31 March 2009

Scatter Joy

"There is no beautifier of complexion or form of behavior like the wish to scatter joy, and not pain, around us."-- Raph Waldo Emerson

C. Beth writes several inspiring blogs that I follow. One is called C. Beth Blog, Confessions of a Happy Mommy and is about the poignant and oftentimes hilarious life of a mommy of two adorable children. Makes me long for those days that I never got around to recording in the early lives of my own children (ages 8 and 11 now).

Beth is also the author of the One Minute Writer where she encourages her nearly 2300 regular followers (how exactly does that sort of thing happen? But I see that I am on my way!) to take one minute a day to write. "You have 1,440 minutes a day. Use one of them to write."
So begins the greeting in the header.

Today's writing prompt is this:

How have you inspired or motivated someone else?

Inspiration is the thing that I am passionate about in all its forms so you know that I had to post about that. Here is what I had to say (within the one minute time frame no less!):

I believe that inspiration is around us all the time. And a lot of the time we can be inspiration to one another.

Often we don't even realize the full impact that we have on another, whether they be our own children, our colleagues, our friends or the person standing behind us in line at the coffee shop. If you approach your day with the idea that you will be an inspiration to someone - perhaps even without you knowing it - you will approach the day with a lighter step, a kinder heart and a more accepting soul.

It is our duty to scatter joy wherever we can and by doing so we may be the inspiration that someone needs to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep living their own remarkable life.

I know that many of my regular readers have been inspired to go forth and do their own Blessed Bucks challenge. I hope that you are continuing to spread the love and scatter that joy wherever you may be. New places I have scattered the bucks...under the jelly packets at my favorite restaurant...in the donation jar at the bake sale fundraiser...inside the 'Monday' sock of a set of days of the week girls socks (because who likes Mondays?)...

I have a friend I call the "Candy Man". He took my challenge a bit differently (and especially appropriate to his locally owned confectionery shop). He has decided that the blustery gray days of March have gotten the best of all of us, so recently he dressed up in his most brilliant green shirt and headed out to do his morning errands armed with a Moonstruck chocolate truffle and a quest to find a person wearing that same shade of green. It didn't take him long. He performed a "Random Act of Chocolate" by bestowing that lovely morsel of yumminess on the girl behind the counter. I daresay that he was an inspiration to that person at that time. (And I wish that I had been wearing green that day!)

I would like to challenge each of my regular readers to the following:

Tell me one thing that you will do this week to be an INSPIRATION to someone either with or without their knowledge, one way that you will SCATTER JOY...

Will you write a letter to a long lost college roommate?
Pay for the meal of the person behind you at McDonald's?
Hold the door open for the mom struggling to wheel that bulky baby stroller into the store?
Let the person with one or two items cut in front of you at the grocery store check out?
Or just look people in the eye and say hello when you meet them?

Do tell!

And to reward those that SCATTER JOY (and leave a comment) I plan to have a GIVEAWAY! (My first!) I want to celebrate that I now officially have more followers than blog posts...something I never thought possible when I started.

You can get entries as easy as 1-2-3:

1::If you leave a post about your quest to be an inspiration and scatter joy, it will count as one entry.
2::If you want to encourage others to leave a similar comment, I will count their entry, and another one for you (provided they tell who encouraged them to write).
3::And if you post a link to this on your own blog or website (and share a link with me), I will enter you again!

What can you win? Well, how about one of my fabulous W.O.W. Pendants.

W.O.W. = Words Of Wisdom. It is like a fortune cookie for your neck since you will receive a pendant with your choice of initial and I will select a random inspirational thought for the back. How's that for a giveaway?

I will accept entries until Sunday, April 5th. Now go forth and SCATTER JOY!

"There is joy in all." ~ Anne Sexton

Check It Out::http://www.kathy-davis.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the day!

24 March 2009

Enjoy the Ride

"Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven't tried before."

~Mae West

I will always try anything once. {And in this case, I will definitely go back for seconds!}

I have been seeking inspiration of late. Perhaps it is because the drab colors of the March sky out my window are dragging me down and the incessant rain is dampening my spirit. Whatever the reason, I have been seeking out bright colors and odd combinations to wake my creative soul up.

Last weekend, I went on a rare trip to Minneapolis to visit a dear friend. Selfishly, I chose to visit her because I really needed to go to IKEA to pick up two glass towers that I had my eye on for my upcoming gallery exhibit and the cost of shipping them was more than twice what they cost. So it was worth a 4 hour drive in a blinding snowstorm to get there. But staying with my friend Kari and sharing some great conversation did wonders for my dampened spirit as well. (Thank you, friend!)

