Friday, December 24, 2010

Decorate Yourself for Winter

Coldgull Pin from AnnaRubyKing

One of the wonderful things about winter weather,
and the parade of jackets and coats,
is I rediscover broaches and pins.
For me a coat without a pin is like Christmas without cookies…
it’s not necessary but it sure does make it better :=)

Here is a collection of some of my favorites:

(top to bottom, left to right)
Rustic Hammered Copper Tree
Silver Sleigh from the Chicago
Museum of Contemporary Art (thanks to my parents!)
Grandma P's Christmas Tree,
Little Bird from AnnaRubyKing ,Recycled Optical Lens Jewelry
Grandma T’s Broach, Heart felt Wish List, Grandma T’s Broach

I love my mementos from my grandmothers…not only are they beautiful but I love glancing down feeling close to them throughout the day.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend…
may you all have lots of cookies!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Decorations

(the gazebo was a gift from my wondeful parents and
the winter tree was something I picked up
at the Popcorn Art Festival in Valpoaiso Indiana a year ago.
I wish I had the artist's information so I could share it with you!)

I am absolutely the type of person who loves the idea of having seasonal accessories.
Pillows, bed & bath linens, accent pieces around the name it …love it.
What I ultimately discovered is I am also the type of person that
is awful about putting them away at the end of the holiday season.
I was the person you would visit in February
and still see garlands and lights above my windows
(hopefully waiting till you got home to roll your eyes!).
Alas, I’ve learned that if I’m going to put out a decorations
they have to be minimal,
be pertinent for more than a few weeks
and be easy to put away.

Above is an example of one of my few winter decorations.
I’ve discovered it brings me the same joy
as a home full of ornaments, pine and bows.

Looking at this picture I have to ask the question...
do you know when the last time I had my coffee table cleared off as it is now?
....neither do I.

Monday, December 13, 2010

To be Added this Week

Here are a few items I will be listing in my etsy store this week.
As I list them I will include a link to the listing.

Clockwise from top left:
Green Florentine Garden Journal, Budapest Floral Garden Journal,
Lavender Fleur de Lea Garden Journal, Coral Stripe Journal


You know,

I just don’t think she is taking her job responsibilities seriously….

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December in Chicago

Marianne's garden lovely..

Art & Craft Shows are complete for the season.
I’ve made about as many journals and bracelets
that I will before Christmas for my online store
(I will be listing the newest items throughout the week).
And I will be spending a Sunday doing
what “normal people” do on a weekend,
cleaning, reading, drinking tea (lots of tea!)
and watching a beautiful snow fall.

Here a few pics from my garden
and my neighbor Marianne’s beautiful garden.

Happy December in Chicago everyone!

images of my backyard...not necessarily wonderful photos...but the snowfall itself is wonderful

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ah beads…

Finding the right bead for a journal can take weeks, sometimes months. When I have a successful combination all of the beads for that particular cover get set aside for that one journal.

In April/May one of my suppliers shared the news that the bead for the Silver Lotus on Celadon was discontinued. I quickly bought every bead left and began carrying a paper sample with me everywhere. I scoured my regular suppliers for an alternative, I searched the web for more options. Nothing was right.

Within a few days of my selling my last journal one of my customers, Amy, messaged me asking if I had any more. I explained my dilemma. Within 24 hours Amy suggested a bead I used on my geometric journal. Good eye Amy, I love the combination. Who would have thought the answer was right under my nose all along!

You will be finding this journal in my store within the next few days but I want Amy to get hers (along with a few gifts with purchase) first.

I think I’m even sleeping better now that concern is off my to do list. Ho, ho, ho!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stop by and say hello!

I love my etsy store so much that I rarely do art and craft shows. This year I’ve been asked to take part in two Holiday exhibits. One at the Oak Park Conservatory, where I do the majority of my Master Gardener volunteering, and the other at my favorite grocery store, Whole Foods. Mmm, surrounded by plants one week and fantastic food the next…now that’s the life!

To browse through my journals, jewelry and art prints in person at:

Sunday, December 6th 10am-4pm
Oak Park Conservatory
615 Garfield Street
Oak Park IL 60304

Saturday, December 11th 1pm-4pm
Whole Foods - South Loop
1101 S. Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60607

One of the nice things that occurs when I am able to exhibit in person is I can offer a few items that don’t make a lot of sense to offer in my etsy store due to the cost of packaging and shipping. One of those items are what I call travelers. They are a little notebook, the size of a Blackberry, thin (20 pages, front and back) and perfect for notes to yourself or keeping your log ins and passwords safe and hidden away.

