Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Parade and Millenium Park

Today is our last full day here in Chicago. The morning began with my last class on how to train and control your volunteer boards. When that was over I met up with Chuck and we went outside to watch the Memorial Day parade. It was right in front of our hotel. Every high school and middle school in the city and county was in it along with the local police, fire and veterans organizations.

If you click right below, you should be able to watch a small portion of the police bagpipers. They were pretty neat to listen to. This is my first video, so if it doesn't work, don't be mad.

Our next venture was supposed to be to an antique market on the southwest side of town. I had looked it up online, printed the directions and bought our subway passes. We boarded the correct train (green line) and we rode it to the last stop. On the ten minute ride we watched the downtown fade away to become the umm how do I say this nicely, the part of town you don't want to be in as a tourist after dark. We got off the train and looked around for anything that would resemble this huge antique market. I told Chuck that we would have to walk a few blocks from the station. He informed me that we weren't walking anywhere but back upstairs to the platform. We asked the clerk behind the thick bullet proof glass where the market was but he really didn't have a clue. We got back on the train (luckily it hadn't left yet) and rode back to the safety of downtown where we knew the homeless by now. We decided to walk down to Millenium Park by Lake Michigan instead. It is a very nice large park with many different sections to it. There are two famous sculptures in the park. The clouds and the bean. Underneath the clouds is a stage where concerts can be held. In front of the structure is a very large grassy area. The bean is a very interesting item and everyone wants their photograph in front of it. While we were there, three different wedding parties stood in front of it for photo shoots. After strolling through the park, we headed back to our hotel area. I had not ventured into Macy's but Chuck had, and he insisted we go inside. It was 9 stories tall and amazing. I picked out a very nice outfit but I think there clothes run small. I had to buy a size 3 in the capris. We ended the day at Pazanos Restaurant for some homemade pasta and cheesecake. I couldn't finish all of mine so we had them box it up and Chuck was discouraged, there were no homeless outside to give it to this time. We are back in the room and packing up for our flight home tomorrow afternoon.

5 layers and a new Scor Tote

Here is another card I made last weekend for SCS Virtual Stamping Weekend with a Las Vegas theme to it. The 5 pm challenge on Saturday was titled Shopping in Vegas. We had to make a card that had 5 layers, 3 different inks, one image, one sentiment, 3 dew drops, sponging, stickles and ribbon.

I began by stamping the image by MFT Girls Night In on white cardstock and again on a scrap of Basic Grey Wisteria paper. I cut out the robe from the pp and glued it to my image on white. I colored in her skin and the chair. I sponged ink around this white layer. I matted it to eggplant and creamy caramel. I used eggplant as my base card also but we couldn't count that one as a layer. I picked out two more patterns from the Wisteria paper pack and added them to the card front. I stamped the image from MFT and cut it out using a Nestie ribbon die. Small scraps of organdy ribbon were glued to each end of the sentiment. Stickles were added to her robe, although they look kinda globby in the picture, they don't look that bad IRL. The last touch was to add the three dew drops to the top corner. Now for the exciting part of this card. As I was putting it together I didn't remember if the hostess was allowing us to use the card base as one layer. I opened up the chat thread for the challenge and was reading along to find out that no, we couldn't use the base. All of a sudden one of the pit bosses (prize givers) posted that the next person to tell her why they needed a scor tote would win one. I took my chance that I would be the first to answer and responded back. Well, I was the first one to reply and I won the tote! How fun was that?! When my Mom saw the card she immediately thought of her sister, my Aunt Blanche who babysits her grandkids alot. So this card will be on its way to her soon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday in Chinatown

