Archive for the 'life' Category Page 2 of 25

I’m Back, Baby!

It’s been silent over here on ye old blog for far too long.

Some time in February we had crazy winds which caused day long power outages all over the county. We only suffered from weird brown outs, where somethings turned off (like the oven and humidifier), somethings stayed on (like the TV), somethings dimmed (like the lights), and somethings just DIED FOREVER (like my computer). Honestly, I’d been complaining about my ancient computer (10+ years old) for quite a while, but Matt kept assuring me “It’s fine”. Well, it wasn’t, and I was quite annoyed. Note, I was annoyed and not hysterical because I had fortunately backed up my computer not too long beforehand. He tried to resurrect my computer with no luck. I looked around for a thrifty alternative; even the cheapest computer I could find has to be better than a 10+ year old monster, right? Fortunately, Matt’s mom heard about my plight and had been wanting to get a new computer and offered us her old one. Apparently, her old one is better than what I would have purchased brand new (faster and larger) and so now I’m back in business. High Five!

I feel like I have a mile long to-do list of things I wanted to get done on my computer. I have a list of new paper products that I want to make, I need to print more of my nephew’s stationery that I designed for him for Christmas, and I want to blog about a bobajillion things. I have recovered or redownloaded any of the design and photo editing programs I use. I’m in limbo with anything I want to scan because my scanner apparently is no longer supported on Window 10. womp, womp.

Winter 2015-16 chalkboard calendar

Anyway, Here I am, breaking the ice after a long time. I thought I would share my seasonal chalkboard calendar, as I need to erase it and start it all over for Spring. SPRING!

and while I’m here, let’s do a “Currently” post, so here it goes-

Right Now I’m…

AnticipatingMy best friend’s wedding next month. I’m nervous and stressed just thinking about it, and it’s not even my wedding.
Buying Food Should Taste Good, sweet potato tortilla chips (ok, I didn’t buy them, my sister did)
Creating  Oh, my gosh! I’m working on so many projects, it’s great! Most recently I’ve been inspired by the artwork of Xochi Solis, and playing around with a new line of envelopes for a potential stationery set. The envelopes aren’t like her work, but listening to the Art for Your Ears podcast with her, and looking at her work lit a fire, and the idea just popped into my head.
Eating HEALTHFULLY! I know one thing and that is eating unhealthily (overeating, processed, and take out foods) leaves with you even less energy to prepare meals and eat well, and I was caught in a bad downward spiral. This year my sister gifted me one of the best gifts ever – She paid for my mom, my sister and herself to do a 5 week run of Seattle Sutton. It is not cheap, folks. But now that we’ve been eating better and have learned quite a few lessons, we are taking our newfound energy and momentum and continuing with it. And I’m so happy, and so grateful. Thank you, thank you, Chris!
Feeling  Lighter, happier, more energetic and inspired! I always walk (fitbitting with 10k steps daily now for 2.5+ years) but lately, I’m incorporating more actual workouts and it feels great.
Listening Podcasts! Podcasts! Podcasts! I’ve been talking forever about sharing a post where I list my favorite podcasts, and I promise, Courtney, I haven’t forgotten.
Loving Walking. I was going to say “The warmer weather so I can go out walking” but in reality, this winter, I really never stopped going for walks outside. When I was young I would go and stay with my grandma and she went for walks every day. I remember feeling like it was a chore and her having to persuade me sometimes, but instead of it being this “workout” she made it more of a whole experience; getting fresh air, listening to and trying to spot birds, observing all parts of nature, collecting cool rocks and leaves, etc. Later, I always wished that someday I would do that as well, that I would go for daily walks, and now I am so happy to realize that vision is finally true!
Missing My scanner (see above, dead computer)
Procrastinating – This category is giving me serious guilt. I have a bunch of things I need to do and haven’t. The kind of guilt that stressed me out of deep sleep this morning. Did I take care of any of those things today? No, of course not #failure. OK, wait, before I’m too hard on myself, I have also been really productive and crossing lots of things off my to-do list.
Reading – Um, this is causing me guilt too! I have a pile of books on my bedside table, some overdue books even. Let’s not talk about the backlog of magazines I subscribe to and have been carrying around with me, but never reading. 
Seeing  The grass starting to turn green and grow. Normally this might be exciting to me, but the trees are all still absolutely naked and yet, I think we are going to have to mow soon. Gah!
Watching We are watching the last season of Community with our “movie group”, which originally aired on yahoo. We’ve watched all seasons up to this. SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE, Whoop Whoop! Did you ever watch this show? If not, I highly recommend starting from the beginning. Also, we watched the Good Dinosaur the other day, meh.
Wanting – I recently started a wishlist on pinterest and I’m trying to remember to put things there, rather than just spending thoughtlessly, or forgetting what it was that I really wanted.

