Mushrooms- the Extraordinary Ordinary…

Why this talk of Mushrooms? Well, I love to take something ‘ordinary’ and make it extraordinary. It’s a fun way to write, design and add that extra special something. Here- mushrooms use my 9 Principles of Design. Texture and Mood, two of my favorite design principles. Mushrooms, lichen and moss see to add something mysterious and magical to a woodland walk. They add something special to a warm bowl of soup or a rustic tart.

And oh yes, there’s a natural artistic expression of the ‘ordinary’ mushroom. The underside folds or gills look at once ancient and modern, even when recreated in fabric stitchery definitely add that whimsical mood. The stuff that adds an extra dimension, especially this time of year.

Whether the mushrooms are a singular find on a damp forest floor or a basketful, we are enchanted by mushrooms. And when you consider that for a mushroom to grow, it requires almost perfect conditions. If you see mushrooms growing, that’s a sign of good rich soil. It’s incredible to me that mushrooms grow in dim light without any fanfare and yet are so unique.

Texture? Yes. Mood? Oh yes, we also love moody light and we must not forget to add Whimsy which is the subtle ‘mood lifter’ which is always welcome especially as the holidays draw near and ordinary day grow dimmer. I don’t know about you, yet I want a bit of the extraordinary ordinary. Mushrooms, anyone?

Love y’all, Brenda

Stairs as an Allegory…

Possibilities, that’s what Stairs mean to me. Stairs are associated with a journey, progress, growth. And, depending on which way you’re going? Down? Stairs could represent the Fear of Failure or Fear of Falling. Ok, that’s what I’ve experienced, after a knee surgery more than a decade ago- I had fallen on a small run of steps and after surgery I found out that it’s easier to go upstairs than to come down. What a revelation to me.

Stairs are a strong symbol of transistion, change, transformation and growing wiser- leading our minds to a new, different and hopefully higher level. Stairs have been used, even in ancient cultures, as a symbol of going from one level of being to the next level- one step at a time. Ok. Rocky might have taken it more than one step at a time- yet who can forget the image of Stallone standing triumphant? And yess, I’ve gone up those stairs myself! The Thrill of Victory. Really. Out of Breath.

I love beautiful stairways, ornate or humble. And yes, there’s the romance of a spiral staircase, an architectural marvel- symbolic of oh so many things…to me, it’s pure genius. A Black and White Staircase? Coco Chanel would’ve loved it. My personal favorites are a beautiful shade of blue at Independence Hall, the Village Steps with Terra Cotta Pots and the Tropical Green and White- so cool and fresh. Still. All of them have been speaking to me lately.

I’ve been impatient with a project I’ve been working on- I thought I’d be finished..there are more steps than I planned and more to go. Some are new challenges, I’ve been facing or even avoiding. ‘When you start something new, even if you don’t have all the answers, trust your instincts and believe that you’ll rise to the occasion.’ One of my favorite quotes even if I made it up myself! So!

It’s back to basics week. One Step at a Time. A New Perspective- each of the steps or even obstacles are really Possibilities in disguise. *I’m just hoping it’s less than ‘a journey of 1000 miles.’

Love y’all, Brenda

*Okay, an allegory is a narrative in which something like stairs, a place or object is used to express a bigger, more important message to illustrate or explain ideas. Allegories are really an easy way to express a meaningful, even complex idea. In this writing lesson, you’ve seen an allegory express more than just an architectural element- it’s about going higher or further than you thought you could or would.

Creative Possibilities…

Paintbrushes symbolize creative possibilities, and represent the possibility of Change. It’s said if you dream of paintbrushes- it’s possible that you see yourself doing something unique or the desire to accomplish something worthwhile. If you’re not sure what or how to write, start with a plain or simple image of something sort of common or mundane. Look up the symbolism and you’ve got the start of a great story.

It’s been said that artists prefer wooden brushes made of pine- an evergreen. To paint something that achieves lasting form, meaning and value. And, then there’s Color. Color is the Workhorse of Design. Before we ever read a word, our brains have formed an opinion. Your color choices, your color story has- well, it’s told a story. If your color story is complex, the viewer decides- ‘I don’t have the mental energy for this.’ Am I right? In today’s world of massive amounts of information coming at us- from many directions.

From a young age, we develop emotions around color. Color forms the texture of our lives. It’s been said, ‘ Use language on a 4th to 7th grade level.’ Why? It’s not because we aren’t smart. Because.. a message should be easy to understand. The same is true with color – your color message should be easy to understand. Never be afraid of possibilities, change or to accomplish something worthwhile- achieve something of value. Use Color to start the conversation, evoke good feelings and opinions.

