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Beauty can be illusive if we are in a hurry, distracted, on a roll somewhere, or just nRose of Sharon Flower4ot paying attention. At times I take some time out with my camera to search for beauty. You really have to give yourself the luxury of time to see and think about what you are seeing. Often we are too busy to do this, but it is an essential part of life and living a healthy life-style.

If you engage in pessimism much of the time, taking time out to find and reflect on beauty may be contrary to your nature. After all, you are very focused on digging up what’s wrong with life, not what’s right with it. It would almost seem sacrilegious to look for the good. You would have to risk getting out of your comfort zone for a few moments to see the beauty around you. I hope you will.

Roseanns Rose2 for 4x6 printsI bought this rose and inserted it in a small vase I had. I sometimes like to bring natural beauty into my indoor world to remind me that there are beautiful things around. Perhaps it’s the fact that I am a woman and a rose is a flower. And you know women and their flowers … smile. My mother used to say, give me flowers now because I won’t be able to see the ones you give me at my funeral. She had a point.

This is a rose that I drew and used for several things. It was used to decorate the front of a Mrs. America Brochure, and then I stippled it and used it for note cards. These are ways we mimic beauty and bring it into our personal worlds. Flower Notecard Stiple Rose Only

Of course nature isn’t the only thing that’s beautiful. Sometimes a situation can hold beauty in ideas, or happenings. People can be beautiful in the way they look, act, or talk. Writing can be beautiful, when we put our thoughts and ideas on paper. So there are many avenues of beauty around us, we just need to stop and notice them more often than we do.

What kinds of beauty do you appreciate? Share them with us.

When I want to catch a few minutes of relaxation, I usually pick up a book. That’s unusual because I really am not someone who typically likes reading. I mean I don’t have the passion that some people do of not being able to live without a book. They seem gagga over books of any kind. I’ve never been like that, probably because I am a visual person. I go gagga over looking at pictures.

But over the last 8 years or so, the county libraries have been selling their books. Usually I can pick a paperback up for maybe 25 cents depending on the library. Some want more. At any rate, this gave me the reason to read and I chose Amish Romance Novels. I was attracted to the stories and how the authors tried to depict Amish life realistically but also include the old type of boy meets girl and live happily ever after idea that I grew up with. Little by little I discovered other authors dealing with life in the old west, the Norwegians making a life here in the USA, etc. I like that era and a simpler time or way of living.

A friend of mine was an actress in a movie put out last year in Sugarcreek Ohio. The title is “Love Finds You In Sugarcreek”. My friend Marianna Alacchi played the part of Anna Troyer, an elderly Amish woman with a mental disability. I especially liked the part in the movie when she sat on the person who tried to murder her niece to keep her from getting away before the police could arrest her. It was a wonderful movie.

So that’s what I do to entertain myself or relax. Some stories are hard to get through and take me more time to get with their program. But others I like right off the bat.

What do you do to entertain yourself? I’m sure you are far more adventuresome than me. Although some day I’d like to try Ziplining at Tree Frog Canopy Tours, here in Ohio!

I suppose that running eCommerce Stores isn’t that much different than running physical Decanter Set Venetian Glassbrick and morter stores, except that customers cannot touch what they are buying until they purchase it and get it in their hands.

During the month of July and now August, I’ve been participating in challenges from my Ebay Coach and her friends, offering ways to tweak what we are selling, how we are presenting it, organizing it, and talking about it. It has been tough to keep up with on some days. In fact I didn’t do some of the things due to lack of time. The purpose was to help and not hinder running your business. So when running the business took precedence, I had to put the other aside.

But for the most part the challenges were good. They helped me understand business Bowl Southwesternmanagement better, to discover what it takes to run a successful business, what mindset a person must have to become a business owner that excels, and the type of commitment it takes to own a business and not just have a hobby.

It takes a lot of work, dedication, time, energy, and vision. But when I look at the items that I have discovered to sell, it makes it all worth while to be offering things that I know someone, somewhere, will want to have for their very own. These photos show why I keep going in spite of the hard work involved. I love hearing customers catch their breath in awe of what they’ve decided to have in their home and office, that came from my store shelves. We love helping people make their best memories with us!Tray Oneida Strawberry

Do you also have favorite places to shop on the internet? Tell us what you’ve discovered that excites you in your home decor. Or just share a challenge that you faced that had you thinking differently, changing how you do things, caused improvements, or sent your life in a different direction.

