Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Little Sad....and A Walk Thru the Garden

I am just a wee bit sad today.  It was the last day of Picture Color at  I love color so this was a dream come true for me with a daily prompt from Tracey to take a picture (sometimes many) and post it in the gallery.   What fun to see everyone's take on the prompt and also to receive so many nice comments on my images.  It is a great place to find joy in photography, it is a happy, encouraging, loving place to spend a little part of each of my day.  A collection of some of my images from Picture Color.  But tomorrow begins Picture Summer, so the sadness is brief...back to daily prompts and daily inspiration!!

This afternoon I attached my 105mm Nikkor macro lens on to my wonderful Nikon D7000 camera and walked thru the garden.  The flowers are beginning to bloom a little later this year than usual, but then we have had a very unusual spring and summer, cool, rainy, and minimum sun.  Usually by this time my garden is in full bloom. The weather is warming up, tomorrow is supposed to be in the upper 90's, so I expect the blooms to follow.  I love this coneflower, the rows and rows of petals are just glorious!!

Look at those tiny yellow blooms on this ground cover crawling up the rock that is right next to the driveway.  Love!!

Love the subtlety of the of my fav ferns is this, I forgot the name of it, but trust me, it is beautiful.   Oops just remembered...Maiden Hair, looks wonderful growing in a pot, but you must remember to water it, it does NOT like to dry withers up and dum de dum dum...dies. 

The hydrangeas by the back door are in full bloom.  Dont'cha just love hydrangeas, these are the original "Endless Summer".  Lots of people complain that there's does not bloom, mine must really like where it is planted because I have a bush full of blooms each year.  These started out blue but because of our soil they now bloom pink.  If I added something (acid I think) it would turn them blue next year.  I can never seem to remember to do this. 

The Becky daisies are blooming, just came out today.  I love these daisies, they are so upright and stand almost 3 feet tall, bloom for a very long time and look gorgeous in a vase.  (as you will see in the future)

Now I know why there are so many spider webs on the flowers...this is the coolest spider, it is gold.  Hmm, gold I will have to think on this. 

Love, love, love the Monarda aka Bee Balm.  This is the first one to bloom.  With this dark background it looks so dramatic like it should be walking on the Red Carpet. 

Even the blooms of the hostas are so very lovely.  I added a Kim Klassen texture.  

And finally, this terrific plant....I bought it for the color of the leaves to add to a pot, but was delighted when the little red lanterns (I call them lanterns because they remind me of Japanese lanterns) appeared.  Another Kim Klassen texture added. 

A beautiful walk in the garden. 

"Stretch out your hand and receive the world's wide gift of joy, appreciation and beauty" 
   Corinne Roosevelt Robinson 

Until next time......(comments are always welcomed)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Confession and an Afternoon at the Riverwalk

After a morning with the cleaning lady (ahh the whole house is clean again) Gary & I headed to the above to renew my driver's license.  OK, here is the confession.  I did not even know my drivers license had expired until I took my Honda CRV in for repair for the boo boo bumper.  While there, they have a handy dandy desk for Enterprise Car Rental to obtain a rental car after dropping your car off for repair.  I think that is a right nice courtesy....until the Enterprise Lady courteously told me she couldn't rent me a car because my license had expired.  "What??" I thought the state was supposed to send you a friendly & courteous reminder when it is time to renew.  Our state has a policy that if you are a good/safe driver, which I probably won't be classified any longer, you can renew by mail.  But I think it had been either 7 or 8 years since I had a "new" driver's license.  Well, anyway, after waiting in 4 different lines, 1 for a number, 2 for the mandatory questions and eye exam, 3 to pay, and 4 to get your picture taken & finally getting your brand new license we were outta there.  To make the whole event less painful, I was pretty happy with my new picture on my DL.  Have you seen some pictures..???

It was an absolutely gorgeous day and not to be wasted, so we headed to the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville.  After grabbing a hotdog, chips and a drink we walked to the Dandelion Fountain.  Always some action there.

Look at this darling little boy.  He wandered up with his Grandfather shortly after we arrived at the Dandelion Fountain....You can tell he is a little shy just by the way he tilts his head and looks out of the corner of his eye...

He wasn't quite sure what to think of that water...even tho the temptation was there, he was a little hesitant to get too close. 

