When I was living in Colorado I made a monochromatic fringe garland for the front porch and I enjoyed seeing it blow in the wind with the Rocky Mountain foothills in the background. I could take a look at the garland from the window and if it was fluttering in the wind then I’d know how many layers I should wear if I ventured outside.
Now that I’m living in Santa Cruz I have a concrete backyard so I decided to expand upon the project and make something more colorful to brighten up the place. I ended up making a 50 foot fringe garland with yarn + rope and it energizes the space perfectly. It still dances on windy days adding movement and cheer to the concrete backyard. The photos below show the fringe making process as well as some fun had while dancing with a 50′ roll of fringe and throwing it into the air.
Trail cameras are great because you never know what type of photos you’ll end up with (if any). We strapped ours to a tree for a few weeks in hopes of seeing a mountain lion but the results were mostly pine trees swaying and deer grazing. Still, the surprise element is exciting and it feels like developing film.
Donald showed me how to use masks in Photoshop to create some entertaining results. Below are a few of our collaborations and some pleasant surprises captured by the Bushnell trail and game camera. I call this series, “If M.I.A. Made a Music Video in the Colorado Wilderness.”
Please disregard the inaccurate date and time stamp on these photos. They were shot this Spring in Colorado (2015).
The photo below shows why I never wear headphones when out in public and especially not while I’m deep in the woods. I love to work out to music (especially listening to M.I.A.), but I prefer to know what’s going on around me when I’m outside. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
And below is an outtake (taken with an iPhone, not with the Bushnell camera) showing some of the props that I brought with me for this project. I jogged ~ 3.5 miles up a mountain with 1,800+ elevation gain and a day-pack full of non-essentials (including lipstick + gold hoop earrings).
More to come because this was a really fun project and the fawns should be showing up in the mountains any day now…
*Note* No animals were injured during this photo shoot, however, I fell a few times while jumping around trying to activate the camera sensor.
While wandering through Estes Park, Colorado on Earth Day I was reminded that there are creatures on this planet that are still wild and free. They are masters of camouflage that have no regard for human guard rails or the “flow of traffic.” Every day is Earth Day in the wilderness.
I have a habit of jotting down inspirational quotes for myself often, but I wanted to share this one that I found a while back.
It also relates to Meghan Currie’s latest time-lapse yoga video. I’ve already mentioned that I’m a huge fan of her work and find her to be an incredibly motivating force in my life. In this video she remains steady and graceful as a tropical storm forcefully passes by. I think you’ll enjoy this video as much as I do.
She also includes a beautiful Alan Watts quote with her video:
“Ecstasy is something higher, or further out, than ordinary pleasure… its achievement requires a particular discipline and skill that is comparable to the art of sailing. We do not resist the vibrations, pulses, and rhythms of nature, just as the yachtsman does not resist the wind. But he knows how to manage his sails and, therefore, can use the wind to go wherever he wishes. The art of life, as we see it, is navigation.” ~Alan Watts
“We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our ordinary limits and then recovering. Expose a muscle to ordinary demand and it won’t grow. With age it will actually lose strength. The limiting factor in building any “muscle” is that many of us back off at the slightest hint of discomfort. To meet increased demand in our lives, we must learn to systematically build and strengthen muscles wherever our capacity is insufficient. Any form of stress that prompts discomfort has the potential to expand our capacity- physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually- so long as it is followed by adequate recovery.”
- First, warm up for a bit with jumping jacks or run in place.
- Then, do roll back tuck jumps for one minute (*try not to use your hands to lift up, and land softly on your feet)
- Next, jump rope for one minute.
- Rest for one minute, then repeat the tuck jumps/jump rope as many times as you can (try 3-4 sets).
I slowed down the portion of the video where I discover a knot in my jump rope which conveniently muffles my swearing. That brief section will also give you a chance to enjoy watching the snowflakes fall in slow motion which is much more peaceful than listening to my sailor mouth. Then I sped up the one minute jump rope section because it has such a hysterical effect. See if you can jump that fast (20x faster than reality)!
This was filmed in Fort Collins near Horsetooth Reservoir, February 2015. I was at an elevation of about 5,400 feet which is why I’m out of breath.
DIY natural “Kitty Balm” ingredients (*just in case*):
Shea butter- 1 oz.
