Thursday, December 31, 2009

Simple Abundance in 2010

I've always wanted to try working though Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort & Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach, which has readings for every day of the year starting January 1st. Of course, to do it "right" I've always felt I must start on January 1st, but never think about the book until too late.
From the back of the book:

In the past a woman's spirituality has been separated from her lifestyle. Simple Abundance shows you how your daily life can be an expression of your authentic self... as you choose the tastiest vegetables from your garden, search for treasures at flea markets, establish a sacred space in your home for meditation, and follow the rhythm of the seasons and the year. Here, for the first time, the mystical alchemy of style and Spirit is celebrated. Every day, your own true path leads you to a happier, more fulfilling and contented way of life-- the state known as SIMPLE ABUNDANCE.
For whatever reason, I remembered the book before January 1st this year. I guess its the right time for this journey. And I'm putting out the call to anyone else who might be interested taking the journey with me. I've already got several takers, which is exciting! If anyone else is interested in reading along, please do join in.

Will I make it through all 365 days? I have no idea. But I'm willing to give it a go. I'm thinking of it as an exercise in self-nurturing and I can always use some of that on a daily basis. Couldn't you?

At any rate, my intentions are good and with support from other journeyers, we might all just make it! I'll be doing an SA check-in here on my blog each weekend and invite other participants to check in here as well. Here's to Simple Abundance in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wrapping Up the Year

So. Seems I unintentionally and inadvertently took a break from blogging this month. But I'm okay with that, because for the past 2 1/2 weeks I've been out of state visiting relatives and then, once back home, came down sick and am still recovering.

This past year has been a year of growth for me. I've grown in my polymer clay knowledge and experience and in my tarot expertise. I've grown in my family size (2 new kitties) and I've grown in my circle of friends (my Ya-Ya sisters, spirituality group and my fellow poly clay artists). And I've begun to rediscover my sacred self through my art and my pagan spirituality class. Of course there have been bumps in the road, like the never ending joys of home ownership (note sarcasm) and the perils of the economy, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm looking forward to the new year.

Taking a tip from this blog post, which I found through this blog post, I've chosen a word to live by for 2010. And that word is:

EXPLORATION

That will be my mantra. In my every day life, my art, my self-care, everything. I think its a very all-encompassing word and it feels very empowering to me as well. So here's to exploring in 2010~ onward and forward!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Magic Circles at the Mall

As much as I used to love the mall as a teenager, I completely and utterly loathe the mall now as an adult. I avoid the mall at all costs. I don't think I've been near one in at least 2 or 3 years... until yesterday.

The husband wanted to go to the mall to search for grab bag gifts for his family's annual grab bag exchange. And not just any mall, not our nearby, small, unpopular local mall. Nope, he wanted to go to Flatiron Crossing-- *the* mall and massive popular shopping center between Denver & Boulder. My anxiety level rose just at the very thought of it.

Anxiety really set in once we got there. Traffic was heavy and backed up, so many cars trying to get in or out of the area. Traffic cops directing the heavy flow of cars. Parking lots filled to capacity and beyond. My chest and stomach got tighter and tighter, my breath shallow and ragged as we looked for a parking spot.

But when we entered the mall-- that's when my anxiety kicked in full force. Crowds of people, children screaming, shoppers brushing up against me as we manoeuvred through the aisles, music blaring, every store a maze of aisles and displays, overly bright lights and colors everywhere. I couldn't take any deep breaths, I felt like I couldn't get any air, I felt dizzy and jittery, I felt like I would shatter into a million pieces at any second. I had to go to the bathroom. NOW.

Locked in the stall, I knew I had to find some way to calm myself or I was going to have an panic driven meltdown any second. Tears and hyperventilation were dangerously close to surfacing. I tried to breathe slowly and deeply to ground and center myself. And I realized, *now* was an excellent time to create a magic protective circle around myself.

I've been taking a Wiccan Spirituality class since September and one of the main focuses of the class is grounding, centering and creating sacred space around oneself. I used to have these techniques down, but my skills have gotten rusty over the years. Plus, I realized, its not as difficult to create sacred space when you're in a calm, quiet, meditative atmosphere-- but here, at the mall, in the midst of chaos-- *that* is the real test for creating a magic circle. Could I do this effectively when it really counted? That was the true challenge.

