Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Orange & Green

Last week I was walking through the kitchen when I was stopped dead in my tracks by the incredibly gorgeous color combinations of Pyrex bowls and fruit.  I don't think George consciously meant to fill the bowls with the opposite color fruit because when I pointed out his genius he said, "Oh yeah, that's neat."  Sometimes I think he is a design prodigy and he doesn't know it.  After I noticed it I just had to stare at the bowls of fruit for ten minutes and instructed George he was not allowed to eat any of the fruit until I blogged it.  Luckily I got around to it the next day so no fruit was lost due to blogging (which is not always the case). 

“Serendipity: Such a beautiful word describing the occurrence of events by chance. I like to think it’s the energy you put out into the world returning your energy with love.” ― Steven Aitchison

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Creative Juice Retreat

Last weekend I headed out to Adams County for a retreat with a few women from my Creative Juice group.  The goal of the retreat was to get away with other amazing, creative women and to create, sleep in, hike, cook, and connect.  We did all that and more!

Our first project was a collaborative stop-motion video. Michelle is a talented singer songwriter and we used the lyrics from her song "When a Flower Meets a Butterfly" to make a video.  Margot downloaded an app that allowed her phone to automatically take a photo every fifteen seconds so we had to work quickly between shots.  We are still editing the video but below you can see a still from the project.  I will link it up when it is done.

On our hikes we all collected various items that caught our eye.  As you can see below Margot collected foliage for a beautiful flower arrangement. 

We also collected a datura pod which I thought looked perfect on these bottles. The house where we stayed had all sorts of vintage bottles and antiques to hold our collections (Thank you Mal & Jen!).

One day we ventured out to an amazing antique barn off Tater Ridge Road.  The owner, Herb Erwin, collects millstones which I am madly in love with; but to my dismay he won't sell them.  I should have taken more photos of his giant warehouse full of antiques, but I was too busy oohing and aahing over everything.

I also kept coming across incredible textures like the ones shown below.  I thought the patterns on this rusty barrel were beautiful.  I am never disappointed when I stop and look closely at things.

Although the creative part of the weekend is fun, my favorite part is connecting with other creative women.  At times I am so in awe of their beauty it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.  There were also times when the connection was so palpable that it made my heart soar.  There were tears, uncontrollable laughter, mysterious dreams, heartfelt stories, and food made with such care you could taste the love.  When I got home I was exhausted but so filled with gratitude for the time I spent with these women.

"To be a woman is to have interests and duties, raying out in all directions from the central mother-core, like spokes from the hub of a wheel. The pattern of our lives is essentially circular. We must be open to all points of the compass: husband, children, friends, home, community; stretched out, exposed, sensitive like a spider's web to each breeze that blows, to each call that comes. How difficult for us, then, to achieve a balance in the midst of these contradictory tensions, and yet how necessary for the proper functioning of our lives. How much we need, and how arduous of attainment is that steadiness preached in all rules for holy living. How desirable and how distant is the ideal of the contemplative, artist, or saint -- the inner inviolable core, the single eye.

With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions. The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls -- woman's normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.

What is the answer? There is no easy answer, no complete answer. I have only clues, shells from the sea. The bare beauty of the channelled whelk tells me that one answer, and perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some of the distractions. But how? Total retirement is not possible, I cannot shed my responsiblities. I cannot permanently inhabit a desert island. I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat, perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life. I can at least practice for these two weeks the simplification of outward life, as a beginning."

-- From ''Gift From the Sea''by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hurd Orchards

Last week I visited my sister in Rochester, NY and she scheduled us for a luncheon visit to Hurd Orchards.  When we arrived we entered the sweetest little store you can imagine.  Baskets and dried flowers lined the roof and fresh apples, pears and quinces were piled everywhere.  They also sold fresh flowers cut from their fields right behind the store.  I couldn't get over their perfect orange dahlias!

Our lunch was a maple-themed lunch.  As you can see below they had decorated with a maple theme and all of the dishes served had maple elements.  I think my favorite part of the lunch was the spinach salad served with a fresh pear with blue cheese and walnuts drizzled with a maple-apple dressing (above right corner).  My sister loved the homemade muffins with pear-almond jam (directly above left).

The photo below does not do justice to the amazing, huge flower arrangements.  The red maple leaves and the gigantic dahlias were breathtaking!

I was truly impressed by the care and attention given to every detail of our lunch and the store was adorable. If you are ever near Rochester it is well worth a visit to this amazing family orchard.    They grow over 70 different varieties of apples and offer all sorts of different themed luncheons, including Appleblossom, Lilac, Peonies and Old Roses, and Blueberry Buckle Luncheons just to name a few.  But if you can't make it out there they also ship their apples and preserves.  Hopefully next summer we will return for another amazing, fresh feast.

“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.” 
- Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wyoming Baptist Church Sketch

Today I went sketching with Robin and Jeb in Wyoming (a suburb of Cincinnati).  I had a lot to do today and I felt agitated when I was sketching.  None of my lines were right and I had to erase a million times in the beginning because my proportions were all wrong.  In my defense the church had some funny angles, but nothing too crazy.  Somehow, instead of a drawing the happy, white church before me I ended up infusing it with agitation.  Funny how that happens some times.

"What comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside you." - Dr. Wayne Dyer