Friday, April 30, 2010

Z is for Zen

*photo courtesy of Follybeach


When I think of Zen, I think of peaceful,calm vibes, a room, of brown n' white  with touches of green,  lots of plants, bamboo, orchids and others.  A serene spot, to refill or recharge my battery.  Time out for grown ups!

A time of meditation or reflection to enlightenment...is the description of Zen.   Me, it is a time, that I alone can be calm, let my brain rest, I usually try guided imagery.   It is a great way to go to one of your favorite spots, without spending money.

For example:

First imagine one of your favorite places, for me it is the sea shore,back home in Maine:  looking at the waves gently rolling in kissing the rocky beach and then pulling away.   Tidal surges in and out, as tiny treasures and sea life is gently tossed about.   I now see, someone I love, walking towards me.   I see them wave and smile as they get closer. They grab my hand and we walk along the rocky shore, til we get to a sandy spot.   He says, let's dig, I try to talk, but he says, not now, later.    We dig, I think we are looking for clams, keep digging he says.   We dig, and dig until I don't want to anymore.  What are we doing?  Then he hands me a sand dollar, it is alive,  gray and furry.  We use to catch these in the summer time, when I was a kid, we'd  put them back, in the water.   I put it back; I  remembered what the sand dollar represented.   Do you remember.....  


THE LEGEND OF THE SAND DOLLAR

The Sand Dollar or Holy Ghost Shell is one of the most unusual specimens of marine life. The markings on the shell, to some, symbolize the Birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. On top of the shell, an outline of the Easter Lily is clearly seen. At the center of the Lily is a five pointed Star representing the Guiding Star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men. The five narrow openings are representative of the four nail holes and the spear wound made in the body of Christ during the Crucifixion. Reversing the shell you will recognize the outline of the Poinsettia, the Christmas flower, and also the Bell. When broken, inside the shell are five little birds called the Doves of Peace. Some say they are the Angels that sang to the Shepherds the First Christmas Morning.  *Thanks to Follybeach~


He says keep this and remember:      
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye."~Antoine de Saint-Exupery  (this is a quote from the book, "The Little Prince"
 What is essential is invisible to the eye, is such a powerful message and so true...

 We walk for a bit and I bend down to pick up a shiny rock and he is gone.   I call for him, but know he is
part of my guided imagery, I sit down in the sand and feel the sun beat on my head.  It is getting hot, I can hear the sea gulls crying,  there is a gently breeze of pine and the salty sea.   I open my eyes and feel calm.
 
Try it, imagine your favorite place, a person you have lost, and see what message is given to you...you will
only escape for a while, but the message could be something profound or something to keep you calm or make life a bit easier to cope.      It is like a temporary vacation, no packing, no lines, no travel, no money...
Just an escape to your inner self, this is my Zen.


I want to thank Lee of Tossing it Out, for coming up with and hosting, this unique A-Z challenge!  I did feel
challenged, at times, but loved doing it and meeting so many wonderful souls!   On May 3rd, Lee wants us to post a Challenge Reflections post.   It should be fun to highlight and post about what impacted us, what we learned and how fun or challenging it was!~

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Y is for Yardley(English Lavender)


*photo courtesy of Yardley



Yardley brings back memories of my youth; My Grammie Ruth, used their products.  I remember the first time I had a whiff of her lavender soap, it was a wake up call for the senses.  I didn't like it at first, too strong, but I grew to love the scent of lavender and how it permeates the brain.   I use to love to visit my Grammie's place; she had a small apartment in town.  She was within walking distance to everything.   She loved the color purple, her bedroom was mixed shades of lavender, silver gray with touches of green.  Just like the herb.   I use to love her vanity, she had bottles of toliet water, and English lavender.  Her bedroom smelled of the calm scent.  I don't think she wore the fragrance, I think she used it to freshen linens and bedding.  She always kept pressed flowers around, pansies mainly.  They were under the glass over her vanity stand.  Her linen closet had opened bars of Yardley soap, everything had a freshness about it.  She didn't have a lot of money, but she sure knew how to make the most of what she had.  Every birthday and Mother's Day, I knew what we would be buying her, some more lavender perfume or toliet water.       I remember one summer, I was home visiting and I wanted a few sprigs of lavender/   I wanted to mail her some sprigs in my letter.  She had remarried and moved away.  I was probably eleven, older enough to know better.   I snuck into a neighbor's yard at dark and picked 5 spikes.  I knew it was wrong, but I figured as long as I didn't pull up the root and snapped a few sprigs at the top, I wasn't doing any harm.  This lady had huge amounts of it, she wouldn't miss 5 sprigs.    I felt guilty and made up for it.  She never knew, but I did...so I made her some muffins and brought her a bouquet of flowers from my Mom's garden.   I told my Mom what I had done.       


I now grow my own lavender and don't borrow sprigs, spikes or stems from the neighbors.   Smelling it's heady scent, reminds me of my grandmother, a quiet woman, with an infectious laugh,  who made her nest smell like France.




This photo is in Provence...
photo courtesy of this site~


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

X is for Xylitol


I pondered over this one, started writing about Xanadu, didn't like it, then thought X marks the spot.  I use
to make a lot of treasure maps for my brother and his friends, when we were younger.  Then I thought about
X-ray, have had a lot of those-nah!

 X is for Xylitol, I see this product in a lot of the sugar free gum/candy, that I eat.  What is it? It is a sugar alcohol sweetener derived from fruits and vegetables.   It does seem to have some health benefits, but also side effects if  one over indulges.
  
   Xylitol is clinically proven to:

                          Fight and Reduce Plaque
                           Fight Cavities
                            Reduces the secretion of Plaque Acids
                             Facilitates the Remineralization of Tooth Enamel
                              Fight and lessen the occurence of Inner Ear Infection
                               
Increae Bone mass and density in animal studies


I some how don't think we ingest enough of it, to get these type of benefits, but who knows. (some scientist
does)   Just looking at the stick of gum I just popped in my mouth, somehow I don't think this is a cure all, but
it all adds up.  I read that xylitol  is actually produced in our bodies, up to 11 grams a day...interesting.  I wonder who discovered this?   I imagine there are lots of studies and research, but anyway, I am thankful.  When I first became diabetic there weren't many choices; Now it is crazy how many choices we have.