I breathed and breathed, I imagined roots growing out of my feet into the ground, pulling up soothing energy from the earth; I imagined a white light reaching from the top of my head through the ceilings and clouds into the sky, bringing cooling energy from the stars down into me. With toilets flushing and doors banging and children laughing and mothers scolding all around me and my private little stall, I breathed slowly and I tried to focus on mentally drawing lines around me-- from above my head, down my right side, under my feet and back up again on my left side and from one side of my body all the way around me horizontally and from the top of my head down back behind me, under my feet again and up in front of me to meet at my head once more. After I'd drawn the omnil, I breathed in strength from the Universe to fill it up with protective energy. Energy that would keep people from bumping against me, energy that would deflect the chaos and noise, energy that would cushion and cocoon and keep me tranquil.

When I felt calmer, I left the bathroom and rejoined my patient husband. I tried to keep focusing on that magical sphere all around me as we waded through the crowds. But about 15 minutes later... I had to go back to the bathroom. Focus, focus, focus. And block out that little voice inside of me saying "this is never going to work"-- it had to work! Why else have we been practicing this very thing in class for so long? Because with practice, it *does* work. Breathe, breathe, breathe. And thankfully, at last, some small measure of peace descended upon me. I could do this. I knew I could.

And I did. And we made it the entire length of the mall, went to the upper level and came back again. And even found some decent grab bag gifts in the process. But, oh! It was so good to finally walk out into the open air and natural light and make it to the car and then home and know that it was all over. But I would never have made it without my magic circles.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feline Friday: Fountain Fun

Yes, we spoil our cats. We recently got them a fountain water bowl. (What!?! It promotes increased water consumption for a healthy urinary tract-- its a good thing!)

Sass & Dot were absolutely fascinated by the watery action, but didn't quite know how to handle the whole fountain bowl concept at first.

Sassy, however, quickly became an expert at drinking right from the top of the fountain flow.

Dot can't quite figure out how to do that yet. Which results in her getting wet. A lot.

"What are YOU looking at? You think you can do better? Ha! Sure. Whatever."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Practice Sculpting Faces

Today I practiced sculpting faces. They are challenging, especially since I am teaching myself how to sculpt. These are far from perfect, but I feel like I'm beginning to get the hang of it.

Two online tutorials that I find very helpful while I'm in my learning process--

Shaping a PC Face Cabochon

Sarajane Helm's Making Faces

I have fun making the noses and mouths but I find eyes more difficult. I've practiced sculpting faces with closed and opened eyes and I think I like the closed eyes better. Maybe its because the faces look more peaceful that way or maybe its because I just don't like feeling like I'm being watched! Which do you prefer?

Be sure to check back to see how I use my face sculptures once I perfect my technique.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: Steps

Each week, Jamie Ridler Studios hosts Wishcasting Wednesday.

You can be a maker of magic and a tender of wishes. It’s easy. Answer the wish prompt on your blog and leave a direct link HERE. Support wishes by visiting other participants, leaving a comment saying “As (insert name) wishes for her/himself, so I wish for her/him also.” It’s that simple. There is great power in wishing together.
This week's prompt asks:

WHAT STEP DO YOU WISH TO TAKE?

My answer is easy-- I want to get out my clays and actually MAKE all of the new poly clay creations I have in my head-- instead of thinking about them, sketching them, dreaming about them when I'm asleep. I want them to become a physical reality!

Its easy to say I haven't done this yet because I've been back to working FT hours again, but now I have a week or so off until the next project starts, so that doesn't work as an excuse right now.

I want to move forward, but fear, that little niggling imp, is holding me back. Fear that my ideas won't look as good in reality as they do on paper or in my imagination. I told myself fear has no place in my creative world-- PLAY is the code and keyword I want to live by. Because even if my new ideas don't turn out the way I imagined, if I play with them, I may come up with something even better. But if I don't take the first step-- to get out my clays and start working-- nothing is going to happen with all these new ideas.

So I need to take the simple step of getting out my clays and getting to work.

What step do you wish to take?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frog & Begin Again?

