June 25, 2010

“Time may change me, but I can’t change time…” A simple statement may not be more true for me today. I actually feel like right when I am perfectly set up to display my “art work” I am most at a loss for producing anything I can step back from and wonder from where it came. That was when I always thought I had really done something worth the word “art”. Nonetheless, I am enjoying the process. And perhaps I’m growing. This is Me and GZ by the way. Me, Jen by Jennifer, Jenny-re (short for Jennifer Marie), Jen, Jennifer, and many more,and GZ = Grama Zimm, Grandma Zimmerman, Hazel Marie Zimmerman, and most recently referred to be by a life-long fan “Haze”. Many people have asked me about my education in art and what training I have had to bring me to today. I’d like to think I was simply supposed to do this. And, perhaps, Haze had something to do with it.

peace, love and happiness ~

jen (by jennifer)


Almost Summer!

June 3, 2010

Well, Memorial Day weekend has passed, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.  So this means we are officially on our way to summer!  I find I need to remind myself (and the garden fairy) that it is only the very beginning of June.  We have both done so much in the yards already it feels like we should be well into June if not ready to fly flags for the Fourth of July.

The garden comes along quite nicely.  There are enough new plantings I will not attempt to walk you through it again.  I look forward to posting pictures when things are in bloom…  the beds along the fence (once mulched *sigh*) are almost picture ready now.  More on that later.

I am painting.  I worked a bit on a few projects for the show at the end of the month while concentrating mostly on a project for my friend here at work.  It is the final of three items for her bathroom. 

And of course Archie (Bee Dub, Mr. Kitty) was there to supervise…

Have a great day!

jen (by jennifer)

Ok.  I have decided to do a show this year.  I started in 2002 (I think) with the Elmhurst Garden Faire and Walk and then added The Growing Place – Art in the Garden Festival a couple of years later.  Up until last Summer (or the Summer before?) I had been doing both of them each year.  With having moved residence, the plans to open the shop, etc. I decided not to do them.  But this year I’m back!  And I will be doing things a little differently… taking items to represent the shop as a whole rather than just my stuff.  But I still have to get painting in order to take enough of my product to make a good display.

So – here’s to inspiration! 

I was watering mamala’s flowers for her last night, so I snapped a couple of pictures.  I then went home to check my garden out back… the 25 lily bulbs are starting to sprout!  BUT this morning I saw a bunny back there…. hmmm – I’m thinking that could be BAD.  I may have to let Mr. Kitty out afterall to patrol the grounds. 

Maybe he can put some of those quick moves on the flower munching bunny and all that practice on his straw will be worth it.

Have a great day all!  I’ll keep you posted.

Year one!

May 6, 2010

Ok – while I was having a BLAST at the Cubs game last weekend the garden fairy came and roto-tilled the back “garden” area behind my house!  Thank you GF!!!! 

And the planting has begun!  So far there is a big mound of baby’s breath (Gypsophila) to the left front surrounded by some day lilies and some Artemisia.  Behind that are 10 “Lilium true colors Asiatic lilies” in an arc around the front of the tree there… then another 5 about three feet to the right… and another 10 about three feet right of that. 

In the back right corner where primarily the herbs will be is a group of lovage in the corner where the fences meet.  And in front of that to the left of the garden bench on an angle is some more with three bright blue pots in front for cilantro, oregano, and parsley… I’m so psyched!

I know, I know… I have to get my camera fixed or buy a new one so I can include pictures!!

BTW – almost ALL my weeding is done too!  Whooo hooo!  And 10 of 15 bags of mulch down so far…

Happy Spring all ~


Art ADD?

April 23, 2010

Do you think there is such as thing as project/art ADD?  If you haven’t heard of it before… let me be the first to explain it to you. 

First let me tell you a little more about what brought me to where I am today…  I was raised by a very responsible wonder woman.  The house was not only clean but decorated.  And it was not filled with purchased items, but filled with hand-made flower arrangements, a centerpiece for every table, framed family pictures on the walls and all while also filled with the smell of homemade cookies and/or bread in the oven.  My clothes were also made at home and as much as I hated it back then I talked with her years ago about how I was going to commission her to make ALL my clothes when she retired.  Not so.  Ok… so I obviously am NOT complaining, but… I wonder if this is not part of my art ADD issue?

