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  • Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.
  • Life, Love, and Critters – of course!

    A Copperlicious Birthday


    Today, we celebrate the one year birthday (that’s 7 in dog years) of our Chiapoo, Copper. He joined our family last February, his little nose was smaller than a dime back then. My sweet little Chickeymonkey claimed him one Sunday afternoon while we were at our local garden and pet center. Her big eyes filled with tears, she had to have him, and Daddy wasn’t going to leave that store with our little monkey looking so pitiful.

    He’s spent the last several months napping. I think he’s nocturnal, but when I go to check on him in the middle of the night, he’s still sleeping. If he’s not sleeping, he’s our own personal little Roomba, with his nose to the floor and his tongue at the ready.

    This, this is our beloved little lap dog. He melded perfectly into our family, and he’s irresistible to boot.

    Chickeymonkey and her dog, Copper a girl and her dog photography by Leanne Wildermuth

    This is how Copper and his mom get along. They have a play or I’ll kiss you silly kind of relationship, which keeps her giggling, and keeps him active. He is a blur of fur, when he’s with her.

    Chickeymonkey wished her pup a Happy Birthday as soon as her eyes opened this morning, as he slept on her lap through the night last night.

    She gave him his first present, a purple fuzzy tug toy, which he really didn’t pay much attention to. I think he knew what was coming…

    You betchya. The bone. The BACON bone. MmmMMmm….. he quickly got to work.

    Gimme the bone back. Gimme the bone back. Gimme the bone back.

    Please gimme the bone back. Please gimme the bone back. Please. Please? Pleeeease?

    Aaaaah. A little prince and his bone. Happy Birthday, Copperhead.

    Guys & Gals Lee Jeans Giveaway!


    Leanne modeling Lee Jeans.  I'm no model, however, sorry to disappoint.If you could just hold off on the laughter for a moment (yes, I can hear you way over here), I’ll explain why I’m sharing this ridiculous photo of me modeling a pair of Lee Jeans that I have photoshopped SO much you would NEVER be able to pick me out in a crowd. (haha. I kid. No, I don’t kid about the thinify tool, but about most other things, I kid.)

    Hahaha! Okay stop laughing, I said.

    Last year, I lost a whopping 20’ish pounds strictly eating core foods from the WW core food list. Of course, in standard girly girl fashion, I went shopping. I tried on a pair of Lee Jeans. I loved ’em. I even wrote about them.

    Fast forward to this year. It’s jean season again, and I’m just a smidge frustrated that uh, well, my jeans from last fall don’t fit so good.

    I would say that’s cool, cause I get to go shopping again, but honestly? I’d rather save my money for a personal trainer and a fridge full of core food.

    Heaven must have heard that.

    I woke up one morning to an e-mail with an offer to try out a pair of Lee Jeans. All I needed to do was pick out a style and a size. Seriously? How often does this happen? Not often enough, I say! Here’s the cool thing – now it can happen to you!

    I’ve been given 10 pair – yes TEN PAIR of jeans to give away. The style I chose is a little hip because I wanted to try something different. The wrap waist, button pockets and low rise might not suit everyone, but I really dig them. The style I’m wearing is “Cristina” if you’re out and about and want to pick them up.

    In an effort to be a little more conservative with the jeans I chose to put up for grabs, however, I’ve selected a more traditional style for ten lucky winners:

    Lee one true fit jeans
    The One True Fit premium bootcut comes in four different washes: Union Blue, Blackdigo, Shadow Blue, and Galaxy blue. Union and Blackdigo are darker and Shadow and Galaxy are more of what you think of when you think “blue jeans.” These are available in sizes from 2-16, short, medium or long. The plus size scale ranges from 16w to 26w, available in short or medium. For this jean, there is also a petite scale from 2-16.


    Lee Jeans is happy to accommodate the guys, as well. Here are the jeans that you boys will get if you should be drawn as a winner:

    Lee’s custom fit for men – relaxed seat & thigh, straight leg jean. Colors available are Medium Stone (denim color), Vintage Dark, and Shadow (black).

    These are the jeans I’ve chosen for ten of you.

    Want to enter to win a pair? Leave a comment. Want to increase your chances? Here are a few ways to do that:

    1. One extra entry: Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or via RSS. (if you’re already subscribed, THANK YOU! You will need to choose another method to earn extra entries.)
    2. One extra entry: Share it on twitter, facebook or another social networking site. (leaving comments on other blogs is great, but will not result in additional entries.)
    3. Two extra entries: Mention it on your blog and link back here.

    Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry, as I’ll draw using random numbers from comments.

    Drawing will be held December 1st. Good luck!!

    Handmade Gift Exchange


    handmade Christmas gift exchange intricateart.comThis year, in an effort to encourage creating and purchasing Handmade gifts, I’ve decided to host a Handmade Christmas Gift Exchange.

    Over the years, I’ve made and received many beautiful, unique gifts around Christmas. From ornaments to framed needleworks, I have always been extraordinarily touched by the thoughtfulness and time that goes into a personal, handcrafted gift. I encourage you this year to be personal with your gift giving. If it’s coming from the heart, make it with your hands – whenever possible.

    If you choose to participate, I will ask you for three things. Your favorite color, your favorite textile (this includes all fiber based products including canvas, papers and fabrics), and your favorite season. This will help me partner you with someone, as well as help that person send you a gift that you will treasure.

    Would you like to join in? Here are the guidelines:

    • Gifts should be handmade by you, or a handmade item can be purchased on Etsy or purchased at a craft fair, as long as you’re certain the item is handmade. Maximum gift/supply cost should be $20, not including shipping.
    • Leave a comment that you would like to participate no later than November 30th.
    • Plan to ship gifts no later than December 14, this gives you two weeks to create or purchase a handmade item.

    Note: You do NOT need to have a blog or live in the US to join in.

    I will accept participants through November 30th, then match people together and send everyone their partners information by December 5th.

    That’s it! Please feel free to grab my badge and put it on your blog, the more the merrier!!

    Sn…oh no. I’m not ready.


    first snow november 7 2008 quad cities il

    Do you see what I see? Snow. It’s been snowing today. I know, I know. It’s snowed up north, it’s snowed down south. It’s even snowed out east already. For us here in the Quad Cities, this is our first snow of the season. I think this officially marks the beginning of the winter season across the country.

    Snow, people.

    My schedule for the Christmas season is filling up rapidly, and I’ve spent the last few days working a bit on a photographer site design as well as moving my own site to another server (again).

    When I launched my site restructure recently, I did it on an entirely different server with a new host. Well, it didn’t take more than 3 weeks to find out that host did NOT provide the service that I’ve come to expect from Blogs About, and I found myself missing them and appreciating them more than ever. It’s amazing, as a site and web-based business owner, how your hosting provider becomes such an integral part of your every day life. If the service is poor, it effects everything you do. If you have a lopsided hosting package, you quickly find out how limited you are and how backhanded hosting companies can be in an effort to squeeze those extra dollars from their clients. I’m so glad to be back with BA and relieved to know that my business won’t be disrupted by a simple influx of traffic.

    Enough with the geek speak (but if you want to know more, just ask)!

    I pulled my back out last Sunday morning, so I decided that while I was in pain and couldn’t twist at the waist or breathe deeply, that it was a perfect day for rearranging my bedroom! I hung some room darkening window treatments and Catybug helped me rotate the bed onto another wall. Later in the evening, I took some Aleve and she gave me a nice massage, and my pain subsided by Monday evening.

    (You see how my week started.)

    Then, the election. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

    Leanne WildermuthSo, the last couple of days I’ve been restless and having nightmares. I’ve been trying (really hard!!!) to get my site moved over all while yawning and trying to keep my forehead off my desk.

