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Thursday, December 20, 2012

[ Decorating for the Holidays]

With the Holidays quickly approaching, as they seem to do so every year, I like to remind myself not to let my day-to-day schedule over run the meaning of the Holiday Season… One of my secrets of being able to enjoy this special Season, is to keep things simple and within a budget.  From gift shopping - to decorating - to preparing holiday meals, I think is important that we keep it simple, so we may take time to enjoy the moments with family and friends.

As an Artist, I love to take a creative approach to Holiday decorating… I first look at the rooms that I will decorate as if they are a blank canvas - I sketch out in my mind or on paper the different areas of my home that I will choose to use as the focal points for the decorating story and theme. As I open my boxes of decorations, lights, ribbons, fabrics, garlands, traditional holiday books and flowers, these become my inspiration, my paints for the stories/themes to fill the blank canvas throughout my home...

My theme this year was created around Angels that I have collected throughout the years….

What is so wonderful with simple decorating is you really do not need a lot of things; you just need great imagination... Which makes it more fun to create a different theme every year.... That is why I always encourage family and friends not to rush through the decorating and preparing, but to enjoy the moments of creativity together....

Turn on some Holiday Music,
Light scented candles or create a holiday scent,
If you have a fireplace, start a fire, and
Listen to the crackles of the wood,
Imagine your theme-color, story, style etc. and
Choose your blank canvas…

You may start with areas in your home you want to be the focus of your theme, such as a Christmas tree, a Menorah, the fireplace or centerpiece for dinning table.  Once you find the focus area of your blank canvas, start painting with your decorations using colors that compliment your theme…
What I like to do to carry my theme throughout the home is by simply adding a swatch of pretty velvet fabric on a table with a Holiday Candle. Also add a bowl of extra bulbs and ribbons on a side table for color… and yes, I do love ribbon… I often create bows and tie them the tops of lamps or candle sticks to add some flair and softness to the look of the room. ***Ribbons are underestimated treasures, as they may be recycled from year to year.

So this year, I invite you to Keep it Simple as you are preparing for the Holidays. You will truly be able to enjoy the gifted moments of the season with family and friends.

Friday, December 14, 2012

[ The Hostess Gift … the simple gesture of “Thank You”]

A tradition I have carried forth through the years… is the gracious thank you with a hostess gift. I think it is really special when someone opens their home to you as a guest, to share their personal side of themselves with you.
I have noticed throughout the years, with the increase of
technology occupying every aspect of our lives with promises
 of "instant" connections and interactions ... I find that less and
less do I hear the simple words of " thank you". The words
"thank you" are two of the easiest words to say, which are…
I know, so uplifting to one's soul when one hears these
words. As many of us are moving quickly through the
day we may forget to slow down and to remember…
to express a little “thank you” to a family member,
friend or colleague....

A "Hostess Gift " represents a simple gesture of
thanks. It does not have to be costly or elaborate… 
it is a genuine gesture from the heart.Such as a 
handwritten note accompanied with a keepsake gift, like a candle, flowers/plant, handmade craft or a delicate food treat. A gift of “kindness and thanks” –an appreciation for sharing the special time together in one’s treasured home or for a special gathering. To say "thank you" for sharing a personal time and space...for a gifted moment....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

[Lighting Candles - Passing on a Reflection of Tradition…]

When I was newly married, Xzandrya, my friend and mentor, had shared with me one of the secrets to her joyous 66 years of marriage; lighting candles for dinner every night.  She had shared that by lighting candles, we would change the mood of the day … to a peaceful reflection of light and calmness.

Years later, we as a family, whether together or apart from one another, light candles for dinner every night to change away from the haste of our full everyday lives. Our tradition of lighting candles slows us down …
to take time,
to share some quiet moments with our family or friends,
to reflect upon our experiences from the day, and
to refresh one’s soul for tomorrow…

Friday, November 30, 2012

[ The Holiday Scents ]

The Holiday Season, like many others, is an exciting time of year for me. It is a time to reflect and slow down, to enjoy the special moments with family and friends. As many of us have full schedules today, it is sometimes hard to find the time to slow down to truly enjoy the moments of the Holiday Season. This is why I have created some simple holiday treats and recipes that are inexpensive and easy to create, so we may allow more time to enjoy the gifted moments with family and friends…

As I start preparing to decorate my home for the holidays, I love to create an atmosphere of seasonal ascetics such as playing holiday music, cooking comfort foods like homemade soups, breads and pies and dressing my home with all the holiday decorations. 

