Thursday, October 28, 2010

Biffybeans 4 Most Popular Images on Flickr

My Watercolor Palette

5925 views, 87 favorites. Click through this image and see my notes.

My watercolor palette.

4828 views, 62 favorites.
Click through this image and see my notes.

Pelikan M200 Fountain Pen on Moleskine - My first real Bird!

10,584 views, 39 favorites. My Pelikan M200 Fountain Pen
(You can buy high quality prints of this image at Imagekind.)

010607 Prismacolor Meditation Mandala

3494 views, 37 favorites. My first mandala.(Over 1500 ago!)

According to Flickr, these are the most "Popular" images in my photostream. While they are not specifically the images with the highest view count in my stream, (that would probably be the pictures of me and my husband with Metallica from back in the early 90's) these are the ones that rank according to whatever algorithm they use to determine what's popular.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sticks and Stones

10 days 101

On my recent trip back to Lake Erie, I walked the beach while fighting strong winds so I could collect some pretty stones and beautiful pieces of driftwood to bring back home. Once I arrived back at my friend Jen's house who lives about 10 miles from the lake, I dumped out my findings in her driveway and together we created this "Sticks and Stones" mandala. The idea of using found objects to create mandalas is something I plan on incorporating into future workshops. (Click here to learn about my workshop; "Mandala: An Artful Meditation.")

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A small curled strip of birch maybe? Small pieces of a darker soft wood with lovely markings.

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Sticks and stones....  When you bunch together the smooth sticks, they sound like those bamboo wind chimes or maybe, some old bones.

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The rocks (and one tiny pine cone) that I find at the lake are simply amazing. To see the way these rocks reveal circular patterns of wear from sitting in the water... They are such a treasure! These are simply the best souvenirs that I can possibly have from such a wonderful trip. I've already given a few away and am starting to come up with some great ideas on what to make with the sticks.

What would you make with them?

Sticks and Stones and Other Student Essays  Sticks & Stones

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Sleeping Bee

Sleeping Bee

Isn't this the sweetest thing you've ever seen? When my friend Jen went to cut the flowers for our herb bundles, it was getting dark and she didn't notice that she had brought this little girl along.

After quickly snapping a picture, I gently took the flower outside and delicately transferred her to another flower where she quickly scurried and went right back to sleep.

The Secret Life of Bees Bee Are You a Bee? (Backyard Books)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lake Erie: Parts 1 and 2

Lake Erie from Sherod Park, Ohio

This past April I pulled on my big girl boots and took the longest solo drive of my life. 8 hours to central Ohio to take a personal growth workshop entitled "The Rhythm of Life Design." The drive was significant in that I've metaphorically been hiding in my shell for a very long time. Because I really wanted to go to that workshop, I had no choice but to just get in the car and go.

I initially rented a guest house for two nights but then decided to extend my stay at the encouragement of a good friend. "Live your life!" he said. And so I did. I stayed in a beautiful old house on 100 acres of land with a pond and a beautiful breakfast nook where I spent a fair amount of time writing in my journal. I also was perusing a small traveler's guide to the area and found that I was relatively close to Lake Erie. Normally, I don't go in for lakes. I prefer active or flowing water and I just wasn't feeling it to drive to the lake. "Do you hear yourself?" said the voice inside my head. "You are playing it safe. You didn't come all this far to not go a wee bit further and see one of the Great Lakes. Get in the damn car & go." Okie dokie....  I got into the car and drove 12 easy miles. (All my driving in Ohio was easy.) As I was wondering when I would see it, and how big it really was, all of a sudden.... Gasp! Is that it??? Oh My Goodness!!!! I had absolutely no idea how big it would be as it covers almost 10,000 square miles. Waves crashed to shore and I could see big ships on the horizon. This was not the tiny local fishing lake I knew as a kid.

I was instantly awake.

I spent quite a while walking that beach, picking up small rocks to bring home and happily tracking sand into my car. Sand, In Ohio! Can you believe it? (I obviously don't get out much.) Though I drove a billion miles to get to Ohio, it only took a wee bit more to have my breath taken away from me and to experience something so wonderful. I had to admit that I had no clue when I'd ever see it again.....

10 days 057

This past Labor Day I spent the weekend at an amazing event called the Great Rhythm Revival held in Sherman, New York. After the event ended on Sunday, I was invited to stay at a new friend's house who lives near Findley Lake. After spending a few days there I looked at a map and once again saw that I was only about 12 miles from Lake Erie. And believe it or not, I almost didn't go back. But then the voice spoke once again. "Get in the damned car & pay your respects from a different state!"

Though I was staying in New York, I drove up through the chimney part of Pennsylvania to Freeport Beach in North East, PA. Once again I'm wondering when it will come into view. I swing into the beach parking lot, see the lake and begin sobbing like a baby. This 2nd (solo) trip to visit this massive body of water is so representative of my willingness to move forward & continue to transform my life. To remove things that are not serving my highest good and replacing them with ones that do.I CAN do ANYTHING!

