Monday, January 31, 2011

For the Birds!

“Wow!” exclaimed Sally.  “Those are beautiful cardinals sitting on those feeders in your backyard.”

“Aren’t they though,” I replied.  “We love looking out the patio doors and seeing the cardinals, finches, blue jays, woodpeckers, and doves eat from the feeders Bob fills every day.”

“Do you worry about predators?” asked Sally.

“Well,” I answered.  “See that huge pine tree just behind the flower area where the feeders are?  The birds can fly into it for protection if they sense danger.  And danger there is, sometimes, when a hawk suddenly appears.”

“I noticed you also have a feeder on the front porch,” said Sally.

“Yes, my husband put one there so the deer wouldn’t eat all the seed and/or knock it over every night.  Also, it offers extra protection for the birds, not to mention he can watch them feed right from his recliner!” I smiled.

“What about the deer?” asked Sally.

“They are in our yard several times a day and always in the evening.  Bob has gone out many times and found the feeders lying on the ground.  So he started bringing them in. Just tonight, when he went out to get the feeders  there was Mr. Deer standing right there eating his fill.  Needless to say, he hightailed it out of there when he saw Bob and Eddie.”

“Do you go through lots of bird seed?” Sally asked.

“Yes, a huge bag every week.  But, with all the snow on the found, we are sure the birds really appreciate it.  Bob always sprinkles seed on the ground around the feeder because the doves especially like to eat there.”

“They are beautiful,” Sally commented.  “It is just so much fun sitting here and watching them.”

“We love them, too,” I said.  “And, I love the way many of my Boomers and Beyond friends include birds in their artistic creations.  You’ll really like them, too, Sally.  Let’s go take a look!”

yankee girl six sisters four


saromasa altheap

the creators palette scottieacres

vanfleetstreetdesigns diane clancy

pixiemarket pfdoriginals

jstinson two hemlock hollow

kittyd jills treasure chest

gerrysjewelbox eversodear

chris 1  chauncey

bethpeardonprods button divas

asian expressions

“Gorgeous!” exclaimed Sally.  “Simply gorgeous.”

“And if you want to know more about feeding birds in the winter, here is a link you can check out,” I said.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Elusive Inspiration

Each new year many of us wake up with a thirst to make great things happen - in art and in life. We have great plans for the coming twelve months and really see that we have the opportunity to be focused, to share ourselves with the world, to create, to be better, and to really shine in our lives. At the same time that we are coming up with great plans, we also tend to remind ourselves that we have to be practical, pragmatic in our dreaming. We tell ourselves not to "boil the ocean" or to try to do too many things at once. We tell ourselves to remember how life can sweep us away without notice. We tell ourselves that the journey is the destination. And as we try to keep ourselves to "realistic and achievable" aspirations, we also try to keep our enthusiasm high, our dreams alive, our spirits engaged.

Managing all this dichotomy can sometimes actually dampen down inspiration if we aren't careful. Combine that with the normal days of a new year that pull and push and move us back into the "every day," and we can nearly lose our joy. Managing through the ups and downs of life while staying true to our artistic core is the challenge for every creative person.

Book Club recently chose a book - "My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey" by Jill Bolte Taylor." What a fascinating story. Though I am more a fan of reading escape literature, this true story kept me very interested. At age 37, Jill Taylor experienced a massive stroke. Blood vessels in the left hemisphere of her brain hemorrhaged and her brain was flooded with blood. All left brain functions were impacted and initially shut down. It took Jill eight years to fully recover from the stroke, and this book is about the stroke, what happened to her, her recovery, and what she learned about the left brain (which typically controls language, linear thought, logic, the ability to get along in the world, etc.) and right brain (creativity, emotion, empathy, joy) functions and the need we have to truly balance that focus - physically and emotionally - to be whole and to maximize our contribution and experience in the world.

Again, the emphasis on finding a way to balance - in our plans, in our creative joy, in our look at the new year, and even in our brains. Life becomes a juggling act in an even more fundamental way than just juggling picking up grand kids or making dinner. Thinking about all this can be overwhelming or delightfully amusing - maybe even inspiring. And I, for one, and constantly in search of the Elusive Inspiration, enjoying it wherever I can find it, teaching myself to hold on to it tightly and use it for every bit of creative juice I can.

