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Posts Tagged ‘arts’

Garden Spider Image Helen, named after the main character in a children’s book, makes picking cherry tomatoes and cucumbers in my garden a challenging experience. People with arachnophobia would avoid this task, since Helen, a large garden spider, has woven a three-foot by six-foot web around the plants. As I look at her work, I recall reading Be Nice To Spiders to my children several decades ago. The storyline revolves around Helen, a spider, who provides many useful services to a zoo. My quandary is what I should do with my new pest-guest and her giant web? Should I destroy it and relocate her or should I just leave her alone and let her do her job?

#1 – Time to Move On
Left undisturbed, Helen, the spider, moved on within two days of my discovering her. Perhaps it was the constant clicking of my camera shutter that annoyed her? How do most of us know when it’s time to move on in our lives? Marc and Angel Hack Life wrote an article titled 9 Reasons It’s Time to Move On that’s filled with insightful and motivating thoughts.

#2 – Chalk It Up!
DIY Chalkboard Projects Chalkboard paint projects are popping up everywhere, from walls to furniture to wine glasses. There’s no reason not to have fun with this product. Here are a few articles to rev up your creativity:

8 Easy Chalkboard Paint DIYs to Try
20 Ways to Use Chalkboard Paint
22 DIY Chalkboard Projects

#3 -Something to Smile About
Mona Lisa image Here’s a short and fun art history lesson by art historian Kathy Galitz. Watch this 3-minute video from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she examines the meaning of smiles during different time periods. We can never learn enough about the world of art, can we?

#4 – Mom’s Recipes
Hand-Written Dutch Apple Cake Recipe I felt like I had discovered lost treasure, when I stumbled upon this flickr site. Someone named Phil scanned and shared all the recipes in his mother’s extensive recipe collection. When I look at the images of handwritten recipes on worn index cards and yellowed newspaper clippings, I appreciate the slice (pun intended) of history and nostalgia that they represent. Plus, I’ve found a few more recipes to try!

#5 – Catching Love
“The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes.”
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Enjoy your weekend!

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Night Driving Photo

The Big Y - Nightime Art If necessity is the mother of invention, then boredom is the second cousin of creativity. On a long drive home one night with my husband, I sat bored watching the dark scenery whiz by. But during one stretch of the highway, bright lights caught my attention. Taking out my camera, I started taking photos of interesting arrangements of lights. I worked quickly to capture image after image; there wasn’t even time to stop to adjust my camera’s settings. When I finally returned home and downloaded the camera’s memory card onto my computer, crazy and colorful images appeared. After fiddling with saturation and contrast levels, I found the results of my spontaneous creative burst to be unusual pieces of art. I can’t wait until my next late night car ride!

#1 – Urban Art
Urban and Street Art Art comes in many forms. Street art and urban art offer both whimsical and interesting perspectives of the world. Check out these creative examples of Cool Street Art & Inventive Urban Art.

#2 – Re-purposing On a Large Scale
Hotel Im Wassertum Who says only small items can be re-purposed? The Top 15 Converted Hotels photo series shows examples of large scale re-purposing. Wouldn’t it be fun to stay overnight in a medieval fortress or a bullring?

#3 – Use 3 Coupons, Provide a Meal
Coupons for Change If you’re a coupon clipper, you might want to check out the site Coupons For Change. This organization offers online coupons that can be printed and redeemed at stores. For every three coupons used, the site donates a meal through its partnership with Feeding America. Coupons for Change’s “current initiative is to fight domestic childhood hunger” and its website shows that at this very moment “1,365,710 meals” have been provided.

#4 – Add Calm To Your Life
Busy moments in life need to be counterbalanced by calm moments. If you’re looking for ways to calm down and to release stress, visit a site called Calm. Everyday, various calming images, such as waves on the water or sunlight streaming through clouds, appear on your computer screen and soothing music plays in the background. You have the option to choose between guided calm or self-guided calm and you can select the amount of time for your session.