Also new, in honor of these shows I will be including note cards of select images from my Prairie Garden Studio. You can also find them in my studio for mail order.

Hope I see you at one of the holiday shows!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving on the Beach

Had a wonderfully relaxing Thanksgiving on
Hilton Head Island South Carolina.
After decades of spending Thanksgiving on snow watch and
mourning the end of summer, this was an amazing experience.

It was fantastic to take an early morning and sunset walk on the beach,
each and every day.
Here a few shots of sunset on Thanksgiving.

Couldn't resist including this photo of two walkers and their dogs.

No, they are not professional dog walkers...all 6 dogs are theirs.

What a handful! :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

feeling the chill

It’s beginning to become cool outside
and inside…
Apparently my laptop generates allot of heat as
someone has decided it’s good place to get warm!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Something new....copper lotus knitting journal

I wanted to share with you the latest knitting journal I’ve made.
I adore this cover paper and have been so looking forward to using it.
Elegant and feels like preparing for Halloween....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What I learned …

Just got back from a wonderful and relaxing week in
Door County Wisconsin.
I was thrilled to find a bead shop (IZDORA in Egg Harbor) that offered classes.

I learned bead weaving which it quite challenging and fun

….when you get the hang of it. Can’t wait to try the next one!

What did you learn on your summer, or fall!, vacation?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflowers
I finally had two seedlings take.
I've grown them by seed in the basement for several years
and watched friends and family plant them and love them.
In my garden they had never fully rooted.
It’s finally my turn!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tea and Donuts

Amazingly I’m not a big fan of donuts.
But when they are freshly made and the scent fills the
early morning crisp fall breeze
at a farmers market…who can resist?
30 seconds in the microwave and I have admit, they are amazing.

It seems everyone is looking for a treat this morning.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Something new…knitting journal w/ Coptic Stitch spine

I’m combining my Knitting Journal with the Coptic Stitch spine binding.
Take a look and keep an eye out for new covers to come.
Do let me know if you would like to special order a specific cover.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What I learned....

Preserving the Bounty - Ginger Pear Preserves
For years I’ve wanted to learn to can. I finally took a class given by the Wicker Park Garden Club, the lecturer was Dina Petrakis.

Had a great time and immediately tried it out at home. My first attempt was a Ginger Pear Preserve. First batch scorched…second batch turned out great. Fun times ahead!

Popped one in the mail to my aunt in California.
Here’s a little tag I made with my water colors.

Monday, September 20, 2010

button zinnia, coleus, sedum....

Here is a plant combination I can see from my home office window.
Button zinnia’s (thanks for the seeds Rebecca!),
coleus, sedum and
the dark leaved plant self seeded and the name is escaping me at the moment.
Now, if I could figure out how to get rid of the grass….

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Garfield Park Conservatory County Fair

The Master Gardeners had a booth at the Garfield Park’s County Fair held yesterday.
I volunteered at the booth and had a great time, rain or shine.
Here are a few pics of the animals on exhibit.
Too cute.

This little guy had spike in his coat (due to the rain)

that gave the impression he over did it a bit on hair gel!

Rather rough taking a good picture,
they were on the mooooooovvvvve!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Corn Succotash

Oh dear…has it really been almost two weeks since my last entry?
Busy, busy, busy…

Here is a corn succotash I made with tomatoes, cayenne and a bit of cream.
Topped it with sautéed fish fillet.
It was almost two weeks ago that I made this…may have been swai or catfish,

all I know is it was good :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Patty Pan, Goat Cheese on toast

Here is one of the first things I made with my farmers market bounty.
Sautéed Patty Pan Squash on toasted rounds of the multigrain baguette
with goat cheese and basil. I had this with left overs I had in the fridge
of a creamy tomato soup.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Farmers Market : this week's haul

As you all know I do love farmers markets and the Oak Park Market is a favorite. I always make Iron Creek Farm my first stop and I spiral out from there. The quality of their organic produce is outstanding. For those of you in the Chicago area you can find them at the markets in Green City/Lincoln Park, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Evanston and Northbrook in addition to Oak Park.

