I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
Art PrintsArt Prints

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stages of Development for Whimsical Affection, a Painting of two Horses. Art, How to paint process.

Many of my facebook and blog friends enjoy seeing the stages of paintings and have asked me to post some work "in progress" again. It has been awhile since I posted any stages, so I guess I have been slacking, lol. Here are the stages of a painting I did in February.
The title is Whimsical Affection. It is a whimsical painting of two horses who have love for one another. Of course, I had to "Lisa-ize it." Lol, that is how some gallery managers describe my work. ;-)
Whimsical Affection
The finished work is at The Atlanta Artist Center gallery right now. It is oil and acrylic, 48 X 36 inches, on canvas with  2 inch stretched sides that are painted as a continuation of the painting onto all four sides. I believe this gives my work a more 3D appearance in "real life," photos do not capture texture or the 3D aspects of  original works. ;-)

 Stage One, covering the canvas with color. Oil and acrylic are the medium's used in this painting.

Stage Two, sketching with paint my outline or idea.

Stage Three, adding more form.

Stage Four, adding more color.

  Stage Five, adding one of my signatures, expressive eyes. I believe the eyes are the window into the spirit of all living things.

Putting on the horse manes, giving the painting life! I also added another signature; I love to use the splatter and drip techniques, seen on the horse's mane on the left. (This picture shows only one color, the remaining colors, or coats of paint on the mane can be seen in the last picture).

 Finished painting! All final touches done.
Neigh... ;-D

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy April Fools Day Pranks and Pics!

Happy April Fools Day!
I have had the pleasure of pulling pranks on the kids in our home for years, lol. Here are some of the best known world prank for April One:
Lol, can you imagine?
#1: The Left-Handed Whopper
1998: Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."
#2: Thomas Edison Ends World Hunger
In 1878, the New York Graphic announced that Thomas Edison had invented a machine that would convert dirt into cereal and water into wine. Newspapers throughout America fell for the hoax and republished the article by the end of the day.
#3: Big Ben Gets a Makeover
In 1980 the BBC reported that Big Ben was going digital in order to keep up with modern technology.

#4: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
spaghetti harvest1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
To see the spaghetti video:

#5: The Taco Liberty Bell
Taco Liberty Bell1996: The Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

And here are some of the kid's joke's I have pulled on our little darlings:

Step 1, (I did to the kids).
Serve something very strange for breakfast. Instead of cereal or eggs, place last nights leftovers from dinner on their plate, or better yet uncooked squid you plan on making in the upcoming days and watch their reaction.

Step 2, (I did this to the kids too).
If you are lucky enough to have children who pour their own cereal in the morning, replace their cereal with something strange like packing peanuts, buttons, dried macaroni or anything else that will come pouring out of the box into their bowl. Really get into it and replace the cereal in all of the boxes in the cabinet so it happens no matter which cereal they try

Step 3, (I did this one to Adler).
Type up a phony letter on your computer and pretend that you received it in the mail saying that because the school miscalculated vacation time this year - the school year ended up being two days shorter than allowed and that they will have to go to school the entire upcoming weekend. See if you can stick with the prank long enough to have them complaining to their friends before you tell them it is an April Fool's Joke

Step 4, (I did a version of this one).
While they are in school, put all of their toys and favorite items in black garbage bags and hide them away. When they come home, tell them you were on the phone when the local charity came in and when you told them to take all of the stuff out of your bedroom, they cleaned out the wrong room and you didn't realize it until it was too late.

Step 5
Mix up all of their stuff. Put their toys where their clothes belong, their clothes where their toys belong. Hang a few of their toys from the ceiling and make them jump to get them.

Step 6, (I did a different version of this w Dain).
Mess with their computer. Set up a banner that goes across the screen that says "Maximum usage time on this computer has been exceeded. This computer will no longer be operable" (or will no longer work - depending on their age of understanding).

Step 7, (I placed a pic of nude women in Dain's (he was 21 yrs old) laptop. He smiled ear to ear!)
Replace their desktop photo with a big photo of mom or dad with a caption saying "We are watching you."

Step 8, (I have done, or simply turn off their mouse on the computer they use. ;-)
Take the batteries out of all the remotes for the televisions in the house. See how many times they try to get it to work or how many times they try to switch remotes before figuring it out.

Step 9, (I have done. Can't do in our current faucets).
purpletrail.com Tie a rubber band around the sink sprayer. An oldie, but a goodie. A friend of ours got us every time he left our house. Wrap a small rubber band around the handle of the sprayer on the kitchen sink and be sure the sprayer is facing front. When your child goes to turn on the water, the sprayer will shoot the water right in their face. (Just be sure to remember you did this and don't unthinkingly turn on the water yourself.)

Step 10, (We did to our current neighbors).
Place a For Sale sign on the front lawn right before they get home from school. Put a couple of empty packing boxes in the first room they will see when they walk in. Sit back and wait for the horrified expressions and questions to begin.

Step 11, (I did on Meagan, last yr).
Hide various alarm clocks around their room to go off very early. Set them in 10 minute intervals. This way they will have just enough time to get back in bed and get comfortable before another goes off. (Don't do this to children who are too young however because you do not want to scare them.)
Hee, Hee, Hee...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My winter garden gets Harvested; new beds prepared & seeds planted: Seasonal Gardening, Produce of Vegetables.