#5 – Live Life Creatively
“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.”
Alan Alda

Create a fun weekend for yourselves!

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Praying Mantis ImageOh! Hello, young praying mantis. Would you mind holding that pose while I run inside to get my camera and tripod? Minutes later, I came out to find my new garden friend still sitting there on a leaf by my front door. As my camera lens zoomed in on him, I saw one of his five eyeballs rotate towards me and I noticed the slight up and down bobbing of his curled tail. I’m still experimenting with the macro aspect of my new camera, but fortunately I’ve found a “willing” subject to pose for me!

#1 – Praying Mantis Trivia
Praying Mantis Image In case you’re like me and you think it’s always good to know a little something about everything, here’s some interesting information about these fascinating creatures from the site ThePrayingMantis.org:

A. The word “mantis” comes from the Greek word meaning prophet.

B. The earliest fossils of the praying mantis are from Oligocene, a geologic epoch dating around 23 to 34 million years ago.

C. The praying mantis has excellent eyesight and can see up to about 50 feet away.

D. The praying mantis is the only insect that can rotate its alien-like head almost completely around!

E. In most mantids there is one ear in a form of a small slit near the legs and has two eardrums and tuned to 25-60 kHz, which allows them to hear the ultrasonic sounds of bats as they near so they can dodge them quickly.

F. The praying mantis is actually more closely related to the cockroach than to grasshoppers!

G. A State Insect? Yes, it is true. The European Mantis (mantis religiosa), a native of Southern Europe became the official State Insect of Connecticut on October 1st, 1977!

#2 – A Happy Home
Entry way bench No matter where you live or what your state insect is, being happy in your home adds joy to life. The site Hooked on Houses posted this list of 10 Ways To Be Happy At Home:

1. Stop resenting what your house isn’t and start appreciating what it is. There is always something to be thankful for!

2. Respect it enough not to clutter it up with things you don’t really like or need.

3. Have a comfortable chair in a quiet corner where you can read and recharge.

4. Turn the TV off and your favorite music on.

5. Keep fresh flowers on your kitchen windowsill in glass jars or bud vases.

6. Try eating dinner by candlelight, with music, for no special reason. And use your best dishes.

7. Create character where there isn’t any – crown molding works wonders!

8. Surround yourself with your favorite “happy colors,” whether they’re trendy or not.

9. Display something from your childhood that you treasure.

10. Don’t try to replicate the look of a model home. Strive to create spaces that exude warmth, love, comfort, and peace.

The author then asked for readers’ input which led to an additional 20 More Ways To Be Happy At Home.

#3 – The Pixel Painter

Art by Hal Lasko

Art by Hal Lasko

97-year-old Hal Lasko is an incredible and inspirational man. He is now blind and deaf, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what what he loves to do – create art. An online article about Lasko says this: Using an outdated version of Microsoft Paint, Hal Lasko is able to create anything from pixelated nature-inspired sceneries, animal portraits or abstract pieces. Building works of art pixel by pixel is a time-consuming process, but 97-year-old Grandpa says he has learned to be patient and never rush the creative process.

Prints of Mr. Lasko’s art are for sale with 10% of the proceeds going to Veterans of Foreign War programs.

#4 – Mah Jong Addiction
Mah Jong After my husband helped my mom upgrade her computer software, she complained that she didn’t like the new computer Mah Jong game he installed. There was one specific version she liked for its layout. After some searching, he found a compatible version for her to try. She’s very happy with it, but the only problem now is . . . he and I can’t stop playing it. Rev up those brain cells and try playing this Mah Jong game, but tell yourself you’ll only play it once! Click here for a link to a video on how to play the game.

#5 – Life
“Don’t go through life; grow through life.”
Eric Butterworth

Have a great weekend!