Beeswax- 2 oz.
Carrier Oil (I used Jojoba) – 2 oz.
Essential Oils: Lavender (20 drops), Niaouli (12 drops), Eucalyptus (12 drops), Cajeput (15 drops), & Blue Chamomile (5 drops)
Use a double boiler to melt the first three ingredients. Let it cool slightly and then mix in your essential oils. Pour into small jars and let cool.
Please see the original recipe found on Scratch Mommy blog- here. She details the healing properties of each essential oil.
I found that the natural Kitty Balm didn’t have the intense warming effect of Tiger Balm but I appreciate letting the essential oils do the healing without the layer of Parafin Petrolatum on my skin. Next time I will experiment with adding extra drops of Cajeput for more heat. While making my first batch I put some of the balm on my trapezius muscle when the mixture was still slightly warm from the boiler and that was REALLY nice. Perhaps that’s what you can do for a lingering injury- heat the Kitty Balm slightly and then rub it into the tender area. That’s a real treat for sore muscles and will certainly promote deep recovery.
This week’s #wcw is artist Margaret Kilgallen.
She created murals indoors and on the streets that pay homage to American folk art, printmaking, and letterpress, and recall a time when personal craft and handmade signs were the dominant aesthetic.
I like her statement from the PBS film about her and her husband Barry McGee (also an artist):
“I do spend a lot of time trying to perfect my line work and my hand. But my hand will always be imperfect because it’s human. If I’m doing really big letters and I spend a lot of time going over the line and over the line trying to make it straight, I’ll never be able to make it straight. From a distance it might look straight, but when you get close up you can always see the lines waver. And I think that’s where the beauty is.”
Margaret died of breast cancer in 2001, less than a month after giving birth to her daughter, Asha. She was 33 years old. It’s tragic that her daughter had less than 30 days in the presence of her mother. On a hopeful note, Margaret leaves behind an incredible collection of imagery for Asha to connect with.
While I was taking apart an old photo album from grade school and carefully cataloging all the photos I was reminded of something very important that I want to carry into the New Year. I looked at the back of each photo to see the personal messages, dates and names and I found a common theme. In a personal note on the back of the photos many of my friends mentioned that they looked “horrible.” It saddened me to read this over and over. As I flipped the photo to see their image they looked bright-eyed, innocent, smiling and full of potential. I didn’t see anything horrible whatsoever. But some kind of self-esteem demon worked its way into our 12-year-old brains. I’m sure that I said similar things on the back of my photos, too.
I still know many of these women today. They’re doing amazing things with their lives and they have chosen professions where they motivate and inspire others to be the best version of themselves. I truly hope that the voice of the self-esteem demon is barely audible now.
I also found this ridiculous photo below. My face might not say it, but I know that I am in my happy place in this photo, which is why I saved it. I’m sure that’s the same reason that my mom snapped the photo, too. I’m in the green bathing cap and I just finished an open water competitive swim in Lake Michigan. I am also the one who place a big black X over the girl’s butt to the right. Clearly something about her body made me feel embarrassed and I felt that an X with a Sharpie marker would ease that feeling. The truth is she has an amazing swimmer’s butt and there’s no need to feel shame about our bodies or how we look. We are all beautiful.
In 2015 I will strive to:
The stickers above are from an art project that was launched in 2003 by artist and designer Matthew Hoffman. He printed a few of these stickers that read simply “You Are Beautiful” and gave them to friends and colleagues who found the phrase to be inspiring and infectious. Demand for the stickers quickly ramped up and soon he was printing thousands of them. They began appearing all over the city on bus stops, street signs, elevators and countless other hidden but visible locations. Later the stickers were accompanied by many outdoor art installations in Chicago and eventually the message began appearing around the world in public spaces (some commissioned and some guerrilla style).
I must have brought some of these stickers home from an art show while I was living at my mom’s house and forgotten them there. Years later she found one, and without even knowing its significance as an art movement she placed the message on her bathroom wall right next to the mirror. It has remained there for years. She’s never been one for having stickers of any sort on anything, so this was big for her.
Seeing this message in her home is so heartwarming. I know that each of her children and grandchildren see this message every time they pay a visit and I hope they let the three simple words soak in- you are beautiful.