Forgiveness

As stated by a friend, Michelle Belanger:

Forgiveness

We don’t forgive the fire for burning us. We learn to keep our hands away. #WednesdayWisdom

Fallen Angels of Death, LE*

Some of you may know me as one of the artists at ConVocation in Detroit as “the one who makes the death angels” or goth angels or creepy angels or whatever you may call them. I call them Angels of Death. Those of you who may follow me on Facebook may also recall the tragedy that occurred last fall in the Studio. I had some angels in the works who fell. Fell!

broken angels

Poor things! Some had chips in their wings as well but every one of them toppled off the desk, onto the cement floor and broke. It was a sad day as you can see some paint work had already begun. All I could see was time, effort and a little money tossed in the trash. But I didn’t toss them in the trash. I set them aside until I could look at them again.

I got a lot of ideas from friends as to what to do with these poor darlings and in the end, I did find a solution. I think it was a brilliant solution.

I took a lesson from Kintsugi. For those you unaware (or unaware that’s what this is called), Kintsugi is the Japanese tradition of repairing broken ceramics – like a broken vase – with a special lacquer mixed with gold. It is also known as the “art of broken pieces”. By securing the broken ceramics together with a vein of gold, it not only makes the piece whole again, it fuses a piece of its history into the ceramic rather than trying to disguise any mishaps that may have befallen it.

This is what I did with my Angels of Death that are now Fallen Angels of Death, LE*. Only rather than gold, I mixed in some copper dust. Copper is a metal element that is not only a great conductor of energies (electricity and heat) but is also related to the planet (and goddess) Venus.  It holds so many meanings from so many different and even esoteric schools of thought and magic that I don’t even want to delve into them here. Look into it and see what your belief system says about copper. I find the study of alchemy’s thoughts on copper interesting.

This is the end result of those Fallen Angels of Death that will be available for purchase ($10) during ConVocation 2018,  on the dates February 22-25, in the DoubleTree Hilton in Dearborn, Michigan and only in the Art Show. They are hanging angels so when you bring them home they will permanently be in a state of being airborne.

Picture of hanging angels of death

*Limited Edition: because I hope to never have such a tragedy happen again but if I do, it will be a different set of angels because I have no more of these!

Migraines & Meditation

I’m trying to continue writing whatever meditative style ruminations may filter through my mind. I try to release them on Mondays thereby the sections entitled “Meditation Monday”. However, meditation and migraines don’t mix. It is not pleasant and difficult to achieve. kudos to you if you have been able to do so. I don’t believe you’re having a real migraine if you say you can. I’m a skeptic like that. Unless it is an ocular migraine and then those are just really weird but not necessarily painful. I also know an awful lot of people who confuse migraines with really bad headaches.

They are not really bad headaches.

Repeat: NOT really bad headaches.

So even though it is now Tuesday, I am feeling better after a bout of something last week and the culminating migraine from Sunday that carried into Monday, I am back and feeling better. So I thought I’d blog for a moment because I am trying to make this a habit. Whether or not it is a good habit is anyone’s guess.

And I didn’t meditate or ruminate about anything yesterday because it was physically and mentally impossible to do so. It was all I could do to actually accomplish the things I did: some light housework, a shower, dental check-up appointment, errands ran that I didn’t get done last week, and grocery shopping. Exciting, huh?

And today it’s life back to normal. Or abnormal but mostly mundanely almost insanely normal.

Unless you don’t consider starting off your day with tarot readings as normal but that’s your problem, not mine. 😀

Finding Balance

picture of unbalanced stones

Balance. Woke. Enlightenment. Becoming One.

These are all part of a current (last few decades or more but within the last century) movement of people working towards becoming what they feel is a better person. You can do all the yoga, meditation retreats, and vegan/paleo/raw eating that your pocketbook can handle but you still feel empty and unsatisfied. Not happy. Let me tell you something – not a single person is 100% jumping for joy cheerful 100% of the time. That is not representative of truth or happiness. In fact, people who appear to be happy all the time experience other emotions such as anger, resentment, sadness, etc. They just process these feelings in a different way or they find meaning in situations different than others. They are not immune to the stress of everyday life – they have just found some secret to balancing it all. Or they are well on their way to leading that perfect life of balance.

Remember those little ways I told you to be able to find a moment to meditate? I’ll bet those happy people have already implemented such a secret into their routines long ago. Finding balance for your life can be as simple as implementing small changes such as that over a period of time. And we’re not just talking about a balanced diet here, either.