The day began with classes again for me. The morning class was all about the big flood last year in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Fire Chief and City Clerk were very interesting. Then the Planner got up and put us all to sleep. I began to text my friend at work (where it has been raining all week, seriously they have over 25.5 inches of rain at home right now). He was upset that I was having fun here in Chicago while they were dealing with the weather at home. I told him that I was learning how to build an ark! The afternoon session was the ten step program for record management. When I got out at 4 I met up with Chuck and we rode the subway to Chinatown. The ride was ok, but I wouldn't want to ride it on a daily basis. I will keep my jeep:) Here are some entrance photos to the block if you click on a picture, it should get larger for you. I must say, all the souvenier shops are basically the same inside. I found the cutest silk kimono for our dog Zoey. I can't wait to put it on her when I get home. Chuck wanted to try something from one of the bakeries. We popped in and he chose a glazed duck egg. Now I don't have a picture to show you because I didn't expect his reaction. He has an iron stomach and eats just about anything. This was an oval shaped mound of pastry that was glazed. The first bite was ok, just dough. Then he hit the "filling". We have no idea what it was, but it stated creamy and was the color of baby poop. Then he hit the hard odd shaped item in the middle. It was dark brown and looked like a duck bill. The look on his face was priceless. So after walking the block of gift shops, we went into the Triple Crown restaurant for dinner. We had a window seat on the second floor overlooking the street. This is a shot Chuck took while we waited on our entrees. I was not too impressed with the food.

I ordered stir fry shrimp and scallops. I had a choice of just stir fry, add XO sauce, add broccoli or add chives. I asked the clerk what XO sauce was and the best she could say was that it was black. HMMM, no thanks. Just give me the stir fry. Chuck ordered sweet and sour chicken which was ok. Mine came with broccoli and peppers. If you know me, you know that I just ate the seafood. Dessert came with the dinner, we had a slice of what I think was jello. One half was red and it was see-through, the other half was yellow but it was thick. They did not give us any fortune cookies. It was a good thing I bought some in the gift shop. Chuck asked the waitress to box up what he didn't finish and we ended up giving that away to a homeless guy who wanted to draw our picture outside the subway station.

Here are some other pictures that Chuck today while I was in class. Enjoy!

Tomorrow is our last day to sightsee after my class is over. We have a couple things in mind, we just need to figure out what bus, or subway can get us there.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More sights from Chicago

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I was sooo tired last night that I didn't even eat dinner until 10 pm and then it was only a McDonalds fish sandwich. Wednesday started out with opening ceremonies at the Chicago auditorium. Here is a link to the auditorium if you want to look around, but for the others, the picture to the right is a quick snapshot.
The highlight of the ceremonies was when artist Michael Israel performed for us. Oh my... click here to watch a you tube video of his work. He made a copy of the picture in the video for us live along with three others; John Lennon, Oprah and the Statue of Liberty. He is amazing to see in person. When the ceremonies were over, we walked back to the hotel and Chuck and I went to lunch. I still had some time left and we discovered that the Sears tower was really only a couple of blocks from the hotel in a new direction so off we went. The elevator is sooo fast, we traveled 99 stories in under one minute. Here are two views that Chuck took:

We spent some time looking at all four directions, but apparantly the photographer didn't keep up with me:) So now we can say we went in the tallest building in Chicago. I went back to my classes for the afternoon and Chuck discovered the library. It has 9 stories and a crystal atrium on the top that you can rent out for private parties.

Today began with our keynote speaker Jeffrey Taylor, the creator of He was really very interesting to listen to. I think he even had a few people ready to start a new website of their own by the time we left the room. The days classes were regular clerk stuff, how to respond to public record requests for emails and automated agendas. Yee haw. Once they were over, I met up with Chuck and we walked to the Chicago Art Institute/museum. Admission was free all week as they were celebrating the opening of their newest wing - The Modern Art Wing. Some of it made us scratch our heads and think...what were they thinking? I forget his name, but he had white drywall with screws and a metal strip to separate the drywall. They gave him a whole room for his work! Then there was a room that was wallpapered. On the wallpaper were images of a window and a man hanging. In the middle of the room was a wedding dress on a wire dress form. Around the room on the floor there were bags of kitty litter. The female artist wanted to portray the stench of death and something else that I can't quite remember and don't really want to. If you click the picture below, it should get a bit bigger.

