September 29: Moon festival

September 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tacoma had its first annual Moon Festival today, and it was a lovely event. They had some neat crafts, including making a mandala. My child of course picked the biggest and most complex one, and then insisted on finishing it because he was promised a layer of glitter on the completed mandala. I helped, also because I really enjoy coloring pictures. Besides, mandalas are a sacred art, and it never hurts to try to get more sacredness into one day, which seemed to manifest itself in the fact that the woman coordinating the coloring and glittering was amazing, and had some information I have been seeking lately.

I confess, I took one home (the one on the left) and colored it while everyone was sleeping. It was very calming, and the smell of Crayola crayons was heavenly.

The other craft was possibly even better: we created haikus. First, J. added missing words to already completed ones, and when he found that he enjoyed it, he attempted a magnetic-poetry-like haiku, except that the words were better than the ones you find in magnetic poetry kits. He put a bunch of words together, and got “Verdant moonquake mandrake jade doodle finch red brick moonlighting.” Sure it’s nonsense, but it sounds great. And then he decorated it:

I liked this activity so much that I intend to recreate it at home. All you need are your favorite words in the English language, some paper and crayons (Crayola, of course).

We ended the evening with a lantern parade around our yard, watching the full moon. It’s good to have celebrations.


September 28: Affirmative collage

September 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

Mark Twain said “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

But you can’t worry all the time.

A good friend returned from a retreat for the women’s circle I used to belong to (in a way I still do, I guess), and sent me a box full of beautiful, colorful, heartfelt stuff. Including the picture featured in the collage I made tonight:

Sometimes I make collages that look good, sometimes I make cool, sarcastic ones, but sometimes, like tonight, I make them to lift the weight off my chest and to affirm something better. It didn’t take long to make, and it’s certainly not one of my more artistic ones, but it is a reminder that I need to take myself and the world a little less seriously.

From the Prayer to Gaia: “Help me to see there is no fault in the Universe, only life dancing.”


September 27: fall kitsch

September 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ah, fall decorating. Maybe you wait until Christmas to get the kitschy decor out, but in our house, as soon as the garden loses its summer luster, we begin decorating. Tonight was a good night to start. O. was asleep by 7:30, and after playing a yoga board game, J. and I got to work. First, though, we lit those health candles from last night (along with Gaia and Green Man).

Then I filled the cornucopia, hoping for abundance. J. asked if you put corn into a cornucopia, which is a great question. There is some corn in there, actually, but it’s hard to see. The boys were sleeping on the couch when I took this picture, so it was taken in complete darkness.

Of course, where would we be without fake leaves in windows and on the piano?

My little helper made his own fall art. I appreciate the calming effect of making things on his otherwise restless self.

All in all, a pleasant evening in our household. You’d never know there was turmoil in the world.

September 26: health candles

September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

As I mentioned the other day, there have been unusual illnesses, freak accidents, and unfortunate events around me recently. It makes me uncomfortable. Superstitious. Yesterday I bought two tall, glass, Mexican candles, and tonight my little helper and I created what I decided to call health candles:

His is on the left. It is a “health creature.” The creature has three hands, and the hands hold bottles, which restore health. Great  idea.

Mine, on the right, has a picture of Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health, as portrayed by Gustav Klimt. J. thought her eyes were scary, but you need scary eyes to keep illness away, I think.

On the back of mine, there is also a Buddhist prayer:

taken from my WomanPrayers book.

While I will make sure not to share pencils with students, not to shake hands with people who cough, to get my kids vaccinated, and be safe in traffic, it doesn’t hurt to also be on the divinities’ good side. I therefore intend to light these candles with wishes for health, not only for my family, but for all those I know, especially those who are currently ailing.

September 25: Leaf chain

September 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

On the way home from the library, J. collected a handful of red maple leaves that fell on the ground, so we decided to make a leaf chain. He had a good idea but it didn’t work, mostly because I didn’t understand it. I think he wanted me to make it like a daisy chain, but it fell apart. On my second try, I used copper wire and some beads, and here is our first autumn decoration, as documented in the grainy photos, on the wall next to the Virgin Mary who traveled to us from Tucson, and whose nose had already been damaged when D. bought her at a yard sale.

September 24:

September 25, 2012 § 3 Comments

I spent the entire day in the rational world. Some people I know are very ill,  and  I am thinking about returning to work full-time and being hit by a million responsibilities this implies, and there was a class to prepare and teach, and all these things to worry about, and … the day went by. And not a single thought not related to just getting by.

