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My life is a soccer game

Nike Cup Soccer Tournament

The beauty of a young mind flourishes during a routine homework assignment on metaphoric poetry…

By: Trey Schmidt

life is emotion, life is a soccer match
the dream to be a leader, to wear on my sleeve the captain’s patch
the passion it takes to get all the way
the bumps that trip you throughout the day
willing to take a foul
inside I want to growl
my friends will say “don’t stay on the ground get back up!”

the ball hits the post, I need it to make it the most
sometimes you feel the game will never end
this game of soccer my old friend
the win in the game will make you strong
then in life I will be clever
no matter if there is rain
the confidence is what I gain

I will not get every call, but will play on to have fun
to start walking to the pitch, jogging– then I run
“the foul won’t stay in my brain” I say
I’ll make it up on another day
shake it off, shake it up, life won’t get me in a rut

the field will never stay the same just as you will change
every single minute you play
you will never stop to stay

Scents of Spring at Macy’s Flower Show in Chicago

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Need a delightful break from the grey weather? The sights and scents of the Macy’s Flower Show in Chicago will lift you from the doldrums and tickle your fancy! Located on the 9th floor of their State Street store, children and adults alike will enjoy the painted elephant and beautiful vignettes representing India and southern Asia. This free show runs until Sunday, April 7th. You don’t want to miss this!

!Business Connect! Maple City Roasters

In today’s Business Connect, we are delighted to introduce you to Del Arnold of Maple City Roasters. Join us in Del’s interview below to find out more about their coffee roasting business. We love their amazingly delicious fresh roasted coffee!

Maple City Roasters

2Sis: Tell us about your small business; what is your specialty?

Our specialty is roasting “green coffee” beans.  We are a micro Roast-to-Order business.

2Sis: How many years are you now in business and how many employees currently are working for you? 

In March our business will be 5 yrs young and growing.  Customers just love our NON bitter roasted beans.  We have had a partner for three years until he retired and moved away.  With the growth we have just added a new partner.

2Sis: How did you come upon your specialty? Do you have formal training? Was this a lifelong passion?

No formal training & yes it was a passion of my husband Kreg.  He appreciates good coffee, craft beer and good cigars. Kreg was a home roaster and so many of our craft beer drinkers were continually were asking for the fresh roast.

2Sis: What is a day in the office like for you?

Well for me it is the “roasting shop” I roast as ordered, package and label as well as delivery.  Then home to the office for paper work.

2Sis: How do you invent new flavors? Is it driven by customer requests? 

The requests are driven by customer preferences.  Some have really taken off…..even when I was skeptical.

MapleCityRoasters

2Sis: How do you juggle your time to focus on PR/Marketing?  

I have always had a passion for the networking and marketing.  We have participated in numerous shows over the years and grew our contact list.  We are involved in unique events…such as Artisan Fairs or Gardening events.

2Sis: Do your customers buy for a particular holiday? Or are they purchasing for themselves?  

As expected Holidays bring out a good portion of business which translates to regular mail orders if they are out of towners.

2Sis: If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be? Why? 

To Jamaican or Costa Rican for coffee tours…..or to Mexico to just relax.

2Sis: Any words of advice you can offer to other small businesses? 

Network, Network, Network we have met the nicest & most honest people who are so eager to help you grow.  We grew without a marketing budget.

2 Sis: What can we expect to see from your company in the future? 

Much growth in many different directions.  To branch out, have a store front and service our customers.

2Sis: Where can we find you? Please list your links.

www.maplecityroasters.com

Call or text 219-873-3735

Kreg and Del Arnold
Maple City Roasters, LLC

The key is in the Roast!

•••••••••••

Thank you Del for giving us a behind the scenes peek into the happenings at Maple City Roasters !

Be sure to check out Maple City Roasters for yourself – a great gift for family and friends!

Palatine Illinois Farmers Market in winter!

Palatine Farmers Market goods

Palatine Farmers Market goods

By: Jen

We know the days are starting to get longer– but we really miss our CSA (community supported agriculture) deliveries of farm fresh produce from the warmer months. It gets challenging trying to choose produce in the winter as we are comparing the measly offerings to the quality of summer’s bounty. I find myself wondering how many tons of air fuel it took to bring the current produce into my local grocery store.

