Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Am A Writer

Today I am guest posting over here where I share a glimpse of my writing journey.

Some people know early in their lives that they should be writers. Others of us don't clue in till much later. I used to lament I didn't see that writing was, indeed, a vital part of my life until I was older; I might have made different choices from the beginning. I would have studied and started writing earlier. However, it's still good. 

Thankfully, it's not too late to dip into this vibrant, teeming resource called life experience, or to learn the craft of writing and shape our memories into story, whether fiction or non-fiction. With Spring upon us, I think of the sap rising in dormant trees, and I feel my own sense of renewed hope rising. To just begin where I am... here and now. Not lamenting, not regretting.  Just starting afresh today, grateful every day offers us a little new beginning.

It's a journey that, I believe, takes on new meaning when we come alongside one another and walk together a little while. Cheering each other on. Sending words of courage to step out and begin what we still long to begin. What are you longing to begin this Spring?  I hope you take a new step towards your dream.

With a big hug and good wishes for a beautiful day,


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

An Oldie But Not Moldie...

Dear Beautiful Readers,

I have mentioned before that this year I started going through my blog archives to update old posts, to make sure links are still up-to-date, to spruce things up and flesh out scanty posts, and to ensure any photos I use that aren't my own are properly sourced, or replaced with something better.

You see, as it turns out from tracking my blogger stats, there are still readers popping in on old posts. Which makes me want to ensure these oldies are not moldy, but are worth popping in for. I'm happy to see just how much I've grown in my blogging skills, and my writing has certainly improved over the years too. Whew! 

All that to say, I worked on one such oldie just a few minutes ago. There were some fun quotables in it, and so I've dusted off the post and hope you'll find a bit of inspiration and light fun should you pop over for at peek at Uncovering Nuggets.

Now for something new! I had the happy thrill of having three robins stop in the backyard today for a few minutes. (sorry, no good photo to share). These are the first ones of the season. Yahhhh!

One even sang a little hello from the top of the Swedish aspen, although it was a rather weak rendition. No doubt, they all find themselves weary after such a long trek. And then to arrive with yards covered in many inches of snow from that last dump, well, it's fortunate the weatherman says warm temperatures will shortly melt it all away again. Happy days are here again...

I'm wishing you a beautiful rest of the day,

Here's the link to the earlier post I mentioned:
The Beauty of Overhauling Blog Archives

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blogging Tips: Find Free Online Images

How many times have you written a wonderful post only to find that you don't have the right picture(s) to go with it?

We all know that photos add so much value and interest to our blogs, as there isn't a one of us who doesn't like looking at the pictures when we visit each other's blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram, etc.

In a perfect world, we'd all be wonderful photographers and we'd have all the right props to create these wonderful vignettes. And we'd all love taking photos. But perhaps some of us are not so inclined; personally, I'm not a photographer at heart -- I prefer to sit in a beautiful spot and write about it than to go around taking pictures of it. I do take pictures, lots of them nowadays, but it's still not my first joy; I'm just as happy to scout for pics that have been made available online by others.

Some Great Online Sites

There are lots of sites where a person can pay a yearly fee to have access to photos, but what if a person's budget doesn't quite allow for that... where does a person go for free photos and not infringe on anyone's copyright?

Fortunately, there are some lovely sites where people have shared their photographs, images, and graphics, and made them available for people to use for free. I consider this amazing generosity -- I have availed myself of these quite often and am very grateful too. 

Read Their Terms of Use

These sites will outline their Terms of Use as to the way users are allowed to use the photos. For example, some want a link back to their site, others don't ask for it. Giving credit where credit is due is always a 'golden rule' thing to do. Some say you can use the photos for personal use and on your own website, but not for commercial use. Some say if you use the photograph to make something new and original, they don't need attribution acknowledged; others want the source mentioned. So, be sure to read the guidelines -- no one wants to find herself being in breach of copyright laws, or being unneighbourly. And, if you're unsure, a safe thing is to ask permission of the owner.

Some Links

Here is a really good post from Problogger.net by Stacey Roberts: Where to Find Free Images Online. Stacey has put together a great list of online places where she goes for free pics and graphics. Do read through the comments on her post too, as people have added other suggestions and cautions. 

Below I've added the links to a few of my own favourite places I have gone to over the years when I need some pretty vintage graphics. And, if you're looking for actual photos, then check out morguefile (near the bottom of the list) as that site has lots of wonderful photographs.

If you have any favourite sites where you obtain free graphics and pictures, and you'd be willing to share the links, please leave a note in the comment box.

