Friday, February 28, 2014

Frosty Morn

"It is the life of the crystal,
the architect of the flake,
the fire of the frost, 
the soul of the sunbeam.
This crisp winter air is full of it."
                                                          --John Burroughs, "Winter Sunshine"

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Coming Soon

Although the seven-day forecast includes snow and mostly single-digit high temperatures for these parts of Iowa, I felt compelled to brighten the outlook with some beautiful blooms.  These large, lavendar clematis petals are as delicate as they are gorgeous and will soon adorn our gardens.  So, while Mother Nature keeps us in the deepfreeze, may this cheery image warm your heart.

"Cheerfulness is the very flower of health."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Imagination Gone Wild

Wow!  What a pop of color and burst of energy to help wipe away any winter blues.  And, in case you are wondering, this is my favorite yellow flower (borrowed from a birdhouse) added to a photo of antlers that experienced a not-so-subtle color change.  Sometimes the bizarre paired with something simple and bold is a great combo.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Overhead at the Fair

Ahhhh....a blue sky and warm sunshine.  Well, that is what we Iowans expect in August during the Iowa State Fair.  I captured these images during an early, Sunday-morning visit to the fairgrounds when the throngs of fairgoers had not yet arrived for the day and motorized carts, tractors and other vehicles weren't buzzing about the already crowded streets.  If you haven't attended this annual Iowa showcase, start planning now for a trip to Des Moines where you are guaranteed to find most any type of your favorite food fried and presented on a stick -- even butter!  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Window Reflection

On a warm, spring day I took this picture in the warehouse district in downtown Dubuque, Iowa.  As you can see, the ivy that covers much of the old brick building is just turning green while the name of the newest tenant is partially in view -- Matter Creative Center.  If you enjoy the arts and would like to take a painting class, enroll your kids in pottery painting or spend time in the building lab using some of the hundreds of pounds of LEGO pieces, then I suggest you check out all the unique opportunities this place offers.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bait & Switch

Recently Mother Nature gave us two days of above-freezing temperatures along with sun and a blue sky!  How delightful! But now back to reality as winter is set to deliver more of the fluffy white stuff and blow it around with very strong winds --ugh!  Anyway, since I was thrilled with the gorgeous, "warm" days we all enjoyed, I decided to share this photo that offers a glimpse of warmer weather just around the bend.  However, this morning I heard a meteorologist mention something about another polar vortex...won't be putting my parka and boots away anytime soon. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Man's Best Friend

"Dogs are our link to paradise.
They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is
to be back in Eden, where doing nothing
was not boring -- it was peace."
                                                                          --Milan Kundera

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Snow Walkers

"...The snow is a great tell-tale, and blabs as
effectively as it obliterates.
I go into the woods, 
and know all that has happened.
I cross the fields, and if only a mouse has
visited his neighbor, the fact is chronicled."
                                              --John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Looking For Something?

According to folks who frequent junkyards, all the stuff seen in this photo can be reused.  Really??? Since I don't recognize most of it, that is probably why I have no idea about recycling any of these items.  But, truly, I hope even half of it can be repurposed and make its way out of this junker's domain.

Monday, February 17, 2014

President's Day

In honor of this day, I posted two iconic images associated with Washington, D.C.  The first is the marble statue of Lincoln as it sits in the monument built to honor the 16th President of the USA.  Next is a view from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking in the direction of the National Mall with views of the Reflecting Pool, World War II Memorial, Washington Monument and, beyond that soaring structure, a portion of the US Capitol.  A place so unique and rich in history that I hope you have the opportunity to visit.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

"For it was not into my ear you whispered,
but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed,
but my soul."
                                 --Judy Garland

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Winter Persists

"Winter is on my head,
but eternal spring is in my heart."
                                                                                --Victor Hugo

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Charming in the Garden

"Let us be grateful to people
who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom."
                                            --Marcel Proust

Monday, February 10, 2014

Old Faithful Yellow

Old Faithful Yellow by Stephanie Funke
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
  The next best time is now."
                                                                   --Chinese Proverb

Friday, February 7, 2014

Super Shoes: On Safari

On Safari by Stephanie Funke
After viewing all five of these glamorous, make-a-statement shoes, do you have a favorite?  Although I like all of them, Reject (posted Monday) and the one featured above top my list.  The bold black and white stripes along with the animal print and bright yellow accents easily capture the attention of anyone nearby. 

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you
 something else  is the greatest accomplishment"
                                                              --Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Super Shoes: Pumped

Pumped by Stephanie Funke

What comes to mind when you see this image?  A lot of folks have commented on the height of the heel as well as the tattooed birds soaring on the model's foot.  Interestingly, the woman to whom these shoes belong noted that these were her New Year's Eve party pumps.  She also went on to explain that the three birds represent her at her 30th birthday, her husband and their daughter -- bold statements of self-expression without uttering a word.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Super Shoes: Popsicle

Popsicle by Stephanie Funke

After seeing this image, the title should speak for itself.  When I was in the process of photographing all these funky high heels, it was summer with very warm temperatures.  So, I guess it is not surprising that upon first seeing this particular colorful shoe, I remember immediately thinking of those drippy, sweet-tasting orange and blue and purple popsicles that we loved to get on a hot afternoon at the swimming pool.  And, from what I know, kids of all ages still enjoy them! 

Anyway, take note of the model's painted nails as she had just returned from a trip to Mexico and was a bit ashamed of how poorly she thought her toenails looked.  Well, I told her not worry as they would be black and white while only the shoe color was highlighted; however, when I saw how well the colors matched the shoe, I couldn't resist including that little detail -- an extra tidbit that seems to say, "This girl just wants to have fun!"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Super Shoes: Gold Digger

Gold Digger by Stephanie Funke
Wow!  As noted yesterday, these shoes will jump out at you...but that is also
part of what makes them so interesting.  Since we in small-town Iowa don't often see these unique samples of fancy footwear, I thought it would be fun to devote the entire week to sharing these funky creations with all of you.  Look for another one tomorrow! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Shoes: A Week of Glam

Reject by Stephanie Funke
Each day this week I will feature fashionable footwear that is sure to catch your eye.  For example, this high-heeled strappy sandal in blue, green and yellow is a unique shoe that captures your attention and, if you are a female, probably elicits some thoughts about whether or not you would ever consider buying the shoe and how well you could walk in it!  Be sure to check in tomorrow for another interesting look at footwear for women.