Nicole and her everlovin’ have let me in on their early morning jaunt to the winter Palatine Farmers Market. We were to leave no later than 7:30 am in order to purchase farm eggs. They run out! Most of the market is situated inside the Palatine Train Station which is located on the Union Pacific Northwest Rail line into Chicago. Our first stop was the Hasselmann Family Farm booth. I tried to purchase two dozen eggs but discovered that you can only buy one dozen…. it is suggested that you pre-order your eggs prior to the market delivery to ensure that you go home with these beautiful brown beauties. The yolks are very yellow and the whites hold their shape. These are the eggs from my youth, when Grandma and Grandpa would make them sunny side up after an indulgent sleep-over!

We loved the offerings from The Cheese People. Their customer line was hearty and these folks knew exactly what they wanted. Tom’s Backyard Garden and Middlebury Farms offered very fresh greens that lasted and tasted wonderful.

Palatine Farmers Market
Corner of Smith and Wood Streets
Palatine, IL 60067

Dates
January 19
February 9
March 9
April 13

If you’re up for a coffee and an early morning adventure, join us this Saturday morning! We need to leave very early…

Life is a mosaic! 2013 will add more color!

By: Jen

Located in the Macy's State Street store, Chicago, IL, USA

Marshall Field and Company Building
Macy’s Department Store
111 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60602
312.781.1000

Thank you to all of our followers and supporters during our first year of blogging! It’s been quite a discovery and we feel a great sense of accomplishment to have started this project in 2012. Just before the holidays, I had a wonderful opportunity to take my youthful nieces on a little trip down memory lane. We visited the historic Marshall Field and Company Building in Chicago. Macy’s now owns this landmark… long gone are the days of stellar customer amenities once known to Marshall Field’s customers.

We enjoyed a day of Ferris Bueller like antics and as we were getting ready to burst forth into the cold night, I asked the kids to look up and to our delight, we were awestruck by the Tiffany Favrile Ceiling which is located in the cosmetics department on the fifth floor. This ceiling is the first and largest built favrile glass mosaic in the world. The hand applied design includes over 1.6 million pieces of glass.

Louis Comfort Tiffany created and patented this type of iridescent glass. The material was first produced in 1896. During production, the pigments were poured into the molten glass thus imbedding the colors into the glass.

Life is like a mosaic! 2013 will surely add more color and more pieces into all of our stories. We wish you a most beautiful design in the 365 days to come. Happy New Year!

Can you make that cranberry pie?

Be the hero this holiday season! Every time we make this recipe from our Mom, we get requests for it, literally as in “Can you make that cranberry pie?” Friends, this is so easy– you can make it too! This pie works like a charm for a winter’s breakfast, brunch or t.v. time snack. Whip some heavy whipping cream with a couple of tablespoons of bourbon for an extra treat.

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Step One is the base!
12 0z. (3 cups) whole, fresh cranberries
3/4 C. chopped walnuts
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1 T. orange rind
1 tspn. cinnamon
Toss together and pour into a greased pie plate.

Step 2 is the batter!
2 eggs
1 stick melted butter
1 C. white sugar
1/4 C. sour cream
1 tspn. vanilla
Mix together with a fork.
Gradually add 1 cup of flour.

Step 3 is the assembly!
Pour over the cranberries.
Bake in 325° for 50 minutes.

Who ever thought a small acidic red berry from an evergreen dwarf shrub could taste so good? Next week we will share our cranberry salsa recipe! What do you do with the North American berry species?

Designer’s Connect! Lonesome Road Studio Giveaway Winner!

The lucky giveaway winner of these gorgeous silver earrings from Lonesome Road Studio is…..

Lonesome Road Studio

Frosty silver snowflake earrings, artisan pure silver

KIT! of Kit’s Creations!

Kit, please email your address to Nicole at chicagofinethreads@yahoo.com so that I may forward to Angie at Lonesome Road Studio.

Thank you again, Angie for your generosity!

Designer’s Connect! Lonesome Road Studio

In today’s Connect with the Designer, we are delighted to introduce you to Angie of Lonesome Road Studio.
Join us in Angie’s interview below to find out more about her multitude of talents!

2Sis: Tell us about your art; what is your talent?

After recently reading an article on the American Craft website, it occurred to me that what I am is an “applied artist.” I started out wanting to be a fine artist and evolved into doing a little of that, plus wearable art accessories.
Basically, I like to create interesting art and apply it in different ways, sometimes for your wall, sometimes for you to wear.
As far as my medium goes, I work in markers and the occasional mixed-media piece.

Lonesome Road Studio

Esmeralda artisan silver and Pilot Mountain Nevada turquoise necklace $165.00

2Sis: What is a day in the studio like for you?

As a one-person show, a day in the studio can mean anything from actual artwork to marketing/promoting, photographing items, ordering supplies, packing/shipping orders, customer service and more.
A day spent working entirely on art is rare, especially as someone who sells primarily online.

