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Ticket to Ride

New year...new pastime

Published: Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 11:20 a.m. CST

With the New Year comes another opportunity to make positive changes in your life. A few years ago I resolved to lead a healthy lifestyle by making small changes throughout the year, like cutting back to one soda a day and drinking more water, and have had much success with this approach.

Lately my focus has been on making the time to relax, including trying new things. If carving more “me time” into the day sounds like a good resolution for you, try a monthly or weekly stop off on your commute. There are plenty of options to try a new hobby or activity along the train line.

First stop – Powell’s Way of Kenpo in Brookfield (north of tracks, 3741 Grand Blvd., www.wayofkenpo.com). Although predominantly practiced by men, more women have been training in the martial arts at Powell’s Way of Kenpo. Classes focus on traditional techniques as well as martial arts scenarios and ways to build strength and endurance. Since classes are designed for all skill levels, new students are paired with veteran students to see the correct way to do moves. For a more practical application, Powell’s Way of Kenpo also offers self-defense classes for women. In addition to learning physical moves, students focus on awareness to recognize potential threats so as to avoid having a physical confrontation. People can observe any classes for free and try three classes for free before signing up.

Second stop – Ceramic Art Café in La Grange
(south of tracks, 26 S. La Grange Road, www.ceramicartcafe.com). As someone who likes to multi-task, spending an hour creating a masterpiece that can later be given as a homemade gift seems like a good use of time to me. Ceramic Art Café offers an extensive collection of ceramic pieces, like mugs and plates, and the supplies, including stamps, stencils and sponges, to design and paint your work of art. Once you are done, you leave the finished piece there for staff to glaze and fire in the store’s kiln. Come back in a week to pick it up. Bonus: the pieces are dishwasher, oven and microwave safe. If another resolution is to spend more time with friends, the café also takes reservations for ladies’ night and other occasions.

Last stop – The Quilt Basket in Downers Grove (south of tracks, 1012 Curtiss St., www.thequiltbasket.com). If you know the basics of sewing and want to try something new, quilting might be the hobby for you. The Quilt Basket in Downers Grove offers a beginning quilter’s class several times a year. During the six-week course, students learn the fundamentals of quilting, such as cutting strips and making blocks, while making their own quilt to take home.

Once you’ve mastered the basics of quilting, the store offers classes focusing on other techniques, like jelly roll quilts made with 2 ½ inch strips. Quilters also can stop by to work on their projects, pick up fabrics or enjoy the company of fellow quilters.

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