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It is funny how we travel to the ocean to be somewhere where there is “water” and yet having it fall from the sky instead of swimming in it creates a tizzy and a feeling of a wasted day at the ocean. I like a rainy day! It gives us time to pause, to stop and think and appreciate. It gives us time to catch up on reading and talking and appreciating.  Rainy days give us an opportunity to view the ocean in a different light. We can see the raindrops dimpling the water and the sand. We can see yet another mood of our wonderful Mother Earth.

Yes, I can definitely handle a rainy day at the ocean. Any day at the ocean is a good day!

Fairy Gardens

Creating a fairy garden is a magical experience.

Creating a fairy garden is a magical experience.

There is a new craze sweeping the gardening world — fairy gardens!  The idea is to create a miniature garden world for the fairies that inhabit your garden.  These can be very simple to quite elaborate with landscaping, structures, accessories and more. I had wanted to do one for quite some time and finally got around to it this year.

The most challenging part was determining what container I was going to use. And then, one day, as I was doing a mid-spring garden walk, making a list of all of the “to-do’s” involved in getting our garden ready for the warm weather, inspiration struck. I had an old birdbath that originally had a beautiful mosaic in the bottom of it.  Unfortunately, we had neglected to bring it in one winter and the mosaic and concrete parted ways. I was very sad as it was beautiful but it was my own fault for forgetting to bring it in for the winter.  It had been sitting down on the ground as an unofficial rustic “scenery” piece but I was getting tired of it just sitting there serving no useful purpose. And then, the lightbulb went on!  Why not use the birdbath as my fairy garden base?

Full of renewed enthusiasm for my task, a visit to a local garden center was in order.  It was most convenient that they had planned teaching workshops on creating fairy gardens and thus were fully stocked on “fairy” items and plants.  The plants were easy — mini-pinks, baby’s tears, Irish moss, creeping thyme and a gorgeous mini spiky grass. The accessories they stocked were pretty but pricey and I was trying to do this on a budget so the only item I indulged in purchasing was a tiny kneeling fairy figure.  I already had a miniature cottage figurine from a previous purchase last year for the fairy garden that never got made.

So, into the birdbath went potting soil enriched with plant food, my plants, the mini cottage, my beautiful fairy, a couple of favorite rocks, and a few pretty shells.  The birdbath top was then set on a piece of log round that was in the woodpile, and the whole was placed in the back garden in some ivy and flowers.  My little cafe table is close by so I can sit, enjoy a cup of coffee and keep my eye out for visiting fairies.

An extra bonus — in the way of the Universe, I found a very talented artist who creates wind chimes out of copper, stained glass, and small fairy figures on etsy. One of her beautiful creations is now gracing my garden right next to the fairy garden — the perfect addition for magick.

Will my eyes be quick enough to see a fairy?  I hope so!

In praise of yoga…

For many years I have been aware of this thing called “yoga” but never paid much attention to it.  This year I needed an outlet for some of the stress from the changes to my job. On a whim, I decided to take a yoga class. I wish I had done this sooner.  It is helping me to slow down and listen to my body. I am bending it into positions that I never thought were possible before. The instructor is a fantastic teacher, taking us slowly but surely into places we never thought we could go, always with a smile and a calm encouraging voice. Not only am I enjoying getting to know yoga, I am enjoying getting to know our Instructor and gaining insights into other cultures and belief systems from around the world.  It is truly an enlightening experience.  Did I mention that my stress level is decreasing? I LOVE this!  So much so, that I decided to add another class to my week.

If you are in the Chesapeake Beach area and in need of some stress reduction, try here:

http://awakenedbeingyoga.wordpress.com/classes/

Namaste!

Christmas decorating

Going all out....

Ah, the joys of holiday decorating…bringing out the favorite ornaments, the tree, the candles, the Santas and beginning the transformation from autumn to winter wonderland.  I admit, I get a bit carried away.  I want every room in the house to have a little bit of Christmas in it.

This year, I had to get a new artificial tree. (I’d rather have a real tree but two of the guys in my family are allergic, sigh…) I had a big, fat tree with white and multi-color lights that operated via a remote control that would let me have all white, all color or all both!  I did like the tree, in spite of the fact that when we had all of the tree lights on (and the outdoor lights) and turned on the microwave, we popped a circuit.  What can I say, it’s an old house.  But, this past January, I bought a wonderful big armchair with an ottoman, fondly referred to as my “command center”.  Unfortunately, I no longer had room for my big fat tree.  And so, the search was on…

It had to be tall enough to almost touch the ceiling with our glass pointy-topped tree topper.  I had to be skinny.  It had to have branches that didn’t look “fake”.  It had to be full.  It had to have lots of branches for all of my ornaments.  It had to have white and color lights.  It had to be cheap (still recovering from a furlough last work year that spilled into this year’s income).  That last one took me right out of the running for almost every tree that met all of the other criteria. I searched and searched to no avail.

One Saturday in early December, I drove south to a meeting place to drop off some toys I had purchased for a family who was dealing with more than their fair share of challenges this past year. On the way back, on a whim, I stopped in at a local K-mart to take a look at their holiday trees. Wonder of wonders, they had a tree that was skinny, tall enough, had a mix of full branches that looked real, and had all white lights. And, it was on sale for $99!  I added a string of colored lights and threw that tree in my cart.  When I exited the store with my prize, I found that I couldn’t get to my car because the annual Christmas parade was taking place in front of the K-mart. Resigning myself to the fact that it was going to be a while before I could get my prize to the car, I settled down to watch the parade.  As I watched and saw the little children running out to pick up the candy pieces that had been thrown from the floats, I had a chance to slow down, breathe, and remember what this season is all about.

Enjoy having your family around, the soft glow of the lights on the tree, the scents of burning candles and baking treats, the whispers and giggles of those sharing seasonal secrets, and most of all, the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas!

freehand carving by daughter

It is almost time to start carving again for the annual Halloween extravaganza that we put on in our yard. Right now our yard looks like an auxiliary farmer’s market with pumpkins and gourds piled up all over the place, all patiently awaiting their turn to shine.  Before we get to the shining, however, there are decisions to be made!  Should we go for scary? Humorous? Martha Stewart decorator-like? A combination of all of the above?  Where on earth did I put all of the pumpkin design books from previous years?  (One of these years I’ve got to get smart enough to put those books into the Halloween decorations storage tub!).

 
I really did like the look of the pumpkins with the leaf cutouts, courtesy of leaf-shaped cookie cutters although they were a bit difficult to do.  I really think I’ll have to have one or two of those.
 
 
We always do a “saying” with small pumpkins in the bed of the pickup.  Last year we did “bring out your dead” and got a lot of laughs from the Monty Python crowd.  It’s going to be hard to top that one, especially since we had included a “dead body” draped in a sheet, complete with bloodstains.  Hmmm….perhaps I’ll research some movies for this one.  I only have 10 days to figure out what we’re doing before we leap into frantic “gutting” and “carving” mode.  I’ve already checked out some web resources, including this one, that shows one we’ve already done with “trick or treat”.  Internet, here I come!!