Freebies, Spring, Gardening and Art

Today is the second day of spring.  It’s Equinox, the mid-point between straight up summer and winter, so, this is the opposite of the Fall equinox, celebrated by honoring the Pagan goddess, Ostara, She is known as the ‘rising sun’ and marks the turn of the seasons towards spring, birth and re-birth.  It is from Ostara, also called the goddess of the dawn, that we get the name, Easter.
Ostara (1884) by Johannes Gehrts. The goddess flies through the heavens surrounded by Roman-inspired putti, beams of light, and animals. Germanic people look up at the goddess from the realm below.
I always think of the first day of spring as being on March 22.  My youngest child was born on that day.  Interestingly, when I went into the hospital to have her, there was snow on the ground.  When we left the hospital, there were crocuses and tulips pushing their way up through the remaining snow.  So, my daughter’s birth has symbolized spring to me ever since.  LOL

One of my online friends, Stella, has started a new Yahoo group, “Wildwood Planet”, from her blog of the same name.  Stella was involved in the scrapbooking community with her shop, Cottage Scrapbooks.  Last year, the site crashed, but, it was at a time when Stella was making a move from Australia to Canada.  In a way, I gather, it was rather a blessing in disguise.  Leaving the scrapbooking pretty much behind her, she has struck out doing what her heart has longed for her to do since childhood.  She is becoming involved in mother nature in every way possible.  Stella works, or did, with plants, she keeps a safe place for birds to come rest and feed, so she can snap their photos, and she is writing, all on her land in New Brunswick, Canada.  She was meant to live in the country!  Now, Stella has become involved with some local nature conservation groups and the Yahoo group.   From what I can tell, she is happier than ever!  
For the group, Wildwood Planet, in addition to some fascinating blog posts, Stella sends out ‘reminders’ to water our plants, to hug a plant, even a little spiritual blessings for all living things.  Birds, butterflies, plants and flowers rank waaaay up there.  We acknowledged our dear ‘mother’ – earth.  This is my cup of tea.  I place most of my spirituality in the living earth.  That’s all I will say, though.  LOL  Politics and religion discussions are two big no-nos in my book.
In her endless zeal, Stella wanted us to keep a journal and write about our plants and plans, garden designs, problems, thoughts, etc.  I am just getting around to doing so, myself.  I had to confess to her the other day that the extent of my plant care all winter long was trying not to forget to water my African violet.  LOL  
I do have a garden, but, for reasons that I highlighted in my last kit, “Sunny Morning”, it isn’t great.  Kids and pets, plus the construction crew when I had my house worked on, have all beat down any plant worth keeping.  Since my youngest daughter has come to live here with her two small children, too, the yard is currently landscaped with a pool, a trampoline, a 4-wheeler and various sundry bicycles.  That, to me, is what a garden/yard is for, though – a place for the family to play.  We’ve had many a cook-out and party in our back garden.
I learned a long time ago to only attempt to grow extremely durable, or hardy, plants for the outside garden.  As it is, the philodendron family works great for this.  You see a lot of the heart-shaped leafed vine in flower arrangements with a plant.  This plant is very hardy.  I had been given a ceramic container with a flower, or two, and several smaller greenery plants for a hospital stay.  After the flowers died, I put the container in the flower bed around a maple tree in my back yard.  I pretty much forgot it and let ‘mother nature’ take it from there.  And, that, she did.  The next time I noticed, the philodendron vine had climbed right out of that container and was running nilly-willy all through the flower bed.  It was beautiful!  Even our Florida winters didn’t kill it completely.  If we have a freeze, it will die back, but, it comes out again in the spring.
When I was first striking out on my own, getting a place with a friend and moving out of my parent’s house, I was on a tight budget, obviously.  Everyone, new to living out on their own for the first time, must be cautious of their budget.  At that time, I was discovering my love for plants.  I just didn’t have the money to purchase any.  I read books and scanned page after page of a ‘houseplant encyclopedia’, until I was quite good at identifying plants and naming them. 
I also payed attention to the various forms of propagation, since, on my budget, the best way to add to my garden was to pinch off a cutting from a plant I saw while out and about.  LOL  I’d clip off a cutting, wrap it in a damp paper towel, if possible, and, upon arriving home, I’d place it in water until I could get to it.  Often, the sprig would root in the water I placed it in and I could transplant it into dirt in a pot after that.  I learned that plants, when ‘interrupted’, go through a period of shock.  The best thing for it is to leave the sprig or any plant alone that has been replanted or trimmed back, even.  Give it a day, or so, to recover, then water and whatever you would normally do.
In giving my cuttings a few days of recovery, I tended to forget them.  This is when I learned they can root in the water.  What I found was that the plants fared much better if I just left them alone!  Obviously, I couldn’t do this with every species, but, for the durable plants I have discovered, this works wonderfully!  I have a pretty fair success rate with my garden, other than the pets and children.  I think one of the reasons for this is my relationship with nature.  I ‘feel’ the vibrations of life in the greenery.  Anyone can, once you learn to listen to it.  
Plants feel.  Haven’t you ever seen an image of a tree, or an actual tree, that has grown around a foreign object, like a wire?  It recognized the wire as a foreign body and it rejected it.  This ‘antibiotic’ action is evident by the large bulge of a scar around the spot where the wire is grown into the tree.  There used to be a lot of belief that talking to your plants was good for them.  Actually, it is, but, not because they can understand.  What happens is that we breathe out carbon dioxide and that is what plants thrive on.  So, getting close to a plant and talking to it/breathing on it is good for the plant.  LOL
I could write on and on about plants.  Best if I leave any actual directions to the volumes of plant care books and websites.  I only wish to write and celebrate what the living plant means to me.   I did a layout in honor of Ostara.  I used an image of Demeter, though.  Demeter is considered the ‘Mother Earth’ goddess.  That’s why I used her image in this layout.  Apparently, Demeter is more a goddess of the harvest, rather than the spring.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt to celebrate ‘mother’, but, I want to be sure to give credit to Ostara for her role as the goddess of the dawn and light, the rising sun, in the spiritual sense.
From Jacob Grimm @ Wikipedia:
Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the Christian’s God.”
Here, then, is my erroneous(ha-ha) layout:
This layout was made using the template from the Magickal Scraps Template Challenge in the forum.  It’s yet another of the cool challenges Snowy puts on.  I love those folks!  LOL
So, in my adventures around the web, I came upon an art form that I particularly like.  I love digital scrapbooking design, dearly.  I’ll never stop making kits and/or elements, if only to scrap my own photos.  But, my true love is art, expression through the visual art mediums.  Expression is the key word, here.  I express my fears, joys, whatever in my art. It has always been therapeutic for me.   With scrapbooking, few recognize, or appreciate, the ‘art’ behind the kit.  It doesn’t matter that they don’t, but, because of this, I try to tailor my art towards a scrap theme, rather than my expressionism.  By doing this, though, I’m cutting myself short of doing my art of expression.  I’m just concerned that the average person won’t understand my art.  But, I also recognize that I do my art for me, not others.  Hmmmm…  Such turmoil!  I want to please everyone, but, I want to do my thing, too.  So, I decided I will do both.
I basically got started in scrapbooking to learn Photoshop.  I found that I adored the scrapping community when I got involved in it.  That will never change.  But, in the art form I am interested in, I can continue to provide goodies for people, while expressing myself.  First off, I don’t have to give away everything I make.  Secondly, I can give away the components that I used, myself, in my own art!  I’m referring to digital ephemera collage design to express my feelings.  I plan to put it into an online gallery.  If you are familiar with collage sheets, they are a layout of the elements one is planning to use in a design or artwork.  There are a gazillion websites devoted to this art form, with ‘collage sheets’ being quite popular.  Some sheets have a collection of related elements, while others have a series of the same item in different colors.
Below, are two examples of what I am writing about.  The first is a set of ‘snails’ that I ‘colored’ in Photoshop.  I put them together in a file for downloading.  They can be used in any layout or in a piece of art.  The second is a couple of backgrounds.  I made these, originally, as resource offerings to this new group I joined, “Digital Whisper”.  They do the most amazing art there!  The folks are super creative and all bring something original to the group and often share it.  There is ATC art, contest entries, art for art’s sake, it’s all there.  The company that I keep there is phenomenal.  They are all talented in their own right.  They do have weekly challenges, which are a bit different, but, that is what makes them intriguing.  If you think this might be ‘your cup of tea’, have a visit.  You’ll be welcomed with open arms.
Anyway, here are my freebie offerings:
(Individual .png files.  Click on image to go to MediaFire for download.)

