The Start of Something New

24285611649_f857682395_z

It took helping my daughter with her flute to inspire me to pick up an instrument of my own. My daughter was having trouble with a few notes for some pieces she would be playing at her first concert at school. She only begin playing the flute a few months ago, so she had simple songs to practice. I looked at her materials, figured out what she needed to do, and guided her through the songs. We went from familiar notes and progressed to the more challenging ones. It was thrilling for both of us to hear her produce familiar tunes, and she was excited about the idea of performing with her elementary school classmates on stage.

With all this music making, I looked at the old, sentimental guitar that was displayed in our living room. I always wanted to play the guitar, but I thought that old guitar was too delicate for me. My husband’s guitar isn’t the right size for me, so I took a chance and picked up that fragile-looking extra guitar. With the help of husband who has been playing guitar for years, and http://www.justinguitar.com, I began learning a few chords and actually making some music. Although I’ve had to adjust to the pain on my fingertips, I’ve felt pure joy ever since picking up that guitar.

I felt it was just the right time to start a musical instrument. Somehow everything was aligned to make this a possible and successful venture for me. How about you? Have you ever felt an activity or change came at just the right time in you life? Tell me about it!

 

 

A to Z Challenge – Y for Yarn Bombs

Have you seen anything like this in your area?

yarn-bomb

East Bay (Northern California)

 

 

Yarn bombing

Melbourne, Victoria, AU

 

 

Yarn Bombing

The Netherlands

 

 

Yarn Bombed Library Frog

 Highland Square branch of the Summit County Library (Akron, Ohio)

 

 

Yarn bombs

Occidental Park in the Pioneer Square neighborhood (Seattle, Washington)

A to Z Challenge – D for Dawn

“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”
Leonora Carrington

Dawn

dawn

Dawn Over The Himalayas

I’m not usually up before dawn. But the times when I am up early, I adore dawn. It is this hopeful, incredible time when I truly appreciate the beginning of a new day. I don’t feel rushed because there is plenty of time to get ready for the day. Everyone else is usually asleep, so I can indulge in some me time. It’s a time to meditate and think about the possibilities. I should get up  early to enjoy dawn more often!

What is your favorite time of day? Why? 

How to Get Creative in the Kitchen

Soon To Be Sauce

Are you in a cooking rut? Or are you looking for some ways to add variety to your weekly dinner menu? I’ve been working on my cooking skills lately and want to share what has worked for me. Try these tips to explore new, delicious possibilities in the kitchen:

1. Choose new ingredients. Is there an ingredient you’ve never cooked with but would like to try one day? Look up some recipes to figure out what dish you would like to try with that ingredient. Quinoa is something I’d like to prepare one day. I’ve enjoyed some quinoa dishes at potlucks, so it would be fun to make a quinoa casserole for my family.

You can also choose produce that is in season. There’s an abundance of summer produce to choose from and many sales to take advantage of. This summer I’ve been cooking eggplant for the first time which has been successful and tasty!

2. Subscribe to a CSA service.  When you join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), you deal with a local farm that will give you a box of organic produce typically on a weekly basis. You’ll have plenty of new, fresh produce to work with. I’ve been a CSA subscriber for several months, and I feel like a better cook for it. This allows me to experiment with some produce that is new to me. (Find a local CSA here.)

3. Get visual. Watch Food Network shows and videos. You’ll learn plenty of new techniques and tips for cooking in general. Watching someone cook a particular dish gives you a bit of confidence and inspiration to try it yourself.

Fabio Viviani has several entertaining, informative videos worth checking out. Some of my favorites are fast spaghetti and ultimate doughnuts. This guy is hilarious!

You can also check out food blogs and Pinterest for more recipes and photos that make you want to start cooking (and eating)!

4. Ask friends about their favorite or easiest dishes. You’ll find that most people you ask have a recipe or two they are excited to share. You can even exchange recipes. I usually ask about how to prepare certain veggies and get terrific suggestions.