After finishing the tea cozy for my friend, I am sort of itching to do some more crocheting. I always get that feeling when the weather turns colder, too. So I'm thinking about frogging my Day to Night poncho which I started last year, frogged, restarted and *still* can't get to look right, and have finally abandoned. I've seen quite a few people on Ravelry who have made this poncho & theirs looks awesome, but I am just not happy with how mine looks.

I love the yarn-- especially the color scheme, and I really want to make something out of it, so now I'm thinking about crocheting the Kimono Jacket from my Homespun 7 Crochet Patterns for the Family booklet. It looks easy enough and I can *always* use another warm wrap for wearing at work-- I'm always so cold there!

So many projects in mind.... so little time...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Quilt Block Mosaic Box

My most recent mosaic lidded box is finished and has been listed in my ArtFire shop!


I ended up making more tiles after my WIP post, because I wanted to get the pattern just right. I'm so pleased with how it turned out-- its like a quilt with a funky metallic twist. I started experimenting with adding glass tiles to my mosaics as well and I like the texture combination of stamped polymer & smooth glass. What do you think? Is the glass an interesting addition/texture to the design?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cozy Complete

Remember this little project I started... about a year ago? *blush* It's finally done!


I gave it to my friend at work today and she was absolutely thrilled with it. I've been apologizing to her profusely for the past 2 weeks for not getting it done before-- we lost touch after the spring project season this year and didn't run into each other again until this latest project at work. She's such a dear, she just laughed and said, "Don't worry about it, I don't really follow a linear timeline in my life anyways!" Still, I feel like such a heel.

This turned out to be such a cute tea cozy, I may have to make one for myself. The pattern was not hard to crochet, but my one critique is that the wording of the pattern sometimes made it very difficult to determine exactly what I was supposed to be doing. Also, there weren't any "summaries" of each row so that you would know if you had the right amount of stitches. If I did something wrong, I wouldn't find out until the next row because things weren't coming out right.

But now that I've made it once, I think it would be much easier the second time around. And, as a bonus, I learned how to do a new stitch-- the reverse single crochet, or crab stitch. This one has had me stumped for years because I'm a leftie. So the instructions for a reverse sc sounded just like doing what I do for a sc, because I crochet backwards. So I had figure out how to reverse the reverse sc. I finally found this incredibly helpful video for lefties, watched it a time or two, then followed along. The stitch came out just the way it was supposed to!

I love opportunities to expand my creative experience. This project was a great one.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Feline Friday: King of the Mountain

Moose loves to be King of the Bed; just give him room to sprawl and he'll be chillaxin' in no time...

But let him discover a big ol' pile of freshly washed bedding just waiting to be folded...

... and he turns into an dozing, furry King of the Mountain in 5 seconds flat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Sometimes I get working on a project that starts out great and then... goes nowhere. Its frustrating, but it happens.

For instance I got these fabulous rubber stamps, all different sizes of quilt blocks. Perfect for making mosaic tiles, and I made a whole bunch of them. But then my enthusiasm waned when I couldn't seem to arrange the tiles on my box lid in any way that made me happy. So I've been waiting for inspiration... for quite some time now.

The other afternoon I started playing around with the tiles again. And added some glass tiles along with the polymer clay ones. *Bing!* Suddenly every piece started to fall into place. Finally, I knew what I wanted to do. Above is the progress I've made. I need to make a couple more tiles to switch out, but I'm really pleased so far. I love it when inspiration strikes.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Remembering Gram on Samhain

Every year for Samhain I create a special ancestor altar to honor all of my beloved dead, but this year I did something a little different. This year I created an altar honoring just one specific relative-- my Gram, who died last June.

Gram was the last grandparent I had, all my other grandparents died when I was still in my teens. Although I grieved for her at the time of her death, the trip back to Iowa for her funeral seemed almost unreal. I wondered if the reality of losing her would hit me harder at Samhain, when I remember my beloved dead, and it has. And so, to say a final goodbye, I created a very personal altar in her honor.


I gathered all the photos I had of her and chose my favorites. Photos of her as an infant, a toddler, a teen, a young married woman, a grandmother. For an altar cloth, I used the quilt with embroidered panels that she made for me when I went away to college. I also included a couple of framed cross stitch pieces she made for me to decorate my home with after I was married.


