Creatively Yours: Connecting the Dots

Heart us

image by amountofcoffee, from Flickr

You may have noticed something new about our blog in 2012. We are connecting the dots! Laurie, Elizabeth and I have decided to build upon each other’s ideas, and so when Laurie asked if you are grateful for your slow cooker, she was connecting to the idea of gratitude. Clever! And that is how conversation goes; we start off talking about one thing and end up talking about something completely different. As I don’t have any good recipes to share, I will let the slow cooker cook, and begin a new conversation on some upcoming events in February.

First off, February is heart month. That is a nice way to get us thinking about Valentine’s Day. Believe it or not, I heard a radio announcer the other day reminding men to remember the date (not once but twice in the same day).  Having just been to the grocery store, I don’t know how anyone could forget.  And then last but not least, there is Family Day, which is that nice extra holiday we get to spend with our families in Ontario. To my way of thinking, these three events cover some very important aspects of our lives: health, love and sense of belonging.

What will you do this February for your health, love and family?

LOVE to hear from you!

Creatively yours,

Angela

Your Daily Dose of Inspiration

meditation

photo by HaPe_Gera, from flickr

A number of years ago, a friend sent me an invitation to sign up for inspirational e-mails that would arrive in your inbox on a daily basis.

This daily feel good message, Notes from the Universe, has over 385,000 subscribers in 189 countries.

Here is a selection of some of the e-mails I have received.

Having a dream is more important than having it come true.  Just a little oddity to spin the wheels of your mind.
The Universe

Detours, challenges and crisis are simply covers for miracles that had no way of reaching you.  It’s all good.
The Universe

The light is getting brighter
The path is getting clearer
And you are getting closer
That’s all I am saying
The Universe

If you are interested in receiving these daily e-mails (with no strings attached), check out http://www.tut.com/theclub/

May the forces be with you,

Laurie

Looky here

inspiration board

photo by craftapalooza, from Flickr

A couple of months ago I mentioned a newish website which offers some excitement for those who are visually-oriented.  This is the service called Pinterest.  The site likens itself to a bulletin board where you pin images that interest you.  So you can get an account with Pinterest and start collecting images you find on the web, rather like clipping photos from magazines and putting them on a design board.  You can take a look at other peoples’ boards and add anything that appeals to you there, to your own board.  I’ve found it useful while doing the planning for our new kitchen. And I’ve discovered tons of craft ideas.  Here’s a link to my paltry collection of crafty images.

There is a social networking aspect to the site.  All boards are public, and anyone can comment on a pin, which can lead to some bad behavior, as well as the sharing of useful information.  There is a huge amount of repinning, which leaves a fascinating trail.  In order to sign up, you must have a Twitter or Facebook account, so you know this is about gathering and selling information about users, to advertisers.

You might wonder about copyright on all these freely shared images.  Pinterest takes a pinner-friendly approach to this, offering to remove any images that violate copyright, once the rights holder contacts them.  The web source from which the original pinner grabbed the image is credited on each pin.

Although I joke that this site will particularly appeal to visual learners, it has much wider application.  Leave yourself some time to check it out, as it’s quite mesmerizing.  Let us know what you think…

Bye for now,

Elizabeth

Kitchen Inspiration Board for the Nest

A kitchen idea board made the old-fashioned way, by http://www.simplythenest.com, from Flickr

Creatively Yours: Letters from my Mother

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you found out you only had one day to live? Would you live differently?

Perhaps it was the recent, much publicized death of Steve Jobs that brought this to the forefront for me, but lately I have had a number of meaningful conversations with family and friends about this question. This weekend I was involved with a fundraiser for the Art for Cancer FoundationOne of the speakers, Nadia Hohn, a spirited, inspiring young woman, spoke from the heart about how being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in her 20’s impacted her life. Among the many profound insights she shared, she talked about what she would do if she only had one day to live. (You can read more about her insights and experiences on her blog, Blue Butterfly.

That night after the event, my husband and I had a conversation with friends about this question. As you would expect, we all had a slightly different answer, but what was surprising is that we had all thought about it and had some sense of what that day would look like.

So here’s what I came up with. If I only had one day to live, I would want to write a letter to each of my children and my husband, not just to say goodbye but to tell them something about who they are through my eyes and what they have meant to me. I credit this idea to my mother who wrote letters to each of her 13 children. What is most amazing about my mother, aside from having 13 children, is that she wrote them long before she knew she had terminal cancer. She wrote them for birthdays, Christmas, special events, and just because… She also wrote a narrative of her life and created a book of family stories which we all contributed to. Though she died ten years ago, her voice is alive in her letters and stories and they remind me of who I am through my mother’s eyes. She told me what I was like as a child, what was special about me, what was going on in her life at various points of my life, her joys, sorrows and appreciations. For me, these letters and stories have become the heart shaped footprints of my mother’s life.

So if I only had one day to live…and since we never know how long we have to live, it reminds me to live today as if it is my last, and get started on my letters.

And so I ask, “What would you do if you knew you only had one more day to live, or one week, one month or one year?” It is worth contemplating, because someday that is all you will have.

I look forward to hearing what you think…

Creatively yours,

Angela

p.s. I love this quote from Steve Jobs :

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Heart-Shaped Feature in Arabia Terra (Wide View)

Arabia Terra on Mars From NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image by NASAJPL, on Flickr

A Library Mystery

G’day, mates!