    I decided yesterday that I needed a pick-me-up, so I went and got my hair cut at the Boulder Hair Salon. I spoiled myself a little bit with a color, too. Then I came home, dressed up my eyes a little bit and had Chickeymonkey snap a few pics of my new do.

    I’m finally happy with it – no more Princess Leah earmuff hair bob thing! It falls so nicely and the thickness that made me crazy has been greatly reduced.

    It’s the little things, isn’t it?

    This morning I felt like I had to pick my outfit based on my haircut. After talking with my BFF Paige (I love saying that) she said the same thing happened to her, so now I might need to go clothes shopping again. I couldn’t find a THING to wear that matched my hip new hairstyle! Of course I lie. I still have the sweater she bought me from Casual Corner back in 1986/87 when we bought matchy stuff in different colors to wear to school. And yes, I still wear it, too. (Paige, that’s where we got ’em. Casual Corner!!!) Like I need new clothes.


    Yes, well, give me a day or two to get all this crazy girl stuff out of my head and maybe, perhaps, you’ll have me back in the blogosphere, friends. I’ve missed you. I really have. I owe several of you links and awards, I have not forgotten.

    I also need to update my blogroll, which is seriously outdated. Please let me know if you’re on it and if the link is good and/or if you’re not on it so I can get you on there.

    Me, I’m going to go throw a sweater on, turn up the furnace a couple of degrees, and get back to work!

    Army Graduation Photos


    ft leonard wood leonardwood army base entrance sign photo Leanne Wildermuth
    The drive was not as long as I thought it would be, about 6 hours from my house to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The scenery? UN-believable. What a beautiful time of year for that road trip! Illinois was boring until we got to Peoria, then boring again until we hit the St. Louis area. Thankfully, I had my mom in the car with me so I had plenty of entertainment! ha!!

    We arrived Wednesday, late afternoon, and checked in to our hotels. I had chosen a dive, based on a completely misrepresented photo online – so reservationist beware. It cost me some bucks to cancel, and I did some begging for a room at a nicer place. I even got the military discount, without having my ID card. Whew! Thank God for small favors!

    Much of my family made the trip, as well. Mark’s leave was canceled so he wasn’t able to come, but my Dad and his wife, my Mom, my sister and her family — and my brother all drove down to Missouri to see Brandi graduate from basic training. We met at a diner for dinner and yacked it up for a bit before heading back to get some sleep. We were up at Zero-Dark-Thirty (6AM, military style) to get together and yack more over coffee before heading to the base to wander around before the Graduation Ceremony.

    Keep reading »

    I Want To Blog, But…


    If you combine this with this (and some days, this), you know what you get? Nope, the answer is not “a baby” or “a hilarious post that will surely make me send the link to all my friends so they can subscribe, too”. No. Of course not.

    Granted, for many people this week is the PERFECT week for this look. For me? Notsomuch.

    The feeling of sadness that the day has started before the dawn, and ended well after the sun has gone down is really difficult to explain. The frustration of getting last years jeans out of the closet? Oh jeez. Grab a bag of Oreo’s and a tub of ice cream and let’s cry into our napkins for a few hours. The leaves? Gorgeous. From the inside. The smell of stale furnace air? Has my sinuses in a tizzy. The lack of beautiful flowers to look at, vegetables to pick from my garden and birds outside the window?

    Let’s just say I’m one of those that’s going to need to start saving early for winters in Florida.

    Now, I can appreciate those who love the fall, and even those who love the winter. I’m not one for either. I moved here for my husband, I stay here for the kids. If I had my way, we’d be in sunny San Diego, still. I’d be barefoot right now – and the heaviest jacket in my closet would be a windbreaker. Yes, that’s the life for me. Ocean waves crashing up onto the shoreline. The sound of seagulls cawing at the crack of dawn.

    If someone could just put together that “sunrise simulator” including these elements, that would be GREAT! Until then, I’ll just (try to) keep my mouth shut, lest I put my foot in it.

