Keeping dreams golden?
Living the good life means different things to different people...
I don’t know the mindset of others these days, but my prayer list has gotten much longer …..and I’m convinced that good days will be the exception and not the norm as we look ahead.
Sometimes I lay in bed and watch the clouds floating by out my window to prove that the world is still turning.  I make myself turn then find the good – to dwell on happy thoughts, of horse trails and leather saddles; of fat hens and gathering eggs; of blank canvases and tubes of paint; of river roads and eagles soaring….and again become grateful that I am alive today.

Sometimes the struggle is hard, and dreams appear to be tarnished, and impossible (or unreasonable) to hang on to. Sometimes, that's the best way to let go- just allow them to diminish over time. They weren't meant to be. 
But often it's simply a momentary stage due to stress or fatigue, gloomy weather, or facing one particular dead end. It's sometimes good to let things move to the background, in order to determine their worth and value.
Sometimes it’s all we’ve got but ourselves -  to push, or to pull up. Keeping a job, maintaining oversight of obligations and schedules... daily life itself takes a great deal of our focus.
And so what else is there to do, but to keep moving in some way on something- anything, while letting yourself off the hook for this dream not being in the center of things (while keeping yourself open to possibility, looking for open doors to resume the dream). 

Not everything we need is practical, some things we need are unknown, and others are pure whimsy – but just as necessary. We need our flights of fancy sometimes. Just as when we were children watching cloud animals, watching dandelion seeds floating on the unseen breeze.

This is a glimpse into my whimsical self, the one that needs to create... I don’t know what nesting instinct there is for someone with an ‘empty nest’ at hand, but we all crave places where we feel safe, and places that anchor us somehow.
Perhaps this is not so whimsical afterall. 

Chambre of Gold- my Fantasy Bedroom Makeover –designed for visual serenity & a hint of opulence. 
(this is from a hotel in Sweden- but look at the wall -GOLDEN CLOUDS mural)

My first goal is to experiment with different golds and glazes, and how different application techniques look (we have ‘textured walls’ and that paint is semi-gloss. [I have many instructions and visual aids for this endeavor. But not any money yet to play with the glazes.]
Like anything else, it took a bit of researching to find pictures of each decorating aspect, to know what I really wanted. I can’t share them because they were gathered from too many sources I didn’t keep track of... you know how it is sharing images online.
I can tell you this, it meant a lot of weighing things to find something that would not be feminine, nor too masculine. I considered walls the color of the sunset. A salmon color that might change into deep coral with dusk falling... but the walls are not adobe, nor flat paint, and the physical task would be impossible; the walls go  so high that we can’t even reach the fire alarm without a broomstick. And that is still 3’ from the actual ceiling.
Also, I don't think a salmon pink is very masculine and I probably couldn't get away with it.
So this is the PRACTICAL dream.  One I can achieve when I put my mind to it.

Paint Bedroom walls (currently a soft green) – by simply adding metallic gold glaze to select walls.
Art –to use instead of a Headboard on the wall over the bed, do my own version of “The Kiss” painting – currently in progress- you can see it: HERE

Eventually... the idea is to pair plush, soft-textured materials that contrast  with soft gold metallic glazed walls... and here is the plan:

*swag drapes the color of chocolate, and large beaded tassles, over copper-colored sheers and soft doeskin colored honeycomb blinds.
* create the most luxurious bed possible.  covered in soft gold and chocolate  brown - and cream, (with blue and blue-green, accents).
 *a plush fur rug
* an overstuffed wing chair, with swirly print (I have a bronzy floor lamp to go with it- the lampshade is fawn colored with grey & white feather trim
*fringed copper reading lamps with soft light on end-tables
* gold-fringed blue throw pillows, gold-guilded books
*put up a new light-fan
*bench for the end of the bed (dog beds to go under this)
*Table to go next to the chair that will fit a breakfast in bed tray
plant stand for clay pots -for in front of the window (white glazed terra cotta pots)
*plush like-fur rug (cream or neutral natural color)
*TV stand (so I can have my marble bistro table back)[I look for pieces that tend a bit more toward the simple mission/prairie style but made of PINE with knots and woodgrain. The room will remain rustic.  It's not always an easy combination to find - especially on a budget.
*add goat or deer hide pieces as a kind of rustic valance over the windows.

