Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This is a giveaway where EVERYONE WHO COMMENTS AND LINKS wins an angel book collage! Yep - A fabric collage on an old book cover. Handmade by K.C.Willis just for you! On the back she's handwritten the words..."Post an angel at your door. Fear the darkness nevermore."
You read it right! K.C. Willis is giving away one of these angel book collages to EVERYONE who mentions and links just one more time all the cool stuff that is going on at KC Willis'studio. Your blog, Yahoo group, Ning group or Twitter will work. Facebook status updates don't count as they don't stay around long at all...but if you're part of a FB art group and can post it there that will count. Click HERE to check it out!

Monday, December 28, 2009


OK, you have to enter this one! Everyday from last saturday until new years, Alpha Stamps is giving away HUGE collections of cool stuff. I shop a lot at Alpha - you just never know what kind of weird new stuff the may have!
Unlike other popular giveaways where the competition is stiff (like 30,000 entries at Tim Holtz) this giveaway has much less competition. Check it out! See the button on the right, or else just use this link: http://www.alphastamps.com/blog/

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I was so very blessed to have participated in a Channukah swap with 7 other friends. Lucky me was the 1st Day of Chanukah. I already posted previously about my trials and tribulations to complete this swap, so this is what i finally came up with and gave to my friends - whew! I don't want to be first again- no time to fudge and be late!
1st Day:
A fine silver hand with a vintage sterling finding on a sterling chain.
Unfortunately, one did not turn out....so, I gave my dear friend Joanne this:
a bronze clay eye with a rose quartz tear on a necklace of turquoise and white coral .

On the 2nd Day Of Chanukah, Kara gave to me:

A handmade and handbound one year diary with tons of details and a beautiful quilted fabric cover.
Isn't it gorgeous!
On the 3rd Day of Chanukah, Andi gave to me:
A lovely paperbag book highly decorated with beautiful art and full of pockets loaded with ephemera and surprises..... what a treasure!
On the 4th day of Chanukah, Judy gave to me:
A stunning necklace with TWO interchangeable pendants - simply beautiful!
On the 5th Day of Chanukah, Joanne gave to me:
...a fabulous resin heart bezel filled with "merriment" and just the right amount of bling, made into a chic necklace!
On the 6th Day of Chanukah Sandee gave to me:
an awesome tassel doll with a handpainted clay face and beaded limbs. I've hung her in front of my shop window where she dances and sways in the breeze....
On the 7th Day of Channukah Fran gave to me:
an incredible embroidered and embellished fabric cuff.
Really Cool!
...and on the 8th day of Channukah, Amber gave to me

A mirrored star ornament with tiny crocheted flowers, and a CHARMING pendant made from a vintage german doll arm capped with a vintage finding. Exquisite!
It was a great swap with wonderful and talented friends and I am thrilled with all of the wonderful presents i received....I can't wait to participate again next year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rudraksha Beads and the Hindu Monastery on Kauai

Yesterday, Lorri Scott and I decided to go to the Hindu Monastery on Kauai. You can go to their web page to find out all about the monks and to look at amazing picture of their beautiful monastery...waterfalls, mountains, trees, flowers.....absolutely stunning! http://www.himalayanacademy.com/ssc/hawaii/tour/
This is on the entrance path, going towards the temple.
to the right of the entrance was a lovely garden....
This shows the temple, sort of a side angle....services were going on, so we didn't want to disturb them by standing in front and taking pictures. Pictures are not allowed inside the temple. Eventually Lorri and i went inside...the services were still going on. A monk was chanting on the altar (or whatever it is accurately called). A worshipper/docent, whispered to us that women sat on the left...there were pillows stacked on the side, so we each took a pillow and sat on the floor cross legged. On each side of the temple, lining the walls, were mirrored shelves with small about 15" gold statues of gods/goddesses (? I guess - I am really ignorant of this religion) ...and a recess with a huge black bull decorated with Hawaiian flowers. In the center of the floor, where we sat, was a round mandala looking thing with glass (or crystal?) spheres of different sizes, 12 of them...representing ???. it reminded me of the planets and astrology.....I could/will look this all up - cuz now I want to know - but for the sake of this post I will just give you my immediate impressions..... Anyway, there was also a container with pens/slips of paper on the floor, for you to write an intention on....and a small metal basket for you to put the intentions in, at the end of the ceremony. So pretty soon more people started arriving...not too many, maybe 12 in all....and the monk started burning i guess what were the previous days intentions -in a metal cauldron on the alter statue....then the docent gestured for all of us to stand and the monk came up to each of us and we wafted the smoke into our faces 3 times, while thinking of our intention .... Then he went and got yellow powder, and we each took some and put it on our third eye area on our foreheads...then he brought red powder and we did it again...each time the docent whispered to me and Lorri which fingers to use, how to rub the powder in our hands, taste it or put it on other chakra parts of our neck, etc....we also copied some of the other people who had a clue what they were doing. Then he brought a white liquid and poured it into our cupped hand and we had to ceremoniously drink it. Lorri and I thought it was coconut milk...but it wasn't. sigh. Then more chanting...then the monk left. Then you brought your intention up to the metal basket and put it inside, then we knelt down on the floor in child pose (like yoga!) and then stood up and bowed to the bull, and left. It was WAYYY interesting!
This is a little fresco outside the temple.
Down another path we found a grove of very tangled banyan trees (I love banyan trees!)...
This statue was at the end of the path. Below are a few close ups of the hands.
Isn't this cool?
...Below is a shot from the left side and around the temple, showing the river where the monks bathe. Usually you can take a tour which will take you down to the river, as well as show you the new temple that is being built, but for the next 2 weeks the monks are on retreat, so this area is closed to the public.
a closer view....it is actually pretty far away....you'll get a better idea of the perspective in some pics that are coming up....
This next picture shows the new temple that is being built. The round tops are actually gold colored, perhaps gilded...
This next photo shows you the new temple on the right and the river on the left....i am probably 50 (I know the picture doesn't look like that) feet above the Wailua River, and maybe 100 yards away....
Above is what the proposed temple will look like when it is finished in 2017....depending on how fast they raise all the money to build it. Go to their website to see all the gorgeous pictures of it's fine construction. http://www.himalayanacademy.com/ssc/hawaii/iraivan/
..more of the area where the temple model is housed.
As you walked around you saw many of the monks in their orange robes and flowing beards.
While in the gift shop, Lorri and I were entranced with some gorgeous beads..." " beads. Actually I think they look like a nut. Lorri bought me a beautiful pair of them. This is the brochure we picked up that talks about them:
The woman who was working in the shop told us that the monks had planted a 250 of these sacred trees and that a small section was open to the public. She invited us to go there (it was outside the temple grounds and down the road a bit) and that we would find the gorgeous trees and their nuts and to be sure and hug a tree with our intention in mind and Shiva would bless us...Before we left we both wrote our intentions again on a slip of paper and put them into a pot at the exit that had burning ashes in it, and watched them burn and our desires/wishes waft into the heavens....then we went to find the sacred trees!
Lorri among the sacred trees.
Who can resist hugging a tree?!?
awesome roots!
Close up roots...at first Lorri thought they were stone offering bowls...they really do look like that!

