Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Local Little Free Libraries

This summer I decided it would be fun to visit a different local Little Free Library every weekend and photograph each one using actual film (so I could use the camera I bought myself for my birthday last year). I also saved a bag of books so I could donate a book each time. So far I’ve visited one in each of the three cities we live in/near:
1) Hilliard – 3830 Trueman Court (somewhat within walking distance of our house)
This one is near the local Easter Seals office and several medical offices. Not one of the more interesting ones as it’s just the standard white box you can buy online (for about $180 on Etsy).

2) Upper Arlington – 2557 Wickliffe
A bit tricky to find as I didn’t realize Wickliffe was one of those streets that is bisected by another street and the two halves aren’t directly across the street from each other, so I missed it and had to turn around. I eventually found the box without too much trouble.

3) Dublin – 89 W. Bridge Street
After not being able to locate the box allegedly located near where I work (which I guess isn’t there anymore but hasn’t been removed from the map), I found this one located on the side porch of Dublin Community Church. This was the first box that wasn’t the standard issue box. Instead it was an old metal newspaper box dedicated to the memory of one of the parishioners. I should have figured being next to a church that there would be a lot of Christian-themed books inside. Not sure if my copy of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter was a wise choice, but hopefully it’s not too blasphemous. I borrowed a copy of Celtic Crafts, so I was happy to walk away with a book this time.

4) Dublin - 3209 Brampton Street
This box was definitely the easiest to find (though I almost missed the cross street and had to back up a little). My thanks to Robin Bricker for that and providing a shaded seating area (two concrete benches). That was a nice touch.
I bet lots of neighborhood parents probably visit with their kids and perhaps pause to sit down and read a book or two before moving on. I picked up one of my favorites:  From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. I already own a copy, but for some reason, I had to have this one as well (but I plan to pass it on in the spirit of the whole project).

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Saturday June 24, 2017

Though I’ve often combined my stuff with my sister’s stuff, this is the first time I’ve ever had a solo garage sale at my house. The last time there was a garage sale at our house was in 2006 when Carter was just a baby (he’s 11 now) and we did it together. Ashley had a lemonade stand and our elderly neighbor came over and had a cup, which really pleased Ashley. [She’s a teenager now, so it takes a lot more than a cup of lemonade to make her happy these days.]

Not wishing to use one of the few vacation days I have left, I decided to have a one day sale. It’s just as well since it rained buckets all day on Friday, so it would have been a wash out anyway. It certainly wasn’t fun putting my signs up around the neighborhood. My first lesson learned came from this experience. Make absolutely certain your sign is firmly attached to its stake (one or two heavy duty staples isn’t necessarily enough). If you’re not sure, give it a few whacks with a rubber mallet to test it. Also, make sure to do the lettering with a sharpie because it’s permanent and water proof (I did at least do that). Lastly, make sure your address is written fairly big and draw an arrow if there’s space. Two out of my three signs stayed up through the rainstorm, but luckily someone walking their dog told me about the sign on the corner which had blown over (it was only leaning against the stop sign anyway). Andrew walked down the street and took care of it for me. I also forgot until early Saturday morning to make a sign to put on our mailbox. I did, however, remember to blow up a couple balloons to put out there with the sign.

My sister’s advice was to not price anything odd amounts to keep it simple – a quarter, 50 cents, $1, etc. My mom’s advice was to not give anything away free. Instead let people make an offer. My dad strongly encouraged bargaining with people. I sort of took my mom’s advice after she left and made $9 on the sale of a strawberry pot and a plain terracotta pot. [I gave away the other larger strawberry pot, 2 plastic horizontal planters and 4 old rusty tomato cages.] I forgot my dad’s advice when selling my old I-Pod and sold it for far less than I wanted, so I feel a twinge of regret about that.

The two items I was surprised that were so popular (and that I should have definitely increased the prices on) were my picture frames (which I sold for .25 @) and collection of Victoria Secret dogs (free, though I sold 8 of them for $2).  As far as the picture frames go, I figured people probably don’t buy them as often since most photos seem to permanently reside on peoples’ cell phones. I guess I was wrong.

