Wednesday, September 5, 2012

popsicle sticks

If you are ever at a craft store and see popsicle sticks on sale, buy them. Today, I found a bag of Popsicle sticks in a craft bin. I forgot I bought them last year. I have only ever really used them for waxing my eye brows. (Why do they only give you one stick in a container of wax? It makes no sense. Do you wash the stick? Hence an entire 2.99 bag of sticks.) A bunch of little girls and Thor were here, and I was pulling out craft bins, thinking about things I can make with little wooden sticks, besides a miniature Eiffel Tower.

First, I decided to make some Ojos de Dios, or Eyes of GOD! Apparently, they are a craft from the Huicol Tribe of Mexico. I just found that from the astounding powers of Google. They also symbolize the power of seeing and understanding unknown things. To me, they looked like they symbolize the four elements, and the four points on a compass, and they just looked cool, so I glued two popsicle sticks together, then started with an ombre yarn. Basically, you cross the yarn over two side (the 90 degree angle), then go under and over to the next 90 degree angle, then under and over to the next side, etc. etc. etc. It is very easy and they look cool, even if my photography is terrible. Bea made the one of the top left, then we made the red one together, then I made the rest for her and her friends, and then none of them wanted them. I liked the feathers, Bea added them for extra Eye of God mojo. Then she made those two feathered magic wands with yarn, popsicle sticks, glue, feathers and MAGIC!

This is what the back looks like, which looks cool too.

Then, Bea asked me to draw her some animals, and then cut them out, and as I was doing it, I was thinking that popsicle sticks would also become useful for the cut out animals. She colored them all.

We made puppets. The one of the right is named Beatrice. The cat is called Stripe. And the little boy stealing fruit is named Thor, not really, but for this exercise, he is named Thor.

She told me the story of Beatrice and Stripe, and I showed her another way to use her puppets--SHADOW PUPPETS! Flashlight and kids = Hours of Fun! We initially did this in the bathtub. It was awesome. The three of us fully clothed in the bathtub with a flashlight and popsicle stick people.

I think I have other stuff, but I cannot remember. I have been lax on my posting on this blog, so I just have to cut the crafts from all summer and start from here. This summer I have been studying a lot about crystals and metaphysics, so I'm not sure I am going to share that stuff on here, or the cool Magical Sabbatical I am on. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

a dolly for beezus

Beezus has been asking me to make her a rag doll for as long as I can remember, but with my sub par sewing skills and lack of enthusiasm for learning, that didn't really seem like it was going to happen. But finally, on Friday, she wore me down. And I started a little project. She picked this out of a book she received from Danielle called Sewing with Children, though Bea didn't really help, and I didn't do anything close to the pattern, but it gave me a quick pattern for how to make each part.

Anyway, I didn't photograph along the way, but I do have some after shots with my girl.

She had named the rag doll Violet and has been carrying her around incessantly. She claims Violet helped her stay in bed last night. Thank you, Violet.

The trickiest part for me was figuring out all the little quirks of doll making, like how to put on hair, and hide embroidery floss knots since I put the face on after she was sewn together and stuffed. (Next time, all those things clearly should happen before stuffing takes place. Also the body/head section was basically one piece a rectangle with one curved side, then I gathered the neck after she was stuffed. Not exactly the most graceful way to do it, I realize now.

Bea also wanted a new dress for her, and that was a challenge since I really have never made a dress before, so I let her pick out a fat quarter from the fabric store and made this little dress, which was easy. Now, I am going to try to make one of these.

The thing Beezus loves most about her is that she is tall and looks like she could really be her daughter, which is exactly her words.  She is kind of cute. I had to restrain from making a wee little smile on her, so she wouldn't look like the Dolly for Sue from the Island of Misfit Toys. (Incidentally, did you know her misfitness is caused by psychological problems caused by fear of abandonment and grief?) Watching that again, though, is making me think I need to dye her cheeks red. That is so cute.


Friday, August 24, 2012

some recent work.

This poor neglected blog...I wish I had more time to take pictures and post about the artwork and creations I am making in my little art studio. At the end of July, I painted thirty-five mizuko jizos for grieving women, and mailed them out all through the world. It felt incredible to do this again for International Kindness Day Project for the MISS Foundation. I made some videos about my work, but I also did a how-to on how I paint them. I wanted to post it somewhere, but ended up skipping it. Maybe one day I will show it, because people think I am crazy to do 35 paintings in one day.


