Iris

I meant to write this on the first of June.  Typical (of me) that it comes on the first day of July instead.
Iris turned four years old on June first.  FOUR.  How does that happen?  Where does the time go?  Is it shoved-our time- into a giant's pockets?  Bulging seams just about ready to burst- but never ever popping- always always having room for more?  His large hands scoop up our time so quickly we never know that it has gone past, until it has?  Or is it like a movie script being written, where time can jump and zoom and fly from the scriptwriter's typewriter? Or our own personal movies on a life-sized movie screen, our time being edited and deleted, modified and amplified and we watch this movie as it moves by? Some moments being paused, some feel like they are on a loop and others- most others- are on fast forward? Flick flick flick goes the projector, projecting images at breakneck speed.   I am (and have always been) fascinated and horrified by time.  Having children may make you appreciate time, savor time- but it definitely doesn't help slow things down.  Quite the contrary- since the arrival of Iris, time has flown. 

When I was pregnant with Iris, we had no idea what we were going to name her.  No idea.  Every name I brought up, Jamie promptly shot down.  (Although, I will admit- the names I liked really would not have worked.  I liked Ruby and Violet- names that would have made Iris sound more like a Crayola than a kid.) I shot Jamie's names down, because I could.  Everyone had their suggestions- and I mean everyone- family, friends, clients, baristas, strangers, a homeless man- all well intentioned, but no name seemed quite right.  In typical Blue fashion, Iris was due on May 26th, but by the 31st was still not ready to make her debut...but I totally was. So, I took my (midwife approved!) castor oil cocktail and waited for Jamie to get home from work (and for the cocktail to do its work.) When Jamie got home, he asked me if I saw the new flower that had bloomed in the garden- ("There is not a new flower in the garden....") There was a new flower in the garden.  One  June Iris had opened itself up.  One single Iris.  Our Iris.  One sweet, beautiful flower. 

Iris arrived just as daylight broke over the Chicago skyline.  Beautiful sherberty hues of pinks and oranges streaming through our window is the clearest memory I have of my delivery.  Perfect to welcome a baby girl.  She was perfect. (As, I am sure all mothers think their babies are.) My sweet baby girl. 

I have mentioned before that it took me a long time to bond with Ezra- I was totally scared about what we had done.  (There baby is in our back seat! And it is coming home with us!) Avery, on the other hand came out  holding my heart tethered to a string .  (You *will* love me NOW.)  Iris though, Iris just felt so right- like the final piece to a puzzle had clicked into place. 

As wonderful as the completed puzzle seemed- Iris embodied my perfect nightmare.  I am a boy's girl.  A tomboy to the core. From go, she was a girly-girl.  No, she was (is) the girliest of girls.  (As I type this, she is currently wearing a princess crown, 4 Hello Kitty/Frozen bracelets, 1 Frozen pendant necklace, 1 very large ring and just took off her second princess dress of the day. ) My boy-centric world was going to get thrown off-orbit.  If it is gaudy, shiny, sparkly, pink, purple, sequined, princess-y, be-dazzled and/or all of the above mixed together into one iridescent vomitous mass- Iris loves it. It has been this way, I swear- since day one. Nothing is ever frilly or fancy enough. Ever.  Iris owns more purses than I do.  Iris is a master at strutting around in high-heels.  (Don't even ask.) Princess dresses? There are many.  Princess dollies- her faithful companions.  Pink socks, pink sheets, pink shorts- check, check and double check.  If I loathe it, I know she will love it.  But, just between you and me, I don't mind- not really.  We are a funny ying and yang- she and I. 

Iris is the snuggliest of my children.  She wants cuddles every morning, and every night.  (And throughout most of the day.) It is absolutely impossible not to want to hold her.  To smother her in kisses.  And yes, to nibble at her.  Iris is fiercely independent.  If brothers can do it, so can she. Iris can be a force of stubbornness and attitude.  Iris is a competitor.  Iris is generous.  Iris is the most genuine receiver of gifts ("Oh, it is beautiful and absolutely what I have always wanted!") and the most sincere giver of compliments. ("I love your lovely outfit!"!) She lives in the land of faeries- (where we do see eye to eye.) I am often hunting for faerie circles for us to *almost* step into, wild animals to train to help in our faerie work or to weave a crown or two for other obliging park faeries. 

Iris talks with an accent that vaguely sounds of the East Coast.  Boston? Iris, like Avery (and we have no idea why) call foxes Waffles.  (Although Iris has adopted "Waffies" because, of course, it sounds cuter.) Iris loves My Little Pony.  (My favorite of hers is "Toilet Sparkles" because up until very recently she couldn't say Twilight - so we all call her Toilet Sparkles too and now she corrects us.) Iris wants to be a dancer.  She loves to twirl.  (And I suppose it goes without saying, tutus.) Iris loves kitty cats- and although I am not too proud, we have been caught by strangers taking to each other in "meows" at Target. 

