lately

I haven’t written in a while, but I’ve been crafting day and night (literally, I knit in the subway in the morning and I chip away every night at this massive crochet project as soon as I get home), and have made so many things, that I can’t show you because they’re Christmas gifts! But I promise there will be an extensive Christmas crafting post after the holidays!

I do want to share with you this found object artwork I made in a caring for self workshop last weekend (if you can travel to the Toronto area and are interested in workshops that explore the therapeutic qualities of creativity and art-making, do check out Petrea’s website and workshop offerings, some free projects there too!). I’ve always loved found object art. This one is — pearls of wisdom rising out of moss, with a monument of past battles that shape this ground, bathing in moonlight. Kind of in the same line as my last post about moss.

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And this is an exercise about intention. We think about an intention that we bring to our work, and while thinking about or meditating on that intention, we choose different yarn and things to wrap around the twig. There’s a marble in the space where the twig branches out, to represent clarity.

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There are also other neat things I learned from the workshop, like drawing mandalas, which I’m trying to practice at work as a way to take breaks. Trying is the word :S But I’ll share the drawings when I have a few more. 

In other news, I attempted to carve a jelly fish out of an eraser. I’ve never tried this before and I think it turned out not so bad! It’s part of a holiday project, which will be revealed at holiday times! :D

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Happy weekend everyone!

 

keep calm and carry moss

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I bought these beautiful vintage shadow box pendants from Etsy shop youarenotthebossofme to put moss in :D It turned out beautifully, I’m so pleased. Looks like there are a few more of these pendants for sale, pop by the shop if you’re interested in making something similar! I bought the moss from the model-making section of my local art store. Or one could put in small stones or yarn or tiny shells or whatever one finds meaningful to carry around.

I’ve always felt more connected to water-related analogies — like the river, or the sea, going with the flow, fill the gaps, like what Bruce Lee said,

You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

One can’t make a dent in water, it can’t be hurt. 

But I’ve been feeling drawn to moss lately. Grounded and tenacious. It can be pulled out of the ground and be damaged, but it comes back again, reaching and covering even further grounds. Its roots spread wider than eyes can see. It re-emerges always after winter frosts.

So maybe it’s about acknowledging the hurt rather than saying to myself that things don’t or shouldn’t hurt. And maybe it’s about standing my ground rather than filling whatever gaps or needs others put before me, trying to be everything to everyone. 

A bit of reflection as I enter another year in my life! :D Another year wiser, hopefully.

Thanks for visiting today! 

 

luna love

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Recently reminded of my fondness of Luna, adviser to the Sailor Moon and her friends. She has all her flaws, with her moments of panic, embarrassment, disappointment, fury, exhaustion, melt-down, uncertainty, even occasional meanness (in one episode she drew a picture to make fun of Usagi for becoming “fat” :S), but she always holds on to her purpose, and determination to fulfill her purpose. And she doesn’t take crap from people.

AND! She shows us that unpleasant moments can be quite comical! (in some ways)

Must have to do with our recent trip to Asia. We’ve in fact come across a lot of Sailor Moon merchandise while there. Wonder if Sailor Moon is popular again, in a nostalgic kind of way, or its popularity has always been consistent in South Korea and Hong Kong?

Anyway, didn’t buy anything Sailor Moon while on the trip, so I was searching on Etsy a couple days ago, and came across this perfectly Luna pin back button in this shop, I just HAD to get it :D

I need a feline mentor to demonstrate how to say no (there are more of these if you also feel like you need to say no more often). It’s making its way across the continent as I type :D In the meanwhile, I found a plastic Luna key ring somewhere at home, so I sawed the plastic ring part off its top and glued a pin back on it. Ta-da! My very own portable feline mentor.

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Have a very good weekend, everyone!

 

 

 

underwood 315

Came across a good quote that I wanted to display at my desk at work. Thought about handwriting it, or finding a good type face for it and printing it out, but then remembered that we’ve inherited Mike’s grandmother’s Underwood 315.

tolkien

 

It took us a while to get the imprints looking right. At first we thought the ribbon was out of ink. After all, Mike remembered that the last time he saw it used was in the 80s. But then we tried to adjust a number of things, and eventually we were actually able to get a dark enough imprint.

I typed the quote 3 times over to end up with one that doesn’t have typos — proof that I’m far too used to typing on the computer and being able to easily erase mistakes. The first time I ever typed was on a computer keyboard; this is actually the first time I’ve used the typewriter. And how did people use their pinkies on the typewriter? The keys require quite a force to make an imprint on the paper. I imagine getting callouses on the fingertips, much like playing the guitar. But I find it to be quite a rewarding experience! To practice and practice and finally get it right :)

And it reminds me so much of printmaking. Especially with the two-colour ribbon. One just wouldn’t know exactly how the words will appear, there are always slight variations even if the letters are the same. Maybe I will try to make more things with it :D

Have a wonderful start to the week, everyone!

 

yarn blessings

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This came to me a while ago and I meant to write about this earlier, but was going through some stuff (more below) and then went on a trip

I got yarn in the mail! From my friend Amy :D She has so kindly asked me to try out her pattern and sent me this gorgeous yarn. I absolutely love the forest tones in it, with the yellows and greens and blue. What a treasure. I love working with variegated yarn and seeing how all the different colours blend differently in each stitch. Cannot wait to start making the cowl!

What cowl, you ask? The Love-Me-Knot Cowl!

