Sunday, February 28, 2010

Inspire: Persephone is Rising

She changes everything She touches,
and everything She touches, changes. 

I'm sure this won't be the only Inspiration post inspired by Persephone, but it is the first.

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld in Greek religion/mythology.  Kind of odd, don't you think?  But Persephone started off as Kore, daughter of Demeter and goddess of spring.  She was picking wild flowers when a huge hole opened up in the ground and there stood Hades, Lord of the Underworld, in his chariot.  Some say he stole her away and raped her, some say he just offered her a choice (which is what I think).  Either way, she ended up in the underworld and her mother went crazy with grief.  She stopped things from growing and caused the world to go into winter.  Demeter finally found her daughter but had to share her with Hades as Persephone had eaten seeds from a pomegranate which meant she had to spend some of her time in the Underworld.  Thus the reason we have winter and summer.

As spring is so close but so far, it is natural that my thoughts stray back to Persephone.  She is preparing to make her journey upwards and step foot in the sunshine again.  Instead of flowers made with precious jewels, she will pick delicate blossoms to decorate her hair.  Persephone will dance in the meadows until it is time, once again, to descend into the darkness where all things go.  She will sit on her throne and bring some hope to those who must pass.

The Queen of the Underworld and Maiden of Spring has made her choice.

What path will you choose?

Persephone:  Greek queen of the Underworld
Myth*ing Links
Persephone Remembers
A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery:  Kore, Greek Maiden of Spring

Friday, February 26, 2010

Create: Spring Cozy

I get random ideas sometimes.  Most of the time, they are "Man, I wish I had one of those.  I should make one!"  And they last for several years.  Hence my constant wish for arm warmers when I am fully capable of making a pair.  Lately, for an unknown reason, I decided that it would be awesome to have a mug cozy.

 I made this one to keep my tea warm while I sit and shiver and dream of spring.  Please forgive the fire extinguisher, this is my mug at work.  It's made with variegated cotton and has a button to keep it over the handle.

Let me see if I can write the pattern... Let me know if it needs any changes!
Keep in mind that each mug/cup is different.  What works for mine may not work for yours.  There are a bunch of mug cozy patterns out there, so find one you like!  (And if it happens to me mine, let me know! ;))  As this is a tall cup (I like mine to hold quite a bit), you may need to decrease the number of rounds before you stop.

Spring Cozy:
H hook
Cotton yarn
Coordinating button

Note:  This originally was meant to be base six, but I included the starter chain of my magic circle.  But it fits my cup perfectly!

Row 1:  In a magic circle, sc six, join with a ss and ch 1 (7)
Row 2:  2 sc in each sc around, join with a ss and ch 1 (14)
Row 3:  *2 sc in first stitch, sc in next,* repeat from  * to * around, join with a ss and ch 1 (21)
Row 4:  *2 sc in first stitch, sc in next two,* rep from * to * around, join with ss and ch 1 (28)
Row 5:  *2 sc in first stitch, sc in next three,* rep from * to * around, join with ss and ch 1 (35)
Rows 6-10:  Sc in each stitch around, join with ss and ch 1 (35) (5 rounds)
Row 11: Sc in each stitch for 31, ch 1 and turn (31)
Rows 12-17: Sc in each stitch, ch 1 and turn (31) (6 rounds)
Row 18:  Sc in each stitch, chain 14, turn
Row 19: Sc in each stitch, turn at the corner and sc in each stitch down the side of your previous rows.  Skip the corner stitch, sc across the bottom, skip the corner, sc up the sides of your previous rows.  Fasten off.

Try your cozy on and see where the loop you created will end.  Sew on a button at that spot, slip in your mug, and you're cozy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Write: Commercial Spot

I think I'm officially suffering from Cabin Fever now.  I went from "I'm not doing swaps for a long time" to signing up for two at the same time... Granted, I'm hope hope hoping to be done with one before signups are completed on the other.  But gah!  Talk about over-scheduling.  I have a bunch of other stuff to get done too.

Today's exercise is to just let go.  Let whatever you want to say out.  It could be about the weather, about longing for summer, it could be about running through the streets naked.

My writing is brought to you by a man with shiny teeth. :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Inspire: Cabin Fever

Here in Iowa, we are breaking the record every day for the longest amount of time spent with five inches of snow or more on the ground.  We are also making our way into the top ten snowiest years list.  Every week we seem to get an epic snow storm with blizzard conditions and ice covered roads.  The only saving grace is that the sun is up longer each and every day.  I get to go to work and come home when there is light outside now!