To do/make:
*re-paint and then wood- edge the Wardrobe Shelves in walk-in closet (currently rough white particle board)
*Hangpottery for candles or plants, from the angled wall opposite the bed, and on the ledge between the closet and bedroom (perhaps like the ones in the master bathroom):

These holders I made with flour and salt water formed over cup saucers,  dried, then painted and added varnish to. You can do SO MUCH with that simple recipe:

       salt/flour clay hollow bark tubes for dried flowers that hangs over our dining room table

- Need to find/get:
Sheets (high thread count)
Feather Mattress topper
Duvet Cover for winter
animal hides
New light-material bed cover for summer
-and unfortunately, everything else mentioned!

The Impractical dream? Well it includes a beautifully carved heavy sleigh bed.  Maybe one day, but I can live without it.

How do you keep life good these days? What do you do, what do you plan that will make it golden?

New Goal strategies

Toward Resolution #3:
a) I’m redesigning everything – from the landscape to meal planning, to my personal wardrobe. 
It’s a tall order, but I’ve discovered the best strategy to move in the direction(s) I want to go. I follow a structure for myself that took a year to develop, that I call my personal “BootyCamp”.
 It has expanded to include much more than just improvements to my self image and fitness level.

Every aspect of my life and the things I am in charge of, like menu planning, running the household, and worst of all: paying bills on time.
Oh yeah, there’s LOTS of angst on that one for various reasons. 
b) I live by seasons, season to season – in Quarters. I like to do my planning in segments of 3 months at a time- a season. However, I use a system called “12 Folders” which breaks the year down into monthly segments. 
I haven’t yet discovered how to combine the concept of  Monthly and Quarterly yet- so I’m sticking to the shorter monthly agendas. (Each month covers a specific topic or aspect of my life/life that could use better focus, and creates less stress in the Overwhelming Dept.) I’m already pretty organized and follow loosely structured days with a very flexible routine that I can tweak to my liking, but I want my time better spent for better results, more toward certain outcomes. 
I do get tired of wishing, and dreaming, sometimes, and need to see results.
I’m almost 50 and I’m running out of time, and steam, right?
First, I’ll share my CURRENT systems.
Long ago I implemented something called the Home Management Binder. Lots of women employ this tactic and are efficiently using them along with their blackberry and a wall calendar and electonic/digital calendar, to track the kids Dr. appt’s., post their menu plans for the week, keep track of important papers and track stuff they have to do on a deadline (like pay bills). 
After the kids, and after I began doing my own thing more or less, this binder was separated into different parts that fit my life better.
I use several Binders but one is for record-keeping and chore outlines (home management, "Managing Paradise"). But it doesn't schedule my days or the week. 
For that I use:
*the Outlook calendar (with alarms when nec. for paying bills on time)
*a daily/weekly to-do list (on the PC so I can add/delete and track progression)
*menu planning for the month (shopping bi-weekly)
*and the 12 Folders I spoke of (I've written of this already, but I PROMISE, more on that later).
*I also [used to] whip up an all-inclusive Annual Agenda for myself every New Year, so I could see the BIG PICTURE I was pushing to accomplish, and what all my little goals and tasks are for. There is a sample somewhere on this blog - oh here it is: Agenda 2010
(I love lists, but for practical purposes, not so much- they serve better as an outline for an overall picture before creating necessary STEPS to implement them). 
These have worked for me-  these tactics are made more enjoyable by adding graphics, special fonts and colors (like pink pearlized bullets). I love my home management binders’ usefulness. Everything related to the house in one place. Here’s a summary of it’s content:
Vendors we use and their Business Cards- plus notes where useful. 
The Chimney sweep we last used, the Septic company, Gravel delivery, Firewood suppliers, auto Mechanics, etc.Every vendor has come by referral- I get 2 or 3 referrals, so no cold calling. (Your business reputation precedes you in this town- and word of mouth will make, or break you!)
A home-maintenance  Master Chore List (chores by need and season – seasonal/annual, bi-annual, monthly, and at one time even weekly - but that's all routine now and not necessary.)
This is loosely followed, as finances have been too tight to follow as diligently as recommended for some items. Currently, I need to sand and refinish our 8’ wooden front door… but that’s on account of laziness (it currently needs sanding). Anyway, you get the gist of it.
As posted before, here is the cover (clear sleeve cover so I can insert a page/decorate the front and spine):
Anything and Everything that pertains to keeping up the house, or the property, goes into this binder. I keep garden plans and such in there too. 