One of the first things I do to create my holiday atmosphere is to start with creating the essence of “seasonal” scents…I learned this secret years ago and have really enjoyed using it since… 

• 1 Saucepan
• Water
• Cinnamon: ground or sticks; 3 Table Spoons of Ground Cinnamon or if you may add a few Cinnamon Sticks
• Nutmeg: Ground-1 Table Spoon
• Cloves: Small hand-full
Options: For more of a citrus scent you may want to add orange or lemon peels to the mixture. 

Fill the saucepan 2/3 with water. Add the ingredients and put on low heat to simmer… (You do not want the water to boil, just simmer.) After a little period of time, your home will be filled with the scents of the holiday…

When I am having a small gathering or some family over for a visit, sometimes before they arrive, I make a batch of my Holiday Scents and place the pan on a warming plate at the entrance of my home. The enhanced fragrances welcome our guests with warmth and comforting scents of the Holiday Season and cheer....

Have fun in creating your own “Holiday Scents” using different treasures from the garden or different seasonings… 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[ Season of Change ]

I often find myself migrating back to the Garden as a place of refuge, to think and find some peace, to refill one’s soul.

The garden has always been a sanctuary for me especially during the time of seasonal changes.  Today I find myself wrapped in the warmth of sun on a clear early morning harvest Saturday. Reflecting upon the silence, peace and slowing of the garden’s growth…This is a time to remind oneself that we too have seasons in our lives…seasons from birth to rebirth; to rest and sleep.

As I find myself the Harvest Season slowing down to rest from a year of fast moving days.I take in the time to enjoy - the last blush of blooming roses, the slowing growth of the trees… while anticipating to surprise of the splashes of color given to us by our winter roses and camellias in just a few short weeks.

The garden gives me peace as throughout the years I am continually reminded that there is a season for all of us. Just like the garden naturally and freely prepares itself for shorter days and cooler nights; we too must let go and rest in these gifted moments of peace.

Though it’s hard sometimes to say sweet dreams to the roses and trees for the winter months …I too will give myself permission to rest for now. I know in just a few short months, I will dance in joy as I once again discover the new growth of Spring… which often gives me a sense of new beginnings and peaceful hope for another year.

The Last Bloom and Waiting for Winter Colors

Friday, November 9, 2012

[The Creative Garden]

Lately I have found that I really want to write stories…thoughts about the garden.

The garden … as it has come so alive to me- again and again over the years… With the reminder of watching God’s creations through the mystical discoveries of the garden…and As we discover the essence of His work in each plant, flower and tree… We are reminded as they change during the season… So do we….

Like this beautiful treasure of the violet blue velvet rose…a new gift to our garden.  She comes from a rich history…and yet did not over power the garden, which gives me the same power I feel when I am creating art...

Lady Velvet~
A Victorian Style Treasure that join our garden this summer
with her friends Courage and Daddy’s Girl.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

[ Every Day is Good… Some Days Are “Gooder” ]

Tonight I have started to write as I have so much on my heart and mind. Like many I find myself making excuses not to write, not to follow my heart - I think about what am I running from … where God is guiding me… what is next...

Like others, I know we are all yearning for the essence of a "community" where we are able to share and create as we walk through the layers of technology every day. How do I create a creative community atmosphere to share with others on a wider realm, while maintaining a meaningful and caring place for people to come to, to find peace, joy and comfort. How do I continue to encourage people to create live the motto … every day is good…and some days are “gooder”.  

I guess the best way to answer these thoughts… is to let go of the fear, have faith and follow one's creative heart....and write...

We must learn it is okay for us as "ladies" in the 21st Century to give ourselves permission to "be" who we are....the creative self that we are...