Archive for ‘Life’

August 2, 2012

a word of motivation

by Jillian Douglas

“You must once and for all give up being worried about successes and failures. Don’t let that concern you. It’s your duty to go on working steadily day by day, quite quietly, to be prepared for mistakes, which are inevitable, and for failures.” {Tchekov}

April 15, 2012

The most relaxing place…

by Jillian Douglas

I love my porch.

It’s by far my most favorite part of the house that I grew up in. I didn’t realize my love for it until a couple of summers ago, enjoying the shade it offers so kindly and the quiet changes to its surface; every season the paint chips a little more, the weeds around it grow a few inches taller, the pine tree’s boughs reach through the railings a bit more. The colors of the porch are what first drew me to noticing it. Once a crisp, dark green, the paint now appears faded and more like teal, much of it completely gone and baring the gray, brown wood underneath. While most people would disapprove of the bright green growth on the wood, I admire it for complementing the other colors so well.

The porch is full of music, too. I often hear birds chirping in the pine trees and the wind rustling the yellow brilliance of the forsythia bushes. Mid-summer I hear jets creating new paths across the cloud-freckled sky and the boy next door practicing his swing, the crack resounding between the hills. In the fall, the gentle sound of a distant, huge motor in the farmer’s fields tell me they are harvesting; in the spring, the farmers, again, sowing, sowing. In the winter, when I miss the porch the most, I can still hear the music; the crunching of icy snow beneath my boots and the wind whistling through the railings, the structure creaking with shivers, whispering, Don’t worry; I’m still here. Spring will come soon.

I can’t capture the whole porch in one photograph. Looking at the whole thing, you wouldn’t be able to soak up its beauty, and looking at the little details, you wouldn’t be able to understand the connection between them and their significance. So I won’t even try. But I can share a glimpse of a moment, and with the few wonderfully warm days we have had so far this spring, I have a few to show you. Maybe they won’t mean much to you, having never experienced my porch, but I hope it will inspire you to seek out a place that means as much to you as my porch means to me.

A simple dinner for my parents and me.

Honey Wheat bread resting on the picnic table before the meal.

Pots containing little treasures: basil seeds.
(They never grew, but it was fun planting them. I’d like to try again).

If you do find a place, please describe it to me. I am curious..

March 13, 2012

A List of Lovelies

by Jillian Douglas

Sometimes I just need to make a list and spurt it all out in one quick blog post. So here goes.

Things I am So, So, So, So Grateful For

1. Anticipating new possibilities… big and small, like getting a new job, going back to school (for art!!) and acquiring an iphone. (All still just possibilities. But possibilities turn into plans which turn into the present. So I’m pretty excited.)

2. Experimenting with lace + crayons, and not finding this project on Pinterest, but actually (gasp!) making it up on my own. (I hope that’s allowed…;)

3.  Soaking up Portlandia. Oh, oh, Portlandia. You make me laugh.

4. Wearing my Toms again… they’re a bit thin to wear in the depths of winter, so I saved them until I could fully enjoy and appreciate them once more in this practically-summer-warmth we now have in NY. They make me happy.

5. Making orange + chocolate cake pops with my buddies and boyfriend. They turned out even better than the dream version, which I also spontaneously created in my head one day, while remembering a certain orange chocolate bar with much fondness. Cake pops are fun to eat, but I do not prefer to spend that much time in the kitchen for something I can just eat in a different way (what’s so wrong with just cake? Why does everything have to be a cupcake? Or a cake pop? It just seems so superfluous.)

Anyways, they were delicious and I’ll post a recipe soon after. Also, go eat that chocolate bar. It’s note-worthily mouthwatering (and comes with a poem, too!).

6. Learning about collecting sugar maple sap and boiling, boiling, boiling it down to make the best maple syrup ever. I tell you, I may become as obsessed about homemade maple syrup as I am about honey. I find it so fascinating! More on this topic later… (but you should know that we made maple-chocolate cups, kind of like a peanut butter cup but with maple cream inside. OhMyDearLord. They are so scrumptious. I would share them with each and every one of you if I could!)