Victoria Secret dogs aren’t really that collectable these days and I think they’ve stopped selling them in the stores. They only sell sporadically on E-bay (I checked), so I did do a little research on the subject. The collection was pretty much divided up between a couple people – an adolescent male who was the most charming 12 year old (?) I’ve met in a long time. He would have taken the entire collection (along with the rest of the stuffed animals in the box) if his grandma had let him. God bless his prepubescent heart! The other person was a lady who was perhaps a little younger than me who was looking to replace some of her own VS dogs that her dog had apparently destroyed. I once saw a donation of several of these dogs at the Capital Area Humane Society, so I know dogs use them as toys, and I’m okay with that.

In the garage sale ad I put on the Nextdoor Ridgewood site I encouraged my neighbors to come around and say hello. Several from Braidwood and one or two from Ridgewood did, as well as a lady from another street whom I met on my birthday last year when I bought a painting from her. Another of my favorite customers was a divorced father shopping with his teenage daughter. He kept picking up items and asking if she wanted this or that. His daughter seemed rather shy and hesitant, so they only ended up buying a few items, but I was touched by his generosity towards his daughter.

Aside from my parents, the farthest probably anyone else came from was Grandview (a nice older lady whom I had a brief chat with). I definitely enjoyed speaking with my customers, and several were nice enough to round up rather than get extra change back, so that was much appreciated.

I was a little surprised that most of my storage boxes/baskets didn’t sell since my sister said they were the first things to go last year. Hence, I am giving them all to her to sell at her sale next week, and am hoping for better luck then.

All in all, it was definitely a learning experience, and I hope I’m done with having garage sales. I think I’m going to stick to listing my items on websites like Craig’s List and Nextdoor Ridgewood or keep donating most of my cast-offs to charity.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, June 18, 2017


I miss out Sunday naps together (but at least I still have that striped blanket to enjoy them with)! Hope you had a wonderful Father's Day!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Camp Oyo, Historic Hotels and lots and lots of Yarn...

Thursday June 8, 2017
Camp Oyo Fundraiser...

Tonight my husband, Andrew, and I attended a charity event to benefit Camp Oyo, which is a camp for kids who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.  One of the founders of my husband’s company is involved with an organization that supports the charity, so she asked if any of the employees wanted to attend. Since I’d been taking ASL (American Sign Language) lessons since February from a retired teacher from the Columbus School for the Deaf, Andrew thought it would be a good chance for me to finally put my lessons to use.
Andrew trying out one of the many pinball machines
Although I saw several people signing to each other, I’m not sure how many were totally deaf as they seemed to speak to each other as well. Being a little shy and not too confident in my signing abilities, I was hesitant to just go up to someone and interrupt their conversation. However, I did have a conversation with a man named John who is a hard-of-hearing (with a hearing aid), and is actively involved in the deaf community and volunteers at the camp. He had to correct a couple of my signs (at least in terms of the position of my fingers), but overall said he was impressed. I was also complimented by a deaf lady at my church, and by Andrew, but I know I still have a long way to go before I am in any way competent enough to communicate smoothly and quickly. Still, I’m glad we attended, and I hope the fundraiser was a success.

Saturday June 10, 2017
Worldwide Knit in Public Day & Historic Hotels of Columbus...

Today was a busy day as I had several activities to attend (as well as taking our cat in for a nail trim, a stop at Lowe’s to purchase a weed whacker, and drop off a book at one of the Free Little Libraries).

