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Posts Tagged ‘design’

Ghost Ranch Flowers They may look like weeds to you, but don’t step on the vegetation. Please stay on the pathways. We’ve had a long drought here, and the poor little plants are doing everything they can to survive. See how the soil looks crusty? That crust protects the plants and if you step on the crust and break it, you’re inviting a dust storm. These words of advice, reiterated by more than one guide during a visit to the Southwest, motivated me to step up my water conservation and to appreciate the gifts that water brings.

#1 – Saving Water
Save Water While I was at a social gathering the other day, the conversation turned to ways to save water. Conserving water needs to become a way of life for all of us, and not just during a drought. Check out these 100+ Ways To Conserve and see if there aren’t a few more ways you can incorporate water conservation into your life.

#2 – Assessing the Flow
Go with The Flow Do you have days when you feel like you’re swimming upstream or you’re drowning in the details of life or you’re in the wrong pond altogether? Come up for air and take a deep breath. It’s time for a reassessment. From Marc and Angel Hack Life comes an inspirational piece called 16 Reasons You’re Succeeding in Life (Even If You Don’t Feel You Are). Odds are you are happier and more successful than you thought.

#3 – Water Table
Duffy London Abyss Table The London-based design company Duffy London created a mesmerizing table called the “Abyss Table.” This table is more than its stacked layers of glass and wood; it’s a “slice” of the sea.

#4 – How Would You Make Her Beautiful?
The Definition of Beauty Kansas City journalist Esther Honig sent an unretouched photo of herself across the seas to “Photoshop professionals and amateurs in 23 different countries and asked them to ‘make her beautiful.'” Her project is an interesting study of cultural interpretations of beauty.

#5 – Water, Water, Everywhere
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ”
― Thomas Fuller

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.”
― Khalil Gibran

Go now and spread joy!

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Ghost Ranch A gust of wind snatches a reprint of a famous painting away from the hands of a tour guide and forces it to tumble end over end across the dusty ground. With the wind behind it, it blows away like a dried sagebrush. It’s as if the spirit of Georgia O’Keeffe is blowing through her beloved Ghost Ranch. She drew inspiration for many of her paintings from the rugged land around her. I take it all in – the blue sky, the billowy clouds, the colors, shapes and lines of the land. Viewing the incredible geological formations, I can’t help but share her infatuation with the part of New Mexico she called her home.

#1 – Flowers and Fashion
Fashion Designs Using Flower Petals Like Georgia O’Keeffe, Singaporean artist Grace Ciao derives creative inspiration from flowers. She uses real flower petals to illustrate her fashion designs. See more of her design work on BuzzFeed.

#2 – Powerful Pairings
The Most Powerful Food Combinations Can healthy food be made even more healthy? Many nutritionists claim that when certain foods are paired up with other specific foods a food synergy is created. The Most Powerful Food Combinations, an article for Men’s Health, lists 14 examples of food synergy and explains why the combinations work. Here are the combinations, but do yourself a favor and read the individual descriptions in the article:

1. Tomatoes and avocados
2. Oatmeal and orange juice
3. Broccoli and tomatoes
4. Blueberries and grapes
5. Apples and chocolate
6. Lemon and kale
7. Soy and salmon
8. Peanuts and whole wheat
9. Red meat and rosemary
10. Tumeric and black pepper
12. Garlic and fish
13. Eggs and cantaloupe
14. Almonds and yogurt

#3 – Luxury Train Tours
Luxury Train Tours I bet touring the world by train does not conjure up notions of romance for many of us. After reading See the World Inside a Romantic Rail Car With These 6 Luxury Train Tours, some of us may change our minds. Chase the Aurora Borealis on the Arctic Explorer or visit the supposed birthplace of Dracula on the Danube Express. The fees for these wondrous trips are steep, but we can always dream. Can’t we?

#4 – Kubrick on Life
Stanley Kubrick Quote In a Playboy Magazine interview, after the release of his movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, director Stanley Kubrick discussed his views on why life is worth living. Here’s a portion of that interview as presented in Brainpickings:

Playboy: If life is so purposeless, do you feel it’s worth living?

Kubrick: The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism — and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong — and lucky — he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.

#5 – Make Your Unknown Known
Georgia O'Keeffe “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe

Go now and spread joy!

