Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Beauty in Simplicity....

To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter...
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~John Burroughs



Monday, March 30, 2009

Illusions

The above is an interesting exercise and thought you might enjoy sharing with friends. Illusions, watch out for them, they lurk in every corner around every turn. Focus on what is important and it is often when we focus that we see the most unexpected.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wabi-Sabi


I am reminded of the simpler aspects of Wabi-Sabi thanks to Kelly (thank you Dear for the reminder). I have always felt that one gets what one needs when one needs it. We as humans are always striving to move forward rather than truly enjoying what is the now and celebrating the destination rather than the journey.

Wabi-Sabi is about celebrating what is and not trying to make something better, it is celebrating the cracked paint, the tattered quilt, the uneven floor boards and in my case, the remnants of an old barn that has suffered many a Minnesota season and even two tornado's. It is about accepting the evolution of things and appreciating the travels of time that the item has endured. Each and every crack and imperfection is a mark of time and not an imperfection.

Here is an indepth article on Wabi-Sabi and enjoy and celebrate your time weathered self, your time weathered home and rejoice in the beauty of imperfection and simplicity.

"A luxurious house and the taste of delicacies are only pleasures of the mundane world," he wrote. "It is enough if the house does not leak and the food keeps hunger away. This is the teaching of the Buddha-the true meaning of chado."

http://nobleharbor.com/tea/chado/WhatIsWabi-Sabi.htm

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Little Piece of my Heart

True love is a sacred flame
That burns eternally,
And none can dim its special glow
Or change its destiny.
True love speaks in tender tones
And hears with gentle ear,
True love gives with open heart
And true love conquers fear.
True love makes no harsh demands
It neither rules nor binds,
And true love holds with gentle hands
The hearts that it entwines.

A very special stone called Eudialite and a very special meaning for those living in todays troubling times. Live on Etsy now.

Eudialite is a variety of Garnet. Eudialite represents profound love. It is strongly regenerative in its healing qualities, stimulating strength and stamina. It allows you to access and integrate truth and provides connection with the higher intellect, initiates charity and compassion. Eudialite treats heart disorders, the liver and pancreas. It assists in absorption of iron in the intestines, stimulates the eyes and strengthens proper functioning of the body cells.

The Progression of a MN Season


It is like a light switch, the day Winter arrives is the first day we get to freezing, the day Spring arrives is the first day of torrential down pours and this year did not disappoint in the least. Sunday night brought wind storms and torrential rains that last well into the morning hours. We were all pretty scared once the lightning started and memories of July 11, 2008 surfaced in all our minds.

Harmony did well though and we told her to count through the lightning strikes by "Mississippi's" and the longer counts brought her peace as she knew the storm was passing. I am very proud of her. I had a few moments where I wanted to hide under the covers myself but we all came through just fine. It will be an interesting storm season here and one that I am not looking forward to.

After one experiences a tornado there are many unexpected events that are part of the fallout. Now that the rains have started we have little protection with the trees gone and we have lakes everywhere on the property (see above). The barn has been a huge issue from freezing water pumps and hand carrying water all Winter for the animals. The newest issue is the run off and now that 3/4 of the barn is gone it is exposed to all the elements.

As I puddle hopped to the barn this morning to feed the horses I felt like a kid again and resisted a couple of urges to just "play". I opened the barn door and was greeted with a good amount of flooding in the aisle way *sigh*. Stalls are nothing more than mud pits and both the horses were not happy at all. So, I guess we will be relegated to leaving the horses out in this muck and mess.
I snapped this cute picture of Jasmine trying to figure out where the dripping sound was coming from. Yes, we called the contractor back out as it appears we have a leak....More fallout...More challenges....More hope....More change.....More growth....More love despite all of it...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Equinox....

I awoke this morning to what sounded like hundreds of birds in the trees and they were all screaming and carrying on. I suddenly realized that we have not had birds here since July 11, 2008 so I jumped up and peeked out the window.....