I am reading a book, now called Fat Cat, it is a YA fiction.  I bought it to tuck away, a summer read for my daughter. She is at a normal weight for her size, but the impact is about more than how you look, it is about how you feel and how others feel around you and pushing yourself into new experiences and eating healthier.
The choice word, is why I decided to discuss the book.    I didn't choose diabetes, I don't think anyone does. I have Type 1, the Juvenile kind,my disease is autoimmune, my body attacked my pancreas.   It effects a small amount of the population; Type 2 is adult onset, you gain some weight, likely less active, perhaps don't eat as you should. The  pancreas gets a bit tired and over worked and needs a vacation(medicine).  In my opinion the food pyramid in 1986, had a lot to do with this.   Lawyers wrote this pyramid, not dietitians, to benefit the country.   The farmers were losing money in wheat.  New pyramid was written, then wheat sales are up...the bottom of it should of explained in more detail.  The differences between simple and complex carbs.   Simple really doesn't have a lot of nutrition; Complex has nutrition and fiber, which helps the body function, in a more efficient manner.   In this book, the MC,  Cat, has to do this year long science project, you go before the teacher and pick a photo, can't show it to anyone or discuss it. She picks a photo of a cave woman, she is torn how to do this project, til it hits her.  This woman is lean, Hominin,  more of a vegan type diet, some meat, but not much. 

 There is even a diet similar to this Paleo ; Cat is over weight and could lose a few lbs. It is her Senior year in high school, she is evolving.  She goes all out for her project, no TV, computer time aloud in school and for homework only, no make up, no hair products, no cell phone, she walks everywhere.  There are a few exceptions.
  
Isn't it all about choice, what we eat, what we wear, what we do, when we do it and Why?!

I am just thankful we have so many choices, we aren't so limited, though sometimes we think we are.    I know a lot of the sugar free stuff I ingest, isn't as healthy, but my alternatives are a lot worse.  Perhaps I will try the Cave girl diet , see how long I can go without my artificial sweetener....wish me luck~     


I am also thankful I chose to do this A-Z blogging challenge, it has been sweet, but not in the artificial way. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

W is for (warning) Web Weaver

This is a web weaving spider, also known as orb spiders, another name is wheel weaving spiders.   Their scientific name is Argiopes.   Their frequently called  St. Andrew's Cross.  There is a look of a cross, if you are patient and don't disturb the weaver.   I found this spider on my deck, last summer; I was intrigued, when I saw her weaving a zig zag into her web.   A crafty spider, nature truly has many unique creatures!   The zig zag is suggested to:
  • They stabilize the web
  • They warn larger animals in the same way that safety strips on glass doors warn people from walking into them. Thus the web is protected from damage by flying birds.
  • Research has shown that the silk in the center reflects ultraviolet well, unlike the silk used in the rest of the web. Thus, the designs may mimic flowers, which also reflect ultraviolet light well, and often have lines to guide insects to honey like airport lights do for airplanes. Instead, the insects are guided to the spider which sits in the center.  (*info from St. Andrew's Cross site)    


I feel like the web weaving spider; I  zig zag my way through blogs, trying to leave my mark, a comment(not a X) I hope that you will visit me  and do the same.   I promise I won't capture you or let your linger too long.  I have noticed during the A-Z blogging challenge and blogging, how all of us are  weaving webs, sharing crafts, stories, poems, ideas, information,  insight into our lives and  friendship!

I found this the other day on a blog;   Sally when I saw this I didn't think you would mind if i used it here.
It's a powerful message.   I had W planned for weeks; I'm good til we get to X, tomorrow!

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~Chief Seattle, 1855

I feel so fortunate to feel connected, to so many of you~ 

 * Note in comments this is what B. Miller had to say:
Here in the South we call those guys "banana spiders" or "writing spiders" - so fitting that you'd put one on your writing blog! ;)

Monday, April 26, 2010

V is for Vintage


I love vintage items the idea of recycling older items with a past life or lives.   I wonder as I look at these items, whose hands have touched them, what where their lives like?   Did they endure hard times, were they happy or sad?  Were the frail or strong,...did they know the gifts of love and family? Did they live a full, happy life....

I think of the book the "Velveteen Rabbit", written by Margery Williams, where the rabbit was worn and torn, but knew he was truly loved, by the little boy, who cherished him.   These items remind me of being worn, torn, loved and real.  How many birthday cakes were made by the use of this sifter? How many cups of tea were enjoyed, or made to calm someone's nerves? Who was the lucky recipient of this candy tin...were they in love or just a gift of friendship? I can think of all kinds of stories, that these items could evoke.




















I go searching at random and usually just happen upon vintage items.  It is a treasure hunt, finding unique things, from the past.  You can go to thrift shops, flea markets, auctions, estate sales, antique shops, or sometimes they are just passed as heirlooms, to your family.     Vintage, is more about appeal, then age,but that's me.

When, I look at items from the past, it makes me want to write their stories.  I want to make an imprint of
a time or a mood that punctuations a classic memory.  One we all can relate to, a message of impact, I want to make these items real!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

U is for United



* This  the house, my Dad grew up in and the street I lived on...I can't find a pic of my house, yet)
The house I had tea with my Nannie Nonnie, it has changed some, this tree wasn't in the front, but not
much different. 

I remember when I first found blogging; I had that aaaahh, feeling.  A feeling that I had found my people.  Creative people that understood me; people who shared similar traits. Online I found kindred souls, people who posted about their passion to create and make things.  Yes, I have had encounters with like minded people, but not to this degree. 

