Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birthday Celebrations

I've been celebrating my birthday this week! Its been lovely.

My husband, Firehand, had to work over the weekend, which meant he got a day off during the week, so he took Tuesday off to spend my birthday with me. We planned on going to the Botanical Gardens for a long afternoon, strolling through the flowers, but alas and alack, it was cold and rainy that day. So on to Plan B-- a trip to the Science & Nature Museum.

First, we saw artist Vasily Konovalenko's beautiful gem sculptures.
Russian born Vasily Konovalenko was 22 when he first sensed the hidden life in stones... His challenge was not just to develop the necessary lapidary skills, but to balance artistic creativity with the beauty-- and limitations-- of carving gemstones. Each gem has inherent hardness and breakage characteristics, requiring great skill and sensitivity to reveal its unique beauty. Using rich imagery of Russian folklife as themes for his whimsical sculptures, Konovalenko was able to combine many different minerals, from varities of quartz-- agate, jasper, carnelian, amethyst, chrysoprase, and chalcedony-- to the more exotic lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite, sodalite and jade.
The carving and detail of these sculptures was incredibly intricate. They were absolutely fascinating and lovely. Here's a sample of what they looked like. Believe it or not, I didn't take my camera with me to the museum-- I wanted to just enjoy the whole experience of the museum displays that day and not see it only through the lens of my camera, which is what would have happened if I'd had it with me.

Next, we visited the Egyptian Mummy display. There were 2 different mummies on display-- a rich woman and a poor woman. Through x-rays and CT scans the differences in their mummification was shown, which indicated the different status in the women. We also saw displays of amulets and household items buried with mummies to assist them in their afterlife. There was an example of a papyrus scroll with detailed hieroglyphics and artwork, a model of an Egyptian temple and a brand new sarcophogus created and decorated in the traditional manner. Most interesting was a facial reconstruction of the rich woman/mummy's face.

But best of all was the Gem & Mineral display. The very first display was like peeking into a cave full of crystal covered stalactites. Gorgeous! There were hundreds of examples of minerals in all their different forms and colors, both in their natural state as well as cut, faceted and polished. I could have stayed in that exhibit for ages. I love minerals and semi-precious stones with all their brilliant colors and textures.

We also saw one of the IMAX films at the museum. This one was called Grand Canyon Adventure and was about the Colorado River, which is in a terrible jeopardy. It is rapidly disappearing as a water source. How rapidly? Well, Lake Powell, which is located along the Colorado River between Arizona and Utah has lost 40% of its volume just in the past 8 years. And, because of the dams and excessive use of the water for irrigation, the river dries out at its delta and is no longer able to reach the sea. Scary stuff. But what irritated me was that after spending the entire 45 minutes of this film emphasizing the horrible condition of this once-mighty river, only a few ways to conserve water were suggested-- during the film's credits, as if they were put in as an afterthought!

After the museum we had a nice dinner together, and then it was time for my giftie!

A Creative Rotary Tool and accessories! I've been wanting one of these for my poly clay work. I can use it to sand tricky curved parts on the wood boxes and frames I decorate, I can use it for drilling holes in beads and pendants and best of all, I can use it to buff and shine my beads and pendants! Much faster and easier, plus I'm sure this will do a much better job than I could, doing it by hand. The tool also came with engraving bits and I have some ideas for experimenting with those as well.

On Wednesday I got together with two friends from my tarot group, Darling and Vosvara, to celebrate birthdays. Mine is on the 2nd and Vosvara's is on the 5th, so we celebrated together. We went out to lunch and they gave me the most beautiful pair of hand painted candles from South Africa as my b-day gift. They are lovely and I'm thinking that they will look perfect on an altar in my craft room. My gift to Vosvara is going a be a set of herbal runes; I took some samples of runes I've made in the past, plus a color sample I mixed for her to see if I had the correct shade of purple like she wanted, and we worked out the details. Now to make them for her!

After lunch, we went to a couple of different metaphysical shops to explore. That's when I finally found the Pearls of Wisdom tarot deck that I've been looking for. I was so excited, I've been wanting this deck ever since it came out a couple of years ago.

After the metaphysical shops, Darling treated us to ice cream and we sat at the shop and did three-card tarot readings with each other and looked at my new deck. We also talked about plans for coloring our own personal tarot deck, a project we're going to meet for and work on once or twice a month until they're complete. I'm very excited about this project, I think it will be lots of fun.

These two days were a really great way to spend a birthday and I'm very thankful for a loving husband and friends who celebrated with me. It's going to be a great year!


Glasstastic Treasures said...

OMG, that dremel tool is the most awesomest gift ever!!

coltpixy said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful day filled with laughter and love. Those are the best kind!

Cynthia said...

I think the Wanderer is my Favorite. :) Thank you for sharing you day.

Facial reconstruction reminds me of that movie in Russia with William Hurt, "Gorki Park."

I've never seen those tarot cards, but I like the colors. You are so lucky to have a little group to share readings with and make cards. I've sworn to make my own deck someday and keep wondering when I will start! :)

And, O heavens, the rotary tool is awesome. Wow, very cool! :)

Your birthday sounds perfect. Great times, awesome places, with your favorite people.

intothedawn said...

GLASSTASTIC~ I am so excited to see how many different ways I can use it!

COLTPIXY~ It was a great one this year!

CYNTHIA~ I'd love to make my own tarot deck someday too, but for now I'm happy coloring one! Dang, I remember when that movie came out, but I don't know that I ever saw it... now I'm curious...

AutumnZ said...

The happiest and brightest birthday blessings to you. :-)

mrsb said...

Sounds like an awesome birthday!!

intothedawn said...

AUTUMN Z~ Thanks so much!

MRS. B~ It was, TOTALLY! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday. What lovely gifts too!

intothedawn said...

MAGICAL MUSE~ Thanks so much!