Tuesday, April 21, 2015

About Those *SRC T Shirts...

(*SRC stands for Summer Reading Club)

Eileen is pictured here at my 2014 retirement party!  She is wearing the 2006 SRC t shirt.
This month marked another retirement for a colleague at my local public library.
  Congratulations, Eileen!
 She was my inspiration for the resulting project - when I made her an infinity scarf from a stretched and pulled tie-dye SRC t shirt as a retirement gift - it forced me to reckon with my collection of fifteen (used front and back of 1999 t shirt) once and for all!)

From 1999 to 2007, I designed the SRC t shirts, so I had a drawer full of the memories.
More of my stash came from my tenure at the library designed by another colleague.
 It just didn't seem right to donate these shirts to a thrift shop or rummage sale. Even though I am a "dinosaur" I can not give this 2002 shirt away:

Nor can I part with my favorite graphic designed for the 2001 SRC featuring a pink car with the carhop delivering a tray full of books!

Instead I laid out each t shirt and cut out two thirteen inch squares from each t shirt (front and back).
Sixteen t shirts = 32 squares.
From a solid blue cotton fabric, I cut out 32 13 inch squares. A lot of them to cut as they would be the "guts" of the t shirt "sandwich" squares!
To assemble the "sandwich," I placed the back of the t shirt square on a table top surface and lined up 2 blue cotton fabric squares on top of that with the top graphic of the t shirt design as the sandwich top.  Sounds confusing, but just visualize a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and you'll get it: bread on top and bottom of sandwich is front and back of t shirt and peanut butter and jelly are the two blue cotton ingredients of sandwich.  

 I then machine sewed an "x" through all four layers as shown above.  Using 1 inch seam allowances, sew eight mini squares to form a row, four rows of four t shirt squares to form a square and then eight more mini squares together for a bottom row.with a once inch margin around the sides - no batting needed. Eight small squares are sewn together for the top.
Have you guessed this will turn into a quilt?
A quilt just right to use to get cozy reading books for the
upcoming SRC season?
  Once all the blocks are sewn together, it's time to blister yourself up cutting slits to "fringe" the blocks. Cut slits to the seam line.  Then launder to fray the cotton fabric and curl up the t shirt fabric.



Oh, how I love joining the library's Summer Reading Club!  
But now that my t shirt collection has been reduced (cutting down, ya know?)
I may take a pass on the t shirt this year and stick to the books only.
Perhaps, though, this can be the start of  your SRC quilt dream!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Celebrating Still (Part Three)

Now that the gastronomic portion of the birthday celebration is completed, the Nelson Sisters were ready for still life viewing at the Art Institute.
 But where to begin?
With map in hand we set out to explore.  What's this on the back of the map? It's our inspiration!

We will turn our exploration into a Scavenger Hunt!  
Not only will we find eleven (not twelve as listed 
as one gallery was closed), but we will "reenact" if possible.
The goal is exploration, not eviction from the premises, and the older sister has figured
out by now to just go with the flow when with the younger sister.

Please join us now in our adventure!

#1: The Assumption of the Virgin - El Greco

#2: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte - Georges Seurat

#3: Stacks of Wheat - Claude Monet

#4: Ando Gallery - Gallery 109 and very difficult to find!!  And dark, too!

#5: Mask (Mukenga) - Gallery 137. Do take a look under the hat.

6: Seated Buddha - Gallery 141

#7: America Windows - Marc Chagall

#8: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

#9: American Gothic - Grant Wood

#10: Bathers by a River - Henri Matisse

#11: The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

The persons responsible for this viewing list are a bit on the youthful side, as there was no way
we could have accomplished this in one hour!!  However, they were masters in getting museum goers to attempt this mission scavenger hunt and see most of the Institute collection in passing.

So, there you have it.  The Nelson Sisters had yet another fun adventure together
and are still standing. Well, maybe sitting.  Or napping.

Happy Birthday, Diann!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Celebrating Still (Part Two)

Now that the gifts with the still theme have been revealed and opened (see Part One), it's time for the Nelson Sisters to continue on a related adventure involving food and fun.  
My plans for going to Marge's Still in Lincoln Park area were dashed with the restaurant opening not until 4:30 pm and a drive to Bartlett to go to Still and Grill seemed to not be worth the drive once I read the yelp reviews.
 What to do?
Ditch the restaurant with "still" in the name and go instead to a place where still life viewing reigns supreme: The Art Institute.

Not only does the Art Institute have great works of art, it has a state-of-the-art restaurant in the Modern Wing on the third floor. On the left of entry is the Chicago waterfront view and on the right is our own, beautiful skyline! 

We ate first before the viewing of the Institute's art collections.  The foods we ate were also masterpieces of the culinary sort.  We started with a shared salad with a tasty buttermilk vinaigrette, grilled pears, candied hazelnuts and blue cheese on a bed of Bibb lettuce.

One word:  delishioooooooooous.  Then on to the main course - again shared by the sisters.
This was the Butternut Squash Agnolotti with cipolini onions, hen of the woods mushrooms and apple-thyme gremolata.

No, it couldn't have tasted better.  (Because I am so refined now that I am 60 I didn't lick the plate. Nor did my mostly-always refined Sis.)  Meanwhile I snuck off to find our waitress to ask about a possible birthday treat for Diann. She brought us this Deconstructed S'more.

 Do you see the words on the blue disc?  
And the graham cracker ice cream behind it?  
You just want a full view now, don't you?

It perfectly matches her necklace and lovely eye color!

This food gave us sustenance for what happens in Part Three.
A Scavenger Hunt may or may not be involved.
You never know what'll happen with these two next - especially when works of art are involved and one insists upon mimicry.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Celebrating Still (Part. One)

It's time once again to celebrate a Nelson Sister birthday;
 this time it's her turn!  

Mulling over what was to be the theme of  her celebration fell into place when I picked up a couple of  books with still in the title: Still Alice by Lisa Genova and Still by Lauren F. 
Winner. It just seemed like a peaceful, nice theme.  I also thought of many songs with still in the title like "In the Still of the night," "I'm Still Standing,"  "You're Still the One," to name a few. In a conversation in January that we had (after I planned the theme), she rather weirded me out by telling me her personal word for 2015 was Still.  Right about now the Twilight Zone music starts to play in my head!

Oh, well.  I can live with the theme being no big surprise this year.  Instead I will just make the gift tags a surprise by having her unscramble letters on the tag for a clue as to what might be in the attached package.

The t on the front of the tag tells what the word clue starts with.

On the flip side, she'll have to decipher "emit" unscrambled to "time."  and inside that package are tablets of paper for taking time to be still and to write down thoughts, lists, dreams, etc.

Some of the gifts are silly, too. Like the one for "Still Crazy after all These Years."

Or this one with memories of  Mitch Miller on the turntable of our childhood home stereo! (Thank you, Goodwill, for this vintage gem!)

And, how could one present a still theme without a still life painting?

Once the gifts were all unwrapped (in green and blue to represent grass and sky)
 it was time to head out for Part Two of our celebrating!  To be continued....