Improving My Cutting Skills–The Chicago Way

Improving My Cutting Skills–The Chicago Way

Cutting, chopping, mincing and slicing… All of these actions lead me to the same conclusion: It’s time that I learn how to use knives for more than opening the cellophane wrapped around K’s new DVDs and GameBoy games.  Since I have started doing more cooking in the kitchen, I have also heard my wonderful husband mutter under his breath one or two times “You are USING the WRONG KNIFE!”  So, you can bet that I jumped on the chance to learn more about great knives and their uses.

 I am venturing to The Chopping Block at the Merchandise Mart today to get some lessons on the proper knife technique.  Specifically, I will be using the new Chicago Cutlery® DesignPro™ product.  It’s the latest innovation from Chicago Cutlery.  The knives are designed to have a handle that guides your hand to the best position for superior control and cutting. Hopefully, with the ultra-sharp, Japanese blades, I won’t find myself struggling to not only figure out which is the correct knife to use, but also be assured that I am using a sharp knife to make the cleanest cuts.


In the meantime, I have been looking at pictures of two of the knives online.



I have a feeling that once I have completed the class today, I will be texting my super-fantastic cook of a husband with a request to replace our 15 year-old german knives with these super sleek, sharp and modern ones.


Who knows?  Perhaps with the Chicago Cutlery Design Pro knives, I will do more of the cooking?  Or at least taking the lead for the food prep?  You will be the first to know.


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!