Tuesday, July 31, 2012

C is for Clouds

I'm told my head is often in the clouds...

 This is usually said in a fond way...but on occasion, it is clearly 
meant to bring me down to earth when I'm off in my own world of imagination.

I do know the real world must be dealt with. Jobs, children, laundry...all must be addressed with responsibility and attention to detail. If pressed, I can truthfully lay claim to being conscientious in my roles of wife, mother and working woman.



But it's also true that I'm fanciful, forgetful and easily distracted. I spend an inordinate amount of time gazing at clouds or lost in books...and I truly believe that daydreaming is essential to the soul.

My quest for balance is ongoing....

I will happily continue to
nurture my family and pull my weight in the world. I am loved, needed and appreciated in what I do. My life is, indeed, blessed.

 But I cannot..will not..neglect the free spirit who still becomes breathless at the sight of snow, and gets absurdly lost in thought, even in the midst of crowds.


I need her too much..need her wonder and optimism, her childlike ability to get up again when she falls and continue on anticipating the best. She is the balance in my life.

So if you catch me with my head in the clouds, don't be overly concerned.
Give me just a moment to dream, if you will. 



I'll come back refreshed, recharged and ready to take on the busy world once more.

I promise it will be worth the wait...




The photos above were taken on a 2010 trip to Mesa Verde in Colorado.

I'm linking today with ABC Wednesday. Check out the other entries from around the world at...
http://abcwednesday-mrsnesbitt.blogspot.ca


I'm also linking to Skywatch Friday. For wonderful skies, check out this link...

http://skyley.blogspot.ca/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

B is for Books



"There's more to life than books you know, but not much more.."


from the 1984 song "Handsome Devil" by 
The Smiths 








After my people and pets, books are my greatest treasures. I am fortunate enough to have amassed hundreds thousands of them, and have spent many hours lured in by their irresistible richness. A peek into my home library will attest to my obsession with the printed word! 


Book in hand, the whole world is laid at my feet in all its beauty and complexity. I can be anyone…go anywhere…experience lives entirely different from my own, and grow a little from the experience of trying on other peoples’ realities, however briefly. 



 Books took me through a troubled childhood by being my friends when I had no other and my refuge when the world asked more of me than a child should have to give. As an adult, they have been my joy and my inspiration…a continual celebration and exploration of life in all its diversity.
Additionally, I have found a wonderful serendipity at work in the world of words. Sometimes the right book manages to find us at exactly the time we are in need of it. Such was the case a few years ago when I happened upon Tara Frey’s, “Blogging for Bliss”. 


I’d been curious about blogs, but knew little about them. That all changed after reading this book. Its straightforward and concise information, coupled with yummy pictures and pages of inspiring bloggers and sites, was just the catalyst needed to lure me into the vibrant world of blogging. I have never looked back. 





 A Few Books In My Studio




 I am a fast and focused reader, so it's an ongoing challenge to ensure I always have great stacks of both fiction and non-fiction books awaiting my eager hands.

 (Okay, it's not that difficult since I do make weekly visits to Chapters and the local thrift stores!)


My mother complained that I always had my nose stuck in a book, as if there was something wrong with that! 

Now the only complaint I hear is from my beleaguered husband who doesn't understand my reluctance to ever give books away. 


I live in the thrall of bookish delights. Here are a few titles that have delighted me so far this summer, (with many more in waiting)...


1) Still Alice  by  Lisa Genova  (2009)

2) Small Wonder: Essays  by  Barbara Kingsolver  (2002)

3) To Cut a Long Story Short by  Jeffrey Archer  (2000)

4) Collected Stories  by  Carol Shields  (2004)

5) Floating In My Mother's Palm  by  Ursula Hegi  (1990)

6) Saturday  by  Ian McEwan (2005)

7) The Art of racing In The Rain  by  Garth Stein  (2008)

  8) Wildflower  by  Mark Seal  (2009)

9) The Weird Sisters  by  Eleanor Brown  (2011)

10) All Roads Lead to Austen  by  Amy Elizabeth Smith  (2012)




 Old or new...printed or electronic...I take comfort in knowing books will always be my friends...



