Friday, April 24, 2009

Feline Friday: Tufty Toes

Moose has the most interesting and funny looking little paws. He's got little tufty toes!

We're not sure of his breed, but he has the majority of characteristics of both Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat, very similar breeds. And one of those characteristics is thick tufts of fur between the toe pads.

My husband thinks its so cute, he always tries to play with Moose's feet, an act which is received with much disdain...

... and if he persists, bloodletting.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Little Dread

So I started FT hours at work again this past week. And I'm just nerdy enough to really love my job, but all the same I've been feeling a little bit of dread. Because I know in the past that the longer I work FT hours, the more exhausted I become because of FMS/CFS.

And as I become more and more exhausted I begin to shut down. It doesn't take long for me to get to the point where I'm so tired when I get home that I barely have the energy to make and eat dinner before going to bed. I go to bed earlier and earlier each night so that I can get enough sleep to make it through the next day. I only worked 2 days last week and slept 14 hours last night and still woke up tired today. People who know nothing about Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome will tell me, oh, it'll get better as you get used to it. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

Its my creativity that really suffers. That's what I dread; becoming so fatigued that I'm unable to do anything creative. Being creative is my joy and I don't want to become so exhausted that I'm unable to do what I enjoy. Even if its accomplishing just one thing, I want to spend at least a little bit of time being creative every day.

With that in mind, on Thursday night I strung a necklace and a pair of earrings. Friday I sanded some pendants. Today I made two necklaces and a pair of earrings. I need to put finishing touches on my Hero & Shadow panels and get them photographed tomorrow. I have ideas for more pendants I want to try, plus more ideas for mosaic pieces. I may not be able to accomplish much on weeknights, but I hope to really shine creatively on the weekends.

So that's my goal, a little something creative every day, and hopefully I'll find that manageable as well as fulfilling while I'm back working FT.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My First Mica Shifts

Mica shift has long been on my list of polymer clay techniques to experiment with. And when ColtPixy started sharing pictures of her gorgeous mica shift results, I just had to stop everything and try it.

The above are my very first attempts, using a very simple ripple blade technique (scroll about halfway down that page to find it). I really liked how they turned out. The appearance of depth and dimension is due to the "shift" in the mica particles in the clay, but actually these pieces are flat and smooth. These trios will become matching pendant necklace & earring sets.

This one was made using a rubber stamp and then shaving the clay away with a blade until the piece was flat and smooth again. Its going to be a pendant eventually.

More mica shift designs achieved using rubber stamps. Its quite addictive, once you get the hang of it.

After baking, all these pieces were sanded with 5 different grits of wet/dry sandpaper from 400 to 1500 grit. Then I buffed them with a piece of denim. I will probably varnish them as well, to bring out more shine and protect their surfaces. But first, to finish their settings so I can make them into jewelry.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day After Easter: An Anniversary

Easter marks an important point in my life. It is the last time I ever went to church. That was 10 years ago.

I was looking, one last time, desperately, for a joyous and loving god and a celebration of spirit. I thought Easter would be the perfect time to find that. Instead, I sat through sermons and hymn after hymn of doleful criticism regarding my sinful status as a human being.

I tried, I really tried, to find the joy and love in that church service, but I couldn't. I could barely sit though the entire thing, my heart sinking at every mention of how I was sinful and unworthy. After the service, I sat in my car in the parking lot and cried and cried.

This year, Easter marks another anniversary for me: I have been a practicing pagan now for 10 years. The day after that last Easter service was a huge turning point in my life; I left Christianity behind and began to explore paganism. And there I found the spiritual path I was looking for. In finding a spiritual path that I connect with, I've also found the best parts of myself. It's been a long road and I've learned so much about myself and the Divine. And I continue to learn and grow.

Sometimes I think about that young woman sitting in her car, crying her heart out, and I feel all her pain, loss and bewilderment again. I feel so bad for her. Yet I know that had she not had that devastating experience, she would never have had the courage to question her spiritual path and explore other choices. So in another sense, I am grateful for that very sad day. I am thankful for all the wisdom, joy, empowerment and beauty that it lead to in the following years.

It is hard to believe its been a decade already...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Feline Friday: Fud!

Because of Moose's insatiable appetite, we have to keep all the extra kibble in a bin-- he's been known to chew through the bag to get at more food. Every 6-8 weeks we buy a new bag of kibble and refill the bin. Moose was on hand for the event last time:

What's this? FUD! Lots and lots of FUD!

This is the biggest fud bowl I've ever seen! *nom nom nom*

Monday, April 6, 2009

Shadow Panel WIP

Here are the pieces and parts of my Shadow panel for the artist collaboration project sponsored by Mother Henna.

Not so colorful this time as I was going for a darker "atmosphere", but I'm still trying to include lots of different textures to make it more interesting. Can you spot the tarot influences for this panel? There are two cards that inspired me, one from the Major Arcana and one from the Minor Arcana.

If you missed seeing the work in progress on the Hero portion of my contribution to the Hero/Shadow project, you can find it HERE. I hope to finish both of my panels by the middle of this month, before I return to work full time. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Love is Love in Iowa

Today, I am very proud of the state where I was born and raised. Go Hawkeye state!

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa's Supreme Court legalized gay marriage Friday in a unanimous and emphatic decision that makes Iowa the third state — and first in the nation's heartland — to allow same-sex couples to wed.

Iowa joins only Massachusetts and Connecticut in permitting same-sex marriage. For six months last year, California's high court allowed gay marriage before voters banned it in November.

The Iowa justices upheld a lower-court ruling that rejected a state law restricting marriage to a union between a man and woman.

The county attorney who defended the law said he would not seek a rehearing. The only recourse for opponents appeared to be a constitutional amendment, which could take years to ratify.

"We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective," the Supreme Court wrote.

Iowa lawmakers have "excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification."

To issue any other decision, the justices said, "would be an abdication of our constitutional duty."

The Iowa attorney general's office said gay and lesbian couples can seek marriage licenses starting April 24, once the ruling is considered final.

Now if my current home state would just see the light... along with about 46 others...