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SWEET SPOT

Sometimes when I’m curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, comfortably relaxed and enjoying one of my favorite things which is reading, the sun shines down from the skylight like a spotlight, glowing, sparkling, warming me and gently illuminating the words I am reading.  I call this the ‘sweet spot’.sweet spot

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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Bits & Bites

 

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Take a Hike!

Take a Hike!

“You cannot travel the path until you become the path itself”
Ancient Buddhist saying

What’s the best way to enjoy a day outdoors?

HIKING, of course!

Mt. Tzhouhalem

Cairns on Mt. Tzhouhalem

Samsun Narrows Bluff Hike

Samsun Narrows Bluff Hike

Besides being healthy and invigorating for me it’s always been a pleasurable way to spend time outside. Hiking provides a physical challenge as well as a break from today’s hectic living and offers the tranquility of the forest as well as the thrill of connecting with nature.
Vancouver Island is rich with hiking trails and a moderate climate, allowing for year round opportunities of hiking where we can observe unique ecosystems and an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers. The pleasures promised by a hike on one of the many trails never fail to tempt me to strap on a pack and lace up my hiking boots. The scenery at the top of a mountain is without a doubt well worth the effort it sometimes takes to climb there. Rock outcroppings offer rest spots with breathtaking vistas, eagles soar overhead and birdsong fills the clear, brisk air. The rewards are immeasurable.

There are no guarantees that the wilderness you’re hiking today will still be there tomorrow, therefore when it comes to sharing and enjoying nature a little consideration is crucial. More people are finding pleasure in the outdoors and the evidence of public recreation and the effect on the environment is becoming increasingly apparent. Even one hiker can have an impact on the fragile wilderness and hopefully we can retain the essence of the outdoors by using good ethics and practicing ‘no-trace hiking’. Carrying out everything we bring into the forest, treating the forest and the trails with respect and leaving “only our footprints behind”.

Genoa Bay HikeCairns on Mt TzhouhalemMaple Mountain View of Maple Bay

So strap on a packsack, lace up your boots and hit the trails.

But before you head out here are a few significant points to keep in mind.
• Insure that you are physically prepared
Carry a fully stocked backpack
• Break in your boots before the hike
• Wear wicking socks
• Research your hike and be familiar with the area
• Leave a detailed note as to where you are hiking and when you are expecting to return
• Carry the ten basic essentials

TEN BASIC ESSENTIALS

1. Water and plenty of it
2. Food including high energy snacks
3. Rain gear and change of socks
4. Hat and sun block
5. First aid kit
6. Waterproof matches or lighter
7. An extra layer of clothes
8. Whistle
9. Pocket knife
10. Compass and map of area

Once you are on the trail you will experience the inspirational rewards of embracing the wilderness, just watch your footing, respect the environment and enjoy the moment.

Happy Hiking!

When did you last go on a Hike?

What are your thoughts on development versus green spaces?

Interested in more hiking tips?

Click on this link to review a hiking book called:  Hiking With Marianne

Hiking Book Hiking with Marianne

Hiking Book
Hiking with Marianne

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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PERSEVERANCE

PERSEVERANCE

THE ART OF PERSEVERANCE

WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY DEFINITION:  PERSEVERE – TO TRY HARD AND CONTINUOUSLY IN SPITE OF OBSTACLES AND DIFFICULTIES

Many skills are required to be successful in sales. Etsy sellers require creative skills, marketing skills, time management skills, search engine optimization (SEO) skills, sales and customer service skills, and social media and technology skills. And yet all these skills pale in contrast to perseverance, which is the one skill that often, makes up for our deficiencies in other areas.  Having perseverance allows us to be successful no matter what obstacles are placed in front of us.087

It isn’t a cake walk to meet sales and marketing challenges head on while wading through the competition and dealing with customer service issues.  And yet many of us know what we need to do and yet we simply don’t do it.  We sometimes spend our time looking for an easy way out rather than using the path of determination and perseverance and doing what we need to do even when we don’t feel like doing it .  We want to achieve multiple sales, lose weight or get rich instantly! We want immediate gratification and we don’t want to do the painstaking, persistent and thorough work that it takes to achieve these successes. I believe that the ability to persevere is the key to success in all walks of life.

Remember the children’s storybook about “The Little Engine That Could?”