Above is photo of the wonderful items that came home with me this week. From left to right: Red Hen Bakery Multigrain Baguette, cantaloupe, blueberries, plums, patty pan, zucchini, summer squash, burpless cucumber, corn and eggplant.

This week I will try to take photos of my culinary adventures. No promises, just good intentions :-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Butterfly and Coneflower

I always knew coneflowers were a butterfly attractant, but this year is the first year I recall seeiing quite so many on this particular plant. I don’t know what’s different this year but I hope it occurs next year as well.

I think today was the last time I will dead head in hopes for additional blooms. The remaining dead blossoms will be allowed to go to seed and feed the finches in the fall.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What’s your neighborhood like?

art courtesy of Catherine Holman
A few years ago I moved into what would be considered a blue collar neighborhood and many people asked, why do want to live there? Brookfield is a quiet neighborhood, rarely in the news or discussed unless they are talking about the zoo. I discovered Brookfield about 10 years ago when I got lost on my way to a baby shower in a neighboring “posh” community. When I drove through Brookfield, lined with small Chicago bungalows (amazingly the very street I now live on), it just spoke to me. I arrived at the shower and mentioned to several people how much I liked Brookfield and that I finally found the community I wanted to move to. They patted me on the shoulder indulgently, as though I was a confused child, and said …”no dear, you want to live ****(here)”.

A year or so later when I was ready to buy I looked at Brookfield and also a white collared community much farther west because it was close to where I worked. As luck would have it I found a condo/ townhouse in the alternate town. I liked it there but no one really talked to one another. It seemed to be competitive, a bit judgmental and I felt a little out place because I wasn’t married with two children and a chocolate lab. When I was ready to buy a house a few years ago I ignored the puzzled expressions and was determined to buy in Brookfield.

art courtesy of SerpentMadalas

I must say I absolutely love it here (if we leave property tax hikes out of the equation). It’s a walking community, I live 3 blocks from the train station and I spend most of my free time in my garden. As a result I get to meet and greet many of my neighbors. One day my mother was visiting. I popped out to the garden for minute and spoke with a few passersby and she happened to be by an open window. When I came into the house my mom said she overheard my conversations and with her eyes glistening with tears, “It’s so wonderful. You live is a real neighborhood, a community, I’m so happy for you.” She was right.
art courtesy of Catherine Holman

This has never been more evident than in the last few weeks. We have experienced many rain storms, sandwiched between parch dry periods. A few weeks ago when driving home from work I found myself stranded in my car is a rather deep puddle….okay…it was a pond... created by the storms pooling water. My car stalled in the middle and I was helpless. Within a few minutes a man came out of his home in cut offs and immediately began pushing me out. He got me 15 feet or so out, then another person came out and took over and pushed me the rest of the way out. These guys made sure I was okay and when I thanked them profusely they just shrugged and pointed to several other cars they had already helped out in the same way saying it was no big deal and the right thing to do. I can tell you now, if I lived in my previous neighborhood people would have been standing in their living room, in their freshly pressed trousers, pointing at me saying….”bummer, she’s going to have to call AAA”. As I waited for my car to dry out my neighbors called me several times to see if I was okay (and later picked me up because my car never started and later drove me back and forth to check on my car), people from the houses I had been pushed in front of came out several times to see if I needed anything.

art courtesy of Caroline Rose Art

This weekend we had yet another storm, the river crested and homes were flooding. Everyone was doing what they could to help one another, mainly it was emotional support. Luckily my house did not see any water inside…I directly border a flood zone but am not in it thank goodness. When I woke this morning to see the sun shining, the water receding and my neighbors picking up their neighbors debris from the storm and gently laying on their stoops and sidewalks I must admit, my eyes glistened I a said to myself “Liane, you are so lucky. You live in a real neighborhood, a community".

art courtesy of ThalitaDol

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ah, the zinnia’s are in bloom.
Here is an Apricot Blush zinnia.
Soft and reminds me a bit of tea stained paper.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don’t you just love this insect?
The exterior reminds me of a mosaic.

Last year I saw one on a zinnia leaf. If you know what this insect is, please share!
I'm certainly hoping the exterior is not deceiving and it's a harmful visitor.
Update: Mr. Brown Thumb identified my....moth as it turns out! Here is a link to wikipedia that has images with it's wings spread. Oh, to see it fly...