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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ahhh the wisdom of a child!

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]


When I started to use the computer today Jessie said, "It not puper (computer) day it Halloween day!"

She's absolutely right! Happy Halloween everyone!

Next Post: Serenity week comes to a close.

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Friday, October 30, 2009

Not Finding Calm

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

Having another failing grade week, after my 8 for whimsy week, when I really thought I was on a roll. More likely it has something to do with my personality. Whimsical is state I am comfortable in, calm not so much. (Laughing here... I can barely type the word! I just typed clam instead. Nice dinner option, had them last night, but not the topic at hand!) I've been mulling over my field work from my initial serenity post earlier in the week. (For your reference I re-post that section here.)

Field Work - There will be two aspects to my field work this week. First I will be creating and practicing a morning ritual of solitude and reflection. I mentioned this during my creativity week but haven't yet formed any habit. My second piece of field work is to go to my local Japanese Garden at least twice this week and otherwise expose myself to soothing landscapes. My new home is fabulous but it is time to look outside the walls! If you don't have a friendship garden near your home pick another park or beautiful vista you can access. You know, that pull off on the highway that you drive by everyday but haven't ever taken the time to look or that park just minutes away that you have never visited... there is beautiful scenery all around us, this week it is our job to notice!

I've accomplished none of it!  Rob and I are sharing a car at the moment so I have had too many errandy (made up word!) things to do when I've had the car so I haven't made it out to the Japanese Garden yet. The week isn't over but from where I am sitting my odds for making even one visit don't look that good! I did notice a killer sunset from my bedroom window and even shared the moment with Rob so all is not entirely lost on the noticing beauty aspect of the assignment but I haven't done what I set out to do.

Going even more dismally is the morning ritual of solitude and reflection. This is an idea I really love and still I am not able to execute it. Mornings are just too unpredictable. Sometimes Jessie wakes up early, sometimes Rob has time to talk over coffee,  and nothing ever seems to happen at the same time each morning. If I wanted to insure I had the moments I picture when thinking about this I would need to wake up before 6:00am and I am just not willing to do that, YET. It is yet because this night owl girl can see the benefit of early minutes, potentially a whole hour, alone so it is calling to me...

I've Kindled my book and haven't read a page. My non reading excuse totally out the window! My high school friend, Joanie, did come to stay with us for a few days so I could blame her except for the fact that apart from late evenings she was busy at a conference!

I was very proud of my calm approach to my regular Friday play date lunch group when I made a simple crock pot stew and for one of the first times in my history made the correct amount of food (we usually eat leftovers for a couple of days!) The calm was dashed when my friend Kristen's mom noticed we had an Oleander bush in our backyard. As part of Inquiry week (next week) I was planning to find out what all the plants in my new yard are but thankfully I didn't have to wait until then for this piece of information. Oleander is SUPER SUPER poisonous!! One leaf can kill a child. Horses that accidentally graze on it go into cardiac arrest. This is NOT the kind of stuff the mom of a practically pica afflicted (thanks to Amy for letting me in on this one!) 2.5 year old should have in her yard! Needless to say, any calm that may have been present was disolved.

As I am typing this my fabulous gardener is removing the toxic bush, so the chance for calm returns -- once I get Jessie down from balancing on the back of the couch...

Next Post: Looking for composure if not calm

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Visual Serenity

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

Each of these artists has some serenity to share... take a moment to enjoy! If you like what you see, click on the links to see a larger image and/or for more information and more of the artist's work!


Place of a Thousand Drips by Gary L Suddah




Island by Michael Dreese


 
Journey of Peace by Terri-Lynn Bealle




Serenity by Simon Ejsing


 
 
 Smoky Morn by Joyce Dickens

Next Post: Finding Calm

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Benefits of a pause

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

Since writing that I would been incorporating a Pause 1-2-3 experiment as one of my Bliss Initiatives for the week, I have been doing my best to pay attention to the times I react too quickly. I've noticed that I am generally pretty good when responding to something Jessie or one of her little friends may do. My mantra is "They are only two, why would they know anything else?" and it is easy to respond in a thoughtful way. I have found however that I do not give adults the same benefit. I almost never pause when I interact with Rob. Thankfully we are pretty well in sync with each other but any disagreements we do have would likely dissolve if I just took a moment before speaking. With my mom it is even worse, with her I am always ready to pounce on any word I find failing.