Have you ever been to IKEA? I had heard about it in a mythological sense, but never been. I thought that perhaps it could not even be remotely like the hype. Now that I have been, I can tell you that it is exactly like the hype. Let me just begin by saying that when you go to IKEA you will need to spend a good amount of your day there. It is not set up like other stores where you can quickly find the candle aisle or the lightbulbs or the bath towels. IKEA is like Disneyworld for creative and trendy adults with a lot of time on their hands but not a lot of money in their pockets. I have found my personal mecca.

The day we went there were hordes of people. Throngs. Huddled masses yearning to be stylish. It was also their "Seize the Days" event and they served a yummy breakfast. For free. So everyone with an appetite was there. Especially if they had a brood of young whippersnappers in bulky strollers. I? Would never think of dragging my little ones to someplace like this. Although they are old enough now to probably enjoy it. Pretty clever to get them all in for a free breakfast of cheap eggs and coffee and then unleash them on the merchandise. I highly doubt that anyone who came for the free nosh left without buying at least one item. In fact, I didn't see one person without a cart or bag. And the checkout lines were like checking in for a cross-continental flight. We missed the free breakfast, bought a lunch of scrumptious buffalo chicken wrap sandwiches for a 10:30 am lunch and actually sat still enjoying a rousing conversation that had us losing track of time. Needless to say, we spent good portion of our day there.

When you get there you will find a sunshine yellow bag, a royal blue map and a nubby pencil. And they set you on the winding path through the two-story structure. Every Single. Department. I kid you not. There are big blue dots on the floor with arrows that indicate the direction you have to follow. {I wonder what would happen if you attempted to go against the flow.} Of course, there are "shortcuts"...little doors passing from lighting to florals so that you can bypass the framed art. But really, why would you want to? You are on the ride, just enjoy it.

I was intrigued by the use of color and pattern and placement at IKEA. You just know that someone gets paid to place that daisy in the vase on the sparkling countertop in the spotless kitchen with the ultra-cool hanging bike rack complete with bike. How do I get a job like that? I really wish that I had brought a camera along. I guess that means I will just have to go back. Those Swedes have it all figured out. They have clean lines, graphic details, color that pops your eyes out and incredibly artsy design on everyday items from plastic bag corrals to kitchen faucets. So much eye candy. So little time. Keep moving or you might get run over by a clique of similarly dressed college girls out to grab the latest in apartment bling.

You proceed to travel through the different lands -- much like Fantasyland or Adverntureland or Tomorrowland in Disneyworld -- where you can satisfy your voyeuristic tendencies and peek into the homes of the invisibly hip. I imagine that the workers at IKEA actually live there and never have to leave, never want to leave. After all, they do serve a yummy breakfast. It reminded me of a doll house, albeit lifesized. I always wanted one of those (take note mom and dad). If I had had one as a kid I think my calling in life would have been crystal clear at an early age. {Instead I find it now at 40 on the other side of that hill.} You can walk into these carefully appointed little vignettes and see that every single thing in the 792 square foot apartment can be purchased in this very store. From the flooring and the rugs right up to the lighting fixtures and wall hangings. Everything has a price tag on it. Even that little silver knob on the wall for your hat. It's only $2? Got to grab one of those.

Surprisingly, the prices are quite good. Actually, they are ridiculously affordable. I was very impressed and not a little excited to pick up some great deals. I could barely contain my glee and I thank my sweet friend Kari for not referring to me as her country bumpkin friend from Middle-of-Nowhere, WI. IKEA could be poised for world domination if they would just hop on the Target bandwagon and have one in every town over 20,000 {then we would certainly have one here in the middle of nowhere}. Lest you think that I ponied up the dough for one of those fab-u-lous loft dollhouses, guess again. My house normally looks more like a tornado of newspapers, looseleaf, game pieces and shoes whipped through rather than the tidy and coordinated at IKEA. But one should always have dreams.

My advice for your own Swedish design fest? Grab a cart at the beginning even if you think you are just looking. You are not. You are a captive audience on the greatest retail thrill ride ever invented. Go with it. Just be sure to keep your hands on the cart at all times until the ride comes to a complete stop at the check out counter.

"I think the thing to do is
enjoy the ride
while you're on it."
~ Johnny Depp

Check It Out:: www.hearthandmadeblog.com

Enjoy the day!

17 March 2009

Introducing my new friend: Henri

"By having the courage to be herself,
she put something wonderful in the world
that was not there before."

Go away for a few days for a mini-vacation and you never know what blessings will be waiting for you.