Iris loves to swim.  She loves to cook, fold laundry, (I know!) weed with me and my mother in the gardens, look at beautiful flowers at the market and make her own arrangements, draw, pretend, play catch, play pirate (princesses!) or dragon (princesses!) with her brothers...  oh- the list could go on and on.  I could go on and on.  And on.  I marvel at who she is.  I wonder who she will become.  I marvel and wonder at where four years have gone. 

At night, as I feel her breathing slow down in my arms and her sweet, sturdy body go lax - I breathe her in.  All of her.  I consciously think of this one single moment that we are in, she and me- and will it, although it never does- to slow down,  maybe even sometimes for it to stop- because everything is so golden, so perfect, so pink-princess-sparlky, so so good.  And I think, maybe the gods knew something I didn't.  That I needed - I craved this little girl.  And she carved a place out in my heart that belongs solely and exclusively to her, and all of her girlishness.  I wouldn't have it any other way. 

 

If You Build It....

I recently read that, "All authors live in houses other people have built."  This has stuck with me over this last week since I read it. It has popped into my head in the oddest of times- getting the boys lunches ready for school- "All authors live in houses other people have built." wandering through the produce section at our local grocery store- "All authors live in houses other people have built." delivering wedding flowers- "All authors live in houses other people have built." Random. Odd. Then I started thinking about inspiration- and where we draw it from and I don't think that the quote is exclusively true to just authors, but to artists in general.  Or perhaps artistic endeavors in general. These houses, they are words and worlds and images and imaginings (and flowers) and so much more that get a hold of your heart and move you to push forward- to run happily, dizzily, crazily away with something that was planted inside of you- by someone else- and to make it bloom into something else- although (forgive me) its roots were grown somewhere else.  The quote goes on to say that, "They were giants, the men and the women who made the houses we inhabit.  They started with a barren place and they built...always leaving the building unfinished so the people who came by after they were gone could put on another room, [or in the case of the authors...] another story."  Today's house was built by photographer Tim Walker, and man do I love to wander in it. Live in it a bit.  Care to take a tour through some of the rooms he made with me?

Most of these are nature driven- slightly decadent and dreamy and deliciously bizarre-it is a beautiful place to get lost in.  Inspired by. 

Its enough to make you want to build a few more rooms, no?

Quote by my favoritest.

More of Tim Walker's work here



Flower (POWER) House

Once upon a time, quite a while ago- I wrote about these fantastically haunting photos that had been taken of "Feral Houses" in Detroit.  Houses that people had abandoned, and Mother Nature had welcomed back into her arms.  I was fascinated by their their decrepit beauty amidst the wild decay.  I cannot lie, I wanted in one of those houses. I wanted to explore those houses.  I wanted to see- to feel if there were tiny pieces of time left behind-wandering and wondering, whispering what and when and who would ever come back for them.

Fast forward to now.  Someone did come back.  For one. 

Lisa Waud, a florist based in Detroit seemed to have a similar feeling about these houses. And then she had the most amazing, brilliant, beautiful idea.  She decided to buy this house and make this house, the Flower House. 

Lisa (I am going to call her that, like we are good friends, even though she has no idea who I am.) was inspired by artists Cristo and Jeanne-Claude's massive art displays, in particular a flower wrapped Dior show-  (I love this one.) and man, the wheels got to a turnin' and this little (flower) love child came into existence.  She, and a handful of other florists, from around the country are going to fill this house lovingly and intentionally with flowers. Each and every room. I mean, come on, right?  It is too good!  I see this project (this massive, magical project) as an opportunity to thank the house for all it has been, all that it gave and to bring it new life, new love, new beauty- filled completely to the brim.  Then after all of this planning, plotting (and perhaps potting- is that too much?) is done,  Lisa is going to give her house a party that everyone is invited to.  This house that has been lonely for so long will once again be overflowing with all the things a house should hold- laughter, friends, admirers-decoration, conversation, appreciation.  She will have friends there again, and feel loved. 

Each florist (or team) picked a room they wanted to design in.  Now you know, I started daydreaming.  What room would I want?  The kitchen?  The bathroom?  The attic?  (It would be the latter- in case you were wondering.) What would I fill it with?  What story would I want to tell?  How would I want whoever saw it to react? What flowers would I use? Oh, these are good good daydreams. (And yes, damnit! I wish I would have known about it earlier...I would have begged to be a part of this. Maybe I still will.  I have very little shame.)

Flower House visitors can celebrate with her, (the house) and with them (all the amazing participants) the weekend of October 16th-18th.  These images are from a sneak-peak, a preview, a taste of what is to come.  There were 40,000 American flowers used for the preview, and in October- the number will rise to 100, 000.  (!)

