Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Appreciating the Beauty of September in My Garden

In many places this Paulownia tomentosa or Princess Tree is considered a weed tree. I love it because it has spectacular lavender and gold fuzzy blossoms in spring and these gorgeous gold seed pods that linger through winter. I enjoy the view of it from my kitchen window. I saw a gorgeous specimen at Monticello years ago and I fell in love. As you can see it is now a very large tree (I grew it from seed) and so far it has not become a pest.

This is my favorite autumn blooming brown-eyed Susan. A rudbeckia species-I collected seed years ago in a field. It is so cheerful as other flowers are fading.
I love the way it brightens up the vegetable garden paths. I am really enjoying the afternoon sun now. Not so scorching as in July and August, it feels pleasantly warm as I make vain attempts at taming the late summer- early autumn jungle. I am making the effort to show the reality of my garden at this time of year. It has definitely gotten out of hand as is usual after a hot summer!
Amidst the color there is quite a bit of tall grass that takes over in August. Also the honeysuckle (Lonicera)and trumpet vines( Campsis) and a few oak seedlings planted by the squirrels keep popping up every week.
There are still hummingbirds, dragonflies and many butterflies.  Despite the messiness of late summer there is so much color and fragrance to enjoy!
 I hope you are enjoying this late summer /early autumn. Taking walks in the country is a real pleasure now -especially if you see the same places everyday. I love watching the subtle changes as autumn begins to edge out the summer. The summer birds are beginning to head south and the winter residents are beginning to arrive. The colorful summer flowers are slowly giving way to the leaves coloring up on the trees.
I will be away until October on a media-free retreat and a visit to a dear friend. When i return I hope to have more clarity about the mastermind I will be joining. Also I hope to have some lovely photographs.
Please leave some comments below or email me or pm me on Facebook. I love connecting with you , reading your comments and replying.
You might want to peek at my Pinterest boards.
Until next time- enjoy  your life and Appreciate Beauty Everyday (especially your own!).

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Winding up Summer-Staying/Getting on Course

The vanilla scented Autumn Clematis is blooming all over my landscape. This lovely vine signals for me "Back to School" time! I love the end of August - early September. Back to school time has always seemed to me like a fresh start. I still enjoy indulging in some new "school supplies"'- crisp paper, new pens and pencils , notebooks and of course, art supplies!
I have a "back-to school "project to prepare for. This year I will at long last  be joining a Mastermind to learn about business in the 21st C- especially  based on a service/connection/ heart centered  approach. A few weeks ago I joined Connie Livingston in her Facebook group and it has been very enlightening. I especially enjoy Connie's Facebook Live chats which are archived so that they can be viewed again later. There is a wealth of information and there are many tips on finding your purpose and a career you love.I will keep you posted on my progress! Meanwhile Connie has a book Go Forward Fearlessly and  a very informative website: (Cornelia Ward IS Connie Livingston! I had to Google DBA to understand that some states encourage a business name
Author Cornelia Ward is a career and business mentor who helps people love Mondays!  
What does that mean?  Well, 80% of Americans wake up each morning dragging themselves to a job that’s just not working for them.  She thinks this is completely crazy!
Cornelia works with people to create a career transition plan - whether it's starting their own business or finding a new career path that really lights them up - so that they're really excited every Monday morning to get back to work!  This includes people who are self-employed and want to move deeper into the work they are meant to do or who are confident they are fulfilling their life purpose now but want to reach more people.
Her website is where you can request a Complimentary Life Purpose Strategy Session with Cornelia and download a free copy of her book Go Forward Fearlessly! – perfect for anyone navigating major life transitions!
At these Complimentary Life Purpose Strategy Sessions, people walk away with so much more hope about the future and with concrete and creative ideas that they can implement immediately in their lives.
She has a free audio podcast, Go For Your Life Purpose, available on Itunes, Stitcher and at her website

I am also delighted to share  that Reba Linker has a brilliant  new approach this autumn. Reba hosts the Leaders in Self Love Facebook group which is upbeat , fun , and offers common sense about living a happy life. Reba reminds me of one of my favorite quotations from Jane Austen "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery..." She focuses on what is good about life and she inspires us to share our insight and experiences.