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With only a few weeks left before my son’s wedding, I am the picture of calm. Why then, does everyone ask me, “How are you doing? Are you stressed, yet?” Each time I smile and calmly reply, “No, no, of course not. I’m fine!” Their questions create momentary panic, though, and I begin to doubt myself. Should I be stressed? Why aren’t I stressed? Have I forgotten to do something? There must be something I’ve overlooked, because I’m not stressed. Then my “To Do” list pops into my head and I mentally review all the things that still must be done prior to the wedding. No worries, I have things under control – at least the things that I can control!

#1 – Room in a Box

For the last couple of years, my motto has been, “Less is More.” This new outlook of mine will shock those that know me as a collector and part-time hoarder, but it developed as I moved child after child out of their apartments and into new ones. When I saw this clever Room in a Box , my first thought was, “Wow, that would be so easy to move!

#2 – Sew and Sew

I could write a book about my recent woes with seamstresses. I ordered and purchased a dress from a bridal store for my son’s upcoming wedding. After two rounds of alterations, the dress was so tight, I could not move in it. When I complained about the fit to the dress designer/owner of the shop, she said, “You didn’t tell me you wanted to move. I thought you just wanted to look good in the pictures!” Seriously! In desperation I bought another dress to wear to the wedding and had the alterations done at the major department store where it was purchased. When I received the altered dress, I was disappointed to discover that one of the darts was noticeably puckered all along the seam. When my other son, the best man, took his dress shirt and wedding suit jacket to yet another place for alterations, one jacket sleeve turned out shorter than the other. The tailor had neglected to measure both of my son’s arms. I’ve learned my lesson and thank goodness I found a skilled seamstress who corrected the others’ poor workmanship issues. If you’re looking for a tailor/seamstress, make sure to read this article 10 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Tailor first!

#3 – Deal or No Deal?

A game of chance and a fun diversion from working at the computer, this game is very much like its television version. Deal or No Deal tests your luck and intuition. Select a briefcase and set it aside. Open up one briefcase at a time, hoping that you don’t come across the one that contains $100,000,000 because you want that amount to be in your briefcase. During the process the bank will tease and entice you with different dollar amounts to buy you out. On my first go-round my instinct led me to set aside briefcase #4 and I won a million dollars! If only it could be that easy!

#4 – Career Advice
What if you could receive career advice from someone at the very top of your chosen field? Let’s say a Nobel laureate. In the article, Careers Advice from Nobel Prizewinners, a few Nobel laureates were asked what advice they would give to someone planning a career in physics. Although their exact replies centered on scientific studies, the heart of their advice applies to any person pursuing any career:

1. You need passion.
2. Mentors matter.
3. You have to go out on a limb.
4. A dose of humility helps.
5. You can’t do it all.
6. Pursue your passion.

#5 – Do What You Came Here to Do
It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.
— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Have a great weekend!

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Baskets of ripe tomatoes in a myriad of colors resemble a richly-textured quilt sitting on a table. As summer crops, such as tomatoes, peaches, berries and plums, wane and winter squashes take over the tables at farmers’ markets, I’m reminded that autumn is here. With temperatures still warm where I live, it’s hard to recognize the transition of summer to fall. But I’m ready, actually more than ready, for fall. I’m in the mood for apple cider and sweaters and soup and crisp mornings. What about you?

#1 – Mood Music
Does music create moods or do moods create music? I think it goes both ways. Whether you need music to match your mood or music to accompany a particular activity, you’ll probably find a playlist on STEREOmood that fits the bill. “Behind every song there’s always an emotion. We don’t know why but maybe that’s why we love music. So we’ve created a way to suggest songs that follow your feelings: stereomood is the free emotional internet radio, providing music that best suits your mood and your activities,” reads the website. Right now I’m listening to a playlist of music to paint by and, although I don’t paint anymore, listening to this playlist makes me want to get out my paint brushes!

#2 – Awwwards
No, the title is not misspelled. Awwwards are “The awards for design, creativity and innovation on the Internet, which recognize and promote the best web designers in the world.” Cool Gadgets for Creative Offices is an article that caught my eye. Check out the clever designs from ingenious designers. Or should it be, ingenious designs from clever designers?

#3 – How to Peel a Garlic in 10 Seconds!
Todd Coleman, Saveur executive food editor, shows in a super-brief video how to peel a head of garlic in less than 10 seconds! Wow, who would have thought you could work out your triceps and peel garlic at the same time!