As I opened my bleary eyes I saw hundreds of birds in the one largest tree left standing on the property. They were all calling and chirping and as quickly as I heard them they all left together in a flight of unison. It was truly spectacular and my heart leapt with joy with the prospect of Spring it's gifts of which are the much missed and beloved birds.

With the arrival of the Equinox, I have prepared my sacred sage, crystals and a special mat. At the rising of the Eastern Sun I will pay homage for all that is new and all that I have to be grateful for. I will hold my sacred objects and pay homage to the four directions, thank the Sun, Wind and Stars. I will feel the cold Earth beneath my feet and I will remain hopeful for all that lies ahead....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fondly

A little bit Victorian and little bit girly and a whole lotta classy. On Etsy now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A little luck to you....


May this day bring you pots of gold and plenty of rainbows!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happiness.....

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Great Thaw.....


What was once a beautiful view (the same view as what you see in the last and second to last)

The day after the tornado and some of our stuff strewn everywhere


March 12th 2009

March 15 2009

It has been a horribly difficult Winter with long stretches that dipped into the depths of absolutely frigid with average hovering around -10 for weeks at a time. If you look at these two images, it is amazing that they are only 3 days apart.

Now we get to move into the period of nothing but mud, mud everywhere! Post tornado has been a challenge with the barn and the melt off has posed many problems that we did not anticipate after deciding to repair the barn. We went out yesterday and had about 3 inches of standing water in the aisle way which means that it would freeze overnight and leading the horses out it would have been a skating rink. So, we laid down about 5 bales of hay to try and keep the water at bay. This morning I went out and the stalls are nothing but mud and mud is not a horses friend as far as their feet and standing in it for long periods. There is a condition that is called Thrush and it is a bacteria that develops in the hoof when a horse stands in mud for long periods and it can be very problematic.

So, I guess I am going to have to leave them out in the field for the next week until things dry out. The challenges seem to never end and as I look at the pictures above I am reminded of the giant trees that once stood there and now all that is left is the decaying bones of what was once a beautiful grove of evergreens.

I try and look beyond all of it and I just can't, it is sad and depressing and I just can't seem to get out of the funk. I want to move away and start over but I also know that there more yet here for us and the time is not now.

So, I will till the land, repair the acres of fencing, plant new seeds and hope that the fondness for this land will return and not be wrought by images of terror and destruction and broken bits of this and that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stepping through...


The past couple of weeks have been spent working on lesson 2 with Anima and have been dedicating 2 hours per day to nature, learning and being. It has been bitter cold the past few days with the range from a blizzard to the near 45 degrees today.

I spent several hours with the horses today and I usually quickly brush them and then say my usual "nite boys and girls" but tonight I stayed and lingered and I learned, there is so much to learn from horses, if we just pay attention. I find that I try and control them but they are actually only looking for a leader and if they do not perceive you as one then they just ignore you. I was actively sought out tonight and what a reward!

Tonight Tess was "telling" me where to brush by moving her head in a certain direction and basically telling me "here, this is the spot". I paused and she would move in my direction, now this is a horse that prizes her food above all else and all of this transpiring while she was eating her grain.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stories of Love, Hope and Peace...


This post is a bit off topic and we had decided to reward folks that had completed one of our cross stitch designs with a free chart.

The stories that we have received with the images are truly miraculous in every way and here is a sampling:

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I have a small story to tell about stitching the StoryKeep..as it was small and portable I took it with me whenever I visited my mother-in-law at the hospital...she was dying of advanced alzheimers disease and even tho she didn't know me or any of her family she always wanted to know what I was doing and wanted to see it...it always brought a smile to her face. At the end she truly was a stranger in a strange land
Many thanks for your kindness...you are dear and wonderful people

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I stitched it for my mother who fell in love with the design. She had a stroke while I was stitching it and the design helped her through her recovery. She followed my progress and my challenge for finishing it and this encouraged her with her challenge of recovery. She worked so hard with physiotherapy etc. I am so proud of her! Snow Family gave her an interest and helped all our family through a very difficult time. Every time I see Snow Family it reminds me that however tough things get if you just move forward one step at a time you can overcome great obstacles.