2Sis: Did you always know you were an artist? Were there flashes of brilliance for you as a child? Teenager?

Yes, I’ve always been artistic. I went quickly from coloring books to doing my own artwork on big newsprint-paper type pads of drawing paper, hehe! I apprenticed at an international ad agency at age 16 and I’ve never, ever worked at a single job that wasn’t either graphic design-related or otherwise artistic/creative.

2Sis: What inspires you, what do you believe in that you convey in your art?

I really appreciate humor, and mine is a little twisted at times. I like the unexpected, like a cheeseburger belt buckle, and I think I convey that type of quirkiness.

One of the things that I enjoy most about doing shows is when someone chuckles at one of my pieces since I intentionally use art, quotes, or something offbeat to create something different – a new spin, a different point of view.

Lonesome Road Studio

Cheeseburger belt buckle
$39.00

2Sis: Is there a particular cultures jewelry that you especially appreciate?

I try to use American-made components as much as possible and partly for this reason I love Native American art and jewelry, particularly southwestern and Pacific northwestern. You know when you see a piece of vintage silver and turquoise Navajo jewelry, that they used materials from their own environment. From an esthetic standpoint, those are also the colors I love; warm colors like turquoise blue/green, red corals and earthtones.

2Sis: What is your favorite material to work with?  

My favorite thing to work with is my markers, and ArtClay silver (although the silver has become VERY expensive in the last couple of years).

The designs that I use in the silver are my own; I had stamps created with my own artwork so I could retain creative control over my designs and did not have to use commercial stamps and, one of my newest favorite materials is leather. I’ve been creating small original leather pieces like wristbands and will soon be adding belts and guitar straps to that list.

2Sis: How do you get past “artists block”? Do you have a method for “getting going”?

I have absolutely no problem with artists block! What I do have is not enough time to create all of the projects in my head. The only time I have a problem with “getting going” is when I have so many things to do that I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. That’s where my new skill of prioritizing has come in handy… sometimes.

Lonesome Road Studio

Sugar Skull Day of the Dead Original Spirit Buckle by Lonesome Road Studio
$95.00

2Sis: What fall fashion trends do you like this season?

I love the artsy bohemian styles and some of the southwestern looks I’ve been seeing – fringe, beadwork, etc. I just hope that it doesn’t become a generalized caricature, something like “The Village People go to Wisconsin Dells tourist gift shops!”

2Sis: If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?

Definitely somewhere in the western U.S. … Jackson Hole, WY? Taos or Santa Fe, NM?

2Sis: Where can we find you? Please list your links.

Buckles and pure silver: www.LonesomeRoadStudio.com

Buckles and fun art accessories: www.etsy.com/shop/LonesomeRoadStudio

Twitter: @LonesomeRoad

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LonesomeRoadStudio

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lonesomerd/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/angie-cornelius-lonesome-road-studio/25/b65/ba3

Bite This! The Lonesome Road Studio Kitchen Blog: www.lonesomeroadstudio.blogspot.com/

Email: LonesomeRdStudio@aol.com

I’m also a member of the Ottawa Art League, show/sell at our gallery at Jeremiah Joe Coffee at 807 LaSalle St. in Ottawa, IL.I admin our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/OttawaArtLeague

Lonesome Road Studio was recently accepted at IllustrationAge.com and will begin selling applied art wearable and prints there as well!

****************

2Sis: WOW! How’s that for an interview! I love that you have created your own stamps and try to use American made components as much as possible. You cracked us up with the “The Village People go to Wisconsin Dells tourist gift shops!” comment and we can attest that you are indeed a gifted artist. Thank you Angie for giving us a behind the scenes peek into your creative life!

Angie is generously offering a giveaway of these gorgeous silver earrings to one lucky winner.

Lonesome Road Studio

Frosty silver snowflake earrings, artisan pure silver

To enter follow and or like the links listed above. For each like or follow you will be entered into the giveaway.
Following the 2SistersAnytownUSA blog is required.

Be sure to post in the comments below all of your entries so we know how many times to enter your name into the giveaway.

Deadline is Sunday November 25. The winner to Angie’s giveaway will be announced here Monday November 26.
Good luck!

!Designer’s Connect! Gretchen Hind Designs

In today’s Connect with the Designer, we are delighted to introduce you to Gretchen of Gretchen Hind Designs. Join us in Gretchen’s interview below to find out more about her stunning jewelry!

2Sis: Tell us about your art; what is your talent?

