Category Archives: Forest Park, Oak Park

Galaxie Safari News

GalaxieSafari, greetings from Oak Park, Oak Park, Illinois, Oak Park Vistor's Center, vintage postage, Illinois stampA couple weeks ago, I got some really exciting news. In August I applied to be featured as a local artist in the Oak Park Visitor’s Center shop. Oak Park has a great tourism industry. People from all over the world come to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home & Studio, Unity Temple, and other homes. Oak Park is also the childhood home of Ernest Hemingway (and Betty White!) and there are all sorts of quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants in town. The visitor’s center gift shop is fantastic, filled with Chicago and Oak Park themed items, and many things that are made by local artists.

GalaxieSafari, Frank Lloyd Wright postage stamp, Oak Park, Illinois, Oak Park Vistor's Center, Frank Lloyd Wright, chicago architectureAnd now…a few Galaxie Safari cards will be in the shop! I submitted three Oak Park and Illinois specific designs and they accepted them! I will also be featuring some boxed holiday cards for the season.GalaxieSafari, Abe Lincoln, Honest Abe, Oak Park, Illinois, Oak Park Vistor's CenterSince I won’t be standing in the shop telling people that my cards are all typed on vintage typewriters and that I use real cancelled postage stamps and line the envelopes with pages from old encyclopedias, I’m having a stamp made for the back of the cards to explain those details. Most of the cards at the shop are mass printed, so I’m hoping some locals and visitors will appreciate something that’s made entirely by hand.

GalaxieSafari,World's Fair 1933 postage stamp, Oak Park, Illinois, Oak Park Vistor's Center, My Kind of Town, Chicago World's Fair, chicago architectureI feel like I’ve been in a bit of a lull with my shop this summer, but I have been sourcing some new stamps to work with and I have a bunch of new cards (including Halloween and holiday) that will be ready soon. I’ll share more soon and I’ll be back later this week with my promised origami tutorial!

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Petite Boutique 2016

craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Ahhh…we survived our first craft show!

Petite Boutique was last weekend and I think for the first show, we did pretty well! People were generally really nice about my cards and I loved talking to everyone about old postage stamps and typewriters! I felt “in my element” for the first time in quite awhile. I loved telling people about the first USPS Christmas stamp and listening to customer’s stories about learning to type on a typewriter. (I, too, learned to type on a typewriter.)craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016All of the artists showing at Petite Boutique were spread throughout the home. Shoppers went from room to room looking at each little “shop.” We lucked out and got the sunroom, which ended up being really beautiful, both on Friday night and sunny Saturday. The windows look out on Mills Park and some great fall leaf and people watching. artist statement, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I had such a good time planning my merchandising. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I think it’s a good start for future shows. I made a simple banner out of airmail envelopes and twine and added my name with some chipboard stickers that I found at Michaels. I pinned the banner on my (very wrinkly) tablecloth. The banner held up well, though sometimes it got disturbed by shoppers. Ideally, it would be hanging high behind me so shoppers could see it, even if my booth was busy.

I displayed my “artist statement” on one of my typewriters. (I didn’t actually type it on the typewriter because I thought the type might be too small.) Only a few people read it, but it was nice to have out there so people could learn a little bit about how my cards are made. holiday card display, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I displayed all of my holiday cards (boxes and singles) in old wooden boxes from my dad’s basement. I liked that they gave some height to the display. greeting card display, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Single non-holiday cards were all in another wooden box in the center of the table. I don’t really have enough card categories to require dividers. But if I keep doing craft shows, I’ll probably invest in a tabletop spinner or try to think of a better way to display these. Customers didn’t seem to mind sifting through them, but for a busier show, I think better visibility would make it easier.  stickers and stationery sets, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I had two options each of letter sets and sticker sets. And I offered the Japanese New Year cards like the ones I sent out for 2016. I made a sample so people could see that they could add a creative touch to the cards, or just write a new year message. The letter sets did not sell at all, but the stickers and postcards were pretty popular. framed quotes with postage stamps, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I also had a small display of framed and unframed quotes adorned with postage stamps. These sold really well, so I’m looking forward to adding some more to my shop soon. one whale, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016And last but not least, I had a wooden whale holding white and silver gel pens for sale. I sold a few cards with dark envelopes, so it was a good way to give people an easy option for addressing those envelopes. shoppers at Kimberly AH, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Naoto was an amazing help! He learned the details about my cards (he loved telling people about the unique encyclopedia page envelope liners!) so he could talk to people while I was finishing up with another customer or chatting with friends. I know lots of people do craft shows alone, but it was perfect to have moral support and help for my first show. (I secretly think Naoto enjoyed it as much as I did, too!)