I have taken dozens of courses at Landmark Education and understand clearly that it is my listening that is at the root of these situations but I am still hard wired to strike at the slightest perceived wrong. On the rare occasion I do catch myself and take that pause it unalterably nets a good result. Given that outcome it seems odd that I still find it so difficult!

When working out complex issues a pause is an invaluable tool. "What happens during that pause is that someone is thinking about something they have not previously considered. They are putting the question in a context that combines their knowledge, opinion, belief and audience. A thoughtful answer will illuminate the question (and the respondent) to the questioner and bystanders...

 Socrates had it right. The "solution" to the resulting problems (people talking past each other and deadlock) is a greater respect for, and use of, the pause." From the blog "Environmental Economics" in a post entitled "A Pause for Thought" by David Zetland.

Geoff Sheehy in his blog A Teacher Writes, writes about the benefits of pausing for a novice in any field. "In my areas of expertise (teaching, reading, public speaking) I am able to think and act fairly simultaneously (though for the best thinking I must even then stop acting), but when I am not an expert, the action takes too much of my concentration to allow me to engage my mind in two places.
Enter the consideration of the student. By definition a student is not an expert in the content being studied. That means that a student likely is not able to think and act at the same time; if a student is to think, he or she will need time to stop, absorb, reflect, and realize." (Click to view the entire post entitled Time to Think)

The benefit of a pause is as obvious as the inability to pause appears to be a human condition. Nations have been struggling with the same things since the dawn of time. While it seems clear that the United States is not prone to great pauses it is encouraging to note that another country is doing so. Vir Saghvi a Mint Lounge columnist and the advisory editorial director of Hindustan Times (Click here for full article) India, writes with regard to their neighbor Pakistan, that India "learnt to hit pause before reacting" in 2008 following the Mumbai terror attacks. He says "If we went by American precedents, India would have no difficulty in offering a moral justification for an invasion of Pakistan...  we don’t rush into knee-jerk reactions. We worry instead about how prepared we are to face their hostility. And we react with coolness and calm. That, to me, is a major achievement—and 2008 is the year it happened."

A major achievement indeed!

Next Post: Visual Serenity

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Serenity Study

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

I think WHIMSY week is still hanging on over here because I still wanted to do my flash inspiration searches, substituting SERENITY, but it really doesn't work very well. I did find a couple of interesting things I've decided to share here.

This photo is of Valic, who is relaxed if not serene. He is one of the residents of the Serenity Springs Wildlife Center outside of Colorado Springs in Calhan Colorado.  In addition to Valic they take care of more then 100 other big cats.


A little SERENITY clip complements of Seinfeld. Not quite the serenity I am seeking. LOL

Any study of SERENITY will lead one to the famous Serenity Prayer, most often attributed to he theologian Reinhold Niebuh.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Almost cliche' since we have all heard  it a million times, but if followed still can lead one toward more serenity.

I haven't been reading a book the past couple of weeks because the ones I've been interested in have not been available on my Kindle. The oh so convenient instant gratification feature of that device has ruined me for regular book buying... not entirely true, but when I want to read something, I certainly expect it to be available immediately! Anyway, I digress. I promised I would share my study book with you today and in addition to being immediately available "Understanding Serenity" by Jane Nelsen (also author of Positive Discipline, and has a very informative parenting site here) a review of this book contained this statement "Dr. Nelson's book focuses attention on the very basic concept that human beings think. And, it is one's thoughts that create one's reality." This is the entire premise of my experiment so I am expecting to find much synergy in the book. I'll update you later in the week.

Next Post: A little pause

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Monday, October 26, 2009

Serenity week begins

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace.

The yin and yang of my bliss virtues is fabulous! Following the rather frenetic whimsy comes serenity, calling for a calm and ease with which I am generally unfamiliar. I like the idea of serenity but my personal  relationship with it is rather spotty. I consider meditation, or prayer a good access point for serenity but I have never had a regular experience of either. I did participate in a 10 day silent Vipassana Meditation retreat and had the experience of quieting my mind to a point where serenity was palpable but I made no regular practice of it.