The dress is one of her calico house dresses from the around 1950's. I found it in the attic back when I was in college and used to wear it myself-- with white lace tights, Madonna-style. I can still remember Gram shaking her head and saying, "Why you want to wear that old, ugly thing is beyond me." My Gram was a lady who always had a linen handkerchief in her pocketbook or tucked up her sleeve, so I included one of her monogrammed hankies and another with a lace edge on her altar, too.

Gram used to have a little sun room in her house that had window shelves full of African violets. I got my love of African violets from Gram and so of course her altar had to have a couple of those lovely, blooming plants. I put each one in a milk-glass pot just like she always had them. After her funeral, I brought home half a dozen milk-glass pots from her sun room.

The baby-doll was a gift from Gram and Grampie when I was just a little girl. Gram and my Great-Aunt Phyllis made and entire wardrobe for her-- embroidered nightgowns and rompers and dresses-- even a little wool coat and hood. The bible is Grampie's, which always sat on one of the end tables in their living room.

The cookie jar is part of the set of cannisters I have in my kitchen that used to be in Gram's. The cookie cutters are ones from Gram's kitchen too, and I remember lots and lots of sugar cookies that were made with those cookie cutters.

The only items on the altar not tied directly to Gram are the tarot cards I picked-- Death (end of a cycle), The Sun (joy), the 6 of cups (nostalgia), 10 of cups (family celebration) and 10 of pentacles (family traditions).

Creating this altar brought up a lot of emotions and brought back lots of memories. It has been a bittersweet experience. And, in remembering Gram the best way I know how, a healing one.

May the blessings of Samahin be upon you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: Treats

Each week, Jamie Ridler Studios hosts Wishcasting Wednesday.

You can be a maker of magic and a tender of wishes. It’s easy. Answer the wish prompt on your blog and leave a direct link HERE. Support wishes by visiting other participants, leaving a comment saying “As (insert name) wishes for her/himself, so I wish for her/him also.” It’s that simple. There is great power in wishing together.
This week's prompt asks:

WHAT TREAT DO YOU WISH FOR?

At the risk of sounding superficial and frivolous... a treat I've always wanted is a professional manicure. Yes, really.

I've struggled with biting my nails my whole life. When my nerves kick in or my fingers feel dry and rough, I can chew my nails and the skin around them until they are mangled and bleeding without even realizing it. When I was younger, I tried putting bitter stuff on my nails, sitting on my hands, wearing gloves... As a child I frequently heard, "Get your fingers out of your mouth." I was always embarrassed and ashamed to be caught chewing my fingernails, yet I couldn't seem to help it.

This is about as good as they ever get.

The older I get, the better I've been about leaving them alone, yet its still a struggle. My nails are soft and weak and tear easily; my cuticles tend to be dry and hard and ragged. I don't want long and glamorous nails-- in fact, I prefer to keep them short since they're not very strong, and long nails get in the way when working with clay, leaving little crescent moons everywhere on my creations.

But I really crave short, even, neat fingernails. I try my best to manicure them myself, but I would love the treat of several professional manicures in a row, including paraffin waxes to smooth away my rough cuticles. I've always admired and envied anyone with nice, neat, buffed fingernails. I don't want anything fancy, I just want fingernails that look well-cared for. After all the abuse I've put mine through, it would be lovely to have nice looking hands for a change.

What treat do you wish for?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Sad Goodbye

This week the sad news filtered through our pagan community that Lake Wellington, a long time location for three different yearly pagan retreats-- as well as a very popular primitive mountain campground, is closing.


The original news was that it had become too popular and was being closed just for the winter to give the lake and surrounding land a resting period, however... a notice went out a few days ago that everything from the campground and camp store is being sold this weekend-- the rental boats, camp gear, campers, trailers, and personal items from the caretakers who lived at the lake and have been told they must move-- so it seems that the lake will no longer be available to the public as a campground anymore. Rumor has it that it will become developed for housing.


