Been awhile

It’s April of 2020 and most of the world is in isolation. I’m studying and working from home and it occurred to me to update the blog on what I’ve been making the past three years. To be totally honest, I’ve not been making a whole lot. I started university as an adult and it ate up a lot of my time, which of course is expected, but I also lost some of the school-work-life balance and worked myself to the bone to achieve a 4.0 but at the cost of a bunch of mental health along with one of my main outlets for stress, crafting.

Am I doing better? Yes and no. Amid the spread of COVID-19, not so much. Being in quarantine at home is its own kind of stress that the world is having to deal with collectively. Some of us are doing better than others, some of us are only outwardly doing alright, and some of us are not doing well at all. I think I hit all three states a few times a day to be honest.

Anyway, here’s to maybe crafting a bit more on the regular and hoping we find a remedy and a vaccine to COVD-19.


I love making things. And though people always encourage me to sell what I make, my real joy and passion comes from teaching people how to make things themselves.  Starting in 2016, I hope to spread the act of making by offering workshops and make-and-take sessions through out the year to anyone who will listen. I hope to grow or rekindle that spark of creativity in people through small acts of making.



I still tell people that Chicago is my hometown. When people in my small town talk about how scary Chicago is and how full of people it is and how loud-fast-violent-uncaring it is, I never know what to say to them. It IS all those things.

But when I was a kid, I’d wake up on Saturday mornings and make my way down to Lincoln Park where my mom worked at a dry cleaners. My mom would give me a call to get me up and I’d wash up and trudge my way down to Skokie Boulevard and wait for the 97 Skokie Swift bus to come by. I’d ride it to the Skokie Swift train station where I’d transfer onto the train, taking it down to the end of the line at Howard Station in Rogers Park. There I’d disembark from the el and make my way down to the busses and find the 22 Clark. From there I’d ride down through Rogers Park, Edgewater, Uptown, Lakeview and finally Lincoln Park.  I’d get off on Arlington and walk a block or so to the dry cleaners and show up. Since I was the only child of a single parent, this was my day care. I’d spend the day at the dry cleaners, reading books, talking to customers and taking walks around the block, entertaining myself.

Did I mention that I was eight years old at the time?

One of my favorite parts of going to that dry cleaners on Saturday was that occasionally, when my mom and I headed home after the store closed, we’d get the same bus driver from the Howard Station back to Skokie. He was an older gentleman with white hair who was especially nice and always chitchatted with my mom even though her English was poor. He even gave me a Cubs hat one time. He was always cheerful and engaged me in conversation on the ride home. I was painfully shy but felt acknowledged by him and I always looked forward to seeing him.

Now, as a tailor, my mom often took clothes home to work on. She was payed by the piece so working from home was an option for her and she did it as much as possible. As a result, she would often get on the bus with several bags of clothes she planned on working on over the weekend. One particular evening, we got on the 97 bus to go home and started getting heckled by a bus rider who thought my mom was homeless. The bus driver just happened to be the older gentleman who often talked with us and he immediately told the heckler to shut up and leave us alone. The heckler did.

When people tell me how scary-violent-large-unfeeling Chicago is, I never know what to say. It IS all those things. And yet those are not the feelings evoked when I think about Chicago.

And yet, I need to let those fond memories go. Because the Chicago of my youth and the Chicago of those memories doesn’t exist anymore. And I don’t mean because it was a gentler time. I grew up in Chicago during the 80s and 90s where there were 900 murders in one year. No, it’s only that the Chicago I cleave to is in my past and it’s keeping me from moving on. So I’ll visit to see its sights and eat its food but I’ll play the tourist and take my leave.  It’s not my home anymore.

“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.” – Beryl Markham, West with the Night

vistas – sac to mke trip

I’m from the Midwest and so anything other than cornfields are a real treat for me.

Outside of Sacramento on I-80.

Outside of Sacramento on I-80. This was taken at an “overlook” outside of Sacramento. Driving down some of these declines were kind of scary as when the car was in neutral, our car’s speedometer climbed from 80mph to 90 to 95, etc. So, so steep.

In western Colorado.

In western Colorado. Colorado had the most interesting topography in my opinion.

Uh, this house is probably really expensive.

Uh, this house is probably really expensive.  As we approached all the ski towns in Colorado, the money really came out.

Approaching Denver in the dark.

Driving into Denver in the dark and rain was also a bit scary. I saw so many signs asking semi truck drivers if their brakes were cool, that there were 15 more miles of steep roads, and signs warning of steep grades and sharp curves. Yikes! Denver itself was pretty flat, however.

signs – sac to mke trip

I took most of my pictures in the car. Taking pictures of signs usually involved scrambling to take the lens off, rushing to turn the camera on and focusing frantically at 80 mph.

80 mph?!

80 mph?!

I was finally able to get a picture of a state sign. Missed both Nevada and Utah for some reason.

I was finally able to get a picture of a state sign. Missed both Nevada and Utah for some reason. Nebraska’s sign was just okay and Iowa and Illinois were either boring or in the dark.

I think I heard about this place on the radio at some point.

I think I heard about this place on the radio at some point.

Saw MANY of these signs in Nevada. How many prisons do we have there?

Saw MANY of these signs in Nevada. How many prisons do we have there?

bonneville salt flats

On the way home, we were delighted to find that the Bonneville Salt Flats were on the way to Salt Lake City.  Because of a late start which included (among other things) a three hour plane delay, an oil change with coolant flush, and a battery change, we got to the salt flats pretty late.  I tried to take as many pictures as I could between the end of magic hour and complete darkness.

The sun is set.

The sun has set.

Unbeknownst to the Unicorn, its name will come from this place.

Unbeknownst to the Unicorn, it’s name will come from this place.

unicorns for everyone!

A couple of weeks ago, a unicorn appeared on the internet in the form of a rare, good condition 1991 Honda Civic RT4WD. Everyone ooh’d and ahh’d appropriately and nodded their heads in agreement, that such a thing would not be seen again for years to come. It was up for sale in Colorado and just like other sightings of this mythical beast, it disappeared almost as soon as it appeared.  It was sold within a day of being posted on the forums and many wept over the lost opportunity.

Unbeknownst to the new owner of the unicorn however, a new child was on the way and there would be no room for a baby AND a unicorn, what with accidental horn impalings, the impending lawsuits, complaints about unicorn poop in the neighborhood, and general costs of raising a child.  So with a heavy heart, the new owner put the unicorn up for sale again.

Well, when a second opportunity to get a unicorn comes your way, you don’t hesitate and so Jacob and I found ourselves flying to Sacramento to buy this particular unicorn and drive it 32 hours back to Wisconsin. We started driving on a Wednesday and made it home in the wee hours of Saturday morning.sacrtowhitemap

As with most journeys driving a 25 year old car over eight states, we ran into some issues along the way but made it we did.