Had my last day of school before break yesterday (!) and finally got around to making a recipe I found for for buckeyes at Smitten Kitchen.

I highly recommend them - they were easy to make and taste delicious - not too sweet.  I will say, however, that they gave my poor sad electric mixer a run for it's money.  The batter was much to thick for it's little motor, but as long as I kept stopping to clean out the blades it seemed to do alright. 


Christmas Mantel Wonderland

The holidays have arrived!  I finally managed to find some time this weekend - and spent lots of it around the house finishing the Christmas tree, baking, and decorating.  For reasons I can't explain, Christmas is the only time of year where I get crabby if I don't have time to craft.  There is no explanation for it - although I guess I just can't stand to be away from tinsel and glitter for more than a few hours.  What can I say, shiny things delight me.

I decided to spend this time finishing my Christmas mantel, after being inspired by many great ideas online, notably this one at Mod Vintage Life.  Although I have been collecting little things for a while now, I needed to pick up some supplies.  Too bad I went out in a blizzard (anyone see the Bears game today?) to discover that every craft store in the city of Chicago was out of fake snow spray and ornament hooks. Oh well.

I love my little glitter covered deer...

 and glitter covered trees...

I started out with a collection of magazine trees I've been making in my spare time at work, as well as little trees I've been finding at thrift stores and my little glass insulators.  I wondered, "how do I make these all look like they are from the same world?"

I decided the answer was glitter and Snow Tex.  Lots of it. 

I'm not entirely satisfied with it yet, I think the trees could be more glittery.  It's hard to get a feeling for it with these pictures... I am also not done with the wreath above...next time I have some daylight I'll try to get some better pictures...

Stay Warm*


Linking up at...

Show and Tell at Blue Cricket Design...


More Christmas Goodies

Well, I'm finally making it back to this little blog space.  I've been down and out with a cold for a week straight now, and haven't hardly had any energy to share anything here.  I've been meaning to write about my visit a few weeks ago to the Economy Shop in Oak Park - what a fabulous surprise that was!  The Economy Shop began as a thrift store for the benefit of local charities in 1919; it has been operating at its present location since 1924.  I have never really seen anything like it - basically, it's a thrift department store.  That's right - A THRIFT DEPARTMENT STORE. With fifteen departments spanning three floors, and plenty of Christmas knickknacks to boot, I was in heaven.

Everything is neatly organized, clean, and easy to sort through - they even had a CRAFT SUPPLIES ROOM! Look at this little tree I got for 80 cents!  Also notice the little reindeer underneath.  I plan on covering them with Martha Stewart glitter I bought with a coupon the other day (YAY! Martha glitter - I have to tell you I've been pining for it for months!)
I also got some little blue ornaments for pennies, and two small casserole dishes.  Then I found a set of old fashioned Christmas lights which were 50 cents a strand plus 10 cents for each replacement bulb.  I was able to test them there, and I must have fiddled with these for twenty minutes or so, screwing in different bulbs until I had the whole strand lit.  Then when I got home they worked for about three minutes before the fuse blew.  Hopefully I can just put in another and get it up and running, although I might have unknowingly put in some bulbs that were to high of voltage or wattage or ampage or whatever.  Troubleshooting to come I guess.

If you are in the Chicagoland area, and would like to visit the Economy Shop, they are open Saturdays and Thursdays,  Here is the link to their website for more information.

In other news, I've been collecting a lot of little things for Christmas crafts, and I'm fearful I'll never have the energy time to make anything!

Linking up with Apron Thrift Girl...


Caring Hearts Card Drive

It is so wonderful that over the blog world people who don't even really know each other can get together and do something nice for others.  I just read about the Caring Hearts Card Drive, which is accepting holiday cards to distribute to the elderly this fall and winter.  It is nice to know, as a crafty type person, that I can make something which might make someone else smile.  I just hope I can make a few cards and get them in the mail before the deadline! Click the link above or the button in my sidebar for more information! 


Visit to the Junk Asyulm

Here is my find from the Junk Asylum, which I wrote about last week.  I discovered they have a website, although I didn't think they would.  Being a city slicker I assume people from small towns don't know what the internet is yet.   If you are near the Quad Cities I apologize for my ignorance and suggest you check the Junk Asylum out.

Ducks!  Geese! Swans!

