Saturday, December 29, 2012

another snowy day

Birds gathering at the feeder while
it snows.
It is snowing on the mountain again. This affords me the luxury of being stuck home and doing pretty much what I feel like doing because there's little point in leaving the house to do what needs doing. Yes, that required a run-on sentence. Snow-bound means I can spend megabytes watching Wild Soul Arts videos, the Bootcamp in particular, and spending a little time creating my own page for today (and beyond, if feeling further inclined ~ but the Big Ass Red Chair calls and snoozing to a movie would be a welcome thing too). So far it's been a joy to listen to Effy and play with art supplies at the same time.

The birds are indeed enjoying the new bird feeder. The squirrels have moseyed on over to the neighbor's house where the pickin's are easy. All of which means: I get to see more birds! The feeder was worth every penny (huge savings in seed already) and the best xmas gift ever! (My standards are skewed, but not without merit. Diamonds do little to deter squirrels ~ hence, they are not a girl's best friend.) Therefore, it's been another source of joy sitting back from the window a bit with binoculars and the camera to catch sight of some favorite feathered friends.

Oh yes! And the Stupid Bloody Johnson hat is getting easier to understand and work. The cables are tight, but that's my gauge and the needle size I'm working with that's creating those results. Still looks good though. Something to do while watching a movie and before I doze off.

Let snow flakes fall as they may. We're safe and snug at home.



A cardinal enjoying the perch.
And his mate flew in soon after.
Yay! A red-headed woodpecker!
The cabled band is making its sojourn on the
ribbed edging.
Instead of tape, I like to attach my ephemera using a strip
of old linen Mod Podged into place. I feel it might last
longer than tape holding stuff on a page.
Voila! A finished page awaiting
rumination @ 11:00.
(Wing image found here.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

tough patterns & poetry

The Bloody Stupid Johnson hat in a Sir Terry Pratchett
sort of mocking, snarky progression.
Bloody Stupid Johnson is at a weird impasse. After short rows, there is a band of cable stitches that are knitted apart from the hat and grafted back in later. However, one must knit, according the charts, this band into place as it's being constructed . . . And I am exercising a lot of little resistance to this. This is not the sort of pattern that allows one to vegetate whilst watching TV. Until the cable pattern is established, rapt attention is paramount or suffer the fiber consequences. Naturally, at this juncture of the year, my mind is utter mush and hardly interested in finagling the inner workings of a cable pattern. It wants carbs and perpetual sloth until ~ I don't know ~ spring? However, I will apply myself. Later. After a nap.
David Whyte's poem in Mod Podge.

In the meantime, on Easy Street, I've keyed in and printed out David Whyte's poem Everything Is Waiting For You. Hecatedemeter turned me on to his poetry, as well as Mary Oliver's. Two poets I'd never heard of until reading her blog. The poems of these artists (and Maya Angelou's too, come to think of it) get my attention on a visceral level. They speak to me. There are times I can't get enough, yet I don't actively seek out poems on line or in books. Seems more the treat to bump into a good set of words, well crafted and cadent, rather than hunting them down. So. This one made it to my journal for ruminations because, as I've been told, everything is waiting for me. Best not keep it all waiting.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

on sacred space

The holiday bustle is nearly done. Shopping and wrapping, the figuring of menus and the organizing of visitations are all underway without a hitch. (And let's not jinx it.) After some house cleaning, I spent time in the studio playing with some new paints and stencils bought at Home Depot (of all places) on a journal page. Six bucks for 12 sparkly acrylics ain't too shabby!

While gesso, paint and matte medium were drying, I opted for a walk in the woods instead of a nap. (I do adore naps ~ they are adorable and necessary.) I meandered down the old road remembering one of my friends had built a pyramid in the woods. A couple of months ago, she'd excitedly showed me her sacred space near the run-off creek below the dam. Lovely. Alders bent over just so indicating a "roofed" protected space. She'd started leaving offerings there. We performed a rite (been a dog's age, I can tell you). On our way back up the old road, I remember cautioning my friend about building an obvious sacred space, such as a pyramid, in the woods where I know there are raucous teens and the occasional hunter, not to mention hikers ~ all of whom might not respect her space. That her offerings might be pillaged. She understood that possibility, but was undaunted.

