Bird of Paradise

We are very lucky to have exotic flowers growing all around us in Miami because of the wonderful weather.

Whilst out walking yesterday I saw a bright orange flash of color and realized there were a number of Bird of Paradise flowers growing nearby.

I just had to snap a picture or two 🙂


 

These flowers earned their name because their shape resembles a bird.
These flowers earned their name because their shape resembles a bird.
The Bird of Paradise flower is an interesting shape and has a very vibrant orange color.
The Bird of Paradise flower is an interesting shape and has a very vibrant orange color.

Strelitzia reginae (Strelitziaceae)

Common Names:
Bird of Paradise Flower
Crane Flower
Crane Lily

Bird of Paradise flowers are associated with liberty, magnificence and good perspective.

Morning Sunrise Clouds

This morning, early on the beach, we were entertained by an amazing collection of clouds that covered the arrival of the sunrise. They were dramatic and each one was different from the next. It would have been rude not to capture them considering Mother Nature was putting on a great show.

Now you can enjoy them too…here are the collection of Morning Sunrise Clouds courtesy of Mother Nature herself.


Morning Sunrise Clouds

Dramatic Cloud formations
Sunrise clouds hide the early morning sun
Amazing Clouds
Do you have a favorite cloud type?
Cotton Wool clouds
Cotton Wool clouds
Morning Sunrise Clouds
The morning sunrise cloud formations put on a wonderful show

It was amazing that so many different variations of cloud were in the sky all at the same time. It looked like an artist’s brush had painted the sky.

They appear depending on the atmospheric conditions which change throughout the day. Each one unique, and even though you will see similar clouds again, they will always be different.

The panoramic view of the early morning clouds is even more dramatic
The panoramic view of the early morning clouds is even more dramatic. The morning sunrise clouds hide the star of the show but they’re doing a great job stealing the limelight.

Do you have a favorite cloud? Can you name any of the clouds featured in these pictures? Let me know below.

 

Writing Paper – A Dying Art

I was reminded recently about how I used to have a proper writing set. A fountain pen with various colors of ink and blotting paper. It was fun to write with and could get messy, especially if the cartridge leaked. There was also a huge selection of interesting writing paper and matching envelopes to buy for all those thank you notes to family members at Christmas and Birthdays as well as pen pals to write to. I even used my fountain pen at school.

The fountain pen is becoming part of the dying art of writing. You can still buy them which is good to know...but for how long?
The fountain pen is becoming part of the dying art of writing. You can still buy them which is good to know…but for how long?

With the introduction of high tech, email and tablet devices, the art of writing a letter to someone using a pen and paper is becoming instinct.

I wrote an article about this – The Art of Letter Writing where I explain how a Round Robin letter works, and that some of us are attempting to keep the tradition alive.

It’s interesting, because once you start writing again, you realize your hand muscles are out of training and half way down a letter you can feel the real workout your hand is getting. Do you remember the little indentation you used to get where the pen pressed against your middle finger? Look at your finger…depending what “era” you are from and how old you are, you should have a nice writer’s bump by now 🙂

We've always found ways to communicate.
We’ve always found ways to communicate.

We’ve come along way from the times when our ancestors scratched across the papyrus with a quill and ink pot. Technological advancement and clever minded inventors make it much easier to have a similar experience without plucking any feathers today!

Although complete writing sets are harder to find nowadays, you can still come across some interesting writing paper should you wish to join me in keeping snail mail alive and brighten up someone’s unloved mailbox!

Let me share some fun stationery with you. I hope I can inspire you to keep the dying art of writing alive as well as some ideas on how you can ensure people still know how to write with pen and paper in the future!


Writing Paper

As Autumn/Fall is approaching I recently purchased some seasonal writing paper.

I found the above pumpkin paper, made by Gartner Studios, at the Office Depot store, where they had a huge selection of fancy writing paper. They don’t always come with matching envelopes but you can always jazz up a plain envelope by using special stamps or stickers…but plain and simple is perfectly fine too.

