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Valentine’s Day

When I was searching for Fortune Teller signs for my Halloween treats I came across a Fortune Teller Valentine’s card. Since the “fortune” is written backwards I thought I’d write my message backwards as well. I decided to use the same message that I used on Halloween: “I see you” and I wrote it, scanned it, and then flipped it in the computer. I figured that no one made valentine candy with eyes on it so I bought some hearts wrapped in red and silver foil. And then I remembered the washi tape with Alexander Girard eyes that I bought at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I attached a set of eyes to each of the hearts wrapped in silver foil and then I attached those to the back of the valentines with glue dots (those things are amazing!)

The Fortune Teller backwards writing says, “I’d give the world for you”

I kept the garland up in the kitchen and decorated it for Valentine’s Day. The new silver mercury glass heart I bought at a winter pop up shop on Navy Pier is hanging down on the right.

I found a perfect place for the large heart with wings

Whenever I see a commercial on TV for Lindor truffles I say, “Mmmm!” so guess what I got.

When I was valentine crafting with my youngest granddaughter I made a Valentine card too. I used lots of washi tape!

I put the red hearts in the ceramic berry basket a friend gave me a few years ago

In Our Neighborhood II

I know that “ghost bikes” are placed where people have died in bicycle accidents so I wondered when I was riding the bus and caught a glimpse of a white painted shopping cart in front of the Jewel supermarket if a pedestrian had died while crossing the street to shop. Since the cart had a sign with the name Eugenio Escriba, I googled it and the truth turned out to be more disturbing. Eugenio died on November 20, 2019 in the custody of the store’s security after being detained for suspected shoplifting. There still aren’t a lot of answers about exactly what happened and what action Jewel-Osco has taken in regards to the security staff so I imagine that whoever put the ghost shopping cart in front of the Jewel is hoping to make sure the neighborhood continues to ask questions.

Forgotten Mermaid

Last year a friend bought me a mermaid ornament for Christmas but she kept forgetting to bring it when we met for coffee. This December she had promised herself she would finally remember it but she forgot it again. Since we had met at a new coffee place near her apartment we walked over to get it. After a year I was glad to finally see what my new mermaid looked like. While I had bought a similar one with black hair in Rockport, I was glad to see the new one was a redhead and I hung her right up above the mirror but then I forgot her when I wrote the post about my new mermaids. So to rectify that here she is:

The forgotten mermaid is the second one from the right.

Other People’s Collections IV

Upstairs in the Chicago Children’s Museum there is a fascinating room titled Michael’s Museum.

There is a regular sized door to the right of the small door and visitors who venture inside find more than 100 of the collections of Michael Horvich. Michael has always collected items that are “small in scale” and at first they were displayed throughout his house. When they were moved to their own room and special glass cases were constructed, the house’s guest room was renamed Michael’s Museum. In 2011 the museum moved to the Chicago Children’s Museum.

On the Michael’s Museum website Michael says that he has always been on the lookout for “small, magical, interesting, romantic, and unique items” to add to his collections which he calls “Discoverings, trinkets, curiosities, small things, or treasures” He occasionally uses the word miniatures but he doesn’t really like it. He says a lot of his small items remind him of the “olden days” of his childhood.

A sign in Michael’s Museum at the Chicago Children’s Museum

About collecting Michael says, “I find there is magic in numbers and if I can collect many of the same identical item, I do” A numbered list of his collections includes #93 Plastic Boxes and #100 Pencil Nubs.

Old Hotel Keys and Padlocks
Marbles


His collections also include Day of the Dead items and Minature North American Indian Arts and Crafts.

And lots of tiny books.

There are so many items here. Some of them have labels indicating they are on loan from other people’s collections. One of the most fascinating to me were the small dolls on this shelf labeled “Frozen Charlottes”. According to Wikipedia they are china dolls made between c1850 to c1920. The name comes from an American folk ballad “Fair Charlotte” based on the poem “A Corpse Going to a Ball” by Seba Smith, which “tells of a young girl called Charlotte who refused to wrap up warmly to go on a sleigh ride because she did not want to cover up her party dress; she froze to death during the journey.”

