Torching

“Creating beauty
is one of the highest
and most healing purposes we can pursue.”
~ Trenton Tully in True Balance by Sonia Choquette

Monarchfinished

When I took Shawna Moore’s workshop I learned how to use a butane torch, and loved it. After some research I purchased the Iwatani Cooking Torch, but then never got around to buying the canisters, until earlier this year.

Torching

At that time I also ordered the MSA Safety Works 817662 Paint and Pesticide Respirator Emily Rutledge recommended during a FUSEDChicago discussion.

TorchButaneRespirator

The respirator is surprisingly lightweight. Adjusting the filters was a challenge initially, but in spite of their lopsided position it was easy to work with the mask on.

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Hearing myself breathe made me feel like Darth Vader, but over time I got used to it, and even forgot that I couldn’t just take a sip of water without taking off the mask.

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The pigmented beeswax gives off emissions that aren’t healthy to breathe on a regular basis (especially the toxic jeweltones I love most), and with the weather turning cooler the ventilation of fresh air will become more of a challenge, so it is good to protect one’s lungs for time-consuming projects.

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I practiced with an old piece from my UTEE days that needed an update.

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It took me a little while to sort through the gun’s functions, but once I read the directions properly I got the big torch to work.

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I still toggle back and forth with the smaller one and a heat gun as I get the hang of its fire power.

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This is a lovely video explaining the difference between what heat sources do to the wax.

I worked on a damselfly diptych.

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The palette quickly became darker as I needed to cover up some errors.

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Layering and incorporating meaning is always fun.

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Not burning the paper was another learning curve.

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The Ebony Jewelwing photos are from my Utica retreat.

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I am still not sure of the proportions of the photos, so it may get a re-do later this month.

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Another diptych helped me practice some more.

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Meanwhile, 2 of my desktop minis were sent off to a new home, so I will be working on more small works later this month.

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“I want to share my work and
give as many people as possible the experience
of living with a piece of art,
even if that piece of art is a print and not necessarily an original.
… I would hope
that when somebody looks at my work they smile,
they feel a good energy and they get excited.”

~ Romero Britto in Art Calendar November 2009

Butterflies & Blooms visit

About two years ago The Chicago Botanic Garden implemented Butterflies & Blooms on its grounds.

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From late May to Labor Day, the garden has a tent that houses numerous exotic butterflies for the public’s viewing pleasure.

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It is a great way to get up close with these magical creatures.

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Morphos were abundant this year, and their fluttering always makes me catch my breath.

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They hardly open their wings when at rest, but in this enclosure, we were fortunate.

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The leafy butterflies offer lessons on camouflage.

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A Luna Moth drew gasps from many viewers.

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Longwings abound.

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Emerging butterflies can be viewed through a window.

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Atlas Moths were featured early in the season.

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So many jewels in the sky.

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Pops of color everywhere.

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It is a lovely respite from daily life.

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The reactions when they alight on visitors are lovely.

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Some provide lessons on the circle of life.

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I love strolling and circling and waiting for them to settle.

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Butterflies always give me a sense of awe and peace.

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The tent is gone until next year, but you can still view butterflies at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

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From the Fire Pit: Glimmers opening

Lauren and Rory Coyne do a lot together, and so it is with exhibits. On the heels of Lauren’s Wolf Peach Opening Friday night, Rory Coyne opened his solo show at Galerie Fledermaus on Saturday.

GlimmerOpening

Rory’s inspiration for the show comes from the fire pit or hearth as a gathering place.

GlimmerWindow

“It’s not just the fire itself, but what it provides: a place to gather with family and friends and the perfect situation to talk and dream. Stories are born here, histories told, and heritage handed down masked in allegories, myths, and grandiose creatures,” said Rory.

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From the Fire Pit: Glimmers features oil paintings by Rory that morph gorgeous human beings into furry creatures, creating mythical characters that could spin stories of their own. Detailed photos of the paintings can be found here.

