Saturday, March 29, 2008

Planting for the Future

I spent today planting flowers. I love having blooms beautifying my yard during my favorite season of summer. Last year I planted Earthwalker Sunflowers. It was actually amazing that any of them bloomed since the squirrel dug up most of the seeds and my cat ate the tops off seedlings. I finally got wise and moved them to a secure place and for about a month during July and August I had the brightest colored sunflowers I had ever laid eyes on.
I have been meaning to get out in the yard and plant this whole month but other things kept getting in the way. I finally remembered what joy I had when the first Morning Glories opened up to the sun. The variety was Scarlett O'Hara, a gorgeous deep pink...almost hot pink really. They climbed the fence and the fig tree and bloomed all season.

I can't have an actual real garden because of all the wildlife that surrounds us. We have everything you can imagine and they eat whatever they can get their little grubby paws on. Part of the problem I guess is that I feed them seed regularly so they just must think my flowers are part of the deal.

The iguanas like to eat the heads off the Marigolds...the ducklings like the sprouts of the Morning Glories...the squirrels of course like the Sunflower seeds and all the birds, especially the White Ibis which have long, curved beaks like to dig up even the deepest of seeds.

Still, I have been surprised with what has survived and still gone on to bloom. I thought none of the Heavenly Blue Morning Glories survived. The ducklings last year ate all the seedlings and then we had torrential rain that tore up the rest. But, yet at the end of summer there they were...not where I planted them in the backyard, but in the front yard. Probably dropped there with some extra fertilizer by the sweet little ducklings!

Luckily, living in Florida we have perfect weather to plant anything and have it grow. You just have to make through the wildlife first.

Today I planted Sweet Pea, a variety called Heathcliffe that I purchased in Haworth, home of Emily Brontë the author of Wurthering Heights.

I wonder if it will be as wild and untamed as the character Heathcliffe?

I planted two varieties of Morning Glories with the hopes that the two from last year will re bloom. Grandpa Ott is a deep purple and Milky Way is a pretty white with light pink stripes. I also decided to plant Oxford Blue Scabiosa with the hopes to attract more butterflies. I did some more Marigolds for the iguanas and this time I thought of my cats and planted Catnip! I had some seeds left over from the Earthwalker Sunflowers so I planted them in a place where squirrel nor the cat could get to them. Finally, I planted Zinnia, Spanish Omelet Poached Eggs (yes, that's really the name!) and lastly Moonflower with the hopes that I'll have it blooming at night to fragrance the patio area.

I spent this one Spring day planting for the future. I can't wait to see what Summer brings!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The 2008 Self Challenge

This is my third time doing the Self Challenge. It is a healthy eating/exercise program put on by Self Magazine. It's to help women work a more healthy diet and activity level into their livestyle. It's also a great way to get ready for bikini season! Click on the title to be taken to their website where you can read all about the challenge. It's never too late to start!

I completed the challenge the first year I did it...faltered a bit the second year and last year I couldn't participate because I was travelling in the UK for two of the three months.

I'm currently on my fourth week of the three month program. For me, it's not about losing any weight really but reducing my body fat which likes to hang out on the hips and tummy areas, to add overall toning and to help me control my food portions.

So far, I've lost 1lb., 1/2% of my body fat, 1 inch on the waist and thighs. I've also reduced my girth by 1 inch but have only taken a 1/2% off of my hips. However, I did see some stomach muscles that have been long gone show up at the end of week three...I'm pretty excited by that!

I'm not someone who loves to exercise. I really have to motivate myself to do it (unless it's one of my long-distance treks!) and the Self Challenge helps me do that.

Of course, I would probably be further along if I didn't have such an addiction to dark chocolate. The story on that battle is better left for another day because right now I have to go work out! :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Memories of Easter

My memories of Easter as a child are wonderful.

Coloring eggs in a vinegar and dye mixture in plastic 1970's teacups. I can still recall the smell.

We did the coloring at my grandma's house. It was always a fun day.
Then, on Easter Sunday we would put on our new Sunday Best clothes, take pictures with our baskets, stop by Grandma's to hunt for some more awesomely filled Easter baskets before heading off to church to celebrate the real meaning of Easter. Of course, as kids all we could think about were the activities that would come after. I suppose my mom had a hard time getting us to sit still in church on days like this one.

After church we headed over to my Great Aunt Rosemary's for Easter brunch. We loved going over there because we knew we would see our cousins, Charity, Brandon, Niles and Rodney. The seven of us would play and have adventures all day long.

The feast was always amazing. Everything you could think of from Turkey and ham, to sweet and mashed potatoes, veggies, rolls, pies, cakes and of course Giant Chocolate Easter Bunnies...the gift my Great Aunt Rosemary always gave us kids.

Easter, as with all the holidays are different now. I think when we become adults our holidays come with expectations that they are going to be as wonderful and memorable as they were when we were kids. But, they usually aren't. There is usually stress, last minute running around trying to get everything done, cooking to do, kids to dress, family to visit.

Now I think of all the things my family did to make sure we kids had a perfect Easter Holiday. And, we were never aware of how much work it took or appreciated it until we grew up and had to do it for ourselves.

I am blessed that they worked so hard to give me those perfect Easter memories.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Finding Time for Art

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes yesterday! Each and every one made me smile and filled my heart with joy!

What am I going to get accomplished during my 43rd year?
I would like to complete all my "in progress" art projects. I realized today that I have seven oil paintings started and haven't worked on any of them in almost a year!