I am the designer and owner of Gretchen Hind Designs. I create affordable, unique jewelry with a vintage, modern vibe – for women of all ages. I use a variety of metals, gemstones, vintage beads, and rocks in my designs.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: What is a day in the studio like for you?

Well, my “studio” is my whole house. Ha! I have a five-year-old preschooler and so my working time is mainly while he is at school, in bed, or otherwise entertained. I tend to stay up *way* too late many nights. Next year when he goes to kindergarten, I hope to have a more regular work schedule. A typical day involves checking email, attending to my Etsy shop and all my social networking sites, photographing product, etc., and then I start making jewelry and sending out orders.

2Sis: Did you always know you were an artist? Were there flashes of brilliance for you as a child? Teenager?

I’ve never really considered myself an artist. I guess I’ve always been rather strangely creative and analytically balanced. As a young kid I drew an entire blueprint house plan for my dream house (I think my parents still have it.) I’ve always been interested in design of many genres and I’ve dabbled in a number of form such as writing, photography (doesn’t every girl go through this stage?), fashion, interior design, and making lampshades – prior to starting my jewelry business.

2Sis: What inspires you, what do you believe in that you convey in your art?

Nature, history and color inspire me. I love creating signature pieces from scratch, using only simple tools and ideas. There is so much jewelry out there, that I hope to always stay unique. I started making jewelry by wire wrapping beach rocks that my little boy and I would find at a Lake Michigan beach near our home and it just took off from there.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: Is there a particular cultures jewelry that you especially appreciate?

I’m a huge mid-century modern fan of all art forms – from jewelry, to clothing, furniture, music, literature, and architecture. I believe that my jewelry reflects those passions.

2Sis: How do you get past “artists block”? Do you have a method for “getting going”?

A glass of wine always helps. J Sometimes I take a step back from orders and things I *have* to do and just spread out a note pad, some gems and wire options, and start making a new piece. This typically leads to additional ideas as well.

2Sis: What fall fashion trends do you like this season?

I’ve been seeing lots of gorgeous scarves and cool boots.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be? Paris.

2Sis: Where can we find you? Please list your links.

www.GretchenHindDesigns.etsy.com

www.Facebook.com/GretchenHindDesigns

www.Twitter.com/GH_designs

www.Pinterest.com/GretchenHind

www.Wanelo.com/GretchenHind

Gretchen is giving you all a chance to own a piece of her gorgeous jewelry by offering a one time use, 15% discount off your total purchase, for a limited time in her Etsy shop. Use Coupon Code 2SISTERSANYTOWNUSA15 at the check out!

Thank you Gretchen for giving us a behind the scenes peek into your creative life! Be sure to check out Gretchen’s Etsy shop for your holiday gift giving.

Working the Green Room with Chess Squares

Sockers FC U12B MDL Champions

Sockers FC U12B MDL Champions

By: Jen

Once again my youth sports experience has tickled my right brain thinking!

Some years ago, I met a local mom who cheerfully presented the very best scones to sleep deprived parents along the bleachers during warm-ups for our first season of tournament team baseball. These delectable treats were a lovely offering. I made a mental note as I watched the summer unfold with our sons team. This gesture brought everyone together.

The days that lead up to a sports tournament supply you with the long laundry list (literally) of items and tasks that need to be completed before our teams hit the field, pitch, court, whatever the venue. It takes a lot of effort to get to your destination and sometimes you forget to eat.

I brought Chess Squares to the “green room” during our latest Nike Classic Cup 2012 soccer tournament. It’s really the awards area for the winning teams. Your volunteer task is to shuttle dozens of teams through the awards process. The volunteering adults, our tournament director, photographer and the very enthusiastic Jeff from Ford Motor Company loved this recipe. It brought this unlikely group of personalities together and the men want the recipe! Who would think that five ingredients could bring such happiness? Our director says that every bakery in St. Louis has this bar cookie. So here it is! Simple and successful.

Chess Squares

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 300°.
Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan with butter or non-stick canola oil spray.
In a large bowl, blend the cake mix with the melted butter and one egg.
Press this dough into the bottom of the pan.

In another bowl, blend the eggs and cream cheese and carefully add the powdered sugar. When it reaches a smooth consistency, pour over the top of the crust. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top layer is golden brown.

Bake these squares in a 9” x 13” disposable aluminum pan if you will be traveling with these. It works like a charm!

Lastly, a shout out to Jeff from Ford Motor Company who emceed our event. You really had the crowd going! I wish you safe travels and a little R & R to indulge in your culinary creations. It was great meeting everyone!

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