Friday, April 13, 2012

Admiring The Grass...

Yes, that's how I'm feeling right now.  I just want to sit in a field and remain motionless.  I traveled again this week - an eventful trip of having a not-so-fun TSA security experience (do they really have to be that thorough when they frisk you?!) and leaving my laptop at the security checkpoint and not realizing it until I was in Houston (yes, I had a bit of a breakdown when I made that discovery).  I am very happy to say that I am safe and sound back in my home and I am typing this post on my laptop (thanks to an angel of a neighbor - she actually got into her car and drove out to the airport for me when I called her from Houston in a bit of a hysteria).  I have learned many lessons this week - the biggest one being a lesson that I posted earlier this week (the Universe has quite a funny sense of humor) - to trust my intuition.  A little voice inside my head said, "laptop" before I boarded my plane, but I chose to ignore it.  I hope I am one step closer to truly learning to listen when that voice tries to tell me something and maybe this experience is one I needed to get me closer to that trust.  Anyway, all of this is to say that I am sorry I did not post something creative yesterday and I am equally sorry that there will be no Four Ways Friday today.  I just didn't have my creative energy engaged today...hopefully it will find its way back to me over the weekend!!!!!!  A day in the craft room would definitely do me some good :)  In the meantime I will just lie here and admire the blades of grass...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Out On A Whim Wednesday: A Tale Of A Tree

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  I Am A Sensitive One
I arrived home last Thursday exhausted and spent.  My plan was to begin my Friday morning with a long walk in nature with Buddy and then to just sit in the backyard to relax and watch the garden grow - listening to the birds and squirrels as they flew and climbed on feeders and bird baths.  I always carry my cell phone with me on my walks - just in case of an emergency.  So, when my cell phone rang, I chose not to answer it.  However, once we were headed back toward home I saw that I had a message and I decided to listen to it.  It was our neighbor calling to tell me that she found out at the last minute that the tree service was coming that morning and would be cutting down the blue spruce between our homes.  This story may require a bit more background, but maybe it is just enough for me to say that I am a sensitive one when it comes to nature and animals.  Sensitive might even be a weak word for how deeply I feel for nature.  I know that the tree was close to their house and had grown into a very large tree that lived over their roof - it had been there for over 50 years.  I also know that blue spruce can be messy - dropping cones and sap into the gutters.  I also know it was a perfectly good tree - a tree that provided shade and shelter.  A tree that the squirrels loved to scurry up and the crows liked to fly to.  To say that my heart broke when I heard her message would be a bit of an understatement.  By the time I made it to our driveway, the chain saws were already in full working mode and the limbs began to drop.  I cried.  I watched for a bit - until I wasn't able to watch any more.  And I went into the house and tried not to focus on the sound of the chain saws.  I wasn't headed outside to the backyard - I was trying to stay inside - what I really needed was a small dark cave to hide inside.  By the afternoon, it was over.  This is a picture of what was left in the spot where that majestic tree had stood.  It looks so small and meaningless in this photo - oh that I had the ability to put my feeling into that photo.  Hopefully you can see the rings of this tree's life and imagine the presence that it had.  I pass by this site every time I walk down our driveway - which is often.  I know that trees have a lifespan - I'm just saddened that it was human intervention that had to interfere with the life of this tree.  And yet I am reminded once again that where there is an ending there is also a beginning.  With Spring comes new growth and new promise.  And in our yard, the peas are making their way up out of the ground in a barrel made from wood that came from a tree that may have once stood as proudly as that beautiful blue spruce...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mirror Image Stamping With Freezer Paper - A Video!!!!

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Learn To Trust Your Intuition
I was chatting with a few of the participants in one of my training classes the other day and one of the women was talking about how many strawberries her young son eats.  She usually buys a very large carton of the organic berries at one of the warehouse stores in her neighborhood and he can go through 2 cartons in a week!  That's a lot of berries!  Lately though, the store has stopped carrying organic berries and instead has been selling conventional ones.  She said she was concerned about it since her son eats so many.  She didn't know whether or not the pesticides could have a negative effect on her young son.  So, she decided to call her pediatrician and ask her advice.  The pediatrician's response was, "I have two young children and I feed them conventional berries."  So, the woman bought the berries.  During our conversation, there was a guy in the class who was listening in and he interjected that he does everything he can to buy organic or to grow his own fruits and veggies in his backyard.  He said that while his job requires him to use and trust a lot of numbers and data, he has also learned that numbers and data can be used to support almost any conclusion!  Therefore, he's decided he needs to trust his intuition more when it comes to making decisions in his life.  For him, the choice between whether to consume food that has been treated with pesticides v. food that has not is not about numbers and data - it is about intuition.  For him, pesticides and eating just don't seem to go together.  I happen to agree.  I do my best to find organic options and we do our best to grow what we can in our own backyard so we can have control over how it is grown.  In a world full of numbers, data, and research remember, you have your intuition.  You just need to trust it.
I'm not sure if you've ever run into this issue, but there are times when I just wish my stamps faced the other way!  Maybe I want to take a bird stamp and have the bird facing to the left...but unfortunately the stamp only stamps the bird facing to the right.  Well, today I decided to put my mind to trying to solve the problem and I came up with a "fix" that works for me!  I was able to stamp the wings for the heart in the above card in both directions with a bit of intuition and some help from freezer paper :)  Here is a video to show you how:

Monday, April 09, 2012

Scallop Circle Punch Cloud Background Card & Video!!!!

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  To appreciate it, all we have to do is notice it. - Henry Shukman
I wonder sometimes how much beauty I actually miss in this world when I walk around with anger or stress or worry or hurry.  In order to appreciate what is around me, all I have to do is to notice it.  It seems much easier said than done.  How can I keep myself in a space where I am alert to noticing what is around me?  I seem to keep coming back to the same lesson - one that I might spend the rest of my life trying to learn.  The answer seems to be that in order to be able to notice and to appreciate the beauty around us we need to be able to stay in the present moment.  To be fully present - without distraction.  I sat in the park the other day with Buddy and let my mind clear.  I sat there and listened to my breath - sitting there in the park - tuning out what was around me.  I guess it was my own form of meditation and it seemed to keep me in the here and now.  Sometimes when I walk with Buddy I'll actually close my eyes with his leash in my hand and see how long I can let Buddy lead me without opening my eyes.  I usually don't make it far - maybe 12 steps - before I begin to worry that I might walk into a wall or a rock.  However, for those 12 steps, I am very present and very in the exact moment.  How do you practice staying in the present?  Any and all advice is welcome :)
Today's card is for a woman I have actually never met.  I learned through my friend Lorraine that Lauri recently lost her fur-friend Chansey.  There is something so special about the love of a dog - it is something that I feel blessed to experience with Buddy.  Chansey was a Westie, so the Friends Fur-ever stamp set was perfect.  I decided to create a card to send to Lauri with Chansey with his angel's wings and a sentiment that expresses how the love we feel with our animals is a love that lasts forever & always.  I hope it brings her a moment of comfort as she experiences her loss.  I felt that a cloud background would be perfect for the card, so I set out to create one using the scallop circle punch.  Here is a video to show you how I created the background: