Monday, January 30, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

You might remember my post about finding 1,000 gifts.  I spied this gift (photo #5) Saturday morning. It was kind of foggy out and cold.  I put my beagle outside and saw this web. I couldn't resist. I remember the last time I found a beautiful web. I wanted a photo, but didn't have my camera. I ran home, grabbed it and went back for my walk.  When I finally reached my destination, a neighbor was destroying it. She commented how much she hated spiders. I was sad and walked along. Then another opportunity arose. I found my husband destroying that one. I love the artistry, the weaving technique.  I can't help, but think of the book, "Charlotte's Web".


Did YOU know?   There is such a thing as:

Cobweb Painting. Cobweb painting made its appearance in the 1500s in the Austrian Alps. The webs were layered and wound over fabric and reinforced by brushing with diluted milk. Then watercolors were applied over the top to create the painting, some of which still exist today in private collections.
Here is an article about a Cobweb Painter.  I never would of thought to paint on a web?!

Amazing, so many interesting facts on spiders can be found here.

Oh and speaking of the web. YOU can vote here, for the Top Writing Blog.  I am just honored to be nominated.  Go vote for your favorites. I plan on visiting all of these blogs. Some are good friends and some I am not familiar with, yet.  I love to meet new bloggers, don't you!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A gift from a friend

 I received another beautiful gift from a friend. This friend I found last December, when I did the Reverb challenge.  She has such a giving spirit and so much talent. Some of you know her from the Summer of Color Challenge. She also participated in the A-Z blogging challenge.  She is a home school teacher and has her hands full. 

She sent me these amazing post cards. Her drawings are so beautiful I think she could illustrate books!
 Go visit Scarlett and admire her creativity. She has a lot of wonderful, eco-friendly ideas for Valentine's Day.  She also has an Etsy store. She is raising funds for Cockayne Syndrome research.  Currently there isn't any treatment to help her adorable son, Knox, or other children affected by CS. There isn't even a clinical trial testing medication.

What is CS?
CS is a tragic childhood disease that causes premature aging and a shortened lifespan.
The butterfly is the symbol for children who have lost their lives early to CS, so many of our items feature this symbol. 


Look at all the amazing detail!  So beautiful~
* Photo via Scarlett Clay
  Thank you Scarlett!  My daughter loves the earrings we bought from your shop~

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Graytful

I received mail recently, that stunned me. The first one was from  eCollege Finder. I was told I was nominated for a Top Writing Blog. I had to read this email 3 times. I was stunned and thought for sure they had the wrong Ella.  I also received a letter, via snail mail regarding the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, the same day.  It was in regards to a publication called, "Shambhala Sun".   The letter expresses, "Our emotions and perceptions are like seeds in the garden of our minds-and mindfulness is like cool water." It goes on to talk about the seeds of joy and how we must water them. It also mentions how we all are deeply interconnected. "No one can be one's self alone"~ Thich Nhat Hanh


To accept this honor, I had to answer 2 questions and email them back.  I would like to personally say THANK YOU, to the special someone that nominated me. Words can't express, how I feel, felt when I read, I was being considered.  Thank you!!!  And thank you to those who comment and share your lives, your thoughts and view!

Blogging is a gift, it is sad so many don't realize this potential. I am referring to those who don't blog. They do not understand the profound connections that can be made, the friendships that develop and the sense of camaraderie.  Just like Thich Nhat Hanh said, "No one can be one's self alone"~    Thank you to all who blog, who take the time to share their daily lives. You fill my world with more sunshine!

The first question kind of stumped me for a bit.  How would you describe your blog to readers?

 
My voice is about finding beauty in the everyday. We all can relate to the black n’ white moments of life, but there is joy to be found in the gray. I’m so not the Pollyanna type. Blogging is helping me to find the ripples of light, in my daily life.

 
What advice can you offer students aiming to improve their writing acumen?