You may have heard about the proposals to drastically cut funding to the Toronto Public Library, which have raised the ire of many of the city’s residents, including Margaret Atwood.  (This situation has been resolved, for now.)

ATWOOD FOR MAYOR - DSC 5216 ep

Photo by Eric Parker, from flickr

The reality is that this is a scenario that is playing out in many places around the world, due to the devastating consequences on government finances of 2008’s financial meltdown.  Governments must examine their expenses, and some people do not understand the value for taxpayers’ money that a public library system provides.

But here is a mysterious someone who gets it.  Click on this link to see the story of an anonymous artist who is stealthily donating intricate works of paper art (actually book art) to libraries in Scotland.  Enjoy it!

Elizabeth

Robin Hood meets Cruella de Vil (minus the fur)

Elizabeth’s last post, which included a smart pair of green shoes, inspired me to share with you a rather impulsive purchase.  I am not an impulsive shopper by nature.  In fact, I rarely buy items that are not on sale.  I think I tend to purchase items on sale because they are easier to justify.  The best way to justify your purchases (especially to your significant other) is to communicate in shopping speak (just thought of the term, kind of catchy, eh?).

In other words, you should refer to your purchases not by how much you spent but by how much you saved.

Another strategy I often use with the significant other when asked about a certain piece of clothing that I am wearing:  Oh this, I bought this last year at the end of the season on sale.  Don’t you remember?!?

I now follow the philosophy if you love it, buy it.  You are worth it (although I didn’t buy that frilly polka dot bathing suit in Florida:  would I ever wear it?…$150 for how much material!).

This brings me to my current dilemma.  About one month ago, I purchased a pair of knee high dark green (forest green) suede boots, pictured below.  I love them!  I paid full price (which I will not share with you just in case in gets back to the significant other) and I have absolutely no idea what to wear them with!

Photo courtesy of Shoe Kat Shoo

This brings me to the main topic of my post.  How do you figure out what to wear and how best to bring it all together.

I must admit that Elizabeth has graciously shared a number of helpful websites on figuring out your body type and how to put your outfits together.

One of the first websites/blogs that Elizabeth suggested is You Look Fab run by fashion stylist Angie, from Seattle.

Some of her most helpful blog posts refer to how to identify your body type and how to dress to flatter that type (link goes to a listing of posts on that topic).

The other blog The Vivienne Files shares ideas on how to create and accessorize a wardrobe.  I know I have too many clothes in my wardrobe.  Some I have had for many many years but for some reason, just can’t part with them.  I tend to wear the same things with the same other things over and over again.   Perhaps we can get together as a group and work on sorting out our current wardrobe and figuring out where to go from here.  What do you think?

In the interim, I will admire my green Robin Hood boots and hope that I will be inspired to create an outfit to wear them with.  Any ideas?

Laurie

Creatively Yours: The Floating Acorn

Acorn

Image by permission of kaysta8, from flickr

Let me begin by saying something about “paying attention”. Why is it that when we start to pay attention to something we see it everywhere? Take for example when we are thinking about buying a new car; suddenly we see that exact car in the colour we want, everywhere.  So it was for me this summer with the floating acorn. I had been reading the book The Soul’s Code by James Hillman in which he talks about “the Acorn Theory”.  Sure enough, as I went for my solo kayak ride on a warm summer afternoon, I saw a brown object bobbing in the water next to me. At first I thought it was an otter’s nose (we have a family of otters hanging out in our boathouse). But as it floated by, I realized it was an acorn. So I scooped it up and have since been thinking about it in relation to life.

In a nutshell, Hillman’s theory suggests that each of us is born with our unique potential inside, much the same as an acorn holds the pattern for an oak tree. He postulates that who we are goes beyond “nature and nurture’ and that a third kind of energy is responsible for much of our character, aspirations and achievement. He calls this energy the “soul’s code”. He challenges us to revisit our childhood and present life to find the seed of our acorn or our “calling”.  Having read a few of Hillman’s books, I am intrigued at the unique perspective he brings to our understanding of human nature.

But back to the floating acorn which is now sitting on my bedside table; why did I notice it that day, and why am I still thinking about it now? It’s kind of like the new car scenario, once we bring something into our consciousness, we notice it everywhere. And it’s not surprising that I noticed there are now acorns everywhere.  If the acorn represents a single life, then the acorn I found floating in the water spoke of the potential for a life well lived. It was well-worn from the winds and water that carried it; its shape was softened and smooth; and its shell had deepened to a rich brown colour.  This reminded me of some of our earlier posts on beauty and aging. Like the floating acorn, there is something beautiful about the patina of a well-worn exterior.  But this acorn was headed somewhere when I plucked it out of the water and I realized it would never reach its potential sitting on my bedside table.  So, I decided to put it outside where it might have a chance to grow to its potential.  And of course that has a double meaning but I’ll let you muse on that.

As summer slowly languishes and the cool winds of fall arrive, take note of what you are noticing, because whatever we pay attention to is what we will see.  I will keep you posted on this one amazing acorn that found its way to me one sunny summer day!  It may be weathered and worn, but it still has a lot of potential!

Creatively yours,

Angela

Image by permission of Jaimee and Brian, from flickr