Archives for November 2011

Jingle Bell Shopping

Ring by Manya & Roumen, LLC

You could call me a “Magpie”; I’ll admit that I am drawn to shiny things.  I love to collect unusual art, paper, jewelry and even yarn.  One of my greatest joys (outside of family, friends, my country and the basics of life etc.) is finding unknown artists and crafters and getting a chance to speak with them about their creative style and passions.

The holiday season is the perfect excuse for me to seek opportunities to fulfill this small pleasure.  Here is a small list of the various fairs and markets that I have visited thus far:

        • A delightful holiday fair at The Grove in Glenview(early November) where I got to know an incredible woman who reuses/recycles old wooden furniture, repairs, paints and resells them.  Thanks to her work, Kayla has a new wooden bed for her American Girl Doll.
        • The annual American Visionary Art Museum’s annual BazaART fair while I was in Baltimore last weekend.
        • The Chicago Toy and Game Fair: I also met Barb Taylor, Chief Operating Officer of American Doll Houses, a mom-made company that uses recycled materials to create doll houses for 18 inch dolls (Like American Girl or Just Like Me dolls). Kayla has been begging me for a house for her American Girls ever since she laid eyes on the samples two weeks ago.

This weekend, Kayla and I are off to the 11th annual One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago, to buy unique creations and also help Children’s Memorial Hospital; a portion of tickets sales will benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital.  If we make it before the crowds pile in (and I bribe Kayla with enough Hanukkah gelt), I am hoping to get a chance to meet many of the artists to learn the stories behind their work.  With over 600 craftsmen and women representing  a wide range of media and categories including ceramics, clothing, fashion accessories, fiber art, furniture, glass, gourmet, holiday, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, photography and wood, I am confident that Kayla and I will find quite a few things to inspire us to add just one more person to our ever growing holiday list.  Don’t worry, this time we have set a spending limit and have promised each other that we will not go above this amount.

If you are interested in meeting up with me or just looking for some place fun to shop that doesn’t include the words: mall, frenzied, toys, no parking, I totally encourage you to check out this alternative to mass marketing shopping.

Here’s the information:
  • DATES AND TIMES: Thursday, December 1; noon -9 p.m. Friday, December 2; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, December 3; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, December 4; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • SHOW LOCATION: The Merchandise Mart 8th Floor Chicago, IL 60654 (800) 677-MART (6278)
  • TICKETS: Tickets are $12 for adults. Tickets are available online at
  • A portion of tickets sales will benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Look for me there!  I’ll be the harried mom with the kid on a massive sugar high!

Pictures from this weekend!

Pictures from this weekend!

I have been a very, very busy woman this weekend. So I thought that I would share a few of the pictures I took of the fun events.

Thursday, November 17th:

First, Kayla was in the Pioneer Press as well as featured on The Mommy On A Shoe String video column. Then Beth Engelman and I went to Style Chicago’s Luna Fest.  Sadly, the photos haven’t been posted online so I don’t know how we looked.  I did, however, win 2 gift certificates to the French Pastry School.  The food and the drinks were tasty but the highlight was meeting a really cool hair stylist.

It was our next event that really took a “bite” out of our evening: getting a prescreening of Breaking Dawn which was sponsored by iVillage.  Here is a fan-tab-ulous photo of three of Chicago’s featured bloggers (myself included, of course!):


Breaking Dawn with Beth Engelman, Jim Higley and me! Aren't we adorable?


The movie was not my favorite of the series but I truly enjoyed spending time with Beth.  I can’t wait to find another adventure of the two of us soon!

Friday, November 18th

Yes, I saw Breaking Dawn (again!) but this time with a very dear friend.  The movie was still just okay and while it stayed true to the plot of the book, I felt a bit let down by the whole thing.  I never did like endings and considering I cannot watch Titanic for reasons that I just can’t divulge right now, I am amazed that I was willing to sit through the movie again.  Again, I was with a dear friend so it was worth it to me.

Saturday, November 19th

Ah, Saturday: a day of rest and recovery.  But not for my little troop!  We were out of the house by 7:30 and off to the Chicago Toy and Games Fair at Navy Pier.   Following is a picture that we snapped while we were there:

At the end of the show, we are still smiling