Just around the corner…

…is a yellow Magnolia tree, which I’ve photographed for the past six years.

Here it is last Spring, in all its glory:

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And this is how it looked this afternoon:

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The building on the right has a new tenant and, apparently, they decided to decorate…and it so cheers me to see!

(Tried to get a shot of their flower box, but could get a good enough angle, as the third floor is quite high.

It’s filled with greens and several large ball ornaments like these on the tree.)

MERRY CHRISTMAS to them, and all of you, too!

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To whom it may concern…

…as of 2:26 PM yesterday, Santa, his sleigh and a few reindeer were still behind bars!

Santa-Still Behind Bars

A week ago today…

…I had to take the short trip to the doctor’s office for my monthly blood test.  When one must take blood thinning medication (Coumadin), a test needs to be done every month or so, to ensure that the clotting level is consistent, and that the dosage is proper.  The doctor’s office is in a building call ‘The Breakers’ about two and a half miles down the road, so it’s really not any kind of inconvenience…I just catch the bus at the corner and twenty or so minutes later, I’m there!

‘The Breakers’ still had their outdoor Christmas decorations up–one large wreath and some bows in two planters.  I liked the wreath…it takes an awful lot to wire this many ornaments so closely together on a metal frame!

Pretty, isn't it...but a real pain to construct!

Pretty, isn’t it…but a real pain to construct!

 

A closer look.  I love these soft metallic tones...they have such an elegance...

A closer look. I love these soft metallic tones…they have such an elegance…

 

...until I took this close-up--OOPS! Dings and broken balls, and tiny balls stuffed into larger balls!

…until I took this close-up–OOPS! Dings and broken balls, and tiny balls stuffed into larger balls!

Seems to me (and I know this well from working in the Display business!) that the workers who do the installs and take-downs really don’t care that much about the labor and creativity that went into the final product!

Guess they’ve never paid any mind to the old adage, “You break it, you bought it!”

In the neighborhood…

…some holiday decorations remain; these are some of the prettiest.

"7428", decorated with so much care

“7428”, decorated with so much love and precision…what do you think of the great, curved veranda?

 

The "Periwinkle, Robin's Egg Blue, and Seafoam Green" house, so tastefully done and reminiscent of San Francisco's "Painted Ladies"

The “Periwinkle, Robin’s Egg Blue, and Seafoam Green” house, so tastefully done and reminiscent of San Francisco’s “Painted Ladies”!

 

"The Witch's Hat"...decorated with only the American Flag, but I simply had to show you this lovely home

“The Witch’s Hat”…decorated with only the American Flag, but I simply had to show you this lovely home!

Some may be wondering…

…what a former Holiday Designer might use to decorate her own space…so I took a few shots.  As you approach my apartment door, you’ll find this spray, which is new this year:

I've incorporated a few of the 'faux' leaves I created.

I’ve incorporated a few of the ‘faux’ leaves I created.  Silver, ivory, and champagne-color, with three red jingle bells!

On the inside of the door, I’ve placed a copper and silver spray which I put together in 2007:

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

I really have no room for a tree, but I do have two large, 36″ wreaths, which I change every few years…next year, I’ll tear them apart, wash them down, and design something new and different!

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

And...here's the Red and Green on another wall.

And…here’s the Red and Green on another wall.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones...this one also contains gilded glass rocks.  Iadded some miniature gold gilded fruit, and a few pine boughs I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones…this one also contains gilded glass rocks. I added some miniature gold gilded fruit, large partially-gilded seed pods, and a few pine branches I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

Here’s the other vase:

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf...plus a few small pine branches.

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf…plus a few small pine branches.

Here’s what the pear ornament really looks like, as I had to ‘play’ to get some color in the image above:

I bought about two and a half dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece...some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded!  I got tired of the 'commercial' gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf.  The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I bought about two and a half-dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece…some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded! I got tired of the ‘commercial’ gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf. The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I think I’ve had to make ‘Christmas’ every month of the year in the past…whether it was decorating hotels and restaurants, painting and designing store and mall displays, or designing television commercials (in March!)…it’s normal for me to celebrate with decorations all year ’round (and to be forever vacuuming up little pieces of glitter!)!

On the Magnificent Mile: XII (the Finale)

At the Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel, on a 1920 postcard (Photo courtesy:  Wikipedia)

The Drake Hotel, on a 1920 postcard (Photo courtesy: Wikipedia)

The Drake Hotel, during the Christmas season (Photo courtesy:  Wikipedia

The Drake Hotel, during the Christmas season (Photo courtesy: Wikipedia)

From Wiki:

The Drake Hotel, 140 East Walton Place, Chicago, Illinois, is a luxury full-service hotel, located downtown on the lake side of Michigan Avenue two blocks north of the John Hancock Center and a block south of Oak Street Beach at the top of the Magnificent Mile.

Overlooking Lake Michigan, it was founded in 1920, designed in the Italian Renaissance style by the firm of Marshall and Fox, and soon became one of Chicago’s landmark hotels, a longtime rival of the Palmer House. It has 537 bedrooms and 74 suites, a six-room Presidential Suite, several restaurants, two large ballrooms, the “Palm Court” (a club-like secluded lobby), and Club International (a members-only club introduced in the 1940s). It is known for the contribution that its silhouette and its sign on the lake side of the building (the Oak Street side) make to the Gold Coast skyline.

The Drake Hotel was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

This is the Walton Street entrance, just east of the Magnificent Mile.

The Drake Hotel marks the north end of the Magnificent Mile.  This is the Walton Street entrance, just east of Michigan Avenue.

Only the huge Toy Soldier noticed my camera, and smiled brightly!

Only the huge Toy Soldier noticed my camera, and smiled brightly…I could swear he winked at me, too!  As you make your way around him, the grand staircase takes you up to the lobby, where resides the hotel’s fabulous Christmas Tree!

Gorgeous, isn't it, with angels fling above and the crystal chandeliers, the feeling I experienced was that I had gone back in time!

Gorgeous, isn’t it, with angels flying above and the crystal chandeliers, the feeling I experienced was that I had gone back in time!

Here are some macro shots of a few of the many ornaments.

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As an added attraction, the toy train set-up is reminiscent of many years gone by, don’t you think?

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As you can see by its blurriness, that little train was going quite fast!

As you can see by its blurriness, that little train was going quite fast, running the rails through the mountains and a quaint little town!

 

Before I had to leave, I walked right up to the tree and, of course, took a shot ‘looking up’!

Many of my followers have already celebrated the day, but it's just 7:00 PM (CST) here in Chicago...St. Nick hasn't flown by yet, but I'm sure hoping to catch sight of his sleigh!

Many of my followers have already celebrated the day, but it’s just 7:00 PM (CST) here in Chicago…St. Nick hasn’t flown by yet, but I’m sure hoping to catch sight of his sleigh!

Thank you all for joining me on my walking tour of the Magnificent Mile…I know many have found some enjoyment, and others marveled at the amount of decoration the stores and hotels do here in Chicago.  It’s a business, a BIG business…I know, because I used to work as a Holiday Designer professionally…and still make things for others, to give them some joy at this special time of year!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the same in 2013!!!

This tiny tree…

…sits on the window sill of a local restaurant named “Jamaican Jerk”…I’ve had some of their food in the past, and it IS delicious!

It looks to be hand-made, and I feel it's a perfect symbol for this, the "Season of Giving"!

It looks to be hand-made; I feel it’s a perfect symbol for this, the “Season of Giving”!