I want to/have/dream of/start/live so many projects and am constantly interested in something new that I find myself in the middle of six different projects at any one time.  And still compelled to start more of them!  Without finishing the ones in progress!  And back to the idea of having been raised by a wonder woman who did all the things I mention with FOUR children of which I am the youngest, I feel the need to always have my house in form for company (which is so much more important now that I live right on the main street of town and am the bachelorette friend of mostly mommys who refer to my place as the “Womans Club” AND WOULD HAVE IT NO OTHER WAY).  It’s really not all that much.  It’s just me and the Arch.  I don’t have kids.  I am not responsible for anyone except myself and sometimes I don’t even do a great job of handling that.  Is my art ADD from being the product of an artistic mom who put everything else before art?  Or am I an artist stuck in the mind of a someone who was raised conservatively and thinks I have to do all the other stuff too?  When really as long as whatever I am working on is tripping my trigger I’m a giggling!?!

Oh well…  I guess the edges of my canvas I’m painting are probably dry by now so I can hang it back on the wall… so rather than ponder this topic any longer – off I go to slather some paint!  Perhaps I will share some photos again later.  And yes, I still need to finish the back splash, the kitchen door to the shop, the shop, the decoupage frames for the bedroom, clean, decorate, play ball with Archie…  life couldn’t be better!

PS – thanks to SARAH for another art idea!!!  She knows what I’m talking about…

Happy Friday friends ~



Mondays come so fast…

April 12, 2010

Well, hello all! 

It was a beautiful Spring weekend here in Chicagoland!  I got out back Friday afternoon and burned off all the stuff that was piled in the fire pit and on the back patio area.  Awesome fire!  And now at the least it is clean and tidy back there so I can cut back the grasses along the fence and get started on moving pots, etc. 

I also got out under the tree between the shop and the driveway and weeded and turned up the mulch.  Still have a bit more to do and then Preen and hopefully it will maintain pretty much on its own.  I know I will want to work in the beds out back this Summer more than I will want to be out on the street side.  This will be the year for starting the garden area!  Thanks to mom (and Grama A who gives her a gift certificate every year for White Flower Farm…) I have 25 lily bulbs to start with! 

I have also been working on the kitchen… Actually what you see on the backsplash right now had to get wiped out and re-started, but I figured I would share anyway.  This wasn’t complete-complete anyway. 🙂  More pictures later!  Just figured I should throw something in here as it’s been a while…  when I am completely done I’ll show you a before and after – will make much more of an impact.

Well, on to the job I get paid for… have a great week!


I guess I didn’t realize just how much I love Spring and look forward to Summer flowers until I read through an email I sent to a friend yesterday.
“…I am super excited to work in the yard this year.  Under the tree outside the shop between the driveway and the house I already have crocus in bloom in white and yellow and purple.  Such a happy sight.  Makes me smile everyday I have to go out to the car to head to work.  Like a little gift for getting up and heading to the office which I would rather not do.  And last night I measured for flower boxes for the front four windows and the one on the back of the house under the kitchen, and walked around the yard to see sedum growing in the rock garden out back by the fire pit, and tulips, daffodils, peonies, iris, day lillies, brunera macrophilia, and one of my favorites echinacea coming up.  Exciting stuff! 🙂  Should be a good year… set the foundation last year.”

So as much as I always say Fall is my favorite season… I’m wondering now if it might not be Spring?

Happy Day All ~


A long winter…

November 9, 2009

Hello friends!  I hope you enjoyed the BEAUtiful weather if you were here in Chicagoland.  I felt guilty any time I was inside. 

Well, with the help of mom and the kids we accomplished much in a short period of time yesterday afternoon out around the house on Lockport Street.  So what is normally a long winter will seem much longer this year as I can’t wait to see an additional 50 tulips come up next Spring!  Well, I’m hoping 50 anyway… when I went out to pick up where I left off I found the squirrels had also been busy undoing the work I did!  AND stealing my bulbs!  Little furry thieves…

More later.  Have a great week everyone.

Bits and pieces…

November 4, 2009

First of all I have to shout out thanks to my friend Kristen for pointing out that although I love my birthday I needed to get on with it and post something new.  I’ve been meaning to, I swear.  It’s not because of the birthday.  So…

Well, I have been much more productive.  A promise I made myself for the second stage of my life here starting at 40.  This is kind of a funky picture but I’m going to include it because it has many elements.

1.  Tulips – 50 to be finished planting for Spring – I can’t wait to see them bloom

2.  The power drill to plant the tulips – necessary when planting that many (and Yes, Annie – I was listening to the White Stripes… “be like the squirrel girl”)

3.  The windows I have mentioned are being primed (still, I know) but that leads me to

4.  To the right under the windows… See the baseboard HEAT!  So that will allow painting and finishing in the cold.  It heats up RIGHT NOW.  I’m not thinking about the electric bill… I will not fear the electric bill… are you believing it?  I’m not.  But what can I do.