This week's  "Bliss Initiatives," are color coded in purple for quick identification. They are specific things that you too can try, if you want to play along with me.  However, because as Earl Nightingale says, "you become what you think about,"  even if you only follow along,  and never take on any of the bliss initiatives,  I expect some positive results. I will be exploring and encouraging SERENITY this way:
  • Study -  I will be doing my usual internet perusal and will choose a book to read. I will update you tomorrow with that title.
  • Field Work - There will be two aspects to my field work this week. First I will be creating and practicing a morning ritual of solitude and reflection. I mentioned this during my creativity week but haven't yet formed any habit. My second piece of field work is to go to my local Japanese Garden at least twice this week and otherwise expose myself to soothing landscapes. My new home is fabulous but it is time to look outside the walls! If you don't have a friendship garden near your home pick another park or beautiful vista you can access. You know, that pull off on the highway that you drive by everyday but haven't ever taken the time to look or that park just minutes away that you have never visited... there is beautiful scenery all around us, this week it is our job to notice!

Photo from Yelp's review page of the Japanese Friendship Garden.

  • Try some meditation. This week I am going to try a little meditation. Remembering my Vipassaana course has me interested in a Mindful Meditation (I found this one on the The World Wide Online Meditation Center website) where the primary focus is your breathing. However, the primary goal is maintaining a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without getting enmeshed in them. This calm, accepting, spacious awareness is your Innermost Essence... your Core Self. This meditation is done with your eyes closed. If you prefer to try a visual type of meditation there are some good ones over at Learning Meditation with slide shows of beautiful landscapes to accompany the meditation.
  • Pause 1-2-3 experiment. This week when I feel myself start to react to something I am going to take a pause and count to three. If I had done this yesterday, I could have avoided a disagreement with Rob. Frankly we didn't really have a disagreement, I just misunderstood something he said and I took a very defensive stance in my response to something he said. Next thing, he is reacting to my response and we were both in a bit of a tizzy defending our positions when, when we got to the bottom of it weren't really very different from each other.  If I had just paused when I first felt myself getting upset I would have realized I misunderstood what he said and the whole thing could have been avoided. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. - Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) How many times a day do I react before pausing? I have no idea, but if I can stop even a few I am certain I can foster a bit more serenity in the process! 
Next Post: The Study of Serenity

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Practical Whimsy

WHIMSY - extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression; an odd or fanciful notion. [Whimsy week starts here, click for this weeks Bliss Initiatives]

I am really having trouble writing this post. It is hard to believe whimsy week is already over! What a lot of fun I am having! I have really enjoyed my "flash inspiration" searches each day and while I have shared a few here I have actually spent a lot of time doing them. There is just so much interesting stuff out there, I couldn't stop!

Here's one from yesterday, LEGO Furniture!


Actually they are LunaBlocks, which are giant Lego like blocks which can be used to make furniture. There are soft  pieces, for couches, chairs and hard pieces for tables, book cases etc. I found them over at Web Urbanist  a very interesting art and design blog. One of the fun things about doing these random flash searches is they have led me to places I haven't previously been. The design world is particularly rich with innovation that has been a complete pleasure to behold. I am sure I will be visiting again.

When I quite randomly chose the name of this blog post "Practical Whimsy" I initially intended to share the the whimsical finds that I thought would be most useful in everyday life. I'm still interested in doing that but I've decided to wait until next time Whimsy week comes around. Perhaps SERENITY week is already creeping into my psyche as I just want to take a simpler road. Instead I've decided to share the website Practical Whimsy, which I found while preparing for this post. This little site says, Whimsy, mixed with some practical thought and applications, and the right recipes makes for an exceptional and entertaining life. I couldn't agree more!

I thought I'd end as I started WHIMSY week, with a piece by Hundertwasser.  An environmentalist in his heart he allowed whimsy to practically speak:





All in all it has been a terrific week and I will give my self an 8, my best score yet! Woo hoo!