Other Right Now posts

Annual Kusudama Ornament

Kusadama collection

Happy New Year! Matt and I sat down and made our annual kusudama Christmas ornament this weekend, just in time to pack away all the decorations. Actually, we made two because last year we never got one done. We have quite the collection now. I’m so glad that Matt enjoys making them as well.

In 2008 we started an annual tradition of making one of these #kusadama ornaments. Last year was the first year we didn't do one, so we made two this year to catch up. This one was made from a mylar coated wrapping paper which made it difficult to assembl

We made this mylar coated wrapping paper one. It made folding and creasing the paper a chore, but it looks very pretty on the tree.

And then here is the make-up #kusadama from last year. I don't know why it never occurred to me before, but I cut down an old 365 Met art calendar to make this one. It's especially fitting this year as my friend Fred that passed away a few months ago alwa

And this one is my new favorite. After piling up years and years of the 365 Metropolitan Museum of Art calendars, I had the idea to cut down some pages to make an ornament. It was actually perfect, because my coworker/friend Fred would always get this calendar for us. Every single day, the first thing he’d do is come and look at the new piece of artwork and then go look it up on google. He passed away a couple of months ago, and I wish I had thought to make him an ornament from a calendar years ago.

Below are the previous years’ ornaments.

Our annual #kusudama ornament. We've made one every year, starting in 2008. Our first one was an oops and ended up being about 10" in diameter, too big and heavy for the tree. #robayrekusudama

2011 ornament

Kusadama from 2012 (but made in 2013)

2010 kusudama ornament

2009 Kusudama ornament

kusadama recycled ornament

Just some facts about the ornaments if you are interested in making one for yourself:

Paper squares (64 pieces) should be no bigger than 3″ square for a resulting 4.5″ ornament. Trust me, our first “ornament” is about 12 inches in diameter! Next year if I remember, I’m going to try 2-2.5″ sized paper, but I’m not holding my breath, as I accidentally cut 4″ on one ornament again this year.

The instructions (if I remember correctly) say to use glue. There is no way you’d ever get this done if you were waiting for each piece of paper to glue together. The first year or two we used an adhesive tape, but that started acting funky over the years, so we have switched to glue gun and it speeds up the whole process and the pieces hold together SOLIDLY!

We follow this 2 step tutorial each year.



Chalkboard Calendar – Summer 2015

Summer 2015 chalkboard

There’s no more denying it, Fall is here. Time to document my chalkboard calendar of memorable events from the previous season, erase it all, and start over fresh. As usual I’m sure I forgot to mark down tons of things. Some off the top of my head, Erica got a puppy, Courtney left for New Orleans for the year, within a month Ann up and sold her house and high tailed it out of DeKalb foreverrrrrr, Matt, Tom and I went to a benefit at the House Cafe, designing new stationery sets and finally getting back into running my shop on etsy again, countless evening walks around the neighborhood to get in my steps, and we started putting up a new mantel (they always evolve over time and I’m sure I’ll be back to reveal more of it soon). Other things on the board I’m sure will make no sense later, things like Flower sunglasses (I ordered Flower Beauty sunglasses).

Things I’m so sad to have to discontinue with the season is exploring and adventuring (hiking, camping, enjoying the outdoors, etc.,) AND of course HAWAIIAN SNO!

Overall, life is pretty great. I feel like I’ve finally turned a leaf and I really believe a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have cancelled Netflix. I always hear parents talk about how dramatic their children transform from little angels to little demons with the exposure of screen time. I’ve been battling my own demon for far too loooooong and now that I have slayed it I am feeling so much better. I honestly believe I am a testament to screen time transformations and that it isn’t just something children suffer from. I’m getting back to my happy and productive self again. I am still on my phone way too much, and I’ll still watch an occasional show or movie here and there, but it’s just not the main time suck and energy drain magnet that I can’t say no to, like it was before.

