Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Try Something New for 30 Days December 2011 Challenge


December sees a new month and new challenges to be had!  I really want to make changes to every aspect of my life and starting out with small changes will eventually become bigger changes.  You can see how I got on with the November walking challenge.


The challenge I have set myself this month will be to write a minimum of 100 words a day.  The overall aim is to write a selection of childrens short stories combined with my mixed media art work in it. This is something I have always wanted to do, and thought why not for one month - again giving myself small chunks a day at a time see how I get on, I might find that I absolutely love it, or find that it was great for a month and its not something I want to continue. 

One of my favourite childrens books is by Ezra Jack Keats I still have a copy of The Snowy Day, he used a combination of gouache with collage in his work.



I was inspired back in 2010 to look at how I could combine my work into stories in a similar way.  This is how my decision to write started out....never took off and changed direction slightly:
  • In 2004 I decided that I wanted to write childrens books, I never did, all I did was write a list of 45 possible titles, not sure why, but felt compelled to, I was determined to write......
  • 2006 - I updated the book in January and promised myself that I would start at the end of the month.....
  • 2007 saw me reviewing my goals ....and
  • 2010 February after looking at why I hadn't started I realised I didn't want to write childrens books but childrens short stories and combine my love for mixed media.
So in December 2011 I have been nervous about committing myself, but you have to jump sometime!  I worked out that even doing my morning pages I write close to 1000 words if not more on occasions. So I will start, the main aim being not to complete the 45 story titles but to enjoy the process of writing and creating the art. If you don't start now when will you start, there is no time like the present!

If you would like to join in and give yourself a challenge this month leave your link below so that we can visit your blog and give you support and encouragment.  I will be leaving update posts each week to share how I have been getting on and look forward to visiting your blogs to see how you have been getting on.



Art Every Day Month (AEDM) and Try Something New Challenge Week 4 Update


Today sees the end of two challenges that I have been doing, the Art Every Day Month (AEDM) in my Mixed Media Art blog and Try Something New for 30 days here on this blog. With the AEDM the main thing was to do something creative every day and  I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part. 


Spending time with our creativity takes practice and discipline and over the course of time you see the value of spending getting to know yourself and how you work even if it is for only 5 minutes.   I still plan to visit the other artists that took part over the month there is so much inspiring work out there and a big thanks goes out to Leah Piken Kolidas for hosting AEDM as well as other challenges.

Making time for 'me' and and achieving goals were the reasons why I wanted to start the challenge Try something new, I realised there are so many things we say we are 'going to do' but the time passes and before we know it the years have passed us by.  It feels like yesterday that I committed myself to walking 20 minutes a day but it was 30 days ago, that's how fast time is flying....

...we have no guarantees about tomorrow, what are you going to do with your today?

I now know how easy it is to get myself up and out and enjoy walking, I have also found ways to be flexible and fit around my schedule and though we have come to the end of the month it is something  I will keep up, alongside creating daily.


For December I have decided to do another challenge for 30 days, something that I've always said I would do but didn't find the time.  I will be glad for others to join in.  What have you always said you wanted to do?  Make it a realistic challenge that you can stick to, break it down and set yourself up to look back at the end of December and see that the challenge is completed!

You will be able to leave your blog link details in the main section so that we can visit you and give you support and encouragement during the month.  Would love to hear your thoughts on challenges that you have done!

Monday, 28 November 2011

365 Days of Colour - Flower of the Day 181 - 187

Officially half way through these, only 178 images, quotes, scriptures and reflections to go!  It's been very rewarding, I hope you are still being inspired.  Stay blessed as you go through your week

Day 181

Reflection
Forgiveness is the key

Quote
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike....John Muir

Scripture
...with God all things are possible..Mark 10:27


Day 182

Reflection
It will get better

Quote
This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…. Let it be something good....Unknown

Scripture
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him..Psalm 18:30

Day 183

Reflection
All is well, all is at peace.

Quote
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  ....Kahlil Gibran

Scripture
I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you...John 14:18

Day 184

Reflection
Can you believe it, you’ve come a long way

Quote
Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t...Richard Bach

Scripture
By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy..
Hebrews 10:14


Day 185

Reflection
Smiling is contagious

Quote
There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day....Alexander Woollcott

Scripture
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His loving kindness is everlasting...
1 Chronicles 16:34

Day 186

Reflection
You are beautiful inside and out

Quote
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.  ....St. Augustine

Scripture
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it...Hebrews 13:2

Day 187

Reflection
Take the time to nurture the dreams that live within you

Quote
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes...Marcel Proust

Scripture
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe...
Proverbs 18:10

Friday, 25 November 2011

Book Review - George Washington Carver - John Perry


This book is part of the Close Encounters of the Christian Kind written by John Perry.  I had heard of George Washington Carver but never really knew much about him. 

