Monday, December 20, 2010

Solstice and Lunar Eclipse

It's going to be a very special night, y'all! The Winter Solstice begins at midnight, and it just so happens that this year there will also be a lunar eclipse at the same time. First time since 1378! Looks like my West Coast friends will be swamped under cloud cover from a winter storm so they probably won't get to see this ultra cool event. But here in NC, we should have fairly clear skies.

Here's what the moon will look like early in the morning, and here's what one website has to say about it:

See for yourself on Dec. 21st, the first day of northern winter, when the full Moon passes almost dead-center through Earth’s shadow. For 72 minutes of eerie totality, an amber light will play across the snows of North America, throwing landscapes into an unusual state of ruddy shadow.

The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.

If you’re planning to dash out for only one quick look -­ it is December, after all -­ choose this moment: 03:17 am EST (17 minutes past midnight PST). That’s when the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red.

I don't know about you, but I plan to get out of bed around 2:45 and have a look... with my little camera in hand. It'll be well worth it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

All Dressed Up... for a Decadently Fabulous New Year's Eve

Here's what I want to wear on New Year's Eve... all compliments of Etsy shopping. Follow the links to see the details of these fab pieces!

Bustier... by Armoursansanguish

Corset Skirt... by SistersoftheMoon

Golden Tulip Tights... by galstern

And you know I have to wear these Vintage Acme boots... by pistolpoppy
And for accessories...
This gorgeous ring... by aboutjewelry

And this beaded cuff by SandFibers

This oh-so-cool feathery hair clip by BeadazzledbySharon

This necklace by glitzglitter

Earrings by cherryandviolet

An artsy handbag by KathyKinsella

And over it all, so I can stay warm, this fabulous cloak by blackmarketbaby

So now all I need is some MONEY!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not A Wordless Wednesday

I will never understand how some folks live without pets in their lives. Animals bring such wonderful companionship, warmth, joy, and comfort, and I have been blessed to experience this for all the years I have been on this planet. When I was young, we had cats. As I became an adult, I had my own cats, but I also brought dogs into my home. As my human children came along, we had pet hamsters, rats, and guinea pigs too. Here are the current members of our family.

The Queen, our oldest pack member... Abby

The Other Queen, our 2nd oldest pack member... Scout

My Handsome Prince, and the newest pack member... Foster

The Sweetest Princess, also fairly new to the pack... Cooper

My Grandpuppy Princess, a true delight... Empi

And my part-time puppies, the ones I dog-sit for on occasion... Sophie, Lexi, Carla

And such good friends they are...

Until next time, share a smile, kiss the ones you love, and let sleeping dogs lie.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Painting on a Winter Day

Temps in the low 30s, cold air and cold wind, warm fire, sweet dogs and kitty all nestled and snoozing, and a glass or two of Red Oak Hummingbird beer... all leading to new watercolors, framed and ready for sale! I have a little holiday bazaar on Sunday afternoon, and I'm hoping the new mini oils, such as Breathe Deeply seen above, and framed watercolors will find new homes. If not, I'll be listing on my website and/or Etsy next week. See something you like? Give me a shout!

Oh the dreams we dream at twilight, my favorite time of the day. I love the lighting. Twilight Wanderings is a 4 x 6 framed in black wood.

Under the Canopy is a 4 x 6 framed in pale blue wood and accented with a little carving of two open hands releasing a bird. It's a reminder of life, joy, and the warmth of summer with the trees in full leaf.

I simply was overjoyed when I found this gently-golden frame because it reminds me of the gold light of a winter morning just as the sun comes over the trees. And it's got a perfect line of red around it... I knew it was just what this 4 x 4 Winter Cardinals watercolor needed.

A view of autumn from the mountain up behind my house, this 4 x 4 watercolor is titled Autumn's Glory and is framed in reddish-brown wood.

Delight of Autumn, a 4 x 6, seems to be the perfect fit for this off-white frame with a brown border. I am quite pleased with the whole package.

A chubby warbler sits among the greenery of the forest, meditating on the day's affairs and the song he will sing. Meditation is a 5 x 7 framed in a lovely brown wood.

Two birds having a little chat amongst the twining leaves of autumn, Talking It Over is a 4 x 6 framed in pale green wood and accented with a metal half-moon with a vine motif.

Until next time, breathe deeply, spend some time in meditation, delight in the season, look for the winter cardinals, love the twilight hours, and celebrate friendships old and new and the wonder of life!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Moments

While the snow no longer lies on the tree branches and the sky has turned a pale December blue, our weekend snow prettied things up for a while. It began falling on Saturday around noon and continued into the evening hours. On Sunday morning, it was a silvery-blue delight.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent-urous Thoughts

December, Advent, Winter, Solstice.

Peace, Hope, Love, Goodwill.

Giving, Sharing, Reflecting, Celebrating.

I love this season... not just the holidays, but the gray days. The gray sky allows the other deep, rich colors of the earth to pop out and be noticed. It's a symbol to me that we each bring our own bit of color to the world around us. And it causes, for me, a sense of reflection and meditation... and that is what Advent is all about.