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

I’ll be back tomorrow with my Speed round post from this week.

Nachusa Grasslands


Over the Summer Matt, my sister and I attended the STEM event, Breakfast with the Bison at a nearby tall grass prairie, Nachusa Grasslands. I’ve been pretty obsessed with the tall grass prairie since I was in high school when my grandma (who volunteered to conserve prairie lands near her home) taught me. My first semester in college, I took an environmental biology class and focused projects and did outreach in the classrooms about prairies. Since then I’ve had an item on my bucket list to join a prairie conservation group.

prairie buttons

Years back I made a little prairie watercolor illustration that I turned into buttons

It poured on our way there and was a fairly blustery day, but it cleared up in time for our hike. The prairie at Nachusa was SO beautiful and so I want to share some of the pictures that each of us took.

8.29 Nachusa Tall Grass Prairie2

8.29 Nachusa Tall Grass Prairie

This might be a bunch of invasive, non native plants, but I thought it was pretty. Just got back from #nachusa #tallgrassprairie

Matt at #nachusa

little yellow house on the prairie

The pictures above were mine. One thing our guide said was how everything changes from week to week and things will look completely different, so I’m excited to go back again and again to witness those changes over the seasons. Other than all of the other people that were there for the event it was such a peaceful place and I really just want to go and hang out for a longer period of time.

8.15 me at Nachusa

Here is a picture of me I found on Matt’s camera. This is how excited I am to be in the prairie. Of course I had to wear my Prairie State shirt from The Rockford Art Deli. The next 3 are other pictures Matt took and shared on Flickr. He took TONS of pictures, but deemed only these 3 worthy of publication.




Had to get one of the bison. Apparently they just added them last year and have already almost doubled their herd. The bison at Nachusa are real bison. Apparently a lot of “buffalo” farms actually have bison/cow hybrids because they can cross breed. I didn’t know that!

Below are some pictures my sister took

Nachusa 360

You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see them larger.

Nachusa by stay1995

Nachusa by stat1995

Nachusa stat1995

Again, super excited to be in the prairie

Nachusa stat1995

Nachusa stat1995

If you follow me on instagram you may have seen a snippet of a project that was inspired by our trip to Nachusa. Check back in a couple days to see a finalized project based on that snippet.

Renegade 2015

Renegade craft chicago 2015

Last weekend was Renegade Chicago and as usual my sister and I went together. I think this was our 11th trip and this year I limited myself to $100. This meant I was already out of money halfway through the show, wah. You can imagine my anguish, sadness and regret when I found a $10 bill left hidden in my wallet later. I would have spent that in a heartbeat. Fortunately, my birthday was just a couple days later, so a couple things were bought as presents via my sister. Previous Renegade Craft Fair posts

9.19 Renegade overall small

I put my sister’s and my loot together for one picture and I really should have photographed them separately. We covered the ping pong table, and standing up on a chair, the ceiling wasn’t high enough to really get a picture and then I lost detail, being so far away. Lesson learned. I’ll start top left corner and move clockwise and spiral in.

Picture by Diane Sudyka

Flora and Fauna of the Midwest print by artist Diane Sudyka, I loved all of her work

-Wrapping paper from La Familia Green. One paper is a pressed penny pattern and I collect pressed pennies, and the other is a cat pattern. They also had a food truck pattern that I was tempted by, but their deal was for 2 wrapping papers, so I just got the two. Backstory on this paper was that I bought it and they wrapped it up all nicely, handed it to me in a paper bag with handles, and apparently the tall rolls must have fallen out of my bag almost immediately. I went back to the booth hoping maybe someone had returned it to them, but they hadn’t, and the, they gave me 2 new ones, which was so kind that it made me tear up. I feel indebted to them for their generosity.

-Felt (yellow) Wild and Free pennant flag by The Diggingest Girl

Picture by Elingeling on instagram

Migration Goods cat ornament (with tongue sticking out. My sister bought a little Nope bunny plaque and some barrettes for our niece. It was very nice to meet Eling after having followed her online for years, probably first through flickr back in the day.

Picture by Louise Dean

-Bison dishtowel by Louise Dean, which reminds me, I need to post about our recent trip to Nachusa grasslands and the Bison we saw there

Picture by Genevieve Santos

Genevieve Santos bookmarks, sticker and buttons. I was excited by everything in this booth, especially after I discovered that I was familiar with her work. I recognized a card she was selling as one I had purchased on Paperwoven, when I was researching the site and if I’d like to try and sell my own cards there. Everything she does is beautiful and super cute! How could I not buy that sticker above with the girl drinking bubble tea?

-My sister bought a bunch of greeting cards from TheBoxBerry

-We both chipped in to buy these brilliant Pon pushpin paper clips, that I remembered from their kickstarter. They allow you to hang prints and things in boards and walls without damaging the artwork.

-My sister purchased this “All the Things” bag by Mouth and Trousers

Picture by Maelu

-My sister bought this infinity scarf from Maelu

-She also bought this Alternate Histories of the World book by Matthew Buchholz

-My sister bought the watercolor patterned zipper pouch from Louise Dean, the same artist who made the bison towel above.

Renegade 2015 photobooth

-I got my annual photobooth picture taken from magbooth. So glad my sister saw it because last year I missed it.

-I bought a stamp ring from Matters of Delight. I’ve been wanting a ring with a stamp on it for a long time. You see little kids toy stamp rings all the time, but I was wanting something a little more adult. But just a little bit, ya know ;) it says yay! and I love it!

-Another birthday gift was the Stay Home Club bag which I’ve been wanting for years and years. I think I first found out about them via Katie at Skunkboy and love everything they put out. Side note: because I am constantly fighting contradictions within myself, I said I need to buy the Oh Darling Let’s Be Adventurers Bag and sew them together into one bag.

-At Oh Hello Friend, I bought a bunch of little pill capsules with smiley faces and rolled up notepaper inside. I thought they would be perfect for putting in geocaches and sending to friends. I also bought a few gold letterpressed business cards with friendly greetings.

Picture by YAB

-I purchased some You Are Beautiful stickers AND an enamel pin that looks like their stickers.

-I made a free leather pouch at the Leather Arts, Inc. booth

-My sister bought a silk screened ship patch

-My sister bought an super adorable quilted turtle plush.


It was such a good day, beautiful weather, the people were all nice, I got such great treasures and found out about so many new, great makers. I could have easily spent twice as much! We were saying how some years the vendors will be a lot of repeats of very similar products, but this year there was a really great variety and lots of new booths that haven’t been there before.

Previous Renegade Craft Fair posts

International Zine Month and Grass & Stars III

Zines for #littleartbook
Some of my zine collection
Apparently July is International Zine Month, so I figure no better time than now to announce that (after years’ long hiatus) I have finally created issue 3 of my zine, Grass & Stars.

Grass & Stars my first zineGrass & Stars No. 2

Props to any readers that remember my zine, or have even bought or swapped for one in the past. Here are the first two issues. The first zine I ever made was in a matchbox!

zine swap 2015

The new issue, like my very first one, was made for a swap. I was invited by Lelaina Lloyd late last year to participate in an art zine swap and it was exactly the push I needed to make my next issue. The swap was completed mid June (above) and so I am finally sharing it here. It had a size and page count requirement, and so I’m excited to say this is the largest zine I’ve made so far. At first I had no idea how I was going to fill 20 pages of content, let alone what it was going to be about. When the idea of luck came to me, it made perfect sense and everything else fell into place.

Grass & Stars III zine

I had so much fun working on the zine and it was hard not to spoil it all on instagram. I definitely did share lots of sneak peaks though, so I will share them here too. There are plenty of things that I LOVED SO MUCH that I still want to share pictures but I know it wouldn’t be much fun if someone got the zine and realized they’ve already seen it all on instagram.

A little somethin'-somethin' I've been working on

This is a little thumbnail of a coloring book page. I’ve been kinda obsessed with the idea of a fingers crossed emoji for a while, wishing there was such a thing, making my own fake ones and then this. Just last week I bought an enamel pin that also looks like this.

Here's a little peek of a fun grass brooch I've been working on today.

Yes, a set of felt brooches were made specifically to be featured in the zine.

It's totally a fake, held together with hot glue on the back, but ya know, you gotta make your own #luck sometimes 😉🍀

A four leaf clover of course, only, it’s fake. I hot glued the fourth petal, as I shared on instagram, sometimes you just have to make your own luck!