I am torn. Part of me would like to go to the sale for the express purpose of seeing the lake one more time and saying a personal goodbye. And yet, I think it would be too sad to see everything being sold off. Nor do I know that I'd even be allowed to get any closer to the lake than the view from the camp store.


I feel regret now that I did not attend any of the pagan retreats held there this past summer. It was my choice, and at the time it was what I felt was best for me. But I never imagined that I would be giving up my last chance to see the lake.


Although I'm fully aware that its communing with my pagan friends that makes the retreats so meaningful, nevertheless, I will miss this beautiful, magical lake that has been such a big part of my summers over the years.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Feline Friday: Fall Foliage

Before we had our first freeze, the tree in our front yard was turning the most vibrant shade of yellow. A nice backdrop for the kittens in the window, who were watching the chaos in our front yard as we had some construction done on the drive, stoop and walkway.

Kitties watching the workmen...


Kitties watching me watching them watching the workmen...

And so on and so forth...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Afternoon Tarot Study

Got together today with my Ya-Ya Sistahs for lunch and tarot practice and we had a good time, as always.

I brought two decks with me to use; my trusty Robin Wood tarot, which I find easy to read and understand, and my Pearls of Wisdom tarot, the deck I got for my birthday and am totally in love with. I've decided I really want to learn to read with this deck, its so lush and detailed and I think it will be excellent for readings because there is so much symbolism in each card. Most of my fellow readers who see this deck feel its too bright, too detailed and too... well... psychedelic-- but I tend to like highly colorful and detailed decks; I feel I get more out of them when reading because no matter how many times I might draw the same card, I usually see a new symbol or detail which gives me a deeper interpretation of its meaning.


For our first exercise, we each did a practice reading using a spread from the Complete Book of Tarot Spreads. I just recently found this book and I really like it, lots of good exercises and useful spreads. I did a 9 card spread on self-definition, with some interesting cards appearing for my answers. It was quite accurate (the cards always are) but I'd like to take a little more time exploring in depth what came up, I think there's lots of good information for me that I didn't have time to really delve into during our practice time.

Our next exercise came from the same book-- we went through our decks and drew all the cards we disliked or that made us uncomfortable for whatever reason. Then we compared which cards we drew-- and for the majority of the cards, we all chose the same ones-- I.E., we all had The Tower, 3 of Swords, 9 of Swords, 10 of Swords, 5 of Pentacles, etc. So then we each shared what it was about the card we didn't like-- the message, the artwork, etc. Each of us was using a different deck, so it was interesting to compare the similarities or differences in the same cards.


Then we looked at the cards we'd drawn that we didn't have in common and discussed why we'd chosen them. For instance, I was the only one who had the 4 of Pentacles, which in the Robin Wood deck just expresses isolation and misery to me as well as possessiveness and greed.

This whole exercise was really fascinating and generated lots of good discussion. It was also interesting to note that the number of cards I drew depended on my deck. There were more cards in the Robin Wood deck that I disliked/made me uncomfortable than in the Pearls of Wisdom-- almost twice as many!

We had some competitive fun for our last exercise. We used a deck we're all familiar with (Rider-Waite) and threw down each card one by one. The first person to shout out a correct keyword/phrase, won the card. After we'd gone through the whole deck, we counted cards to see who had the most. Darling kicked butt-- she won 45 cards out of 78! I had a total brain cramp, I only won 13 cards. I definitely know what I'll be working on-- my keywords and phrases for each card.

I love tarot study with the Ya-Ya's. We always have such a good time and I always come away feeling like I've learned something. Who says study time has to be boring?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Creating Comfort Food

Cold, wet weather is here! And that means its time for a little comfort food. This is a recipe I've had for so long I can't remember how I first got it. No, its not the healthiest thing in the world, but if you're needing a creamy, filling, comforting dish-- its definitely got all that.


SOUR CREAM TATOR TOT CASSEROLE

1 lb. frozen tator tots
1/8 C melted butter
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 C sour cream
1/8 tsp pepper
3/4 C shredded cheese
1/2 C milk
1/2 of a ham steak, diced

1. Thaw potatoes in greased casserole dish.

2. Mix diced ham in with potatoes.

4. Mix butter, onion, soup, milk, sour cream & pepper. Pour over potatoes.

5. Top with cheese.

6. Bake 350* F for 1 hour.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Feline Friday: Where the Hell is Sassy?

This week's Feline Friday is inspired by Mrs. B's kitty, Tanner, star of the "Where the Hell is Tanner?" chronicles.