Yesterday I met with a few friends and over soup and bread, we reflected on an Advent scripture reading from Psalm 146. This psalm is a reminder of what God the Helper does... this is a very active God, not someone who sits around merely watching the goings-on of earth. More importantly for me, though, that reading is a call to be active in the world. What kinds of activities are involved? Things that society often tells us not to do. Things that are sometimes difficult. But things that each of us can do, and things that many of us do on a daily or weekly basis.

Keeping truth and keeping faith.
Working for justice for the oppressed.
Feeding the hungry.
Giving freedom to the imprisoned.
Opening the eyes of the blind.
Supporting the hurt and the humble.
Loving goodness.
Caring for strangers.
Tending to orphans and widows.

Some of these things are more popular than others. Lots of people help to feed the hungry by working in a soup kitchen or donating canned goods to various organizations. Many folks volunteer at nursings homes and hospitals. You get the idea. How many of us, though, take care of strangers? Do we invite them in our homes or even our lives? Instead, we're taught to be afraid of them. A bit of food for thought.

Now I often see things metaphorically, being a previous teacher of English. So while some of these things are easy to understand literally, others may not be. Do we go around opening jail cells and letting out those who have been imprisoned? Another good thing to think about. But rather than get into the discussion of our legal system, I choose to focus on those among us who are imprisoned by things other than a jail cell or a military cell. Those with addictions. Those caught up in habits they can't seem to break. Those torn by hatred. Those who suffer from disease. Surely we can help some of these people in a myriad of ways. It only takes a little bit of thought and a little bit of love.

As for curing the blind? Well, wouldn't it be nice to be able to literally do that. But we don't have those skills. We can, however, seek to open the eyes of the metaphorically blind. We can begin discussions with those who seem unable to comprehend the lifestyles of people who are different from them, with those who see war as an answer, with those who believe money can solve problems. Perhaps we can't change their minds, but maybe, just maybe, we can offer some word or thought that stays with them, that rattles around in their brain and soul and is just noisy enough to make them pay attention to it and to cause a wee bit of reflection.

In truth, this list of actions is what being a human is all about. Not just during the holiday season, but each day of our lives. Some might send a check, however small or however large, to a charity seeking peace and justice in areas throughout the world. Some might work at a shelter that serves the homeless. Some might donate needed items to those in jail. Some might regularly visit folks at a nursing home. Some might serve as a Big Brother or Big Sister. And some might rescue an animal discarded by the side of the road. There are so many ways to share ourselves with others. And some of these cost so little, if anything: we can share a smile and a pat on the hand, give up our place in line to someone with a greater need, offer a kind word to an overworked postal worker, listen to our neighbor who's down on her luck, say a warm thank-you to a teacher or a bank teller, share a meal with someone who hasn't many friends.

May you find peace and joy and love each day during the remainder of this year and into the next, and may you also bring peace and joy and love to others.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Favorites

Today I'm featuring some of my favorite and very affordable items from Etsy... wonderful goodies for the holidays. Whether as gifts for someone you love or a little treat for yourself, these things are simply lovely and magical! Enjoy, and follow the link to the seller's shop to see more of their creations.

A sweet little snowflake necklace by tahoegirl...

Gorgeously pure felted cuff by JaneBoFelt...

Beautifully framed photograph by blindwolfspirit... and it's a bird! (Those who follow me know I always have a bird or two in my collections!)

A very earthy leaf cuff, oh so gorgeous, by lochristine...

Being a handmade soap user, I always look for great soap dishes too, and here's a very pretty one with deep grooves by Creativewithclay...

And a wonderful winter photograph, perfectly titled The Spirit of Change, by theeye...

To close it all out, a sweet wired bird ornament by MyWireArt... there are several styles in her shop...

Hope you take a closer look at each one of these pieces on Etsy, and until next time, remember to buy handmade and support the intentional and wonderful work of artists!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Brand New Day

Twenty four degrees, cloudy skies.... winter is upon us.

Breathe deeply, say a word of thanks, and enjoy your day!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

This morning as we sipped coffee and enjoyed the fire in the woodstove, I asked my husband to pick from a small collection of folded bits of paper. "What am I picking?" he asked. "The winner of the giveaway on my blog," I replied. No big drum rolls, no confetti, no applauding and shouting... just a small little gesture of fingers hovering over paper. There were not many entries, so everyone had a very good chance of winning. But the lucky winner is ScrappyRat!! Congratulations!

Scrappy writes, "When I was about 4 years old, I decided to try out my first swear word on Xmas morning, running out to the tree and announcing, loudly (in front of the grandparents, no less), "Look at all these DAMN presents!" Needless to say, my parents were thrilled. ;)

She has chosen this necklace "because my mom would love it if she found it under the tree this year (and I'll keep my foul mouth to myself)." Let's hope her mom doesn't say any swear words either!! :)

ScrappyRat has an Etsy shop where she sells cards and such, and she donates proceeds of many items to animal charities. She is a member of Team EFA: Artists Helping Animals, EtsyVeg, and VeganEtsy. I just love this set of five Sneaky Spotty Dog cards... so cute!!

Thanks to all who entered and shared a holiday comment. I so enjoyed reading them! Stay tuned for more giveaways! I will be phasing out my gemstone jewelry over the next few months, so I believe giveaways will be in order. Until then, shop handmade, buy from small businesses, and love the one you're with!