Corners in my home......

I have a handful of corners in my house that I especially love, don't you?  Either I enjoy settling in the little space because it's comfy, or from a design or artistic point it just makes sense. 
Here's one of these spaces.  This is my view of my fireplace mantle when I am sitting on my couch in the living room.  Why you ask?  Well, above the 1950'ish brick that is randomly laid out in a horizontal pattern is one of my favorite paintings.  It's mine, and I featured it in one of my earlier blogs....scroll down, you'll see.  It's trees and it's a visually vertical piece of bare tree trunks..... Sidenote: bare tree trunks often find their way into my art work.  The vase just to the left of the painting is made by an artist (I can't make out the name on the bottom).  I bought it at a local art sale.  It goes well in this "grouping" because the lights (beiges) are similar in the vase and in the painting.  Do you see it?  There's continuity.  Everything doesn't have to match exactly to work, it just needs to blend.  The cup you see on the end is handmade and something I bought at a resale shop for pennies.  It's not signed but the colors are beautiful and go so well with my scheme. 
The teal and brown in the cup is duplicated in my painting and the vase mirrors the horizontal bricking of the fireplace.  Everything has texture, but it's subtle.  The cup looks as if it could be made from wood at first glance. 
So we have a combination of three different artists and one architect - the architect was from a different time than my painted pieces and I haven't a clue as to when the others were made, but we all made it work......................wonderfully!

Here's another space I love to sit and also to look at because it incorporates so many elements and two of my favorite people. 
This is also in my living room on the other side of the fireplace.  This is a mix of old/new/friends/family.  The chair is an estate sale find.  It's a beautful blue/green velvet chair that I got for $30.  The pillow I got from TJ Maxx for pennies.  The table is black and a very inexpensive Ikea model.  The book is from an antique/resale store.  The candle holder is from a resale shop as well and the black candle holder is from Tuesday Morning.  The lamp?  The lamp was a steal that I found at a sale and it had an original price tag of $800.  It's a beautiful pottery piece with crackles - absolutely stunning.....oh, I paid $22 for it. 
Now, if you look above, I carried the black in another 3 pieces from Target.  It was a 3 piece wall mount on sale for like $6.88 or something close to that.  The 3 green pieces are all from garage sales.  The top one is from Germany and I paid the most for's quite lovely!  The mustardy yellow piece of art was given to me from my dear friend, Tino who moved back to Germany but asked that I take care of this piece.  It has so many earth elements...a frog, a turtle and an owl.  It's brighter than the other pieces and asks for attention!   I had to place it close to the vase from Germany for sentimental reasons.  That's how you should decorate - with emotion. 
The fleur-de-lis box is really a box of matches. 
Anything French has always piqued my interest.  The fleur-de-lis is a symbol I've had present in my home for about 18 years. 
My daughter, Allie is now attending Tulane....funny, huh?  She's seen the symbol in our home from childhood and sent along this little box to remind me.  :)  Thank you, Allie!
What's left? 
I love fresh flowers in the house.  These are especially wonderful because we are right on top of November when it's usually very cold in Chicago. The other night it hit 32 degrees and I actually scraped a little "ice" off the windshield in the morning yet........... these guys are still blooming. I put them in my kitchen and the wall in the background is all black and white photography - some are mine and some are old family photos.  The flowers brighten up the b/w wall -  I swear zinnias are the heartiest of flowers.  I planted these from seed.   My mother always had zinnias growing when I was little.   She said they "could take the heat." I grew up in Texas.   Evidently,  they can take the cold too!  I cut these and literally threw them into a vase without trimming anything.  Some of the flowers are scraggly, the leaves have yellowed or even browned.  They are still so beautiful.
They won't last long, but they sure are in full color right now! Their ability to withstand so much reminds me of my mom.   If you knew'd know why.


Recycling.....we do it more than we think!

I was pondering the whole recycling thing I do.  Of course, I toss in the green bucket just like everyone else, but I started thinking out-of-the-box a bit......where else do we recycle (on an unconscious level?)...well for one, think about remodeling.  Instead of "dumping" your house, what do you do?  You fix it!  Re-paint, re-carpet, re-plumb, you can. 
I've been through a couple of remodels......goodness!  That will try your patience on a whole other level. 
Where else?  Zoey gets 3 or 4 new toys a day....they are called water bottles!  Here's a look inside her basket of toys.  Note:  the basket was purchased at a garage sale for 50 cents.  Good thing I didn't buy it new because she promptly chewed the sides of it!
Yes, that's right.....water bottles and a fabric softener bottle (almost chewed to death).  Of course, I washed it out thoroughly.  She seems to love that big bottle and it's soothing her need to chew. 
Do you know what this is? 
It's the local McDonalds in Lake Forest, Illinois.  Hard to believe, huh? 
I love that the city preserved this building and that McDonald's moved in.  When my children were little we called this the fancy or rich McDonalds.  They have a fireplace inside and play classical music!  Such a proper way to eat McNuggets. :)
Here's one.....Zoey on my estate sale find!  I love, love, love this chair.  It's velvet and such a pretty color! 

