Friday, October 29, 2010

Create: A Halloween Glow

So, I managed to decorate a bit this year.  I decorated the walls of my office a bit, and the entry way to my house.... with bats! 

I found a great photo online at Country Living somewhere.  I have no idea where I found the link and don't have it right now, but you get pictures of my efforts!

And here is my office.
And our pumpkins!  I'm very excited about these.  I drew it all myself, yay!  And it turned out pretty well, except I lost one of the gnome heads.

If you can't tell, there are three cut out windows with gnomes.  There are actually two side windows that I didn't cut out but I scraped out so that they are supposed to glow like closed windows.  The one on the right is a howling wolf for my son. 

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Write: The Fog Rolls In

Prompt:  Fall is such a wonderful time.   The leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder, and the wind whips across the earth.  Look outside, what do you see? 

The Fog Creeps In

The fog creeps in,
and hides from sight
all that is known.
More than spider webs,
more than nights touch,
the fog heralds the season.
Made of nothing more
than vapor and air
It ignites our primal memories
and sends us running up the trees.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Inspire: A Halloween Night

Halloween/Samhain is on Sunday, The Day of the Dead/All Saints Day is next Monday.  This is a week full of goblins and witches and good, fun gore.  Mostly. Some years I am all over it, others I miss the point.

This year, I've gone between both of them.  I decorated my office for the first time, but barely decorated my house.  I was pretty excited at the beginning of October, but life has a way of changing all sorts of plans. This is going to be the first year that I don't make my sons costume.  But yet there is still a joy in the season.  It is one last party before the heart of winter hits and we are all stuck inside.  It looks like it might be beautiful but cold out this year for trick or treating. 

Samhain, for some Pagans and Wiccans, is a celebration of those who have passed on, like the Day of the Dead.  We give honor to those who have gone before us, and reaffirm our what we are harvesting in our own lives.  The fields are mostly harvested, the plants cut down to keep us through the long winter.  Thus we honor their sacrifice and begin to take stock of what we need in our lives and what we can sacrifice.

I also consider it a day to take back the night.  We are reclaiming the image of the witch, the soul of the witch, and no longer are we merely hags with green faces and warts, we are everyone. 

What do you plan on doing for Halloween?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Create: A Bit of Color

I'm never one to paint or draw.  I think it stems back to my issues with perfectionism.  It's just not one of my set of skills.  I can make abstract art, and when I let myself doodle, I think it looks good.  I just can't guarantee that what I draw will look like what I want it to.

So, in an effort to just let it go and celebrate myself, I decided to break out the watercolor pencils I bought for my son and doodle.  Put pretty colors on the page and see how they work.

It was supposed to be just colors and ended up kinda taking on a quiet garden scene.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Write: How to Respect Yourself

Here is my list of nine things I have done for nine nights in an effort to honor the Divine Feminine around me and within me.  These nights seemed to be more about just relaxing and taking some 'me' time, but that is what helps me realize my sacredness and recognize it in the world.  I just need to slow down and take a look.

1.  Light a candle.
2.  Read a book.
3.  Relax with friends.
4.  Pick up litter.
5.  Love your family.
6.  Do something for the community.
7.  Laugh loudly.
8.   Be yourself.
9.  Take care of yourself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inspire: The Divine Feminine

I always find out about things after they are done.  It’s a fact of my life I’ve come to sigh over.  I don’t rage about it, because there ends up being too many things I want to go to anyway.  I just need to remember to check my local events, and if I miss something, well, maybe next year.

I ran across this article the other day on Navaratri and honoring Shakti, and became interested.  I went to one of the links and became even more fascinated with the idea of honoring the Divine Feminine for a series of nights. 

While Navaratri seems to be celebrated on specific days in the Hindu religion, there is the ShaktiSeva movement that is honoring the feminine not only in Divine, but in each individual as well.