On this journey called life, we have to keep learning, keep moving towards our dreams, our goals. Your view is unique. Yes, we all share experiences, but remember to use your voice.  The essence of your authenticity is what sets you apart!   

Remember though: 
"No one can be one's self alone" ~Thich Nhat Hanh


Friday, January 20, 2012

Catching Up in the Garden

I have missed several challenges. I am trying to play catch up. The first was to write a poem about flowers, without using cliches. When I think of flowers, I think of the obvious: sweet, perfume, their beauty and how they offer lingering hope.  There were two challenge at the Imaginary Garden I wanted to try. I'm late, yes I had a very important date, but it is now time to catch up ;D.



Stars will blossom in the darkness, Violets bloom beneath the snow.”  
                                                                                                                 ~Julia C.R. Dorr
                                                                                                       
Snow’s pledge is fragile
eyes of gold nodding in day’s ease
violet sunset reflects a symphony of verdant hope
a pledge of eternal promise
ushered in by a clay colored robin’s first solo


This photos is one of many in my Etsy store; I hope to list more items soon.



We also were asked to write a tanaga,  a short poem originating from the Philippines. It is similar in nature to the Japanese short forms of haiku or tanka.     


The form goes like this:

XXXXXXA
XXXXXXA
XXXXXXB
XXXXXXB


All lines  have 7 syllables, 4 lines first 2 rhyme and last 2 rhyme.
Here is my take on the Tanaga:




 

Grayfulness swirls in a bone china cup
Citrus charm, from a Lord drink up
Black tea’s magic steeped oil 
Bergamot grows as one toils


I checked the syllable count here.

I remember the first time I tasted Earl Grey tea, yuck!  I wondered why any one would think swamp water tasted good.   Later, my friend Rikkie, she is from Japan, offered me some iced tea made with Earl Grey tea.  I liked her version.  I remember reading how the herb, Bergamot had a citrus like taste and is a calming herb. I bought another brand and liked it. I now love Earl Grey tea~

Poets United prompt  #81 this week is Good-byes. There are so many ways to spin this. I have said, good-bye, so many times. Being in a military family makes for an unique lifestyle.  Sometimes I have been ready to say good-bye and move on(Alaska and all that snow) and other times struggled with it.

I chose to write about my husband being away at sea. Our only constant was counting days down to his arrival back on shore.  I remember how amazed he was at seeing everything so green, when he drove home in April. It reminded me of a song my Dad use to play on the guitar, "The Green, green grass of Home".  My husband's view had been steel gray, endless blue skies, clouds, and the sea.  They pull in to port a few times, but we all know, "there is no place like home".





Hinged wagon wheel
set in earth’s dust
Spokes strong, stable
waiting against the shimmering rose
she waits in the moonlight
Center, echoes my heart
Empty vessel wide open like a forgotten window
Holding the heavens
Waiting for lightening to return
hum of electricity awakens me
ailment’s cure will arrive
once calendar turns
date circled in red
waves of tears
part heaven n’ hell
homecoming
feet on heart’s green path
 moral compass
remains constant

I know my poem is about both good-bye and hello.  He hasn't gone out to sea in awhile. Now, he flies to the west coast for the Navy, still saying good-bye~

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Playing with Dolls

Well, not exactly, but kind of.  I have been playing with putty  making some doll face molds.   This putty is Amazing, no really ;D.  YOU can make molds for food, soap, wax, and more; It is non-toxic.  Today, I just made the molds. Hopefully I can find where I hid the Paperclay and make the doll faces, tomorrow.  These are a few items I received for Christmas, but haven't had time to play. I thought this was going to be the week, I could find some creative time. I haven't had much luck lately.  Just do it, carve out a chunk of time or it will never happen. I thought life had resumed back to normal, not yet. My daughter is home this week. It is exam week at her high school. She has only one exam. It is tomorrow, Algebra II.  She went to the dentist with me yesterday. Today, I am fighting sinus issues again, but I'm functional. She was studying, while I ventured into the attic.  This doll was a gift to my daughter.  The type you tuck away and display on a shelf.  The molds look a little creepy...


