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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Red Roses Dozens of long-stemmed red roses sit on my kitchen table. The gift of these magnificent flowers symbolizes love, but for me they also represent a passage of time. I am a firm believer that every birthday is special and should be celebrated without hesitation. With another big milestone birthday under my belt this week, I remain philosophical. Getting old does not scare me, but the mere thought of not being true to myself, of living an unauthentic life, does. I may no longer be “younger than springtime,” but there’s still plenty of spring in my step, enough curiosity to keep me engaged in the world around me, and an immeasurable amount of space in my heart with which to welcome love and joy.

#1 – Never Stop
25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing For Yourself No matter how old you are, you need to strive to be true to yourself. Along that line, Marc and Angel’s list of 25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself, is an excellent reminder for all of us.

#2 – Simple Beauty Tips
Beauty Tips Some of the best beauty products are right under your nose and in your kitchen. According to InStyle, “Honey has exfoliating natural enzymes and is loaded with humectants, which reduce the loss of moisture.” Check out InStyle’s 20 Timeless Skin-Care Tips to learn about other simple beauty tips.

#3 – Art and Our Inner Child
Javier Perez Ecuadorian graphic designer Javier Pérez, brings out the inner child in all of us when he combines everyday objects with a few touches of his own to create whimsical scenes. Check out his fun Instagram Experiments series.

#4 – Wonders Around The World
Iguazu Falls View breathtaking wonders around the world in spectacular high resolution by taking 360° virtual tours at AirPano. Scroll through the selection of sights at the bottom of the page and select which attraction you would like to “travel” to. For maximum enjoyment, watch in full screen mode. Listen to the enchanting background music as the camera pans through each scene. Click on different icons that appear on the screen to enter rooms or to view scenes from different angles. Simply incredible! To see the complete list of virtual tours, click here.

#5 – The Fountain of Youth
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Sophia Loren

Enjoy your weekend! Now go and spread joy!

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Hummingbirds A dumpling-shaped hummingbird perched on a feeder and uncharacteristically took his time sipping nectar. After every sip, he looked around leisurely. When another hummingbird frenetically approached the feeder, the first hummingbird remained calm and shared the feeder with the newcomer. The plump little bird said to the busy bird, “Hey dude, what’s the hurry?” The other bird did not pause and continued to feed. The plump bird made another attempt at communication and said, “Whoa! Slow down dude. There’s plenty of food for both of us. Life is short. You gotta take some time to savor the moment.” The busy bird stopped and, without a word, he flew to a perch and sat down. He looked across at the plump bird and replied, “Thanks. Thanks for the reminder.”

#1 – Bird’s-Eye View
Bird's-Eye Views of the World Have you ever wished you could be a bird soaring through the sky? Imagine having a bird’s-eye view of the world and, if you did, how spectacular Niagara Falls would appear from above. Check out the photo series How Our World Would Look If You Were a Bird and see some pretty incredible landscapes.

#2 – Crocheting for Tortoises
Now, I’ve seen it all. I don’t know whether tortoises really need sweaters or not, but since I have been flexing my new crochet skills to make things for my upcoming grandbaby, I appreciated these clever and funny attempts at trying to keep tortoises warm.
Crochet for Turtles

#3 – Gift of GIFS
Nature Gifs A “graphics interchange format” or GIF (pronounced jiff) is a compressed image file format, which allows images to be transported quickly over the Internet. This technology allows us to see limited movement or animation on websites. Lucky for us, because we can view funny bloopers or cute puppies on Facebook or watch impressive nature scenes from 14 Reasons Why Nature Gifs Are Your New Favorite Thing.

#4 – Organic Foods
Organic Foods Fact or Fiction If you’ve ever questioned whether it’s worth spending extra money to purchase organic foods, you may find answers to some of your questions in Organic Food: Fact or Fiction from YOU Beauty.

#5 – Pooh, Piglet, and A.A. Milne
A.A. Milne Quotes

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’”

“Sometimes,” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

“What day is it?” asked Winnie the Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.

Enjoy your favorite day! Now go and spread joy!

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California Poppies A morning stroll leads me past a bend of wildflowers. Small spikes of purple lupines contrast beautifully with rounded mounds of orange poppies. One by one,  the tightly-wound poppy buds gradually unfurl as the morning sun warms them. Larger petals catch the breeze and flutter about like dancers with capes. They dance to the sweet melodies of birds, adding perfection to the moment. The day is young, but this day holds promise. How can it not, with such a beautiful beginning?