Next Post: Serenity week begins

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kitchen Whimsy

WHIMSY - extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression; an odd or fanciful notion. [Whimsy week starts here, click for this weeks Bliss Initiatives]

My friend Jeff has been doing his own year long experiment.
I love his year of cooking fabulously and my project was actually inspired in part by his endeavor.  Do check out his blog which was at day 218 as of this writing. When you check out his blog you will notice that he provides commentary on how he thinks the recipe stands up on its own and how he thinks he executed it. He also lets you know what his guests think of the taste and whether or not he thinks he will ever make it the dish again. At the end of each post he gives himself and Martha (for the recipe and whether directions are easy to follow) a letter grade.

Well just for whimsy's sake I am writing today's post in exactly this style. My recipe is not from Martha Stewart but I will apply those standards anyway! Remember earlier this week when I said that Jessie and I were going to make these cute spider cookies?


From the Land O Lakes Butter recipe site. They are super easy to make and well within my limited baking capabilities! And I think Jessie will have fun decorating... I think we'll go with 8 legs of licorice instead of 4  --- Please take special note of They are super easy to make and well within my limited baking capabilities! My cooking "series" will be less cooking fabulously and more persevering through ineptitude. (Special note to my friend John -- echos of cake on a stick still remain...)

Day  1 - Bug Cookies

When I looked at this recipe, I immediately thought, "How great, something quick and easy for Sweets and I to do together." I really am not sure what I was thinking, quick and easy just doesn't happen that much with a 2 year old!

First we went shopping for our ingredients. The cookie base was simple and didn't require anything I didn't already have... sugar, flour, butter etc. but what I was looking for were the decorating extras, black decorator sugar and thin black licorice. Both of which could NOT be found in my regular grocery store. The girl was already looking kind of tired and since I was afraid to hunt for a specialty store for fear of missing the critical nap zone so I decided to improvise. I bought red licorice which could be peeled into thin strips and I bought black cake decorating gel which I was going to mix with sugar, hopefully netting my "black decorator sugar".

When we set out to make the cookies (the next day -- Just like some of Jeff's more elaborate preparations, ours take multiple days to execute! LOL) we started by making our black sugar. I squeezed a goodly portion (about 1/4 cup) of black decorating frosting in a ziplock bag and poured about 1/2 cup of sugar into the bag and sealed it up. I then gave the bag to Jessie for squishing together. What I didn't consider with this master plan was that diluting the black gel with white sugar would cause it to lighten up and no longer appear that black. If that meant grey, I would have been fine with it since plenty of bugs are grey but instead we got a sort of icky green. Oh, well we didn't really have another choice. We'll use it anyway. It is Halloween season after all!

The cookie dough was easy to prepare and even without a mixer (somehow I have the base for one hand mixer and the blades to another and they do not work interchangeably) and with a 2 year old wielding a fork, it came together beautifully. Having had quite a bit of playdoh practice, Jessie and I were both good at rolling the balls of dough and then shaking the icky green sugar all over them. It was no time before the first batch was in the oven!

The part of the recipe I need to give Land O Lakes a demerit for is the instruction: Immediately insert 4 licorice pieces into each cookie to form legs. Frankly, unless you happen to have bionic hands or possess some sort of super power it it is pretty near impossible to get all those legs in before the cookies cool too much. I had pre cut my licorice and thought I was moving pretty fast but even so I was not able to reach my planned eight legs on any of them. (I opted for at least 4 in most rather then 8 in some and none in others! ) If they were made in batches of 6-8 then I think it might have worked better. Thankfully, I only have one cookie sheet out of storage so at least I didn't pop all of them into the oven at once. Had I done that we would have had a lot of legless bugs!

 
The master decorator and her creations

The cookies tasted like sugar cookies. They were sugar cookies after all, but that is about all I can say about the taste. I served them at my regular Friday playdate lunch group. They weren't good enough to be gobbled up but they weren't bad enough to be thrown away. There was some bartering involved in deciding who would be saddled with taking the leftovers home.
Mixed reviews! Top left: Britta moving cautiously. 
Top right Lillian not sure. Bottom: Good sport Kristen who actually ate two!

Will I make them again? Doubtful, but given the fun factor Sweets and I had making them I do see Christmas cookies in the future.