Only in our household we beg the question: Where the hell is Sassy?


Oh, there she is. Evidently inspecting the dishwasher to make sure its properly loaded.


It all looks good. Activate wash sequence in 3...2...1...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stumbling Along

For the past year or so, I have really been stumbling along my pagan path. There is no doubt about it, I am still a pagan and nothing is going to ever change that-- its in my heart and soul, my bones and blood. But I am really reassessing my path, and not sure where I am headed with my spirituality lately.

I used to be a solitary and all was good. Then I met many other pagans in our thriving community, and I started to do more group oriented rituals and celebrations. Group dynamics, however, are a beast, which is why I'm back to being mainly a solitary again. Sort of. There is potential for a small sisterhood of three-- my lovely Ya-Ya friends... having been burned in the recent past, I am treading carefully. But I do love those two women, so who knows what will happen? I am trying to let the Universe guide me.

In order to reconnect with my path, I started taking Wiccan Spirituality "classes" last month. An opportunity was presented to be able to learn from an elder in the pagan community, a woman I highly respect, and I had to jump at the chance. While I am coming to the conclusion that Wicca is not really my path, I hope to learn a great deal from my teacher; if nothing else, I love having the opportunity to get to know her better! She is a true spiritual beacon of light. And I believe this year of teachings with her will help me reconnect with my pagan path, whatever form of paganism that may be.

Last night's class was a wonderful discussion about connecting with the earth and its cycles, something I've felt disconnected with the past couple of years. But now I realize I'm not as disconnected as I thought, that I am still in tune with the tides. And I have hope that I can nuture that bond so that it is strong again, even stronger than before.

What is best about it all is that I have hope once again. I know I'm not lost, just stumbling around a bit.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Feline Friday: Togetherness

Well... sort of...

Moose, Sassy and TwoDot are getting more comfortable with each other. They started out with posturing and hissing, moved on to sniffing each other's behinds, now they tentatively touch noses.

Napping on the couch together... sort of...

TwoDot really likes Moose and wants to be friends, she will try to rub against him when walking by or try leaning on him when napping. Moose always looks startled, he has no idea how to react and isn't used to having his space invaded. But we have seen him (very briefly) groom TwoDot a couple of times. Moose and Sassy still aren't quite sure what they think of each other, but they do touch noses and Sassy has tried rubbing her head against his a few times (Moose pulls away looking suspicious).

As we'd hoped, Moose is beginning to play with them. Mostly he watches the kittens' wild rampaging with a look of amazement, but from time to time he joins in the game of chase and tumble, especially with TwoDot.

Sassy & Moose, comtemplating a twist of paper together.

The other night, the three of them had us rolling with laughter. We have those cat toy wands-- a strip of fabric with a cluster of feathers on one end and an plastic stick on the other so that you can flick the feathers around for the kitties to chase-- and it had been lying neglected on the couch. TwoDot discovered it, seized the feathered end and strutted off with her prize, pulling the wand end behind her. Sassy saw the wand trailing behind TwoDot and ran after it, swatting. Moose saw Sassy following TwoDot and the wand and he became curious, so he started following Sassy. TwoDot didn't want any other kitty to take her mouthful of feathers from her, so she just kept walking around and around the house dragging the rest of the toy behind her... with Sassy and Moose following. It was HILARIOUS-- we had a little kitty train going from room to room, winding around the furniture!

We're having so much fun watching their relationship develop; more adventures to come, I'm sure!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

31 Days of Halloween Giveaway Today

Have you joined the fun at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom yet? Every day this month, Mrs. B is hosting the ultimate Halloween blog party--


There are giveaways from talented artists, the haunted blog tour, guest blogging on all things Halloween, Halloween crafts, decorating ideas, recipes and MORE!


And TODAY ONLY, this unique Electric Elemental Spirit box from me here at Into the Dawn is just one of SIX free giveaways! All you have to do to enter to win is visit Mrs. B's and join in the fun! Good luck!

