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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It is all in the TIMING-

The Holidays bring bright lights, thoughts of fires in the fireplace, getting together with family and friends...and maybe the weather cooperates with fresh fallen snow. Just a few days ago I was able to have a morning walk and noticed how the natural world was filled with greys, browns, and white. A world of neutral. Snow had just fallen and the sky was overcast with no sun. It struck me that my view on the walk was quite wonderful and naturally beautiful. I found evergreens filled with snow, bushes that were dusted, and ice on the lake in town which all reads a WINTER WONDERLAND! But if these conditions were replicated in mid-February I might possibly be thinking-AHHH the DEAD of WINTER. So my take away from the walk was be in the moment. Life comes to us with much unexpected emotions. I want to experience ALL of the neutrals as well as the color...
                                         Evergreens are one of my favorite trees-especially in the winter!

I love the way the variations of brown poke through the snow.
Lake Ellyn is a landmark in our town.
 Eileen found this natural Christmas tree hidden off the beaten path.
A couple of years ago Eileen and I found a path off of the Prairie Path in between our homes. On our first winter walk we saw a mother and baby deer. We keep going back in the hopes we will see another such natural wonder.

 
The neutrals of winter are the best on the Christmas angles! (My niece Mahla.)
 
Enjoy the season...
Lucy

Friday, December 20, 2013

Art on a tree...

I love homemade Christmas ornaments.  The ones that are made by artists, kids, crafters...I love them all.   Thank you to all of those teachers out there who have cut out shapes, printed pictures and cleaned up after the ornament making project.  We parents are forever grateful.

In our family we make tree decorating a special evening.  We play Christmas music, drink hot cocoa and decorate the tree.  I give the kids an ornament each year that is representational of what they are into at that particular time in life.  We have Darth Vader, ACDC and soccer ornaments.  Some of them are pretty funny.

Here are a few of my favorite hand made ornaments on our tree.


This is not really an ornament but I put it on the tree 16 years ago and it is now a tradition. When you are in preschool and you get to wear the "Elevator Operator" badge you had the privilege of pressing the button to go down a level to music class.



Thank you to Mrs Anderson and Mrs Marsch for all of the wonderful keepsakes they made with Coley in 3 year old preschool.  I treasure this.




Aiden made this Rudolph in 1998.  You put a red light through it nose.  Darling.


This is Ted's hand print in 1995. Our dog Rosie bite it a few years ago.  I need to send it to a ceramic conservator:)




This is Aiden and the guitar he made from Tin.  We have many musical instruments on our tree. 



Marilyn (my sister in law) made this for all of us back in the 80's.  With both of my parents gone, I treasure this even more.  Miss them so much.


I wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday with your family.  Make some ornaments!


Eileen


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Last week Chicago had its first subzero cold spell this year. I have lived here most of my almost 50 years-YIKES, that is half of a century....and it still catches me off guard how DAMN cold the wind chill below zero is! Not my husband. Whether it was my mother-in-law Betty's drill while he was growing up or his military training (Army ROTC and then 5 years of service) or just his type A personality. My husband is ALWAYS prepared no mater the circumstances!
Being married to an artist type must drive him CRAZY...I am almost never prepared- I "wing" ALOT! Lucy time is 10-15 minutes fashionable late, that is a mortal sin to a military man. "the invitation says 1830 (yes he still uses international/military time) not 1845!" And I leave "projects" all over the house...little piles of books, knitting, art projects which I start BUT then I get distracted and I "will finish it later!"
So on Wednesday evening of this past week when we explored the Morton Arboretum's "Illuminations-light display" I should have listened to my "always prepared" man. Before we left for the mile and a half outdoor walking experience-Billy announced- I am going to put on my long underwear for this adventure. I choose to just wear my long winter coat.  "That will surely be enough," I thought...
He was toasty warm through the night. I was not. HUM-when will I learn?
When arriving you are greeted by the traditional light displays. I do love when each branch is wrapped with lights!
Upon first entering the exhibit the ground is illuminated. You then take a hike around the lake and into the woods with a magical display all around you...
Through out the walk there are interactive laser light shows which allow you to control the illumination on the trees; you can sing to the trees and they change colors, wave your arms over sensors and the display across the lake will change...and my personal favorite....
hugging a tree changes the colors!
There were chandeliers hanging in the woods....felt like Harry Potter.
A lone tree.
 
 a magical evening
to remind me of the season!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why do we lose touch?

Part of my postcard project was to reach out to people who I have not spoken to in a while.  I have never been good at picking up the phone and calling someone I have not spoken to in a long time and ask them to lunch.  Why not? I would love it if someone did it to me.  It happened.  I got a call from Ramona, whom I have not spoken to in 3 years, asking me to lunch after she received my post card.  I also got a couple of emails from others.  How great is that?  What can I learn from this? I should reach out to the people who have influenced my life for the better.  I feel warm and smile when I think about them.  THOSE are the people I should reach out to. I am not on Facebook and I am sure some of you do this on this site.  I am going to do it the more old fashioned way through my 50th year.  A postcard...a phone call...see what happens...

These are a few other postcards and who I sent them to...

I sent this to Tim who I have not seen or spoken to in 10 years.  It was inspired by the Milwaukee Art Museum.




This was inspired by the mold on the leaves as I was racking.  Sent to Ramona...



This my 7 month old  puppy Nellie ate and I did not send to anyone.  That dang dog...but she is sooo cute.  



See what I mean?



I am working on my "compendium" for my creativity class.  As soon as I figure out what a compendium is I will let you all know...

Eileen







Sunday, December 1, 2013

How is it that I am so LUCKY?!

Thanksgiving for us was spent with all 3 grown children at our son and daughter-in-law's home at Ft Campbell, Kentucky. Amanda created a wonderful meal and an artful display for our Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the weekend was spent relaxing and enjoying being together.
the Thanksgiving table
Prepping for the meal...
The appetizer and dessert table
The night before we traveled my friend Michelle and I created the holiday window display for our local yarn store. We have been working on the knitted parts all fall-creating cupcakes, donuts, chocolate covered strawberries, ribbon candy and lollipops-all out of yarn! It was somewhat arduous and we had to call in a few crocheters (thanks Laura and friends) to work on the gumdrops-BUT we got the job done. What I am continually amazed at is how I am able to talk my friends and sometimes my family into helping me with my wacky projects. The things I come up with are never simple or quick to complete...yet I can always find a friend or 2 to help me create what is in my head....
Bare window-our blank canvas.
Backroom getting ready for the placement of our yarn creations.
donuts
cupcakes
my personal favorite -knit chocolate covered strawberries!
All come together for a fun, festive holiday window display! THANKS friends....

What I really should be asking is; How is it that I am so BLESSED?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What makes you CRAZY?/ What brings you PEACE?

In our last post Eileen shared with you our latest Creativity class project-her presentation was fabulous! She had taken pictures of all of the postcards and created a Power Point presentation for the class. The presentation captured her theme of memories/impressions of a day. Such a great idea as we get older our memories do fade-well at least mine are...
My presentation was old school: A big piece of butcher block paper with my 12 days of doing the same thing-attached. For 12 days I asked my students and the adults I work with at my Elementary school to create a response to, "what makes you crazy?/what brings you peace?" I then posted the responses and let other staff members comment. I posted the display in a hallway which staff has access to but not kids. The secretaries at work sit at the end of this hallway and they told me many people stopped to view it! As I was taking it down to bring to class-2 colleagues were near by, "Hey, you aren't taking that down are you? We love it!"  Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the display which I titled, "The Curiosity Project-an Interactive Art Instillation"-but I have pictures of pieces of it....
A child qualifies their responses.
An Adult response.
Both kids and adults find READING soothing!
 Another adult response
Wacky Kid response!
 Profound adult response-
Profound kid response-
 
I hope you all find peace on Thanksgiving this year and forget about the CRAZY!
 
Lucy

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The post card project...

At my Creativity Studies at the School of the Art Institute we were to make a list of 25 things we were curious about.  Then we were asked to create a "game " based on one of these subjects..  It is easy to come up with ten curiosities but 25 was a stretch. It really made you think beyond what comes up on a surface level and what bothers you deep down.  For me, the one that stuck with me was "lost memories".

As I am getting older it really bothers me that I do not remember all the adorable things my children said and did.  As they are getting older I am mourning the loss of their youth.  It is bittersweet.  I am so happy for the experiences, opportunities and love that life has to offer them but I miss being the one who supplied that love and everyday experiences. I cherish my Sunday calls but I wish it was so much more.

I also lost both of my parents within the past 3 years.  I am trying to keep those memories alive but wish that it was easier.  I want to remember more of the everyday memories, the ones that helped form my development but they are fading.  The ones that come easily to mind are supported by a photograph or a story told over and over again. I wish that I could remember everyday of my precious life because I truly appreciate how precious it is.

For my "game" I chose to make a post card each day for 14 days based on the visual memory of the day. Sounds easy but with my limited artistic ability proved to quite a challenge.

Here are a few:

To remember a day shared with a friend who is trying to stay on the right path.





The warmth my heart feels when my kids come home



To remember a meal shared with a friend whose son will not be coming home again. 



In honor of Lucy who pushes me outside my comfort zone




All I could remember from this day was how tired I was and could not wait to sit down to rest.


 Next entry will be about who I sent these cards to and why.

Have a good week.

Eileen


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is ART an acquired taste?

I have vivid memories of being dragged to the Art Institute of Chicago once a year as a family outing and HATING every moment of it! NOW going to that same museum and wandering is a looked forward to and relished event in my life. Are museums and ART viewing like spinach (at this point in my life something which I love) something kids grow into?
I still can not convince my adult children to join me in going to an art museum...this past weekend our daughter Virginia and I visited our youngest son George at his college-Miami of Ohio. It was his fraternity's Mom's weekend. Quite a lovely affair with many activities planned....BUT Saturday afternoon after the required trip to Walmart and before our dinner engagement-I suggested we bop into the Art museum on campus. I couldn't even bribe them to join me. What I did talk them into was a walk around the sculpture park outside of the museum!
"Only if we can pose as models in the pictures." WHAT?! Really, you can't just smile?
 
A little bit of a smile on Virginia....
Always fabulous to be with our kids. Throw ART in and it is a perfect day!
Maybe I will be able to influence the grand child more than I was able to convince my own children? CAN'T wait to try....
Lucy