Try something new once a week or month. Repeat dishes a few times to get it just right. Even if it’s changing one thing like using a different marinade or alternating the vegetables you typically use, it’s fun to explore the culinary arts.

What do you do when your cooking becomes too predictable?

Any good cooking resources or experiences you can share? 

Photo courtesy of Will Merydith

Creative Every Day

Looking for a way to connect with other creatives and stay motivated with your craft? Check out Creative Every Day. This site has built a community of artists who share their progress in various creative projects. The creator, Leah Piken Kolidas, is an artist who shares her work and the journey of being creative.

Each month, Leah announces an optional theme to use as inspiration for a project and even offers some suggestions to get you started. Add your contribution to the weekly post as a way for others to find your work. It’s a great way to share what you are doing. You’ll also find crafters, writers, poets, visual artists and others you might enjoy.

I’ve been visiting this website for a long time and find it to be a valuable resource to keep motivated. It’s a fun way to meet other energetic, supportive creatives. Here are a few I enjoy following:

Ginny from Special Moments in Time creates beautiful landscapes and other nature-related artwork and photography. Her posts are full of inspirational, positive messages that I often read to get a boost or lift.

Sandy Coleman creates vibrant art work that makes me want to linger on her blog and take it all in. She also creates gorgeous jewelry!

What resources do you use to keep motivated? Do you have a supportive group of  artists in your life (on or offline)?

The Quarter-Acre Farm

Growing your own fresh, organic food can be an exciting process. You’d save money and gain valuable gardening skills. Of course, there is a lot to learn to make this endeavor successful. You could start small with an herb garden or take over your backyard with an abundance of produce to harvest.

Although there are many ways to do it, Spring Warren decided to devote much of her yard to growing food to feed her family. She shares her experiences in her book, Quarter-Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for A Year.  Check out some photos of her at work.

Through her narrative, she gives lots of helpful advice on how to go about starting a home garden. With each chapter, Spring includes a relevant recipe to wrap up the topic. She covers the basics (such as watering, weeds, and pests), and recounts the many adventures she encounters. Along with all the delicious produce, Spring raises some chickens and geese for their eggs. She also prepares snails from her garden for a special escargot recipe.

I truly enjoyed her entertaining writing style throughout the book. Her passion for growing her own food shines through. Growing food for her family has become a way of life for Spring. Through the successes and mishaps, She gives a realistic view of what to expect. It takes plenty of patience and innovation to make it all work.

Even without much space, there are many places to grow your own food. You could start at a window sill, balcony, front door, or community garden. With a little research and enthusiasm, you can also begin growing some delicious fruits and veggies of your own.

Are you interested in growing your own food? Do you have experience with this already?

In Someone Else’s Shoes (or Shirt or Pants)

Because of this economic climate, more of us are becoming frugal. Many families rely upon thrift shops for clothes and household items. Not only are thrift shops inexpensive, but there are lots of new or fairly new items to take advantage of.

I recently saw this TED Talk by Designer Jessi Arrington who purchases her clothes exclusively at thrift shops. To her, it’s more than just saving money. It’s about reducing the impact on the environment, being yourself by looking unique, letting go of things, and enjoying the process of finding new clothes to wear. Check it out:

She’s just inspired me to add more color to my wardrobe!

Leo Babauta, a prolific blogger and entrepreneur, moved from his home in Guam to San Francisco. Leo and his family sold their belongings and only packed a few possessions before moving. They planned to buy second-hand items when possible once here in California. He is practically starting with a clean slate which suits his minimalist lifestyle.

These examples may be extreme for the average person, but they show us that we don’t have to let our belongings own us.

I shop at thrift shops regularly for clothes and love it! Thrift shops have also become my daughter’s source for dress up items. Since I started sewing, I’ve found lots of good materials to use and even a few items to upcycle.

By shopping at thrift shops, your money goes to good causes, keep people employed, and you get some cool stuff at reasonable prices. It’s a win-win situation!

Do you frequent thrift shops? Do you have a unique clothing style? Are you a minimalist?