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Wrapping Up My Blogging Workshop

My blogging workshop finally happened last weekend in musty little building back in the woods on the waterfront property in Easton, Maryland known as the Evergreen Cove. I arrived before the 9:30 start time and early enough to bake up a tray full of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls to smell up the place and then went to greet people at the door.Spring at Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

Mr Gerald Sweeney, aka Mr. Gerry the current President of the Eastern Shore Writers Association, introduced me to my class of 15 with such fanfare and accolades, he made me laugh at how awesome I sounded. I told the attendees if they didn’t enjoy the workshop, it was all his fault for talking me into it.My blogging workshop on Shalavee.com

The majority of the attendees of my workshop entitled The Why is the How: Intentional Blogging 101, were seeking a basic understanding of blogging. The hows, always the hows. And what I made sure to insist in the beginning and throughout was that those are secondary. It’s your whys, or maybe your why nots, that will lead you or thwart you from your blog beginning. We agree to our bossy fears blaming our hows. I can’t because “I don’t know how” is subterfuge.water view from the Evergreen Cove on Shalavee.com

I gave everyone the best of my knowledge, the personal stories of the gifts of my unexpected blogger friendships, and my near fatal technological errors. And I did this all with the humor and compassion that I am made of. The most important fact to impart to these lovely people was that they can do it for themselves and I will be here to support them. Because I didn’t have a mentor when I needed one and everyone deserves a mentor.The stone path at the Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

I am a huge fan of ‘Drops in the bucket’, ‘One foot in front of the other’, and 15 minute increments. Or “Just start” as Mr. George interpreted afterwards. He was my star pupil. This very intelligent intuitive gentleman and scholar, and a spry 80-year-old, picked up everything I was putting down. And graciously bestowed compliments on me afterwards. I will forever be devoted to him. His emails these lovely comments to me.

Shalagh,

As I fully expected you made a fine presentation. It was humorous, informative, practical, energetic and you made my most ominous enemy look less fearsome. I’m ready to face my dragon. I think I’ll take him on this week.”

And then …

I thought your comment about being clear about ‘why’ I might want to do this was profound. That is the heart of so many dreams that get stalled – we’re not sure of just what we want from the dream.

Best,

George”

I plan to do future meet-ups for bloggers where they can ask follow-up questions of me and create further support and community with each other. Mr George said now they know enough to come up with intelligent questions to ask next time we meet. I followed up the class by sending out and sharing more resources and email addresses. I’ve done all that I could.Me and Mr Gerry after my blogging workshop on Shalavee.com

I so hope that each of these lovely people find their personal whys and a place to stand permitting them to jump into this blog journey that I have so unexpectedly enjoyed. There are moments when you do wonder what you were thinking when you started, much like parenthood. And then other times you wonder how you could have lived with out the title of blogger and the gifts and privileges that go with it. Life sometimes takes a while to show you the truth in your actions and yet you must have faith that there’s a story brewing worth telling at some point.

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.

A Moroccan Christmas Tree

This past weekend was another one crammed with creativity and good company.

A birthday party and a dear friend and her family over for dinner was then followed by the decorating of a tree to benefit the Talbot County, Maryland’s Hospice Organization. I was asked to do this tree last minute by my friend Pama, the owner of Moonvine, a little gift and lovelies shop right across Harrison Street from Gold ballroom in the Tidewater Inn in Easton, Maryland where the trees are displayed.

Hospice Festival of Trees in Easton, MD on Shalavee.com

The ornaments are donated by the decorators and then the trees are pre-sold to local businesses and patrons. I knew that I had a few items in the attic that would create a Moroccan themed tree. Ornaments left over from my first “real” tree that I had ordered while attending the Atlanta Gift show 15 years ago back when I worked for Pama. A befitting recycling. Thankfully, the recipient of my tree is Midge, the creator of the Festival of Trees event some 20 years ago. She loved the colors and was really looking forward to having my masterpiece in her hallway. Now I really had to care what it looked like.

let the tree decorating begin on Shalavee.com

close up of the moroccan themed Christmas tree on Shalavee.com

I was one of the first to arrive and got right to shoving the netting in and making the ribbon weave through the tree. And when Pama entered the Gold ballroom, it was a joy to hear her exclaim happy greetings to all these women who she has worked with year after year. All day I heard her at various trees coaching the teams on how to do bows or professional festooning. It was a joy to be in the room with all these happy to be creative do-gooders and my gal Pama, aka Coach.

