Sunday, November 18, 2012

Express Yourself!

I obsess buying gifts for the loved ones in my life.  My fear is that it will be put aside never to be used or appreciated or even worse re-gifted!  I want my gift to be admired and my loved ones to know that I put thought into the gift.   I want my gift to say that I thought about them, who they are and how much they mean to me.  I just didn’t stop at the local Walmart and grabbed an item in one of the marketing displays and tossed it in a gift bag.   

There are very few people who do not admire some aspect of nature.  It could be wildlife or flowers.  Throughout history we have been fascinated with nature and have assigned thoughtful symbolism to it.  Take a look at some examples of flowers below and the meaning behind them.  You  may just find that perfect gift!

We have used the language flowers to express ourselves for centuries.  Flowers were important in ancient Rome, Egypt, and Greece. It was thought that the most effective way to express your sentiments were the giving of flowers. 

Serendipity – Petunia, Forget-Me-Not and Pansy Kaleidoscope Design

Petunias symbolize that your presence sooths me.  The Forget-me-not expresses true and faithful love, fond memories and hope. The pansy expresses merriment and you occupy my thoughts. It is believed if  a pansy is placed over someone’s eyes while sleeping, upon waking that person will fall in love with the first person to appear.


My Heart's Desire - An exotic Asian Lady Slipper Orchid Kaleidoscope Design

The exotic orchid represents love, luxury, beauty and strength. In ancient Greece, orchids were associated with virility.  It was used to influence the gender of your child.  Males consuming large roots would generate a boy, females consuming small roots would create a girl.  In Feng Shui it is a symbol of the quest for perfection, abundance, spiritual growth and purity.
Blazing Beauty - Red & Yellow Orchid Kaleidoscope Design
Pink Orchids convey pure affection.  The root of lady's slipper was used as a remedy for pain, muscle spasms and nervousness. 
Lady In Waiting - Pink/Showy Lady Slipper Orchid Kaleidoscope Design

Feathered Fauna  - Bird of Paradise Kaleidoscope Design

The Bird of Paradise is so named because it bears a resemblance to a brightly colored bird in flight with the same name.  This flower represents joyfulness and not surprisingly paradise itself.    When a woman gives this flower to a man, it represents faithfulness.


Mau Loa (Hawaiian for "Forerver")  - Pink Plumeria Kaleidoscope Design
Hawaiians consider plumeria the symbol of perfection and new life.  The Chinese who are not accustomed to sharing personal feelings give a plumeria to their sweetheart to say "I love you".   In Hindu culture, brides wear plumerias in their hair to show their loyalty to their new husbands.
Summer Dreams - Tiger Lily and Daisy Kaleidoscope Design
The Tiger Lily is given as a sign of mercy and compassion.  It also symbolizes wealth and pride. There is a superstition if you smell a tiger lily you will get freckles!  The daisy represents innocence and gentleness.  Giving a daisy means loyal love.
Wonderfully Wild - Columbine and Lilac Kaleidoscope Design
Purple lilacs symbolize the first emotions of love.  Columbine is associated with the Norse goddess of love and fertility. It’s symbolism represents sexuality, love, and seduction.
My designs are available in pendants, sun catchers, compacts, paperweights and more!  Here are a few examples, or visit my Etsy Shop to view more options!  I have several floral designs!
Serendipity Compact Pocket Mirror
Wonderfully Wild Glass Paperweight

My Heart's Desire Pendant
Feathered Fauna Suncatcher

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Benevolent Bear – A symbol of our Veterans!

I would like to start out my expressing my eternal gratitude to our veterans.   There is no way to thank the men and women of this country for their bravery and sacrifice.   I do not want to forget the families of the veterans who have also made a monumental sacrifice as their love ones leave home, putting them in harm’s way for our country!
To answer the question why would a bear symbolize a veteran?   I have chosen the bear because bears symbolize benevolence, bravery and peace.  The bear is also a strong symbol of motherhood.  A mother bear is a devoted and determined mother!  They are a contradiction of sorts as lurking below their peaceful exterior lies a fierce warrior that will protect her family and his domain with a resolute power.

Woodland Wanderer
 In June, I had the opportunity to spend the day and photograph the bears in the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary in Orr, MN.   I had a photographers pass and roamed the field with these magnificent creatures.  They are completely wild roaming free without barriers.   They are fed of course, but they are not captive in any sense.  The volunteers respect and abide by the bears nature.
Bear Essentials

 I will cherish this exhilarating experience forever.    I must admit I was extremely intimidated, as I stood, unprotected and vulnerable in an open field with only my camera between these powerful animals and me.    I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and reminded myself as long as I respect their space, do not impede, and take care not to pose a threat to them, they will allow me to observe and photograph them.

To my amazement, my first photo opportunity was a mother bear with her three cubs.  She remained tight to the edge of the woods first, analyzing my presence for any potential threat..sniffing the air, ensuring her babes were safe.   She became more comfortable and slowly brought in her cubs within 50 yards from me.   I struggled with the intense desire to get closer to get the perfect shot and the need to uphold my unspoken promise to them to respect their world.  My respect for them paid off and even the cubs stopped to pose for me! 

 I was surprised to see how calm the bear were as they moseyed around the field looking for food, resting in the shade and taking in the beauty of their surroundings.   A calm washed over me as they transported me into their world.   The only time I felt tension was when a large male entered the field putting momma bear on extreme alert.  She rushed her babes into the woods and up a tree.   This large male had a powerful presence that unsettled me as well!


It was an incredible experience; I hope to visit again soon!   Please, please remember if you are photographing wildlife to respect their environment.  Wildlife is no different from us; we do not want our comfort zone and homes intruded on!  Do not be a wildlife paparazzi!
Black Beauty
Until next time....take care! - Mel

 Looking for gifts with bears on them?  Here are a few of my products.
Woodland Wander Paperweight

Black Beauty 12x12 print
Bear Essentials 15x15 Framed

Bear Essentials Pendant