Jul 20, 2014

Organic Berry Picking

Dear Chicago House,

Miss Chicago house LOVES fruit and berries, no matter what sort, are her favorite.

organic raspberries

A few days ago we visited a lovely little organic raspberry farm (Grace Farm Studio) just outside Woodstock IL (the town famous as the setting for the film Ground Hog Day).

We met with the farmer, Mike, and after a tour and instructions on the best berries to pick, he set us loose to pick and eat as many raspberries as we liked. Heaven!

organic raspberries

These raspberries were sumptuous and I loved the fact they were organically cultivated.

But these are not the only organic fruit we have harvested this summer.

On a welsh hillside (in a location I am going to keep hidden) is a spectacular, completely natural,  crop of blueberries or windberries as they are know locally. They are about as organic as you can get and totally free for the picking! Yum.


Now I feel the need to make some sort of pie coming on!

Love from

Creative in Chicago

XX

Jul 12, 2014

Zentangle, the new name for Doodling

Dear Chicago House,

It appears doodling has a hip new name, all these years I thought I was just doodling, but no . Apparently I have been Zentangling. How bizarre is that. What's more you can now take a class and learn how to Zentangle....err excuse me for being a cynic but why would you pay to take a class in something so basic. There are even certified Zentangle teachers out there!

OK let the ranting cease and lets take a look at a one of my latest doodles.

Here is a close-up

zentangle doodle

and panning out here it is in its entirety

zentangle doodle
a little more detail
zentangle doodle

It actually is a very relaxing thing to do so I can understand when the "zen" part comes from.

Love from

Creative in Chicago

XX

Jul 11, 2014

Creative Fun at the Beach

Dear Chicago House,

It is no secret I love the beach, but I am not one to just sit there and do nothing, I get bored! This inability to sit still and "veg" out appears to be genetic. During a beach visit last week, while on holiday with my family, a whole host of creative endeavors were undertaken.

Ideas for Creative Fun at the Beach

Sand Modeling

Don't limit yourself to a sandcastle. Use sand to sculpt whatever takes your fancy like this happy smiley fish.


Get Creative with your Camera 

While beach panoramas can be stunning
have a go a getting some close-ups. Isn't this beach holly wonderful.

and try photographing landscapes while lying on the ground to capture interesting forna.

Doodle 

The beach is your canvas, take a stick and start doodling.


Dance 

There is nothing like an open expanse of sand to inspire Miss Chicago Teen to break into dance. Oooh to be that supple!
love from

Creative in Chicago

XX

Jul 8, 2014

Mountain Hair

Dear Chicago House,

Who says you can't have fancy hair when you are half way up a mountain in Wales?

Chicago teen decided to braid and decorate my hair with beautiful hillside heather, while were and out and about on a river scramble, on vacation last week.

braid with flowers
braid with flowers
braid with flowers

and here is the gorgeous view I was admiring ...oh to be there now.
welsh valley
It is a secret place and I am not sharing the location!

Love from

Creative in Chicago

XX

Jun 23, 2014

Design Your Own fabric : Another Easy Technique

Dear Chicago House,

Who knew this little post on custom fabric creation would get so much interest. I shared only one technique for creating your own stunning fabric but I am here today for another lesson.


Design your own fabric with Sharpies

You will need

  • Sharpies
  • Fine paint brush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton fabric 
Lay your fabric out on some cardboard and create a design based on pairs of lines. you can use solid or dotted lines like my example below.

 Take your paint brush and apply a liberal amount of alcohol between each set of lines as illustrated by the red below.

The liquid will spread outwards leaving a clear strip between the line pairs


What fun!

And here are some examples.

This one I used different colored dots on some of the lines

And this one I created with solid lines


Enjoy!

Love from

Creative in Chicago

XX


Jun 13, 2014

Driftwood Fish - DIY

Dear Chicago House,

I have been down to my secret beach again and collected another bag of driftwood. Look what my treasure scraps turned into this time. Driftwood Fish!

driftwood fish decorated with Sharpie Paint marker
driftwood fish decorated with Sharpie Paint marker

They were so easy and fun to make.

All you need is a white sharpie paint marker
Add a dot for a eye and then any sort of pattern you like. Some of my driftwood pieces had a fishy sort of shape to start with but others not.

driftwood fish decorated with Sharpie Paint marker
Miss Chicago teen got in on the action and created Jaws
driftwood fish decorated with Sharpie Paint marker
I liked the mouth she drew so much I borrowed it
driftwood fish decorated with Sharpie Paint marker

I thought I'd frame them as a collection but I'm note sure this works so I have held off on getting the hot glue gun out.

driftwood fish decorated with Sharpie Paint marker
driftwood fish decorated with Sharpie Paint marker
What do you think?

Love from

Creative in Chicago

XX

p.s Check out some of my other driftwood creations - Sally the driftwood seahorse and my driftwood orb

Jun 9, 2014

Design your own Fabric: Super Easy Tutorial

Dear Chicago House,

Followers on Facebook have already had a sneak peak at this fabric design project.

use sharpies to design fabric
and now here I am to share more details and give you the ins and outs of how to do this yourself. It is very easy and a lot of fun.

First lets just take a look at the fabric I designed.

fabric designed using sharpies
It looks complicated and time consuming but is actually very quick and easy to do.

How to design your own fabric using sharpies

You will need

  • Sharpies
  • Fine paint brush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton fabric   
Lay your fabric out on a flat surface in a well ventilated area using something like cardboard to protect your work surface.

Simply sketch out a simple pattern (more on that below!). Here is the pattern I used.

fabric designed using sharpies
 Then take your paintbrush and dot a liberal amount of rubbing alcohol in the center of each pattern element

fabric designed using sharpies
The alcohol will start to spread outwards and the colors will start to bleed and blend

fabric designed using sharpies
fabric designed using sharpies
The alcohol  drys very quickly and you are left with a beautiful fabric.

The design options are limitless and I went a little crazy creating test patterns but the end result is that you have a whole swatch of example to give you inspiration for your own fabrics.
fabric designed using sharpies

fabric designed using sharpies: patterns
I'd love to see any fabrics you make using this technique.

Love from

Creative in Chicago

XX