Monday, April 25, 2016

Another Gorgeous Weather Week...

Thursday April 21, 2016
Tonight was my second pottery class at Jennifer Cross Studio (my neighbor down the road). We were tasked with finishing up our design so our pots would be ready to be fired and glazed during the next class.

There were just a couple of us who had rather plain looking pots, so week two was all about design. I spent quite awhile studying Pinterest Boards and other places looking for inspiration. Although I’m not quite sure my final design was Hundertwasser-like, here’s what I ended up with:

Still, all in all I’m quite happy with my design. Now I just need to figure out what colors to paint it next week. So many decisions…

I am definitely going to be sad when this class is over. It’s been a lot of fun and working with clay is so calming and zen. I hope someday to try and throw a pot on a wheel. I think Jennifer said she has a wheel, but would probably need more of them to try and teach a class. I know they hold classes at the Dublin Recreation Center, so perhaps I’ll enroll in one of them sometime.

Friday April 22, 2016
Today was another gorgeous day in what’s been a pretty unseasonably warm week (it was 80 degrees on Monday!). I had to stay in for lunch since we were having a company-wide meeting with our financial planner and I figured it was in my best interest to attend.

When we were done I noticed a food truck in our parking lot selling Indian food. My friend from upstairs said they were giving it away free. Hence, I was majorly bummed that I didn’t get to have any curry gratis. I was also bummed because it was such a lovely day outside. It always kills me to have to stay indoors on my lunch hour, but even more so when it’s nice outside.

As soon as the clock struck five I was like a kid after the last bell rings making my way to the parking lot lickety split. I was picking up Chinese food on the way home and hoping to make decent enough time so we could stop and have drinks at the Brothers Drake Meadery which is a short walk from the Gateway Film Center. Thankfully all went according to plan and we were able to squeeze in time for a pre-movie cocktail. I got the PB & J (Blueberry Mead infused with Concord Grapes and roasted peanuts from Krema Nut Company) while Andrew got the Blueberry Basil Lemonade (Bergamot Blue, vodka, blueberries, basil & lemon juice).

Gretchen Reuben was right when she said that the anticipation of an event sometimes outweighs the actual excitement when it actually takes place. I was eagerly anticipating my PB & J cocktail to be a nutty, fruity drink, though I wasn’t sure if the combination of the two was actually possible. Hence, it was a bit of a let-down once I took the first sip. I could taste the Blueberry Mead, but not sure my taste buds were quite able to detect the nuts, or maybe that’s what that ‘other’ taste was. Either way, it wasn’t quite what I expected, but was relieved I finally got to try it. I’m almost glad I didn’t like it more. This way I saved $15 buying a whole bottle of it.

Andrew said of his drink, “You can definitely taste the basil!” I sipped it and it was quite nice. I kind of preferred his drink to mine and could envision sipping that while the evening slipped away. Speaking of the evening slipping away, I looked at my watch and saw that it was now 7pm and we had to get to our movie in the next ten minutes, so we quickly finished our drinks, settled our tab, and dashed out of there.

I’m glad I reserved tickets in advance since our movie, “April and the Enchanted World,” was playing in the tiny corner theatre which probably only seats perhaps two and a half dozen people or so (and it sold out). It’s very cozy. Even though we were running late, we were still able to find a couple seats together, so glad about that. Late comers sharing food weren’t so lucky. That’s what you get for spending too long at concessions!

The movie was good (and I was grateful to stay awake since I was sleepy all day and having just had alcohol didn’t make it easy). It was about a girl whose family (sans her granddad) is all killed by a corrupt government after they invented an eternal youth serum. Her cat accidentally gets a sip, so he is immediately cured after being near death. I’ll suffice it to say the movie has a happy ending. With action, adventure, and a talking cat, how can you go wrong? We were just surprised the movie was in English because we could swear we saw a French trailer for it. I think we just saw the dubbed version.

Saturday April 23, 2016
Tonight Karen, Rhys, and I attended the second weekend performance of “The Sound of Music” at Hilliard Bradley High School. I can honestly say it was the most impressed I’ve ever been by the high school performance of anything. The singing was absolutely superb and my kudos to their instructors for creating such a talented ensemble.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as it’s been awhile since I’ve seen “Sound of Music” on stage [the last time was perhaps at Rabbit Run, probably 20 years ago now]. The version Bradley H.S. produced was based more on the theatrical version rather than the movie adaptation. This is obvious by the extra scores not used in the movie, and the moving around of songs to different points in the production. There’s no puppet show and “The Lonely Goat Herder” song is sung when the children are all gathered around Maria’s bed during the thunderstorm.

I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth attending this off-Broadway quality production. I look forward to future musicals at Bradley High School. Keep up the good work kids!

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Thursday April 14, 2016
Girl’s Night Out Pottery Class

Tonight, along with five other ladies I attended the first of a three night coil pottery class being held at my neighbor’s house at Cross Studio. We’re creating pots in the style of the late Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The class was originally designed just for children, but I asked Jennifer if she would consider having one for adults as I was quite interested in making a pot. She asked around and managed to drum up enough interest, so the class was a go.

