Surprise Bloom

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Gardening is one of my favorite parts of Spring and Summer. I love watching
the dead of Winter stripped away and replaced with new sprigs of green peek-
ing up through the soil.

And sometimes I spot surprises that I didn’t physically plant myself.
Helped along by birds or a seed-scattering breeze, those plants often become my favorites
of the season.

This year, though, I noticed two tall, leafy plants hugging the fenceline.
I had no idea what they were or where they came from, but kept an eye on
them to see whether they were some oddball weed, or a volunteer plant. I
was puzzled by their uniform size. Asked my husband if we had planted some-
thing I’d forgotten. Nope, he said. Must be another garden surprise.

Then I saw it – a single pale pink peony. And like someone waking up from
a deep sleep, things became crystal clear.  Last summer, I’d bought two peony plants that
were sitting on a sales table at a peony farm. We were on the way to the car
and decided to try to save those poor wilted plants. Who can resist a good plant sale?

I’d followed the tag’s instructions, planting each of them in a hole twice as deep and wide as their root-choked pot. I fed them with plant food and checked them every couple of days. Made sure to keep them watered, but not too often. Unfortunately, they shriveled into a flat heap among my flowers, where I let them turn crispy brown and forgot about them.

Until this Spring!

Life isn’t always what it appears to be. On the surface, we might make snap decisions about a situation or person or give up in the face of disappointment. But I’ve learned that for every circumstance there’s a backstory–details that are sometimes known only to God.  He works behind the scenes, bringing new life from seemingly wasted years. He holds all the details, working at changing hearts, attitudes, and relationships.

While we fret and wonder when, how, and why, God’s busy making all things new.My job isn’t to figure it out, but to look expectantly for the surprise bloom.

And be grateful when it appears.

Nature-inspired home decor products can be found here, with free shipping (worldwide) through the midnight, July 10.

A Happy Accident

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Click image for info

Click image for info

I love my work. It rarely feels like work, because it’s something my heart is tightly wrapped around. Every day is different, and some days don’t always end the way they began.

Case in point: I have a workflow I use on my images, and every now and then, a happy accident takes place that makes me sit back and grin.

It happened again last week, when I was creating new pillow designs for my Decorative Throw Pillows section on Etsy. (Etsy is a humongous marketplace of housewares, art, vintage items, handmade wares and more.  It thrived even through the worst times of the recession.) So, I decided I’d work on a line of new floral print pillows, and opened up several garden images I’d captured with my trusty Canon 5D SLR. I wanted to create a soft, classic floral look, and decided to paint them with my Wacom Intuos tablet, an art stylus, and Photoshop brushes.

Click image for info

Click image for info

I also tried one other little step, which was an accident waiting to happen–like driving too fast on an icy road and ending up in a skid. Fortunately, I regained control of the “wheel” and sat here and grinned.  This was exactly what I had envisioned from the start!

My “happy accident” has evolved into a new line of artistic pillows, “Reconstructed Flowers”. They’re pretty, one-of-a-kind, colorful, and timeless.

Sometimes the best-laid plans fail for over-thinking, and every now and then, a happy accident can lead down an entirely different path. This time it saved me time, and allowed me to see that my usual workflow might be too rigid. I’m more open now to possibilities and less inclined to stick with what I’ve always done before. And isn’t that the fun of art–exploring new ways to do old tricks?

What about you–have you experienced a happy accident lately?

Orange Gerbera Daisies

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The daisy’s for simplicity and unaffected air.” ~Robert Burns

Like generations of a family, this fine art print of orange-red gerberas showcases various stages of one of my favorite flowers.