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This storykeep is quite special to me. The summer I started it, my fiance and I had just graduated college and moved from Nebraska to Colorado. It was a huge move for me - new state, new area, new people. I had been eying the HAED site for about a year, but didn't buy anything as college pretty much sucks up most of a person's free time. When we moved, however, I had much more time on my hands. My fiance finally convinced me to start one of the HAED charts. With my fiance's help, I picked Stephanie's SK Blossoms and Ciro Marchetti's City of Swords as my first charts. I chose the SK because I wanted something small I could finish quickly, but also because these were the first charts that I was going to attempt that didn't come in a kit. I had to figure out fabric size/count/type, buying DMC floss, NEEDLES! I had nothing. So, I joined the BB, asked a ton of questions, looked through just about everything on there, and finally made the trip to buy all I needed for both charts. I liked starting with the SK because it gave me an idea on how HAED designs, the confetti stitching involved, and realized how much I LOVED not having to do specialty stitches! (I still can't make a french knot to save my life ).

Of course, once I started it, my fiance became interested in my progress and how it was looking. Suddenly, the Storykeep became his storykeep, and he has no problem showing people what "Jennifer stitched for him." I think it's the only thing he will ever admit to owning that is made up of so many pinks! However, I can't tell you how happy I am to have found HAED designs. My fiance and I are both into the more fantasy side of things. To have found something for me to stitch and him to say "wow, that looks cool" is amazing. These are things we both want hung up on the wall when I'm done. And I hope to finish many more!!

Well, I'm sure this is a bit long-winded, but in short I really do love these designs. Stitching them gives me peace of mind when things get stressful. I cannot write, but I love reading other's works. I cannot compose music, but I love playing it on my violin. I cannot draw but I love stitching artist's amazing work. I revel in creativity and imagination, and HAED designs capture all of that. Thank-you!!

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I have bought the Figurine of the Gatekeeper also.

Again the loneliness of the design grabbed me. She is alone with her thoughts Together with the most beautiful flowers of the world.

Exceptional.

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I absolutely adored doing Toadstool Towers. I especially loved doing the first bottom quarter. I remember doing each 10x10 row across and seeing things just starting to come through with each row. I remember my first joy of seeing the purple flower come to life and the path with its cobblestones, it was so magical and when I was stitching the door I really felt like I wanted to be a fairy and live in this most enchanted home, in fact I still look at the finished piece now and want to live in it LOL!
I'm still very proud of myself for completing this wonderful chart and I do miss stitching it. It now hangs very proudly next to my bed and I'm forever drooling over it and probably will for the rest of my life.

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This lovely draggie I stitched lovingly for my mum for her birthday a couple of years ago. I had to stitch it in secret, as I live with her, and so I did about 100 stitches a day. I started it in the January and it took me 76 days to complete. Her birthday is in July so I had plenty of time to stitch it and get it framed. I loved stitching this piece, the blues and greens were so gorgeous and I really loved watching it come to life. There were times as I was stitching it that I really wanted to show mum but I had to be strong and not show her, but at least I could show the rest of my family and the haed family too. It was well worth the wait as she adores her dragon and she has named it Jewels. It now hangs above her chair in our lounge. Also Lisa Victoria herself emailed me after I completed Dragon Dreaming and was very impressed and pleased with it and told me I could choose a print of my choice from her website. I was absolutely amazed and over the moon with her generosity and I chose the print Violets Garden, so each time I look at it, it reminds me of my time stitching QS Dragon Dreaming.
This piece was actually my first haed finish but again it was something that I couldn't share with my mum until her birthday, but it was certainly worth the wait.

