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Monday Mojo Challenge: Poetic Inspiration


Week Six of Heather Powers Mojo Jewelry Challenge.  Use a poem, song, painting or some artistic inspiration to create a piece.

I’m not much for poetry, but for some reason, this poem has stuck with me over the years. The first time I read it, I could see a woman lazily coming her long hair, living only in the moment, telling me human time is short, we live, we die, make the most of it. I give you only the first stanze.

Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind
by Carl Sandburg

The past is a bucket of ashes.

The woman named Tomorrow
sits with a hairpin in her teeth
and takes her time
and does her hair the way she wants it
and fastens at last the last braid and coil
and puts the hairpin where it belongs
and turns and drawls: Well, what of it?
My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.
What of it? Let the dead be dead.

womanhair

 

I chose this poem as my inspiration for Heather Powers’ Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge this week.   My necklace is a steampunk style and has a lot of movement.   Each filagree is attached to the other by a “gear” made from a beadcap and headpin.  I am not sure I am done with it yet.  I think some keys are in order to be proper steampunk style, LOL.

First, I used this focal, a “steamy” timepiece, added some gears and used rusty and verdigris colors.  Wish I hadn’t used the verdigris because I felt it limited my colors for the cameos.  But I do love the way it looked.

011

This piece is about Time:  the past, present and future……a logical progression.  So the energy flows from one side to the other.  On our right is Youth, on our left, Tomorrow, age and finally death.

I made each of the cameos out of polymer clay.  Not sure if you can see it but over the verdigris color is some antique Gilder’s Paste.   I may want to use a bit more or some pinotage,  still thinking about it.

yesterday

yesterday

 

013

 

And all together

 

016

 

017

I should have taken a close-up shot of the final connectors, the butterfly on yesterday’s side and the owl on the tomorrow side.

I realize this isn’t a piece for everyone.   You wold really have to like steampunk and you would have to like these industrial colors, but I do like the piece myself and will most likely wear it when I dress up steampunk style.   It’s definitely an original.

 

Thanks Heather, for another interesting challenge and for making me use my head.

One side has a young woman cameo, the other

 

 

April 21, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, New Age, steampunk | , , , | 4 Comments

HOPE vs Hype


I am an O H. No, that is not a typo and I did not mean to write O G (Original Gansta). O H = Original Hippie, a child of the 60′s who marched for equality, took part in demonstrations, protested War, segregation and was a proud Free Thinker.

flowerpower

 

We wore jeans with patches, not because they were stylish or cost 150 bucks a pair but because we wanted to encourage others to look beyond the surface of clothes and makeup and see the REAL person and because we wanted to encourage other folks to re-use, re-cycle and not toss away something that was still functional even though it was a bit worn.

Our style has been corrupted by media hype and these days, a fashion statement, not a message.  It’s 50 years later and we are still trying to get people to recycle.

Many of us promoted the use of Hemp and included marijuana because hemp, as a plant has so many uses that could help our planet that it should not be illegal but a respected herb given to us by the Creator. We wanted people to listen to the messages from Mother Nature, the plants, the animals, the stones.  A natural herb, marijuana was a powerful medicine and a WEED, a humble plant that could be grown at home and used by anyone, and used constructively.

Our message has become corrupted, partly by some of us who used other drugs to not just free our minds but to escape from reality.  The peaceful plant has been replaced by mind altering chemicals that are pricey and put lots of dollars into many pockets.  From drug lords in foreign countries to drug task forces, from street dealers to school kids and pharmaceutical companies, drugs are big business.

We preached PEACE, because War is a tool for greedy leaders and corporations to line their pockets.  Fifty years later, we are engaged in war on foreign soil yet again.

We promoted One Planet, One People:  a theory that no matter what color your skin, your socioeconomic status, your religious beliefs, you were a child of the Creator and each person had a god given gift that could contribute to the good of the whole.

Our message has been corrupted by media tactics, fear and government handouts that enslave people by smothering their ambition, ruin their self esteem and promote hatred from the working classes who must pay for these handouts.  Fifty years later, poverty is a way of making a living, bearing  children can get you lots of free stuff and, if you lie enough, you can live well and not work.

I am far from that child of the 60′s who believed that my voice could make a difference.   Oh, I still believe my voice makes a difference, but one small voice amidst hundreds asking for more free stuff?  or hundreds more clamoring for relief from taxes and injustice?  or thousands crying out in fear of terrorist attacks from other religious?  or millions, busting their asses for a bigger paycheck to buy more and newer THINGS they do not really need but being told they should have them by flashy ads?  I’m not saying my voice is the only voice, but it seems small sometimes and the other voices I hear saying the same things seem to be like me and all of us seem to be alone in a crowd.

I have many grandchildren now.   My oldest is 29, the youngest is 3.  Some days, I watch my family’s  struggles to survive, working hard just to get by and often overwhelmed by skyrocketing prices, a corrupt government, taxes and the demands of parenthood  all working together to distract them from what really matters, making it hard for them to listen to inner voices, to work on their spiritual side, enjoy their children and just to LIVE.

Sometimes, with all the newscasts I see their future like this:

Devastation

Devastation

A world torn by wars and hatred, natural disasters and depletion of natural resources.

What kind of adults will they become with all these worries?

Then, today, I heard a voice, one that gave me hope for the future.   My grandson shared this video on his Facebook page and it lifted my spirits.

 

 

Here is a young person who has found Truth and is not afraid to share that message.  This is someone my grandson respects and his thinking and wisdom have not been overwhelmed by all the media distractions, fear tactics and hype.  Beautiful!   And Kudos to this young woman whose voice is clear and truthful, who is ot ashamed to share her thoughts.   Here is a voice of a future, striving for Truth and Wisdom in a world of madness.  There is HOPE yet.  We can change the world and we are not alone.

There are so very many videos that go viral, senseless, frivolous pieces of fluff that have no meaning, nonsense that make us forget that we have an inner voice and we should listen to that voice.   We have Truth and we should speak it.  We have power and our voices lifted together can make this world such a better place.   I hope that it will be shared many  times.   One Planet   One People.

 

peace

 

 

 

 

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hex and Hex Signs


According to Wikipedia, a hex is “a magical spell, usually with a melevolent purpose, such as a curse”. We all know this. And, even if you are not pagan, you know some sort of way to offset a hex, you have a charm or amulet or lucky clover or you wear certain gemstones or your lucky shirt or carry a lucky penny. What fascinated me, when I started thinking about hexes, was a group of very seriously Christian folk who use pagan practices as part of their everyday life.

Early in the 20th century, these signs became a common sight on barns in Pennsylvania. Their simple folksy beauty became quite popular and their use spread. This type of art became well known all over the United States. I’m talking about the Hex Signs.

hexsign1

You’ve all seen them somewhere, particularly the distelfink. Distelfink is a German/Dutch word for goldfinch, a very common bird in this area. A distelfink in a hex sign is a symbol of good luck or good fortune.

Goldfinch a good luck bird

Goldfinch a good luck bird

 
So, who ARE the Pennsylvania Dutch? In the 19th century, and ending about 1863, a great influx of immigrants came to this country, not from Holland but from southwestern Germany, the Rhineland and Palatine areas, Baden-Wuttenberg, Alsatians, Swiss and even French Protestants. They came here seeking religious freedom. They spoke German or Deutsche and became known as the Plain Dutch (obviously a corruption of Deutsche. BTW, the German word for Germany is Deutschland). Plain Dutch differed from the more affluent Dutch (from Holland), who more easily assimilated themselves into mainstream America. Groups of these folk have become known as the Amish, Dunkers, Shakers and Mennnonites.
They live somewhat apart from others and have a closed society so not a whole lot is known about them.

Not much is known about their practices and beliefs outside of their own culture. They appear to be strict Christians who do not embrace “worldly” practices nor technology. If you look a bit closer, you will find that their folk magic is an integral part of their everyday lives. The tradition of Pow-wow goes back a long way into their past. Pow-wow is an Algonquin term and was borrowed from that native culture. For American natives, a pow-wow is a gathering of Indians and particularly medicie men.

For the Deutsche, the term pow-wow refers to a collection/study of European magic spells, folk remedies and recipes. The formulas mix Christian prayers, magic words and simple rituals to cure simple domestic ailments and rural troubles. The tradition is also called Speilwerk.  (Hey, that looks suspiciously like “spellwork” to me)   Its adepts are sometimes called hexenmeisters. The tradition of hex signs painted on Pennsylvania barns in rural areas is believed to relate to this tradition and some think the symbols for pentagrams were talismanic decorations.

The hex signs do have symbolic meanings. They were used to decorate indoors until the early 20th century Quilts and wooden household items were decorated with these designs to protect the home and hearth. When paint became more affordable, the decorations moved to the barns. After that, they became popular and now can be found even in jewelry items.

 

Hex Daddy

Hex Daddy

 

The nex daddy sign keeps away plague, famine and the evils of the world.

 

hexgdlk.faithinself

 

This hex sign uses both the distelfink and the Irish four leaf clover for luck and long life.

