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...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Poster Art: Dance as if no one is watching

I’m a collector of quotes…from books, movies and life.
I’ve just begun offering some of my photography
in a poster format and a phrase.
The phrases may be inspirational …
or not.
Printed 11x14, perfect to pop into a ready made frame.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Harvest: The zucchini are coming!

So far so good on the zucchini plants.

I had been hearing horror stories of how much room they take up and how prolific they are. I definately believe in the latter as it seems they grow inches per day. But the plant itself is about the size of a tomato plant…smaller in fact. I’ll have to take some pics of a zucchini actually growing on the plant, truly amazing (to me anyway). Harvested several specimens last night. Yum!
And yes, those are weeds in the background. I think I may have to take a break from
Master Gardener volunteering this weekend and focus on my garden...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Journal: Black & Cream Floral

Another new book I’ve been looking forward to finally finishing.
crisp and floral
…on a handmade paper that
has texture and a natural feel to it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Journal: Antique Sari Design

I have several new journals debuting in the next week or so.
This is one of the first.
I fell in love with the floral pattern in its mellow yellow.
The pattern itself is based on an antique sari…
in this color scheme it’s fresh and serene.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Matilda - the dog I've always wanted

I grew up with dogs and have always wanted one. Sadly I am not home enough to be fair to their needs. As a result, cats have been my adult life pets. I feel a home is not a home without a pet. Chloe, my tortie, died of kidney failure in February and it was a very sad time. She was such a sweet, mild mannered cat.

In May I decided it may be time to bring a pet home again. I discovered Matilda at a Chicago shelter, a 6 year dilute calico…huge and purrs like a motor. When I visited the shelter and I had quickly narrowed my view to 3 or 4 cats, she was at the top of my list. Matilda didn’t beg for my attention but seemed pleasantly surprised each time I circled back to her cage. I had arrived after adoption hours so I knew I would need to sleep on it. I came back again determined to come home with Matitlda and another cat named Napoleon. I would like two; it was regret that I was never able to find the appropriate company for Chloe. When I arrived at the shelter they were both (along with several others) in quarantine due to bad colds, needless to say I was distressed. When I came back the 3rd time Matilda was waiting but sadly Napoleon had not recovered. There are many pros and cons to shelter animals. It’s heart wrenching to choose one but I highly encourage you to consider it. There are so many wonderful animals looking for love, the safety of a good home and a patient, reliable caregiver. Puppies and kittens are of course adorable but I’ve found the more mature animals to be more desirable as they have moved through the period where you have watch their every move to keep them and your home safe. It’s not easy to care for them well and I don’t think everyone is prepared for what it takes. Mature pets, in my opinion, deserve a break. Life has not always been fair to them. Some of Matilda’s most wonderful traits are due to her being a mature cat vs. a kitten. To be honest, I try not to put too many “personal” feelings on my blog however I must tell you, Matilda has turned out to be one of the most amazing cats I have ever encountered. Just as with people, animals do have distinct and individual personalities.
When I brought Matilda home it was like she has always lived here. She honestly seemed to realize the odds of finding a home, after being in a shelter for over a month, were monumental. I am not exaggerating to say she overflowed me with adoration and appreciation for “saving” her, truly she did. Certainly not the stereotypical cat…not that any cat I have had were stereotypical (goes to show you it’s not good to stereotype). Matilda does what she is asked, is laid back , nothing seems to phase her, adores to be petted and is always polite in her request for attention, is equally kind to guests, meows in a pleasant little squeak sort of a sound, patiently waits by her dish when hungry…in short, she is the dog I have always wanted. I don’t believe it is possible to have chosen a more perfect pet for myself. She even appreciates plants and flowers…albeit I prefer to look at them and she seems to like to eat them….ah well, all of us have our issues.

Friday, July 9, 2010

bottles and bud vases

No matter how established my garden becomes or how abundant the blooms I can’t bring myself to cut an actual bouquet. I would much rather see the blooms flourishing in the garden and watch the butterflies and bees feast on their nectar.

As a result I have an affinity (okay, obsession) with collecting vases that are perfect for just a few flowers. Some of my favorites are simple glass bottles such as these lemonata bottles. These are especially fun if you would like a bud vase at each place setting as I did on 4th of July. Each diner gets an up close view of each and every flower.
Goosestrife (invasive!), Helenium (hidden in back) and Ageratum

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Shop Bug Interview

all of my "work stations" in my home
Well, I’ve just been featured on a wonderful blog called The Shop Bug. Rachel asks wonderful questions that can give anyone interested starting their own home business some insight to what it’s like. Check it out and be sure to read some of her other interviews. I’m honored to be among them.

Thanks Rachel!

For those of you planning a wedding be sure to check out Rachel’s Weddings – Joys and Jitters blog for some great ideas and information.