The Australian Brush Maker (home made paint brushes)

While I am not an artist, I’ve always been inspired by painting and various forms of producing artwork. The other day, I came across a story about an Australian artist named, “Lorna Crane,” who creates home made paint brushes.

On her beach walks she finds materials that she uses to make her paint brushes. I grew up on the beach… well, I mean near the beach, so I know the feeling of walking and finding rocks, feathers, dried grass, driftwood, wires, and more that wash up on the shore.

Crane’s paint brushes are works of art BEFORE they are even used. This was a brilliant idea. If you watch the video, you’ll see how beautiful and unique each brush is. Based on the brush she chooses, when she paints she uses a different painting technique. Painting is really freeing.

It’s the start of a new year. She’s inspired me! I’m going to make a goal for myself of producing one piece of art in 2018.

Hello fellow artists, how are you challenging yourself this year?

The importance of a “Promise Card…”

It’s the New Year and time to make a promise… to ourselves or to someone, YES?!

I happened to see a quick documentary the other day about a guy named, “Alex Sheen.” After the passing of his father in 2012, he started a foundation to help humanity called, “because I said I would.” This is in memory of his father, who he said was an average man, but a man who “always” kept his promises to his son. THAT is what made Sheen’s father special to him,  keeping promises.

The idea of Sheen’s Foundation called, “because I said I would (all lower case),” is to encourage people to fill out a “Promise Card.” The Promise Card is the size of a small index card and on it people write something they want to do for themselves or someone else. They give the filled out card to someone to hold on to for them. Once they fulfill the promise on the card, they ask the friend for their Promise Card back and they keep it as a reminder that “they fulfilled a promise.”

This concept seems simple, but it’s really BIG. Imagine if everyone around the world made one promise to help humanity in some way.

As we start 2018, I leave you with Alex Sheen’s TEDxUtica about what these promise cards have meant to him!

After you watch this video, you will be thinking, “My promise is to …. ?

Then pass Alex Sheen’s message on to others, it’s a good one!

2018 – HAPPY NEW YEAR! A new year to accomplish things.

ADB6FBCB-691D-4463-8C27-D5CD5DA4241AI’m excited about moving into 2018! How about you?

How do you sum up 2017:  life changing, goals realized, figuring it out, really tough, adventurous, quiet, magical…?

As I ponder what 2017 meant for me, I am thinking about 2018.

There are 4 quarters in a year. In business, we look at the year, then we break it down into quarters and monthly/weekly/daily goals, so that by the end of the year we are on target for reaching our goals.

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Personal lives are the same. We accomplish more if we write down a plan and try to stick to it. Some years I am good at this, some years I have thoughts in my mind of what I want to accomplish, but the thoughts seem to stay there, because…. THAT’S JUST IT, the word “because” holds me back.

So, this year, 2018 is about tackling the word, “because.” It’s time to think like an Olympian enough with the “because.”

Two years ago, my College friend (Dave, Life In A Word) suggested we challenge ourselves and create a Blog. We both enjoy writing. The catch was that we had to commit to Blogging once a week for one year!  We shook hands, no turning back.

Now, two years later, Dave and I can confidentially say, “we are Bloggers.” We didn’t let the word “because” stop us. We committed!

2018 starts tomorrow! I am thinking and planning.

For today, I want to head to the gym, but the word “because (it’s too cold outside)” is already coming to my mind. You see how that word “because” causes problems.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Mongolia: Delivering books by Camel — Jambyn Dashdondog author

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What happens when you take a camel and add some books to it?  You got it, you have a Camel Bookmobile! As I love books, I was thrilled to read a story about books being delivered by camel.

Let’s travel to Mongolia. Jambyn Dashdondog was a Mongolian children’s books author. He wrote children’s books, poetry, music and more. He published about 108 books and won many awards for them too. Dashdondog’s books were about Mongolian tradition and habitat. He started delivering books by camel, so that children in the most remote areas of the Gobi desert could have an opportunity to read.

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Jambyn Dashdondog carries books to nomadic communities in remote areas of the Gobi desert. The project teaches parents how to encourage a love of reading in children. Photograph: Jambyn Dashdondog/Mongolian Children’s Culture Foundation/Go Help

Sadly, Jambyn Dashdondog passed away June 2017. His joy and love of writing and sharing books with children will be missed. Visit Project MUSE to read about Dashdondog’s life story. He was a special author.

It’s the holidays, in memory of Dashdondog I will donate a book to the library. Like Dashdondog, I do feel that books can change a child’s life.

Merry Christmas!     Happy Holidays!

Dedication to an “Official Baker to the Zoo”

E2828475-842A-4F55-A342-262E663B6271I saw this wonderful dedication that I wanted to share with you. It’s from a small zoo in Indiana. Normally, a dedication on a bench is very simple with just a person’s name. However, this was more interesting. It caught my attention, because it was in appreciation of a man who “baked goods” for the zoo.

This made me wonder if he had children and if it was a family event to bake and deliver goods to the zoo on the weekend. Now, the zoo looks very small. There were hardly any animals there, but in the old days if he was an “official baker,” going to this zoo must have been a family outing.

A little bit of history.

I hope this makes you smile, like it did for me!

German Christmas Ornaments

1F9F01D6-5279-4FA9-9462-F1CDADE719EFThis past weekend was the start of Christmas shopping. I say, “Christmas,” because for many of us it’s when we start putting up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, hanging the lights inside and outside and finding those special ornaments to put on the tree.

Every year I look for new ornaments. I like to send them as gifts. I had a lucky find this weekend. I came across a German Christmas Market. I was in America, but I felt like I was in Munich, Germany. Wonderful!

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They had similar ornaments that I would find in Germany, hand made, so a bit expensive, but as you can see from the photos, really darling. Everyone was enjoying themselves.

One special item that Germans put up is the Christmas Pyramid. I learned this from my mother/n/law, because Italians do not have this. Every year, out came the Christmas Pyramid and we would scramble to find candles to light, so that the propellor would fly around in a circle. Here you see a larger pyramid that they put up in a town in Europe. Ours was much smaller.

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When I was young, we had a German neighbor and they put small candles on the tree and lit them. Can you imagine what a possible fire hazard that was?  BUT they never burned their house down. While we enjoyed the lit candles on the tree, we would play a game of Canasta!

Memories… it’s nice if we still have them!