But every time the meteorologist says "More snow," every one here groans and says they beyond tired of the cold white stuff.  The fact that spring is so close but so very very far away only makes it worse.  As does the foregone conclusion that we will see spring flooding.  The only question is how much and how badly is it going to affect the farmers.  Last year we had a one-hundred or five-hundred year flood that evacuated my office building several weeks before I got hired.  I'm hoping we don't have to do the same this year.

What all of this does is cause a person to go slightly crazy, as I'm sure you all have heard about cabin fever.  No, not the movie.  The built up tension that comes from having to be stuck inside.  I'm lucky this year in that I do get to go out quite a bit.  I think I'm overscheduling... But I am beyond tired of the weather and full of longing for a glimpse of grass.  Maybe that's why I keep signing up for stuff.  Hmm...

Are you suffering from the winter madness?
What do you do to keep from going crazy?
What signs of spring are you longing to see?
What signs do you see that keep you sane?

Here's to a moderately fast return of spring!

 (Find something special in the picture!  It just might keep you sane!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Extra! Noumenia Goals and Finishing Touches

I forgot to post my list of monthly goals on Noumenia this year.  Noumenia is a monthly Hellenic (Greek) Pagan/Reconstructionist festival.  It is celebrated not on the new moon, but the night after, when the first sliver of moon is visible.  It is a time to plan ahead for the month to come and to give honor to the household gods.  For more information, go to the Hellenion site.

I've been meaning to start following festivals more closely for a couple months and finally got to it this time.  Here is my list of Family goals for this next month:
1.  Make a schedule and stick to it.
2.  Exercise regulary
3.  Give the child a chore list like he's been asking me to
4.  Make sure we do homework/spelling tests

Here are my personal goals:
1.  Work on poetry
2.  Submit a piece of writing/poetry/craft
3.  Work ahead on blogging/projects
4.  Start planning crafts for holidays (I will not wait for the last minute this year!)
5.  Keep up with housework


I finished the Raven!  Yay me!  I changed his beak and I think he looks a lot better as well.  I'm totally not up to writing the pattern, though.  That may have to be a later post.


Whatcha think?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Create: Maury the Raven

Well, I estimated incorrectly.  I was hoping to have this completely done and a pattern written up to post.  Unfortunately, it's only about half done and the pattern is not in any shape to be shared.

But I thought I would share my progress!  Meet Maury the Raven!

Yes, I know he sort of looks like a pigeon...  He needs another wing, tail, and legs.  And I think I might do some surgery to his beak to make it more pointed.  This is the first time I am making an amigurumi without a pattern.  I think he looks pretty nifty.

Any suggestions on how to make him better?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Write: I watched...

There are several stories on how Raven turned black. In almost every culture, Raven started out as white but something, or someone, turned his feathers to darkness. In Greek mythology/religion, Raven worked for Apollo. Apollo was a very jealous god, so when he was away from his pregnant girlfriend, he sent a white raven to spy on her. When the Raven went and told Apollo that his girl was messing around with someone else, the god turned the bird’s feathers black for being the bearer of bad news. And then he burned up the girl, but saved the baby who became Asclepius, the ‘father of modern medicine.’

Apollo never told the Raven to prevent her from being with another man, the bird was just supposed to spy. Seems like he got the short end of the stick there.

Our writing exercise today is based on this story.

Write a piece with the words “I watched.”

Mine is after the jump...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Inspire: Black Birds

I'm thinking you might have been guessing this week's Inspiration from the last post.  This week we are looking to the ravens and crows to set our creativity on fire.  There are as many raven/crow stories as there are peoples, each unique and yet carrying a common thread.

Ravens and Crows (I know they are separate and their mythologies separate as well, please forgive me for writing them together) have long been held in disgust because they are carrion birds.  They seem to eat anything, but especially road kill.  Like vultures, they help clean up and keep the cycle of life going.  They are tricksters and teachers, thought and memory, psychopomps leading our souls to the underworld.  They are the bringers of fire and sun.  They teach us to laugh at ourselves.

I remember people in my neighborhood when I was growing up banging lids and firing into trees to dislodge the huge crowd of black birds cawing above them.  Before that, there was a crow that would eat my peanut butter sandwiches when I lived in the timber.

What are your thoughts on ravens and crows?  Do they frighten you?  Do they draw you?  Have you ever stopped and watched them?  Have you ever learned about them?  Did you know that they are one of the smartest, if the THE smartest, bird species?  They can learn to use tools.  Do you know how to tell the difference between the two?

