Tag Archives: book

International Women’s Day + Carrie Green

Today is International Women’s Day. Today is also the day I received my copy of Carrie Green’s book “She Means Business”. It’s not just any business book. It’s a business book geared specifically towards women entrepreneurs. It’s Motivational, Inspirational and dare I say it, Fun. 

If you’re in the USA, use this link to Amazon.com to purchase your own copy of She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1401953166/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_ECaWybBKPZ4M3

If you’re in the UK or Europe, use this link to Amazon.co.uk:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/178180740X/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_WAaWyb52RT38W

The fact that my copy of this book, a book geared towards Female entrepreneurs, arrived today, of all days, on International Women’s Day, hasn’t escaped my notice. I’m of the view that there are no coincidences in Life, things happen for a reason and at just the right time. 

So I’m taking this as a sign that I NEED to read Carrie Green’s book very carefully, and pay close attention to the information, advice and exercises within it, and just BE DARING to put myself out there, to start my intented Crafts Business NOW instead of procrastinating. 

Go take a look at Carrie’s site for Female Entrepreneur Association, of which she is the founder, there’s a plethora of juicy extras and bonuses that can be had there. If you’re already in receipt of the book, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon for a chance to win freebies. Here’s the link with information on how to claim your freebies: https://m.facebook.com/groups/571014886425825?view=permalink&id=615166408677339

To all my Sisters in The Universe, if you’ve been waiting for a Sign to help you kickstart your life, this is it! We are Women, hear us roar!

Dog Training Tips – Walking on lead

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“Decoding Your Dog” is a fabulous book about how to interpret your dog’s language, both verbal and physical. It’s written by several American veterinarians/canine psychologists/dog behaviourists, all leaders in their field. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about dogs.

I chose the above graphic because it ties in with learning how to walk your dog on a loose leash. Which, truth be told, is easier said than done, especially if your dog is like my Shelagh, who, once on a leash, gets so hyped up and eager to go that she loses interest completely in treats. A dog that readily takes treats or is food-motivated is easier to train.

Shelagh is still a work in progress. I don’t expect instant results, we work at her pace, and meanwhile we’re enjoying the experience of being out and about together.

Someone who just adopted a dog from the Refuge recently asked when he’d be able to let his dog off the leash at the dog beach. I told him it’s taken me 3 years to even get Shelagh to the beach at all, and that’s with her being on-leash.

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This “traffic-light colour” system for dog harnesses and leads is a great idea. My Scruffy would wear a green “Friendly” one, and Shelagh would wear a “Caution” one.

The problem here, where we live, is that most Australians don’t bother to read signs, or respect them. Too many times we’ve come across dogs off-leash in lead-only areas. And ignorant owners who think it’s okay to smile and wave, while the dogs are going crazy pulling at the leash in frustration, saying,”Don’t worry, my dog doesn’t bite, he’s friendly!”.

To which, I’ll say this the next time:

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Folks, please keep your dogs on their leads, unless you’re in a designated off-leash area. And even if in an off-leash area, spare a thought for owners of dogs who may be uncertain about how their dogs will react to other dogs off-leash. If in doubt, practice avoidance. Risking giving the impression of being unfriendly or aloof is much more preferable and cheaper than having to deal with a dog fight and its legal consequences.

Dystopian Dreams

Next week, the final instalment of The Hunger Games comes out at the cinemas. For those who are unaware of this hugely successful franchise, it’s dystopian fiction, set in a world where one oppressing power (The Capital) controls the rest of the country (divided into 13 Districts, based on their natural resources). And where there once was a War, with catastrophic loss of lives, after which the Capital decided that, as a reminder to the people of Panem, each year 2 young men and women from each District would be selected to participate in The Hunger Games. They would be pitted against each other and against the other Tributes from other Districts, in a fight to the death in artificially created arenas, and this spectacle would be watched by the rest of the country as reality TV.

As gory and brutal as it may appear to be, The Hunger Games is Not about glorifying war. Rather, it is about how one young woman, Katniss Everdeen, is suddenly thrust into an environment where she must fight first for her own survival, and later for the survival of the people who follow her. Katniss, the reluctant leader of the Rebellion, often has not a clue as to what she’s meant to do to lead her people. She has a team of propagandists directing her, but clearly she’s not comfortable with being yet again someone’s puppet on a string, and just wants an end to the tradition of The Hunger Games, and for Peace to take its place. But, puppet she must be, and so Katniss gets tossed about from pillar to post, in a power struggle between President Snow of The Capital and President Alma Coin of District Thirteen, where the rebellion is brewing.