The love knot (or Solomon’s knot as it is also called) is one of my favourite crochet stitches. Here’s a handy tutorial if you hadn’t used it before. I find it very meditative, and makes a delicate fabric with a nice drape. It also makes very quick projects because of the height of the stitches, perfect for last-minute presents (or, if you’re like me, you might be making Christmas presents already). And cowls are especially great because they’re stylish when worn indoors and they don’t have long ends that get caught in coat zippers while wearing outdoors. It is generously shared by Amy to download for free on Ravelry :D

But this particular skein of yarn is more than just yarn. It actually arrived at a time when I was very much not myself. I had just finished my final semester, feeling lost, purposeless and more than a little afraid after being in school on and off (more on than off) for 10 years, which resulted in four degrees but little job experience. Sent out dozens of job applications and heard nothing in return. And then there was administrative mix-up at school that could quite possibly jeopardize my graduation. My future was looking rather bleak.

And then this yarn came in the mail, with a lovely hand drawn note, and generosity and kindness that expects nothing in return. It reminded me of what I want to be for others and why I took the (long) path to be where I am today, and brought back some sense of purpose. I’m therefore truly blessed by this yarn, and most importantly Amy’s friendship.

(And since then the administrative mix-up has been fixed and I WILL graduate! But I digress…)

Do give Amy’s pattern a try! And for the beginning of fall I would like to pass on an Irish blessing that one of my favourite teachers shared with me:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.

Happy September! May you find joy and new learning in all that you do.

 

 

owls from far away

Got a wonderful surprise in the mail last week from my friend Nancy — owls! :D

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This beautiful ceramic owl charm. We’ve been going on adventures together for the past few days and it makes me so happy :D

And this fun owl puzzle! He’s now settled happily on my desk (please excuse the unsightly dust. It’s since been dusted. Yikes.)

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And this lovely sunshiny dish cloth!

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So grateful for your generosity, thoughtfulness and friendship, Nancy!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

 

 

for mothers

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this is a bit late in the day, but it’s what I would love to be able to present to you in person — the first wild flower bouquets of spring. For you bring forth life and make it full with your great love. To all mothers, mother figures and mothers-to-be: wishing you much joy and blessings on Mother’s Day and every day.

hope

here comes the sun

As Christmas approached Ontario encountered a pretty severe ice storm. All the trees were all encased in ice overnight. They looked absolutely magical, but weight of the ice also caused the branches to snap and fall, carrying power lines with them, and thousands were left without power for days. The power in our building was down, but we were blessed with friends who opened their home (and cupboard full of tea!) to us and family we could stay with. 

Still we stayed a day in the apartment without light and heat (how I took these luxuries for granted when I had them!). The sky was also very grey that day, and as the day began to grow dark at 3:30 in the afternoon I was starting to get this feeling that the power outage situation wasn’t going to end. When we left our apartment to stay with my family and Mike’s family for the holidays our building’s power and water supply was still down. They were staying on the news that the power may not be restored for everyone before Christmas. Here’s hoping that everyone will be warm and safe over the holidays.

When we arrived at my parents’ today the sun shone through the clouds as it was setting. The ice on the tree branches started to melt and was sparkling like jewels. It reminded me of the words from this song by Relient K, which was also the theme song for the movie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

It’s always winter but never Christmas
It seems this curse just can’t be lifted
Yet in the midst of all this ice and snow
Our hearts stay warm cause they are filled with hope

And everything it changed overnight
This dying world you brought it back to life
And deep inside I felt things
Shifting everything was melting
Away oh away
And you gave us the most beautiful of days

Cause when it’s always winter but never Christmas
Sometimes it feels like you’re not with us
But deep inside our hearts we know
That you are here and we will not lose hope

 

Wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a new year filled with joy, peace, love, and hope.

 

 

hope

hope is like a country road

 

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.”
Lin Yutang

(Acrylic on raw canvas with oil pastels)

 

In the past years I’ve been working / interning / volunteering in various community agencies, running groups that use expressive arts to support women in dealing with different challenges. Time and again I witness hope growing like wildflowers amongst and within people as they work together and share experiences, wisdom, joy, and pain; each person a light that brightens the path for others. I think this is true in many other communities and groups too.

And I’m grateful for you. I don’t think I say this enough, but I so appreciate the time that you take to visit, your interest in the things I make, your kind and encouraging comments. Whether we’ve spoken or written to each other or not, I cherish all of the connections that we’ve made through this space. 

Thank you so much! And I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

reflections on wild geese

levitation attempt

 

That was my best shot at levitating so far. 

I was actually trying to take photos of a sweater I crocheted (in one piece in a sideways manner, I’m hoping to post the pattern soon). The way I positioned the camera was too low and couldn’t capture the entire skirt, so I decided to take a jumping shot, inspired by Natsumi Hayashi’s levitating self-portraits.

Having been following Natsumi’s posts for a couple of years, I’ve found that the key to levitation (as opposed to just jumping) in a photo shoot is that one has to jump while relaxing one’s shoulders and arms. 

It’s actually quite difficult. A lot of controlled coordination needs to happen in a fraction of a second.

In this photo I certainly still looked like I was jumping, but I like the way my arm and hand look in the light.

***

I’ve been stressed on many fronts lately. 

The paradox of jumping — a surge of energy to propel oneself off the ground against gravity — while being relaxed was actually quite enlightening when I thought about my recent encounters with conflict.

What this makes me realize is that, in conflict, I have to learn to sustain a clear and calm state of mind in the face of heightened emotions. Heightened emotions that threatens to derail my thoughts and actions.

It’s actually quite difficult.

***

Realizing that it’s difficult, and fearing that it might be impossible for me to ever do well, I find this poem comforting.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

– Mary Oliver

 

May we all find clarity and compassion today.

 

 

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