Here is a collage of the pictures that we did like, starting at the top left, Andy Worhal, Jackson Pollack, Edward Hopper bottom left: Vincent Van Gogh, Tiffanys, Claude Monet. Finally we went into the miniature exhibit. Talk about details. These rooms were like doll houses. One side of the room had American room displays and the other side had European room displays. This display is only two feet tall by maybe three feet wide. By the time we left the musuem it was after 7 and I was starved. We went to Millers Pub for dinner. They are famous for their ribs, so that is what I had. I think they lived up to their name. The meat just fell off the bone. There were quite a few people in the pub, but the mood was a bit somber. On the tv screens, the Chicago Cubs were playing the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs were down 3-0 in the 5th inning when we left. Tomorrow night, we might venture on the EL and go to Chinatown. Oh, I do have to mention our new neighbors that arrived last night. It was around 11:00 and I was laying in bed. Suddenly very loud jazz music came from the room next to us (behind the headboard). I looked at Chuck and he said, well it is nice to listen to. Then the loud voices appears we have quite a few gay men in the hotel for some convention and the hospitality suite was next door. I somehow fell asleep to the music. Tonight, as we were getting into the elevator after dinner, a swarm came into the lobby with their Macy bags. They got off the elevator with us and we are now surrounded on the 12th floor. As I am typing this, I can hear them talk through the paper thin walls and they are critiquing each other on their new outfits! Chuck and I are in tears as we are laughing our butts off. Til tomorrow....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Viva Las Vegas slots of fun sketch challenge

Last weekend, while I was packing for the trip to Chicago, I attempted to participate in SCS Virtual Stamp weekend with the theme of Las Vegas. This was the Satuday 3:00 pm challenge which gave us the sketch to follow that resembled a slot machine. I immediately thought of this Penny Black stamp that had the three images in progression. I colored the image in using copic markers and then added flower soft to the flowers and grass areas. The patterned paper is by Basic Grey. It is a retiring line called Blush. A few dew drops and a corner punch finished the card. This lovely creation is now on its way to my Aunt Sue for her birthday on Thursday.

Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile

This was our first full day in Chicago. I think I mentioned yesterday that our hotel takes up one full block. Depending on what door you exit, you are on an entirely different street. Today we ventured out onto State Street. We wanted to visit the Navy Pier and that required us riding the bus. We made it down to the Pier shortly before 11:00 am. We did a quick walk through the first building and saw the gigantic ferris wheel. Here is a picture of the skyline from the pier that I took:

The glass building that is the darkest is the John Hancock building. It is the second tallest building in the city I believe. I honestly don't remember the names of the others, but Chuck knows them all. We had walked out to the dock where the siteseeing boats were and just made the 11:30 Architecture River tour. This was a very interesting tour that really gives you the history of the city and why some buildings are built the way they are. We learned that there is basically four types of architecture used. This is the first picture I took from the boat. It takes you up and down the Chicago River for a peaceful 60 minutes. That is, it would be peaceful if you didn't have two classes of children on field trips! That is one downfall of going to an attraction during the week. There had to be at least 25 to 30 school buses parked at the Navy Pier. From kindergarten to senior classes, kids with chaperones were all over the place. The tour guide asked them to quiet down a few times on our ride. As you can see, the weather was perfect today here. Unlike at home where they have had over 8 inches of rain in the past 24 hours :( Remember boys, we invited you to come with us and all three of you declined. I thought this picture turned out rather well, as you can see the reflections of some building in it. This building is curved on the water side to match the shoreline and on the back (street side) it is squared off. Once we were done with the tour, we had lunch then wandered around the rest of the pier. We were fairly close to the Magnificent Mile so we took the free trolley over to it. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the street sign. We wandered a few blocks and eventually went into the Crate and Barrel store. It was four stories tall. I picked up a few fun kitchen items like a pancake turner. Now many might say, don't you own a spatula? Well yes, we have two actually, but this one is a big round spatula the size of a large pancake. No more have the pancake flop down one side because I wasn't in the exact middle when I flipped it. I can't wait to try it out. The other really cool find was a butterfly cookie cutter. It is at least 4 inches big. We took the trolley back out to the pier so we could catch the bus that we knew would take us back to our hotel. On the way back we saw a Borders bookstore so we hopped off. You see, we don't have one of these back home and wanted to compare it to Barnes and Noble. I have to say, we like B&N better. As we walked back to the hotel guess what store is across the street? Blick's Art Supply. For you non-crafty readers, this is the store I can buy Copic markers at!!! I was really good, I only purchased 11. And like the organized person I am, I had my list of colors I wanted in my small notebook I keep in my purse. One never knows when you will need your list of copic marker colors. So all in all, a great day here in Chicago. The conference begins tomorrow at 7:45am. The opening ceremonies include a parade of flags, a juggling/tumbling group and a pottery artist. The keynote speaker is Jim Lovell from Apollo 13. Check back in tomorrow night to see how it went.