Of the six of us, two of us (myself and Jessica, one of my classmates) are going to put our designs on the outside, whereas the other ladies are bending, twisting, and braiding their coils to make their pots more ornate. I really wasn’t sure what I wanted my pot to look like, and figured I’d see how it went. I kind of wish I had been braver with my design as right now I’m lacking inspiration for  next week. I just don’t want it to look like a similar creation I made in high school which turned out to be a cookie jar (which I still have) with a face.

Friday April 15, 2016
Girl’s Night Out – Dinner & a little grocery shopping

Tonight after work I was in the parking lot talking with my friend, Anthea and she asked me if I could recommend a good curry place. I didn’t hesitate to answer, “Aab India,” which both my husband and I have been to several times, including their Grandview location. I am partial to their Mango Lassi and various cheese cube recipes (like Saag Paneer). We talked about it for awhile and then I finally just blurted out, “I’ll join you if you want,” so that’s how our evening took off.

Traffic was heavy, so it was slow going, but I knew we didn’t need to worry about making a reservation since they’re never that busy. We got seated straight away and then it was a long period of contemplation since they have such a varied menu. We ended up ordering a sampler platter, lentil donuts (a savory delight!), and several kinds of Naan bread. For our main courses she ordered Chicken Tikka Masala and I ordered the Paneer Jalfreezi. We both ordered ours medium, but hers was a bit spicier than mine, but with a much better flavor. Mine had too much of a ketchup taste for my liking, but I’m sure the leftovers will get finished (but perhaps eaten over a hot dog rather than with rice).
me and Anthea

Bottom's Up!

Afterwards we walked next door to the Fresh Thyme market, which seems pretty similar to Trader Joe’s, but is a lot more open plan, and without all the charm and interesting food of Trader Joe’s. We both purchased a spinach feta pastry and I bought some bananas, cereal, and a bottled coffee drink. Not sure I’d shop there again in a hurry, but perhaps if I needed something after having dinner next door. There’s also an Indian grocery on the other side of the restaurant a few doors down. That seemed a lot busier than Fresh Thyme where we were pretty much the only customers.

All in all it was a pretty fun unplanned evening, and I look forward to more spontaneous evenings out.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hitting the Sales and Other Spring Break Adventures

Shopaholic and Sister

That book title probably best sums up my two days of second hand shopping with my sister (Karen), though neither of us strongly resemble either Becky or Jess, the sisters of whom the title refers. Still, after you read my tale about being initiated into the world of thrift shopping, you’ll probably agree that at least one of us is a shopaholic.

Though I had been to thrift stores/charity shops previously, the closest I ever came to entering chaos was when I tried to browse on a Saturday afternoon during a Goodwill auction (not easy to push a cart between the narrow aisles with all the auction attendees standing around waiting for their lot to come up). Thrift stores, at least the ones we visited, are run with military precision. There’s no messing around on a sale day.

Until Tuesday I was a sales day newbie, a “virgin” if you will. I had no idea that a shopping cart was a hot commodity, or that you could only take a maximum of six items into a fitting room at one time. Thanks to the periodic announcements I learned all this and more as the store personnel are encouraged to repeatedly remind customers of store policy. It was almost like being in an airport, “Travelers are reminded to remain with their luggage at all times. Left luggage will be destroyed…”

Since the last Tuesday of every month is half-off day at Volunteers of America, we visited both stores in the local vicinity. At the first store we lucked out and didn’t have to wait too long for a cart, so once I spied an opportunity to snag one, I jumped on it and eagerly strolled over to my sister like a cat who had just caught a mouse.

After browsing the selection of purses hanging off the end of each aisle, I started down the jeans row where my sister was up to her neck in denim. My system for selecting jeans, besides looking for Petite Short on the label (like trying to find a needle in a haystack), was to only grab jeans with interesting looking pockets with a preference for tab pockets (whereas my sister is a label shopper). I soon had a pile of about a half a dozen, so I borrowed the cart to stake out a place in line for the fitting rooms.

Unless you have a devil-may-care attitude and aren’t bothered to try on anything, you need to allocate at least a half an hour standing in line, though I’m not sure I waited that long. I’m glad I did take the time since only half of the jeans actually fit, so it would have been a waste of money to purchase the other pairs.
Now I know how Sandy felt in "Grease"
The other two rules that are repeated loudly and often are “to remove all hangers” and “please make your final selection before reaching the cashier.” There’s a rack to place your hangers on near the check-out, so you don’t have to go out of your way to comply with this rule.

Since I was just learning, I ended up with one modest bag of items from each store. My finds of the day include a pair of navy blue Mootsies Tootsies shoes, a Coach crossbody bag and a little black Prada bag. Of course the purses might not be authentic since I only paid a dollar or two for each, but both were in pretty good condition, so I think I’ll get my money’s worth.
my little black Prada bag
Wednesday – Salvation Army Family Day and Half-Off at Ohio Thrift
Today I got a lesson in math when I was in line and trying to figure out the price of some books I had stacked in my cart. Salvation Army’s system is 90% off the cover price (if one is listed), or $1.50 for hardbacks and $1 for paperbacks (I think). My sister, a math teacher, reminded me (and the cashier) that the easiest way to compute price is just to move the decimal point over to the left. The store manager overheard my sister’s math lesson and complimented her. Turns out he used to be a math teacher too, so they soon struck up a conversation while the cashier rang up my pile of treasures. The manager reminded us that 82 cents on every dollar goes straight back to the charity helping all manner of people in need.

