Why do I feel like I'm living in a Dicken's novel? Best of times - worst of times. The political atrocities and environmental decay have me heart sick but I'm doing my best to focus on what I can control in my own space. I read that if you express you can't feel stress. It's not true, but it has helped divert my attention.
My creative energy has been electric recently and I find myself bouncing from project to project.The entire house is set up with possibilities! I'm designing, crocheting and knitting in the sewing room, doing research, reading and working on the computer in my office, journaling and illustrated journaling on the porch or in the living room, painting and book making in my dining room, and cooking, baking, aging journal pages and playing with eco printing on fabrics and papers in my kitchen.
Learning to navigate Instagram, making videos for friends who are jazz musicians and spending time with family and friends have all diverted me from my blog. I'm also in the process of creating a website to replace my hidden treasures. I'll probably leave this one up but new posts will be on the new site.
This is an attempt to catch up a bit! My illustrated journal pages form the basis for the projects I'm creating.
Designing with Scarves
The heavy drapes in the sewing room have been replaced with sheers for the summer - a perfect back drop for playing with the gorgeous silk batik scarves from my neighbors, Hatai and Sue!
Most of the scarves are geometric patterns but there are a few one-of-a-kind batiks featuring animals and landscapes. They are all such special treasures and I will be very thoughtful in how I use them in future projects.
You are the only one who has the answer to "Today's Treasure". Your answer could lead you on a treasure hunt to a more peaceful and productive journey.
Fill in the blank.
We are surrounded by __________________
What is the first thing that comes to mind?
Choose your word before you scroll down!
Simply answering this question can say a lot about who we are, our stress level, and how we spend our time. Does your answer represent something wonderful you value and appreciate, or something you fear? Is it something in the present moment or does is involve things that relate to the past or the future? Does your answer direct you to action for improvement or simply more frustration?
I recently asked this question in a training and the answers were as varied as the people in the room.
Here are a few -
Answers were as varied as the differences in people and their points of view. There were examples of both half empty and half full. Some people felt hopeful, others hopeless.
If you thought of something positive, you will attract more of it into your life. Congratulations! What we focus our attention on increases. This is a universal law, first recognized by the ancient philosophers and it continues today with Mike Dooley, Deepak Chopra and other great thinkers of our time.
With all of the concerns in the world right now, we undoubtedly need to pay attention and be aware of injustice. There are many parallels to things we've seen play out in history. Turning our heads, denying and being naive and uninvolved won't serve us well.
But we need to be cognizant of whether we can (and will) take action, or whether we will allow concerns and frustrations to continue to instill worn out messages playing over and over in our heads. If we don't, or won't, take action, our stress will continue.
If we can't think of any action that will improve our situation, we need to simply let go and focus our attention on what is in the realm of our possibilities.
The Serenity Prayer
If you've followed my blog for long, you can probably guess my answer. Treasures. They are everywhere! Some are hidden but many are right in front of us. Either way, aren't we blessed? If I didn't focus on my blessings, I wouldn't have the strength or the energy to address things that concern me.
Hopefully, you'll be able to direct most of your attention to the beauty and abundance that surrounds us, and have the optimism and energy left to find out how to make a difference. We are living in challenging times and we need positive, caring people to join forces and take action.
From May 18, 2014
On the morning of the race, I felt well prepared. I had purchased my hat for the Preakness weeks before the race at the Downton Abbey exhibit at Winterthur in Delaware. I waited until the day of the race to purchase the flowers to decorate it, hoping for them to be as fresh as possible. The Black-Eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland, as well as the official flower of the Preakness, so I was certain that local florists and farmer's markets would be abundant with fresh blossoms to adorn my hat for the day's race,. There wasn't a Black-Eyed Susan to be found. Well, at least not of the floral variety.
There weren't even any silks available. I purchased a garland of daisies and hurried home to paint the centers with acrylics, thankful that it was a quick drying paint. Next year I'll be prepared, and may even try to force some blossoms for the event.
Even California Chrome, the winning horse, was deprived of the thrill of wearing an authentic garland of the official flower. Instead his 10 foot long, 4,200 bloom blanket was made of golden yellow chrysanthemums with black in the center.
Numerous people, including a local florist, told me as recently as the day of this year's race, May 17, 2014, "the flowers used for the race and the blanket that covers the winning horse are daisies with the centers painted with black lacquer or shoe polish." However, more reliable sources state they haven't used that technique for over fifteen years.
Susan Reimer, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, noted that the archives of the Sun first mentioned the Black Eyed Susan taking the place of the rose blanket for the Maryland Preakness race in the late 1930s. "In 1939 the Sun described what it said was a blanket of black-eyed Susans gracing the neck of Preakness winner Challedon. Racing writer Jesse Linthicum said the change gave the race 'a real Maryland flavor'."
As far as the origin of the daisies with the centers painted black, Reimer reveals the beginning and the end of the mystery. The Black-Eyed Susan, a wild flower too delicate to hold up to the technique of being woven into a blanket and remaining fresh and hardy for a couple of days, doesn't even bloom until late June. "It was Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Price Day, writing in The Sun in 1946, who revealed that florist and devoted horse lover George Cook had been painting the center of yellow daisies with shoe black for years. He'd made every blanket from 1928 to 1953, and he died just days before the 1954 race."
The choice of the Black-Eyed Susan is in honor of it's position as the official flower. The state legislature of Maryland officially endorsed the Black Eyed Susan as the Maryland state flower in 1918. There are thirteen petals, as there were thirteen original colonies which included Maryland, and the black and yellow beautifully represent the colors in the Maryland flag. Admittedly, other than its untimely debut and fragile nature, it is a worthy choice for the official Preakness flower!