 

Pow-wow doctors use the Bible, the 6th and 7th books of Moses, a magical text which clams to be a sort of sequel to the biblical books of Moses, the Penteuch, and teh Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus along with a book called the Long Lost Friend, (Der Lange Verborgene Freund, published 1820). An excerpt from the 6th and 7th books of Moses: ……….”.we must first become Christians before we can perform cures by Christian methods.” But some cures , expecially in the Urlasswe practice speak of deities such as Holle, Frost Giants, Wudan (Odin), Dunner (Thor), and Ewicher Yeeger (the Eternal Hunter).

Some cures, have a definite pagan resonance such as this charm for cataracts

Es Wassaer, des salz
Es Wasser,des salz
Des Salz iss am vergehne
glaarer binnich yetzs am sehne
Die Holle schteeht geeich yeder schaade
Kummt sie mir un heift mir graade

“the Water, the Salt
The Water, This Salt
The salt is ceasing to be
Clearer now do I see
Holle stands against every harm
she comes to me and helps me now

and pagan folk, how about this hex sign, the Eternal Oak which stands for strength in body and mind….remind you of the Oak King?

Eternal Oak Hex Sign

Eternal Oak Hex Sign

 

I know this isn’t strictly a pagan post but I did think it was interesting that folks we think are SO  very different from us have roots in the very same pagan belief systems that we do.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | folklore, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Monday Mojo Challenge Week 5 (Makeover)


Heather Powers Mojo Jewelry Challenge is so much fun. I missed posting for week 5 last week. Life got in the way of my fun and games.
Week 5′s challenge was to make over an old piece of jewelry. Man, did I have a piece to make over. My daughter bought me the sweetest little dragon bead from Green Girl Studios last fall. Thought process: dragon, Chinese New Year, fireworks, color. I used colorful cord and beads to match, wanted explosions of beads to look like fireworks and brother, did I ever explode them! My little dragon got lost in all the action and I hated what I made. Tossed it in a drawer and felt guilty about it until the challenge prompted me to take it out and FIX IT!

ugliness inc.

ugliness inc.

 

So, I took it all apart.   I decided to lose the carved jasper focal.  Bye bye!

I used the beads and caged them in handmade wire cages. To me, they look like Chinese lanterns.

004

 

I used some faceted glass beads on the opposite side of the piece where I wanted my little dragon to be centered. They are bright and sparkle like fireworks with a lot of colors but not so colorful that they outshine the dragon himself.  Then I used the cord to make a Chinese knot, a good luck knot, in fact because dragons are lucky you know. I took only a cluster of beads at the center above the knot.

 

003

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon bead

Dragon bead

 

Much better.   Thank you Heather.

 

 

 

April 6, 2014 Posted by | fashion, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gemstones: 9 Essentials


 

There are so many stones to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down the field to a few that are MUST HAVES for every pagan, well actually every person could benefit from these. I’ve tried to choose just 9, a magical 3X3 number that every witch should have.   If I had to limit myself to just a few, these are the stones I would have.

ametnyst

Amethyst

Amethyst:   In addition to its usual well known uses, this stone is a powerful psychic tool, will protect you from black magic and will aid in second sight, intuition, and insight.  

 

malachite

malachite

 

Malachite is probably the most powerful of all the “eye stones” which were prized in ancient societies to protect against the evil eye.  Malachite is said to enhance visionary powers and to stimulate all types of personal power.   It wards off negative vibrations and is said to warn an owner of impending danger by breaking.    It promotes inner peace and hope and offers protection and inner security.  

 

moonstone

Moonstone:   A very sensitive stone whose powers increase with the moon.   It helps promote love, not just romantic love, but love of friends and family and love for humanity because it opens your heart to experience love.   It lends you strength when you are emotionally overextended.   It inspires self confidence.   It is a great stone for people who carry around a burden of buried anger.  

 

Carnelian

Carnelian

 

Carnelian is a must, not only because of its other properties, but because it is a stone which will clean the negative energies away from other stones.   Carnelian can motivate you and give you energy to turn your ideas and dreams into form.  It’s a stone of success and can give you physical power. 

 

 

lapis lazuli

lapis lazuli

 

 

 

 

 

Lapis throughout history has been associated with wisdom and love and is a stimulant for psychic abilities.   It strengthens your body and mind.   It will stimulate your inner vision and enhance your wisdom, insight and good judgment. 

 

obsidian

obsidian

 

This stone is a must because not only is it grounding and good for protection, obsidian acts like a screen to keep all negativity surrounding you at bay.   Never exchange your own piece with another person or accept a stone that someone else has worn.   It bonds to a person and should stay with its original owner. 

