Ponderings and Thoughts


I've had the choice experience of having many readers leave some very sweet comments on the last post (the giveaway one). So many of you have made me smile and giggle. It's been a great way to spend a Saturday.

When I was making some creative decisions a month ago, I had a long discussion with Hubby. I expressed to him that I want to share my creative work with others. I told him that I was acutely aware of how badly the economy is affecting so many people right now, and how that made it extremely difficult for others to enjoy my work unless I gave it away as gifts. I've heard so many stories of an artist giving a painting to a neighbor or a friend just because they wanted to share their work. The problem was that the "neighbors" and friends I wanted to give my work to stretched all over the globe. Quite a dilemma.

Then it dawned on us that I could do that very thing by having a weekly giveaway every Saturday; by continuing to share my work on the blogs; and to offer some of my digital work for free download using Flicker. I felt peaceful with the thought of being able place my work in homes where it would be viewed instead of having it sit here in my studio collecting dust and only being seen by me, Hubby, the cats and the occasional visitor.

Shortly after that discussion, I heard a quote that went something like, "You can have a whole stack of canvases, but if they only sit in a closet what good are they?" That really solidified my decision for me.

As I pondered further, I've realized that we are entering a very different landscape thanks to this wonderful technology called the internet. You don't have to know the "right people" in order to publish your thoughts on a blog. You don't have to "be connected" in order to expose your creative work to the world. I've even read an online article entitled "Why Your Images Are Worthless" by Nikonian Martin Joergensen that pretty much says because of the combination of the internet and digital cameras, a lot of really beautiful photography is worth nothing monetarily because there is such a deluge of beautiful images available everywhere.

At first, I thought, "Well, what the heck am I doing then?"

Then over the next day or so I realized that if I valuate my creative work based on monetary value then, yes, my images probably are worthless. But if I valuate my creative work based on how much it makes someone else happy then its worth could be inestimable.

Over the past month, I've told Hubby more than once that I've been concerned that the blog readers will misinterpret my giveaways as a way to increase visitor traffic or gain exposure. I've really fretted over this, because I know in this coarse world we live in that it's hard for people to believe that everyone isn't out to get something from everybody else. I've worried about alienating friends that I've made over the past year of blogging. It's been a real concern particularly since a few of my favorite blogging friends have seemed to drift away over the past month.

So I pose this question to you all... what are your thoughts? Is it possible to give to others unconditionally in today's world without being misunderstood? Or has the world coarsened so much that it isn't possible? Will a giver's motives always be questioned thanks to this wonderful yet weird technological world we exist in? I'm sincerely interested in what all of you have to say. What do you think?

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It's "Giveaway Saturday" at Rosehaven Cottage!

To celebrate the essence of the new blog Dusting in Pearls, this week's Giveaway Saturday prize is something pretty and pink--a set of TWO handmade pillows made by me here in my studio.

Each of the pillows are constructed of a manufactured embroidered silk featuring lovely rosebuds on pink and grey strips. Each pillow measures 14"x14" and is edged with a traditional dusty-pink brush fringe. The pillow is constructed over a premium pillow form filled with non-allergenic poly-fill.










"Giveaway Saturday" Guidelines
Every Saturday, I am showcasing a piece of my art or photography that I'm giving away based on a random drawing the following Saturday. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered. Each person will only be counted once so duplicate comments won't help your odds (sorry). I will pay shipping to whomever wins the drawing to ANYWHERE in the world that I can send something via conventional post. If you don't have an email link connected to the i.d. you use to leave the comment, then you'll have to check back the following Saturday to find out if you won and then contact me via email so I can get your postal address privately. If you do have an email link connected to the i.d. you use, then I will contact you off the blog as well as announce you as the winner. Basically, it's the standard blog giveaway rules that are out there in the "blog-o-sphere" already.



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And the winner of the Vintage Recipe Shadowbox Art is...

Comment number 11 which is Willow from Willow's Cottage! Congratulations Willow!












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Tell me...

Tell me,
Little Missy Oreo
the wild garden kitty...

How do you get your nose so dirty
while your paws stay so white?