And this is where I guess I've gotten to be a bit of a snob. At one time, I was all about making Sacred Space in wild places. Medicine Wheels, calling quarters, making circles ~ I was no stranger to these. They were lovely, great, even handy at the time. However, since then I've come to feel Sacred Space is everywhere, nowhere and where I'm at at the moment ~ all of which sounds a little stupid. It's Lazy Spirituality, I guess, but for me it makes perfect sense. I leave my sacred offerings in the forms of appreciation and presence. Not that I'm stingy with crystals or corn meal. I simply want my connection with God Herself on a deeper, unseen level. No one need know the intimacy of my visit by leaving tangible evidence. It leaves Nature wild and undisturbed. The very most I might engage in is cairn building or creating a small Medicine Wheel from items found in each direction at that moment. The rocks may fall, the wind may sweep away my Wheel and all is as it should be.

So I visited my friend's pyramid on this trek. Though I'd wanted to help her build it, the hustle and bustle of my schedule wouldn't allow it. However, built it was near the run-off creek a little outside her Sacred Circle. I saw more offerings had been left in the alders. Copper wire wrapped two of the four legs to the wooden structure. At the apex a double-terminated quartz wrapped also in copper was hung. I stood under it a moment. I felt, well . . . structured, organized and that was fine. Turning within the pyramid's space though, I caught sight of a huge tree and I knew that was my Sacred Space for today. Leaving the pyramid, I rested my back against this large being, feeling at home in body, mind and spirit. Before I left, I added some rocks creating a cairn in the pyramid (I hope she doesn't mind) ~ either they'll be standing when she visits again or they won't.

Now I am ready for that nap. My new page is glued in and awaiting ruminations . . . perhaps on Sacred Space.
 A spread in the making.

Ripped words painted over and stenciled with the
Bella acrylics.

The Bella Acrylics, by golly!

The finished page glued in.

The flip side.

Some other things to be glued in . . . Later.
After my nap.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Solstice

Flame lit in service of Spirit.

The complete Advent Garden mandala.

A spontaneously created pomander symbolizes the Garden's sun.

Cloves and a Clementine.

A Blessed Solstice to All!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

pajamas in the woods

When I've been house bound too long, the call of the wild can set in on me like a fever. I have an idea Nature is the best healing salve a body's got and I'd been neglecting that salvation. The beauty of having dogs and living in a suburban/urban place is they need to be walked. Which means you need to get outside. There have been plenty of days lately where I've simply let one dog out at a time. (I live at the end of the community where woods are easily to the north and west of us ~ so, on occasion, I do the lazy dog ownership thing and just let them out. One at a time though. If they both go out then they're gone for half an hour on An Explore.) Rather than standing at the top of my stoop shouting "Go pee!" I thought it better to BE outside. Dirk's out door cue is the chickens. They need to be let out of the coop, no matter the weather, fed and watered and, if we're lucky here in the middle of winter, collect eggs. So when Dirk mentioned he was on his way out, I decided to join him, leashing Bodhi (Crystal runs loose) and slipping on my Mucks pajama-clad.

Going outdoors does not require much more than simple garb. No need to get gussied up. Pajamas fit the bill as long as one possesses a pair of Mucks or some such footwear and a warm coat. Luckily, this morning was balmy for mid-winter thus negating the need for, oh let's say, snow pants.

Another misty mountain hop.
Mists in the woods makes for some ethereal walking. Stark bare trees against the fog invites one to look at Nature closely. Yes, I know the mountain is beyond the pale grayness, but what mattered at that moment, at that moment, was the immediate environment. The ground covered in leaves made glossy by rain ~ mostly brown, but still like lesser-brilliant jewels and metals. Amber, citrine, bronze. No opals or emeralds or gold, nothing splashy or garish  Soft and abiding colors 'neath my Mucks. Although, I did note the green moss peeking through here and there, its colors did not clash or scream against the surrounding comforting hues. The air's scent a heady moisture, as I breathed in cool, refreshing air without winter's usual bite. The tree branches anointed my brow with drops of water inviting me, for a time, to be One of Their Own ~ stark, still, bare, rooted. It is in these sorts of moments I am renewed . . . even while still in pajamas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

gratitude for routine

This morning I am allowed to have routine. I am able to awaken to the sounds of my cell phone alarm and sit for at least ten minutes in meditation after brushing my teeth. Dirk breathes easily in continued slumber. Hearing Ian in the shower, I know he's up and getting ready for the routine in his day. I am solid in the knowing that Bennie is still asleep in her bed, but needs to get up. And so I enter her room, lights on, lunch money tallied to awaken her our favorite way via ferret under the covers. A paper bag with a ferret inside allows us a few moments of giggles before I leave her room to go down stairs. I am grateful Tom is still sleeping in his bed and shouldn't need to go anywhere today as he is done with college for the semester. How lucky am I to talk him out of driving north for a friend because of the weather? Such a blessing to come to my messy kitchen ~ Ian baked cookies last night ~ and put on my soaked oats on the stove for this morning's breakfast. I am allowed to turn on all my xmas cheer, tree lights, hall lights, lights on the stairs . . . I can bask in this manic, ethereal glow.

We, in this country and perhaps in further reaches, are acutely, painfully aware of those who can not have such blessed routine this Monday morning. It has been stolen from them, torn from their grasp in an event that changed their lives. They can not know these simple joys. Irrevocable. Speechless. How long will it be before the families in Newtown can be blessed with routine? And there is nothing you or I can do for them. We can only hold them in thoughts and prayers until that time. A prayer that they too can know routine, safe and abiding, again.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

advent garden & rumi

The fourth light of advent is the light of you and I,
The light of love and friendship, to give and understand.
Well, last night we went to see Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. My Inner Tolkien Geek has now been reactivated. Suddenly, I have a desperate desire to speak in the Elvish tongue.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Bennie and lit the fourth Light of our Advent Garden, the Light of Humans. The mandala now includes our human-made things along with stones, plants and beasts. This Friday, at Solstice, barring any natural Armageddon-like phenomena, the Fifth Light will be fired up in service of Spirit and the Returning Sun.

And I created a Hobbit-related page with a Rumi quote from Effy's Rumi Project.
A Rumi quote perfect for after seeing The Hobbit.
Rumi-nations @ 11:00.

Photo taken before smearing the ink with matte medium.
It's all still good though.

Friday, December 14, 2012

someone here asked so . . .

Two skeins of Jacob sudsing.
Here's how I set yarn. First I soak the skein in slightly soapy water which amazingly enough after scouring and other processing (this Jacob came to me as roving) still has a fair amount of dirt in it. After the skein is squeezed out (not wrung), it sits in another bath of the same temperature to rinse out the suds. Once the skein is squeezed out again, it goes into an empty washer and set on Spin to further wring out water. Then it's off to a few days of hanging. There's plenty of fiber folks that would add weight to the skein to really work out the kinks, but I don't bother with that. The occasional twist is a welcome distraction during knitting and reminds me I'm working with something hand crafted, not factory-processed yarn.

Setting yarn gives it a nice hand after spinning and plying as well as setting the twist or keeping the wool spun. I find the yarn loftier and, in some cases, slightly fulled or fluffed adding a certain cozy factor to the knit project. It seems an arduous step in wool processing, but well worth the results. I manage to find a rhythm in the sudsing, soaking and wringing of skeins adding other activities in between. Sort of keeps me awake a little longer at night getting things done. Then it's off to bed with sugar plum faeries and dreams of knit projects yet to come.
Icky water from the first bath.

Left to hang and dry for a few days.

