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wired for fashionable fun

 

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Another fabulous "little green dress" from Tina Sparkles.  This one is made from recycled wire.

After a writing an article on green knitting, I was inspired to organize a green fashion show here in Chicago.  As often happens with me, I have too many ideas for the time granted me in a day,  but I think this is the year to put this particular idea into play. To make it happen will take some research, so stay tuned.  Anyone interested?  Let me know.

To see more about Tina's dress, take a look at Wired's blog Gadget Lab.


harvesting

©2010 Lindsay Obermeyer Cherry Picking

"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

is hung with bloom along the bough."

-- A. E. Housman

 

I didn't think I would have much of a harvest.  My poor sour cherry tree is riddled with a disease I have yet to name, but she managed to provide enough fruit to make a couple of pies and 4 pints of jam.  It's not a bumper crop, but enough to tell me that she is waiting patiently for me to help her.

I find the whole local food phenomena rather befuddling.  Doesn't everyone already eat this way?  Growing up, we had our sources.  Yes, we shopped at farmers markets, but my grandmother took it a step further.  She knew several farmers who would give her a call as different crops were harvested.  She'd tell them how many bushels to set aside and when she'd be out to pick them up.  As I grew older, it became my job to get the food.  All summer long we pickled, canned, baked, dried and froze for winter.  To this day, nothing thrills me more than a kitchen full of fresh fruit and veggie.

I wish I knew how to make my Gam's pies.  I just don't have her magic touch with pie crust. The other day I stopped by Wholefoods and found Eckerts peaches on sale.  Eckerts is a farm outside Belleville, IL and was just 30 miles east of Gam's apartment.  They have a large operation, but they sure knew my Gam.  Out I'd go to get different fruits as they came into season.  Peaches were her favorite.  I've already put up 6 pints of ginger peach jam from a fantastic farmer selling at Logan Square market, but when I saw these peaches, I had to buy some.  They spell home.  Maybe I'll try making another pie or some fresh peach ice cream.  Then again, I may just eat them as they are.  Yum.

Tonight's dinner comes courtesy of my garden, a pasta of roasted eggplant and tomatoes.  The pasta is handmade and the veggie and herbs freshly picked.  I don't grow enough to do much more than immediately enjoy, but enjoy I do.

So does Rosie the Rabbit.  Look carefully, you can just see her ears (hint, she's in the middle of the photo).  DSC_0035


glass prairie at west chicago city museum

©Sally DeFauw Glass Prairie Lindsay Obermeyer 3

"Earth laughs in flowers."  --  Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Glass Prairie grows!  Those added include a yellow coneflower, a brown eyed susan, a wild hyacinth and a Texas blue bonnet.  I think of the installation as in its infancy.  I want it to evolve until an entire 8' x 8' space is filled with flowers.

©Sally DeFauw Glass Prairie Lindsay Obermeyer
Some wildflowers are escapees.  They aren't indigenous to North America, but were transplanted by European settlers.  The ubiquitous dandelion is one, and Queen Anne's lace is another.  Though you may find them when taking a walk through a prairie preserve, I hesitate to include them in my installation.

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Wild bergamont (bee balm) is a gorgeous prairie flower that may be found in most parts of Illinois.  This photo was taken at Skokie River Nature Preserve off of Green Bay Road in Lake Forest, IL.

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Much is made of the medicines to be found in the botanicals of the Amazon rain forest, but little is stated about those found on our front doorstep.  Bergamont is the natural source for Thymol, the antiseptic found in most mouth washes.  The Blackfoot used the plant to equally treat gingivitis, throat infections and minor wounds.

A Glass Prairie is on exhibit at the West Chicago City Museum until August 28.


thankful


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"Stop runnin' 'round like a chicken with its head chopped off!"  -- Gammy

I can't tell you how many times I heard this admonishment from my grandmother.  It was one of her favorites.  Gammy had a knack for making everything seem effortless.  I, on the other hand, am the master of stressing out.  

This past week has forced me to reconsider my goals, aspirations, and approach to life in general. Heavy rains taxed Chicago's ancient sewer system causing backup in homes across the city.  Last Saturday I woke up to nearly 2 inches of sewage across half of my basement.  One room had to be fully gutted due to extensive mold growth.  Other walls simply look like swiss cheese with big slashes of wet, stinky drywall removed.  I'm lucky.  The insurance company didn't quibble.  The adjuster took a look, measured the damage and wrote a check on the spot. 

As I began cleaning, Gammy's words haunted me.  She's right.  When calamity hits, there is no point in letting it get to you.  I was overwhelmed by the sheer work involved in cleaning up such a mess and until the adjuster arrived, I was worried as to how I'd pay for the repairs, but basically, I stayed calm and just got on with it.  

The mess has also made me appreciate my own sense of caution.  I've carried some sort of home insurance policy since I was a teenager renting my first apartment.  As my work developed and sold, I added a marine policy to cover my art and equipment.  It seemed like overkill, especially during times of leaner finances, but I am so glad I kept on paying.  My marine policy will cover any and all damage to my art and equipment, as well as pay for me to rent a temporary studio given that I work out of my home.

I took a look at a few studios this week, but for now I'm staying put, working around the piles of this and that throughout the house.  I don't want to take the time to move during a period of heavy studio production as I prepare for the fall art fairs.  I now work in the dining room, living room, front porch and backyard - anywhere I can sit and feel a cool breeze.  For years I've desired a studio above ground with lots of natural light, but the mess in my basement has given me a renewed appreciation for what I have.  

I keep thinking of those dealing with the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico or still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and know that my little mess is just that - little.  In the grand scheme of things, it's a blip of inconvenience.  Instead of fussing and stressing, I'm sitting back, knitting and watching the cucumber vine take over my yard.