I have come to the realization recently that I have accomplished some of my goals this year and have truly grown into myself.  I am no longer the shy, scared girl when I enter a room full of people I don’t know.  I honor myself as a person, a mother, and a woman.  What better way to thank the Divine Feminine and reaffirm my change than to follow this movement.

How do you honor the Divine Feminine?  How do you honor women in your life?  Do you think special attention needs to be paid to the Divine Feminine? 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Create: It's a Box

Work has been annoying me lately.  Of course, that's not really much of a stretch of the imagination.  My desk is almost constantly a mess right now.  Partly from work, partly from a disorganization of my stuff.  I have a weirdly shaped area that is technically a cube, but not really.  One of my walls is replaced by a counter which has space underneath for putting things.  This is where my stapler and such goes.  I have been randomly sticking things under that space for awhile and I finally decided to make it official.

Thus, I made myself some boxes out of Fedex/UPS envelopes.  I have such a stash of these things that I need to use up it isn't funny any more.  If you have any ideas, feel free to let me know!
The box set up is pretty simple but involves some math.   First, of course, you need to measure the space you have available and figure out how big of a box you want. 

On a scrap of paper, write down your dimensions and add them together.  I sketched mine out and added it that way, I'm much more of a visual person.  My dimensions ended up (after a couple of boxes to truly figure out what I wanted) being 2.5 inches high, seven inches length, and five inches width.  So I needed a length of 13 inches (2.5 + 7 + 2.5) and a width of 10 inches (2.5 + 5 + 2.5).  With me so far?  I made my box like a + and folded up the sides, so I had to add the sides to my length and width in order for it to turn out right.

I'll stop trying to explain math now.

I cut open my envelope and laid it out flat.  Then I took my ruler and sketched out the square 10x13 shape.  After cutting this out, I went back and made my actual lines at the appropriate spots.  Once I had my lines drawn, I went back in and drew an additional line .5 inches out from the lines.
You can see the lines in the picture above.  By adding in those lines, you are adding the flaps that will be folded over and glued into place.  At the small box where all the lines meet, I cut diagonally out for the flaps.  

Once you are done cutting, score along the inner lines that you will fold on.  Then fold up and glue.  I folded one flap on the inside and one on the outside of each corner.

Once the glue is dry, throw in some stuff and you have a box!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Write: A Room with a View

Exercise:  Imagine you  have just walked into a room not your own.  It could belong to a neighbor, a waiting room, a stranger, or an imaginary being.  Maybe you walked into your subconscious' room.  Maybe you don't know where you are yet. 

Wherever you walked, begin to describe it.  Write what you see, what you feel, what you smell.  What does the room say to you?  Is the person living here a person you would like to meet?  Does it remind you of a relative?  Does it make you want to curl up and sleep or run away and scream? 

The door opens with the faintest of squeaks and closes softly behind me.  I gaze around the room, brows furrowed in confusion.  There seems to be everything in here and no order to it.  The large room looks like a small library has been turned into a home office.  Bookshelves line three walls, pausing only for the door and light fixtures.  It should be gloomy, but the wall of windows makes it anything but.

The wall of glass pulls me farther into the room, stepping around a delicately carved chair that is home to a pile of blankets.  The windows give a magnificent view of a wild wood.  Branches sway in the breeze and somewhere, far off, there is a sound of a waterfall.  There, and there, a bird flutters between the leaves, dancing to the song of a mate. 

I watch him until he disappears into the greenery, then I turn back to the room.  An open book beckons from the large desk.  I run my fingertips over the warm wood and move behind it, spinning the globe on it's axle and watching the continents spin about.  With a smile, I raise my eyes to the rest of the room.

I can tell from here that the pile of blankets is nothing of the sort. It is a golden lion's mane stretched across the chair.  Where did that come from and why?  Maybe the owner went on safari and brought back a souvenir.  Maybe they were wearing for some golden coat.  Or maybe they had to fight a lion and won.