Documenting trips is a wonderful way to preserve memories! A dear friend is leaving for Greece tomorrow so I made three journals to inspire her to document her trip. The first is an over view of Greece including what to do before the trip, a chronological list of the history, terms, a page on Greek architecture, one on the gods and goddesses (Greek and Roman), a map and an envelope with a booklet with photos.
The second is a blank diary with a page of journal prompts, and the third includes suggestions for different Greek dishes to try, as well as pages to list favorite restaurants and to capture memories of memorable meals.
The basis of a course created for the Renaissance Institute.
Alphabet - Make an alphabet of your next vacation, party, adventure. Von Oech's library advertisement - What we can do with 26 little letters!
Believe - the difference between people who feel they are creative and those that think they aren't is simply a matter of belief. Believe in yourself! Use affirmations.
Brain - We'll draw our brains and find out 'what's going on in our heads."Thoughts become things." What we think about will manifest in our lives. Brain listing. Brain storming.
Circles - Mandalas, the Green Circle, our circle of influence
Collecting Firsts - collecting firsts takes the pressure off of doing something new for the first time. Just add it to your collection!
Color - legends from the rainbow, Chakras
Dream - if you dream it, you can create it.
Energy - What increases it? What drains it. Be aware.
Faith - Faith or fear - recognize what motivates you.
Food - Always ask the value - 'What's In It For Me?". Food is fuel. What value is it adding? It can be a feast beyond tastes - smell, texture, vision, sound.
Gratitude - is the basis for all contentment. Write your own list and continue to add blessings. Look for assets. Example - 40 Assets for Youth
History - Look for lessons from history as you research and expire things you love! Example - Napoleon's violet post card.
Heart - love is the answer to everything.
Heart to Hand - write your goals onto paper. Research indicates your will be more likely to complete handwritten goals and your emotions will be more directly linked if you write and journal by hand.
History - we can learn so much from the past. Example - Napoleon violet post card.
Intuition - is a sixth sense. Be aware of it. Practice. Trust it. Feel it in your solar plexus.
Inspiration - It's every where - from insects to all aspects of nature - it can teach us many lessons. Observe and consider the lessons they bring. Also included in Ted Andrews book on animal Totems.
Journals - written, illustrated, fictional journals
Karma - we reap what we sow. If we plant radishes we will get radishes. They may not be immediate but they will manifest in time.
Light - lighten up, festivals of light, sun and its energy . . .
Maps - using maps to set goals, brain storm, mind maps, fishbone maps, etc.
Meditate - a simple meditation is to look at a painting or photo for 10 minutes and let your mind relax.
Nature - is abundant with lessons! It teaches us to live in the present moment, giving and receiving are the same, and that there is value in everything - even those often unappreciated weeds.
Numbers - have meaning. We'll look at the symbolism, and also lists of numbers and how to use them more creatively. Example - 6 Easy Pieces - a composition and layering technique.
O - own your own circle. We can't control others, but we can control our own space and how we treat others within our 10 foot circle. Open ended prompts.
Preparation - "a cowboy always carries his spurs!" Passed out notebooks. Bring a positive attitude, your notebook and pen, art supplies, an instrument - whatever works for you!
Quests - find a grand passion - it will give you energy, direction and purpose!
Questions - keep your questions broad. Don't include your own answers in your questions - that can be limiting. Have faith to ask without having specific expectations about what the answers will be. Example - How can I find my perfect living space instead of how can I build/rent in a particular area.
Quotes - Words can provide inspiration, validation, incentive, power, insights. Collect quotes from people you admire.
Recipes - if you find a recipe you love, let's share! They can be for food, art projects (6 Easy Pieces), a craft, a way to value life in a different way. Example - SCAMMPERR - technique by Robert F. Eberle - Substitute - components, materials, people Combine - mix, combine with other services, integrate, Arrange - organize, order, Modify/Magnify - reduce or increase in scale, shape, color, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate or Minify - remove elements, simplify, reduce to core, Rearrange/Reverse - inside out, upside down
Research - something you love!. For me it has been roses, violets, yarrow, zodiac herbs, herbs for haunting and romance.
Senses - Sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell and intuition- all of these can contribute to living a more sensuous, creative life!
Symbolism - we are surrounded by symbols - in history, art, paintings, advertising, sports logos. What symbols frequently cross your path?
Synchronicity - be aware of the synchronicity and serendipity in your life. Once you begin to see it, everything will change.
Themes - can make anything more fun! Whether it's a party, vacation, book or goal, themes provide a framework.
Totems - Native American Indian belief that each animal that crosses our path brings a message. Some are close by all our lives. We decided to add floral symbolism as well.
Unexpected - look at things from a different perspective - a different point of view. Example - shoes instead of faces at a party.
Values - know your values and live accordingly. Saves energy - eliminates drama.
Vision - the mind sees in pictures. Create a vision board to manifest the life you want.
Wishes - begin your list - 100 wishes. Use them to create goals.
WWWWW - Who? Who can help? What? What material can we use? Where? Where can we get other materials? When? When should we make it? Why? Why will it be an improvement?
X marks the spot. Make every day a treasure hunt.
Zodiac - just for fun - zodiac herbs, etc.
You! - We ended with Y instead of Z since it all begins and ends with you. YOU are the treasure!
"Our deepest fears are like dragons, guarding our deepest treasures."
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!