Friday, December 30, 2011

Dec. 2 Yard--early winter

I forgot to take my first-of-month photo on December 1, so these were taken on December 2 to complete my year-long project of chronicling the state of my yard every month in 2011.Winter has been slow to start this year. We had a snowfall on November 30, which was still on the ground two days later when I took these photos, but it melted shortly thereafter, and the flurries we've had here and there since then haven't stuck. It keeps raining!
It's been nice not to have to bundle up, but I am not fooled. I know we will eventually get slammed, and my fear is that winter will hold us in it's grip until the end of April, like it did last year.

Christmas Bear on the front porch. I bought him when my children were very young. He lights up and changes color at night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two finishes for Christmas

I finished this little tree in time for Christmas! I saw this over on Karen's blog last year and thought it was so cute, so I tracked down the pattern for myself. (Oh Tannenbaum, by With Thy Needle and Thread). I followed the instructions exactly, which meant I had to coffee stain the fabric before stitching. I had never stained fabric before, so I considered skipping that step, but it's always fun to try a new technique. We are not coffee drinkers, though, so I asked my husband to check the break room at his office to see if he could find some instant. He couldn't find any (I think he didn't know what to look for!), so he ended up stopping at a fast food restaurant on the way home to bring me a cup of coffee. Ha, so bizarre to imagine him ordering coffee at a drive-through!

This next little ornament is from a Mill Hill kit.
My daughter's best friend is obsessed with all things popcorn, so I made this for her. Those Mill Hill kits are always a fun, quick stitch.

I am trying to get one more ornament stitched to give as a gift, and I still have some gifts-from-the-kitchen I need to make, not to mention preparing food for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals, so it's busy here. I'm sure you all are busy, too. All the blogs I like to read have been so quiet lately. I think everyone is trying to get stuff done! For those of you celebrating Christmas, have a joyous holiday, and thanks for stopping by this space.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I mog di

One of the booths at Christkindlmarkt had lovely little pewter ornaments from Munich. I was admiring them, trying to choose between an edelweiss and a stocking, when I spied this ornament made to look like a lebkuchenherz. Tears immediately sprang to my eyes. My love for hearts is well known, but this time it was the "I mog di" that did me in. My Oma moved to the U.S. when she was in her 60s, and she never did learn English. She was from the southern part of Germany, so she didn't say "Ich liebe dich." In her dialect, the words for I love you were "I mog di." (Pronunciation: "E mawg dee", at least the way she said it!) I can still hear her voice saying "I mog di" to me. I had never seen her words for I Love You spelled out before. I guess I assumed it was her own slang and therefore didn't realize "I mog di" could actually be spelled out that way! Seeing it spelled out on a heart-shaped ornament made me feel like she stopped by for one of her fierce hugs. I had to pull out a tissue and blow my nose.

I bought one for my sister, too, even though technically we aren't supposed to buy things for each other. She's getting it for Christmas. I can't wait to see her reaction.

I hung mine in my kitchen where I see it all the time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend trip

After spending a lovely and yummy Thanksgiving day with my parents and my sisters and their families, my own little family traveled to Chicago for the rest of the holiday weekend. I wanted to see the Christkindlmarkt, which runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

We spent a lot of time walking around the city.
For the first time on a Chicago trip, we did not visit American Girl or the Lego store. Shopping was not our goal that weekend, but having the children be content not visiting their old favorites gave me a little pang.

I took this next photo because I liked how that lone dress looked in the window. It's begging to tell a story:

All the store fronts were decked out for Christmas:
Gritty scenes blend right in with the glitz in a big city:
We spent some time at Shedd Aquarium. Geez Louise that place is expensive.
I love the architecture in Chicago.
We also went to the Art Institute of Chicago. I hadn't been there since 1985! I wanted to see the Thorne Rooms. These miniature rooms are built to the scale of one inch to one foot, and represent European and American furnishings and architecture across the centuries. Some of them are decorated for Christmas to accurately reflect holiday decorating for the time and place of the room.

I love this alcove bed!
We saw some famous paintings, including this one:
A recent(ish) issue of Midwest Living had an article featuring the woman who currently lives in the American Gothic house, but sadly, they didn't show any photos of the interior. The article did say that her lease requires her to keep lace curtains in those iconic windows.

I got excited over the painting below because I had a pack of Doublemint gum in my purse.
The Chagall Windows are absolutely stunning.

I tried to get my husband to kiss me in front of them, but he refused. Oh, well, neither one of us is that fond of Ferris Bueller anyway, even though he was of our era.
Obligatory self portrait in the Bean. I am the one wearing the striped scarf and carrying the dotted bag:

Oops, the jelly fish photo was supposed to go up in the aquarium section, but it's too hard to move photos in Blogger (for me, anyway).
The Christkindlmarkt was way too crowded on Friday afternoon. It was sunny and in the mid 50s, and I think everyone in a 300 mile radius tried to squeeze into the plaza. We couldn't move, we couldn't breathe, we couldn't see a thing, so we left, and came back the next evening when it was raining.

Much less crowded, and very beautiful! I wouldn't recommend making a special trip to Chicago just to see the market, but if you are there anyway, or can plan to see other things, it's definitely worth a look. Just wait until it rains.