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“The light of the blazing fire
combined with the dark, gloomy shadows by the hearth
to transmit sharp contrasts,
shaping the expectations of listeners and inspiring the tellers.”
~ Maria Tatar, Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore
and Mythology at Harvard University

RoryCoyneGlimmerOpening

Rory said he is “discovering my characters and revealing them one by one stripped from any surrounding in order to focus on just them. They will grow and mature, and take part in many sagas. Some already have, some have just come to be, and many have yet to come to life. They are the sparks that start the fire, a glimmer of what’s to come.”

RoryCoyneDrawings

Galerie Fledermaus specializes in Symbolist works from Germany, Austria, France and Italy 1880-1920, and contemporary figurative artists.

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It is a joy to peruse the Klimts and other wonderful art works.

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I want to learn more about Koloman Moser.

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In addition to paintings and prints, Galerie Fledermaus also offers vessels, and other art deco pieces. This box is a treasure even without anything inside of it.

TreasureBox

Rory may host another event before his show closes on September 28. So swing by 2136 W North Avenue in Chicago soon.

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In October, Jason McPhillips will reveal his latest works in his Ghosts series, from October 3 through November 2.

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There were some fabulous outfits at the show.

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Rory’s trademark, an axe, was incorporated in his ensemble.

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Lauren is always stunning.

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My reflection snuck into some photos accidentally.

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Go peruse the gems at Galerie Fledermaus. I’ll see you there October 6 from 6 to 9 p.m.

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Streets Alive Evanston

We had a big block party on Sunday. Main Street between Dodge and Hinman were transformed into a pedestrian mall from 1 to 6 p.m.

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The roads were blocked to motor vehicles and an impromptu bike path established.

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The blocks were lined with booths providing information about various Evanston organizations. Along the way, various musicians, street artists and dancers gave performances.

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Children could play various games and get in touch with their artistic side. Open Studio Project offered painting a skyline made from boxes.

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Streets Alive! began as an initiative of Walk ‘n’ Roll, one of the project teams that emerged from the Evanston150 visioning process. The mission of Walk ‘n’ Roll is to make Evanston safer and more enjoyable for walking and cycling.

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After a successful pilot project on Dempster Street in 2013, Streets Alive! was adopted by Citizen’s Greener Evanston, resulting in this year’s Main Street event. A list of all participating organizations is hereHip Circle Studio held belly dance demonstrations.

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Later the troupe performed and then offered a demonstration in which each member of the circle could add their own move to a round-robin impromptu choreography.

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A Klezmer duo greeted us as we made our way to Piccolo Theatre.

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We took in the matinee of SMASH, which is a wonderful show worthy of attending.

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Unfortunately the event came to an end just after we finished laughing, so we imbibed in some lovely food from S-Paragon.

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It was quiet and peaceful without cars around.

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I look forward to next year’s event and getting to know another street in Evanston.

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Wolf Peach show opening

Friday marked the opening of Lauren Levato Coyne’s Wolf Peach show at Packer Schopf Gallery, which shows through October 18.

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Lauren’s second solo exhibition with Packer Schopf focuses on the ideas of poisoning and her continued thoughts on death via her largest and most elaborate drawings to date.

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She has been thinking a lot about poisons and their impact on the physical and mental health of generations.  Wolf Peach’s subject matter has its root in the impact of death from diabetes, cancers, and prolonged exposure to poison.

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Her drawings reference man made poisons such as Agent Orange, processed sugar, and alcohol, as well as nature’s toxins like nightshade, venom, and Monarch butterflies. She also alludes to false poisons, such as the once firm belief that tomatoes were a fatal fruit.

LaurenWolfPeachShow

Per her press release: “Levato Coyne’s drawings are paralinguistic symbolist portraits and still lives. Their linguistic structuring is divorced from linguistic content; meaning is indicated, but encrypted. Each drawing begins with an interior narrative rooted in personal history: a family ejected from the American South that took with them many of the curious beliefs and habits of the Appalachian Mountain Kingdom.”

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“The animals and colors in Levato Coyne’s drawings are therefore influenced by the storytelling and imagery of fairytales and wives-tales, as well as medical and zoological antiquity, and farming.” Appropriate for this insect-lover, a fly landed on one of her drawings.

FlyonDrawing

You can view detailed images of Lauren’s drawings here.

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Two other artists opened solo shows the same night, Teresa James whose cyanotype/drawings deal with religion and faith in Not All Angels Have Wings.

