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What’s growing? Lupines

It’s been awhile. What have I been up to? It’s been an odd time of furious activity, some quiet time of reflection and to be perfectly honest a lot of procrastination. That’s life in a nutshell, isn’t it! It’s funny, I put all those desires out there into the universe on what I want to do in 2015 and several of them are happening, but in ways that I didn’t imagine. I’m learning to go with the punches and accept what has come even though it isn’t exactly as how I wished. I could see myself saying no a few years ago if it wasn’t exactly right. So that’s some growth! My goal for transforming the gardens around my apartment building didn’t exactly turn out how I wanted. When I brought my idea to my landlord he told me he appreciated the offer, but he was bringing in a landscape designer. I was crushed. I talked to him and explained that I was starting a flower business and this was going to be my laboratory for growing. He agreed to let me have a patch in the back which won’t be touched. It’s where we have a raised bed for some veg and herbs and now some select flowers. I’ve had to majorly cut down my list of flowers. But now that this is the situation, I think it’s probably for the best. All gardening advice I’ve read has been don’t try to start too big. I think my original plans might have overwhelmed me and burnt me out. Let’s start small and see how things do and next year maybe I will be able to find some larger space to grow flowers.

One the flowers that made the cut was lupines. I had never come across them before until last summer. Toby and I were vacationing in Grand Marais in northern Minnesota and they were growing everywhere, especially in large clumps along the sides of the highway. The huge clumps of blue-purple, white and sometimes pink spires just took my breath away. They’re so unique and rather Dr. Seuss-like that I completely fell in love with them and have wanted to grow them ever since.gardenlupines1

I’m not sure how well they will fare in Chicago. You normally find them in Scandinavian countries, Canada and northern U.S. If we have a cool summer like we did last year, I think they’ll do just fine.


Have you ever grown lupines? Any tips and tricks. I learned they have a deep tap root and therefore don’t like to be transplanted. You can start them indoors but if you do it is best to start the seed in a container that you can plant, like a cowpot. I started a few (see below), so we’ll see how well they do.


Are you planning a garden this year? What are you excited about growing? I’ll pop back in and write more about what I’m growing.


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2015 Goals


2015 is here and like any good eternal optimist, I get excited for fresh starts. Looking back at my 2014 goals, I didn’t accomplish many of them. But that’s ok. I can always learn to make eclairs this year or next (or just buy one). Instead I discovered a few things about myself and that’s pretty wonderful. I also realized that I was putting the cart before the horse for a few of my goals, so it was hard to accomplish them. I think when making goals that I should have specific steps in place in order to achieve them. Here’s what I hope to accomplish in 2015.

  1. Start a meditation practice and set an intention every day. Just before New Year’s I read this article by Deepak Chopra about offering the universe an intention and repeating it everyday instead of making resolutions. Chopra explains that, “By offering the universe an intention and repeating it every day, you can accomplish two things. First, you will train your brain to adapt to a new way of thinking. Second, you will begin to identify with a higher vision of your life.” Most mornings after I shower, I’ll take 10-15 minutes to relax and drink my coffee. I normally will go online to read or watch youtube videos. But this past week I’ve started to follow a guided meditation and offer my intentions. It’s been a nice change from sitting passively and being online to actively working on myself. It’s a good stress reducer, which is just what I need due to my job. The intentions Chopra suggests are:
    • I want a joyful, energetic body.
    • I want a loving, compassionate heart.
    • I want a restful, alert mind.
    • I want lightness of being.
  2. Build and Grow Art Farm Blooms. Art Farm Blooms is the name I decided to call my flower business. I have a few specific goals that I would like to achieve this year. I want to work/intern with Field & Florist, a farmer florist based in Chicago. Grow some of my own flowers (see goal 3). Collaborate with local photographers and stylists to create some beautiful images to build my portfolio and shop it around to some websites and magazines. Create arrangements for businesses in my neighborhood. Work on five weddings. And finally, I’m applying for the Floret Workshop Scholarship and it would be an absolute dream come true to win.
  3. Grow a beautiful garden. I rent an apartment in a classic Chicago 3 flat. Toby and I have lived here for 13 years, so we know our landlord well and he trusts us and our style. When he took over the building from his elderly father, he put a lot of money into rehabbing the building. We got a new kitchen, new roof, new deck, new cedar fence and the building was tuck-pointed. Yay for the investment, but unfortunately all of this exterior work destroyed the yards and garden. I drew up a garden plan last year and our landlord liked it and wanted to have it done, but for various reasons it didn’t happen. I decided that this is the year that I take matters into my own hands and I’m going to do the work no matter what. I’m tired of waiting and feeling like the delinquent building on the block. We have a pretty awesome raised bed for growing veg, but I also want to grow a pretty extensive cut-flower garden to use for Art Farm Blooms.
  4. Take more photos. I used to take photos all the time and I got to be pretty decent. It’s a skill that I feel you need to practice at in order to be good. I used to take photos every week and then I stopped for a multitude of reasons. This year I want get back to the level I was at before. I’m setting myself the goal of taking photos every weekend.

