March 31

Glass Vase = Spring Vase

 

Inspiration:

I often see plain, glass vases and I love their shapes and textures; but the plain glass is just that…plain.  Let’s jazz it up!

Supplies:

Glass Vase

Primer

Spray Paint

Wire (I used 20 gauge copper wire)

Wire Cutters (not in the picture)

Buttons

1.  Clean the vase thoroughly.  Allow to dry.  Spray with primer.  Allow to dry.

2.  Spray with paint.  Allow to dry.

Note:  Painting on glass is tricky.  Although the primer will help, spray paint is not especially durable on glass.  Don’t submerge your vase in water and don’t handle it roughly because the paint will scratch off.

3.  Cut three lengths of wire approximately 12″ long.

4.  Wrap wire around the neck of the vase.

5.  String the buttons on the wire.

5.  Arrange the buttons.  You have a new, inexpensive vase for Spring and a great excuse to pick up some pretty flowers.

 

Posted by lori . Filed under Look What I Found! Now What Do I Do With It? (Crafts) | 3 Comments

March 30

Rain Dog Treats

I wish I could say that Freedom and Casper love Rain Dog Treats above all else and will do anything to earn one; but Freedom and Casper act with enthusiasm whether it’s these wonderful treats or an old dog biscuit that’s been in my coat pocket for a couple weeks.

What I can say is that I love these treats because they’re  made with no preservatives, no artificial colors and no artificial flavors.  They’re also made by a small business; and I love to support small businesses.

If you have a picky eater, you’ll be delighted with all the options.  Check out Rain Dog Treats.  Next, we’re going to try the dried meat treats…yummy, yummy, yummy!

Posted by lori . Filed under Greyt Hounds (Greyhounds) | 4 Comments

March 29

4 Faves – Version 13.0

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Where can you get astronomical and weather data for an entire year, recipes, information on gardening AND animal husbandry, plus much, much more…The Old Farmer’s Almanac, that’s where.  The first edition was published in 1792 and the format of the Almanac’s “Calendar” pages is essentially unchanged since that time.  A true piece of Americana.

FlipFold

This makes folding shirts easy, plus they’re all the same size and fit beautifully in your drawers.

Pretty File Folders

It’s surprising how uplifting it is to replace a plain, functional item with a beautiful, functional item.  Case in point, file folders.

Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag

In each half hour episode, Anna & Kristina put a cookbook to the test.  They select several recipes, prepare them, then have a chef or other foodie over to taste test.  After that, they decide whether or not to give the cookbook the “A & K Stamp of Approval” based on how it delivers on its promises.  Anna & Kristina are fun, and you get to see “real” cooking with all its mistakes and messes.  Another great feature…they test a different product on every show.  This show airs in the US on the OWN Network.

Posted by lori . Filed under 4 Faves (Favorite Things) | 2 Comments

March 28

The Artist’s Way…Week 9 (Compassion)

Week 9 and the topic is recovering a sense of compassion.  How do we show compassion for our artist spirit when it carries disappointments and the shame of past failures?

There were four reading sections.  “Fear” talks about calling things by their right names and how fear is often the name for what blocks us as artists…fear of failure, fear of success, fear of criticism, fear of abandonment. “Enthusiasm” deals with how we must approach our work.  I found it interesting that the word enthusiasm is from the Greek, “filled with God.”  Our work must be filled more with play than with discipline.  This was particularly important to me in regards to my morning pages.  I have been so determined to DO these that they have become more an exercise in discipline than an exercise in joy.  “Creative U-Turns” talks about how recovering our creativity can force us to give up some of the pay-off we receive from being a blocked artist (for instance, sympathy or attention).  It also discusses the shame we feel when we take a creative U-turn and how we need to deal with these self-imposed set-backs with compassion for ourselves.  “Breaking Through Blocks” presents five questions that are great to ask yourself at the beginning of a new project, when a project is stalled or when a project is difficult.

There were fewer exercises this week but they had multiple parts.  The Priorities exercise involved writing down my creative goals for the year, month and week.  Setting goals has always been hard for me because if I write down four goals and only accomplish two, I tend to feel bad about the two I didn’t accomplish instead of celebrating the two I did.  I am getting better at this as I embrace the idea of my life in a more simple and joyous manner.  I do have things I want to accomplish and a “plan” is vital, but I looked at this exercise as a rambling road map as opposed to a trip itinerary where one missed time or destination destroys the whole trip.  The other exercise I enjoyed was Creative U-Turns.  This exercise involved naming my U-turns, forgiving myself and considering if any of the projects that were sabotaged could be salvaged.  This exercise also suggested choosing an artist totem…an object you feel protective fondness toward and when you see it, you honor it by not beating up on your artist child.  Having objects around me that represent my “artist spirit/child” has been very helpful.  I find I do feel compassion towards this tender part of myself and although I can’t stop the outside world from taking jabs, I can stop ME from hurting this part of my spirit, especially when I surround myself with gentle reminders.  The picture of me as a little girl that hangs in my creative space is an artist totem and I want more of these tokens around me.

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 1 Comment

March 27

What To Read Next

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How do you decide what to read?