Taste of Elegance on eBay.

Yay, it’s another weekend! Opportunities to do what we want, when we want, go where we want, etc. I guess that all boils down to having the freedom to choose.Nautilus Shell Perhaps your city borders a body of water and you are headed for the beach.

I live on the North Shore and Cleveland Borders Lake Erie. The parks system has taken over and is already making changes that delight beach goers. Our parks system has a lot of events and attractions to educate and entertain the citizens of our city and their guests. Being close to nature or even interacting with it, can be a stress-free way to spend the weekend. And every group imaginable has a festival of some kind going this summer!

I’ve got some chores to do, such as cutting the grass and trimming the over growth in the yard. I guess it would be safe to say that my yard needs a good haircut and weeding. Grape Hyacinths & Vinca FlowersThis photo was in the spring with Grape Hyacinths and Myrtle. Part of the gardening under my River Birch Tree in the front yard. I found a young black cat sleeping in the Myrtle the other day just as my yellow tabby had done when I decided to claim her as my own many years ago. It is a cushy spot and sort of out of the way so the little one felt protected until I showed up and discovered it’s hiding place.

Sometimes I have to contend with spiders in the yard. A few years ago, Spider Web3 IMG_5715for the first time in my life, ordinary garden spiders moved in. They were everywhere stringing 3 foot webs across walkways and wherever else they could. I’d come home in the dark from a second shift and walk right into one. They changed their locations daily so I never knew where they’d be from day to day or even hour to hour. This is a picture of a web with foam on it to enhance the web. Yuck!!!

Snake on the Driveway 5-2011And of course I have also found other critters in the yard such as this common Garden Snake that some folks like to call Garter Snakes. This was a cute one but I have seen them at least 2 feet long in my yard. Not dangerous but creepy.

I’ve seen possums and their babies, frogs, dragonflies, praying matis, all kinds of spiders and bugs, squirrels, birds and a host of other things in my little 35′ x 105′ living space. I don’t have to go far on a weekend to get some entertainment.

How about you, what are your weekend plans? Vacationing or staying close to home? Lots of choices to pack into a 2 day weekend!

Pointillism

As I continued to struggle with working with color, I decided for some reason to try Pointillism in Robins Egg Nest in White Birch Branchesmy images. Using dots of color with magic markers, I created images that came to my mind. I found relief in the fact that I didn’t have to mix colors just choose them from a box of 100 markers with thin tips. The first image I created was an ACEO (Art Cards Editions and Originals 2.5″ x 3.5″) of a Robin’s Egg Nest in White Birch Branches. My cousin owns the original for this one. He said he had taken a liking to it and wanted to try it for himself.

I found as I worked that I could enjoy the process more because one stress factor was eliminated … that of mixing color. Another stress factor that was relieved was that the markers were strong and stable. Not like a paint brush with flexible bristles that you had to exert more control over. So the only things I had to worry about were choosing the colors and shading, and I could just enjoy the rest of the process.

Over the years I created more with pointillism until I got tired of it and wanted to try something else. But for the time I used the technique, it worked for me and served a purpose. Here are more things I created using pointillism in color.

How about you? Have you ever tried a form of art to relieve your stress. Did it cause more or less stress?

Psychedelic Butterfly

Two Butterflies Among Daisies Butterfly Pointillism

I have always felt more comfortable handling black and white art because I enjoyed exploring different ways to control the Japanese Waterfall ACEOmediums I used. When it came to color, I felt frustrated because there was TOO MUCH to control. I was on control overload and this frustrated me. I guess as an artist, I am too much of a perfectionist. However in 2009 I discovered an art form quite by accident while scrolling for art on Ebay. It was a tiny version of a regular piece of art. I saw art that was original and I also saw art that was shrunken down and made into giclee prints. I joined a couple of groups on Ebay that created mini art, and started rising to their challenges each month to create ACEO’s of my own.