The moral of the story is not so much that War is a bloody futile exercise; that fact is clearly evident from the books by Suzanne Collins. Ironically, it is about how one must fight, quite literally, to balance the scales and restore Peace to the land again. How a people divided and oppressed by one power, can be brought back together as a united front to fight this injustice, by the very same vehicle used to divide and oppress them – the televised gladiator spectacle that is The Hunger Games.

The reason I’ve chosen to write about The Hunger Games, so close after the fresh tragedy of the Paris attacks by Islamic State, is not to promote the movie, or to justify starting a war, but quite the opposite. Like much of the rest of the world, I’m struggling to understand just what happened on November 13th 2015 in Paris. And why it happened.

In The Hunger Games, the Rebellion fought for freedom from oppression, and to put a stop to the barbaric tradition of sending human sacrifices to The Capital each year. It fought to regain Peace for everyone. It tried passive, non-violent means, it tried negotiation, but The Capital responded with violence instead. Remember this, before you get too engrossed in the film and forget what all the fighting is about: the Rebellion was never proactive in its actions against The Capital, it was reactive.

Those terrorists claiming to be acting for IS have only one objective – to kill as many innocent lives as they can, and then either blow themselves up or get killed, so they can go to Heaven and each be rewarded by the loving ministrations of 7 virgins. (Frankly, this must be Hell, not Heaven, as I can’t imagine 1 virgin in her right mind, let alone 7, wanting to service such imbeciles). They’re not liberating anyone from oppressive regimes. They’re not fighting to free their country from any barbaric customs – if anything, they’re perpetuating those barbaric customs by their very actions. They’ve been brainwashed into thinking of the Western World as The Enemy That Must Be Destroyed. They’ve been taught by some twisted souls that anyone who is not for them is against them and must be annihilated. Throw Islam into the mix, give it a good stir, add a hefty dose of paranoia, a generous dollop of stupidity, a barrelful of empty promises of Heaven and all the sex you can get (why is it always about sex?), and feed the toxic concoction to these terrorists, and they think they’re doing it in the name of Allah. Boy, have they been well and truly fooled.

Not content to stay in their own country, they’ve decided to take their war to the countries they feel have insulted them. And not content to fight army against army, they’ve decided to go for the Coward’s Punch – gunning down innocent civilians in public places. A stadium, a bar, a restaurant, a concert hall, the streets of Paris…hardly places for serious discussions about War and for mobilising troops.

Let’s not forget Lebanon and Syria either…and who knows what other country these terrorists have their sights set on next? The world waits with bated breath to see how the affected governments react.

An eye for an eye…that might be their argument. But an eye for an eye soon leads to the land of the blind.

The solution is simple. The solution is Peace. Lay down ALL weapons, that’s right, folks, step away from those evil, nasty things. Throw them in the bin. Learn to love your neighbour, instead. What Man doesn’t understand, he fears. And what Man fears, he tries to destroy. So, for goodness’ sake, get to know the people around you, make friends with them, embrace their different cultures/race/religion/sexual orientation/dietary preferences/etc. And then you will find there’s actually nothing to be afraid of.

If we all held hands instead of guns, there would be no need for weapons of any kind, mass destruction of otherwise. Well, there would only be 2 weapons – LOVE and PEACE. I believe we can all live very happily with that, don’t you?

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(Artwork showing various dystopian cities by Belgian artist Jonas De Ro, seen on DeviantArt).

The Company Of One

So, I’m sitting in a local eatery waiting for my cappuccino and a “Crispizza” (see photo below). I’d read a book, but the one I’m on (“Men, Money and Chocolate” by Menna Van Praag, I’ve just finished). I decide to people watch instead.

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There’s a couple at the table next to me, who don’t seem to be agreeing on much. He’s decided to eat his lemon garnish. She’s scrunching up her face thinking about the taste of it.

Another couple are sitting in the corner. They’re not saying much to each other. In fact, they’re not speaking to each other at all. She looks fed up. He looks bored. A couple of times he stifles a yawn. I wonder what their story is. She seems a tad angry to me. Maybe they’ve had an argument.

An elderly couple are just finishing their lunch. There’s a trolley full of purchases parked next to them. As the couple get up to leave, I wonder who will push the trolley. He simply wanders off, leaving her to do it.

A lady on her own walks into the eatery and sits at a table near me. I wonder if she’ll nod or acknowledge a fellow solitary customer. She doesn’t even see me. She whips out her mobile phone and starts texting on it. It’s glued to her hand the whole time she’s there, even when her food arrives and she’s eating.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

There’s another lady at the table opposite me. She’s finished her meal, but seems to be lingering and pondering deep thoughts. Finally, she gets up and leaves. And I notice that there are 2 pots of tea on her table, 2 cups and saucers, but only 1 plate with a half-eaten sandwich still on it. I wonder what this lady’s story is, she of the Pink hoody and the Twilight shopping tote. Was she there with someone earlier? Or did she really have 2 pots of tea all to herself?

The book I just read, “Men, Money And Chocolate” tells the tale of Maya, who fantasises about finding the right man and having enough money to live a fulfilled life, but who instead drowns her sorrows and disappointments by eating cake. Lots of it. It’s not light, frothy chick lit like a lot you see these days. This book is published by Hay House Publishing (the UK’s leading mind, body and spirit New Age publisher, with branches across the globe, including Australia). There isn’t much action in it, but rather a lot of deep conversations between Maya and the people she meets, about Life, Love and Destiny. It reminds me of the fabled Ouroboros, the snake that devours itself, as in the story Maya decides to be Bold and Go For It, sells everything she has, leaves the United Kingdom and takes her self-published book to America, where, when she least expects it, the last piece of the puzzle falls into place and she finds love. The title of Maya’s book in the story? Men, Money And Chocolate. The theme of Maya’s book? About a woman finding herself after much trial and tribulation. Very clever indeed!

And so, back to where I am. No, I haven’t written a book. But I would like to, and I might. My point is, I love my own Company Of One. You never have to put up with someone’s traits and behaviour that you can’t stand. You don’t have arguments and silent sulks with yourself. You don’t need to wonder who’s going to carry the shopping, because you already know the answer. You don’t have to pretend to be having a conversation with someone else by texting or playing on your mobile phone, when you could be enjoying the food placed before you. And, if you came into the eatery by yourself, you don’t have to pretend to be waiting for someone else, or order 2 pots of tea, 1 for your imaginary friend.

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The Company Of One is the Best Company you’ll ever have. Learn to enjoy and appreciate it!

Giving It All Away for Free

I was reading Issue 9 of Renegade Collective magazine just today, and one particular article struck a chord in me. The article was called “The Art of Stealing”, and it was about one Lukas Renlund’s project called “Steal My Photograph! (SMP)”. Essentially, it is an Art movement where Lukas hangs framed prints of his photography on a wall in the street, with the invitation to simply take what you like. It started in Copenhagen, where the Finn was living and working, but now Lukas has taken his project to Barcelona, London and Cape Town, and is now preparing for a global tour. Each “exhibition” is filmed by hidden cameras installed behind the photo frames to capture the art thieves in the act of stealing.

Here are the videos of the Copenhagen, London, Barcelona and Cape Town “exhibitions”. Copenhagen Oct 2012, Barcelona Aug 2013, London Oct 2013, Cape Town March 2014.

The premise of Lukas’ social experiment is simple – steal a framed photograph, hang it anywhere you like, take a photo of it and email it back to Lukas. I love the idea.

A similar concept was hatched by my favourite Assemblage artist, Michael deMeng, called “Art Abandonment“:

Art Abandonment is a group designed to encourage random acts of art, left in various locations around the globe. The idea is that folks can make something and leave it for a lucky unsuspecting person to find. Artists can then post locations and photos of abandoned goodies…and finders can let everyone know that they are the lucky finder! O’ sweet abandon! So leave some art. Leave a contact email for the finder…and if you get notified share the message with this group. If you prefer you can use the contact email: i.found.artwork@gmail.com we’ll be checking it often and share the results.

Here’s an intro page on Typepad for full explanation:http://michaeldemeng.typepad.com/art_abandonment/   

Have fun!

The Art Abandonment Project is now also a newly published book by Michael and Andrea Mateus de Meng, available on Amazon.  I’ve just sent off for my copy, which I will share with my friends and hope that they will join me on this…as I  intend to give away some of my Photographic Art for free.

Actually, I’d come up with a very similar idea last year, which I mentally called “Random Arts of Kindness” and involved me giving out free art at subway stations, with the instructions that the recipient takes a photo of the piece and emails it back to me. Then last December I resigned from my workplace, which meant I was no longer commuting to the Perth CBD every weekday, so the idea went on the back burner. I did toy with the idea of having a Flash Exhibition at the Rockingham Library…but then quailed at the logistics of transporting the pieces and hanging them up and then the whole event being the world’s shortest exhibition lasting under 5 minutes as a flashmob of varsity students stole my Art during their tea break and I never heard back from any of the recipients. But now, perhaps, as a member of Michael deMeng’s Art Abandonment Project, I might be more motivated to get my arse into gear and actually practise what I preach?!

 

 

 

Artist Inspiration : SARAH GARDNER

I blame Sarah Gardner for leading me astray. There I was, minding my own business, post-processing my mobile camera images willy nilly and anyway I liked, until She came along and veered me along in a completely different direction. I’ve been meaning to thank her ever since for doing that, and so here we are today.