 I grew up in a neighborhood of mainly boys and two tom boys;I was the only girly girl.  I did play baseball, collect baseball cards, if not, well, I would of been alone. There were times, I would have tea parties and play by myself with my dolls ,under the umbrella of two huge maple trees.   I did find creative outlets, I had a neighborhood store, once a week, through the summer, I was nine when I started my business.  I would make cupcakes, cookies,  had a mini coke machine, sell baseball cards and wrapped candy.  Later, I added  to my inventory and made fudge.  I received a mini grill at Christmas, so I made mini toasted cheese sandwiches.   My store became, so popular, I needed help.  I had no problem, all the neighborhood kids took turns weekly and I paid, them off in food.   Mmmh, is this where the culinary gene began?!   I found a way to unite myself with  kids, that I really didn't have much in common with.  A united front, if you will.  .(This was my Mom's idea to help me find a way to fit it!  Thanks Mom~)

Food does unite people and brings them together.   Think of all of the functions you go to, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, birthdays, wakes, funerals, what unites us, a celebration, death and social activities.    Maybe this is why I have toyed with the idea of being in the culinary industry, it reminds me of bringing souls to together in hopes of providing joy.

When I became a Type 1 diabetic, I truly found out how much food, brought people together and how I again, felt left out.  I had to find other ways to unite, while watching others eat birthday cake, while I enjoyed my apple or diet soda.  I was bitter n' sad for awhile.   I won't lie, I still have moments when it is painful to be
around some of these food gatherings.  I am probably the only person on the planet that dislikes Thanksgiving.
I bake and cook all this food and can't eat much of it.   Then there is the clean up..the whole day is celebrated with food.   I try to be thankful, that I survived and I am here to celebrate another year, but the coin can flip at any moment, especially, when I want real pie, not sugar free.   I don't want pity; I am fortunate, just it is
an internal battle I have daily.  I have to walk a tightrope of being good and then the human factor of wanting to be like everyone else and just have an ice cream or whatever, when I want it.  Some days are  difficult; I have walked this rope for 23 yrs. 

Blogging has helped me widen my focus;  I see souls sharing their passions, their words, and their lives.  I see beyond the plate of cookies and how people's feelings is what truly unites us.  It is the human condition of being heard and someone listening to you, even if they don't share your passions or your hobbies.
There is respect and compassion for what you enjoy!

When I began writing I was going to mention, my husband being in the United States Navy ,how the families I have met are an extended family.   They are, but somehow this flashback to my childhood, showed up.
I do feel a union with the A-Z blogging group; everyday we struggle to come up with something that someone else didn't think of.  If we did post the same word, it is always interesting to see their interpretation, their
spin on it!     We share a union of a theme; I am happy to be part of such a unique group~

Friday, April 23, 2010

T is for Tea

T is for tea,  I love the richness of coffee, but tea also has a fond place in my heart.   My grandmother, use to invite me to tea.  I think I was 9 maybe 10, when she would set her table, with sugar cubes, a tiny pitcher of whole milk and a plate of homemade cookies. Her name was Winona, but I called her Nannie Nonnie.   She loved to bake, her fav was lemon sugar cookies.  She would bring out  fancy china, tea ball, and her tea pot. She showed me how real tea was served. Pinky up!    I was fascinated with how much she loved tea.  The ceremony of it, taking time out of the day to pause and reflect.  We would sit, drink our tea and watch the birds. She had the feeder near the window, the view was perfect from the table.  Each bird that would visit, she would tell me what their name and characteristics.

No, she wasn't British, but I think she would of loved to travel with me to England.   I was 17 when there was an opportunity through the school, to go.  Our group was out sight seeing, when  it happened to be tea time.  We were invited to partake in afternoon tea.   It was 4pm, when we were served; high tea is a very formal n' elegant service. One thinks of royals and special occasions for high tea.   A silver tea service was used...they heat the milk, steam it a bit, so it doesn't cool the tea.  Lemons, sugar and milk is served, with various sandwiches, biscuits=cookies and lots of butter n' jam, and scones.  It was nice to have a spot of tea midday for a pick me up.   It was fun to bring back my grandmother tea. I went to a market and found a tin with Jacksons of Picadilly on it; I knew she would be pleased.  I also bought one for me, Mom.

Top pic is from a set of tea cups, my Mother-in-law gave me. She didn't care for the set; not her style.  She knew I would love them and I did.   She said, she thought there was an image in the bottom.
I was delighted when I drank tea out of them...you have to tip the cup just so, but you can see the Geisha.
They are very delicate and I don't use them often, but so much fun, to have someone drink out of a cup and
see the look on their face.   A face looks back at you, kind of spooky, but fun.   I have read they were
from the WW11 period; mailed home from men in the Navy.  I will have to research it further.  

A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
Eleanor Roosevelt

I love how there are so many kinds and you can actually travel everyday with  tea to England, Ireland, India,
China, Japan, Africa, etc. There are health benefits and it calms and refreshes, lifts your spirits, some like it hot, some like it cold ; I'm not going to rework the nursery rhyme.  

I had to make a message board at work, it was my turn.  I was a fitness rep...I used Tea bags in the shiny papers Stash  , I made a Christmas tree,   "Teas the Season" with quotes and then added words Serenitea, Ingenuitea, Serendipitea, and Creativitea.  Christmas Eve, I passed out tea to all the members of the club. 





 Here is a better look at the tea pot, Cari sent me in my May basket.  It is tea for one   You steep the tea in the top, it comes off and you pour into the bottom cup, very cute~

Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!  ~Author Unknown

 Tidbit:   I grew up in Maine, my junior high Math teacher was Percy King.  He was a bit on the strange side.  Last summer, at my class reunion, a convo came up about teachers.   "Oh, remember how odd
Mr. King was" one guy said.   " He was living up to the hype" , I said.   "What hype?"  a few asked.   "You know, he is Stephen King's cousin", I replied.   Some classmates, did not know this.  My class asked, he said, they were first  cousins, but didn't see each other much.   He was a gifted Math teacher, but he did and does act a bit odd.  I have seen him outside of school and he seems more lighthearted and friendly.     My Mom shares the same birthday as Stephen King, every year she announces, she is going to email him and tell him, so far hasn't happened.  This would be interesting since her name is Shirley Jackson.   I told her I think Stephen would get a kick out of it!  Time will tell....