As the thoughts of juggling everything to actually make things happen and enjoy them too run through my mind, I have also taken several practical steps to keeping inspiration firmly in front of me. First, I am participating in the "Sketchbook Challenge." Some of you may remember Sue Bleweiss. Sue is one of the leaders of this challenge, so you know it will be fascinating. I figure at a minimum this will keep my hand in something creative every month, and there is very little pressure. (Nice!) Second, I have decided to adopt laughter in every day moments. My animals (2 new puppies, 2 new kittens!) are helping out quite a bit here; however, this still takes a bit of reminding. I am already finding a kinder me for both myself and my family - and this way I am allowing the everyday moments to inspire.

Finally, I am regularly looking through the BBEST Team shops! We share some inspiring creations in our shops every day, to light the creative fires of everyone who sees them. Take a look -

Midnight Jewels Inspiration Book from Judy Nolan's shop

Mini Crazy Quilt ACEO for Pocket Inspiration from Pocket Comfort's shop

Burst of Joy Fused Glass Pendant from Chris's shop

Arctic Sky from SixSister's shop

Ballet Slippers on Piano Keys from Beth's shop

Silk Scarf from Mystic Silk's shop

Don't these beautiful items just make you want to get going and create?

Thanks to all our BBEST team for their inspiring creations, and here is to an inspired 2011 for each of us!

Friday, January 21, 2011

All that glitters is not ….. gold!

The original wording of this famous phrase was ‘all that glisters is not gold’ but over time we all adopted the word ‘glitters’ instead.

Shakespeare was the best known writer who made this phrase memorable in one of his plays entitled, Merchant of Venice.  This play was said to be have been written in 1596 and included the following words.

O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
All that glitters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold.

This poem form the play is about Portia who is a beautiful, virtuous, wealthy woman who is being wooed by numerous suitors. She is not free to decide on her own whom she will marry because her late father stipulated in his will that she must marry the man who correctly picks the one casket (out of three) that contains her picture. One casket is gold, another is silver, and the third is made of lead. The Prince of Morocco is one in a long line of suitors who tries to win Portia's hand, and he decides that it would demean Portia to have her picture in anything other than a gold casket, and so he chooses that one. As he unlocks it, he is dismayed to find a picture, not of Portia but of Death, with a message written in its hollow eye: "All that glisters is not gold; / Often have you heard that told. / Many a man his life hath sold / But my outside to behold. / Gilded tombs do worms enfold." With a grieving heart the Prince takes hasty leave of Portia, who is happy to see him go, saying, "A gentle riddance."

Several other famous writers earlier than Shakespeare have been known for quoting this sentiment such as the French theologian, Alain de Lille in the thirteenth century, who wrote "Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold".  Others in time used similar wording but today we all speak and accept the word ‘glitters’ for ‘glisters’.

For those of you who are fans of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series of books by J R R Tolkein, you may remember this poem:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

The phrase, ‘all that glisters/glitters is not gold’, simply means that just because something may look valuable, desirable or attractive, it does not mean that it will be worth having once you discover its true nature.

Personally, I love gold and diamonds and rubies and sapphires and and and!  Seriously, gold is an amazing metal whether it is shown as the real thing or pretend.  When I was married yellow gold was in favour whilst nowadays fashions and likes have changed and it is white gold that is favoured instead.

Take a look at the following items presented by my BBEST team mates.  They might not be real gold but don’t be deceived!  They are beautiful, as rich as gold, if not more so!

Heron’s Treasures 

imageLarge gold mirror from Italy… but is it really gold?

Chris1 or Designs by Christine

imageGold Dichroic Heart Pendant .. a truly striking piece.

Paper Patches from Sassa Lynne

imageMetallic Spray for Paper Arts, Gold … something to help create the illusion?

Nonnie62 or Stained Glass by Nonnie

imageGold Stained Glass Votive Candleholder .. the gold colouring gives us such a warm feeling.


imageRich Chocolate Copper and Gold embroidered beret.  See how the gold accent ‘lift's’ the design.

Stitches by Julie

imageSparkly Gold Fan Design Scarf .. the gold colouring creates a pretty and warm look.

J N Originals

imageGolden Meadow Crochet Thread Flower Brooch …. reminds me of fields of sunflowers

Have I whetted your appetite?  Why not search for more ‘gold’ or simply find some amazing talent in the BBEST team.  You never know, you might even find that pot of gold!