#4 – Must-Reads
From Woman’s Day comes this list of 11 Must-Read Fall Books. Although I love to sink my teeth into a good book, I find that I don’t have as much time for reading as I would like. After reading the descriptions of each of these books, though, I’m in the mood to throw away my “To Do” list, snuggle on the sofa with my dog, and read them all!

#5 – Growing Ideas
“Throwing away ideas too soon is like opening a package of flower seeds and then throwing them away because they’re not pretty.”
– Arthur VanGundy, Ph.D.

Spend some time this weekend nurturing that little idea of yours!

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Remember the contest I ran in March to see who could identify the mysterious subject matter in one of my photographs? Wildly creative guesses came in, but, alas, the subject matter was not a galaxy, a burst of confetti, a drop of water magnified a 1000 times, or a flash freeze photograph of an atomization process. At long last I am happy to announce the winner of my mystery photo contest. Sorry for the delay in revealing the winner, but I actually had two winners which meant two prizes!

The sleuthing teamwork of the winning pair paid off. One day while sitting in class, obviously not focused on their studies, they noticed I had published a new post on my blog. After reading it they decided, since they were already on my blog, to go back to the mystery photo and examine it once again. Very cleverly they clicked on the photo to see if I had titled the photo when I’d saved it on my computer. Much to their surprise when they clicked on the photo the image became larger. They clicked on it again to see what would happen and it was even more magnified. They found themselves looking at honeycombed-type clusters of spheres – that’s when they knew the photo was of bubbles!

To my delight and my embarrassment, my son Adam and his girlfriend Melissa won the contest! Adam actually submitted the winning answer, but I learned later that Melissa was equally deserving of the prize. They live in another part of the state so they had no unfair advantage over anyone else. To those of you who say this is not fair, I can only respond by saying, they played by the rules and, in my mind, won fair and square.

Designing their prizes/necklaces was my next task. Adam’s necklace was the first masculine piece I’ve had to design. Not only did I want the piece to be larger, I also wanted it to look heavier. I accomplished this by incorporating different metals into the design. Cutting first a square out of copper and then a rectangle out of sterling silver, I was able to layer the two metals on top of one another and still have both metals show. After hammering the letters into the metal, I finished off the piece with a sterling silver leaf charm (to cover his words for privacy) and added a rustic looking Peruvian opal. Although, I presented the necklace to him on a stainless steel ball chain, this piece would also look great if worn on a leather cord.

As in the past when I’ve designed affirmation necklaces, determining the exact words to hammer into the metal is always my greatest challenge. This time was no different. How to encapsulate all the thoughts of what I want my son to hold in his heart forever – in only a few words? Besides my desire for Adam to “love life,” I want him to remember to always try, no matter the difficulty of the task, and to always try his best. This is all anyone can ever ask of another person. I want him to continue to dream and to always hold onto his dreams. And to support his dreams he must always believe in himself, no matter what others say or what obstacles are presented. Hence:  Always – Try, Dream, Believe.

Melissa’s necklace was also designed in layers, but this time with three layers of sterling silver. The simple heart frames the word “be.” After much thought and some discussion with my son, we decided our wish for her is to always be loved, to be endlessly happy, and to be strong in her beliefs. Hence:  Be – Loved, Happy, Strong. Her piece was finished off with a beautiful fluorite gemstone dangle.

With every piece of jewelry I create, I experience a huge growth factor. Outwardly, I am learning to manipulate the materials better and better, but inwardly, I am absorbing all of the positive energy that comes from deep thought and soul searching.

Desideri means wishes in Latin. Look for desideri . . . in all my  jewelry creations! Contact me if you have questions about my Desideri jewelry line or would like me to design a piece for you or for someone else as a gift.

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#1 – Spooky Cake My Way!
I have to say that biting into crunchy chocolate bits and creamy pockets of sweetness of the Oreo cookies hidden in this cake, was a spooktacular experience! Even though Maida Heatter’s (Spooky) Oreo Bundt Cake sounded good, I didn’t have all the ingredients for it and I was in a lazy mood. With my sincerest apologies to the great baker Ms. Heatter, I cheated and used a cake mix. Here’s what I did: Preheated oven to 325 degrees. Greased and floured my bundt pan. Took 18 whole Halloween Oreo cookies, broke them into quarters and set them aside. Followed the instructions on the package of Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Yellow cake mix and made the batter. Poured about two cups of plain batter into my bundt pan. Then into the remaining batter, I gently folded in the broken cookies and poured this mixture into the pan. Baked it for 40 minutes and then removed it from the oven to cool. After it cooled, I sprinkled it with a light dusting of powdered sugar and then followed that with a light dusting of cocoa powder. Couldn’t have been easier!