One of my new responsibilities is to post about my creative process at Watch Me Create. So before I left on vacation, I completed a post about my creative process with a necklace I recently completed called "Koi Pond". I created this necklace for both the Jangles blog contest and the Art Bead Scene March challenge.

So upon returning home I check my various emails and Facebook and comments sections. And I received the nicest compliment from Jennifer Heynen at Jangles and the notice that I was chosen as the Designer of the Week at Art Bead Scene blog. Wow! That is too cool! I have followed that blog for a long time now and marveled at the wonderful art these ladies create. I am so blessed to have been chosen. They have no idea how thrilled I am! If you would like to read more about this and to see more of the entries for the March Matisse contest, click here.

On the Watch Me Create blog I detailed the process that lead me to create the "Koi Pond" necklace. You can read the full details here.

"Koi Pond" has lead me to make a change to what my gallery exhibit will be for the April ArtsWalk in downtown Stevens Point. I plan to make friends with great Masters and base my jewelry designs from their works of art. I believe that art should be accessible to all. By making wearable works of art, I am hoping that lovers of art will want to wear their Matisse...and Monet...and Klimt... When I have made more friends with these Masters and translated their designs from the canvas to my bead board, I will introduce you.

Who is your favorite Master artist?
What is your favorite painting?

Do tell! Perhaps you will inspire me to create a wearable work of art in that style.

P.S. Blessed Buck update...I was in Milwaukee this weekend. I placed one peeking out of the lamp on the nightstand of the hotel we stayed at. And before we left I put one inside a box of Hello Kitty bandages and one tucked just under the plastic wrap around a box of tissues. What fun surprises they will make. Keep up the great blessings everyone!

"I wouldn't mind turning into a vermilion goldfish."
~ Henri Matisse

Check It Out:: http://jenniferjangles.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the day!

10 March 2009

Attitudes Are Contagious

"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it."
— Danny Kaye

Last night I had the opportunity to work hard.

My good, dear friend Rainy is moving her studio Art Village around the corner and down the block to a new location opening in April. This space is bigger and brighter and all on one floor. There are original tin ceilings and big windows overlooking Main Street for the gallery. There is even an amazing basement catacombs with room for studio space for University students and so many nooks and crannies to create in. But there is also much work to get done in order to be ready.

And so our Mastermind group declared yesterday as Operation Art Village.

We painted and moved walls. There were power tools and paint rollers. There was food and laughter. And a lot of sweat equity.

I want this space to be all that it can be for Rainy and her dream. So I am willing to help her in any way I can. I told her that it takes a village to raise Art Village. But we need more villagers to help!

Remember the saying, Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching? It is quite contagious when you have a passion and a positive attitude. Rainy has both. That is the kind of person I want in my life.

If you are driftless and negative, I have no time for you.

Stop trying to drag me down with you.

How do you stop negativity in it's tracks?

What do you do when your attitude needs a shift?

Do tell!

Check It Out::G.I.R.L.S. ~ Girls Inspiring Real Life Success

Enjoy the day!

07 March 2009

Each Day A New Beginning

“Every day is a new beginning.
Treat it that way.
Stay away from what might have been,
and look at what can be.”
~ Marsha Petrie Sue

I am looking toward what can be.

Back in October 2008 I found the blogs WatchMeCreate and BeadNerd, both hosted by Lori Greenberg. I commented on a blog post that she had about setting goals. You might recall that I wrote about it here.

Well, yesterday was my very first post on the WatchMeCreate blog. I invite you to read my post about new beginnings, and then stay to read on about the creative processes of some wonderful artists.

I would love to have your own comments about how you go about your own creative process, whether it is jewelry, scrapbooking, cooking, parenting or any other of the many creative experiences we have each day. Do tell!

“Small opportunities are often
the beginning of great enterprises.”
~ Demosthenes

Check It Out::http://watchmecreate.com/

Enjoy the day!

04 March 2009

Blessed Bucks, Part Deux

"Not what we say about our blessings,
but how we use them,
is the true measure of our thanksgiving."
~ W.T. Purkiser

I have had the most wonderful response to my Blessed Bucks post.

It seems that my quest has inspired many of you to do the same in your own little sphere of influence. Some of you have indicated that you will do this with your children. Brilliant idea! I have personally told no one (but you, my loyal readers) that I have done this.