Anyway, here is a mix of the work I have done in the last month.

 The Virgin of Guadalupe, watercolor, 9"x12" on 140 lb. cold-pressed paper.

I recently had a reading by a woman who channels ascended masters and angel. Archangel Gabriel came through for me, which was amazing, and then my spirit guide, Lord Lanto, the ascended master. I had had another experience hearing his name, so this was not a surprise. But I was still humbled and honored to hear this from her. She channeled him and I was blown away by what he said. Things she couldn't know...things he clearly has guided into my life experience. For example, he told me that he comes to me in the form of mourning doves, which if you have read my work, you know I have written about hearing the mourning doves before writing. After the channel left, I googled my spirit guide, which is probably the most American thing in the world to do. I know people are probably cynical about this sort of thing, but what can I say? I am who I am. Lanto is a bodhisattva. Drawn to Eastern religions and philosophy, I absolutely resonated with his approach to life and spirit. I absolutely know why he is why I have been so drawn to painting bodhisattvas for grieving women. One evening, I was meditating and felt this absolutely overtaking urge to paint him, and the little mizuko jizos popped up behind him. I love this piece and it is going to be an inspiration piece in my studio to help guide my work. I have such strong love for Lanto, as my guide, mentor, and artistic and spiritual cheerleader. So grateful to have made his acquaintance.

I have a few meditating and yogi mamas in my shop for sale. You can check out some of the other work I have done there. Looking forward to autumn and setting up our Mabon altar and doing fall crafts and fun things...this summer has been go go go. and melt. melt. melt.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

tea bag holder

The other day, Beezus and I went out to this little tea shop near our house for an impromptu tea party. This place also has little gifts, and I saw this fabric tea bag holder for your purse. It just screamed the perfect thank you gift for a friend who was present for me when I had my miscarriage. I also always "borrow" tea off of her. I go to a great deal of meetings where only coffee is served, but they'll give you some hot water, if you bring your own tea. And I kept thinking about it. Not wanting to spend the fifteen bucks for the fabric one from the tea shop, but also it became the "perfect" gift for Marie. Google and a sewing forum later, I found a description of how to put one together and thought I would share it here.

Not sure what a tea bag holder is? Here is a finished product:

Okay. Take a piece of elastic, or binding. Or 1" x 9" strip. You are basically folding in the edges to create a nice seam, and sewing it to be about 1/4" thick. This is going to be your button loop. I do think elastic would be good for this part, but I just didn't have any.

Start with a piece of fabric 20" x 16"

Fold the long side (20" side) together. Good side in. Then press it.

You then sew the side opposite the fold together. 1/4" seam.

Move the seam to the middle and then press it.

Sew one of the smaller unsewn edges together. 1/4" seam.

Fold the opposing edges in about a 1/4" But leave unsewn. You will finish that later. Now, turn it right side around and press it.

Take the sewn edge, and fold it 2 1/2" in and pin it.

Sew the fold with a 1/4" seam.

Now take the opposite side and fold it 5" up.

 Then fold it back 2 1/2". Pin that bad boy.

Take your loop and tuck it into the unfinished seam. (the one you tucked in.) Pin it. Sew a 1/4" seam. The first time I did this, I broke a needle, so make sure it is not too thick.

Now sew 1/4" seams at the side edges. (The two sides perpendicular to the loop.)

Now you are going to make the pockets for the tea bags by measuring in 3 1/4" from each side. Sew the line straight down the project, though, because this is also going to create your folds. This project is tri-folded.

Press the heck out of it. And fold it and press it. You fold in each side, then in half once. Do that and measure based on your loops where the button will be sewn. Hand sew this, making sure not to sew the outer pocket to the inner one.

Fill it with your favorite teas, and artificial sweetener, if you use such a thing. I don't. But I think my friend does.

Then fold it into a pouch and throw it into your purse. Eh, voila!

Hope this was clear. Happy to answer any questions in the comment section.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Part of the reason I haven't been posting or writing here is that in early May, I had a miscarriage at twelve weeks. It was a very physical process and I was not up for doing much. But one weekend, while I was still bleeding and sad, I decided to finally do something about this stupid wall in my backyard.

That is my garage. Behind that wall is my husband's workshop. He is a woodworker for fun, and he creates amazing things in there. Actually, part of the reason I wanted to work on that wall was because he was building this.

From scratch. It has a tin roof, and is going to have some swings eventually. We moved our big comfty wicker chairs out there with the fire pit and it is so cozy, but that wall...egads.

So, I designed a mosaic. I have never made a mosaic on a wall before, mind you, but I wanted a project. I laid out some glass I had from our stepping stone projects ( I cannot remember if I posted about those last year. Perhaps on SLWC.) I bought some extra glass. This is what it looked like laid out:
I wanted to incorporate water, earth, sun, and air. 

Here is how it developed on the wall all day.

Found that picture. Glad I broke down and moved the bench out to the garden. My back was aching.

This is the temporary final. I ran out of green and blue and besides this is nine hours of work. I plan on expanding it to the entire wall, but for now, the four elements and healing through art. Whenever I bury myself in artwork, I feel better. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

sun catcher

I bought kite paper a while ago. And by a while ago, I mean three years ago. I still have the one book I bought. It lasts a hella long time for our family, and incredibly useful. Think tissue paper that isn't able to be poked through. Right? That's awesome.

So for summer vacation, we created some kite sun catchers for the windows.

There is no special trick for these. I think they are self-explanatory.

You take two pieces of card stock, or one piece folded in half, depending on the size of whatever you are making.

We made some kites before summer vacation. So, we drew a diamond, cut out the middle. Then we glued kite paper in differing cuts and shapes to the inside of the bottom sheet. (Think of it as opening a hotdog bun. Flip the top over next to the bottom sheet. We put glue stick on the bottom black paper. You can use any adhesive--scrapbook tape, modge podge, whatevs. Using glue on the kite paper where the sun will shine through will also make the glue shine through, just a little FYI.

Then you put glue on the top flipped over piece of card stock, flip it back over and place it on top of the bottom sheet. For these kites, I also cut some ribbon for the tail.

For summer solstice, we decided to create a sun and moon combination. This is it's temporary home.

I do think these suncatchers look cooler in person. *sigh*

Monday, June 25, 2012

picture pages

I've been totally MIA on this blog. I'm so sorry. I've been crafting, arting and doing all kinds of luxurious things, but just not blogging about it. One change is that I have set up an Etsy site again that is strictly my artwork. It is called angie y. studios. I will be expanding the work in there, but for now there are some mizuko jizo, some meditating mamas, some of my element and labyrinth prints and even a tarot reading. (I love giving readings! Tell me if it is too expensive.) I realize the common theme of my artwork is the sacred and grasping for the Divine. So, hopefully, that is coming through the artwork. If there is anything you want to see for sale, or think should be for sale, in there, let me know. I have many many greeting cards for sale in there, because I find them incredibly useful. But I think they might be too expensive? I don't know. It is hard to know what to charge. The blank cards cost me 1.50/card. I am also wondering if anyone is interested in an ATC swap. Not sure the theme, but sure would be cool.

ANYWAY, summer is here. Beezus' last day of pre-k was on the 15th. YAY, SCHOOL'S OUT!

I love having Beezus home. Lazy days of artwork and swimming. Popsicles and bathing suits all day long. My mother-in-law has been visiting, so everything has been slightly off schedule. Not in a bad way, just that we aren't in those long dog days of summer yet. We have been going out most days. We had a mini-heat wave last week, which kept us inside. We colored a lot. I love crayons and coloring. I have the tendency to shy away from coloring books, as a rule. I think a blank sheet of paper is a wonderful thing. But answering the questions, "What should I draw, Mama?" all coloring time is annoying too. So, I have a few coloring books. My favorite one, by far, is Taro Gomi's Doodle All Year. In fact, this year, I decided I was going to buy myself one and one for Beezus, so we each have a book to color. And we can color the same thing.

As I was thinking about this future buying spree, I thought about how much Bea loves for me to draw her pictures to color. So, I drew some and she colored them.

I draw pictures of her brother and Bea. Beezus swinging. Beezus baking. Anything they do, I draw. With crayon. On white paper. Then hand it off, and they color them. At Lakeshore, they sell little blank books. I bought a few for Beezus, because she is really into writing books right now. I think they are 1.59 a piece, or something like that. I grabbed one last week and made a coloring book.