Looking thru the trees towards the sky...
More roots...and our rooster friend...see the beads at his feet?
Our rooster companion...Lorri tried to entice him to give her a tail feather, but he was not willing....
...all over the ground we found ZILLIONS of the seed pods/nuts!
this is a pod still in it's husk and one fresh from the ground. The one from the ground is full of dirt and bits of the husk. The leaves from the trees turn a bright red. We also found lots of delicate skeletonized leaves.

Tataa! These are the beads that i have scrubbed and tumbled!

Aren't they gorgeous? ...and I haven't even varnished them! For size reference, look at the rooster photo above...these are 1/2 to 1 1/4 inch in size. The bigger ones have a natural hole on at least one side, some are all the way thru. You can halve them and the inside looks like a walnut. They have 5 sides. Sometimes there are freaks of nature, and they can have 11! I found a few with only 4.
I don't know what I will do with them...I thought they would look beautiful with a bronze or silver eye...I do know that whatever i make, if I sell it, I will be donating 50% to the monks and their temple project! These beads are truly a gift from heaven!

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Friday, December 11, 2009


I have been busy with lots of things...somehow posting on my blog has taken a back burner...I swore i wasn't going to obligate myself to any swaps, especially around the Holidays. This was going to be the year I got all of my Christmas stuff done early and would actually have time to enjoy them and not feel under pressure......
but no - I signed up for 3 (yes THREE) art projects- all due at the end of Nov- early December.
I finally got them all finished.....but I am hopelessly behind on my Christmas gifts and cards....
First I was involved in a Poe Tarot Swap....these are my 2 cards:

The Six of Wands ... the Victory card...angels high above the desolation and darkness, lighting the way....the graveyards are from an illustration of an early Poe book and a photoshopped photo of Poe's actual gravesite.

...the 10 of Pentacles... survival against all odds....reaping the rewards you have worked hard for....The background is made from copied letters written by Poe...and no creature has survived longer, against all odds and still is winning - than the cockroach.
I also was part of a "Rosary Bead" Swap...you had to make a bead that represented yourself. This, I discovered was way more difficult than I thought!

Here is my bead, showing both sides. A wooden bead, painted white with a spider on one side and an eye on the other. then it was coated with resin and sprinkled with clear glass microbeads and clear fine glitter.
My 3rd project was an Eight days Of Channukah Swap. As luck would have it, I was assigned Day ONE! YeeGads....
So, feeeling ambitious, I decided i was going to make English crackers, with hats and a joke and a little gift....
The gift I decided would be my first foray into using Bronze Clay.
It was a disaster. Out of 9 medallions 3 were acceptable, but even these had cracks! The stuff took 2 firings and over 10 hours (not including cooling in between) in the kiln. Needless to say by the time I made something usable (2 more projects down the road!) I was lucky to just send out the gifts - the English cracker idea was just not going to happen...

These are the rejects. The backs have a texture and a word stamped on them...
I may drill tiny holes in these and attempt to lace up the cracks as if I'd done it on purpose....but they will probably just become scrap...

This is a necklace I gave away in the swap to my friend Joanne. I know she likes eyes - she has a bunch of eye stuff from me...so i sent it to her. She's already opened it, so that's why I can show it to you! It also has vintage brass chain, turquoise, white coral and vintage brass beads.
Another bronze eye necklace I gave to my fiber artist friend Lorri. Lorri has some incredible Kauai pics of an endangered monk seal and her pup on her blog, so go take a look!
Hers I didn't take a picture of, but I patinaed it blue.
The last one I made into a necklace with all carnelian beads. For some reason the name "Tears for my mama" kept playing over and over in my head.....it doesn't have a clasp yet...it will probably end up on my Etsy shop.

I still didn't have my giftees for the 8 Days of Channukah swap, so I decided to take silverplate forks and make bracelets. Here's the one I did. It doesn't have a clasp yet, not does it have any decorative beads on the top...

But I was not happy with it and all of the pounding was killing my wrists - these utensils were TOUGH! ...and then I had to get all the firescale off!...So I moved onto a project that I KNEW would work.....but they haven't all opened them yet, so I will show them to you tomorrow!

This is a picture of the lighthouse on Monday....not very big waves here, but we did have some 40 footers I was told, in Haena and Hanalei.