Kathy: C+ (Good and bad Job on the improvising!)
Land O Lakes: B+

Next Post: Practical Whimsy

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Corporate whimsy

WHIMSY - extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression; an odd or fanciful notion. [Whimsy week starts here, click for this weeks Bliss Initiatives]

When I decided to write about corporate whimsy I immediately thought back to a couple of my favorite jobs and I realize that whimsy was one of the biggest factors in making those jobs memorable. Back in my late 20's (wow has it really been so long!) I worked for an outfit called American Teleconferencing Services (ATS). The owner, Bob Cowan and his wife Jenny, collected Disney artwork and we had it all over the office. Indeed the passion continues today for Bob (You can check out his animation blog here) and I am here to say having that whimsy in the office made a difference. It permeated the culture and added something I have spent a good part of my corporate career trying to duplicate. In addition to the artwork Bob also fostered a culture of recognition and we were always enjoying the celebration of reaching our corporate milestones.

In addition to the big celebrations, like our 10 year anniversarry, little things also meant something to Bob. I remember one particular company meeting where we were discussing the company finances (another feature of Bob's leadership was an open book management style) and we zeroed in on the line item: M&Ms. They were on just about every desk in the office but it really hadn't occurred to me that it cost something for them to be there. At this particular meeting we were looking at cost cutting measures but my co-workers and I decided the money (I seem to recall it being a couple of thousand dollars a year! -- but my memory could have inflated this number) spent on M&Ms, provided a vital cultural component to our work so they stayed!

After I left ATS, I had trouble finding a corporate fit until a company called Latitude. They too had a culture of celebration and recognition. Each year the entire company would go on team building trips which included things like Space Camp, Fire Fighter Training and. the last one I remember, Curling in the San Jose Sharks arena. The reason I became interested in the company, in addition to the product I liked, was the fact that the Executive team had posted their favorite vegetable on the company web site. It totally cracked me up and I thought that any company goofy enough to post something like that might be a place I might like to work. To this day I remember that the president, Emil Wang, loves broccoli.  Who knew that M&Ms and Broccoli were, for me, the way to corporate bliss!

Of course I am taking a hiatus from corporate gigs to raise my beautiful girl, but all things corporate still interest me. I love finding what makes one business fly and another flop.  Time and time again it seems to me that corporate whimsy contributes to success. Phyllis Korkki, wrote in the NY Times (published February 17, 2008 ) about The Power of Whimsy (click to view complete article) in a piece she did on Sandra Boynton: By one rough estimate, Sandra Boynton has sold around a half-billion cards, which may make her one of the best-selling card creators of all time.Her cards were thoughtful, wry and whimsical. While the sentiments may have been unconventional, they resonated with the public.“Things are getting worse,” said one card that featured a bewildered hippo. On the inside it said “please send chocolate.”Whimsy, it turns out, had been undervalued. And the big card companies eventually took some of their artistic cues from her.

[Click on graphic to go to Sandra's website]

Speaking of card companies, when this topic came to mind I also thought of my friend Kare who recently took a job over at Minted. From her facebook updates and little snip-its I'd heard through the grapevine it was clear that Kare had found a place where whimsy was treasured. She describes it this way, "What I fell into was a decadent surprise: luxury and beauty, all pouring out of the fun and fresh culture that drives our creative challenges and bold designs.


[Click on logo to go to their site]

Minted's whimsy is simultaneously blatant and subtle, in the physical structure of our office (one of our engineers and I often work side-by-side in our mid-office lounge area, which features two couches and two cozy chairs with funky slip-covers) and in the offerings we have for anyone who stops by the site to take a look. We take ourselves and our designs pretty lightly (although our commitment to do just that is pretty serious!)"
Minted has just released their holiday line up. If you are looking for something whimsical and unique this year I highly recommend you take a look. I think we are going to do the Holiday Minibook 

Peace Love and Bop by Alex Elko Design - funky and fun, with a tinted photo:

Candy Tree by Gleaux - including one of our bestselling innovative formats, the Yearline (TM)


Footsteps in the Snow by Oscar + Emma Design - in our brand new format, the multi-photo and multi-page Minibook, packing more adorable pictures and text than your average holiday card!