7. Reaching new levels in relationships. It’s a scary thing, being genuine, 100% authentic, your soul on display for others to see. Well, maybe not your soul, theologically speaking, but at least your spirit- who you are, your personality, the things that make you you. But as frightening as it is, I can’t tell you how rewarding it is on the other side. In a genuine relationship, you enable each other to reach your potential; this process is love.

Well darlings. What are you grateful for? I want to hear.
Have a splendid day!

March 8, 2012

The Beekeeper

by Jillian Douglas

I’ve shared with you before how enthralled I am with the process of keeping bees and harvesting honey… And someday, whether in the country or city, I will keep bees myself! I found this video the other day and immediately fell in love. It’s a beauty even if you don’t share the same honey-soaked dream as me (great job, Keith “keef” Ehrlich!).

Made by Hand is a series of short videos, each aiming to “promote that which is made locally, sustainably, and with a love for craft.” The two other videos that have also been released so far are The Knife Maker and The Distiller.

What do you think? Would you ever keep bees, in the country or city?

Is it important to you to buy handcrafted or homemade products? I’ll be posting again about this soon… in the meantime, happy video watching!

March 5, 2012

life with Bella

by adandelionchild

This week I’m taking  care of this lovely little munchkin named Bella. She is a french bulldog that is so quirky and sweet.

 

 

Bella and I have a few things in common.

#1. We appreciate food. And constantly think the world should know. Our food to non-food related thoughts ratio is a little skewed, but we are completely at peace with that.

#2. We make strange noises. I’d like to think that the gremlin/alien-esque type sounds that escape our lips are unique and endearing like a good Zooey Deschanel song. It’s more likely that they are mistaken for poor Stitch impersonations, but we will continue in our blissful ignorance if you don’t mind.

#3. If we want something, we have steel-like willpower. Okay, this one is more Bella. When she wants to play, she puts the rope in your hand. When she wants a snack she will do crazy flips and run back and forth to her food to try to charm you into slipping her some extra kibble. Luckily she is easily the cutest thing in the world, so I’m looking forward to many more games of tug of war this week.

This week seems to fall right in line with my weathly mindset goal for 2012. I am very appreciative that I get to snuggle up with this little love in front of the fireplace until our eyes get heavy and it’s time to say goodnight. What more can you ask for?*

 

*Bella says you can always ask for a treat. But other than that, nothing.

February 24, 2012

Opportunities

by Jillian Douglas

The Art House Co-op are the brilliant people behind The Sketchbook Project, which you might’ve heard of before. Both Ashley and I participated in it last year, and though it’s super challenging, it was exciting to be part of such a huge community art project!

So, coming from the same people is a new project, one that is completely free (besides postage and supplies): The 10×10 Series. The Art House Co-op basically offers “10 new community art projects in 10 weeks to celebrate our Year of Inspiration.” And every project is free!

There is one project you can sign up for right now: The 4 x 6 Exchange 2. The 4 x 6 Exchange 2 shares the joy of receiving art in the mail; after you sign up, you send in a 4 x 6 piece of art that will be swapped with someone else’s around the world. So not only do you get the joy of creating something, but you receive a little piece of art, too! Know that to be a part of this project you must sign up before March 1, and watch out, because there is limited availability…

One of the past projects in The 10×10 Series is The Jar Project, in which the Co-op sends each participant a jar that they have to fill or decorate in some way. I’m so bummed that all the slots are already taken! But I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of all of them together… maybe I’ll make my own little installation of jars. Hehe.

I really do want to do one of these small projects, just to jump-start some creativity in my life. The Art House Co-op is just one more thing to add to my list of Why I Need to Move to New York City. But meanwhile I’ll enjoy still being a part of one of these awesome collaborations!

