Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Flickr favorites - City in the morning

Flickr favorites - City in the morning

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

Although I am living in the countryside and I'm really loving it for so many reasons, I always have a soft spot for big cities.

Cities are particularly interesting in the morning just before everyone and everything wakes up. Even the most busy metropolis looks serene, and this is the only time of the day when the city, and only the city gets the main role.

What do you think? :)

Take a look at Artmind's blog to see more Flickr Favorites.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mindful Monday: How to Start a Kitchen Garden

chives and bee - snidling és méh

This is it, it's May, almost the 15th so with a little luck there will be no more freezing night, time to plan you garden.

I found this great article about starting a kitchen garden on CSAHM, I think it's very good. The photo's are made by me in my own garden.

The benefits of gardening are many. Planting a vegetable garden gives us fresh food to enjoy during the summer and early fall, and we can preserve the extras to eat throughout the winter. And for kids, gardening is a fun and educational experience.

It’s a common misconception that you have to have lots of land to plant a garden. If you have a yard, you can plant a small garden outdoors. And even if you don’t, you can plant some of your favorite vegetables in a large pot. Here’s how.

Find an appropriate space for your garden. Ideally, it should receive at least eight hours of sun each day and have room for at least six square feet of planting space. It should also be close to the kitchen if possible for quick, as-needed harvesting.

If you’re planting in the ground, till the soil. If planting in a container, you’ll need to use a lighter weight soil. Try packaged potting soil from your local garden center.

Plan your garden. If planned carefully, it can yield far more than if you just throw it together. You can plant early season crops first, mid-season crops after the first harvest, and late season crops after those have been harvested. Most seed packets have instructions that tell you when to plant and harvest.

Know how tall each crop will grow.
The tallest ones should be planted in the center of your garden (or the back if it is located against a wall) so that they won’t shade the shorter ones.

Pay attention to how far apart crops should be placed.
Some need several feet of space between them, while others only require a few inches. For best results, draw a diagram of your garden space to scale on graph paper and plan where you will plant each crop.

Start planting.
You can find cheap gardening tools at your local dollar store that will work just fine for a kitchen garden.

Water your plants each day.
Gardens planted in containers tend to dry out very quickly, so you may even need to water twice a day if they get full sunlight. Keep watering until water runs out of the drainage holes.

Fertilize your garden once every two to three weeks.
Read directions carefully to avoid over fertilizing, as this can damage or kill plants.

There are many types of vegetables that you can plant in a container garden. Some of the most popular include tomatoes, leaf lettuce, summer squash, cucumbers, carrots, green onions and bell peppers. Herbs may also do well alongside vegetables. Try some basil, dill, parsley, thyme or tarragon.

Planting a garden is not an activity reserved for those who own a farm. Anyone can plant vegetables, as long as they are well suited to the area’s climate. With a small initial investment, you can have enough fresh veggies to last your family several months.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

potato - krumpli

Blessed be all mothers
Who have come into our lives
Whose kindness, care and loving
Remain with us to guide.

Your inspiration in us
Made us strive in every way
Especially to remember
Helping others makes our day.

Mothers, this little tribute
Flows directly from my heart
You are so loved and cherished
Invaluable, one and all, you are.

(Susan Kramer)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Creative moods

working on new designs

The weather is unbelievable beautiful these days in The Netherlands, so much sun, blue sky, mild temperatures, so it's really a shame to sit inside. But of course the creative bug is not resting, so I moved my "studio" to the table in our kitchen and now I can enjoy both worlds :)

And look what the kids made for lunch (obviously we watch too much Masterchef :)) A little Pre-Mother's Day treat for me:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mindful Monday: We're Creative In Every Moment

little frog - kisbéka

I just found out that someone is copying my polymer clay designs, so I wrote a little message on my Facebook page and to my twitter:

To all the copycats: get inspiration from the things around you, find the beauty in the little things and the big ones too, chew on it, dream with it, picture it, write about it, get a notebook and make sketches, let yourself to be creative, do not build a wall around your OWN creativity from bricks of stolen goods. Please.

So this Monday I searched for some mindful stuff to help unblock creativity, because this can happen to all of us :)

"There's a lot of advice out there about "how to be creative." On the surface, this sounds great - everybody wants to come up with useful and profitable ideas, right? But when I look more closely at this kind of advice, and what drives us to seek it out, I feel concerned.

On one level, none of us needs to be taught how to create. In every moment, we're creating (or, at least, playing a part in creating) our lives. We're choosing where to go, what to eat, what to say in a conversation, and so on. We make many of these choices unconsciously, but that doesn't change the fact that we make them.

Yet, somehow, I doubt this would satisfy most people looking for creativity tips. As someone I know who often complains about her "lack of creativity" put it: "sure, I choose the words I use when I'm talking, but so what? Everybody does that."

Being Creative and Being "Special"

I think my friend's words illustrate the real concern that often motivates people to seek creativity advice. They aren't actually interested in being creative - what they really want is to be special and unique. What's more, they worry that, without outside help, they'll always be mediocre and average.

In my experience, this need to be special, and self-loathing for being "average," causes people a lot of suffering. Ironically, I've found, it also hampers our progress in our work.

Speaking for myself, it's hard to move forward in a project when I'm demanding that my work be brilliant and 100% original. With that kind of mentality, I'm likely to second-guess, and probably delete, every line I write, and be left with a blank screen after hours of effort. Worse still, perhaps, I won't have fun, and I won't feel inspired to keep writing.

It's only when I drop my need for "uniqueness" that I start making headway again. In other words, it's only when I'm willing to take the risk of "being average" that I'm able to produce anything at all.

Who's Afraid of Averageness?

And when you think about it, is "being average" really such a huge risk? What would happen if someone told you that your work was average? Would you spontaneously combust? Or maybe dissolve into a pile of steaming protoplasm?

I'm no expert on spontaneous combustion, but I can tell you that some people have said far worse things about my writing, and somehow I'm in one piece. I'm still writing, to boot, and - for better or worse - showing no signs of stopping.

So, when someone comes to me bemoaning their lack of creativity, I often invite them to try this exercise. For a moment, consider the possibility that you don't have to try to be creative. You are creating your life, through the choices you make, in every moment. Imagine what you would and could do if you fully accepted that.

If we could let go of our draining struggle to "be creative," and trust that creativity is already and always ours, I think we'd free up a lot of energy to accomplish what we want, and give the gifts we want to give, in our work."

(Chris Edgar: Inner Productivity: A Mindful Path to Efficiency and Enjoyment in Your Work)


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