Despite the fact that my entire family, including Boyfriend, think they are creepy, I like them.  They really caught my eye and were only $10 for the pair.  Not bad, in my opinion.  My brother left the store a happy camper as well, his new Mr. T and the A Team puzzle in hand.  I saw a few things in there that I have been looking for, including an old metal fold out kitchen stool that reminds me of one my grandmother had when I was a kid.  Although it was only $12 or $15 dollars, I didn't purchase it because it was pretty wobbily.  I just looked for some on Ebay, and they sell for a whole lot more than that, albeit in a little better shape.  Eh, I'm not really the type who is into fixing up furniture.  I have enough projects started already that I will probably never finish.  Also, my thrifing philosophy is that if I don't absolutely LOVE it, I don't by it.  Otherwise I end up getting stuff just because it is cheap, and sending it back later.  I am still working on this.  For some reason, it is hard not to buy cheap things.  Who knew?

Edit:  Oh, and I forgot to mention I am linking up with the folks at Apron Thrift Girl...


I'm a Thrifter

Sometimes I think my friends are cooler than me. 

I've been meaning to share my friend Pamela's state plate collection on this blog for a while.  Pamela is pretty much the thriftiest person I know.  When I saw her plate collection I knew I HAD TO HOARD some plates of my own, much to Boyfriend's chagrin.  It was bad enough that while visiting my family last weekend, we visited a place called...wait for it... - - - - -


Yes, the crazy thrift hoarding cat loving girlfriend heard tell of a place called The Junk Asylum, and HAD to check it out.  I haven't heard the end of it all week.  This provides complete fodder for Boyfriend - probably until the end of time.

I'm sure he'll tell everyone that his crazy thrift hoarding cat loving girlfriend visited the trash sanatorium and never came back.

Fall Visit to Japanese Garden, Jackson Park Chicago

I've been meaning to share pictures from my visit to the Osaka Garden in Jackson Park.  Built for the 1893 World's Fair, the garden was Japan's pavilion at the exhibition.  Located away from the hustle and bustle of the Midway, where the other foreign cultural exhibits were located, the garden provided a peaceful and calm retreat.
The garden is located just south of what is now the Museum of Science and Industry, originally the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1893 Fair.  This building is the only remaining building from the fair, being one of the few made of long lasting brick and iron.

View of the garden looking south from the museum.

Original lantern near the gate of the garden. Notice the heart motif.

And the stag motif.

Another lantern (not original).  There were three total and a water basin.

It was a beautiful fall day.  Notice the waterfall.  There were also some fishermen there.

And then the fog rolled in...

I ate my caramel apple and headed home.


Christmas Time Will Be Here Soon, Thrift Share

Hi! This is my first Thrift Share Monday!  I am linking with Apron Thrift Girl.  I had a great day Monday scavenging through Unique Thrift on Half Off Day.  In addition to some embroidery hoops and yarn, as well as an amazing state plate for my state plate collection (pics soon), here is what I found! 

I found these matching enamelware bowls (pictured above), which I thought were totally charming.  Does anyone know anything about the safety of Tokyo - made enamelware?  I read that most modern enamelware made in the States is free of heavy metals, but some others may have lead or other toxic chemicals that can leach into food.

I have been looking forward to making some sort of granny star Christmas bunting this winter, and what luck- somebody made them for me and put them in the thrift store just for me!  I think I will make some slightly larger ones to go with them.  This will allow me to actually finish some of the other projects I have started (more on that in an upcoming post).

Am I in the Christmas mood or what! Isn't this little apron darling?  There was another one in the shop that was a little fancier (organza), but I have enough of those I never wear.  This is more practical in that I can easily wash it.  I can't wait to wear it!

How neat is this lamp? I found it at the Sal Army a few weeks ago, but didn't have any batteries in my camera until now (sorry the picture is so dark, this room only gets direct sunlight for an hour every afternoon, a total bummer).  I scored the base of the lamp for $5, and the shade for $2.98.  I'm not totally sold on the shade, but it was really hard to try out all the shades while carrying a bunch of other items in a crowded Chicago thrift store on sale day.

More treats to share with you soon!



Needed an image of a strawberry the other day, what a delight google image search provided.  Here's a snapshot:

It doesn't get more delicious looking than that!


You Know You Are Tired When...

Upside down Korean is really hard to read.

Youth Lament

I am learning I just need a job where I work no more than four days a week.  And that's why subbing was perfect for me.  I could take a day off if I wanted. If for example I was tired, or it wasn't light out when my alarm went off (like everyday this week)  - I had no accountability.

Now I have accountability.

