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  • Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint,
    and the soil and sky as canvas.
  • How Flowers Can Effect Mood


    gerbera daisy bouquet sad

    I always find that some time in my garden with my flowers can do a lot for my mood, and I wonder if any of you have the opportunity to experience this. While I was thumbing through my recent shots, I found several that evoked very specific feelings in me, so I thought I’d do a little social experiment, if you will.

    Over the next few days I’ll post my photos and you tell me how you feel when you’re looking at them. I’d like to know if it’s a momentary change or if you feel like you’ll carry this new feeling with you, even for a little while.

    Note: No daisies were killed in the shooting of this photo.

    Cat Portrait : Callie Final Scan & Details


    custom cat portrait calico oil painting fine art leanne wildermuth

    Custom Portrait of Callie
    6? x 6? Oil Painting
    1-1/2? Profile Gallery Wrapped Canvas
    © 2008 Leanne Wildermuth
    All Rights Reserved

    Portfolio View

    Original Photo —————————-> Custom Portrait (Oil Painting)

    I don’t usually post the original photo – but I just happened to have the photo open while I was cropping and resizing the scan of Callie’s portrait. I thought you’d like to see the “before and after” for this painting, too, because it made me stop and really look and compare them side by side – and then I just whispered “Thank You” to God, because without Him, I wouldn’t be able to do this.

    Dear Hillary Clinton,


    hillary clinton campaign solicitation envelope USW logo There are two things I really, really don’t like. One is talking politics on my blog, and the other is dirty politicians. I’ll go ahead and address them both, just for you, Hillary.

    I received your solicitation for funds in the mail today, and my first urge was to write “return to sender” and put it back in the mail. Nothing better than letting you pay for postage, twice, I say – especially when you’re soliciting campaign funds from a registered Republican. How broke are you, really, to send a mass mailing to people who are not even registered voters in your party, let alone living in the states you desperately need to win in order to be nominated, just to keep from drowning in the ocean you’re flailing your arms around in? I wonder.

    I also wonder, Hillary, why there is a USW (United Steelworkers) logo in the bottom right corner of this envelope, when their very own website claims that they endorse Senator Obama. That has me curious, Hillary, I’d love to hear an explanation about that.

    hillary clinton campaign funds solicitation So here’s the content of this lovely solicitation for campaign funds that I received from you today:

    (Paid for by Hillary Clinton for President)

    “Dear Leanne,

    After 46 contests and over 28 million votes being cast, we are in a neck-and-neck race with Senator Obama. Following a great victory in Pennsylvania, where we were outspent 5-to-1, we head into the final 6 weeks of the nominating process with great momentum — a momentum on which we need to keep building.

    This month we face critical tests in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon. I need you to join our campaign today because this race is so close that the decision you make could be the difference between winning and losing. Can I count on you to help by rushing a gift of $100 or even $50 so that our campaign will have the resources needed to succeed?

    Leanne, I promise you that as long as I have your support, as long as you are fighting by my side, I will work as hard as I can to win. We will keep fighting because America is worth fighting for.

    With your support today, we can show them once again that we’re in this to win. Thank you in advance for joining our campaign.”

    —end of letter.

    Um. Hillary, let me just point out a few things since you’re obviously completely unaware. You’ve only managed to secure 19 states. That’s 29 states going to “them”. That’s “neck-and-neck”? You are 308 delegate votes away, Obama is only 121. You are 187 votes and 29 states BEHIND Obama. That’s not “neck-and-neck” in the eyes of many Americans, Hillary, Obama is the obvious choice for the Democratic party.

    Does that not say something to you, that a majority of your party wants “the other guy”? Or is that why you’re soliciting Republicans now?

    Second, why on earth would you think soliciting a Republican is a wise choice? Obviously where I stand on issues is totally different, otherwise I’d be a member of the Democratic party. Why would you think that you have a remote chance of becoming more than junk mail in my household?

    Third, you’re obviously more clueless than you seem on TV. If you’re so in tune with the middle class, what the he-double-toothpicks makes you think I have a spare $100 lying around to throw your way? Seriously? OMG, d’oh, and double d’oh.

    Fourth, this one is the kicker for me, “we can show them once again that we’re in this to win”. Who’s “them”, Hillary? Yeah, that’s what bullies do, they’re gonna show them who’s boss. And guess what? Even if you win the nomination for your party, you still won’t win my vote. I don’t buy into what you’re trying to sell this Country, and as a military wife, I think that should speak volumes.

    Last but certainly not least, I live in Illinois. You already lost here. Take me off your mailing list.

