Photography


How many of you love daydreaming? I daydream every day, sometimes as long as 5-10 minutes. During this time, I am left alone with my pleasant thoughts and no school, work, or trouble seems to exist. In my daydreams, I am having a fantastic journey either by myself or with someone who is company I really enjoy. After a daydream, I feel relaxed and if I am at work, I come back to work with high efficiency. Daydreaming is one of my favorite relaxation techniques, but I would have never thought to make it into a hobby.

Life Made Simple presents you with a sweet story about one baby’s daydreams.  In Finland, a mother named Adele gives us an imaginative look at the daydreams of her baby, Mila. When Mila takes a nap, she creates a scene around her baby and takes a quick snap picture. In the photos, Mila looks more like she is living a daydream than having a nap. As a mother of her baby, Adele “would like to see into the dreams of her little girl” and has her own daydream at the same time. Also she collects all the photos and integrates them in an album, which is called “Mila’s Daydream”.

Adele used to be a copywriter and advertising concept designer, but now has a lot more free time being a mother and housewife.  She has found a way to make daydreams come to life. She uses clothes, towels, paper, toys, and other creative materials to create the scenes in the stories for “Mila’s daydream”. She says that creating these scenes are easy for her, “I only use a few minutes per picture, including creating the idea, implementation and editing, cause I don’t want to disturb her sleeping and most of my time is for my family.” Also, her tool for taking pictures is simple, she says, “My camera is a small and inexpensive Canon IXUS 750.”

A cute name explains the concept in each photo. Some examples are “Attack of the 50 foot woman’s baby”, “A Space Odyssey 2010”, “Oh What a Circus” and “Up” are based on existing art works. “Bookworm” is related to the book series. “She Loves Me, She Loves Me Lots” is a cute title Adele as a mom, gives one of the daydreams.

”Bookworm”

Creating daydreams as a hobby is not just for fun. There is always a story and a great meaning behind the pictures that Adele takes. I can’t help but think that Adele’s little girl is going to love seeing these pictures when she grows up. I know she will be proud of having such a brilliant mom!

“Imaginary Friend”

LMS encourages you to develop daydreaming as a simple hobby in your own ways. No matter what it is, as Adele’s words goes, “Never forget, everything is possible in the dreams. Keep daydreaming!”

Here is Adele’s blog for “Mila’s Daydream“. You can also find “Mila’s Daydream” on Facebook.

-CC

Time to get inspired! Today Life Made Simple proudly features Chicago Fashion Designer Lara Miller. A Chicago native, Laura Miller attended the School of The Art Institute where she developed her niche for creating garments out of Eco-friendly materials. She conceptualized her garments to focus on versatility, and allowing women to “Wear it Your Way.” Lara’s focus is mainly on sweaters, but whatever the garment is, it can be wrapped, reversed, and flipped to reveal an entirely different look.

The Lara Miller line is manufactured in Chicago and her designs are strongly influenced by the city’s architectural and cultural landscape. An advocate to giving back to the community, Lara acknowledges the impact humans have on the environment.  By making clothes with Eco-friendly materials, Lara hopes to preserve and respect the Earth any way she can.

“I see my company as a way to support my community – not only by using organic materials while adhering to a “green” lifestyle and workspace – but also by manufacturing locally and working to sustain the sewn products industry in Chicago.”              

 

When she sketches, Lara uses recycled craft papers like O-tag paper, which is used for store tags on clothing or other products from companies like Henry Lee, who would normally throw away the surplus. During the design process, Lara draws the markers out herself onto scrap paper instead of sending her patterns off to be entered into computers and printed.  Lara donates the left over scrap paper  to Columbia College instructor Jamie Thorne to use in her paper making classes.

Lara Miller strives to use colors that are exclusively from low-impact reactive dyes in her designs, that use the least amount of petroleum by products and water possible. She has also been proactive in researching ways of using only natural dye sources, putting to practical use natural dying techniques that she learned in school.

View Lara’s Newspaper Dress for the do-gooder design project

Lara Miller incorporates organic cotton, hemp, vegan Ahimsa peace silk, organic wool, linen, lyocell, flax and soy fibers, hand-loomed bamboo and recycled organic cotton in her garments. Her favorite material to use is recycled cotton yarn that she gets from US-based company Jimtex. The yarn from this company is regenerated from post-industrial scraps from larger companies that make t-shirts and other cotton products. In re-using these scraps the need for growing more crops and using dyes is minimized and this significantly reduces the amount of waste that goes into our landfills.

“Being a ‘green’ company means much more to me than just using eco-friendly fibers. It means supporting the local economy and using the least amount of energy possible. It means using a local printer that only uses recycled paper and partially runs on wind power. It means giving back in every way that I can to my employees, my community, and the world.”

Lara Miller is an innovative pioneer who  is helping sustain our planet through her Eco-friendly designs. Life Made Simple acknowledges Lara Miller as “one” person making a difference and applauds her integrity, hard work and dedication to her community, fashion, and the Earth.

Information and pictures on Lara Miller retrieved from www.laramiller.net

Feature by Evie Pesheva

Since Life Made Simple has covered many simple – yet beautiful things in life, I began to think about life itself. How many times have you wondered “who am I?” and “why am I here”? Does it ever feel like your life is a huge circle? What is the meaning behind the repetitive things we do in our daily lives?

The Myth of Sisyphus is a very interesting story from Greek Mythology about king Sisyphus who gets punished by the Greek Gods for his trickery. King Sisyphus is then condemned to roll a huge rock up to a steep hill forever.  As the story goes, Sisyphus would come close to the top of the hill, but the rock would roll back down – he never gets the rock to the top.

Based on Sisyphus’ myth, I would like you to consider the following: If Sisyphus had known that he could never roll the huge rock up to the top of the hill, would he still have worked so hard to get it done? There is no right or wrong answer, however, do think about what the meaning is behind this repetition.

In China, there is an old folktale similar to the story of Sisyphus called The Little Shepherd. As the story goes, a traveler comes to a small village, sees a shepherd boy and he asks him, “What do you herd sheep for?” “In order to marry a young lady,” the boy answered. “Why do you want to marry?” The traveler asked again. “In order to have children,” the boy answered. “Why do you want to have children?” The traveler went on asking. The boy thought a while and answered, “for herding my sheep!”

Both of these stories show life as a cycle in which we are repeating what we did yesterday and our children will repeat what we are doing now. When people are born, they are born into a world where other people have already worked out ways to manage the problems they will likely encounter themselves. When children are young, they should learn and practice wisdom from the previous generations. Thus, human beings develop generation by generation with repeating traditions. Fortunately, this kind of repetition is not always the same for everyone. We all find our own little beauties and unique experiences along the way.

Sisyphus was condemned to a repetitive action his entire life.  His courage and braveness were so strong that he did not hate or hesitate but just faced his fate. The story of Sisyphus teaches that no matter how difficult a situation might seem, we are strong individuals and we shouldn’t give up.

The young shepherd boy most likely learned to be a shepherd from his own father. Since a shepherds’ life is all he knew, he wanted to pass on his knowledge to his own children, hence to have children the shepherd boy must first find a wife. He too accepts his fate and takes part in this repetitive life cycle.

Hopefully this story has shed some light on life as a cycle. We start as young, crying babies needing the care of our parents.  If fortunate with a long healthy life, we end in old age with our children then taking care of us.  It’s only one life cycle that we each  go through. We might as well enjoy it from the first bud to the very last shriveled leaf!

Leaves as Life’s Cycle…

— CC

Thanksgiving is a week away and many of us may already have Thanksgiving planned out from the dinner menu to the day’s festivities. Thanksgiving celebrations typically include families getting together enjoying a traditional feast of a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie- THE works! This special fourth Thursday in November is known as a holiday to express thankfulness to God, family and friends for all the blessings in our lives.

Thanksgiving is a celebration that is meant to be spent with loved ones! While you still have time to make the arrangements, Life Made Simple encourages you to plan to give to those who might not necessarily have the blessings that you have in your life. Whether you invite a friend over who doesn’t have family around or volunteer with family members at a local soup kitchen-giving back to others and your community will definitely put a smile on someones face this Thanksgiving. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

If you are interested at volunteering at a soup kitchen here are some helpful links to help you find one near you!

The Marquard Center Dining Room in Chicago

Chicago Food Depository

The Volunteer Center

Artwork needs inspiration, so does life. Since life itself is art, it is so difficult to separate the two. How much do you appreciate the art of your life?

This time, Life Made Simple meets a young artist named Kasia Houlihan. She is still an art student and currently working on her MFA at UIC major in VISUAL ART/PHOTOGRAGHY. However, some of her work is published, such as her video named “An Hour and A Day” (2009). Her recent solo exhibition “Kasia Houlihan: July” was in Reception Gallery, Chicago (2010). She is both talented and hardworking that is why she has the potential to become so successful. Most of her works are on her personal website, which is http://cargocollective.com/kasiahoulihan. If you like her work, go there and support.