A laugh escapes my lips at my imagination and I shake my head.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spy the telescope next to the window.  On tripod legs, its body is angled upwards to spy into the heavens once night falls.  The shelf behind it is full of star charts and globes painted with scenes of the constellations.  A model of the solar system hangs from the ceiling and calls me.  I reach up and barely touch the moon.  How many people have been inspired by that wish?  How many stories have been written?  How many discoveries have been made?

With a sigh, I pull myself away from my reverie and pick up the stack of papers I was sent for.  Neat and orderly on the desk, the notes sing themselves off the page.  Just looking at them is beauty.  Hearing them played is exquisite.

I pull the door closed behind me with a wistful sigh, shutting off the room of wonder and inspiration.  Thus the life of working for a Muse.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Extra Extra! Noumenia: The balance of things

Well, this is late...  Although amazingly, I did manage to do all three days of Noumenia prayers this month.  But I ended up starting them early...  Ah, well, they seem to even out.

This month seems to be a month of change.  My art group is ready to strip everything down and build back up into a stronger group more focused on our goals.  And I am going through the same process in my own life.

Or at least trying.

This past month was pretty hard.  I questioned a lot of things, and I thought about why I do things.  Do I really need everything I have in my life?  Is it all serving it's purpose?  Where am I going and what do I need to do to get there?

These are the questions that have been floating in my head-space.  Do they have answers?  Not quite yet.

I keep saying that 'this weekend I will get organized and get it figured out' but I haven't yet.  I get half way through the questioning phase and stop.

But I have figured out that I do want to keep this blog.  It has accomplished its goal of keeping me accountable to myself and able to keep my projects organized.  But I do want to change it a bit.  Something isn't quite working and I'm not sure what that is. 

It may be the writing posts.  I feel like I am just throwing out an exercise and a blurb of writing instead of showcasing my best work.  But I don't want to put my best work out here in case I want to get it published some day.  Then again, I could self-publish my writings that I have posted here.  Or I could drop down to one story a month and make it a serial with only a page or two a week.  But then what would I do with my poetry?

I'm not sure what to do. 

Also,  I started adding a lot about religion and then backed off, thinking that those who come here for crafts might not like the added religion and I could start a new blog to be accountable for that.  But I already have an overabundance of deadlines in my life and I'm not sure I want to add one more... although it would hold me more accountable.

What do you think? 

What works here on Mused Creations?  (And do you have any opinions on the name?)  What doesn't work?  What parts do you like and wish I would focus more on?  What do you wish I would get rid of?

Inspire: Organization - Ho!

Note:  That's a ThunderCats reference, by the way.

Organization and I have always gotten along like two best friends living together.  Sometimes it is perfect, sometimes we want to kill each other. 

I remember when I was a child and my room was a mess, my grandma would always tell me to clean up and “How can you find anything in here?”  It may have been in piles on the floor, but I knew where everything was.  When I cleaned up and put things away, I lost items and couldn’t figure out where anything was.

I’m better than I was as a child.  Most of my stuff is picked up, but I am still a pile person.

I come home and drop my things into a pile, or put the mail into a pile.  Then I will come back to it at some point and sort through and put things away.  But until I put things away or move my pile out of the way, I know where everything is.  Once it’s put away, I can’t find it.

But organization and I have a cyclical relationship it seems.  I’m all sorts of disorganized, so I go through and sort everything out, make a new system, and follow it strictly for a period of time.  Then I slack off a bit, then a bit more, then I realize the system isn’t working anymore and I need a new one.  So, I take all my disorganization, sort through it, and make a new system to follow strictly for a time.

I’m at one of those moments now.  Nothing seems to be working the way I want it to.  It has grown stale, grown out of its box, and it feels like nothing is getting done.  I’m coasting.

Now, organization doesn’t only mean stuff.  It means how I take on tasks and finish them.  How I plan for time for my son, my crafting, and my writing.  I organize my life so that it runs without driving me crazy.

