Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'm celebrating my return to blogging by celebrating the birthday of my dear friend Gemma, aka Linda.
Gemma, like me, is a lady of a certain age who is enjoying a wonderful second childhood. She believes in mermaids and fairies, and as you can see by the photo above, likes to search for fairies whenever she is in a likely place, such as the magical garden above, where fairies certainly must be found. She doesn't mind at all if people look at her strangely when she's hunting high and low.
Gemma is A Wild Woman In A Desert Garden (Arizona). In fact, that's the name of her blog. Go to (http://www.adesertgarden.blogspot.com/) Occasionally she can be spotted dancing under the full moon, or sporting a swatch of pink in her hair.
Gemma is a talented artist who sometimes accompanies her art with beautiful, evocative poems. A member of the "Glitter Power Sisters", she recently hosted a gathering of the GPS in Sedona, a spiritual place for a very spiritual lady. She has a huge heart and a kind and loving soul.
Gemma is one of my soul friends, to be sure, but she is more. She is my ancestral sister. We come from the same ancient tribe. In this life, we come from the same place too. I knew for sure when Gemma wrote her "Where I'm From" essay that has made its way around blogland.
We're from Blue Willow china, wooden screen doors, clothes drying on the line, small houses with big yards, hardscrabble beginnings and strong family circles with funny, interesting, quirky relatives.
I like to think of us as the Blue Willow gals.
Happy Birthday, Gemma. I hope you are having a wonderful day. I'm sorry I'm posting this so late. I took a nap after work and now look at the time.
My wish for you, today, Gemma, involves "G", and you know what it is.
Love, Julie

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I'm temporarily back from my self-imposed blogging exile. I can't let this day go by without wishing a Happy Birthday to two special women.
Today is the 65th birthday of Janet from "The Lavender Loft" (http://www.jkbees.blogspot.com/). Janet is an artist who was afraid to call herself one for many years. But now she proudly wears the title and has become a published artist, her work having been featured in an issue of "Artful Blogging". I love all her art work, but I especially like her drawings of mysteriously intriguing ladies.
Janet, my birthday wish for you is that the terribly hot weather has gone away and that the cool autumn breezes bring even greater inspiration your way.
Tomorrow is the birthday of Leanne from "Somerset Seasons" (http://www.somersetseasons.blogspot.com/). Leanne shares the changing seasons and English legends, lore and poems from her country cottage. She will be moving to town soon, but she will still have a garden, and she will bring along her two black and white dogs, her family of black and white cats, and her chickens (no, they're not black and white!)
Leanne, my birthday wish for you is that this move will be a turning point for you and bring you the greatest happiness of your life.
PS - I think I gave a lot of people the impression that I was quitting blogging. I'm only on a break!~ I'll be back in October.
To Janice - You are a no reply blogger so I can't send you my email address. Sorry!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Do you ever get something stuck in your head in a certain way and you can never get it right after that? To me, the name of the painting above, by Jane Starr Weils, should be "Celtic Lady at the Crossroads."
By looking at the design on her robes and the Celtic knot in the tree branches, you can see why I'd get the "Celtic Lady" part. But since she's walking down a straight path, why would I think she is at a crossroads? Because Weils painted this image especially for the cover of the "Crossroads" CD by Greene Lady Music.
This painting epitomizes what I think about when I visualize myself as a Celtic Lady (only with the golden brown hair of my youth). She's fey, magickal, mystical, mysterious, romantic, a child of nature, unafraid, whimsical and adventurous. She can see the fae, play the flute, talk to the animals and birds, enchant young men and raise the wind and the waves. She can dance in the woods and visit an isle unseen by the normal world.
She wears the clothes I would love to wear in a time and place I would have loved to inhabit (what place? England, of course). She is the age my inner Celtic Lady is, and oh yes, she is pretty.
And as I do consider myself to be at a crossroads at the moment, this painting is very appropriate to publish today.
All this is a very roundabout way of saying I am not sure of the direction this blog is heading and I plan to take a break for a while. I have art projects to complete, and life issues that must be dealt with.
But the bottom line is, blogging is no longer fun for me. You can tell by the way my output of posts has plummeted. In 2007, I wrote about 265 posts. This year, I've written barely 1/4 that number with only four months to go in 2008.
I also desperately need to get off the hamster wheel that is commenting. It has become a chore rather than a pleasure. And I see that it is tit for tat. If I don't comment, I don't get many comments. I am going to be brave and tell myself I don't care if I get 5 or 50 comments.
Don't get me wrong, I love comments! But I can't expect you to comment if I'm not commenting. I'll still continue to follow your blogs, and if I see something that really moves me, I will comment, but I won't feel as if I MUST.
Like another blogging friend who has gotten off the hamster wheel (she went a step further and disabled comments!), I will miss the camaraderie of the people I've gotten to know. I have made some very dear friends in the past 20 months - some dearer to me than my local friends.
I don't want to lose contact with you. That's why I would love to hear from you via e-mail. If you don't have my e-mail, comment here and I'll send it to you (there's that comments thing again).
So, before I go, I'll leave you with more art work by my favorite Celtic/Fantasy artist.