I think one of the misconceptions people hold when they think of finding balance in their life is that they believe there needs to be an equal amount of time spent in each area of work, home, and social commitments. This is not only untrue but virtually impossible for the average person to accomplish. It also still won’t find you the balance you seek if you merely focus on the external things in life and not the internal things as well. Yup, you find that balance within and it will spread to affect those areas outside your mind and body. It also isn’t a one and done sort of fix. finding and keeping balance is a life-long journey. It is constantly changing because life is constantly changing especially when it has fun throwing obstacles in your path when you least expect it.

How you weather through the storms of change through the hurricanes and the calm seas is the foundation of that inner balance we all seek. Work, spouse, children, siblings, parents, friends, bills, studies, and everything else that touches our lives are constantly vying for attention. You need to find for yourself a way to be able to find a moment or two for yourself. Every day if possible. Find that moment and just breathe. Calm, ground, breathe.

Now for all that external stuff? How do you find balance in that? That is more difficult because it is different for every single person. No two people have the exact same pressures on them at any point in their life. There may be similarities but they are not the same. These outside pressures are also always in a mode of change. A young parent of a young child is going to have different priorities than an older parent of a young child or an adult with no children at all (regardless of that adult’s age).There are numerous lifestyles and situations I can think of, numerous I have been in and numerous more I’m sure you can come up with including examples from your own life. However, there is one thing every person’s life has in common to be able to find balance. The important thing, and sometimes a difficult thing, is to prioritize the wants, needs, and desires. The dream journal discussed last week can help as a guide with that.

You can set small daily goals of things to accomplish and build it up to larger and lengthier things you want to accomplish. This doesn’t just mean getting to the bottom of the laundry basket but it can also include adding some time to learn a new skill, specifically set aside some socializing time or quiet time or family time. These times should be more relaxed and fun rather than high-stress. You get enough stress from the deadline at work, the cranky co-worker, the teenager whose grades are slipping, the baby who is colicky, and the dog that just won’t listen when you’re trying to house-train it regardless of how many obedience classes you attend and how many episodes of the Dog Whisperer you watch. WOW! No wonder you feel unbalanced! With all that going on you need to find that moment to breathe. Calm. Breathe. I promise you, it’s there.

Something that you may not realize or even consider but it bears telling – you can’t do it all all of the time. I know you want to believe you’re some superhero but there are others around you. Others who can and are willing to help especially at those times you are feeling overwhelmed. Reach out. Ask for help. That help will give you a moment to breathe. That breath will help you to feel more in balance. That balance will put you in a position to help another. You can do this but you don’t necessarily have to do it alone. Even if you feel alone I promise you that you are not.

Did you learn to ride a bike without training wheels? If so, good for you but many people who have learned to ride a bike learn to do so with those training wheels firmly in place. What do those training wheels do? They help you to learn balance. Keep those training wheels in place while you ride out the storms and maybe they will one day wear out and fall off. Maybe not, but you might realize that you’re not relying on them as much as before.

picture of stones in perfect balance

Typical Teddy Part 2

This took a bit but I promise it was worth the wait – here is the second half (and the bigger half) of the teddy bear instructions! It was slightly delayed due to life – that stinking life sure likes to get in the way at the worst possible times, doesn’t it?

Here’s also a little reminder of the items I used to create this teddy and an updated list of the stitches used in this pattern. I do hope you enjoy making a lovable teddy for yourself or someone else! If you have any questions or problems with the pattern, please do not hesitate to ask!

Items needed:
Bernat blanket yarn – 2 colors: Mink (Main Color/MC) and Almond (Coordinating Color/CC)
Scrap yarn for embroidering nose and mouth (I used Caron Simply Soft in Chocolate.)
2 safety eyes (14mm)
Size I-9 hook (5.5mm)
Stuffing fiber
Stitch markers
Yarn needle
Scissors

Stitches – US terminology:
St – stitch
Slst – slip stitch
Yo – yarn over
FO – finish off
Ch – chain
Sc – single crochet
Hdc – half double crochet
Dc – double crochet
BLO – back loop only
Inc – increase: 2sc in one stitch
Dec – decrease stitch/invisible decrease: insert hook into front loops only of next 2 stitches, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, yo, pull through final 2 loops on hook. Counts as 1 sc.
Sctog – single crochet 2 together: Insert hook in first stitch (st). Yarn over (YO), draw up a loop (lp), 2 lps on hook. Insert hook in next st, YO, draw up a lp. 3 lps on hook. YO, draw yarn through all three lps on hook.
LDCtog – linked double crochet together (all in the same stitch hole): THIS is a really good explanation on how to do this!
*directions*_x – follow the stitch directions within the asterisks by the number of times (_x)