Historic Hotels of Columbus
At 10am my husband and I attended a two hour lecture at the Upper Arlington Municipal Center which was all about the Historic Hotels of Columbus. The lecture was given by Tom Betti and Doreen Uhas Sauer who are both from Cleveland and connected by having families in the same neighborhood. Now both live here in the capital city and are involved with the Columbus Landmarks Foundation as well as coauthoring books about various historical aspects of the city.
the Great Southern Hotel as it looks today

Not surprisingly, of the approximately dozen and a half people in attendance, we were the youngest (with the exception of Mr. Betti) in attendance. One of the attendees, an older gentleman, bragged somewhat jokingly that he (or at least his company) was the reason for at least one of the hotels (Deshler I think?) closing as his newer, nicer one took its place. In spite of that, or perhaps because of, Ms. Uhas Sauer gave him a free book to show there were no hard feelings. Obviously this older gentleman was interested in the history of these now defunct buildings, or maybe he just came to brag or throw in his two cents worth. Either way, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Other attendees shared their stories of visiting these hotels; one remembering how down market one of the hotels had become when she stayed there in the 1960s. Another said she and her family always used to always have their Sunday meal at one of the hotels.

Andrew commented to me afterwards how interesting he thought the lecture was and even suggested we buy a copy of their book (so I did). We both look forward to adding it to our summer reading list.

Worldwide Knit in Public Day
Though I don’t personally knit, I have a great appreciation for this art, and hope to learn this skill (and crochet too) someday. Much thanks to my great friend, Leslie for getting me started by giving me a set of needles and an instruction guide. I promise you that someday I will actually get them out and have a go (or enroll in a class either).

Anyway, the Dublin Arts Council was having a party to celebrate Worldwide Knit in Public Day alongside their Yarn Over Dublin event which was installed earlier in the week. By “installed,” I mean that various pieces of public art in Dublin suddenly got a temporary (until about mid July) “yarn makeover.”

The first one I spotted was the infamous “Field of Corn (with Osage oranges),” which are draped with knitted squares (see above), a hat,
and even a bird or two.
The pair of children in downtown Dublin’s “Daily Chores” statue are clothed with sweaters (which is somewhat ironic given the extreme early summer temperatures lately). Jaunty Hornbeam, the giant sideways head on the front lawn of the DAC got a lovely hat as well.
I got to meet the artist who created it and asked her if it was like knitting a regular hat, only slightly larger in scale. She said it was pretty much the same process, and that she was given measurements to go by, though still needed to do some last minute alterations to it.

I felt a bit bad that I wasn’t there to knit (and openly admitted that when asked), but was there to express my appreciation for the cool yarn bombing over at the corn rows. I haven’t seen the other sculptures yet, but plan to visit as many as I can over the next several weeks. The lady who knitted the hat told me about a couple wool-related events (The Great Lakes Fiber Show & A Wool Gathering) after I told her about being interested in learning to weave. I made sure to jot down the details and have shared that info with my above mentioned friend (hoping perhaps we can attend one of these events together).

Many thanks to Karen Dendiu who hosted the event, Program Manager, Christine Langston, and Executive Director, David Guion. I very much enjoyed watching the slides of the knitters hard at work and seeing the various yarn creations installed at the different locations. The pastries and cookies were also very delicious. I’m not too embarrassed to admit I tried one of everything (though only ate one cookie) and felt stuffed for the rest of the afternoon. : )

Can’t wait to see the rest of the yarn bombing around the city. Besides visiting all the local Little Free Libraries, I will add to my summer bucket list a visit to the various public art around Dublin that has been so beautifully adorned.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Short North Gallery Hop

Saturday June 3, 2017
Tonight we attended our first ever Short North Gallery Hop (which is held on the first Saturday of every month). I can’t believe in our 13 years of living in Columbus we’ve never attended. I think that was mostly down to not wanting to deal with the hassle of parking. Thanks to endless bits of advice from our neighborhood social media site (Nextdoor Ridgewood), and our neighbor’s kind offer of his parking pass for a parking garage downtown, we had that detail all taken care of. I had a quick look at a list of all the galleries and who was hosting receptions and so forth,
and then we headed downtown. Even though it officially starts at 4pm, Andrew wanted to wait until it was a bit cooler (daytime temps were muggy and in the mid 80s I think). It was certainly a beautiful evening to be out as it had cooled down a bit and there was a gentle breeze.

While we were walking to the galleries we saw quite a lot of graduates from one of the Columbus city schools who had obviously had their ceremony at the convention center. Good night for a party afterwards!