This one is reproduced as a thumbnail on my sidebar.


Jenna must be Green Lady's sister, they're so alike in looks, dress and manner!


How appropriate to have this September painting in a post written in September.

This is one of Weil's faeries. I love her intricate costume. To see more of her art, go to: http://www.janestarrweils.com/printgallery/index.htm

Many of these pieces are for sale in her gift shop. An 11 x 16 inch "Green Lady" print is available for just $4.99. I think that is a fabulously low price. I purchased it and it is sitting on my computer desk.
Her online shop also features 8x10 prints, journals, cards, and much more.

Weils places her art in a number of categories, including the above mentioned Celtic and Faeries, as well as Medieval; Fantasy; Dragons, Unicorns and Creatures; Zodiac; Romantic; Magickal; and Mermaids and Water Spirits.
I have saved a few of Weil's images and will feature them in posts later this fall or winter. Yes, I will be back, "if the Lord's willing and the creek don't rise." Ta ta for now!

Friday, September 5, 2008



Many of my fellow bloggers sensed the return of autumn already in August with the fall of a few yellow leaves, chilly evenings and an indefinable but definite tang in the air. I felt none of that then, not even when the kids returned to school - because it started on August 21, for pete's sake.

But autumn showed up here exactly at the turn of the calendar page. Since September 1 it has been cool and rainy. Finally, my mind has turned to thoughts of fall. And in the fall an old woman's fancy turns toward . . . creativity!

I've run across a couple of fantastic art projects that I plan to take part in this fall, now that my round robin altered book is finished. I adore autumn and I love, love, love Halloween so I will be creating away like a mad woman - or witchy woman, as the case may be.

First, I learned that my blogging friend Lena (Mrs. Staggs) of A Happy Miscellany will be giving instructions for a Wednesday Sketchbook every week. The idea germinated when she found an old Washington Irving Sketchbook at an antique shop.

After she brought her treasure home, she writes, "I was thinking it would be fun for us all to make our own books, something along the lines of the Beatrix Potter Journal and those wonderful Fairyopolis books, that look a little bit like journals and sketchbooks and include all sorts of neat elements like envelopes that open and other fun things.

I was thinking something along the lines of sharing an element each week that you would then use to create a page for your book, maybe with the theme of Autumn, and then we could share links to each other's pages in my comment section the following week. Maybe we could each create our own character, and experience autumn through their eyes."

Not wanting to ruin the old Sketchbook, Lena opted to copy the cover and create her own book. But we are allowed to alter a book, and that's what I plan to do. I'm trying to decide if my own character will be a school girl in the 1910s or a young lady in the 1920s. Whichever incarnation she is, she is a nature lover. (Maybe her sketchbook can cover a 10-year period!)

Lena will give complete instructions for a phase of the sketchbook project in her blog every Wednesday. She started this week with instructions on how to create the cover, secure the pages and create an acorn bookmark. Click on the link below for complete details.


Now, on to the other project. While Lena's project is a work-at-your-own-pace, no-pressure kind of thing, this one is a contest with rules, a deadline and a prize!

See the spooky lady below? What can be done using her image and the word "Boo!" (or the idea behind the word)?

Quite a lot, as it turns out! My blogging friend Mary in Idaho (Back of the Moon) accepted an art challenge from another blogger and created this delightfully eerie scene:

I guess because I copied the image from Mary's blog, you can't click on it to enlarge it, but you can enlarge it and read the text of "Sarah's Dance" by going to Mary's blog and clicking on the image there. You'll also learn about the rules of the challege:
By the way, I said this one is a contest, and I am definitely going to vote for Mary's art!
Entries will be posted September 8 here: http://mind-wideopen.blogspot.com/