Reba  is staging a revolution in common sense with her Courses a la Carte page! She has the 10-course meals – those courses with multiple lessons that will walk you through months of lessons, AND she has also innovated a series of ‘mini-courses.’This is a BRILLIANT approach - no overwhelm - just enough in each mini -course to inspire you to use the lessons in your life!
The mini-courses each have a central theme, a single lesson to give you exactly what you need at the moment. After each mini-course you get a beautiful Certificate of Completion that gives you a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and completion. Each mini-course stands alone. You can continue your exploration at your own pace when you are ready for the next mini-course.
Click here to visit Reba’s Courses a la Carte page!

So, how about you? Are you in "back to school"mode? If so, what are you doing? Are you exploring new ways of learning?  Are you curious about the links I posted above? Do you join Facebook groups to discover new friends and new experiences?
I love your Comments! Please leave comments or email me or pm me on Facebook. Also take a peek at my Pinterest boards   and please share yours with me! Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dress Like an Icon Part Two- Days 5-7

This week I am winding up the Dress like an Icon Challenge from Eyenie Schultz on Facebook.

Day 5 " Using Intuitive Dressing, tap into your Iconic Visionary Dream Self and wear something that scares the dickens out of you! Maybe it's a skirt that you love that's shorter than usual. Maybe it's an extra blingy piece of jewelry or a razzle-dazzle sparkly dress. Perhaps it's something involving studs or leather or feathers or bright-ass colors, or that hugs your curves in all the right places! Have fun and get risky!!! Own it!" 

We were supposed to do a video- but I could not manage it, so I took extra pictures. I received this gorgeous tiara for my birthday in April and I have worn it only once before and even then just for photos.  Next time I wear it I plan to actually have people see me in it- not just in photos. This Challenge is giving me growing pains!

  I LOVE tiaras! The more sparkle the better!  I LOVE pink sandals! I LOVE crystal necklaces! I LOVE long dresses!  Especially when they tie in back! I am going to wear what I love from now on and not care if people think I am crazy. I can be Crazy-Beautiful !

Day 6 Here is my Day 6 outfit.  A Vintage dress- never worn by me hanging in my sewing room ( for more years!! than I want to count). I also excavated some vintage satin lace trimmed full slips!! This Challenge is so much fun, Eyenie Schultz-thank you!
  My Iconic art is taking vintage pieces and giving them another chance to be seen. This dress was my step mother's.It is difficult to see, but it is embroidered cotton gauze from Germany- it was vintage 50 years ago when she acquired it. It is really too big and my plan is to make a tunic -cutting away the plain gauze and keeping every bit of embroidery!

 Day 7 OMG! I made it! I hate taking photos of myself- but I have grown into it a bit. I really enjoyed excavating unworn clothes that I LOVE, but have never worn. Today I wore this vintage 50s dress-complete with appropriate "foundation garments" - not a crinoline (too hot!) but a lovely vintage cotton buckram petticoat to make the skirt stand out! I am surprised at how many nice comments and compliments I have received this week as I dressed just for me! This has been an enlightening challenge. Thank you, Eyenie Schultz for creating this growth experience. I do not plan to look back (except by dressing my way- vintage /retro!). From now on I am dressing to feel good, to feel beautiful and to please myself! 

How about YOU? Do you dress to be the person you aspire to be? Do you dress to please yourself? Sometimes even with work uniforms we can add an accessory or two to make a statement. I would love to read comments  about how you respond to this challenge. Please leave a comment below or email me  or comment on Facebook. I love the comments on these blogs! Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A New Challenge : Dress Like An Icon (quite a challenge!) Part One Days1-4

I LOVE Facebook challenges. This one is called Dress Like An Icon hosted by Eyenie Schultz on the Facebook Group The NEON Parlor (she is a creative genius).
I am doing this because I believe that the way we dress  shows ourselves and others how we feel about our bodies. Do we just put on any old things that are comfortable? Comfort IS important- no doubt about it. The body wants to feel good and be comfortable! However I think we can be comfortable and still  dress and adorn ourselves in self-expressive ways. I have been so impressed by the diversity of ways that the participants have dressed during this challenge. I LOVE the variety of styles and creativity expressed. I would love to see everyone dress self-expressively everyday! It is such a pleasure to see others dressed and adorned in their own special ways.
 Day 1 we cleaned out clothes, personal care items, jewelry, etc. that no longer serves us. This part was easy for me because I have done it so often. The next part was not so easy. We were to choose an outfit we have never worn before, intuitively - by how we want to feel. I was surprised because I chose all white-including a pair of brand new white jeans that have been hanging in my closet unworn and a white lace top I crocheted this spring, but also never worn. The hardest part was posting a photo and describing how we feel.
I felt cool, light, bright, summery and especially dancey. Maybe the shoes make me feel like dancing?

Day 2 OMG - adorn ourselves to express the belief that we are more than enough and :
"Bring in something fancy, over-the-top, exciting, extra vibrant, funky or usually reserved for special occasions to seal the deal. Own the frick frack out of it!"

I love this little tiara with the golden Swarovski stars
The dress is made from a vintage pattern. The photos do not do justice to the fabric which is a lovely embossed cotton with gold thread embellishing the flowers.  I am wearing gold sandals-and I even painted my toenails gold!

Yikes! If this goes on , how will I make it through Day 7? It is FUN to play dress up! I always loved dressing up and I do dress most days. This challenge is going to get me into EVERY DAY. I will have to see about some glam work clothes.... I am thinking plain shirts and pants  impressionistically painted with swirls of my favorite colours...

Day 3 Own a truth about how we really want to dress-I am unabashedly Retro! The Laura Ashley fabric is from the early 80s, the dress pattern is from the early 60s- the pearl necklace and earrings are heirloom and the shoes are vintage! I am learning that I feel most like myself when I wear elegant Retro clothes -despite the current fashion for a more casual look.

Day 4 The Dream You- dress intuitively to be the woman you aspire to be. This took me all day! I have the dress (it's been hanging in my closet unworn for 2 years) and the shoes (any one of 3 pair of gold sandals)- I have not been ready to step into the woman I aspire to be yet. What is holding me back ? Well for one thing I have braces and 4 rubber bands in my teeth that keep me from smiling at the moment. If I break into my usual spontaneous smile the rubber bands pop loose or break. Not conducive to taking photos. This too shall pass and at least I have the dress, the shoes and the jewelry. 

 I love everything about this dress! The style, the colour, the lovely soft feel of the fabric, the gold sparkling design that does not show up in the photos. At least I am on my way! This challenge is GROWING me !

What is your favorite way to dress self -expressively? What are your favourite colours/ articles of clothing? jewelry? What  makes you feel wonderful and most like YOU? Do you make any of your own things? Do you have a favourite place to shop?  How would you describe your style? Do you adorn beautiful you with even just a little something special every day?
Please leave a comment below and answer some of these questions! I love comments and I really appreciate that you are reading my blog. You can comment below or pm me on Facebook or email me
Also you might want to peek at my Pinterest boards


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

San Lorenzo - Make a Wish on a Shooting Star!

Tonight is the Night of San Lorenzo! Those of us who read Italian can see many accounts on the net. Here is one

There are also accounts in English

Some accounts say that San Lorenzo is the patron saint of booksellers-and since I was a bookseller for many years, I feel certain that I can wish tonight:

Where I live it is forecast to be mostly clear from about 1am- 4am so maybe by some miracle I will be able to see the Perseid shower this year on the actual Night of San Lorenzo. It is usually too cloudy or actually raining. The peak time is tomorrow night- but I plan to be out there tonight as well to make my wish. When I was a child I would stand out under the stars or look out my window and make a wish because I always felt that the stars were shooting above me whether or not I could actually see them -and I might as well make a wish! I have better luck seeing the shooting stars in winter when the skies are generally clear here.

 Here are some of my favorite pictures from old children's books depicting stars falling and making wishes. It is never too late to begin making wishes and believing that they will come true!

Do you stargaze? Are you going out this week to see the shooting stars? I hope your wishes come true!
Please leave a comment below or email me or pm me on Facebook. I Love comments. Also see my Pinterest boards

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Creative Energy Optimizing - Crochet and Dressing

It has been stormy, wet,hot, muggy and buggy! No gardening - no playing outside. Instead, I have been crocheting!
 Ever since I was a little girl watching my grandmother and my aunts crochet I have wanted to learn. Alas, I never was able to stay with them long enough for them to teach me. It is never too late! A few years ago a friend sat me down and taught me how. Whenever I start a new project I think about her and I am so happy that she is such a good teacher. I have always admired crochet lace and the lovely garments that can be made. My friend set me on an adventure in creativity! I now have quite a collection of patterns and ideas for adding embellishments to existing garments, as well as many completed projects that I love to wear.
To cheer myself up in the Summer Doldrums I  bought this book:
I am working on the pattern shown on the cover. It is fun learning a new technique for making a fitted garment! I have just begun as you can see:
 I use giant pins as markers because counting is not my strong point! This pattern and the thread I chose make a lovely stretchy fabric. I will keep you posted when I finish....
 Meanwhile here are some things I have made successfully. I love this tunic! It looks very nice with leggings or skinny jeans.  ( My mouth is wide open because I am singing)

Here is an Italian scarf pattern I made. It was a challenge to learn the terms in Italian and some of the stitches! Again, it is a very soft, stretchy fabric and I love the colors!

Finally - a real challenge! These slippers require shaping and careful counting so that they fit properly. I made them to wear to Ecstatic Dance. I do not like to dance barefoot and since nearly everyone else does, I did not want to wear dance shoes in case I inadvertently stepped on someone's toes! These colorful soft slippers are perfect. They have been much admired.
I love crafting unique garments to wear. It is fun to imagine them and then to find the patterns and materials to make them. I have learned to sew and I struggle with knitting (I drop stitches!) but crochet remains my favourite -especially since I can create multicoloured things in exactly the combinations I like.

Do you create any of your own clothing?  I would love to inspire you to make something uniquely lovely just for you! Is there a craft or a skill you have learned or one that you would like to learn so that you can enjoy creating something special?
Please leave a comment here or email me or on Facebook! I love to be inspired by you. Also have a peek at my Pinterest boards  and leave me a link to yours! I am a Pinterest junkie.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summer Beauty

I loved the comments from last week. I have decided to just enjoy the beauty that is now and not fret about the weeds winning right now. As soon as I decided to adopt this attitude I began to enjoy the summer a bit more. I am enjoying the colors, the fragrances, and the grace of the butterflies, the dragonflies, and at night- the fireflies.
 This is Joe Pye- it's 6 feet tall this year!  There are so many Tiger Swallowtail butterflies right now.
 This is a favorite from childhood. I cannot walk past this phlox without inhaling its intoxicating fragrance. I have to be careful early in the morning - there are usually bumblebees still asleep on the flowers!
I have fields of Queen Anne's Lace right now. I allow it everywhere - even in the flower borders and the vegetable garden because so many insects love it. Also I love the way it turns the fields into flowery meadows!
What beauty are you appreciating this summer? The beach and the ocean? Perhaps a lake or river? The mountains? Your own garden? Perhaps you are travelling to places you have always wanted to see. If you are in a hammock or a chaise-longue reading a book you can enjoy the beauty around you. Perhaps you only have time to enjoy a meal outdoors. I would love to read your comments! You may leave them here or pm me on Facebook or email me at colleen412@gmail .com. You might also take a peek at my Pinterest boards