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to Angela, winner of the Electric Elemental Pentacle box! I hope you will enjoy owning this unique and useful little box. I will pop it in the mail to you just as soon as I get your mailing information.

And a BIG Thank You to everyone who joined in the contest! I can't tell you how much fun it was for me to be on the giving end and how much I appreciate all the positive feedback about my items. And thanks to all who joined my FB fan page for Into the Dawn Designs, and to all the new followers of my blog. You're all awesome!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Double Award

I've been given a blogging award, not once, but twice! Thank you, Nydia from Bringing Up Salamanders and M. from Wandering Soul for this award. I'm thrilled that you both thought of me!
The rules:
1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog.
3. Link the person who nominated you.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
5. Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers'
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them

Hmmm... 7 things about myself that no one would really know....
  1. I color my hair because my natural hair color DOESN'T look natural on me. Plus, I love being a red-head.
  2. I've been a nail-biter my whole life, although the older I get, the less I'm biting them. But I still struggle with this bad habit.
  3. If I find a craft I like, I tend to teach myself: crochet, polymer clay techniques, Chinese knotwork, Celtic knotwork, glass etching, wheat weaving, calligraphy...
  4. I don't like blank walls; I have to decorate them with pictures, shelves, vintage china plates, floral decor...
  5. I loooooooove scary movies, but if it's really scary, I have to hide my eyes.
  6. Vintage dolls creep me out. Same with clowns.
  7. My husband is 5 years younger than I am. ;-)
Now to nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers:
  1. Merily at Elbit Blog
  2. Creative sisters at Threads of Magique
  3. M.E. at One Swaying Being
  4. Coltpixy at Coltpixy
  5. Dora at Dora's Explorations
  6. Kathleen at Whimsigals
  7. Dori at Sassy Clay Creations

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TAW: Weeks #3 & #4

I haven't given up on my Artist's Way journey, just been a bit behind.

MORNING PAGES:

Had family visiting for a week and we were so busy while they were here that I didn't get any morning pages done that week. But otherwise, I've been doing pretty good with MP, although I really have to pep talk myself into writing some mornings. I've found that I can't do anything else first or I don't write them; nor can I doing morning pages in the evening instead, it never happens. So, as soon as I'm up I get something to drink and sit down with my journal.

I'm learning a lot about myself with Morning Pages. They do work. Even though I often dread or hate doing them, I see that they work. I see that they help me sort things out, point me in the right direction, unearth truths.

ARTIST'S DATES:

Well, I know that ADs are supposed to be done alone, but I consider the day we took my family to the Butterfly Pavilion as an Artist Date. We were there for a couple of hours, and to be honest, I wandered off with my camera and was alone with the butterflies more than I was with my family.

Then last Friday for my AD, I went and explored Olde Town Arvada, something I've been wanting to do for a while now. It was a beautiful, sunny breezy day. I parked my car outside the Army Surplus store and started my wandering there. Looked at some great cast iron cookware there, then walked down the block and around the corner and found Penzey's Spice shop. WOW! Not sure how long I spent there sniffing herbs and spices. Left with some Tandoori spice for myself and a catalog for my dad who loves to cook and would have adored the spice shop.


Wandered back around the corner and into a little tarot shop, looked at the crystals, pendulums and tarot decks, sniffed the incense. Then on to the tea shop. Oh! the tea shop! Drooled over the beautiful china tea pots and tea sets, smelled the teas, stroked the quilted teapot cozies. How I loved the tea shop!


Finally when I was able to extricate myself from there, I crossed the street to an upscale consignment shop. I love thrift stores and this one was fun, had some unusual items. And I found the perfect tarot box for next to nothing! I think I'm going to strip off the light stain, it doesn't look right with the colors of the abolone shell on the lid, and I'm going to stain it with one of my colored wood stains-- green or black.

