"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

28 May 2010

New Listings- Reclaimed Vintage & Fine Art Jewelry!

I'm so glad to be finally listing some of the jewelry and magnets I have been working on since fall! Usually I have so many more handmade items here than I have listed in my Etsy shop. I *hope* to be catching up with that soon. But as I have a show almost every weekend through July, I wouldn't count on it. :)

Anyway, so here's what I am excited about:

~Jewelry made with vintage and antique parts I have been collecting over the past 1-2 years! Findings, glass beads, Victorian brass, ephemera and books. It's been so much fun. I got a few pieces listed in my shop the other day.

~Pendants, magnets, and earrings made from glass tiles and featuring my art work! I have been shrinking scans of my original brush paintings on my computer, printing them, and then cutting them to fit tiles of various shapes and sizes. I'm super happy with the results. :) So far just pendants are listed in my shop.

27 May 2010

A Garden!

So my partner and I just planted our first garden in a few years after several years of poor yield. After ruling out lack of sun and water, we concluded the soil must be the issue and set out to solve the problem. We've spent the past couple of years enriching the soil with compost, and this year decided to have it tested by the local Cooperative Extension (Penn State). Turns out we were right and that we needed to add Sulfur and Phosphate, and along with more compost and lots of rototilling. So we're crossing fingers for a good year! :) And of course it will be organic!

This is our garden at week 1, with beans (seed) at the poles, cukes to the right, and tomatoes beside that. In front of the beans is a row of multi-colored carrots (seed), and in front of the carrots is spinach and lettuce, both from seed, and butter lettuce plants.

This is week 2, with all of the seeds sprouting already but the beans! Weee! :)

Spinach (look out, Popeye) and Lettuce

Cucumbers (I hate'em, but my partner loves them) and Carrots (Stay out, bunnies!)

As my own little side project, I also cleared and prepped a plot for wildflowers near the garden and sowed loads of butterfly- and hummingbird-friendly fleurs.

In less than a week there are already sprouts!

I love gardening, tending, weeding, pruning. I hope it pays off- looking forward to seeing what grows. :)

25 May 2010

The Best Hike Today!

I had the best hike today, filled with unexpected wild encounters! Every day that I hike I swear I will take my camera, and this is one of those days I am kicking myself for forgetting. Here's why...

So I started off with one of my favorite sections of trail, one of those secluded, quiet ones off the beaten path that mountain bikes have made. I wasn't more than 5 minutes along when I tripped over a branch along the path, and, when I caught my footing (hey, I can't be graceful all the time), there hopping in front of me was a little frog (toad?)! The first one I have seen this season! I knelt down and she hopped into my hand and we had a little chat about life. Then she had to go and hopped off- she had a meeting. So I moved on, feeling light...

Not even 5 minutes later, suddenly to my left I heard a huge movement and a heavy thump like hooves and sensed something at the corner of my eye. I gasped in surprise when I saw what it was- leaping away from me was a gorgeous deer! She was so beautiful and elegant. She stopped a few hundred feet from me and turned around and just watched me, and I said hello. I slowly continued along the trail stopping every few feet to take her in, until finally I stood totally still, meeting her gaze. We stood like that for what seemed like minutes, looking into one another's eyes, before I left her in peace and moved on. I had to go- I had a meeting.

THEN, on my way out of the forest, I was crossing a stream bed that was more muck than water despite the weekend's rain, and came across another frog! This one was just like the other but smaller and chubbier. So cute! I knelt down, and she hopped into my hand so we could chat about life. Then she said she had to go- and peed on me. lol

I love these tiny flowers that grow in the woods. It's the little joys...

There just seemed to be so much life and energy in the woods today. Everywhere there was rustling and movement. Everywhere there was lushness and expression and beauty and color. So many little details to awe me. I swear that when it seems I am down to the last bit of light I have inside, Earth offers just what I need to fill back up, to sustain me. I feel so blessed by that, so blessed to have the awareness and gratitude and love to take that in.

It's doubly frustrating and enraging, then, to see people who don't have that respect for Earth and life and who don't, can't, or won't see the tremendous, essential gifts the planet has to share with us and sustain us. To see human beings take it all for granted, strip it, abuse and neglect it, degrade and and destroy it is heart-wrenching. WHY? Why isn't the entire race outraged and doing everything it can to protect our Earth?! While on my hike, I couldn't help but think of the oil spill and the terror and destruction the ocean and the life in and around it are going through. I've been feeling so helpless to stop it, to do something, and I want to scream "STOP!" Just... stop.

But instead I do what I can and soak up the amazing experience I had on my hike and just *exhale*.

23 May 2010

My Prints are Treasured and I Won Soap!

Fun news to share today! I just found out that I won a contest on Vegan Beauty Review for a free Strawberry Hedgehog vegan soap and body creme! Yippee! Thank you to Sunny from VBR and Strawberry Hedgehog! I will def post a review of the products. :)

More happy happenings! My prints are in several treasuries on Etsy currently! Yay! :) Thanks a million to Rebecca of Knee Deep Originals and Susan of Suzie's Armoire (treasury not shown) for featuring me!

18 May 2010

Fighting "For" or "Against"

"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.

~Mother Theresa"

During a conversation today, it came up that Mother Theresa would not participate in demonstrations "against" war and violence, but only demonstrations "for" peace. She wanted to avoid giving any energy to the *negative*, and wanted only to direct energy to the positive and fighting "for" something. Being a passionate and intense person who feels deeply about justice, freedom, peace, and the right of all beings to live a full life, "battling" often are at the forefront of my thoughts and actions. So Mother Theresa's belief strikes a chord within me. Battling for good seems so much more uplifting and motivating than does battling against the bad.

The difference between directing energy toward the "for" rather than the "against" may seem inconsequential at first, and indeed the shift can be rather subtle. However, fighting "for" sets a positive intention that we can move forward with. It allows for positive change in whatever way it manifests, leaves it all open and possible. Fighting "against" is restrictive, looking backward, and requires that change in favor of the goal be measured by *stopping* something. It seems fruitless. Consider: Do we fight against cruelty to animals or for the freedom of all beings? Do we move against violence against women or for the right of women to live free of marginalization and degradation. See what I mean, the way that little shift in word and intention changes the energy around the goal? Of course, the two imply the presence of and movement toward/against the other...

Setting one's intention in day-to-day life is very much like choosing to fight for or against. It's a way of sending energy out toward the positive and what you would like to do or make happen, a way of welcoming whatever comes to help toward a goal, no matter what it might be.

The conversation I had about Mother Theresa actually had nothing to with activism in the socio-political sense- I just applied it to that- and more to do with personal choices around a chronic illness. Dealing with ongoing health problems can be extremely painful and challenging, and I much more often get tired and discouraged when I am fighting "against" the illness rather than "for" health and wellness. Mental and emotional fatigue comes more quickly and more severely with continuous battling of the negative and trying to stop the disease. But doing everything I can to promote well-being and decrease my vulnerability to illness has a positive vibe, the energy of hope and possibility, the peace of acceptance. That is what I am shifting my intention toward today.