 

clear quartz crystals

clear quartz crystals

 

This one is a given.   Everyone knows you need clear quartz crystals, not only as a communication aid, but because it drains off any blocked areas that keep your dreams from coming true.  It helps you use your own inner resources and potential and get ride of self blocks.   It’s a wonderful energy conductor. 

 

rose quartz

rose quartz

 

A stone that helps you find love, first self love because you cannot love someone else unless you first love your own inner person.   Not only does it help enhance your outer beauty but it helps get rid of negative energy from the past.

Tiger's eye

Tiger’s eye

 

 

 

 

Tiger’s eye is a great stone that helps you think clearly and helps you make right decisions.   it helps yous ee what you are getting into before you take steps forward.   It helps with clear thinking, good judgment and protection.   Couldn’t ask for more. 

 

So there they are.   If you have these gems, you pretty much have all angles covered. 

April 5, 2014 Posted by | folklore, gemstones, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Addictions


lockerhook

 

Just look at these bracelets!   They have a shabby chic, gypsy look that I love!   I stumbled on the tutorial here and was “hooked” on locker hooking before I even tried it.   They use Sari silk ribbon which I find very beautiful but have never tried.   Yes, I love it in jewelry but never actually thought I would use enough of it to justify buying two or three bundles.   I now have the perfect excuse!   Yaaay!

sari silks

sari silks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s going to be a busy month or two for me.   My birthday is coming and my daughter is taking me to a huge bead store in Cinncinati.  The Brukner Gem & Mineral Show is April 26 and 27th.  Woot!  Woot!   Lots of new beads in my future!  And cabochons!

I’ve also joined the design team at Znet Shows, check out their Facebook page.  They have lots of cool beads there!   They send the team a selection of beads and challenge them to design with the beads that are sent, blog about them and share on Facebook AND send photos for their e-zine, Creative Spark!   This will be lots of fun!   Their summer challenge involves sea glass beads and that is all I know so far but I’m psyched!  I’ve been wanting to work with sea glass beads and here is my chance!

 

seaglass

And, of course, I am still working on the Jewelry Mojo Challenge and my Bead Soup for the blog party!   Woot!  Woot!   I see a lot of fun in my future!  AND BEADS!

 

 

 

 

March 28, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bead Soup Partner


Every year, Lori Anderson of Pretty Things fame, hosts a massive blog hop called Bead Soup. Lori is a remarkable lady. In spite of debilitating health issues, she is a talented jewelry artist, has a blog with a huge number of followers, has her designs shown in magazines and books authored by others. She also has her own book, Bead Soup. Her blog party has grown to massive proportions. This year, over 500 women signed up.  Can you imagine to work involved?

Lori matches participants, then posts the lists of pairings. Before she matches, she reads countless blogs from all her ladies, tries to match seed beaders with other seed beaders, new people with mentors and seeks to find kindred spirits.

This is my first time to join in the fun.  I admit, I was nervous.  What if I got a partner who had their own book?  What if my beads were not good enough?  What if my partner sent me something so ugly I couldn’t make anything from it?  What if I sent something so ugly that my partner hated it?

I met my partner last week and she is so nice and supportive.   I want you to meet her.
this is Laurie Vyselaar whose blog is Left Hand Jewelry.   Laurie says she only makes jewelry for friends and family but I bet she sells some also though she does not have an online store.   She has a lot of talent.   Take a look at this photo of a  bracelet she made for a Halloween Blog Hop.  She watched a tutorial and learned how to make these adorable little pumpkins.  They are so perfect!   Not only does she work with polymer clay, she etches metal and makes beautiful bracelets.

lauriewspumpkins

And here are some photos of some of her other work.   I would love to sit down with her and just play around for a day!  I love her cuff bracelet!

Laurie's cuff bracelet

Laurie’s cuff bracelet

etched metal bracelets

etched metal bracelets

beaded bracelets

beaded bracelets

Laurie lives in Florida.   This is her second bead soup.  She sent me a beautiful soup which I cannot show yet.   The reveal for the soup is not until May 3rd.  Then we show our beads and the pieces we made from them.  She sent lots of bold colors and some spectacular glass beads that I love plus a polymer focal that is awesome!   I’ve got lots of plans for sure!

 

part of my soup

part of my soup

Look at that polymer heart!

beautiful lampwork from Carolhyn's Beads on Etsy

beautiful lampwork from Carolhyn’s Beads on Etsy

Spicy soup

Spicy soup

 

 

March 20, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, New Age | , , , | 4 Comments

Jewelry Mojo Monday Week 4


Heather Powers of Humblebeads gave us a great challenge for our 4th week. Simple instructions. Make some findings.