Courtesy of RoadsidePhotos

Courtesy of RoadsidePhotos

Talk about determination and perseverance!  Perhaps the best technique to conquer the skill of perseverance is to just start. Sometimes just beginning a task is often the most difficult.  However once you begin, you pick up the drive that leads to your success and accomplishment.  never ever ever give up!

We must learn to persevere in whatever task we take on. I’ve been married for a large number of years and if anyone were to ask “how have you hung in there so long?”  I would of course first reply that being married to such an easy-going, lovable, man makes it easy; however I sincerely believe that having the ability to persevere is also very critical!

In the best of marriages you have your moments when it just seems like too much work and it would be so easy to say “adios my fine fellow” but by persevering through the hard stuff you reap amazing long-term rewards.

We need to practice being determined and persistent.  Whether it is simply exercising, learning a new skill, staying in a relationship or working diligently on our SEO, we need to resolve that we will persevere until the task is completed or until we are satisfied with our results and ready to move on.

Desire may be the key to motivation, but it’s through determination and perseverance while in pursuit of our goals that enables us to attain the success we seek.  Many of us remember being told when we were young that “a job worth doing was worth doing well” followed up with “do it well or don’t do it at all.” Perseverance, in my humble opinion, is the one skill that guarantees your success!

What do you think?

Which skill do you consider to be of importance in attaining success in life?

 
7 Comments

Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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Random Acts of Kindness

Random Act of KindnessGarden Fairy or Random Act of Kindness?

We enjoyed an amusing surprise this morning after spotting an intruder positioned in our rock garden.  Standing tall stood an iron lily that had not been present the previous day.  After accusing each other of planting this arrangement of non perishable flowers in our garden, and each in turn adamantly denying the act, we came to the consensus that a benevolent and fun loving garden fairy must have stopped by in the night.   The lily adds interest and color to a drab garden and also added some curiosity and color to what could have been a drab morning!

What acts of kindness or generosity have you committed or been accused of lately?

 
9 Comments

Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!
An Example of one of the Carved Lintels

An Example of one of the Carved Lintels

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

Some years ago, following my urge to cut, carve and gouge, I became one of a group of apprentices participating in a Community Center Carving Project. The group project was led by George Norris, a celebrated artist, sculptor and wood carver. I longed to learn carving from a master and our task was to carve intricate details in broad wooden lintels that would be placed throughout the Community Center. George shared many insights, from his rich career of carving with the group, among which was an important lesson: Don’t bleed on the wood as it penetrates the grain and unfortunately there is only one way to remove blood stains from wood and that is by removing the blood stained area, hence the wood itself.

Carvings on Yellow Cedar Posts

Carvings on Yellow Cedar Posts

I learned this important lesson by experience while blood spurted wildly from a hand wound, caused by my ineptness with a lethal weapon aka the number seven carving tool. I mention that it was a number seven so that anyone who is aware of carving tools can appreciate how hazardous this tool can be in the hands of a beginner. Anyone who can’t imagine the damage that it can cause may want to check out my scar, a rather large one, to validate this.

Carving Exercise Block

As you might imagine I yelped a little when I stabbed my own hand, drawing the attention of the master carver who quickly came to my side to observe, not my wound, but the lintel where I had unknowingly leaked some blood. While I stanched the flow of blood as best I could, George quickly drew up a plan to remove the bloodied wood and in haste created an altered carving design to accommodate the removal of the bloodstain. There was no denying that my bloody wound came second to the importance of the lintel being carved.

Artists and artisans often recall with fondness the words of wisdom from a mentor and for me the words I remember most fondly as my first words of professional advice were

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

What words of wisdom do you recall from a mentor?

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Bits & Bites

 

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Two By Two

Two By Two

bright cut out animals
Have you ever wondered how Folk Art is created?

One of the Folk Art items I enjoy creating is Noah’s Ark. I create the Ark from reclaimed wood that I salvage from demolition sites or old homes. Along with the ark I include a number of small wooden animals.

Following is my step by step method of creating wood animals from reclaimed wood:

1. The first step is to design the animal on paper and then carefully cut it out and laminate the design for a tracer that you can utilize over again for future animals. That would be a practical thing to do.
Or you can do as I do and draw the animal directly on a piece of suitable wood, which is my quick and easy no nonsense preference. Each animal becomes a ‘one of a kind’ with its own irreplaceable character.

