Plans, Dreams, and Months that Fly Like Birds

The Inspired Artist, The Inspired Life

Image by Wendi Kelly

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

~Oprah Winfrey

Such great plans I had for posting here  last year.

Obviously THAT rarely happened!  I had great dreams of doing the 365 project and posting the pictures here every day and on Flckr. You can see how well that turned out. The funny thing is I took the pictures. Hundreds of them. Far, far more than 365 of them. More like thousands of them, some horrible ones, some great ones ones, some that are as boring as a plain vanilla pudding.

I took so many that I couldn’t manage all of them. Some of them ended up on Flckr. Then, I opened an account on Picasa and many of them are there. Others are strewn about on various computers around the house that I happened to upload them to, because it was the closest one at the time. I admit it, I have been a photographer management disaster. Somehow, I kept telling myself that I would sit down and get it all organized but…huh…I looked up the other day and somehow, magically, it was 2011. Looks like I know what one of my resolutions should be. Find some way to organize mountains of digital photographs into one place.

The Inspired Artist (Ahem…that is supposed to be me…) picked up a paint brush a total of three times last year. She posted on this blog exactly ONE time.  Her garden was a collection of rambling roses, self-seeding annuals and hardy perennials who refused to give up on her and weeds that were faster then her once every couple of weeks attempts at yanking them out of the ground. The only time she took her guitar out of it’s case was to tune it once and put it back in.

SIGH….

I could beat myself up over those things. But I’m not going to. The thing is, that despite my best laid plans, dreams and aspirations at the beginning of last year,there was no way I was going to keep up with all of the lofty goals I had created on my New Year’s Dream List last year. But I got to a lot of them. And besides, I am practicing the art of imperfection. I find I get a lot more done and have a lot more fun doing it if I focus on what I do and not what I didn’t do.

Here is what I DID do in 2010.

Focused on a year of learning the basics of my new camera, taking thousands of pictures and documenting all of the events of our fun year.

Wrote a paranormal fantasy adventure romance novel, Loyalties, with my business partner, Deb Dorchak and published it through Blue Sun Studio, inc. It is currently available at Amazon.com and will be available in a growing number of places shortly.

Partnered with my husband to write an original drama, which we then performed, at Church for Reformation Sunday.

Directed the third annual performance  of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the first week of December.

Formed a new corporation and had a very successful first year of business at Blue Sun Studios, inc.

Won the War against Clutter and kicked out an entire dumpster of …excuse me…CRAP…out of our house this summer with the help of our family.

Also won the War against Rabbits this summer by building- (This one was mostly my husband) a fenced in Vegetable garden complete with cute little door that kept those buggers out and provided us with delectable veggies well into the third frost.

Went on a spectacular Michigan week long, beach-side family vacation in July with John and the kids and extended family.

Went on the best ever anniversary camping trip to Door County, Wisconsin with my wonderful husband John and spent the entire time trying out great recipes in this old, old, old Dutch Oven that I fell in love with and almost loved more than him…..

Went on a autumn retreat to Asheville, N. Carolina were I received great mentoring from my coach, Christine Kane, and came away with new knowledge, clarity and vision for the new year to come.

And those are only a few of the highlights. The day to day parties and family stuff, that’s always worth writing about.

I’m tempted to say, “My oh my…where did the months fly off to?” But when I look at my list, I can see clearly where they went.

The Inspired Artist has been writing and taking pictures. Oh- and cooking. I have hundreds of pictures of new recipes, some good- some, that are…well, we can call them experiments and just move on. I won’t tell you what my kids called them. I’d like to think of my cooking as art…just don’t ask my kidst, they would rather have McDonalds. But what do they know, they have yet to even begin to fully explore the vast ways that life can become artistic.

What lies ahead for the Inspired Artist in 2011

Our first book in the series, Bonds of Blood and Spirit, Loyalties, now available on Kindle, is coming out in hard copy any time now. In fact, I am spending my days waiting by the mailbox for my copy. Then we start the challenging process of marketing and selling. That may not sound artistic to some, but there is not much that takes more inspiration than the skills of marketing, advertising and promoting.  The world of sales writing and marketing is a creative beast at best! I know I will be spending plenty of time here this year. But not to worry, sales and marketing is where I got my start in business back when my family first started our own business and I’ve never shut up since. It will all be good.

Book two in the series, Uncivil Wars is being written as we speak. Deb and I carve out sacred time every week from January to May to write the novels. The rest of the year is spent in editing and formating and creating the fine details of the next story. This story has already written itself through part one and is so clear to both of us I’ll be surprised if we don’t beat our four month time line of the last book. This one is a movie playing in my head already. It just may pick up the pen and write itself if we don’t get to it!

Photography improvements– it’s time to go to stage two. I’ve spent a year clicking away and teaching myself everything I can on my own. Me and my camera have just celebrated our one year anniversary together and we are ready for something new in our relationship. I am looking forward to this being the year I really kick up the game. I want to master some key Photoshop skills, some editing tricks and learn some advance photo shooting tips. Oh- yeah, and then there is that storage problem. I need to find a good system for keeping all my photos in one reachable place.