Kasia Houlihan(Installation at Reception Gallery Project Space, Chicago, IL, July 2010)

Well let’s see together the big bang of ART and LIFE!

1. When did you become interested in ARTS and why? Any special reason?

I’ ve been drawing since I can remember. I would doodle any and everywhere—napkins,
diner place mats, little notebooks. I would leave scraps of paper lying all around the
house. I took painting and drawing classes in the back of a framing shop in middle
school. But it wasn’ t really until high school, when I attended a summer program at
the School of the Art Institute of Chicago that I began to realize how much I truly loved
making art. After eight hours of class each day, surrounded by people who were so
passionate about making work, all I wanted was more.

2. What encouraged you to choose VISUAL ART/PHOTOGRAPHY as your
graduate education?

After going to a liberal arts school for undergrad (I attended the University of Chicago)
and receiving a bachelor’ s in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, I wanted to
pursue an MFA degree so that I could focus on learning to express my ideas visually. To
have a community of ambitious peers and faculty is invaluable as well.

Kasia Houlihan   That time when series, 2008-09

3. What is always the source of your inspiration?

People with a passion, any passion, are so inspiring to me. Seeing that spark in their eyes
when they talk about what they love always gets me excited about making work.

4. You have a very nice personal website, from which I know your work/s cover
many fields of art performance, including PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO,
DRAWINGS, AUDIO, POLAROIDS. Which one do you think you are really good
at?

I would say that I’ m most confident in my photo and video work at this point, simply
since I’ ve been focusing on them for the past three or so years. Photography will always
be magical for me—the medium that draws with light. But I just recently completed a
drawing project on paper that reminded me just how much I love to draw for hours on
end, and I even showed an installation piece at my midterm critique, so who knows what
I’ ll be making in a couple of weeks!

Kasia Houlihan   202 Monitor series, 2009-2010

5. You bring up a point in your statement that impressed me a lot, which is “Hours
dissolving into shadows, seconds into flashes, the images spy through doorways
and stare out windows in an effort to slow down”. In my observation, your work is
mainly on that topic. Could you say more about your thoughts on it?

I love that photography lets you stare, that it slows down the world that’ s rushing by so
that you can get a better—or different—look. Most of my work is pretty quiet, giving
people the time and space to look and listen.

6. How do you value your own work?

I would hope that viewers of my work feel something—anything—when they look at or
hear it. I would consider a piece successful if it turns into an experience, one that gets
people aware of their own bodies.

Kasia Houlihan   Stills from An hour and a day, 2008-09

7. How do you think about ARTWORK and LIFE INSPIRATION?

It’ s a cliché, but I make art because I have to. The challenge, the uncertainty, the energy
and effort that are all wrapped up in making work keeps me learning and re-learning, a
process I hope will never end.

8. Is there anything else you are working on that you’d like to mention here?

Lately, I’ ve been taking pictures of the moon. I love the fact that the moon doesn’ t emit
light that it only reflects it from another source. The moon’ s gravitational pull on the
earth is also particularly interesting to me, gravity being a “non-contact force”, that has an
effect on another body without physically touching it.

 

— Chenchen

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I have been the city of Chicago for nearly two months now. As an exchange student, I still feel fresh at UIC and feel that UIC could give me different surprises every day. I really enjoy my life studying here at UIC. The environment also makes me feel good. When fall comes to Chicago, the scenery at the  University changes. I was surprised one day coming to the campus to see the scenery. Leaves turn red or yellow, but some still stay green. When wind comes, leaves fall down like raining leaves. What a nice day! Looking at students walking by, sitting on the grass, reading in the sunshine, this is what I want for college life. I realize that Life IS Made Simple and beautiful just walking on the campus! I hope you enjoy the photos I’ve taken. I hope you enjoy walking on the campus and happily starting a new day.

-Chenchen

Allow me to entertain you, and help you out!

 

image from: copysnips.com

 

Now you have no need to read, Men Are From Mars And Women Are From Venus.  Here at LMS, we have the answers that will make your communication with the opposite sex simply amazing.