One more picture for you: Chuck sitting next to the bronze statue of Bob Newhart. Notice the numerous school buses in the background....I didn't exaggerate!

Monday, May 18, 2009

I am traveling again....

I am on the road yet again. This fun travel is for work purposes though:) This time I am in Chicago and Chuck came with me. We arrived this afternoon and after crawling in traffic from the airport we made it. This is a picture of the lobby of the Palmer House Hilton where we are staying this week. Isn't it fabulous? This hotel is also very old built in 1925 and the decor is all French art deco. A good example of the art "deconess" is the colors of our room. The picture on the left is similar to our room, but we have a king bed!! A nice comfy "cloud" bed with tons of soft pillows. The colors are a lime green and eggplant purple. The carpet in the room is ok to look at, but in the hallways, it looks like huge peacock feathers. You walk through a maze of hallways once you leave the elevator to find our room. All along the hallways are signed pictures of famous people who have stayed here. We saw Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Frankie Valle, and George Burns. There are more, but I don't recognize their names. I am sure my Mom would know all of them though:) Our room is on the 12th floor and we have a great view of the metro station and the other hotel tower! For dinner the first night, we walked down the block and found the Exchequer Restaurant and Pub. Click here and you can watch a short video of the pub. We each got a 10 inch deep dish pizza. Let me just say we had leftovers. Chuck gave one box to a homeless lady outside the hotel. Her eyes lit up when she felt the warm box. I hope she likes pepperoni, pineapple and black olives on pizza! Oh well, beggars can't be choosers. I have been up since 5:45 this morning and I am tired. We are in a different time zone here so we have a small bit of jet lag to contend with. Ok it is only an hour, but it is still different. Nite.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A haunted hotel stay...

A few of you know that I am at a conference right now in St. Petersburg, FL. To take a tour of this wonderful resort, click here/ . I have a very nice room with a king bed. Very similar to this photo. Just without the balcony :( My bed does look just like this picture with the picture on the headboard (different), I made sure it was bolted down, and also the gauzy cloth hanging behind the bed. I think I might get Chuck to do this in our bedroom, what do you think?

Well, we have been having the seminars in the Grand Ballroom. What the website doesn't mention is that this resort is haunted. See this picture on the right, well there is a door in the front corner that just slowly opened all by itself this morning, stayed open for two full minutes, and then slowly closed with a click. We all went speechless. It wasn't a hotel employee who wanted to slip in quickly because there are windows along the wall and we would have seen them walk by. The resort was built back in 1925 so I am sure a few spirits linger here. I read the magazine about the history of the resort and found this little item: "The Resort's signature drink, Aymer's Promenade Punch, is a complimentary, nonalcoholic delight available in the Lobby. It contains cranberry, orange and pineapple juices; peach nectar, vodka and sparkling water." OK, I admit, I am not a drinker of alcoholic beverages on a regular basis, but isn't vodka alcoholic? With that I will leave you to wait and see if I can create anything before I leave for Chicago next Monday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A flower soft birthday

Next week is my Mom’s birthday and I wanted to make her a special card. I keep buying new stuff and sat down tonight to finally try some of it out.

flower soft birthday

I began by cutting a piece of white cardstock with the Labels 4 nesties. While keeping the die in place I sponged Pink Pirouette ink inside. I attempted to use Sweet Blush by PTI to match the cardstock, but sadly the ink pad had bit the dust and was just an oily pad with no color. I looked through my flower stamps to find one that would work well with the flower soft and came across one by Another Stamp Company. I colored the stems with a copic marker and used Sweet Pea flower soft on the blooms. I set that aside to dry. The Basic Grey Wisteria pad arrived a few days ago and I knew I wanted to use some of that paper. Using a color wheel, I looked at what would be complimentary to the Sweet Blush I had already chosen. Some of you might say, since you used Pink Pirouette ink why not use that paper? Because I didn’t have matching ribbon and I had this twill that did match from PTI. So I discovered that a soft green would go well and pulled the green and white dotted piece from the paper pack. In keeping with the dots, I used my CB swiss dot border from the Just My Type set and embossed the middle of the green panel. I used a Martha Stewart butterfly punch, the SU ticket corner and the SU window word punch. I added different size pearls to the label diecut, butterflies and green panel to keep with the stick pin I created for the knot. I bought the beads and hardware at Michaels. After assembling the card front, I bent the wings on the butterflies to help add dimension. I am so glad I don’t have to mail this!