#2 – Reusing Jack
You’re not going to throw away your jack-o’-lantern after Halloween are you? Jack is more than a pretty face! Roast the seeds with your favorite spices and don’t forget that the flesh makes delicious soup or heavenly pies (providing your jack-o’-lantern is still fresh). There are plenty of online sites with recipes for all of the above. After that, the best way to dispose of your pumpkin is by composting. According to Raquel Fagin of Earth911.com, “Both the pumpkin, as well as its seeds, can be composted. In fact, pumpkin seeds themselves are a strong source of nutrients, including zinc, iron and phosphorus. Compost piles rely on a mix of nitrogen-rich greens (which will include pumpkin components) and browns (leaves, paper and other carbon-rich materials). So, Halloween is the perfect time to compost, because you’ll not only have leaves falling before winter, but your pumpkin to also add to the mix.” Or what about this – Give your local zoo a call and check to see if it accepts donations of pumpkins to feed to its animals as a seasonal treat. Give a zoo animal a “Big Jack!”

#3 – OMG – Leggings Are Back!
Here’s what Gill Hart of Suite101.com says, “The fall/winter 2009 trend for belting everything from baggy tops to dresses to cardigans means that leggings are the perfect accessory, no matter what a woman’s age.” He further states, “Metallic-look poly-blend leggings also make an ‘80s-style comeback, along with jeggings and treggings, a strange hybrid, a cross between jeans/trousers and leggings, for those who are not brave enough to go the hole hog”. Say it’s not true, because I thought leggings were hideous in their original incarnations! Maybe it’s just me.

#4 – Flower Vases To Go
When taking flowers to friends or dropping flowers off to a senior home, it’s always nice to have them already arranged in vases for immediate enjoyment. There’s no need to give up one of your own vases or to go out and buy new ones, just look around your pantry. I find that large jars and cans make fabulous vases. You do save empty mayonnaise and spaghetti sauce jars, don’t you? Cover the jar or can with fabric or wrapping paper or even cheesecloth, tie with a ribbon, fill with water, and add flowers. Some cans don’t even need to be covered. An empty can of Le Sueur Sweet Peas makes a cute little flower container all by itself. What to do with the peas? That’s another post!

#5 – A Bit of Mother Teresa Wisdom
It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.

Do something with great love this weekend.

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Fall is in the air. Hooray! I love the cooler weather. I guess I should finally take down the heart-shaped Valentine’s Day wreath that’s on my front door and put up an autumn one! Four of my nieces have fall birthdays and the family recently had a collective celebration for them. I decided to carry on with my tradition of making personalized birthday cards and I used techniques that I posted about in my Recycling Blooms post. Thought you might like to see the crafty cards that I made for my oh-so-cool nieces.

The photo mosaic house and garden scene above I made for cute little Jessica by snipping free form shapes from old photos. Note the little white dog sitting in his dog house. That’s my little Romeo making an appearance. Inside the card balloon shapes with attached kite strings float in air to give her birthday greeting a festive look.

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Artistic Kimberly also received a photo mosaic card, but hers was constructed to resemble a slice of birthday cake. I used a pig-shaped hole punch and a regular round punch to make the small pieces that were densely layered to create the illusion of a cake slice. Each piece was selected for its color value to provide the cake with an appearance of dimension and texture. “Birthdays are Nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake,” was a great quote I found for the inside greeting of Kimmy’s card.

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Wanting to try something different for fashionable Lani, I clipped a photo of a model wearing a suit from a fashion magazine and redressed her in one of my own designs. I created an evening gown by layering shapes of black and red text from the magazine. This model proudly wears her label on the outside – note Dior is prominently displayed! Before adhering the model to the red card stock, I first ran the card stock through the printer so that it read, “Happy birthday to a gal with a style all her own!”

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My niece Stacey is so much more than just a pretty gal, so I wanted to create a unique card for her by using photos of beautiful celebrities to create a face within a face look. According to my daughter, this card is a little scary looking, but I think the card’s sentiment pulls it together, “There’s more to life than just being a pretty face . . . There’s brains and charm and compassion and wit . . . And you have it all!”

With the cost of greeting cards rising, why not make your own?

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