And because money is my biggest challenge (because it's NUMBERS and MATH), I have a binder to hold important papers and budgeting has always been the bane of my existence, I have a Financial binder. 

The Financial Notebook is in a 3" D-ring binder, but mine is currently bulging open with a good 9" of statements and other old paper, so needs to be purged. It looks like this:
Before anything else, is the...
Obligations List- simply a few well-spaced pages of everyone you pay - so that everyone you pay (whether HOA fees, credit card, homeowners insurance...etc.) This makes it easy to call them when something isn't going right, or your bill was lost in the mail and your internet was shut off. You have exactly what you need in one paragraph, easy to read and access. 
Or imagine in an emergency where you have to 'bug out' (evacuate your home, such as in a tornado or fire). If you grab this binder, you have everything you need to call everyone- easily. You may include your bank card information so if it's lost you have the # to call and your card #, or your passwords for debit. (Not advising this, but I do it).
Your paragraph list looks like this (mine are in different pretty colors so I can stand to look at them):
Obligation Company                        Acct#:0000000
Amount: $000.00 
Due: 1st of month
Total due: $0,000.00                           Interest Rate: 00%                         
How Paid: by phone                                                                          *(or check by mail, or online, whatever it is)
Billing Phone#: 1-800-000-0000          Customer Service #: 1-888-000-0000
Billing Address:
Online Address:                                 Online Login and P/W:               *(how you access payment page)

IF you ever do call the customer service # with a problem, you might also want to take notes of who you spoke with, the date, what was said, etc. 
I know of several instances where accounts were 'supposedly' ended, but the bills kept coming. QUITE A HASSLE! You never know when you'll need backup ammunition.
You could add in culmunative interest as well - to see how much you'd save if you paid extra to pay off early. 
That's the beauty of these tracking techniques. You can do all kinds of stuff that helps you budget.

These, I post on the wall at my desk (one for each month of the year), so I pay attention to it....

Monthy Bills/Paid Template (to track bills paid/due) on one sheet of paper for quick reference. This comes in more handy than trying to track down receipts or folders full of statements. I do keep the statements, but some bills are sent by email and paid online - so all you get is a copy of the transaction - and who wants to look up old emails when you need a quick annual total, or want to see if this month's bill is less or more than last month? Or last years. (Gotta know if the kids leaving their PC's on all night, or night lights, or the de-icer in the horse trough is costing!)
Extra lines are visible to see unexpected or irregular payments (car/ braces/ glasses repair, vet visist, etc.) So you know where your money went that month. ("Oh, that's why we were short on the car payment... we had to pay for emergency vet bills!")

I use a simple table of columns going down with each "Name of the bill" going down, with this across the top. Something useful to you like:
amount due / amount paid / date due / paid date / how paid     *(with check # or online transaction code)
Mine looks like this (except not crooked- that's thanks to copy/paste): 

January 120111


 Car Insurance
phone w/ ATM  1-25



online  1-21 / auth code: 117714


*Other Items:
 Co-Op (propane @ 2.39 gallon – 100 gallons)
HOA (Dec. thru June)

Well, I hope this insight is helpful to someone. I'll come back another time to practicality and share other things, but for now that's enough! 

My main point is, if your daily life is as streamlined as you can get it, everything managed easily so that you can delegate to someone else in an emergency, or if the sudden fury of your writing/painting/music Muse takes over, then it's easier to do anything and everything else you want to do.
If you want to fall apart and zone out on the couch for a week, then you can know at a glance that it's ok. If you want to go camping, you can know at a glance that taking the week off won't get the electricity shut off. If you track your water usage, then you know when to suspect a leak somewhere... 
it's just practical and logical. 
Yes, please, be busy LIVING, CREATING, LOVING, DREAMING, DOING, GOING, BEING. And not worried about what you forgot to do, or coming home to a dark house.