Thanks to everyone who shared their craft show advice in the comments, in letters, and in person (Sean!) And I have to send out a heartfelt thanks to friends near and far who came to say hi and to support the show. You all made my day and I loved being surprised when I saw your faces in the crowd. And a huge thanks to our shoppers who all seemed genuinely excited about buying handmade and to Pleasant Home for organizing the event. THANK YOU!!

 

 

P.S. I’ve begun listing my greeting cards in my Etsy shop and will continue to add more over the weekend. (All of my greeting cards are listed, but I’d like to add boxed options and mix & match savings.) Stay tuned.

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I’m Doing a Craft Show!

Petite Boutique Holiday Market, Pleasant Home, Oak ParkIt’s exciting! (And slightly terrifying…)

For the past few months, I’ve been making greeting cards using my Royal Safari typewriter and featuring vintage cancelled postage stamps from my collection. I recently got my act together to open a little shop and I applied for a local juried craft show at Pleasant Home. And, I got in! So over the next month, I’ll be busy typing at my typewriter and sifting through my stamp collection and cutting envelope liners out of Karen’s grandparents’ encyclopedia collection. (Thanks, Karen!) I am very excited and nervous. What if no one buys anything? What if I forget how to count money? What if I run out of products? (None of these scenarios are likely. I’m very good at math. But seriously…how do you even know how much to make?) Thankfully Naoto has agreed to be my customer service associate so he can help me manage small talk and sales.

I’ll share more as I get into a good production groove around here. If you’ve ever done a craft show -big or small- I’d love to hear your advice!

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Plot #6 for 2016 

plot 6, 2016 first planting, community garden, forest park community gardenIn between jet lag naps and unwrapping all of my stationery from Japan, I started our garden for the summer! I planted almost everything mid-May and then added a couple of things last week. So far, so good, but I really do need to cut back my chive plant before it takes over! plot 6, 2016 first planting, community garden, forest park community garden, Juliet tomatoI clearly didn’t learn my tomato jungle lesson from last year…I planted six tomato plants! I just kept seeing new varieties I wanted to try! I planted both pink and red Brandywines, a Juliet, a Golden Girl, a Cherokee Purple, and a Mr. Stripey. The Juliet already has a couple of tomatoes growing! plot 6, 2016 first planting, community garden, forest park community garden, Brandwine tomato, sweet banana pepper, rosemaryIn between the tomatoes, I planted peas, lima beans, edamame, bush beans, Japanese scallions, lettuce, parsley, thyme, and basil all from seed. And then on impulse, I added a rosemary plant and a sweet banana pepper plant. I wanted to try a couple of cutting flowers from seed, but I haven’t gotten my act together, so those might have to wait until next year. As it is, things are looking pretty full. All of the seeds are coming up and it really is just a matter of time before the tomatoes are taking over.

I love this time of year when everything is all tidy in its place. (At least in the garden it is…my apartment is a whole different story!)

How is your garden growing?

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A Moveable Feast & Hemingway’s Daiquiri 

For book club this month, we read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway grew up in Oak Park and our book group originated in Oak Park. Would you believe we’ve never read him? I added A Moveable Feast to our list over a year ago and no one seemed into it. When the Paris attacks happened and all of Paris turned to the old Hemingway title for comfort, I suggested we finally read it.  I think (almost) everyone is glad we did.

I appreciate the book as a peek into an artist’s life in 1920s Paris. I love the interactions between the famous writers. I love the descriptions of the food and the cafes and the seasons in Paris. It is insane to imagine how much they were drinking at the time. And I know we have to take it all with a grain of salt, as the book is a memoir, written years later from Hemingway’s notebooks and published posthumously by his fourth wife, but that doesn’t change the enjoyment I got from the book as a piece of work.

Here are some of my favorite passages.

On eating and drinking (also longest sentence ever!) :

As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

Regarding his writing process:

I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry, You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

The seasons in Paris:

You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.

Regarding Katherine Mansfield:

I had been told Katherine Mansfield was a good short-story writer, even a great short-story writer, but trying to read her after Chekhov was like hearing the carefully artificial tales of a young old-maid compared to those of an articulate and knowing physician who was a good and simple writer. Mansfield was like near-beer. It was better to drink water.