Technically, Zoey is recycled too!

These are going to Half Price Books - I love recycling there!  It's nice to find a new book or two or grab the cash and go!

Here's some random photography- it's garbage, but could well be art in some circles!
Don't forget to recycle!!!! 


Zoey....aka "Trifecta" - It's a Rescue story, but she Renewed me!

This dog's name was Trifecta.  It was a temporary name given to her by "Orphans of the Storm" in Riverwoods, Il.  She was found on the streets of a local town nearby and rescued.  She's a pit bull. 
My daughter wanted a "puppy" - someone to hold, love and train.  She was showing me every puppy she could through local stores.  I told her we could get one, but it had to be an adoption.  That's when she changed her game and started visiting dogs down the street at Orphans.  I guess she was pretty determined
I think she visited there for two weeks before I even agreed to go kind of know this after being a mom for awhile..let the impulse pass.......but it didn't.    So after a bit of begging, I showed up....determined to nix whatever I could.
We passed dog after dog.  Some of the dogs were just too hyper, or barked too much.  Some seemed so timid and beat was hard to look at them. 
Then we came upon "Trifecta".  Sophie (my daughter) had her hands inside the cage and the white puppy with brown markings and delicate light brown eyes with white lashes held her hand with her paws.  She was gentle and sweet.  She was also a little beat up....a cut here and there on her face.  In her attempt to connect with other pups, she had jumped up and over the crate fence and was met with resistance. 
I looked at the dog.  She was bigger than I wanted, but she was soft.  Her coloring was white with caramel and her temperament was gentle.  I stuck my hand in the pit bull's cage and she licked me.  It took a couple of visits (one with my almost 10 year old dog) to convince me to take her home. 

"Trifecta" is now known as Zoey.  She's a bit of an amazing dog.  I've never adopted a dog.....just gone to the local pet store or a breeder.  I do have to say there's a difference when I look into Zoey's eyes.  I know that I changed the course of her life.  I sense her appreciation and love.  I didn't know a lot about pit bulls when I adopted her and have since educated myself in a huge way.  In my own neighborhood within a few blocks there are over a dozen pit bull owners.   We kind of "find" eachother.
There is a wide variety of opinions about the breed.  I've known only one other pit bull personally and she was one of the most gentle sweet souls.  I would visit my brother and this dog slept in bed with me.  I remember thinking....."I'm sleeping with a pit bull!" 
My younger daughter had a very unique connection with her.  Lady's coloring was almost exactly the same as Trifecta's so when I saw my daughter connecting again with a pit bull very similar in color and demeanor I knew it was right.   It's a bit of a challenge owning this breed;  they are super strong, yet super gentle. She knows when to play and be rough and when to be gentle and attentive.  There are so many wonderful stories about pit are a few....
Did you know Helen Keller's constant companion was a pit bull? 
It's easy to condemn an entire race because of one .....or a few.  It's easy to condemn an entire breed for the same reasons, but when you think about makes no sense.  You can't condemn the human race because of a few...we are not all bad because of a few.  You can't condemn the animal kingdom or a breed because of a few. 
Watch these dogs...educate yourself because they instinctively know how to protect anyone who is being harmed - they are the champions of the "under-dog".  I would definitely want a pittie getting my back!



All of this time, I thought Betty Crocker was real. Didn’t you? She’s not – she’s a figment of our imagination! If you “google” her image you will get kind of a reverse (in the 50’s/right - she looks so much older than in the 80’s -left yet I don’t think she’s actually aged!). It also looks like the 80's BC decided to make her "brown eyes blue" (if you know what I mean ;).

She’s a conglomerate – a result of a corporate merger. In 1930, General Mills – which is really a consolidation of 24+ companies started publishing promotional pamphlets by Betty Crocker. “Betty” was chosen because it was a popular name at the time. She was probably one of the first “super models” of her day if you think about it. Her image wasn’t real, she looked “hot” (lots of stove time) and had a line of products to boot!!

The best part is that she was created by a woman (no offense if you are a guy…). Marjorie Husted was a home economist (housewife) and businesswoman (whodathunk?). Go Marjorie with your 1950’s self!

The whole Betty Crocker thing is prompted because I was on another little trip to Goodwill and I ran across this handy little cookbook for 89 cents. I thumbed through it and got really inspired in a “vintage-y” kind of way.