Here is a photo of my Math teacher; my son had him years later so this is a photo, from his 8th grade year book.    See the resemblance...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

S is for Sew














Fitting it would be S today, I started having sinus pain, when I returned from Virginia, yesterday.  I am behind on commenting on R posts, but I will catch up. 

So, S is for sewing; I have been sewing on paper now, for a while.  I started to make a journal out of a
calender, due to this amazing class on line.  Patty has other classes, as well.  I haven't finished my book,  it is still a work in progress.  One thing she mentions in class as you gather supplies and begin your page, is to work intuitively.   Sometimes a theme will present itself.    I love sewing paper and have made cards as well.  My blog banner is from a card I made.  I was thinking of Spring and we had to reset our clocks.  I always think of the line Spring forward, Fall back.  This is why there is a 4 on my house, 4ward.  I am trying to start over, with my creativity, not look so much back.  There have been a lot of signs that this is the path, I should take.  I should at least explore finding a creative job.   The ones in my past seem to lead me to this door.    I am going to make some items and submit them to the calls n' challenges at www.stampington.com

They have many magazines, the ones that really speak to me:  Somerset Life, Sew Somerset and the
Green Craft magazine.  

Serendipity moments have occurred that make me want to explore this path,  further.   My sinuses are a bit better, time to move.  I thought it would be appropriate for S to keep this short n' sweet!


*Happy Earth Day; off to clean up the neighborhood, trash that is!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

R is for Risk/Rules


When I was twelve, most of my summer evenings were spent playing board games.  The older kids in the neighborhood would gather; we all had a turn, to have game night at our home.    We played the traditional games, Clue, Monopoly, Yahtzee, card games, Life, Risk and Masterpiece.  I loved Masterpiece, miniature paintings that were auctioned off.  We each had so many paintings and one was a forgery. You had to have a polka face for art. Some of us, played the rich parts well, we dressed up or brought a hat, some jewelry or a pipe.  We broke all the rules, there was probably 12 of us, playing this game, not enough play money or paintings.  

   I remember I always would get Rembrandt, Renoir or Rubens. Somehow, the forgery painting would end up being a popular one.  There was also a lot of laughter and jokes.   If we weren't playing games, then we would take a risk and make crank calls.  We would call the local store and ask "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?; Well you better let him out." " Is your refrigerator running;you better go catch it."   Then we would call and ask for Sue. dial the same number 3-4 times, then one of us would pretend to be Sue and call the number and ask if we had any messages.  This was as wild as it would get.    I caught my daughter recently making a crank call with a friend, on her cell phone.   I was stunned at first, but I guess there is a way to block the call *67.    Kids will be kids; I of course had to give the Mom lecture, how we don't harass people and if
 if you want to call your friends and play a trick in fun, nothing mean, okay.  Then I snooped and listened, harmless fun.     We also played Risk, this game always became ugly.  There was always a lot of debate about stragedy and boys are generals, not girls.   This game never went well.  The game of Life was always messed up, rules were broken, people didn't agree and argued.  

All of this reminds me of what it is like as a creative person, whether you write, craft, cook, paint, and have an interest in  music. We all need to take risks and break the rules.  Don't we as creative people have to step out of the boundaries of the norm.  I am a good citizen, I have only had 1 speeding ticket, was stopped, last Memorial Day weekend.  I deserved it I was racing through this one area and the cop was hiding in the   I broke the rules and paid for it.   I guess, what I am trying to say on a general level I follow the rules, I  the  generally drive the speed limit, help my neighbors on occasion, send mail to shut ins, I have done volunteer work.   When it comes to art, I want to break the rules, take risks, think outside the box.
Isn't that what we are  suppose to do...to a point, I guess we are defined by terms, if submission is involved. There are general guidelines to follow for a lot of art submission, but being creative is about being unique.

Let's not forget to mark or circle May 3rd, Lee of Tossing it Out has picked this day for us to post about
our reflections of A-Z blog challenge.   It will be fun~

Also another R, I received my May Basket, the other day, from Cari Bruno.   Thank you Cari for a fun swap; it brings back fond memories of the days, when I  rang a door bell and hung the basket on the door and took off running.  

I received, coconut candy, seeds, peat pots, a tool for trimming roses, gloves, a rose, tea pot for one, tea and a vintage iced tea spoon and beautiful notes.  Thanks Cari~

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Q is for Quilt

There are so  many types of quilts, Crazy, Shoo-Fly,
Snail's Trail, Lazy Daisy,Rose Wreath, Wedding Ring,
Log Cabin, Broken Dishes, Moon Over The Mountain,etc.


 It is a great way to recycle, take what is old and make it new; great gift a memory quilt!




I have never made a quilt; I have made  pillows with quilting techniques, but some how the task was started and then we moved.  Military moves are daunting; you really have to be prepared.  They even try to pack your trash; it is crazy!   We would move and then you have to set up a new household, the last thing you feel like doing is working on a  quilt.  Setting up a household is is expensive, tedious and frustrating.  I have moved 17x in the past 25 yrs. Just thinking about makes me wonder how I did it.   I opened my cedar chest the other day; I found these baby quilts. A flood of memories flashed before my eyes. Friends and relatives made these gifts;  memories of my babies are interwoven within these security blankets.