#1 – Making Napkin Roses
Making Napkin Roses Beautify your home by bringing fresh flowers indoors and make these napkin roses to add a lovely touch to your spring table. Written instructions here.

#2 – Fruit Hacks
Fruit Hacks I can vouch for some of these hacks and am curious to try some of the other 21 Fruit Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier. I’m game for anything that makes life easier, aren’t you?

#3 – The House on the Hill

Behind a Little House

Manuel Cosentino

Italian artist Manuel Cosentino visited a little house on a hill, over a two-year period, to photograph it against dramatic natural elements. Although the little house stands small in stature compared to the vastness of its backdrop, it acts as an anchor to the perpetual motion of time and weather. To see more of Cosentino’s Behind a Little House project, click here.

#4 – Would You Stay Here?
Giraffe Manor in Kenya If eating breakfast with giraffes sounds like an interesting way to start the day, then you need to plan a visit to the Giraffe Manor in Kenya. I’m not keen on any type of “before you die” wording and I can’t figure out why people don’t just say “while you enjoy life.” That being said, after viewing 48 Epic Dream Hotels to Visit Before You Die, I added a few more places to visit while I’m enjoying my life!

#5 – No Matter What, Wildflowers Still Bloom
“No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.”
Sheryl Crow

Have a lovely weekend. Now go and spread joy!

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Goldfinch acrobatics “And for my next trick, I will perform a double rotation with a half-twist . . . ” That’s what I imagine a Goldfinch hanging on a nearby wire is saying. As other birds wait patiently for spots on the bird feeder, this particular bird preens and performs acrobatics. He (I believe it is a male, because of its brilliant color) sports a showmanship flair and a touch of attitude. My creative juices recharge and I feel inspired as I stroll through my yard. My garden hums with vibrant energy as baby squirrels scamper from branch to branch, as blossoms flutter in the breeze, and as birds fly about and fill the air with song. Where do you go to recharge and gain inspiration? (Click on the photo if you want to see this little bird up close).

#1 – Random Acts of Kindness
Random Acts of Kindness Kindness lives in all of us. For some of us it’s always on the surface of our hearts. For others, it may require a direct tug of a heart string. Acts of kindness rarely make the news, unless they are on a grand scale. But in my opinion, every act of kindness is significant, because small ripples of kindness create big waves of good. Check out Moments of Human Kindness and you’ll instantly feel better.

#2 – A World of Hope
A World of Hope March 8th is International Women’s Day. CNN asked women to complete this sentence: “Build a world where I can . . . ” Click here to read answers from men and women around the world and see what kind of world they want to build.

#3 – Repurpose! Repurpose! Repurpose!
28 Creative Ideas for Repurposing Old Items My husband will confirm that one of the most frequent phrases he hears me utter is, “You’re not going to throw that away are you?” Being big on repurposing and upcycling, I always like to share any repurposing inspiration that I come across. Here are 28 Creative Ideas for Repurposing Old Items that just might save a few things from being discarded.

#4 – Inspirational Quotes
Miles Davis Quote If a walk outdoors doesn’t inspire creativity in you, maybe reading 10 Quotes To Inspire Your Inner Creative will help.

#5 – What Do You See?
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity . . . and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.“
William Blake

Now go and spread joy!

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Ellie's Belly “Arggh! Who put the baby fat back on my body?” I exclaim as I peel off another shirt and toss it on top of the “No-Longer-Looks-Good” pile of clothing. I hate cleaning out my closet. Standing in the middle of my closet with my midriff showing, while in the midst of spring cleaning, I think it would be fair to say that I’m experiencing a midlife crisis. I know exactly who put the baby fat back on my body. Chastising myself for allowing it to happen, I vow to get on the treadmill and lift weights today and I might even do it again tomorrow.

#1 – Get the Hang of It
Closet Organization Cleaning out a clothes closet is a task for the decisive. Don’t assume that things fit. Try on everything, because, not only do styles change, bodies do, too. As you come across clothes that haven’t been worn for a while or items that “kinda” fit, you need to make decisions. If you haven’t worn an item of clothing for a year or more, there must be a reason for that: too small, too large, wrong color, bad style, poor condition, needs to be altered, sentimental attachment, or whatever. Honestly, just get rid of the item. Yes, get rid of it even if it still sports a price tag. It’s taking up valuable real estate in your closet!