The third shelf includes nine Frozen Charlottes

I could spend hours looking at all the “tiny treasures” and I suspect many other grown ups could too. Unfortunately, you need to be accompanying a child to come to the museum and the ones I’ve attended with don’t spend much time here. Since I volunteer at the museum I can stop by on my own but I wish it was accessible to other collectors as well. Michael’s Museum does have it’s own website so it is possible to see some of the collection on line. www.michaelsmuseum.org

Mermaid Integration

Most of the Christmas presents I received this year were invisibly integrated – clothes, a cookbook, a beautiful cutting board, a couch blanket, and other lovely things. I also got four mermaids – three from the same niece. One of the mermaids she gave us was on a card. The paper cutting of the lotteria card La Sirena was accompanied by two other card images – El Sol and El Gallo. Unlike my sun and mermaid collections my chicken collection is small and all but one of the chickens lives on two of the black box shelves in the hall.

So it only made sense for the card to go above this set of box shelves. I cut the card down, backed the card with purple tissue paper to match that which was behind the paper cutting, and framed it a small clip frame.

The second mermaid is a Frida Kahlo mermaid tile. I knew where she belonged right away – in the bathroom behind the sink with the other tiles. We moved a mermaid that was hanging there that wasn’t a tile and hung the new tile up.

This was a kind of “she looks good for now” situation but I knew I had to be on the lookout for another tile that would pull it all together. I can’t believe I found the perfect one last week at a Salvation Army store.

I like that she is the same kind of flat colorful tile as Frida. I think she complements the other tiles well too. We took down the seahorse tile (which being real not mythical didn’t fit in so well anyway) and the white merboy and mergirl are on hiatus (although I already have an idea where they might go). The mermaid that wasn’t really a tile moved out to the bedroom.

The bottom left ceramic mermaid had been with the tiles in the bathroom but she works here too.

It was quite a surprise when we got another mermaid from our niece at a second Christmas celebration. She is cut from an aluminum can and colored with alcohol ink (according to her packaging) and we had the perfect place just waiting for her! I had hung the miniature weather vane mermaid on the left bottom shelf swirl this summer. The new mermaid fit perfectly on the right one.

The new mermaid is hanging from the shelf on the right perfectly aligned with the little mermaid weather vane

And I got a mermaid tile coaster and matching cup from my brother and sister in law. They seemed to belong in the bathroom too. The cup usually sits on the tile but I photographed them so the tile is visible.

It’s always fun to figure out where the gift additions to our collections go!

In Our Neighborhood

We started watching House Hunters on HGTV at our younger daughter’s house while we were looking for our condo in Chicago and then we became hooked. So after we moved to Chicago and a new show premiered on HGTV called Windy City Rehab we were excited to check it out. We had watched a few episodes and when our niece who we knew liked to watch International House Hunters came to visit, we asked her if she’d like watch an episode. That episode turned out to be pretty exciting because the entire house fell down! “They didn’t brace it all!!!!! What did they expect?” my niece exclaimed. We figured they must have wanted it to fall down so we weren’t too surprised when we began to read of complaints from people (whose houses were in the same neighborhoods as the ones that were being remodeled) about the show and the cohosts HGTV personality Alison Victoria and contractor Donovan Eckhardt. It was a little more surprising when the city issued Stop Work Orders for several of the homes and when lawsuits involving both buyers and subcontractors were filed. The house with the unpaid subcontractor turned out to be in my neighborhood so of course I had to go take a look.

That orange in the window is not a piece of vintage stained glass but a Stop Work Order. I guess that’s why the subcontractor hasn’t been paid.

Museum Studio Spaces V

I have been meaning to check out the Ryan Learning Center at the Art Institute of Chicago for awhile so when we went to the Andy Warhol exhibit on Sunday I stopped by. And it turned out it is all about to be “enhanced”. One room that I think had been for the youngest children was already closed and nothing was happening in some of the studios. The Family Room was still open but I think it was scheduled to be closed the next day.

Families were building with blocks and looking at books.

An invitation to create a shadow box inspired by the exhibit “Photography + Folk Art: Looking for America in the 1930’s” was set up on the tables.

I don’t think there was a facilitator in the space (no one approached me – a grown up with no children taking pictures) but there were some families creating.

There were many completed shadow boxes hanging on the wall.

The images above the hanging line are from the Photography + Folk Art exhibit which included hooked rugs, samplers, tramp art, and photos by Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans.

I liked these lines and clips as a way to save and display art and will be interested to see if they remain after the remodeling since it looked like there had been some which had been removed outside one of the studio classroom spaces. It will be exciting to return in a few months to see the new space.

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