That’s how this blog got started.  I had too many ideas and none of them were getting done.  So in came this nifty new idea on how to hold myself accountable for getting things done and a way to organize them all.  The blog has held its own for quite a while and has accomplished its goal with honor.

But does it still work for me?  Until last week and this week, I would have said no.  I felt boxed in, doing the same thing over and over again.  And I was tired of it.  But I really like pancakes, and as I said, they help heal what is hurting. 

So I may make some changes around here.  What they are, I don’t know.  Should I put more religion on here?  Should I take it off completely?  I thought about starting another blog for only my religious posts, but I don’t know if I could run two blogs at the same time. 

What would you like to see?  What aspects do you like?  What parts are you not so thrilled about? 

How do you deal with life when it gets tossed upside down?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Create: Mmm, Pancakes

This is my favorite pancake recipe.  It cooks up nice and fluffy and light.  It is also great for freezing and popping in the toaster for a quick breakfast.  I always double the recipe and split the flour between whole wheat and regular flour.  The one I have shared with you is the original recipe.

The recipe was found on, under the name Fluffy Pancakes.

3/4 cup milk
2 tbs white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbs white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbs butter, multed
Cooking spray

1.  Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour."

2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk.  Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.

3.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray.  Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface.  Flip with a spatula and cook until brown on the other side.

Tips and Tricks:  The cooking spray is what let me make pancakes.  I was forever burning them and adding more grease to the pan.  One light spray before you put down your first pancake will do it and will last through the entire batch or double batch.  I never have to respray the pan. 

When I was out of spray the other weekend, I put a bit of Crisco into the pan  and swirled it around so it coated the bottom.  That was all I needed.  a

For freezing, I set out a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and lay my newly finished pancakes on it.  Once I am done cooking, I toss my cookie sheet into the freezer for awhile so they harden up.  Once frozen, I take the pancakes off the cookie sheet and put them in a freezer bag and back into the freezer they go. 
Enjoy your comfort food this weekend!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Write: To My Pancakes

Prompt:  What makes you happy?  What can cheer you up when you are down?  What brings peace to your life?  Write a letter/poem to it.

Oh, pancakes.
Light and fluffy,
you ease my load.
Sweet and sticky,
you guide me home.
Take my troubles,
wash them away
with maple or boysenberry,
raspberry or apple.
Melt them under your butter.

*I never said it had to be a serious letter...*

Monday, October 4, 2010

Inspire: The Healing Power of Pancakes

Well, this was scheduled to be posted on Monday.  I hit all the right buttons and set it up to automatically post.  Guess I should have checked it.  Sorry, guys!

Ah.  Pancakes.  I came across this idea when I was sitting down to dinner with my son one night when we had made breakfast for dinner.  We had had a rough day and we both cheered up greatly with a pancake or two in us.  My son said:  "Pancakes always make things better, don't they?"

I couldn't agree more.

I don't know what it is about them, but they seem to bring healing and relaxation with every fluffy, sticky bite.  It doens't matter if they are covered in syrup, fruit, or have chocolate chips.  They are just yummy.

I was ecstatic when I finally learned how to properly make pancakes earlier this year.  Before that, they tended to end up burnt and flat.  So Pancake Day (free pancakes for the 4th of July, all you can eat pancakes for $5 at VEISHEA, etc) was a Big Deal.

Pancake Day is still a big deal, but that might be because of friends and toppings.  But now I've got it down and I end up making them just about every weekend.  I make a double batch so that they can be frozen and popped in the toaster for a quick breakfast.

Mmm, pancakes.

What is your comfort food?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Create: A Zine

Well....  It seems my disorganization has struck again.  I forgot to check to make sure the flash drive with my zine on it was in my bag this morning...  It wasn't.  Hopefully I can add my own zine to this post tomorrow.

But for now, I will offer you some links to some other great zines.

Craft Leftovers
Kick the Door Down Project
Tangle Crafts