Forcing myself to sit here and do something. Working on a night version of the quilt field spread I did before. #LittleArtBook

Here’s another work in progress that made it into the zine.

Of course these are just snippets that I hope entice you into wanting to see more. This issue contains original artwork, articles, a comic, coloring book pages, a lucky penny pinback button and more!

Issue no. 3 is now available in my etsy shop, and as usual (and in the spirit of zine making) I’m always open to swaps! Just leave a comment or message me!

Goodbye Winter!

3.29 Winter 14-15 chalkboard

I’ve probably said this before, but I may not make pretty scrapbooks, but I feel like this chalkboard is kind of like my version of a memory book. I’m not even all that great at remembering to write down things that have happened on the board, but I hope that I at least capture the highlight reel.

When I look back at last season I think the only thing I am really bummed that I didn’t do was go sledding. There were a few days where it was nice out, there was sun and beautiful snow but I just could NOT get myself to go out in it. What’s happening to me? I used to love to play in the snow. Instead I just felt cold, cold, cold. I even started sleeping with a heating pad on the end of the bed near the end of the season (I couldn’t find my heating blanket, which I haven’t used for 10 years and probably threw away). I can already tell a week into Spring and I am SO HAPPY to have some warmth and fresh air. Yesterday I went for a walk outside for an hour and a half!

Onto SPRING! Onto new blossoms and shoots, clean air, AND SUN!

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

Midori Update

#midori #raydori

I planned this post to be an update on my Midori, but apparently other than sharing it on instagram, apparently I never really shared it here on the blog. So, let’s start with a little back story.

Last spring, you may remember from this post, I was all ready to jump on the Midori Traveler’s notebook bandwagon. After being introduced to them by videos of Kristin Nohe I was hooked.

Rushed home from work today hoping today would be the day. I opened up the mailbox and my heart leapt. My field note sized #midori style (#raydori) arrived. It's green and SO SO beautiful! I want to jump right in filling pages but I think I should first s

I joined this Midori facebook page and connected with Ray Blake who I commissioned to make me a custom Midori styled book (fauxdori, or Raydori as he calls his books). I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. Look how beautiful, green with my name pressed in the cover.

Hello, it's @robayre and I'd like to introduce my new project - a  project I'd love for you to to be a part of. If your little book is store bought or handmade, filled with pencil or ink, stamps or photographs, collage or paint, rivets or weavings, digita

For years and years, I’ve been carrying quarter sized books (sometimes moleskin cahiers, but more often handmade ones) which I fill with to do lists, scribbles or art books. I love these little books because for years before that I was just writing on quarter sized scrap paper and those loose leaf notes and doodles would just be everywhere. I love paper products and now this little Midori would allow me to carry a few little books at a time, keep the subjects (lists vs. art) separated and be more organized.

When I first got my Midori, I wanted to wait a little while until I had really started using it and figuring out how it would work best for me. Well, it’s been more than 6 months, and in short, it hasn’t really gone anywhere.


1. Finding out about the midori and getting my own coincided with my absolute falling in love with the square Pentalic sketchbooks, pictured above. I actually finished a whole sketchbook, which rarely happens. Usually it starts falling apart or I get bored with it before I can fill it. Not these! I purchased 5 more to use in the future.

2. I started the Little Art Book community and find that I am working in other little books. When I got the Midori, it came with a moleskine cahier in it and I wanted to fill that up before putting my own books in it, but I’m just not filling the supplied book. After writing this out, I realize I should just toss the one that I’m not using and replace it with a book I’m currently working on.

3. There’s something about the small act of having to remove the elastic and open it, and when I do have it open, because there is so much in there, it takes a slight effort to keep the pages open, it just keeps me from being able to grab it and immediately jot things down.

Fauxdori-raydori  Fauxdori-raydori

I have two full sized books inside, one for notes, lists and ideas, and the other book for art. There are also a couple of other inserts and smaller books made from scratch paper inserted as well. So far, I definitely use the book for text a lot more, but even that I feel like I don’t do as often as I did before getting the Midori.


