I ended my Spring/Early Summer calendar on a high note, visiting Chicago for BERNINA University followed by a visit with my friend Catherine Redford. I had the best time!
This was my first time to attend BERNINA U. Typically this event is for dealers-only but this year Ambassadors were invited, as BERNINA was celebrating its 125th year. I am a dedicated BERNINA girl, having sewn exclusively on BERNINA’s since the mid-70’s except one brief flirt with another brand. I really love my BERNINA’s so it was particularly special to be able to attend BU.
Jeanne Cook-Delpit is the Manager of National Events for BENINA and the touchstone for us Ambassadors. She works really hard to make it all happen and makes it look so effortless. I am passionate about my machine and it’s awesome to be able to be connected to the people who make/market/design the machines.
I’ve never been to an industry gathering like this before so this scene dazzled me. We learned about the new products and future plans.
Oh my there are some sexy new machines! That gold faceplate is dimensional and yes, I did stroke it a few times. This is an embroidery machine so luckily I won’t be tempted. There are some new models coming out in the lower priced 4 and 5 series that are very tempting. You’ll see them coming into the market soon.
There was a huge vendor market with new-to-me products. The booths were of course aimed at the dealers but it was fun to browse. I love this cork fabric purse model that was in the Brewer booth. I’d love to make it in Kraft-Tex (a paper product made by C&T that looks like leather and acquires patina like leather, washable). I must. make. this.
There were separate educational tracts for dealers and Ambassadors. We got to play with fun stitches and special feet as well as learn more about the machines and how they’re made. I was embarrassed and shocked by some of the basic functions on my machine that I was not familiar with. I piece a bit and free motion quilt a lot, none of which uses the myriad of cool features on my machine. I have resolved to sit down with my manual and go through it all. I am not using my machine to its capacity!
It was a 2-day affair and once classes wrapped up, Catherine and I could not bear to just leave everyone so we pulled an ad-hoc group together for a fabulous (and expensive!) dinner at the Hyatt where we stayed.
Catherine and I did have a bit of time to spend in downtown Chicago. I am always amazed at how much public art there is in Chicago; it’s everywhere–on the riverfront…
and on the Riverwalk Gateway where ceramics depict the history and influence of the river…
and horses which honor fallen Chicago Police Officers…
I had to include this photo-the hostas are gargantuan, coming up mid-thigh:
We had a lovely visit to the city followed by a few bucolic days at Catherine’s home in Naperville and surrounding areas. If you know me, you know I bristle when you call the midwest “fly-over country”. It’s beautiful in its own way and I love the midwest. I chose a few iconic photos that show my view of northern Illinois.
There are so many beautiful yards:
And Naperville has its own Riverwalk beauty:
Blast from the past-I remember when they looked like this!
She was a Hard Core Cub’s fan. I chuckled at how ubiquitous the Cubs image was:
and it must be a dilemma for some-which is more important, the Cubs flag or the US flag? Love this photo:
We enjoyed some spontaneous fun too. In researching things to do in the area, we decided to visit the Elmhurst Art Museum, the perfect thing to do on a scorching hot day. The museum exhibits modern visual arts including Mies Van der Rohe’s McCormick House. We found this intriguing installation outside the home:
Inside the gray box was a giant mirror placed at a 45 degree angle-it was striking!
The museum people mentioned that there was a famous Meis van der Rohe home in the nearby suburb of Plano, the Farnsworth House. What a discovery that was! You can read about him here. The home itself is in a very unassumingly area outside of the tiny town of Plano, surrounded by fields of soybeans and baled hay.
The docent led tours are limited to 10 or fewer and we were the last tour of a sizzling hot day so there were only 6 of us. The docent was exceptional and we learned so much about the home, its history and van der Rohe.
The home is situated on the Fox River (trivia-my home town sits at the convergence of the Fox and Illinois Rivers) in what seems to be a flood-plain. The home floods every few years and the foundation is looking into a hydraulic lift for the entire home! It really was a marvel, the detail, the thought that went into its design, the contentious history between van der Rohe and the home’s original owner.
We were not allowed to photograph inside the home so this was the best outside view into the home.
Every detail was thought out and the aesthetic appeal of all structural components were considered, even this steel beam. Actually I just wanted to show off my cute little sandals:-)
As if that weren’t enough, we had some free time on Monday and Catherine thought, let’s call Valli Schiller and see if she can come over and play (as though we were in 3d grade!). Valli was free and we had the best time playing with the rulers she has designed, “faux couching” which as far as I know she invented, and talking about our experiences as teachers. I admire Valli’s talent and it was delightful to spend time with her.
What a trip! I’m home for the summer until we take our family vacation later in the summer. With a 30 and 28 year old we feel blessed that we can still take a family vacation!
I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday!