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Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I feel I've written a lot on this. I'm not as obsessed with snowflakes (especially ornaments) as I used to be, but I still love them.

When I was little, I watched Faerie Tale Theatre's version of "The Snow Queen." All the emphasis on ice and snowflakes probably fueled my later obsession. They seemed so enchanted.

Friends often gave me snowflake ornaments as gifts. They seemed to enjoy playing with that theme. Melissa gave me a light blue snowflake throw blanket and a set of snowflake dishes that I still use.

I used to find beautiful, big pictures, designs, or backgrounds in magazines, tear them out, and make snowflakes of them. I remember one perfume page full of roses; it made a lovely rose snowflake.

I have narrowed down my collection of ornaments so that I have no duplicates. I love the glittery mess they make. I'm not great at decorating a tree, but our tree is full of snowflakes and seems just right.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Christmas Spirit.

I'd really like to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I haven't for a few years. But I'm not too old--no one is. How can I do this?
  • Buy gifts bit by bit instead of all at once. Even if we have little money, I enjoy finding gifts. It requires creative thinking.
  • Bring in our little faux tree from storage and plug in the lights.
  • Maybe decorate the tree with my collection of snowflake ornaments.
  • Go on a Christmas lights drive. Oliver would probably enjoy that now.
  • Play Aaron Neville's Christmas album. The bells at the beginning of the first track mark, for me, the official start of the Christmas season. 
  • Write in red, green, and gold.
  • Go in cinnamon-scented stores like Kirklands.
  • Burn cheap cinnamon candles.
  • Play James Taylor's Christmas album. 
  • Remember Christmases. Write about them or find them in old journals.
What gets you into the spirit?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wasted Gifts.

"The gifts irrevocably wasted through sloth or cowardice or carelessness..."
Joan Didion, "On Self-Respect"

I think I'm guilty of all of these. I don't write stories now because I'm overwhelmed with other issues but also because I'm too lazy. I could make it happen if I wanted to enough.

I haven't pursued or stayed devoted to many of my potential gifts. I don't want to sing or dance. I don't want to send my little words out for rejection. If I'm not good at what should be my best talents...well, that's something to be afraid of. I also know that a lot of unpleasantness comes with publication.

Carelessness...well, I probably have not fully appreciated and nurtured my gifts. Maybe I have put off finding out what my talents are.

A wasted gift sounds terrible. Maybe I can somehow add these thoughts to my day. Am I being lazy when I should be creative, productive, or studious? Am I letting fear dictate what I do? Am I being careless and missing great opportunities? Maybe that will give me a push.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

My Favorite Artists Part II.

I have a few more favorites.

Josephine Wall--I first saw her work on a big poster above my friend's purple couch. People have bought me journals and little books with her art, not even realizing she's a favorite. But I like that people link her work to me. It is so gorgeous. So many stories can be hidden in one painting. The details, the shadows, the light, feathers, moons, keys, fairies, and goddesses...I could stare for days. Luckily, she made a book, and I bought it years ago.

How can one not love Mary Engelbreit? She was features in an issue of the American Girl magazine. She talked about how her mother kept a jar full of pencils on the table and how she cleaned out a linen closet to make Mary a tiny studio. I think my grandmother liked her too, so I was a fan as a child. ME's art often includes plump little kids, girls with attitude, literacy encouragement, and delightful layers of clothes and home decor. I subscribed to her magazine, Home Companion, until it disappeared. I have a few books of her work though.

Mary Blair is a relatively new interest for me. Watching behind-the-scenes for a Disney movie, I learned that Blair had done so much concept art work for Disney movies. I have a Cinderella book with her strange, dream-like illustrations. My in-laws gave me a book of her art. I need to spend more time looking at my art books.

Cicely Mary Barker was in my life far back. I think maybe my grandparents gave me a book of her flower fairies. Barker drew fairies that looked like children and wore clothes made of their flowers or trees. My favorites were the Willow Fairy and the Fuchsia Fairy. I tried to determine which fairy looked most like me or my friends. Those flower fairies awakened my love of fairies long before I know any of these other artists. Oh! And every fairy had his or her own poem. So CMB also brought poetry to me.

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Favorite Artists Part I.

SARK writes inspiring books that encourage creative experience, assertive living, and independent healing. Most of her books are in her handwriting, and many are colorful with her quirky drawing and painting. I'm overdue to read more. Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper is my favorite.

K. Y. Craft's art simply floors me, like champagne glitter will rise right out of the pages and settle on my face and shoulders. Everything is so ornate. I probably like her Twelve Dancing Princesses most (it's also my favorite fairy tale, with "Cinderella" close by). The first journal I ever finished had K. Y. Craft's art on it.

Amy Brown is a dear favorite. I discovered her in two very different places when I was around 15. Once was in Astoria, Oregon. Her beautiful small prints were on display in a gift shop. I bought two: a blue rose fairy and a pink fairy putting on ballet shoes. The other time was at Hot Topic on journals and car accessories. On our first Christmas, Josh gave me her second book of collected art and a sheet of her intricate temporary tattoos. I would go to the Dancing Moon, a New-Age-y shop in Boone, to look at her greeting cards and books. Now, we probably have at least 12 prints of her art around the house. A couple have mermaids and one has a dragon. Possibly my favorite, a larger print hangs above our couch. At first, it just looks like a fairy couple gazing at each other with such certainty and dignity. But look again to see that the male fairy is cradling a tiny, sleeping fairy baby.