Carver is known for his research in discovering many uses for the peanut.  Reading this book uncovered a whole other side to what was a very complex individual.  We get to accompany the writer on an adventure into Carver's life and accomplishments.  Perry has an incredible knack of drawing you in and making the pages come alive, he has an easy writing style and language that almost makes you feel you are personally getting to know Carver.

From humble beginnings Carver, born in 1864 made many contributions to society.  Despite segregation and racism denying him an education his determination and faith drove him to better himself.  He pursued an education and worked to see better conditions and sustained self sufficiency for his community and the population at large.  In 1896 he completed his masters degree and he was asked to join the faculty of the Tuskegee Institute by Booker T Washington.

His research at the institute resulted in the creation of more than 300 products from peanuts such as cooking oil, peanut butter and paint. He also created more than 100 products from sweet potatoes and is responsible for inventing synthetic materials, such as marble and plywood, even inventing the dye which is still used in crayons. A talented artist, Carver created some of his own paints using local clays, he produced many works of art, but sadly most were destroyed in a fire.

His thirst for knowledge is admirable, not being content in following one field he became expert in a number of disciplines, not allowing his circumstances to define him or discourage him, he made a path for himself, was generous with his time and instilled hope in all who heard him speak, with a view that 'Any man could start with nothing and achieve great things'.

 I would definitely recommend reading this book, it's not only informative but is great look at where courage, discipline, focus and determination can take you.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Try Something New - Week 3 Update


I am astounded at how quick the week went, I thought I'd get this update done as I go into week 4.  I tried to vary the time of my walks to see how I felt, and did an evening and afternoon walk.


I realised I prefered to hear the birds tweeting rather than the traffic, and you notice how many people are on the road and it then doesn't become a peaceful 'alone with my thoughts' activity, so the verdict is that either walking first thing or walking at lunch time when there is a bit of sunshine all helps to make an enjoyable walk.  I am also beginning to feel that 'have to get out urge' rather than forcing myself to get my things together, and when I do get that feeling of not wanting to go out, even with all the preparation, I have to remind myself it's only 10 mins in one direction then back!

This week I took a walk round where my mother lives in Camden.  It  brought back childhood memories of me standing on my mothers balcony which looked onto the main road.


I'd sing songs I made up hoping a record producer would hear me as they drove by....I was determined to be spotted, and sang at the top of my lungs;

I'm only 11,11, 11 but what's the use, use, use of me trying to get in show biz,
wow oh wiz you never see me crying,
wow oh wiz I'll never stop trying.......

I would sing on the balconly mostly at the weekends. Funny I am not sure what the neighbours thought, I never knew if they complained the only one that did complain was my little brother who would tell me what an awful voice I had, (brothers eh)!


My mothers estate backs on to two film studios.  On Monday I was in the process of going for my walk and putting out her recycling in the boxes which overlook the studios in my 'never wear these out on the streets, unless it's dark and no one can see you tracksuit' and who should drive up through her estate to the studio but Gok Wan, who glanced at me as I turned, I had to laugh as he had the look of 'you'd be just right for my extreme Makeover show' on his face.  Anyway...not to be deterred by my momentary embarrassement I strode off, vowing to myself that I would get a decent tracksuit to do my workouts in.

There are a lot of squirrels still to be seen, not sure if they are confused by the mildness of the weather and are eating up all their spring store or if they are still collecting for the winter.


Working on challenges to come....trying to get things organised such as website, goals and dreams for 2012, the thought of making 12 changes in the year that are lasting and will make a difference in my life is quite exciting.  I have been taking part in the Art Every Day Month on my other blog, will be updating some of the work I have been doing for the last few days, and have been doing some more backgrounds.  There is still so much to see in regards to the plant life, lots of bright blooms still on show;


and some rather unusual looking mushrooms growing on the grass..


but the changing of the leaves have been spectacular to see;


Roll on week 4 need to start thinking what challenge December will bring, what do I want to try?  What change do you think you would like to challenge yourself to making? Blessings for the rest of the week.