An update on some of the places that I have managed to place them thus far:
  • In the middle of a YMCA brochure found on a display at the local watering hole.
  • Tucked in a basket of handmade mittens at local business.
  • Rolled up and tucked into a potted mum plant in a florist shop.
  • Peeking out of the sugar packets at a chain restaurant.
  • Between the pages of an artist's paper pad at the University bookstore.
  • Wrapped around a styrofoam cup so that when the next cup is pulled it would fall out.
  • Snugged in between the Diet Cokes at a local convenience store.

When I leave them in unexpected places I try to imagine what it would feel like to find one.

At first I might just think that perhaps someone had dropped it.

Then I would do a double take because it wouldn't be possible given the location.

And then I would see the inscription.

I would smile and have a lilt in my step as I went about my day. And I might be more kind to those I meet.

And what if they started popping up all over the place and the local news media got wind of it and shared the story, how quickly that generosity could spread.

Imagine if we all did this. What an adventure daily living would be! You may never know when that next Blessed Buck will find you. And you may never know when you might affect someone else's life.

My heart is smiling at the thought.

"When I started counting my blessings,
my whole life turned around."
~ Willie Nelson

If you decide to join me in my little experiment, tell me about your experience spreading the Blessed Bucks around. I would love to hear where you left them, if you have told anyone you have done it, and what sort of reaction you may observe if you have seen someone find the Blessed Buck. Do tell!

Check It Out::http://www.peepresearch.org/index.html ~ just for fun!
(Be sure to check out the "Medical Miracles" link. Hilarious!)

01 March 2009

Completing the Circle of Good

“Do something for somebody every day for which you do not get paid.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

Lori Greenberg is a gifted lampwork bead artist and a moderator of a community of creatives called Watch Me Create. (I have been accepted as a contributor to that community, so watch for more on that opportunity in the future.) Lori was recently gifted a huge quantity of glass with the challenge that she needed to Pay It Forward. Her challenge has inspired all sorts of artists to see the current climate as a way to do something good for someone else.

As Lori states on her Bead Nerd post:

Something else you can do in a slow economy.
Consider doing something nice for someone else.
It feels good. It does good.
You now have the time.
What a novel idea.

When we are faced with uncertainties in our lives it is easy to curl into ourselves and play the WHY-ME card. The challenge then is to take stock of the blessings that do abound in your life and find a way to step outside of yourself. You gain so much more giving than by receiving. I am glad that Lori has been given this gift with this particular stipulation because she will be receiving the related gift of enriching others lives. I look forward to finding out more of what she does.

We celebrated Fat Tuesday this past week. My husband and I attended a party hosted by one of our favorite restaurants, Christian's Bistro (you have no idea how lucky we are to have this little gem), with my best friend Lynn and her husband. There were Hurricanes and gumbo and jambalaya and red beans and rice. There was authentic Dixieland jazz, boas, beads and voodoo dolls. There was even a tarot card reader.

But one of the things that we had fun with was to randomly choose a "spell" from a bucket. These spells were of the good variety with the promise of health, wealth and love.

The spell that I received was called "Blessed Bucks."

Blessed Bucks Money Spell
Take one or more dollar bills and write,
"May you be blessed with health, wealth & love"
on each. Then take the Blessed Bucks out into
the world and hide them in places where people will find them.
NEVER just drop one on the ground as it might look like merely an accident.

Great places to hide them:
Open a newspaper kiosk and slip one inside a newspaper,
especially the jobs section.
Carry a blue stick with you and go inside a grocery store.
Glue a Blessed Buck on the back of a food item, milk, or a box of diapers.
Lynn and I challenged each other on the spot to distribute one Blessed Buck per day during the 40 days of Lent. I have been recording where I have placed them just as a reminder of my progress, and I am trying to pick varied spots to ensure that they will be found by the widest range of people. I will also be making donations to my church's rice bowl collection, but it feels good to know that someone, somewhere will pick up that package of diapers or reach for that packet of sugar on the table at Applebee's or take home a plant to brighten someone's day and there will be an added bonus, a Blessed Buck wishing health, wealth and love on the recipient.

One of my goals this year is to donate one piece or ensemble each month in 2009. On Saturday I had the opportunity to donate both a finished jewelry set and a $100 gift certificate for a custom jewelry design to the Casino Night fundraiser for my high school alma mater. It turns out that a friend of mine won both donations. I am very excited to be working with this friend to make something special just for her. I feel good that my donation generated a lot of buzz for the raffles and helped to make this fundraiser a success while also exposing my art to a wider audience.

"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us." ~ Flora Edwards

What are you doing to complete the circle? I challenge you to find one thing each month that will allow you to step outside of your life (and maybe even your comfort zone) and give. Do tell me about it! I love to hear from you.

Check It Out::http://artbeadscene.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the day!


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