Well, maybe if I just stick my hand in just to test the water....

Oh this does feel good...I think I like this.....  The cutest little boy, and I love it that his hat matched the color of the water...!!   I didn't take the last picture to this story, his grandfather sat him with his back to the water so he could take a picture, and yup, you guessed it, he fell backwards into the water.  No wonder the child is shy...he probably knew from the start that something was gonna happen....

OK Mom, I am ready....can I go, Please!!!

I  love the water....!!

After the enjoyment of watching the children at play at the fountain we decided to walk down to "The Beach" Naperville's swimming pool. 

Our kids had such fun here when they were teenagers...the absolutely best place to hang with your buds. A great city pool  It was originally an old rock quarry, so it is quite deep.  You have to pass a swimming test in order to swim in the deep end.  And usually once or twice an hour they clear the entire pool for body checks.  There is a lifeguard that paddles a boat around in the deep end just in case somebody as trouble keeping afloat. 

And this is why they call it "the beach" the shallow end they have sand...just like the beach.  So fun for the little ones they can just run into the water.
These 3 bathing beauties posed for us...eating away on popcorn, snowcones and cookies...if they keep that up they may not be bathing "beauties" forever. 

As we walked along the Riverwalk we saw couples,  old ones.....ooops mature ones...

Younger ones....

Even younger ones...this little girl had been crying but she lightened up when I started snapping her picture. 

Those that were paddle boating....I don't know why people think this is so fun....  it is too much work. 

This is my speed right here...

And finally, these two had relaxation written all over them (especially the dog).  A great day spent wandering the Riverwalk on a summer afternoon. 

"A life without love is like a year without summer."  ~Swedish Proverb

Until next time......(comments always welcomed)

Monday, June 27, 2011


Today was vintage day on Picture Color...I love that vintage look and feel to a photo.  And thank goodness there are wonderful artists that have made turning a regular photo into a vintage looking photo with just a click.  Florabella is what I use most all the time.  But I know Pioneer Woman has some great looking vintage actions as well.  Using these wonderful actions creates a whole different look to your photos...if you haven't tried them, do.  They work with either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  And ofcourse, adding a Kim Klassen texture also adds to the vintage feel.

Last night we went to Home Depot, actually that is a great time to shop, nobody there....but at the same time I forgot, once again, the "Chat with Tracey" as part of the Picture Color class.  I forgot the 1st time, forgot the second time, but so did Tracey, so it was re-scheduled for last night, and....I forgot again.  I think I better slow down and re-group. continue, these flags were flying in the parking lot right next to Home Depot.  Not sure what they were for, but I certainly took the opportunity (never leave home without it) to take a few shots of the flapping flags with the wonderful sky.  I decided that I wanted a couple of large blue pots for the front yard.  Have seen the blue in some gardens and really like the way it looked, so Home Depot was the 1st place I looked....not one blue pot. 

While at Home Depot decided I better take a couple of shots of the daisy's...daisy's just say happy to me.  Doesn't this one look like a woman adjusting her hat...and that dreamy background...LOVE!!

Added this to picture color but this was taken in the Spring when a couple of us girls went to Long Grove for the day.  Long Grove is this pretty little picturesque town with quaint little shops and very expensive homes.  Unfortunately many of the shops had closed, another victim of this terrible economy that we have all felt in one way or another. 

Isn't this the greatest old truck? I decided to drive to The Growing Place in Montgomery this morning, searching for the blue pots with a $100. gift card burning a hole in my pocket.  And this truck greeted me as I drove in.  With the prompt for Picture Color being Vintage I was a happy, happy, happy girl and ofcourse, I had my camera, never leave home without it.  And yes, I found the blue pots.  They look gorgeous in the front yard.  Pictures later. 

Along with the truck the green picket fence was also a welcome sight...loaded with blooming roses and clemantis. 

Right now the craze in gardening is miniture...I have seen whole little villages created using miniture houses, garden pieces, tiny plants....thank goodness I have not (to this point) fallen into that craze.  But while at the Growing Place I did have to ohh and ahh over this darling little cottage.  Doesn't it look like it came right out of a fairy tale.  I suspect that the 7 drawfs live there and Snow White is going to wander up any minute.

