Thursday, December 17, 2009

OOTS & The Winner Is...

Out on the Streets: Sparkly Festive Edition
I'm excited to participate in Veg Plotting's Out on the Streets: Sparkly Festive Edition — first as a reader and now as a poster.

On December 9, my friend Carole and I met Mr. Brown Thumb in downtown Chicago at the German Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt) (more on that excursion in a separate entry in the next few days). In the meantime, here are some cool holiday decorations we saw out on the streets of Chicago:

Art Institute of Chicago. Check out the lighted garlands, the decorative pots, and of course the wreaths around the necks of the lions. Mr Brown Thumb thought they were the colors used in the city's bid to host the Olympics.

Evergreen boughs and red-twig dogwood edge the planting beds in Millennium Park.

Blue lights on trees and Seussian-looking horns adorn Macy's, on State Street.

Chicago's Christmas tree, in Daley Plaza. This is one single tree, donated by the Weivoda Family of Palos Heights, Illinois. In previous years, the tree was made of 113 smaller trees. It looked more full, but imho, less realistically tree-like. I do miss the ornaments from last year, though.

This lobby decoration of a bank caught my attention as I was passing, so I went in off the streets and took the photo. (And, OK, I'm just going to say it: I love revolving doors! I went through them all at least twice!)

Evergreens in a widow box really brighten up the business section of downtown. I love how the big fluffy flakes of snow look in the photo, too.

On the walk back to Union Station, we passed more blue lights, this time really set off against the dark backdrop.

On Sunday, I went with my friend Julia to Greenfield Village, in Dearborn, Michigan.

En route, I got photos of the nicely decorated Bryant Branch of the Dearborn Public Library...

a gas station (those are real greens!)...

and Dearborn City Hall.

Greenfield Village is an outdoor collection of historic buildings that recreates life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Most buildings were brought to the village from different locations, most allow entry, and a few have historic gardens. Costumed interpreters demonstrate cooking, candle making, glass blowing, typesetting, pottery making, and tin- and blacksmithing, among other things.

Wright Brothers Cyclery on Main Street. It's not so obvious but the lamp posts are wrapped in garland, and lights are stung between lamps.

I love the sleigh and tree on Robert Frost's house. He lived in this house, which was moved from Ann Arbor, during his teaching fellowship at the University of Michigan in the 1920s.

On my way home, I stopped in Ypsilanti and got these two photos:

Haab's Restaurant on Michigan Avenue.

Sidetrack Bar & Grill on Cross Street in Depot Town.

I also swung by downtown Ann Arbor before heading home:

Wonderful window art at Conor O'Neill's Irish Pub.

Window display at Prickly Pear restaurant.

Lights on Main Street, and lighted tree atop the First National Bank Building.

Now it's your turn! Get out and show us photos of public spaces in your area, decorated for the holidays.

And the Winner Is...
In my last post, I promised a prize for anyone who could guess my favorite sculpture at Meijer Gardens and tell me where "Caw! I guess it was alive!" comes from. The main clue about my fave (Aria by Alexander Liberman) was that I showed three photos of it, more than of any other sculpture. And I'm wild about orange, though maybe I haven't been so vocal about that online. The quote is from Mounted Animal Nature Trail by the Arrogant Worms. I've seen them live twice and really enjoy their quirky humor.

The last time I checked, four intrepid, clever garden bloggers came up with the correct answer: Frances at Fairegarden, Jessica at The Magical Mundane, Kylee at Our Little Acre, and Liz at Nutty Gnome. So I did a drawing, diligently supervised by my cats (meaning James pawed around the slips of paper to shuffle them)... and I pulled out... Liz's name.

So, Liz, soon on the way to you will be "The Painted Garden: A Year in Words and Watercolors" by Mary Wootin. If you should happen to already own this book, don't be shy: I can pull another from Monica's Marvelous Bookshelf (tm). And please email me your mailing address.


  1. So many pretty lights. Wonderful to see. I can just imagine you in the revolving doors with a big smile on your face. Round and round and round and round...

  2. Christmas in Chicago, of course they know how to do it right! I envy you your traveling, Monica, and with such nice friends too. It looks festive and sparkly for sure. Thanks for the link love, and congrats to Liz. Those revolving doors are too much fun! :-)

  3. How beautiful! Those of us who are transplanted Yankees love to enjoy snow via the internet, so this was a treat! I like how both the "business district" and bank seem to have realized you can be conservative in decor but still very beautiful!

  4. Monica, I am sitting here thinking how I wish I lived nearer to you so I could join in on all your wonderful daytrips! Christmas in Chicago--would you believe I've never gone at Christmas time?! The decorations are just beautiful, but I'm not surprised the Windy City knows how to decorate for the holidays. I like revolving doors, too--there used to be several in local businesses, but they've all been replaced now:(

    I was surprised to see Robert Frost's house at Greenfield Village, but now I remember when reading about Henry Ford in the biography of Luther Burbank, "A Garden of Invention," that he brought in all these historic buildings from all over the country. I think he was a fan of Frost, too.

    Great post! Thanks for taking us along on this festive virtual tour--I think you might be the OOTS winner this time...if there is such a thing:)

  5. Forgot to say congratulations to Liz! I guessed the right sculpture, but had no idea who Arrogant Worms were:)

  6. That was fun! I'm going downtown Chicago tomorrow, so I'll be seeing a lot of the same things you saw. I like Greenfield Village's decorations, so green and tasteful.

  7. Hi Monica....some lovely Christmas displays there. Blue lights seem to be popular here this year.
    Revolving are actually like them? They are my idea of a nightmare.....I panic in case they go too fast and I can't get out. Fortunately living in a tiny village we have nothing like that. I am an accident waiting to happen........