CHAPTER TASKS:

Okay, this is where I need to step up my game. I've done some of the tasks but I know I need to focus on them more. I'm terrible about remembering to do them. And of course I rebelled like hell against the no reading task. Even after I identified in chapter 3 tasks that my worst bad habit is being on the computer too much. And don't take away my books! I love my books. During the week family was here visiting, I didn't read hardly anything. Barely checked my e-mail, no time for reading for pleasure. So then I get to chapter 4 and I'm told NOT TO READ for a WEEK and it was like-- HELL, no. Every time I opened a book or my laptop I would think, "I am in direct violation of my Artist's Way weekly assignment." Then I'd continue. Oh, so very naughty and stubborn. So I guess I need to try again and a little bit harder this week.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn Additions

I love working with an autumn color palette, the colors of fall really inspire me. Some autumn season items recently added to my shops--

Playing with polymer clay color recipes led me to create this lentil bead pendant, which went really well with unachite beads-- the colors make me think of summer leaves turning to autumn colors.

I love the seeing the Greenman motif in all his various expressions. I'd never seen him wearing fall colors, though, so decided to see what he would look like. Very handsome, don't you think?

Experimenting with glass etching led me to create this votive and holder-- both showing off three different leaves-- oak, maple and aspen.

Autumn Oak Leaf & Jasper necklace
My favorite creation thus far! The pendant is made using mica shift technique-- the swirly design looks like it has depth and dimension, but the pendant is smooth and polished to a glassy sheen. I wanted to create a real natural feel for this necklace so I used lots of jasper chips and wood beads.

The first 2 items are available at my ArtFire shop, the last 2 at my Etsy, in case you or your home are in need of a little autumn adornment!

Friday, September 25, 2009

PCSG Challenge- Sept '09

The entries are up for this month's Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild challenge!

This month's challenge theme was STEAMPUNK. The term steampunk denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era— but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells & Jules Verne. (Wikipedia)

Click on the banner below to come see all the unique pieces created just for this challenge and vote for your favorite:


This poll will end at 12 Midnight Central Time Sunday, September 27th, so VOTE NOW!!!

Feline Friday: Meet the Girls

As of last week, we have two new members in our family-- meet our new kittens, Sassafras & TwoDot:


These kittens are imported from Iowa! We met them at my dad's in June 2009, when we were back for my Gram's funeral. They were too young to come home with us at that time, so when my dad and stepmom came for a visit last week, they brought the kittens out with them.

This is TwoDot, sometimes called Dot or Dotty. She has the most interesting markings! She has stripes like a tabby, in both brown and orange. And she has two orange "dots," a big one and a little one, on her back, which is how she got her name.


This is Sassafras, usually called Sassy-- which she is. She has calico markings similar to our beloved Claire, who died last year, but instead of a little pink nose like Claire had, Sassy has a black velvety looking nose. I've never had a kitty with black nose before, I think its too cute!

They are sisters and absolutely inseparable. And so much energy! Its been a long time since we've witnessed kitten antics-- they sure are entertaining. And destructive. I hope the house survives!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumn Equinox

AUTUMN leaves, autumn leaves
Lie strewn around me here,
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves,
How sad, how cold, how drear!
How like the hopes of childhood's day,
Thick clust'ring on the bough!
How like those hopes in their decay—
How faded are they now!

Withered leaves, withered leaves,
That fly before the gale;
Withered leaves, withered leaves,
Ye tell a mournful tale
Of love once true, and friends once kind,
And happy moments fled:
Dispersed by every breath of wind,
Forgotten, changed, or dead.

~ Charles Dickens

Happy & blessed Autumn Equinox! Fall came upon us overnight-- we went from warm and sunny days all last week to cold and rain all this week. For weeks now, I've noticed the days becoming shorter; now that the equinox is here and soon gone, the short days will quickly become even more pronounced.


Up in the mountains the aspen trees above 8,000 ft. are turning golden yellow. I took this photo last Friday from Rainbow Curve (elevation 10,875 ft.) in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a hazy day, which softened the fall colors. The beautiful rust-colored trees you see are unfortunately NOT a product of autumn weather-- they are diseased and dying pine trees affected by pine beetle infestation. It was very sad to see all the dead pines everywhere.

Autumn Equinox always triggers a thoughtful mood for me. I have sometimes heard of this time of year called the in-gathering and that seems very apt. I start to turn inward, gather my thoughts, prepare myself for the winter days ahead.

How does the Autumn Equinox affect you this year?