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Week Three Of My and Our Creative September

Yes, as if I could learn anymore, this third week of my, and our, creative September (#ourcreativeseptember on Instagram where others joined me !) has brought another few layers of ahas from this month-long creativity challenge. Having moved through the cloud of resistance, I am now stepping into create mode very quickly. As a given now, I don’t have to grapple with “if”.

As for the when of the creating, I try to think and not think about it. Like if you talk about going to a movie too much, you’ll talk yourself right out of going. The creativity needs to be both slightly spontaneous and slightly planned.Week three of our creative September on shalavee.com

This week I really had no plans for what I might like to be doing or trying. Last week’s mixed media attempts were so satisfying that I knew anything that I felt curious about would be just great. And on my birthday weekend, I even played with flowers to satisfy my creativity need/demand.Pastel feather on week 3 of our creative September

pastel-nouveau-poppy on week three of our creative September on Shalavee.com

Pastels are still satisfying my need to prove something to myself. A need to call myself artist. I found the vulture feather that was lost in the house and tried using the black pastel paper I’d almost forgotten I’d bought. I think that piece is really sexy. As for the flower, I’ve tried to draw flowers with the pastels but hadn’t liked the results. So I thought to overcome this loss by just copying an art nouveau poppy picture I adore. And that seemed to satisfy my ego. collage waterlilies on week three of our creative September on Shalavee.com

But what I like most was the mixed media collage and pastels that I used in recreating the lily pond picture. The first one in pastels was done when I was still feeling shaky in my use of pastels. So this feels like confidence in redoing the same picture to see how it turns out. I like it better.

Pastel bee in London on week 3 of our creative September

bed-bug-over-long-island on my third week of creativity on Shalavee.com

spider-over-londons-fleet-street on My third week of creativity on Shalavee.com

The bugs in your city series was just plain fun!! The biggest gift of all I received, one that you can see only if follow along on Instagram, is the arting snowball that began to happen in my community there. One person then another then another joined in for the challenge. And as I watch them supporting one another and others being inspired, I sigh with contentment. Because I am immensely grateful for all those who have offered up to include me in their challenges that I might challenge myself and discover a better more creative way of living. And a way to allow my inner child to come out and play more often and more easily. One last week of creating and then we’ll be slam into the beginning a month strait of posts on the blog! October is coming, remember?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Great Gatsby Garden Party

This past Saturday at the end of May, I gifted my services to decorate for our friends Paul and Peggy’s Great Gatsby Garden Party. I luckily was also an attendee so I enjoyed spending most of my day in their lovely garden. under the rose arbor on Shalavee.com

Mark and Shalagh at the garden party on Shalavee.com

Gatsby garden party on Shalavee.com

As I take my party decorations very seriously, in planning my decorations I went right to Pinterest and trolled around for ideas for this theme. The black and white and sparkle was definitely a nod to the Deco era and black tie fanciness but I also knew that this was a garden party and we needed some soft and elegant to balance the glitz.

decorations for the Gatsby party on shalavee.com

The croquet courtside on shalavee.com

A side table croquet court side was peopled with a flask, a fan, and flowers. And we chose to lay blankets and pillows on the ground for a lay-about feeling. The host organized a horse race game from 1930 which was equally entertaining with our friends as horses.

1930's horseracing game on shalavee.com

Dress dummy and mirror for the garden party at shalavee.com

I used a dress dummy and full length mirror as a vignette in the corner of the garden.

Draped rose arbor for the garden party on shalavee.com

arbor roses on Shalavee.com

The rose arbor was the food area and I felt it necessary to visually soften the supports by draping them and then I added a sisal rug to the patio for the indoors outside feeling.

I ordered a lot of flowers, “Ascot” roses, calla lilies, green button mums, and snapdragons to make arrangements for the food and bar tables. The florals turned out way better than I had hoped.

Big arrangement foe garden party on shalavee.comr th

bar table for the Gatsby Garden party at shalavee.com

Garden party food on shalavee.com

When we arrived, the host and hostess had us all open envelopes with secret identities of famous people of the 20’s in them.  I was Georgia O’Keefe. Why not Dorothy Parker I wondered. Thanks be I wasn’t Zelda. secret identity gatsby party on shalavee.com

The hostess and friends at the garden p-arty on Shalavee.com

Florals and lemonade on Shalavee.com

Blush champagne and sparkling pink lemonade, mini quiches, smoked salmon deviled eggs, and lemon bunt cake were all served with flair and care. The day was a little hot but we all chatted in the shady spots and the whole occasion was jolly and lovely. Cheers to a garden party effort well done by the host and hostess Paul and Peggy, and the supporting cast.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

My Spring Soul Selfie Instagram Challenge

I have been a bit quiet on the keyboard for the past couple days. My brain exhausted and mulling over this past week’s Spring Soul Selfie Instagram challenge I hosted. Which is to say I came up with the hashtag #soul_selfie, created 7 days of prompts, and asked that people join in and post a picture and talk about their interpretation of the words in a deeper more meaningful way. And let me say that the results and participation blew my mind.Join Me For One Week Of Soul Selfies