NotAllAngelsHaveWings

A specialist in intaglio printmaking, Teresa James integrates drawing, photography, computer-generated imagery, and 19th-century photographic processes. Not All Angels Have Wings represents the culmination of her experiments, into large-scale cyanotypes.

TeresaJames

James’ works are inspired by Catholic iconography, the Italian Renaissance, Mexican Surrealism, and American folk art. “James’s friends and their pets are revealed as agents in the eternal battle of good and evil, their heroic spirits armored or winged.”

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“Behind these works lie other invisible struggles: the artist’s painstaking labor to balance the generative forces of nature, man, and machine, and the soul’s resolve to manifest optimism and grace in the face of life’s trials. At their core, these are portraits of faith, bathed in a celestial blue.”

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Ellen Greene’s painted gloves and mixed media pieces of “You’ll never be my bride: ballad of the sweetheart murder” explore murder ballads through images inspired by vintage tattoo and folk Americana icons painted onto delicate vintage leather gloves. Per Greene, “Murder ballads are an American (Appalachian) folk song sub genre that has their roots traced back hundreds of years ago to Ireland and England. They describe murder and betrayal often between two lovers played against a simple melody.”

EllenGreeneGloves

Sung by a third person or from the voice of the murderer–often in a waltzing 3/4 time–many of these ballads are based on true crimes stories with historical documentation. The love interest is lured to a dark place–woods or a body of water–where she begs for her life and the life of her unborn child.

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The gallery will host a reception in conjunction with EXPO Chicago on Friday, September 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. In October the gallery will host a Death Panel featuring all three artists, who serendipitously all wound up making work relating to death.

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Of course Lauren was dressed to the nines.

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As was her husband, whose show opening followed hers on Saturday evening.

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Platt-A-Palooza recap

This Labor Day weekend was a glorious one, and I am so grateful for that.

Sunshine

The skies looked ominous Saturday morning as I packed up my pieces for Platt-A-Palooza.

Ominousskies

I had been staging the 16-foot area in my home-across 2 rooms.

StagingPlatt

The weather channel predicted thunderstorms for the entire duration of the craft fair.

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However, show organizer Chrissie insisted that she always had good weather on her event days, and her energy held true.

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A few wind gusts blew the storm clouds away, and before long we had a steady stream of shoppers.

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It was the longest display area ever for me.

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I think I filled the space up nicely.

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There were lots of fun crafts to peruse, ranging from garden decor to jewelry to household items.

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The nursery is full of fun finds as well.

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I like the garden decor.

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If I had a backyard I would make a fairy garden for sure.

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Live music was playing.

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Margarita slushies and hot dogs were served.

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I had a great time getting to know my crafty neighbors.

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Spam the Pig paid a visit in the evening.

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Numerous creative people sold their wares.

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A few customers mixed and matched pendants and earrings for their take-home pleasure.

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A desktop mini fluttered off to a new home as well.

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I look forward to next year’s event.

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Meanwhile stay tuned for announcements about Fall and Holiday trunk shows and pop-ups.

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I will be loading the newbies to Etsy in mid-September, unless dibs are called on Facebook.

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Have a great weekend!

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Girly Time

On Sunday a few of us girlfriends had a gathering where no boys were allowed, and it was a lovely time of chatting, nibbling and toasting each other to the good things in our lives.

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We capped the evening with a candle-lit Fairy and Goddess Card reading, which seemed to hold good messages for everyone.

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It was a great way to end the past month, which has been full of rescheduling, anticipation, surprises, and personal growth.

Hikingcritters

Earlier in the month two friends and I had a mini-roadtrip to a nature preserve, with ice cream for starters and a sing-along in the car.

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It was nice to center in nature, chat about life and observe lovely critters.

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We then climbed 125 steps at Swallow Cliff.

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Over the Labor Day weekend I imbibed in the remaining chocolate mousse from my party and some novels.

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I hung out by the lake a lot to get some perspective on the ebbs and flows of life.

LakeGazing

One day four ladybugs alighted on me (a yellow one wouldn’t pose), granting wishes and reminding me of Mother Mary’s watchful eye.

Ladybugs

“Ladybug also cautions not to try too hard or go to fast
to fulfill our dreams.