I love painting. I love just starting with a blank canvas and turning it into something beautiful. I love the way painting takes your mind away from everything else and you are just left with the flow of being creative.
I love painting most with oil, but I also like acrylic...watercolor, that's a whole other story and needs it's own post to explain why we don't get along too much.

My list of miniature projects is even longer...I've been working on a 1/2" scale wine cellar in what seems like forever. I've planned a Lighthouse, a Wizard's Study and an Arctic Camping scene.

And my mind is so full of ideas that I just want to get going on all of them. But, I really need to finish the ones I've started first.
Making miniatures is a fantastic hobby. You can create these tiny worlds and they can be anything you want.
I once did a Fairy Shoppe, made out of a giant paper mache mushroom! I always wanted a wine I decided to make one. Who cares that it's only 10" high and you can't drink the wine. It's still a wine cellar and it's mine.
Well, at least at will be when I find the time to finish it!
So, my only solution is to make time for art. Find the time, squeeze in the extra hours and get back to being creative. Get things done.
Finding Time for Art...
Less television would be a good way to start.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Time for Rebirth

It's the last day of the Astrological calendar...the Spring Equinox...and my 43rd birthday!

As a child, I never liked that my birthday was on the first day of Spring. It always fell during Spring Break so I was never in school on my birthday. No chocolate cupcakes to share with the class. No teacher to point out that today was my special day. No homemade card from the boy I liked. I felt ripped off, cheated out of this schooldays ritual.

But, as we all do, I grew up and came to appreciate and even love that my birthday is on this day. It's such an interesting one.

The last day of the Astrological calendar...that was always the most intriguing thing to me about my birthday. It is believed that those born on this day carry traits from all twelve zodiac signs.

I liked that...being able to read all the horoscopes and just pick the one that fits me best. :)

But, it is really the Spring Equinox that I love most about my birthday. Celebrated for thousands of years by so many different cultures, it is a time for renewal and rebirth.

Last year, on my 42nd birthday I celebrated it by climbing up to the Glastonbury Tor, an ancient site in Somerset...a place that has the most magnetic lay lines...a location that is so full of cosmic energy. No one knows for sure who built the Tor, or what it's purpose was but there is definitely something quite magical about it.

I had always wanted to visit and on this day, my mother and I began the climb up, fighting the most amazing wind. My mom made it half way and decided that it was just too taxing on her to continue. So, I made my way up to the top alone. I was exhausted when I got to the top...I could barely catch my breath. But, then something amazing happened.

I stopped. My mind became quiet. I sat down and took in the wonder and beauty of where I was. I was in Somerset, England. I could see the countryside, the village of Glastonbury, rolling green hills and the most amazing sky. I was sheltered from the wind by the Tor and I took about 30 minutes to just sit and take it all in. Little did I realize that I was also drawing in energy from this mystical tower.

When I finally began to make my way down, I had this sudden burst of joy and I began running down the hill towards my mom with great enthusiasm. She was waving at me, smiling, laughing, snapping pictures. I was so pumped up. I felt amazing. I felt new. It was at that moment that I realized what I had just experienced...a rebirth of the spirit.

Come, gentle Spring! ethereal mildness, come. -James Thomson, The Seasons.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Where the Gold Bees Dream

Where the Gold Bees Dream...the title of one of my photographs and now this little slice of the blogosphere. Where did it come from?

From one of my all-time favorite master-crafters of the written word, Oscar Wilde.

I pulled it from his poem Panthea, a long rich prose that touches on everything from desire to religion. It is hauntingly beautiful.

My favorite line:
White lilies, in whose cups the gold bees dream.

I can imagine the moment he found that line...strolling in St. James Park, with his jewel encrusted cane, lavender gloves and a green carnation on his lapel...the sunlight moves and his gaze settles onto one of the garden areas...he notices gold bees happily buzzing around the white lilies, drunk with pollen love.

One of the things that I love most about Oscar Wilde (besides the fact that he is Irish which runs through my blood too) is that he was an artist that stayed true to himself and refused to conform to the rules of Victorian Society. He is such an interesting person. I would have loved to met him. I would love to go where the gold bees dream.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Creative Mind

Sometimes my creative mind feels like this photograph. My ideas are like blades of grass, although at first glance it may seem that they are all alike, each one has it's own unique shape. They twist and turn, fighting with each other to be noticed by the sun. My ideas are like that. Each trying to escape my mind and make it to my fingertips, the actual workers of my creative life.

I decided to create this blog as a way to take all of those individual blades of grass and create a large field of harmonious beauty, where my photography, art, crafts, writings and collections could be combined as a canvas for which to share with others. A place where all the things I create, collect and love could perhaps be sent out into the world, like tiny whispers in the wind, to inspire and motivate others to bring creativity into their lives. A place where I could showcase my work, reach more customers and make new friends.

I've always loved a good adventure and this seems like one for the ages. I'm excited, full of nervous energy that I hope to channel into this undertaking. I'm scared too. Will I be able to keep up with my new commitment? Will anyone visit my blog? Will people find inspiration in my work? What will I learn about myself along the way?

There is only one way to find the answers to these questions and that is to jump in with both feet and just enjoy what comes of it!

That is exactly what I plan to do!

Here was my horoscope for today:
You can spin fantastic yarns by following the separate threads of personal feelings, weaving them into a fabric that moves beyond your individual issues. Others may hear deep wisdom in your stories today that you don't even realize is present. You're just sharing what's on your mind, but your heartfelt emotions have positive impact by inspiring those who get a glimpse of your inner world.

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." -Sir James Barrie