None of these pictures are perfect. I made a ton of mistakes drawing, but Beezus LOVED it, because it is all about her. There are something like sixteen spreads. I drew scenes from our life, things they love to do, from summer to autumn to winter.

I basically drew these while the kids were coloring. It took me a week to make the book. Obviously, I wasn't dedicating time to it. Just doing it to color with the kids. Now they have their own coloring book. As you can see, Beezus started coloring it immediately, before I took pictures. The picture pages are great too, because you can do one-offs, copy them, and pull them out anytime you need a coloring page. Kids love to color the same picture over and over again. Or you can draw them as they are coloring and ask them to invent scenes with you. That is how the cupcake one came to be.

I like Beezus' choice to make her and her brother yellow, eating green cupcakes. Yuck.

Hope this gave you some ideas. Many of my drawings are terrible, but my children just love them. Remember that. And all of my drawings are simply fatter stick drawings. Remember that too.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

dream catcher

Quite a long time ago now, I mentioned that we made a dream catcher for Beezus. I'm not the kind of person who ever owned a dream catcher. It's not that there is anything wrong with them, but there are certain Native American objects that new age people, I guess I include myself in that category, co-opted as part of their spirituality. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with that. I am a pluralist, and I believe that bringing in many spiritual practices is part of what makes American religion unique, and what works for our family. But I suppose the idea that people played at being Native American by hanging a dream catcher on a rearview mirror made me uncomfortable for a long time. Granted, I also lived in Arizona, which seems to be the place where dream catchers, turquoise, Kokopelli, and El Caminos go to die. And people come to dress up like cowboys and Indians. It is a strange place indeed.

At any rate, when Beezus began having nightmares and ending up in our bed a few months ago, I felt stumped on how to comfort her. Holding her all night was incredibly beautiful the first night. My baby still needs me. And I can give this to her. After that night, perhaps after a week, my numb arm, and bruised thighs needed a break. She needed a break. We both needed our sleep. I was plagued with nightmares and insomnia as a child. Being awake and afraid many nights is a terrible way to grow up. And I can only hold my children so long, they need to soothe themselves, and find their own path of turning their fears over to God, or the universe, or the angels, or the fairies, or whoever and whatever gives them comfort.

I did a little research for a ritual to help her manage her nightmares. I explain, which I always explain, how important sleep is to our health, how vital it is for our body to have its own space to rejuvenate. When I thought  about a dream catcher, I had to stop and wonder if this is reappropriating a Native ritual for something exploitative, but I came to a place of peace. This gift of the Lakota and Ojibwe people is this sacred object. We can use it to pretend we are Lakota, which we are not going to do, or we can use it for its intended purpose--to protect our sleeping children from nightmares. We treat it with deference as a sacred object.

The Ojibwe believed that the dreamcatchers filtered out the bad dreams, allowing only good dreams in through the hole, and slide down the feather into the child's dream. The bad dreams would evaporate in the light of the next day. Another way to see it is that the bad dreams drift up and through the hole, and the net keeps the good dreams around the child. Either way, it is supposed to allow only good dreams.

I made this object from simple instructions on the internet. There are a ton of places to find how-tos. I can't quite remember where I got the one I used. First thing we did was buy an embroidery hoop. Traditionally, dream catchers are made out of willow. The intention is for them to wither as the child grows and outgrows their need for a nightmare catcher. But I thought Beezus might like one that is pink. We also bought some pink, brown and white yarn for the web. The Chippewa think you should use red yarn. My photographs suck, I'm sorry.

To tie the yarn onto the hoop, and begin weaving.

You really need to cut a length of yarn, because you cannot weave your dream catcher with the ball. It is too big. So, first you tie, then you basically go under the hoop, over the top, and through the yarn hoop you just created. Leave some slack, but not too much. Try to leave an even amount of slack in each yarn hoop. Do this all the way around the hoop, when you get back to center, link to the first row.

Then you continue until you have gotten to the center. I used the last string to hang the feather, so it would have some weight. I haven't decided if that works or not.

We cut some other lengths of string to tie beads, and a feather on it. We told the story of the dream catcher to Beezus. We also made a dream pillow with lavender and rosemary.

Anyway, here is the final dream catcher. It hangs above her bed. Beatrice claims it helps her catch her bad dreams. Now, she just comes into bed in the middle of the night because she likes to be with everyone else, she says.