Let things flow at their natural pace.
In the due course of time, our wishes will all come true.”
~ Lin’s Domain

It is a good message as I write this 500th blog post. Who knew where my journey would take me when I tentatively wrote my first entry?

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This weekend I will be rooting for my friends’ successful exhibits and their wishes to come true. Lauren Levato Coyne’s Wolf Peach solo exhibit opens on Friday at 6 p.m. at Packer Schopf Gallery along with openings of Ellen Greene and Teresa James.

WolfPeachShowLevatoCoyne

On Saturday evening her husband Rory Coyne will showcase From the Fire Pit: Glimmers at Galerie Fledermaus.

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See you there!

Neighborhood strolls

It’s picture day today on the blog.

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I’ve enjoyed taking strolls around my neighborhood in the gorgeous weather we’ve had.

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Sunshine draws me out a lot.

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It feels luxurious to take a half hour to sit by the lake and reflect.

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The flora and fauna of the world can teach us so much.

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Perspective is important when life is full and busy and rich.

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Birthday Celebrations

Birthday week was such fun. Emergency Vehicle Night spawned an impromptu pub evening with two lovely ladies. Thursday was spent making party preparations.

BdayOnline

On Friday I went to Pritzker Park for a free concert with Ian Maksin. Pritzker Park hosts weekly Friday lunch events through the Chicago Loop Alliance and King Art Collective.

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King Art Collective curates music, performance and art every Friday at noon in Pritzker Park for the Loop Placemaking Initiative.

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Free to the public, Pritzker Park—a small, scenic space located off State Street—will be activated through October with free performances, food trucks and family-friendly activities.

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Ian Maksin introduced us to Cello arrangements with pop songs by the Beatles and Ray Charles, then pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, and played his own compositions inspired by folk music and Sting.

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It was fun to watch the crowd react.

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Some window washers got mesmerized.

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Ian’s latest arrangements are recorded on his new album, Soul Companion. The album includes original compositions for cello solo as well music by Sting, Ilya Levinson, Seth Seth Boustead and Paul Yeon Lee.

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Ian will be releasing his new album at 8 p.m.  on September 20 at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

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The park, which was recently reimagined by the Chicago Park District, is conveniently located at the south end of the State Street corridor, in the intersection of several Loop universities and just north of the Harold Washington Library.

Harold Washington Library

The Loop Placemaking Initiative is an expansive series of innovative public space activations throughout the Loop supported by Chicago Loop Alliance. Check out upcoming activities by going to the Loop Chicago webpage.

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At home I was showered with flowers.

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Then I unwrapped presents.

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Being spoiled is such a delicious feeling.

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On Saturday I was pampered with a Facial and Massage, and then set up my table with munchies, including chocolate, of course.

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Friends came in bearing goodies and we had a lovely evening conversing into the night.

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It is good to have friends you celebrate and share with.

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On Sunday I enjoyed the weather at Emily Oaks Nature Preserve and was thrilled to see multiple Monarch butterflies frolicking in the sun.

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I’m looking forward to more flowers tomorrow at Platt-A-Palooza. Join me in Bloomingdale from 1-6 p.m. at Platt Hill Nursery!

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Emergency Vehicle Night in Lemont

Last Wednesday The Network of Entrepreneurial Women met in Lemont to peruse Emergency Vehicle Night.

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Organized by Lemont Legends, Cruise Nights are held during the summer on Wednesday evenings in Downtown Historic Lemont.

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We gathered at Aurora Rose Boutique for some small talk and browsing.

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Megan K’s dress also had an EMS theme.

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We then decided to have a beer at a local pub, since the weather called for it.

NicksTavernLemont

At Nick’s Tavern, we also opted for burgers, which we could have split.

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After dinner, we browsed all the vehicles Lemont had to offer.

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The main attraction were the fire trucks.

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Other cars also gleamed in the evening sun.

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Police vehicles, old and new, rounded out the event.

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It is a fun and informative outing for families, so mark your calendar for next year’s series of events.

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NEW’s next event will be the September annual retreat in White Pines, Oregon IL. Join us as we recharge in the woods with restorative walks, campfire chats and cozy cabin conversations about business, life and health.

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