I love how today my art had a sci fi edge. I finally caught up on "The Walking Dead" series.  I can't wait for it to come back on, Feb 12.  I thought for sure I would have a nightmare. No I did not, but my daughter did. She didn't even watch it, but she knew we were. I guess zombies were all around our house and she wanted us to set the grass on fire. Make a ring of fire around our home, burn the edges of our lawn. (her words) There might be a story in the works here.  My son is reading this book, "Day by Day Armageddon".  His impression so far, not very descriptive, kind of vague.

    More putty molds, the big baby one kind of creeps me out.
I like the little, delicate ones better.  What is your inner child into these days?  Somehow, I don't think anyone is going to say dolls or zombies!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Illin and Ho Hums

I have been Illin with a sinus infection. If Run D.M.C. comes to mind, that was my intent. If you don't know who that is, check it out.  It was my nickname in Alaska. This song was popular at the club I worked at. I was a hostess/cashier/and Girl Friday. The DJ nicknamed me Illin. He use to dedicate this song to me. I'm better, but now the Ho-Hums have set in.  For the record, I am not bored. I am never bored; I just feel worn out and weary.

January is so not my month. I have had a lot of unfortunate events, a  lot of mishaps and tragedy has happened in this month.  My Dad died years ago, bad car accident in college, son was told he had cancer his Senior year, he didn't, etc.  It just isn't my month. I try to find creative ways to snap out of it. Silly, kooky ways, for example I'm trying to beat my daughter at Just Dance 3.  My daughter is having friends over for a Taco Party, with  a Zelda marathon tonight. My son got my hubby hooked on The Walking Dead series, so he is playing catch up. Son and daughter's boyfriend are into Skyrim.

There isn't any snow, yet it sure feels like cabin fever has set in. It is odd though, because I call July, blizzard month. It is so humid n' hot, no one wants to be outside, unless it is early morning or late at night. It seems to be a whole month, of indoor movies, games etc. Spring, fall n' winter are more our outdoorsy months. Maybe my blood hasn't thinned yet. I'm a transplant to the south, but I truly love it here. I still have a New England accent which is pretty funny, with a southern twang.  I will be brave one of these days and make a video. You can have a laugh on me! :D  I know, I sound funny~


What do you do when the winter doldrums, I mean ho hums strike?  I am still working on my 1000 photos, finding things that I have and consider gifts. I will share more pics soon.  What gives you joy these days?  Now, now...don't fear Friday the 13th. I have had a lot of luck on this day.



This was a gift, from my friend Abby.  It goes with my theme to find Joy, in the ordinary.  Thank you Abby, it is beautiful!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Think Tank Thursday

Poets United prompt #79 is unique.  I had a little something to do with this one. Funny, I could easily write my poems ahead, but I never do. I find a photo that I think could be interpreted in various ways. I post it, on the first Thursday of the month. Earlier, I scratched down some ideas, but had to run errands, pick up  my daughter from school. The house is now quiet and I'm attempting my prompt. I still didn't go in the direction that I first planned. I needed to let ideas stir and see what else might come into view.  Wanna know a secret?  I didn't take it on the beach. I took it on my deck table, not quite the look I wanted, but the light was good.  Did I fool you?  Probably not...



 
Life spirals in our daily rounds
tossed and turned memories churn
salty brine flows
treasures appear
parting gifts to linger in life's hands
in soul's watch
jewels sparkling in liquifying light
ribbons of cascading brilliance
open your eyes
to the chamber of one's own grace
Listen to the lullaby of life
there is still time...

Ordinary dust churns like ocean's sand
mine it like panned gold
 extract the deposits
 cradle your joy
 filter the gifts
of living another day
only those with soft eyes
             will
             see
             the 
             view
              on
            Earth
               is
           Heaven



* I wanted to add, but not in my poem. I also think the view on Earth, can be hell.










Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Assemblage and more...

Today I had to do a poetry prompt at the Imaginary Garden.  I chose to share another artist's view. Annie Lockhart has taken gathered objects and assembled them into "Objects of Reflection".  I was intrigued, when I saw her art inspired poetry.  She gathers inspiration from flea markets, yard sales, antique store, and more.  Her magic involves glue, Liquid Nails(clear), wire and more.  She uses her intuition to form her pieces, then takes these symbols, and writes poetry.

 I thought this would make an interesting prompt.  I don't have the material to make one, right now. I do hope to gather the necessary elements, the glue and wire and will give it a try. I did create two smaller ones. One uses a whisk and the other I just clipped up with tiny clothespins.  Here is my first attempt:


 I hung pearls and snowflakes from my ceiling fan. One after Christmas find, an ornament with 3 frosted butterflies and a fake crystal on the end. I draped turquoise silk around the butterflies, to reflect the endless blue winter sky.  


Crystalline dust lends magic to undisturbed thought
Soul protects frosted memories
Cocoon dreams tucked in fluffy white blanket
Butterfly kisses lend faith to transformation
Gentle wings lightly lift off
to endure change
Snowflake’s view unique
brilliance arrives
in journey


The other part of the exercise is to make a list, gather a few of your favorite items. A list of 10+ items, then jot down what they symbolize and write a poem.


blue bird-hope
anchor-my soul
feather-my heritage, my plumage
nest-move(I know, sounds horrible, but I have moved a lot)
bird-soar, journey
Admit one ticket-my talent, gift
dried rose-where I grew up
shell-home(guess from being tossed about by the sea, I married a sailor)
house-heart
Tatting-create
Red Cardinal-family that is deceased
green cloth-reflects my view
key-what is essential
whisk-I bent it into hearts(stirred)

Blue bird moves my anchor
from house filled with red feathers
Tatting memories stir my longings for
timeworn, gray wharf and rosy view
green ticket, my key to soar
dreams nested
in an endless sea of detours
heart bends as lost dreams haunt me
Nautilus' journey cryptic
uncharted venture won't tarnish
my house key

Give it a try! You might be a poet and didn't even know it~(my father said this all the time)

It is the first Wednesday of  2012. Every first Wednesday of the month is another installment of  IWSG. Alex Cavanaugh is an author, Ninja, rocker and brain child behind this unique gathering.  It is a wonderful support group mixed with writers who have been published and those who are insecure and losing focus. There is wisdom and support in this insecure gathering. Come by and check it out. YOU can make some new friends and learn you aren't alone in this process.  For me, insecurity comes in waves. I feel good  about I wrote, than an hour later,  I wonder, "What was I thinking?"  I think we have to keep surfing in uncharted waters, to learn,  to develop our sea legs and become better. I am looking into a creative writing course and I need to refresh my grammar. I apologize to those of you who see the errors of my ways!  I know I am weak and need to work on my skills, but it is a process.  A great mind expressed:  we need to learn the rules, then break them.  I am breaking them and don't know it...not cool!
                              “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
                                                                                         ― Dalai Lama XIV


So, go surf, swim and sink, but once down you will rise back up and find another way!  It takes practice and rules to get us back on track! 
                                               



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Imaginary Garden

Mary provided a challenge to write a poem, "ring out the old and ring in the new".  A poem symbolic of hindsight and reflection~

 

 
Tides of change
ripples ring truth's essence
Still sailing on course, my journey
Following the sea
allow soul’s anchor 
to secure heart's ballast
Altair’s brilliant light still guiding you
On sea of change
destination True North
Bell cries in flurry of thought and fog’s murky stillness
captivation arrives on new island
darkness vaults histogram
focus sharpened
memory blurs sideways glances
viewpoint on the horizon
empathy on path
chasing light
illuminates soul's patches.