Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Me in the Pumpkin Patch

Happy Halloween! It seems we are getting a fair amount of trick-or-treaters today! More than in recent years. The pumpkin we chose this year makes a good door stop, but I didn't get around to carving it into a jack-o-lantern. It still makes a nice decoration. Maybe next weekend I'll make a pie and toast the seeds.


The fall door wreath has become haunted!

Door Wreath

My garden mums have already come and gone, but the mum displays in downtown Chicago still look fabulous!

Mums at Daley Plaza

Here is the fountain outside the Daley Center in Chicago.
It reminds me of Orange Crush!

Fountain at Daley Plaza, Chicago

The burning bush in the garden also has already dropped all its leaves.

Burning Bush

Fall is here. The hats and gloves are on.

Autumn Leaf

Hope you all are enjoying what is left of the daylight!

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Friday, October 29, 2010

The Creepy Side of Eastlake Victorian

Victorian Woman at Vanity?

I was always intrigued by this image.
Do you see a Victorian woman at her vanity?
Or do you see a skull?

Do you want to see something even scarier than that? Anyès over at The Dusty Victorian recently did a post about her scary basement. Be sure to check out her site! Her basement looked a lot like the basement at Eastlake Victorian, so I thought I'd let you take a peek at ours as well. Follow me...

Brick foundation wall

Here... I'll get the light...

Laundry Room

Watch your step. The floors are very uneven...

Creepy basement floors and walls

Watch your head! There are spiders EVERYWHERE!!!

Webs everywhere!

Wait a minute...


All those spiders...


Are DEAD!!!!! Yes, all our basement spiders build their webs all over the place, then promptly die. What does that mean?

More webs

And all the windows have been clawed at and chewed. Was some creature once locked down here and tried to escape?

Claw marks on window

Most of the original structural posts have been replaced, but the house is still sagging in many areas...

Structural supports & webs

This is definitely a basement that can never be living space. The ceilings are much too low!

Old beams

The floors are cracked, the walls are disintegrating, there's seepage everywhere...

Cracking floors

No matter how often we've swept, cleaned, and dusted, we end up with this...

Rotting thresholds

and this...

Spider webs everywhere!

And, the pièce de résistance...

Creepy Toilet

A room with a toilet. Nothing else, just the toilet. I must say, we've never taken advantage of that toilet, and I don't ever remember even opening the lid. Scary, no?

Well, that concludes our tour of the creepy, disgusting underbelly of Eastlake Victorian. Thanks, Anyès, for the inspiration!

Now, where did my husband go? Last time I saw him, he was in the basement...



Where's Terry

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Charles H. Patten House-SOLD!

Charles H. Patten House
photo by G. LeTourneau

The most quintessentially Victorian house in my neighborhood just sold after being on the market for several years. We are all so happy! We thought it's fate would be grim, as other large Victorian homes on large lots have been sold to developers who tear them down to build condos. When the last owner died in 2004, the family held an estate sale on the property. I got to see inside the house, and purchased a few mementos (see below). The Patten House is only one block from our house, so one of these days, I can hopefully meet our new neighbors.

The house was built in 1898 for Charles H. Patten, a banker and former mayor of Palatine. Its design is Chateauesque/Queen Anne. The house remained in the Patten family until now. It became listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. The first floor consists of a sitting room, parlor, library, dining room, kitchen and small bathroom. The second floor contains 5 bedrooms and one bath. The third floor has a billiard room, maid's quarters with a makeshift bathroom, and a sewing room.

The village originally thought it might purchase the house and use it for public functions. The citizens voted overwhelmingly on a 2007 referendum that would allow the village to spend $1.75 million to purchase the house. But our wishes were ignored as some council members decided against the purchase. We were outraged as the house sat there over the last few years, with various realtor signs up on the front lawn. The Patten House image, which was even on our village seal, was promptly removed.

The new owners are a young family with five children, who plan on raising them here. What a thrill to know that the Patten House will survive and be loved for another generation!

Below are the original floor plans of the house.

Patten House-basementPatten House-First FloorPatten House-Second FloorPatten House-Third Floor

Here are some of the items I purchased at the estate sale at the Patten House. The Record Book was originally filled with names of Chicago companies, addresses, contact names and dates. I believe it may have been somebody's record of job-hunting because of the dates listed with each company. These entries date from after 1932.

Patten House-Record Book

The second batch of entries are a record of the books that were in the library of the house. These records are from sometime after 1947 (going by the dates of some of the books). The person who wrote these entries started to cross out the previous job-hunting entries, but stopped doing so after the first couple pages.

Patten House-Record Book detail 2

Patten House-Record Book detail 1

I also got a copy of "Rubaiyat" by Omar Khayyam and "Ninety-Three" by Victor Hugo. The Hugo novel is listed in the Record book, but Rubaiyat is not. Both books belonged to Jessie M. Lord from Dixon, Illinois. I have not been able to find out who she was.

Patten House-Ninety Three

Patten House-Rubaiyat

Patten House- inside cover of Rubaiyat

Finally, I got this cup and saucer set. It's unmarked and I don't know whether it's old.

Patten House cup & saucer

To learn more and see more of the Patten House, visit these links:

Trib Local article
nice Flickr Set by ChicagoGeek of the Patten House

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cats & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

Brookfield Zoo Fountain

This past weekend was unseasonably warm, so we decided to take a trip to Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois (just outside Chicago). It's a superb zoo, beautifully landscaped, with many rare and fun animals to see!

We saw penguins...


Macaws and other tropical birds...


Baby Galapagos Tortoises...

Baby Galapagos Tortoises

American bison...

American Bison

Black rhinos...

Black Rhino



and a meerkat family!

Meerkat Family

The dolphins like to peek into the office of their zookeepers...


And we saw the most playful tiger ever!
Her name is Whirl and she's 3 years old.

Whirl the Tiger

Check out the little video I did showing Whirl at play...

We stopped for ice cream and were visited by the
resident peacocks and peahens!

Sneaking up on a Peacock

After watching Whirl play, we wanted to buy our cat Penny a new toy for her birthday, which was also this weekend. Fortunately, there is a pet gift shop at the zoo. For myself, I bought this new tin sign to add to my collection...

Cat Tin Sign

and this rock for my garden...

Cute Message Rock

and this new fishy toy for Penny!

Penny Playing 2

We told her it was from Whirl, her distant cousin.
She was impressed, and did her best Whirl imitation.

Penny Playing 1

Penny tired herself out playing with her new toy.
She's 14 years old now, but still has the same spunk
she had when she was a kitten.

Penny Tired Out

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