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How Do You Keep Organized?

I tend to use a combination of my phone, paper scraps and the back of my hand to keep me on track, but I notice I am most organized when I use a planner.  I'm currently using a Blue Sky planner.  The size is six inches by nine and has both weekly and monthly views with plenty of room for shopping lists, after-school activities, creative ideas and doodles.  My husband finds it strange that I don't just use my phone, but I find I actually remember the stuff I put in my planner if I physically write the words with pen and ink rather than typing on an electronic device.  I also prefer the academic year format which runs from July to June so I'm not changing planners during the holiday period.  I've just ordered my new planner so I can start entering summer camps and activities.  I'm trying a smaller version this year as I plan to keep it in my handbag and use it more consistently.

As a creative. how do you keep organized?  Do you prefer pen and paper or are you strictly digital?

The Macabre History of Emerald Green

Today we wear green as a symbol of good fortune and to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but when the Wilhelm Dye & White Lead Company developed a new green dye in 1814 health problems from this new dye formula made the color less than lucky.  Made from arsenic the result of skin-contact with this dye was at the very least serious skin disorders and at the worst, death.

Even though the people of this era knew very well that arsenic was poisonous with serious side affects they continued to fill their homes and closets with this new color green as it was bolder and brighter than any color green they had seen before.

Today arsenic is banned from green dyes because  of it's toxicity and safer alternatives are used.

You can make green by mixing blue and yellow together but did you know you can also make green by adding yellow to black paint?  Try it - it works!

Book Review: The Victorian Flower Oracle by Patricia Telesco

I was searching for what seemed like ages for a book of flower meanings.  It took me weeks before I could finally decide and it was more impatience (and a good price) that made me hit the buy button rather than knowing I had found the perfect book.

I looked at so many books that I admit to getting confused and the book that turned up wasn't at all what I had expected.  The book has 221 pages, black and white illustrations and no color photos. This is not a glamorous coffee table book, but I wasn't disappointed and this is probably one of the most magical books I own.  As well as folklore meanings and history for over seventy flowers there are also extra notes and information that I hadn't expected to find, for example, on page fifty-four tucked away under 'geranium' is a recipe for geranium punch which as the author states is idea for summer rituals and romantic rites, on page forty-four you will find instructions for clover honey, on page one hundred and fifty is a recipe for a healing cream and on and on you will find little snippets of information on how create a variety of magical plant related lotions, potions and beverages. 

However, the main magic of this book is that Patricia Telesco encourages you to build upon the knowledge on these pages and create your own flower oracle.  I was thrilled to find this was the main idea for the book.  I can't think of a better way to learn the meaning of flowers than to create your own little flash cards that can be used as a personal oracle deck. But don't expect any detailed instructions or examples.  The information is covered in few paragraphs at the beginning of the book and it's really the readers job to take Patricia Telesco's suggestions and get creative.

I love how unpretentious this book is.  The recipes nestle in the paragraphs like little gems waiting to be uncovered.  There is no long winded build-up or trumpet-blowing, self-promotion.  The author quietly presents her information in simple plain text that seems fitting for a book about flower meanings.

First published in October 1995, I believe this book is now out of print but you can follow my affiliate link by clicking on the picture below to find offers from third party sellers on Amazon.


Painting Flowers with Jenny Doh

At the top of my list of things to 'improve' this year is my art.  At one point I was creating every day but last year that dropped away.  Moving house ate up a lot of my time but that's all behind me now and I'm determined to concentrate on art making this year.

When I saw that Jenny Doh was offering an in person flower painting class in her Santa Ana studio, Crescendoh, I jumped at the chance.

I've attended four workshops at Jenny's studio and each one is a special memory.  For me, the day starts as soon as I get in the car.  Even the fifty-five minute car ride seems magical as I drive by myself on the freeway (something I rarely do) I feel independent and optimistic.  Walking into Jenny's studio is an up-lifting experience - art work and supplies everywhere and always someone interesting and inspiring to chat to.

I know from Jenny's website and social media posts that she is a super-smart woman, well-read, an avid knitter, author, artist and musician and now I also know she is a super-generous teacher who has an amazing ability to roll up her knowledge and life experiences into meaningful anecdotes and analogies to illustrate and explain her painting instructions.

Sometimes we need permission to do even the simplest things and I felt Jenny gave permission to slow-down, speed-up, observe, edit, plan and use tools not normally associated with artists such as iphone apps.

If anyone reading this is on the fence about attending an in person lesson, and I do understand it's difficult to get away from the daily routine, but do it.  Put yourself first, just once, the benefits are so enormous I'm sure you won't regret it.

How to Make Flower Preservative

When you get home with your flowers and the little sachet of flower preservative is missing - urgh... 

I found this simple recipe to keep your blooms lasting longer?

Homemade Flower Preservative
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of household bleach
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Dissolve all the ingredients in one quart of warm water.  If your arrangement needs more water then double the ingredient quantities and the the amount of water.

How does this work?  Each ingredient has a specific job to keep the flowers lasting longer.  Sugar provides the nutrition the flowers would normally get from the soil via the roots, bleach ensures the water remains clean and the lemon juice keeps the solution acidic which helps with the uptake of water. 

Don't forget to change the water every few days and mist occasionally.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips for extending the life of your cut flowers. 

Hello 2017: One Little Word

Hello 2017!

I'm always excited by this time of year.  People are so motivated to make change.  Setting goals and making lifestyle improvements is always positive.

However, I won't be making a new year resolution this year. In fact, I haven't done for a few years now.

What I will be doing is Ali Edwards One Little Word.  You can find out more about the project HERE.

Some years ago my one word was 'healthy' and that was the year I changed my eating habits and lost a significant amount of weight (and so far I have kept it off).

This year I'm choosing the word 'improvement' and hope to apply it to all areas of my life - health, home, work, art.

Will you be joining the 'One Little Word' project?  Or do you have other goal and milestones for 2017?

Florette: Mobile Flower Shop

I love this business idea!  This is The Florette a mobile flower shop using only American grown flowers.   
The Florette is  the creation of Jenna Martin in Phoenix Arizona that I discovered via Field to Vase run by Christina Stembel of FarmGirl Flowers.

Both sites are full of floral inspiration and information on domestically grown flowers.

Happy Browsing!

Botanic Art Inspiration

I haven't done any painting for such a long time that I felt I needed to browse the web and in particular Etsy to find some botanical inspiration.

Here is a small selection of the amazing artwork I found.  I hope some of these will be new artists to you, I know they are new to me.  I think these prints would add elegance to any room.

By the way, if you click on the image, my Etsy affiliate link will take you directly to the artist's Etsy store.

by Kate Knot
Blue Shed Studio
Blue Shed Studio
By Slav Art
Cone Flowers and Bumble Bee By Red Briar Studio
By Espero Art
My Giant Strawberry Art
My Giant Strawberry Art

Rose Bouquet Carry All Pouch at Society6

I love these new carry all pouches Society6 has added to the store.  I've updated my store - there are now lots of flowery carry all pouches available...

 Rose Bouquet Carry All Pouch at S6

Focus on Fall: Donna Downey's Abstract Florals

Summer is well and truly over and all the visitors for this year have gone.  Now I just need all the back to school activities to calm down so that I can find some painting time.
I signed up for Donna Downey's Abstract Florals class to help me get back into a painting rhythm.