Basically we spent the next three hours or so ducking in and out of galleries (grabbing a cookie here, a cookie there) and a few kitschy shops. We spent most of our time on one side of High Street before finally turning around a bit after 9pm. It can take forever to get down the street when there’s so many places to visit along the way.

There were also quite a few buskers playing their hearts out. My favorite of the entertainers had to be the old man with a small turntable and a stack of 45s that had run a power cord into a shop slightly below street level (though I forget what it was called, but it was owned & run by women acc. to their sign). He was just cleaning up when we came out of the shop. God bless his geriatric DJ soul. I love that you see all kinds of stuff like that in the Short North and downtown in general, which is definitely one of the reasons I enjoy visiting there because it’s a whole different world from life in the ‘burbs.

Andrew said his favorite exhibition was Tyler Bohm’s “Technorama” (Painting Meets Digital and Fabrication Technologies). [Sadly, I don’t have pictures since I wasn’t sure if we were allowed to take any and the postcard I have doesn’t really do it justice.]

Artist Statement:

The technologies that shape our lives represent an intriguing platform for speculation. They evoke an array of hypothetical futures drawn from both the dystopian and utopian ends of science fiction. I explore this evolving technological landscape by imagining futurist scenarios that reflect our broader hopes and fears about the present.

My work speculates on the imminent, drawing on science fiction narratives and past eras' visions of the future. It explores themes such as technophilia and technophobia, how we understand and relate to emerging artificial intelligences, and how we maintain a sense of normalcy in the face of rapid technological change.

These thematic interests dovetail with my process. I am interested in the role and potential of digital and fabrication technologies, and have adopted tools such as graphics software and a laser cutter to translate digital designs into physical objects which I paint and assemble by hand.

My favorite was “Possessed” by Jaye Schlesinger (see above). The exhibit is “a series of nearly 400 small paintings that depict each of her personal possessions. The series began when Schlesinger decided to downsize her belongings, and is informed by an interest in mindfulness and minimalism. Some paintings show objects that are purely practical, while some show objects that exist for beauty alone. By culling and then dutifully representing each object, Schlesinger raises questions about value, quantity and practicality in regards to the things we own and the reasons we keep them.” 

I overhead a pair of girls pointing out their favorite paintings to each other and then going over to the catalog to see what they cost. I believe they were each at least $100 (but perhaps closer to $200). I would have too hard a time just choosing just one. Instead I would probably prefer to have a catalog or some sort of a collage so I could have a bunch of them.

Although I would have liked to have stopped for ice cream, everyone else had the same idea because of the warm evening. The first ice cream shop we came across had a line out the door. A few blocks over at Jeni’s was the same situation. However, Le Chocoholique didn’t seem too busy, so we ducked in there. Since it was well after 9pm by this time, I didn’t want a coffee drink or anything too heavy, so I chose a smoothie for us to split. I wasn’t exactly very adventurous with my flavor choice, which was hot chocolate.
We also each chose a truffle. Mine was Peanut Butter & Jelly (perfect bit of heaven!) and Andrew’s was Blueberry (which he said was okay, but nothing special, really). Although the smoothie was tasty, it was rather difficult to suck up with a straw and really tasted more like a watered down Frosty (Wendy’s). Hence, in the future I would either pick a different flavor or just skip the smoothies.

All in all it was a fun evening, and I think I would like to do it again sometime when the weather’s nice. Other nearby cities have a similar evening. Delaware has a ‘First Friday’ event, whereas Grandview has their gallery hop on the last Saturday of every month; both of these events we've attended.

I also received this piece of advice (from Nextdoor Ridgewood) at one time:

Why not go to the Moonlight Market instead? It's fun and casual, like the Gallery Hop used to be. It's the second Saturday of every month and it's on Gay Street between High and 3rd. The restaurants stay open late, there's well over 100 booths with people selling everything imaginable, and good music playing with live musicians. Things don't cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, like the Arts Festival or Gallery Hop. Well worth spending a Saturday night down there. It's going on between 6pm and 11pm.

I guess that's another item for the Columbus Bucket List!

Have a great week everyone!