Entries in Randomness (14)


How a Tree becomes a House. Or Furniture. Or Floors.

I follow ReBuilding Exchange (a great local Chicago resource for reclaimed building supplies & fixtures - love it!) on Facebook & they posted a picture of this sculpture by Vincent Kohler.  It is a great visual that explains how a log is cut & planed to create wood ready for building.  I found it to be fascinating!  


I went into the ReBuilding Exchange last week just to poke around a bit.  They have aisles of old doors, reclaimed wood, kitchen cabinets, sinks, toilets, you name it!  What I also loved were the carpet tiles.  At $2/tile, I was able to put together a  4x6 rug for $12.  It was high performance contract carpet, perfect for an entry.  I wasn't able to think of a place to use it, so I put it all back...but let this serve as a notice to you if you're in the market!


Mom's Here! & Other Things

As it is every year, December has been a busy, busy month.  Starting with multiple holiday parties the first weekend of the month and continuing through the new year, it's nothing short of a miracle that we manage to make it through the month (relatively) unscathed.  As clients want things in their homes finished up before company arrives for the holidays, blogging has taken a back seat.  Hopefully that will change in the new year, but I'm not promising anything :)  So, I just decided to do a brain dump post & hope for the best.

I've frequently mentioned how much I love my mom & how much she rocks, right?  Well anyway, I do & she does and we had a blast when she was here a couple of weeks ago.  It was an impromptu trip, but we managed to fill every last minute with things to do. 

Things like shopping downtown, Kriskindlemarkt, dinner at the Walnut Room, cleaning, decorating, cleaning & decorating outside (9 garbage bags later...thanks mom!), cooking & baking.  It was so much fun!


Next up?  Derby, bien sur!  She has been such a good girl this year, so there are a few things in her stocking.  We used this picture for our Christmas cards (which STILL HAVEN'T ARRIVED) & then I realized that I forgot to "sign" Derby's name on the card.  I feel really bad, so I may go out and buy a paw shaped stamp and stamp beside our names :/  Sorry Derb!

This is what she does when we leave - it cracks me up!  We were able to catch it on the camera before she sat down.  I wish the quality was better because I love this picture.

We've had lots of holiday parties & this one with our friends is always a favorite.  We do the secret santa thing where you can steal gifts if you don't like yours.  The only rule is that the item you bring must be in your house at the time that you receive the invitation.  There are always funny gifts as well as great gifts.  The camo Snuggie is an annual tradition & this year, I ended up with it (after giving up my precious candle!).  It was funny, but I'm gifting it to my nephew for Christmas :)

Oh yeah, we also managed to go to Paris as well!  We had a blast & I will share more details of the trip in a later post.  Can't wait to go back!

How has YOUR December been so far?  I can't wait for Christmas! 


Brain Dump!

Due to my absolute lack of blogging lately, I have a lot of things to share.  These are all things that I originally planned to dedicate an entire post to, but that just is not going to happen.  So, here are the Cliffs Notes!

My mom, sister Nen & friend were in town the weekend before we went on vacation.  We typically shop, eat & drink sangria when they are here, so it was a treat to do something different this time!  Million Dollar Quartet has been calling my name for some time & we all went to the Apollo Theater (where my amazing friend is the GM) to see it.  It was so much fun - everyone gets involved and sings, claps & even dances around.  It's a pretty incredible story about the night of 12.4.56 when Jerry Lee Lewis (my favorite in the show!) Johnny Cash, Elvis Pressley & Carl Perkins got together for an impromptu recording session & the awesomeness that ensued.  Go see it! 

Next Up: OPRAH!

Finally!  My mom & I have been wanting to go to Oprah for YEARS! It finally worked out & I was able to surprise her with tickets!  She was having a bad day & said that this definitely cheered her right up :)  My mom & Petey Quiche came to Chicago at the tail end of our vacation, so when we got back I was able to hang out with my mom again!  Yay.  & so soon after their last visit (see above).  The taping was a classic Oprah show - updates from past memorable guests.  Some were sad, all ended up happy.  I am surprised that I didn't cry considering the tears were falling yesterday while I was watching from my sofa!  When Stephen Paletta, the winner of Oprah's Big Give, came on the audience was surprised with $1,000 Visa cards to start our own foundations via  Now I WILL write a separate post about that.

I need to take a screen shot of my mom & I together in the audience.  This is one that a friend posted on FB.  The girls that sat next to us in the THIRD row (hello bright yellow & pink!) were really sweet.

Okay, moving on to concerts...

A few days after the Lady Gaga concert, we were back at the United Center to see BON JOVI!  Livin' on a Prayer (and Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard) is one of my first favorite songs that I remember & that wasn't something we sang in music class.  My friend Micki & I would listen to it over and over...  Bon Jovi is hot & so was this concert.  So glad I was able to check him off of my concert list!

