Thursday, May 31, 2012

Etsy and the Singing Angel Tree

Singing Angel Tree Giclee Print

I will admit I don't know what "Etsy" is. I assume it's some sort of shopping site, as I have read blogs where it's mentioned having purchased items there. I may be wrong; it could be something else.
When the above image appeared in the ads section on my Facebook page, I clicked on the link and found the following information. I found it interesting and have copied portions of the information below and I hope you'll tell me what you think.
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Come sleep in the warm embrace of angels' voices.

The singing angel tree sits high on a lush green hill, a voice calling out to the weary traveler , the sanctuary one finally finds when all seems lost. Its angelic chords provide comfort, answers, blessings and new found direction. If you look closely you will see how the branches form the patterns of beautiful wings.

We are offering museum grade giclee prints created from this amazing metaphysical painting by Julia Watkins. These are a archival prints that will hold their color for over 100 years. Size 12" x 12" matted to a standard 16 x 20 size.

From The Artist
"This painting came to me from a vision where a beautiful tree called to me with the voices of angels. I was one of many who came to sleep beneath its branches/wings and be filled with warm soothing angelic energy. It comforted me when I was most troubled, told me I had a divine purpose, healed my soul and sent me back out into the world with new found confidence and clarity. I believe we may all have this experience in our dreams, when we hit a low point, but just don't remember when we wake up."

How To Use It
Focus on this image, especially before bed, noting each individual piece and also the image as a whole. If you close your eyes and see little traces of golden light, the image and energy has made its impression. Try to see it in your mind right before you go to sleep and as you fade off let yourself descend into its warm embrace. Some say they dream of energy patterns while others say they actually hear angel's voices in their sleep. Those advanced in meditation can do this while awake.

The Enchanted Forest
The singing angel tree is found within the enchanted forest, a common theme in the new work of energy artist Julia Watkins. The enchanted forest is a place we visit in our dreams and legends, a real world created from our collective subconscious where mysteries are unraveled and blessings are received. It is born of our hopes and desires, a physical manifestation of that deep well of creativity from which each of us may draw in limitless abundance. It is the form in which often that magical pool of metaphysical energy chooses to reveal itself to us. Let your mind float out into the forest and discover the truths that once eluded you.
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The print is interesting, colorful for sure. Beyond that, the promise of finding "truths that once eluded you," .....well, that is an intriguing thought. It appears to be a part of the Creative visualization practice of positive thinking, which I'm a great fan of. This technique is frequently used by athletes and many in the creative world to enhance their performance or achieve goals.
On the subject of creative visualization, many celebrities endorse its use and claim it has had a significant role in their success. Such stars include Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others who contribute their success to creative visualization. One example is actor Jim Carrey, who wrote a check to himself in 1987 in the sum of 10 million dollars. He dated it 'Thanksgiving 1995' and added the notation, “for acting services rendered.” He visualized it for years and in 1994 he received $20M for his role in the movie, "The Mask."
But back to the painting, and the hope of drawing "limitless abundance." I don't think one would necessarily need this particular painting to practice creative visualization, although it would be one avenue for achieving the desired state. Forming a mental image might work just as well.
I think we all have short attention spans, whether it be in the realm of creative visualization, exercise, diets or any number of other self-improvement endeavours. But I sure like the thought of improving oneself and maybe I'll get that print and focus on being more creative, having more energy and a few other ways I'd like to personally improve.
What do you think about the creative visualization practice? Have you ever tried it? Would you be tempted to buy the painting?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Sister's Garden

Nikko Blue Mophead Hydrangea

There are gardens and gardeners, and then there's my sister and her garden. She has created a paradise around her home that rivals botanical gardens, public gardens, places that take the care of plants and beauty thereof very seriously. Knowledgeable, she names off plant varieties as easily as some people call the names of their friends.

And her friends these gorgeous things are!
I believe she must talk to them in the middle of the night and coaxes them into a perfection that is beyond what most of us could ever hope to achieve. But no, that's not it. Her garden is beautiful due to the work, the nurturing, the expense that goes into it. She toils relentlessly, pampers her plants. It is her hobby and her love.

It's also her sense of garden style; knowing what goes where; how to design garden rooms, place rocks; errect birdhouses and bottle trees.

But my words cannot adquately describe the results, so here are just a few pictures that show off the hydrangeas and hostas, the shade-loving plants in her surburban oasis:

Snow Queen Hydrangea fronted by white picket fence and a blue bottle tree as an accent.

Snow Queen and Mophead Hydrangeas and hostas.

Another Nikko Blue Hydrangea

Snowflake and Annabelle Hydrangeas

Hydrangea "Harmony," or "Sheeps Head."

Hosta; Snow Queen and Annabelle Hydrangea

Garden path leading to the backyard. Note old planters wheel accent.

Annabelle and Snow Queen Hydrangea - a favorite!

Another garden room consisting of Annabelle and Snow Queen Hydrangea. Hebe, wife of Hercules and the godess of youth, oversees the garden.

And what's a garden without a little house? A place to rest, catch a nap, store supplies, think, plan, dream!