Yet, above all, Keep it Simple. Simplicity is often the most difficult design or art form to achieve- yet Simplicity tends to accomplish something long lasting and worthwhile. Memorable. These are Notes to Self and to You- I hope you dream in Paintbrushes and that Color is the Fabric of your Life.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. please notice- in writing, use symbolism such as paintbrushes. Then, color begins the conversation, let the image set the scene and then begin telling a simple and easily understood message. That’s a winning combination every time.

P.S.S. The July Planning Guide is ready- and it’s chock full of information to take you right into the Fall! In fact, there’s a major Color Story in this guide- an interpretation of the Fall/Winter Colors of 2021! These guides are free. Send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

It’s Time to Plan February…

I can’t believe that January is more than halfway through, before we know it February will be here. And guess which of the Winter months is the best for selling goods and services? February starts of with Groundhog Day when we’re hoping for an earlier start to Spring…so, anything pertaining to gardening (early bloomers anyone?) or even weather related is a natural and fun sales day. Warm, hot mugs of anything – tea, coffee, hot chocolate and.. maybe some fresh baked cookies? This is the month for you!

February’s also Heart Health Month- tailor made for coaches, mentors – anything that improves health- physical and emotional well being- this is a welcome time for you! (Remember, internationally, Blue Monday is January 18 when moods are said to be low) Its a wonderful time to lift spirits, from now throughout February. Super Bowl Sunday is a fun time to promote Fitness, Food and Fun. 🏈

There are various holidays to celebrate Love, including love for family, friends and even pets! Valentine’s Day is, of course, the big one, isn’t it? Did you know that it’s a multi-billion dollar business retail day? In the US and UK the average shopper spent an average of $200 spanning across those special gifts to children, friends and special loved ones. That includes gifts, cards, special meals and flowers- not just for that special someone. And, it doesn’t have to be flowers and chocolates- though I’ll take both!

Later on in February- don’t forget to ‘let the good times roll’ for Mardi Gras- another fun and food day!

So, what’s all this about? I have a gift for you! My February Planning Guide is ready! Let’s get February started with filling in the calendar, you’ll find the multiple dates will help with content creation and you’ll also find marketing tips- time savers and even suggestions for ordering supplies! ALL are included in my February Planning Guide. And hopefully, help you save time.

The planning guide is *Free* again this month and like January’s ‘it’s chock full of information.’ As those who’ve gotten it have told me time and time again! How to get it? Email me – brenda@camelliascottage.com and we will get it out to you. It’s a 3 page pdf that’s easily printable.

Why? I made a New Year’s resolution to help as many as I could in the first few months of what might be a difficult time financially for cottage industries, small businesses and more. The tips in February’s guide apply to product sales, service providers, mentors, course creators and coaches. You won’t want to miss this one.

February looks like an amazing month! Get a head start planning and creating content. I cannot close without saying Thank You to all who’ve gotten their January Guide, it’s been amazing connecting with you! Ready to get started with February planning…and don’t forget I

Love y’all, Brenda

*don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for even more inspiration @brendawyatt_

Patina…

Patina… that magical thing that happens with age. I find it fascinating- maybe because I have a bit of patina myself. Ok, more than a bit. Still. Patina was originally a word used for a thing that happens to copper when it’s exposed to – well, life. Gradually patina came to represent objects that had been around a while, traveled through more than one experience- looked at life’s inevitable hardships and instead of becoming bitter became more beautiful and interesting- simply because it has survived and continues to thrive.

Patina holds within it, stories we may never read- through doors that have been the silent listeners to a time we’ve never known. They may not be shiny and brand new- yet, they’ve figured out how to be old, determined and useful.

One of the things I enjoy while traveling is taking photographs of architectural elements- especially those with patina like that wrought iron fence in New Orleans (oh, how I miss that old girl this year!) Patina is a good historical teacher who isn’t the least bit hysterical- especially when it comes to aging.

Now, it’s important to me that you know- I love all of you with all of your amazing talents, yet what always surprises me are those of you, who have a bit of age on them, seem more stable, less stressed, more inspired and less complicated or competitive- more willing to try new things. The ones of you who’ve realized that the last thing you want to do- is wake up and realize you didn’t do the things you were meant to do.

If possible, age should never be the limiting factor on potential. Patina is proof of timelessness- of a life fully lived. Just know, when you see patina anywhere- even the lines on a face, a bit of exposed brick, rust or peeling paint- you’re looking at proof that getting out of your comfort zones, staying strong, rising to the challenges, weathering the storms – results in something real, valuable and beautiful. Patina. Admire it. Aspire to it. Appreciate it in yourself.

Patina is a design trick used by the finest stylists. Take a tip from them. Use items with patina for your props or backgrounds. If you’re traveling, even in your own town- try to find and photograph patina. It’s beautiful and, I think you’ll find it everywhere you look.

Love y’all, Brenda