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I love Jessica's artwork and when I saw this design already completed on the haed forum, I just had to stitch her as well. I love the dusky pinks in this design and the leaves in her hair. But there's something about Titania that draws me in. I feel that she's looking right at and through me and in a way haunts me, but in a nice way. She even reminds me of myself (maybe in a former life). But to me she very strongly reminds me of one of my favourite books 'The Mists of Avalon' by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and to me she's not Titania by Morgaine, or otherwise known as Morgan le Fey. She now is on my bedroom wall right under Toadstool Towers and next to my bed. She took me 39 days to complete and was my 2nd haed finish

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I love this pretty fairy. She's so dainty and so feminine and was such a joy to stitch. I adored watching the flowers come through and her pretty face come to life. I plan to have her on my wall next to QS Shimmer by Selina Fenech when I finish it. I still haven't had Belle framed yet, but hopefully I will this year. She took me 47 days to stitch. I have a stitching diary so each day I write down what I've stitched so that I know how long pieces have taken me to do.
There's not so much of a story with this piece, but that doesn't mean that she isn't as loved, as she certainly is. She was my 3rd haed to complete.

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This was the first piece of cross stitch I've ever done on hand dyed fabric and it was lovely, and I will certainly do more. With this chart I decided that I would omit the background myself as the dark outlines were very easy to see, and I did it as I went along, and was very easy to work out. The fabric really complements the artwork and I am still very pleased with the result. Even the frame I painted myself, along with the mount and I've framed her myself. The butterflies I didn't really enjoy doing as there was so much confetti stitching, but the result I love, so it was worth the effort. With her dress there was some metallic thread which I decided to change to dmc light effects using a purple thread instead of white, and again I am still really pleased with the outcome. I enjoyed stitching her dress and wings as there was quick a lot of bulky bits in the same colour, making her very quick to stitch and in the end she took me only 25 days to complete and is my 4th haed finish.
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A huge thanks again for your wonderful generosity. I really loved going back and telling my stories about my cross stitch, it brought back such lovely memories in the telling.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Will it ever be warm again?



I am really starting to think that Winter will be perpetual and someone switched the switch to point to an Arctic Event that equates to the Ice Age of 2009.

I snapped this mere seconds ago as I quickly let out my beloved Tasha (who lays right next to my desk) to go potty. Here is a pic of her after coming in, the poor thing.

AND when the dog's away the cat will....




Nasty, Icky and COLD!!!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Rose is a Rose.....


I just finished this piece and I have to say that I LOVE it!!!! The stone is set in a sterling silver handmade bezel setting and then drops of silver were added. I then added a textured chain and two sections of sterling silver roses to accent.

This piece absolutely is glorious on and is of a substantial feeling without being heavy. This is my ode to lots of roses this Summer, available on Etsy now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pretty in Red?



I have been a tad vacant from designing jewelry in lieu of completing the finishing touches on this piece. Of course this is the other half of my brain and is a cross stitch chart and I am so pleased with the outcome I had to share it here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Don't cry ....



I am certainly living this now and could not be happier!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Purple=Choirite


Choirite has always been a favorite stone and this particular cabochon is a rich deep royal purple! I think I have developed a "style" with the sterling balls as I can't seem to make anything without adorning it with these little fun balls.

The band on this one is an ornate floral design that I oxidized to bring out the details. Here's to all you purple lovers and I indeed at least know one (yes, you JM)! Available on Etsy now.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Changes Challenges and Choices


It seems that everyone I know has been going through their own sorts of drama and major life changing shifts are amidst for everyone, it is the medicine that we need to survive the remainder of the days ahead.

While it is difficult to see beyond the temporary pain that these changes cause they are often what we need the most and are always perfect timing. Several people very dear to me have been confronted by people that are causing them strife and I have given out the advice of "act like a duck" and let it roll off their backs rather than allowing it to affect who they are. Once we are changed by a situation it is difficult to turn around and put it behind us.

Our souls need cleansing and wake up calls and we always get what we need when we need it but sometimes it takes a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Here is my spoonful of sugar for everyone being challenged at the moment.

Remember:

Life is too short for drama & petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly