Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wonder of Wonders, Joy of Joys! There are EARTH STARS growing in my very yard!

I am simply dazzled! I just put this photo up on my Facebook page and asked if anyone could help me identify these and my friends didn't let me down! They are a magical enchanting fungi called Earth Stars growing right in a little gully at the edge of my driveway. Gracious ME! I am beside myself I am so tickled! (Click on the link to read more about them.)

I am simply enchanted with the natural world and the miracles that abound. Some days it might be a Magic 8 Ball and today a magical mushroom but the world is full of more wonders than one heart can hold. What a blessing!

Closeup, Dragonfly Cottage Earth Stars...

Sometimes joy is just a walk in the yard with the dogs and a handful of flowers...

So often when we think about the things that make us happy, that bring us joy, we think of big things. For me, more and more, it is the simplest of things. Today, walking with the dogs in our backyard, I picked early daffodils and wild snowflakes, those delicate little white bells with tiny green dots on the tips of each petal, bright yellow stamens inside, and a delicious sweet fragrance. They are all the more precious because they are "volunteers." This is my 4th February in this place and the first two years there was not a snowflake in sight. Last year they appeared, spottily, around the yard. Today I picked the first one. 

Today, too, I found, once again, that what Camus wrote is true for me once again. He wrote, "In the midst of winter I found that there was in me an invincible summer." And so there is. And this winter's day I found the tiny flowers that made their way here and survive despite the odds. There is great comfort in that. 

Tonight, I feel joy.

Monday, February 11, 2013

One Day I Will Paint On Walls...

From the amazing Rima Staines blog, The Hermitage

One day I happened upon a link to a blog post called "Old Women Who Paint On Their Walls" on a blog by an artist named Rima Staines. Rima is an amazing and innovative artist and this blog is a feast of riches but this particular post intrigued me, never having heard of the blog but curious to see what old women did that merited a post on what they might paint on their walls. Whoa Nelly! I opened up that page and my jaw dropped. All of a sudden a new world opened up to me, and two things popped into my mind. First of all, always having wanted to paint but figuring in my 50's it was too late to start I was reminded of Grandma Moses who didn't start painting until she was in her 70's (I've always loved her quote, "If I hadn't started painting I would have raised chickens."), and painted past 100. I may not turn into Grandma Moses or Georgia O'Keefe but that doesn't mean I can't paint for the joy of it, and now with a little table-top easel and some inexpensive canvases and art supplies I'm about to start.

The other thing that I loved was that they painted on their walls. With a lifetime of that "Paint the walls white in case we ever have to sell the house" school of thought behind me as soon as I had my own little place every single room was a different color with painted ceilings and down the hall to the bedrooms and den the walls are painted turquoise with the doors painted the same color as the rooms themselves, a bright sunny yellow, a warm rosy pink, and an orchidy violet. I just love it, but the idea of actually cutting loose with my art all over the walls thrilled me down to my toes.

So I ask you, what can be more joyful than following your heart and letting the opinions of others be their own while you revel in that which brings you bliss, which makes your elbows tingle, which makes you giddy with glee? Right now I have a brightly colored house with twinkly lights all over it. Someday I'm going to be an old lady painting my walls, and I look forward to it, it gives me something to live for. If it doesn't work out I'll raise chickens.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Life Is Hard, There Are Too Many Decisions To Make. Me, I'm Leaving It Up To The Magic 8 Ball...

Okay, forget psychics, they're expensive and not always reliable. Me, I'm investing in a Magic 8 Ball. They never steered me wrong as a kid and they are just plain, well, magic. If you are not a true believer, you can go watch t.v. or something...

You have to get in "the zone." You have to take it very seriously. You form your most deeply held question, probably something SO secret you wouldn't share it with a soul, and then you turn the 8 ball over and up from the murky depths comes the answer. (It really IS magic!)

Wikipedia, on the Magic 8 Ball,  lists these as the 20 possible answers....

 It is certain
 It is decidedly so
 Without a doubt
 Yes – definitely
 You may rely on it
 As I see it, yes
 Most likely
 Outlook good
 Signs point to yes
 Reply hazy, try again
 Ask again later
 Better not tell you now
 Cannot predict now
 Concentrate and ask again
 Don't count on it
 My reply is no
 My sources say no
 Outlook not so good
 Very doubtful

I don't know about you but there's nothing I need to know that wouldn't be answered with one of those. I think I'm going to go out and get one. Life sure would be simpler...

Nostalgia and Colorforms...

When I think back on my childhood there are some things that left such an indelible mark that at nearly 59 I am overwhelmed with a nostalgia that can almost bring me to tears, and so it is with Colorforms, the Original set, not the ones that came for decades thereafter in the shape of cartoon characters but the original ones that came with several sheets of vinyl shapes in a many colors and it was up to the child's imagination to create things coming up from deep inside. I know they were one of the early influences in my life that created the artist that I am today, and I wonder and worry about children whose toys and games are so pre-set and unimaginative that they leave little to the original mind of the magical child. When I saw, a few years ago, that they had released a 60th anniversary edition of the original set I bought it for my grandson who is now 8 as well as the original big sets of basic Tinkertoys. This young boy, who likes computer games as well as the next kid, has an amazing imagination and delights me to my core. 