  I can see my son, pretending one side of his quilt was a jungle for his army men and snuggling later with his favorite blankie.  My daughter wanted a tea party with her dollies on hers and also loved to roll up in the comforting cloth.   I think of my children as quilts; their patchwork comes from family members on both sides.  My daughter has my mother in law's hands, the blonde hair is from her and my sister in law. My Mom's smile, my Italian bump nose , my husband's wit and laugh, her Dad's full, thick hair, my eyes and a musical gift from the Jackson side.  My son reminds me of my husband, he sounds just like him, sometimes I honestly can't tell over the phone, til I listen for a while. The Navy quarterdeck calls to update my husband(my son is on the phone trying to get off).  My son has my father's humor and personality, so much it is like my Dad is still alive.   My children didn't know my father; he passed  away, when I was 19.   My son has his Dad's walk and stance, my coloring and eyes, and his Dad's height and shoulders and my brother's easy going nature and the gift of fixing things and technically gifted,  both Wilson and Jackson traits.  When my children approach me, it is as if a family reunion has arrived.  The genetics of generations are woven into their being, the fabric of our lives.   I have started watching the show," Who do you think you?" on Friday nights.
I think some of the similarities of the past that come forward are amazing.  There are common themes that
the celebrity finds out about their family tree, it is truly breath taking. I love how our memories bind us together as a family, how we can reflect back, by seeing our children grow up, and discover how we are all tied together.  The common thread being we all want to pass on positive memories and traditions to our families, like a quilt with it's similarities there is also the contrasts.  Families are like crazy quilts, all the patches together are unique.   No matter how different or similar the patches are, together they stitch a whole lot of memories.

Thanks to Lee, of Tossing it Out  for fabricating this challenge and bringing us together.  I now have an
A-Z quilt!

Monday, April 19, 2010

P is for Prowling



below is a different book, at random, I just opened...so you could see the process(art bender-using art to
avoid life) another word for art binge!  

No, I'm not a cat burglar or a Private Eye... but today, at random, I found an article about stirring up ideas.
I think a lot of people in the A-Z blog are creative type and thought this would be a great P word.

Aren't we all looking for ideas, whether it be work related, a book, short story or a muse to get your
creative juices flowing.   Sometimes it is a problem to come up with something original, a perfect idea, a beginning or an ending or gift even.

  "Creativity is not the production of the best ideas for a given problem or dilemma.  Rather, creativity
is the generation of lots and lots of ideas.  The main difference between creative people and noncreative people is that creative folks generate a plethora of ideas, whereas noncreative people spend their time looking for a single idea."~ Anthony D. Fredericks

The process of prowling for ideas can come from your own devices or at random or The da Vinci strategy 
there is also a workbook.  No, I don't own these yet, but after finding this article at random, I think it would be worth checking out.

The divergent thinker  thinks" outside of the box".  They search and find ideas while carrying on with their work, duties and general daily routine, while walking the dog, running to the mailing, driving to the store, etc.  These types are always prowling for idea, fascinated with searching them out.    There are several method, one involves opening magazines or books of different themes.   You find 22 at random words.   You then arrange the words in two columns   one of the left side of your paper one on the right(or computer). Now, use 2 dice and shake, mark the first word on the rt and lt with the same number.   Go through your list.

Now roll a pair of dice again, you perhaps get a 6 and 7 now pick from your(2 lists) there are 2 choices for each number  line 6 blue and disk   line 7 film and toothpick.   Picked:   6. blue  7. toothpick
See what you can write about or create.     This isn't mine(but the~ author of the article)

Jason stood outside the diner picking his teeth.  He wasn't in any hurry, besides, his cousin was always late.
Then from out of the blue, a silver Mercedes squealed around the corner and slammed into a telephone pole. Jason didn't know it at the time, but his life was beginning to get very dangerous very quickly.  ~Anthony D. Fredericks

When I want clues or insight to a craft project, sometimes I will open different books at random, 5x.
It is interesting to see if you get a message or not.  Most of the time I do this, something speaks to me, that I'm in the right direction or I get a new idea.     Try it; Prowl a bit and see what you find, I know you aren't looking for prey, but you are looking for an idea that you are unable to resist!   Something that pounces at you,  so Pay Attention~

*(Pay Attention is from artist/author Susan Tuttle)  Susan is the author of Exhibition 36

Saturday, April 17, 2010

O is for Optical





I wear glasses or contact lens.  I see a huge difference when I take them off.  I can't remember this book, but
it was probably mentioned in a feature in. Parade magazine.    It mentioned how sometimes in life we need to adjust our view, see through the eyes of someone else.  Someone you know may
be acting or reacting poorly, or perhaps a school teacher, isn't her self.   You know something is off...
My daughter was in 4th grade; she came home complaining her teacher was mean. This woman, was not really friendly before, so I knew it must be bad.    She acted like she was teaching middle school.  I did some volunteer work in her class room, so I knew first hand.  She was nice to the parents, but a little rough around the edges with the students.  I wanted to move my daughter out of this class, but I didn't.   I explained to my daughter, sometimes when people are mean, ugly, not so friendly; They need a bit more kindness then others.   I said it is like my glasses, when they are off, I don't see clearly.  I said, her vision is off, something has happened to her, or someone she loves, and she is acting out.   I said, we need to adjust, tilt our vision and give her benefit of the doubt.  She is struggling; I said, "you know students like that, don't you".    She agreed, I said, "when people aren't nice, sometimes just a smile or a kind word, snaps them out of it."   We need to adjust our(virtual) glasses and look at them a bit different and hopefully their vision will change.    A few years later, my daughter needed glasses. this subject came up, about virtual glasses.   She said," they can't see Mom, that their mood affects others."   I said, "no their vision is impaired, like ours, but when you aren't focused your emotional level  is off."   

I know seeing is believing and  we can't walk in anyone shoes, but our own.  We need to not always get defensive when someone is rude in the check out line, etc.   We need to take the high road and cut them some slack and hope as we have adjusted our focus, someone will help adjust theirs, when the view is compromised.