To read other takes on the letter "B", do stop by ABC Wednesday and enjoy the variety...


Friday, July 20, 2012

Utah Calling


    My regular readers will know that I fell in love with Utah a couple of years ago on a road trip  with my husband.

     Everything about it amazed me...the breadth of it...the luminous air...the landscape that seemed to change with every bend in the road.



                     Arches National Park

It has called me many times to return, but I've not found the chance. Because I woke up this morning imagining the hot sun above me and red soil beneath my feet, I thought a few favourite pictures would be perfect for Skywatch Friday



 Yes, I know...another one of my unwise choices, treating a running arroyo as just another photo op!


 Bryce Canyon defies description with its mystical hoodoos and cliffs that graze the clouds.

                                            Canyonlands National Park

Of all the sights,  it was Monument Valley that simply took my breath away. I considered it a great stoke of luck that we ran straight into a raging storm.


 Every turn of the road revealed new treasures and changing skies.



We encountered this lovely lake as we took a quick detour into Wyoming, just because we could.

We stopped to get a few shots of this abandoned ranch along the way. Unfortunately, we also got busted for trespassing, but that's another story!

      How could one not fall in love with a place as magical and varied as this as this? 





I'm linking up today with Skywatch Friday. If you get a chance, stop by to see other skies from around the world...

              http://skyley.blogspot.ca/




And while only a few of these shots qualify, I'm also linking up to Weekend Reflections because I know James will like the pictures...


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Madiba...



  Nelson Mandela has long been my hero. 
In celebration of his 94th birthday, I am reposting a piece I wrote last year....



For eighteen years, Prisoner 46664 was locked up each night in a tiny cell that measured five square metres. The cell contained a bowl, a spoon, a plate and a bucket, and while there was a blanket, the only bed was a thin straw mat for the floor.
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Situated in the middle of Cape Town’s Table Bay, Robben Island Prison lies just twelve kilometers off the stunning coastline of South Africa. Conditions during the early years in this maximum-security prison were bleak. Inmates were forced into hard labour at the island’s lime quarry. They were segregated by race, with black prisoners receiving smaller rations than white inmates. Additionally, political prisoners were kept separate from ordinary criminals and had far fewer privileges, allowed only one visitor and one letter every six months.
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In 1964, Nelson Mandela was convicted of treason for his anti-apartheid activities. Sent to Robben Island, he became Prisoner 46664, assigned to Cell No. 5. He spent eighteen of his twenty-seven years of imprisonment on the island, eventually being moved to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, then on to Victor Vector Farm Prison for the last three years of his sentence.
Photos courtesy of Google
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Mandela was released from prison on February 11th, 1990. In 1994, he and his ANC Party were pivotal in establishing South Africa as a multi-racial democracy. He was elected President of the country, retiring in 1999 when he was in his 8th decade.
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There are few people whose wisdom, ideals and unshakeable sense of conviction I admire more, yet this is a man who remains humble, who says simply of his life…
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“I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth...but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise."
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I feel blessed to share the planet with Nelson Mandela. His dignity, his vision and his quiet strength embody all that is good in humankind, and offer hope that we can each be better than we are.
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Happy Birthday, Madiba...
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A is for Airplane

 This is my first time joining an alphabet même...in the past I've come across them already in progress, so I'm excited at the chance to finally play along.
 For me, airplanes are endlessly fascinating. I spend many hours peering up at them from my house and car, (well, not while I'm driving!).
We're on a minor flight path to the Vancouver airport and while some complain of the noise, I enjoy the roar of planes as much as I do the sound of trains in the night.




And seriously, how many moments in life are as vibrant as that brief instant when the plane leave the runway and we're suddenly airborne? It never fails to thrill me.


 These shots were taken at last year's Air Show, held as an annual event in the nearby town of Abbotsford.




 It must be admitted that we rarely actually go into the actual show. The thought of crowding onto blacktop in the suffocating heat of an August day with thousands of others brings my claustrophobia  hurtling to the forefront. That said, we never fail to park under a shady tree and watch what we can from outside the gates.


  •  Even planes in disrepair are beautiful to me.



I once dreamed of earning my pilot's license, but think the time has come to leave the skies to those younger and sharper than me.



I will content myself with watching and dreaming  as my imagination soars along with them and will happily fly along as a passenger at every chance I get...



To see more stories built around the letter "A", do check out the link below....


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Where Bloggers Create lV


 The first thing you might notice about my studio is that I have way too much stuff, a circumstance shared by many artists and crafters, I'm sure...  but my collections and supplies comfort and inspire me on a daily basis. 


With everything visible and within reach, my creative spirit bounds to life as soon as I walk into this overstuffed room.


Favourite artists' works are always close at hand. On my door is a poster titled, "One World, One Hope", designed by Joe Average for an AIDS Conference held in Vancouver some years ago. 


Its plea for united brotherhood never fails to move me.



While it's true that I have a lot crammed into this tiny space, it is organized and tidy...at least, most of the time!


Drawers, shelves and containers of all sorts are pressed into service in an effort to keep the chaos at bay. I particularly like clear jars that let me find what I need at a glance, be it scrabble letters, buttons or beads.


I continue to believe there's a little magic to be found in my storybook tins.





Unfortunately, time restraints
 have often kept me from 
pursuing my artistic efforts
 to the extent I might have wished, 
but as I have just hit the magical 
retirement age, I will finally be 
able to chase a few of the
 dreams I have kept on hold 
for years. 

What a glorious feeling of
 freedom and
possibility that is!










This picture was taken
as a scrapbook
project was ongoing.
I could have tidied it up, but desks are made to work on after all, not be show pieces.




The carpet has long since come
out and I've been waiting, (a while!), for my dear husband to finish putting in the hardwood floor.
Growing weary of 
drab plywood 
underfoot, I painted
on this cheery rug.
 I will miss when
it finally gets 
covered up, though I don't think I need worry about that just yet!







Inspiration boards spill over with 
opera programs, postcards 
and assorted bits that
have captured my 
imagination.



My Artful Dodger poster always 
makes me smile...Nick Bantock's
 artwork simply
amazes me.










This is my muse. Isn't she beautiful?


We rarely see figurines of this sort 
here in Canada...I was delighted to
find her while on a visit to the States.

Her grace and quiet beauty embody
all the qualities of a sincere
and giving heart that I work on
emulating every day. 







Always the dilletante, I am easily pulled from one project to the next.
While happily prepping journal pages, I'll spy my colourful stack of wool and decide it's time to knit another scarf. The fact that it may be summer does not discourage me from rooting through baskets of woolly balls to begin a new project.


I am hooked on all Stampington & 
Company publications. In neat and 
orderly rows, I store every issue 
of Somerset Studio, Artful Blogger 
and Where Women Create. 

My goal is to be published in 
Somerset Studio. Of course, 
that  means I need
to control my procrastination
habit and actually submit
something!






It goes without saying that books are
 an important part of every room. 


I have always been a bibliophile, and 
own a sizeable collection of 
art and crafting books that I pore 
over lovingly.

If I could only control that 
evil doppleganger, 
Penny Procrastination,
I have all the tools I need
to produce great art!








Photography being my 
first love,
I'm fond of setting up
 vignettes
of vintage sewing goods 
and 
stationery supplies.






















I love the little
medicine cabinet  
below and am always on the lookout for
antique jars to
fill it up.


A collection of tiny chairs line up on the window ledge, ever-ready should very small visitors come to call...I'm sure there are faeries at the bottom of my garden.


As convenient as computers unarguably are, doesn't everyone love the look of old typewriters?





By now you will have guessed
my secret...that I spend
more time talking about making 
art than actually doing so.

While photography and writing 
are my passions, and I do
pursue them avidly, I am aching 
to expand my creative 
boundaries. 


I am making progress. It certainly helps to have my own space with its bounty of supplies and endless inspiration. Wonderful things are bound to happen here!
   

I know how fortunate I am to have my own space and never take it for granted.

I am also doubly blessed....my studio adjoins our personal library which is stuffed to the brim with books. How lucky can one lady be?


For more inspirational studios, do stop by Karen Valentine's blog and check out her party. It promises to be spectacular...