With this range you can also visit their online site and download templates which are relevant to the design you selected.
With this range from Gartner Studios, you can also visit their online site and download templates which are relevant to the design you selected…if you really can’t stay away from technology!
Stationery by Gartner Studios. Click on the photo for more info.
Candy Corn Stationery by Gartner Studios. Click on the photo for more info.

If that’s not spooky enough paper for you they also have a candy corn Hallowe’en design. Be careful of colors that are too bright or designs that takeover the paper – you want your recipient to enjoy the fun paper, but you also want them to be able to read your writing!

You can also find fancy writing paper online. I bought this Sea Flowers paper from Amazon. This set came with mix and match paper and envelopes together with some stickers to brighten up your letter or pop on the envelope.

Mix and Match Stationery by Jill Bliss
Mix and Match Stationery by Jill Bliss. Click on the photo for more information.

Depending on the type of letter writer you are, don’t forget to check the paper sizes. The Hallowe’en style paper above was nice and large but the Jill Bliss Sea Flowers paper was much smaller in size and actually had fewer sheets – 16 stationery sheets as opposed to 40 sheets.

Once you’ve thought about the paper, you may like to check out a few other essentials like pens and notebooks as well as exploring creative ways to write such as Calligraphy. I’ll be covering these topics soon.

So next time your WiFi gives out and you’re sitting there twiddling your thumbs and feeling completely cut off from the world…you’ll be completely ready for the internet outage apocalypse. Whip out your stationery set, pen and paper and get writing to someone…but try not to mention that your internet connection is down, there are more exciting topics you can think of I’m sure 🙂


I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

When was the last time you wrote or received a handwritten letter?

Do you have a secret stationery supplier that you can share with me?

Do you think letter writing is becoming a dying art?

Let me know below.

The Story of Two Dogs

Sometimes you come across a simple post that says a lot. Well that’s what happened after reading this on cathylynnbrooks.com blog.


 

The Tale Of Two Dogs
What you see is a reflection of who you are

I wanted to reblog it directly but the gremlins were not happy so I’ve re-created it here with Cathy Lynn’s permission 🙂


If you enjoyed this, you may be interested in

Wisdom Wednesday – Advice From A Tree or a few other dogs enjoying the great outdoors in my post The Local Dog Park

How To Prepare a Mango

Mango is the “King of Fruits” and definitely brings a taste of the exotic to the table.

It’s not the easiest fruit to prepare, being so juicy it tends to slip and jump out of your hands. There is a better way.

I will show you how to prepare a mango with the minimum of fuss and mess. This method will help you extract the most flesh from your ready to eat ripe mango and keep the juice from escaping all over you and the kitchen!

Follow these easy steps and you’ll look like a professional mango connoisseur.


  • Wash your Mango
  • Leave the skin intact
  • Hold the Mango so the pointed lower part of the mango is facing you and the top pointed upper part is facing away from you
  • With a sharp knife slice the right hand side of the mango.
  • Repeat on the other side. You should now have three separate bits of mango. Set the middle core section aside for now but do not discard.
  • With the same sharp knife, score vertically across the flesh of one segment, but do not cut through the skin.
  • Using the same segment, score horizontally across the flesh. Again, do not cut through the skin.
  • Turn the mango over so the skin is facing you and turn the mango inside out – pushing with all your fingers (see image below)

You should now have something that looks like this

Follow my steps to easily prepare your mango
Follow my steps to easily prepare your mango
  • Using your knife, cut off the raised segments into a bowl. Discard skin.
  • Repeat above on the second half of mango segment

To remove the flesh from the core

  • Using your knife, slice either side of the main core so you have two thin strips. Carefully remove the skin from these strips and chop into chunks.
  • Discard the skin and main core
Minimal mess and lots of sweet mango pieces to enjoy.
No mess and lots of sweet mango pieces to enjoy.

Sketch Sunday: A True Story

Today’s Sketch Sunday drawing – This may very well become a series – watch this space 🙂

Watch out in the forest...you could be being watched...spooky!
Watch out in the forest…you could be being watched…spooky! A True Story.

Drawn in 53 Paper with my JaJa stylus


Have you missed one of my Sketch Sunday drawings why not check out Funny Frog, Caricature or Cartoon Dog

 

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