They say “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but that’s exactly what I do when I stroll through a bookstore.  Here are some other ways I pick my next read.

Magazines – Bookmarks is my favorite magazine about books.  They give in-depth reviews, interview and survey writers (old and new), look at best books in specific categories/subject matter and much more; and you can get reading guides on their website.

Books – I love to read books about books.  A good one for picking your next read is Book Lust:  Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl.  She creatively links books in almost 200 categories like, “Action Heroines,” “China Voices,” “The Moon’s My Destination,” and “What a Trial that Was!”

Blogs – S. Krishna’s Books is my favorite book blog.  She give a summary, a review and a rating.  Swapna’s site is easy to navigate and the review database is excellent.  You can also search her site by book title.

Book Clubs – This is my favorite way to get out of your comfort zone.  Whether it’s a club you attend or a club like Oprah’s Book Club, read what’s selected whether you think you’ll like it or not.  I guarantee you’ll be surprised at what you get out of it.  I’ve been a member of the Eclectic Women’s Book Club since 2006.  We meet on the third Monday of every month (except December) at Barnes and Noble, Mishawaka, IN.  The picture is from 2007; for me, several hairstyles ago.

Community Initiatives – I’m new to this idea but I like it!  One Book, One Michiana is a program to get the whole community reading and talking about the same book.  Fun fact:  Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust, was the first person to promote the idea of a community reading the same book, at the same time and discussing it.

I love reading!  How do you pick books to read?  I would LOVE to hear your ideas and stories.

Posted by lori . Filed under Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 5 Comments

March 26

Atonement

What happens when you’re young and you do something but don’t fully understand the far-reaching ramifications.  That and how we atone for our sins is what drives the story in Atonement by Ian McEwan.  If you love beautiful language and unforgettable characters, this is a must-read.

The book gives you beautiful words, the movie gives you beautiful images.  Atonement was nominated for seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) in 2007.  Atonement won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Posted by lori . Filed under Few and Well Chosen (Books) | 3 Comments

March 25

Ordinary People

Ordinary People was Robert Redford’s directorial debut.  It is a story of how a family adjusts to tragedy, and it is a taut yet sensitive portrayal of suppressed emotion and the masks we wear.  It deals with an extreme circumstance, but the uncomfortable family dynamics will be familiar to almost anyone with a family.  The film is simple yet complex…like families of ordinary people.  Ordinary People won the Academy Award in 1980 for Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Posted by lori . Filed under A Bowl of Popcorn, a Movie and Thou (Movies) | 1 Comment

March 24

Buttons = Bouquet

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Inspiration:

The Goodey Knot – Buttonniere

Supplies:

Buttons

Wire (I used 24 gauge green florist wire)

Wire Cutters

Glue

Green Excelsior

Clay Pot

1.  Arrange the buttons into flowers.  Cut wire for each flower.  I cut my lengths about 12″ long.

2.  Using the wire like thread, assemble your flowers.  Twist the wire together to create the stems.

3.  Arrange the flowers into a bouquet.  Twist the stems together.

4.  Trim the excess wire from the bottom.  Apply a generous amount of adhesive and glue the bouquet into the bottom of the clay pot.

5.  Add a little green excelsior or moss.  What a sweet little pot of flowers.  All ready for Spring!

 

Posted by lori . Filed under Look What I Found! Now What Do I Do With It? (Crafts) | 2 Comments

March 23

Recommended Reading

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One of the great things about adopting a retired racing greyhound is the care and concern the adoption groups have for the dogs.  Their goal is to get a very deserving dog into a well-informed home.  To assist in that process, my group (Allies for Greyhounds of West Michigan)  lists three books as required reading before you adopted.  These are the three:

Retired Racing Greyhounds For Dummies.  There are “Dummy” book for everything!

Adopting the Racing Greyhound by Cynthia A. Branigan.  Considered the “Bible” by many greyhound adoption groups.

Child-Proofing Your Dog by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson.  Important information about having a dog and children together in your home.

It’s ideal to learn about your breed’s specific advantages and challenges before you adopt; but even after, checking out some good books will give you fun facts and valuable insight.  A happier home for you and your dog(s).

Posted by lori . Filed under Greyt Hounds (Greyhounds) | 1 Comment

March 22

4 Faves – Version 12.0

Scott 1000 Tissue

When I don’t have this, it seems like I’m replacing the roll every other visit.

PetSmart Think Twice Reusable Tote Bag

I bought this because it was so cute and large enough for taking bowls, food, water, poop bags, leashes and anything else needed when we travel with the houndies.  It’s a doggy diaper bag!  Come to find out, PetSmart Charities receives 10% from the price of every tote bag purchased…bonus.

Jacqueline Kennedy Jewelry Collection

This is a collection of jewelry reproductions sold on QVC.  What’s really fun…watching the shows, because Kennedy historian Philip Katz gives the story behind each piece.

Easy Fold Step Stool

I have one of these in every room that has anything stored up high.  They fold flat for easy storage and give you a little extra height when you need it.

Posted by lori . Filed under 4 Faves (Favorite Things) | 1 Comment