If you don’t have a clue which clothes you wear regularly, load all your hangers in one direction on the rod – the necks of the hangers either all facing the front or all facing the back. When you wear something, turn the hanger around and put the item back on it. In a year’s time, after all the seasons have passed, take a look at which hangers haven’t been turned around. Eliminate those clothes from your closet.

The items of clothing that “kinda” fit, ones you would definitely wear if you lost 5 pounds, get a six-month reprieve. Put them on specific-colored hangers. Place a sticky note on the backside of your closet door indicating the date for the final judgment. When that day arrives, try on everything on those hangers and make an honest decision whether they go or they stay.

#2 – Simplify Your World
Clever Tip Looking for ways to organize or simplify your world? Read 40 Clever Life Hacks to Simplify Your World and decide which ones you want to try. Being skeptical about some of them, I did a little online sleuthing and found these amusing “Life Hacks Debunked” videos from Mental Floss.

#3 – Swapping Clothes
Spring-Autumn by Qozop Would you be willing to swap clothes with one of your elders? In his photo series Spring-Autumn, photographer Qozop asked his models, pairs of young and old, to swap clothes. Scroll through the intriguing before and after photos and ponder Shakespeare’s paraphrased line “clothes makes the man.”

#4 – Wall Art From Upcycled Magazines
Upcycling Old Magazines Three words describe wall art made from rolled-up magazine pages: clever, colorful, and customizable. Imagine all the design variations you can make using this technique. I knew I saved old magazines for a reason!

#5 – Clean Your House
“We are used to cleaning the outside house, but the most important house to clean is yourself – your own house – which we never do.”
Marina Abramovic

Now go and spread joy!

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Dogs:  Parts of a Black Lab The sum of all parts makes for an engaging whole. Buster, my grand-pup, tries to ignore me as I walk around him with my camera. I’m touching him but, worse than that, I’m in his face and I’m interrupting his nap. Like most other dogs, he prefers not to establish “eye contact” with my camera lens. And occasionally, he cocks his head at the weird sounds I make to get his attention. Holding his paw in one hand and trying to focus my camera with my other hand, I say to him, “This is what happens when your mommy and daddy leave you with me. You get to be Grandma’s model!”

#1 – Face Your Fears
Buster If something holds you back from attaining what you want, you need to read Stop Being Afraid by Jeff Goins. At the end of the article, a reader left this noteworthy comment: “Whenever I see the word fear, I think of an acronym for it: False Evidence Appearing Real.” I thought about this acronym and about the number of times I’ve allowed F.E.A.R. to brainwash me. I bet I’m not the only person on this planet whose been swayed by false evidence conjured up in his head. To be our whole and authentic selves, we need to let go of whatever fears stand in our way.

#2 – Frame It
Blank Frames Wallpaper Imagine a whole wall of blank picture frames to fill. I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind for most of us is, “Say what? Draw ON the wall?” Sure, the frames could be filled with original artwork, but consider all of the other possibilities. These frames can surround anything you want: photos, magazine covers, headlines, recipes, quotes, or any combination of things that represent you and your life. I’m going to put up this wallpaper by Graham & Brown somewhere in my home!

#3 – The Whole Pie
Joyce Maynard Pie-Making Lesson Joyce Maynard, the author of Labor Day, a book about an escaped convict who hides in the home of a single woman and her teenage son, explains in a recent interview the significance of the pie-making scene in her book. After the interview, she shares her pie-making skills in a video (see link below). Although the video presents step-by-step instructions on how to make a pie, it’s not your average Martha Stewart-type production or pie. Ms. Maynard’s relaxed approach and her wabi-sabi philosophy of pie-making take the fear out of making flaky crusts and tasty pies.

Joyce Maynard Teaches the Labor Day Stars How to Bake a Pie.

#4 – A Whole Lot of Driftwood
Driftwood Horse Sculptures by James Doran As you stroll down a beach, you spy something on the sand. It’s an interesting piece of driftwood. You pick it up and decide to take it home as a souvenir. That’s what most of us do with when we find a piece of driftwood. British sculptor James Doran-Webb takes collecting driftwood to a whole new level. Using driftwood found along the coastal shores and riverbeds of the Philippine archipelago, he creates realistic life-sized sculptures of animals. Click on the links below to view more of his incredible work.

