Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Reading Gardens

Reading space in the garden

*  by Jenni Foster

Have you ever wondered how to take your love for reading and combine it with a love for the outdoors and garden? Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a grandparent, or simply have a childlike heart, creating a backyard reading garden may be a perfect weekend project for you!

What is a backyard reading garden, you may ask? It is simply an outdoor space that is designed to include a clever nook used as a reading spot! Reading Gardens can be large or small, simple or elaborate and maybe whatever style you desire. Reading Gardens are a great way to get children involved in reading, while stimulating their interest in the outdoors as well.

To begin, select a location in the outdoors of your backyard that brings you or your child peace and happiness. Oftentimes, people like to choose a place that they already enjoy frequenting or that is special to them. Whether sunny, shady, or a mixture of both, be sure that the lighting is sufficient for reading. Having a place that is a quiet, or tranquil, is very helpful as well.

Next, seating needs to be decided on. There are many options available when it comes to picking a place to sit and read in your backyard reading garden. You may decide that you only want seating for one, or perhaps you will choose seating to accommodate multiple readers. If you plan to read with your child, keep this in mind and create child size as well as adults sized seating options. Ideas include: a bench, a swing, a stationary chair or two, a hammock, a chaise lounge, or even an existing natural seat such as a stump or stone. No matter what you decide, be sure that it will be adequate for both short and long reading sessions.

Just as in a traditional garden, a backyard reading garden will often begin as a bit of a blank slate. Make a plan to add or let your children add the finishing touches that are special to them. Ideas that you may want to consider include: colorful flowers or lovely plants, bird feeders or baths, an art station for nature inspired sketches and paintings, a relaxing water feature or even musical additions, such as a wind chime. The sky is truly the limit... literally!

Once created, the backyard reading garden will become a lovely place for adults and children alike to spend hours inside the pages of their favorite stories. Read alone, with a friend, to your children or as a group. Reflect on your reading and the nature around you by jotting in a journal or with an inspirational art piece. No matter what activities you choose to do incorporate into your backyard reading garden, it is sure to be a delight for all!

Award-winning authors Dave & Lillian Brummet:

Visit us on: (new site, under maintenance)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

quote of the day

Quote of the Day 

"To lovers, I devise their imaginary world, 
with whatever they may need, 
as the stars of the sky, 
the red, red roses by the wall, 
the snow of the hawthorn, 
the sweet strains of music,
 and aught else they may desire 
to figure to each other 
the lastingness and beauty of their love. "

 ~ Williston Fish; "A Last Will" - 1898

Award-winning authors Dave & Lillian Brummet:

Visit us on: (new site, under maintenance)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

New Ideas; brainstorming

Creative Brainstorming

* By Leon Edward

Creative Brainstorming is that phase in the production process that is all about idea-generation. Some of the best ideas known to man have been thought up during this phase. But just what happens during the brainstorming phase? It's hard to pinpoint exactly how brainstorming occurs because it can be different for different people. But we have focused in on some of the most important elements of brainstorming that aid in the creative process.

In science there is an idea about "the theory of everything," which implies that every single idea or thing came from one central original thing. It's an interesting idea and can be applied somewhat to the idea of creative brainstorming. Consider brainstorming as the generating of numerous ideas that come from one major concept. From this major concept you can brainstorm various subtopics that can fall under the main topic and then further expand from there. This technique is good when you need one major concept from which you can build specific details and ideas that surround the central theme. This sort of brainstorming often works well with mind maps, which take the idea of growing ideas from one major concept and expanding out.

Once you have let all of the creative ideas out in the open, you will want to focus on your goals. Whether it be for more sales in your business, more engagement from readers (as an author), or just more interest in your ideas, you need to decide what it is that you wish to accomplish from your efforts. This will guide your brainstorming so that it won't include every single thing, but begin to be more focused toward reaching the goals you have set forth.

In this phase of creative brainstorming, you will want to consider each and every idea that your team through out in the initial brainstorming session, while always considering what you should eliminate to fine-tune the concept. For example, if your central idea is to expand your Human Resources department, in the weeding phase, you will want to focus on all of the ideas that you think you could feasible carry out within your organization and weed out those that you don't have the budget for, or which are not practical within your work environment. Don't forget though to also brainstorm ways you could try new ideas, including outsourcing work when needed, in order to meet your goals.