My winter garden had all it's produce harvested.
Before I could begin planting this season's crop, I had to pick all the winter season's crop.
Winter Crop Harvest Pictures:
Onion's and various greens are in the bags.

Red potatoes were dug up.
Carrots pulled.

Close up of washed carrot.

Since I had so much produce, I made a pot-load of liver and onions with half of these onions seen. It was YummY!

Here is what some of the winter crop looked like, before I picked it all.

Kale does very well throughout a winter.

The collard greens get a bit thinner, but they do well too.

I did not take a picture of the mustard greens, or turnip greens before I  picked them, however, they fair well in cold temps too.
All the winter crops harvested, the flower beds prepared with garden dirt, compost, manure, and the seeds have been planted.

Some of the seedlings that I grew inside have been transferred, but some remain just in case bad weather temperatures hit.
As you can see, some of the seedlings were planted, note the half empty trays.
 Back Up Batch:
I am glad, at this point that I kept growing the "less developed" ones inside, because we had brutal sun, followed by 40 degree nights and the little seedlings outside have taken a beating. I might be replacing most of them with this indoor crop. ;-)

The indoor ones are about five inches tall right now. They will transplant outside happily.
 The hope is that is years crop will do as well as last year's gardens.

Condition Your Emotions; How to Train Yourself in Six Steps:

If you are depressed, have to encounter negative people, or simply do not believe in yourself, give this writing a try.   The only reason that I am posting these six steps is because I think this type of information has the potential to change the lives of those who try to impliment it's reading. ;-)
Step One:
First of all, recognize that there are people and corporations with a strong vested interest in conditioning you to maintain the (false) belief that you need some kind of external validation to feel a certain way. Marketers spend billions of dollars each year to convince you that you need to drink their soda, eat their food, wear their clothing, drive their cars, and shop at their stores to feel happy, cool, fashionable, popular, confident, successful, etc. Who benefits most when you adopt the belief that you need to dress a certain way to feel fashionable or drive a certain car to feel cool?
Step Two:
The second step of life optimization is what is your vision of the purpose of your life? Vision shows us the right direction to go and it gives us a standard to measure our progress by. Just like in business, in order to measure our progress, we must have goals established. With mini goals, or finish lines along the way, we can see how much progress we make toward our life-changing goals. I say in order to be all you can be, you must first take an honest look at what you are allowing to be in your head. What images or negative words do you hear playing? It sounds simple enough, simply begin with believing in yourself and place one foot in front of the other toward the “YOU” you want to be or have envisioned. Throw out any old tapes that play in your head that only bring you down; these self-defeating habits may have come from your childhood. You’re an adult now, take the reins and responsibility for your life; make it a life you want it to be. When you understand that you have the innate ability to consciously direct your thoughts to create any feeling you want, whenever you want, you’re not going to make the people trying to sell you "a bag of goods" rich. But you will be much more free, since you’ll gain the power of conscious control over your own emotional states.
This is a skill that takes practice, but it is a learnable one. For example, in a matter of minutes I can get myself to feel any emotion I want, and for those I’ve already anchored, I can put myself into that state in less than 5 seconds. This is nothing unique — experienced actors can do it too. If an actor can laugh uproariously or cry rivers of tears or shout with intense anger over something completely fake, then you can certainly learn to be 100% confident on que as well (and really experience the genuine emotion).
Step Three:
My favorite emotion is the state of feeling “unstoppable,” which is one I anchored at while doing a Tony Robbins mixed audio set. Anchoring means conditioning a specific emotional state to be linked to a simple trigger, just as Pavlov conditioned his dog to link getting fed with the sound of bell. So if I make a certain movement, I automatically surge into this emotional state within a few seconds. In my old Tae Kwon Do studio, I noticed another student firing off an anchor several times during sparring matches. The tennis player Andre Agassi and the basketball player Byron Scott both used emotional anchoring in their athletic careers, and I’ve read that emotional conditioning has been used by German Olympic teams with outstanding results (the U.S. Olympic teams are generally much further behind in this area). Anchoring is well covered in Tony Robbins Unlimited Power book. Something really cool I now merely imagine myself making the particular motion, it still works. So when I was being introduced as the speaker, I mentally imagined myself firing off my trigger for confidence, and by the time I reached the lectern I was feeling 100% confident. Yes, 100% — no nervousness or self-doubt whatsoever.

Advertisers use anchoring on you all the time. This is why Pepsi will pay someone like Michael Jackson $20 million to be in a 30-second commercial (OK, so that was years ago). They want to condition you to link the emotions you get from hearing a particular song to their product. This emotional conditioning works a lot better than trying to logically argue why you should consume sugar water and chemicals. And it absolutely works … to the tune of billions.