The festival of trees at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, MD on Shalavee.com

The festival of trees at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, MD on Shalavee.com

The Inn provided coffee and fruit infused water for us to sip as we stepped back to examine the trees and find the holes that needed filling. The room was full of chatter and focus and a breeze from the tented patio. Decorating my Moroccan Christmas tree must have taken me the better part of four hours to fill that tree. I was fried and happy enough at the end of the day. We will be returning next Monday for Eamon’s piano recital here in this very room. And Mark helps with the Festival of Trees fashion show too.

A Moraccan themed Christmas on Shalavee.com

One tree down, two more to go. Hope you are inspired and let me know if I can help you with your decorating projects in any way.

 

The Shore’s Farmlands

There’s a lot of farmland here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (we are a state divided by a Bay ergo Eastern and Western). The climate allows for abundant and beautiful produce for its growing seasons.The Giant Sprinkler Beast Eastern Shore farmland on Shlavee.com

The Shore’s money was made in a canning industry boom in the early part of the 20th century.  I enjoy watching the farmers in action during the harvesting seasons and the way the fields and farmlands change character with the different crops.ThA barn on Eastern Shore farmland on Shlavee.com

 Eastern Shore farmland on Shlavee.com And being able to see over these distances makes you feel expansive inside. As if you can sprawl out into the space and you belong to it and it to you. I grew up in a city and I was used to the claustrophobic anxious jumbled up sprawl that is a city. Plenty to keep your brain busy and your senses piqued.

A boat and soybean field on  Eastern Shore farmland on Shalavee.com

 Eastern Shore farmland on Shlavee.com

 Eastern Shore farmland on Shlavee.com

But once I moved here, although I don’t much like the flatness of it all, I began to appreciate the quiet peacefulness. A sense of returning to the old and honest days, the ways of yore. Grain silo on Eastern Shore farmland on Shalavee.com

Horses on Eastern Shore farmland on Shlavee.com

A great place to raise children to be sure. As long as you keep them occupied and involved in their life’s interests, away from the TV, and don’t allow them on ATVs. Dangerous those. This is a place where’s there’s one traffic light between me and civilization. Traffic light on Eastern Shore on Shalavee.com

And sometimes I traverse that road once in a week if at all. It’s the Denton/Easton road to the locals. And all but three of these pictures were taken on my journey to drop off my daughter at her Grammy’s house. Story of my day and my life, thanks for reading.

Our Day At the Alpaca Farm

Last weekend, we took the opportunity to leave the house with the children (if we have to) and went to an event at the Outstanding Dreams Alpaca farm here in Caroline county. I’ve taken Eamon there before and he really enjoyed these odd and peaceful creatures. This time, we had Fiona with us, lover of all animals. She giggles at squirrels and fearlessly approaches horses and sticks her fingers up their noses.

Fiona spotted the alpaca at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on Shalavee.com

Fiona's smile at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on Shalavee.com

outstanding dreams farm on Shalavee.com

Fiona at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on Shalavee.com

Cornbox play at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on Shalavee.com

Cornbox play at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on Shalavee.com

The event happens every year and featured antique cars, a bouncy ride, pony rides (Eamon’s nervous he’ll fall off), a cornbox, and vendors selling their wares. Highland Creamery from Oxford had a Scottsman scooping ice cream. So it was a quick and happy visit to hang out on a farm with fellow humans and a bunch of soft furry alpacas.Eamon on a pony ride at the Outstanding Dreams Farm on Shalavee.com

The Outstanding Dreams Farm on Shalavee.com

Alpaca wool was being spun into yarn and dyed right there on the path in and out. So soft and warm and so not itchy. And animals are dear and only have one row of teeth so there’s no biting to fear. The owners are the sweetest nicest kindest people. We’ll venture out at least this time next year when their event happens again.

