Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

It's hard to believe a week ago I was scraping snow from my car!  Going to the Arboretum today was the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.  And I wasn't disappointed with the glorious sights!
The Lenten Roses were in full bloom.
 I love all the perfect little layers of this bud.
Even last year's hydrangea blossoms had a magical look to them.
 The crab apple blossoms were stunning.

 The robins are finally able to find food consistently, now that the final dregs of winter are past.
 The Trillium are one of my spring favorites.
 This little bee surprised me by flying out from the flower just as I took the picture.
 New life was everywhere.
 I was leaving the Arboretum and decided to take the long way out.  I was fortunate to spot this guy having lunch.  A good Earth Day for him -- not so much for the snake.
 He dropped the snake from the tree branch while I was watching.  I quietly sat down, hoping he would be more interested in his lunch than in letting my presence scare him off.
 He started flying away, and I snapped this photo, not really knowing if I was aimed in the right direction, in focus or not.  I was thrilled to get home and see what I had captured!
Happy Earth Day to you.  I hope you are enjoying spring wherever you live!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Liberate Your Art!

I participated in a postcard swap sponsored by Kat Sloma.  Over 200 artists from around the world each created postcards, then sent 5 to Kat (along with address stickers and proper postage).  Kat then "liberated" our artwork by making sure that each participant received five different postcards -- plus one from her!  I decided to take them out to my back yard and photograph them today for this blog post.  Enjoy!

The first step was to have some of my artwork made into postcards.  I used the images below and had them processed by Moo.com.
 I put messages on the back with contact information and sent them to Kat by the deadline.  Then it was waiting and anticipating time!  The first postcard I received was this Kingfish painting, created by Charlotte in Maryland.

A few days later, I opened my mailbox to find this great photo of seagulls from Patricia in Vermont.  She processed it with Photoshop to give it that chromatic look.

The third photo was this seascape from David in Nashville, Tennessee.  Given our long winter, this was a welcome sight!

This whimsical image from Andrea in Staten Island arrived right around the time we were getting yet another spring snowstorm. At least today I had a few flowers to remind me that her message is indeed true!

 The colors on this gelli print doodle from Lisa in Virginia made me smile!

 And the final postcard was from Kat, called Layered Autumn.

Throughout the process, we were able to post updates on our "Liberate Your Art" facebook page.  I found out that one of my postcards ended up in Scotland!  

I'm hoping Kat does this again next year!  If so, I'm in!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Continuing in Cousin Barbie's book, I opened to a page entitled "Freedoms I Hold Dear".  I confess, I inwardly rolled my eyes and thought about switching to another page -- perhaps something dealing with flowers or birds or colorful things.  :-)  I kept the page open and decided to putter around with some other projects while keeping the topic of freedoms in the back of my mind.

That's exactly what my heart needed to get my attention.  When my brain hears the word "freedom", it thinks of the 4th of July and words in the constitution (which are not bad -- just dry).  But when my heart began processing the word, it took me back to Washington, D.C. and the Holocaust Museum.  As I walked through the chronology of events in WW II Europe that were experienced by people just like me, it was impossible not to be deeply affected.  Revisiting the memory of that experience, I sensed a growing awareness of thanksgiving for the freedoms that I live with each day.  I created this page, and continued my thoughts in my journal. All week long, the lens with which I view my life has had a deeper focus as a result of this.

But wait -- there's more!  Tonight Don and I watched the movie The Book Thief, which just happens to take place in WW II Germany.  Without giving away any of the plot, I can tell you it is a powerful story about loss, redemption, trust, friendship, family, love and freedom.  Have you ever gotten to the end of a movie and you are watching the credits and not moving because you just want to hold onto what you have just experienced in the movie?  I don't experience that often, but this is one of those movies.  

Whether you watch a movie, make a list, journal, or just look at life a little differently, I hope you are moved to a place of thankfulness for the freedoms you enjoy.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Love This Book!!

My twin* cousin published her first book!  It is an interactive journey into self-discovery with a focus on what makes you more joyful.  I only just began to journal in it, but I'm already loving it. Here's the front cover.  She did the tree on the front, and then gave us a skeleton version of it inside so we could decorate it any way we wanted.
 Here's my tree.  I decided to decorate it with qualities that I want to encourage in myself during this creative journey.  Plus I added a few whimsical heart-shaped leaves.
Barbie is basing her book on a journal that she has kept for some time.  It has a small format, and she included a few pages from it just to whet our creative juices.
 Here's a few of the pages I have done.  I'm not sure what's more fun -- thinking of the answers to the prompts or decorating the pages.

This page is my attempt to imitate one of my favorite bloggers -- Alisa Burke.  It was a fun prompt because there are certain things that I'm really glad I've learned!

 Again, fun to remember the movies (and a play) that I remember being impactful.
 This prompt was "Activities I've Done only once".  It was hard at first to come up with a list, but once I started thinking of things, I was on a roll.  I didn't even add "going to Disneyland", "Being Mother-of-the-bride" and a few others.
I'm looking forward to each new page.  There's a BUNCH of them -- it will take awhile to get through.  I'm doing it by randomly opening and working on the page I find.  You can learn more about Barbie's book here.  I highly recommend it!

*You haven't heard of a twin cousin??  Waaay back when we were kids, we used to watch the Patty Duke show, and Patty and Cathy insisted that they were twin cousins.  Since both Barbie and I were growing up as only children and both of us wanted siblings, we became twin cousins.