Writing, writing, writing... There is so much more to my writing besides the novels. Amazingly, they take up only a small disciplined part of the week. the rest of the time is spent coaching clients on their writing projects, writing plays and smaller scripts and stories, writing articles and blog posts for various websites and editing and reviewing other content and writing.  Writing has began to take up a growing number of hours in my day. And I can asure you- I have NO complaints about that.

Directing- The theater group is growing. This year I expect it to grow even larger with more theater meetings, workshops, dramas and opportunities for participation in a lot of different ways for the members of the Beginnings Drama Team.  John and I have already put our heads together to start picking out dramas for the Sunday ones and are looking for a great script for Good Friday.

Art– In all of its glorious forms. I really want to pick up that paint brush this year. The question is what kind of paint do I want to put on it after I’ve picked it up? I’ve been focusing on watercolor while the kids were little, less mess, no smell…but now my heart is yearning for bolder strokes, brighter color, richer tones…and I am feeling the pull back to oils and acrylics. Maybe I’ll take a class and brush up. No pun intended there…  I’m also getting the feeling that I’d like to go back to practicing making jewelry again. Don’t hold your breath on this one. I might just go lie down til the feeling passes, but it’s there. For the moment anyhow.

Gardening. So help me lord, if I have one more year with a weed garden, I’ll spit. That’s all I’m going to say for now. But seriously. I have to spend more time in the garden this year. It’s embarrassing.

So, unless I get too busy living life instead of posting about it, I’ll use these pages as an Inspired Artist Journal to keep track of the artistic endeavors of the year.

Welcome to my artist’s playground.  Please, I’d love it if you leave your thoughts and comments and share what you plan to do in 2011. Hopefully together, we will both be around to play here this year!

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Beef & Broccoli with Fresh Ginger and Black Rice

The Inspired Cook

Spring is in the air here in the Midwest and with the  warm sun and fresh air, I get inspired this time of the year to try new recipes and create new dishes out of ones I have read about or heard about before. To me, cooking is very much an art that I love to play with!

Looking through my May Bon Apetite magazine I found a Beef and Broccoli with Yams recipe ( page 45) that seemed interesting but  I didn’t have any Yams on hand and…it didn’t look as if it would be enough heat in it for my fire- loving family.

 

So with a little tweaking, I came up with a version of my own and thought I would share it with you here. It was a big hit at our house, with a bright flavor and just the right amount of heat. I made little comments to help back off some of the heat if you like a more mild flavor.

 

Enjoy! I would love to hear what you think about it!

 

Beef  & Broccoli with Fresh Ginger and Black Rice

 

 

Beef & Broccoli

 

¼ cup water

3 Tablespoons packed golden brown sugar

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon Szechwan sauce (adds heat, leave out for more mild version)

1/3 teaspoon dried, crushed red pepper ( ¼ teaspoon for mild)

1 pound flank steak, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut crosswise in ¼ strips

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

4 cups broccoli florets

1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)

3 teaspoons peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger

1/4th orange, peel and white part removed, finely chopped

2-½ tablespoons Asian Sesame oil, divided

 

 

Black Rice

 

1 cup water

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon chili oil OR olive oil and pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup of black rice

1 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger

 

Add all ingredients together except ginger. Cover and simmer on low heat for 40 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Add salt, pepper to taste and stir in Ginger. Serve.

 

 

Start rice first. While rice is simmering:

 

Stir first five ingredients of Beef and Broccoli list together, mix until brown sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

 

Place sliced beef in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add cornstarch and toss to coat. Add orange bits and one teaspoon of ginger.

 

Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in large wok or heavy skillet on high heat. Add beef and stir-fry until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.

 

Heat remaining oil in same skillet, add broccoli, mushrooms and ½ teaspoon ginger, add salt and pepper to taste, add sauce and toss to coat. Turn heat down to medium high, cover and cook until veggies are tender, about five minutes. Add beef to veggies, toss to coat, sprinkle with remaining ginger, serve with rice.

New Beginnings and a New Name!

The Inspired Artist

If any of my long time readers have suddenly found this blog in their Readers this morning and are confused, I offer my apologies!

This used to be the original blog of Life’s Little Inspirations, however since we  moved that blog over to it’s new home in July of last year, this one has sat, silent and alone for the past several months.

Except it hasn’t. Despite the fact that I haven’t posted anything since last July, LLI- The Original has stubbornly lived on with readers coming here every day since we closed the doors. It makes me feel bad to watch these numbers of dedicated or new readers linger on each month looking for something new. 

So…I’ve come home, slapped on a new coat of paint and given it a new name. I will begin posting here again but with a tighter focus on all things related to Art in the most general sense of the word. Since I have many artistic endeavors such as writing, theater, painting, gardening, cooking…just to name a few…this will be a nice place to share some of my more personal artsy side.

I am not going to take away any of the old posts, even though they are now posted on Life’s Little Inspirations. But starting today, this home has a new purpose and one I hope everyone will enjoy!

 

Welcome to the birth of: The Inspired Artist!

If you enjoy what you see here, you may also enjoy our sister blog: Life’s Little Inspirations, a blog about living an Inspired Life. See you there!