With that in mind, this time I think I outspent my sister, but not by much (perhaps $10 or $20?). My favorite purchase was an ivory colored vest jacket similar to the one my sister was wearing that day. I know it’s silly for an older sister to emulate the younger one, but I definitely do. That’s right Karen, I actually look up to you! (and not just because you’re a little taller than me too : )

After a couple pitas, some spicy fries and a little Baklava for dessert, we were ready to hit the aisles again. Since this was the farewell stop on our little tour of central Ohio thrift stores, we didn’t take any prisoners and decided to go to the larger outlet of Ohio Thrift (which was probably a mistake as you’ll read later). Got a cart fairly quickly, and like the previous day, my sister ran into another sports mom, so we stopped to chat near the jewelry showcase. Hence, the reason I ended up purchasing about half a dozen or so watches (two of which I later elected to buy batteries for). I also found a nice blue vase, a shabby chic mirror that looks like a window, and a Parisian picture similar to one that’s been hanging in our kitchen for the last few years. Because these objects were ‘Showcase’ items, there’s no discount, so you have to keep that in mind when totaling your purchases.

The strangest object I came across there was a brunette wig in a blue hat case. I slowly undid the two latches and hesitantly opened the box and almost slammed it shut when I saw all the hair. It was a little off-putting, but if it hadn’t been for the $15 price tag, I might have purchased it just for the vintage box.

As per usual, Karen and I split up for part of the time, but then ended up meeting in the purse/handbag/tote department where we spent perhaps an hour or so debating the merits of several dozen bags. Suffice it to say that I soon filled the cart only saying no to a select one or two. In the matter of an hour I soon regained most of the inventory I worked so hard to get rid of last autumn when I had my annual clear-out. Deep sigh.

I also have to confess to purchasing a rather sexy chic looking fanny pack (though I’m not sure fanny packs are either sexy or chic, but old leather certainly is). Though I swore you would have to kill me first if I ever purchased one, I somewhat fell in love with this one, but am unsure whether I will actually use it. I will DEFINITELY NOT WEAR IT AROUND MY WAIST.

My other weakness, and this is purely Karen’s fault, is my love for scarves. At one time in my life I only used to buy them to use as a decoration to cover a dresser or a table, and I still use some of them for that. However, when Karen gave me a makeover last year, scarves were something she encouraged me to embrace (as did my mother-in-law who has given me at least a couple over the years).

My finds of the day, at least at that store were a pair of navy blue Clarks mules with a chunky heel, and two point ‘n shoot film cameras with film still in them (and one with a brand new battery – worth way more than the price of the camera).

I’m sure you have guessed that it was me who, once again, outspent my sister. It was more than a little embarrassing that she had to help me lug my six bags of miscellaneous crap to her overstuffed minivan. “Just make sure you tell Andy that this isn’t all my fault,” she begged. Don’t worry Karen. Andy knows I’m weak and have no willpower, but those tight, skinny jeans and Ralph Lauren tote are all down to you! : )

A sales day newbie/virgin no more! Did you know the Ohio Thrift store even has a rewards program for its frequent customers. Must look into that….
The Queen Bee at Wholly Craft

Tuesday night I had enrolled in this class:

Crafty Woman’s History Month Textile Collage:

“In this special workshop with Dre of Too Legit To Quilt, you will learn the basic principles of textile collage and complete a women’:s history month themed collage using recycled textiles from The Supply Closet! No experience or sewing skills necessary. Collage topics discussed in this workshop include fabric selection, color, contrast, texture, adherence, and tools. You will cover each step of the collage process from idea to execution in this hands-on workshop and you will leave with a masterpiece of your own!”

Though I originally wanted to make a likeness of one of my female role models, Annie Leibovitz, perhaps that was a bit too ambitious. Moot point anyway since we were all assigned a more basic beginner’s project – a Queen Bee, because a bee is a symbol of femininity or something.

Dre (short for Andrea), created this awesome looking tapestry:

She told us she also created one of each member of the Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Muppet band and a gallery owner in New York state bought up the entire collection. Way to go Dre! Would love to see photos of them sometime (but as I’m not on Facebook, am unlikely to be able to view them).

Dre was an excellent teacher who emphasized ‘There are no rules.’ Glad she said that since I inadvertently glued my bee’s wings to its abdomen instead of thorax. We’ll call it a hybrid bee or one with a birth defect. No matter, still a cool looking insect anyway.

I only wish she had had some of that handy iron-on paper to adhere to the back of our material scraps, and an iron since using a hot glue gun was a bit fiddly (and I ended up spilling a few drops on my material, but left it since I didn’t want to burn my fingers trying to remove it). Plus, we ended up running out of glue. No matter, I know artists are on a budget, so I understand. I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to take a class with her again.
Marcia, Dre and Cindy with our bees