Between skein setting I did a journal page . . .

started an I-cord and gathered materials for the
Bloody Stupid Johnson hat . . .

and these white leather gloves are just screaming
for some Sharpie action!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

piling it on

Micron pen and Prismacolor of the left hand.
(Blogger continues to mock my choice of orientation.)
There's been lulls enough to play in the studio lately. Moodling with the journal, knitting, spinning and now I have some catch-up to play. Mainly plying and setting the spun wool and, by golly, I need to find a knit project or two. Otherwise, a certain kind of insanity sets in whereupon I simply glaze over staring at the TV watching far too much Netflix than is good for a body.

In the meantime, I'm also grappling with computer maintenance. Blessedly, I've a great tech who is willing to dive deep into ancient hard drives to retrieve things like all the jpg's that comprise my portfolio. So. We'll see if the external hard drive will spit up my stuff before dying one last time . . . no guarantees, of course.
Micron pen, Prismacolor w/ acrylic background.

My first embellishment in this journal using a tag.
Ruminations @ 11:00.

Same tag, a little closer.

My latest slouch hat using Jamie Harmon's yarn.
(It's the Knit Night Hat by Judy Marples @ Ravelry)
Came up with the nifty idea of including a jeweled pin on
a knitted hat. Not usually a pin person, but sticking one
on a hat seems to work well.

And this is my pile of spun yarn needing to be set.
Then we knit!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

the third light of Advent

The third light of Advent is the light of beasts
Light of hope that shines in the greatest and the least.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

it's beginning to look a lot like . . . y'know

Bodhi clearly hypercritical of the first stand used for
the tree.
The tree has been trimmed. Then it fell. Then it was re-trimmed after its unexpected fall. We got Bowling's Last Stand, the last Christmas tree stand one would ever have to buy. Because we're stupid and buy large trees that have no earthly business spending the holidays in a living room. Thus it is indeed looking festive and bright if nothing else than for our own amusement in a Queen Victoria sort of fashion.

This week also marks the frantic production of xmas cards. After Dirk's rant about the cost of art supplies (what? we needed more stickers), Bennie and I got to work. All the while, stew was simmering on the stove. After lights out and lock-up, we'll find some holiday TV shows and snarf down hot chocolate snuggled into our cocoons. In this case, a cocoon is a sleeping bag for each TV viewing Couch and Big Ass Red Chair Potato for the ultimate in snuggery. There are times one does not emerge for hours while episodes of Parks and Recreation spin through our Netflix account. Sadly, no one ever emerges as a butterfly . . . more like a butt monkey.
The tree and someone's pants down . . .

The new stand with Obiwan feeling safe
enough to sleep 'neath the tannenbaum.

Working the cards.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

girl on fire

A spread . . .
Sometimes it's good to admit you're having a good day. So I'm 'fessin' up: I'm having a good day. I've signed on with a journal making community at Wild Soul Arts an am rather excited about it. The altered book has its ups and downs in creation, but it comes together ~ good, bad and ugly. Mycorrhizal fungi is sprouting in endless white filaments on the canvas getting this Summerquest/8 Gates piece done. (It's the 6th Gate vision, if I recall rightly.)

Need to move on with my good day though . . .
Red left hand drawing . . .

Fossils . . .

New page waiting for Ruminations @ 11:00 . . .

More fungi . . .

Blogger messing w/ me again.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

the second light of Advent

The alter sporting plant life.
Today is Sunday. It's the second day of our Advent Garden's lighting, the flame for plants as outlined in this little gem I gleaned a couple of years ago. This, I hope, answers the following from one of my few precious readers:

How do you do the Advent thing? Do you light a new candle for each day?

So, again, this being the second Sunday after Thanksgiving and the Light of Plants, the next candle to the South on our mandala has been lit. We also added some plant life ~ four mini-pumpkins from Samhain, a small cedar (named Bilbo Baggins) and Babu the Bamboo. The next Sunday will be the Light of Beasties. That's when the Advent Garden gets fun!

In the meantime, I've become dangerously enamored of Instagram. What a wonderful way to share one's artful view of the mundane.
Bilbo and Babu to the left.