ACEO’s are 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ sizes of art. This is near to a business card size. ACEO mean Art Cards Editions and Originals and are collector items like baseball cards are. In fact an ACEO is usually protected in a hard plastic baseball sleeve. The story for these tiny pieces of art came from long ago when artists in Europe wanted to give a sample of their art to prospective buyers. They would create these and pass them out. Over the years, they became collectible. I’ve personally seen them sell for as high as $250 on Ebay. I’m sure there are those that sell for more. I have both created and sold my ACEO original Art and Editions.

Japanese River ACEOAt the top is my most sold art for ACEO Prints. It is a piece that was created from a testing area I was using for watercolors for another painting. (See above.) When I saw all of the colors in this area, I thought, “I can’t waste this, I have to do something with it.” So I looked it over and decided it looked like an abstract version of a Japanese Waterfall. If turned sideways it looks like a river (See left photo). So basically there are two pieces of art in this one piece. It’s never been so easy for me to create a piece of art and this one was truly a surprise.

Watercolor continues to be my biggest challenge as an artist. I tried creating several ACEO’s with watercolor. Because these are small, the frustration of handling color is still there for me, but on a smaller scale. I don’t feel as overwhelmed. My watercolors continue to look overworked, and I have not yet been able to capture the fluid and carefree style that true watercolor artists display in their work. It may take a long time before I’m able to get to that point of true fluidity. They make it look easy for sure. This butterfly was my first attempt that I made in an ACEO form. Following it are other attempts.

So as I work with tiny art, I keep exploring techniques that are uncomfortable for me to increase my understanding of both the technique and my skill using it. It is less of a risk this way, but produces good results. At some point I’ll be ready to create a full size piece of art to use the new skills I’ve developed.

How about you? What challenges have you overcome and how did you do it?

Rainbow ButterflySea Shell #2 Watercolor

Sea Shell #1 Watercolor

When sickness comes, do you see it as a benefit or a hindrance? A friend recently got sick for 24 hours and was bemoaning the fact that her day was ruined. She didn’t need this to happen to her today, she had too many important thingDVN Snowy Trees to do. Isn’t that how we all react? At least initially. Of course it depends on the type of sickness. My friend’s lasted 24 hours and when she returned to work, she had three fresh and viable opportunities waiting for her. She hadn’t really missed a thing. She was fortunate.

Some people experience sickness that lasts for quite a while and might even end in the death of a loved one or themselves. This prolonged illness can really take a toll and add to the initial shock of finding out you have a disease that isn’t going away soon and maybe never. We experience a gamut of emotions, thoughts, worries, fears, exhaustion, changes in plans, financial burdens, pain, and so much more.

Illness is a part of life that comes almost whenever it wants to and leaves you the way it wants to. If I had to put a human characteristic on it, I would have to say it is narcissistic in nature. It doesn’t care what you want. It has it’s own agenda and goals. It wants to beat you up, deck you out, crumple you up, and spit you out to say the least!

The Tree I Love To HateBut there are benefits to this side of life. No, I’m not lieing. Sometimes illness comes because we need to stop and take account of ourselves and our lives. I’ve heard of people who have near death experiences and then when given a second chance, have a heightened sense of what is really important for the rest of their lives. The unimportant has been pruned or cut away. Others go through the death of a loved one, and are able to comfort others appropriately because they’ve walked in their shoes. There is a camaraderie that develops between strangers when they share illness experiences. Some have made friends for life because of their illnesses when they might never have met otherwise. There is a sense of hope when people of like problems share how they coped. Sharing what they experienced that another is only starting to face, makes the unknown less frightening. They share resources and ideas on how to deal with finances, and other issues that present themselves such as taking care of children, meals, and ways of helping everyday life run as normal as possible in the midst of this redirection. All of these help with the acceptance of the illness as part of life and to ride the roller coaster of the illness for as long as is necessary.

No I’m not suggesting that we go looking for illness for that would be masochistic. But when it comes unexpectedly, we can find benefit amidst changes we hadn’t bargained for. We can find purpose amidst the senseless destruction of the predatory illness that would seek to devour us mercilessly.

Would you care to share your experiences with Illness? Perhaps someone else will benefit from what you share and have hope in their future.