Seashells and Summer Memories

We all do it; pick up a pretty shell at the beach and take it home to remember the magical time at the beach. Unfortunately, once we have the seashell at home, we’re puzzled about what to do with it.

My friend, Sandy Bassett arranges her shells, some sand, a candle, and other beach artifacts in a pretty, clear glass bowl. It looks fabulous on a table or shelf. I’ve built a webpage to show off her method of decorating your home with seashells. I’ve also included other crafty ideas.

Below is a variation on Sandy’s idea.

seashell pixabay window

Check them out and you’ll be pulling those seashells out of the drawer or the shoebox where they’re stashed. One of the most popular ideas on the webpage is filling the clear-glass base of a lamp with shells.

Glass Canister Small Fillable Accent LampGlass Canister Small Fillable Accent LampView DetailsWood & Glass Fillable Uplight - Threshold™Wood & Glass Fillable Uplight – Threshold™View DetailsDeco Glass Fillable Table LampDeco Glass Fillable Table LampView Details

 
Everytime you see your seashells on display, you capture that summer on the beach moment one more time.

Advertisements

Repairing the World

My friend and I share similar political views. In this essay (part of an upcoming book) she explains that in these stressful times, it is important to seek your highest self.

There Goes My Heart

The following is the first essay in my upcoming second book of essays, Tikkun Olam: Living Kind in an Unkind World. Look for it on Amazon soon!

The Shabbat prayer book in our synagogue includes the following meditation: “I harbor within—we all do—a vision of my highest self, a dream of what I could and should become. May I pursue this vision, labor to make real my dream.”

Melting glaciers and rising seas. The threat of nuclear war. The uptick of racist and xenophobic acts. Despite or maybe because of the current state of our world, it is more critical than ever for me to find “my highest self.” I am determined to use my moral compass to point me in a direction that follows my values and helps create change for the better for others.

Until recently, I did not consider myself an activist. I was—admittedly—marginally involved in…

View original post 413 more words

The American System Is Under Attack

Many times on Facebook, the discussion is rancorous and fragmented. I found an insightful post by Jeff Prusi in the group, The Talk on Main Street. He gave me permission to share it here.

Jeff Prusi wrote,

It is not just this president or just this administration, it is the Republican party in general. They built Trump. Brick by brick. Stone by stone. Policy by policy. They enable him to this day. They aid and abet his criminal activities day by day. He and way too many of them attack our institutions every day.

  • Our education system is under attack.
  • Freedom of the press is under attack.
  • An independent judiciary is under attack.
  • Our National Intelligence and Security Agencies are under attack.
  • The independence of our Department of Justice is under attack.
  • Our national electoral process is under attack and this administration and this Republican-controlled Congress do nothing except attack those who are trying to find out the truth and fix the problem.

The only thing #45IsIllegitimate had right during the campaign (and since) is that the election was “rigged”. It WAS rigged, just not as he implied. Extreme gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, and Crosscheck Purging, if YOUR party has to use these unAmerican tactics what does it say about YOUR party and their agenda? If YOU support these unAmerican tactics what does it say about YOU.

Today’s Republican Party has become the party of lies, fear, and hate. Today’s Republican Party is ‘A Clear and Present Danger’ to our country and our way of life. Period.”

What Can You Do? Let’s Take Action!

Join your local Indivisible group and/or sign up with SwingLeft. Just put in your zip code and it will give you information about activities you can participate in to make a difference.

slavery what would you do

 

Where Are the A to Z Posts?

I have a number of blogs and each year choose one for the A to Z Blog Challenge. If you’re looking for that one to see what I’ve been doing, it’s the All About Toni Dolls blog this year.

The graphic below shows some of the recent posts there. Unfortunately, I missed 2 letters so far as I was traveling. I might make those up in May. For now, you can go to All About Toni Dolls to see the ones shown below.

Blog Posts list ‹ All about Toni Dolls — WordPress com

Maybe these will bring back memories of your favorite doll from childhood or give you ideas for making some doll outfits with your child or grandchild. Thanks for dropping by.

In previous years, I took the A to Z Blog Challenge using my mother’s memory blog, Discovering Mom. Here’s the links/list for the 2017 A to Z posts. The first year that I participated was 2014. Here’s my very first one, A is for Accident.

Patting Myself on the Back

I keep a folder labeled “Compliments” in my email files. When I get a message where someone says kind things about me, I save a copy in that folder.

Now and then when I need an ego boost, I browse those messages. Some date back to my time on the Squidoo website. We had some great networking there and I still keep in touch with many of the great people who wrote there.

Kind Words from My Squidoo Pals:

    • Diane Cass – “Virginia is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for me.”
    • Heather Knight Schulte – “I also agree Virginia needs a trophy (or a crown) for all her helpful advice and encouragement.”
    • Lisa Auch – “For sharing all your wonderful information to making great pages! And for sharing your journey and motivation you give to others! It sure is a pleasure knowing you!”
    • “Virginia, thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do to promote Squidoo and engender a feeling of community amongst the writers. I also want to personally thank you for all of the encouragement you have given me to stay with Squidoo, the helpful tips that have made my lenses better, and being my biggest fan. The great thing is that you do this for everyone…not just me. Thank you so much.”
    • Wordstock – “You, my friend, are the most helpful and the best cheerleader a person could hope for. Thank you for your help in the past and for, I am sure, the help in the future. Without you, I would still be floundering on the beach. Now I am not afraid to swim in the deep water.”

lensmasters work

Taking Spider Web Photos

Orange spider blends in with the dry grasses.
Orange spider blends in with the dry grasses. (Photo by Virginia Allain)

Nature buffs and camera enthusiasts find spiders and their intricate webs fascinating. Photographing them is challenging. Here are some tips to improve your digital photos of spider webs.

 Things You’ll Need:
  • digital camera with close-up mode
  • outdoor area to find spiders
Spider webs with dew on them are more visible in photographs than a plain web. This means getting out early with the digital camera before the sun dries everything out.
spider web
Spider web after a light rain shower. (photo by Virginia Allain)

 

Use the macro setting (close-up) on your digital camera. Often this setting is represented by a flower icon.

 

canon camera powershot
Canon SX 20 IS Powershot that I use
Keep your hands very steady or use a tripod for macros. Avoid windy days when slight movements of the web will blur your picture.
spiderweb
Be cautious if the spider is on the web.
Look for plain, uncluttered background to show off the web better. Dirt, mulch, or sky work well as a background. The close-up setting on the digital camera helps by putting the background out of focus.
IMG_1285_edited
Take multiple shots from different angles. Try getting the whole web, a section of the web, different sides of the web. Then see what turned out the best.
IMG_7517
This photo could benefit from cropping. The grass background is not the best.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fog or a sprinkler or a light shower sometimes creates ideal conditions for photographing webs and can mimic morning dew.
  • Black construction paper held behind a web might work when the background is too cluttered.
  • Avoid disturbing the web when taking your photo.

(Previously published on eHow in 2008 by Virginia Allain)