And, the saddest line of the book…about his first wife:

When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks as the train came in by the piled logs at the station, I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.

After I read the book I celebrated with a Hemingway Daiquiri. I love this cocktail and the fact that it’s about as far away from the daiquiris I enjoyed in college that you could get.

Hemingway Daiquiri

2 oz light rum

1/2 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur

Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until fully chilled and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Toast to all of those drunk writers, to Paris in the 1920s, and to Paris today.

 

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Plot #6: PUMPKINS!

Pumpkins, Forest Park Community Garden, plot 6Things are slowing down in our garden plot. On Saturday, I spent some time cutting down our broccoli “tree” (seriously, that thing was so tall and its root was enormous!), tearing out a tomato plant (the Cherry 1000 was not producing anything), and harvesting more than a pound of Brandywines and Juliets. I still have five more tomato plants that are flowering and producing, so I’m hoping to have a few more tiny crops before it frosts. And our loofah plant has two babies, but I don’t think they’re going to grow enough before the winter. I’m also swimming in parsley and thyme, but I’ll share more about that soon!

In the spring, Laura and I planted pumpkin and loofah seeds on the hill in the community garden. Sadly, no loofahs made it (I think the dirt was too heavy for them) but the pumpkins grew like gangbusters! Naoto and I picked our pumpkins last week, a tall one and a tiny one. They are on the lanai now with the mums and the waning summer plants. I need to get out there and take down the party lights and get rid of the sad summer annuals, but every time I think about it, the weather warms back up and we are able to sit outside and eat dinner!

Is your garden done for the year? Are you already making plans for next year? (I am!)

 

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After the Break

Super Blood Harvest Moon EclipseRemember me?

I feel like a blog abandoner. I never meant to ignore this space for so long. But I also hate those blog posts filled with reasons* for not writing, so let’s just begin again, shall we?

Did you see the Super Blood Moon Eclipse last Sunday? The weather was so crisp and cool here that night. I went out on the balcony and watched the moon go into hiding and watched it reappear some time later. Naoto came out to join me for the reappearance and we listened to moon-themed music (particularly Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bad Moon Rising, and Moonshadow.) I didn’t get any amazing pictures, but enough to capture the moment and enjoy the moment.

We had a really good end-of-summer and now it is decidedly fall…scarves and boots are out, Presley is more cuddly, and I’m decorating for Halloween. Hopefully I can get back into a good blogging routine—I have a few recipes, a few cocktails, and a little bit more about Japan and the end of our summer to share. And mail! I’m participating in 31 Postcards in 31 Days again and I haven’t sent a single one! And I’ve received some really fun mail this summer that I want to share with you, too!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a Renegade Chicago report. See you then!

*Main reason: I’ve been trying to eat all of my tomatoes.

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The Lanai 2015

balcony looking south, lanaiSummer is almost over and I haven’t shared photos from the lanai! It actually looks really different now because I spent some time out there yesterday giving up on some plants (RIP, little guys) and repotting my newly purchased mums*. balcony looking south, lanai, sitting areaI changed up the seating area from last year, moving the wicker love seat along the windows to give it some extra protection from the elements. I liked it a lot better this way, even though at only 4 feet deep, it’s a tight squeeze out there. balcony looking north, lanaiThe “dining area” is pretty much the same. I have six hanging planters of various flowers. I bought a portulaca and a mixed planter and I built my own of begonias, petunias, vinca vines, Creeping Jenny, Mexican Heather, allyssum, various coleus, and some other greens and blooms. (It feels like I did all of this a lifetime ago…it was before Japan!) I really enjoyed building my own planters but this winter I want to do some reading about pot designs. Some of the pots filled out nicely, but others never really filled out, even now at the end of the summer. large pot on the lanaiMy parents gave me this giant pot after Japan and I was so excited to fill it. I bought some cheap impatiens, petunias, and coleus and added in perennial sedum that I’ve had for years. Next year I would like to fill the giant pot with all perennials to keep costs and maintenance down. But I have to say, this pot still looks amazing and full and lush, while most of the others have suffered a bit in our heat lately. old geraniumMy old geranium is still going strong. I really weeded through my geraniums this winter and kept the strongest ones. I didn’t know which colors I would end up with since nothing was blooming in March, but I have one bright pink, one coral, and one white one left. I’ll bring them in when it gets cold. The geraniums hang out on a little cart with some perennials I planted this winter. None of them really thrived in the light on my balcony, so I need to replant them at my parents or give them to someone else who gets more sun. Most are still alive, just not blooming…kind of a bummer. Split Second Morning GloryNext to the big pot, I planted seven types of climbing vines. So far, only three have bloomed. (Womp, womp.) But, I love going out there every morning and tending to the blooms I have, so…I’m making the most of them! The one above is a Split Second Morning Glory, obtained through a “seed swap” on Instagram. (Thanks, Lauren!) They’re double flowers and are very peony-like. Now that I know how successful they are, I’m going to plant lots more of these beauties next year! President Tyler Morning Glory President Tyler Morning GloryThen there are the gorgeous blue President Tylers, obtained at the actual seed swap. The deep purplish blue is so striking on the railings. Heavenly Blue Morning GloryAnd last but not least, the Heavenly Blues…which really, how gorgeous is that color? I took this photo yesterday right before a huge downpour that completely battered the bloom. I’m so glad I captured its perfection!