And then, when all of her visitors have left, and her flowers are taken down- Flower House herself will be taken down.  Lisa has partnered with Reclaim Detroit, a non-profit group who will be responsibly deconstructing the house- and then re-purposing as much of the materials as possible.  And then the land where she stood will become...a flower farm. 

I know! Damnit! I am so in love with this project.  It makes my heart beat just a little bit faster.  I am in awe of what people dream of.  Create.  Thank you Lisa- for dreaming and daring.  For thinking so outside of the (flower) box.  I can't wait to see where this grows.

All of the images in this post were photographed by Heather Saunders Photography.  (Thank you.)

You can support Flower House here.  

And tell me, honestly- that this doesn't absolutely capture your heart. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We(e) Wonder(s)

If I was Iris' age, this would be the living end for me- for real.  Do you think I could/should still get it for myself? 

 

I would love to live in a toadstool home.  Oh the fun.  All faeries and magical unicorns welcome! No dirty dishes allowed. 

(Mushie house available here.)

Time, Flies

I cannot even believe this was one year ago.  ONE YEAR! Damn.  Happy first anniversary of ever so many more Mr. Doctor & Mrs. Doctor.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your day.

Photo by Colin Lyons Photography.

1 of 31

It's October first.  October.  However did you get here?  It isn't that I am sad to see you ... noooo ... far from that.  It is just I think I am surprised is all.  Wasn't it just April?

I guess I should have been a little more attuned to your arrival,  signs and signals here and there.  The scent in the air has been so much more crisp - lightly riddled with smoke and damp and decay.  The leaves have been skittering their way across the streets, like little mice in a never ending game of chase - with the ever-willing wind always deemed as "it".   The sound on the sidewalk has changed from a constant rhythmic thumping to a staccato crunch crunch crunchity crunch as leaves  are exuberantly trampled upon.  Darkness is greeting us each evening earlier and earlier still. The talk in our home has increasingly, heatedly, magically been swirling around  dreams of apple picking,  pumpkin hunting,  costume making.

October, you snuck up on me.  I wasn't even expecting you.  What a treat.  Say you'll stay- for a spell ... okay?

My Time at Floret Part One (I hope you are ready for flower overload...)

August 19th was one of the best days of my life.  One of the best days of my life.  How often do you get to say that?  I mean, really? This day was that special.  That precious.  It was a dream of a day that I could actually touch and smell and feel and wrap my arms around and hold on to ... ever so tightly.  And drink in.  And savor.  And enjoy.  And remember.  Always. 

Floret 1.jpg

We arrived - the 16 of us - to a farm that was carved out of a storybook.  A beautiful barn that was already filled with heaps of flowers -  and just waiting for us to further fill it with laughter and learning and each others love of flowers.   After getting to know one another a bit and breakfast, we drove over to Erin's fields and ....

Oh, yesssssss.

I could feel the Cheshire grin grow.  And grow - in this amazing, ridiculously glorious field that I know I have visited more than once in my dreams- I was HERE,  firmly standing crazy girl grin and all,  in awe.  In reverence.  Then she let us loose.  Erin told us to cut.  To cut everything we wanted and then when we felt truly sated and wholly gluttonous - to cut some more.   

My snips, and my goof ball grin and I ... I * think * we just wandered around for a spell.  Revering and reveling and touching each and every dahlia I passed.   Telling myself  and the flowers with absolution that I was here.  Now.  And that I was going to enjoy every bud.  Every bloom.  Every little moment that I had daydreamed and night-dreamed and all of the in-between-dreamed.  Yes - I was really here. 

When I couldn't stand it any longer... I cut my first flower.  And before I knew it, I had a bucket full. 

Not quite a truck full.

But close!

We picked and plucked and packed our buckets so completely, wonderfully full -  then we went back for more.

(Its perfect, the soil ... in case you were wondering.)

The barn already had a bounty of flowers in it ... before we went to the fields.  But after?  Oh the after - I would have rolled in them all if I could. Eaten them. Devoured every bucket upon bucket upon overflowing flower filled bucket. I loved looking at what everyone else cut- their palettes, their preferred colors, varieties they favored - the riot of color and texture we created was in its own right - perfect. 

We took a break for a leisurely lunch.  We laid on the front lawn on vintage quilts and cloths - sharing our favorite parts of the day that had already happened - anticipating what was yet to come.

