“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you never, ever have enough.” –Oprah Winfrey
A few years ago, I noticed friends posting on Facebook what they were thankful for each day in November. I love the public display of gratitude, but wanted to put my own spin on it. At the time, I was going through rough patch in my work and personal life. Focusing on my gratitude helped redirect my focus and made me realize what was really important in this life.
Each year since, I have continued with my Thankful Tree. Each morning, before I leave for my day, I write what I am thankful for on a piece of paper. This year, I used a template for a maple leaf and cut out 30 pieces on various sheets of paper. I then hang the leaf on my tree tying the stem with raffia. It is encouraging seeing my tree “bloom” as the month progresses. It also makes a great center piece and talking point at holiday gatherings.
I encourage everyone to take a moment each day to acknowledge what you are thankful for.
The tradition of carving pumpkins dates back hundreds of years. The term ‘jack-o-lantern” is of British origin literally meaning man with a lantern. Mischievous young children would carve faces into gourds to scare passersby. Irish immigrants brought the tradition over to America and pumpkin carving has been a Fall staple ever since.
The creativity of pumpkin art is a delight to see. From the simple triangle eyes and crooked smile, to life like looking faces, you can truly mold your pumpkins to your own masterpiece. I do have a few tips that I’d like to offer to make your pumpkins perfect. Make sure you choose the right shape of pumpkin for what you want to create. Cut a round, circular hole at the top around the stem and make sure it is cut on a 45 degree angle so the top will fit back on and not fall through. Scrape out ALL the guts using a large, metal spoon. I try not to leave any stragglers behind. Draw or trace your pattern for cutting on the pumpkin. A sharp, serrated knife is the best instrument to use for carving large pieces; for details, I switch to small, pairing knives. Once your pumpkin is carved, spray the inside liberally with bleach to keep it from molding or rotting. Finally, I would recommend finding a battery operated “candle” for easier lighting.
Happy Carving! Wishing you all a fabulous Halloween week!!!
“After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given to the world.” – Christian Dior
Flower arrangements brighten the day and bring a piece of nature indoors. Whether you have access to fabulous fresh markets or just the super market, you can put together an amazing arrangement to transform your home aesthetic in an instant.
Each arrangement should have its own personality. The arrangements that catch my eye are ungroomed yet artistic. My advice is to keep it simple yet unexpected. Use your favorite varietal and add interesting fillers sparingly. Stay in the same color palate and explore the textures of different flowers. Choose one type of flowers in various colors. Experiment with your own creativity paint with flowers!
A few tips to make your arrangements last:
- Cut stems at a 45 degree angle so more of the stem surface absorbs water
- Cut stems under running water or submerged in water
- To open closed buds, put stems in warm water before putting them in cold water
- Use flower feed or several drops of vodka & a teaspoon of sugar
- Drop a penny in your vase to help prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria
- Dress up plain vases with ribbon, material or paper to disguise stems
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silent.” – Vincent Van Gogh
This quote, by one of the most seminal painters in history, serves as a calling. Pay no mind to the fact that the voices within him told him to cut his own ear off. We all have an artistic bent within us that we should share.
I have loved working with paint all my life. As a child, finger painting was pure joy; I just knew my talent was too impassioned for a piece of paper so I moved to the wall! In college, my creativity was put to good use when I was tasked to paint a retractable penis platform for the spring musical…that was interesting! In the past year, I have experimented with gilding silhouettes on large canvases. I adore the way they glisten, especially when under lit by candle light.
To begin, I draw an outline on the canvas – first in pencil and then outlined in a darker color such as black permanent marker. Next, I paint over the entire canvas with the base color. You should be able to see the outline beneath the base coat. If black is your base, you may want to paint first and then draw. Once that dries, you can paint the silhouette in a contrasting color. I like to choose a shade close to the gilding I use. After your silhouette is completely covered and dried, you may start gilding. I use Martha Stewart gilding sheets available at Michael’s Craft Store.
To gild, first paint over your silhouette with gilding adhesive. You can cover the entire subject or you can only cover strategic areas to give dimension to your painting. The adhesive needs to dry tacky to your touch. Use the gilding sheets by pressing them over the silhouette and rubbing the back to transfer. Continue until you are happy with the coverage.
For my latest project, I wasn’t happy with the base color after I had finished, so I painted over the background in a dark blue. I chose not to evenly distribute the darker blue and that resulted in a nice marbling effect.
Listen to you inner voice. Pick up a brush and create!