Impromptu Stitch & Bitch Session

Last week when we were knee deep in snow and just before we experienced record low temperatures, our college friends got together to watch football, eat delicious chili and snacks, and catch up at Jeremy and Jill’s place.

Jill suggested crafting while we were there, so I picked a hat pattern online for beginners and started crocheting.

I’ve been crocheting on and off for about five years, after Jill taught me. You can say Jill channels my creative, crafty side, but, unfortunately for her, it usually means a lot of her guidance. I have to say, she’s an excellent teacher! Always patient, that’s for sure. (Remember our jewelry-making class?)

I’ve made basic scarves and infinity scarves, but never a hat! I’m left-handed and often have a hard time understanding the crochet directions, but Jill coached me through while she worked on intricate stockings she’s making for her and her husband. Meanwhile, our friends Jess and Gina experimented with new crochet techniques for their scarves. They were very encouraging with my hat, too!

After one crochet hiccup, the main part of the hat was complete! We added ear flaps, long crocheted strings to secure the hat with a tie, and added a Pom Pom to the top.

I’m pretty proud of this hat, and it was so fun to gossip with the girls while we crafted. We used to have “stitch-and-bitch” nights years ago. I think it’s time for a comeback!

20140112-132501.jpg

20140112-132515.jpg

Week #43 – Spotlight: Pumpkin Carving

My friend Gina and her husband Clint recently moved back to Chicago after spending two years in New York (yay!). I was excited when Gina invited me over to their new condo for pumpkin carving on a warm fall afternoon.

I arrived with two pumpkins, some pumpkin doughnut holes, and lots of excitement (I haven’t carved pumpkins in years!). Gina had a well-rounded spread of fall goodies, including hot cider, chili, and lots of cookies.

Gina’s sister Lauren and our friend Jill were there when I arrived, and Gina’s friend Danielle joined us soon after.

We headed to the backyard to carve pumpkins, and I had an idea in mind from Pinterest: pumpkins designed using a cordless drill! I asked Jill to bring hers, and let me tell you, I think this is the only way I’ll “carve” pumpkins from here on out.

A cordless drill is not only easy to use, but it’s precise and clean. On my small pumpkin, I chose to drill our monogram and a heart. On my large pumpkin, I simply drilled holes all over for a polka dot look.

When I got home, I put battery-operated tea lights in the pumpkins, and I’m so pleased with the outcome.

If you haven’t carved your pumpkin yet and have (or can borrow) a drill, try it for yourself!20131027-140723.jpg20131027-140751.jpg

Week #41 – One Strange Bird & Innjoy

Jill and Erin, my friends (and co-workers!), and I bought Groupons months ago for One Strange Bird, where they have tons of art classes available. After the lace plate classes Jill and I did earlier this year, I’ve been eager to find more new ways to be creative.

The store has many different class offerings, from painting to drawing to stationary making and fabric printing. But we wanted to take it one step further. Enter: jewelry making.

After some delicioso tacos and chips and guacamole at Big Star, we walked over with our chocolate and wine (did I mention the classes are BYOB?!?). One Strange Bird has a super cute storefront with a little shop when you walk in, and they had fresh white canvases set up on easels for a painting class that night. In the back of the store was another studio where our jewelry class was held.

Now, one might think that making earrings and necklaces is easy, but I beg to differ. Our teacher was awesome, and taught us two wire techniques to create wire earrings and necklaces.

If you’re Jill, you pick up on accessory making with ease. Erin’s designs were unique, and she listened and took the time to get them just right. I, on the other hand, was a hot mess.

First of all, I thought it would be fun to do chandelier earrings. Why not, right? I struggled a bit, but with Jill and the instructor’s help, I made assisted in making a pretty hot set of earrings. Because they took me almost the entire class to make, Jill kindly helped me made a long necklace so I would leave with what we were supposed to make. Ha!

The moral of this adventure is: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I’d love to try another class at One Strange Bird, but I think I’m going to leave my accessory making to the experts.

After the class, Erin, Nate, and I headed over to Innjoy, a fun local bar, for a few drinks outside. I think it was College Night because we got free tequila shots, a Coors bottle, and a free t-shirt. I’m not sure if this made me feel young again or really old! But it was a fun way to end a great evening.

One Strange Bird
2124 West Division
Wicker Park

Innjoy
2051 West Division
Wicker Park

20131008-203556.jpg

20131008-203603.jpg

20131008-203610.jpg

20131008-203616.jpg