Amusing Planet
James Doran Webb

#5 – Part of the Whole
Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny–he has something to fulfill, some message has to be delivered, some work has to be completed. You are not here accidentally–you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you.
Osho

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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A Rose Called Heaven A near-leafless rose stem, cut from its mother bush, sits alone in a jar of water on a cold window sill. Even though the words “Don’t Forgetta” are embossed on the jar, time passes with little attention paid to it or to its contents. Despite its forlorn situation, a feeling of anticipation and hope permeates the air that surrounds it. Eventually hope blossoms into joy, when tender new growth appears on the stem. The cutting came from a rosebush named Heaven. Come spring, when the sky is brilliantly blue and the warm sun welcomes new growth, this stem, this little piece of Heaven, will be lovingly planted and looked after. My little dog Romeo will finally be a part of Heaven. The end of one thing becomes the beginning of another.

The New Year brings promises of new beginnings, but we should not forget those same promises are ours every single day. Every morning when we wake up, there is hope. Each new day showers us with gifts of fresh starts and endless possibilities. The quality of our lives and that of others are determined by the choices and decisions we make each day. Hope, promise, and a new beginning exists every day, not just at the beginning of the year.

#1 – Prayer of Intention
Prayer of Intention A few years ago a friend gave me a note card with a simple prayer printed on it. I keep it on my bathroom mirror, so that I can be reminded of the promise within me and the blessing of each new day.

Prayer of Intention

I welcome this day and give thanks for all of the gifts and the blessings that I am, that I give, and that I receive.

I am filled with grace, joy and possibility. I celebrate, embrace and bless this life and my place in it.

#2 – Traveling in 2014
11 Places To Go In 2014 If it’s your intention to do some traveling this year, you might want to check out CNN’s 11 Places to Go in 2014. Travel to Iceland to see what NASA scientists predict as “the most spectacular display for the the next decade” of Northern Lights. If you’re the athletic type, New Zealand might be the place for you to visit. The 2,500-kilometer Nga Haerenga cycle trail will be completed this year.

#3 – What To Do With Christmas Trees
10 Uses for Your Dead Christmas Tree Now that Christmas has passed, what do you plan to do with your dried out Christmas tree? Throw it in the trash? I hope not. From This Old House Magazine comes this article on 10 Uses for Your Dead Christmas Tree.

#4 – New Upcycling Ideas for the New Year
Paint Chip Clock Why stop at re-purposing your Christmas tree? Start the New Year off with the mindset of upcyling as many things as you can. To help you get started, here are 200 Upcycling Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind.

#5 – A New Beginning
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Seneca

Happy New Year! Now go and spread joy!

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Icy Leaf Heart Frost-tender plants wore coats of burlap and once-fluid water took on an other-worldly appearance. For several nights in a row, a hard frost hit my area. Like a child on Christmas morning, who runs downstairs to see what Santa Claus brought, I ran downstairs every morning of the frost to see what Mother Nature left. Dashing outside, dressed in pajamas, bathrobe, overcoat, sheepskin boots, and hat, I would survey the icy transformation of my backyard with wonder. As the sun rose higher in the sky and rays of sunlight hit my face, I knew I had no time to lose to make my frosty observations. The lens of my camera whirred as my cold fingers tried to focus on scenes that captured my attention. While walking around my yard, being careful not to disturb bits of icy magic, I spied an interesting arrangement on the ground – a heart-shaped composition of autumn leaves with fan-shaped ice crystals clinging to them like sparkling diamonds. Beauty is everywhere, you just have to take the time to notice. (Click on photo to enlarge it and to be able to see the ice crystals.)

#1 – The Secret Life of Ice
Intrigued with ice, snowflakes, and glaciers? Learn more about ice by watching the BBC’s fascinating hour-long presentation on the Secret Life of Ice. You are never too old to learn something new!

#2 – Castles

Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

Castles and snowflakes both have a fantasy, fairytale-like quality about them. In this photo series Collection of Castles During Winter, we are treated to beautiful winter scenes of some of the most famous castles around the world.

#3 – How to Make Clear Ice Cubes
How to Make Clear Ice Cubes Have you ever wondered why icicles are clear, but most ice cubes are cloudy? Ice is ice, right?  Not so. A simplified answer to whether ice is cloudy or clear has to do with the type of water or water source used and the process used to create the ice. If you would like to serve clear ice cubes, like restaurants serve, at your next gathering, follow this Instructables tutorial.