Here you can see some of the other inserts, I used coin collectors album page to hold things, binder clips to section off areas and I use stickers and washi tape to bookmark pages that I want to reference again quickly. As you can see, I use it and I still carry the Midori with me everywhere in my bag and I’m not giving up on it. I just think I need more time before it becomes a real necessity or my first go-to book.

Kentucky Trip 2014

This post is long past overdue, and if you are here just for art stuff than you may want to skip it. I’m actually going to post date it so it shows up closer to when it actually happened in my archives.

At the end of October (2014) Matt and I took one of our VERY RARELY occurring vacations. We drove to Kentucky from Northern Illinois. I’m just going to share a selection of mostly shaky handed, passenger side, unedited pictures and make notes here and there where I am so inspired to do so.

Indiana Kentucky

We left Northern Illinois and headed down to Kentucky through Indiana via the road.

We road trip well. He likes driving and I like riding, which means keeping my eyes peeled out the windows. I’ve probably said this before here, but my family only ever drove places, so I spent a lot of time looking out of car windows while I grew up. I felt like it definitely had an influence on my aesthetic. One time I read, heard or saw an interview with Annie Leibovitz and she said she also had similar experiences and she felt that the car window was a perfect frame shape to view the world through.

Clouds in Indiana in Oct 2014

In Indiana I saw these cool cloud formations, nature is cool

Before going we did a bit of “research” to find out where to go in Louisville. I googled some and always enjoy the Design Sponge city guides (and NEVER miss the comments section because readers will chime in great places that might have been omitted in the article) and fortunately I also have a friend that is from Kentucky and could give me some good tips.

Matt and I in front of Ohio River

This picture was of us in front of the Ohio River which borders Indiana and Kentucky in Lousisville. We parked downtown Louisville and felt like we were sure to get towed because we couldn’t find a price or way to pay. There was tons of available parking everywhere. What?! In the Chicagoland area it’s not unusual to pay $30 bucks to park, and and then even if you are willing and able to throw money toward parking it can still mean circling and circling and parking a distance away from where you want to be.


I’m no expert on the city, but from the maps we were looking at we were able to walk from one side of the downtown to the other. I got tons of steps in, but it was a small enough big city that you can easily hoof it all over the place. We found some really great art gallery/handmade gift shops. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, I wish DeKalb could have places like that.

We got shirts from the visitor’s center with this logo showing the different pronunciation of Louisville. Side note, I have relatives that live in Louisville, IL and it is pronounced Louis vil, with the s and all. For the record, I think the correct way to say it is probably the first one on the list above, at least that’s how I say it and Kirsten Dunst too (another side note: we also stayed in Elizabethtown on this trip).

In the Heart of the City

Do people in Louisville love it? With signs like this and plenty of other public art pieces ALL OVER the place, I’d like to think so.

Look Ma, we're Art! #21C at one point when I was trying to get the camera to work it said "your face" perfectly on Matt's arm.
At Ann’s suggestion we checked out 21c Museum hotel. It’s a hotel and a gallery all in one. The gallery spaces are all open and free to the public so Matt and I spent some time there and really enjoyed it. Walking down a hallway we passed this (above picture) installation by the elevators, I think most people passed it right up and didn’t notice it was interactive. The red penguin is the hotel “mascot”.

Gina Phillips
There was an impressive show by fiber artist Gina Phillips in the lobby space, which was a great start to the whole experience. Please visit her website to see better examples of her detailed work, this picture is just a tiny thumbnail of a larger piece. Downstairs there were more gallery spaces and shows going on that we were able to enjoy and I was thrilled that we went, even though I knew we wouldn’t be able to afford to stay at the hotel itself.

While still at the hotel I had to use the restroom and noticed that a mirror right outside the door was actually a two sided mirror once inside the bathroom, so you could see people looking at themselves unknowingly. When I told Matt about it, he informed me that was nothing compared to what was going on in the men’s bathroom. Outside of the men’s bathroom there was another double sided mirror where you could tell there was a “fountain” of water running down the wall on the other side. Little did I know when I passed it, that was the men’s urinal! I didn’t believe Matt until he opened the door when I “just happened” to walk by at the right time and could see inside. If you suffered from shy bladder syndrome one might have major performance anxiety using that restroom that appears as if you are peeing on a window for all to see. Here’s a video I found that a guy made that shows exactly what I’m talking about.