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Peace Rose

Peace Rose by Linnell Chang

My high school photography teacher used to say that black and white photography was an art form that required a fair amount of skill, whereas, color photography required less skill, because it got an assist from Mother Nature. I agree with him. My photograph of a Peace rose is nice, but Mother Nature did the lighting and the color for me. For this to be a good black and white photo, more forethought would have been necessary prior to the shoot. When color is stripped away, the viewer’s appreciation of the subject matter changes. A black and white photo, with its shades of grey and exposed lines and angles, bares its soul and tells a different story. What do you think?Peace Rose in black and white

#1 – Who Is Vivian Maier?
As a longtime fan of black and white photography, an old news feature caught my attention. Until recently, Vivian Maier’s existence as a photographer was unknown. She lived on the East Coast in the 1950s and was a nanny by profession. Decades later, when the contents of a storage locker went up for auction, her skills as a street photographer would be revealed to the world. Watch the video to learn more about the interesting discovery of her work and check out the Vivian Maier website to view historical social commentary through her black and white photographs.

#2 – Re-purpose Plastic Bottles into Gift Boxes
plastic pillow box repurposed from plastic bottles Who doesn’t have plastic bottles at home waiting to be recycled? How about making pillow boxes out of them? Pillow boxes make great gift boxes and storage containers. Follow the tutorial provided by Too Good To Waste and re-purpose some plastic bottles today!

#3 – 10 Winning Words
If Scrabble is your game, you’ll want to learn these 10 words and keep them in the back of your head:

Oxyphenbutazone
Quizzify
Oxazepam
Quetzals
Quixotry
Gherkins
Quartzy
Muzjiks
Syzygy
Za

To learn more about these words and to check if I spelled them correctly, read 10 Words That Will Win You Any Game Of Scrabble.

#4 – Fork Bows
This is one of those ideas that needs to be shared – how to tie perfect little bows using table forks. If you’re clever, you’ll find a way to extrapolate this knowledge and create bows on a larger scale. I’m already thinking about wood pasta rakes and pitchforks!

#5 – Life’s Challenges
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”
Bernice Johnson Reagon

Have a perfectly lovely weekend!

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Come Alive
Don’t wait.
Don’t wait for the right time.
Don’t wait for the right time to figure things out.
Don’t wait for the right time to figure out who you are and why you’re here.
Don’t wait for the right time to figure out what special gifts you bring to the universe.
Don’t wait for answers to come to you – you must seek and find them.
Don’t wait, start now – for every day holds promises of discovery.
Don’t wait, it’s within your grasp.
Don’t wait, come alive.

Linnell Chang

#1 – What Type of Person Are You?
For more insight into your personality, take the Jung Typology Test, better known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, offered by HumanMetrics. Answer the 72 questions without overthinking. Go with your first reaction. Hit the “Score It!” button and you will receive your score and a description of your “type.”

#2 – Ocean Pollution Solution?
Ocean Cleanup Array The world needs more creative thinkers to help solve world problems. A 19-year-old Dutch student named Boyan Slat is a prime example of a creative problem-solver. He designed a device called Ocean Cleanup Array to help solve plastic waste issues in the ocean. Watch this young man’s compelling and informative TED presentation and learn more about the enormity of ocean pollution and his project. In his own words, “. . . But we created this mess. Heck we even invented this new material first before we made this mess, so please don’t tell me we can’t clean this up together.”

#3 – Surreal Art
Surrealism mixes fact and fantasy together. Here’s an interesting collection of “12 Stunningly Surreal Sculptures” presented by My Modern Met.

#4 – Great Ideas
a-put-a-large-marshmellow-on-top-of-a-cupcake-before-its-done-and-it-will-melt-for-frostingGenerally, great ideas posted on this blog have to simplify life, repurpose something, bring joy to life, or make you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Some of the ideas highlighted in “Simple Ideas That Are Borderline Genius” do all of the above.

#5 – What Matters Most
Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
Buddha

Enjoy your weekend!

