About Me

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I’m a book-reading, craft-making newlywed living outside Chicago. I love my husband, cooking dinner and especially eating desserts! We love to ride bikes all over town and read books at coffee shops. I also enjoy shopping at JoAnns, drinking wine on the patio and playing with my bunny rabbit Penelope. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog. Please leave a comment- they really make my day! :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Buzz! Buzz!

A few months ago I learned about a childhood friend's new hobby: beekeeping.  While listening to NPR a while ago she was impressed with the importance of the honeybee to our national food supply and also struck with the plight of the honeybee.  The honeybee population has been mysteriously and dramatically decreasing in the past couple of years.  While I couldn't find the podcast that inspired my friend Corie to become a backyard beekeeper, you can read more about honeybees here or visit her honeybee blog here

I've been really interesting in beekeeping ever since hearing Corie talk about it and she graciously let me tag along to visit her hives.

The hive- they painted it a lovely shade of light green.  Corie says there could be around 50,000 bees in this hive!

Corie and her aunt checking out the hive.  The compartments are called "supers" and  the top ones hold honey while the bottom containers are home to baby bees.

See all the bees!?  You have to be brave to be a beekeeper! 

We saw a rare apperance by the Queen!  She is larger than the worker bees.


In the picture below, you can see the larva inside the cells- they look like a very small white caterpillar.

The right outfit makes allll the difference!


Every year at school I do a Where Did you Read? bulletin board.  I think the kids will be pretty impressed that their librarian read a bee book to real honeybees!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aw, an awning!

Looking at the coffeeshop, we knew we needed something bright and cheery to make it stand out from the rest of the station.  Because, seriously, the window needs some color.

very white and very boring

Our solution?  An awning!!

very colorful and very fun!

Before I go much further, I have to give credit to where credit is due: thanks to my mom and dad!  This awning would have never happened without them.  If there was some sort of Awning Award, I would give it to them.

First, I ran into my mom at JoAnn's (Does anyone else accidentally bump into their mother at the fabric store?) and we looked for orange and blue striped fabric.  Of course the perfect fabric did not exist, so we bought some solid orange and solid blue to cut stripes and sew together.  I cut stripes of fabric that were 13 inches wide, allowing for a half-inch inseam on each side of the stripe.  My mom sewed them together using coordinating thread.

Then my dad and I went to a couple of hardware stores before we ended up using these metal C cups from the curtain aisle and metal conduit from the electrical section.  We did one that was higher and closer to the wall.  The second pole was lower and farther out from the wall. 

Then we had a major storm, which resulted in a power outage at my mom's house.  She brought her sewing machine to the coffee shop to finish sewing the pocket!  After that we inserted the top pole into the fabric and draped the awning over the lower pole.  Presto Awning!

Friday, July 20, 2012


I'm blogging over at Jubilee today!!

You know I love that place- just check out my posts on the craft armoire and bookshelf.  It's a DIYer's dream store.  If you're in the Chicagoland area, you MUST go there.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pinch my Cheek

For Christmas my mom gave me the Silhouette heat transfer starter kit.  It's now July and I finally used it.  I made a cute onesie for a new dad shower (he's the one wearing a watermelon in a carrier next to the really cute pregnant lady). 

After designing your text in the Silhouette software, make sure you FLIP your image!! Then cut out using the heat transfer material. 

Peal off excess using the hook tool.  Then flip over and place on top of the fabric.

Put a towel over the heat transfer materials and iron, iron, iron.

The reason I choose this saying?  The couples' last name is Cheek!

I think Dad is pretty happy with his baby's new onesie. Perhaps I should make one in his size....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Coffee Shop Reality

We had a very hot weekend, but we transformed the coffeshop into our own!  

After all of the previous owner's decoration were all taken down- we had a clean slate.

If you had told me I would spent hours picking small pieces of tape from the walls in the train station, I would have never beliveed you.  I think I picked 40 years of tape off the walls!!

Here's our awesome carpenter- aka my Dad.  He hung up our wood background.

My mom and I sewed this awning. It kind of looks like a circus tent to me, but I love it and it really adds a lot of fun color.   ThatGuy had a large banner printed with our logo on it.  Next Stop Coffee Shop!

ThatGuy painted chalkboard paint above the shop and wrote our vendors inside the boxes.   Overall we are really pleased with the look.  We hope the customers will be too!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coffee Shop Dreams

Here's why I haven't blogged in a while:  ThatGuy and I bought a coffee shop!

It's inside a train station in our town, so it primarily serves commuters.  We are taking over for a woman who has been there 41 YEARS.  Ever since she was in high school!!

When we say coffee shop, really its more like a coffee stand... or kiosk... or closet.  It's very small and just has a window to serve customers.  There are no tables or wi-fi, just benches for people to wait for the train. 

Since its inside the train station, the vast majority of customers are business people who take the train into the city every day.  We have stiff competition- Starbucks is literally across the street!  But if this woman can make it work for 41 years, we are hoping we can too.  Well, maybe not for 41 years, but at least long enough to make our money back. 

The station is decorated with this paneling painted with scenes from the town.  Some would call it charming... I'm not sure what I call it, but I know I don't really like it!

When the station was originally built there was a small bank inside.  See the banking area that is now a creamer station? 

As you can see, this coffee shop is ripe with opportunity to decorate!!  I have a lot of ideas.  To see the final changes, make sure you check the blog tomorrow!! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mug Make Over

There are about 8 teachers at my school who have this travel mug from Starbucks.  It's keeps our throats nice and moist for yelling at those kids teaching lessons. 

But how to keep them apart?  I did a little make over to my cup to distinguish it from the others. I just took out the plastic insert (that was winter themed), traced it over some brightly colored paper, and inserted it into the cup.

Now I have a cup that's unique to me!