What do you think? Are you inspired to join any of these projects? I can’t wait to see what the Co-op offers next!

2 More Awesome Art Opportunities:

Hey Hot Shot! The International Photography Competition is a contest for photographers “of all stages of their careers” that offers a lot of different ways to be found (through weekly newsletters, a 20×200 book, and even a gallery exhibition of your photography). These competitions are ongoing, but the deadline for the current one is March 14.

and

The 6 x 6 Exhibition held in Rochester by the Rochester Contemporary Art Center collects thousands of original art pieces from international and local artists that are only 6×6″ and displays the collection this summer. They also sell the artwork to raise money for the RCAC. Many celebrities (including Danny Wegman!) even submit artwork, although every piece is exhibited anonymously until after the exhibition. Submissions must be postmarked by May 5th!

February 4, 2012

temporary love

by adandelionchild

Valentine’s day is right around the corner and what better way to show your affection than getting a tattoo? Afraid of taking the leap? Well here’s a more temporary way to display your devotion without suffering all eternity if things don’t *God forbid!* work out. From the incredible Tattly, I’d like to share Enamorado. Tattly also just came out with their more festive take on their classic “Late Watch” design, which I’m planning on sporting for the holiday. Grab your beaux  and get matching tats 🙂

PS. I just ordered a set of this genius design to share with a friend that is pessimistic about Valentines Day. As I told him, Valentine’s Day is not about couples, it’s about love, and it needs to be celebrated! If you’re flying solo this V-Day, think about the people you love and don’t let the hallmark tradition ruin your celebration!

January 27, 2012

a love for Love and a little honey, too

by Jillian Douglas

Oh, this is so perfect! I adore Valentine’s Day. I think love should be celebrated as much as possible, and even before love came to me, little feathers floated up my spine whenever I thought of this romantic holiday.

Maybe I’m this way because of many Disney movies swirling my chillun self into the abyss of romance and lovability and moments of beauty and kisses. But it runs so deeply within me, I think God just poured a heap of this unquenchable desire into my tiny heart when He made me.

I didn’t know until I perused my blog subscriptions and found this Etsy blog post last evening that not only is Saint Valentine responsible for giving us, inmyopinion, the best holiday ever, but he is also the Patron Saint of the Beekeepers. And if there’s anything else that makes my little heart giddy, it’s dreaming of keeping bees one day (which all started with this book right here). Somewhere in my future are fields of thick, golden honey, covering a lightly toasted slice of bread or hidden in countless, delicious concoctions. Beekeeping has the charm of farming, but skips the reek and (sad) butchering.

Anyways, this little piece of information, folks, made me smile and appreciate Mr. Valentine even more. I’m not a believer in saints and powers that people have given them, but I do like those odd little connections that sneak up on you sometimes.

Now I know for most of you, just thinking about another day so focused on the lack of love in your life will put you in the gloomiest of moods for prettymuchforever. But please, readers, open your heart a little more this year- before or even after the 14th. Be reminded of all the love your parents poured over you when the world was much smaller. Remember the little joys of a best friend passing you a note during class, or trading a bit of his lunch with you. Remember that with every sunbeam of happiness, with every spec of glee, God is still pouring that Love into your life, for you to experience and treasure.

I hope you do.

Here’s some more Valentine’s Day love:

Give your sweetie something handcrafted this year.

Send a letter to someone nifty; fancy it up with a wax seal!

Remember the good ol’ days of making handmade valentines and handing them out to your classmates and friends? Why not try that again? Etsy is collecting valentines so they can cheer up someone in need come V-day. Hurry- deadline is the 7th!

Put a little love in your hearts! Enjoy a free reading of romantic love poetry at Writers and Books in Rochester on February 7.

Photo by Jill Douglas.

January 14, 2012

Accomplishments and Aspirations

by Jillian Douglas

My dear readers,

I apologize profusely for my lack of attention towards this blog of ours! I really have no excuse.