Head (using MC):
1. Magic ring with 8 sc; pull tight.head base
2. Inc around. (16 sc)
3. *sc; inc* around. (24 sc)
4. *2 sc; inc* around. (32 sc)
5. Sc; *inc; 3 sc* 7x; inc; 2 sc. (40 sc)
6. *4 sc; inc* around. (48 sc)
7. 2 sc; *inc; 5 sc* 7x; inc; 3 sc. (56 sc)
8. -10. Sc around. (56 sc)
11. *5 sc; dec* around. (48 sc)
12. Sc; *dec; 4 sc* 7x; dec; 3 sc. (40 sc)
13. *3 sc; dec* around. (32 sc)
14. Sc; *dec; 2 sc* 7x; dec; sc. (24 sc)
Stuff head. Continue adding bits of stuffing after next rounds if needed to keep the head shape.
15. *sc; dec* around. (16 sc)
16. Dec around. (8 sc)
FO leaving a long tail. Use tail to catch up loops from last round and pull tight to close the hole. Secure firmly and tuck tail inside the head to remove it from view. Your head should appear like a slightly flattened ball shape.

Face (using CC):teddy face
1. Magic ring with 8 sc. Pull tight.
2. Inc around. (16 sc)
3. *sc; inc* around. (24 sc)
4. Sc; *inc; 2 sc* 7x; inc; sc. (32 sc)
5. *3 sc; inc* around. (40 sc)
6. *4 sc; inc* 3x; 2 sc; 2 hdc; 3 LDCtog; hdc; 6 sc; hdc; 3 LDCtog; 2 hdc; 2 sc; inc; 4 sc; inc; sc.
Slst and FO leaving a really long tail to attach the face to the head.
Place safety eyes at the base of each 3LDCtog. Embroider on a nose and any other facial details. You can even do eyelashes for a girly teddy! Give your teddy character!

teddy head parts

Now it’s time to make your teddy’s head by sewing together the components of ears, face and head base. Simply place the face on the flatter side of the head base and then stitch into place going all the way around the face and securing it well to the head base. Next, hold the ears up to the head in different areas until you find where you like the placement. I placed mine so the center of the ear was diagonally aligned to the eye on each respective side.

teddy head

Body (using MC):
Continuing from the Legs instructions:
17. Sctog connecting the legs with this st by using the first half of the stitch on one leg and the second half of the stitch on the other leg so that upon completion of the stitch the two legs are joined together at this point. This will now be the starting point for each round.
18. Starting in next st, 22 sc; sctog; 22sc
19. *inc; 22sc* repreat. (48 sc)
20. 11 sc; inc; 3 sc; inc; 14 sc; inc; 3 sc; inc; 11 sc.teddy tail
21. *inc; 24sc* repeat.
22. *12 sc; inc; 6sc; inc* repeat; 12 sc. (56 sc)
23. Inc; 9sc; inc; *17 sc; inc* repeat; 9sc. (60 sc)
24. -25. Sc around. (60 sc)
26. *dec; 8sc* 6x. (54 sc)
27. Sc around. (54 sc)
28. *dec; 7sc* 6x. (48 sc)
29. 3sc *dec; 6sc* 5x; dec; 3sc. (42 sc)
30. *dec; 5sc* 6x. (36 sc)
31. Sc around. (36 sc)
Stitch tail into place and then begin to stuff body. Make sure stuffing is firm but not bulging the feet and the belly area is as firm or squishable as you want it. I usually go for a squishable belly. Continue adding stuffing as you crochet more making sure there’s a good amount in the neck area to help eliminate making the head too floppy.
32. *dec; 4sc* 6x. (30 sc)
33. Sc; dec *3sc; dec* 5x; 2sc. (24 sc)
34. Sc around. (24 sc)
35. *dec; 2sc* 6x. (18 sc)
FO leaving a very long tail. Attach arms to the body then sew head onto the body using the long tail you just created from round 35.

Ta-da! Teddy complete!

teddy completed