Next post, hopefully something of a 'dreamier' nature!
Thanks for stopping by,

Dreaming of Romance - and 2011 painting agenda:

You may well ask, what is the reverence of 'dreaming' to someone's painting?
Well, if you've followed me a little, everything comes down to dreams in my life- it's how I look forward, how I plan for the future. Painting is something I've done all my life and even made a little income from here and there- and of course will seek to do so again. But I'm rusty... and of course, there is my little 'plan' (which is a daydream kind of dream) to create a beautiful master bedroom. 

One day last year, I decided I was tired of looking at the blank green walls of our bedroom and wanted something softer, more romantic, something special- with gold accents. Metallic gold rubbed on the walls, perhaps. Draperies, or at least sheers and large beaded tassles to drape and flow over the large window. (We have a Far View out that window, which used to look out on my horse, Cherihuka. Now it still envelopes a view that extends far to the horizon of a low-slung mountain range, with the fields of an elk farm, and all of our scrambling of mixed high desert trees and pines).

I began dreaming out my plans for a "Chambre of Gold"Because of that hell in "house modification limbo", I couldn't start purchasing things and paint the walls. (If I can't start farming or raising chickens or riding horses again, I might as well do something in the meantime, right?) But I could paint a picture...

#1 finish my version of “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt.... 
His original version (if you Google it, color hues change quite a bit): 

An homage to Gustave by Mary Barry:
(A closeup, with some color alteration)

*someone elses version using:  themselves photo-shopped

* My version (still unfinished as flowers need to be added at the very least and possibly re-do the mans whole head!):
OK it took me a year to get it finished enough for the wall (that terrible blank space in a room with green walls... which I destest!) It's not finished, but for now I'm done with it.
I do not "do" people... and least enjoyed this doing this painting! In fact, I watched the Lord of the Rings several times during the course of painting it, in order to MAKE myself get to this point.
The biggest issue was that I had too little gesso to prep the raw canvas with, so the surface is VERY rough and it absorbs paint! This makes detail work, and blending almost impossible! I'm a detail oriented painter.
Secondary was the size of it- I used nothing to measure form, and it seems a little 'off' in perspectives, but you know what? I don't care! The purpose was fulfilled, even if unfinished.

I just wanted something romantic, dreamy for the wall, and something colorful. (without a headboard, we've lived with nothing on the walls for over 5 years!)

Here are closer-ups for those of you who have made it this far:

As with Gustav's painting, every photo can take on different hues- so expect mine to be 'off', too).

There will be more color on it eventually....

But I have more plans for painting. Things I believe will be saleable in our Colorado tourist town.
I plan to paint what will fit nicely over fireplaces, rustic colors, with dramatic effects.
Here is the rest of my agenda: 
*spotted longhorn bulls amid swirling dust (one bull in each picture, several versions, some with crooked horns!)
*wild goats and sheep with wild curly hair and horns standing on ledges and edges of cliffs 
*majestic white buffalo standing in tall grasses
*hairy wild horses with ice in their forlocks, 3-D barbed wire fencing them out (or in)
*ponies with wind at their backs, 3-D barbed wire fencing them out (or in)
*pretty spotted horses with bejeweled rhythm bead necklaces, or looking back over their shoulders at you,  and laying under the sun in fields of flowers
*moons and planets in the universe with faces, expressions, that tell a story
*6th Anniversary present for my husband: an eagle in flight, looking right at you, but wings vertical - as in a turn, rather than horizontally drifting on air currents. You'll see.
*birds' nests cradling clutches of colored birds eggs 
*dandelion seeds blowing on the wind –set against blue clouded skies  (maybe)
*maybe - some "bad monkeys", a themed artistic endeavor, something simple for kids

Hmmm, maybe I'd better define what 'bad monkeys' are - like little dressed-up pirate's monkeys stealing handfuls of pirate's loot, ok?

What have you been up to?
What motivates you - what's the end result you want of that particular thing

I really want to know and would love to hear your plans!