I know you patrol the gardens when I'm not there,
sniffing each corner and every twig to detect who's been there before.
Is that how your nose turns from pink to brown?

It can't be from sniffing the morning glories.
You probably can't even see how brilliant blue they are
or appreciate they're radiant transient beauty.
Most kitties wouldn't, I'm certain.


Is your nose getting filthy because you nap
in the shade of the watermelon-colored cannas
escaping from the heat of mid-day like all smart kitties do?
When you tuck your nose against the flagstones to block out the sun,
is that when your nose turns brown?


I know...
It probably gets dirty when you're rooting for the critters
that live in the nooks and crannies
of the stone planter boxes where the zucchini blooms and grows.


Did you catch anything today
like the lizard I witnessed you catch
last week in the blink of an eye?


Because your nose certainly looks like you did.




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Invitation to Something New...

A new blog has been born that I would like to invite you all to visit--Dusting in Pearls. It is brand-new and has yet to be filled with a plethora of content. I am hoping that with suggestions and "hot tips" from all of you, it can become a fun place that will make you smile when you visit... because that's exactly what it's intended to be.



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Weird Wisteria and Territorial Dragonflies



Even though it's a scorcher of day outside, I had to go out and photograph my weird wisteria and share. I don't think I've ever known a wisteria to bloom twice in a year. It bloomed earlier this spring and then I guess it's decided that it's time to bloom again. This is such an odd wisteria. I've had it for over five years and it's only bloomed once before this--in September of 2006. Maybe it's making up for lost time? Regardless of the wisteria's weirdness, Mr. Bumblebee seems quite happy at the unseasonable bloom.

While I was photographing the wisteria, I noticed this gorgeous dragonfly buzzing around the pond. Usually we have more dragonflies than we do this year, so it was a pleasant sight to see. It lighted on one of the drip-mist heads on the edge of the pond and let me get very close for some shots (click on the image to enlarge).

The only time it would fly away was when another dragonfly would come flying around the pond. Then this one would take off and chase the other dragonfly away. Once the trespasser was gone, my subject would light on the sprinkler head again. It was quite interesting to witness this territorial display. I'm used to hummingbirds being like this but not dragonflies, as they usually hunt in a cooperative darting canopy on summer evenings over the garden.

I sat back in my chair under the plum tree only a foot or two from the brave little dragonfly and watched. Over and over, I would see the other dragonfly come into the pond area. If the trespasser stayed behind a screen of one of the potted plants, my subject would stay content on the sprinkler. But as soon as the trespasser came within my subject's line of sight, it would take off and chase the trespasser away--over and over, again and again.

So maybe this is why we don't have as many dragonflies this year.



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It's "Giveaway Saturday" at Rosehaven Cottage!

Congratulations to Robin at Bittersweet Punkin (comment number 15) for winning today's drawing for the "In the Garden" dimensional notecard set!

And never fear... if you didn't win today's drawing there's one a week from today!

For next week's "Giveaway Saturday" drawing, I'm giving away a piece of my original Vintage Recipe Shadowbox Art.

Framed in a shadowbox, this piece of hand-cut dimensional paper art is designed and hand-constructed by me. Featuring a real vintage recipe for "Magic Chocolate Pie" and a high-quality reproduction of original watercolor illustrations, this piece is hand-cut and hand-constructed in layers on a photographic reproduction of a vintage red and white checked tablecloth. The finished white wooden frame measures 9 1/2" x 9 1/2" square. I have signed the piece and also included the full recipe on the back of the piece (just in case you ever want to make it!).

Good luck to everyone and feel free to spread the word via email or links or however you choose--the more the merrier!









"Giveaway Saturday" Guidelines
Every Saturday, I am showcasing a piece of my art or photography that I'm giving away based on a random drawing the following Saturday. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered. Each person will only be counted once so duplicate comments won't help your odds (sorry). I will pay shipping to whomever wins the drawing. If you don't have an email link connected to the i.d. you use to leave the comment, then you'll have to check back the following Saturday to find out if you won and then contact me via email so I can get your postal address privately. If you do have an email link connected to the i.d. you use, then I will contact you off the blog as well as announce you as the winner. Basically, it's the standard blog giveaway rules that are out there in the "blog-o-sphere" already.