#4 – Ice Art
Ice Art Viewing ice art is not restricted to cruise ship patrons. In its 25th year of highlighting ice art and hosting ice art competitions, Ice Alaska is now organizing the 2014 World Ice Art Championships which takes place from February 24th to March 30th in Fairbanks, Alaska. At last year’s World Ice Art Championships, the Artists’ Choice Award and 1st place winner in the Realistic Multi-Block Division went to the spectacular piece above called “Hunting Dragons” created by a 4-man team from the USA.

#5 – Constant Kindness
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
Albert Schweitzer

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Autumn Leaf Colors Shorter days and cooler air send signals to leaves to change their colors. As their veins constrict, leaves gradually loose their dominant green coloration, unmasking inherent yellow and orange pigments. Reds and purples, newly produced at the end of summer, make their appearance. But no matter what their color, these leaves ultimately fall slowly to the ground. Autumn is a season of change, revelation, and closure. And so it is with the autumn of our lives.

#1 – Art That Moves
soap, Oil and Ink by Ruslan Khasanov Time, color, and movement are key components of Russian artist Ruslan Khasanov’s work. Like a scientist, he experiments with the properties of soap, oil, and inks, but like an artist, he plays with their colors, shapes, and movement.

#2 – Fabulous Pumpkin Treats

12 Pimped Out Pumpkin Treats

Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes

During this time of the year, a title that reads, “12 Pimped Out Pumpkin Treats You Have To Try” cannot be ignored. If the title doesn’t lure you to click on the links, the mouth-watering photos will!

#3 – Setting The Table
Whether you’re having an informal or formal gathering this Thanksgiving, you might want to review this table setting guideline:

Thanksgiving: Formal vs. Informal Table Setting

#4 – More Christmas Ideas
27 Christmas Decor Ideas In last week’s Friday’s Fresh Five!, I featured a link to 25 DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas. To top that, this week I’m presenting 27 Christmas Decor Ideas. Unsurprisingly, my favorite project is the one using photographs. So many cute ideas, but so little time!

#5 – I Meant to Do My Work Today

I meant to do my work today–
but a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
and a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand–
So what could I do but laugh and go?

Richard Le Gallienne

Now Go and Spread Joy!

This post is dedicated to the memories of Yvonne Hall and Andy Mar.

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Scarves for Homeless Rainbow lint covers every imaginable surface in my home. T-shirt scarves tagged and waiting to be bagged lie in yard-high heaps on my dining room table. 344 scarves to be exact, an amount that far exceeds my original goal of 100. These scarves and the two dozen t-shirt tote bags will go far to warm the bodies and hearts of the homeless. My right hand and wrist ache from all the repetitive cutting and pulling, but as I view the piled scarves, I am overwhelmed. Many thanks to all those who contributed t-shirts to my project and to my wonderful friends who shared part of their day to help me create some of the scarves. Start saving your clean and gently-worn t-shirts for me, because next year my project will be bigger and better!

#1 – Live Longer
Secrets to a Long Life Knowing the incredible feeling I get from helping others, I’m not surprised that number 13 of Secrets of a Long Life: 25 Simple and Surprising Tips to Help You Live to 100 is “Be helpful and lend a hand to others.” The article goes on to state that “A long-term US study found that people who volunteered regularly over a lifetime lived significantly longer than those who didn’t. Volunteers also experienced less depression, fewer pains and better general health.” Find a way to expand your heart and, perhaps, you’ll live longer.

#2 – One Second of Every Day
Time flies by. Hours become days, days become months, and months become years. How can we remember the many significant moments of our entire lives? Cesar Kuriyama talks in this TED video about his ongoing project of recording one second of his life everyday and why he does it.

#3 – Fall Fantasy
Japanese Garden at Royal Roads University in British Columbia Fall Fantasy is a photo collection that captures glorious fall images from around the world and pairs them with inspirational sayings. Autumn’s beauty is displayed at its height of splendor!

#4 – Christmas, Already?
25 DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas It’s only fall, so this entry may be jumping the gun. However, if you’re a DIY-type-of-person, the time to start holiday crafting is right now! There are so many cute and clever re-purposing ideas in 25 DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas, you’ll want to start a few projects today!

#5 – Relativity of Life

Strange is our situation here upon earth.
Each of us comes for a short visit,
not knowing why,
yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose.
From the standpoint of daily life, however,
there is one thing we do know:
That we are here for the sake of others,
for the countless unknown souls
to whose fate we are connected
by a bond of compassion. Many times a day, I realize
how much my outer and inner life
is built upon the labors of others,
both living and dead,
and how earnestly I must exert myself
in order to give in return as much as I have received.
- Albert Einstein

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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