I had been toying with the idea of romanticising my flower photography, by adding texture, grunge and scratches to them to make them look vintage and antique. At the same time I’d been playing with the different layering methods in Photoshop Touch – multiple, screen, overlay, difference, add, subtract etc…albeit instinctively without really understanding what they meant. All I knew was that sometimes one or another filter worked better than others. Then along came Sarah Gardner and the blinkers came off.

I found Sarah’s book “Art Beyond The Lens” at Boffins Technical Bookshop in Perth one day, and was hooked immediately. I loved Sarah’s style, her delicate colour palette, the sheer romanticism of her imagery. Plus, she also described in detail how she achieved each image. Here then, were templates that I could actually follow with my rudimentary Photoshop skills, and/or apply to the mobile version, Photoshop Touch, on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Don’t forget to check out her tutorials also on her web pages!

Sarah Gardner is a hard act to follow…literally…she has not just one, but several sites and blogs, dedicated to different aspects of her work.  A busy girl, indeed :-)! I shall list them below for your ease of reference:

http://www.sarahgardnertextures.com

http://www.sarahgardnerphotography.com

http://sarahgardnerphotography.blogspot.com.au

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgphotographyclient/

http://www.pinterest.com/sarahjgardner/

There’s a lot to take in from those sites, so I shall leave you with a few examples of Sarah’s beautiful images:

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2013!

My son, Jack, has more reason than others to celebrate Halloween. He was born on Halloween, 31st October 2002. When he was a baby, I used to call him “Jack O-Lantern” or “My ‘Lil Pumpkin Man”. The funny thing is, we don’t really celebrate Halloween. Jack always wants a party, and I always say “No”, as invariably, his special day being what it is, any party on that day would carry the expectation of having a Halloween theme. Plus all the trimmings. Which means more money spent. When he’s 18 he can throw his own Halloween-theme parties.

So, we try to have as normal a day as possible. Last year we bought Halloween decorations and a pumpkin. This year I’m proud to say I spent ZERO dollars on Halloween stuff. Instead, here’s what Geoff and I bought for Jack, for his 11th birthday:

A PS3 with Grand Theft Auto 5 and six other games. (Geoff wanted GTA5 on it as the music is by his beloved Tangerine Dream).

An Apple Mac Mini. We already had an Apple-compatible monitor, mouse and keyboard, as we have an old Mac G5. Jack had broken the screen of his laptop (last year’s present) 2 weeks after he got it, so now with the Mac Mini, we were back in business. It was a simple matter of hooking the Mac Mini to the peripherals, and off you go. Nevermind that I had to hunt high and low at Dick Smith and JBHiFi before I found the correct Male-Male DVI Adapter to link up the Mac Mini to the monitor, that’s another story ;-)!.

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Lots of Lego! He wanted a Minecraft Lego set, so I sent off for it online. I also bought him some boxed sets of Lego. Some he can have today, some I’m holding back for Christmas.

A book “Beautiful Lego”, from Amazon. I sneaked a peek. There are some really talented folk out there creating the most amazing objects from Lego.

Beautiful LEGO by Mike Doyle http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1593275080/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_BFyCsb1DJQDS0

Treatwise, I made Jack his favourite chocolate cake. We call it “South Park Cake” as it’s made using Kilkenny. Get it? 😀 On Saturday, I’m treating him and his best friend Cooper to the movie Thor at the cinema. Cooper will be coming over on Saturday for lunch and play, then the movie and then some dinner and a sleepover til Sunday after breakfast. So that will be Jack’s real birthday party. For his birthday lunch at home with Cooper, I’m making some Mummy Hotdogs (frankfurters with slit arms and legs, wrapped in puff pastry then baked, to look like mummies),  Bloody Fingers (crumbed chicken fingers dipped in ketchup), and Mummy Mini Pizzas (mini pizzas with ketchup eyes and mouth, draped with cheese strips). Some red raspberry-apple cordial will provide more bloody colour to the festivities.

For today, though, the 31st October itself, Jack’s school is holding its annual Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance. The students dress up as the undead and dance en-masse in the school field. They love it. I bought Jack 2 t-shirts, the one he’s wearing today for Thriller says “I’ve been bit!” and the text is covered in blood. The other one is white with blood-spattered words on it saying “Zombie Hunter”, and Jack will wear that on Saturday for his party. Any food stains on the white will only add to the authenticity of the situation lol.

And I created this image for Jack to be used for a t-shirt design, but he’s delighted enough to have it as his desktop image on his new Mac Mini.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY BEAUTIFUL SON, JACK! LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK! ♥♥♥

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2013!

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