The Garden House

Inside the Garden House. Note the handmade quilt. What a neat hideaway!

And every garden needs a cat. This baby, named Frankie, is 19 years old and still going strong!


Peek-a-boo! Frankie is hiding among the hostas and Snowflake Hydrangea.

And here's the beloved Ben, a Chocolate Lab who's been known to trample down a Hosta plant once in a while!

Loyal companion Ben who's always available to assist with garden chores and get his treat.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Thoughts

A poem I read as a student really has stuck with me all these years. It seems a fitting tribute to all those who have died in wars over the years.

In Flanders Field
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt. Col .John McCrae

The following information is from Wikipedia:

John McCrae was a poet and physician from Guelph, Ontario. He developed an interest in poetry at a young age and wrote throughout his life. His earliest works were published in the mid 1890s in Canadian magazines and newspapers. McCrae's poetry often focused on death and the peace that followed.

At the age of 41, McCrae enrolled with the Canadian Expeditionary Force following the outbreak of the First World War. He had the option of joining the medical corps due to his training and age, but volunteered instead to join a fighting unit as a gunner and medical officer.[4] It was his second tour of duty in the Canadian military. He previously fought with a volunteer force in the  Second Boer War. He considered himself a soldier first; his father was a military leader in Guelph and McCrae grew up believing in the duty of fighting for his country and empire.

McCrae fought in the second battle of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium where the German army launched one of the first chamical attacks in the history of war. They attacked the Canadian position with chlorine gas on April 22, 1915, but were unable to break through the Canadian line which held for over two weeks. In a letter written to his mother, McCrae described the battle as a "nightmare": "For seventeen days and seventeen nights none of us have had our clothes off, nor our boots even, except occasionally. In all that time while I was awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds ..... And behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way."

Alexis Helmer, a close friend, was killed during the battle on May 2. McCrae performed the burial service himself, at which time he noted how poppies quickly grew around the graves of those who died at Ypres. The next day, he composed the poem while sitting in the back of an ambulance.


For many years, veterans organizations collected money in public places to benefit surviving veterans. If you dropped money into the kettle you would receive a little red paper poppy to pin on your shoulder. (Is this still done? I never see it, but am not usually in public places on holidays such as today).

Because of that tradition, and the Flanders Field poem, I have forever associated red poppies with World War I.

Until old men stop sending young men off to fight their wars, we will continue mourning our war dead. And that's probably as close as I'll ever come to making a political statement on this blog.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Go To Wardrobe and a Give Away

I've decided that I will give away one of my Brahmin handbags. It was purchased about 1998 but it still looks "brand new." No scratches in the leather; a small ink stain inside on the lining. I take very good care of my bags, and this one has been stored in its own fabric bag when not in use.

All you have to do to enter the drawing for this bag is to sign in and leave me a comment below. It's that easy. I will have a random drawing and announce the winner on Monday, June 4. I will ask the winner to e-mail her address and I'll ship it out.

Now maybe no one cares to have this bag; perhaps it doesn't suit your taste, but it seems a good way for me to begin reducing the number of items I have in my closet, especially handbags! This bag is a bit too small for me; I have come to love larger bags. On certain occasions, this one might work for me, but I have another Brahmin bag and I really want to give this one away!
Size: Approx. 11x8.5x5.5 inches

Regarding my favorite pieces of clothing -- the ones I wear over and over again and never tire of include this skirt, the only one I really need for summer (my pictures have not turned out so good. I don't know how to attractively photograph clothing items, but I think you get the idea.
I bought it two years ago. Three-tiered, cotton with lace insets, very long. Great with sandals and a tee.

Black jeans, white jeans, both Ralph Lauren. Bought both last year. White cotton ankle pants from Talbots. Black short sleeve tee (cheap and replaced each summer). A stripped stretch knit shirt from Talbots with 3/4 sleeves and quite long, the way I like my tops. Anyone knowing me and seeing me often has seen me in this shirt. I bought it three years ago and I dread for the day I'll have to discard it. My favorite, and pictured again below:

These pictures do not show these clothing items in an attractive manner. When I look at the above picture it looks huge, which it is not. It's a size small!

Another black tee with a different neckline; a Ralph Lauren black and white boat-neck cotton tee, sleeves have a cuff; white sleeveless cotton sweater.
LBD, sleevless and v-neck from Talbots; Black silk crinkle jacket from Chicos.
New purchase this season. Navy skinny jeans and navy and white shirt, both from Ralph Lauren. The quality of these pictures is bad and doesn't do this cute outfit justice.
If I want to add color, it's usually red. This knit from Ralph Lauren was purchased at the end of year sales (2011). Originally $89, purchased for $24. I have not yet worn it.

Silk jacket by Jones New York. Purchased last year. Can mix and match with almost everything.

As you can see, my wardrobe is rather boring! But I like it this way. Everything more or less can be mixed and matched. The other things I haven't pictured that are my go to items include a white cotton shirt from Chico's, a slim black pencil skirt from Jones New York and my black trenchcoat from Talbots. The coat is three years old and I love, love it!

I dress the items up when needed with pearls of many descriptions and lengths, scarves, pashimas and shawls.

That's it. I believe I could live with not much more than the above. I shall keep this in mind as I continue to streamline my wardrobe and rid my closet of many items.

Tell me about your favorite wardrobe pieces. What are your favorites, the things you wear over and over again?

And don't forget to leave me a comment below for your name to be entered to win the handbag pictured above. Winner to be announced June 4.

Tomorrow we observe Memorial Day in the U.S., in memory of all those service members who have given their lives in the service of their country. We honor them with a national holiday. Government offices are closed and I have a day off from work.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Closet Angst

It began with going through handbags last night, and continues today, and into the night, with a decision it was time to put the closet in order. What a chore that has been! In addition to straightening up, pressing and organizing, I have decided I have too much of everything. It is ridiculous to have this many things to wear. So I tried to sort things out. First, to the shoes:

I did not dare count them; I couldn't bear it. All I know is I must pare down the number of pairs of shoes I have. Where to begin? This is going to be difficult.

Casual tops - short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves; long sleeves. I prefer solids, mostly white and black and stripped ones. There must be 30 of these; a few to add an occasional splash of color. I don't think I need 10 white ones and 8 black ones.

Skirts: Four black, three gray, brown, kahki, white, orange silk, navy, and a print. Probably too many!

Ten (!) white blouses, blue, light purple, black and white stripped.

Slacks: Lightweight wool and every other fabric imaginable: black, gray, kahki, white, a few checked ones.

Jackets. Well you can see for yourself: mostly black or white with a few that are gray, red and print.

Scarves: To be pressed, folded and stored in a drawer.

Love my hats! A couple of more handbags!

LOVE this summer handbag. Bought it three years ago. Will be sad when it wears out!

Vintage handbags. Mother's from the 1950s. Can't bear to part with these.

I haven't even mentioned the jeans, the summer ankle pants, the sweaters that have now been cleaned and stored for the summer. Or the coats, oh my, coats, which are my other weakness (besides handbags).

I am still trying to make decisions on what to keep, what to give away, what to discard entirely. I am thinking I am going to have some "give aways" on this blog, especially handbags. Stay tuned to see what the offerings will be. Similar to thrifting, except the items will be FREE, to be shipped to you anywhere you may be.

And while on the subject of caring for clothes, I want to share with you the best laundry detergent I've EVER tried. I've never had my clothes to look this clean, smell this good. If you haven't, give it a try!

Someway, I've gotten through this day by listening to 70's rock music. Love my Elton John, Al Stewart, Jackson Browne, America, Bread, the Eagles and all those wonderful sounds from the 1970s.

Also tomorrow, I'll share with you my most favorite things in my closet -- my "go to" things I couldn't do without; the things I wear over and over again. It's pretty simple, really. About 15 pieces that are indispensible.

What are your favorite clothing items? What are your weaknesses when shopping? I'd love to hear your stories.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Too Many Handbags

I imagine every woman has a weakness when it comes to something she cannot, or finds it difficult, to refuse when shopping. My weakness is handbags. I have tons of them; too many to count. I thought I might try to take a picture of them all, but such an undertaking proved impossible. But I did pull out a few from my closet and those are below. In a spare bedroom closet, a shelf in a walk-in is piled high with purses in every style imaginable.

Mind you, most of mine are not expensive. I have two Brahmin bags; a Cynthia Rowley; and the rest range in price from cheap to $150.

Why so many? Because I'm on a quest to find the perfect one to suit my needs. Haven't found it yet. A few years ago I decided to design one. I did, and made a prototype with fabric and stiffener and pinned it together. I worked with it until it suited me, but somehow I never got around to having one made up by professionals who know how and have the equipment to do such things.

So the search goes on. I like large bags and most of mine are. I tend to take around "my life" in my handbag.
The Cynthia Rowley is probably my favorite handbag. It looks good with any shoe and outfit.
Here are a few I pulled out of my bedroom closet. The picture is not good and it's difficult to show them. Most are winter bags, which I need to take from the closet and replace with more summery ones from the upstairs closet.

I've been using this bag for a few weeks. It's another favorite. It expands to accommodate anything I might want to add. It wasn't expensive  The quilting and gold chain give it the feel of a Chanel.

I have several straw bags and will soon begin to use one of those now that summer has arrived. I'm thinking that the size of my bags will decrease when I no longer go to an office to work each day. But not to worry; I won't have to buy a new one. I'll just shop my closet and find the right size bag to use in my retirement!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Optical Illusions

We had fun with these when we were kids. For instance, this one:

What image do you see? A beautiful young woman, or an old and haggard woman?

  (I see the young woman first; I have to stare at it for awhile before the old woman's face is visible to me.)

The faces of two facing men, or a vase? (The faces are the first image I see)

Floor tiles at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. The pattern creates an illusion of three-dimensional boxes.

Or how about this one:

When you look at the picture up close you see Albert Einstein. Now stand up and take several steps back, roughly 15 feet away,
It will become... Marilyn Monroe.

These are fun! For more, go to this page:

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