls to shape them against. I anticipate making a few as gifts and as I get my office/craft room/guest room organized I plan to make a couple for in there. (pictures to come) I continued to work on some of the projects that have been on my needles for a while (including socks!) and tried to start some new ones.

Knitting to comfort others is a routine that I enjoy. In the coming week I’ll be knitting a square for a new comfort blanket. Cathy is pulling together a blanket to comfort her friend Jenn who is in need of some comfort these days.

As I also get back into the routine of blogging, I have a couple of Knitbloglandia items that I’ve been meaning to post – so now seems like a good time to do it!


I joined Lolly’s sock celebration for October and then didn’t knit a stitch on a sock – although a sock project traveled with me the entire month. Insert your favorite quotation about good intentions…

So belatedly, here is my sock history. It is a short history.

In February 2003 I took my first sock class at Arcadia Knitting. Over the course of the class I finished the first sock. Pretty soon thereafter I began the second sock. And well, recently I discovered the bag with the sock and yarn – as you can see not much progress has been made on the second sock. In May of this year I took a “Socks on 2 Circular Needles” class at Arcadia. As I blogged about earlier, the first skein of yarn was a bit defective so I didn’t get the sock finished. When I learned that I would be traveling for work this summer I thought that socks would be a great travel project. Yeah, well that didn’t happen. The work travel is done and no socks were knit; however, I have picked up quite the sock yarn stash over this year. At Stitches Midwest in August I picked up Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and have started on another pair of socks using this method. With all the sock yarn that I now have I am definitely ready to knit socks. I have several projects to finish before the holidays; however, I hope that the coming months will be an extension of Socktoberfest for me.


In August I signed up for several swaps – not “putting it together” that the mailing deadlines were in the middle of the work insanity. I’m thankful that my spoilees have been patient as I’ve been slower getting their packages together.

  • KnitFlix: This concept was a lot of fun – movies & knitting! Earlier this year I even had a post about movie knitting. My swap pal was Amy in MN. She put together a great box of goodies. The movie is Babette’s Feast – I’ve never seen it but had it in my Netflix queue. Lots of popcorn for snacking. And the yarns! A beautiful purple silk from Alchemy yarns. A Dusty Olive Malabrigo with a great button & the pattern for the Gelato felted bag. Thanks Amy!
  • Knitter’s Tea Swap 2: Round 1 in May/June was so much fun so I’m back for more. I was spoiled by Barb in Canada. With the cooler days, these yummy teas will be enjoyed soon – Also some yummy honey sticks to sweeten the teapot. One of my favorites for tea snacking – shortbread! A berry candle the smells of fall. And a pale blue Paton’s Divine yarn. Thanks Barb!
  • Dishcloth Shuffle: As I’ve mentioned in numerous posts, dishcloths are a relaxing “go-to” knit for me – so this exchange seemed like a great one to join. I was spoiled by Alisa in Australia. Alisa knit 5 different dishcloths in beautiful colors and patterns. She also included some bright cottons for my own dishcloth knitting, some fun Australia themed stickers, an iron-on to embroider, a dainty hankerchief (how did she know I have a collection?) and a cute notepad from her recent vacation to Thailand. Thanks Alisa!

My packages have been dispatched to Minnesota, Nebraska, Western Canada & Eastern Canada. whew!

In the Pink…

…paper that is!

It was a crafty weekend around here – specifically scrapbooking.

Saturday was Memoranza with some of my Creative Memories scrapbooking pals – 12 hours of uninterrupted time to work on my 2005 album. The “limited edition” Project Spectrum March Mix CD from Anjo, aka the Craftymodster was a well enjoyed soundtrack to our crafting. (No pictures of the CD today because I accidentally left it at Jen’s…in addition to containing a clever mix of red & pink tunes the CD case is a great display of red & pink.) At the end of the evening I had completed the layouts for 16 double page spreads – all that I have left to do is the journaling/captioning & some stickers & the pages will be complete!

As I was looking through all the pages I had completed I discovered that I had actually used quite a bit of pink paper in my layouts – here is a sampling of the papers that I used.
Pink Paper

More pink & red crafting “reveals” will be coming throughout the month.

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