On this trip we were really good about talking to people and asking folks for suggestions on where to go and visit. On my list of places was Cave Hill Cemetery, but the first time we wanted to go we got turned around at the entrance and in the few minutes it took us to circle back around, the entrance gate was closed. When we went back a few days later and got inside, we realized why it closes so early. Much like House on the Rock, it closes so early because there is SO MUCH inside that they need to allow enough time for people to get through it before it closes-closes. Since we didn’t make it in time the first day we took the suggestion of a stranger to check out the rest of the Bardstown rd./Baxter Ave. area.

off of Bardstown

There is tons of great shopping there and we also spent a good amount of time also walking the surrounding residential areas of the neighborhood and just admiring all of the HUGE southern homes. We were there a few days before Halloween and we noticed that other than one house that had a couple carved pumpkins out front and another that had some cobweb displays, no one decorated for the holiday, at least not like they do in Northern Illinois where it is not unusual to see a Griswold Family Vacation style home here and there, only instead of Christmas it’s Halloween decorations. Then when we got to the shopping area they were actually doing a trick or treat event where kids could go in and get candy from all the stores. I overheard one shop owner say something about so many houses being decorated for Halloween this year. Hmph. Maybe it was just the neighborhood we were in, but even driving around other areas and cities we just didn’t see it. Also of note: in this neighborhood we stopped for a bite to eat at the Falafel House on Bardstown rd. and it was the worst Mediterranean food we’d ever eaten. Just really bad, don’t go there.


We scheduled this trip for what we figured would be prime fall colors. I actually didn’t take TONS of pictures, and tried to focus on being in the moment and enjoying living it rather than documenting everything. Despite that I’d say half of my pictures are probably shots similar to this, showing the beautiful roadside view of the colors.

Or little videos like this, through the windshield.

Mammoth Caves

We went to Mammoth Caves and took a tour

Heading into #MammothCave the other day

A funny thing that happened on the tour – at one point they get you pretty far and deep in the cave and tell everyone to turn off all of their lights, hide their cell phones, stand still if you have light up shoes, etc., and then they turn off all the lights and it is pitch black. Without a solitary bit of light for your eyes to bounce off of, you can’t see a thing in front of you. Matt and I were holding hands and when they did this he held me with his other hand and leaned in for a kiss and just then I felt a third arm caress my back. EEEEEP! It was all I could do not to laugh. I think there had been a mother standing behind me and I think she might have been feeling around trying to make sure each of her kids were nearby. I can only imagine how embarrassed she must have been when the lights went on and realized she was petting a stranger.

Dinosaur World

Cave City, the Mammoth Caves area, is surrounded by TONS of roadside attractions, things like Dinosaur World and the Wigwam Village – the kind of thing that if I had been on the trip with my best friend, we would have stopped at every single one of them, but Matt, not so much. I got him to pull over at Dinosaur World where we took this picture and we went into the gift shop, but he was more interested in getting to the caves. Next time.

Back in Louisville, we finally got to go to Cave Hill Cemetery.


I think this picture might have been a failed attempt to show exactly how expansive this cemetery is, with the foreground, middle ground, and background, with the ground rolling up and down all in between. We climbed up the highest hill we could find and still, there was further cemetery in every direction as far as we could see. Cave Hill Cemetery is so big (how big is it, you say?) It’s SOOO BIG it has its very own app, tours, and also acts as an arboretum with well marked plants and trees throughout and their website has a section called “if you get lost”. Yep, it’s that big.

cavehill cemetery
Despite the somber fact that it is a cemetery filled with graves, it was a picturesque place and I realize why it is a “Must See” on so many Louisville lists.

cavehill cemetery
I think we took no less than 5 cameras with us while we explored the cemetery.

magnolia tree
The tree that had these cones and seeds falling from it fascinated me. Apparently it is a Magnolia and through this experience I learned that the trees up here that I thought were magnolias are actually just tulip trees. To this day it seems kind of magical that cones and seeds like these exist.

Another million things happened on this trip as well, but I’ve been working on this post forever and I didn’t document everything in photos. Other things of note include: the friendly people, Matt proposing to me, witnessing the half marathon running through Louisville, a truck stop diner, Homespun Indy, Spice Nation, the purchases we made, like the painting by Damon Thompson and our new winter coats, that continue to remind us of the great trip we had. We both loved it so much we look forward to going again. Maybe next time we will continue on and see the Smokey Mountains.