Friday, April 16, 2010

N is for Nature



*Fitness Color: Greener than Green, Nature Beckons

I love nature; when I'm stressed a peaceful walk, listening to the birds, smelling the pine scented air, or
honeysuckle, seeing  the quilted blue sky, with white batting clouds, brings me comfort.  I see squirrels scamper and hear birds chirping amongst themselves, and bees humming, brings me peace. Then there is the peaceful whisper of the leaves blowing in the breeze, or the gentle rain fall, or even the harsh wind and heavy
rainfall, I feel at ease. 

Nature nurtures me; I love to walk, hike, or ride my bike on the nature trail.   I use to live near the bay and
watched the tide ebb n' flow; this gives my mind and body a sense of calm.

 I took this test once, it is to find out about your fitness personality, it is called the * 8 colors of fitness.    You can take their test, to see which one you are.  Can you guess, mine?   Green, was my color; It fit me so well, too much time indoors is stressful to me. Greens enjoy the outdoors in all conditions; This also applies to me.  I have walked many nights in snow falls and rain.   I walked 3 miles  to rent a movie,during a major snow storm. My family and I had played games, made cookies,we wanted a movie...I went.  When I returned, I had to laugh, I had snow, ice globs in my hair.  I was offered rides, but didn't take them.     I love the peaceful feeling of tuning into the gifts of nature.  

Do you love nature?   What color are you, fitness wise?

Swap(May Basket)

I will soon post  for "N", this is a glance at the May basket, I made for my swap partner.  Kari from
ArtsyMama is hosting.


 I made my partner a little clutch

My partner is Cari Bruno
She makes lovely things; I am excited to see what she came up with.








Here is the front of her basket(I'm only showing teasers, just in case she visits my blog).
  Here is another angle, it is hard to see all the details, but
this is suppose to be just a teaser!

It was fun to do.  Our swap partner chose the colors.  I love her palette.   I hope she likes what I made for her!
I chose lavender, pink and blue, like the hydrangeas.  Turquoise is one of my fav colors, but I love flowers.  The only turquoise flowers I have ever seen, is when I mixed food coloring and dyed my daisies.  I was probably 9 or 10 yrs old at the time. 

M is for Memories n' Movies



 (Thanks, Lee of Tossing it Out for the A-Z blog challenge; Thanks for the nod, as well)

My memory of growing up is surrounded by kodachrome.  My parents met at this movie theatre, back in the late 50's.   He was the projectionist; She the concession stand girl.   They both loved  movies and their
relationship developed.   My fond memories of childhood tie into to this theatre and the Drive-In.  If we weren't going to a movie, we were discussing them.   When I was little, my Dad use to tell me, that the Columbia logo, the lady with the torch was my Mom, before they were married. In their wedding photo, she had the same hair color n' style. We use to take our neighbors to the movies, I gave out free passes at school lunch.   It is fitting my comfort food is popcorn and how when I hear the musical score of the logos, I relax.

My Dad loved being a projectionist; One summer in Canada, he flashed his projectionist license. We were given a tour of the theater and evening passes to see the summer blockbuster, "JAWS".  My brother, 8 at the time, wasn't so thrilled, when we boarded a  ferry the next day to  leave Prince Edward's Island.   Mom n' Dad had comedy n' drama plaques in their home they later found their way into the ticket booth.  They remain there, still today.  My Mom start collecting elephants during their courtship. My Dad bought her the first one.  They would also frequent, Perry's Nut House.  There were elephants outside that my Mom use to sit on.   It is fitting that years later the theater bought the elephant and put it on top of the theatre. The mother elephant is on top of the theatre and inside is her baby. 

My Dad would frequently discuss with me projectionist terms and ask me if I saw the change over cue and how the movie looked when I watched it.     I applied for a job there,  when I was sixteen.  I worked the ticket booth while my parents managed the Rockland Drive In.  It was a fun job and fitting that I would end up there.   My father worked by day with my grandfather running a Texaco gas and oil business.  Their motto was, "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star". My Dad by day wore a star, by night he showed them on the silver screen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

M is for Memories n' Movies



My childhood memories are woven in kodachrome and movies.   When I was little, the logo's were always
interesting to me, I still smile, when I see Paramount's the lady in white with the stars...my Dad always told me that was my Mother.  In her wedding photo, she had the same color and hair style.   MGM's lion was named Leo.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

L is for List




I always have a laundry list of stuff to do. Then there is the wish list, want list, and need list; You get the idea. I  think people who make lists have certain characteristics, not sure what, but note, not everyone makes them.  I like checking it off, it's done, I like to clear my head of the circle of scattered thoughts, don't forget this or that.     I have often been asked "why do you write it down?"  It frees my mind, I now have a list, I rank the top 5  and get it done.  There is satisfaction in crossing things off.  This To Do book, looks interesting, I don't own this one, but I do own,   List Your Self...many ideas  inside, but it is interesting and it gets your
thoughts down, frees your mind.   This author has also written another book....I find the concept fascinating.   List your fears, what you are grateful for, your regrets, your loves,  your bucket list, etc.

  For example:

List 5 things that give you goosebumps:

1. huge spider in my garage, last summer  2. a bat that was in my bedroom, flying over my bed(long time ago, no one believed me, they caught it with a fishing net, tons of fun)  3. Someone following you a little too close, when walking home in the dark(growing up, walked uptown, it ws getting dark)  4. the huge black snake with the pink belly that was in my yard this past weekend.  Our beagle, Buster was some worked up.  5. A stranger stopping to ask directions, I think of all the scary movies I've watched.

 List 5 things you never thought you would do, but did:

  1. hike a glacier  2. ride a roller coaster, scared of them 3. buy a home in the hot, humid south(I love it here, but I'm from Maine) 4.Drive and take a ferry to Alaska, drove from Maine to Washington state in 7days with a 2yr old in December, very crazy, Al-Can hgwy is very scary then!   5.share my art saves story on Crescendoh.