    How My Garden Grows


    iris bud blooming purple flower macro

    My irises have almost unfurled, and there’s already a very strong smell of grapes coming from them. I would, if I could, create and patent an iris scented nose insert. This would be especially good if you have smelly neighbors, or just spend a lot of time around smelly people. Simply put the iris scented nose inserts up into each nostril and voila! You smell grapes, and all the world is right again.

    I have a lot of irises this year. I even planted one that is supposed to look like a Baboon’s butt Bottom. I know it sounds a little demented, but I’m kinda excited to see that one, kwim? People are strange. Myself included.

    gerbera daisy macro flower photo leanne wildermuth

    My gerber/gerbera daisies are lover-ly. I have several in a planter that my hubby made for me, it’s my daisy planter box. People actually slow down when they drive past my house to look at the pretty flowers. I always flip them my green thumb when they do that, I’m such a show off.

    This is how my planter looks this year:

    gerber gerbera daisy planter

    They’re really sissy flowers, and require a lot of attention and babying – but they’re worth it. Now for the good stuff. I mean the REALLY good stuff. The stuff that’s going to prove that my thumb probably isn’t as green as I’d like to think!

    vegetable garden leanne wildermuth

    This is my vegetable garden. Hubby dug it up, it’s 12′ x 12′. He reeeealy wanted a veggie garden this year so I’m going to do my best. I’ve planted broccoli, cauliflower, beets, bush beans, green peppers and two half rows of spinach. We also have (off to the side against the fence) roma tomatoes and cucumber. Now, I have to tell you, I kill food. I kill it dead, and fast.

    It’s been one week and one day since I planted stuff and things are still standing up and green.

    (Pausing for applause.)

    I am hoping, if all goes well, to be eaten alive by garden bugs and sweat like a farmer woman pulling weeds by mid summer. Why on earth is this something that a girl would aspire to, anyway? All this just for a fresh head of broccoli? Maybe what I really aspire to is to be clubbed over the head and dragged away by my really long hair by a cave man. Or a military man. (There, honey, now you qualify.)

    Any gardeny advice for a newbie? Please? Tips, tricks or sprays that I should use? Special gloves? Bandanas? Ponytail holders? Knee pads? Grub identification manuals? Anything?

    Okay, well, you think about it and I’ll get back to work over here. I’ve got blog designing to do. And paintings to ship, and jeez – a whole bunch of stuff on my to-do list! (Crack that whip!)

    Live! Bird Paintings on Cam


    Working on Kiwi and Boo’s underpaintings today, if you’d like to tune in I’ve just set up my studio cam.

    The cam is top right in my sidebar. :)

    UPDATED 5:09PM CST: All finished with today’s painting session – taking the cam offline now. Thanks for watching!

    Cat Portrait : Callie WIP #2


    Calico portrait oil painting in progress

    Callie’s second portrait is coming along, as well. Her eyes will be further refined and pick up more of the gold from the background, layers of fur will give her depth on the canvas and her whiskers will come forward a bit and really give you that feeling that she’s got her head propped right beside you.

    Live! Painting on Cam


    I’m starting out with Callie’s underpainting, then I’ll be working on Morris and Simba.

    If time permits, I’ll also work in the underpaintings for Boo and Kiwi.

    You can view my Live Studio Cam top right in my sidebar.

    UPDATE 4:11PM CST: I’ve just finished for the day, I’ll post work in progress photos in a bit. Thanks for tuning in!

    Mothering Moments


    kids on swingset
    The weekend was filled with those moments in motherhood you never forget. Friday afternoon Catybug “sprung” at me after school in excitement that she wanted two friends to come over. With a sigh and an eyeroll, I agreed. The inconvenienced, hates last minute plans mother in me was thinking “that new Wii ought to entertain everyone” (I really do try to avoid Drama! wherever possible.) Deep down, though, what I was really thinking was “I never got to do this when I was a kid. Say yes.” And I loaded up the car with children and we headed home.

    There was giggling and talking and more talking, as you can imagine. They played the Wii, and I escaped out the back door to get up close and personal with far too many dandelions. Of course it didn’t take long before Chickeymonkey came outside to me crying that they weren’t taking turns, so I enlisted her eagle eyes for dandelion detection and she was a happy girl.

    Just as I finished placing the pizza order (because that’s what you do, when you’re a cool mom), another of Catybug’s girlfriends stopped over on her bike. I went into “holy crap that’s a lot of kids” mode again, but it quickly dissipated and I welcomed her in. They decided to play outside, together. I sat down at the dining room table and began cutting lily pads (placemats for our Church’s mother daughter banquet) and waiting for the pizza to arrive. It was quiet in the house, and I could hear the girls all giggling and talking outside, and I watched them playing in the yard from the dining room.