In other news, I so thoroughly enjoyed Ashley’s New Year dreams that I thought I’d share a bit of my life, too. But I’d like to recap the awesomeness that was of last year instead.

In 2011, I…

  • Began my first real romantic relationship with the man of my dreams! I won’t go into the gory details, but on January 31, after waiting for what seemed like forever, he finally asked me to be his girlfriend. And then we went on a date to the ER. More on that another time, perhaps…
  • Was an all-out Elim Bible Institute student from August to May, where I met awesome kidlings from Canada, Mexico, Norway, and Guam (I love you foreigners!) and soaked up knowledge from my various godly teachers. It was a real growing time for me, since all I ever dreamed of was art school. But God wanted me there, and boy did He use it for good. I’m glad I spent that school year there. But I’m also glad that I don’t have room checks anymore. (ugh!)
  • Traveled to Queens for a three-week internship at NYSUM- New York School of Urban Ministry. Suddenly the knowledge that was lectured to me in class became real with the 8+ hours of serving we did every day. We met all sorts of people who I still think about: a traditional Jewish rabbi, a universalist on the Long Island Ferry, a Spirit-filled young man in the kitchen who always encouraged us. If you ever get the chance, I suggest interning with those folks down there. It will give you a whole new perspective on life. Not to mention, I loved soaking up as much of New York I could! It’s a dreamy place, I tell you.

  • Finally became a NY state licensed driver! I’m really awful with the stress of taking tests, something you can somewhat hide easily in high school but not so much in this. Needless to say, I am so, so, SO glad to have met the kind tester that granted me a little more independence this year. Thank you, God.
  • Spent a week relaxing in the Adirondacks with my parents and my brother on the beautiful Lake George! It was a restful time, and I wish I could just close my eyes and be there again. 

I don’t really know what this year will bring. I have a few resolutions, ones that I think I always dream of conquering, I think! I’d love to draw more. I know I can do it and I definitely want to, but there’s always something stopping me. I’d like to get over that this year. I’d like to set up discipline and diligence in my art. Does anyone have any ideas on how to do that? haha. I think I’ll be reading a lot of these kind of articles.

I also want to get closer to my brothers. Every time I watch Dan in Real Life, or Parenthood, or anything family-oriented, I instantly wish I knew my brothers better, who they want to be and what they really dream of. I want to help them reach those goals.

Thirdly, I want to hear God’s voice clearer. It’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in checking all 200 blog subscriptions, reading Harry Potter novels, and just living that I forget that God’s waiting for me to come to Him. He wants to release so much blessing on my life! So this year I’m making myself put more discipline in the things I care about.

I’m looking forward to my best friend’s wedding, a potential trip to NYC, another week in the beautiful Adirondacks, and jump-starting Elim Gospel Church‘s art ministry (which will be making its appearance at a Word and Intercession prayer event on Jan 20th from 7-9p and a 24-hour prayer event on Jan 27-28, 7p-7p! Come, come, come!), and so much more than I could ever plan.

Isn’t life fun?

What did you guys do over the last year? Anything spectacular? Anything so-so? Sometimes we accomplish so much without even knowing it.

December 27, 2011

12 before 2013

by adandelionchild

I am a big fan of Elsie Flannigan and I read about one of her traditions on her lovely blog A Beautiful Mess. Every year she writes a list of goals to accomplish and skills to develop. She starts and reviews her lists on her birthday every year and bases the amount of things on her list on the year she is turning. This upcoming year she is starting on her 29 before 30 list. Reading over her recap of last years list and seeing all she has accomplished and learned, I’ve been inspired to start my own list as a part of New Year resolutions.

I usually start the year much like everyone that makes resolutions. I consider what I would like to change or how I would like to grow, but lack of organization and distractions of everyday life prevent me from making much progress and I give up quickly. I also tend to try to focus on too many things and therefore spread my ambition too thin. I think this is a great way to be more organized and attempt to tackle only what  I can manage. So with a new, refreshed attitude towards resolutions, here is my…

12 before 2013

01: read more. I love, love books, but I don’t read enough. The library and I sort of have a past involving me…not returning books. But I’m going to rebuild those bridges and pay my fees and get started on some books from this list.

