Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things I Love: Wearable By Design

Have a look at Wearable By Design, stunning silver handmade jewelry by Jennifer Smith-Righter of Redwood City, California. Jenn's designs have long been a favorite of mine. She has the most beautiful organic creations juxtaposed with the beauty of mechanical objects. Some of her designs are mind-blowingly intricate.

Jenn was also kind enough to contribute to my holiday cookie recipe collection on my food blog, All Up in My Kitchen. Please check out her favorite cookie recipe for Cream Wafers.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Walk in the Park: "The Fen"

This morning, Maizy and I took a walk across the street to the nature preserve. Small by most standards, The Fen sprawls on for acres and is surprisingly vast when you start to trek through it. A place where natural mineral springs bubble up from under the earth at random points among the soft rolling hills and valleys. Where the sky is wide open and the prairie grass stands six feet tall.

And it's all in my back yard! A short walk past town homes, condo buildings and the water filtration plant lies this beautiful, peaceful, untouched native prairie. Yes, I said prairie. This is Illinois after all.
(please click on the pictures below for a closer look)

Maizy and I walked along a short paved path surrounded by trees, winding through the park up to the entrance to the nature preserve. Although we couldn't go down into the valley of the preserve because dogs are not allowed there ( I will leave that for another day by myself), we were able to walk the path around the perimeter, meeting several other dogs and their owners along the way. The view is magnificent!

It was perfect weather with nothing but big blue sky, a good breeze, and temps in high fifties. Normally, I would consider that a chilly morning, but the sun shining on our faces and the brisk walk was more than enough to warm us. Maizy, only a mere eight inches tall or so, had to stay close behind my feet at times so as not to get lost in the tall grass. But she had a blast furiously chasing down every fallen leaf that blew past.

This area is part of a network of nature preserves that Illinois has designated as natural, native prairie land. The program hopes to save these areas in their perfect and natural prairie state, just as it would have been hundreds of years ago. The soft, rolling hills sway with six foot high grass, cat tails, and bubbling streams.

I'm fortunate to live so close to this prize while still considering myself a city girl. I just hope the weather stays nice a bit longer so we can enjoy more hikes like today. And I just really wanted to share it with all of you!


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