    The mommy moment kicked in when they all moved to the playset. Two on the swing, two on the glider rocker, and one in the clubhouse. All of them smiling and carrying on. A sweet smile evolved on my face and tears welled up in my eyes. This is it, I thought. This is what it’s all about. I wish I had this when I was a kid, all of my friends over playing on the swingset.

    I wondered if the girls knew how precious that moment was, if they knew that they’ll be glad to have that memory when they’re adults, or when they’re lonely, missing their friends, feeling like they don’t have any, or are just having a sad day.

    At that moment, I grabbed my camera and opted to capture that moment for them and for me. I admit, I felt accomplished. I felt like I had succeeded in Motherhood and I may have even put on a little awards ceremony in my head, just for me. (And I was also in the audience, cheering myself on.)

    pizza night
    The pizza arrived and the girls all clamored into the family room around the super cool Ikea kids’ table to eat and watch TV. They gobbled up a full pizza in a matter of minutes, and of course no girly gathering would be complete without some soda spillage. I went from cool mom to maid in a matter of seconds as I went over the floor half a dozen times to get rid of the “sticky” (hate soda. HATE.)

    Within a few hours (and a lot of yawning on my part, since last week was not a good week for sleeping through the night at my house), the girls parents had arrived, they departed and my girls were left with sad faces because their friends were gone. It was a late night for them, and we had an early morning ahead of us as our Church’s mother daughter banquet was scheduled for 10am Saturday and being on the committee meant I had lots of stuff to do to prepare, and had to arrive early.

    There were over 100 women in attendance. 100 place settings at 15 tables. The theme was “puddles of fun” and the tables were set up like a pond, with lily pads under each place setting of food, that consisted of a cored and sliced apple opened for the lotus, a scoop of either chicken or tuna salad in the center with a gummy frog on top, all surrounded by fruit and set on a large lettuce leaf. Dessert was blue pudding with smashed nilla wafers and a frog – and the centerpiece (my Saturday morning task) was 2 fish in a fishbowl on top of a lotus and lily pad. Some of the place mats were froggy tic-tac-toe pads, and all the kids had fun and stayed entertained with those.

    One lucky person had a fish drawn (by me) on their cup, indicating the winner of the centerpiece fishies. Everyone had a fun time and only one fish bowl was left unclaimed – they now reside here with our bird, guinea pig, rabbit and dog. I don’t expect their lifespan will be a long one, I tend to kill goldfish pretty quickly. I’ll keep you updated and you’ll all be invited to the stool-side ceremonies when the time comes.

    The speaker talked about women. The changes in what society thinks “beautiful” looks like over the course of centuries. How sloped foreheads were “in”, corsets, shaved eyebrows, boyish rectangular figures, and long necks. How today, we feel the pressure to be beautiful in the way society has deemed what beautiful is for this period. She said we need to remember that we are all beautiful, because we look like what we look like. And that we are God’s perfect creation. It’s so true, and so easy to forget, isn’t it? We were all made exactly how we were meant to be, and I don’t know many people who are happy about that when they look in the mirror. We do need to remember that we are what we are, and honor that.

    She went on to talk about the passage to womanhood. She told a story about how when she was young, she heard her mothers razor calling out to her from the shower – and went in and proceeded to shave her legs for the first time. If she had only known that she would have to continue to do that for the rest of her life, maybe she would have waited!

    She talked about her first purse, and other “firsts” that made her feel that she was earning her way to womanhood. Catybug and I giggled over many of her stories, because she has already come into some of those things – particularly the shaving – and the blood and skin loss – and she could really relate. Chickeymonkey, the lucky one, is still little. If I could just *keep* her little … I imagine that three hormonally challenged girls in one 1400 square foot space isn’t always going to be pleasant.

    Thinking back to when you were a young girl – when did you feel like you were more of a “grown up”? What moment did you think “NOW I’m a big, like mom.”

    And also? You are beautiful. You. ARE. Beautiful.

    Tax Time!


    President and Mrs. George W. Bush reported taxable income of $719,274 for the tax year 2007 and paid $221,635 in federal income taxes, the White House said Friday. That’s nearly 31%.

    Vice President Cheney and his wife earned $2,528,068, the White House said, and owe taxes of $602,651. That’s about 24%.


    My taxes? 11% of our taxable income.

    If you’d like to figure out your percentage of tax, divide your “total tax” (line 63 on your 1040) into your Taxable income (line 43 on your 1040).

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