Here are some links to provide you with more information, since I'm going to stop gushing about the birdies now.
PBS ran a program on Ravens.
Awesome printables and outlines of the birds.
Krahe, one of my favorite pieces of art.
PBS: Discover the Brainpower of the Bird in Black
American Society of Crows and Ravens

What do the black feathers inspire in you?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Create: Masquerade

I happened across a nifty pattern on the webz that totally fits into the Mardi Gras theme... It's a crocheted mask!
 The pattern is easy to follow and works up quickly.  I ended up making two Thursday night because I started with the wrong hook and I didn't get time to work on it earlier (like I was supposed too...).  I'm not quite comfortable in it yet, but I'm not typically comfortable in masks.  But at least this one doesn't have plastic bits to dig into my skin.  

My plan is for this to turn into a raven mask.  There is a faerie ball/faire this spring that I want to go to, and I've chosen a raven/crow theme.  Yay for feathers and shiny bits!  Unfortunately, the ball is in April and the faire in June.  So I've got to get cracking on getting the outfit done.  I'm a horrible slacker.  But I've started on the mask!  

Now to get the top hat done....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Write: Indulge and Sacrifice

The true meaning of Mardi Gras is mostly lost in modern culture.  Growing up I just thought it was a big party.  There is a (religious) meaning behind it, and a frugal reason.  If you aren't supposed to eat a bunch of food for the next forty days, you might as well use it up before it goes bad, right?

This writing exercise is to explore your thoughts behind indulgence and sacrifice.  What do you think you could give up and do without?  What do you indulge in?  Do you think you should live without it?

Mine is a bit different.  I got caught in the funny line between 'we are giving this up because we should be pious and walk the line.... but first we're going to party so we can live without it for awhile.'


Monday, February 8, 2010

Inspire: Mardi Gras

It's time to party!

February 16th marks the end of the Carnival season this year, better known in some areas as Mardi Gras.  It's a time for partying, wearing masks, good friends, and good food.  Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start to Lent, and the day for getting all that excess energy out of the way.  This link is a great resource for the history of Carnival. 

I've never been Catholic (my ex-husband was for awhile), but I've always thought Mardi Gras was awesome.

It could be because I love masks.  Especially detailed and feathered.  It could be that King Cake is one of my favorite desserts.  But maybe it's just the feeling of getting it all out of your system, of having a full night of carefree fun, of partying as hard as you can, for the next day starts prayer and restriction.

The theme for this week is, of course, Mardi Gras and Carnival.  What can you do to let it all out?  What restrictions do you place on yourself?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Special: Hugs and Hearts!

And... another change to the schedule.  Rather than going Friday-Monday-Wednesday on a theme, we're going to go with Monday-Wednesday-Friday.  So today to get us on the right track, I'm posting my valentine cards!


This weekend my art group is going to be making valentine's for a nursing home, but these are for family.  I'm also going to print off cards and make bookmarks for my son instead of buying them this year.  But I don't have a picture of them yet as they aren't done.

Last year I was in a relationship at this time and I barely even thought about V-day.  This year and I'm excited to make pretty cards and things for random people.  Maybe it just says how much happier I am.


So this V-day, be your own valentine and make sure that you love yourself first!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Create: Fire in the Snow

I ran out of time to actually make one of the two crafts I was planning for tonight.  The cold weather and sickness has just been kicking my butt.  I'm lucky I got lunches made in time...  But never fear, I have leftovers!

Last year for Imbolc, we decided to make use of the snow outside and make some candles.  I haven't gotten to yet this year and I am so tired (so tired!) of seeing all the snow.  But I am going to try to make a new batch before it all melts.  I have some from last year left in my stash, so I thought I would pull them out and share.


They aren't the best, and they didn't get that weird made-in-snow edging like I saw in pictures, but it was pretty fun.  We grabbed a couple pans and filled them with snow, brought it in side and made a hole.  Put in the wax and wick and let the snow melt and form the candle.  I think next time we will use a deeper pan and maybe not pack the snow in as tight.
I'm still learning tutorials (and I'm running behind) so I'll provide a link to how to make snow candles.  Of course, this article assumes you know how to make candles.  There are lots of tutorials on how to make them, and they are pretty easy.  It just requires patience.

Go make stuff!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Write: Self, Community, World

Today's post isn't really a writing exercise or piece of writing.  It's more about taking the time to look within yourself and discover three things you want to accomplish this year.  I read about this in one of my books and I cannot figure out which one it was now.  I also can't find where I wrote down my list...

Anyway, the exercise is this.  Write down a goal that you want to accomplish this year in three areas: Self/Home, Community, World.  What can you do to better these areas in your life?  How can you help in these areas?

I made a list last year and I've accomplished my goals for this year, so I am impressed with myself.  Let's see what I need this year...

Self:  Have confidence and pride in my work and my self.
Community:  Step up into a more active leadership role.
World: Stick to my values and ideals on corporations/society, no matter how hard it may be.

What changes are you going to be in the new year?