Saturday, June 25, 2011

Windy City Wedding!

So last weekend Brad's best friend from high school, John Ferguson, married Amy O'Connor down in Chicago, IL. To join the celebration, the Thursday before Brad and I drove down to my folks to drop off the three boys (THANK YOU, Mom & Dad!!!!!) The next morning we took Thea Belle with us over to Chicago to spend the night with my cousins Lisa & Jason and their kids Elena (3) & Ian (5). Lisa was my Maid of Honor in our wedding. She had not met Thea yet, and it had been a year since I had seen her and her family. It was a  wonderful and low-key visit. Lisa and I were able to have a couple actual conversations, and I learned a new recipe for brussel sprouts and for pork tenderloin. Thea was a sweetie, as usual. Then Saturday we dressed up and left for the afternoon wedding. It was a formal, simple Catholic wedding. The reception was at a swanky Hilton Hotel on the McDonald's Headquarters (and I mean swanky -- wow, the "grounds" of the headquarters were wooded with paths and bridges and ponds...and the hotel had amazing rooms with probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.) To give you an idea of the wedding fete's caliber -- the meal began with asparagus cream soup and included lemon sorbet at one point (to clean the palette, apparently) and when we asked the waiter whether they were serving chicken or beef (so we could choose our wine better), he answered "Yes." -- And, sure enough, a few courses later, out came the main entree which was indeed chicken and beef. So delicious. So fun. Anyway...

While Brad, Thea, and I were being wined and dined in a wedding celebration, my parents were tending to the boys. Can you believe I didn't get a single photo of that side of the visit? My dad's gardens are magnificent -- I mean, magnificent. Grapevines, berries of all kinds (strawberries are in season), any kind of vegetable you'd like, wildflowers, herbs, a rhubarb jungle and asparagus "grove".  My favorite story from my parents happened at church Sunday morning: My dad is the pastor. My mom plays the piano. They had arranged for one of their friends (another mom around my mom's age) to sit with the boys. As my mom brought them over, Atticus and Dietrich whispered in my mom's ear, "Could we sit with those pretty girls over there?" The "pretty girls" were the aforementioned friend's two younger daughters (in their early twenties). My mom went over to ask them if it would be okay. They said, "Sure (-:" The boys were enamored, until Dietrich spotted my sister-in-law's flaxen-haired cousin (also in her early twenties) sitting in the back row. He was smitten and spent a good part of the rest of the singing peeking at her over the "pew" chairs and smiling at her. As soon as the service was over, Deke ran up to her and asks, "Want to chase me?" (Ha!!!!) She was "game" and played with him for awhile. My folks did their visiting and goodbyes, loaded the boys in the van and then Deke spotted Blond-Pretty-Girl again, and says to my mom: "Wait! I need to go say goodbye to her, because she will miss me and be sad if I don't." My mom let him get out and go over to give her a goodbye hug. My dad is just shaking his head this entire time, saying, "Oh boy, Brad and Sarah have some hard times ahead of them with these three romantics." And I bet we will.

I keep trying to get a good picture of Thea Belle & I together...No success so far.


The beautiful play/sunroom at the back of Lisa's home

Amy & John Ferguson

I didn't get any photos at the wedding or reception so I just pirated a couple off their wedding website...Seems like there should be a couple here since the trip was in their honor, right? We were actually able to talk to them a few times over the course of the evening and spoke with them at breakfast the next morning as they were saying their goodbyes to family in the hotel restaurant area...It was good to meet Amy in person and I was so happy that Brad was able to be there for his friend.

Wardrobe change for the reception due to some drooling problems...She cut her first tooth over the weekend (though it is just barely through). I found this pretty silk taffeta (washable) party dress for $4 (!!!) on clearance at Baby Gap. Hooray!

With Grandma Nancy (Brad's Mom & Dad came out from Des Moines for the wedding, so we booked a hotel suite together and had breakfast together to celebrate Father's Day the next morning before we took off our separate ways.)

Thea's first swim

So this is off the Hilton's promotional site, but isn't this cool. Before the dinner reception, there was "drinks on the veranda" overlooking this pond.

The inside main lobby...

What our room looked like -- but with two beds and a shower about the size of our entire bathroom at home.

The pool

The awesome-ly big hot tub. We took Thea in it after I started getting too cold. I LOVED that you could swim in the hot tub -- seriously good idea. Plus we went at 9 in the morning on a Sunday so there was like two people in the pool doing laps and no one else.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cayce Zavaglia

So I re-discovered this artist tonight. She is a stay-at-home mom of four young children. She lives in St.Louis. She was trained as a painter. She now uses wool embroidery thread to "paint" (sew) these portraits. If you would like to know more about her, the interview with her here is very good. My heart hurts seeing these pieces of art. They are wonderful. 

"As mentioned you are a mother, how do you balance the role of mother and the role of artist? What are the challenges of being a working artist and a mom?

My 4 children are ages 9, 7, 5, and 2. I keep open the notion that the amount of time I am able to spend in my studio will fluctuate constantly until all of my kids are in school full time. If I were still in graduate school, I could get up, have breakfast, drink a coffee, and work from 9-12 in my studio. But this isn’t possible with 2 kids still at home.  I treasure the time with my kids—cooking with them, taking them for treats to the coffee shop, strolling the Botanical Gardens with them, and reading to them. So I choose to look at this as time that is going to inform my work not take me away from my work.  I am always thinking about my work whether I am sewing or not.  I am confident that I would never have stumbled upon this medium had I not become a parent and wanted and needed my work to change.  I tell my artist friends who become mother’s to look for how their work will change for the better when they become mothers.  We cannot imagine it until it happens."

Look at this craftsmanship, this artistry, this wonderousness!!!!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Pretty Little Ribbons

Around Easter my mom found a little cotton sundress at a garage sale. I really love how simply it ties and suits Thea Belle. I decided to play around with "copying" it with different material and different kinds of ties. I had this little piece of batik and the silk ribbon from before Thea was even born. The top is lined with scraps from her baby quilt to contrast the bodice -- and I flipped the lining so the dress can be worn "backwards" with a bodice that matches the skirt. The first time I copy something is never quite right so I've got plans for the next two. Third time seems to be the sweet spot where I'm not too bored but have it figured out. Hooray for a sweet little dress on a sweeter little girl!