List 5 crazy things you have done for love:

  1. went fishing in a pond, when the black flies were bad, wearing baby oil mixed with tar on my face, arms and legs...(gorgeous look, should be a new spa treatment)  2. I attempted to clean a fish   3.  I went halibut fishing, the next day after flying from Maine to Alaska, with jet lag.
(you see the theme going on here)  4. I went 4 wheeling(ATVs) in a mud bog(another spa treatment, highly recommended)  5. I sacrificed  my career, to marry and follow a sailor for the past 25 yrs.; One crazy adventure after another.    I have worked on and off, wearing many different hats, wish I was Jane of all
Trades, but I'm not.   I have worked n' done things I never thought I would do.   

List 5 things that always make you laugh:

  1. Jim Carrey  2.  my kids  3. memories of my father, he was a rig 4. Martin Lawrence  5. stories my husband tells me about work  (lately the Marriage Ref )

  Off to make a list of books, I'd like to read...


*by the way, I'm not selling any of the products, I mention( residents of NC are not allowed to via Amazon)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

K is for Kindness


K is for Kindness; when I think of where I have lived, the most kindness I have witnessed was in Hawaii.
My husband went ahead of us(U.S. Navy) on a USS Destroyer, the O'Kane.   We arrived a bit later in October; gorgeous weather, people very friendly, business meetings were laid back, people wore Hawaiian wear, not business suits.  You are welcomed to the island with a lei(necklace of real flowers).    There are gangs and you are warned to not be in certain locations in the evening, but I never saw anything other than the spirit of Aloha.
                              Akahai, kindness to be expressed with tenderness;
                              Lokahi, unity, to be expressed with harmony;
                             Oluolu, agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
                             Haahaa, humility, to be expressed with modesty;
                             Ahonui, patience, to be expressed with perseverance.

 There is a more relaxed vibe, more smiling, more kindness, perhaps it is the beautiful beaches(kahakai) and the ocaean (kai).  The weather is gorgeous and affects everyone's mood.
.   
Many cultures make up the Hawaiian's background; this is reflective in the food, language and spirit of the people. I remember we were at Sam's Club in Honolulu, HI, my husband was looking for some type of coffee(kona).  He made the comment, well, if we were home in the U.S.  I said, "You are in the U.S."   There were so many locals and they weren't speaking English around us.  In Hawaii, there are 2 languages, English and Pidgin-local language.   There alphabet is different than ours, all words end in a vowel.  It is very crowded, this is the one thing that was hard to deal with.  Every time we went shopping, no matter where or when,  there was the Christmas vibe: too many people, long lines and crowded!  The island of Oahu isn't that big with a lot of people living on it, you had the feeling of too many ants on a rock.   There was also volcanic fog called -vog, it would give you allergies and cause your eyes to swell.  (volcanic ash+fog)

There are 2 officially holidays there honored and celebrated for Hawaiian royalty, Prince Kuhio and
King Kamehameha.

My daughter couldn't say macadamia nuts, but her cousins were Matt n' Dana, so she called them, Mattn'Dana me nuts. She was 4 when we arrived and turned 5 while we were there.   We were suppose to be stationed there, 5yrs, but it ended up being 5 months and on May 5th, we left the island.  (yeah, I have this thing about fives).
My son was released from school, every Wednesday early, it was part of their program, so you could have that day to take them to dentist, Dr's appts, or go enjoy the sunshine.

Some interesting K words:
Kahunakah-HOO-naa priest, or expert in a profession
Kaikighthe sea
Kala mai ia’uKAH-la my e-ouexcuse me
KaluaKAH-loo-ahcooking food underground
Kama’ainakah-ma-EYE-nelong-time Hawaii resident
Kanekah-nehboy or man
Kapukah-pooforbidden, taboo; keep out
Keikikay-keechild or children
Kokoheko-Ko-heyrascal
Kokuakoh-koo-ahhelp
Komo Maikomo-m)come in
Konakoh-nahleeward side of the island
Kuleanakoo-leh-AH-nahconcern, responsibility
KumuKOO-mooteacher
Kupunakoo-POO-nahgrandparent
*Wahine is woman

Kapu is mentioned, I always think of that episode on the  Brady Bunch, when they go to Hawaii on vacation.
I think it is Peter, that finds a strange looking totem, a tiki god,  at his Dad's work site.   This is shrouded with  Kapu; Then all this bad stuff, starts happening.   I never saw anything Kapu, while I was there!  

If you have a chance to go...Go, by all means, it is unique to see, such a diverse culture.  A state within our
country with it's own alphabet.... kool!

When I took my daughter to the dentist today I thought of the Hawaiian spirit and tried to smile more and
be relaxed! 

Monday, April 12, 2010

J is for Journey


You have heard the expression it is about the journey and not the destination; don't you think it is true, I do.
 I have started journaling to find myself...I am a military spouse,  trying to find a career path.  I have 2 paths that interest me, but I have a back issues. This is causing one of them(culinary school) perhaps not be an option or delayed.  My Dr has to fill out a physical so I can attend.  I had an injury, 6 months ago, that left me tilted..Yes, think leaning tower of Pisa.  I have ruined 2 pairs of shoes.   I am better, but not back to 100% yet;  exercise is difficult for me, but I function better mentally n' physically when I do it.  I also have to apply the JUST DO IT mantra, get it done and over with or somehow time escapes and I can't fit it in.   I started to journal, it helps open doors and releases stress, it is a way to let your soul speak to you and through you. It reveals creative things; I want to make and do. Journaling helps reveal my feelings, helps me figure out options to a new path.
 
Another J is for Jenny Doh; she use to be the editor of several magazines at Stampington &Co.  Her
latest project is merging the meaning of heART n' soul, how Art Saves people.  Her project is called
Crescendoh It is an amazing community of artists in many facets of life.  The common thread being passion and finding one's path.  Jenny gathers and knits these purls to share with others.  The message is of hope, inspiration, and sharing how Art Saves.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I is for Intuition, Iyengar (yoga) and Indulge

Intuition is a strong sense, that I listen to.  I ignored it once in college and was in a car accident.  No one was seriously hurt, but years later, it  is a part of the reason, I have so many back issues.  I see signs and  pay attention.  I am aware this is a tool  I can use, to be aware, pay attention, and listen to my inner voice.