    Do any of you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? What do you do? Bake a batch of cookies? Oh, wait. That’s a symptom, not a cure. (And I’ve already tried it.)

    My Own Little Web


    tiny spider in center web net leanne wildermuth

    This spider was sitting in the center of its web, at the intersection of the badminton netting in the backyard. He was not even as big as the tip of my pinky – Catybug noticed him and pointed him out to me.

    He had woven this cute miniature web to catch cute miniature bugs, and live a teeny tiny life in this teeny tiny space he called his own. In a world full of bigger bugs, he seemed just fine with his size and location. Funny, how that works, how his place is just as valid as everyone else’s.

    I have been busily preparing my own new little web. It is coming along quite nicely and I hope to have it ready by next week. It involves a total overhaul of my site, reorganization of categories, templates and my shop.

    Among many of the other things I have been busy with, one thing that has changed quite drastically is that I’ve resigned my position as a freelance (blog/site) designer for EWebscapes. I am still tossing around the level at which I will make myself available for blog design – I will still offer it on my own, but I will not be taking on such a broad range of clientele. My goal, ultimately, is to retain creative license in the things that I do.

    To those of you who have so patiently waited beside me through this time, thank you. I am really grateful and glad to have the opportunity to work on paintings in my studio full time again! Particularly during today’s stresses and worries, because there is such a sense of calm, peace and beauty that comes from nature.

    So, though things may be quiet on my blog for a few more days while I get things set up, know that I’m busy behind the scenes weaving my cute little web in the center of my net. I can’t wait to share it with you!

    Upon relaunch, I will be working on a custom cat portrait and a few other beautiful paintings. I’m very excited about that!

    Quintin, the Qthead


    quintin quaker parrot portrait photo leanne wildermuth

    Have I mentioned lately how much I adore our little Quinnie the Quaker? I do. I had fun photographing him last week, and just fiddled with his portrait in PhotoScape a bit. I’ll try to get video of him soon!

    That’s it for my daily distraction, I must stay on task. (rinse, repeat.)

    And You Smell Like One, Too.


    jayden with monkey cake birthday leanne wildermuth

    Chickeymonkey thanks you very much for the wonderful birthday wishes! She had a lot of fun this weekend, and in fact her birthday is STILL being celebrated today at class with monkey brownies. Everybody has been ooh’ing and aaah’ing over this cake, and for anyone who wants to get creative with their next birthday cake, you can find tons of really neat cake molds right here at

    The absolute highlight of the entire weekend? One of the girls hit a jackpot on those games that churn out tickets to be spent on cheesy plastic toys. The machine kept spitting out tickets, and she ended up with a pile about 3-4 inches thick. She was so excited, and then she had an idea. She said “I know! Why don’t we put everybody’s tickets together and then we can all get something!” So that’s what we did, we combined all the tickets, they counted them up, and each of the 9 girls got 80 tickets to spend. Chickeymonkey was first in line and wanted something that she didn’t have enough tickets for. So I asked everyone, if they got what they wanted and had any tickets left over, they could donate them to The Birthday Girl so she might be able to get the one she wants. Nearly all the girls had leftover and donated, and at the end of it all, Chick got what she wanted and had a few tickets left over for something else.

    I nearly cried at the generosity and giving spirits of these kids (there were 2 boys, too!). It was truly a heartwarming moment.

    After all the bouncing, cake, presents, pizza, smores, flashlight tag, shakes, movie, slumber party, church, grandparents, dinner at her favorite restaurant, laundry, and baking a monkey brownie for her classroom party today, I’d say it was a pretty busy weekend and I’ve got a very happy little 7 year old.

    And as for me? I’ll be diving in to my own very special project for a week or maybe two, and then I’ll be painting a whole bunch – starting with a custom cat portrait of a beautiful orange tabby, and I’m pretty excited!

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