(right click to open in new window and copy for full size-2400x2400px)

If you would like the backgrounds in a larger size, I have them both in 3600x3600px.  They are stored in MediaFire, too, HERE.

One last thing.  While I was playing with the ‘linguini’ above, LOL, I made this “grass”.  It could be used for an Easter layout, if wanted.  Help yourself.  All of this is CU, no credit.
(The “grass” is 3600×3600.  Right-click to open in a new window, then right-click and save.)

With spring comes thoughts of a fresh new beginning to warm weather or to whatever else you may think of.  Flora and Fauna are meant to co-exist on this planet.  As we have the brains, it is up to us to take care of our earthly treasures.  Enjoy the outdoors.  Take plenty of photos and leave only your footprints when you are done.  No matter what faith you follow, we all can benefit from the bounties of which are there for the taking, with a little care in return.

With that, I bow my head to you,



SU CheshireCat

14 thoughts on “Freebies, Spring, Gardening and Art

  1. Hi Su! You are too kind, with your lovely essay about me and my new direction in life. Thanks so much. I'm writing you a response to your post on Wildwood Planet group… Big Hug!Stella


  2. Su, thanks for the tut on extraction. i did not know that, and tried it out. Whoopee!! Worked like a charm. I did not have much luch joining those classes, but maybe when they start again, I will try again. I like the idea of more than one page on blogger, and would like to know more about changing the blog address (to www.) Hugs, Edna B.


  3. Howdy SU!! Thanks so much for mentioning my sale at Kristine's Place! You are such a darlin! I loved sitting back with a nice cool drink and reading your entire blog post! HUGE! INFORMATIVE and OH! SO much fun to read! I learn something everytime I come to visit you! Mwah! Love Your new Blog Theme! Purple is such a wonderful color and you have some many tones of it I am in heaven looking! Happy Ostana! Jodiann


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