Iyengar yoga, is one type I have tried, it helps me stay focused and calms the eye of the storm.  It also quiets self doubt , stretches me and helps my back.




Indulge, yeah, I made the brownies, I feared my family would get into them and perhaps I need to make a double batch.  (I did).  I made them and my daughter and I delivered them to the happy recipient.

Here is the recipe, no salt, no baking soda or powder, really basic.  The only thing I do,  that isn't part of the recipe; I add diluted coffee.  I put 1 heaping teaspoon full of coffee in a coffee mug and
add 2 teaspoons boiling water.  I add this to the batter, at the end.  I do it first, so the coffee can cool.
Then add a few more tbsp of flour; the batter will be thick. You could add chocolate chips, if you like that Starbucks mocha type brownie.  This is what the recipe reminds me of~





So, how do I tie this all together, you may wonder, just a random thoughts post...but No, I can pull it off.
See, doing yoga helps tune your third eye ;  The 3rd eye is your intuition.   When you do yoga you are giving your organs a massage, stretching ligaments and keeping limber, this helps avoid injury.
The poses are also called ansanas,  different ones,  stimulate certain glands in your body.   There is one gland called the thyroid gland, it is the master gland of the metabolism.  When you do certain poses in yoga, it helps
the thyroid.  This then can help your metabolic rate.  This can help you lose weight or avoid gaining weight if you choose to indulge.   When you do yoga for a certain amount of time (it varies, just like runner's and runner's high). It is subtle, but gradually you want to be better, eat better, you'll sleep better, be calmer, small things won't rattle you so much.  It is an internal exercise; You won't want to indulge like you did before, you'll still  want to, but the urge won't be as strong!      Yoga Journal has several articles that confirm this

Check these out:   chakras, metabolism, thyroid, and intuition.   For more intuitive yoga, you might want to try
Kripalu or Kundalini,  but that is another letter, for another day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

H is for Handmade or Homemade(heartfelt)


Homemade or Handmade whichever you prefer; gifts that are made when the mind, heart and soul merge and speak through, one's hands.  I love receiving creative gestures of kindness; a gift from the heart.    I love to make homemade gifts, cards, treats and give them away.  Every Christmas we try to make a few homemade gifts, it reflects, the message of the season,  giving of oneself  to others.  We also try to give in other ways, donations and time.    The rules are handmade and something the recipient would like.  I suggested one year, when our son was into the" Matrix" to make an enclosed frame and put in the TV guide collector's editions.  My husband created this; It matches the dvd stand, he also made him.

        Sometimes we have photos enlarged and add special details to the frame or make a photo collage.



           I wood burned this years ago, when money was tight, it was my first wood burning project.

I know several online artists, that make heartfelt gifts, Becky Shander is one. Here is a journal she made, that I just love.    Becky loves to use practical, everyday items to make unique gifts.  Her Believe necklace is a favorite of mine.  I wear it often and it reminds me, we all need to believe in ourselves and our dreams!



























                                    Colette Copeland, makes heartfelt art,she makes angel wings, beautiful
                           cards and many other unique gifts. 


                     Colette , takes her heartfelt gifts literally, she recently opened a heart shaped store.


  Karla Nathan,  uses vintage items, treasures from the past, to elevate the ordinary. You would enjoy her heartfelt adventures, with her granddaughter.

  Ingrid, is a friend I  met a few years at a local craft show. She uses eco-friendly materials for most of her art. Her gift represent using what you have and saving the Earth. (very heartfelt)



 Here is a purse with a coat hanger handle; she also makes scarves, wallets, jewelry and other OOAK items.



These are some of her eco friendly pouches; she also make wallets.  Great to tuck a gift card in, later can be used for jewelry and other various items.









  Two new friends, Chrissy and Jenny practice giving from the heart.  Chrissy has painted words of wisdom to share; she also inspires with words and photos! She also features a lot of other artist's work.  Jenny has started doing mixed media and makes beautiful cakes.  She is making a wedding cake for a friend, now that is truly a great gift from the heart!

 I'm off to the kitchen, my friend's son is home from being hospitalized.  I am going to make him some brownies as a welcome home gift~

Hope you like  "H" ;   "I"   will be really unique tomorrow, stay tuned~

Thursday, April 8, 2010

B for Basil, C for Cilantro, D for Dill, E for Exercise, F for Fountain, G is for Grow

I went to buy some herbs yesterday and thought this would be my way to catch up on the A-Z blog challenge.
I will start with G is for Growth and tie it all in.   This time of year, I love to plan my garden, window boxes and cedar containers.  I love to try something new every year.  No, I don't have a big garden it's a small railroad ties type, but good enough to grow some amazing veggies and herbs. When I plant, I think about how I also need to grow; I need to make some changes.  Lately, I have found when I do things I love, it frees me, allows me to  rediscover my passion.  Some of these are: baking, cooking, drawing and exercise.  My ideas feel like creative seeds, that I need to plant and allow room for them to breath and grow.  It takes time to change, as it does for plants to flourish.  We need faith to try; We grow, when we try something new,  even if the results aren't always the desired ones.

I love basil's variety, a staple in my garden, I love the bite that cilantro adds to food,




Dill, love the pickles, dill sauce on salmon, dilly beans.
    E is for Ellen(that is my real name, nickname Ellie, Ella) It is also
for making time to exercise and rebuild back my energy(had an injury).
F is for finding myself, the freedom to do my hobbies and this beautiful fountain, I found while browsing flowers n' herbs.


G is for growing, for my garden and giving to others.  I need to plant more of my creative ideas(my seeds) see what will bloom.  If they don't bloom, then I will find a new direction to grow in. We need to try to reach the stars(sun) and by allowing a little hope, sharing ourselves, we just may get our wish.  Plant a dream, if it doesn't bloom, you can always plant a different one~