  8. I love revolving doors too!

    What a fantastic trip you've had and many thanks for letting us come along for the ride :)

    These OOTS posts are really helping me get in the festive mood. Many thanks for getting involved with such enthusiasm!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Sorry for the deletion, for some reason Blogger posted the same comment twice :o

  11. What a great OOTS! If there's voting on the best have my vote, too. Chicago is such a town for festive decorations. I have been there for New Years and it was cold but so much fun. The snow effect on the photo with blue lights was terrific;) Must get that widget up and running. gail

  12. I love all the lights. I am not overly keen on the rush and commercialism of the winter holidays, but the lights are beautiful.

    Congrats to Liz!

  13. I forgot to add in, Yes JessicaAFM is me on Flickr. I wanted to follow the set for the Kitty Garden so I could peruse it later. :)

  14. YEAH!!!!!
    Hi Monica!

    Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! That’s brilliant – I hardly ever win anything, so I’m dead excited now and doing a little ‘happy dance’ around the room :0
    -can you hear the chirpy little woops of glee?
    (Calm down girl, calm down…….)

    Commiserations to Frances, Jessica and Kylee because they worked hard to get the answer too!

    I haven't got "The Painted Garden: A Year in Words and Watercolors" by Mary Wootin, although I've heard a lot about it, so I'm delighted that that's my prize ....definitely worth the hours spent on Google to find that quote!!!
    I'll email you my address. Thanks again!

    ....and it’s snowing too – my day is complete!!!

    Liz :)

  15. Liebe Monica, mit Vergnügen habe ich mir Deine Impressionen aus dem weihnachtlichen Chicago angeschaut. Ich wünsche Dir schon heute ein wunderschönes Weihnachtsfest und einen guten Rutsch in ein gesundes glückliches inspieriertes NEUES JAHR!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
    Wurzerl (aus dem leicht verschneiten München!)

  16. Good morning Monica. I have a photo of myself taken beside that very same lion;) (That was eons ago.) Wonderful photos, I wouldn't want to live in downtown Chicago but the energy of the city is wonderful during the holidays.

  17. Having been on day trips with you, I can easily imagine you going through those revolving doors to take that photo!

    And I knew your favorite sculpture, but I didn't think it would be fair to guess, since I was with you at the time. LOL.

    I have got to get over to Greenfield Village next week and enjoy the decorations before the village closes for the rest of the winter.

  18. You sure do get around, Toots! And we are all blessed for your adventures ... thanks for sharing the gift of this beautiful season. Happy Holidays, dear Monica! (Where is our Christmas snow?)

  19. I can feel it here. Christmas is around the corner. Beautiful. I can feel the chill, too!
    And congrats to Liz for winning the book.

  20. Your bag is done. I just have to finish the drawstring. Sorry this is taking so long. I have not forgotten or given up the project. I worked on it all the way to LA.

  21. I forgot about how many times you went around the revolving door.


  22. I think the best way to visit Chicago is thru your pictures. Happy Holidays to you Monica.

  23. It was wonderful seeing all of the Christmas lights and decorations. Robert Frost had a very nice house --- I wonder if he wrote his poetry in the garrett.

    I love the silver tree ornaments overhanging the poinsettias.

  24. Wow, they know how to do it in Chicago! The bank's lobby was so cool too. First visit to your blog and I love it, praise be to the fabulous VP. Thanks for your visit to my humble blog xx

  25. And OH MY GOODNESS I just included a Robert Frost poem in my most recent post! Freaky.

  26. I'm catching up on reading blogs - what a lot I've missed!

    Glad your cards arrived safely, Monica and glad you like them! If you take them out of the packaging you get the 3D effect best, and can always put them back into the packs again after Christmas.

    These Christmas decorations look amazing. I like the one with all the pointsettias (beyond the revolving door!) And the lions look glorious with their adornments!

  27. Looks to me as though you had a wonderful trip! You are Such a traveler!! :-) The book you gave away looks very intriguing. I'm going to have to look it up! :-) Merry Christmas to you, Monica!!

  28. Another great day out Monica. I enjoyed the tour round Chicago and look forward to hearing how you fared at the Christmas market.

  29. Liebe Monica,
    vielen Dank, dass Du mit uns durch das weihnachtlich geschmückte Chicago spaziert bist. Herrlich so manche Dekoration. Die Hörner gefallen mir sehr. Das Haus von Robert Frost sieht schon herrlich aus, aber der rote Schlitten ist wirklich ein Hit auf der Dach-Veranda.
    Auf Deinen Bericht vom Christkindlmarkt bin ich schon gespannt.
    Ich wünsche Dir und Deinen Lieben (pelzig oder menschlich) ein frohes und gesundes Weihnachtsfest.
    Liebe Grüße
    PS: Danke für Deine lieben Kommentare. Zu Deiner Frage: Nein, Nicki und Maxi vermissen Bonnie (glaube ich) nicht. Aber ich so sehr.

  30. Thank you for sharing these images. I miss CHICAGO! I went to school where those LIONS live many years ago. This year I missed the Christmas season in the windy city because we were in the land of the Green - IRELAND.
    Thank you for sharing a wonderful city dressed for winter.

    Happy Christmas!

  31. Hallo Monica,
    das sind ja tolle Fotos. Eine meiner Lieblingsdekorationen ist die Lobby mit den vielen Weihnachtssternen und den Kugeln oben drüber. Neulich im TV habe ich eine Dokumention über eine amerikanische Stadt - Columbus/Ohio - mit einem Dresdner "Striezelmarkt" gesehen (die Stadt ist wohl mit Dresden verschwägert.) So breitet sich der deutsche Weihnachtsmarkt immer mehr aus. - Ich bin gespannt, was morgen hinter deinem Türchen zu finden ist.
    Herzliche Grüße aus Frankfurt am Main -