Into Our Mannequin Ladies? Do One Yourself!

Have you read our newsletters and posts about our beautiful mannequin ladies?  I am definitely sure you like them, personally I love them.  They are elegant and unique if I may say so.  If you are into crafts and DIYs – then you are reading the right post.  

We have been getting a lot of emails inquiring about 4 Seasons Ladies- or should I say, Pamela’s Ladies, on how to make one on their own.  

And so – we decided to (drumroll please!) – share with you our tutorial ebooks for these ladies.  They are easy, and if you find the right product, very affordable.  And who knows?  Your very own creation may be featured on Magazines too like our Autumn, Winter, and Spring Ladies.  FYI – we have just been featured on Faerie Magazine recently.  

Here are our DIY Tutorials that you can have access to for just $10!!

Succulent Tutorials:



Our Top Pins of 2014

1. Container gardens on my front stoop

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My most popular pin is one of my very own front porch! Container gardens are a simple way to bring beauty to almost any space. Plants are available for both sunny and shady areas, as well as all variations of maintenance requirements. Low maintenance succulents are perfect if you don’t have much time to water or often forget and they come in a variety of colors and textures. Small evergreens are perfect for the holidays and also bring fragrant

2. Repurposed Christmas tree

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Next up is a picture of a dress form I decorated with branches from my old Christmas tree. I loved the way it kept the scent of the branches in our home for weeks, and also made a unique decoration for our yard later. This is a wonderful way to go green and reuse your own Christmas tree.

Recently, this same dress form was featured in Faerie Magazine‘s winter issue! You might remember a few months ago when my Succulent Lady was also featured in this magazine. I am truly honored and so excited that they have chosen another of my creations for their beautiful and whimsical magazine.

Jim Meacci, the talented photographer who took this beautiful photo, has a show coming up this Friday, December 5th at Tamarkin Camera titled “Venice – Mostly at Night”. Visit their website for more information!

3. Succulent Lady

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Speaking of my Succulent Lady (which was featured in the Summer 2014 issue of Faerie Magazine)… that is also my 3rd most popular pin. This photo, taken by the ever-gracious Susanna Fong of Susanna Fong Photography, really captures the ethereal quality of this dress form. This project was a labor of love and I’m so thankful it lives on in these photos.

4. Backyard Moon Garden

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I installed this moon garden as part of a larger backyard landscape design much earlier in my career as a landscape designer. I feel honored and blessed that it has been one of my most popular pins on Pinterest. Moon gardens are such a romantic way to bring elegance and a little mystery to a garden.

5. Front Yard Landscape on a Budget


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I was pleasantly surprised by this last pin. Two of my favorite things about my job are (1) being able to brighten and beautify a client’s landscape within their budget and (2) bringing 4 seasons of interest to a client’s landscape. This picture exemplifies all of that. As these shrubs continue to grow, the bed will become fuller and even more eye-catching. I am proud of the way this design turned out and thankful others have noticed too!

Well, as they say – that’s all folks! Follow me on Pinterest if you’d like to see more of my pins, and don’t forget about my Facebook and Twitter accounts. 🙂

It might be too cold to get a garden installed, but it’s not too early to plan. A few of our clients have gotten a jump on their spring landscaping by scheduling their free garden estimate now. This way, we can start installation as soon as it’s warm enough.

We also offer free painting estimates! Call 773-517-1198 or email me to me to set up an appointment.

Meet the Artist: David Sugihara

Hinman (stones & David)

Tattoo artist, David Sugihara, designed and painted these stepping stones for a client’s garden just a couple of weeks ago.  It was such a pleasure to work with him and witness the surprisingly beautiful marriage between landscaping and the art of tattooing.  See the full post for more photos and a description.  Keep reading below to get to know this talented artist and all-around great guy!