I think I went a little bit berserk. (ummm, is there such a thing as a little bit berserk?) I had just acquired Cindy Wimmer’s ook “Missing Link” and I started with that. I made links and links and more links.

some of the links I made

some of the links I made

Cindy’s instructions are so clear and the links so much fun, I could not resist.  I don’t even have plans for all these links but I know I’ll be using them a lot.   I have used one of her links in a necklace I made previously and loved the look I got when it all came together.

When I finally took a break from the links, I made some clasps.  One can never have too many clasps.  One of my favorites was Heather’s tutorial, the Garden Gate clasp.   Try it, you will love it.  Oops, the photo I took is not of the clasps, darn it, it’s ear wires and hoops and more links.  Can’t find the pic of the clasps.   That picture had some pendant bales and charm holders.  Oh well,

earring hoops and drops, bales and charms

earring hoops and drops, bales and charms

 

Then, I decided I wanted to try a button clasp for bracelets because I love making bracelets.   SIGH, there are very few buttons left in my sewing stash.

Button clasps

Button clasps

 

I’ve made some other links but I can’t show you.   I’m going to use them in my next two projects.

I admit it.  I am an official Findings Berserker.   (Heather made me do it!   LOL)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 17, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FOOL


Traditional Deck/Ryder-Waite

Traditional Deck/Ryder-Waite

The Fool is one of my favorite cards in the Tarot deck. There is usually such a look of innocence and trust about him. Whenever I check out a new deck, I take a long look at him.

Mystic Dreamer deck

Mystic Dreamer deck

I’ve seen different interpretations for the Fool.  I’ve heard readings where there is usually an admonishment when he is present, not to rush into things, to look before you leap.  I’ve heard that old saying quoted “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”.   I’d like to voice my own thought on the Fool and why he pops up in a reading.

Druidcraft deck

Druidcraft deck

Most all of the Fool cards show him with his face uplifted, looking upward and ignoring where he is stepping.   His little dog usually accompanies him, jumping for joy as they travel.  He seems to have everything he needs in his little hobo pack.   I believe he is trusting in the Divine and traveling accordingly. His little companion echoes that trust and love.

His trust in his divine creator leads him where he needs to go.  I think he is telling us to Trust……..in our spiritual side, our beliefs, to take our God-given gifts our talents and step into the future.   Yes it may seem like we are standing on a precipice and yes, we could go tumbling to disaster, but we trust that there is a place to step just ahead, a place where we are meant to travel.   It’s fine to be prepared, to think ahead, to make a plan for our actions BUT, if we worry a decision to death, we will be standing in place forever or may miss a great opportunity or experience.  Don’t worry about a dozen different routes, take that first step, start that new path and take with you what serves you well do not bring extra baggage.   You will go where you were meant to be.  Even if you make a mistake, or you are not wildly successful, there is a lesson there you must need to learn.   Trust.  And travel lightly.

March 14, 2014 Posted by | folklore, Jewelry, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Monday Mojo Challenge Week 3


Another week of Heather Powers Mojo Challenge: Week 3 Get out a beading book and learn something new. I’ve always wanted to try wire crochet, don’t ask me why. I can’t crochet with yarn for any length of time because it makes my hands cramp up. I do like wire crochet. The mesh reminds me of medieval Maille. Since I can’t make chain maille because my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I thought it might be fun to try crochet.   Did you hear me say fun?

I found a pattern in Wire Jewelry’s spring 2014 magazine, page 55. Most crochet wire patterns are similar to this one, simple single crochet with intermittent beads.  This is a pattern from an Etsy shop and the photo will link back to it in case you want to try it out yourself.
wirebracelet

I had something a little different in mind as you will see.   I started with black wire.   I found some gold freshwater pearls in my stash and some smokey color tiny teardrop beads.   The pearls had an antique smokey look and went perfectly with some gold color mother of pearl shell dangles I had.

Crocheting with wire is NOT fun.   The wire crimps and crinkles and bends up weird.  I’m not at all sure I enjoyed doing it but I do like the idea for my piece.   The bracelet is unfinished.   I want to do the whole thing over and make it wider on the bottom so the cuff is more flared like a lace sleeve cuff.    I also have a couple of mistakes and am not happy with them…..but this is a learning experience, right?   Also, the pattern called for a 5 ring tube clasp which I could not find in antique gold.   My idea is to use polymer clay to make some finished edges, and make my clasp of antique gold wire, some sort of large spiral.

But, you will get the general idea by looking at the pictures.

here is my Gypsy Cuff.   I do think it will look really nice when properly finished and I’m looking forward to making it again.

001

003

March 10, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , | 2 Comments

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