Step Four:
If you had a physiology class, you most likely learned of self-actualization in college. Dr. Wayne Dyer said that when he was learning about self-actualization in college, a professor posed this question: If a totally self-actualizing person unknowingly showed up to a formal event wearing overly casual attire, how would s/he react? The answer: S/he wouldn’t even notice. That’s the state of total emotional mastery, where no external event can knock you into a negative emotional state. A mind like water.
The problem isn’t that external events have control over your emotions. The problem is believing that they do. Abandoning this belief and realizing that you have the innate ability to control how you feel at any given moment, regardless of your circumstances, is the first step to emotional mastery. Events are neutral. What causes you to feel a certain way is how you interpret an event, how you think about it. The same event (even one so serious as the death of someone close to you) will be interpreted differently by different people. You were taught to represent certain events to yourself as tragic, while other people on this planet were taught to celebrate those same events.  For example, some cultures are sad as they walk behind the hurst to the funeral, but they celebrate the life and heavenly home of their loved one as they exit the funeral. They play music, dance and sing with joy for the deceased. The event itself has no meaning but the meaning you assign or label to it, and that act of assigning meaning (whether done consciously or unconsciously) is what causes you to feel a certain way.
Step Five:
Once you understand this, you can begin to take conscious control over these assignments. When stricken with a terminal illness, some people interpret it as terrible and go into a deep depression. Others interpret it as a challenge and find a way to overcome the illness. And still others see it as a wake up call to reevaluate their priorities and make the best possible use of the time they have left, developing deeper bonds with the people around them and living much more fully. To some people it’s an ending, while to others it’s a new beginning. But this doesn’t have to be a subconscious reaction — it can be a conscious choice. Whenever something happens that you would normally say “makes you depressed,” you can choose to find and assign an alternate interpretation that makes you feel empowered instead of disempowered. Instead of failure you can see a learning experience. Instead of a loss, you can focus on deepening your feelings of gratitude for what you do have. Instead of rejection you can see a temporary mismatch and a renewed opportunity to find the perfect fit. Just because TV teaches you to feel a certain way in response to a certain event doesn’t mean you have to blindly accept that interpretation, especially since the TV business benefits when you feel down and thereby tune in to try to change your emotional state.
Between stimilus and response lies the opportunity for conscious choice. You can be fired from your job and turn it into a victory instead of a defeat (Lee Iacoca did). You can go bankrupt and move on to even greater wealth (Donald Trump did). You can be injured to the point of disfiguration and turn it into an advantage to inspire others (W. Mitchell did). You can be dumped by your girlfriend, feel suicidal, and yet still bounce back (Billy Joel did). And on the other hand, you can enjoy outstanding external success and yet abuse yourself to the point of death (John Belushi did).

For any seemingly “negative” event, you can find someone who turned it into an empowering experience. And for any “positive” event, you can find someone who interpreted it in such a way as to destroy themselves. Avoid the trap of letting events subconsciously control you, and use the power of your consciousness to decide your own interpretation of events for the greatest good of all.

Step Six:
When you reach the point of becoming independent of external events, you’re truly free. This is the state of being detached from external events, knowing that you can exert direct conscious control over your thoughts instead of needing something or someone external to do it for you. Look into the mirror, stripped of clothes, figure enhancing "whatever's," free of make-up, a large wallet, beautiful office, fine car, or any other self validating item we might hide behind, and say to yourself: "As is, I'm here now and I'm good enough for ....." You fill in the blank; it is whatever you have felt has been unreachable or undeserved. Once you are able to look yourself in the eye and believe it, you will understand that in your "As Is" state, you are exactly where you are meant to be. Move forward, free of the old chains that held you back and live the life you were meant to live, a life independent of the good (and usually ignorant) opinion of others. No matter what happens to you, you can still choose to be at peace.

Self Empowerment Guide.com
Life Optimizer.org
Steve Pavilia

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bring Spring In w Creativity; the Outdoors in, Flowers, and FlowerPot Cupcakes! How to cook kid's cupcakes.

How to have spring fun with Cupcakes. ;-)
I love to have fun with spring; I like to bring in flowers, grasses, bulbs, and I make food that is fun springtide!         Daffodils, don't you just love them?The sure sign of spring...
Or, you can take carnations, or roses and simply add food color to their water to get them any spring color you desire. Green is great for St. Patrick's Day or Spring. (But,for earlier in the year, you can even go red for Valentine's Day!) How about red, white and blue on July 4? The options with using food coloring are endless!  Or use this idea to be just another creative way to bring in the green! Use fancy when deciding on what vases or containers to hold your flowers. Aren't tea cups so adorable?
(dislaimer: pic from lookiloos)
Another very simple way to bring in the green.                    
Simple black retangular vases look great w grass.
Now for the CuPcaKeS:
I love to make various springtime cupcakes this time of year. The kids love them too!
Can you think of anything more kid-friendly-spring, than FlowerPot Cupcakes?
                               Silicone flower pots make kid friendly cupcakes. I bought these at Michaels. I have also filled them w chocolate pudding and gummy worms, lol. ;-)

 I love to play w colors of icing!

 I found this idea too cute to not share! I am always looking for a cupcake that is more boyish for my sons. How about these? Dain loves argyle.

So, have fun with the simple cupcake:
 Or you can always dye your dog green for the Spring. ;-)

 Lol, Not serious, just joking. ;-)