How did you design these beautiful stepping stones?
For this project, our client wanted the “zen” and “om” symbols painted on the top surface of each stepping stone for a total of 17 stones. Since the stones were conveniently flat surfaced, I thought the most efficient way to achieve uniformity was to create a stencil and paint over it. To create the stencils, I used mylar stencil film and and cut them with an x-acto knife. Since the stones were intended to be placed outdoors, I used [black] all-weather paint so that the symbols would be able to withstand the varying Chicago weather conditions.

photo 4

How did you get interested in tattooing?
I first got into tattooing in 2012 when I was living with a buddy in AlbanyPark. One night, we were hanging out and he suggested that I should tattoo (whether he was joking or not, I don’t know) and that he would let me practice on him if I decided to. I was taking a break from school since I didn’t really know what I wanted to be doing, so I thought I might as well give it a go. I went online, ordered some very basic equipment, and tattooed his forearm the following week. I guess they say, “the rest is history.”

photo 1

What do you like about tattooing?
Besides the ability to create art on a human canvas, one of my favorite things about tattooing is the opportunity to interact my clients. Since many tattoos can take a few hours to complete, I get the chance to get to know the individual on a little bit of a deeper level. Tattoos are often very meaningful and personal and I feel honored that someone would be willing to let me be a part of that. People come from all walks of life and in the few years that I’ve been tattooing, I’ve been privileged to meet many great people and share in their experiences.

 photo 2

What is your favorite kind of tattoo?
I enjoy doing tattoos of any style (Japanese influence, realism, etc.) but my favorite would have to be American-traditional. Something about banners and pin up girls never gets old. 

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David recently finished up an apprenticeship at a hole in wall shop on the south side of Chicago and is currently looking for a full time position at another location.

Fall Landscaping: It’s Still Not Too Late!

Wow, it’s really cooled down! But until the ground freezes, it is ready for planting and now is a great time to install shrubs, perennials and trees that bloom in the spring so you can take full advantage of their blooming season next year. I always aim to not only bring my clients plants that will grow well in their sun/soil conditions, but that will also provide them with 4 seasons of beauty.

Call or email me to schedule a free estimate and I can show you a variety of plants and trees to choose from, all suitable for your space. If you haven’t yet, take a look at some of the projects we’ve done this past summer by checking out our slideshow on the homepage, clicking on Samples at the top or by visiting our Yelp page. Below is one of my favorite fall landscapes because of how it shows the color, texture and interest you can achieve in your landscape, even when the temperatures begin to cool down.

fall landscape


My Indoor Plant Laboratory

Experimenting is one of the things I love most about growing plants indoors.  Now that it’s cold outside, you can have lots of fun trying new things with your plants indoors.  I have SO many plants in my indoor plant lab (aka. dining room to most :)) that we literally have no space to eat!  It’s fun though and gets me through the dreary winter days.

One of the easiest things to experiment with are containers.  I love buying different containers and am always looking for cute ones.  My asparagus plants are currently growing in repurposed water cans.  To do this, I first drilled holes in the bottoms for drainage.

indoor garden

I also love putting a variety of plants together in the same container and they seem to love it too!  One of my favorite blends is Geraniums with Coleus.  Geraniums are great because they’ll bloom in the middle of winter when everything else is asleep.  I’ve really had fun with my scented geranium.  Every summer, it goes outside and every fall, it comes back in.  I’ve trimmed it and shaped it to be very sculpturesque.

With a little experience, you may begin to find that some plants actually grow better inside and you’ll want to keep them indoors year round.  I have stopped taking my jade plant outside even though it would grow there and I now know that my Norfolk pine will only grow outside.  I still have to bring it in because our temperatures drop too low here, but it stays dormant through the winter and will grow another few inches as soon as I can put it back outside.


Don’t be afraid to experiment!  It’s a lot of fun.  Even though you’re bound to fail at something (I know I certainly have), you’ll have some great successes too and the discovery process can be fun and exciting to experience.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Norfolk Pine

Support Your Local Businesses!

dining room paint & lightdining room repainting job for a Chicago loft

As a small Chicago-based business, we have really enjoyed beautifying our clients’ homes inside and out through the years. It’s truly been a joy and a privilege! That being said, it has also been a lot of work to get our name out there and we really, truly appreciated every referral, recommendation, review and call for an estimate we have received.  Our past clients have always been our best advertising, so thank YOU, from the bottom of our home-improving hearts! 😉local first chicago

Local First Chicago is an organization that strives to help local businesses and improve Chicago’s economy through education, community groups, local business support and policymakers.  We are thrilled to be able to support them in their venture and are excited to let you know that they’re also currently featuring 4 Seasons on their homepage!

Please visit their website and help support us and other local Chicago businesses.  Thanks a bunch!