I am not alone in my observations. This from Creative Lantern a consulting company founded in 2008, New Lantern LLC represents a new approach to corporate innovation by bringing together two different, well-established worlds – the business class and the creative class. Using innovative techniques, New Lantern helps companies successfully mine and develop talent that already exists within their own worforce.
Add ‘Whimsy’ to Your Corporate Vocabulary
You should also add “whimsy” to your corporate vocabulary. Nurture and celebrate those within your organization who turn dreams and fancy into innovative products and services – and in doing so, enable your business to grow and thrive.

Look what you get when you click on whimsy in their blog post... Brilliant!! Whimsy is definately where it is at!

Next Post: Kitchen Whimsy

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More Wearable Whimsy

WHIMSY - extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression; an odd or fanciful notion. [Click here for this weeks Bliss Initiatives]

Wearable whimsy could go on for days! Indeed I have found several design blogs (Elaine Perlov's BlogStickers and Donuts, and Ecouterre to name a few) who do this all year! 

These colorful whimsical shoes, by Hetty Rose, are handmade using vintage fabrics! From the website:  The collection is based on a theory of re-using and re-working vintage materials in a creative and sustainable way, hand making gorgeous, feminine shoes to fit. Image found in NinkyBink Blog.


And how about this pair from Drawing Conclusions, very fun! Anyone interested in textiles should take a look at her site and blog. She is doing some very interesting stuff!



And then there is Jewelery. I have not been wearing very much Jewelery lately. I used to be all about the earring. I particularly liked dangly types. Jessie is still pretty rough around earrings so I will not likely be reliving this passion for a few more years... until then I can dream:


I found these Sea Foam Ginko earings over at Style Hive, on the same page was this unique address book necklace!

Here are some really nice one of a kind beauties from Momochas, and artist from Spain who sells her stuff on ETSY.



If you are looking to buy or sell unique and one of a kind handmade gifts, I can't recommend ETSY enough. I've been buying Christmas gifts from there for a couple of years. Something new and interesting is always waiting to be found!



This fun kaleidoscope ring is from Lori Bonn's Chrysalis collection which delightfully incorporates reclaimed metals in the designs. From the website: Chrysalis combines environmentally and socially responsible gemstones with recycled metals and ethical manufacturing practices. It's Clear Conscience (tm) Jewelry, and our effort to tread more lightly on the planet. If you are looking for a classic or fun piece to add to your collection you should definitely take a look at Lori's distinct collection.


And then there are things I hadn't considered. Jennifer over at  J Casa *Handmade says "Why not? regarding these whimsical hand warmers.

Indeed. Why not?!

Next Post: Corporate Whimsy

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wearable Whimsy

WHIMSY - extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression; an odd or fanciful notion. [Click here for this weeks Bliss Initiatives]

I have always enjoyed a slightly quirky fashion style. Currently I have fallen into casual suburban mom mode but there have been times in my life that I sported a signature scarf, hat, vest or something that was uniquely mine. In middle school I invented these little chenille bump creatures (I'll have to make one for you and post it later this week!) that I wore to match every outfit. I even sold some to friends and for a while I had my own little Fashion trend going! I kind of miss my Austrian scarfs, over the years I've lost my favorites and I haven't really tried to find replacements.

 That's me (second from the left. Jaye, my creativity guru is the first one on the left) in 1982 sporting the well loved scarf I bartered for from my friend Dieter.  I still have a faded and well worn vest that has come out of my closet twice since high school because vests came back in style... I just can't toss it! I think vests are due for a come back again!

Using my "flash inspiration" searches I looked for Hats and other clothing today and I have to say I am inspired to add something whimsical to my closet. I am not planning on going as far as some of the masterpieces posted below but something, something is definitely calling my name! I'll be keeping you posted!
 
A Love Affair with Hats, Women's Hats Around the World

From Carly Wickell, About.com


This fabulous dress is made of PAPER!!

I found it on the JoMA (The Journal of Mythical Arts) web site. The entire site is whimsical and delightful to look at; I recommend you take a peek! This is what they have to say about themselves:

"The Journal of Mythic Arts" is an online journal published by the Endicott Studio, an organization dedicated to literary, visual, and performance arts inspired by myth, folklore, fairy tales, and the oral storytelling tradition.