In the afternoon we watched as Erin demonstrated how to make large scale arrangements.  Now, I should probably share ... I have a HUGE (massive) girl crush on Erin.  (Is that the type of thing you share?) I think she is just - amazing- in a word.  And I can tell you honestly- I cannot even think of a single time in my life where I have been more awe struck and motivated by someones drive and passion and beauty and ambition and openness and willingness to share and teach.  On my end, it was love at first sight. (In a weak moment, I might tell you I completely teared up and sort of lost it when I snuck away from the group to meet her and to privately thank her for having me.  To see her eyes look down and see my name tag- and put my face with my name and to see her smile a "here you are" smile ... yeahhhh ... totally lost it ... but I am not having one of those moments, so I'm not going to share that bit.)

Then, we made our own. We took pictures.  We learned.  We taught.  We played.

And then, then before we knew it, we had arrived at the end of our first day together.  Physically exhausted, emotionally blissed out I returned to the hotel to reflect on the day, and to dream about what tomorrow was going to bring.   (I don't think I slept a wink.)

066.JPG

Randomness With a Dash of Movie

 In "You've Got Mail" Meg Ryan tells Tom Hanks she thinks daisies are the friendliest flower.  I totally disagree.  I think zinnias are the friendliest flower.  Look at that face.  "Hi."  Not too fussy, not too fancy- probably knows how to have a lot of fun.  Never takes herself too seriously.  Can wear just about any color.  My kind of friend. Flower.  You know. 

Man, I have been working with pink a lot lately - which is odd because it is a color I am rarely friendly with.  Give me green or brown or black any day.  Dark colors...saturated colors.  Every now and again my girly side comes out- what am I to do?  Embrace it. 

Besides, on an August day that has been hovering around 60 degrees, a little warmth isn't a bad thing.

Garden roses and the sweetest weest little snapdragons, rice flower and stock are in the mix as well as scabiosa and scabiosa pods. 

Speaking of which, aren't those scabiosa delicious?  Whoever named this flower though,  should be slapped.  I mean, really. It sounds like a condition you can't get rid of.  ("Don't tell anyone, but I have scabiosa.")   I was meeting with a wedding planner the other day and we were talking about scabiosa.  And she mentioned that every time she hears scabiosa she thinks of Hermione Granger and "Wingardium Leviosa" so of course we start saying it to each other, back and forth for a spell... (haha) You know like this.  "Scab - eee - oh - sahhhhh"  It's the little things, you know?

Boys in the Urban Bayou

A ways back now ... I was asked to be a part of a photo shoot with the theme, "The Boys in the Urban Bayou".  I was so excited.  And yesterday it was featured on Wedding Chicks! The idea...swamp-chic.  Odd choice for a wedding theme?  Not in the least.

Now, Rob & Jay (ahem, Sean & Andrew...) are a real couple- and can I tell you, the love that share for each other - and that their friends who we invited as guests share with them, for them, EVERYONE could feel the excitement.  The joy.  So much love.  It was palpable.  

bayou shoot 27.jpg

What would any wedding reception be without a band to dance to?  We had the band Gussied play (for all of us!) and they were perfect.  Twirling hankies and all!

And dessert? Oh yeahhhhh.  There was dessert.  (Crocqembouche! Cookies! Caramels! Heaven!)

It was a truly special day.  I was so honored to be a part of it.  One last little detail - Amelia Street Studio- the beauties & the brains behind this little love child put together this video to celebrate the day.  To celebrate love. 

A Huge thank you to all of the vendors who invited me to come along...and who made this day so much fun!   Amelia Street Studio, A Splendid Occasion, Matushek Photography, Gussied, Caroline Magnuson Sweets,  Marthette Vintage RentalVintage Place Settings, Prestige Wedding Decoration,   Nika Vaughan Bridal Artists, Officiant  Kate Miller and a special thank you to Jeffrey Epstein of The Chicago Portfolio School the loft space was perfect.

A Dream of a Dream

I did something.  Something that I was so afraid to do...but even more afraid not to do. I entered myself, and my flowers into a - well, not  a contest ... that isn't the right word - but into a dream.  A dream of a dream.  Into a place where a scholarship was being awarded to attend a flower workshop at Floret Flower Farm. (I know, right?!)   I only told Jamie about it.  This was something so special and so dear to my heart, that I was afraid if I told anyone else what I was doing, it might not be real at all,  and that it would never - could never come true.

Becca & the Blooms edit.jpg

And then,  the most amazingly unbelievable thing happened.  I got an email from Erin - from Floret.  To me !  I got an email with the words saying the scholarship was mine.  Mine?  Mine?! ( Oh shit! I really am dreaming! )  When I told Jamie, he totally thought I was talking in my sleep. And ... I don't even know what to say .... I have typed and erased over a dozen sentences now..... I do know this:  I am so honored.  So excited.  So grateful. So humbled.  I promise to be worthy of the gift Erin has given me. I promise to kiss every single flower in that field.  I promise to take more pictures than we ever thought possible so its like you are there too ...  sharing this dream.