Next week, I’ll do a community garden update which shall be called All About the Tomatoes. Have a good weekend!

*The Mum Disclaimer: Yes, I feel like it’s too soon to usher in fall, quite frankly, but it is after Labor Day and they were so cheap at Menards! I had to snag a few while I was there! It’s going to cool off today, so maybe fall is really right around the corner? As much as I love fall, I’m all for soaking up the season we are in. I’m not ready to pull out my boots and scarves (and pumpkin spice lattes!). I’m still enjoying the last bits of summer while I can!

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Oak Park Post Office Turns 80

Oak Park Post Office 80th Anniversary Celebration Last Saturday the Oak Park Post Office held a celebration to mark the 80th anniversary of the building. I have to admit I was a little nervous about the whole thing after our last advisory council meeting, but man, did they ever pull it off! It was really fun to see people smiling at the post office and to hear of people’s interest in the building. Because the newspaper didn’t help publicize the event (this was the only article I could find online), most people were confused about the snacks and the extra people milling around. Once we told them, they seemed really excited and thankful to have such a beautiful building in the community. Oak Parkers love their architecture!oak park post office 80th anniversary celebration, food spread oak park post office 80th anniversary celebration, food spreadThe post office put out a lovely spread. There were donuts, cupcakes, cookies, and coffee and fresh fruit, mini sandwiches, meatballs, and chicken salad…I wasn’t expecting so much variety! Fellow council member, Dea, and I worked at the popcorn machine handing out freshly popped bags of popcorn to customers. We even made deliveries to the ever-growing passport line and those customers seemed excited to have a little something to eat during their waits.

The Postmaster, Phil Crawford, gave tours of the building, sharing the history of the building giving us a peek at the second floor offices and the sorting room. (I’ll share more about that soon.)Oak Park, IL Post Office 80th anniversary postmarkAnd, much to my delight, there was a special postmark!! Phil gave the council members a pre-stamped envelope with the postmark (shown above). I sent a dozen postcards out to some of my penpals and bought some fantastic new stamps. It was a great day at the Oak Park Post Office!

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Kings of the Keyboard at FitzGerald’s

FitzGeralds, Kings of the Keyboard cocktailsIt was such a great weekend around here! On Friday night, some friends and I went to FitzGerald’s to see Kings of the Keyboard, an event hosted by Chris Ligon and Heather McAdams, the same duo who put on the Everything But Country Calendar Show last year. Kings of the Keyboard hosts Heather McAdams and Chris LigonKings of the Keyboard, FitzGeralds night club, Heather McAdams artworkChris and Heather brought together a wide variety of amazing musicians: Daniel Souvigny, a fourteen year old piano genius, Chris Foreman, a famous organ player who plays at the Green Mill, Paul Lewis, pianist for the Joffrey Ballet, Charlie Pierce and Choctaw Wilfire, a honkey tonk band from Austin, Chris Ligon who played hilarious songs on the Baldwin Fun Machine, and Scott Ligon and the Letter 3 who are so much fun to listen to (and I promise I’m not biased as Scott is my friend’s husband).   Kings of the Keyboard, 16mm film stripEach act played a few songs and in between, Heather played an amazing collection of 16mm films of old keyboard acts. It was a non-stop cornucopia of entertainment!

I feel so lucky to live so close to FitzGerald’s.

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