So far for this spring/summer we have tickets to see: William Fitzsimmons (go see him. seriously), Ray LaMontagne, Maroon5, Carrie Underwood, some 80s bands (ask my husband, I can't remember!), Zac Brown Band & Kenny Chesney.  To name a few ;)

And finally (because this post is getting waaaay too long), St. Patrick's Day!

The Chicago River is dyed bright green every year on the weekend of the St. Patrick's Day parade downtown.  You can see the difference in the middle row - the beginning of the dye & after (love me some Shamrock Shake!).  It was my first time going to this parade (the South Side Irish Parade was an entirely different experience..) & we had front row spots.  It was freezing, but we huddled together & really enjoyed it!

There! I have set a goal & schedule to help me blog more regularly, so thanks for hanging in there!


Tree of Codes - A Visually Stunning Read

Someone I work with pointed me to this incredible work of art/book.  I have never seen anything quite like this - and feel I'd have to see it in person to truly appreciate it. 

Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer.  The story is literally carved out of another book - I think it is just beautiful.

 Excerpt from Wallpaper:

"Tree of Codes' multi-layered narrative explores 'an enormous last day of life'. Told from the perspective of a boy coming to terms with the death of a parent, it's a haunting story, full of intense imagery. 'My father would walk along like a gardener of nothingness outside of the surface of life,' he tells us. 'He would scatter into fragments."

"'Visual writing' might be at the core of new publishing house, Visual Editions, but it doesn't let its devices become gimmicky or extraneous. In Tree of Codes, the die-cuts are key to the tale. The powerful voice that Safran Foer has exhumed from Schulz's text is made all the poignant by the gaps in between words, which have an extraordinary resonance. They give each phrase space to breath."

"Safran Foer first considered using dictionaries, encyclopaedias and even his own works to construct his story. 'But any of those options would have merely spoken to the process,' he says. 'I was in search of a text whose erasure would somehow be a continuation of its creation."

I expected this book to be in the $50+ range, just based on the amount of work it takes to print such a piece.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to see it for just over $26 on Amazon.  Do you think you would purchase this book?  I am seriously considering it!


Blogger Award!

A big THANK YOU to Amy over at The Nifty Foodie for bestowing me with The Versatile Blogger award.  She is an awesome cook and quilter and has tons of recipes and patterns for you to try out.  Plus, she has the cutest dog, Millie, who looks a lot like our Derby girl!

With this award, I am supposed to pass the award on to 5 other bloggers, and list 7 things that you guys might not know about me.  It's just for fun, so I thought I'd play along!

I hereby crown the following 5 Bloggers:

Pantomime Papers

Classically Modern Nest

Creature Gorgeous

Forty Twenty-Four

Kimberly Michelle 

& 7 things about me (these are always really hard!):

1.  Echoing Amy's thoughts,  I was TERRIFIED of dogs when I was little.  Terrified!  We had a mutt at some point & my sister and I refused to play outside if the dog was out there.  Fed up, my mom forced us to go outside...only to find both of us standing on the swing set, too afraid to come down.  Another time, I was taking a walk with my grandpa when we encountered someone walking their dog.  I started clawing at his leg shouting "nee-nee" (which meant, pick me up!) over and over.  He had no idea that nee-nee meant "pick me up NOW" until we got home & he explained it to my mom.  Now?  I love every. single. dog. that I see.  If I had the space for more, we would have more!  My sister still isn't convinced, but there's still hope for her yet ;)

2.  I've mentioned this before, but I am a vegetarian.  It started in my late teens with cutting out red meat and evolved to cutting out chicken and turkey.  Today, if forced to choose, I would eat a burger over a chicken breast any day.  Chickens creep me out.

3.  Speaking of chickens, I am terrified of birds.  I actually tried therapy for this phobia with some level of success.  I no longer jump into traffic to avoid the rats with wings, but will dodge them on the sidewalk.  The way they dart around & that I have no control over it is what freaks me out.  It took me awhile to be able to use a down comforter without feeling like I was being smothered...and now I love it :)

4.  I don't know how to roller skate/blade or ice skate.  I'm clumsy enough with my 35" inseam, I have no business being on wheels or blades.  Never learned to do it as a kid, either!

5.  If I could design all day, every day, I would be blissfully happy.  I truly LOVE everything about home design and work very hard at Bien Living Design.  It can sometimes be stressful and I sometimes have insecurities, but I work on that all the time to try to be the best designer I can be.  It sounds cheesy, but it is the truth!

6.  I LOVE watching TV.  It bothers me when people say "oh, I don't watch TV", mainly because I think to myself "you don't know what you're missing!!!".  I love all types of shows, too, from Top Chef to 24 to Grey's Anatomy and Glee.  TV makes me happy and I am not afraid to admit it.

7.  I also read like a fiend.  For example, our book club is doing 3 books this month instead of 1, like most normal people :)  And while we're reading these, I've also read quite a few others.  When I am into a good book, I actually don't mind waiting for the train, if it's delayed, etc.  :)

So, there you have it!