Kylie's bluebells on Shalavee.com

I was sincerely nervous about leading something. I had mulled it over and knew that I love to dig a little deeper into my soul’s answers and hoped maybe other people might. I only slightly trusted that there were a few people who would join me who liked me and maybe pitied me. The turnout and results far exceeded my expectations.I will bloom Helen's photo

After sending out a private “pep-me-up-please” message to some friends, I dared to claim my intentions and I posted a challenge announcement. And suddenly people were saying “Yes” they would join. This was a seven-day commitment to post daily and read others’ posts but when I built it, they came.babzwrld's window on Shalavee.com

Claire Love

They shared amazing insights and powerful memories. They shared sadnesses and gratitudes. They shared wonders and grief. And I was possessed by such a feeling of calm. This was exactly where I had wanted to be, reading and sharing and commenting on the marvelous words and thoughts of all these people.Graciel the souls in bloom's horse Oreo on Shalavee.com

Delicia's picture on Shalavee.com

I am immensely grateful that these near 30 lovely people were there for me when I stuck my neck out to do this. By the last day, my soul was filled to the brim. I read and took in their gratitude and just sat with it all quietly for a couple of days.

The things you fear most are in fact those things you really must get done. And once you allow for the first action, it will all fall into place.

I am extremely humbled that these marvelous men and women thought well enough of me to join in and I thoroughly enjoyed and was grateful for everything they offered. So much love goes to those people who validated so many parts of me. I was rendered speechless. Until next challenge.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Hard Work is Hard Work

Seems a given that if you work harder, you’ll get better results. It’s the American way, the Puritanical philosophy. And while I’m not a lazy person, I can also say that I’d probably find it easy to avoid more work. It Smacks of Effort.

There are times when we want things and we know that we’ll have to put a little extra effort into achieving them. Taking final exams for school for example. Or studying to pass your drivers test and receive your driver’s license.

Happy Mail Number One on Shalavee.com

I was asked recently to take part in an Instagram challenge to promote snail mail and national letter writing month along with the Happy Mail Club. I felt flattered to have been asked because that meant I could be trusted to follow the rules and create quality content related to the cause.

But what it also meant was that I had to work harder than I usually do it seems, to take and make pictures that were nice enough to post in this elevated “tag everybody and you represent us” fashion. I was a little more particular and was surprised again at how difficult styling a photo is when you truly care about the outcome.Earth Day Happy Mail Challenge two on Shalavee.com

I’m thinking I’m a regular underacheiver because now I was reshooting my displays after looking at them on a bigger screen to judge the composition or the light. I deemed them to have more potential than I had captured in my first round of shots.

Sometimes you get lucky with a photo. But partly because I’m taking the majority of my pictures with a fancy phone camera, I feel the need to retouch them 9 out of 10 times. If you take them in the ideal place with the ideal light, you are likely not to have to touch them usually. But otherwise, I’ll be fiddling with those shots. And that is a minimal amount of effort compared to composing the shot in the first place.Styling with four legged beasties on Shalavee.com

And there’s always the shooing away of the furry four-legged beasties who want to know what the heck you are doing with all this cool stuff next to the very best view of outside in the house. It’s a given here.

The next step requires more work. Where you want to be, that next step up? That will require an extra effort, that added concentration, that time to edit, and think, and edit again. You do this to prove that it’s worth it to yourself. You’ll be proud of yourself when you complete it. And impressed that what once seemed a hassle to you, now seems like what you always needed to do.DIY happy mail post final on Shalavee.com

Yes, I think we are prone to fight that mindset of faith in the work to deliver you to the next level. To take the easy road is a preset. To keep the load light, moving from thing to next thing, making “progress”. That even the changing of the gears is work in and of itself. But it’s the best work to be done. And when your heart knows what it wants, you need to back it up by exclaiming, “Well lets get to doing whatever it takes to make this happen.” I wanted to prove that I was capable of beautiful work and I proved it. I expand as I take on projects where I push my comfort zone and come out ahead. And I am happy to know what my capabilities are always.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Pictures and Songs

From your own authority on shalavee.com

Click on the Eight track play triangle and enjoy listening to beautiful music while you scroll through these best of February Pictures.

I Heard Your Heart Beating from survivingindie on 8tracks Radio.

Mantle waking on Shalavee.com

The last of winter in the orchard on Shalavee.com

Valentine's Day roses on Shalavee.com

My Painted Pagoda card on Shalavee.com

Fiona and Me on Shalavee.com

Madeleine's handmade card all the way from Australia on Shalavee.com

Fioan in the swing at the playground on Shalavee.com

Soup on Shalavee.com

Apartments across from Rise Up Coffee in Easton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

Daddy and Fiona on Shalavee.com

Daddy's block castle on Shalavee.com

The kids at the playground on Shalavee.com

Come crying to me on Shalavee.com

Fruit salad making on Shalavee.com

Muffins make us happy on Shalavee.com

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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