So one more item ticked off my list, now to work on masculine cards….

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mother’s Day Blooms

I wanted to practice with my brayer skills, so I looked through Zindorf’s tutorials and decided to try this one. I changed the flourish stamp, sentiment and used copics to color my image. Instead of adding brads, I used a few flowers similar to the ones in the image.

mothers day blooms

I admit, there was not a lot of brayering but I really liked the card itself. The blooms are by SU, the sentiment by GinaK and the flourish is Anna Griffin. Inside the card I used a piece of white and corner punched it like the front. I stamped the same flourish and added another sentiment from GinaK’’s new set Notes to Mom. The flowers are by Prima and have micro buttons in their middles. That is all for now, I have a birthday card to make for my Mom and a masculine card to design for our monthly swap at Stamp N Deliver.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The brayer workshop cards

Let me start by saying that Michelle Zindorf is a wonderful teacher. She is patient and makes sure you  are happy with your results before you make a card. There were 9 of us in the beginner class I attended. Everything we needed except your favorite scissors and adhesive was supplied. This is our first creation:

zindorf class flourish

We started with the lightest blue and then added a medium and dark shade. For the workshop, we used all Adirondack dye based inks. The stamps are by Innovative stamp creations and the set was called Marvels of Nature. We stamped the tree twice, once in lettuce and once in black shifting the stamp slightly. We stamped the flourish twice in two different shades of blue. The flourish does come from a different set. We sponged lettuce and black along the bottom to make the ground. A white gel pen was used for highlights.

Here is the second card we created:

zindorf class tropical It is a long card which we felt was a challenge for us to brayer ink on all that space. We began by brayering the bottom third first for the water. The colors used were peach bellini, mountain rose and watermelon. Then we turned the card around and brayered the sky. The palm tree was stamped in pitch black upright first, then we turned the card around and I attempted to line up the tree, but the current was moving too fast and it is a little off. We sponged black for the island and added the white gel pen for highlights. Ribbon and brads were added at the end.

Our final card is here….

zindorf class moon We began by brayering sailboat blue on both the left and right side of the card leaving the middle white for the moon’s reflection. Then denim was added for the depth. We used a post it note for the moon and brayered over it first , then took off the mask and applied a light blue so it wasn’t so stark. The horizon line was sponged next. The tree was stamped the same way as the first card, with lettuce and then with black. We stamped the tree twice in black, right next to each other. The land was sponged in and white gel pen added for the highlights. One of the tips Michelle gave us was to remember where you wanted your light source to come from when adding highlights and creating shadows.

Overall, the workshop was amazing and the host Lillianne was so generous. She allowed her house and lodge to be used for the weekend and that was a treat to visit all by itself. When we were done with the workshop we met up with my husband Chuck who was already downtown on River Street. He found a great place for us to eat lunch called Docksiders. After lunch, we took a trolley tour by Old Savannah Tours. It was a fun 90 minutes and the tour guide was excellent. He was born and raised in Savannah and added loads of personal tidbits. Once the tour was over, we wandered up and down River Street. We ended up at the Shrimp Factory for dinner. Chuck and I had eaten there 23 years ago when we were dating and it was fun to go back there. Savannah is a beautiful city and I encourage you to visit if you already haven’t.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May is finally here

OK so today is May 1st. We are supposed to leaving for Savannah in a few hours and I feel like crap. It started last night, I have no energy at all. I stayed home today to rest and conserve my strength for tomorrow's brayer class with Zindorf. Hopefully I will make it there and will post three great cards when I get home on Sunday. Cross your fingers for me :)