Lots to accomplish, but I feel excited and energized to make these goals happen. What do you hope to accomplish or do in 2015?!

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Goodnight 2014


2014 was at times a tough and stressful year for me. Truthfully, I’m really happy to have it over. It wasn’t all bad. I did figure a few things out in life, went on a couple amazing trips and saw two of my best friends get married. Here’s what I learned…

  1. I discovered a new passion. I’ve been searching for something that feeds my soul the past few years. I went to school for painting and it was my first big love. It gave me so much passion and energy, but unfortunately I burnt out and have had a major case of artist block. I tried quilting and photography and although I enjoyed doing them, they just weren’t “it”. Then unexpectedly flowers happened. I’d been internet stalking a ton of florists on Instagram, but that is as far as my imagination went. It took my friend Brooke asking me to do the flowers for her wedding. I was both scared and overjoyed. It was just the push that I needed to realize that I could go beyond admiring other talented florist’s work and actually do it myself. I am so grateful for the opportunity and for the trust my friend had in me.
  2. I need to change my work and stress levels. My day job has given me a lot of stress and anxiety this year and I need to drastically change it. It has made me incredibly unhappy and it is something I really cannot sustain. I don’t know exactly what that change looks like, but I have a few ideas of steps I can take.
  3. It’s ok to take a break. When I wrote my last post of 2014 I felt really uncomfortable saying that I was going to take the rest of the year off from blogging. I felt I should be working and it wasn’t good for my statistics, readership or future projects. But you know what it was good for? ME! When I typed those final words, I really felt really defeated and that I would probably be hanging up my towel in 2015. I thought two weeks wouldn’t be enough time away. I thought I was writing this blog for all the wrong reasons. But it is amazing what several solid days of doing absolutely jack squat. I didn’t do much over Christmas and New Year’s. I ate a lot, slept, watched a lot of Netflix and just chilled out. I felt a lot of guilt during the first few days. I should be doing this or that. But I eventually realized that doing nothing was good for me. It was just taking my mind and body awhile to actually calm down and relax. I feel refreshed and actually have a few ideas bouncing in my head.

How was 2014 for you? What did you learn over the year?

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Gift wrapping

Are you ready for Christmas? I confess, I am not. I still have some gifts to buy and the elves (aka me) are working overtime trying to finish the quilt I am making for my sweetheart. But let’s not think about that and instead focus on wrapping the gifts we do have. I LOVE to wrap gifts! I always helped my Dad when he wrapped our gifts. I loved being able to see what everyone else was getting and my Dad was a damn good wrapper. (He was an engineer, so he was very precise.) I appreciate a well wrapped gift and I think that’s due to the hours spent watching and assisting him (I was chief tape dispenser) down in our basement every December.

I personally love the look of a simple, rustic wrapped gift. Brown craft paper, red and white bakers twine and a bit of winter greenery are my jam. Below are some examples that have inspired me. This year, I’m thinking of a wrapping in a furoshiki-esque style. I have so much fabric in my sewing stash that I think it would look rather charming to wrap gift in some fun patterned fabric tied up with some beautiful silky ribbon.


If you’re looking for some great patterned paper, here are a few by two of my favorite paper designers.



1. Holiday Greens by Rifle Paper Co. // 2. Favorite Things by Rifle Paper Co. // 3. Reindeer by Rifle Paper Co. // 4. Nutcrackers by Snow & Graham // 5. Presents by Rifle Paper Co. // 6. Gumdrops by Snow & Graham//

What’s the most memorable or strangest gift you’ve ever received? I remember when I was about 10, I received a gift that was small, but very heavy. I had zero clue of what was inside the box. It turned out to be a big rock with a cat painted on it. (I guess my crazy cat lady tendencies started young!) It amuses me now, but let’s just say at 10 years old I was not amused.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful, fun, healthy and magical holiday! I plan on taking the rest of the year off from blogging. I haven’t done much as of late and feel the need to continue to recharge my batteries. Until 2015, my friends!! xoxo

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Sézane Winter Collection

I’m not one to dress up in frilly, puffy dresses around the holidays, so when I saw the Sézane Winter collection,I knew I found my kindred designer. There are several very pretty dresses and fun skirts, but my favorite outfits are styled with jeans. It is very tomboy chic. The color palette is spot on with the majority of it in black, white, navy and camel with hints of red, green and gold. There’s velvet, lace, bows and some animal print to make the pieces more feminine. Nothing is too in your face and over-the-top, but subtly sexy. It’s the perfect cool French girl style! If you’re searching for Christmas ideas for a special lady and want to splurge on her, I think she’d be thrilled to received anything from this Sézane. I know I’d be happy with any of these pieces under my Christmas tree!


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What’s your favorite pieces from Sézane? My top three are the plaid tomboy shirt, the leather jacket and the miller t-shirt.