Steve Jobs once said, "There is a quantum leap between an idea and a marketable product." There is a lot of truth in this. So when engaging in creative brainstorming, you will eventually want to fine-tune the idea into "what sells?" In other words, while money is not the entire goal, you should always keep the practical aspects of your idea in mind, and how it will sell once on the market. You must also brainstorm what market your finished product will likely fit into as well.

During the process of brainstorming, you will want to not only brainstorm about your product or idea, but also about the market that you plan to put your product in. By knowing your specific market, you should be able to fit the needs of your customers more to your product, thereby increasing your sales and loyalty to your product over the long haul.

Creativity in brainstorming is not hard. But it involves going through the stages from original concept to production, so that you not only focus on the idea but also on the end result. In business, this is as important as the creative process itself and it keeps the creative process focusing on end product, so that there is more of a fit between what you create and the customers' needs and wants. In creative arts like writing or music composition, for example, it will help you to fine-tune the art that you put out so that your work not only inspires the imagination but also finds its audience.

Award-winning authors Dave & Lillian Brummet:

Visit us on: (new site, under maintenance)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

quote of the day

Quote of the Day 

"To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed."

  ~  Theodore Roosevelt; during his 7th annual message, 3 December 1907

Award-winning authors Dave & Lillian Brummet:

Visit us on: (new site, under maintenance)

Thursday, February 4, 2016


5 tips for Awnings 

* by Jen Scott -  a writer and blogger, who works as the Content Director at Be Locally SEO in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Awnings give your business extra, eye-catching real estate space for signage. They have numerous benefits, especially on commercial properties. Not only do they provide much-needed shade (which attracts foot traffic), but they add a sense of professionalism, charm and beauty to your business. Depending on how much control you have over your awnings (shape, color, etc.), they also can be a great way to make your business stand out among a sea of local shops.

If you aren't lucky enough to have awnings, you can add them relatively inexpensively. If they're high quality, they're simple to clean and can remain attractive for years. However, awnings are also easy to under-optimize if you don't use signage best practices correctly. 

Make the most of your awnings with these tips from signage professionals:

1. Contrast is key: Awnings, no matter how big, aren't channel signs, monuments or pole signs. In other words, they can be easily overlooked. Make sure the text/graphics pop by utilizing contrast. For example, a deep hunter green awning with a bright white text in a sans-serif font is going to attract attention and be easy to read. Just don't go overboard. A neon pink awning with electric blue text might draw attention, just not the kind you want.

2. Keep them clean: Awnings do a lot to protect your entryway from debris, rain, wind, hailstones, snow, freezing rain (you get the picture). Return the favor and give them regular pampering. Even though they might not look dirty or worn at first glance, you probably see the awnings every day. A washing every month is critical, and perhaps more often, depending on your location and weather conditions.

3. Look at the whole picture: You want your business to be noticed, but you don't want to clash with the neighborhood. Instead of focusing on standing out, prioritize having the best awning on the block. This means colors and fonts that go with the local vibe, but with a chic quality that sets the bar high. If you're unsure, rely on a professional signage company to help you design the best awning for your location.

4. Match awnings to other signage: You want your awning to look like it was created in tandem with other signs in the area. In fact, all signage should look like it was created within the past year in one fell swoop. Otherwise, you risk a hodgepodge of signage that clearly wasn't carefully planned.

5. Focus on quality: Not all awning materials are created equally. Technically, you might be able to get away with a budget awning, but will it last for years? Is it prone to fading, or can it stand up to a rough winter? When chosen and designed correctly, an awning can (and should!) last for years with routine maintenance.

You may think of awnings as a summertime advantage, but they're actually a great feature year-round. They can help keep the entryway cool in the heat, and provide shelter from rain and snow in cold months. Contact a professional sign company to help you create your own stunning awning.

Award-winning authors Dave & Lillian Brummet:

Visit us on: (new site, under maintenance)