Now I can't study Korean while a boring movie I just watched for the last six periods is playing in the background.

Now I can't do craft projects during my free periods - because I have zero free periods.
Still from a stop motion movie I'll probably never finish because I am an adult with a full time job.

Hmmm.  So this means all the fun things that make my little life interesting actually have to be done at home, where I am just too tired to do them.  Which means they don't get done.  Instead I just sit online and read craft blogs and get ideas for projects I'll never have the energy or gumption to start.  Then I get stressed out about how fast my life is passing by and how I never get to do things I plan on doing.  Then I go into quarter life crisis panic mode, moan with frustration, throw things, cry and complain about being an adult.

In general, pretty much.

Jack is lazy and has no accountability. 
He is also spoiled. 
Why can't I be a cat?
Here is a picture of Jack being lazy.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job as a teacher aide (waiting tables doesn't hold a candle to it of course) and I enjoy helping my kids, AND my position gives me a greater sense of purpose and fills me with feelings of self worth... but I really just want some time to start a project I'll never finish.


Making Pillowcases, Part one of Who Knows How Many...

Check out this awesome fabric I got at The Needle Shop.  I am going to use it to freshen up some old pillows...
It's not the best picture, but you can tell the fabric's pretty awesome because it has squid all over it. 

Other fabrics by Kokka of Japan I am partial to:

Among others... check ebay for a great selection.  Now I just have to finish all the projects I started so I can start one with these fabrics!


I'm a Film Maker!

Been meaning to do this for a while...  (Music:  The World is Gone Wrong, the Texas Sheiks)


I has can speak Korean. Sorta.

So I've been studying Korean for about two years now, but you'd never know it. 

I work in a school district with lots of Koreans...and consequently lots of opportunities to practice my language skillz.

In one of my classes, there is a kid who pretty much just moved here from Korea, so his English isn't great and he is assisted by the ELL teacher in class.  "YAY," I think to myself "I wanna talk to this kid!"  So I spend time in class racking my brain for bits of Korean things to say to him...

This is how I imagine our conversation would go:

In Korean (in overly formal manner not appropriate for speaking with school children):

ME:    Hello!  Nice to meet you!
HIM:  Hi!
ME:    Who is that person over there?  I am an American person.
           Are you a Korean person?
HIM:  Um, what person?
ME:    That's great!  I like to eat Kimchi and Pizza!  The book is sitting on the table.  What is your
            phone number?
HIM:   Umm... 

Pretty much all I will achieve by initiating this conversation is scaring the child or leading him to believe I'm crazy.  Not good.  

Hmmm... Wall paper Craft Project?

I have spent the better part of 4 hours this weekend reading craft and design blogs, but no time actually crafting myself.  I just can't seem to get the motivation to pick up a pair or scissors myself.  Let's not mention the umpteen projects I've started that have been laying around the apartment unfinished...  The root of the problem is that my craft stash o stuff doesn't inspire me. 

Here's some things that do:

I recently read on Design Sponge this tutorial on how to cover furniture with wallpaper,  which I think I could apply to a crappily painted desk that I got from a friend years ago. 

Here are some wallpapers I love!

Ok check them out below - something is wrong with Blogger and it won't let me write below the pictures.  Anways, my sister is majoring in interior design - maybe she can nab me some awesome paper, since these pictured are 100 bucks a role, which frankly is a just a wee bit out of my budget.

from Ferm Living
from Ferm Living



So I ate the squash pictured a few posts down...and guess what!  It was totally spaghetti squash! 


Good Old Midwest Vacation.

The land of cheese and bratwurst.  People rag on Wisconsinites for eating too much of these, but the stereotype is true.  Just ask my insides.


The trip began as we drove to Minnesota for my Aunt and Uncle's 25th wedding anniversary, which they held on a boat cruising Lake Minnetonka...beautiful!

Then we headed to the Dells. We went to the deer park again (I have video from last year's visit which I will put up in a subsequent post) Boyfriend's favorite dells thing from childhood.

They had Guinea hens!  I think I will have some one day, as they keep garden pests at bay and would provide some entertainment for Jack.  Here is a website if you would like to learn how you too, can be an owner of Guinea hens. 

Well, I got off on a little tangent here looking at Guinea fowl websites...and found this website where I can order Guinea hens, PEACOCKS, and LLAMAS!


We walked around downtown and over by the riverwalk, and got old timey photographs taken...picture to follow. We also went into little shop on the main drag that sold these lovely leggings:

That's all.


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