Right Now I’m…

Drury Lane -The Game's Afoot, such an  impressive set, so beautiful

Anticipating My birthday later this month, of course!
Buying  I just went to Renegade Chicago on Saturday, so there will be a loot post on that shortly
Creating   oh gosh, so many things. I have so so so many projects I’m working on and finally feeling some drive to actually work on things
Eating  Well, maybe more like what I’m not eating. I got a cold or flu last week and didn’t eat at all one day, so I took it as a chance to reboot and eliminate sweets from my diet.
Feeling  I’m still getting over the sickness I had last week and have been coughing and sniffling. Hopefully it goes away quickly and isn’t one of those that sticks around for weeks.
Listening  Lots of spotify. Want to test out an album or artist, entirely? Spotify is your answer. So, spotify is reminding me that last week I listened to a lot of Ryan Adams (I pre ordered his new album months ago and it should arrive this week), Molly Ringwald – did you know that Molly Ringwald has an album out (I don’t think it was really for me),  and Pickin’ On Series – do you know about Pickin’ On Series? I’m not sure what their back story is, I’ve looked briefly online to find out what “the deal is without any luck. I first discovered them years ago when searching itunes for a cool cover of a Shins songs. It’s a cover band that blue-grasses” up all sorts of artists’ music, from artists like Taylor Swift and Disney songs, to Kings of Leon and Mumford & Songs, as well as Motley Crue and Aerosmith. Some of the music is just instrumental and while others have vocals. I’m guessing Pickin’ On Series it is a huge collection of different artists brought into the studio, not just one band. Their library has probably thousands and thousands of songs in their catalog.
Loving  My work schedule. Now that evenings are getting shorter, getting off at 3 is going to be the BEST THING EVER.
Missing  My dad, of course. It hits me here and there when things pop up that I would have asked him advice on. Lately, as the talk of fall approaches, I’ve been thinking about last winter when he picked me up from work a lot and we would drive around for a bit and just talk and see new things, or even just sitting in my driveway talking.
Procrastinating – Posting to this blog! I have a mile long list of posts I want to publish, but have just been procrastinating so long that now I feel overwhelmed about where to begin. This post is an attempt to break the ice.
Reading – The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, recommended by Courtney. We went camping a couple of weeks ago and I brought the book with me and pictured so much time reading it but really I only had time to read a page or two. Then I recently renewed my library card and borrowed, Share Your Work! by Austin Kleon, and  2014 Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Manual, both of which I feel are actually worthy of purchasing, and finally, I’ve been slowly going through the Creative Block by Danielle Krysa (of The Jealous Curator) and only reading as I try to do each artist’s creative unblock project.
Seeing  This summer we have gone to the theater twice, once to see Arsenic and Old Lace at the local Stage Coach Theatre, which was a play my mom directed at the middle school, and then most recently we saw The Game’s Afoot at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace (set pictured at the top). The Drury Lane show was very impressive, the actors were excellently cast and the set was just short of breathtaking, with slowly falling snow outside of the windows. A side note: I secretly wished to act when I was younger. I even got the nerve up to try out for a play in high school but was SO TERRIFIED I couldn’t do anything other than just read the lines, I don’t think I even looked up from the paper while I was reading, and you can probably guess, but I did not receive a part. Then when I worked for the newspaper we always ran articles about the Stage Coach Theatre, and then of course with my mom directing plays every year and helping out with those, I thought “someday I’m going to try out and be in a play at the Stage Coach.” Every time I’d see an article I’d think “maybe next time I’ll actually try out”. In reality, and fast forward to today, this was my first time even attending a show at that theater and going there I revisited that old dream and had to laugh because that sounds like an absolute nightmare to me now.
Watching  The thing most worth mentioning is probably Les Revenants (The Returned). Both my mom and I happened upon it on netflix much earlier this year, watched it and LOVED it so much, that we recommended it to our movie night group. So we ended up watching it AGAIN with everyone else and they enjoyed it too. I can’t wait until the second season comes out.
Wanting – a whole week where I could just lock myself in my studio and work on all my projects and I don’t have any outside commitments to go anywhere or do anything else.

Right Now posts