Thursday, December 29, 2011

Listing New Items

Gearing up for the New Year by listing lots of new items in my Into the Dawn Designs Etsy shop! Some new items include:

PLUS, more herbal pendulums, herbal rune sets, rune necklaces, scarab beetle jewelry, decorative brooches perfect for cloaks... etc.,. etc., etc.! I'll be adding items daily, so be sure to check my shop often; you never know what you might find waiting there for you!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Memories

Wishing all who celebrate a very Merry Christmas!

One year when my brother and I were little, Mom made us Christmas stockings out of felt. Mom insists that she isn't artistic, but I've always thought these sweet little stockings were fantastically creative. And obviously well-made, as I still have mine all these years later!

As kids, my L'il Bro was always up before first light on Christmas morning. Which meant I was also up, because he would creep into my room, pounce on my bed and proceed to annoy me until I went downstairs with him to see that Santa had indeed arrived. We weren't allowed to open any gifts until Mom and Dad were up, but we *were* allowed to take down our stockings to see what was in them. It was always fun to see what kinds of little treasures fit into our stockings. Always a candy cane, and always an apple or orange in the very bottom. That tradition is one of my fondest Christmas memories.

Our Christmas was a quiet affair this year, just the two of us, since we were unable to travel back to Iowa & Wisconsin to be with family. But family was close in our hearts and it was nice to spend some time reminiscing my childhood...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice Blessings

Welcome the return of the Sun! May the blessings of Winter Solstice be upon you! It does my heart good to know that the days begin to lengthen from here on out.

I don't have a particular ritual that I do for the Winter Solstice, but I do like the tradition of lighting the Yule Log to drive away the darkness of the longest night. Unfortunately we have no fireplace, but as you can see above, I make do.

Last night it began snowing around 6pm and it was good to be warm and at home. I was very tempted to stay up the rest of the night and greet the sunrise... but I guess I'm getting a bit too old for that, as my energy puttered out around 2 am.

Perhaps some solstice baking (I haven't yet made my cranberry orange walnut bread this season) will suffice as an alternative way of celebrating this year? Have a Blessed Yule, however you celebrate it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Week of Healing

It's been quiet on the blog recently as I've been recovering from surgery since the Friday before last. I am happy to report that all seems to be healing well. I will see the surgeon again on Monday and see if he agrees (fingers crossed).

Although the problem presented itself earlier this year, surgery happened very quickly-- consulted with the surgeon on Tuesday, his office called Wednesday afternoon to schedule pre-op tests and surgery, and had the surgery itself on Friday of the same week! And went home that same day.

I had complete trust in my surgeon and the anesthesiologist; they were very good about answering all my millions of questions and explaining what would happen before, during and after surgery. Did you know that they now use a device monitor your brain waves during surgery so that they can tell if you're deep enough "asleep" and whether or not you're feeling pain and adjust medication accordingly? Isn't it amazing what medicine and technology can do these days? My post-op nurse was a gem as well, she took very good care of me until I was ready to go home. Nurses don't get paid enough for all they do, I'm here to tell you.

The Mister and the cats have been taking good care of me, I've been moving gently and resting often... planning for a simple holiday here at home (mmm... honey baked ham and new jammies) since I won't be comfortable enough yet to travel to see family by next week... Life is good!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Round Robin Pages

Earlier this year a group of us online started a pagan art journal round robin. Sadly, the mailing of the circle journals has not gone smoothly and at least 3 of the journals have ended up missing. The rest are on their way back to their original owners without having completed the entire circuit of the group.

I sent Danni's (of The Whimsical Cottage) back to her and she received it today, so I thought I'd share the pages I did for her journal. This first page is inspired by Lughnasadh.

I used alcohol inks for the background on this one and stamped images colored with colored pencils.

The text in the background is from the poem "John Barleycorn."

I included a yummy recipe for honey cornbread muffins, something I make at Lughnasadh.

This second page was inspired by Danni's love of Pan and other forest deities, elves and fairies.

I'm afraid I was a bit overzealous with my use of techniques for this page! Tissue paper and gesso for background texture, age distressed papers with distress ink and water, heat embossing on vellum and alcohol ink faux bleach technique used. And I used a white paint pen for the first time ever, which was fun.

As more journals make it back home to their owners, I will share more of the pages I did for the round robin circle, but for now I'm waiting so they will still be a surprise for the recipients.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Greeman Process

I noticed from reading old blog posts that I often show the beginnings of my creative projects but forget to show them once I have them completed. Oops! So here is a recent custom order I did for a Greenman wall plaque and a few photos showing just part of the process of creating him.

You may remember my post on creating a simple leaf cane. I don't do much canework, but I have made a few simple canes before. The photo below shows the cane all put together before being compressed and reduced.

I used slices of the leaf cane and mixed light and dark olive greens for creating the leaves for the Greenman's face. All the veining in the leaves was done using a needle tool. Here is the completed face on the unfinished plaque.

The leaves on the Greenman were given a wash of either burnt umber or gold acrylic to bring out the details of the veining. Then he was varnished and heat cured once more. The plaque was sanded, stained and waxed. I did a little detail line of gold paint around the edge of the plaque and added felt to the back side, along with a saw tooth hanger.

So here is the Greenman completed! I am always amazed at how an acrylic wash/patina and a varnish can help bring out the colors and details of a piece. If you do polymer clay sculpting and have never tried it, I highly recommend experimenting-- it brings new life to each piece you create.