02: blog on a regular basis. I like blogging, but it has been difficult to keep up with steady posting and the demands of school and work. I wanted to include this on my list though because I want to get better at it and help our little child to grow! (hee hee) I think by blogging more regularly we will be able to develop more of a style and direction in our blog and find our own niche in the blogosphere.

03: must get hands in a condition worthy of a manicure.

04: travel more:

….vacation with my sisters, weekend trips, music festivals, even taking the scenic route home from school.

05: cook and bake more. Elsie’s sister Emma recently posted about baking a loaf of bread a week in the hopes that it’ll become a habit and she’ll know many recipes by heart. I think that is a reasonable goal and that is the level of cooking I really want to be comfortable at. I have so many family and friends that are talented as well as a great opportunity at work to learn from skilled chefs and I am ready to take advantage!

06: be healthier. I don’t have a very healthy lifestyle right now; between eating whatever I want regardless of nutritional value and not ever exercising I am probably setting myself up for disaster in a few short years. I also know that I have a lot of obesity and health problems in my family history that I need to counteract with good habits.

07: become more disciplined in my artwork. I want to become more dedicated to finishing projects and constantly working to develop my skill. It’s not only important because (HELLO!) I’m an art major, but because I think I can be better and I have limited myself in the past. BUT NO MORE.

08: learn to sew. please please someone take me under their wing. The extent of my skill is ghetto hemming black pants in high school and teaching myself  how to do a back-stitch to make a wig for my friend for Halloween. helphelphelphelphelp.

09: become more involved in the Rochester Art Community. It’s bigger than it seems and has a lot to offer. We have great local festivals and galleries but I know that personally I have a limited knowledge of just how much art is a part of this city. I plan on changing that!

10: focus more of my energy and time into my faith and relationship with Jesus. We always need to be constantly learning and growing closer to God. I want to become more of a disciple of Christ and less of my own follower. I know that God’s plans are greater than my own and He has blessings in store for those that honestly seek Him. It’s a slow process and I definitely miss the influence of my high school (LCS), but I’m determined to move forward.

11: watch a meteor shower and see an eclipse.

(perfect constellation calendar via littlebrightstudio on etsy)

I know this is less of a goal and just something I reallyreallyreally want to happen. I’ve also never seen a shooting star and until one of my good friends pointed out the dippers during a bonfire my senior year of high school I’d never seen a constellation! I love stars and the moon, so I think it is just fine that I’m putting this as number 11. So there.

12: have a wealthy mindset. I am just going to say upfront that I got this idea from Jill. We were talking one day about how some wealthier people seem to have this mindset in which they notice the beauty in simple things. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that if you can afford more than just the simple things, they seem to take on their own kind of magic. They have time to slow down and actually look at the world around them. Maybe it has something to do with the freedom life might have without the stress and anxiety that finances bring. Now I am under absolutely no illusions that life would be perfect if I had everything I wanted. Please, I have  enough selfishness and materialism problems. I just think that the mindset is important. I can not afford to buy fresh flowers every day, but I can appreciate their beauty and maybe fill vases with daisies. I can enjoy dinner with friends, even if we made it ourselves with cheaper substitutions than we would have liked. A wealthy mindset is one in which a gift, no matter the size or quantity, has value because it is a gift. See life as luxurious. Sunsets. Public Art. Parks. Love. And if you just can’t understand, read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Francie’s mother truly understands more than any other woman in literature the importance of a luxurious conviction.

These are my 12 and I’m hoping to make some progress this year. I probably won’t conquer everything, but I think they’re all worth a try. What are you hoping to accomplish? Is there anyone you can encourage in their resolutions this year? Be the inspiration you want to see in the world. Happy New Year.