Aug 20, 2014

A Garden Party

Dear Chicago House,

Chicago teen threw a fun garden party yesterday and despite a rainy start to the day we had a lovely sunny afternoon.

summer party table
summer party on the deck

green and yellow summer party ideas
As usual she put together the menu and with a little help from me, we whipped it all together.
The menu was kept light, nobody wants to stuff themselves stupid on a hot summer afternoon and the main event of the party was an ice cream tasting so she wanted eager bellies for that too.

We had a selection of elegant finger foods including

Fancy sausage on a stick

fancy sausage on a stick
Quite possibly the worlds daintiest sandwiches
dainty sandwiches
Cucumber canapes
cucumber canapes
 Tasty pin wheels

Some artistic melon and strawberries 
strawberry and melon
strawberry and melon
strawberry and melon

Cherry Pies on sticks
cherry pie on a stick
cherry pie on a stick
and last but not least a selection of home made ice creams for a taste test. She made four flavors, vanilla, coffee, mint choc chip and strawberry lemonade. They were all so yummy.
ice cream taste test
All the party supplies were generously donated by Party Pail

part paperware
paper laterns
Love from

Creative in Chicago


Aug 9, 2014

How to make a Zen Doodle Coaster

Dear Chicago House,

I have really been into doodling recently (check out some of my creations) and my pot of Sharpies has sat on my desk ever since I created this fabric. It was only a matter of time that the two met!

Check out these fun Zen doodle coasters.

doodle coasters
zen doodle coasters
Simple to make's how.

How to create Zen Doodle Coasters

What you need
  • Plain white tiles with a smooth finish ( I was lucky enough to have a whole box of these left behind by the previous owner of my house)
  • Sharpie markers- darker colors work best
  • Imagination!
 Start by creating a simple swirl design
how to make a zen doodle coasters
The simple add a different doodle to the zones created by the swirl design. To get some inspiration for doodle designs try checking out my zentangle doodle pinterest board.

Here is a tile all doodled up

zen doodle coaster design

To fix the ink bake the tiles for 30min in a 350 deg F oven

purple zen doodle coaster design
zen doodle coasters

No more coffee rings on my table!

Love from

Creative in Chicago


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


Love from

Creative in Chicago