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The Good, the Bad, and the Bits of a Busy Week

Have you ever had a week where you look back on it and all you can say is, "WOW!" That's the kind of week I've had. It's been a "WOW" week in mostly good ways, so that's nice.

The Good

One of the nice things that happened this week was that I was able to transplant an ill-placed canna lily from the front garden where it was being usurped by mint into a pot so it could be placed in one of my water gardens. I was so pleased that after my hard work it "thanked" me by blooming right away. I had forgotten what the name of it was, what variety it was, and what color it was (I'm trying not to feel guilt for that) so this bloom of pale yellow with peachy accents was such a pleasant surprise.

The other thing I like about this bloom is that it has that shimmery pearlescent quality to it that some cannas have (some glads and iris have it too). It always reminds me of a garden jewel when I see a bloom like that.




The Bad



Above left is a photo of my "Breath of Heaven" bush just a few months ago. It blooms once a year but always has such wonderful feathery foliage--until this year. Above right is a photo what it looks like now. After watching it dry up and deteriorate for about a month, I finally had to cut it back earlier this week. I don't know if the neighbor's gardener accidentally sprayed it with weed-killer through the picket fence or if it got zapped during our July heatwave. All I know is that it isn't happy and that makes me not so happy. It is one of the plants I put in the first spring we lived here in 2001, so I'd really hate for it to leave now. I'm hoping it will bounce back.

The Bits

The real reason why this has been a "WOW" week has been what's been going on in my design studio. As I posted over on the Creative Studio blog, I was absolutely tickled pink (pun intended) that my new design "French Poodle" won an award on Zazzle for Today's Best!


The story behind this design is really special. The design was inspired by my niece Cammi. I called her a couple of days ago to tell her about my new line of designer Keds. I asked her if there was some design in particular that she would like to see on a kid's shoe. She said that she'd like to see a shoe in pink and black with maybe a little poodle on it.

Cammi told me that she'd send me some sketches in the mail. She wanted me to have the originals so instead of scanning them in and sending them email, she sent them snail mail. I didn't get the sketches until after I had designed "French Poodle". However, based on just the phone conversation, I think that Cammi and I were on the same wavelength. Do you think so too?

Below left is Cammi's Sketch and below right are two of my final shoe designs...


I am thoroughly enjoying this creative process with Cammi. She is such a talented 9 year old with such artistic vision. It is a real joy to interact on this level. She and I have emailed and talked on the phone more this week than ever before. So fun!

I added "French Poodle" to a number of products besides the shoes...



And like icing on the cake, "French Poodle" has gained popularity in a very short amount of time. Cammi and I loved her, but then to have others love her just as much is SO rewarding.

I think Cammi has become my creative muse, because since the collaboration that brought about "French Poodle" my mind has been flooded with so many other designs that I've had a hard time keeping up. I've had to resort to doing really rough sketches in my sketchbook of ideas as they come while still finalizing other designs. It's like Cammi's idea opened up the flood gates for my own creativity. Here's what has come flowing out just this week (and these are only the finished designs):


Yeah, it's definitely been a "WOW" week around here. Now it's time for me to go back to working on more designing as well as learning Dreamweaver and web design so I can improve my own website. Whew!

To see all my designs, click the image below:




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Things I'm Learning To Be A Grown Up Kitty ~~ by Lucy Maud

Being 10 1/2 months old, I'm learning lots of things everyday so I can be a grown up kitty. Here are some of the things I'm learning...


I'm learning that daytime is when big kitties sleep and
how it's one of the best time to do "fancy paws"...


I'm also learning that sleeping in some of my favorite places
is getting a little more difficult.
I remember this being much bigger.


I'm learning that big kitties love when Mommy brings in branches of
lemon verbena to sniff, to lick, and to munch...


but I still don't quite understand what the big fuss is over.


Thomasina is teaching me the art of the willful stare.
She says it's a must for big kitties.
She says, "Do it like this."


I think I'm getting it pretty good, don't you?


Well, maybe I need to work on the ears a bit more to get the "attitude".




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