Downtown Denton’s Window Decorations

Once upon a time, in 2010, Downtown Denton, Maryland needed a sprucing up for their upcoming Spring Gala Event to be held there in May out on the street. My friend Danielle was asked by the Arts Council lady Marina, to do something with the mostly empty windows in the store fronts on our Main Street called Market Street. And somehow we ended up with this crazy beautiful design scheme which we had to follow through with.

The original ReInvent Window on Shalavee.com

It all started with an idea we had for the window of the exercise studio Energy in Progress up the street. I’d decorated this window a few other times but I wanted this one to be special. The theme was Re-imagine Yourself and thus, the theme of “Re” words was adapted and then a design plan began for all the window decorations downtown. Please excuse my blurry photo above.  Was just getting ‘er done.

 

 

rethink window from Shalavee.com

ReThink

 

ReVive window from Shalavee.com

ReVive

ReImagine on Shalavee.com

ReImagine

We used white paper, white adhesive shelf paper, about $50 worth of tissue paper in four colors, and some clear plastic plus assorted cardboard boxes to carry out the design. With the intention to make a cohesive visual theme of trees, birds, flowers, and poms, and the “Re” words, Danielle and I began to design each window.

Reimagine window from Shalavee.com

ReImagine windows

ReImagine on Shalavee.com

 

 

Danielle was the lead designer and we had to stealthily assign our work time as we both have children and not a lot of free time. Plus those poms are labor intensive. Not to mention the swirly trees. After coming up with sketches for the windows, we’d assign the words cut outs, poms, and tree making as homework and then there was multiple nights of install. You could not pay me enough to do this again but it did look super cool when it was done. Equally hard was getting pictures without a glare on the glass (A truck with a black side parked next to it would have worked).

Re Imagine window from Shalavee.com

Recreate window from Shalavee.com

ReCreate window

From the Recreate window on shalavee.com

Sadly, the Recreate window was to befall a horrible fate as the guy who rented it for Karate classes for two seconds ripped everything out of the window and tossed it in the back of the building. He got an ear-full from the town manager but it was tragic.

 

Renew window on Shalavee.com

ReNew

Re New window from Shalavee.com

Rejoice window from Shalavee.com

ReJoice window

The Rejoice window left me speechless when I saw it. Danielle had taken the clear plastic roll (gift basket wrap) and created a stained glass effect with the tissue paper. It was incredible at night-time. Felt like a garden in there.

Rejoice window from Shalavee.com

 

Re Joice window from Shalavee.com

We’ve been moving West on the South side of Market Street from Third Street to Second. These last blackened windows belong to a still vacant building right before the Market Street Pub. It was a three-part design that has such lovely movement and tells a story.

Re Store windows from Shalavee.com

Restore three windows from Shalavee.com

Tree with moon from Denton's Downtown Window Design on Shalavee.com

ReMember window from Shalavee.com

 

Restore window from Shalavee.com

ReStore window  on Shalavee.com

ReDiscover window on Shalavee.com

 

My memories of this project are the struggles and the moments of interaction with the Danielle and the people in town and these old buildings. Here we had to work around the pub patrons sitting at these tables. And for one window, we used a Food Lion coupon card to jimmy a door lock that someone forgot to give us a key for. One building had had a fire and the water damage was apparent. And both Danielle and I were experiencing physical pain problems that have since been addressed.

ReStore window on Shalavee.com

 

 

Re Design window on Shalavee.com

This was the only window done on the opposite side, North side, of the street. At the time it was unoccupied and there was no electricity. We were in there trying to beat the fading light with Danielle’s little daughter roaming around picking up various hardware piece off the floor.

This project was really stunning to see in person. And we were well appreciated by the Arts Council and Town’s people. It did seem to fill the hole of our sad depressed downtown for a little while. And proved that something in the windows is better than nothing because soon there were another crop of little businesses filling up the store fronts, taking advantage of the first 6 months rent free. They come and they go, much like my little shop Bally Eden did. And now I feel happy that these beautiful windows have been releases like butterflies into the internet. Our work is gone but not forgotten.

 

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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