the ukrainian national museum on w. superior

#Chicago is a diverse quilt of a city. Interesting neighborhoods in all corners and in between. A Near West Side neighborhood gem is the Ukrainian Village, and a gem in this gem is the Ukrainian National Museum on W. Superior. Founded in 1952, this museum boasts a cool collection of fine and folk arts. This painting by Yuri Olishkevych draws the viewer in.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Yuri Olishkevych painting

On the second floor is a huge collection of pysanka (Ukrainian easter eggs). These tiny decorative eggs take, on average, four hours each to paint.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Pysanka Ukrainian Easter eggs

There is a room devoted to portraits of Cossack military leaders. This is Yurii Khmelytnsky, who spent a portion of his life as a monk.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Yurii Khmelytnsky painting

There are also instruments to admire.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Instrument

And then the traditional Ukrainian embroidered items–shirts, dresses, coats, collars, you name it–are boldly colored and patterned. Much to learn and appreciate here, and admission is just $5.

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Traditional Ukrainian embroidery

Chicago Illinois Ukrainian National Museum Traditional Ukrainian embroidery

happy bees, happy life

Local bees are taking full advantage of spring flowers in Oak Park, and who could blame them? These nearby cherry blossoms are potent draws for bumblebees.

Oak Park Illinois Cherry blossom

These flowering honeysuckle shrubs also attract bees and cast the best smell. The air is perfumed with their scent. Dreamy.

Oak Park Illinois Honeysuckle

You might be wondering, what makes bees happy? An article by Melissa Caughey offers insight on what makes bees cranky. We can infer the following on what contributes to bee happiness:

  • Good weather
  • Abundant food sources
  • Freedom from predators
  • A nice queen

To read up on bee behavior, click here.

all the pretty houses

The weather has been pretty hit or miss the past couple weeks, but when it hits (i.e., is warm and sunny), I love to explore. Oak Park has pretty houses in abundance. And three distinct historic districts to boot.

Here are some cool finds:

This Victorian in the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District has enviable porch space. Perfect for hanging Kimberly Queen ferns, IMO.

Odd and interesting: This driveway arch with the little sunroom above.

And then this home, well, all of it is spectacular.

bright colors are my jam

Bright colors are my jam, if I’m being honest. In a world of grey, beige, and greige, why seek any of those when you can surround yourself with vivid hues? I stopped at Cupcakes for Courage on Lake Street yesterday to pick up some baked items for a friend and was taken with the bakery’s bright green walls.

Oak Park Illinois Cupcakes for Courage

Oak Park Illinois Cupcakes for Courage

The baked goods are also decent and worth checking out. Cupcakes for Courage donates a portion of the proceeds to fund medical research for non-Hodgkins T-cell Lymphoma. To learn about this bakery’s mission, visit here.

the renumbering of chicago streets in 1909

Chicago street numbers are wonderfully orderly, and we can thank the Chicago City Council for passing an ordinance in 1908 that established numbering rules and systems where chaos once reigned. If you’ve visited Chicago or call it home, all you need are coordinates (the north/south/east/west blocks) to find a specific address. The new numbering system took effect on September 1, 1909, and if you’re really lucky, you can find buildings with both numbers.

Buildings with both numbers are pretty uncommon. In the 25 years I called Chicago home, I only found three buildings with both street numbers intact. The older street number is usually reflected in a stained glass transom window above the door, as in the three-flat at 1107 S. Racine.

Old street n

Earlier this week in Lincoln Park I found this on the 2000 block of N. Dayton. Squeal. What a cool surprise.

Want to nerd out and learn more about the renumbering plan and implementation? You can read up on both here.

a chicago hot dog

Saw this print yesterday at All She Wrote in Lincoln Park and had to have it. Since relocating back to #Illinois, I’ve noticed all the hot dog stands. They’re everywhere, it seems.

Chicago Illinois food hot dog

And a Chicago-style hot dog is distinct from other dogs. The ingredients? An all-beef frankfurter tucked into a steamed poppy seed bun. Add yellow mustard, white onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, and sport peppers–topped with celery salt. Ketchup is a major no-no, as in no ketchup. No ketchup ever. To read up on this distinct dog, head on over to this Chowhound article here.

the national museum of mexican art in pilsen

In the heart of #Pilsen–on 19th Street between Wood and Wolcott–rests the National Museum of Mexican Art. If you’re a curious sort (I am) and love museums (I do), I would put this one on your map. It has permanent collections featuring ephemera, folk art, paintings, sculptures, prints, and textiles. Some items have significant age, dating back to periods from ancient Mexico. Others are more contemporary, and these captured my full attention this afternoon.

Santos Motoapohua de la Torre de Santiago created a large (10 feet wide by 8 feet tall) mural consisting of arranged chaquira beads in wax on plywood. Intricate design and bright colors. Love.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Santos Motoapohua de la Torre de Santiago

Rocío Caballero’s works are more figurative and symbolic. There is Leccion 19: La case de entomologia.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Rocío Caballero Leccion 19: La case de entomologia

And also ¡ Yuppy Yuppy !

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Rocío Caballero Yuppy Yuppy

Painter Alfredo Arreguin accomplishes amazing layers and details with his oil paintings. There’s this 2009 canvas titled Adelita.

Chicago Illinois National Museum of Mexican Art Alfredo Arreguin Adelita