I didn't apply any vintage action to this, I just thought it was so beautiful with the purple in the background and ofcourse black eyed susans are vintage summer anyway...

Aren't these 2 a hoot??!!  They arrived at the Growing Place shortly after I got there and I could not help but stare.  They were having a wonderful time admiring and laughing and generally looked like they both thoroughly enjoyed life.  I asked them if I could take their photos and they were delighted to pose.  I took several and I am sending them to the lady with the parasol...hope they like them.  Their business is renting medieval costumes....looks like not only do they rent them, but they wear them as well. 

"Your art is the only way you can run away without leaving home"   Twyla Tharp

Until next time.....(comments always welcomed)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday Foto Fun (The June 24th Edition)

Driving to Catherine's this morning stopped at a light, I noticed this cross on the side of the road.  Obviously a tribute to Gregory Vasich whose life must have ended at this very spot in an auto accident.  A small, but powerful representation of how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken.  I am sure than when Gregory began his day he had no thoughts that it would be his last.  Life can be too short, live life,  find joy in life, and love to complete your life.

Catherine's Bee Balm (Monarda) had already burst into bloom.  I think this is the coolest looking has these petals that just make little poufs....Catherine called it a witches' broom, I think that is a great description, but it's so much prettier than a broom.  Another amazing design of nature.  I have these in a deep magenta pink which will be displayed proudly on this blog when they bloom. 

Today we are headed to Essex, IL to find these darlings as well as a metal sculpture artist that displays his work in Essex.  We saw both of these treasures on our way back from our first trip to see the quilted barns in Kankakee, but we were running late that day and couldn't stop but vowed to return to get a better look and today was the day for the "better look".  The sky was threatening all day (what else is new) but it did not rain...hallelujah!!

Look at those sweet little antlers...they were all so very small, it was like looking at reindeer in miniture.

The babies were just soooo cute, I could have taken these home with me.  Not sure what Toby would have thought, I didn't, so no worries, Toby.

You know the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side" well, here ya go....proof positive.
It was hard to leave this little farm, I could have watched these beautiful animals all day long.  They were very friendly, came right up to the fence, obviously looking for a handout...I pulled some of the green grass on my side of the fence for them to nibble on and I became their instant friend.  What a find.

Next stop, Essex, IL at Jack Barker's workshop.  This place is amazing, and what a character Jack is.  He is 78 years young, unbelievable imagination and a genuinly nice guy.  Picture this, country road - rundown building - tons (literally) of metal sculptures displayed all over the property with no particular rhyme or reason, each piece a work of art.  I admit, some are a little weird, but what an imagination.  There were pieces of metal just piled everywhere, old bicycles, typewriters, wagons, barrels, metal, metal everywhere.  A junkman's dream.

It's fun just trying to figure out what each piece and part about recyle!!

Told ya Jack had a sense of humor...check the boobs on this heavy metal lady. 

Just a small sampling of his work.  It was difficult to get a lot of shots because everything displayed was so close that it looked like a heap of metal, instead of works of art.

After being entertained by Jack we decided it was lunch time...Jack recommended a restaurant in town so off we went.  Essex, IL is about as big as a postage stamp.  The downtown was approximately 1 1/2 blocks long, but in those short blocks they managed to have at least 4 bars/restaurants.  Didn't see a grocery store, but there were plenty of places to enjoy a drink or 2 or 3.  There are several "clubs" in the area, I asked what a "club" was and apparently that is a fancy word for a campground/fishing hole and a golf course or two.  Lots of fishing and hunting in this area.  We ate the recommended pork tenderloin sandwich with fries and headed out....good, but I wouldn't drive to Essex for a 2nd one. 

On the way back we stopped at the same farm with the sweet deer, these animals were on the other side of the house, I can see why, not quite the cuteness in these animals as there were in the deer.  Not sure what this is??? probably a moutain goat of some kind.  It was pretty far away so we didn't get acquainted like I did with the deer.  He doesn't look quite as friendly.

And finally, this sorrowful soul.  Isn't this the saddest and can we say "ugly" creature?  There were about 3 or 4 of these animals, I think some kind of a water buffalo, perhaps, not sure.  We didn't become friends either. 

Decided we had better head home after a fun day spent in Essex, IL 

"I took the road less traveled and happy I did"    Robert Frost

Until next time......(comments are always welcome)