It’s a theme that started earlier in the week when my 15 year old-aka-Monica L. needed to make a “baby” book and we had to go through her memory boxes. I found this! Circa 1959+ish. “When pulled, the Bee's wings twirl, his antenna bounce, and he makes a realistic "Buzz-Buzz" sound. In 1956 the Bee was given a crown and introduced as the #314 Queen Buzzy Bee. The #444 Queen Bee came along in 1959 in a new color. After Easter 1962, the Bee was changed and given new colors again, but the new colors would be used for a whopping 23 years!

Notice, the bee was male until 1956, then he/she was given a crown and called “Queen” Buzzy Bee. That’s an interesting piece of factual info in itself! I want details! ;)

So….Vintage…..what is our obsession? I personally love to go to antique stores and scour the shelves for tiny pieces of my past. One of my favorites are these old aluminum glasses. We used these in the South for tea. It was the perfect solution to a hot Summer day – sweet tea and ice.

If you want a set – Vanessa on etsy can help you out!

Today I worked with my “vintage” pink ornaments with “vintage” silk flowers. I love working with the flowers because they are hand cut. Some were marked from Germany with a tiny, old, yellowed sliver of paper. The colors are different from what you see today at your local silk flower shop…..I think the best way to describe it is less obvious in your face color….they are subtle, delicate and mellowed.

Here is one of the ornaments. I will be making a collection to sell at the Holiday Bazaar and on etsy. The hanger is handmade in 18 gauge metal with a crystal bead.

Now, let’s check out a BC recipe for dinner!

Halloween, Christmas, Zig-Zags and Monica Lewinsky

It's almost Halloween here in the U.S. Yet as I shopped for "things" to send my mother for her birthday, I saw lots and lots of Christmas stuff.
Do we experience each holiday, or just look to the next? Fall just "fell". I personally would like to take a breather and relax with each wonderful event.
I've always liked Halloween, but I am not a huge, huge fan. I think the most fun I had was when I was about 19 and decided to dress in black tights and a leotard and took 2 orange poster boards and recreated the Zig-Zag logo. It was another one of those "inside" jokes because it was so not me.

The other time I had loads of fun is when my youngest daughter was about 8 months. It was during the height of the whole Monica Lewinsky thing and I happened to have a green beret and one of those ridiculously oversized cigars. I know....I know....I tricked and treated in the city of Chicago with my 5 year old and "Monica". I got loads of laughs and "oh my god's that is so funny but could you do that???!!!"

I guess I've had more fun than I remembered. I went out to dinner the other night with a very good friend and her daughter and they were talking about the time I showed up at my daughter's school (on Halloween) with just one tooth blacked out - regular clothing and all...just one tooth gone. Yeah....that's my twisted sense of humor!
Back to holidays......I used to have a favorite store in Deerfield. It was called "Romancing the Home" and it was a wonderful cornucopia of pure delight for the eyes. I thought they went out of business, but just discovered they moved to the next town over!!!! Yay! So happy they are still around.
A couple of weeks ago I was at Goodwill with (the above mentioned daughter) and found this....

for two dollars! I think I have about 35 pink, light pink, hot pink, scarlet, red and fuschia globes....vintage....1970ish?

Then I found this at Romancing the Home...

I not only found one, but about 8 and each bag was $2 each....and filled with amazing vintage things! you get it, right? :) Stay tuned!


Fall is officially in full swing up here in the North. My fireplace is graced with fresh soot as tiny twigs scent the chilled air with their perfume. This is always a fresh time of year for me. Physcially, it's when I was born - I always equate it with "starts". Artistically, this is when I begin new projects and as I head into my studio (dressed in layers) I am excited to discover what's to be.

Layering is part of my painting process. Painting, then scraping, then painting, then drawing, then scraping......the process can at times seem never-ending. Scrubbing back a tiny bit of paint to reveal another tiny bit of paint, uncovering is a process of discovery for me. My work then becomes alive and starts to reveal a personality and in a short time it has memories all it's own. Some of what I do is expected - after doing it so many times, I know what will happen. Sometimes though, even I am surprised by what shows up.

Right now, I am designing a series of 11 wine labels. Each label is unique to my style, but I want to try new techniques and expand my horizon a bit. Layering - of course, will be part of this process.

I personally do pick wines not only according to region and blend, but I am drawn to a wine partly because of the label. Actually, I am completely drawn to a wine because of the label. Let's face it, almost every single bottle is exactly the same, right? I am excited to get to work on a new project, in new medium in a smaller scale.

These lovely beauties serve as a reminder. They hang on my dining room wall awaiting fresh flowers (which I need to pick from my garden before it's too late!). The hardware I found on etsy. They are beautifully hand crafted pieces that I purchased from Amber from Great Bottles of Fire She is quite talented.

Stay tuned for which little pieces of art get picked for their "green bottle" debut!