5.  And what would my projects be without my furry companion as you can see.

tulips arch heat shop 112009

One other picture for you.  Thinking still along the lines of holidays coming and gifts, etc.  This is a chair which happens to set right next to my stove on the way out to the shop which leads to the driveway.  Doesn’t everyone have one of these places where you set all the “stuff” that needs to go to the car, be returned to someone, take with you when you head out?  Well, this is mine for now.  Funny thing is in this picture it only has one lonely little item that needs to go back to mom’s house.  Oh – and, of course, the chair will be in the shop for sale at some point.  It is one of a set of four… I’ll tell you more about them later.  DSCN3607

And… well… as long as I have taken so long to post I am going to add one more picture.  I’ve decided not to re-read everything to see who to date I have mentioned and who I have not, so not certain if I ever told you all about my great-aunt Pat.  Kindred spirit for certain.  I used to go to visit her in Florida with my parents on spring break.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I walked in her kitchen and she had painted big flowers straight on her walls!  I had recently done the same thing right over my wallpaper one late night in my bedroom!  (Yes, mom loves me anyway – I was 14 I think)

The following picture is of a drawing she did which is one of three I will be framing to put in the house somewhere.  I just love them.

Aunt Pats Lady

Hard to believe it is November!  Hope everyone is well…


Need more pictures

September 7, 2009

I’ll work on that – more pictures.

Well, I have crossed some things off my lists for certain.  And of course without actually writing them down I have probably added more than I have crossed off from the original lists.  Oh well.  I think in reality this is a good thing – or maybe just in theory.  Something to look forward to doing.  Like…

Kris called this morning to confirm dates for Utah this coming winter season – yeeeee ha! – February 4 – 8 outside of Park City in —- I want to say Deer Valley or The Canyons but I can’t say for certain because I do not exactly remember… anyway for me it doesn’t matter.  I will ski.  I will be with girls I enjoy.  The sky is blue, the snow is white, and the evergreens are GREEN!  Soul, hold on – here it comes!  The stuff that inspires me all year round…

This “holiday” Labor Day Monday has been part ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ with Archers Midland on the couch, moving things around the pad, weeding a bit to find how REALLY dry it is despite the gorgeous summer we are having, moving some furniture and shop equpiment (thanks mom as always – she also picked up the dead bird on the list – almost asked Kris), and some painting projects.  The painting projects are why I need to learn to take more pictures again.  The beginning and the end are so very different I just get a kick out of it all. 

I hope you have all enjoyed the weekend.  I start another fitness class Wednesday so things will continue to get more busy… and I look forward to it!



Maybe just maybe…

September 3, 2009

Maybe just maybe if I start instructing/working out again a couple nights during the week which it seems I will be able to do – thanks girls that are signed up! – I will have more energy to do all the things I need to around the house, in the yard, and on the shop… sigh. 

So as it is Thursday night and I am thinking of the long weekend ahead I should just make a list.  I used to do that all the time and found that I accomplish much more when I can cross something off a list.  Maybe this is just a mental crutch?  Am I alone here?  Anyway, yes the mulch and the window painting are top on the list, but mom also has added scraping and sanding the front steps and potentially staining and painting the side porch to the shop.  How can I protest – I’m a renter.  🙂

What’s on your lists, friends?  Perhaps and maybe hopefully picnics with friends and family, a weekend trip, sleeping in and bloody mary’s and a good movie?  Whatever it may be – ENJOY!  And I will check back in soon with my latest report on (I swear it this time) progress!



August 30, 2009

Should weekends really be filled tight with projects?  I am going to admit it up front.  NO, the windows are not painted and the mulch was not purchased and applied.  BUT it was a beautiful weekend and I did do a couple of things.

AND Jake and Alex came to visit today.  It’s been a while.  I got thumbs up on the shop ceiling and the wall color, and of course had to discuss my vision for the floor.  All good stuff.  And Archie had people for whom to show off his toy chasing talents.  All in all a good weekend.

Thanks to mom and dad for the use of the power tools I have yet to obtain – a screw gun completed the hanging of a hook for my living wreath of bridal veil by the bird bath to the east side of the yard on the fence and another old window in the dressingroom for scarves and beads and such.  Mom and Jen projects.