I did one again get out and walk the beach but had to fight heavy winds to gather more stones. But all the stones are all so large, wait... that piece of wood, is that drift wood? Yes! And so I wandered the beach trying to shield myself from the wind as I gathered a bag full of the most gloriously smooth driftwood. I'm not sure I've ever even seen real driftwood and I just kept thinking about all the cool things I could make with it.

I took the bag back to my friend's house and happened to meet her in the driveway as she was returning home. I sat on the ground, dumped out my bag and told her my story... still with tears in my eyes for simply giving myself permission to DO SOMETHING and live life.

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Do NOT be afraid to live your life! Wanna go somewhere or do something? Just do it!

Lake Erie: A Pictorial History  Under Lake Erie  Lake Erie Living

Friday, October 15, 2010

Food Mandalas for Heather

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The other day on Facebook, my friend Heather requested some food mandalas and this is what I had on hand. First, a focaccia mandala baked at my friend Jen's house. I created the mandala with fresh herbs from her garden.

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And once again, after it was baked. This bread was then taken from Findley Lake, NY to Johnstown, PA and shared with another good friend, Becky Bickford.

Jiffy Pop Mandala

Next, is a Jiffy Pop mandala. I suppose this technically isn't a food mandala but perhaps instead a food delivery device mandala but since them's thar foodstuffs in there silvery thang, I'm calling it a food mandala.

Pieogie Mandala

Ah.... My pierogie mandala.

Pizza Mandala

And how about a pizza mandala? My fiend Jaqui MacMillan and I made this when I visited her this past April. I created the design from chopped tomatoes.

Jingo Pizza!

Unfortunately not so mandala-ish after it was baked.

Here you go Heather! (Best merch fairy ever!) Next time I'll work on that Banana Mandala for you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


082810 023

Layer 1: Black Bob Ross gesso over Clairefontaine Acrylic paper
Layer 2: Flower mandala painted with inexpensive Folk Art acrylic paints.

Mixed media stiill in progress

Layer 3: Ink doodle over flower with a White Uniball Signo UM-153 Broad gel pen (JetPens)
Layer 4: Thinly applied additional black gesso.
Layer 5: Winsor & Newton Galeria Titanium White acrylic

Layers :: Finished Yet?

Layer 6: C.P Cadmium Red Dark Golden acrylic paint
Layer 7: Additional phrases and ink doodles, White Uniball Signo UM-153 Broad gel pen (JetPens)

I am typically pretty impatient when I create. I like to finish something in one sitting as I love the instant gratification factor.  This piece has been pretty unusual in that I've been working on it for at least a month, adding more here & there. I'm really liking it and am not yet sure if it's finished. It might need just a little more red.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Making herb bundles with Jen

10 days 166

Several weeks ago I spent a glorious 5 days in south western New York with my new friend Jen Mills. I was eager to meet Jen because she teaches Energy Medicine - a modality made popular through her mentor, Donna Eden. Jen uses a number of healing modalities such as Reiki, color therapy, and more. In a very short time, I was able to learn so much from her. She is amazing.

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The last night I spent with her and her family, we gathered herbs and flowers from her garden to make into herb bundles. Once dried, they could be burned and their fragrance... ah... oh so beautiful! Jen gathered the flowers and I cut the herbs. Lavender, rosemary, sage, savory, lemon verbena, oregano, tarragon... We also included some cedar from one of her trees. My method was to bind everything from top to bottom in cotton thread.

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Jen was a bit more thoughtful when binding hers, allowing the flowers to stick out - so pretty!

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Jen sitting in her Snuggie wrapping herbs...

Herb Bundles

My finished bundles.As of now, they are somewhat dry and I have already burnt part of one. That last night at Jen's was really emotional for me. Getting to know her family, they were just so very good to me. I sat there that night crying tears of joy into my bundles. When I lit one of these the other day, the fragrant herbs took me right back to her house, sitting in her screen room, listening to music and reflecting on the time I spent with her. I cannot WAIT to see her again!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Create to Remember

Wire wrapped Danburite Pendant

I don't make jewelry like I used to, (no time) but now and again if there is something in my life I'd like to celebrate or an occasion to remember, I'll pull out my wire and whip something up.

Wire wrapped Danburite Pendant

This is a Danburite crystal - one of my favorite stones. According to The Crystal Bible, Danburite "is an excellent stone for facilitating deep change and for leaving the past behind"

Wire wrapped Danburite Pendant

Wrapped in sterling silver wire, the main armature was melted on either end so the silver would form a ball. I hammered it into the shape I wanted, then wove a thin gauge wire around the front & back to secure the stone into place.

Of note: Of all the jewelry I ever created, it was all "cold connected" meaning that I used no heat to solder or connect anything, but I did at one time use a small creme brulee torch to ball up the silver as shown above. It was a technique that was typically used for making something called a headpin, but also could be used for decorative purposes as well.

Wire wrapped Danburite Pendant

The finished piece, strung on a black cotton cord.
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