Have fun exploring,

New Links Added:
Unsplash.com. I really like this site. Awesome photos. All images are under the CC0 license meaning they are in public domain and you are free to use them in any way you like.
Digital Inspiration posted a other photo sources with links and descriptions of what each site offers. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

On The Outside...

 But inside my heart...

 Happy First Day of Spring!

Sending you blissful hugs,

Monday, March 16, 2015

Musing on Spring

Spring won't let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again. ~ Gustav Mahler

Rick and I just got back from a walk in the neighbourhood. Although the sun's shining, there is still quite a bite in the air, and while I enjoyed the bracing wind on my face, I was glad for my jacket.

Over the years I have grown to appreciate this earliest part of Spring even though it's still much too early for green grass or trees swelling with new buds, and even though all the world looks worn and disheveled from a long, weighty Winter. The murky snow, mostly gone, has no resemblance of that fluffy pristine stuff we enjoyed weeks earlier, and brown lawns look frightfully pressed in with mounds of leaves moldering somewhere between mulch and compost. There is certainly no evidence of daffodils yet, except for those sitting in a jar on a table.

And yet for all that, I love this in between time. I love the smell of earth and warm air mixing, tree branches still barren against bluer skies. I love that birds seem to know something's afoot as they start singing different melodies. Honking geese, newly arrived from the south, seem eager to get a head start on claiming territory for the new season, even as they skate over ponds still frozen.

Now we wait for days to truly warm up. No doubt we'll have some snow yet before it's all said and done, after all, it is still early (especially here in northerly Alberta, Canada).  But one day soon, we'll go for a walk in the woods and we shall find these little blue starry treasures again... just as we did one Spring morning a number of years ago.


 While we wait, we wish you
warmth for your shoulders and love in your eyes,


Sunday, March 08, 2015

Watercolours From Long Ago

We've been dusting off the Creative Archives in my house -- it's also known as I wonder what's in this old box.

The moment I open the lid, out wafts remnants of past creative pursuits... and memories of warm summer days long ago when out we went armed with a box of paints, a couple of brushes, and a picnic lunch. Not to mention a wee little dream that maybe we'd get famous one day with our 'almost like Monet' attempts at painting flowers from the garden. (Smile) We didn't really think that... well, not too much anyway.

And, yes, that's me above dabbling away at that lilac piece. It's a long time ago since that summer afternoon. How I remember the happy fun of sitting in the dappled light playing with that delightful shade of purple lilac.

Here's a first attempt to paint a personal favourite flower
~ the cheerful pansy.

The full version of the pansy posy above.

My best friend and I took our very first water colour class one spring a long time ago... from a fellow named Frank Haddock who is now a well-established watercolourist in our area of the world.

 Here I tried to paint following the pattern
from a pretty piece of stationery.

Taking the class was my first real attempt at painting. As we practiced our brush strokes and learned colour depths, our instructor used to regale us with tales of his well-loved cats (which we thought purr-fectly lovely), thus keeping us entertained as we'd twist our tongues in attempt to get used to holding a brush.

I was pleased at how
my attempt to create shadow turned out here.

I always meant to continue. Shortly after we got married, my sweet hubby surprised me with new watercolour paints, paper, and a pretty wrap-up holder in which to store my brushes. It was for my birthday. I barely used them....

As life took unexpected turns, and for some years there was little room or energy left for what Sir Winston called 'joy rides in a paintbox'. In truth at that point, I tended to feel more creatively comfortable with a pen than a paintbrush -- I hadn't yet practiced long enough for it to feel 'at home' in the crook of my hand.

On Painting by Sir Winston Churchill
“There really is no time for the deliberate approach. Two years of drawing lessons, three years of copying woodcuts, five years of plaster casts . . . these are for the young. They have enough to bear. We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint-box. And for this Audacity is the only ticket.”

We're not sighing here... there are seasons for everything. And, I guess, at the back of my mind, I've kinda hoped there might be a time down the road to pick up those paints and brushes again. Not to get 'famous' this time, but just to enjoy playing with colours on paper, trying to capture a little of the beauty in nature's garden, and to have just plain ole fun in the process.

Ever since I took photos of flowers in that macro up-close style some years ago, I've had a hankering to try painting something in the Georgia O'Keefe way. And I love teeny tiny wisps of paintings too.

Who knows, perhaps my poking around in the 'archives' has unleashed something old but new... for as surely as Spring gets ready to burst out her catkins and green budding nubs, we ourselves feel about to burst out with new energy and joy for something new this season.  Now, where are my paints and brushes?

Here's wishing you a beautiful day and a wonderful week ahead.



For Posts on Macro Pics Georgia O'Keefe style