Fountain Square Art Fair

It is the season of art fairs, and fresh off the Custer fair we have Fountain Square’s Art Festival. This fair fell victim to really high winds two years ago that spooked artisans away in 2010, but this year the fair was well-populated again.

I chatted with artists I had purchased jewelry from in prior years, who were happy to see me wear it. Here is a list of attendees this year.

Sunday morning I volunteered as an entrance assistant. I stamped the hands of people who entered the fair after their donation. The kids loved the smiley face on their hand. It was fun. My shift ended as the Flat Cats started playing.

The swing dancers in town came prepared.

This glass artist further up the street also drew a crowd.

The weekend ended with an ice cream cone and stroll through the Merrick Rose Garden, which I’ll revisit later in the summer to share with you. Post-storm roses aren’t the most photogenic, although most of them held up quite well.

What is your favorite summer fair?


Electricity Appreciation Week

Summer has officially begun, and quickly turned into electricity appreciation week.

Last weekend the Evanston Art Depot held the 40th Annual Custer Street Fair.

All the street performers, the variety of merchandise and its convenient location around the corner of my home make it my favorite fair of the summer. I’ve collected numerous adornments for the self and the home over the past few years.

My favorite theater in town, Piccolo Theater recruits their thespian friends to perform mini comedies.

A magician truly wowed the crowd.

Luckily the predicted thunderstorms held off from setup to tear-down.

Unfortunately, the weather could not hold back on Tuesday night when severe Thunderstorms and a few funnel clouds along with Tornado warnings caused severe power outages across Chicagoland. I certainly flunked any sort of evacuation readiness, and will put an emergency kit together this weekend.

One day of intense reading was great, but the second day I had to go to a cafe and charge my phone and computer up. After the fact, reporters were quick to provide tips. The storm and outage also had me thinking about a business emergency plan.  I realized that some of my crafting requires power too, along with needing sufficient light. My bright studio isn’t so bright with overcast skies. I can’t have this happen with a big order on hand, right?

I’ve been so lucky throughout my life with tornadoes, flooding, sandstorms, monsoons and blizzards. Our family experienced a flood evacuation once (the water stopped at our front step), I safely drove my car through knee-deep water with my mechanic on the phone a decade ago, and this is my longest power outage ever. Having two emergency workers in the family, I am always aware of the “it could be worse” adage, and appreciate every day of health and safety that I have.

So while I hear people grumbling about this inconvenience, I am grateful to have running water, that the few items in my fridge and freezer are easily replaced, and that my immediate neighborhood didn’t suffer downed trees or other damage, especially injuries. It is actually fun to go out and support the merchants in my town by dining out.

Things I appreciate even more now that power is restored:

  • A functioning fridge — open cat food in the summer must stay cool!
  • Hot water — that was a cooooold shower
  • Ceiling fans — that circulation makes a difference
  • Old-fashioned gas stoves — I couldn’t cook because of the modern electric gadgetry in my gas stove
  • My hair stylist — even though I couldn’t blow dry my hair, it didn’t look too weird
  • Growing up before 3G and WiFi — (paper) books and journals are great entertainment
  • Our public safety personnel — they made extra rounds in the dark neighborhoods until power was restored
  • True darkness and silence — I slept quite well without the humming of gadgets and the lights shining in

I wish you much power in all your endeavors. Keep your safety kits at the ready!


rainy day

“We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.”
~Henry Miller

Basking in the sun is sporadic these days as the weather cannot decide on what season we’re in this month.

Today and tomorrow will be indoorsy due to thunderstorms, which lets me catch up on my reading stash. Somehow the study of Greek life as described by historic writers and the comparison of ancient Goddesses provide me with similar common threads, which answer some of the questions the previous Mythology books had raised.

“From every book invisible threads reach out to other books;
and as the mind comes to use and control those threads
the whole panorama of the world’s life, past and present,
becomes constantly more varied and interesting,
while at the same time the mind’s own powers
of reflection and judgment
are exercised and strengthened.”
~Helen E. Haines

Kitty is loving the lap time.

“I often derive a peculiar satisfaction in conversing with
the ancient and modern dead,
– who yet live and speak excellently in their works.
My neighbors think me often alone, – and yet at such times
I am in company with more than five hundred mutes –
each of whom, at my pleasure, communicates his ideas to me by dumb signs – quite as intelligently
as any person living can do by uttering of words.”
Laurence Sterne

Quotes pulled from quote garden


discovering the inner “truant”

“If you wish to live forever,
start wishing to live more in the now than for it.”

~ Paul Pearsall, Wishing Well

I’ve been ditching plans, idling, roaming, and pondering.

Summer has me in its grip, and my motivation extends to sunning in the park and roaming the neighborhood, rather than starting on my business plan as I intended to “by June”. But hey, I’m only one week into the month, so it’s OK, right?

Who can resist this beauty?

Or a stroll to an ice cream parlor (this one is I Dream of Sweets)

I did start recording my travel thoughts.

…and am reading some of these books
(while trying to not be offended by some of the authors; they were products of their environment, after all…)

So, Type A Maike has left the building, and I am not sure when she’ll be back. 🙂

“The secret to embracing life is to simply live in the present,
not in the past and certainly not in the future.”

~ Ellen Peterson, Choosing Joy, Creating Abundance


Pop-up Botany

Hello dear readers.

I’ve gathered more books about the Greek life and will post more travel tales soon. Today, it’s about pop-ups though.

On Friday I took a Pop-Up Flower Garden Card Workshop at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  I always love an excuse to visit the Botanic Garden, which is such a Chicago gem. I was not sent a supply list, but on impulse grabbed my X-Acto knife before leaving the house. I should have also brought a ruler, a cutting mat and a bone folder. Fortunately we found a sketch pad that served as my cutting surface, along with a giant ruler that scared my neighbor into loaning me a little ruler she had on hand. Another classmate threw me a bone-folder.

Shawn Sheehy provided us with cover stock in various colors, some preprinted with his flower design templates. It takes him anywhere from 3 hours to a week to engineer each of these pop-ups. Originally a teacher, he discovered paper engineering in the early 90’s and has been committed to it ever since. He now teaches nationwide.

We began cutting away and had completed 2.5 cards before lunch time.

The Bloodroot:

and the Blue Violet:

We assembled the Trillium after our lunch break.

Then we spent an hour cutting the parts for the Prickly Pear.


It was tiresome, but the assembly generated joy and surprise for all of us.

What a feat!

We finished with a Jack-in-the-pulpit, and then class was over just like that!

They all fold up nicely:

All in a day’s work!

Fortunately the Evanston Art Center is offering another class with Shawn, which I will be signing up for to learn the fundamentals of pop-up making. I can’t wait to apply these techniques on ideas of my own later this year. 🙂

Shawn also recommended this book on pop-up making.

My day was rounded out with a stroll along the lovely garden. I’ll never get tired of this place as each visit brings new discoveries, whether it be plants I’ve never heard of or the discovery of a new waterfall I hadn’t seen before. I have yet to enter the miniature railroad garden.

No matter what climate you’re in, the variety of local plant life will surprise you, so set a date to visit your botanical garden today! 🙂