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dog in raincoat One step out of the front door, one downward dour look, and one step back into the house – I could tell that no amount of coaxing was going to persuade my 14-year-old dog to go for a walk in the rain. Inside, he looked at me with pleading old eyes, as if to say, “I’m not going outside, Mom. The rain is one thing, but this silly raincoat is another! How embarrassing to be seen like this!” Even though I thought he looked cute, I relented and we headed to the backyard instead.

#1 – Dog Love
man and his dog Humans and dogs share a special bond. This series of photos titled, “Let’s Take A Minute To Appreciate Our Dogs” proves that point. Seeing these photos will tug at your heartstrings and make you smile.

#2 – Gifts that Give Back
Giving gifts that give back is a win-win situation. There are websites that organize lists of charities, so all you have to do is purchase a gift card from one of the sites, give it to someone, and let the recipient choose which charity to donate to. So whether the recipient’s worthy cause supports education, animal rescue, or food for the hungry, etc., you’ll both feel good about the gift. Here are a few sites worth checking out:

Network for Good

Donors Choose

Greater Good

#3 – Samsuta Candles
samsuta candles Seeing this photo of a DIY Samsuta Candle and reading the easy directions, I eyed the bag of freshly-picked Samsutas sitting on my kitchen counter. I can only imagine what a wonderful aroma this candle must release as it burns. Honestly, I haven’t had a chance to make one yet, but it’s definitely on my “to do” list.

#4 – Rockwell’s Inspiration
Norman Rockwell inspiration Have you ever wondered what or who provided the inspiration for some of Norman Rockwell’s paintings? Take a look at The Photographs Behind Norman Rockwell’s Iconic Paintings and then compare them to the images of the paintings. It’s interesting to notice what he added or changed along the way.

#5 – Within Each of Us
“There is within each one of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining; for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Enjoy your weekend!

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Close up of frog

Photo by Linnell Chang

He: It’s late. Are you coming to bed?
She: In a minute.
He: What are you doing?
She: Taking pictures of a frog.
He: A frog? Where? It’s one o’clock in the morning!
She: Yeah, well, when I was checking the door to see if it was locked, I noticed a frog stuck to the glass. It’s not everyday you can see the belly of a frog up close!
He: I should have known better than to ask you what you were up to!

Opportunities to learn something new present themselves everyday, all day long. It’s easy to ignore or dismiss these moments because we live busy lives and because we take the world around us for granted. So the next time you see something you take for granted – a frog on a window, an autumn leaf on the ground, a candle burning, etc., ask yourself these classic questions: why, when, what, where, and how? For example, how is a frog able to cling to a smooth surface? Why do some autumn leaves turn yellow, some orange, and some red? When a candle burns, where does the wax go? Whether we take the time to observe, study, or investigate depends on our willingness or receptiveness to learn. Don’t forget . . . the more you know, the more you grow.

#1 – Sharpie Art
Sharpie decorated mugs Isn’t it time you learned that Sharpie pens are not just for writing? Take a look at these 20 Sharpie Projects Perfect for the holidays! You’ll be surprised with what you can create with a Sharpie pen!

#2 – Santa Hat Pretzels
Santa Hat Pretzels Looking for an easy-to-make holiday treat? Make these cute Santa Hat Pretzels. Simple, clever, and no baking required!

#3 – Ink and Water

Alberto Seveso

Part of the A Due Colori Series by Alberto Seveso

In the hands of an average person, mixing ink and water together spells out one big mess, but in the hands of Italian artist Alberto Seveso, these two elements create something beautiful. Click here to see more of his intriguing work.

#4 – Random Acts of Kindness
random acts of kindness When we truly open our eyes to the world around us, we take down our blinders and open our hearts, too. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about random acts of kindness, so when I saw these 16 Unbelievable Acts of Kindness, I knew I had to share them with you. They’ll restore your faith in mankind and propel you to do something kind for someone else.

#5 – Just For Today

Just for today, I will not be angry.

Just for today, I will not worry.

Just for today, I will be grateful.

Just for today, I will do my work honestly.

Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.

The Five Reiki Principles by Dr. Mikao Usui

Learn something new this weekend!

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