How sad.  All those mindfulness readings from the summer… how quickly forgotten!

So here is a prose poem. Not joyful or anything, mind you. Just removed from the world of getting things done, worrying and planning and forgetting to look at the sky and the trees and the grass and a sweet face of a baby.

I have donated most of my body to an oak tree. Its roots tear at my flesh but this pain I like — I wake up alive in the morning and ask for branches to grow through my bones. Squirrels live in the root of my nose and deposit acorns behind my eyes for the next uncertain winter. I have lent what remains to microorganisms, English ivy, tree-of-heaven, and thistles, and even kudzu is making its way West, having been spotted in Oregon in 2000 (nobody knew where it came from, but it felt right at home).  I am the battleground for the grand experiment: will kudzu take over the Earth or will the sacred tree of Serbian people prevail? Next year I may bloom, be eradicated along with Scotch broom, or be harboring heirloom seeds. I am all soft nature now, a full pillow for dreamless sleeping, but I used to be branded and once had railroad tracks across my body; I bent them with my teeth and wrapped them around myself, like this: click-clack-cluck – I bound myself.

I am a bit obsessed with invasive plant species, especially kudzu. Thistles are a noxious weed in Washington, which means they are supposed to be destroyed wherever they grow. The idea of plants like Scotch broom and wild blackberries taking over the landscape and eradicating native plants really disturbs me. But I hopeful that oaks, salal, and chocolate lilies will prevail.

September 23: herbs

September 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

After letting them sit on the counter for two months, I finally stored the dried herbs from my garden:

lemon balm, lavender, oregano


geraniums, chamomile, lemon balm & mint mix

My favorite thing about working with herbs is how good my hands smell when I am done.

The summer is coming to an end. This is most obvious in our garden. The herb garden today

looks very different from the herb garden in July

but that’s life and the cycle of the seasons. It will be nice to have the dried and stored herbs to smell when the winter blandness sets in.


September 22: Family fall arts calendar

September 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

We like going places as a family, especially to theatres and museums, though in the fall we also like harvest (and such) events. It’s hard to keep track of all these things, so I have been making monthly calendars of events we’d like to attend. Tonight I also cut out information about local attractions (theatres, museums, harvest festivals…) we have not been to yet, since we recently decided to do something we have never done before once a month. So here it is. How is this creative, you may ask? Well, anything that involves scissors and scotch tape or glue is creative in my book.

(note the Halloween-themed cardstock)

That’s it for today, folks. Still waiting to do some Equinox art. Stay tuned.

September 21: Waldo circus

September 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

I just realized that it’s the Fall Equinox and that I should have made something for the occasion, but it’s too late now. Instead, we spent the evening watching You Tube videos, starting with Elvis, and ending with Daft Punk (J. really liked those two, and Johnny Cash too). D. and I thought it was time we gave J. a crash course in the music that shaped our youths. While we were watching the videos, we also put together a punch-out circus featuring Waldo, Wilma, and the Waldo watchers. Waldo is the new obsession in our house, and this was one of those mindless quasi-creative activities that I really enjoy. Too bad that I couldn’t get one single decent picture of the circus while it was standing,

(half-standing; Led Zeppelin in the background)

but here it is after J. decided it was time to knock it all over and call it a day.

OK, so it’s no great art, but it was one of the better family evenings we have had in a while.

September 20: Museum beading

September 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

I have been blogging for two months now! Though there are days when it feels like this is just another thing to do, and I don’t get my creative date with myself until way past my bedtime, it has been a life-enhancing experience. I thought I would run out of ideas for things to make, but so far there has been plenty to do. My family has been involved, my sister says she is proud of me, and I am feeling adventurous and ready to learn new crafts, such as felting. I am now more likely to make our Halloween costumes, as well as holiday cards and gifts and thus be a friend to the environment. Also, without this project, I would probably be spending all my alone time on Facebook and reading Yahoo news about celebrities.
Today was Third Thursday, which means that all (three) Tacoma museums are open late and are free. We have a membership to two out of the three, but always attend anyway because it is a beautiful thing to see so many people at a museum. Today we visited the Art Museum. The featured art activity at their awesome art resource room was making bead bracelets. D. graciously held O. while J. and I did the beading.

As you can see, we were prolific. The best part was that the nearby assisted living facility had an outing to the museum. I always enjoy being around old people, but it was especially heartwarming to see a roomfull of retirees, including an 80+ year-old man, making brightly colored plastic bead bracelets and then wearing them around their wrists.

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