Not so much in the mood to write, but had to include nephew and niece Jake and Alex … Jake should be checking the blog about now… 🙂

Cardio class starts tomorrow night!  I look forward to instructing again… long weekend next weekend…

enjoy and have a great week


Funky funky weather

August 27, 2009

I continue to be amazed at the weather we have had this summer.  There are always statistics on average rainfall and temp, but how about days in July and August with green grass?!  REALLY green grass. 

I love the fact that my kitchen window has a great view of the backyard.  The window is perfectly centered to see all the way from side to side.  However, now that we have had two days of rain and it is prime weed pulling time I need to do that and get the rest of the mulch down in the beds.  It will be so nice to have everything look clean and tidy.  Perhaps some mums will be purchased too for accent…  Hmmm.

So with that being said – feel free to comment (give me an eyeful) if I do not post by Sunday to say that the deed is done.  Well, there are the windows to finishing painting too, so don’t be too hard on me. 

**Archie looks like a little Holstein… perhaps I can have him “graze” the weeds…**

Enjoy the day!


This one is on the landscaping – sent July 15th…

“My yard continues to evolve, yes.  Next season will be the real reward.  On a level of more instant gratification, my mom had the front of the property landscaped.  There are the three boxwoods I mentioned still against the back fence, but now they are the backdrop for five aqua hosta in a very neat and tidy sea of ivy under the tree.  In front of the side porch are three flowering rose bushes in pink.  I had already told you about the hosta along the foundation and the two other boxwoods to the east of the front porch.  So of course there are other boxwoods in the front of the house to tie our work together with that of Lanagan Landscaping.  For color, purple leaved coral bells and moonbeam coreopsis dress the front of the bed against the boxwoods, and hydrangea blooming in purple and blue tie off the corner of the bed at the front west side.  Happy-returns daylilies (the light yellow not the gold stella de oro ones you see EVERYwhere) are sandwiched between autumn joy sedum along the west foundation back to the chimney and the peonie bush remains behind it.  I have to wonder if the nice gentleman who did the bidding and layout didn’t take some inspiration from the wreath I made for the front door.  It certainly looks like they were created to match.”
Everything ties to everything…
keep believing it

What do they know…

July 29, 2009

I think the crazy girl Karen who sits next to me at work is a better predictor of coming rain based on when her teeth hurt…  the weathermen certainly don’t seem to have it right.  And why does this bother me?  Well, I have been working in the yard and did get the flower bed next to the fence to the west of the backyard filled to satisfaction (for this year anyway), so I don’t want it to die – particularly the daisies, but the worst part of it is taking it from my mother when she comes over.  One of my favorite quotes and it won’t mean nearly as much to any of you out of context as it does to the two of us is “they all like water, jen!”  And so it goes…

A big thanks to dad today for fixing the leaking sillcock on the back of the house – watering source for not only the plants we have planted “out back” but maybe more importantly for the landscaping on the street side which was quite a bit more expensive than the scrubs, polish, and heavy moisturizers (and sometimes band-aids) it takes to repair my nails after a good weekend of work in the yard. 

See separate post on the landscape to the street side…

Dream, friends!  DREAM.

PS. My friend Kristen at work just asked today in the elevator “how do your nails looks that good with all that digging in the yard and all?”  Answer:  one of the things I can say I was “born lucky with”…


In an email to a friend who had been to the house in May, I wrote: “The yard is coming along nicely. I have not continued my project under the tree outside the shop yet, but I have not forgotten it either. I planted bright pink and red geraniums in those chimney tiles back by the garage and truly enjoy the pop of color from my kitchen window. The rock garden is settling in and looking better all the time as the sedum and portacula (moss rose) take hold. The bird bath is in place with iris to surround it. Grasses have been planted along the back fence. And I enjoyed the peonies so much more this spring than I would have ever imagined. At one point I had them in the bathroom, kitchen, and on the coffee table. It was wonderful. I still have some tomatoes and peppers to plant in pots under the kitchen window next to the bench that needs to be scrubbed… and mom just brought back daisies which will be a nice addition along the fence between the iris and the existing lilies and dianthus. Still much work to do in that area though. Bushes are in place along the west lot line where you had only seen the twigs of corkscrew willow. And boxwood are now in front of the fence on the driveway side and to the east of the front porch. It ties things together nicely for a start. Hosta have been transplanted along the foundation on the same side and seem to be rooting quite well. With plants on the porch and a fresh wreath on the front door, I can say I think it looks more and more like the image in my mind all the time.”