Wisconsin Adventures: Part 2

Before I talk about our last day adventuring in Wisconsin, I’m going to plug a small project I just worked on. As some of you know, I have been trying to participate in the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s Short Docs competition for the past few years. This year, they teamed up with Manual Cinema for this year’s competition. The following piece “And Through We Went” is my contribution this year: http://www.thirdcoastfestival.org/library/1891-and-through-we-went

I hope you enjoy!

Now on to our regularly scheduled programming! On Sunday of our trip, we were going to head back to Chicago making a detour through Milwaukee. We had a meeting at the Milwaukee Makerspace. In 2014, we had the chance of going to the Maker Faire up there. You can read about that experience here: https://makerfairechicagonorthside.com/2014/11/19/a-belated-summary-of-maker-faire-milwaukee/

This time we were going to get a tour of their space. It was really cool. It’s quite an extensive facility with a wood shop, machine shop, and even pottery area. There was a man doing blacksmithing in the corner. There were giant CNC machines, several 3D printers, and beautiful organized supply areas. There was a full sized Dalek and a handmade wooden boat! The whole space was really impressive. I started getting ideas again of things I could be making…


Daleks at the Milwaukee Makersapce



Pottery Wheel at Milwaukee Makerspace

Afterwards, we decided to head to our favorite cheese shop in downtown Milwaukee: the Wisconsin Cheese Mart. We always go there after a trip to Milwaukee because it has the best selection. I always get 5 year aged cheddar, which is heavenly. If you have never tried it, you should find it and eat it all. It’s so much better than regular cheddar at the store. (They also had 25 year cheddar but it was super expensive!). They have lots of samples so you can try a lot of different cheeses. Plus they have Wisconsin beers, including New Glarus, and brats if you are so inclined. We’ve tried other cheese places but they have paled in comparison.

Then on our final leg of the drive home, we finally went to the Mars Cheese Castle. It was something we had been meaning to do for years but road construction and schedule always got in the way. This time we made it. The experience? Well, the outside building is kinda neat with the fake drawbridge and whatnot. Inside, it’s an overpriced store with inferior cheese selection. Alas. We had been warned that we may be a bit disappointed. But I’m glad we went.


Mars Cheese Castle

That’s all for now!


Wisconsin Adventures: Part 1

Now to regularly scheduled programming: In early April, my bf and I decided to take a little trip to Madison/Milwaukee. We drove up on Saturday morning on one of those classic crazy Midwest weather days. For the entire drive to Madison, it alternatively hailed, snowed, then cleared to a wonderful sunny day. We were staying at a friend’s who said that the snow accumulated and melted on his lawn three times in the morning.Sometimes visibility was no more than 10 feet. And as we neared Madison, Google decided to direct us off the road onto side roads for fun and giggles. We still don’t know why; I claim there is an adventurous setting on Google Maps (and no the “Avoid highways” wasn’t selected). But we did see some wild turkeys, which was pretty cool.

Once we got to Madison, we decided to head to Babcock Hall to cheese and ice cream. UWisconsin-Madison, my alma mater, has a giant agricultural school and part of it includes a store that sells cheese and ice cream made there. I picked up some aged cheddar (only about a year) and some delicious ice cream. We then decided to take a little stroll down memory lane— we walked up State street so I could see my old haunts. It’s amazing how much hasn’t changed. Some of my old haunts are still around while others are gone or moved. It’s been eight years since I graduated so it makes sense. At this point, the weather had finally settled on sunny and a bit cold. We walked the entire length of the street, ending up at the Capitol, impressive and imposing as normal.


The Capitol

Since the day had cleared, we decided to go on a short hike at Blue Mounds State Park, about forty minutes away. Google again decided to take us on a tiny adventure, off the highway in the backroads, but we eventually got there. We choose the Flint Rock Hiking Trial that was around a mile and hopefully would be scenic. We mostly wandered through the woods where it was a mix of dirt and snow. These giant stones, the flint rocks, appeared at various points that were multi-colored and imposing. Despite the mud, it was a lovely hike; it was nice to get away from the city and the human made world for a little bit. Before we got back to the car, we climbed one of the nearby observation decks to see the landscape just as the sun began to set. (We wanted to make sure we were done hiking before sunset). The landscape was astonishing: farmlands and distant radio towers.


Flint Rock Hiking Trail

On the way out, we saw a curious deer. Unlike most deers, she didn’t run away when we stopped. She stared at us, twitched her ears, and then eventually ran off. It was really a lovely moment.

For dinner, we went to a Laotian restaurant on Willie Street that was rather hoping. We ended up putting three people at a two person table, which worked! I had some tea and a curry dish with mango, squash, and chicken. It was pretty good. I found some pieces of tofu in it and I actually preferred the tofu to the chicken. Go figure.

That’s all for now!

Tomorrow is Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire 2016

Tomorrow, May 7th, is the day for the 5th annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire!

I can’t wait. Join us from 10am to 4pm for robots, food creation, crafts, 3D printers, and so much more.

Some additional blogs I wrote about some of the makers and sponsors:

Bit Space: http://wp.me/p2b6mY-AB

DuSable High School Wood Workshop: http://tinyurl.com/h5qwwdx

I can’t wait to share all the fun things at the faire with you all.


Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire 2016 Part 2

Just a few days until the 5th annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire on May 7th. Two more posts about makers that I did:

Meet the Maker: Build Your Own Chicago: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/2002794/posts/1013886971

Meet the Maker: Digital Media http://wp.me/p2b6mY-zR

That’s all for now!

Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire 2016

Good morning!

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted. I’ve been very busy working on interviews with makers for the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire at Carl Schurz School, a topic very close to my heart. So while I have adventures to tell you in the near future, here are the blog posts that I have recently done on their website:

  1. Chicago Children’s Museum: https://makerfairechicagonorthside.com/2016/04/06/meet-the-makers-chicago-childrens-museum/
  2. Schurz Food Lab:                     https://makerfairechicagonorthside.com/2016/04/08/meet-the-maker-schurz-food-lab/
  3. The Little Bits Workshop:  https://makerfairechicagonorthside.com/2016/04/21/meet-the-maker-the-little-bits-workshop/
  4. Adler Planetarium Teen STEM Programs:  https://makerfairechicagonorthside.com/2016/04/25/meet-the-maker-adler-planetarium-stem-teen-programs/
  5. Schurz Pre-Engineering Classes:  https://makerfairechicagonorthside.com/2016/04/27/meet-the-maker-schurz-pre-engineering-classes/

I’ll have several more to share with you all next week as we get closer to the Faire on May 7th. You should all come. Check out the website: https://makerfairechicagonorthside.com/

That’s all for now!

Meet the Maker: The Little Bits Workshop — Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire

Want to make a tiny room using upcycled items in your house and garden? Join Liita Forsyth from The Little Bits Workshop to learn how to make your very own tiny room! The Little Bits Workshop is a DIY makerspace in River Forest where kids of all ages can learn how to sew, knit, make […]

via Meet the Maker: The Little Bits Workshop — Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire

NYC Spring 2016: Part 3

That Saturday was SWAN day! It was the 9th International Support Women Artists Day! We decided to spend it by going to a guided tour of the exhibition of Vigée le Brun at the Metropolitan Museum. Vigée le Brun was a famous female painter who was known for her intimate paintings of Marie Antoinette and other notables of the day. She’s quite an impressive painter who was one of four women in the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. However, initially her marriage to an art dealer made her ineligible but the king intervened and asked that she be admitted. Yeah, cause she was that beloved of the court. She eventually have to go into exile during the Revolution but she made use of the time traveling all over Europe. Read more about her here: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2016/vigee-le-brun

We spent the next hour wandering around the museum, letting us take in this magnificent place. We actually ended up in the American wing and saw my new old favorite “Madame X” by John Singer Sargent. We also stumbled upon the original ballroom from Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, VA. We had visited the house while we were there last summer and I remembered that they said the original room where George Washington danced was at the Met. And we found it. It is well-kept up with examples of period furniture. It was neat to see the real thing but it was weird that it was here in the Met and not in Virginia where the building is. But then again, the staircase from the Chicago Board of Trade is also at the Met…


Gadsby’s Tavern

We finished up our trip at the Temple of Dendur, my favorite room there. I know I’ve mentioned it before; I can’t go to the Met without stopping by. It just still astonishes me every time I see it. Someday I’ll make it to Egypt to see the pyramids. For now, this will do. (Also, it doesn’t help that one of my favorite bands from college played a concert in that room last summer!).


Temple of Dendur

We hopped in a cab to head to broadway for a matinee. We had a short period of time before the show. But then we found the most wonderful kind of place: $1 pizza. It’s a very plain utilitarian place but they have cheap pizza. You could get pepperoni for $2, which I opted for. My husband had 2 slices of cheese and a coke for $2-$3. It was perfect for our needs.

The show we saw was Disaster! It was a musical parodying disaster movies. It was fun at times but not a great new addition to Broadway. The first half was a bit slow since it had to establish all the different characters, aligning with different disaster tropes. The music was all disco that came up at predictable and unpredictable times. It’s not my favorite era of music, I have to say. There was also a borderline racist joke in there involving an afro, which did not sit terribly well with me.

The second half got better as everything started to go wrong. The random deaths from ridiculous occurrences really worked for me. It got silly and outlandish, which is what I wanted. So not the best musical but definitely had its moments. Plus it’s not Mr. Foote’s Other Leg. Ugh!

Afterwards, we decided to head to the NY Public Library, the main branch. I realized that I don’t think I’d ever been in there before! Craziness! It’s absolutely stunning. Sadly, the main room (i.e. the room from Ghostbusters) was closed for remodeling but other rooms were well worth a visit. The periodicals room was gorgeous with all the wood paneling. The map room was filled with book after book of maps!


Periodical Room

Upstairs, there was an exhibition about Women in Printmaking, which was so cool. They had works by Marie de Medici and Queen Victoria! Apparently the Queen took it up as a pastime! So cool! There was also a Gutenberg Bible in a case in the middle of the floor. Because. Unfortunately, the Winnie the Pooh was not on display yet but it should be back later this Spring. There’s a great story about the Winnie the Pooh. England asked for it back and the response was “You’ll get it back when you return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.” Touche!


Gutenberg Bible

That evening, we had wonderful tapas and seafood at a Spanish restaurant in the Village. I need to spend more time there, if only for all the food options! (Someday the Peanut Butter place will be mine to try!).

That’s all for now!