For generations, artists have drawn upon mythic and folkloric symbolism to make contemporary works addressing the issues of their time. Our mission is to honor mythic artists of the past, support mythic artists working today, and to carry this tradition into the future. 


If you are interested in having a paper dress like the one above made for you, you should go to Miss Clara's website. She has an AMAZING collection of whimsical paper art worth a peek at even if you never commission the dress.


The delightful toddler ensemble of whimsical wear below comes from the Calico Cameleon and addition to being really cute and fun, Tara makes her pieces from reclaimed wools. Small eco-footprint and great style... who could ask for anything more?




The following is from a post entitled Alice in Wonderland Whimsy from a blog called Stickers and Donuts which might have become my FAVORITE whimsical spot of the week except for the fact they are currently on a break and looking for new writers to join the fun...


Next Post: More wearable whimsy... I haven't even gotten to Jewelery yet!

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jessie's Towder and Nests

WHIMSY - extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression; an odd or fanciful notion. [Click here for this weeks Bliss Initiatives]




It looks like Jessie is being influenced by the art I have been showing her! On top is "Good Morning City, Bleeding Town" by Hundertwasser  (Image from Gallery of Surrealism) and below that is "Look, look my towder!" By Jessie Sprinkle. 



And here she is working in another medium! "This be a castle mommy."



 Jessie and I got to work on some whimsical crafts. We found two bird nests in our new backyard, one occupied one not, which led to conversations about how and why birds build nests.  To the occupied group Jessie declared, "I no like those Birdies!" When I asked why she replied, "They fly away when I talk loud." The unoccupied nest was even more problematic and we called "Here birdie birdie! Come back your house!" for most of an afternoon.  Jessie seemed really inspired by the fact that some birds use all sorts of yarn, feathers and other fuzzy scraps to make a nest and so she decided to make one for her little red birdie friend.





And then when it looked like Birdie really liked her nest, Jessie decided she needed to have one for herself!



Clearly Jessie has earned a 10 out of 10 for her whimsy week! Me?... still working on it! 

Next Post: Wearable Whimsy

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

Whimsy musings

WHIMSY - extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression; an odd or fanciful notion. [Click here for this weeks Bliss Initiatives]



This is a photo of the famed Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna. When I was looking at it yesterday Jessie came by and said "OOOH a Princess lives there!" and I think she got it about right. Hundertwasser's fanciful designs look very royal although he made his buildings for everyone to enjoy.
The Interiors of his buildings fascinate me most. They are filled with columns that look like they may topple over at any minute and even the floors are uneven. This from the Wiki on Hundertwasser: The Hundertwasserhaus block in Vienna features undulating floors ("an uneven floor is a melody to the feet"), a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows. He took no payment for the design of Hundertwasserhaus, declaring that it was worth it, to "prevent something ugly from going up in its place".

When I was in Austria as an exchange student, my friend Hans introduced me to Hundertwasser and gave me a nice collection of post cards depicting his work.  I would spend days pouring over the little pieces of art and arranging them in different ways on the wall of my room.  Unfortunately they are in storage at the moment so I can't share the impressive bunch with you, however this magnet grouping shown below gives you an idea of what my displays looked like. Several of the pieces in this grouping are VERY familiar to me and I remember staring at them for hours. [The images shared today come from Google Images with specific credit going to: artchive.com for the Hundertwasserhaus Photo; summerland.school.nz for the interior shot; and Redtree Times for the magnet composite.]


Today's whimsical "flash inspiration" searches led me to:

Whimsical Furniture by Judson Beaumont found first in the site If it is Hip it is Here which has a ton of interesting design stuff as well as other touches of whimsy.






Whimsical Bird Houses found at Wild Bird Garden 
and Gold Country Woodworks


Whimsical Cookies

Super cute versions for all occasions. You can buy party packs or individual cookies.



But I want to make some cookies with Jessie so I'm going with these:

From the Land O Lakes Butter recipe site. They are super easy to make and well within my limited baking capabilities! And I think Jessie will have fun decorating... I think we'll go with 8 legs of licorice instead of 4!

Next Post: Jessie's Nests

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise

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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

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