Men are thinkers: So a word of advice gentleman…

  • don’t think to use sarcasm
  • don’t think to tell women they’re illogical
  • don’t think to tell a woman they’re too sensitive
  • DON’T CALL A WOMEN AN EMOTIONAL WRECK!
  • listen to a women’s problems but don’t think you solve them (only offer advice if asked)
  • don’t forget to tell a woman you appreciate her warmth compassion and forgiveness

Women are feelers: So a word of advice ladies….

  • don’t force men to talk about emotions (they don’t understand emotions)
  • ask men what they think rather than what they feel
  • express disagreements with men (but not during the game)
  • tell men they are appreciated, insightful and that you value their ability to remain calm and detached

Are all Men thinkers and All women feelers?

 

image from: publicspark.com

 

What’s your opinion?

This is credible stuff folks!

– Engleberg, I., and Wynn, D. ( 2010). Working in Groups.

– Evie Pesheva

How many times do we go inside a public washroom and in the speed of life and discomfort of its location just speed through our business without really looking around?  I can imagine a lot of you are wondering where I might be going with this…I mean we are talking about a public restroom…right? Today I decided to take you there through the eye of my lens. You see, a public restroom can be seen as more than just a room with one specific purpose. Just as I’m sharing my thoughts with the readers of LMS, the walls of many public restrooms are used as a channel of communication for the free spirited poets and bluntly said; folks with a thought. Many times bathroom stalls have messages exchanged between individuals that don’t even know each other, but say some of the craziest things to their “stall” partners. There is a sort of secrecy about public restrooms – a cultural taboo, a place where individuals choose to share some of their deepest secrets. Today when I took my camera in my hands, I decided to look at the public restroom and I captured something beautiful. For the first time I saw this little room as something more….what do you see?

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Every time I see the Ferries Wheel, I recall the fantasy I imagined when I was a little girl. Every time I see Fireworks, I recall the wishes I had. For me, the Ferries Wheel and Fireworks are signs of happiness and brightness. Although I am already an adult, I still get so excited when I see them. They are the links from my childhood to my adulthood and my inner imagination of happiness. Looking at pictures of Ferris Wheels or Fireworks shinning in the dark sky, I can’t help but think about the simple life when I was a child. I miss the simple happiness, the simple beauty, the simple life so much!!
I took these pictures at Chicago’s Navy Pier where there is a beautiful Ferris Wheel and Fireworks Shows at night. I hope you look at my pictures with an open heart and are able to see through the eyes of a child and remember how you felt as one.

Photos taken by Chenchen @Navy Pier

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Tomatoes picked from Didier Farm


What is simpler, going to the grocery store to buy tomatoes or going to a farm and picking them yourself? From the many trips that I have made to the grocery store I acknowledge that it’s easy and fast to go to a store, grab some veggies put them in a bag and take them home to make a salad. Whatever your salad of choice may be and however great of a chef you are I want to challenge your taste buds and ask you to recall the flavor of the tomatoes in the Greek Salad or Caprese Salad you last ate. The tomatoes were they juicy and sweet or were they hard and bland? Do you know what a real tomato tastes like? Here at Life Made Simple we want to encourage you to think about things of simplicity and challenge society’s system that has created fast and efficient services. Convenience is nice but when does it get too convenient that we become enslaved to laziness and no longer work for what we consume but we just pay for it?

To show you what I mean, I decided to firsthand go out in the ‘field’ -literally and pick my own tomatoes. There is a farm very close to my house in Prairie View called Didier Farm. Didier Farm has been open since 1912. They specialize in growing a variety of vegetables and one thing that distinguishes Didier Farm from purchasing produce from a Farmers Market is that they give customers the option to go out in the field and pick [term they use: U-Pick] the veggies of their choice, for less money 🙂

In my experience of picking my own tomatoes I felt so liberated and free. After the busy day I’ve had-going to the city for my morning classes and taking the Metra train back to the suburbs going to a farm was the highlight of my day that humbled my spirit. To paint a picture for you imagine this; I was away from traffic noise, no other people around me-either talking or pushing shopping carts, just me outside amongst the fall breeze surrounded in a field of sweet tomato aromas. I felt like a kid again, picking tomatoes while playing a game with my feet called “don’t step on the tomatoes.”

That day I picked at least 3 pounds of tomatoes and my reward when I got home was to make a salad with few ingredients but so much sweet flavor. I felt good eating my tomato salad-after all I did pick the tomatoes myself!

Simple Tomato Salad
2 diced tomatoes
2 springs of fresh parsley
1 tbs. olive oil
sea salt- to taste
crumbled feta cheese – to taste

Simply Delicious!

-Evie P.

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