2. When the outline of the animal is drawn onto the wood it is essential to cut it out. I use a scroll saw; I love this little saw and have used it for many years.
It was a present from my supportive husband who recognized early on in our life together that I was not the kind of woman who cared highly for roses or bling, but one who would appreciate the value of a sharp saw or belt sander. I have cut through many a board with this little saw, broken many a blade and stained wood with my blood.

3. Once one of Noah’s animals emerges from the piece of reclaimed wood the next step is to sand the rough edges. You can use a medium weight sand paper and do this by hand.
I utilize a belt sander, another gift that thrilled me more than a mix master would have. Many a knuckle has been sanded and skin lost, during this procedure!

4. As soon as the animal feels smooth all over the fun of painting begins. I use old house paint.
This is an efficient and practical way to recycle products that could end up in the landfill. Fortunately I find painting the house, inside and out, a pleasant and meditative pastime, so I am never short of dribs and drabs of paint.

5. After a base coat I apply the appropriate color and once it dries I apply a second coat. A bit more sanding, then an application of varnish or stain or wood wax depending on the amount of distressing I might do.
Additional details such as some hemp rope for the tail and mane on the horse are added.

The finishing touch on all the animals is to add the eyes. This last step ensures that the animals come ‘alive’!

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Tutorials

 

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Etsy Time

Etsy Time

045BLACK CROW CURIOS believes in creative reuse by reclaiming and transforming cast off items into useful and decorative home accents.  Beach combing and the inspiration of the outdoors are essential components of the BLACK CROW CURIOS design process.

Take a look around Black Crow Curios, you may discover an item that you just can’t live without…

Click on this link to learn more About BlackCrowCurios an Etsy Shop:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios/about?ref=announce

Visit my online shop at:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios

048043IMG00266-20120807-1011

Etsy Time

How much time are you devoting to your online business?

I am finding that I am spending wayyyyy more time on my Etsy Shop than I had imagined I would. Literally 5 or 6 hours some days. I don’t have an addictive personality, however when I do decide to do something I get 100% involved and I have to be careful that when I ‘power up my computer’ and sit down at my desk I don’t get sucked into the Etsy vacuum and lose myself in the reading, absorbing and applying of what I am learning.

Normally I keep my life balanced. Allowing and enjoying time for family, friends, real job, hiking, kayaking, creating something and yet lately I’ve begun to feel that I am spending more time than I had expected to allot to an online business. Some of this time is very constructive, interacting in the discussions, learning new strategies and applying them, but I need to come up for a breath now and then and determine where best to put my time here, and my hope is that this time will all be well spent, like sowing seeds for a later harvest…

How much time is too much?

Etsy Shop Link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios

About BlackCrowcurios an Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios/about?ref=announce

Happy 2013!

My Etsy shop is new and I don’t have a ‘previous year’ to compare it to, so while my Etsy team members are preparing for their approach to 2013 and setting goals, I’m more focused on my accomplishments and reflecting on what I have learned.

And I have learned and accomplished plenty!

I’ve learned that opening an Etsy shop is time-consuming and comes with an enormous learning curve. I’ve accomplished opening a shop, stocking it with Barn Window Mirrors, Driftwood Boats and Hooks and Folk Art and I am actually making sales from people other than my friends and family. People unknown to me actually felt my product was worth purchasing. Go figure…

In reviewing my successes in 2012 the only thing I know for sure is that I am exactly where I need to be. I enjoy being creative and I required an outlet to sell my product so opening an Etsy shop was the right solution.

So what does 2013 bring?

I learned that if you want an honest critique from your team that is exactly what you will get. If you want compliments ask your friends and family! I have learned many things from the team I have joined, such as my photos are horrible, dark and cluttered and my shop is not cohesive. • So 2013 will see new brighter product photos, a more cohesive look and a paring down of product line. • To increase my shop’s reach I am learning the INS and OUTS of social media. So ‘friend’ me on face book, ‘like’ me on my blog, ‘save’ me on Wanelo and ‘pin’ me on Pinterest.

Basically I am requesting all your hearts and attention…

My Question To You: What have YOU accomplished in 2012 and what Business Strategies work best for YOU?

Etsy Shop Link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios About BlackCrowCurios Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios/about?ref=announce

Visit my online shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios

After some wild winds and big swells some lovely pieces of driftwood were washed up on our shore.  Perfect for Sailboats and coat racks!After some wild winds and big swells some lovely pieces of driftwood were washed up on our shore. Perfect for Coat Racks!
 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Etsy Shop Talk

 

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