I would love to hear from any of you who had and loved these colorforms. They delight me still and I wouldn't be surprised if a set ended up in my studio one day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Taking Time For Solitude & Silence, Feeding The Inner Self Where Joy Is Born...

And sometimes to find bliss, we need to escape into solitude, and silence, meditation, and prayer, and this is where I have been. I am going through major life changes and the last 3 days my computers have been being updated, networked, a new big printer, a gift from a friend added into the mix, and my old farmers table overlooking the woods and gardens, wild birds at many feeders and the Magic Ship off into the distance looks like command central. I have to laugh. I never imagined such a thing in my life, but as I finish one book, create eBooks, work towards starting a small press of my own, and, on the tables in the center of the room where I will paint, design, and create art, art supplies, a table-top easel, and all manner of mixed media supplies are being organized. Serious work is about to be done in here and a lot of work has had to be done to make this happen. James will be back today to spend several hours working on the computers to finish up and I have been with my animals in silence, resting, making notes, dreaming, reading and allow the table to rise inside of me. On the brink of great change we must ready ourselves by recharging our batteries and powering off the world at large, and so I have done for 3 days. By Monday I will be back and up and running and I am excited about it, too, I have found true bliss in these quiet moments. It's good to unplug. It's healthy. Joy is born of days of exquisite self-care and it has truly been bliss.

I wish you joy, bliss, and all of this, and I will see you here very soon...

Monday, February 4, 2013

If You Didn't Have This As A Kid You Really Need To Get Some Now! If You Did, You Remember How Much Fun It Is. Time To Grab A Plastic Egg & Have At It...

Get out the funny papers, crack open the egg, it's time for...


I don't think there's a kid in the world that had silly putty that didn't love pressing it down on the funny papers and stretching it out. I think if I had some now I would carry it in my purse and try to silly putty everything in sight. Did you have silly putty? Remember how much fun you had with it?

I wonder why it is that as we grow older we lose the fun gene, at least fun in the way that children have it, with innocence and joy, at least we did. It makes me sad that kids seem most interested in computer games and cable t.v. I know there are kids out there who do play with fun things because my grandson does and that makes me so happy. I have a joy plan in motion and I intend to find it. Why these days you could go to a dollar store and cart home a load of these kinds of things. Bubbles and crayons and silly putty and more. I think I'm going to have to make a trip to the dollar store...

If you had silly putty as a kid I'd love to hear some of your memories of playing with it. Leave them after this post if you did. I want to know about others out there -- and I know there are lots of you -- who loved it then and would be delighted with it now. I'm looking to stir up the joy pot for other people. You wanna jump in the pot with me?

If You Think You're Too Old For These Then You're Just Plain Too Old!

One of the greatest delights of my childhood was the beginning of the new school year when, with our new school supplies, we always got a BRAND NEW BOX OF CRAYONS. (My favorite colors were always magenta and cornflower blue. I'd LOVE for you to leave comments here and tell me what YOUR favorite colors were.)

Well, I'm almost 59 and I'll tell you what -- I'm about to go out and get a new box of crayons. Do that for someone for their birthday, you know give it to the person who gets a diamond bracelet from someone else and wrap up in bright colorful paper and lots of ribbons a new box of crayons (They now have boxes of 96 which just dazzles me all to bits but I think I'd feel overwhelmed. I think.) as well as a cheap pad of paper. The recipient of said gift will likely love the diamond bracelet but be DELIGHTED by the crayons and immediately hunt for their favorite colors and set to drawing. I always got in trouble because I would color the trees orange with purple leaves and a magenta sky and cornflower blue grass and the nuns would have fits with me and say, "YOU WILL NEVER BE AN ARTIST." Clearly they had NO idea what makes a REAL artist!

If the person does not get excited about the crayons take them back, say you can't be friends anymore, and go home and color. Trust me, life is short and you don't need friends that have forgotten how to play. 

I am making up a whole new set of rules about who is friend-worthy or not. And I'm going to start having a lot more fun in the process!

Easter Will Be Here Before You Know It And You HAVE To Make These If You Never Have!

(And frankly I think that doing them year round could be essential
 to create a continual JOY-FEST!)

When our kids were little we made lots of these and had friends over and ran around outside chasing each other and bashing these on people's heads with gales of laughter. They are Easter Eggs filled with confetti and when you smash them on someone they EXPLODE and confetti goes everywhere.

I am including a how-to link for making them but essentially you tap about a dime size hole in the end of an egg, drain it out, let it dry, then you can color or decorate as normal, fill about 2/3 full of confetti and use a glue stick and little pieces of colored tissue paper to close the hole. Easy as that. 

PLEASE NOTE: It is very important, when bashing someone on the head, to hit with the SIDE of the egg which smashes quite easily and doesn't hurt. DO NOT bash someone on the head with the END of the egg which does not break easily, stays amazingly hard, AND HURTS!

This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys and once you do it everyone will want to do it every year. Click HERE for a page of directions on making them!