Week 4 Update
Week 2 Update
Week 1 Update

Monday, 21 November 2011

365 Days of Colour - Flower of the Day 174 - 180

I am practically half way through the 365 days of colour and it has been very challenging at times as I have had to be disciplined and sometimes as we know we don't want to update or show up, we just want to be.  What has kept me going is that I love the beauty of the images, and I remember where I was for every flower.  Some have come from my garden over the year watching the changing seasons, others while I've been on holiday or while out on my walking challenge.  I've stuck to the aim of providing colour and inspiration via the quotes, scriptures and reflections and it has been a blessing to me.  I do hope you are enjoying the posts and would love to have your thoughts on challenges that you are working your way through.  Have a blessed week.

Day 180

Reflection
Your life can be beautiful

Quote
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.  ....Mahatma Gandhi

Scripture
Do not fear; for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you...Isaiah 41:10

Day 179

Reflection
Some doors are meant to close

Quote
Stop the words now.  Open the window in the centre of your chest, And let the spirits fly in and out.... Rumi

Scripture
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness..11 Corinthians 12:9


Day 178

Reflection
When you fall pick yourself up and start again

Quote
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. ....Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Scripture
...the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved..Matthew 24:13


Day 177

Reflection
You have everything you need for your journey

Quote
Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not. ....George Bernard Shaw

Scripture
..We have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His Sight..1 John 3:21-22

Day 176

Reflection
Do not hold on to anger or bitterness, they will destroy you. 

Quote
I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time...Jack London 

Scripture
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble..Psalm 46:1


Day 175

Reflection
What does God say about you?

Quote
I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently....Ernest Hemingway 

Scripture
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness..James 3:18


Day 174

Reflection
Just because you acknowledge the pain, doesn’t mean you are weak....Hand it over to God, he cares for you.

Quote
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.  Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. ....Carl Jung

Scripture
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His loving kindness is everlasting..Psalm 118:29


Monday, 14 November 2011

Try Something New - Week 2 update




Well end of week 2 of the challenge, noticed a few changes in the week. I took a different route this week to keep the scenary interesting, this is the back of wembley stadium (looks like a space ship landed)......


I've been more determined and focused to do things, wanting to make the most of time. I have been working on getting my website updated, and taking pictures of new work. 


Noticing more things about the environment on the walk, birds singing and chattering to each other - they seem to be really loud in the morning.  We have a bakery about 4 miles from us and you get the smell of cakes and biscuits in the air.  I am aching a bit more, but trying to keep a steady pace and stretch after the walk.  Wanting to tie up loose ends and make sure that I am up to date with my tasks that need to be sorted and generally work harder, again having to be flexible in my approach realising I could quite easily talk myself out of the walk, so I still need to make sure I have what is necessary to get up and out each day. 

Feeling like doing some gardening, tidying up and getting it ready for the winter period, we have our garden waste collected each week so I can get rid of more stuff for composting, with all this mild weather need to take advantage of it!   It's Sekani's birthday today he's 16 years old, and celebrations will commence for him on Friday. He has just finished his exams.  Looking forward to week 3 revelations!  Do let me know how you are getting on in your challenges.


Week 4 Update
Week 3 Update
Week 1 Update


365 Days of Colour - Flower of the Day 167 - 173

Day 167

Reflection
What does your heart yearn for, how can you create it in your own life, and what steps do you now need to take?

Quote
The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel...Piet Mondrian

Scripture
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest..Matthew 11:28


Day 168

Reflection
Lean not on your own understanding but on the word of God

Quote
The best way to predict your future is to create it. ....Unknown

Scripture
Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted..Hebrews 2:18


Day 169

Reflection
Do not accept other people’s definition of happiness; carve out your own truth.

Quote
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do...Edward Everett Hale

Scripture
If we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him..11 Timothy 2:11-12


Day 170

Reflection
God knows the desires of your heart, trust him in all your ways and he will make your path straight

Quote
Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born...Dale E. Turner

Scripture
The Lord will fulfil (His purpose) for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever.. Psalm 138:8

Day 171

Reflection
Let go of that which is negative in your life

Quote
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children. ....Kahlil Gibran

Scripture
God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work..11 Corinthians 9:8


Day 172

Reflection
Why worry, does the bird worry about its next meal?... all will turn out for good for those who serve the Lord

Quote
Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays. ....Ralph Waldo Emerson

Scripture
The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. Zephaniah 3:17

Day 173

Reflection
Exercise patience

Quote
If a man is to be called a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo
painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. ....Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Scripture
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the songs of God..1 John 3:1

Monday, 7 November 2011

Try Something New - Week 1 Update



The end of the first week of Try something new for 30 days and it started off a bit shaky but  I've been determined to keep going.  I really want to see change and so am committed to showing up and not letting myself down.  I've continued to take photo's, spending time praying and planning what the days creative projects will be.

I have had to be flexible, morning was the best time for me to go out but to make that work it means getting to bed at a reasonable time, and preparation.  During the week I get out of the house around 6.45am and at the weekend I was able to be a bit more flexible and get out at 7.30am.  I am still finding my rhythm and I know that this week I will step up my pace and take a different walking route and I should be able to see more of the environment.


In regards to my backgrounds and challenging myself to create a minimum of one per day I've been busy and spent the time doing what I need to do.  At this stage it's just about applying layers, having fun and creative expression, its not about putting restrictions on yourself.


The other thing that really helped me keep motivated this week was putting the challenge in my diary, I had to make specific time for it, rather than it floating in the air as something I would like to do, but something 'I'm going to do', keeping it manageable and realistic is the key!

Other things that have really helped:

Allocating realistic time between 5 mins and 30 mins we all have pockets of unused or wasted time that can be rescheduled, 20 mins for me has not seemed like a chore, but it took a while before I could identify just where I would take this time from.

Preparing for the challenge, I have to make sure that all the things I need are ready, for me its a warm hat, scarf, gloves, so that I can't give myself any excuses for not going out the door. 

Self talk -   During the week when I felt least like going out, I had to encourage myself to get up and reminding myself how good I would feel once it was finished.  The second week is where you have to be particulary observant as it can be easy to slip back into old ways and talk yourself out of taking the steps.


Not being too hard on myself  - When I first started I was convinced I needed to be out walking at 6am in the morning.  On reflection I knew I wanted to have a morning walk, but with it being so dark I didn't want it to feel as if I just came back from a party!  I wanted to walk in the daylight, so the compromise was waiting till the sun had risen and still have time to do some sketching or what ever else I had to do before 8am - when you start it is amazing how much you can fit in. 

Look out for changes - I have also noticed that I feel more inclined to make desserts, I made coconut and ginger pancakes on Saturday and on Sunday made a ginger and carrot cake - both wheat free recipies.  I will share  some images in another post.  It's useful to note anything that you find yourself doing as a result of taking part in a challenge and seeing what additional changes occur.....so exciting!

I am hoping to do a different challenge every month and make a small change to my life, maybe it could be as simple as doing sit ups every day or drinking an extra glass of water....I am looking forward to another week of participation, if you want to grab a button for this month please do.  Equally, if you still wanted to do a challenge but felt that 30 days is too long to begin with, why not do 14 or 7 days. The main thing is to enjoy the process!

Week 2 Update
Week 3 Update

365 Days of Colour - Flower of the Day 160 - 166

Day 160
Reflection
There is so much to be thankful for in your life.

Quote
To control the fire is not to kill it, but to let passion thrive and be seen. There is a beautiful tension in all creation between letting go and forming, the pushing and pulling of colour and sound and everything imaginable. ....Janet Morgan

Scripture
The Young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing..Psalm 34:10

Day 161
Reflection
Don’t hold onto regrets, the choices you made where right for you at the time

Quote
To control the fire is not to kill it, but to let passion thrive and be seen. There is a beautiful tension in all creation between letting go and forming, the pushing and pulling of colour and sound and everything imaginable. ....Janet Morgan

Scripture
Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles..Isaiah 40:31

Day 162
Reflection
Open up your eyes

Quote
We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way. ....Gloria Gaither

Scriptures
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;  He leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul..Psalm 23:1-3

Day 163
Reflection
Lift you face to the sun and bask in its’ rays

Quote
Passion should overwhelm reason time and again. ....Alvaro Castagnet

Scriptures
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever..Isaiah 40:8

Day 164

Reflection
Write down one thing you could do better and do it.

Quote
To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life....William Louden

Scripture
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust..Psalm 91:2

Day 165
Reflection
Take the time you need to work on you.

Quote
Fear makes us feel small and uncertain, uncomfortable and separate. Fearlessness expands and creates possibilities. ....Helena Tiainen

Scripture
Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them..Hebrews 7:25


Day 166
Reflection
You are braver than you think you are

Quote
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined...Henry David Thoreau

Scripture
In all labour there is profit...Proverbs 14:23
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